Poem by Walter Laidlaw - A Border Raid


Wull Veitch stood at the auld

Gray Peel His trusty broadsword in his hand

Awaiting for the rising moon

To light a raid to Cumberland

And by his side five stalwart sons

All clad in mail with Border spear

He looked on them wi muckle pride

And with them he no foe would fear

Through Lintalee's deep rugged glen

And cross by Swinnie Moor they rode

A braver and a dourer band

Their native heather never trod

The fox yelped in the Merlindean

The hoolet screamed in Heidfold's dell

Blackburn's eerie sough was heard

The wind raved through auld Swinnie

They trotted up the lonely Rule

By Fulton Tower and Ruberslaw

By Bon ster Hill and Maiden Paps

And ower Shankend to the stell Shaw

Halt cries auld Wull tie fast your

We ll scale those walls tho twice as high

We ll force their bars tho twice as strong

And make their doors in splinters fly

They made a raid on auld Gray Peel

Unseen upon a stormy night

When near owerta en on the next morn

They left their prey and took to flight

Revenge revenge cries buirdly Rob

Making yetts like thunder rattle

And they have harried Foster's byres

Driving forth his weel fed cattle

But scarcely had they gone a mile

When up rode Foster with his clan

As all Was ready for the fight

A deadly conflict then began

Auld Wull he drew his trusty brand

And with a doughty well aimed blow

Laid Foster lifeless on the bent

The blood from his death wound did flow

Now on them billies cries Jock Veitch

And fierce and fearless on they dashed

Their Border spears and burnished mail

All in silvery moonlight flashed

The hills and glens did loud resound

With slogan shouts and clang of steel

And every blow the Veitches gave

They made the Fosters backward reel

The Southr ns all with valour fought

And yet their valour was in vain

Five wounded lay upon the ground

The laird and both his sons were slain

The Veitches though forfouchen sore

And sev ral wounded in the fray

Then drove their dear bought cattle home

And reached Gray Peel by dawn of day

There round the fire on winter nights

The marks of wounds they oft would show

While every face would brighten up

With true and patriotic glow

The broken spear the battered mail

That hung around the ancestral hall

The moonlight raids and Border feuds

And daring deeds they d oft recall

The auld wife then would stop the wheel

The barnman lay aside his flail

The youngsters too would gather round

To hear the auld man's stirring tale

There at the swingling o the lint

And at the milking o the yowes Auld

Jenny sang them Robin Gray And Nance

The broom o Cowdenknowes

All earthly joys come to an end

For Time has many changes made

They all sleep in the auld kirkyaird

Beneath the ancient Abbey's shade

The auld Gray Peel is swept away

No stone is left to mark the spot

Within few years tis sad to think

The very name may be forgot



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