Lovely Rosabelle

O listen, listen ladies gay!
   No haughty feat of arms I tell;
Soft is the note, and sad the lay,
   That mourns the lovely Rosabelle.

"Moor, moor the barge, ye gallant crew:
   And, gentle ladye, deign to stay,
Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch,
   Nor tempt the stormy firth today.

"The blackening wave is edged with white:
   To inch and rock the sea-mews fly;
The fishers have heard the Water-Sprite,
   Whose screams forbode that wreck is nigh.

Last night the gifted Seer did view
   A wet shroud swathed round ladye gay;
Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch:
   Why cross the gloomy firth today?" -

"'Tis not because the ring they ride,
   And Lindesay at the ring rides well,
But that my sire the wine will chide,
   If 'tis not filled by Rosabelle."-

O'er Roslin all that dreary night
   A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam;
'Twas broader than the watch-fire's light,
   And redder than the bright moon-beam.

It glared on Roslin's castled rock,
   It ruddied all the copse-wood glen,
'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak,
   And seen from cavern'd Hawthornden.

Seem'd all on fire that chapel proud,
   Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffin'd lie,
Each Baron, for a sable shroud,
   Sheathed in his iron panoply.

Seem'd all on fire, within, around,
   Deep sacristy and altar's pale,
Shone every pillar foliage-bound,
   And glimmer'd all the dead men's mail.

Blazed battlement and pinnet high,
   Blazed every rose-carved buttress fair -
So still they blaze, when fate is nigh
   The lordly line of high St. Clair.

There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold
   Lie buried within that proud chapelle;
Each one the holy vault doth hold -
   But the sea holds lovely Rosabelle!

And each St. Clair was buried there,
   With candle, with book and with knell;
But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds rung,
   The dirge of lovely Rosabelle.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin