Ballads eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 65 pages of information about Ballads.

It fell about the gloaming
The general stood with his staff,
He stood and he looked east and west
With little mind to laugh. 
“Far have I been and much have I seen,
And kent both gain and loss,
But here we have woods on every hand
And a kittle water to cross. 
Far have I been and much have I seen,
But never the beat of this;
And there’s one must go down to that waterside
To see how deep it is.”

It fell in the dusk of the night
When unco things betide,
The skilly captain, the Cameron,
Went down to that waterside. 
Canny and soft the captain went;
And a man of the woody land,
With the shaven head and the painted face,
Went down at his right hand. 
It fell in the quiet night,
There was never a sound to ken;
But all of the woods to the right and the left
Lay filled with the painted men.

“Far have I been and much have I seen,
Both as a man and boy,
But never have I set forth a foot
On so perilous an employ.” 
It fell in the dusk of the night
When unco things betide,
That he was aware of a captain-man
Drew near to the waterside. 
He was aware of his coming
Down in the gloaming alone;
And he looked in the face of the man
And lo! the face was his own. 
“This is my weird,” he said,
“And now I ken the worst;
For many shall fall the morn,
But I shall fall with the first. 
O, you of the outland tongue,
You of the painted face,
This is the place of my death;
Can you tell me the name of the place?”
“Since the Frenchmen have been here
They have called it Sault-Marie;
But that is a name for priests,
And not for you and me. 
It went by another word,”
Quoth he of the shaven head: 
“It was called Ticonderoga
In the days of the great dead.”

And it fell on the morrow’s morning,
In the fiercest of the fight,
That the Cameron bit the dust
As he foretold at night;
And far from the hills of heather
Far from the isles of the sea,
He sleeps in the place of the name
As it was doomed to be.


Introduction.—­I first heard this legend of my own country from that friend of men of letters, Mr. Alfred Nutt, “there in roaring London’s central stream,” and since the ballad first saw the light of day in Scribner’s Magazine, Mr. Nutt and Lord Archibald Campbell have been in public controversy on the facts.  Two clans, the Camerons and the Campbells, lay claim to this bracing story; and they do well:  the man who preferred his plighted troth to the commands and menaces of the dead is an ancestor worth disputing.  But the Campbells must rest content:  they have the broad lands and the broad page of history; this appanage must be denied them; for between the name of Cameron and that of Campbell, the muse will never hesitate.

{3a} Mr. Nutt reminds me it was “by my sword and Ben Cruachan” the Cameron swore.

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Ballads from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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