Ballad VI.

The Cameronian Banner.


O Banner ! fair Banner ! a century of woe1
Has flowed on thy people since thou wert laid low ;2
Hewn down by the godless, and sullied and shorn,3
Defiled with base blood, and all trodden and torn !4
Thou wert lost, and John Balfour’s bright steel-blade in vain.5
Shed their best blood as fast as moist April sheds rain6
Young, fierce, gallant Hackstoun, the river in flood7
Sent rejoicing to sea with a tribute of blood ;8
And Gideon Macrabin, with hible and brand,9
Quoted Scripture, as Amelk fell ’neath his right hand10
All in vain, thou fair Banner, for thou wert laid low,11
And a sport and a prey to the Covenant’s foe.12


Fair Banner ! ’gainst thee bloody Claver’se came hewing13
His road through our helms, and cur glory subduing ;14
And Nithsdale Dalzell—his fierce deeds to requite,15
On his house darkest ruin descended like night16
Came spurring and full on the lap of our war,17
Disastrous shot down like an ominous star.18
And Allan Dalzell—may his name to all time19
Stand accurs’d, and be with nought nobler than rhyme20
Smote thee down, thou fair Banner, all rudely, and left21
Thee defiled, and the skull of the bannerman cleft.22
Fair Banner, fair Banner, a century of woe23
Has flowed on thy people since thou wert laid low.24


And now, lovely Banner ! led captive and placed,25
’Mid the spoils of the scoffer, and scorned and disgraced,26
And hung with the helm and the glaive on the wall,27
’Mongst idolatrous figures to wave in the hall,28
Where the lips, wet with wine, jested with thee profane,29
And the minstrel, more graceless, mixed thee with his strain,30
Till the might and the pride of thy conqueror fell,31
And the owl sat and whoop’d in the halls of Dalzell.32
O thou holy Banner ! in weeping and wail33
Let me mourn thy soiled glory, and finish my tale.34


And yet, lovely Banner ! thus torn from the brave ;35
And disgraced by the graceless, and sold by the slave,36
And hung o’er a hostel, where rich ruddy wine,37
And the soul-cheering beverage of barley divine,38
Floated glorious, and sent such a smoke—in his flight39
The lark stayed in air, and sung, drunk with delight.40
Does this lessen thy lustre ? or tarnish thy glory ?41
Diminish thy fame, and traduce thee in story ?42
Oh, no, beauteous Banner ! loosed free on the beam,43
By the hand of the chosen, long, long shalt thou stream !44
And the damsel dark-eyed, and the Covenant swain,45
Shall bless thee, and of dread Bothwell again.46