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NOTE 4, page 326.
A far-projecling precipice. 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.
NOTE 5, page 327.
Were worse than loss of steed or deer.
NOTE 6, page 331.
Was on the vision'd future bent. If force of evidence could authorise us to believe facts inconsistent with the general laws of nature, enough might be produced in favour of the existence of the Second-sight. It is called in Gaelic Taishitaraugh, from Taish, an unreal or shadowy appearance; and those possessed of the faculty are called Taishatrin, which may be aptly translated visionaries. Martin, a steady believer in the second-sight, gives the following account of it:
“The second-sight is a singular faculty of seeing an otherwise invisible object without any previous means used by the person that used it for that end : ihe vision makes such a lively impression upon the seers, that they neither see nor think of anything else, except the vision, as long as it continues; and then they appear pensive or jovial, according to the object that was represented to them.
“At the sight of a vision, the eyelids of the person are erected, and the eyes continue staring until the object vanish. This is obvious to others who are by when the persons happen to see a vision, and occurred more than once to my own observation, and to others that were with me."
"If a woman is seen standing at a man's left hand, it is a presage that she will be his wife, whether they be married to others, or unmarried at the time of the apparition.
“To see a spark of fire fall upon one's arm or breast is a forerunner of a dead child to be seen in the arms of those persons; of which there are several fresh instances."
"To see a seat empty at the time of one's sitting in it, is a presage of that person's death soon after.” – Marlin's Description of the Western Islands, 1716, 8vo, p. 300,
seq. To these particulars innumerable examples might be added, all attested by grave
and credible authors. But, in despite of evidence which neither Bacon, Boyle, nor Johnson, were able to resist, the Taish, with all its visionary properties, seems to be now universally abandoned to the use of poetry. The exquisitely beautiful poem of Lochiel will at once occur to the recollection of every reader.
NOTE 7, page 332.
Some chief had framed a rustic bower. 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.
NOTE 8, page 334.
Of Ferragus or Ascabart. These two sons of Anak flourished in romantic fable. The first is well known to the admirers of Ariosto, by the name of Ferrau. He was an antagonist of Orlando, and was at length slain by him in single combat.
Ascapart, or Ascabart, makes a very material figure in the History of Bevis of Hampton, by whom he was conquered. His effigies may be seen guarding one side of a gate at Southampton, while the other is occupied by Sir Bevis himself.
NOTE 9, page 334.
Though all unask'd his birth and name. The Highlanders, who carried hospitality to a punctilious excess, are said to have considered it as churlish to ask a stranger his name or lineage, before he had taken refreshment. Feuds were so frequent among them, that a contrary rule would in many cases have produced the discovery of some circumstance, which might have excluded the guest of the benefit of the assistance he stood in need of.
Note 10, page 339. Morn's genial influence roused a mins To a late period Highland chieftains retained in their service the bard, as a family officer.
NOTE 11, page 341.
the Graeme. The ancient and powerful family of Graham (which, for metrical reasons, is here spelt after the Scottish pronunciation) held extensive possessions in the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling. Few families can boast of more historical renown, having claim to three of the most remarkable characters in the Scottish annals. Sir John the Græme, the faithful and undaunted partaker of the labours and patriotic warfare of Wallace, fell in the unfortunate field of Falkirk, in 1298. The celebrated Marquis of Montrose, in whom De Retz saw realised his abstract idea of the heroes of antiquity, was the second of these worthies. And, notwithstanding the severity of his'temper, and the rigour with which he executed the oppressive mandates of the princes whom he served, I do not hesitate to name as a third, John Græme of Claverhouse, Viscount of Dundee, whose heroic death in the arms of victory may be allowed to cancel the memory of his cruelty to the nonconformists, during the reigns of Charles II. and James II.
NOTE 12, page 342.
This harp, which erst Saint Modan sway'd. I am not prepared to show that Saint Modan was a performer on the harp. It was, however, no unsaintly accomplishment; for Saint Dunstan certainly did play upon that instrument, which retaining, as was natural, a portion of the sanctity attached to its master's character, announced future events by its spontaneous sound.
NOTE 13, page 342.
Were exiled from their native heaven. The downfall of the Douglasses of the house of Angus during the reign of James V. is the event alluded to in the text.
NOTE 14, page 344.
In Holy-Rood a Knight he slew. This was by no means an uncommon occurrence in the Court of Scotland; nay, the presence of the sovereign himself scarcely restrained the ferocious and inveterate feuds which were the perpetual source of bloodshed among the Scottish nobility. The murder of Sir William Stuart of Ochiltree, called The Bloody, by the celebrated Francis, Earl of Bothwell, may be named among many. See Jolin toni Historia Rerum Britannicarum, ab anno 1572 ad annum 1628. Amstelodami, 1655, fol. p. 135.
NOTE 15, page 345.
Disown'd by every noble peer. The exiled state of this powerful race is not exaggerated in this and subsequent passages.
The hatred of James against the race of Douglas was so inveterate, that numerous as their allies were, and disregarded as the regal authority had usually been in similar cases, their nearest friends, even in the most remote parts of Scotiand, durst not entertain them, unless under the strictest and closest disguise.
NOTE 16, page 345.
Marunnan's cell. The parish of Kilmaronock, at the eastern extremity of Loch Lomond, derives its name from a cell or chapel, dedicated to Saint Maronock, or Mar. nock, or Maronnan, about whose sanctity very little is now remembered. There is a fountain devoted to him in the same parish; but its virtues, like the merits of its patron, have fallen into oblivion.
NOTE 17, page 346.
Bracklinn's Thundering wave. This is a beautiful cascade made by a mountain stream called the Keltie, at the Bridge of Bracklinn, about a mile from the village of Cal. lander in Menteith.
NOTE 18, page 347.
For Tine-man forged by fairy lore. Archibald, the third Earl of Douglas, was so unfortunate in all his en. terprises, that he acquired the epithet of TINE-MAN, because he tined, or lost, his followers in every battle which he fought.
NOTE 19, page 347.
The fooistep of a secret foe. The ancient warriors, whose hope and confidence rested chiefly in their blades, were accustomed to deduce omens from them, especially from such as were supposed to have been fabricated by enchanted skill, of which we have various instances in the romances and legends of the time.
NOTE 20, page 348.
of old Clan-Alpine 10 the fiyht. 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."
Note 21, page 349.
Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! iero. 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 patronynric, expressive of his descent from the founder of the family. Thus the Duke of Argyle is called MacCallum More, or the son of Colin The Great.
NOTE 22, page 362. And while the Fiery Cross glanced, like a meteor, round. 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 Creun 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. Ile 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 neighbours, 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 thirtytivo miles, in three hours.
NOTE 23, page 363.
That monk, of savaye form and face. 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.
NOTE 24, page 364.
Of Brian's birth strange tales were told. The legend which follows is not of the author's invention. It is possible he may differ from modern critics, in supposing that the records of huinan superstition, if peculiar to, and characteristic of, the country in which the scene is laid, are a legitimate subject of poetry. He gives, how.
ever, a roady assent to the narrower proposition which condemns all at. tempts of an irregular and disordered fancy to excite terror, by accumulat. ing a train of fantastic and incoherent horrors, whether borrowed from all countries, and patched upon a narrative belonging to one which knew them not, or derived from the author's own imagination. In the present case, therefore, I appeal to the record which I have transcribed, with the variation of a very few words, from the geographical collections made by the Laird of Macfarlane. I know not whether it be necessary to remark, that the miscellaneous concourse of youths and maidens on the night and on the spot where the miracle is said to have taken place, might, even in & credulous age, have somewhat diminished the wonder which accompanied the conception of Gilli-Doir-Magrevollich.
“There is bot two myles from Inverloghie, the church of Kilmalee, in Lochyeld. In ancient tymes there was ane church builded upon ane hill, which was above this church, which doeth now stand in this toune; and ancient men doeth say, that there was a battell foughten on ane litle hill not the tenth part of a myle from this church, be certaine men which they did not know what they were, And long tyme thereafter, certaine herds of that toune, and of the next toune, called Unnate, both wenches and youthes, did on a tyme conveen with others on that bill; and the day being somewhat cold, did gather the bones of the dead men that were slayne long tyme before in that place, and did make a fire to warm them. At last they did all remove from the fire, except one maid or wenca, which was verie cold, and she did remaine there for a space. She being quyetlie her alone, without anie otber companie, took up her cloaths above her knees, or thereby, to warm her; a wind did come and caste the ashes upon her, and she was conceived of ane man-chyld. Severall tymes thereafter she was verie sick, and at last she was knowne to be with chyld. And then her parents did ask at her the matter heiroff, which the wench could not weel answer which way to satisfie them. At last she resolved them with
As fortune fell upon her concerning this marvellous miracle, the child being borne, his name was called Gili-doir Maghre-vollich, that is lo say, ibe Black Child, Son to the Bones. So called, his grandfather sent him to school, and so he was a good schollar, and godlie. He did build this church which doeth now stand in Lochyeld, called Kilmalie." - Macfarlane, ut supra, ii. 188.
NOTE 25, page 364.
The virgin snouit did Alice wear. The snood, or riband, with which a Scottish lass braided her hair, had an emblematical signification, and applied to her maiden character. It was exchanged for the curch, loy, or coif, when she passed, by marriage, into the matron state. But if the damsel was so unfortunate as to lose pretensions to the name of maiden, without gaining a right to that of matron, she was neither permitted to use the snood, nor advanced to the graver dignity of the curch. In old Scottish songs there occur many sly allusions to such misfortune; as in the old words to the popular tune of “Ower the muir amang the heather."
"Down amang the broom, the broom,
Down amang the broom, my dearie,
NOTE 26, page 366.
The fatal Ben-Shie's boding scream. 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 disaster. А superstition of the same kind is, I believe, universally received by the inferior ranks of the native Irish.