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(3) xv. 9. Edged Alfred's falchion.] “Cuthbert, we have seen, had no great reason to spare the Danes, when opportunity offered. Accordingly, I find in Simeon of Durham that the Saint appeared in a vision to Alfred, when lurking in the marshes of Glastonbury, and promised him assistance and victory over his heathen enemies—a consolation which, as was reasonable, Alfred, after the battle of Ashendown, rewarded by & royal offering at the shrine of the Saint."-S.
(4) 10. Turned the Conqueror.] “As to William the Conqueror, the terror spread before his army, when he marched to punish the revolt of the Northumbrians, had forced the monks to fly once more to Holy Island with the body of the Saint. It was, however, replaced before William left the North; and, to balance accounts, the Conqueror having intimated an indiscreet curiosity to view the Saint's body, he was, while in the act of commanding the shrine to be opened, seized with heat and sickness, accompanied with such a panic terror, that, notwithstanding there was a sumptuous dinner
d for him, he filed without eating a morsel (which the monkish historian seems to have thought no small part both of the miracle and the penance), and never drew his bridle till he got to the River Tees."-S.
xvi. 4. Sea-born beads.] Certain small fossils, called Entrochites, which are found among the rocks of Holy Isle, are commonly termed St. Cuthbert's beads. He was supposed to forge them at night, sitting upon one rock, and using another as his anvil.
xvii. 7. Colwulf.] A King of Northumberland in the eighth century, who abdicated, and retired to Holy Isle, where he died in the odour of sanctity. St. Bede dedicated his “Ecclesiastical History to him.
15. Sexhelm.] A.D. 947, Bishop of Chester-le-Street. (Vide Stubbs's “ Episcopal Succession in England," p. 15.) Two old chroniclers tell & story about him, that he was very avaricious, and addicted to simony, the sin of taking money for holy things.
Simeon of Durham-“Historia de Dunelmensi Ecclesia" (History of the Church of Durham), lib. ii. cap. xix.--has the following: “When Bishop Uthred died, Sexhelm was ordained in his room; but he had not resided many months in that see when he fled, driven away by St, Cuthbert. For when, wandering from the paths of his predecessors, inflamed by avarice, he was distressing the people of this very Saint, and the servants of the Church, he was frightened by the Saint in a dream, an to depart with all speed. Whilst he delayed, on a second night, the Saint, chiding him with more vehemence, bade him quickly go away, threatening punishment if he delayed. Yet not even then was he willing to obey, when a third time, far more sternly than before, the Saint attacked him, and commanded him to escape, and not presume to take aught of the property of the Church; if he delayed longer, he threatened that death should come speedily upon him. When Sexhelm awoke out
of sleep, he began to be ill, but nevertheless hastened to depart, lest he should run a risk of death. Whilst fying, however, at York, he began to recover his health; and, in his room, Aldred mounted the episcopal throne.”
xix. 3. Saint Benedict.] Vide supra, iv. 2, note.
16. Tynemouth's haughty Prioress.] “That there was an ancient priory at Tynemouth is certain. Its ruins are situated on a high rocky point; and, doubtless, many a vow was made to the shrine by the distressed mariners who drove towards the iron-bound coast of Northumberland in stormy weather. It was anciently & nunnery; for Virca, Abbess of Tynemouth, presented St. Cuthbert (vet alive) with a rare winding. sheet, in emulation of a holy lady called Tuda, who had sent him a coffin. But, as in the case of Whitby and of Holy Island, the introduction of nuns at Tynemouth, in the reign of Henry VIII., is an anachronism."-S.
xx. 17. Beverley.) A town in Yorkshire, from which the family took its name. The French de, in a name, denoted the possession of an estate.
18. Fontevraud,] (or Fontevrault). A town in France, in the department of Marne-et-Loire, famous for its abbey, the finest and richest in France, and of a unique character. This abbey was at the head of a singular order, in which the men were made subject to the women. It consisted of a hundred nuns and seventy monks, under the rule of an abbess, always a lady of high degree. It was founded in A.D. 1099 by Robert d'Arbrissel, a celebrated preacher in Brittany, whom Pope Urban I. commissioned to preach in favour of the Second Crusade. It originally contained within its bounds five churches, but only one now remains. This was the cemetery of the early Plantagenet kings of England, who were also counts of Anjou ; and the tombs may still be seen (though seriously mutilated by the violence of the French Revolution) of Henry II., Richard Cour-de-Lion, Eleanor of Guienne, wife of Henry II., and Isabelle of Augoulême, widow of King John.
xxi. 10. Warranted.] Guaranteed, proved.
xxiv. 1. Chose.] A preterite used for a past participle, to assist the exigencies of the rhyme. The following may be compared :- 1. xxiii. 8, trod ; xxvi. 14, wrote ; xxxi. 5, broke ; III. vi. 7, unbroke ; IV. y. 10, V. xxiii. 1, rode : IV. viii. 13. swore: xxi. 12. mistook. Cf. Charles We in Trench's “Household Book of Poetry” (p. 218, 1. 59 and 67);
“In vain, I have not wept and strove."
“The Sun of Righteousness on me hath rose." xxv. 4.) Scott's defence of the introduction of the immuring of the nun is twofold :-(1) That it is well known that the Catholics punished those who broke vows of religion in the same way as the Romans punished the vestals in a similar case. So Rhea Sylvia was treated. Cf. Macaulay's “ Prophecy of Capys," "the mother to the tomb." (2) That some years ago a skeleton, seemingly of an immured nun, was discovered among the ruins of the Abbey of Coldingham. It may, however, be observed that such a practice was not in accordance with any law, civil or ecclesiastical.
Xxvi. 5. Hectic.] Greek &&cs, habit, from ēxw, to have, means primarily habitual. It is the term applied to a species of intermittent fever, and thus to the colour of a consumptive patient.
xxvii. 13. Who forfeited.] The antecedent of this relative is to be supplied out of the pronoun “my” in the preceding verse.
16. He knew her of broad lands the heir.] For knew her to be the heir. This ellipse is not uncommon. Cf. Tennyson's "Idylls" :
“When I that know him fierce and turbulent." Xxviii. 1. The King.] Henry VIII. 2. A rival.] De Wilton.
6. Fight.) Trial by wager of battle was an ancient practice among the nations of Northern Europe. It was introduced into England by the Normans, and was legal in-(1) cases of honour; (2) appeals of felony; and (3) certain disputes as to ownership of property. The disputants might fight either personally or by champions. Marmion's combat probably came under the first of the cases named above. The last combat in a civil case was in 1571, though authorised duels in cases of honour took place as late as 1688. In the year 1818, one Abraham Thornton, being charged with the murder of a girl, to the surprise of everyone pleaded “Not guilty; and I am ready to defend the same on my body.” The King's Bench decided that the prisoner had a right to “ wage his battle"; and as the next of kin of the murdered girl was unwilling to fight, the accused was liberated. A statute was passed immediately afterwards, abolishing trial by combat in all cases.
7. Oaths.] Previous to joining issue, the combatants made oath that they had not called in the aid of sorcery, or other unlawful means, to prejudice the fight.
14. Heaven shall decide.] It was the common belief that the justice of Heaven decided the issue of their combat.
xxix. 6. Suorn a nun.] Previous to becoming a nun, it was usual to pass a certain time in the convent as a novice, during which period the intending nun was free to change her intention. She had not“ taken the VOWS;” she was “unprofessed.” If at the end of her noviciate she still desired to retire from the world, she then took the vows by which she was thenceforth bound.
xxxi. 2. Rome.] The rhyme requires that it be pronounced room, which seems to have been the old pronunciation. Cf. Shakespeare :“Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough.”—Julius Cæsar, 1. ii. 156. "That I have room with Rome to curse awhile."-King John, m. i. 180
Xxxi. 5. Constance warns them that if Marmion's love for her should revive, he would execute a vengeance on her slayers more terrible than the ravages of the Danes, referred to in xiv. 5.
7. A darker hour.] Constance is here made, by a poetical license, to foretell the Reformation, naturally regarded as the triumph of darkness by the adherents of the old religion. At this time (A.D. 1513) the impulse which led to this great event was beginning to be felt, and the preaching of Luther was already making a stir in Germany.
8. Crosier.) A bishop's staff, here used for the power of the bishop.
9. The ire of a despotic King.] An allusion to the suppression of the monasteries by King Henry VIII. and his minister, Thomas Cromwell.
xxxii. 3. Wont.] “ To be wont” is the commoner form of this where “wont" seems to be a past participle of “won” ; but “to wont" is by no means infrequent. Cf. “Lady of the Lake," I. xx. 20, and Waller :
“ The eagle's fate and mine are one,
Which on the shaft that made him die,
Wherewith he wont to soar so high.”
12. The victim's dread.] The dread usually felt by the victim.
xxxiii. 12. Passing knell.] A bell that is rung at a death, to mark the passing of a soul to heaven,
16. Warkworth.] Cf. note, supra, viii. 16. 18. Bamborough.] Cf. note, supra, viii. 21.
21. Cheviot Fell.] On the Cheviots, cf. supra, I. i. 3. Cheviot Fell is the highest of them.
CANTO III.—THE HOSTEL, OR INN.
LORD MARMION, journeying northward with the Palmer as guide, arrives at the village inn of Gifford, in Haddingtonshire. In the evening, the grim aspect of the Palmer casting a gloom over the party, at Marmion's request Fitz-Eustace, one of his pages, sings a song. It was about the true lover and the false, and familiar to Marmion as a favourite of Constance, the nun who had followed him as his page. This does not cheer the conscience-stricken Marmion, who says, moreover, that he hears & death-peal, which the Palmer interprets as portending the death of a dear friend. Then the host tells a story. Alexander III., King of Scotland, had once visited Lord Gifford, the lord of the village, who had a reputation as a magician. The King wished to know the future, and Lord Gifford explained to him that if he would go at midnight to an old Pictish camp, and blow a bugle, he would see an elfin in the shape of his worst enemy, whom if he conquered he could force to tell the future. He found one in the shape of Edward I. of England, and having conquered him, was informed about the coming battle of Largs and other future events. Lord Marmion was so moved by the story that he rose in the night, and went forth to try his success; but returned hastily, with his crest soiled, and other evident marks of an overthrow.
Postel.] A French and English word, signifying in the former lan. guage a grand house, in the latter an inn. Our ordinary word hotel is the same word. It is derived from the Latin hospitale, apartment for the reception of strangers. Hospes, guest or host, originally stranger, is the same word as hostis, enemy, for every stranger was considered an enemy. When a stranger arrived at a strange place, it was doubtful whether he would meet with hostility or hospitality. Host, the land. lord of an inn, or a private person, who entertains strangers.
i. 6. Merse.] The south-eastern division of the county of Berwick, the other two being Lauderdale and Lammermoor. It was called Merse, or March, from its being on the Border, or Marches, between England and Scotland. (Mark, a boundary.) - 17. Ptarmigan.) A light-coloured species of grouse, found in the Scotch mountains.
19. Lammermoor.] A ridge of hills, stretching from the eastern border of Peeblesshire, across the south of Midlothian, passing between East Lothian and Berwick, and terminating on the east coast in the rugged and abrupt cliffs which form St. Abbs Head. One of the Waverley Novels is called the “Bride of Lammermoor.”
22. Gifford.) This village lies about four miles south-east from Haddington. It is near Yester House, the seat of the Marquis of Tweeddale, and a little higher up the stream which falls from the Lammermoor hills are the ruins of the old castle. In this village the first flax-mill was established.
ii. 9. Bush.] It was an old custom to hang out a bush as a sign in front of a tavern. Hence the proverb, “Good wine needs no bush” (Shakespeare, “As You Like It," Epilogue), meaning that if a tavern kept good wine there was no necessity it should keep up a sign. Men would find it by its reputation, or by a sort of instinct. The bush seems to have been usually of ivy, because this plant was always sacred to Bacchus; it may, therefore, be a classical custom. Many passages from old authors (vide Notes to Shakespeare) prove its antiquity. A trace of the custom is still preserved in the sign of the Bush.” retained by many inns in England; and at the present day the custom is observed in some places. “A wine-shop, the usual sign of which is in Germany the branch of a tree affixed to the door-post." -Bubbles from the Brunnen of Nassau. It is used in Italy also.-Cf. Hawthorne's “ Transformations,” vol. ii, chi vi.