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Like thunder, its voice o'er the wide welkin rair,
Its tears on the centinels fall.

The full moon is up, Britain looks o'er the waves,

And seems thus the soldiers to tell

"Here made are your dead-clothes, your coffins and


And how can you cry, All is well ?'


Lang was she kent on Carrick shore,
For mony a beast to dead she shot,
And perish'd mony a bonnie boat.

These stanzas are founded on a tradition still well remembered in Ayrshire. When the Spaniards, in the year 1588, attempted to invade England, the ships which escaped the vigilance of Lord Howard and Sir Francis Drake were overtaken by a violent hurricane; and, as is well known, were wrecked among the rocks of the Hebrides, or on the western shores of Scotland. When some of them appeared first in the Clyde, it is reported that Elcine de Aggart, an old lady, who was honoured in Carrick with the title of Witch, and who, it would appear, made no scruple in turning her skill in the black art to the advantage of her country in the hour of danger, seated herself upon a promontory, holding a ball of blue yarn in one of her hands, which may truly be called the Thread of Fate; as, by a mysterious application of it, she was understood to have absolute controul over the destiny of mortals, either individually or collectively, as she pleased. She had likewise, in common with other members of the same order, complete power over the elements; so that, opposed to such a powerful opponent, it was impossible for the invaders to escape irretrievable destruction. As the vessels bore up Channel, the tempest increased, and the weird sister sung as follows.


WHY gallops the palfrey with Lady Dunure?

Who takes away Turnberry's kine from the shore? Go tell it in Carrick, and tell it in Kyle,

Although the proud Dons are now passing the Moil,* On this magic clue,

That in Fairyland grew,

Old Eleine de Aggart has taken in hand

To wind

up their lives ere they win to our strand.

That heaven may favour this grand armament
Against us poor heretic islanders sent,

From altars a thousand though frankincense fly,

Though ten thousand chapel-bells peal in the sky,

By this mystic clue,

Made when Elfland was new,

Old Elcine de Aggart will all countermand,

And wind


their lives ere they win to our strand.

*The Cape of Cantyre is thus named.

They bring with them nobles our castles to fill,

They bring with them ploughshares our manors to till; They likewise bring fetters our barons to bind,

Or any who they may refractory find;

But this mighty clue,

Of the indigo hue,

Which few like De Aggart could e'er understand,
Will baffle their hopes ere they win to our strand.

Was ever the sprite of the wind seen to low'r
So dark o'er the Clyde, as in this fatal hour?
Rejoice every one may, to see the waves now
Each ship passing o'er, from the poop to the prow;
With this magic clue,

That in Fairyland grew,

Old Elcine de Aggart has wound to an end

Their thread of existence, though far from the strand.

I sigh for their dames, who may now take the veil;
For babes who the loss of their sires may bewail;
But while the great death-bell of Toledo tolls,
And friars unceasingly pray for their souls,
With this mystic clue,

Made when Elfland was new,

Who will not give praise in her own native land, To Elcine de Aggart for guarding the strand.

Come back on your palfrey, my Lady Dunure;
Go bring back old Turnberry's kine to the shore;
And tell it you may, over Carrick and Kyle,
The last ship has sunk by our good Lady's Isle.
And while such a clue,

Of the indigo hue,

Old Elçine de Aggart has at her command,

A foreign foe never shall come to our strand.

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