Time puts in the sack that behind him hangs
Of things both old and new,
And every hour brings stranger things
Than those we have bidden adieu.
The last one of those children three,
Young Hector, Kildearn’s pride,
Has gone, in his childish mirth and glee,
To play by the Solway tide.
That tide by which his father swore
As true to the silvery queen—
That tide is breaking with sullen roar,
And Hector no more is seen.
They may search, they may drag—the search is vain,
No Hector they’ll ever find;
A lugger is yonder, away to the main,
Borne on an eastern wind.
And there is a woman who stands in the bay,
And she holds out both her hands,
As if she would wave that lugger away
To some of the distant lands.
And if you will trace her to her hold,
Where a purse of gold was laid,
You will find the drawer, but not the gold,
For the purse and gold are fled.
Time flies, but sin breeds in-and-in,
And a father’s grief is stern;
Robin is dead, and a distant kin
Now calls himself Kildearn.
The moon’s pale light falls on yonder tomb,
By which sits a woman grey,
And sings in the blast a revengeful doom,
In a woman’s weird way.
“Chirk! whutthroats in yon auld taff dyke,
Hoot! grey owl in yon shaw,
Howl out! ye auld moon-baying tyke,
Ye winds mair keenly blaw,
Till ye rouse to the rage o’ a wintry storm
The waves of the Solway sea,
And wauken the brawnit connach worm
On the grave o’ Robin-a-Ree.”
More years passed on. Ho! near by the cove
Is a ship with a pirate crew,
All bound in honour and fear and love,
To their captain, Hector Drew;
Who looked through his glass at old Kildearn,
As thoughts through his memory ran,
And fain of that house he would something learn.
But he is an outlawed man.
Nor venture could he to come upon land,
Except under cloud of night,
And he and all his pirate band
Lie hidden there out of sight;
That he might plunder Kildearn House
Of its gold and its jewelrie,
Then away, and away, again to cruise
Where rovers aye love to be.
But there is one who stands on the shore,
Who knew that pirate hoy,
Whose captain she bribed many years before
To steal away Kildearn’s boy.
She has sent the bloodhounds to the wood,
They have seized them every loon,
And sent them to answer for deeds of blood,
To Edwin’s old castled toun.
The Admiral High of old Scotland
Has them tried for deeds so dark,
And they are decreed by his high command
To be hanged within high-water mark.
On the sands of Leith, as St. Giles struck two,
And within the hem of the sea,
There Captain Drew and all his crew
Were hanged for piracie.