Sunday Poetry – Farewells

A sadly Romantic poem today by Thomas Campbell (picture from here). Gilderoy was a 17th century highwayman who killed several people (including a judge & his treacherous mistress) on his way to the gallows or he was a Perthshire freebooter hanged with five of his gang. Although, if he killed his mistress, who is the speaker of the poem? The name Gilderoy may have come from the name of a 13th century Irish chief who raided Scotland & mean the red-haired boy. The poem was set to music in the 19th century.

The last, the fatal hour is come,
That bears my love from me:
I hear the dead note of the drum,
I mark the gallows tree!


The bell has toll’d; it shakes my heart;
The trumpet speaks thy name;
And must my Gilderoy depart,
To bear a death of shame?


No bosom trembles for thy doom;
No mourner wipes a tear
The gallows’ foot is all thy tomb,
The sledge is all thy bier.


Oh, Gilderoy! bethought we then
So soon, so sad, to part,
When first, in Roslin’s lovely glen,
You triumph’d o’er my heart?


Your locks they glitter’d to the sheen,
Your hunter garb was trim;
And graceful was the ribbon green
That bound your manly limb!


Ah! little thought I to deplore
Those limbs in fetters bound;
Or hear, upon thy scaffold floor,
The midnight hammer sound…

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