« 前へ次へ »
even the most minute ornaments seem as entire as when newly wrought. In some of the cloisters, as is hinted in the next Canto, there are representations of flowers, vegetables, &c. carved in stones, with accuracy and precision so delicate, that we almost distrust our senses, when we consider the difficulty of subjecting so hard a substance to such intricate and exquisite modulation. This superb convent was dedicated to St. Mary, and the monks were of the Cistertian order.
When silver edges the imagery,
The buttresses, ranged along the sides of the ruins of Melrose Abbey, are, according to the Gothic style, richly carved and fretted, containing niches for the statues of saints, and labelled with scrolls, bearing appropriate texts of Scripture. Most of these statues have been demolished.
St. David's ruin'd pile.- Page 27. David I. of Scotland, purchased the reputation of sanctity, by founding, and liberally endowing, not only the monastery of Melrose, but those of Kelso, Jedburgh, and many others; which led to the wellknown observation of his successor, that he was a sore saint for the crown.
Barred aventayle. - Page 28. Aventayle, i.e, vizor of the helmet.
The corbells.- Page 37. Corbells, i.e. the projections from which the arches spring, usually cut in a fantastic face, or mask,
- Thy low and lonely urn,
O gallant Chief of Otterburne. - Page 31. The famous and desperate battle of Otterburne was fought 15th August, 1388, betwixt Henry Percy, called Hotspur, and James, Earl of Douglas. Both these renowned champions were at the head of a chosen body of troops, and they were rivals in military fame. The issue of the conflict is well known : Percy was made prisoner, and the Scots won the day, dearly purchased by the death of their gallant general, the Earl of Douglas, who was slain in the action. He was buried at Melrose, beneath the high altar.
-Dark Knight of Liddesdale.- Page 32. William Douglas, called the Knight of Liddesdale, flourished during the reign of David II., and was so distinguished by his valour, that he was called the Flower of Chivalry. Nevertheless, he tarnished his renown by the cruel murder of Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, originally his friend and brother in arms. The King had conferred upon Ramsay the sheriffdom of Teviotdale, to which Douglas pretended some claim. In revenge of this preference, the Knight of Liddesdale came down upon Ramsay, while he was administering justice at Hawick, seized and carried him off to his remote and inaccessible castle of Hermitage, where he threw his unfortunate
prisoner, horse and man, into a dungeon, and left him to perish of hunger. It is said, the miserable captive prolonged his existence for several days by the corn which fell from a granary above the vault in which he was confined. So weak was the royal anthority, that David, although highly incensed at this atrocious murder, found himself obliged to appoint the Knight of Liddesdale successor to his victim, as Sheriff of Teviotdale. But he was soon after slain, while hunting in Ettrick Forest, by his own godson and chieftain, William, Earl of Douglas, in revenge according to some authors, of Ramsay's murder ; although a popular tradition, preserved in a ballad quoted by Godscroft, and some parts of which are still preserved, ascribes the resentment of the Earl to jealousy. The place where the Knight of Liddesdale was killed, is called, from his name, William-Cross, upon the ridge of a hill called Williamhope, betwixt Tweed and Yarrow.
--The wondrous Michael Scott.- Page 33. Sir Michael Scott of Balwearie flourished during the 13th century, and was one of the ambassadors sent to bring the Maid of Norway to Scotland upon the death of Alexander III. By a poetical anachronism, he is here placed in a later erą. He was a man of much learning, chiefly acquired in foreign countries. He wrote a commentary upon Aristotle, printed at Venice in 1496 ; and several treatises upon natural philosophy, from which he appears to have been addicted to the abstruse studies of judicial astrology, alchemy, physiognomy, and chiromancy. Hence he passed among his contemporaries for a skilful magician. The memory of Sir Michael Scott survives in many a legend ; and in the south of Scotland, any work of great labour and antiquity, is ascribed, either to the agency of Auld Michael, of Sir William Wallace, or of the devil. Tradition varies concerning the place of his burial, some contend for Holme Coltrame, in Cumberland ; others for Melrose Abbey. But all agree that his books of magic were interred in his grave, or preserved in the convent where he died.
The words, that cleft Eildoun Hills in three,
And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone.-P. 33.
Michael Scott was, once upon a time, much embarrassed by a spirit, for whom 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. At length the enchanter conquered this indefatigable demon, by employing him in the hopeless and endless task of making ropes out of sea-sand.
He thought, as he took it, the dead man frown'd.-P.39.
William of Deloraine might be strengthened in
this belief by the well-known story of the Cid Ruy Diaz. When the body of that famous Christian champion was sitting in state by the high altar of the cathedral church of Toledo, where it remained for ten years, a certain malicious Jew attempted to pull him by the beard; but he had no sooner touched the formidable whiskers, than the corpse started up, and half unsheathed his sword. The Israelite fled; and so permanent was the effect of his terror, that he became Christian. HeYWOOD's Hierarchie, p. 480, quoted from Sebastian Cobarruvias Crosee.
The Carter's side. - Page 41. A mountain on the border of England, above Jedburgh.
Startled cushat dove. - Page 47.
A sheeling.- Page 54.
Whate'er he did of gramarye.-- Page 56. Gramarye, i.e. magic.
The running stream dissolved the spell. - Page 56.
It is a firm article of popular faith, that no enchantment can subsist 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