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Helen of Kirkconnel
by Mr. Mayne


During the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, a young lady, of great personal attractions and numerous accomplishments, named Helen Irving, daughter of Irving of Kirkconnel, in Annandale, was betrothed to Adam Fleming de Kirkpatrick, a Young gentleman of fortune in the neighbourhood.  Walking with her lover on the banks of the Kirtle, she was slain by a shot which had been aimed at Fleming by a disappointed rival.  The melancholy history has been made the theme of three different ballads, two of these being old.  The present ballad, by Mr. Mayne, was inserted by Sir Walter Scott in the Edinburgh Annual Register of 1815

I wish I were where Helen lies,              Through Heaven forbids my wrath to swell,
For night and day on me she cries;                    I curse the hand by which she fell-
And, like an angel, to the skies              The fiend who made my heaven a hell,
    Still seems to beckon me!                                  And tore my love from me!
For me she lived, for me she sigh’d                   For if, when all the graces shine,
For me she wish’d to be a bride;                       Oh! If on earth ther’s aught divine,
For me in life’s sweet morn she died              My Helen! All these charms were thine,
    On fair Kirkconnel-Lee!                                    They centred all in thee!

Where Kirtle waters gently wind,                      Ah! What avails it that, amain,
As Helen on my arm reclined,                           I clove the assassin’s head in twain?
A rival with a ruthless mind                                No peace of mind, my Helen slain,
    Took deadly aim at me.                                       No resting-place for me!
My love, to disappoint the foe,              I see her spirit in the air-
Rush’d in between me and the blow;                 I hear the shriek of wild despair,
And now her corse is lying low,             When murder laid her bosom bare,
    On fair Kirkconnel-Lee!                                  On fair Kirkconnel-Lee!

Oh! When I’m sleeping in my grave,
And o’er my head the rank weeds wave,
May He who life and spirit gave
      Unite my love and me!
Then from this world of doubts and sighs,
My soul on wings of peace shall rise,
And, joining Helen in the skies,
     Forget Kirkconnel-Lee.


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