Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Rosabelle
By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)
 
O LISTEN, 1 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!        5
  And, gentle Ladye, 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;        10
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;        15
  Why cross the gloomy firth to-day?’—
 
‘’Tis not because Lord Lindesay’s heir
  To-night at Roslin leads the ball,
But that my ladye-mother there
  Sits lonely in her castle-hall.        20
 
‘’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 fill’d by Rosabelle.’—
 
O’er Roslin all that dreary night,        25
  A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam;
’Twas broader than the watch-fire’s light,
  And redder than the bright moonbeam.
 
It glared on Roslin’s castled rock,
  It ruddied all the copse-wood glen;        30
’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,        35
  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.        40
 
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        45
  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;        50
But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds sung,
  The dirge of lovely Rosabelle!
 
Note 1. From the Lay of the Last Minstrel. [back]
 
 
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