ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Note n.

Two dogs of black St Hubert's breed,

Unmatched for courage, strength, and speed.—St. VII. p. 10.

"The hounds which we call Saint Hubert's hounds, are commonly all blacke, yet neuertheless, their race is so mingled at these days, that we find them of all colours. These are the hounds which the abbots of St Hubert haue always kept some of their race or kind, in honour or remembrance of the saint, which was a hunter with S. Eustace. Whereupon we may conceiue that (by the grace of God) all good huntsmen shall follow them into paradise. To returne vnto my former purpose, this kind of dogges hath beene dispersed thorough the countries of Henault, Lorayne, Flaunders, and Burgoyne. They are mighty of body, neuertheless their legges are low and short, likewise they are not swift, although they be very good of sent, hunting chaces which are farre straggled, fearing neither water nor coM, and doe more couet the chaces that smell, as foxes, bore, and such like, than other, because they find themselues neither of swiftness nor courage to hunt and kill the chases that are lighter and swifter. The bloodhounds of this colour prooue good, especially those that are coleblacke, but I make no great account to breede on them, or to keepe the kind, and yet I found a booke which a hunter did dedicate to a prince of Lorayne, which seemed to loue hunting much, wherein was a blason which the same hunter gaue to his bloodhound, called Souyllard, which was white:

My name came first from holy Hubert's race,
Souyllard my sire, a hound of singular grace.

Whereupon we may presume that some of the kind prooue white sometimes, but they are not of the kind of the Greffiers or Bouxes, which we haue at these dayes."—The noble Art of Venerie or Hunting, translated and collected for the Use of all Noblemen and Gentlemen. Lond. 1611. 4. p. IS.

Note III.

For the death stroke, and death halloo, ,

Mustered his breath, his whinyard drezo.—St. VIII. p. 11. When the stag turned to bay, the ancient hunter had the perilous task of going in upon, and killing or disabling the desperate animal. At certain times of the year this was held particularly dangerous, a wound received from a stag's horns being then deemed poisonous, and more dangerous than one from the tusks of a boar, as the old rhyme testifies:

If thou be hurt with hart, it brings thee to thy bier; But barber's hand will boar's hurt heal, therefore thou needst not fear.

At all times, however, the task was dangerous, and to be adventured upon wisely and warily, either by getting behind the stag while he was gazing on the hounds, or by watching an opportunity to gallop roundly in upon him, and kill him with • the sword. See many directions to this purpose in the Booke of Hunting, chap. 41. Wilson the historian has recorded a providential escape which befel him in this hazardous sport, while a youth and follower of the Earl of Essex. .

"Sir Peter Lee, of Lime, in Cheshire, invited my lord one summer, to hunt the stagg. And having a great stagg in chase, and many gentlemen in the pursuit, the stagg took soyle. And divers, whereof I was one, alighted, and stood with swords drawne, to have a cut at him, at his coming out of the water. The staggs there being wonderfully fierce and dangerous, made us youths more eager to be at him. But he escaped us all. And it was my misfortune to be hindered of my coming nere him, the way being sliperie, by a fall ; which gave occasion to some, who did not know mee, to speake as if I had falne for feare. Which being told me, I left the stagg, and followed the gentleman who [first] spake it. But I found him of that cold temper, that it seems his words made an escape from him ; as by his denial and repentance it appeared. But this made mee more violent in pursuit of the stagg, to recover my reputation. And I happened to be the only horseman in, when the dogs sett him up at bay; and approaching nere him on horsebacke, hee broke through the dogs, and run at mee, and tore my horse's side with his homes, close by my thigh. Then I quitted my horse, and grew more cunning, (for the dogs had sette him up againe,) stealing behind him with my sword, and cut his ham-strings; and then got upon his back, and cut his throate; which, as I was doing, the company came in, and blamed my rashness for running such a hazard."—Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, II. 464.

Note IV. And now to issue from the glen No pathway meets the wanderer's ken, Unless he climb, with footing nice, A far projecting precipice.— St. XIV. p. 17. Until the present road was made through the romantic pass which I have presumptuously attempted to desciibe in the preceding stanzas, there was no mode of issuing out of the defile, called the Trosachs, excepting by a sort of ladder, composed of the branches and roots of the trees.

Note V.

To meet with highland plunderers here, Were worse than loss of steed or deer.—St. XVI. p. 21. The clans who inhabited the romantic regions in the neighbourhood of Loch Katrine, were, even until a late period, much addicted to predatory excursions upon their lowland neighbours.

"In former times, those parts of this district, which are situated beyond the Grampian range, were rendered almost inaccessible, by strong barriers of rocks, and mountains, and lakes. It was a border country, and though on the very verge of the low country, it was almost totally sequestered from the world, and, as it were, insulated with respect to society.

"'Tis well known, that in the highlands, it was, in former times, accounted not only lawful, but honourable, among hostile tribes, to commit depredations on one another; and these habits of the age were perhaps strengthened in this district, by the circumstances which have been mentioned. It bordered on a country, the inhabitants of which, while they were richer, were less warlike than they, and widely differenced by language and manners."—Graham's Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire. Edin. 1806, p. 97.

The reader will therefore be pleased to remember, that the scene of this poem is laid in a time

When tooming faulds, or sweeping of a glen,
Had still been held the deed of gallant men.

Note VI. A grey-haired sire, whose eye, intent. Was on the visioned future bent.—St. XXIII. p. 28. If force of evidence could authorise us to believe facts inconsistent with the general laws of nature, enough might be produced in favour of the existence of the Second-Sight. It is called in Gaelic Taishitaraugh, from Taish, an unreal or shadowy appearance; and those possessed of the faculty are called Taishatrin, which may be aptly translated visionaries. Martin, a steady believer in the second-sight, gives the following account of it: "The second-sight is a singular faculty of seeing an other

« 前へ次へ »