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That when in Salamanca's cave.-P. 17. Spain was accounted a favourite residence of magicians.
The words, that cleft Eildon Hills in three.-P. 18. Michael Scott was, once upon a time, much embarrassed by a spirit, for whoin he was under the necessity of finding constant employment. He commanded him to build a cauld, or dam-head, across the Tweed at Kelso, it was accomplished in one night, and still does honour to the infernal architect. Michael next ordered that Eildon Hill, which was then a uniform cone, should be divided into three. Another night was sufficient to part its summit into the three picturesque peaks which it now bears.
That lamp shall burn unquenchably.-P. 18. Baptista Porta, and other authors who treat of natural magic, talk much of eternal lamps, pretended to have been found burning in ancient sepulchres.
He marked the crane on the Baron's crest.-P. 25. The crest of the Cranstouns, in allusion to their name, is a crane dormant, holding a stone in his foot, with an emphatic Border motto, Thou shalt want ere I want.
Like a book-bosomed priest should ride.-P. 26. There is a tradition that friars were wont to come from Melrose, or Jedburgh, to baptize and marry in the parish of Unthank; and. from being in use to carry the mass-book in their bosoms, they were called by the inhabitants, Book-a-bosomes.
The running stream dissolved the spell.-P. 27. It is a firm article of popular faith that no enchantment can sub sist in a living stream. Nay, if you can interpose a brook betwixt you and witches, spectres, or even fiends, you are in perfect safety. Burns's inimitable Tam o' Shanter turns entirely upon such a circumstance. The belief seems to be of antiquity.
Would strike below the knee.-P. 29. To wound, an antagonist in the thigh or leg was reckoned contrary to the law of arms.
On many a cairn's grey pyramid.-P. 32. The cairns, or piles of loose stones, which crown the summit of most of our Scottish hills, and are found in other remarkable situations, seem usually, though not universally, to have been sepulchral monuments. Six flat stones are commonly found in the centre, forming a cavity of greater or smaller dimensions, in which an urn is often placed.
Fell by the side of great Dundee.-P. 34.
Watt Tinlinn, from the Liddel-side.-P. 34. This person was a retainer of the Buccleuch family, and held for his Border service a small tower on the frontiers of Liddesdale.
Belted Will Howard is marching here.-P. 35. Lord William Howard, third son of Thomas, duke of Norfolk. By a poetical anachronism, he is introduced into the romance a few years earlier than he actually flourished. He was warden of the Western Marches; and, from the rigour with which he repressed the Border excesses, the name of Belted Will Howard is still famous in our traditions.
And hot Lord Dacre with many a spear.-P. 35. The well-known name of Dacre is derived from the exploits of one of their ancestors at the siege of Acre, or Ptolemais, under Richard Cour de Lion.
And all the German hackbuck-men.-P. 35. At the battle of Pinky, there were in the English army 600 hack. butters on foot, and 200 on horseback, composed chiefly of foreigners.
Ilis ready lances Thirlestane brave.-P. 36. Sir John Scott of Thirlestane flourished in the reign of James V., and possessed the estates of Thirlestane, Gamescleuch, &c., lying upon the river Ettricke, and extending to St. Mary's Loch, at the head of the Yarrow. In memory of his fidelity, James granted to his family a charter of arms, entitling them to bear a border of fleurs-de-luce, similar to the tressure in the royal arms, with a bundle of spears for the crest; motto, Ready, aye ready.
Without the bend of Murdieston.-P. 36. The family of Harden are descended from a younger son of the laird of Buccleuch, who flourished before the estate of Murdieston was acquired by the marriage of one of those chieftains with the heiress in 1296. Hence they bear the cognizance of the Scotts upon the field; whereas those of the Buccleuch are disposed upon a bend dexter, assumed in consequence of that marriage.
Their gathering word was Bellenden.-P. 38. Bellenden is situated near the head of Borthwick Water, and hcin in the centre of the possessions of the Scotts, was frequently used as their place of rendezvous and gathering word.
Bore high a gauntlet on a spear.-P. 41. A glove upon a lance was the emblem of faith among the ancient Borderers, who were wont, when any one broke his word, to expose this emblem, and proclaim him a faithless villain at tho first Border meeting. This cereniony was much dreaded.
That he may suffer march-treason pain.-P. 42. Several species of offences, peculiar to the Border, constituted what was called march-treason. Among others, was the crime of riding, or causing to ride, against the opposite country during the time of truce.
Knighthood he took of Douglas' sword.-P. 43. The dignity of knighthood, according to the original institution, had this peculiarity, that it did not flow from the monarch, but could be conferred by one who himself possessed it, upon any squire who, after due probation, was found to merit the honour of chivalry.
When English blood swelled Ancram ford.-P. 43. The battle of Ancram Moor, or Peniel-heuch, was fought A.D. 1515.
Saw the blanche lion e'er fall back.-P. 44. This was the cognizance of the noble house of Howard in all its branches.
Announcing Douglas, dreaded name!--P. 48. The chief of this potent race of heroes, about the date of the poem, was Archibald Douglas, seventh Earl of Angus, a man of great courage and activity. The Bloody Heart was the well-known cognizance of the house of Douglas, assumed from the time of Good Lord James, to whose care Robert Bruce committed his heart, to be carried to the Holy Land.
Where the Seven Spears of Wedderburne.-P. 48. Sir David Home of Wedderburn, who was slain in the fatal battle of Flodden, left seven sous, who were called the Seven Spears of Wedderburne.
And Swinton laid the lance in rest.-P. 48. At the battle of Beauge, in France, Thomas, Duke of Clarence. brother to Henry V., was unborsed by Sir John Swinton of Swinton, who distinguished him by a coronet set with precious stones, which he wore around his helmet. The family of Swinton is one of the most ancient in Scotland, and produced many celebrated warriors.
And shouting still, " A llome! a Home !”—P. 48. The Earls of Home, as descendants of the Dunbars, ancient Earls of March, carried a lion rampant, argent; but, as a difference, changed the colour of the shield from gules to vert, in allusion to Greenlaw, their ancient possession. The slogan, or war-cry, of this powerful family was, "A Home! a Home !" The Hepburns, a powerful family in East Lothian, were usually in close alliance with the Homes.
Pursued the foot-ball play.-P. 49. The foot-ball was anciently a very favourite sport all through Scotland, but especially upon the Borders.
Cheer the dark blood-hound on his way.-P. 57. The pursuit of Border maranders was followed by the injured party and his friends with blood-hounds and bugle-horn, and was called the hot-trod. He was entitled, if his dog could trace the scent, to follow the invaders into the opposite kingdom-a privilege which often occasioned blood-shed.
She wrought not by forbidden spell.-P. 59. Popular belief, though contrary to the doctrines of the made a favourable distinction betwixt magicians and necromancers, or wizards; the former were supposed to command the evil spirits, and the latter to serve, or at least to be in leagne and compact with those enemies of mankind.
A merlin sat upon her wrist.-P. 60. A merlin, or sparrow-hawk, was usually carried by ladies of rank, as a falcon was, in time of peace, the constant attendant of a knight or baron.
And princely peacock's gilded train.-P. 60. e peacock was considered. during the times of chivalry. not merely as an exquisite delicacy, but as a dish of peculiar solemnity. After being roasted, it was again decorated with its plumage, and a sponge, dipped in lighted spirits of wine, was placed in its bill. When it was introduced on days of grand festival, it was the signal for the adventurous knights to take upon them vows to do some deed of chivalry, " before the peacock and the ladies."
And o'er the boar-head, garnished brave.-P. 60. The boar's head was a dish of feudal splendour. In Scotland it was sometimes surrounded with little banners, displaying the colours and achievements of the baron at whose board it was served.
Smote, with his gauntlet, stout Hunthill.-P. 61. The Rutherfords of Hunthill were an ancient race of Border lairds, whose names occur in history.
But bit his glove, and shook his head.-P. 61. To bite the thumb, or the glove, seems not to have been considered upon the Border as a gesture of contempt, though so used by Shakspeare, but as a pledge of mortal revenge.
The pledge to Arthur Fire-the-braes.-P. 61. The person bearing this redoubtable nomme de guerre, was an Wiot, and resided at Thorleshope, in Liddesdale.
And first stept forth old Albert Grome.-P. 62. John Grahame, second son of Malice, Earl of Monteith, commonly surnamed John with the Bright Sword, upon some displeasure risen against him at court, retired with many of his clan and kindred, into the English Borders, in the reign of King Henry the Fourth, where they seated themselves; and many of their posterity have continued there ever since.
Who has not heard of Surrey's fame?—P. 63. The gallant and unfortunate Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was unquestionably the most accomplished cavalier of his time, and his sonnets display beauties which would do honour to a more polished age. He was beheaded on Tower-bill in 1546; a victim to the mean jealousy of Henry VIII.
Where erst St. Clairs held princely sway.-P. 65. The St. Clairs are of Norman extraction, being descended from William de St. Clair, second son of Walderne Compte de St. Clair, and Margaret, daughter to Richard Duke of Normandy. He was called, for his fair deportment, the Seemly St. Clair ; and, settling in Scotland during the reign of Malcolm Ceanmore, obtained large grants of land in Mid-Lothian. These domains were increased by the liberality of succeeding monarchs to the descendants of the family, and comprehended the baronies of Rosline, Pentland, Cowsland, Cardaine, and several others.
Thy pride and sorrow, fair Kirkwall.-P. 65. The castle of Kirkwall was built by the St. Clairs, while Earls of Orkney. It was dismantled by the Earl of Caithness about 1615.
Their barks the dragons of the wave.-P. 65. The chiefs of the Vakingr, or Scandinavian pirates, assumed thie title of Sækonungr, or Sea-kings. Their ships were often termed the serpents of the ocean.
Of that Sea-Snake, tremendous curled.-P. 65. The jormungandr, or Snake of the Ocean, whose folds surround the earth, is one of the wildest fictions of the Edda.
Of those dread Maids, whose hideous yell.-P. 65. These were the Valkyriur, or Selectors of the Slain, despatched by Odin from Valhalla, to choose those who were to die, and to distribute the contest.
Their falchions wrenched from corpses' hold.-P. 65. The northern warriors were usually entombed with their arms, and their other treasures.
That mourns the lovely Rosabelle.-P. 66. This was a family name in the house of St. Clair. Henry St. Clair, the second of the line, married Rosabelle, fourth daughter of the Earl of Stratherne.
Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch.-P. 66. A large and strong castle, now ruinous, situated betwixt Kirk. caldy and Dysart, on a steep crag, washed by the Frith of Forth.
Seemed all on fire that chapel proud.—P. 66. The beautiful chapel of Roslin is still in tolerable preservation. It was founded in 1426, by William St. Clair, Prince of Orkney, &c. The Barons of Roslin were buried in a vault beneath the chapel floor.
Who spoke the spectre-hound in Man.-P. 68. The ancient castle of Peel-town, in the Isle of Man, is said to have been haunted by an apparition, called, in the Mankish language, the Mauthe Doog, in the shape of a large black spaniel, with curlod shaggy hair.
Did to St. Bryde of Douglas make.-P. 68. This was a favourite saint of the house of Douglas, and of the Earl of Angus in particular.
He took the Sangreal's holy quest.-P. 78. One day, when Arthur was holding a high feast with his Knights of the Round Table, the Sangreal, or vessel out of which the last passover was eaten, a precious relic, which had long remained concealed from human eyes, because of the sins of the land, suddenly appeared to him and all his chivalry. The consequence of this vision was, that all the knights took on them a solemn vow to seek the Sangreal. But, alas! it could only be revealed to a knight at once accomplished in earthly chivalry, and pure and guiltless of evil conversation. All Sir Launcelot's noble accomplishments were therefore rendered vain by his guilty intrigue with Queen Guenever, or Ganore; and in this holy quest he encountered only disgraceful disasters.
Day set on Norham's castled steep.-P. 79. The ruinous castle of Norham (anciently called Ubbanford) is situated on the southern bank of the Tweed, about six miles above Berwick, and where that river is still the boundary between Eng. land and Suotland. The extent of its ruins, as well as its historical importance, shows it to have been a place of magnificence as well as strength. Edward I. resided there when he was created umpire of the dispute concerning the Scottish succession. lu 1164 it was almost rebuilt by Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, who added a huge keep, or donjon. The ruins of the castle are at present cosiderable, as well as picturesque. They consist of a large shattered tower, with many vaults, and fragments of other edifices, enclosed within an outward wall of great circuit.
The battled towers, the donjon keep.-P. 79. The donjon, in its proper signification, means the strongest part of a feudal castle-a high square tower, with walls of tremendous thickness, situated in the centre of the other buildings, from which, however, it was usually detached. The donjon contained the great hall, and principal rooms of state for solemn occasions, and also the prison of the fortress; from which last circumstance we derive the modern and restricted use of the word dungeon.
In mail, and plate, of Milan steel.-P. 81. The artists of Milan were famous in the middle ages for their skill in armoury.
Who checks at me, to death is dight.-P. 81. The crest and motto of Marmion are borrowed from an old story.
Of Tamworth tower and town.-P. 83. Lord Marmion, the principal character of the present romance, is entirely a fictitious personage. In earlier times, indeed, the family of Marmion, lords of Fontenay, in Normandy, was highly distinguished. Robert de Marmion, Lord of Fontenay, a distinguished follower of the Conqueror, obtained a grant of the castle and town of Tamworth, and also of the manor of Scrivelby, in Lincolnshire. One or both of these noble possessions was held by the honourable service of being the royal champion, as the ancestors of Marmion had formerly been to the Dukes of Normandy; but this office was afterwards adjudged to Sir John Dymocke, to whom the manor of Scrivelby had descended, and it still remains in that family.