Ballad I.

On Mark Wilson, slain in Irongray.


I wandered forth when all men lay sleeping,1
And I heard a sweet voice wailing and weeping,2
The voice of a babe, and the wail of women,3
And ever there came a faint low screaming ;4
And after the screaming, a low, low moaning,5
All adown by the burn-bank, in the green loaning,6
I went, and by the moonlight, I found7
A beauteous dame weeping low on the ground.8


The beauteous dame was sobbing and weeping,9
And at her breast lay a sweet babe sleeping,10
And by her side was a fair-haired child,11
With dark eyes flushed with weeping, and wild12
And troubled he held by his mother, and spake,13
Oh mither, when will my father awake ;”14
And there lay a man smitten low to the ground,15
The blood gushing forth from a bosom wound.16


And by his side lay a broken sword,17
And by his side lay the open’d ‘ Word ;’18
His palms were spread, and his head was bare,19
His knees were bent—he had knelt in prayer ;20
But brief was his prayer, for the flowers where he knelt21
Had risen all wet, with his life’s blood spilt ;—22
And the smoke of powder smelled fresh around :23
And a steed’s hoof prints were in the ground.24


She saw me, but she heeded me not ;25
As a flower she sat that had grown on the spot ;26
But ever she knelt o’er the murdered man,27
And sobbed afresh, and the loosed tears ran28
Even low as she knelt, there came a rush29
Like a fiery wind, over river and bush,30
And amid the wind and in lightning speed,31
A bright Rider came, on a brighter steed32


Woe ! woe ! woe !” he called, and there came33
To his hand, as he spake, a sword of flame ;—34
He smote the air, and he smote the ground,35
Warm blood, as a rivulet, leapt up from the wound,36
Shriek followed on shriek, loud, fearful, and fast,37
And filled all the track where this dread one passed ;38
And tumult and terrible outcry there came,39
As a sacked city yields when it stoops to the flame ;40
And a shrill low voice came running abroad,41
Come, mortal man, come, and be judged by God.” 42
And the dead man turned unto heaven his face, 43
Stretched his hands, and smiled in the light of grace.44