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LEGEND OF THE NINE MAIDENS.
“ See yonder hallowed fane! the pious work
Of names once famed, now dubious or forgot,
Blair. THE Glen of Ogilvy, at one time the property of Graham of Claverhouse, the scene of the legend of the Nine Maidens, is in immediate proximity to, and territorially connected with, the earldom of Strathmore, with which, in its traditional and historical associations, it is closely identified. From the south it is entered by the rugged pass of Lumleyden, on emerging from which, the sweet romantic glen with its smiling homesteads, cultivated fields, and little clachan in the midst surrounded by the southern and northern ranges of the Sidlaw Hills, bursts at once upon the view. Not the least pleasing feature in the landscape is the winding rivulet, called Glamis burn, which, rising in the hill of Auchterhouse, traverses the whole length of the glen, cutting its devious way through the central hilly ridge, and joining the sluggish Dean on the demesne of Glamis Castle on the north.
The Gaelic word Ogle means "wood,” and vy being a corruption of buie—"yellow,” the literal meaning of both would be, “ The glen of yellow wood.” This interpretation would also agree with tradition and history, for both represent the glen in ancient times as being covered with wood, or, to speak more correctly, as being an extensive, if not a royal forest. As will afterwards be shown, the Ogilvys of Forfarshire are descended from Gilbert, third son of Gillebride, second Earl of Angus; and that in the “ Douglas Peerage” it is recorded that he obtained from King William the Lion, the lands of Ogilvy in the parish of Glamis, and from these lands assumed the surname of Ogilvy. Hector Boece, however, gives a more romantic, although less reliable account of the progenitor of the noble house of Airlie. He relates that he bore the name of Gilchrist, and that he married a sister of King William the Lion. The marriage proved an unhappy one, and jealous of his honour, Gilchrist strangled his wife at Mains near Dundee, for which he and his family were outlawed. They fled to England, but after many years' absence returned to Scotland, furtively retiring to the forest of Glen of Ogilvy. The king happening to be travelling through the glen came upon an old man and two sons “delving up turfs.” Surprised at the unexpected encounter, his Majesty requested an explanation of the circumstance, when, probably thinking a frank confession would stand them in better stead than any subterfuge they might invent, they at once revealed who they were, expressing at the same time, such deep contrition for the murder of his sister, that they were not only pardoned and received again into favour, but had their estates restored, receiving also a grant of the lands of Ogilvy in the parish of Glamis.
Far away back in the eighth century, the Glen of Ogilvy, tradition saith, was the chosen residence of St. Donivald and his nine daughters. They lived sin the glen “as in a hermitage, labouring the ground with their own hands, and eating but once a day, and then but barley bread and water." After a long life of fasting and incessant toil, St Donivald died in his rude dormitory in the glen; the daughters thereafter removing to Abernethy, where Garnard King of the Picts, had granted them a lodging and oratory. “They were visited there by King Eugen VII. of Scotland, who made them large presents; and dying there, they were buried at the foot of a large oak, much frequented by pilgrims till the Reformation.” They were canonised as the “Nine Maidens," and many churches were dedicated to them throughout
Scotland. One of these churches was that of Strathmartine, near Dundee, with which is connected the famous tradition of the “Nine Maidens of Pitempan,” being devoured by a serpent at the Nine Maiden Well in that parish. They are intimately associated with Glamis, for within the Castle grounds, the Nine Maiden Well is still an object of superstitious awe and reverence.
THE NINE MAIDENS.
Barbaric darkness shadowing o'er,
Lived in the Glen of Ogilvy.
Beside the fores 's mantling shade,
Within the Glen of Ogilvy.
Charred wood-burned ashes formed the floor,
Turf-roofed in Glen of Ogilvy.
Nine maidens were they spotless fair,
Their match in Glen of Ogilvy.
Yet these fair maids, like muses nine,
Within the Glen of Ogilvy,
Did with the aged hermit toil,
Around the Glen of Ogilvy.
Poor barley bread and water clear,
Within the Glen of Ogilvy.
A chapel built they rude at Glamis,
Near by the Glen of Ogilvy.
The hermit dead, they left the glen,
Far from the Glen of Ogilvy;
On Abernethy's holy ground,
In their loved Glen of Ogilvy.
Nine maidens fair in life were they,
The maids of Glen of Ogilvy.
And to their grave from every land,
Wave o'er the maids of Ogilvy.
Life from its rapid shifting scenes, appears,
E'en in its great realities, to all
HAVE we ever asked ourselves the question, " When did we begin to live?” We breathed, it is true, at the moment of our birth, and certainly in a primary sense we then began to live; but at what particular period of our life were we for the first time perfectly and really intelligibly conscious that we were a reasonable and responsible being—one that had a separate and individual part to act in the great drama of life, irrespective of, and altogether unconnected with, that of any of our fellows; when we, fresco-like, stood out in our own individuality, and felt the movings of our conscience within rousing us from our lethargic repose to acquit ourselves like men in the great battle of the world ; in other words,-When did we begin to live?
Supposing we are now in one of the fashionable suburbs of the Metropolis, and as the luxurious equipages of the great and noble pass in rapid review before us, we put the question in succession to each of their lordly occupants. We might fancy the almost uniform reply would be—“Born to affluence, we have never experienced want; initiated not into the mysteries of any profession, we know not the toil and labour of those who work for their subsistence by the sweat of their brow, or by the exercise of their mental faculties; the stream of life, on the whole, hath flowed so soft and pleasantly that we can scarcely tell when we began to live.”