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Some chief had framed a rustic bower.-P. 211. 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 but, in a strong and secluded situation.
Of Ferragus or A scabart.-P. 213. These two sons of Anak flourished in romantic fable. The first is well known to the admirers of Ariosto, Ly the name of Ferrau. He was an antagonist of Orlando, and was at length slain by him in single combat. Asca part, or Ascabart, makes a very material figure in the History of Bevis of Hampton, by whom he was conquered.
Though all unasked his birth or name.-P. 213. The Highlanders, who carried hospitality to a punctilions e 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 producell the discovery of some circumstance which might have excluded the guest from the benefit of the assistance he stood in ueed of.
Morn's genial influence waked a minstrel grey.--P. 216. Highland chieftains, to a late period, retained in their service the bard, as il family officer.
Poured forth the glory of the Grame.--P. 219. The ancient and powerful family of Graham (which, for metrical reasons, is here spelled after the Scottish pronunciation), held extensive possessions in the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling.
This harp which erst Saint Modan swayed.-P. 219. 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.
Ere Douglasses, to ruin driven.--P. 219. The downfall of the Douglasses of the house of Angus, during the reign of James V., is the event alluded to in the text.
Disowned by every noble peer.-P. 221. 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 Scotland, durst not entertain them, unless under the strictest and closest disguise.
A votaress in Maronnan's cell.-P. 222. The parish of Kilmaronock, at the eastern extremity of Loch Lomond, derives its name from a cell or chapel, dedicated to Saint Harouoch, or Marnoch, or Maronan.
But wild as Bracklinn's thundering wave.-P. 222. This is a beautiful cascade made at a place called the Bridge of Bracklinn, by a mountain stream called the Keltie, about a milo froin the village of Callander, in Menteithi.
For Tine-inan forged by fairy lore.-P. 223. Archibald, the third Earl of Douglas, was so unfortunate in all his enterprises, that he acquired the epithet of TINE-MAX, because he tined, or lost, his followers in every battle which he fought.
Did, self-unscabbarded, fore-show.-P. 223. 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.
Roderigh Vich Alpine Dhu, ho! ieroe!—P. 225. Besides his ordinary name and surname, 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.
Malise, what ho!-his hench-man came.-P. 233. This officer was a sort of secretary, and was upon all occasions to venture his life in defence of his master; and at drinking-houts he stood behind bis seat, at his haunch, from whence his title is derived, and watched the conversation, to see if any one offended his patron. And while the Fiery Cross glanced, like a meteor, round.-P. 234.
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 Crean 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. He who received the symbol was bound to send it forward, with equal despatch, 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 em. blematically 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 thirty-two miles, in three hours.
That Monk, of savage form and face.-P. 236. 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.
The virgin snood did Alice wear.--P. 236. 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, toy, or coif, when she passed, by marriage, into the matron state. But if the damsel was Bo 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.
Beheld the River Dæmon rise.-P. 237. The River Damon, or River Horse, for it is that form which he commonly assumes, is the Kelpy of the Lowlands, an evil and malicious spirit, delighting to forebode and to witness calamity. He frequents most Highland lakes and rivers.
Of noontide hay, or goblin grim.-P. 237. The “noontide hag," called in Gaelic Glas-lich, a tall, emaciated, gigantic female figure, is supposed in particular to haunt the district of Knoidart. A goblin dressed in antique armour, and having ono hand covered with blood, called, from that circumstanco, Lham-dearg, or Red-band, is a tenant of the forests of Glenmore and Rothiemurchus.
The fatal Ben-Shie's boding scream.-P. 237. 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. The Ben-Shie implies the female fairy, whose lamentations were often supposed to precede the death of a chieftain of particular families. When she is visible, it is in the form of an old woman, with a blue mantle and streaming hair.
Sounds, too, had come in midnight blast.-P. 238. A presage of the kind alluded to in the text is still believed to announce death to the ancient Highland family of MacLean of Lochbuy.
Whose parents in Inch-Cailliach wave.-P. 238. Inch-Cailliach, the Isle of Nuns, or of Old Women, is a most beautiful island at the lower extremity of Loch-Lomond.
Speed, Malise, speed! the dun deer's hide.-P. 240. The ancient buskin was made of the undressed deer's hide, with the hair outward; a circumstance which procured the Highlanders the well-known epithet of Red-shanks.
The dismal Coronach resound.-P. 241. The Coronach of the Highlanders, like the Ululatus of the Romans, and the Ulaloo 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.
Balquidder, speeds the midnight blaze.-P. 246. The heath on the Scottish moorlands is often set fire to, that the sheep may have the advantage of the young herbage.
No oath but, By his Chieftain's hand.-P. 246. The deep and implicit respect paid by the Highland clansmen to their chief, rendered this both a common and a solemn oath.
Has Coir-nan-Uriskin been sung.-P. 247. This is a very sleep and most romantic hollow in the mountain of Ben-Venue, overhanging the south-eastern extremity of LochKatrine. The name literally implies the Corri, or Den, of the Wild or Shaggy Men. Tradition has ascribed to the Urisk, who gives pame to the cavern, a figure between a goat and a man ; in short, however much the classical reader may be startled, precisely that of the Grecian Satyr.
Through the wild pass of Beal-nam-B0.-P. 248. Bealach-nam-Bo, or the pass of cattle, is a most magnificent glade, overbung with aged birch trees, a little higher up the mountain than the Coir-nan-Uriskin.
A single page to bear his sword.-P. 248. A Highland chief, being as absolute in his patriarchal authority as any prince, had a corresponding number of officers attached to his person. Besides his body-guards, called Luicht-tach, he had the Henchman; the Bard; the Bladier, or spokesman; the Gillie-more,
or sword-bearer; the Gillie-casflue, who carried the chief, if on foot, over the fords; the Gillie-comstraine, who leads the chief's horse : the Gillie-trushanarinsh, the baggage-man; the Piper ; the piper's Gillie, or attendant, who carries the bagpipe.
The Taghairm called, by which, afar.-P 251. The Highlanders had various superstitious modes of inquiring into futurity. One of the most noted was the Taghairm, mentioned in the text. A person was wrapped up in the skin of a newly-slain bullock, and deposited in some 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 these desolate recesses.
Tradition calls the Hero's Targe.-P. 252. There is a rock so named in the forest of Glenfinlas, by which a tumultuary 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 he procured for himself by letting down a flagon tied to a string, into the black pool beneath the fall.
Which spills the foremost foeman's life.-P. 253. 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.
Beloved of our Elfin Queen.-P. 256. Fairies, if not positively malevolent, are capricious, and easily offended. They are, like other proprietors of forests, peculiarly jealous of their rights of vert and venison.
The fairie's fatal green.-P. 257. As the Daoine Shi', or Men of Peace, wore green habits, they were supposed 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. Green is also disliked by those of the name of Ogilvy; but more especially is it held fatal to the whole clan of Grahame.
For thou wert christened man.-P. 257. 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.
But all is glistening show.-P. 258. No fact respecting Fairy-land seems to be better ascertained than the fantastic and illusory nature of their apparent pleasure and splendour.
And, 'twixt life and death, was snatched away.-P. 258. The subjects of Fairy-land were recruited from the regions of humanity by a sort of crimping system, which extended to adults as well as to infants. Many of those who were in this world supposed to have discharged the debt of nature, had only become denizens of the “ Londe of Faery."
The Gael, of plain and river heir.-P. 270. The Gael, or Highlanders, never forgot that the Lowlands had, at some remote period, been the property of their Celtic forefathers; which furnished an ample vindication of all the ravages that they could make on the unfortunate districts which lay within their reach.
On Bochastle the mouldering lines.--P. 273. 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.
That on the field his targe he threw.-P. 274. 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 broadsword against the encumbered soldier.
The burghers hold their sports to-day.-P. 278. 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. The usual prize to the best shooter was a silver arrow. At Dumfries, a silver gun was substituted, and the contention transferred to fire-arms.
Bold Robin Hood and all his band.-P. 279. The exhibition of this renowned outlaw and his band was a favourite frolic at such festivals as we are describing. This sport, in which kings did not disdain to be actors, was prohibited in Scot land upon the Reformation, by a statute of the 6th parliament of Queen Mary, c. 61, A.D. 1555. It would seem, however, from the complaints of the General Assembly of the Kirk, that these profane festivities were continued down to 1592.
To Douglas gave a golden ring.-P. 280. The usual prize of a wrestling was a ram and a ring, but the ani. mal would have embarrassed my story,
These drew not for their fields the sword.-P. 286. 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 exer: cised 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 potestas, exercised by the chieftain as representing the original father of the whole name, and was often obeyed in contradiction to the feudal superior. James V. seems first to have introduced, in addition to the militia furnished from these sources, the service of a small number of mercenaries, who formed a body-guard, called the Foot-Band.
Thou now hast glee-maiden and harp.-P. 288. 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.
Of yore the name of Snowdoun claims.-P. 301. William of Worcester, who wrote about the middle of the fifteenth century, calls Stirling Castle, Snowdoun. Sir David Lindsay bestows the same epithet upon it.