’O, open the door, some pity to show,
Keen blows the northern wind!
The glen is white with the drifted snow,
And the path is hard to find.
’No outlaw seeks your castle gate,
From chasing the King’s deer,
Though even an outlaw’s wretched state
Might claim compassion here.
’A weary Palmer, worn and weak,
I wander for my sin;
O, open, for our Lady’s sake!
A pilgrim’s blessing win!
’I’ll give you pardons from the Pope,
And reliques from o’er the sea,-
Or if for these you will not ope,
Yet open for charity.
’The hare is crouching in her form,
The hard beside the hind;
An aged man, amid the storm,
No shelter can I find.
’You hear the Ettrick’s sullen roar,
Dark, deep, and strong is he,
And I must ford the Ettrick o’er,
Unless you pity me.
’The iron gate is bolted hard,
At which I knock in vain;
The owner’s heart is closer barr’d,
Who hears me thus complain.
’Farewell, farewell! and Mary grant,
When old and frail you be,
You never may the shelter want,
That’s now denied to me.’
The Ranger on his couch lay warm,
And heard him plead in vain;
But oft amid December’s storm,
He’ll hear that voice again:
For lo, when through the vapours dank,
Morn shone on Ettrick fair,
A corpse amid the alders rank,
The Palmer welter’d there.