Saturday, 31 March 2012


contained in the BALLADS OF DOWN by GEORGE


The Goodwife of the house had risen up
And cleared the liberal board of plate and cup,
And Maxwell to his press had turned about, .
To bring his best of gin and whiskey out.
When someone came a-knocking at the door,
And in, amid the night-wind's ocean-roar.
The Elder, Gordon, staggered, scared and cold,
And all at once his late experience told : —

“ Thon Ha'nted Glen sae murk wi' trees,
Wi' win's an' waters plainin',
It male's the bluid wi' terror freeze
Its paths tae walk alane in ;
Whun evenin's glooms aroon it fa'
An' dismal night grows thicker,
Ugh, then the wailin' voices ca'.
An' then the derk shapes flicker.

" It 's no that A believe the Deed
Can ha'nt an' scaur the leevin';
Tae Mon the Blessed Buik haes said
Tae dee but yince is given.
An', haevin' deed, anither Ian'
Becomes the sperrit's centre ;
It 's bad' this Airth far'weel, an' can
Nae mair this Airth reenter.

" It 's nae the Deed A fear, fur they
Can wark nae herm tae mortal ;
But dear ! sich shapes an' soon's uv wae
The staniest heart wud startle !
They 're moanin' there, they 're jibberin' here,
Ahint, afore, they 're flittin'.
They 're getherin' far, they 're crowdin' near,
Or cloak'd an' dumb they 're sittin';

" An' a' sae sudden ower my sight
The spectral forms come gl'amin',
A shiver ower wi' tinglin' fright.
My een wi' draps ir str'amin'.
It 's no that A believe the Deed,
Ye ken, can ha'nt the leevin';
But thon Glen's paths alane A '11 tread
Nae mair by night or even.

" A jist wuz walkin' frae the Kirk,
An' tuk the beechwud loanin' . .
An' my ! the night is wild an' murk.
An' hoo the wuds ir groanin'! . .
A miss'd the turn, an', ugh, A stray'd
Adoon the way A dreadit,
An' as it wound through deeper shade
A scarce had stren'th tae tread it.

"Ootstertit jist afore my fit
A rat, or weasel, slidin';
An' roon' aboot me seem'd tae flit
A grey owl frae his hidin';
An' then the Shapes begood tae talc'
Their sates on bank an' hollow ; —
An', ugh, A heerd ahint my back
A dismal futstep follow !

" A turn'd aroon', an' there A seed —
Great Gude ! — a ghaistly figure
Wi' bluid-stain'd neck and mangled heed !
A summon'd a' my vigour,
A strud alang, an' nae luik'd roon',
But onward strain'd a-trem'lin',
And aye A heerd the futstep's soon'
Through a' the tempest's rem'lin'.

" A gasp'd fur braith, my heart stud still,
My stren'th tae water meltit,
My fit, thrust doon tae climb the hill,
Scarce reach'd the road or felt it.
At last I spied the cheerfu' glame
Here shinin' frae yer wundee,
An', Gude be praised, ye 're a' at hame.
An' gie an' kin' A 've faund ye !

"It's no that A believe the Deed—
Ye min' — can ha'nt the Leevin';
But thon Glen's paths alane A '11 tread
Nae mair by night or even."

" Dear ! " said the Goodwife, " Mister Gurdon, Sir,
Thon wuz a fearfu' veesion ! . . Wully, stir
The greesugh. . . Sit ye. Mister Gurdon, doon,
An' Wully '11 mak' ye up a jorum soon,
An' thon 'ull scaur the spectres frae yer ee,
An' werm yer buzzom. Tak' thon erm-chair, see ! "
And Maxwell in his hand a tumbler set
And bade the Elder, cold and dazed and wet,
Sit in beside the hearth, and dry his feet
Before the glowing pile of logs and peat...

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