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THE SEVEN FORESTERS OF CHATSWORTH,

AN ANCIENT DERBYSHIRE BALLAD.

[In presenting this somewhat rude but curious ballad to the reader, it may be proper to observe, that those who profess to be charmed with truth only, and would wish one to swear to the certainty of a song, will learn with pleasure, perhaps, that tradition has recited, or sung, I know not which, this singular legend for centuries, in the beautiful vale of Derwent, in Derbyshire. It is a tale current in the county. The projecting rock in Chatsworth wood, still bearing the name of the Shouter's Stone, is pointed out by the peasantry as the place on which this famous and successful Outlaw stood and shouted. It overgangs a wild and winding footpath in the Preserve, and in former times, before the wood became so luxuriant, commanded a fine view of the valley, in the midst of which stands Chatsworth-house, the favourite mansion of the ancient and noble family of Cavendish. In the house itself, this tale has sought sanctuary. There is a painting from no less a hand than that of Prince Nicolas, in which a portion of the tradition is sought to be embodied ; but the illustrious artist has, with poetical licence, put a gilded horn in the outlaw's hand ; and, with a departure from the story, which all lovers of oral literature will deplore, has given to the cavern below a couple of outlaws, who rouse and bestir themselves to the sound of their leader's horn. The ancient oaks of Chatsworth are to be found every where in the valley; and, perhaps, no oaks in England, except those in Sherwood forest, can claim to be their coevals,- they ar upwards of a thousand years old.

Chatsworth has many other attractions. The Flower Garden of the beautiful and unfortunate Queen of Scotland, a plat of earth elevated on a squat tower, and guarded with a foss, stands on the banks of the Derwent, within a stone's throw of the house. All around, the hills ascend and recede in woody or naked magnificence; and, indeed, the grandeur of nature is such, that the beautiful mansion is diminished in the contemplation.

Some sculpture, from no common hands, adorns the hall. A statue of Buonaparte's mother, by Canova, has a matron-like simplicity and stateliness; an Endymion, which Chantrey says is one of the most exquisite works of the Roman sculptor, will presently become its companion. A figure from the hand of Chantrey himself may soon be expected to join them.

Moderate rents, a wealthy tenantry, and a happy peasantry, will endear the name of the present generous Duke of Devonshire to many who may not feel the charms of his paintings, his statues, his books, and the rare curiosities of his museum..

An attempt was made to abate the occasional provincialism of the ballad, but the experiment threatened to ravel the entire web, and it was not persisted in.]

1.
The sun had risen above the mist,

The boughs in dew were dreeping ;
Seven foresters sat on Chatsworth bank
And sung while roes were leaping.

2.
Alas! sung one, for Chatsworth oaks,

Their heads are bald and hoary,
They droop in fullness of honour and fame,
They have had their time of glory.

3.
No stately tree in old merry England

Can match their antique grandeur ;
Tradition can tell of no time when they

Tower'd not in pride and splendour.

4. How fair they stand amid their green land,

The sock or share ne'er pain'd them; Not a bough or leaf have been shred from their strength, Nor the woodman's axe profaned them.

5.
Green, sung another, were they that hour

When Scotland's loveliest woman,
And saddest queen, in the sweet twilight,
Aneath their boughs was roamin'.

6.
And ever the Derwent lilies her tears

In their silver tops were catching,
As she look'd to the cold and faithless north,
Till her eyes wax'd dim with watching.

7.
Be mute now the third forester said,

The dame who fledged mine arrow
With the cygnet's wing, has a whiter hand

Than the fairest maid on Yarrow.

8.
Loud laugh'd the forester fourth, and sung,

Say not thy maid's the fair one;
On the banks of Dove there dwells my love,
A beauteous and a rare one.

9.
Now cease your singing, the fifth one said,

And chuse of shafts the longest,
And seek the bucks on Chatsworth chase,
Where the lady-bracken's strongest.

10.
Let every bow be strung, and smite

The fattest and the fairest;
Lord Devonshire will taste our cheer,
Of England's lords the rarest.

11.
String them with speed, the sixth man said,

For low down in the forest There runs a deer I long to smite, With bitter shafts the sorest.

12.
The bucks bound blythe on Chatsworth lea,

Where brackens grow the greenest;
The pheasant's safe 'neath Chatsworth oaks,
When the tempest sweeps the keenest.

13.
The fawn is fain as it sucks its dam,

The bird is blythe when hatching ;
Saint George ! such game was never seen,
With seven such fellows watching.

14.
In the wild wood of fair Dove dwells

An Outlaw, young and handsome; A sight of him on Chatsworth bank

Were worth a prince's ransom.

15.
He slew the deer on Hardwick-hill,

And left the keeper sleeping
The sleep of death; late-late yestreen
I heard his widow weeping.

16.
Now bend your bows, and chuse your shafts,

His string at his touch went sighing;
The Outlaw comes-now, now at his breast
Let seven broad shafts be flying.

17.
The Outlaw came-with a song he came -

Green was his gallant cleeding ;
A horn at his belt, in his hand the bow
That set the roebucks bleeding.

18.
The Outlaw came with a song he came

O'er a brow so brent and bonny
The pheasant plume ne'er danced and shone,
In a summer morning sunny.

19.
The Outlaw came—at his belt, a blade

Broad, short, and sharp was gleamin';
Free was his step as one who had ruled
Among knights and lovely women.

20.
See, by his shadow in the stream

He loves to look and linger,
And wave his mantle richly flower'd
By a white and witching finger.

21.
Now, shall I hit him where yon gay plume

Of the Chatsworth pheasant's glancing ;
Or shall I smite his shapely limbs
That charm our maidens dancing ?

22.
Hold! hold! a northern forester said,

'Twill be told from Trent to Yarrow,
How the true-love song of a gentle Outlaw
Was stay'd by a churl's arrow.

23.
It shall never be said, quoth the forester then,

That the song of a red-deer reaver
Could charm the bow that my grandsire bent
On the banks of Guadalquiver.

24.
And a shaft he laid, as he spoke, to the string,

When the Outlaw's song came falling
As sweet on his ear, as the wind when it comes
Through the fragrant woodlands calling.

25.
There each man stood, with his good bow bent,

And his shaft pluck'd from the quiver :
While thus then sung that gallant Outlaw,

'Till rung both rock and river:

Cleeding, a word still used in the north of England ; cloathing, apparel. South of Germany, kleidung; Islandic, klaede; Teutonic, kleed.

26. Oh! bonny Chatsworth, and fair Chatsworth,

Thy bucks go merrily bounding ; Aneath your green oaks, as the herds flew past, How oft have my shafts been sounding.

27. It is sweet to meet with the one we love,

When the night is nigh the hoarest; It is sweet to bend the bow as she bids, On the proud prey of the forest.

28.
One fair dame loves the cittern's sound,

When the words of love are winging;
But my fair one's music's the Outlaw's horn,
And his bow-string sharply singing.

29.
She waves her hand-her little white hand,

'Tis a spell to each who sees her ; One glance of her eye--and I snatch my bow, And let fly my shafts to please her.

30.
I bring the lark from the morning cloud,

When its song is at the sweetest;
I stay the deer upon Chatsworth lea,
When its flight is at the fleetest.

31.
There's magic in the wave of her hand,

And her dark eye rains those glances, Which fill the best and the wisest hearts With love's sweet influences.

32.
Her locks are brown-bright berry-brown,

O'er her temples white descending;
And her neck is like the neck of the swan,
As her way through heaven she's wending.

33.
How I have won my way to her heart

Is past all men's discernin'; For she is lofty, and I am low, My lovely Julia Vernon.

34.
He turn’d him right and round about,

With a step both long and lordly;
When he was aware of those foresters bold,
And he bore him wond'rous proudly.

35. Good morrow, good fellows, all fearless he said,

Was your supper spread so sparely ; Or is it to feast some sweet young dame, That

your

bows so early?

36.
The world is wide, and the world is broad,

There's fish in the smallest river ;
Deer leap on the hill--fowls fly in the air,

Was-is--and will be ever.

you hend

37.
And now I feast on the ptarmigan,

And then I taste the pheasant ;
But my supper is of the Chatsworth fawn
Which my love dresses pleasant.

38.
But to-morrow I feast on yon bonny roebuck;

'Tis time I stay'd his bounding; He twang'd his string-like the swallow it sung, All shrilly and sharply sounding.

39.
By my grandsire's bow, said a forester then,

By my shafts which fly so yarely,
And by all the skill of my strong right hand,
Good Outlaw thou lords it rarely.

40.
Seest thou yon tree, yon lonely tree,

Whose bough the Derwent's laving ? Upon its top, thou gallant Outlaw,

Thou'lt be hung to feed the raven.

41.

So short as the time this sharp shaft flies,

And strikes yon golden pheasantThere---thy time is meted, so bid farewell To these greenwoods wild and pleasant.

42.
The Outlaw langh’d; good fellow, he said,

My sword's too sure a servant
To suffer that tree to bear such fruit,
While it stands on the Derwent.

43.
She would scorn my might, my own true love,

And the mother would weep that bore me, If I stay'd my step for such strength as thine,

Or seven such churls before me.

I have made my way with this little brown sword,

Where the war-steeds rush'd the throngest; I have saved my breast with this little brown sword, When the strife was at the strongest.

45.
It guarded me well in bonny Scotland,

When the Scotts and Graemes fought fervent;
And the steel that saved me by gentle Nith,
May do the same by Derwent.

46.
Fair fall thee, Outlaw, for that word;

Oh! Nith, thou gentle river,
When a baim, I flew along thy banks,
As an arrow from the quiver.

47.
The roebucks run upon thy braes

Without a watch or warden ;
And the tongue that calls-thee a gentle stream

Is dear to Geordie Gordon.

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