Colonel Gardener

'Twas at the hour of dark midnight,
   Before the first cock's crowing,
When westland winds shook Stirling's towers,
   With hollow murmurs blowing;
When Fanny fair, all woebegone,
   Sad on her bed was lying,
And from the ruin'd towers she heard
   The boding screech owl crying.

O dismal night! she said, and wept,
   O night presaging sorrow,
I dismal night! she said, and wept,
   But more I dread tomorrow.
For now the bloody hour draws nigh,
   Each host to Preston bending;
At morn shall sons their fathers slay,
   With deadly hate contending.

Even in the visions of the night,
   I saw fell death wide sweeping;
And all the matrons of the land,
   And all the virgins, weeping.
And now she heard the massy gates
   Harsh on their hinges turning;
And now through all the castle heard
   The woeful voice of mourning.

Aghast, she started from her bed,
   The fatal tidings dreading;
O speak, she cry'd, my father's slain!
   I see, I see him bleeding!
A pale corpse on the sullen shore,
   At morn, fair maid, I left him;
Even at the thresh-hold of his gate,
   The foe of life bereft him.

Bold, in the battle's front, he fell,
   With many a wound deformed;
A braver Knight, nor better man,
   This fair isle ne'er adorned.
While thus he spoke, the grief-struck maid
   A deadly swoon invaded;
Lost was the lustre of her eyes,
   And all her beauty faded.

Sad was the sight, and sad the news,
   And sad was our complaining;
But oh! for thee, my native land
  What woes are still remaining.
But why complain, the hero's soul
   Is high in heaven shining:
May providence defend our isle
   From all our foes designing.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin