Peden ‘The Prophet of the Covenants’ Grave #History #Poetry #Scotland
A poem on the grave of Alexander Peden by Adam Brown Todd (1822-1915), a journalist, author and poet who lived in Cumnock and also wrote Homes, Haunts and Battlefields of the Covenanters (1886) and Covenanting Pilgrimages and Studies (1911):
Peden ‘The Prophet of the Covenants’ Grave
High on a knoll above the town,
Where mellowed comes the din;
Up from the marts of trade, which drown
All softer sounds within.
Where balmy summer breezes play
From out the glowing west,
Or where the wintry tempests bray,
Till spent, they sink to rest.
Beneath two aged hallow’d thorns
Sleeps Peden, good and brave,
Where, now, fit monument adorns
The grand old “prophet’s” grave.
His second grave it is, for long
His persecutors prowled
O’er bleak moor and through lonesome glen
(Though Heaven in anger scowled),
To shed his blood with those who stood
For conscience and for right—
They searched the cave high o’er the flood,
With torches in the night.
They searched his brother’s dwelling through,
But God protection gave,
And willed that his dear saint should go
Down to a bloodless grave.
At early dawn, all silently,
In haste that grave was made,
Which had grown green at Auchinleck,
When it his foes invade,
And bore his corse with fiendish glee
Away to Cumnock town,
To hang it on the gallows tree,
Which there did grimly frown;
But woman’s pleading voice prevailed,
The indignity to save,
Though at that gallows foot was made
Old Peden’s second grave!
These evil times have passed away—
The war-trump and the drum,
The clash of arms, the battle-bray,
‘Mong Scotia’s hills are dumb.
And since not now our necks are bent
To tyrants and the sword,
We owe it all to those who stood
And battled for the Lord.
And long will patriots drop the tear,
Which pity aye will crave,
From those who come from far and near,
To visit Peden’s grave.
For more on A. B. Todd, see Dane Love’s biography here (PDF).
Photo of Peden’s Grave in Cumnock reproduced by the kind permission of Robert Guthrie.