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ancient hunter had the perilous task of going in upon, and killing or disabling the desperate animal. At certain times of the year this was held particularly dangerous, a wound received from a stag's horn being then deemed poisonous, and more dangerous than one from the tusks of a boar, as the old rhyme testifies :

"If thou be hurt with hart, it brings thee to thy bier,

But barber's hand will boar's hurt heal, therefore thou need'st not fear."-Scott.

15. Deep Trosachs', see Introduction.


Chiding the rocks, i.e. barking at them as though they were to blame for the loss of the stag. Cp. xv. 10: "chide the lingering morn," i.e. complain of its not coming more quickly.

IX. 12. I slack'd upon the banks of Seine. In 1536 James V. visited Paris in connection with negotiations then going on for his marriage with the daughter of the Duke of Vendome. While there he transferred his affections to Magdalen, daughter of the King of France, whom he married in the following spring.

15. Woe worth the chase, i.e. evil be to the chase. Worth here is the subjunctive or imperative of the obsolete verb worthen (A. S. weorthan) to become.


XI. 7. Compare the description in Rokeby, ii. 8:

"Here trees to every crevice clung,

And o'er the dell their branches hung;
And there, all splinter'd and uneven,

The shiver'd rocks ascend to heaven;
Oft, too the ivy swath'd their breast,

And wreathed its garland round their crest,
Or from the spires bade loosely flare

Its tendrils in the middle air,

As pennons wont to wave of old

O'er the high feast of Baron bold."

13. Tower which builders vain. The tower of Babel, see Gen.

xi. 1-9.

18. Cupola or minaret. A cupola is a dome or tower with rounded top. The word is a diminutive of the L. cupa, a cup. A minaret is the steeple or tower of a mosque, from a gallery near the top of which the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer. A pagod or pagoda is an Indian temple, from Persian but-kadah = Idol-house.

XII. 8. Emblems of punishment and pride. The gaudy colour of the foxglove suggests pride, and the poisonous 'deadly nightshade'

L. L


punishment. Ruskin quotes the line as an example of "Scott's habit of drawing a slight moral from every scene-and this moral almost always melancholy."

13. Warrior oak. Either in allusion to the strength of the oak or, perhaps, because ships of war were made of oak. So Campbell in Ye Mariners of England speaks of 'thunders from her native oak.'

16. Frequent flung, i.e. frequently, often.

20. Glist'ning streamers, i.e. streamers, or long branches of rose and ivy, shining in the sunlight.

XIII. 3. Breadth of brim. 'Brim' is generally used for the edge of the water, where it meets the land. Here Scott uses it for the surface of the water. Cp. Marmion, VI. xv. 3:

"Nor lighter does the swallow skim

Along the smooth lake's level brim,"

where, however, the word may mean the edge of the lake.

5. Through thickets veering, i.e. winding about in the bushes. Veer, see G.

XIV. I. And now, to issue from the glen, &c. "Until the present road was made through the romantic pass which I have presumptuously attempted to describe in the preceding stanzas, there was no mode of issuing out of the defile called the Trosachs, excepting by a sort of ladder, composed of the branches and roots of trees."-Scott. 3. With footing nice, i.e. with careful step. 13-14. Compare Marmion, IV. xxx. 26–8:

"The gallant Forth the eye might note,
Whose islands on its bosom float,

Like emeralds chased in gold."

But here the sunset has changed the emerald to purple. 'Livelier light' perhaps, like 'living gold' (1. 9), because the lake is moving. Cp. I. xvii. 9-12.

20. 21.


Fragments of an earlier world. Cp. III. xxvi. 5–9. Feather'd o'er, i.e. covered as though with feathers. Venue is now entirely bare of trees except near its base. 24. Ben-an. A hill nearly 1800 feet high, on the north of the Trosachs.

XV. 4. Churchman's pride. 'Churchman' here= Church dignitary. 13. When the midnight moon &c., i.e. when the moon is setting. Matins were, in old times, said before sunrise.

XVI. 2. Beshrew, see 'shrew' in G.

7. Yet pass we that, i.e. let that pass (as not mattering much).

13. Highland plunderers.-"The clans who inhabited the romantic regions in the neighbourhood of Loch Katrine were, even until a late period, much addicted to predatory excursions upon their Lowland neighbours."-Scott.

17. i.e. If the worst befalls that can happen.

XVII. II. Notice how the sibilants-sound and slow-express the rippling of the waves on the shore.

16. Lady of the Lake. The name is given by Malory in Morte D'Arthur, Bk. I. ch. XXIII., to the maiden from whom King Arthur received his sword, Excalibur. Cp. Tennyson, The Passing of Arthur: "King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,


Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake."

A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace. In Greek mythology all nature was peopled with Nymphs or female spirits. The Dryads were the Nymphs of the woods, the Oreads of the mountains, and the Naiads (Gk. váw to flow) of the rivers and fountains. They are represented in sculpture as beautiful women, crowned with rushes, and reclining against urns from which water is flowing. The Graces were three goddesses, called Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne, in whose gift was beauty and favour.

4. Ardent frown. We should rather have expected 'smile,' but the exigencies of rhyme require 'frown.'

6. Sportive toil. Of rowing the boat from the island to the mainland.

18. So dear. Rolfe conjectures 'clear,' which could easily be misread dear, but Prof. Minto says that the MS. is unmistakeably ‘dear.' XIX. 2. Her satin snood. The snood was a ribbon which girls in Scotland wore round their hair; when married they exchanged it for a coif or cap; cp. virgin snood, III. v. 26. A satin snood would indicate that the wearer was of good social position.

XX. 16. Turn to prune, i.e. to arrange the plumage of.

17. Flutter'd and amazed. 'Flutter'd' is probably suggested by the image of the swan.

20. Wont to fly are wont to fly. Wont is either past tense or past part. of verb to won. See G.


Middle age. James V. was born in 1512 and died in 1542, so that he could not have been more than twenty-nine at this time. Signet sage=stamp or mark of wisdom.

17. Slighting the pretty need he showed, i.e. making light of the trifling need of which he spoke.

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8. A couch was pull'd, i.e. the heather was pulled to form your couch. See xxxiii. 1-2.


Ptarmigan and heath-cock. Ptarmigan-a kind of grouse found in the mountain districts of Scotland. In Marmion Scott calls it 'the snowy ptarmigan' because at certain seasons its plumage is nearly white. Cp. II. xxv. 7–8. Heath-cock or black-cock is the male of the black grouse which is common in Scotland.

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19. Believe me, fair, i.e. fair lady, cp. Marmion, V. x. 20–21: “Thus admitted English fair

His inmost counsels still to share."

And Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, IV. i. 17: 'Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow.'

XXIII. 6. Old Allan-Bane foretold.

This power of seeing persons or events at a distance is called second-sight. It was at one time very generally believed in Scotland that certain persons had this power, and the evidence for the existence of some peculiar faculty of perception of the kind in some persons is very strong. Scott quotes, in a note, a circumstantial account of second-sight from Martin's Description of the Western Islands. Cp. also Waverley, ch. XVI. "A gifted seer who foretold, through the second sight, visitors of every description who haunted their dwelling whether as friends or foes."

12. Lincoln green. A cloth used for hunting dress, so called after the town where it was made.

15. Heron plumage trim. An indication of high, perhaps even of royal rank. Cp. the description of the Garter King-at-Arms in Marmion, IV. vii. 12-13:

"His cap of maintenance was graced

With the proud heron-plume."

XXIV. 2. Errant-knight, i.e. wandering knight. A knight whose business it was to "ride about redressing human wrongs."

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5. Emprise = enterprise, used especially of the enterprises of knightserrant. Cp. Spenser, Faerie Queene: 'In brave pursuit of chivalrous emprise.'

XXV. II. Here for retreat, &c. "The Celtic chieftains, whose lives were continually exposed to peril, had usually, in the most retired spot of their domains, some place of retreat for the hour of necessity, which, as circumstances would admit, was a tower, a cavern, or a rustic

hut, in a strong and secluded situation. One of these last gave refuge to the unfortunate Charles Edward in his perilous wanderings after the battle of Culloden."-Scott.

XXVI. 4-6. Prof. Minto punctuates these lines as follows:

"......readiest found;

Lopp'd off their boughs, their hoar trunks bared,

And by the hatchet rudely squared."

But it seems to make the lines read more easily to take 'their boughs' as referring to 'oak and ash,' than to 'such materials.' Scott's carelessness in punctuation makes reference to his original MSS. comparatively useless in such cases as this.

20. Idæan vine. There is some doubt as to what plant Scott means by the Idæan vine. The red whortleberry is called Vaccinium vitis Idea, but it is not a climbing plant. Ida is the name of a mountain near the site of ancient Troy, and also of a mountain in Crete.

21. The clematis, &c. The common clematis (Clematis vitalba), called also Traveller's Joy and Virgin's Bower, which has a small greenish-white flower, and grows wild in various parts of England.

23. Every hardy plant could bear, i.e. that could bear.

27. On Heaven and on thy lady call. Ellen keeps up the idea of a knight-errant suggested by Fitz-James.

XXVII. 13.

XV. 2.

A target, i.e. a targe or round shield, cp. v. xii. 10, and

20. Bison's horns. The bison is a species of wild ox found in North America; Scott probably means here the wild ox at one time found in Scotland.

26. Garnish forth. Cp. furnish forth, xxii. 12. Garnish, see G. XXVIII. 9. Took the word, i.e. spoke in turn, replied.

14. Ferragus or Ascabart. Two giants famous in old romance. Ferragus, or Ferran, appears in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso as a giant forty feet high, whom Orlando slew. Ascabart or Ascapart was a giant conquered by Bevis in the mediæval romance of Bevis of Southampton. Cp. Marmion, Int. I. 313-14:

"Their theme the merry minstrels made,

Of Ascapart, and Bevis bold."

XXIX. 5. More than kindred knew, i.e. though their real relationship was less close. Lady Margaret, mother of Roderick Dhu, was Ellen's aunt; see II. xiii. 7. Scott originally wrote:

"To whom, though more remote her claim,
Young Ellen gave a mother's name."

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