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NOTES TO CANTO THIRD,
The village InR.-P. 135. The accommodations of a Scottish hostelrie, or inn, in the 16th century, may be collected from Dunbar's admirable tale of “ The Friars of Berwick.” Simon Lawder, “the gay ostleir," seems to have lived very comfortably; and his wife decorated her person with a scarlet kirtle, and a belt of silk and silver, and rings upon her fingers; and feasted her paramour with rabbits, capons, partridges, and Bourdeaux wine. At least, if the Scottish inns were not good, it was not for want of encouragement from the legislature; who, so early as the reign of James I., not only enacted, that in all boroughs and fairs there be hostellaries, having stables and chanıbers, and provision for man and horse, but, by another statute, ordained, that no man, travelling on horse or foot, should presume to lodge any where except in these hostellaries; and that no person, save inn. keepers, should receive such travellers, under the penalty of forty shillings, for exercising such hospitality." But, in spite of
* James I. Parliament I. cap. 24. ; Parliament III. cap. 56.
these provident enactments, the Scottish hostels are but indif. ferent, and strangers continue to find reception in the houses of individuals.
The death of a dear friend.-P. 145. Among other omens to which faithful credit is given among the Scottish peasantry, is what is called the “dead-bell,” explained, by my friend James Hogg, to be that tinkling in the ears which the country people regard as the secret intelligence of some friend's decease. He tells a story to the purpose in the “ Mountain Bard,” p. 26.
The Goblin Hall.-P. 151. A vaulted hall under the ancient castle of Gifford, or Yester, (for it bears either name indifferently,) the construction of which has, from a very remote period, been ascribed to magic, The Statistical Account of the Parish of Garvald and Baro, gives the following account of the present state of this castle and apartment: Upon a peninsula, formed by the water of Hopes on the east, and a large rivulet on the west, stands the ancient castle of Yester. Sir David Dalrymple, in his Annals, relates, that Hugh Gifford de Yester died in 1267; that in his castle there was a capacious cavern formed by magical art, and called in the country Bo-ball, i. e. Hobgoblin Hall.' A stair of twenty-four steps led down to this apartment, which is a large and spacious hall, with an arched roof; and though it hath stood for so many centuries, and been exposed to the external air for a period of fifty or sixty years, it is still as firm and en. tire as if it had only stood a few years. From the floor of this hall, another stair of thirty-six steps leads down to a pit which hath a communication with Hopes-water. A great part of the walls of this large and ancient castle are still standing. There is a tradition, that the castle of Yester was the last fortification in this country, that surrendered to General Gray, sent into Scotland by Protector Somerset.” Statistical Account, Vol. XIII. I have only to add, that, in 1737, the Goblin Hall was tenanted by the Marquis of Tweedale's falconer, as I learn from a poem by Boyse, entitled “ Retirement,” written upon visiting Yester. It is now rendered inaccessible by the fall of the stair.
Sir David Dalrymple's authority for the anecdote: is Fordun, whose words are,"A.D. MCCLXVII, Hugo Giffard de Yester moritur; cujus castrum, vel saltem caveam, et dongionem, arte dæmonica antiqua relationes ferunt fabrifactas: nam ibidem habetur mirabilis specus subterraneus, opere mirifico constructus, magno terrarum spatio protelatus, qui communiter Bo-Hall appellatus est." Lib. X. cap. 21.—Sir David conjectures, that Hugh de Gifford must have been either a very wise man, or a great oppressor.
There floated Haco's banner trim,
Above Norweyan warriors grim.-P. 153. In 1263, Haco, King of Norway, came into the Firth of Clyde with a powerful armament, and made a descent at Largs, in Ayrshire. Here he was encountered and defeated, on the 2d October, by Alexander III. Haco retreated to Orkney, where he died soon after this disgrace to liis arms. There are still existing, near the place of battle, many barrows, some of which having been opened, were found, as usual, to contain bones and urns.
His wizard habit strange.-P. 153. 3« Magicians, as is well known, were very curious in the choice and form of their vestments. Their caps are oval, or like py: ramids, with lappets on each side, and fur within. Their gowns are long, and furred with fox-skins, under which they have a linen garment, reaching to the knee. Their girdles are three inches broad, and have many cabalistical names, with crosses, trines, and circles, inscribed on them. Their shoes should be of new russet leather, with a cross cut upon them. Their knives are dagger fashion; and their swords have neither guard nor scabbard.” See these, and many other particulars, in the Discourse concerning Devils and Spirits, annexed to REGINALD Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft, edition 1665.