Marmion, by Walter Scott

Canto First.

The Castle.


Day set on Norham’s castled steep,

And Tweed’s fair river, broad and deep,

And Cheviot’s mountains lone:

The battled towers, the donjon keep,

The loophole grates, where captives weep,

The flanking walls that round it sweep,

In yellow lustre shone.

The warriors on the turrets high,

Moving athwart the evening sky,

Seem’d forms of giant height:

Their armour, as it caught the rays,

Flash’d back again the western blaze,

In lines of dazzling light.


Saint George’s banner, broad and gay,

Now faded, as the fading ray

Less bright, and less, was flung;

The evening gale had scarce the power

To wave it on the Donjon Tower,

So heavily it hung.

The scouts had parted on their search,

The Castle gates were barr’d;

Above the gloomy portal arch,

Timing his footsteps to a march,

The Warder kept his guard;

Low humming, as he paced along,

Some ancient Border gathering-song.


A distant trampling sound he hears;

He looks abroad, and soon appears,

O’er Horncliff-hill a plump of spears,

Beneath a pennon gay;

A horseman, darting from the crowd,

Like lightning from a summer cloud,

Spurs on his mettled courser proud,

Before the dark array.

Beneath the sable palisade,

That closed the Castle barricade,

His buglehorn he blew;

The warder hasted from the wall,

And warn’d the Captain in the hall,

For well the blast he knew;

And joyfully that knight did call,

To sewer, squire, and seneschal.


‘Now broach ye a pipe of Malvoisie,

Bring pasties of the doe,

And quickly make the entrance free

And bid my heralds ready be,

And every minstrel sound his glee,

And all our trumpets blow;

And, from the platform, spare ye not

To fire a noble salvo-shot;

Lord MARMION waits below!’

Then to the Castle’s lower ward

Sped forty yeomen tall,

The iron-studded gates unbarr’d,

Raised the portcullis’ ponderous guard,

The lofty palisade unsparr’d,

And let the drawbridge fall.


Along the bridge Lord Marmion rode,

Proudly his red-roan charger trode,

His helm hung at the saddlebow;

Well by his visage you might know

He was a stalworth knight, and keen,

And had in many a battle been;

The scar on his brown cheek reveal’d

A token true of Bosworth field;

His eyebrow dark, and eye of fire,

Show’d spirit proud, and prompt to ire;

Yet lines of thought upon his cheek

Did deep design and counsel speak.

His forehead by his casque worn bare,

His thick mustache, and curly hair,

Coal-black, and grizzled here and there,

But more through toil than age;

His square-turn’d joints, and strength of limb,

Show’d him no carpet knight so trim,

But in close fight a champion grim,

In camps a leader sage.


Well was he arm’d from head to heel,

In mail and plate of Milan steel;

But his strong helm, of mighty cost,

Was all with burnish’d gold emboss’d;

Amid the plumage of the crest,

A falcon hover’d on her nest,

With wings outspread, and forward breast;

E’en such a falcon, on his shield,

Soar’d sable in an azure field:

The golden legend bore aright,

Who checks at me, to death is dight.

Blue was the charger’s broider’d rein;

Blue ribbons deck’d his arching mane;

The knightly housing’s ample fold

Was velvet blue, and trapp’d with gold.


Behind him rode two gallant squires,

Of noble name, and knightly sires;

They burn’d the gilded spurs to claim:

For well could each a warhorse tame,

Could draw the bow, the sword could sway,

And lightly bear the ring away;

Nor less with courteous precepts stored,

Could dance in hall, and carve at board,

And frame love-ditties passing rare,

And sing them to a lady fair.


Four men-at-arms came at their backs,

With halbert, bill, and battle-axe:

They bore Lord Marmion’s lance so strong,

And led his sumpter-mules along,

And ambling palfrey, when at need

Him listed ease his battle-steed.

The last and trustiest of the four,

On high his forky pennon bore;

Like swallow’s tail, in shape and hue,

Flutter’d the streamer glossy blue,

Where, blazon’d sable, as before,

The towering falcon seem’d to soar.

Last, twenty yeomen, two and two,

In hosen black, and jerkins blue,

With falcons broider’d on each breast,

Attended on their lord’s behest.

Each, chosen for an archer good,

Knew hunting-craft by lake or wood;

Each one a six-foot bow could bend,

And far a cloth-yard shaft could send;

Each held a boar-spear tough and strong,

And at their belts their quivers rung.

Their dusty palfreys, and array,

Show’d they had march’d a weary way.


’Tis meet that I should tell you now,

How fairly arm’d, and order’d how,

The soldiers of the guard,

With musket, pike, and morion,

To welcome noble Marmion,

Stood in the Castle-yard;

Minstrels and trumpeters were there,

The gunner held his linstock yare,

For welcome-shot prepared:

Enter’d the train, and such a clang,

As then through all his turrets rang,

Old Norham never heard.


The guards their morrice-pikes advanced,

The trumpets flourish’d brave,

The cannon from the ramparts glanced,

And thundering welcome gave.

A blithe salute, in martial sort,

The minstrels well might sound,

For, as Lord Marmion cross’d the court,

He scatter’d angels round.

‘Welcome to Norham, Marmion!

Stout heart, and open hand!

Well dost thou brook thy gallant roan,

Thou flower of English land!’


Two pursuivants, whom tabarts deck,

With silver scutcheon round their neck,

Stood on the steps of stone,

By which you reach the donjon gate,

And there, with herald pomp and state,

They hail’d Lord Marmion:

They hail’d him Lord of Fontenaye,

Of Lutterward, and Scrivelbaye,

Of Tamworth tower and town;

And he, their courtesy to requite,

Gave them a chain of twelve marks’ weight,

All as he lighted down.

‘Now, largesse, largesse, Lord Marmion,

Knight of the crest of gold!

A blazon’d shield, in battle won,

Ne’er guarded heart so bold.’


They marshall’d him to the Castle-hall,

Where the guests stood all aside,

And loudly nourish’d the trumpet-call,

And the heralds loudly cried,

—‘Room, lordings, room for Lord Marmion,

With the crest and helm of gold!

Full well we know the trophies won

In the lists at Cottiswold:

There, vainly Ralph de Wilton strove

‘Gainst Marmion’s force to stand;

To him he lost his lady-love,

And to the King his land.

Ourselves beheld the listed field,

A sight both sad and fair;

We saw Lord Marmion pierce his shield,

And saw his saddle bare;

We saw the victor win the crest,

He wears with worthy pride;

And on the gibbet-tree, reversed,

His foeman’s scutcheon tied.

Place, nobles, for the Falcon–Knight!

Room, room, ye gentles gay,

For him who conquer’d in the right,

Marmion of Fontenaye!’


Then stepp’d, to meet that noble Lord,

Sir Hugh the Heron bold,

Baron of Twisell, and of Ford,

And Captain of the Hold.

He led Lord Marmion to the deas,

Raised o’er the pavement high,

And placed him in the upper place-They feasted full and high;

The whiles a Northern harper rude

Chanted a rhyme of deadly feud,

‘How the fierce Thirwalls, and Ridleys all,

  Stout Willimondswick,

    And Hardriding Dick,

   And Hughie of Hawdon, and Will o’ the Wall,

  Have set on Sir Albany Featherstonhaugh,

And taken his life at the Deadman’s-shaw.’

Scantly Lord Marmion’s ear could brook

  The harper’s barbarous lay;

Yet much he praised the pains he took,

  And well those pains did pay

For lady’s suit, and minstrel’s strain,

By knight should ne’er be heard in vain,


‘Now, good Lord Marmion,’ Heron says,

‘Of your fair courtesy,

I pray you bide some little space

In this poor tower with me.

Here may you keep your arms from rust,

May breathe your war-horse well;

Seldom hath pass’d a week but giust

Or feat of arms befell:

The Scots can rein a mettled steed;

And love to couch a spear:—

Saint George! a stirring life they lead,

That have such neighbours near.

Then stay with us a little space,

Our northern wars to learn;

I pray you, for your lady’s grace!’—

Lord Marmion’s brow grew stern.


The Captain mark’d his alter’d look,

And gave a squire the sign;

A mighty wassell-bowl he took,

And crown’d it high with wine.

‘Now pledge me here, Lord Marmion:

But first I pray thee fair,

Where hast thou left that page of thine,

That used to serve thy cup of wine,

Whose beauty was so rare?

When last in Raby towers we met,

The boy I closely eyed,

And often mark’d his cheeks were wet,

With tears he fain would hide:

His was no rugged horse-boy’s hand,

To burnish shield or sharpen brand,

Or saddle battle-steed;

But meeter seem’d for lady fair,

To fan her cheek, or curl her hair,

Or through embroidery, rich and rare,

The slender silk to lead:

His skin was fair, his ringlets gold,

His bosom — when he sigh’d,

The russet doublet’s rugged fold

Could scarce repel its pride!

Say, hast thou given that lovely youth

To serve in lady’s bower?

Or was the gentle page, in sooth,

A gentle paramour?’


Lord Marmion ill could brook such jest;

He roll’d his kindling eye,

With pain his rising wrath suppress’d,

Yet made a calm reply:

‘That boy thou thought’st so goodly fair,

He might not brook the northern air.

More of his fate if thou wouldst learn,

I left him sick in Lindisfarn:

Enough of him. — But, Heron, say,

Why does thy lovely lady gay

Disdain to grace the hall today?

Or has that dame, so fair and sage,

Gone on some pious pilgrimage?’—

He spoke in covert scorn, for fame

Whisper’d light tales of Heron’s dame.


Unmark’d, at least unreck’d, the taunt,

Careless the Knight replied,

‘No bird, whose feathers gaily flaunt,

Delights in cage to bide:

Norham is grim and grated close,

Hemm’d in by battlement and fosse,

And many a darksome tower;

And better loves my lady bright

To sit in liberty and light,

In fair Queen Margaret’s bower.

We hold our greyhound in our hand,

Our falcon on our glove;

But where shall we find leash or band,

For dame that loves to rove?

Let the wild falcon soar her swing,

She’ll stoop when she has tired her wing.’—


‘Nay, if with Royal James’s bride

The lovely Lady Heron bide,

Behold me here a messenger,

Your tender greetings prompt to bear;

For, to the Scottish court address’d,

I journey at our King’s behest,

And pray you, of your grace, provide

For me, and mine, a trusty guide.

I have not ridden in Scotland since

James back’d the cause of that mock prince,

Warbeck, that Flemish counterfeit,

Who on the gibbet paid the cheat.

Then did I march with Surrey’s power,

What time we razed old Ayton tower.’—


‘For such-like need, my lord, I trow,

Norham can find you guides enow;

For here be some have prick’d as far,

On Scottish ground, as to Dunbar;

Have drunk the monks of St. Bothan’s ale,

And driven the beeves of Lauderdale;

Harried the wives of Greenlaw’s goods,

And given them light to set their hoods.’—


‘Now, in good sooth,’ Lord Marmion cried,

‘Were I in warlike wise to ride,

A better guard I would not lack,

Than your stout forayers at my back;

But as in form of peace I go,

A friendly messenger, to know,

Why through all Scotland, near and far,

Their King is mustering troops for war,

The sight of plundering Border spears

Might justify suspicious fears,

And deadly feud, or thirst of spoil,

Break out in some unseemly broil:

A herald were my fitting guide;

Or friar, sworn in peace to bide;

Or pardoner, or travelling priest,

Or strolling pilgrim, at the least.’


The Captain mused a little space,

And pass’d his hand across his face.

—‘Fain would I find the guide you want,

But ill may spare a pursuivant,

The only men that safe can ride

Mine errands on the Scottish side:

And though a bishop built this fort,

Few holy brethren here resort;

Even our good chaplain, as I ween,

Since our last siege, we have not seen:

The mass he might not sing or say,

Upon one stinted meal a-day;

So, safe he sat in Durham aisle,

And pray’d for our success the while.

Our Norham vicar, woe betide,

Is all too well in case to ride;

The priest of Shoreswood — he could rein

The wildest war-horse in your train;

But then, no spearman in the hall

Will sooner swear, or stab, or brawl.

Friar John of Tillmouth were the man:

A blithesome brother at the can,

A welcome guest in hall and bower,

He knows each castle, town, and tower,

In which the wine and ale is good,

‘Twixt Newcastle and Holy–Rood.

But that good man, as ill befalls,

Hath seldom left our castle walls,

Since, on the vigil of St. Bede,

In evil hour, he cross’d the Tweed,

To teach Dame Alison her creed.

Old Bughtrig found him with his wife;

And John, an enemy to strife,

Sans frock and hood, fled for his life.

The jealous churl hath deeply swore,

That, if again he venture o’er,

He shall shrieve penitent no more.

Little he loves such risks, I know;

Yet, in your guard, perchance will go.’


Young Selby, at the fair hall-board,

Carved to his uncle and that lord,

And reverently took up the word.

‘Kind uncle, woe were we each one,

If harm should hap to brother John.

He is a man of mirthful speech,

Can many a game and gambol teach;

Full well at tables can he play,

And sweep at bowls the stake away.

None can a lustier carol bawl,

The needfullest among us all,

When time hangs heavy in the hall,

And snow comes thick at Christmas tide,

And we can neither hunt, nor ride

A foray on the Scottish side.

The vow’d revenge of Bughtrig rude,

May end in worse than loss of hood.

Let Friar John, in safety, still

In chimney-corner snore his fill,

Roast hissing crabs, or flagons swill:

Last night, to Norham there came one,

Will better guide Lord Marmion.’—

‘Nephew,’ quoth Heron, ‘by my fay,

Well hast thou spoke; say forth thy say,’—


‘Here is a holy Palmer come,

From Salem first, and last from Rome;

One, that hath kiss’d the blessed tomb,

And visited each holy shrine,

In Araby and Palestine;

On hills of Armenie hath been,

Where Noah’s ark may yet be seen;

By that Red Sea, too, hath he trod,

Which parted at the Prophet’s rod;

In Sinai’s wilderness he saw

The Mount, where Israel heard the law,

‘Mid thunder-dint and flashing levin,

And shadows, mists, and darkness, given.

He shows Saint James’s cockle-shell,

Of fair Montserrat, too, can tell;

And of that Grot where Olives nod,

Where, darling of each heart and eye,

From all the youth of Sicily,

Saint Rosalie retired to God.


‘To stout Saint George of Norwich merry,

Saint Thomas, too, of Canterbury,

Cuthbert of Durham and Saint Bede,

For his sins’ pardon hath he pray’d.

He knows the passes of the North,

And seeks far shrines beyond the Forth;

Little he eats, and long will wake,

And drinks but of the stream or lake.

This were a guide o’er moor and dale;

But, when our John hath quaff’d his ale,

As little as the wind that blows,

And warms itself against his nose,

Kens he, or cares, which way he goes.’—


‘Gramercy!’ quoth Lord Marmion,

‘Full loth were I, that Friar John,

That venerable man, for me,

Were placed in fear or jeopardy.

If this same Palmer will me lead

From hence to Holy–Rood,

Like his good saint, I’ll pay his meed,

Instead of cockle-shell, or bead,

With angels fair and good.

I love such holy ramblers; still

They know to charm a weary hill,

With song, romance, or lay:

Some jovial tale, or glee, or jest,

Some lying legend, at the least,

They bring to cheer the way.’—


‘Ah! noble sir,’ young Selby said,

And finger on his lip he laid,

‘This man knows much, perchance e’en more

Than he could learn by holy lore.

Still to himself he’s muttering,

And shrinks as at some unseen thing.

Last night we listen’d at his cell;

Strange sounds we heard, and, sooth to tell,

He murmur’d on till morn, howe’er

No living mortal could be near.

Sometimes I thought I heard it plain,

As other voices spoke again.

I cannot tell — I like it not —

Friar John hath told us it is wrote,

No conscience clear, and void of wrong,

Can rest awake, and pray so long.

Himself still sleeps before his beads

Have mark’d ten aves, and two creeds.’—


—‘Let pass,’ quoth Marmion; ‘by my fay,

This man shall guide me on my way,

Although the great arch-fiend and he

Had sworn themselves of company.

So please you, gentle youth, to call

This Palmer to the Castle-hall.’

The summon’d Palmer came in place;

His sable cowl o’erhung his face;

In his black mantle was he clad,

With Peter’s keys, in cloth of red,

On his broad shoulders wrought;

The scallop shell his cap did deck;

The crucifix around his neck

Was from Loretto brought;

His sandals were with travel tore,

Staff, budget, bottle, scrip, he wore;

The faded palm-branch in his hand

Show’d pilgrim from the Holy Land.


When as the Palmer came in hall,

Nor lord, nor knight, was there more tall,

Or had a statelier step withal,

Or look’d more high and keen;

For no saluting did he wait,

But strode across the hall of state,

And fronted Marmion where he sate,

As he his peer had been.

But his gaunt frame was worn with toil;

His cheek was sunk, alas the while!

And when he struggled at a smile,

His eye look ‘d haggard wild:

Poor wretch! the mother that him bare,

If she had been in presence there,

In his wan face, and sun-burn’d hair,

She had not known her child.

Danger, long travel, want, or woe,

Soon change the form that best we know —

For deadly fear can time outgo,

And blanch at once the hair;

Hard toil can roughen form and face,

And want can quench the eye’s bright grace,

Nor does old age a wrinkle trace

More deeply than despair.

Happy whom none of these befall,

But this poor Palmer knew them all.


Lord Marmion then his boon did ask;

The Palmer took on him the task,

So he would march with morning tide,

To Scottish court to be his guide.

‘But I have solemn vows to pay,

And may not linger by the way,

To fair St. Andrews bound,

Within the ocean-cave to pray,

Where good Saint Rule his holy lay,

From midnight to the dawn of day,

Sung to the billows’ sound;

Thence to Saint Fillan’s blessed well,

Whose spring can frenzied dreams dispel,

And the crazed brain restore:

Saint Mary grant, that cave or spring

Could back to peace my bosom bring,

Or bid it throb no more!’


And now the midnight draught of sleep,

Where wine and spices richly steep,

In massive bowl of silver deep,

The page presents on knee.

Lord Marmion drank a fair good rest,

The Captain pledged his noble guest,

The cup went through among the rest,

Who drain’d it merrily;

Alone the Palmer pass’d it by,

Though Selby press’d him courteously.

This was a sign the feast was o’er;

It hush’d the merry wassel roar,

The minstrels ceased to sound.

Soon in the castle nought was heard,

But the slow footstep of the guard,

Pacing his sober round.


With early dawn Lord Marmion rose:

And first the chapel doors unclose;

Then, after morning rites were done,

(A hasty mass from Friar John,)

And knight and squire had broke their fast,

On rich substantial repast,

Lord Marmion’s bugles blew to horse:

Then came the stirrup-cup in course:

Between the Baron and his host,

No point of courtesy was lost;

High thanks were by Lord Marmion paid,

Solemn excuse the Captain made,

Till, filing from the gate, had pass’d

That noble train, their Lord the last.

Then loudly rung the trumpet call;

Thunder’d the cannon from the wall,

And shook the Scottish shore;

Around the castle eddied slow,

Volumes of smoke as white as snow,

And hid its turrets hoar;

Till they roli’d forth upon the air,

And met the river breezes there,

Which gave again the prospect fair.

Notes to Canto First.

The Introduction is written on a basis of regular four-beat couplets, each line being technically an iambic tetrameter; lines 96, 205, and 283 are Alexandrines, or iambic hexameters, each serving to give emphasis and resonance (like the ninth of the Spenserian stanza) to the passage which it closes. Intensity of expression is given by the triplet which closes the passage ending with line 125. The metrical basis of the movement in the Canto is likewise iambic tetrameter, but the trimeter or three-beat line is freely introduced, and the poet allows himself great scope in his arrangement.

Stanza I. line 1. ‘The ruinous castle of Norham (anciently called Ubbanford) is situated on the southern bank of the Tweed, about six miles above Berwick, and where that river is still the boundary between England and Scotland. The extent of its ruins, as well as its historical importance, shows it to have been a place of magnificence, as well as strength. Edward I resided there when he was created umpire of the dispute concerning the Scottish succession. It was repeatedly taken and retaken during the wars between England and Scotland; and, indeed, scarce any happened, in which it had not a principal share. Norham Castle is situated on a steep bank, which overhangs the river. The repeated sieges which the castle had sustained, rendered frequent repairs necessary. In 1164, it was almost rebuilt by Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, who added a huge keep, or donjon; notwithstanding which, King Henry II, in 1174, took the castle from the bishop, and committed the keeping of it to William de Neville. After this period it seems to have been chiefly garrisoned by the King, and considered as a royal fortress. The Greys of Chillinghame Castle were frequently the castellans, or captains of the garrison: Yet, as the castle was situated in the patrimony of St. Cuthbert, the property was in the see of Durham till the Reformation. After that period, it passed through various hands. At the union of the crowns, it was in the possession of Sir Robert Carey, (afterwards Earl of Monmouth,) for his own life, and that of two of his sons. After King James’s accession, Carey sold Norham Castle to George Home, Earl of Dunbar, for L6000. See his curious Memoirs, published by Mr. Constable of Edinburgh.

‘According to Mr. Pinkerton, there is, in the British Museum. Cal. B. 6. 216, a curious memoir of the Dacres on the state of Norham Castle in 1522, not long after the battle of Flodden. The inner ward, or keep, is represented as impregnable:—“The provisions are three great vats of salt eels, forty-four kine, three hogsheads of salted salmon, forty quarters of grain, besides many cows and four hundred sheep, lying under the castle-wall nightly; but a number of the arrows wanted feathers, and a good Fletcher [i.e. maker of arrows] was required.”— History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 201, note.

‘The ruins of the castle are at present considerable, as well as picturesque. They consist of a large shattered tower, with many vaults, and fragments of other edifices, enclosed within an outward wall of great circuit.’— SCOTT.

line 4. battled = embattled, furnished with battlements. See Introd. to Canto V. line 90, and cp. Tennyson’s ‘Dream of Fair Women,’ line 220:—

‘The valleys of grape-loaded vines that glow

Beneath the BATTLED TOWER.’

the donjon keep. ‘It is perhaps unnecessary to remind my readers, that the donjon, in its proper signification, means the strongest part of a feudal castle; a high square tower, with walls of tremendous thickness, situated in the centre of the other buildings, from which, however, it was usually detached. Here, in case of the outward defences being gained, the garrison retreated to make their last stand. The donjon contained the great hall, and principal rooms of state for solemn occasions, and also the prison of the fortress; from which last circumstance we derive the modern and restricted use of the word dungeon. Ducange (voce DUNJO) conjectures plausibly, that the name is derived from these keeps being usually built upon a hill, which in Celtic is called DUN. Borlase supposes the word came from the darkness of the apartments in these towers, which were thence figuratively called Dungeons; thus deriving the ancient word from the modern application of it.’— SCOTT.

line 6. flanking walls, walls protecting it on the sides. Cp. the use of FLANKED in Dryden’s ‘Annus Mirabilis’ xxvi; —

‘By the rich scent we found our perfumed prey,

Which, FLANKED with rocks, did close in covert lie.’

Stanza II. line 14. St. George’s banner. St. George’s red cross on a white field was the emblem on the English national standard. Saint George is the legendary patron saint who slew the dragon.

Stanza III. line 29. Horncliff-hill is one of the numerous hillocks to the east of Norham. There is a village of the same name.

A plump of spears. Scott writes, ‘This word applies to flight of water-fowl; but is applied by analogy to a body of horse:—

“There is a knight of the North Country,

Which leads a lusty PLUMP of spears.”

Flodden Field’

line 33. mettled, same as metalled (mettle being a variant of metall, spirited, ardent. So ‘mettled hound’ in ‘Jock o’ Hazeldean.’ Cp. Julius Caesar, iv. 2. 23:—

‘But hollow men, like horses hot at hand,

Make gallant show and promise of their METTLE.’

‘Metal’ in the same sense is frequent in Shakespeare. See Meas. for Meas. i. I; Julius Caesar, i. 2; Hamlet, iii 2.

line 35. palisade (Fr. paliser, to enclose with pales), a firm row of stakes presenting a sharp point to an advancing party.

line 38. hasted, Elizabethanism = hastened. Cp. Merch. of Venice, ii. 2. 104 —‘Let it be so hasted that supper be ready at the farthest by five of the clock.’

line 42. sewer, taster; squire, knight’s attendant; seneschal, steward. See ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel,’ vi. 6, and note on Par. Lost, ix. 38, in Clarendon Press Milton:—

                      ‘Then marshalled feast

Served up in hall with sewers, and seneschals.’

Stanza IV. line 43. Malvoisie = Malmsey, from Malvasia, now Napoli di Malvasia, in the Morea.

line 55. portcullis, a strong timber framework within the gateway of a castle, let down in grooves and having iron spikes at the bottom.

Stanzas V and VI. Marmion, strenuous in arms and prudent in counsel, has a kinship in spirit and achievement with the Homeric heroes. Compare him also with the typical knight in Chaucer’s Prologue and the Red Cross Knight at the opening of the ‘Faerie Queene.’ Scott annotates ‘Milan steel’ and the legend thus:—

‘The artists of Milan were famous in the middle ages for their skill in armoury, as appears from the following passage, in which Froissart gives an account of the preparations made by Henry, Earl of Hereford, afterwards Henry IV, and Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marischal, for their proposed combat in the lists at Coventry:— “These two lords made ample provisions of all things necessary for the combat; and the Earl of Derby sent off messengers to Lombardy, to have armour from Sir Galeas, Duke of Milan. The Duke complied with joy, and gave the knight, called Sir Francis, who had brought the message, the choice of all his armour for the Earl of Derby. When he had selected what he wished for in plated and mail armour, the Lord of Milan, out of his abundant love for the Earl, ordered four of the best armourers in Milan to accompany the knight to England, that the Earl of Derby might be more completely armed.”— JOHNES’ Froissart, vol. iv. p.597.

‘The crest and motto of Marmion are borrowed from the following story:—

Sir David de Lindsay, first Earl of Cranford, was, among other gentlemen of quality, attended, during a visit to London in 1390, by Sir William Dalzell, who was, according to my authority, Bower, not only excelling in wisdom, but also of a lively wit. Chancing to be at the Court, he there saw Sir Piers Conrtenay, an English knight, famous for skill in tilting, and for the beauty of his person, parading the palace, arrayed in a new mantle, bearing for device an embroidered falcon, with this rhyme —

“I bear a falcon, fairest of night,

Whoso pinches at her, his death is dight†

                        In graith‡.”

† prepared. ‡ armour.

‘The Scottish knight, being a wag, appeared next day in a dress exactly similar to that of Courtenay, but bearing a magpie instead of the falcon, with a motto ingeniously contrived to rhyme to the vaunting inscription of Sir Piers:—

“I bear a pie picking at a piece,

Whoso picks at her, I shall pick at his nese†,

                       In faith.”

† nose

‘This affront could only be expiated by a just with sharp lances. In the course, Dalzell left his helmet unlaced, so that it gave way at the touch of his antagonist’s lance, and he thus avoided the shock of the encounter. This happened twice:— in the third encounter, the handsome Courtenay lost two of his front teeth. As the Englishman complained bitterly of Dalzell’s fraud in not fastening his helmet, the Scottishman agreed to run six courses more, each champion staking in the hand of the King two hundred pounds, to be forfeited, if, on entering the lists, any unequal advantage should be detected. This being agreed to, the wily Scot demanded that Sir Piers, in addition to the loss of his teeth, should consent to the extinction of one of his eyes, he himself having lost an eye in the fight of Otterburn. As Courtenay demurred to this equalisation of optical powers, Dalzell demanded the forfeit; which, after much altercation, the King appointed to be paid to him, saying, he surpassed the English both in wit and valour. This must appear to the reader a singular specimen of the humour of that time. I suspect the Jockey Club would have given a different decision from Henry IV.’

lines 85–6. ‘The arms of Marmion would be Vairee, a fesse gules — a simple bearing, testifying to the antiquity of the race. The badge was An ape passant argent, ringed and chained with gold. The Marmions were the hereditary champions of England. The office passed to the Dymokes, through marriage, in the reign of Edward III.’—‘Notes and Queries,’ 7th S. III. 37.

Stanza VII. line 95. ‘The principal distinction between the independent esquire (terming him such who was attached to no knight’s service) and the knight was the spurs, which the esquire might wear of silver, but by no means gilded.’— Scott’s ‘Essay on Chivalry,’ p.64.

With the squire’s ‘courteous precepts’ compare those of Chaucer’s squire in the Prologue —

‘He cowde songes make and wel endite,

Juste and eek daunce, and wel purtreye and write.

               . . .

Curteys he was, lowely, and servysable,

And carf byforn his fader at the table.’

Stanza VIII. line 108. Him listed is an Early English form. Cp. Chaucer’s Prologue, 583 —

‘Or lyve as scarsly as HYM LIST desire.’

In Elizabethan English, which retains many impersonal forms, LIST is mainly used as a personal verb, as in Much Ado, iii. 4 —

‘I am not such a fool to think what I LIST,’

and in John iii. 8, ‘The wind bloweth where it listeth.’ Even then, however, it was sometimes used impersonally, as in Surrey’s translation of AEneid ii. 1064 —

‘By sliding seas ME LISTED them to lede.’

line 116. Hosen = hose, tight trousers reaching to the knees. The form hosen is archaic, though it lingered provincially in Scotland till modern times. For a standard use of the word, see in A. V., Daniel iii. 21, ‘Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments.’

line 121. The English archers under the Tudors were famous. Holinshed specially mentions that at the battle of Blackheath, in 1496, Dartford bridge was defended by archers ‘whose arrows were in length a full cloth yard.’

Stanza IX. line 130. morion (Sp. morra, the crown of the head), a kind of helmet without a visor, frequently surmounted with a crest, introduced into England about the beginning of the sixteenth century.

line 134. linstock (lont, a match, and stok, a stick), ‘a gunner’s forked staff to hold a match of lint dipped in saltpetre.’

yare, ready; common as a nautical term. Cp. Tempest, i. I. 6, ‘Cheerly, my hearts! Yare, yare!’ and see note to Clarendon Press edition of the play.

Stanza X. line 146. The angel was a gold coin struck in France in 1340, and introduced into England by Edward IV, 1465. It varied in value from 6s. 8d, to 10s. The last struck in England were in the reign of Charles I. The name was due to the fact that on one side of the coin was a representation of the Archangel Michael and the dragon (Rev. xii. 7). Used again, St. xxv. below.

line 149. brook (A. S. brucan, to use, eat, enjoy, bear, discharge, fulfil), to use, handle, manage. Cp. Chaucer, ‘Nonnes Prestes Tale,’ line 479 —

‘So mote I BROUKEN wel min eyen twey,’

and ‘Lady of the Lake,’ I. xxviii —

‘Whose stalwart arm might BROOK to wield

A blade like this in battle-field. ’

For other meaning of the word see xiii. and xvi. below.

Stanza XI. line 151. Pursuivants, attendants on the heralds, their TABARD being a sleeveless coat. Chaucer applies the name to the loose frock of the ploughman (Prologue, 541). See Clarendon Press ed. of Chaucer’s Prologue, &c.

line 152. scutcheon = escutcheon, shield.

line 156. ‘Lord Marmion, the principal character of the present romance, is entirely a fictitious personage. In earlier times, indeed, the family of Marmion, Lords of Fontenay, in Normandy, was highly distinguished. Robert de Marmion, Lord of Fontenay, a distinguished follower of the Conqueror, obtained a grant of the castle and town of Tamworth, and also of the manor of Scrivelby, in Lincolnshire. One, or both, of these noble possessions was held by the honourable service of being the royal champion, as the ancestors of Marmion had formerly been to the Dukes of Normandy. But after the castle and demesne of Tamworth had passed through four successive barons from Robert, the family became extinct in the person of Philip de Marmion, who died in 20th Edward I without issue male. He was succeeded in his castle of Tamworth by Alexander de Freville, who married Mazera, his grand-daughter. Baldwin de Freville, Alexander’s descendant, in the reign of Richard I, by the supposed tenure of his castle of Tamworth, claimed the office of royal champion, and to do the service appertaining; namely, on the day of coronation, to ride, completely armed, upon a barbed horse, into Westminster Hall, and there to challenge the combat against any who would gainsay the King’s title. But this office was adjudged to Sir John Dymoke, to whom the manor of Scrivelby had descended by another of the coheiresses of Robert de Marmion; and it remains in that family, whose representative is Hereditary Champion of England at the present day. The family and possessions of Freville have merged in the Earls of Ferrars. I have not, therefore, created a new family, but only revived the titles of an old one in an imaginary personage.’— SCOTT.

‘The last occasion on which the Champion officiated was at the coronation of George IV.’—‘Notes and Queries,’ 7th S. III, 236.

line 161. mark, a weight for gold and silver, differing in amount in different countries. The English coin so called was worth 13s. 4d. sterling.

line 163. ‘This was the cry with which heralds and pursuivants were wont to acknowledge the bounty received from the knights. Stewart of Lorn distinguishes a ballad, in which he satirises the narrowness of James V and his courtiers by the ironical burden —

“Lerges, lerges, lerges, hay,

Lerges of this new year day.

First lerges of the King, my chief,

Quhilk come als quiet as a theif,

And in my hand slid schillingis tway1,

To put his lergnes to the preif2,

For lerges of this new-yeir day.”

                  1two 2proof

‘The heralds, like the minstrels, were a race allowed to have great claims upon the liberality of the knights, of whose feats they kept a record, and proclaimed them aloud, as in the text, upon suitable occasions.

‘At Berwick, Norham, and other Border fortresses of importance, pursuivants usually resided, whose inviolable character rendered them the only persons that could, with perfect assurance of safety, be sent on necessary embassies into Scotland. This is alluded to in Stanza xxi. p. 25.’— SCOTT.

line 165. Blazon’d shield, a shield with a coat of arms painted on it, especially with bearings quartered in commemoration of victory in battle. See below V. xv, VI. xxxviii, and cp. Tennyson, ‘The Lady of Shalott,’ Part 3:—

‘And from his blazon’d baldric slung

A mighty silver bugle hung.’

line 174. The Cotswold downs, Gloucestershire, were famous as a hunting-ground. Cp. Merry Wives of Windsor, I. i. 92, ‘How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say he was outrun on Cotsall.’

line 185. The reversed shield, hung on the gallows, indicated the degraded knight.

Stanza XIII. line 192. Scott writes:—‘Were accuracy of any consequence in a fictitious narrative, this castellan’s name ought to have been William; for William Heron of Ford was husband to the famous Lady Ford, whose syren charms are said to have cost our James IV so dear. Moreover, the said William Heron was, at the time supposed, a prisoner in Scotland, being surrendered by Henry VIII, on account of his share in the slaughter of Sir Robert Ker of Cessford. His wife, represented in the text as residing at the Court of Scotland, was, in fact, living in her own castle at Ford. — See Sir RICHARD HERON’S curious Genealogy of the Heron Family.’

Ford Castle is about a mile to the north-east of Flodden Hill. It was repaired in 1761 in accordance with the style of the original architecture. Latterly the owner, the Countess of Waterford, utilizing the natural beauty of the property, has enhanced its value and its interest by improvements exhibiting not only exquisite taste but a true philanthropic spirit. It was at Ford Castle that James IV spent the night preceding the battle of Flodden.

line 195. Deas, dais, or chief seat on the platform at the upper end of the hall.

line 200. Scott mentions in a note that his friend, R. Surtees, of Mainsforth, had taken down this ballad from the lips of an old woman, who said it used ‘to be sung at the merry-makings.’ He likewise gave it a place in the ‘Border Minstrelsy.’ These things being so, it is unpleasant to learn from Lockhart that ‘the ballad here quoted was the production of Mr. R. Surtees, and palmed off by him upon Scott as a genuine relic of antiquity. ‘The title of the ballad in the ‘Border Minstrelsy’ is ‘The Death of Featherstonhaugh.’

line 203. ‘Hardriding Dick is not an epithet referring to horsemanship, but means Richard Ridley of Hardriding.’— SCOTT. The families named all belonged to the north and north-east of Northumberland. Scott adds (from Surtees), ‘A feud did certainly exist between the Ridleys and Featherstons, productive of such consequences as the ballad narrates.’ In regard to the ‘Northern harper,’ see Prof. Minto’s ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel,’ p. 121.

Stanza XV. line 231. wassail-bowl. ‘Wassell’ or ‘wassail’ (A. S. waes hael) was first the wish of health, then it came to denote festivity (especially at Christmas). As an adj. it is compounded not only with bowl, but with cup, candle, &c. Cp. Comus, line 179:—

                     ‘I should be loth

To meet the rudeness and swill’d insolence

Of such late WASSAILERS.’

Cp. also note on ‘gossip’s bowl’ of Midsummer Night’s Dream, ii. I. 47, in Clarendon Press edition, and Prof. Minto’s ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel,’ p. 174.

line 232. Cp. Iliad i. 470, and ix. 175, and Chapman’s translation, ‘The youths CROWNED cups of wine.’

line 238. Raby Castle, in the county of Durham, the property of the Duke of Cleveland.

line 254. As a page in a lady’s chamber. ‘Bower’ is often contrasted with ‘hall,’ as in ‘Jock o’ Hazeldean’:—

‘They socht her baith by bower an’ ha’.’

Cp. below, 281.

Stanza XVI. line 264. For Lindisfarn, or Holy Island, see note to Canto II. St. i.

Stanza XVII. line 284. leash, the cord by which the greyhound is restrained till the moment when he is slipt in pursuit of the game. Cp. Coriolanus, i. 6. 38:—

‘Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash.’

Stanza XVIII. line 289. bide, abide. Cp. above, 215.

line 294. pray you = I pray you. Cp. ‘Prithee,’ so common in Elizabethan drama.

line 298. Scott annotates as follows:—

‘The story of Perkin Warbeck, or Richard, Duke of York, is well known. In 1496, he was received honourably in Scotland; and James IV, after conferring upon him in marriage his own relation, the Lady Catharine Gordon, made war on England in behalf of his pretensions. To retaliate an invasion of England, Surrey advanced into Berwickshire at the head of considerable forces, but retreated, after taking the inconsiderable fortress of Ayton. Ford, in his Dramatic Chronicle of Perkin Warbeck, makes the most of this inroad:—


“Are all our braving enemies shrunk back,

Hid in the fogges of their distemper’d climate,

Not daring to behold our colours wave

In spight of this infected ayre? Can they

Looke on the strength of Cundrestine defac’t;

The glorie of Heydonhall devasted: that

Of Edington cast downe; the pile of Fulden

Orethrowne: And this, the strongest of their forts,

Old Ayton Castle, yeelded and demolished,

And yet not peepe abroad? The Scots are bold,

Hardie in battayle, but it seems the cause

They undertake considered, appeares

Unjoynted in the frame on’t”.’— SCOTT.

line 301. Ayton is on the Eye, a little above Eyemouth, in Berwickshire.

Stanza XIX. line 305. ‘The garrisons of the English castles of Wark, Norham, and Berwick were, as may be easily supposed, very troublesome neighbours to Scotland. Sir Richard Maitland of Ledington wrote a poem, called “The Blind Baron’s Comfort,” when his barony of Blythe, in Lauderdale, was HARRIED by Rowland Foster, the English captain of Wark, with his company, to the number of 300 men. They spoiled the poetical knight of 5000 sheep, 200 nolt, 30 horses and mares; the whole furniture of his house of Blythe, worth 100 pounds Scots (L8. 6s. 8d.), and every thing else that was portable. “This spoil was committed the 16th day of May, 1570, (and the said Sir Richard was threescore and fourteen years of age, and grown blind,) in time of peace; when nane of that country LIPPENED [expected] such a thing.”—“The Blind Baron’s Comfort” consists in a string of puns on the word BLYTHE, the name of the lands thus despoiled. Like John Littlewit, he had “a conceit left him in his misery — a miserable conceit.”

‘The last line of the text contains a phrase, by which the Borderers jocularly intimated the burning a house. When the Maxwells, in 1685, burned the castle of Lochwood, they said they did so to give the Lady Johnstone “light to set her hood.” Nor was the phrase inapplicable; for, in a letter, to which I have mislaid the reference, the Earl of Northumberland writes to the King and Council, that he dressed himself at midnight, at Warkworth, by the blaze of the neighbouring villages burned by the Scottish marauders.’— SCOTT.

Stanza XXI. line 332. Bp. Pudsey, in 1154, restored the castle and added the donjon. See Jemingham’s ‘Norham Castle,’ v. 87.

line 341. too well in case, in too good condition, too stout. For a somewhat similar meaning of case, see Tempest, iii. 2. 25:—

‘I am in case to justle a constable.’

line 342. Scott here refers to Holinshed’s account of Welsh, the vicar of St. Thomas of Exeter, a leader among the Cornish insurgents in 1549:—

‘“This man,” says Holinshed, “had many good things in him. He was of no great stature, but well set, and mightilie compact. He was a very good wrestler; shot well, both in the long-bow, and also in the cross-bow; he handled his hand-gun and peece very well; he was a very good woodman, and a hardie, and such a one as would not give his head for the polling, or his beard for the washing. He was a companion in any exercise of activitie, and of a courteous and gentle behaviour. He descended of a good honest parentage, being borne at Peneverin, in Cornwall; and yet, in this rebellion, an arch-captain, and a principal doer.”— Vol. iv. p. 958, 4to edition. This model of clerical talents had the misfortune to be hanged upon the steeple of his own church.’— SCOTT.

‘The reader,’ Lockhart adds, ‘needs hardly to be reminded of Ivanhoe.’

line 349. Cp. Chaucer’s friar in Prologue, line 240:—

‘He knew wel the tavernes in every toun,’ &c.

The character and adventures of Friar John owe something both to the ‘Canterbury Tales’ and to a remarkable poem, probably Dunbar’s, entitled ‘The Friars of Berwick.’

line 354. St. Bede’s day in the Calendar is May 27. See below, line 410.

Stanza XXII. line 372. tables, backgammon.

line 387. fay = faith, word of honour. See below 454, and cp. Hamlet, ii. 2. 271, ‘By my fay, I cannot reason.’

Stanza XXIII. line 402. St. James or Santiago of Spain. Cp. ‘Piers the Plowman,’ i. 48 (with Prof. Skeat’s note), Chaucer’s Prologue, 465, and Southey’s ‘Pilgrim to Compostella,’ valuable both for its poetic beauty and its ample notes. In regard to the cockleshell, Southey gives some important information in extracts from ‘Anales de Galicia,’ and he says —

‘For the scallop shows in a coat of arms

  That of the bearer’s line.

Some one, in former days, hath been

  To Santiago’s shrine.’

line 403. Montserrat, a mountain, with a Benedictine abbey on it, in Catalonia. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood cherish a myth to the effect that the fantastic peaks and gorges of the mountain were formed at the Crucifixion.

lines 404–7. Scott annotates as follows:—

‘Sante Rosalie was of Palermo, and born of a very noble family, and, when very young, abhorred so much the vanities of this world, and avoided the converse of mankind, resolving to dedicate herself wholly to God Almighty, that she, by divine inspiration, forsook her father’s house, and never was more heard of, till her body was found in that cleft of a rock, on that almost inaccessible mountain, where now the chapel is built; and they affirm she was carried up there by the hands of angels; for that place was not formerly so accessible (as now it is) in the days of the Saint; and even now it is a very bad, and steepy, and break-neck way. In this frightful place, this holy woman lived a great many years, feeding only on what she found growing on that barren mountain, and creeping into a narrow and dreadful cleft in a rock, which was always dropping wet, and was her place of retirement, as well as prayer; having worn out even the rock with her knees, in a certain place, which is now open’d on purpose to show it to those who come here. This chapel is very richly adorn’d; and on the spot where the saint’s dead body was discover’d, which is just beneath the hole in the rock, which is open’d on purpose, as I said, there is a very fine statue of marble, representing her in a lying posture, railed in all about with fine iron and brass work; and the altar, on which they say mass, is built just over it.’— Voyage to Sicily and Malta, by Mr. John Dryden, (son to the poet,) p. 107.

Stanza XXIV. line 408. The national motto is ‘St. George for Merrie England.’ The records of various central and eastern English towns tell of a very ancient custom of ‘carrying the dragon in procession, in great jollity, on Midsummer Eve.’ See Brand’s ‘Popular Antiquities,’ i. 321. In reference to the ‘Birth of St George’ and his deeds, see Percy’s ‘Reliques.’

line 409. Becket (1119–70), Archbishop of Canterbury. See ‘Canterbury Tales’ and Aubrey de Vere’s ‘St. Thomas of Canterbury: a dramatic poem.’

line 410. For Cuthbert, see below, II. xiv. 257. Bede (673–735), a monk of Jarrow on Tyne; called the Venerable Bede; author of an important ‘Ecclesiastical History’ and an English translation of St. John’s Gospel.

lines 419–20. Lord Jeffrey’s sense of humour was not adequate to the appreciation of these two lines, which he specialised for condemnation.

Stanza. XXV. line 421. Gramercy, from Fr. grand merci, sometimes used as an emphatic exclamation, although fundamentally implying the thanks of the speaker.

line 430 still = always. Cp., inter alia, 440 and 452 below. See ‘STILL vexed Bermoothes,’ Tempest, i. 2. 229, and cp. Hamlet, ii. 2. 42 —

‘Thou STILL hast been the father of good news.’

Stanza XXVI. line 452. Scott quotes from Rabelais the passage in which the monk suggests to Gargantua that in order to induce sleep they might together try the repetition of the seven penitential psalms. ‘The conceit pleased Gargantua very well; and, beginning the first of these psalms, as soon as they came to Beati quorum they fell asleep, both the one and the other.’ Cp. Chaucer’s Monk and the character of Accidia in ‘Piers the Plowman,’ Passus V.

line 453. ave, an address to the Virgin Mary, beginning ‘Ave Maria’; creed, a profession of faith, beginning with Credo. It has been objected to this line that the creed is not an essential part of the rosary, and that ten aves and one paternoster would have been more accurate. It should, however, be noticed that both Friar John and young Selby know more of other matters than the details of religious devotion.

Stanza XXVII. line 459. ‘A PALMER, opposed to a PILGRIM, was one who made it his sole business to visit different holy shrines; travelling incessantly, and subsisting by charity: whereas the Pilgrim retired to his usual home and occupations, when he had paid his devotions at the particular spot which was the object of his pilgrimage. The Palmers seem to have been the Quaestionarii of the ancient Scottish canons 1242 and 1296. There is in the Bannatyne MS. a burlesque account of two such persons, entitled, “Simmy and his Brother.” Their accoutrements are thus ludicrously described (I discard the ancient spelling):—

“Syne shaped them up, to loup on leas,

  Two tabards of the tartan;

They counted nought what their clouts were

  When sew’d them on, in certain.

Syne clampit up St. Peter’s keys,

  Made of an old red gartane;

St. James’s shells, on t’other side, shews

  As pretty as a partane


On Symmye and his brother.”’— SCOTT.

With this account of the Palmer, cp. ‘Piers the Plowman,’ v. 523:—

‘He bare a burdoun ybounde . with a brode liste,

In a withewyndes wise . ywounden aboute.

A bolle and a bagge . he bare by his syde;

An hundredth of ampulles . on his hatt seten,

Signes of Synay . and shelles of Galice;

And many a cruche on his cloke . and keyes of Rome,

And the vernicle bifore . for men shulde knowe,

And se bi his signes . whom he soughte hadde.’

In connexion with this, Prof. Skeat draws attention to the romance of Sir Isumbras and to Chaucer’s Prol. line 13.

line 467. Loretto, in Ancona, Italy, is the site of a sanctuary of the Virgin, entitled Santa Casa, Holy House, which enjoys the reputation of having been the Virgin’s residence in Nazareth, and the scene of the Annunciation, &c.

Stanza XXVIII. line 483. haggard wild is a twofold adj. in the Elizabethan fashion, like ‘bitter sweet,’ ‘childish foolish,’ and other familiar examples.

line 490. Science appears to support this theory. See various examples in Sir Erasmus Wilson’s little work, ‘Healthy Skin.’ Many of the cases are within the writer’s own knowledge, and all the others are historical or otherwise well authenticated. He mentions Sir T. More the night before his execution; two cases reported by Borellus; three by Daniel Turner; one by Dr. Cassan; and in a note he recalls John Libeny, a would-be assassin of the Emperor of Austria, ‘whose hair turned snow-white in the forty-eight hours preceding his execution.’ See ‘Notes and Queries,’ 6th S. vols. vi. to ix., and 7th S. ii. Not only fear but sorrow is said to cause the hair to turn white very suddenly. Byron makes his Prisoner of Chillon say that his white hairs have not come to him

                ‘In a single night,

As men’s have grown from sudden fears.’

Stanza XXIX. line 506. ‘St. Regulus (Scottice, St. Rule), a monk of Patrae, in Achaia, warned by a vision, is said, A. D. 370, to have sailed westward, until he landed at St. Andrews, in Scotland, where he founded a chapel and tower. The latter is still standing; and, though we may doubt the precise date of its foundation, is certainly one of the most ancient edifices in Scotland. A cave, nearly fronting the ruinous castle of the Archbishops of St. Andrews, bears the name of this religion person. It is difficult of access; and the rock in which it is hewed is washed by the German Ocean. It is nearly round, about ten feet in diameter, and the same in height. On one side is a sort of stone altar; on the other an aperture into an inner den, where the miserable ascetic, who inhabited this dwelling, probably slept. At full tide, egress and regress are hardly practicable. As Regulus first colonised the metropolitan see of Scotland, and converted the inhabitants in the vicinity, he has some reason to complain that the ancient name of Killrule (Cella Reguli) should have been superseded, even in favour of the tutelar saint of Scotland. The reason of the change was, that St. Rule is said to have brought to Scotland the relics of Saint Andrew.’— SCOTT.

line 509. ‘St. Fillan was a Scottish saint of some reputation. Although Popery is, with us, matter of abomination, yet the common people still retain some of the superstitions connected with it. There are in Perthshire several wells and springs dedicated to St. Fillan, which are still places of pilgrimage and offerings, even among the Protestants. They are held powerful in cases of madness; and, in some of very late occurrence, lunatics have been left all night bound to the holy stone, in confidence that the saint would cure and unloose them before morning. [See various notes to the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.]’— SCOTT.

line 513. Cp. Macbeth, v. 3. 40:—

‘Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?’

and Lear, iii. 4. 12:—

            ‘The tempest in my mind

Doth from my senses take all feeling else

Save what beats there.’

Stanza XXX. line 515. With ‘midnight draught,’ cp. Macbeth’s ‘drink,’ ii. 1. 31, and the ‘posset,’ ii. 2. 6. See notes to these passages in Clarendon Press Macbeth.

Stanza XXXI. line 534. ‘In Catholic countries, in order to reconcile the pleasures of the great with the observances of religion, it was common, when a party was bent for the chase, to celebrate mass, abridged and maimed of its rites, called a hunting-mass, the brevity of which was designed to correspond with the impatience of the audience.’— Note to ‘The Abbot,’ new edition.

line 538. Stirrup-cup, or stirrup-glass, is a parting-glass of liquor given to a guest when on horseback and ready to go.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00