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Like wild-fire o'er a mossy heath,
The rumour through the hamlet ran:
To hear the tale,-behold the man.
He led them near the Blasted Oak,
Then, conscious, from the scene withdrew :
And lay the whitened bones to view !
Back they recoiled!—the right hand still,
Contracted, grasped a rusty sword;
And proudly decked their slaughtered lord...
They bore the corse to Vener's shrine, i
With holy rites, and prayers addressed;
And gave the Angry Spirit rest.
If asked to tell a fuiry tale.-P. 307. The Daoine shi', or Men of Peace, of the Scottish Highlanders, rather resemble the Scandinavian Duergar than the English Fairies. Notwithstanding their name, they are, if not absolutely malevolent, at least peevish, discontented, and apt to do mischief on slight provocation. The belief of their existence is deeply impressed on the Highlanders, who think they are particularly offended with mortals, who talk of them, who wear
their favourite colour, green, or in any respect interfere with their affairs. This is especially to be avoided on Friday, when, whether as dedicated to Venus, with whom, in Germany, this subterraneous people are held nearly connected, or for a more solemn reason, they are more active, and possessed of greater powers. Some curious particulars concerning the popular su. perstitions of the Highlanders, may be found in Dr. Graham's Picturesque Sketches of Perthshire.
Note VII.. - The Towers of Franchémont.-P. 308.. The journal of the friend, to whom the Fourth Canto of the poem is inscribed, furnished me with the following account of a striking superstition. , :;:'",, . '.
“Passed the pretty little village of Franchémont, (near Spaw,) with the romantic ruins of the old castle of the Counts of that name. The road leads through many delightful vales, on a rising ground; at the extremity of one of them stands the ancient castle, now the subject of many superstitious legends. It is firmly believed by the neighbouring peasantry, that the last Baron of Franchémont deposited, in one of the vaults of the castle, a ponderous chest, containing an immense treasure in gold and silver, which, by some magic spell, was entrusted to the care of the devil, who is constantly found sitting on the chest in the shape of a huntsman. Any one adventurous enough to touch the chest, is instantly seized with the palsy. Upon one occasion, a priest of noted piety was brought to the vault: he used all the arts of exorcism to persuade his infernal majesty to vacate the seat, but in vain; the huntsman remained im. moveable. At last, moved by the earnestness of the priest, he told him, that he would agree to resign the chest, if the exor, ciser would sign his name with blood. But the priest under stood his meaning, and refused, as by that act he would have delivered over his soul to the devil. Yet if any body can dis. cover the mystic words used by the person who deposited the treasure, and pronounce them, the fiend must instantly decamp. I had many stories of a similar nature from a peasant, who had himself seen the devil, in the shape of a great cat.”
Hovering upon the sunny air.-P. 32t. “ I shall only prodnce one instance more of the great veneration paid to Lady Hilda, which still prevails even in these our days; and that is, the constant opinion that she rendered, and still renders, herself visible, on some occasions, in the abbey of Streanshalh, or Whitby, where she so long resided. At a particular time of the year, (viz. in the summer months) at ten or eleven in the forenoon, the sun-beams fall in the inside of the northern part of the choir; and 'tis then that the spectators, who stand on the west side of Whitby church-yard, so as just to see the most northerly part of the abbey past the porth end of Whitby church, imagine they perceive, in one of the highest windows there, the resemblance of a woman, arrayed in a
shroud. Though we are certain this is only a reflection, caused by the splendour of the sun-beams, yet fame reports it, and it is constantly believed among the vulgar, to be an appearance of Lady Hilda in her shroud, or rather in a glorified state ; before which, I make no doubt, the papists, even in these our days, offer up their prayers with as much zeal and devotion, as before any other image of their most glorified saint.”—CHARLFON’s History of Whitby, p. 33.. .
Note IX. A Bishop by the altar stood.-P. 332. The well-known Gawain Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, son of Archibald Bell-the-Cat, Earl of Angus. He was author of a Scottish metrical version of the Æneid, and of many other poetical pieces of great merit. He had not at this period attained the mitre.
The huge and sweeping brand,
As woodknife shreds the sapling spray.-P. 333. Angus had strength and personal activity corresponding to his courage. Spens of Kilspindie, a favourite of James IV. having spoken of him lightly, the Earl met him while hawking, and, compelling him to single combat, at one blow cut asunder his thigh bone, and killed him on the spot. But ere he could
obtain James's pardon for this slaughter, Angus was obliged to yield his castle of Hermitage, in exchange for that of Bothwell, which was some diminution to the family greatness.The sword, with which he struck so remarkable a blow, was presented by his descendant, James, Earl of Morton, after, wards Regent of Scotland, to Lord Lindesay of the Byres, when he defied Bothwell to single combat on Carberry-hill.See Introduction to the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, p.ix.
Note XI. iun..
. Let the portcullis fall.-P. 338. This ebullition of violence in the potent Earl of Angus is not without its example in the real bistory of the House of Douglas, whose chieftains possessed the ferocity, with the heroic virtues, of a savage state. The most curious instance occurred in the case of Maclellan, tutor of Bomby, who, having refused to acknowledge the pre-eminence claimed by Douglas over the gentlemen and Barons of Galloway, was seized and 'imprisoned by the Earl, in his castle of the Thrieve, on the borders of Kirkcudbright-shire. Sir Patrick Gray, commander of King James the Second's guard, was uncle to the tutor of Bomby, and obtained from the King a “sweet letter of supplication," praying the Earl to deliver his prisoner into Gray's