Imágenes de páginas

Yet, once again, farewell, thou Minstrel harp!

Yet, once again, forgive my feeble sway! And little reck I of the censure sharp

May idly cavil at an idle lay.

Much have I owed thy strains on life's long way, Through secret woes the world has never known,

When on the weary night dawn'd wearier day, And bitterer was the grief devour'd alone.

That I o'erlive such woes, Enchantress! is thine own.

Hark! as my lingering footsteps slow retire,

Some Spirit of the Air has waked thy string! 'Tis now a seraph bold, with touch of fire"Tis now the brush of Fairy's frolic wing;Receding now, the dying numbers ring Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell

And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring

A wandering witch-note of the distant spell-
And now, 'tis silent all!-Enchantress, fare thee well!







Canto I. introduces two of the chief characters of the poem-James FitzJames and Ellen, the Lady of the Lake. The poem opens with a vigorous account of a stag-hunt in the Highlands, over ground where such a hunt would probably have been in reality impracticable. FitzJames alone pursues the stag into the region of the Trosachs, through which, after the loss of his steed, he finds his way to the shores of Loch Katrine. Here he meets Ellen, who guides him to a lodge on an island of the Lake, where he is hospitably entertained. The sight of an immense sword, which falls as he enters the hall, awakens a train of memories which for a time disturb his rest.

The description of the Trosachs and Loch Katrine (Stanzas xi.-xv.) and of the knight's dream (Stanzas xxxiii.-xxxv.) are the most notable passages in this Canto.

Each Canto opens with one or more introductory stanzas in Spenserian metre (see Introduction). Scott, in common with the other Romance writers of his time, looked back to Spenser as one of the fathers of Romance poetry, and his Vision of Don Roderick was written entirely in this metre.

Int. 1. Harp of the North. After the manner of Greek and Latin Poets, Scott commences with an invocation to the muse of Scottish song. Cp. Moore's lines beginning


"Dear harp of my country, in silence I found thee."

Witch-elm. The broad-leaved drooping Elm (Ulmus montana) common in Scotland. Witch=drooping. See Glossary. Scott apparently intends a play on the word in the closing lines of Canto VI. where he calls it a 'wizard-elm.'

8. Fillan's spring. S. Fillan was Abbot of Pittenweem in Fife

shire, where his cave is still shown. His pastoral Staff and Bells are now in the National Museum of the Society of Antiquaries, Edinburgh. The victory of the Scots at Bannockburn was attributed to his special intervention. Several springs and wells in Scotland were dedicated to him, and were supposed to possess miraculous power to cure insanity. Cp. Marmion, 1. xxix. 12–14,

"S. Fillan's blessed well,

Whose spring can frenzied dreams dispel,

And the crazed brain restore."

The spring referred to here is about ten miles north of Loch Lomond in the valley of the Tay, where there is also a chapel dedicated to the Saint. Pennant in his Tour in Scotland (1772) first called attention to the local superstition, and down to 1835 insane people were still brought there to be cured. Perhaps Scott selects S. Fillan's spring as the resting place of the Harp of the North because the harp, like S. Fillan, can 'frenzied dreams dispel,' such as those of king Saul, or those to which Scott refers in the closing stanzas of Canto VI.

3. Down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung. The chords of the harp vibrated as the breezes blew across them, till the ivy crept over them and silenced their music,

IO. Caledon, i.e. Caledonia, the Roman name for Scotland.

14. Each according pause. The pause between each verse of the song. The meaning is that each pause was brought into accord (or harmony) with the song by the strains of the harp. For similar use of 'according,' cp. Marmion, II. xi. 6-8,

"Then, answering from the sandy shore,

Half-drowned amid the breakers' roar,

According chorus rose."

18. Knighthood's dauntless deed, &c. Compare the account of Romance poetry in Marmion, Introduction to Canto 1. ll. 285-309. 20. Magic maze. The confusing variety of the sounds of the harp, like the windings of a maze.

I. 2. Danced the moon on Monan's rill. S. Monan was a Scotch saint and martyr of the Fourth century. There is no rill in the district known to be dedicated to him. Notice how exactly 'danced' expresses the flickering of the moon's reflection in running water.

4. Glenartney. A valley in Perthshire, near Callander; formerly a royal forest. See Map.

6. Benvoirlich. A mountain, nearly 3200 ft. high, rising on the north of Glenartney.


7. Deep-mouth'd bloodhound's, i.e. with a deep voice. Vision of Don Roderick, iii., ‘The deep-mouthed bell of vespers toll'd,' and Shakespeare, Henry VI., II. iv. 12, 'Between two dogs, which hath the deeper mouth.'

II. 3.

Antler'd monarch. Cp. Thomson, Autumn, 1. 427, “the branching monarch of the shades." Antler'd, see Glossary.

5-8. Compare Lord of the Isles, v. iv. 17-19,

"Like deer that, rousing from their lair,

Just shake the dewdrops from their hair
And toss their armed crests aloft;"

and Somerville, The Chase, III. 405,

"The royal stag forsakes

His wonted lair; he shakes his dappled sides,
And tosses high his beamy head, the copse

Beneath his antlers bends.

[ocr errors]

8. Beam'd frontlet. Forehead crested with horns. The 'frontlet' is properly anything worn on the forehead. The beam is the main stem of a stag's horn from which the branches or 'tines' spring. A stag's horns are not usually sufficiently developed to have a beam till the stag is about four years old.

IO. Tainted gale, i.e. gale scented by the approaching hunt. Cp. Thomson, Autumn, 1. 363,

"The spaniel struck

Stiff by the tainted gale."

16. Uam-Var. "Ua-var, as the name is pronounced, or more properly Uaighmor, is a mountain to the north-east of the village of Callander, in Menteith, deriving its name, which signifies the great den, or cavern, from a sort of retreat among the rocks on the south side, said by tradition to have been the abode of a giant."-Scott.


The opening pack. The pack breaking into full cry on view of the stag. 'Opening' is used as a technical hunting term. Cp. Somerville, The Chase,

"The pack wide opening load the trembling air

With various melody."

And Bridal of Triermain, III. xii. 17, "...As when the hound is opening." IV. 3. The cavern, where, &c. See note on II. 16.

7. Stay'd perforce, i.e. obliged to stop. Perforce by force or necessity.

12. Bold burst, i.e. hard run without a check.

V. 4.

Menteith. The district in S.-W. Perthshire watered by the

Teith. The stag is chased from Glenartney southward into the valley of the Teith and then turns westward along the Teith to the Trosachs. 6. Moss morass. Cp. moss-trooper.

8. Lochard or Aberfoyle. Loch Ard is a small lake about five miles south of Loch Katrine. Aberfoyle is a village near the east end of the lake.

10. Loch Achray, between Loch Katrine and Loch Vennachar (see Introduction and Map). Ben Venue is a mountain on the southern side of Loch Katrine. Notice how 'blue' exactly describes the colour of pine-woods seen from a distance.

VI. 1.

'T were long, i.e. it would be a long (or tedious) task.

2. Cambus-More. An estate about two miles from Callander. It was at this time the seat of a family of the name of Buchanan, with whom Scott stayed in 1809 while studying the scenery of the district. 4. Ben-Ledi. A mountain about four miles N.-W. of Callander.


Bochastle's heath. A plain between the east end of Loch Vennachar and Callander. See Map.

6. Teith. A tributary of the Forth rising in Loch Katrine and flowing through Achray and Vennachar. So in v. xii. 3, Scott calls it the 'daughter of three mighty lakes.'

II. Brigg of Turk. A bridge over the stream that comes down Glen-Finlas and joins the Teith between Loch Achray and Loch Vennachar.

VII. 2. Scourge and steel, i.e. whip and spur.


Emboss'd, see G.

7. S. Hubert's breed. ""The hounds which we call Saint Hubert's hounds, are commonly all blacke, yet neuertheless, the race is so mingled at these days, that we find them of all colours......This kind of dogges hath bene dispersed through the counties of Heinault, Lorayne, Flanders, and Burgoyne. They are mighty of body, neuertheless their legges are low and short, likewise they are not swift, although they be very good of sent, hunting chaces which are farre straggled, fearing neither water nor cold, and doe more couet the chaces that smell, as foxes, bore and such like, than other, because they find themselves neither of swiftness nor courage to hunt and kill the chaces that are lighter and swifter. The bloodhounds of this colour proue good, especially those that are cole blacke." The noble Art of Venerie or Hunting, Lond. 1611. 4to. p. 15.'-Scott.

VIII. I. That mountain high. Ben Venue.

7. For the death-wound, 'When the stag turned to bay, the

« AnteriorContinuar »