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532. Devan, commonly known as Devon, another tributary of the Forth, celebrated by Burns and other Scotch poets. The word heard refers to the cascades of the Devon as they roar through the chasm spanned by what is known as The Rumbling Bridge.
552. Bridegroom, must be accented on the second syllable to preserve the metre. If we say "bridegroom gay,' no such change is needed.
555. Maudlin, is here used as a proper name.
It is contracted from
66 Magdalen," with reference to Mary Magdalene regarded as "the penitent woman which was a sinner," and represented by painters with eyes swollen and red with weeping.
559. Bar. See Canto vi, lines 646–648.
fatten, as in Hamlet, iii, 4.
574. Been. The rime shows the common pronunciation of this word in England.
590. The toils are
pitched. This song warns Fitz-James of his
594. A stag of ten. Having ten branches on his antlers. -SCOTT. 618-636. This passage illustrates what we have previously noticed that Scott is at his best when the subject calls for the objective description of action.
665-674. Foreshadows the action of the next canto.
676. Poured his eyes, seems a strained expression for "flowed his tears. We gain nothing but the weak alliteration in poured and pity. 709. Only is incorrectly placed. See also line 240 of this canto. 722. Summer solstice: when the heat of summer is greatest. Look up the etymology of solstice.
746. Slip (from the leash).
751. Come: an infinitive, depending upon Let to be supplied.
762. Hardened flesh. The Scottish Highlanders, in former times, had a concise mode of cooking their venison, or rather of dispensing with cooking it .. [by] compressing it between two batons of wood, so as force out the blood and render it extremely hard. This they reckoned a great delicacy. SCOTT.
787. Coilantogle, on the Teith just below Loch Vennachar.
For further illustrations of Highland hospitality, see Stevenson's Kidnapped Chapters xv, xvi, xix, xxi, xxiii, xxv.
= broken stone.
See note on Canto iii, line 387.
The ruins of Doune Castle, formerly the residence of the
Earls of Menteith, now the property of the Earl of Moray, are situated at the confluence of the Ardoch and the Teith.
See line 492 of this canto.
108. Regent: John Stewart, Duke of Albany, a relative of the young King's.
119. Holy-Rood. See note on canto ii, line 221.
125. Truncheon = literally something cut off: hence, a cudgel; then, from days when Might was Right, a staff that merely symbolized authority instead of beating it in.
127. Stranger to respect. There is scarcely a more disorderly period in Scottish history than that which succeeded the battle of Flodden and occupied the minority of James V. SCOTT.
169. Seek other cause. So far, indeed, was a Creagh, or foray, from being held disgraceful, that a young chief was always expected to show his talents for command, so soon as he assumed it, by leading his clan on a successful enterprise of this nature, either against a neighboring sept, for which constant feuds usually furnished an apology, or against the Saxons, or Lowlanders, for which no apology was necessary. The Gael, great traditional historians, never forgot that the Lowlands had, at some remote period, been the property of their Celtic forefathers, which furnished an ample vindication of all the ravages that they could make on the unfortunate districts which lay within their reach. ·
By great traditional historians" Scott means, "historians great in tradition."
196-227. This passage is highly dramatic, its force lying in suspense and surprise.
234-239. A famous passage.
in a citified way.
Dr. Johnson has the same simile expressed When some one asked him how he felt after the failure of his play, he replied: "Like the Monument."
253. Jack. A cheap coat-of-armor worn by footsoldiers. This word is probably derived from the proper name, Jack. See the Century Dictionary, if you are interested in the twenty-one principal and innumerable secondary meanings of Jack.
262. That I need not say. Because I know that you are brave. 270. Only meant. The order of these words should be inverted. 273. Without a pass from Roderick Dhu. This incident, like some other passages in the poem, illustrative of the character of the ancient Gael, is not imaginary, but borrowed from fact. The Highlanders, with the inconsistency of most nations in the same state, were alternately capable of great exertions of generosity, and of cruel revenge and perfidy. - SCOTT. 277. Wont customary.
298. Three mighty lakes. The torrent which discharges itself from Loch Vennachar, the lowest and eastmost of the three lakes which form the scenery adjoining to the Trosachs, sweeps through a flat and extensive moor called Bochastle. Upon a small eminence called the Dun of Bochastle, and,
indeed, on the plain itself, are some intrenchments which have been thought Roman. - SCOTT.
356. Carpet knight: one who prefers the carpets of palaces to the dust of the battle-field.
380. His targe he threw, etc. A round target of light wood, covered with strong leather, and studded with brass or iron, was a necessary part of a Highlander's equipment. In charging regular troops, they received the thrust of the bayonet in this buckler, twisted it aside, and used the broadsword against the encumbered soldier. A person thus armed had a considerable advantage in private fray. - SCOTT.
383. Trained abroad. French officers were long recognized as the best fencers in Europe.
395. Firm rock or castle-roof. The idea of fixity connoted by these words does not go well with that of violent motion which characterizes the scene as a whole.
462. A fairer freight : Ellen.
488. This line locates, with sufficient exactness, the places mentioned in those that follow. For Doune, see note on line 95 of this canto. 504. Stirling. "The glory of Scotland who does not know its noble rock, rising the monarch of the landscape, its majestic and picturesque towers, its amphitheatre of mountain and the windings of its marvellous river : and who that has once seen the sun descending here, in all the blaze of its beauty beyond the purple hills of the west, can ever forget the plain of Sterling, the endless charm of this wonderful scene, the wealth, the splendor, the variety, the majesty of all which here lies between earth and heaven." Macculloch quoted in Fullarton's Gazetteer of Scotland.
525. Saint Serle. This gentleman looks as if he had been invented by Scott to rime with Earl.
550. Douglas. The fate of William, eighth Earl of Douglas, whom James II. stabbed in Stirling Castle with his own hand, and while under his royal safe conduct, is familiar to all who read Scottish history. SCOTT. 551. Mound. An eminence on the northeast of the Stirling Castle where state criminals were executed. - ScOTT.
558. Franciscan steeple Grayfriars' Church. The Franciscans were a monastic order founded by St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226). 562. Morrice (or Moorish) dancers. For a spirited description by Scott of such revelers, see The Abbot, chapter xiv.
564. Sports. Every burgh of Scotland of the least note, but more especially the considerable towns, had their solemn play, or festival, when feats of archery were exhibited, and prizes distributed to those who excelled in
wrestling, hurling the bar, and the other gymnastic exercises of the period. Stirling, a usual place of royal residence, was not likely to be deficient in pomp upon such occasions, especially since James V. was very partial to them. His ready participation in these popular amusements was one cause of his acquiring the title of King of the Commons. . . . The usual prize to the best shooter was a silver arrow.
572. Stark =strong. The original meaning is "stiff " or rigid." The association with death, as in the expression "stark dead," comes from the idea of rigidity.
597. Brooked = endured.
605-608. Try the effect of singular pronouns in this passage, and see if they do not improve it.
610. checkered = clad in motley, or in checker-board pattern cloth. 611. Morricers = Morris dancers.
614. Robin Hood. The exhibition of this renowned outlaw and his band, was a favorite frolic at such festivals as we are describing. This sporting, in which kings did not disdain to be actors, was prohibited in Scotland upon the Reformation. SCOTT.
Scott did not write Ivanhoe till ten years after he had written The Lady of the Lake, or he might have referred us to his own highly colored pictures of the outlaws.
615. quarterstaff. A stout pole about six feet long: a favorite weapon in the rough games of English yeomen.
641. Ring. The usual prize of a wrestling was a ram and a ring, but the animal would have embarrassed my story. - SCOTT.
648. The massive bar. Compare canto iv, line 559
653. Rood: a variable measure of length : perhaps six or seven yards. 657. Douglas. What part of speech?
660. Ladies' Rock. Whence the ladies viewed the sports.
722-727. This could hardly have been put more strongly, or more picturesquely.
773. Fealty = Loyalty.
786. Should dread. What is the object?
790. Widow's mate. So long as a widow has a mate, she is not a widow. See if you can express what is evidently the thought, logically and metrically.
810. Trailing arms; as at a military funeral.
818-835. This diatribe is worthy of Coriolanus, the most eloquent exponent of Shakespeare's habitual contempt for the mob.
837. This line is an excellent example of that difference between poetic and prose diction, which Wordsworth said does not exist. Spurs hitherwards his panting steed, in prose would be, "Rides fast this way." That is the way Wordsworth would have written it: would it have been so effective as Scott's? If not, why not?
887. Earl William (Douglas). Stabbed by James II. in Stirling Castle.
891-899. Foreshadows the action of the next Canto.
Stanzas xiv-xxi. This, it seems to me, is the best described fight in fiction or in history. Dumas Père (The Breakfast at the Bastion, in The Three Musketeers) comes next, but he has not so quick an eye as has Scott for objective detail, nor is his coloring so poetical.
No epic poem seems complete without an account of Games. Compare Homer (Pope's Translation), Iliad xxiii; Vergil (Conington's Translation), Æneid, v; Milton, Paradise Lost, ii, 506–569.
9. Kind nurse. Compare the famous apostrophe to Sleep in 2 Henry IV. iii. 1.
32. Stern violent. This use of stern is obsolete.
47. Adventurers. The Scottish armies consisted chiefly of the nobil ity and barons, with their vassals, who held lands under them for military service by themselves and their tenants. The patriarchal influence exercised by the heads of clans in the Highlands and Borders was of a different nature, and sometimes at variance with feudal principles. It flowed from the Patria Potestas, exercised by the chieftain as representing the original father of the whole name, and was often obeyed in contradiction to the feudal superior. James V. seems first to have introduced, in addition to the militia furnished from these sources, the service of a small number of mercenaries, who formed a body-guard, called the Foot-Band. SCOTT.
60. Halberd. "A broad blade with sharp point, mounted on a handle five to seven feet long.'
edges ending in a sharp - Century Dictionary. 63. Holytide Holy time. This use of tide, though once common, is now confined to poetry. Compare the opening line of Lyte's well-known hymn :
"Abide with me: fast falls the eventide."
chorus. Compare canto ii, line 392.
78. Trent. A river in eastern England, flowing through Nottingham
81. Host = army. This is the oldest meaning of the word.