Up in the ancient Castle of Weir
Sat the baron, the knight, and the fair Tomasine;
And the baron he looked at his daughter dear,
While the salt tears bleared his aged eyne;
And then to the steward, with hat in hand:
“Make known unto all, from Tweed to Tyne,
A hundred rose nobles I’ll give to the man
Who saved the life of my Tomasine.”
Sir Hubert cried out, in an envious vein,
“Who is he that will vouch for the lurdan loon?
There’s no one to say he would know him again,
And another may claim the golden boon.”
Then said the ladye, “My eyes were closed,
And I never did see this wondrous man;
And the cottar woman she hath deposed
He was gone ere his features she could scan.”
“Ho!” cried the baron, “I watched him then,
As I stood on the opposite bank afeared;
Of a hundred men I would ken him again,
Though he were to doff his dun-brown beard.”
A year has passed at the Castle of Weir,
Yet no one has claimed the golden don;
Most wonderful thing to tell or to hear!
Was he of flesh and blood and bone?
Though golden nobles might not him wile,
Was there not something more benign?
Was not for him a maiden’s smile?
Was not that maiden Tomasine?
The ladye sat within her summer bower
Alone, deep musing, in the still greenwood;
Sadly and slowly passed the evening hour,
Sad and sorrowful was her weary mood,
For she had seen, beneath a shadowing tree,
All fast asleep a beauteous rural swain,
Whom she had often sighed again to see,
But never yet had chanced to see again;—
So beautiful that, if the time had been
In a long mythic age now past and gone,
She might have deemed that she had haply seen
The all-divine Latona’s fair-haired son
Come down upon our earth to pass a day
Among the daughters fair of earth-born men,
And had put on a suit of sober grey,
To appear unto them as a rural swain.
With features all so sweet in harmony,
You might have feigned they breathed a music mild,
With lire so peachy, fit to charm the eye,
And lips right sure to conquer when they smiled,
All seen through locks of lustrous auburn hair,
Which wanton fairies had so gaily thrown
To cover o’er a face so wondrous fair,
Lest Dian might reclaim him as her own.
In the still moonlit hour there steals along,
And falls upon her roused and listening ear
The notes of some night-wandering minstrel’s song,
And oh! so sweet and sad it was to hear.
You might have deemed it came from teylin sweet,
Touched by some gentle fairy’s cunning hand,
To tell us of those joys that we shall meet
In some far distant and far happier land;
And oft at night, as time still passed away,
That hopeless song throughout the greenwood came,
And oft she heard repeated in the lay
The well-known sound of her own maiden name;
And often did she wish, and often sighed,
That bashful minstrel for once more to see,
To know if he were him she had espied
All fast asleep beneath the greenwood tree.