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THE PEDLER.

This Ballad is founded on a fact, which has been magnified by popular credulity and superstition into the terrible story which follows. It is here related, according to the best informed old people about Ettrick, as nearly as is consistent with the method pursued in telling it. I need not inform the reader, that every part of it is believed by them to be absolute truth.

'TWAS late, late, late on a Saturday's night,

The moon was set, an' the wind was lown; The lazy mist crept toward the height,

An' the dim, livid flame glimmer'd laigh on the downe.

O'er the rank-scented fen the bittern was warping,
High on the black muir the foxes did howl,
All on the lone earth the cricket sat harping,

An' far on the air cam the notes o' the owl.

When the lady o' Thirlestane rose in her sleep, An' she shrieked sae loud that her maid ran

to see;

Her een they war set, an' her voice it was deep, And she shook like the leaf o' the aspen trec.

"O where is the pedler I drave frae the ha', That pled sae sair to tarry wi' me?" "He's gane to the mill, for the miller sells ale, An' the pedler's as weel as a man can be."

"I wish he had stay'd, he sae earnestly pray'd,

And he hight a braw pearling in present to gie; But I was sae hard, that I would na regard, Tho' I saw the saut tear trickle down frae his ee.

"But O what a terrible dream I ha'e seen,

The pedler a' mangled-most shocking to see! An' he gapit, an' waggit, an' stared wi' his een, An' he seemed to lay a' the blame upo' me '

"I fear that alive he will never be seen,

An' the vera suspicion o't terrifies me: I wadna hae sickan a vision again

For a' the guid kye upon Thirlestane lee.

"Yet wha wad presume the poor pedler to kill? O, Grizzy, my girl, will ye gang and see? If the pedler is safe, an' alive at the mill,

A merk o' guid money I'll gie unto thee."

"O, lady, 'tis dark, and I heard the dead bell!
And I darna gae yonder for goud nor fee:
But the miller has lodgings might serve yoursel,
An' the pedler as weel as a pedler can be."

She sat till day, and she sent wi' fear

The miller said there he never had been;

She went to the kirk, and speered for him there, But the pedler in life was never mair seen.

Frae aisle to aisle she lookit wi' care;

Frae pew to pew she hurried her een; An' a' to see if the pedler was there,

But the pedler in life was never mair seen.

But late, late, late on a Saturday's night,

As the laird was walking along the lee, A silly auld pedler cam bye on his right, An' a muckle green pack on his shoulders had he.

"O whar are ye gaeing, ye beggarly lown? Ye's nauther get lodging nor fall frae me." He turn'd him about, an' the blude it ran down, An' his throat was a' hacker'd, an' ghastly was he.

Then straight, wi' a sound, he sank i' the ground,
A knock was heard, an' the fire did flee;
To try a bit prayer the laird clapped down,
As flat an' as fear'd as a body cude be.

He fainted: but, soon as he gather'd his breath, He tauld what a terrible sight he had seen: The devil a' woundit, an' bleedin' to death,

In shape o' a pedler upo' the mill-green.

The lady she shriekit, the door it was steekit, The servants war glad that the devil was gane; But ilk Saturday's night, when faded the light, Near the mil-house the poor bleeding pedler

was seen.

An aye whan passengers bye war gaun
A doolfu' voice cam frae the mill-ee,
On Saturday's night when the clock struck one,
Cry'n, "O Rob Riddle, ha'e mercy on me!"

The place was harassed, the mill was laid waste, The miller he fled to a far countrie;

But aye at e'en the pedler was seen,

An' at midnight the voice cam frae the mill-ee.

The lady frae hame wad never mair budge,

From the time that the sun gaed over the hill; An' now she had a' the poor bodies to lodge,

As nane durst gae on for the ghost o' the mill.

But the minister there was a bodie o' skill,
Nae feared for devil or spirit was he;
An' he's gane awa to watch at the mill,

To try if this impudent ghaist he cou'd see.

He pray'd, an' he read, an' he sent them to bed;
Then the Bible anunder his arm took he,
An' round an' round the mill-house he gaed,
To try if this terrible sight he cou'd see.

Wi' a shivering groan the pedler came on,
An' the muckle green pack on his shoulders
had he;

But he nouther had flesh, blude, nor bone,
For the moon shone through his thin bodye.

The ducks they whackit, the dogs they howl'd,
The herons they shriekit most piteouslie:
The horses they snorkit for miles around,
While the priest an' the pedler together might be.

Wi' a positive look he open'd his book,

An' charged him by a' the sacred Three, To tell why that horrible figure he took, To terrify a' the hale countrie?

"My body was butcher'd within that mill,

My banes lie under the inner mill-wheel; An' here my spirit maun wander, until

Some crimes an' villanies I can reveal:

"I robb'd my niece of three hundred pounds,

Which providence suffered me ne'er to enjoy ; For the sake of that money I gat my death's wounds;

The miller me kend, but he miss'd his ploy.

The money lies buried on Balderstone hill, Beneath the mid bourack o' three times three. O gi'e't to the owners, kind sir, an' it will

Bring wonderful comfort an' rest unto me.

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