« 前へ次へ »
NOTES TO CANTO FOURTH.
The morn may find the stiffened swuin.-P. 8. I cannot help here mentioning, that, on the night in which these lines were written, suggested, as they were, by a sudden fall of snow, beginning after sunset, an unfortunate man perished exactly in the manner here de scribed, and his body was next morning found close to his own house. The accident happened within five miles of the farm of Ashestiel.
· Note II. Scarce had lamented Forbes paid, &c.-P. 10. Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, Baronet; unequalled, perhaps, in the degree of individual affection entertained
for him by his friends, as well as in the general respect and esteem of Scotland at large. His “Life of Beattie,” whom he befriended and patronized in life, as well as celebrated after his decease, was not long published, before the benevolent and affectionate biographer was called to follow the subject of his narrative. This melancholy event very shortly succeeded the marriage of the friend, to whom this introduction is addressed, with one of Sir William's daughters.
Friar Rush.-P. 9. This personage is a strolling demon, or esprit follet, who, once upon a time, got admittance into a monastery as a scullion, and played the monks many pranks. He was also a sort of Robin Goodfellow, and Jack o' Lanthorn. It is in allusion to this mischievous demon that Milton's clown speaks
She was pinched, and pulled, she said,
« The History of Friar Rush” is of extreme rarity, and, for some time, even the existence of such a book was doubted, although it is expressly alluded to by Reginald
Scott, in his “ Discovery of Witchcraft.” I have perused a copy in the valuable library of my friend Mr Heber; and I observe, from Mr Beloe's “ Anecdotes of Literature,” that there is one in the excellent collection of the Marquis of Stafford.
Lord Lion King-at-arms.-P. 25. The late elaborate edition of Sir David Lindesay's Works, by Mr George Chalmers, has probably introduced him to many of my readers. It is perhaps to be regretted, that the learned editor had not bestowed more pains in elucidating his author, even although he should have omitted, or at least reserved, his disquisitions on the origin of the language used by the poet :' But, with
'I beg leave to quote a single instance from a very interesting passage. Sir David, recounting his attention to King James V. in his infancy, is made, by the learned edi. tor's punctuation, to say,
The first sillabis, that thou did mute,
Vol. I. p. 7. 257.
all its faults, his work is an acceptable present to Scottish antiquaries. Sir David Lindesay was well known for his early efforts in favour of the reformed doctrines ; and, indeed, his play, coarse as it now seems, must have had a powerful effect upon the people of his age. I am uncertain if I abuse poetical license, by introducing Sir David Lindesay in the character of Lion-Herald, sixteen years before he obtained that office. At any rate, I am not the first who has been guilty of the anachronism : for the author of “ Flodden Field” dispatches Dallamount, which can mean nobody but Sir David de la Mont, to France, on the message of defiance from James IV. to Henry VIII. It was often an office imposed on
Mr Chalmers does not inform us, by note, or glossary, what is meant by the king“ muting pa, da, lyn, upon the lute;" but any old woman in Scotland will bear witness, that pa, da, lyn, are the first efforts of a child to say, Whare's Davie Lindesay ? and that the subsequent words begin another sentence,
upon the lute Then playd I twenty springis perqueir, &c. In another place,“ justing lumis,” i. e. looms, or implcments of tilting, is facetiously interpreted“ playful limbs.” Many such minute errors could be pointed out; but these are only mentioned incidentally, and not as diminishing the real merit of the edition.