Ballads eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about Ballads.

{2f} “The horror of night.”  The Polynesian fear of ghosts and of the dark has been already referred to.  Their life is beleaguered by the dead.

{2g} “The quiet passage of souls.”  So, I am told, the natives explain the sound of a little wind passing overhead unfelt.

{2h} “The first of the victims fell.”  Without doubt, this whole scene is untrue to fact.  The victims were disposed of privately and some time before.  And indeed I am far from claiming the credit of any high degree of accuracy for this ballad.  Even in a time of famine, it is probable that Marquesan life went far more gaily than is here represented.  But the melancholy of to-day lies on the writer’s mind.

TICONDEROGA A LEGEND OF THE WEST HIGHLANDS

TICONDEROGA

This is the tale of the man
Who heard a word in the night
In the land of the heathery hills,
In the days of the feud and the fight. 
By the sides of the rainy sea,
Where never a stranger came,
On the awful lips of the dead,
He heard the outlandish name. 
It sang in his sleeping ears,
It hummed in his waking head: 
The name—­Ticonderoga,
The utterance of the dead.

I. THE SAYING OF THE NAME

On the loch-sides of Appin,
When the mist blew from the sea,
A Stewart stood with a Cameron: 
An angry man was he. 
The blood beat in his ears,
The blood ran hot to his head,
The mist blew from the sea,
And there was the Cameron dead. 
“O, what have I done to my friend,
O, what have I done to mysel’,
That he should be cold and dead,
And I in the danger of all?

Nothing but danger about me,
Danger behind and before,
Death at wait in the heather
In Appin and Mamore,
Hate at all of the ferries
And death at each of the fords,
Camerons priming gunlocks
And Camerons sharpening swords.”

But this was a man of counsel,
This was a man of a score,
There dwelt no pawkier Stewart
In Appin or Mamore. 
He looked on the blowing mist,
He looked on the awful dead,
And there came a smile on his face
And there slipped a thought in his head.

Out over cairn and moss,
Out over scrog and scaur,
He ran as runs the clansman
That bears the cross of war. 
His heart beat in his body,
His hair clove to his face,
When he came at last in the gloaming
To the dead man’s brother’s place. 
The east was white with the moon,
The west with the sun was red,
And there, in the house-doorway,
Stood the brother of the dead.

“I have slain a man to my danger,
I have slain a man to my death. 
I put my soul in your hands,”
The panting Stewart saith. 
“I lay it bare in your hands,
For I know your hands are leal;
And be you my targe and bulwark
From the bullet and the steel.”

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Ballads from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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