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THE LIBRARY
OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES





WILLIAM EDMONSTOUNE AYTOUN
From the liust in the National Portrait Gallery



OXFORD EDITION



POEMS OF

WILLIAM EDMONDSTOUNE

AYTOUN



CONTAINING

LAYS OF THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS, BOTHWELL, AYTOUN'S

CONTRIBUTIONS BOTH TO THE 'BONGAULTIER BALLADS'

AND TO THE 'POEMS AND BALLADS OF GOETHE', 1859;

FIRMILIAN, 1854; POLAND, HOMER, AND OTHER

POEMS (1832); AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS

POEMS AND TRANSLATIONS




HUMPHREY MILFORD
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

LONDON EDINBURGH GLASGOW COPENHAGEN

NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE CAPE TOWN

BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS SHANGHAI PEKING

IQ21



/f/



PREFACE

This edition of Aytoun's poems contains, with one
exception, all those poems and translations of which
the undivided authorship is known to be his. The one
exception is his translation of the Iliad, Book XXII.
This may be found in "Blackwood' 's Magazine, vol. xlv,
pp. 634-642. Its omission here will be pardoned.

It is by the kind permission of Messrs. William
Blackwood & Sons that it has been possible to include
Aytoun's contributions to the Bon Gaullier Ballads
and to The Poems and Ballads of Goethe, as determined
by Sir Theodore Martin, Aytoun's collaborator in both
books. It will be understood, of course, that some of
the poems and translations not included in this edition
were the joint productions of the two writers.

In ' The Oxford Poets ' it is the rule not to give any
critical appraisement of the poet, but the present
editor may be allowed to say that he finds his greatest
satisfaction in having been able to put before the
reader all those pieces on which are based Aytoun's
claims as a humorist : his contributions to the Bon
Gaultier Ballads and the anticipatory pseudo-review of
Firmilian, and Firmilian itself. These last two, famous
as they are, are now reprinted for the first time.

The miscellaneous character of Aytoun's work not
lending itself to chronological arrangement, the poems
have been grouped according to character: romantic
poems, humorous poems, translations, and juvenilia.

F. Page.

March 1920.



^.r^r^.i^r' M



CONTENTS



LAYS OF THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS, AND OTHER
POEMS, 1849.
Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers :

Edinburgh after Flodden .

The Execution of Montrose

The Heart of the Bruce .

The Burial March of Dundee

The Widow of Glencoe

The Island of the Scots

Charles Edward at Versailles

The Old Scottish Cavalier
Miscellaneous Poems :

Blind Old Milton

Hermotimus



ffinone

The Buried Flower

The Old Camp .

Danube and the Euxine

The Scheik of Sinai .

Epitaph of Constantine Kanaris

The Refusal of Charon



BOTHWELL : A POEM IN SIX PARTS, 1856 .

POEMS FROM BLACKWOOD, 1847-1852.

Magus Muir

Latimer and Ridley .;....
The Crusaders' March .....

FROM ' THE BON GAULTIER BALLADS ', 1845-1857

The Broken Pitcher

The Fight with the Snapping Turtle ; or, the Ameri

can St. George .......

The Lay of Mr. Colt

The Lay of the Levite

The Queen in France : An Ancient Scottish Ballad
The Massacre of the Macpherson : From the Gaelic

A Midnight Meditation

Little John and the Red Friar : A Lay of Sherwood
The Rhyme of Sir Launcelot Bogle : A Legend of

Glasgow ........

Tarquin and the Augur

La Mo it d'Arthur

The Husband's Petition .....



PAGE

3

15
26
35
49
59
70
95

104
108
111

no

123
125
126
129
130

131

227
232
239

243

244
248
252
253
259
261
263

269
276

277

277



vi CONTENTS

TAGE

Sonnet to Britain 279

The Lay of the Legion ........ 279

THE GOLDEN AGE 281

FIRMILIAN, 1354 . 293

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS printed in Sir Theodore
Martin's Memoir of Aytoun, 1S67.

The Ballad of Lycaon ....... 355

The Wandering Jew 356

The Elder's Warning 36]

The Scottish Christmas ...... 364

On Miss Helen Fancit's Juliet 365

NUPTIAL ODE ON THE MARRIAGE OF THE PRINCE

OF WALES, 1863 366

FROM 'POEMS AND BALLADS OF GOETHE', 1859:

Warning 377

The Brothers . . 377

Love's Hour-glass . 377

The Wreaths . 378

Sacred Ground 378

Marriage Unequal ....... 378

Exculpation 379

Holy Family 379

The Treasure-seeker ..... . 379

The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus ..... 380

The Pariah 383

The Cavalier's Choice ..... . 388

The King in Thule 390

The Doleful Lay of the Wife of Asan Aga . .390

The Artist's Morning Song ..... . 39-*!

Cupid as a Landscape Painter ..... 395

The Happy Pair 397

The Youth and the Mill-stream 399

Poesy 400

The Musagetes 400

The Church Window 402

Lili'sPark . 402

The Wedding Feast 406

Psyche 407

The Treacherous Maid of the Mill . . . .407

Who '11 buy a Cupid ? 409

Separation 410

Second Life 410

To Luna 411

The Shepherd's Lament . . . . . .411



CONTENTS vii

PAGE

To the Moon 412

With a Golden Necklace 413

On the Lake 413

To Lina 414

To a Golden Heart 414

Sorrow without Consolation 415

Early Spring 415

Longing 416

OTHER TRANSLATIONS :

From the Latin Anthology.

Ilia's Dream 417

Andromache's Lament . ...... 417

Tarquin's Dream 418

Prologue of Laberius . . . . . . .419

De Amore et Spinis . , . . . . .419

The Story of Orpheus . . . . ... . 420

Ovid's Spring-time . ....... 420

Ballads from the Romaic.

I. The Refusal of Charon . . . . . .130

II. The Voice from the Tomb 421

III. Love's Witness 422

IV. Iotis Dying 422

The Hymn of King Olaf the Saint 423

The Elf-stroke . . . 425

Ballads from the German of Uhland.

The Minstrel's Curse 42G

The Castle by the Sea . 429

The Count of Groiers 430

The Student 431

Midnight Music 433

The Dream 434

Durand 434

POLAND, HOMER, AND OTHER POEMS, 1832 :

Poland 439

Homer 456

A Lament for Percy Bysshe Shelley .... 468

Ode to the Past 473

Shadows of Recollection ...... 475

The Mausoleum 476

APPENDIXES :

I. Appendix to ' Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers' . 477

II. Firmilian : A Tragedy 497

INDEX OF TITLES 505

INDEX OF FIRST LINES 507



\



LAYS

OF

THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS

AND OTHEK POEMS

[1849]



The text is that of 1863, the last edition in Aytoun's lifetime.
Variant readings of the earlier editions (1849, two editions ;
1853 ; 1863 ; and, for some poems, a previous appearance in
'Blackwood's Magazine') are given in the foot-notes. Aytoun's
Appendix, which appeared for the first time in the second
edition, 1849, is given at the end of the present volume.



AVTODH B



[Dedication of the Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers, 1849.]



TO
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

ARCHIBALD WILLIAM MONTGOMERIE,
CFaxI of CFglinton an0 a&inton, ${.&.,

THE PATRIOTIC AND NOBLE REPRESENTATIVE OP
AN ANCIENT SCOTTISH RACE,

THIS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED

BY THE AUTHOR.



Montgomorie . . . Winton, K. T.J Hamilton-Montgomerie
Winton, 1849 \ 1849 J .



EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN

[Blackwood's Magazine, February 1848]

The great battle of Flodden was fought upon the 9th of
September 1513. The defeat of the Scottish array, resulting
mainly from 1 the fantastic ideas of chivalry entertained by
James IV, and his refusal to avail himself of the natural
advantages of his position, was by far the most disastrous of
any recounted in the history of the northern wars. The
whole strength of the kingdom, both Lowland and Highland,
was assembled, and the contest was one of the sternest and
most desperate upon record.

For several hours the issue 2 seemed doubtful. On the left
the Scots obtained a decided advantage ; on the right wing
they were broken and overthrown ; and at last the whole
weight of the battle was brought into the centre, where
King James and the Earl of Surrey commanded in person.
The determined valour of James, imprudent as it was, had
the effect of rousing to a pitch of desperation the courage
of the meanest soldiers ; and the ground becoming Boft and
slippery from blood, they pulled off their boots and shoes,
and secured a firmer footing by fighting in their hose.

' It is owned ', says AJbercromby, ' that both parties did
wonders, but none on either side performed more than the
King himself. He was again told that, by coming to handy
blows, he could do no more than another man, whereas, by
keeping the post due to his station, he might be worth
many thousands. Yet he would not only fight in person,
but also on foot ; for he no sooner saw that body of the
English give way which was defeated by the Earl of Huntley,
but he alighted from his horse, and commanded his guard of
noblemen and gentlemen to do the like and follow him.
He had at first abundance of success ; but at length the
Lord Thomas Howard and Sir Edward Stanley, who had
defeated their opposites, coming in with the Lord Dacre's
horse, and surrounding the King's battalion on all sides,
the Scots were so distressed that, for their last defence, they
cast themselves into a ring ; and, being resolved to die nobly
with their sovereign, who scorned to ask quarter, were
altogether cut off. So say the English writers, and I am
apt to believe that they are in the right.'

1 resulting mainly from] which was mainly owing to 'Black-
wood' : mainly owing to 1849 1 2 issue] victory 'Blackwood'

B 2



4 LAYS OF THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS

The combat was maintained with desperate fury until
nightfall. At the close, according to Mr. Tytler, ' Surrey
was uncertain of the result of the battle : the remains of
the enemy's centre still held the field ; Home, with his
Borderers, still hovered on the left ; and the commander
wisely allowed neither pursuit nor plunder, but drew off his
men, and kept a strict watch during the night. When the
morning broke, the Scottish artillery were seen standing
deserted on the side of the hill: their defenders had disap-
peared ; and the Earl ordered thanks to be given for a victory
which was no longer doubtful. Yet, even after all this,
a body of the Scots appeared unbroken upon a hill, and
were about to charge the Lord Admiral, when they were
compelled to leave their position by a discharge of the
English ordnance.

'The loss of the Scots in this fatal battle amounted to
about ten thousand men. Of these a great proportion were
of high rank ; the remainder being composed of the gentry,
the tanners, and landed yeomanry, who disdained to fly
when their sovereign and his nobles lay stretched in heaps
around them.' Besides King James, there fell at Flodden
the Archbishop of St Andrews, thirteen earls, two bishops,
two abbots, fifteen lords and chiefs of clans, and five peers'
eldest sons, besides La Motte the French ambassador, and
the secretary of the King. The same historian adds — 'The
names of the gentry who fell are too numerous for recapitu-
lation, since there were few families of note in Scotland
which did not lose one relative or another, whilst some
houses had to weep the death of all. It is from this cause
that the sensations of sorrow and national lamentation
occasioned by the defeat were peculiarly poignant and
lasting — so that to this day few Scotsmen can hear the name
of Flodden without a shudder of gloomy regret.'

The loss to Edinburgh on this occasion was peculiarly
great. All the magistrates and able-bodied citizens had
followed their King to Flodden, whence veiy few of them
returned. The office of Provost or chief magistrate of the
capital was at that time an object of ambition, 1 and was
conferred only upon persons of high rank and station. There
seems to be some uncertainty whether the holder of this
dignity at the time of the battle of Flodden was Sir Alexander
Lauder, ancestor of the Fountainhall family, who was elected
in 1511, or that great historical personage, Archibald Earl
of Angus, better known as Archibald Bell-the-Cat, who was
chosen in 1513, the year of the battle. Both of them were
at Flodden. The name of Sir Alexander Lauder appears
upon the list of the slain. Angus was one of the survivors ;
but his son, George, Master of Angus, fell fighting gallantly

1 ambition] high ambition : Blackwood'



EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN 5

by the side of King James. _ The city records of Edinburgh,
which commence about this period, are not clear upon the
point, and I am rather inclined to think that the Earl of
Angus was elected to supply the place of Lauder. 1 But
although the actual magistrates were absent, they had
formally nominated deputies in their stead. I find, on
referring to the city records, that 'George of Tours' had
been appointed to officiate in the absence of the Provost,
and that four other persons were selected to discharge the
office of bailies until the magistrates should return.

It is impossible to describe the consternation which per-
vaded the whole of Scotland when the intelligence of the
defeat became known. In Edinburgh it was excessive.
Mr. Arnot, in the history of that city, says —

'The news of their overthrow in the field of Flodden
reached Edinburgh on the day after the battle, and over-
whelmed the inhabitants with grief and confusion. The
streets were crowded with women seeking intelligence about
their friends, clamouring and weeping. Those who officiated
in absence of the magistrates proved themselves worthy of
the trust. They issued a proclamation, ordering all the
inhabitants to assemble in military array for defence of the
city, on the tolling of the bell ; and commanding, "that all
women, and especially strangers, do repair to their work,
and not be seen upon the street clamwand and cryand; and
that women of the better sort do repair to the church and
offer up prayers, at the stated hours, for our Sovereign Lord
and his army, and the townsmen who are with the army." '
Indeed, the Council records bear ample evidence of the
emergency of that occasion. Throughout the earlier pages,
the word ' Flowdoun ' frequently occurs on the margin, in
reference to various hurried orders for arming and defence :
and there can be no doubt that, had the English forces
attempted to follow up their victory, and attack the Scottish
capital, the citizens would have resisted to the last. But
it soon became apparent that the loss sustained by the
English was so severe, that Surrey was in no condition to
avail himself of the opportunity ; and in fact, shortly after-
wards, he was compelled to disband his army.

The references to the city banner contained in the follow-
ing poem, may require a word of explanation. It is a
standard still held in great honour and reverence by the
burghers of Edinburgh, having been presented to them by
James III, in return for their loyal service in 1482. This
banner, along with that of the Earl Marischal, still con-
spicuous in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, was

1 Foot-note in ' Blackwood 1 . The Earl of Angus was succeeded
in the Provostship of Edinburgh by Alexander, Lord Home,
Great Chamberlain of Scotland, in 1514.



6 LAYS OF THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS

honourably brought back from Flodden, and certainly never
could have been displayed in a more memorable field.
Maitland says, with reference to this very interesting relic
of antiquity —

' As a perpetual remembrance of the loyalty and bravery
of the Edinburghers on the aforesaid occasion, the King
granted them a banner or standard, with a power to display
the same in defence of their king, country, and their own
rights. This flag is kept by the Convener of the Trades ; at
whose appearance therewith, it is said that not only the
artificers of Edinburgh are obliged to repair to it, but all
the artisans or craftsmen within Scotland are bound to
follow it, and fight under the Convener of Edinburgh as
aforesaid. 1

No event 1 in Scottish history ever took a more lasting hold
of the public mind than the ' woeful fight ' of Flodden ;
and, even now, the songs and traditions which are current
on the Border recall the memory of a contest unsullied by
disgrace, though terminating in disaster and defeat.



EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN



News of battle !— news of battle !

Hark ! 'tis ringing down the street :
And the archways and the pavement

Bear the clang of hurrying feet.
News of battle! who hath brought it?
. News of triumph? Who should brin
Tidings from our noble army,



Greetings from our gallant King?
All last night we watched the beacons

Blazing on the hills afar, 10

Each one bearing, as it kindled,

Message of the opened war.
All night long (he northern streamers

Shot across the trembling sky :
Fearful lights that never beckon

Save when kings or heroes die.

ii

News of battle! Who hath brought it?

All are thronging to the gate ;
'Warder— warder ! open quickly!

Man— is this a time to wait?' 20

1 No event . . . defeat. Not in ' Blaclacood'*



EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN 7

And the heavy gates are opened :

Then a murmur long and loud,
And a cry of fear and wonder

Bursts from out the bending crowd.
For they see in battered harness

Only one hard-stricken man ;
And his weary steed is wounded,

And his cheek is pale and wan :
Spearless hangs a bloody banner

In his weak and drooping hand— 30

God ! can that be Randolph Murray,

Captain of the city band?

in
Round him crush the people, crying,

'Tell us all— oh, tell us true!
Where are they who went to battle,

Randolph Murray, sworn to you?
Where are they, our brothers — children ?

Have they met the English foe?
Why art thou alone, unfollowed?

Is it weal or is it woe?' 40

Like a corpse the grisly warrior

Looks from out his helm of steel ;
But no word he speaks in answer-
Only with his armed heel
Chides his weary steed, and onward

Up the city streets they ride ;
Fathers, sisters, mothers, children,

Shrieking, praying by his side.
' By the God that made thee, Randolph !

Tell us what mischance hath come.' 5°

Then he lifts his riven banner.

And the asker's voice is dumb.

IV

The elders of the city

Have met within their hall —
The men whom good King James had charged

To watch the tower and wall.
1 Your hands are weak with age,' he said,

'Your hearts are stout and true;
So bide ye in the Maiden Town,

While others tight for you. 60

My trumpet from the Border-side

Shall send a blast so clear,
That all who wait within the gate

That stirring sound may hear.
Or. if it be the will of Heaven

That back I never come,



8 LAYS OF THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS

And if, instead of Scottish shouts,

Ye hear the English drum, —
Then let the warning bells ring out,

Then gird you to the fray, 70

Then man the walls like burghers stout,

And fight while fight you ma}'.
"Twere better that in fiery flame

The roofs should thunder down,
Than that the foot of foreign foe

Should trample in the town ! '



Then in came Randolph Murray. —

His step was slow and weak.
And, as he doffed his dinted helm,

The tears ran down his cheek : 80

They fell upon his corslet

And on his mailed hand,
As he gazed around him wistfully,

Leaning sorely on his brand.
And none who then beheld him

But straight were smote with fear,
For a bolder and a sterner man

Had never couched a spear.
They knew so sad a messenger

Some ghastly news must bring ; 90

And all of them were fathers,

And their sons were with the King.

VI

And up then rose the Provost —

A brave old man was he.
Of ancient name, and knightly fame,

And chivalrous degree.
He ruled our city like a Lord

Who brooked no equal here,
And ever for the townsman's rights

Stood up 'gainst prince and peer. 100

And he had seen the Scottish host

March from the Borough-muir,
With music-storm and clamorous shout,
And all the din that thunders out

When youth's of victory sure.
But yet a dearer thought had he, —

For, with a tather's pride,
He saw his last remaining son

Go forth by Randolph's side,

79 dinted] broken ' Blackwood' 99 townsman's] towns-

men's ' Ulackivood ', 1849 l



EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN 9

With casque on head and spur on heel, no

All keen to do and dare;
And proudly did that gallant boy

Dunedin's banner bear.
Oh ! woeful now was the old man's look,

And he spake right heavily—
'Now, Randolph, tell thy tidings,

However sharp they be !
Woe is written on thy visage,

Death is looking from thy face :
Speak ! though it be of overthrow— 1 20

It cannot be disgrace ! '

VII

Right bitter was the agony

That wrung that soldier proud :
Thrice did he strive to answer,

And thrice he groaned aloud.
Then he gave the riven banner

To the old man's shaking hand,
Saying— 'That is all I bring ye

From the bravest of the land !
Ay! ye may look upon it— 130

It was guarded well and long.
By your brothers and your children,

By the valiant and the strong.
One by one they fell around it,

As the archers laid them low,
Grimly dying, still unconquered,

With their faces to the foe.
Ay ! ye may well look upon it-
There is more than honour there,
Else, be sure, I had not brought it 140

From the field of dark despair.
Never yet was royal banner

Steeped in such a costly dye ;
It hath lain upon a bosom

Where no other shroud shall lie.
Sirs ! I charge you, keep it holy ;

Keep it as a sacred thing,
For the stain ye see upon it

Was the life-blood of your King !

VIII

Woe, and woe, and lamentation ! 150

What a piteous cry was there !
Widows, maidens, mothers, children.

Shrieking, sobbing in despair!

188 may well] well may 'Blackwood', 1849 l 150 Woe, and
woe] Woe, woe 1S49 1 , 1S49 2

B3



10 LAYS OF THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS

Through the streets the death-word rushes,

Spreading terror, sweeping on —
' Jesu Christ ! our King nas fallen—

O Great God, King James is gone !
Holy Mother Mary, shield us,

Thou who erst didst lose thy Son !
O the blackest day for Scotland 160

That she ever knew before!
O our King— the good, the noble,

Shall we see him never more?
Woe to us, and woe to Scotland !

our sons, our sons and men !
Surely some have 'scaped the Southron,

Surely some will come again ! '
Till the oak that fell last winter

Shall uprear its shattered stem —
Wives and mothers of Dunedin — 170

Ye may look in vain for them !

IX

But within the Council Chamber

All was silent as the grave,
Whilst the tempest of their sorrow

Shook the bosoms of the brave.
Well indeed might they be shaken

With the weight of such a blo%y :
He was gone— their prince, their idol,

Whom they loved and worshipped so!
Like a knell of death and judgment 180

Rung from heaven by angel hand,
Fell the words of desolation

On the elders of the land.
Hoary heads were bowed and trembling,

Withered hands were clasped and wrung ;
God had left the old and feeble,

He had ta'en away the young.

x
Then the Provost he uprose,

And his lip was ashen white ;
But a flush was on his brow, 19°

And his eye was full of light.
'Thou hast spoken, Randolph Murray,

Like a soldier stout and true ;
Thou hast done a deed of daring

Had been perilled but by few.
For thou hast not shamed to face us,

Nor to speak thy ghastly tale,
Standing — thou a knight and captain —

Here, alive within thy mail!



EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN II

Now, as my God shall judge me, 200

I hold it braver done,
Than hadst thou tarried in thy place,

And died above my son !
Thou needst not tell it : he is dead.

God help us all this day !
But speak— how fought the citizens

Within the furious fray?
For by the might of Mary !

'Twere something still to tell
That no Scottish foot went backward 210

When the Royal Lion fell ! '

XI

4 No one failed him ! He is keeping

Royal state and semblance still;
Knight and noble lie around him,

Cold on Flodden's fatal hill.
Of the brave and gallant-hearted,

Whom ye sent with prayers away,
Not a single man departed

From his Monarch yesterday.
Had you seen them, my masters! 220

When the night began to fall,
And the English spearmen gathered

Round a grim and ghastly wall!
As the wolves in winter circle
^ Round the leaguer on the heath,
So the gi-eedy foe glared upward,

Panting still for blood and death.
But a rampart rose before them,

Which the boldest dared not scale ;
Every stone a Scottish body, 230

Every step a corpse in mail!
And behind it lay our Monarch,

Clenching still "his shivered sword;
By his side Montrose and Athole,

At his feet a Southron lord.
All so thick they lay together.

When the stars lit up the sky,
That I knew not who were stricken,

Or who yet remained to die.
Few there' were when Surrey halted, 240

And his wearied host withdrew;
None but dying men around me,

When the English trumpet blew.

235 Southron] southern 'Blackwood', 1849 1 ,1S49 9



12 LAYS OF THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS

Then I stooped, and took the banner,

As you see it, from his breast,
And I closed our hero's eyelids,

And I left him to his rest.



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