Sir Neil and Glengyle
In yonder isle beyond Argyle
Where flocks and herds were plenty,
Lived airy squire whose sister fair
Was the flower of all that country.
The knight Sir Neil had wooed her long,
Expecting soon to marry.
A Highland laird his suit preferred,
Young, handsome, brisk, and airy.
Long she respected brave Sir Neil
Because he wooed sincerely,
But as soon as she saw the young Glengyle
He won her most entirely.
Till some lies unto her brother came
That Neil had boasted proudly
Of favours from that lady young,
Which made him vow thus rudely:
"I swear by all our friendships past
This hour again next morning
This knight or me shall lose our lives.
He shall know whom he's scorning!"
To meet on the shore where the proud billows roar
In a challenge he defied him.
Ere the sun was up these young men met,
No living creature nigh them.
"What ails, what ails my dearest friend?
Why want you to destroy me?"
"I want no flattery, base Sir Neil,
But draw your sword and fight me."
"Why should I fight with you, MacVaughn?
You've never me offended;
And if I aught to you have done
I'Il own my fault and mend it."
"Is this your boasted courage, knave?
Who would not now despise thee?
But if thou still refuse to fight,
I'Il like a dog chastise thee."
"Forbear, fond fool, tempt not thy fate,
Presume not now to strike me.
There's not a man in all Scotland
Can wield a broadsword like me."
"Combined with guilt thy wondrous skill
From fate shalll not defend thee.
My sister's wrongs shall brace my arms.
This stroke to death shall send thee."
But this and many a well-aimed blow
The generous baron warded;
Being loath to harm so dear a friend
Himself he only guarded.
Till mad at being so rebused,
A furious push he darted
Which pierced the brains of bold MacVaughn,
Who with a groan departed.
"Curse on my skill, what have I done!
Rash man, but thou wouldst have it.
Thou'st forced a friend to take a life
Who would have bled to save it."
But turning round his mournful eyes
To see if one was nigh them,
There he espied the young Glengyle,
Who like the wind came flying.
"I'm come too late to stop the strife,
But since thou' art victorious,
I'll be revenged or lose my life.
My honour bids me do this."
"I know your bravery, young Glengyle,
Though of life I am regardless.
Why am I forced my friends to kill?
See bold MacVaughn lies breathless."
"Does it become so brave a knight?
Does blood so much affright thee?
Glengyle shall never disgrace thy sword;
Unsheathe it then and fight me."
Again with young Glengyle he closed,
Intending not to harm him.
Three times with gentle wounds him pierced,
But never did disarm him.
"Yield up thy sword to me, Glengyle,
Whereon is our quarrel grounded?
I could have pierced thy dauntless breast
Each time I thee have wounded.
"But if thou thinkest me to kill,
In faith thou art mistaken,
And if thou scorn'st to yield thy sword
In pieces straight I'Il break it."
"While talking thus he quit his guard.
Glengyle in haste advanced
And pierced his generous manly heart;
The sword right through him glanced.
And down he fell and cried, "I'm slain!
Adieu to all things earthly!
Adieu, Glengyle, this day's thine own,
But thou hast won it basely!"
When tidings came to Lady Ann
Time after time she fainted.
She ran and kissed their clay-cold lips,
And thus their fate lamented:
"Illustrious, brave, but dauntless men,
This horrid sight does move me,
My dearest friends rolled in their biood,
The men that best did love me.
"Oh thou, the guardian of my youth,
My dear and only brother,
For this thy most untimely fate
I'll mourn till life is over!
"Thou, Sir Neil, how art thou fallen
And withered in thy blossom!
No more I'Il love that trait'rous man
That pierced thy erest' (dearest?) bosom.
"A kind and generous heart was thine
Thy friends was abused.
A braver man ne'er faced a foe
Had thou been fairly used.
"For thee a maid I'Il live and die,
Glengyle shall ne'er espouse me.
And for the space of seven long years
The dowie black shall clothe me.
From Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia, Mackenzie
Collected from Robert Langille