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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. - SCOTT.
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 covers with a shroud (garment) = shelter, with the idea of concealment. 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. SCOTT.
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: <6 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. the melody.
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."
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. SCOTT.
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
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.
574. Glenfinlas. Where is the speaker supposed to be? Follow 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). 702. Battled fence = parapet.
757. checkered shroud. This is somewhat grandiloquent for plaid."
793-794. In such objective description as this, Scott is at his best. 804. Fell: =moor. In this sense the word is provincial in the Lake
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;
and thus it passed with incredible celerity through all the district which owed allegiance to the chief, and also among his allies and neighbors, if the danger was common to them. At sight of the Fiery Cross, every man, from sixteen years old to sixty, capable of bearing arms, was obliged instantly to repair, in his best arms and accoutrements, to the place of rendezvous. He who failed to appear, suffered the extremities of fire and sword, which were emblematically denounced to the disobedient by the bloody and burnt marks upon this warlike signal. During the civil war of 1745-6, the Fiery Cross often made its circuit; and upon one occasion it passed through the whole district of Breadalbane, a tract of thirty-two miles, in three hours. - SCOTT.
51. meet fitting, as in Genesis ii. 18.
62. Rowan : the mountain ash.
71. That monk, etc. The state of religion in the middle ages afforded considerable facilities for those whose mode of life excluded them from regular worship, to secure, nevertheless, the ghostly assistance of confessors, perfectly willing to adapt the nature of their doctrine to the necessities and peculiar circumstances of their flock. Robin Hood, it is well known, had his celebrated domestic chaplain, Friar Tuck.
102. Bucklered protected by a buckler or shield. 104. Fieldfare: the common English thrush.
114. See note to Canto i, line 363.
138. Sable-lettered, or black-lettered, on account of the heavy types used.
142. Cabala. A Hebrew word. It signified originally the mystic interpretations that vain commentators read into the Hebrew scriptures: then, any mystic or magic doctrine.
154. River Demon. The River Demon, or River-horse, for it is that form which he commonly assumes, is the Kelpy of the Lowlands, an evil and malicious spirit, delighting to forebode and to witness calamity. - SCOTT.
168. Ben-Shie. Most great families in the Highlands were supposed to have a tutelar, or rather a domestic spirit attached to them, who took an interest in their prosperity and intimated, by its wailings, any approaching dis- SCOTT.
169. Sounds. A presage of the kind alluded to in the text, is still believed to announce death to the ancient Highland family of McLean of Loch Buy. The spirit of an ancestor slain in battle is heard to gallop along a stony bank, and then to ride thrice around the family residence, ringing his fairy bridle and thus intimating the approaching calamity. SCOTT. 177. (To) ban to curse.
189. Cubit. This word is very common in the 1611 version of the Bible. See, for example, Genesis vi. 15-16.
191. Inch-Cailliach. The Isle of Nuns, or of Old Women, is a most beautiful island at the lower extremity of Loch Lomond. The church belonging to the former nunnery was long used as the place of worship for the parish of Buchanan, but scarce any vestiges of it now remain. The burial ground continues to be used, and contains the family places of sepulture of several neighboring clans. The monuments of the lairds of MacGregor, and of other families, claiming a descent from the old Scottish King Alpine, are most remarkable. SCOTT.
200. Yew-trees, on account of their sad-colored foliage, are sometimes planted in grave-yards.
212. Strook struck.
This form is an inadmissible license. 226. Scathed=(literally) injured here it must be used to mean "" "char.' or
243. Goshawk: originally goose-hawk, from being flown at geese. 253. Coir-Uriskin Den of the wild men. In the Keltic mythology the Urisk corresponds in form to the Hellenic Satyr. See stanza xxvi of this canto.
255. Beala-nam-bo, or the pass of cattle, is a most magnificent glade, overhung with aged birch-trees, a little higher up the mountain than the Coir-nam-Uriskin. SCOTT.
made of un
286. Lanrick-mead, near Loch Vennachar. 300. Dun deer's hide. The ancient buskin was dressed deer's hide, with the hair outwards, -a circumstance which procured the Highlanders the well-known epithet of Redshanks.
310. Scaur scar cliff, as in the name of the Yorkshire town, Scarborough.
341. Loch Achray. Between Loch Katrine and Loch Vennachar. 344. Bosky
349. Duncraggan. Near the Brigg of Turk.
369. Coronach. The Coronach of the Highlanders was a wild expression of lamentation, poured forth by the mourners over the body of a departed friend. When the words of it were articulate, they expressed the praises of the deceased, and the loss the clan would sustain by his death. SCOTT.
Compare Luke x. 40:
386. Correi Hollow in which game hides. 387. Cumber=Trouble, difficulty. Martha was cumbered about much serving." 394. Stumah=The Faithful.
453. Strath-Ire. The first stage of the Fiery Cross is to Duncraggan, a place near the Brigg of Turk, where a short stream divides Loch Achray from Loch Vennachar. [From] thence, it passes towards Callander, and then, turning to the left up the pass of Leny, is consigned to Norman at the chapel of Saint Bride, which stood on a small and romantic knoll in the middle of the valley, called Strath-Ire. Tombea and Arnandave, or Ardmandave, are names of places in the vicinity. The alarm is then supposed to pass along