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iii. 6. Solands.] Or solan-geese, àquatic fowl of the pelican family, found on the Scotch coast. This bird is nearly of the same size as the domestic goose ; its colour is chiefly white, but with tips of wings black. It feeds on little fishes, especially herrings.
iv. 16. Zembla's frost.] Nova Zembla is an island in the Arctic Ocean, to the north of European Russia. The island is considerably larger than Great Britain, but, owing to the excessive cold, it has no permanent population.
viii. 7. To dear Saint Valentine, no thrush.) Thrushes are said to pair upon Saint Valentine's Day (Feb. 14). Cf. Shakespeare, “Midsummer Night's Dream," IV. i. 136 :
“Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past;
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now ?”. Cf. also Tennyson's “Princess," p. 119:
"Birds that piped their valentines." Valentine was a priest, who assisted the martyrs at Rome in the persecution under Claudian II. He was beaten with clubs, and beheaded, after a year's imprisonment, on February 14, about A.D. 270. The popular observances of the day are of heathen origin, and belong to the worship of Juno; the connection with the saint is merely accidental. Cf. “Annotated Book of Common Prayer. Notes on the Calendar."
11, 12. The cause detains.] Understand which.
ix. 7. One shrill voice the notes prolong.) We should not expect notes to be the nominative to the verb, but voice : the verb should then be prolongs. “Good Homer sometimes nods." There is an opposite mistake of plural nominative and a singular verb, V. xxi. 29 :-“was laid letters," and xxii, 28 :-" The falconer and huntsman knows." ix. 14. Susquehanna.) A river in Pennsylvania, U.S.
15. Kentucky.] One of the south-western States of the American Union.
16. Ontario.) The last of the great chain of American lakes. It is a little way below the Falls of Niagara. The name is now applied to the province formerly known as Canada West, which lies on its northern shore.
xiii. 8. Civil conflict.] A conflict between the passion in one's own breast, as opposed to a conflict with an external adversary, just as a civil war is strife between members of one State as opposed to strife between two or more States.
14. Departing sister's soul.) Cf. supra, II. xxxii, 12. xiv. 11. Strook, for struck, an unusual form.
XV. 3. Augured) = had any suspicion of. It properly means to foretell or conjecture from certain signs, as the Roman Augurs did,
15. Secure) = sure. The latter word comes from secure, and that from Lat. se (sine) cura.
16. The system of selling pardons and indulgences by the Church was widespread in the Middle Ages, and gave great grounds and aid to the efforts of the Reformers. (Cf. I. xx. 15.)
xvii. 6. Mantles.) This word means, primarily, to spread the wings, as a hawk does when pleased. Thus Milton has :
"The swan with arched neck Between her white wings mantling, rows Her state with oary feet."
- Par. Lost,” vii. 438. The word also means (as here) to gather on the surface, like froth, or to ferment. Of. Pope, “Imitations of Horace,"
“From plate to plate your eyeballs roll,
And the brain dances to the mantling bowl.” The derivation of the word mantle in these senses is unknown, unless it comes from the substantive mantle, and signifies spread out as a cloak.
10. Hopes in heaven.] The breach of convent vows was a most heinous crime in the eyes of a Roman Catholic; it was breaking a solemn promise and covenant with God Himself.
23. His Sovereign's mandate.] Which prevented his returning for Constance.
27. Cf. what Constance had said, II. xxxi. 3.
Xviii. 4. Dennachar], or Vennachoir. A lake (about 4m. by 1 m.) in the south-western part of Perthshire, one of several lakes formed by southern branch of Frith,
xix. 2. Alexander III, reigned from 1249 to 1263. The clerk's answer, therefore, would be 150 years.
19. Dunbar.] Cf. I. xix. 4.
XX. 8. Norweyan,] for Norwegian. Cf. Shakespeare, “Macbeth," II. ii. 31, 49. So Troyan, for Trojan, “ Merchant of Venice," V. i. 4.
11. Bute and Arran are islands in the estuary of the Clyde. Cunninghame and Kyle are, respectively, the northern and central portions of
15. “ Magicians, as is well known, were very curious in the choice and form of their vestments. Their caps are oval, or like pyramids, 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 dames, with crosses, trines, and circles inscribed on them. Their shoes should be of new russet leather, with a cross cut upon them. Their
are dagger-fashioned ; 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 1663."-S.
XX. 22. Pentacle (Gk. névre, 5).) A piece of fine linen, folded with five corners, emblematic of the senses, and inscribed with mysterious signs. Some say it is emblematic of the five wounds in Our Lord's body.
26. Combust, retrograde and trine are adjectives, agreeing with sign, The Host could not have known what they meant.
xxii. 14. As born upon.] Those who were born on Good Friday or Christmas Day were vulgarly believed to have the gift of seeing spirits. Alexander III. was born Sept. 4, 1241, which could not have been Good Friday or Christmas Day. If Sir Walter wished to describe the careless habits of speech of the lower classes, he has succeeded to a marvel.
22. The gift.) Another mistake of the Host. This speech must have been made in A.D. 1262 or 1263, by a king who was born in 1241. Cour-de-Lion died in 1199.
27. Malcolm III., surnamed Cean-mohr, from the great size of his head, succeeded to the Scotch throne in A.D. 1056. He was a prince of great courage and generosity. He carried on frequent wars against England, and was finally killed before Alnwick. His wife Margaret, sister of Edgar Atheling, was afterwards canonised.
36. Saint George to speed !] Cf. VI. xv. 13,“ Saint Jude to speed ! ”
xxiii. 5. Left-hand the town.] Elliptic expression for “ on the left hand of the town."
Pictish race.] The Picts were the predominant race in Scotland during the first four centuries of the Christian era: they then began to be ousted by the Scots, who came from Ireland, and ultimately subjugated them. Very little is known of the Picts, save that they were rude savages. Their religion was Druidical, and the poet is, therefore, justified in imputing bloody rites to them,
15. Four points of heaven.] The cardinal points.
20. England's King.) Slight anachronisms. Alexander's vision must have been very shortly before the battle of Largs (1262 or 1263), because he was then only just out of his teens. Edward I. came to his throne in 1272. He went to Holy Land after the battle of Evesham (1265).
26. Length of limb.] Edward I. was surnamed Longshanks. .
xxiv. 6. Visor.] A word which is variously written, as, vizard, vizor, &c. (from Latin, video, see). That part of the helmet which protected the face, and which consisted of bars, or other open work, to enable the wearer to see.
xxiv. 11. Of Largs he saw the glorious plain.] Largs is in Ayrshire, on the eastern bank of the estuary of the Clyde. In 1263 Haco, king of Norway, invaded Scotland with a powerful fleet. After taking the islands of Arran and Bute, he disembarked his forces at Largs, to give battle to
Scots, who were assembled there under their king. Alexander III. Owing to a storm he was only able to land a part of his troops ; he therefore suffered a decisive defeat (1263). Heaps of stones still mark the spots under which the slain lie, and barrows, which, being opened, have been found to contain urns and bones.
xxiv, 17. The shadowy Kings.] I.e. himself and Haco, as seen in his vision,
20. This is in allusion to the expedition undertaken by the English against Copenhagen, in 1801, when Denmark and Sweden formed an alliance with Russia with the object of depriving England of her mari. time supremacy. Sir Hyde Parker was the admiral of the English fleet; but Nelson was the second in command, and the foremost in the battle. Some account of this expedition will be found in Southey's “ Life of Nelson," chap. vii. The insertion of a prophecy of historical events. later than the times spoken of, is not uncommon in poets : pe: best-known instance is in Virgil's “ Sixth Æneid.”
xxv. 9. Dunfermline.] Malcolm Cean-mohr resided here with his wife, sister of Edgar Atheling, through whom the Anglo-Saxon civilisation, was introduced into Scotland. He had established an important religious house here, and ordered that it should be the regular burialplace of the Scottish kings. The Abbey became very important, and though destroyed by Edward I. it was splendidly rebuilt, and many of the kings were interred in it. Dunfermline was long a royal residence. Charles I. was born here.
19. Wallace wight.] Sir William Wallace was born of good family in the reign of Alexander III. Edward I. conquered Scotland in 1296. Wallace kept up a band of active insurgents, but, being ill-supported by the Scottish nobles, he was not very successful. He was betrayed to the English, taken to London, tried, hanged, drawn and quartered. It is worth notice that the English spent fifteen years in the attempt to subjugate Scotland, and were at the height of their power when Wallace was executed. Six months later Scotland was free. Very contrary estimates of his character may be found in Dickens's “Child's History of England," where he is a hero, and in a book called “The Greatest of the Plantagenets," where he is a scoundrel of the blackest dye.
Xxvi. 1. Quaigh.] “A wooden cup, composed of staves hooped together."-8. A small and shallow cup or drinking-vessel, with two ears for handles, generally of wood, but sometimes of silver. Gaelic.-In Irish Gaelic, it is cuach. The word is probably not unconnected with our English quaf, to drink, which some say is derived from it. Smollett gives the following account of the vessel in “Humphry Clinker” (iii. p. 18, old edit. p. 287): “ It is emptied into a quaff, that is, a curious cup made of different pieces of wood, such as box and ebony, cut into little staves, joined alternately, and secured with delicate hoops, having two ears or
handles. It holds about a gill, is sometimes tipped round the mouth with silver, and has a plate of the same metal at bottom with the land. lord's cipher engraved.”
CANTO IV.--THE CAMP.
IN THE morning Marmion's horse was nearly dying, and the horse of a squire seemed to have been violently ridden in the night. Nevertheless, Marmion with his train continued his journey. He was soon met by Sir David Lindesay, Lord Lion King-at-Arms, chief herald of Scotland, who had been sent by the King of Scotland to conduct Marmion to his presence. The Palmer was not, however, allowed to depart, for Sir David's orders were that no one was to leave the train. Sir David conducted Marmion to Crichtoun Castle, and after resting there for two days, they continued their journey to the camp at Borough Moor near Edinburgh, where King James was mustering his forces.
i. 13. Becket.] Cf. supra, I. xxiv. 2, note. 15, On Blount's character.
The following epithets are applied to him by the poet :· 1. Gentle (sc. well-born), by Hubert, IV. 1. 21.
2. Hasty, V, XXXI. 27:-"Saint Anton' fire thee!"
prate," VI, xxi. 16, and again xxvii, 23. 5. Sworn horse-courser, by Marmion, VI. xvi. 32. Jeffrey, in the “Edinburgh Review,” described Blount's speeches as “ a great deal too unpolished for a noble youth aspiring to knighthood." But is it not truer to nature to recognise that there are persons so natu, rally uncourteous that even chivalry, the essence of which was courtesy, could not polish them?
31. Lantern-led by Friar Rush.] Sir Walter Scott in his note says, “ alias Will-o'the-Wisp." Then, to explain the name," he is a strolling demon, who once upon a time got admission into a monastery as a scullion, and played the monks many pranks." He then adds, “1 also a sort of Robin Goodfellow and Jack o'Lanthorn." Mr. Keightley, in his “ Fairy Mythology” (p. 34, note), describes this as "a precious confusion," into which condemnation text as well as the note falls. Sir Walter, however, followed Milton in his mistake (“ L'Allegro," 103) : .