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To The RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES, EARL OF DAL KEITH, This POEM IS INSCRIBED By

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THE Poem, now offered to the Public, is intended to illustrate the customs and manners, which anciently prevailed on the Borders of England and Scotland. The inhabitants, living in a state partly pastoral and partly warlike, and combining habits of constant depredation with the influence of a rude spirit of chivalry, were often engaged in scenes, highly susceptible of poetical ornament. As the description of scenery and manners was more the object of the author, than a combined and regular narrative, the plan of the ancient Metrical Romance was adopted, which allows greater latitude in this respect, than would be consistent with the dignity of a regular Poem. The same model offered other facilities, as it. permits an occasional alteration of measure, which, in some degree, authorizes the change of rhythm in the text. The machinery also, adopted from popular belief, would have seemed puerile in a poem, which did not partake of the rudeness of the old Ballad, or Metrical Romance.

For these reasons, the Poem was put into the mouth of an ancient Minstrel, the last of the race, who, as he is supposed to have survived the Revolution, might have caught somewhat of the refinement of modern poetry, without losing the simplicity of his original model. The date of the Tale itself is about the middle of the sixteenth century, when most of the personages actually flourished. The time occupied by the action is three Nights and three Days.

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INTRODUCTION.

The way was long, the wind was cold,

The minstrel was infirm and old;
His withered cheek, and tresses gray,
Seemed to have known a better day;
The harp, his sole remaining joy,
Was carried by an orphan boy.
The last of all the bards was he,
Who sung of Border Chivalry.
For, well-a-day ! their date was fled,
His tuneful brethren all were dead;
And he, neglected and oppressed,
Wished to be with them and at rest.
No more, on prancing palfry borne,
He carolled, light as lark at morn;
No longer courted and caressed,
High placed in hall, a welcome guest, -
He poured, to lord and lady gay,
The unpremeditated lay:

Old times were changed, old manners gone;

A stranger filled the Stuart's throne;
The bigots of the iron time
Had called his harmless art a crime.
A wandering Harper, scorned and poor,
He begged his bread from door to door;

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