Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

landers are as jealous of their rights of sepulture as may be expected from a people whose whole laws and government, if clanship can be called so, turned upon the single principle of family descent. 'May his ashes be scattered on the water,' was one of the deepest and most solemn imprecations which they used against an enemy." Scott.

14. strook. Nativity:

X. 15.

Old form of struck. Cf. Milton, Hymn on the

"Such music sweet...

As never was by mortal finger strook.'

Volumed flame, i.e. flame in volume, or thick.

21. Goss-hawk's whistle. The gos-hawk or goose-hawk is a species of hawk common in various parts of Europe.

23. Childhood's babbling trill. The children's curses are intended to give the climax to the scene.

31. Coir-Uriskin, see note on III. XXV. 22.

33. Beala-nam-bo. "The pass of the cattle,' so called because the cattle taken in Lowland forays were driven through it into the district of the Trosachs, is a glade on the slope of Ben-Venue, close to the edge of Loch Katrine.

XI. 13-24. Compare the Abbot's curse in The Lord of the Isles, II. xxviii. 9—28.

24. This sign, i.e. the cross.

XII. 5. Muster-place be Lanrick mead. Muster-place=place of assembly. Muster, see G. Lanrick mead is an open space or meadow on the north-west shore of Loch Vennachar. See Map.

6. Instant the time, i.e. the assembly to take place instantly, or immediately.

7. Heath-bird = grouse.

XIII. I. Dun deer's hide. Scott quotes the following description of Highland shoes from a letter addressed by a Highlander to Henry VIII. quoted in Pinkerton's History. "We go a-hunting, and after that we have slain red-deer, we flay off the skin by-and-by, and setting of our bare-foot on the inside thereof, for want of cunning shoemakers, by your grace's pardon, we play the cobblers, compassing and measuring so much thereof as shall reach up to our ankles, pricking the upper part thereof with holes, that the water may repass where it enters, and stretching it up with a strong thong of the same above our said ankles. So, and please your noble grace, we make our shoes. Therefore, we using such manner of shoes, the rough hairy side outwards, in your

grace's dominions of England, we be called Roughfooted Scots." Pinkerton's History, vol. ii. p. 397. Cf. Marmion, v. v. 17-18: "The hunted red-deer's undress'd hide

IO.

Their hairy buskins well supplied."

Questing hound, i.e. hound in search of game.

XIV. 10. Dirk and brand. The Highlander's equipment consisted of a claymore or sword, a dirk or dagger, and a targe or shield.

XV. 2. Duncraggan's huts. Duncraggan is a farm near the Brigg of Turk and Lanrick mead.

7. As stoops the hawk. The technical expression for the action of a hawk swooping down on his prey.

22.

Dismal Coronach. "The Coronach of the Highlanders, like the Ululatus of the Romans, and the Ululoo of the Irish, 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. The Coronach has for some years past been superseded at funerals by the use of the bagpipe; and that also is, like many other Highland peculiarities, falling into disuse."-Scott.

XVI. 15.
In flushing, i.e. in full bloom.
23. Like the bubble on the fountain.

Notice how the redundant syllable, bringing into prominence an unmusical word (bubble), mars this line.

XVII. I. Stumah Faithful. The name of a dog.

=

XVIII. 28. The orphan's God. See Ps. lxviii. 5.

XIX. I. Benledi saw the Cross of Fire, &c. "Inspection of the provincial map of Perthshire, or any large map of Scotland, will trace the progress of the signal through the small district of lakes and mountains, which, in exercise of my poetical privilege, I have subjected to the authority of my imaginary chieftain, and which, at the period of my romance, was really occupied by a clan who claimed a descent from Alpine; a clan the most unfortunate, and most persecuted, but neither the least distinguished, least powerful, nor least brave, of the tribes of the Gael.

"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 Armandave, are names of places in the vicinity. The alarm is then supposed to pass along the lake of Lubnaig, and through the various glens in the district of Balquidder, including the neighbour. ing tracts of Glenfinlas and Strath-Gartney."-Scott. Strath-Ire is really at the Northern end of Loch Lubnaig. See Map.

7.

source.

Teith's young waters. The waters of the Teith near their

9. Graced the sable strath with green, i.e. ornamented the dark valley with the green of its trees. A good example of Scott's habit of noting colour rather than form.

IO. Chapel of St Bride.

The churchyard and a few ruins of the Chapel still remain on the shore of Loch Lubnaig. S. Bride or S. Bridget was an Irish saint of the Fifth Century.

14. Sympathetic eye, i.e. eye that grew dizzy with the dizzy motion of the water.

XX. 6. Bridal. Properly the bride-ale or wedding banquet. Here used for the wedding procession.

8.

II.

12.

poses.

Coif-clad dame, see note on I. xix. 2.

Unwitting why, i.e. without knowing why.

Shrilly shrill, the extra syllable being added for metrical pur-
Cf. 'steepy' in xiii. 5.

13-16.

Cf. Coleridge, Ancient Mariner:

"The bride hath paced into the hall,

Red as a rose is she;

Nodding their heads before her goes

The merry minstrelsy."

18. Kerchief's snowy band. The kerchief or curch or coif, which she would now be wearing for the first time. See note on I. xix. 2.

XXII. 8. Lubnaig's lake. A lake about four miles long, at the foot of Ben Ledi. One of the tributaries of the Teith, the Leny, rises here. 10. Sickening pang of hope deferred. Cp. Proverbs xiii. 12, 'Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.'

XXIV. 2.

Balquhidder, speeds the midnight blaze. Balquhidder is a village in Strath-Ire. The 'Braes of Balquhidder' are a range of hills on the north side of Loch Voil. Scott explains, in a note, that the heather on the Scottish hills is sometimes set fire to, in order to encourage the growth of young herbage for the sheep, and that the appearance of the burning heather at night is "similar almost to the discharge of a volcano." Note the touches of colour in 11. 5-6.

10. Sullen margin of Loch Voil. Loch Voil and Loch Doine are

two lovely lakes several miles north of Loch Katrine, connected by the Balvaig with Loch Lubnaig. Sullen ' is used here in its original sense of 'solitary.' (O.Fr. solain from L. solus = alone.)

14. Strath-Gartney. The name of the northern shore of Loch Katrine.

27. Rendezvous, place of assembly. From Fr. rendez-vous, imperative of se rendre, to betake oneself or go.

31. No oath, but by his chieftain's hand. "The deep and implicit respect paid by the Highland clansmen to their chief, rendered this both a common and a solemn oath. But for oaths in the usual form they are said to have had little respect.”—Scott.

XXV. 7. Rednoch courts. Rednoch, Cardross and Duchray were castles in the Forth valley, south of Roderick's territory.

10. Loch Con lies south of Loch Katrine and forms one of the sources of the Forth.

II.

13.

Wot ye do you know? Wot, see G.

Repair=go. See G.

16. A fair, though cruel pledge, i. e. Ellen, who seemed to Roderick cruel in rejecting his suit. 'Pledge' is used here in the sense of something left for safe keeping. Cp. IV. iii. 23.

22. Coir-nan-Uriskin. "This is a very steep and most romantic hollow in the mountain of Benvenue, overhanging the south-eastern extremity of Loch Katrine. It is surrounded with stupendous rocks, and overshadowed with birch-trees, mingled with oaks....The name literally implies the Corri, or Den, of the wild or shaggy men. Perhaps this may have originally only implied its being the haunt of a ferocious banditti. But tradition has ascribed to the Urisk, who gives name to the cavern, a figure between a goat and a man; in short, precisely that of the Grecian Satyr. 'The Urisks,' says Dr Graham, 'were a sort of lubberly supernaturals, who, like the Brownies, could be gained over by kind attention to perform the drudgery of the farm, and it was believed that many of the families in the Highlands had one of the order attached to it. They were supposed to be dispersed over the Highlands, each in his own wild recess, but the solemn stated meetings of the order were regularly held in the cave of Benvenue.'-Scenery on the Southern Confines of Perthshire."-Scott. Compare with Dr Graham's description Milton, L'Allegro, 105–114.

The 'Grecian Satyrs' were a race of demi-gods, attendants of Bacchus, who lived in dens in the woods. They are represented with the horns and legs of a goat and the body and face of a man. The 'Goblin Cave'

is now little more than a small cavity in a heap of rocks on the hill-side, but there may at one time have been a cavern there.

XXVI. 9. Incumbent overhanging.

28. For a space = for a time.

29. Grey superstition, i.e. superstition grey with age.

31. Fays fairies. The 'mystic maze' is the fairy dance.

XXVII. 22. Each warrior was a chosen man. Scott says, in a note, that every Highland chief had a body-guard, consisting of men picked from his clan for strength, activity and entire devotion to his person. See Waverley, ch. XVI., for a description of a Highland chief "with his tail on" (i.e. with his full retinue).

XXVIII. 13. Like restless ghost. Ghosts are often supposed to haunt the places where their treasure is concealed.

XXIX. 1. Ave Maria = Hail, Mary. See Luke i. 28. "The metrical peculiarity of this hymn is, that the rhymes of the even lines of the first quatrain (or set of four lines) are taken up as those of the odd lines in the second, and that they are the same in all three stanzas."-Taylor.

II. Down of eider. The eider is a species of wild duck, the feathers of which form a particularly soft down.

17. Stainless styled, i.e. thou who art called stainless. Stainless= Immaculate, a title frequently applied to the Virgin Mary.

XXXI. I. Various scene, i.e. varied scene. Cp. Milton, Paradise Lost, xii. 52, 53:

13.

"Ile......in derision sets

Upon their tongues a various spirit.”

Eagle plume. The sign of Chieftainship. Cp. Marmion, V. v. 15-16; "Of taller race, the Chiefs they own

Were by the eagle's plumage known."

CANTO IV.

Canto IV. opens with Brian's augury and prediction of victory to the party who 'spills the foremost foeman's life.' Then the scene shifts to the Goblin's cave, where Douglas has left Ellen in the care of Allan Bane, who tries in vain to soothe her anxiety at her father's departure. Fitz-James, who has returned to try to persuade Ellen to fly with him to Stirling, now appears, and learns Ellen's secret, and also the danger he is incurring. After giving her a ring, which will ensure her the royal favour, he sets out on his return. Meeting on the way a crazed Lowland maid, the victim of one of Roderick's raids, he learns of the ambush

« AnteriorContinuar »