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Poem by Walter Scott


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 lady, deign to stay!
Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch,
Nor tempt the stormy firth to-day.

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

Last night the gifted Seer did view
A wet shroud swathed round lady gay;
Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch;
Why cross the gloomy firth to-day?

Tis not because Lord Lindesays heir
Tonight at Roslin leads the ball,
But that my lady-mother there
Sits lonely in her castle-hall.

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 filld by Rosabelle.

Oer Roslin all that dreary night
A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam;
Twas broader than the watch-fires light,
And redder than the bright moonbeam.

It glared on Roslins castled rock,
It ruddied all the copse-wood glen;
Twas seen from Drydens groves of oak,
And seen from cavernd Hawthornden.

Seemd all on fire that chapel proud
Where Roslins chiefs uncoffind lie,
Each Baron, for a sable shroud,
Sheathed in his iron panoply.

Seemd all on fire within, around,
Deep sacristy and altars pale;
Shone every pillar foliage-bound,
And glimmerd all the dead mens 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 Saint Clair.

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

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

Walter Scott

Walter Scott's other poems:
  1. The Monks of Bangors March
  2. On Ettrick Forests Mountains Dun
  3. Lines Addressed to Ranald Macdonald, Esq., of Staffa
  4. The Sun upon the Weirdlaw Hill
  5. Epitaph

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