Lyrical Ballads Vol II 1800

  Or the BRAES of KIRTLE

[Footnote 4: The Kirtle is a River in the Southern part of Scotland,
on whose banks the events here related took place.]

Fair Ellen Irwin, when she sate
  Upon the Braes of Kirtle,
  Was lovely as a Grecian Maid
  Adorn'd with wreaths of myrtle.
  Young Adam Bruce beside her lay,
  And there did they beguile the day
  With love and gentle speeches,
  Beneath the budding beeches.

  From many Knights and many Squires
  The Brace had been selected,
  And Gordon, fairest of them all,
  By Ellen was rejected.
  Sad tidings to that noble Youth!
  For it may be proclaim'd with truth,
  If Bruce hath lov'd sincerely,
  The Gordon loves as dearly.

  But what is Gordon's beauteous face?
  And what are Gordon's crosses
  To them who sit by Kirtle's Braes
  Upon the verdant mosses?
  Alas that ever he was born!
  The Gordon, couch'd behind a thorn,
  Sees them and their caressing,
  Beholds them bless'd and blessing.

  Proud Gordon cannot bear the thoughts
  That through his brain are travelling,
  And, starting up, to Bruce's heart
  He launch'd a deadly jav'lin!
  Fair Ellen saw it when it came,
  And, stepping forth to meet the same,
  Did with her body cover
  The Youth her chosen lover.

  And, falling into Bruce's arms,
  Thus died the beauteous Ellen,
  Thus from the heart of her true-love
  The mortal spear repelling.
  And Bruce, as soon as he had slain
  The Gordon, sail'd away to Spain,
  And fought with rage incessant
  Against the Moorish Crescent.

  But many days and many months,
  And many years ensuing,
  This wretched Knight did vainly seek
  The death that he was wooing:
  So coming back across the wave,
  Without a groan on Ellen's grave
  His body he extended,
  And there his sorrow ended.

  Now ye who willingly have heard
  The tale I have been telling,
  May in Kirkonnel church-yard view
  The grave of lovely Ellen:
  By Ellen's side the Bruce is laid,
  And, for the stone upon his head,
  May no rude hand deface it,
  And its forlorn 'Hic jacet'.