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He said the creed, he sung the mass,
And o'er the breviary did turn; But still his wayward fancy eyed
The bonny lass of Craigyburn.
One day, upon his lonely couch
He lay, a prey to passion fell;
What 'tis unmeet for me to tell.
A sudden languor chilled his blood,
And quick o'er all his senses flew; But what it was, or what the cause,
He neither wish'd to know, nor knew :
But first he heard the thunder roll,
And then a laugh of malice keen; Fierce whirlwinds shook the mansion-walls,
And grievous sobs were heard between:
And then a maid, of beauty bright,
With bosom bare, and claithing thin, With many a wild fantastic air,
To his bedside came gliding in.
A silken mantle on her feet
Fell down in many a fold and turn, He thought he saw the lovely form
Of bonny May of Craigyburn'
Though eye and tongue and every limb
Lay chained as the mountain rock, Yet fast his fluttering pulses played,
As thus the enticing demon spoke :
“Poor heartless man! and wilt thou lie
A prey to this devouring flame? That thou possess not bonny May,
None but thyself hast thou to blame.
" You little know the fervid fires
In female breasts that burn so clear: The forward youth of fierce desires,
To them is most supremely dear.
“ Who ventures most to gain their charms,
By them is ever most approved; The ardent kiss, and clasping arms,
By them are ever best beloved.
" Then mould her form of fairest wax,
With adder's eyes, and feet of horn: Place this small scroll within its breast,
Which I, your friend, have hither borne,
“ Then make a blaze of alder wood,
Before your fire make this to stand; And the last night of every moon
The bonny May's at your command.
" With fire and steel to urge her weel,
See that you neither stint nor spare; For if the cock be heard to crow,
The charm will vanish into air."
Then bristly, bristly, grew her hair,
Her colour changed to black and blue; And broader, broader, grew her face,
Till with a yell away she flew !
The charm was gone: upstarts Mess John,
A statue now behold him stand ;
But, lo, the scroll is in his hand.
Read through this tale, and, as you pass,
You'll cry, alas, the priest's a man! Read how he used the bonny lass,
And count him human if you can.
“O Father dear! what ails my heart ?
Ev'n but this minute I was well; And now, though ill in health and strength,
I suffer half the pains of hell."
“My bonny May, my darling child,
Ill wots thy father what to say ;
I fear 'tis for some secret sin
That heaven this scourge on thee doth lay ; " Confess, and to thy Maker pray ;
He's kind; be firm, and banish fear ; He'll lay no more on my poor child,
Than he gives strength of mind to bear..' “A thousand poniards pierce my heart
I feel, I feel, I must away ; Yon holy man at Mary's kirk
Will pardon, and my sins allay. “I mind, when, on a doleful night,
A picture of this black despair, Was fully opened to my sight,
A vision bade me hasten there." “O stay, my child, till morning dawn,
The night is dark, and danger nigh; Yon persecuted desperate bands
Will shoot thee for a nightly spy. "Where wild Polmoody's mountains tower
Full many a wight their vigils keep: Where roars the torrent from Loch-Skene,
A troop is lodged in trenches deep. " The howling fox and raving earn
Will scare thy reason quite away ; Regard thy sex, and tender youth,
And stay, my child, till dawning day."
I burn !- I rage !-my heart, my heart!"
Then, with a shriek, away she ran. Hope says she'll lose her darkling way,
And never reach that hated man.
But lo! a magic lantern bright
Hung on the birks of Craigyburn; She placed the wonder on her head,
Which shone around her like the sun.
She ran, impelled by racking pain,
Through rugged ways and waters wild; Where art thou, guardian spirit, fled ?
O haste to save an only child !
Hold !-he who doats on earthly things,
'Tis fit their frailty should appear; Hold !-they who providence accuse,
'Tis just their folly cost them dear.
The God who guides the gilded moon,
And rules the rough and rolling sea, Without a trial ne'er will leave
A soul to evil destiny.
When crossing Meggat's highland strand,
She stopt to hear an eldrich scream; Loud crew the cock at Henderland, The charm evanished like a dream!