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573. Ferragus or Ascabart. These two sons of Anak flourished in romantic fable. The first is well known to the admirers of Ariosto by the name of Ferrau. Ascapart or Ascabart makes a very material figure in the History of Bevis of Hampton, by whom he was conquered. His effigies may be seen standing one side of the gate at Southampton, while the other is occupied by Bevis himself. SCOTT.
585. Unasked his birth and name. The Highlanders, who carried hospitality to a punctilious excess, are said to have considered it as churlish to ask a stranger his name or lineage, before he had taken refreshment. Feuds were so frequent among them, that a contrary rule would in many cases have produced the discovery of some circumstance which might have excluded the guest of the benefit of the assistance he stood in need of. SCOTT. 587. Fellest = deadliest. Notice the alliteration in this line. 591. Snowdoun. See Canto vi, 785-790. 624. Soldier, rest. This song shows Scott at his best. surpassed even by the lyrics in Tennyson's Princess. song, not inferior to this, entitled "Lullaby of an Infant Chief," which he wrote for Terry's dramatization of Guy Mannering.
It is hardly
He has another slumber
657. Reveille, from the old French resveiller, to awake: the bugle-call for awakening soldiers. The rime in 655 shows what pronunciation Scott
666. The stranger's bed. See lines 437-438 of this Canto. 678-679. An allusion to the closing scenes in the life of James V.
the account of his death in Scott's Tales of a Grandfather, chapter xxxviii, last paragraph (p. xxix. of this book).
704. grisly causing terror.
729. Exiled race. For the relations between James and the Douglas, see Scott's Tales of a Grandfather, chapter xxvi (page ix of this book); also, note to Canto ii, line 230.
This Canto is stronger in descriptive passages than in narrative, even if we acknowledge that the opening action of the stag-chase is finely told. Stanzas xi-xiv will repay close study as descriptions of natural scenery: Stanzas xviixix and xxi as descriptions of character. Notice that Scott's method is almost entirely objective: i. e. he gives the person or the place, concretely and vividly, just as it would appear to the spectator; he gives very little of the effect upon the emotions of the spectator (subjective)
15. From memory erase.
song, in As You Like It, ii, 7
Compare the second stanza of Amiens
"Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
Thou dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot."
17. speed = success or prosperity. Correctly used in Pope's line, Welcome the coming, speed (= prosper) the going guest,
and in the common proverb: More haste, less speed (= success).
65. sped=sent forth: a derivative use from that shown in line 17. See note there.
109. Græme. The ancient and powerful family of Graham (which, for metrical reasons, is here spelt after the Scottish pronunciation) held extensive possessions in the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling. Few families can boast of more historical renown. SCOTT.
112. Bower: originally the inner or sleeping room of an English cottage, as distinguished from the hall or outer or living room. Secondarily, bower the ladies' room as distinguished from the men's (the hall); hence hall and bower wherever men and women assemble.
131. Saint Modan. I am not prepared to show that Saint Modan was a performer on the harp. It was, however, no unsaintly accomplishment; for Saint Dunstan certainly did play upon that instrument, which retaining, as was natural, a portion of the sanctity attached to its master's character, announced future events by its spontaneous sound. SCOTT.
141. Bothwell's bannered hall. The ruins of this castle may still be seen, near Glasgow.
142. Douglases. See the extracts from Scott's Tales of a Grandfather, referred to in notes to Canto i, line 729.
159. From Tweed to Spey from south of Scotland to north. Compare the Scriptural "from Dan to Beersheba," and the American "from Maine to Florida." See note on lines 676-678 of this canto,
170. reave to take away by force.
200. The Bleeding Heart. The story goes that Robert Bruce, on his death-bed, charged his friend James Douglas to carry his heart to Jerusalem. Hence, the Douglases assumed a bleeding heart as their cognizance, 206. Strathspey: a Scottish dance.
213. Alpine: a mythical Highland king,
214. Loch Lomond. West of Loch Katrine.
215. Lennox foray: a foray into the territory of the Lenoxes, whose estates lay south of Loch Lomond.
221. Holy-Rood (Castle): the King's residence in Edinburgh.
A knight he slew. This was by no means an uncommon occurrence in the court of Scotland; nay, the presence of the sovereign himself scarcely restrained the ferocious and inveterate feuds which were the perpetual source of bloodshed among the Scottish nobility. · SCOTT.
230. Disowned by every noble peer. The exiled state of this powerful race is not exaggerated in this and subsequent passages. The hatred of James against the race of Douglas was so inveterate, that, numerous as their allies were, and disregarded as the regal authority had usually been in similar cases, their nearest friends, even in the most remote parts of Scotland, Jurst not entertain them, unless under the strictest and closest disguise. James Douglas, son of the banished Earl of Angus, afterwards well known by the title of Earl of Morton, lurked, during the exile of his family, in the north of
Scotland, under the assumed name of James Innes, otherwise James the Grieve (i.e., Reve or Bailiff). "And as he bore the name," says Godscroft, "so did he also execute the office of a grieve or overseer of the lands and rents, the corn and cattle of him with whom he lived. From the habits of frugality and observation which he acquired in his humble situation, the historian traces that intimate acquaintance with popular character, which enabled him to rise so high in the state, and that honorable economy by which he repaired and established the shattered estates of Angus and Morton.
236. Dispensation. Ellen and Roderick were cousins: hence, according to the canons of the Catholic Church, they could not marry without a special permission from the Pope.
254. shrouds: idea of concealment.
covers with a shroud (garment) = shelter, with the
The right word in the right place.
260. Maronnan. The parish of Kilmaronock, at the eastern extremity of Loch Lomond, derives its name from a cell or chapel, dedicated to Saint Maronnan.
270. Bracklinn. This is a beautiful cascade made by a mountain stream called the Keltie, at a place called the Bridge of Bracklinn, about a mile from the village of Callander. - SCOTT. See note to Canto vi, line 488. 274. Claymore. A large Highland sword.
303. While time, from the Old English noun hwil, meaning a time. 306. Tine-man. Archibald, the third Earl of Douglas, was so unfortunate in all his enterprises, that he acquired the epithet of "Tine-man," because he tined, or lost, his followers in every battle which he fought.—SCOTT. 308. Hotspur. For the famous alliance between the Douglas, the Percy (Hotspur) and Glendower, see Shakespeare's Henry IV.
319. Beltane game. In the elaborate article on May-day in Chambers' Book of Days, occurs the following passage: 66 Among the barbarous Celtic populations of Europe, there was a heathen festival on the same day, but it does not seem to have been connected with flowers. It was called Beltein, and found expression in the kindling of fires on hill-tops by night. Among the peasantry of Ireland, of the Isle of Man and of the Scottish Highlands, such doings were kept up till within the recollection of living people." (1863.) 327. Canna the cotton-grass, not the semi-tropical canna or Indian
shot. That could not grow in the latitude of Loch Katrine.
335. Glengyle. See map, north of Loch Katrine.
340. Bannered Pine the banner of the pine; as we say, "the banner of the star." The pine was the cognizance of Roderick's clan.
351. Chanters the pipes on which the melody is played.
363. Thrilling sounds. The connoisseurs in pipe-music affect to discover in a well-composed pibroch, the imitative sounds of march, conflict, flight, pursuit and all the "current of a heady fight.' - SCOTT.
For an English view of the bagpipes, read Gilbert's Ellen McJones Aberdeen (in the Bab Ballads). For the Scotch side, again, see the really pa
thetic account of the piping-contest between Allan Breck and Robin Oig in Stevenson's Kidnapped, Chapter xxv.
392. Burden = chorus. See Canto vi, line 75.
396. Roderigh Vich Alpine. Besides his ordinary name and surname, which were chiefly used in the intercourse with the Lowlands, every Highland chief had an epithet expressive of his patriarchal dignity as head of the clan, and which was common to all his predecessors and successors, as Pharaoh to the kings of Egypt, or Arsaces to those of Parthia. This name was usually a patronymic, expressive of his descent from the founder of the family. Besides this title, which belonged to his office and dignity, the chieftain had usually another peculiar to himself, which distinguished him from the chieftains of the same race. This was sometimes derived from complexion, as dhu or roy; sometimes from size, as beg or more; at other times, from some peculiar exploit, or from some peculiarity of habit or appearThe line of the text therefore signifies Black Roderick, the descendant of Alpine. The song itself is intended as an imitation of the jorrams, or boatsongs of the Highlanders, which were usually composed in honor of a favorite chief.
405. To bourgeon
to sprout, to blossom: a fine old word, lost to prose but preserved in poetry.
416. Menteith, is the watershed of the river Teith. the country around Loch Tay, north of Loch Lomond.
419-426. All the places mentioned in these lines are near Loch Lomond. 497. Percy's Norman pennon, won. This occasion cannot be definitely determined, for it must be remembered that the Douglas of this poem is not an historical personage but a fictitious one, only the outlines of which were suggested to Scott by the adventures of Archibald Douglas of Kilspendie. See the last paragraph of Scott's Tales of a Grandfather, Chapter xxvi, (page xvi of this book).
504. The waned crescent. The crescent was the cognizance of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleugh. This reference will be clear upon reading that passage in the Tales of a Grandfather which begins at the sixth paragraph of Chapter xxvi (page x of this book).
506. Blantyre. "The ruins of the Priory of Blantyre, which was founded some time prior to the year 1296, are finely situated in a most retired situation, on the top of a rock which rises perpendicularly from the Clyde, exactly opposite the noble ruins of Bothwell Castle."- Fullarton, Gazetteer of Scotland, (1843).
507. Bothwell. To describe and give the history of this famous castle, would require a volume in itself. The best short account I know of is to be found in Wordsworth's Notes to his Poems (edition of 1839, vol. v, p. 379).
525. Unhooded. The head of a falcon was commonly covered with a hood as soon as this was removed, he would fly off to hunt for game. 527. Goddess of the wood = Artemis (Diana). 548. Ben Lomond; east of Loch Lomond. See map.
574. Glenfinlas. Where is the speaker supposed to be? eastward from that place and you will find the forest of Glenfinlas; southwest, to Loch Lomond, and you will find Strath-Endrick.
615-628. For the history upon which this passage is based, see the opening pages of the Tales of a Grandfather, Chapter xxvii, (pages xvii-xviii of this book). The places mentioned here are all near the Tweed.
652. bower home.
See note on line 112 of this canto.
678. Links. Near Stirling the river Forth is guilty of many twists or windings, locally known as Links. Lines 676-678 then, mean "from west to east. Compare, "From Tweed to Spey," line 159 of this canto.
679. Stirling (Castle): a favorite residence of the Scottish Kings. 692-707. This is an excellent figure, carried out with Scott's customary clarity and more than his customary diffuseness. He certainly gets out of it all there is in it, and leaves nothing to the imagination of the reader. For an example of the opposite method, you will find it interesting to make a study of the figures in Hamlet's famous soliloquy (Hamlet, iii, 1).
= = parapet.
702. Battled fence:
757. checkered shroud. This is somewhat grandiloquent for "plaid."
793-794. In such objective description as this, Scott is at his best.
804. Fellmoor. In this sense the word is provincial in the Lake District.
809. Henchman. This officer is a sort of secretary, and is to be ready, upon all occasions, to venture his life in defence of his master; and at drinking-bouts he stands behind his seat, at his haunch, from which his title is derived, and watches the conversation, to see if any one offends his patron. SCOTT.
831. Fiery Cross. See note on line 18 of Canto iii.
847. Holds in ward.
Malcolm was not of age.
The best things in this Canto are the coming of Roderick Dhu (Stanzas xvi-xviii) and the Boat-Song (xix-xx). Notice how the Song starts with the figure of the Pine and how consistently this is carried through.
18. Fiery Cross. When a chieftain designed to summon his clan, upon any sudden or important emergency, he slew a goat, and making a cross of any light wood, seared its extremities in the fire, and extinguished them in the blood of the animal. This was called the Fiery Cross, also Cream Tarigh, or the Cross of Shame, because disobedience to what the symbol implied inferred infamy. It was delivered to a swift and trusty messenger, who ran full speed with it to the next hamlet, where he presented it to the principal person, with a single word, implying the place of rendezvous. He who received the symbol was bound to send it forward, with equal dispatch, to the next village;