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NOTE 27, page 366.
Where mortal horseman ne'er might ride. A presage of the kind alluded to in the text, is still believed to announce death to the ancient Highland family of M‘Lean of Lochbuy. 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.
NOTE 28, page 369.
the dun deur's hide
On fleeter foot was never lied. The present brogue of the Higblanders is made of half-dried leather, with holes to admit and let out the water; for walking the moors dry-shod is a matter altogether out of the question, The ancient buskin was still ruder, being made of undressed deer's hide, with the hair outwards; a cir. cumstance which procured the Highlanders the well-known epithet of Redshanks.
NOTE 29, page 371.
The dismal coronach. The Coronach of the Highlanders, like the Ulalatus 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.
NOTE 30, page 376.
Balquidder, speeds the midnight blaze. It may be necessary to inform the southern reader, that the heath on the Scottish moorlands is often set fire to, that the sheep may have the advantage of the young herbage produced, in room of the tough old heather plants. This custom (execrated by sportsmen) produces occasionally the most beautiful nocturnal appearances, similar almost to the discharge of a volcano. This simile is not new to poetry. The charge of a warrior, in the fine ballad of Hardyknute, is said to be “like fire to heather set."
NOTE 31, page 377.
Has Coir-nan-Uriskin been sung. 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 spontaneous production of the mountain, even where its cliffs appear denuded of soil.
NOTE 32, page 383.
Our sires foresaw the events of war. The Highlanders, like all rude people, had various superstitious modes of inquiring into futurity. One of the most noted was the Tayhuirm, mentioned in the text. A person was wrapped up in the skin of a newly-slain bullock, and deposited beside a waterfall, or at the bottom of a precipice, or NOTE 36, page 390.
in some other strange, wild, and unusual situation, where the scenery around him suggested nothing but objects of horror. In this situation, he revolved in his mind the question proposed; and whatever was impressed upon him by his exalted imagination, passed for the inspiration of the disembodied spirits, who haunt the desolate recesses.
NOTE 33, page 384.
Tradition culls the llero's Targe. There is a rock so named in the Forest of Glenfinlas, by which a tumul. tuary cataract takes its course. This wild place is said in former times to have afforded refuge to an outlaw, who was supplied with provisions by a woman, who lowered them down from the brink of the precipice above. His water be procured for himself, by letting down a flagon tied to a string, into the black pool beneath the fall.
NOTE 34, page 385.
Thal party conquers in the strife. Though this be in the text described as a response of the Taghairm, or Oracle of the Hide, it was of itself an augury frequently attended to. The fate of the battle was often anticipated in the imagination of the combatants, by observing which party first shed blood. It is said that the Highlanders under Montrose were so deeply imbued with this notion, that, on the morning of the battle of Tippermoor, they murdered a defenceless herdsman, whom they found in the fields, merely to secure an advantage of so much consequence to their party.
NOTE 35, page 390.
Our moonlight circle's screen?
Beloved of vur Elfin Queen ? Fairies, if not positively malevolent, are capricious, and easily offended. Like other proprietors of forests, they are peculiarly jealous of their rights of vert and venison. This jealousy was also an attribute of the northern Duergar, or dwarfs; to many of whose distinctions the fairies seem to have succeeded, if, indeed, they are not the same class of beings.
who may dure on wold to wear
The fairies' fatal green? As the Daoine Shi' or Men of Peace, wore green habits, they were sup. posed to take offence when any mortals ventured to assume their favourite colour. Indeed, from some reason which has been, perhaps, originally a general superstition, green is held in Scotland to be unlucky to particular tribes and counties. The Caithness men, who hold this belief, allege as a reason, that their bands wore that colour when they were cut off at the battle of Flodden; and for the same reason they avoid crossing the Ord on a Monday, being the day of the week on which their ill-omened array set forth. Green is also disliked by those of the name of Ogilvy; but more especially is it held fatal to the whole clan of Grahame. It is remeinbered of an aged gentleman of that name, that when his horse fell in a fox-chase, he accounted for it at once by observing, that the whipcord attached to his lash was of this unlucky colour.
NOTE 37, page 390.
For Thou wert christen'd man. The elves were supposed greatly to envy the privileges acquired by Christian initiation, and they gave to those mortals who had fallen into their power a certain precedence, founded upon this advantageous distinction. Tamlane, in the old ballad, describes his own rank in the fairy procession:
"For I ride on a milk-white steed,
Aod aye nearest the town;
NOTE 38, page 402.
The prowling fox wus trapp'd or slain? St John actually used this illustration when engaged in confuting the plea of law proposed for the unfortunate Earl of Strafford: “It was true, we gave laws to hares and deer, because they are beasts of chase; but it was never accounted either cruelty or foul play to knock foxes or wolves on the head as they can be found, because they are beasts of prey. In a word, the law and humanity were alike; the one being more fallacious, and the other more barbarous, than in any age had been vented in such an authority." - Clarendon's llistory of the Rebellion. Oxford, 1702.
NOTE 39, page 402.
his llighlund cheer, The harden'd flush of mountain-deer. The Scottish Highlanders in former times, had a concise mode of cooking their venison, or rather of dispensing with cooking it, which appears greatly to have surprised the French whom chance made acquainted with it. The Vidame of Charters, when a hostage in England, during the reign of Edward VI., was permitted to travel into Scotland, and penetrated as far as to the remote Highlands (au fin fond des Sauvuges). After a great hunting party, at which a most wonderful quantity of game was destroyed, he saw these Scortish Savages devour a part of their venison raw, without any farther preparation than compressing it between two batons of wood, so as to force out the blood, and render it extremely hard. This they reckoned a great delicacy; and when the Vidame partook of it, his compliance with their taste rendered him extremely popular.
NOTE 40, page 406.
Held borrow'd lruncheon of command. There is scarcely a more disorderly period in Scottish history than that which succeeded the battle of Flodden, and occupied the minority of James V. Feuds of ancient standing broke out like old wounds, and every quarrel among the independent nobility, which occurred daily, and almost hourly, gave rise to fresh bloodshed.
NOTE 41, page 410.
I only meant
Withoni a pass from Roderick Dhu. This incident, like some other passages in the poem, illustrative of the character of the ancient Gael, is not imaginary, but borrowed from fact.
The Highlanders, with the inconsistency of most nations in the same state, were alternately capable of great exertions of generosity, and of cruel revenge and perfidy.
NOTE 42, page 411.
of yore her eagle-wings unfurid. The torrent which discharges itself from Loch Vennachar, the lowest and eastmost of the three lakes which form the scenery adjoining to the Trosachs, sweeps through a flat and extensive moor, called Bochastle. Upon a small eminence, called the Dun of Bochastle, and indeed on the plain itself, are some intrenchments, which have been thought Roman. There is, adjacent to Callander, a sweet villa, the residence of Captain Fairfoul, entitled the Roman Camp.
NOTE 43, page 411.
Arm’d, like thyself, with single brand. The duellists of former times did not always stand upon those punc. tilios respecting equality of arms, which are now judged essential to fair combat. It is true, that in former combats in the lists, the parties were, by the judges of the field, put as nearly as possible in the same circumstances. But in private duel it was often otherwise.
NOTE 44, page 413.
That on the field his large he threw. A round target of light wood, covered with strong leather, and studded with brass or iron, was a necessary part of a Highlander's equipment. In charging regular troops, they received the thrust of the bayonet in this buckler, twisted it aside, and used the broad-sword against the encumbered soldier. In the civil war of 1745, most of the front rank of the clans were thus armed: and Captain Grose informs us, that, in 1747, the privates of the 24d regiment, then in Flanders, were, for the most part, permitted to carry targets. Military Antiquities, vol. i. p. 164.
NOTE 45, page 417.
The burghers hold their sports to-day. Every burgh of Scotland, of the least note, but more especially the considerable towns, had their solemn play, or festival, when feats of archery were exhibited, and prizes distributed to those who excelled in wrestling, hurling the bar, and the other gymnastic exercises of the period. Stirling, a usual place of royal residence, was not likely to be deficient in pomp upon such occasions, especially since James V. was very partial to them. His ready participation in these popular amusements was one cause of his acquiring the title of King of the commons, or Rex Plebeiorum, as Lesley has latinized it. The usual prize to the best shooter was a silver arrow. Such a one is preserved at Selkirk and at Peebles.
NOTE 46, page 419.
Robin Hood. The exhibition of this renowned outlaw and his band was a favourite frolic at such festivals as we are describing. This sporting, in which kings did not disdain to be actors, was prohibited in Scotland upon the Reformation, by a statute of the 6th Parliament of Queen Mary, c. 61, A. D. 1555,
which ordered, under heavy penalties, that "na manner of person be chosen
NOTE 47, page 419.
To Douglas gave a golden ring. The usual prize of a wrestling was a ram and a ring, but the animal would have embarrassed my story. Thus, in the Cokes Tale of Gamelyn, ascribed to Chaucer:
“There happed to be there beside
Tryed a wrestling:
NOTE 48, page 427.
Adventurers they The Scottish armies consisted chiefly of the nobility and barons, with their vassals, who held lands under them, for military service by themselves and their tenants. The patriarchal influence exercised by the heads of clans in the Highlands and Borders was of a different nature, and sometimes at variance with feudal principles. It flowed from the Patria Polestas, exercised by the chieftain as representing the original father of the whole name, and was often obeyed in contradiction to the feudal superior.
NOTE 49, page 430.
The leader of a juggler band. The jongleurs, or jugglers, used to call in the aid of various assistants, to render these performances as captivating as possible. The glee-maiden was a necessary attendant. Her duty was tumbling and dancing; and therefore the Anglo-Saxon version of Saint Mark's Gospel states Herodias to have vaulted or tumbled before King Herod.
NOTE 50, page 435.
so much attached to particular tunes, as to require to hear them Such an anecdote is mentioned by the late Mr Riddel
, collection of Border tunes, respecting an air called t
u Bairns,” for which a certain Gallovidian laird is said to have e que tu w.-
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