Honister Crag, Cumberland

In this wild and picturesque glen a skirmish took place between the Elliotts and the Graemes, in which the young leader of the Scottish clan was slain, though his party were victorious. They buried him in an opening on the hillside ; and every clansman brought a fragment of rock, to raise a rude monument to his honour. On the summit of the pile they placed his bonnet, shield, and claymore, that neither friend nor foe should pass irreverently the youthful warrior’s grave.”


Not where the green grass hides
  His kindred before him ;
Not where his native trees
  Droop to deplore him ;
But in the stranger’s land
  Must we bestow him.
Leave there his sword and shield,
  That all may know him.

Never was fairer youth,
  Never was bolder ;
Who would have met his sword
  A few summers older !
Ne’er will our chieftain’s line
  Yield such another ;
Who can, amid us all !
  Tell it his mother.

  The country in this part is filled with traditions that record, and ballads that celebrate anecdotes of the predatory warfare then so general. The following ballad was communicated to me by a friend, who has the usual vivid memory of childhood on subjects connected with its early impressions. Not only has it never been published, but it is so curious and quaint, that I cannot resist its insertion here. At least, it is illustrative of the wild scenery haunted by yet wilder memories.

LONG LONKIN.

THE lord said to his ladie,
As he mounted his horse,
Beware of Long Lonkin
That lies in the moss.

The lord said to his ladie
As he rode away,
Beware of Long Lonkin,
That lies in the clay.

What care I for Lonkin,
Or any of his gang,
My doors are all shut,
And my windows penn’d in ?

There were six little windows,
And they were all shut,
But one little window,
And that was forgot.

* * * * * * *
  * * * * *
And at that little window
Long Lonkin crept in.

Where’s the lord of the hall ?
Says the Lonkin ;
He’s gone up to London,
Says Orange to him.

Where are the men of the hall ?
Says the Lonkin ;
They are at the field ploughing,
Says Orange to him.

Where are the maids of the hall ?
Says the Lonkin ;
They are at the well, washing,
Says Orange to him.

Where are the ladies of the hall ?
Says the Lonkin ;
They are up in their chambers,
Says Orange to him.

How shall we get them down ?
Says the Lonkin ;
Prick the babe in the cradle,
Says Orange to him.

Rock well my cradle,
And be-ba my son ;
You shall have a new gown
When the lord he comes home.

Still she did prick it,
And be-ba she cried ;
Come down, dearest mistress,
And still your own child.

Oh! still my child Orange,
Still him with a bell ;
I can’t still him, ladie,
Till you come down yoursell.

Hold the gold bason
For your heart’s blood to run in ;
* * * * * * *
  * * * * *

To hold the gold bason,
It grieves me full sore ;
Oh, kill me, dear Lonkin,
And let my mother go.

* * * * * *
  * * * * *
* * * * * * *
  * * * * *
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Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was an English poet. Born 14th August 1802 at 25 Hans Place, Chelsea, she lived through the most productive period of her life nearby, at No.22. A precocious child with a natural gift for poetry, she was driven by the financial needs of her family to become a professional writer and thus a target for malicious gossip (although her three children by William Jerdan were successfully hidden from the public). In 1838, she married George Maclean, governor of Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast, whence she travelled, only to die a few months later (15th October) of a fatal heart condition. Behind her post-Romantic style of sentimentality lie preoccupations with art, decay and loss that give her poetry its characteristic intensity and in this vein she attempted to reinterpret some of the great male texts from a woman’s perspective. Her originality rapidly led to her being one of the most read authors of her day and her influence, commencing with Tennyson in England and Poe in America, was long-lasting. However, Victorian attitudes led to her poetry being misrepresented and she became excluded from the canon of English literature, where she belongs. more…

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"Honister Crag, Cumberland" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 28 Mar. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/45267/honister-crag,-cumberland>.

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