Eustace, I said, did blithely mark
The first notes of the merry lark.
The lark sang shrill, the cock he crew,
And loudly Marmion’s bugles blew,
And with their light and lively call,
Brought groom and yeoman to the stall.
Whistling they came, and free of heart,
But soon their mood was changed;
Complaint was heard on every part,
Of something disarranged.
Some clamour’d loud for armour lost;
Some brawl’d and wrangled with the host;
‘By Becket’s bones,’ cried one, ‘I fear,
That some false Scot has stolen my spear!’—
Young Blount, Lord Marmion’s second squire,
Found his steed wet with sweat and mire;
Although the rated horse-boy sware,
Last night he dress’d him sleek and fair.
While chafed the impatient squire like thunder,
Old Hubert shouts, in fear and wonder —
‘Help, gentle Blount! help, comrades all!
Bevis lies dying in his stall:
To Marmion who the plight dare tell,
Of the good steed he loves so well?’—
Gaping for fear and ruth, they saw
The charger panting on his straw;
Till one, who would seem wisest, cried —
‘What else but evil could betide,
With that cursed Palmer for our guide?
Better we had through mire and bush
Been lantern-led by Friar Rush.’
Fitz–Eustace, who the cause but guess’d,
Nor wholly understood,
His comrades’ clamorous plaints suppress’d;
He knew Lord Marmion’s mood.
Him, ere he issued forth, he sought,
And found deep plunged in gloomy thought,
And did his tale display
Simply, as if he knew of nought
To cause such disarray.
Lord Marmion gave attention cold,
Nor marvell’d at the wonders told —
Pass’d them as accidents of course,
And bade his clarions sound to horse.
Young Henry Blount, meanwhile, the cost
Had reckon’d with their Scottish host;
And, as the charge he cast and paid,
‘Ill thou deservest thy hire,’ he said;
‘Dost see, thou knave, my horse’s plight?
Fairies have ridden him all the night,
And left him in a foam!
I trust, that soon a conjuring band,
With English cross, and blazing brand,
Shall drive the devils from this land,
To their infernal home:
For in this haunted den, I trow,
All night they trampled to and fro.’—
The laughing host look’d on the hire —
‘Gramercy, gentle southern squire,
And if thou comest among the rest,
With Scottish broadsword to be blest,
Sharp be the brand, and sure the blow,
And short the pang to undergo.’
Here stay’d their talk — for Marmion
Gave now the signal to set on.
The Palmer showing forth the way,
They journey’d all the morning day.
The green-sward way was smooth and good,
Through Humbie’s and through Saltoun’s wood;
A forest-glade, which, varying still,
Here gave a view of dale and hill,
There narrower closed, till over head
A vaulted screen the branches made.
‘A pleasant path,’ Fitz–Eustace said;
‘Such as where errant-knights might see
Adventures of high chivalry;
Might meet some damsel flying fast,
With hair unbound, and looks aghast;
And smooth and level course were here,
In her defence to break a spear.
Here, too, are twilight nooks and dells;
And oft, in such, the story tells,
The damsel kind, from danger freed,
Did grateful pay her champion’s meed.’
He spoke to cheer Lord Marmion’s mind;
Perchance to show his lore design’d;
For Eustace much had pored
Upon a huge romantic tome,
In the hall-window of his home,
Imprinted at the antique dome
Of Caxton, or de Worde.
Therefore he spoke — but spoke in vain,
For Marmion answer’d nought again.
Now sudden, distant trumpets shrill,
In notes prolong’d by wood and hill,
Were heard to echo far;
Each ready archer grasp’d his bow,
But by the flourish soon they know,
They breathed no point of war.
Yet cautious, as in foeman’s land,
Lord Marmion’s order speeds the band,
Some opener ground to gain;
And scarce a furlong had they rode,
When thinner trees, receding, show’d
A little woodland plain.
Just in that advantageous glade,
The halting troop a line had made,
As forth from the opposing shade
Issued a gallant train.
First came the trumpets, at whose clang
So late the forest echoes rang;
On prancing steeds they forward press’d,
With scarlet mantle, azure vest;
Each at his trump a banner wore,
Which Scotland’s royal scutcheon bore:
Heralds and pursuivants, by name
Bute, Islay, Marchmount, Rothsay, came,
In painted tabards, proudly showing
Gules, Argent, Or, and Azure glowing,
Attendant on a King-at-arms,
Whose hand the armorial truncheon held,
That feudal strife had often quell’d,
When wildest its alarms.
He was a man of middle age;
In aspect manly, grave, and sage,
As on King’s errand come;
But in the glances of his eye,
A penetrating, keen, and sly
Expression found its home;
The flash of that satiric rage,
Which, bursting on the early stage,
Branded the vices of the age,
And broke the keys of Rome.
On milk-white palfrey forth he paced;
His cap of maintenance was graced
With the proud heron-plume.
From his steed’s shoulder, loin, and breast,
Silk housings swept the ground,
With Scotland’s arms, device, and crest,
Embroider’d round and round.
The double tressure might you see,
First by Achaius borne,
The thistle and the fleur-delis,
And gallant unicorn.
So bright the King’s armorial coat,
That scarce the dazzled eye could note,
In living colours, blazon’d brave,
The Lion, which his title gave;
A train, which well beseem’d his state,
But all unarm’d, around him wait.
Still is thy name in high account,
And still thy verse has charms,
Sir David Lindesay of the Mount,
Lord Lion King-at-arms!
Down from his horse did Marmion spring,
Soon as he saw the Lion–King;
For well the stately Baron knew
To him such courtesy was due,
Whom Royal James himself had crown’d,
And on his temples placed the round
Of Scotland’s ancient diadem:
And wet his brow with hallow’d wine,
And on his finger given to shine
The emblematic gem.
Their mutual greetings duly made,
The Lion thus his message said:—
‘Though Scotland’s King hath deeply swore
Ne’er to knit faith with Henry more,
And strictly hath forbid resort
From England to his royal court;
Yet, for he knows Lord Marmion’s name,
And honours much his warlike fame,
My liege hath deem’d it shame, and lack
Of courtesy, to turn him back;
And, by his order, I, your guide,
Must lodging fit and fair provide,
Till finds King James meet time to see
The flower of English chivalry.’
Though inly chafed at this delay,
Lord Marmion bears it as he may.
The Palmer, his mysterious guide,
Beholding thus his place supplied,
Sought to take leave in vain:
Strict was the Lion–King’s command,
That none, who rode in Marmion’s band,
Should sever from the train:
‘England has here enow of spies
In Lady Heron’s witching eyes;’
To Marchmount thus, apart, he said,
But fair pretext to Marmion made.
The right hand path they now decline,
And trace against the stream the Tyne.
At length up that wild dale they wind,
Where Crichtoun Castle crowns the bank;
For there the Lion’s care assign’d
A lodging meet for Marmion’s rank.
That Castle rises on the steep
Of the green vale of Tyne:
And far beneath, where slow they creep,
From pool to eddy, dark and deep,
Where alders moist, and willows weep,
You hear her streams repine.
The towers in different ages rose;
Their various architecture shows
The builders’ various hands;
A mighty mass, that could oppose,
When deadliest hatred fired its foes,
The vengeful Douglas bands.
Crichtoun! though now thy miry court
But pens the lazy steer and sheep,
Thy turrets rude, and totter’d Keep,
Have been the minstrel’s loved resort.
Oft have I traced, within thy fort,
Of mouldering shields the mystic sense,
Scutcheons of honour, or pretence,
Quarter’d in old armorial sort,
Remains of rude magnificence.
Nor wholly yet had time defaced
Thy lordly gallery fair;
Nor yet the stony cord unbraced,
Whose twisted knots, with roses laced,
Adorn thy ruin’d stair.
Still rises unimpair’d below,
The court-yard’s graceful portico;
Above its cornice, row and row
Of fair hewn facets richly show
Their pointed diamond form,
Though there but houseless cattle go,
To shield them from the storm.
And, shuddering, still may we explore,
Where oft whilom were captives pent,
The darkness of thy Massy More;
Or, from thy grass-grown battlement,
May trace, in undulating line,
The sluggish mazes of the Tyne.
Another aspect Crichtoun show’d,
As through its portal Marmion rode;
But yet ’twas melancholy state
Received him at the outer gate;
For none were in the Castle then,
But women, boys, or aged men.
With eyes scarce dried, the sorrowing dame,
To welcome noble Marmion, came;
Her son, a stripling twelve years old,
Proffer’d the Baron’s rein to hold;
For each man that could draw a sword
Had march’d that morning with their lord,
Earl Adam Hepburn — he who died
On Flodden, by his sovereign’s side.
Long may his Lady look in vain!
She ne’er shall see his gallant train,
Come sweeping back through Crichtoun–Dean.
’Twas a brave race, before the name
Of hated Bothwell stain’d their fame.
And here two days did Marmion rest,
With every rite that honour claims,
Attended as the King’s own guest; —
Such the command of Royal James,
Who marshall’d then his land’s array,
Upon the Borough-moor that lay.
Perchance he would not foeman’s eye
Upon his gathering host should pry,
Till full prepared was every band
To march against the English land.
Here while they dwelt, did Lindesay’s wit
Oft cheer the Baron’s moodier fit;
And, in his turn, he knew to prize
Lord Marmion’s powerful mind, and wise —
Train’d in the lore of Rome and Greece,
And policies of war and peace.
It chanced, as fell the second night,
That on the battlements they walk’d,
And, by the slowly fading light,
Of varying topics talk’d;
And, unaware, the Herald-bard
Said, Marmion might his toil have spared,
In travelling so far;
For that a messenger from heaven
In vain to James had counsel given
Against the English war:
And, closer question’d, thus he told
A tale, which chronicles of old
In Scottish story have enroll’d:—
Sir David Lindsey’s Tale.
‘Of all the palaces so fair,
Built for the royal dwelling,
In Scotland, far beyond compare
Linlithgow is excelling;
And in its park, in jovial June,
How sweet the merry linnet’s tune,
How blithe the blackbird’s lay!
The wild buck bells from ferny brake,
The coot dives merry on the lake,
The saddest heart might pleasure take
To see all nature gay.
But June is to our Sovereign dear
The heaviest month in all the year:
Too well his cause of grief you know,
June saw his father’s overthrow.
Woe to the traitors, who could bring
The princely boy against his King!
Still in his conscience burns the sting.
In offices as strict as Lent,
King James’s June is ever spent.
‘When last this ruthful month was come,
And in Linlithgow’s holy dome
The King, as wont, was praying;
While, for his royal father’s soul,
The chanters sung, the bells did toll,
The Bishop mass was saying —
For now the year brought round again
The day the luckless King was slain —
In Katharine’s aisle the monarch knelt,
With sackcloth-shirt, and iron belt,
And eyes with sorrow streaming;
Around him in their stalls of state,
The Thistle’s Knight–Companions sate,
Their banners o’er them beaming.
I too was there, and, sooth to tell,
Bedeafen’d with the jangling knell,
Was watching where the sunbeams fell,
Through the stain’d casement gleaming;
But, while I mark’d what next befell,
It seem’d as I were dreaming.
Stepp’d from the crowd a ghostly wight,
In azure gown, with cincture white;
His forehead bald, his head was bare,
Down hung at length his yellow hair. —
Now, mock me not, when, good my Lord,
I pledge to you my knightly word,
That, when I saw his placid grace,
His simple majesty of face,
His solemn bearing, and his pace
So stately gliding on —
Seem’d to me ne’er did limner paint
So just an image of the Saint,
Who propp’d the Virgin in her faint —
The loved Apostle John!
‘He stepp’d before the Monarch’s chair,
And stood with rustic plainness there,
And little reverence made;
Nor head, nor body, bow’d nor bent,
But on the desk his arm he leant,
And words like these he said,
In a low voice — but never tone
So thrill’d through vein, and nerve, and bone:—
“My mother sent me from afar, 346
Sir King, to warn thee not to war —
Woe waits on thine array;
If war thou wilt, of woman fair,
Her witching wiles and wanton snare,
James Stuart, doubly warn’d, beware:
God keep thee as He may!”—
The wondering monarch seem’d to seek
For answer, and found none;
And when he raised his head to speak,
The monitor was gone.
The Marshal and myself had cast
To stop him as he outward pass’d;
But, lighter than the whirlwind’s blast,
He vanish’d from our eyes,
Like sunbeam on the billow cast,
That glances but, and dies.’
While Lindesay told his marvel strange,
The twilight was so pale,
He mark’d not Marmion’s colour change,
While listening to the tale:
But, after a suspended pause,
The Baron spoke:—‘Of Nature’s laws
So strong I held the force,
That never superhuman cause
Could e’er control their course;
And, three days since, had judged your aim
Was but to make your guest your game.
But I have seen, since past the Tweed,
What much has changed my sceptic creed,
And made me credit aught.’— He staid,
And seem’d to wish his words unsaid:
But, by that strong emotion press’d,
Which prompts us to unload our breast,
Even when discovery’s pain,
To Lindesay did at length unfold
The tale his village host had told,
At Gifford, to his train.
Nought of the Palmer says he there,
And nought of Constance, or of Clare;
The thoughts, which broke his sleep, he seems
To mention but as feverish dreams.
‘In vain,’ said he, ‘to rest I spread
My burning limbs, and couch’d my head:
Fantastic thoughts return’d;
And, by their wild dominion led,
My heart within me burn’d.
So sore was the delirious goad,
I took my steed, and forth I rode,
And, as the moon shone bright and cold,
Soon reach’d the camp upon the wold.
The southern entrance I pass’d through,
And halted, and my bugle blew.
Methought an answer met my ear —
Yet was the blast so low and drear,
So hollow, and so faintly blown,
It might be echo of my own.
‘Thus judging, for a little space
I listen’d, ere I left the place;
But scarce could trust my eyes,
Nor yet can think they serve me true,
When sudden in the ring I view,
In form distinct of shape and hue,
A mounted champion rise. —
I’ve fought, Lord–Lion, many a day,
In single fight, and mix’d affray,
And ever, I myself may say,
Have borne me as a knight;
But when this unexpected foe
Seem’d starting from the gulf below —
I care not though the truth I show —
I trembled with affright;
And as I placed in rest my spear,
My hand so shook for very fear,
I scarce could couch it right.
‘Why need my tongue the issue tell?
We ran our course — my charger fell; —
What could he ‘gainst the shock of hell?
I roll’d upon the plain.
High o’er my head, with threatening hand,
The spectre shook his naked brand —
Yet did the worst remain:
My dazzled eyes I upward cast —
Not opening hell itself could blast
Their sight, like what I saw!
Full on his face the moonbeam strook! —
A face could never be mistook!
I knew the stern vindictive look,
And held my breath for awe.
I saw the face of one who, fled
To foreign climes, has long been dead —
I well believe the last;
For ne’er, from vizor raised, did stare
A human warrior, with a glare
So grimly and so ghast.
Thrice o’er my head he shook the blade;
But when to good Saint George I pray’d,
(The first time e’er I ask’d his aid),
He plunged it in the sheath;
And, on his courser mounting light,
He seem’d to vanish from my sight:
The moonbeam droop’d, and deepest night
Sunk down upon the heath. —
’Twere long to tell what cause I have
To know his face, that met me there,
Call’d by his hatred from the grave,
To cumber upper air:
Dead, or alive, good cause had he
To be my mortal enemy.’
Marvell’d Sir David of the Mount;
Then, learn’d in story, ‘gan recount
Such chance had happ’d of old,
When once, near Norham, there did fight
A spectre fell of fiendish might,
In likeness of a Scottish knight,
With Brian Bulmer bold,
And train’d him nigh to disallow
The aid of his baptismal vow.
‘And such a phantom, too, ’tis said,
With Highland broadsword, targe, and plaid
And fingers red with gore,
Is seen in Rothiemurcus glade,
Or where the sable pine-tree shade
Dark Tomantoul, and Auchnaslaid,
Dromouchty, or Glenmore.
And yet, whate’er such legends say,
Of warlike demon, ghost, or lay,
On mountain, moor, or plain,
Spotless in faith, in bosom bold,
True son of chivalry should hold
These midnight terrors vain;
For seldom have such spirits power
To harm, save in the evil hour,
When guilt we meditate within,
Or harbour unrepented sin.’—
Lord Marmion turn’d him half aside,
And twice to clear his voice he tried,
Then press’d Sir David’s hand —
But nought, at length, in answer said;
And here their farther converse staid,
Each ordering that his band
Should bowne them with the rising day,
To Scotland’s camp to take their way,-
Such was the King’s command.
Early they took Dun–Edin’s road,
And I could trace each step they trode:
Hill, brook, nor dell, nor rock, nor stone,
Lies on the path to me unknown.
Much might if boast of storied lore;
But, passing such digression o’er,
Suffice it that their route was laid
Across the furzy hills of Braid.
They pass’d the glen and scanty rill,
And climb’d the opposing bank, until
They gain’d the top of Blackford Hill.
Blackford! on whose uncultured breast,
Among the broom, and thorn, and whin,
A truant-boy, I sought the nest,
Or listed, as I lay at rest,
While rose, on breezes thin,
The murmur of the city crowd,
And, from his steeple jangling loud,
Saint Giles’s mingling din.
Now, from the summit to the plain,
Waves all the hill with yellow grain;
And o’er the landscape as I look,
Nought do I see unchanged remain,
Save the rude cliffs and chiming brook.
To me they make a heavy moan,
Of early friendships past and gone.
But different far the change has been,
Since Marmion, from the crown
Of Blackford, saw that martial scene
Upon the bent so brown:
Thousand pavilions, white as snow,
Spread all the Borough-moor below,
Upland, and dale, and down:—
A thousand did I say? I ween,
Thousands on thousands there were seen
That chequer’d all the heath between
The streamlet and the town;
In crossing ranks extending far,
Forming a camp irregular;
Oft giving way, where still there stood
Some relics of the old oak wood,
That darkly huge did intervene,
And tamed the glaring white with green:
In these extended lines there lay
A martial kingdom’s vast array.
For from Hebudes, dark with rain,
To eastern Lodon’s fertile plain,
And from the southern Redswire edge,
To farthest Rosse’s rocky ledge:
From west to east, from south to north,
Scotland sent all her warriors forth.
Marmion might hear the mingled hum
Of myriads up the mountain come;
The horses’ tramp, and tingling clank,
Where chiefs review’d their vassal rank,
And charger’s shrilling neigh;
And see the shifting lines advance,
While frequent flash’d, from shield and lance,
The sun’s reflected ray.
Thin curling in the morning air,
The wreaths of failing smoke declare
To embers now the brands decay’d,
Where the night-watch their fires had made.
They saw, slow rolling on the plain,
Full many a baggage-cart and wain,
And dire artillery’s clumsy car,
By sluggish oxen tugg’d to war;
And there were Borthwick’s Sisters Seven,
And culverins which France had given.
Ill-omen’d gift! the guns remain
The conqueror’s spoil on Flodden plain.
Nor mark’d they less, where in the air
A thousand streamers flaunted fair;
Various in shape, device, and hue,
Green, sanguine, purple, red, and blue,
Broad, narrow, swallow-tail’d, and square,
Scroll, pennon, pensil, bandrol, there
O’er the pavilions flew.
Highest, and midmost, was descried
The royal banner floating wide;
The staff, a pine-tree, strong and straight,
Pitch’d deeply in a massive stone,
Which still in memory is shown,
Yet bent beneath the standard’s weight
Whene’er the western wind unroll’d,
With toil, the huge and cumbrous fold,
And gave to view the dazzling field,
Where, in proud Scotland’s royal shield,
The ruddy lion ramp’d in gold.
Lord Marmion view’d the landscape bright —
He view’d it with a chiefs delight —
Until within him burn’d his heart,
And lightning from his eye did part,
As on the battle-day;
Such glance did falcon never dart,
When stooping on his prey.
‘Oh! well, Lord–Lion, hast thou said,
Thy King from warfare to dissuade
Were but a vain essay:
For, by St. George, were that host mine,
Not power infernal, nor divine,
Should once to peace my soul incline,
Till I had dimm’d their armour’s shine
In glorious battle-fray!’
Answer’d the Bard, of milder mood:
‘Fair is the sight — and yet ’twere good,
That Kings would think withal,
When peace and wealth their land has bless’d,
’Tis better to sit still at rest,
Than rise, perchance to fall.’
Still on the spot Lord Marmion stay’d,
For fairer scene he ne’er survey’d.
When sated with the martial show
That peopled all the plain below,
The wandering eye could o’er it go,
And mark the distant city glow
With gloomy splendour red;
For on the smoke-wreaths, huge and slow,
That round her sable turrets flow,
The morning beams were shed,
And tinged them with a lustre proud,
Like that which streaks a thunder-cloud.
Such dusky grandeur clothed the height,
Where the huge Castle holds its state,
And all the steep slope down,
Whose ridgy back heaves to the sky,
Piled deep and massy, close and high,
Mine own romantic town!
But northward far, with purer blaze,
On Ochil mountains fell the rays,
And as each heathy top they kiss’d,
It gleam’d a purple amethyst.
Yonder the shores of Fife you saw;
Here Preston–Bay, and Berwick–Law;
And, broad between them roll’d,
The gallant Frith the eye might note,
Whose islands on its bosom float,
Like emeralds chased in gold.
Fitz–Eustace’ heart felt closely pent;
As if to give his rapture vent,
The spur he to his charger lent,
And raised his bridle hand,
And, making demi-volte in air,
Cried, ‘Where’s the coward that would not dare
To fight for such a land!’
The Lindesay smiled his joy to see;
Nor Marmion’s frown repress’d his glee.
Thus while they look’d, a flourish proud,
Where mingled trump, and clarion loud,
And fife, and kettle-drum,
And sackbut deep, and psaltery,
And war-pipe with discordant cry,
And cymbal clattering to the sky,
Making wild music bold and high,
Did up the mountain come;
The whilst the bells, with distant chime,
Merrily toll’d the hour of prime,
And thus the Lindesay spoke:
‘Thus clamour still the war-notes when
The King to mass his way has ta’en,
Or to Saint Katharine’s of Sienne,
Or Chapel of Saint Rocque.
To you they speak of martial fame;
But me remind of peaceful game,
When blither was their cheer,
Thrilling in Falkland-woods the air,
In signal none his steed should spare,
But strive which foremost might repair
To the downfall of the deer.
‘Nor less,’ he said — ‘when looking forth,
I view yon Empress of the North
Sit on her hilly throne;
Her palace’s imperial bowers,
Her castle, proof to hostile powers,
Her stately halls and holy towers —
Nor less,’ he said, ‘I moan,
To think what woe mischance may bring,
And how these merry bells may ring
The death-dirge of our gallant King;
Or with the larum call
The burghers forth to watch and ward,
‘Gainst southern sack and fires to guard
Dun–Edin’s leaguer’d wall. —
But not for my presaging thought,
Dream conquest sure, or cheaply bought!
Lord Marmion, I say nay:
God is the guider of the field,
He breaks the champion’s spear and shield —
But thou thyself shalt say,
When joins yon host in deadly stowre,
That England’s dames must weep in bower,
Her monks the death-mass sing;
For never saw’st thou such a power
Led on by such a King.’—
And now, down winding to the plain,
The barriers of the camp they gain,
And there they made a stay. —
There stays the Minstrel, till he fling
His hand o’er every Border string,
And fit his harp the pomp to sing,
Of Scotland’s ancient Court and King,
In the succeeding lay.
line 31. ‘ALIAS “Will o’ the Wisp.” 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’ Lanthern. It is in allusion to this mischievous demon that Milton’s clown speaks —
“She was pinched, and pulled, she said,
And he by FRIAR’S LANTHERN led.”
‘“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 Scot, 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.’— SCOTT.
It may be added, on the authority of Keightley, that Friar Rush ‘haunted houses, not fields, and was never the same with Jack-o’- the-Lanthorn.’ See note on Milton’s ‘L’Allegro,’ 104, in Clarendon Press edition, also Preface to Midsummer Night’s Dream in same series.
Stanza IV. line 69. Humbie and Saltoun are adjoining parishes in S. W. of Haddingtonshire. To this day there is a charm in the remote rural character of the district. There are, about Humble in particular, wooded glades that might well represent the remains of the scene witnessed by Marmion and his troopers. East and West Saltoun are two decayed villages, about five miles S. W. of the county town. Between them is Saltoun Hall, the seat of the Fletchers.
line 91. ‘William Caxton, the earliest English printer, was born in Kent, A. D. 1412, and died 1401. Wynken de Worde was his next successor in the production of those
“Rare volumes, dark with tarnished gold,”
which are now the delight of bibliomaniacs.’— LOCKHART.
Stanza VI. line 119. The four heraldic terms used are for the colours — red, silver, gold, and blue.
line 120, The King-at-arms was superintendent of the heralds.
Stanza VII. line 133. Sir David Lyndsay’s exposure of ecclesiastical abuses in his various satires, especially in his ‘Complaynts’ and his Dialog, ‘powerfully forwarded the movement that culminated in the Reformation. It would, however, be a mistake to consider him an avowed Protestant reformer. He was concerned about the existing wrongs both of Church and State, and thought of rectifying these without revolutionary measures.
line 135. The cap of the Lion King’ was of scarlet velvet turned up with ermine.’
lines 141–4. The double tressure was an ornamental tracing round the shield, at a fixed distance from the border. As to the fleur-delis (flower of the lily, emblem of France) Scott quotes Boethius and Buchanan as saying that it was ‘first assumed by Achaius, king of Scotland, contemporary of Charlemagne, and founder of, the celebrated League with France.’ Historical evidence, however, would seem to show that ‘the lion is first seen on the seal of Alexander II, and the tressure on that of Alexander III.’ This is the heraldic description of the arms of Scotland: ‘Or, a lion rampant gules, armed and langued azure, within a double tressure flory counterflory of fleur-delis of the second.’ The supporters are ‘two unicorns argent maned and unguled, or gorged with open crowns.’ The crest is ‘a lion sejant affronte gules crowned or,’ &c. The adoption of the thistle as the national Scottish emblem is wrapt in obscurity, although an early poet attributes it to a suggestion of Venus.
line 153. Scott mentions Chalmers’s edition of Lyndsay’s works, published in 1806. More recent and very satisfactory editions are those of Dr. David Laing, (1) a library edition in three volumes, and (2) a popular edition in two. Lyndsay was born about 1490 and died about 1555. The Mount was his estate, near Cupar–Fife. ‘I am uncertain,’ says Scott, ‘if I abuse poetic 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 that anachronism; for the author of “Flodden Field” despatches 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 the Lion King-at-arms, to receive foreign ambassadors; and Lindesay himself did this honour to Sir Ralph Sadler, in 1539–40. Indeed, the oath of the Lion, in its first article, bears reference to his frequent employment upon royal messages and embassies. The office of heralds, in feudal times, being held of the utmost importance, the inauguration of the Kings-at-arms, who presided over their colleges, was proportionally solemn. In fact, it was the mimicry of a royal coronation, except that the unction was made with wine instead of oil. In Scotland, a namesake and kinsman of Sir David Lindesay, inaugurated in 1502, “was crowned by King James with the ancient crown of Scotland, which was used before the Scottish Kings assumed a close Crown;” and, on occasion of the same solemnity, dined at the King’s table, wearing the crown. It is probable that the coronation of his predecessor was not less solemn. So sacred was the herald’s office, that, in 1515, Lord Drummond was by Parliament declared guilty of treason, and his lands forfeited, because he had struck, with his fist, the Lion King-at-arms, when he reproved him for his follies. Nor was he restored, but at the Lion’s earnest solicitation.’
Stanza X. line 194. ‘A large ruinous castle on the banks of the Tyne, about ten miles from Edinburgh. As indicated in the text, it was built at different times, and with a very differing regard to splendour and accommodation. The oldest part of the building is a narrow keep, or tower, such as formed the mansion of a lesser Scottish baron; but so many additions have been made to it, that there is now a large courtyard, surrounded by buildings of different ages. The eastern front of the court is raised above a portico, and decorated with entablatures, bearing anchors. All the stones of this front are cut into diamond facets, the angular projections of which have an uncommonly rich appearance. The inside of this part of the building appears to have contained a gallery of great length, and uncommon elegance. Access was given to it by a magnificent stair-case, now quite destroyed. The soffits are ornamented with twining cordage and rosettes: and the whole seems to have been far more splendid than was usual in Scottish castles. The castle belonged originally to the Chancellor, Sir William Crichton, and probably owed to him its first enlargement, as well as its being taken by the Earl of Douglas, who imputed to Crichton’s counsels the death of his predecessor, Earl William, beheaded in Edinburgh Castle, with his brother, in 1440. It is said to have been totally demolished on that occasion; but the present state of the ruin shows the contrary. In 1483 it was garrisoned by Lord Crichton, then its proprietor, against King James III, whose displeasure he had incurred by seducing his sister Margaret, in revenge, it is said, for the Monarch having dishonoured his bed. From the Crichton family the castle passed to that of the Hepburns, Earls Bothwell; and when the forfeitures of Stewart, the last Earl Bothwell, were divided, the barony and cattle of Crichton fell to the share of the Earl of Buccleuch. They were afterwards the property of the Pringles of Clifton, and are now that of Sir John Callander, Baronet. It were to be wished the proprietor would take a little pains to preserve those splendid remains of antiquity, which are at present used as a fold for sheep, and wintering cattle; although, perhaps, there are very few ruins in Scotland which display so well the style and beauty of castle-architecture.’— SCOTT.
The ruin is now carefully protected, visitors being admitted on application at Crichtoun Manse adjoining.
Stanza XI. line 232. ‘The castle of Crichton has a dungeon vault, called the Massy More. The epithet, which is not uncommonly applied to the prisons of other old castles in Scotland, is of Saracenic origin. It occurs twice in the “Epistolae Itineriae” of Tollius. “Carcer subterraneus, sive, ut Mauri appellant, MAZMORRA,” p. 147; and again, “Coguntur omnes Captivi sub noctem in ergastula subterranea, quae Turcae Algezerani vocant MAZMORRAS,” p. 243. The same word applies to the dungeons of the ancient Moorish castles in Spain, and serves to show from what nation the Gothic style of castle building was originally derived.’— SCOTT.
See further, Sir W. Scott’s ‘Provincial Antiquities,’ vol. i.
Stanza XII. line 249. ‘He was the second Earl of Bothwell, and fell in the field of Flodden, where, according to an ancient English poet, he distinguished himself by a furious attempt to retrieve the day:—
“Then on the Scottish part, right proud,
The Earl of Bothwell then out brast,
And stepping forth, with stomach good,
Into the enemies’ throng he thrast;
And BOTHWELL! BOTHWELL! cried bold,
To cause his souldiers to ensue,
But there he caught a wellcome cold,
The Englishmen straight down him threw.
Thus Haburn through his hardy heart
His fatal fine in conflict found,”&c.
FLODDEN FIELD, a Poem; edited by H. Weber. Edin.
line 254. ‘Adam was grandfather to James, Earl of Bothwell, too well known in the history of Queen Mary.’— SCOTT.
Stanza XIII. line 260. The Borough-moor extended from Edinburgh south to the Braid Hills.
Stanza XIV. line 280. Scott quotes from Lindsay of Pitscottie the story of the apparition seen at Linlithgow by James IV, when undergoing his annual penance for having taken the field against his father. Some of the younger men about the Court had devised what they felt might be an impressive warning to the King against going to war, and their show of supernatural interference was well managed. Lindsay’s narrative proceeds thus:—
‘The King came to Lithgow, where he happened to be for the time at the Council, very sad and dolorous, making his devotion to God, to send him good chance and fortune in his voyage. In this meantime, there came a man, clad in a blue gown, in at the kirk door, and belted about him in a roll of linen-cloth; a pair of brotikings1 on his feet, to the great of his legs; with all other hose and clothes conform thereto; but he had nothing on his head, but syde2 red yellow hair behind, and on his haffets3, which wan down to his shoulders; but his forehead was bald and bare. He seemed to be a man of two-and-fifty years, with a great pike-staff in his hand, and came first forward among the lords, crying and speiring4 for the King, saying, he desired to speak with him. While, at the last, he came where the King was sitting in the desk, at his prayers, but when he saw the King, he made him little reverence or salutation, but leaned down groffling on the desk before him, and said to him in this manner, as after follows: “Sir King, my mother hath sent me to you, desiring you not to pass, at this time, where thou art purposed; for if thou does, thou wilt not fare well in thy journey, nor none that passeth with thee. Further, she bade thee mell5 with no woman, nor use their counsel, nor let them touch thy body, nor thou theirs; for, if thou do it, thou wilt be confounded and brought to shame.”
1buskins 2long 3cheeks 4asking 5meddle
‘By this man had spoken thir words unto the King’s grace, the evening-song was near done, and the King paused on thir words, studying to give him an answer; but, in the meantime, before the King’s eyes, and in the presence of all the lords that were about him for the time, this man vanished away, and could no ways be seen nor comprehended, but vanished away as he had been a blink of the sun, or a whip of the whirlwind, and could no more be seen. I heard say. Sir David Lindesay, Lyon-herauld, and John Inglis the marshal, who were, at that time, young men, and special servants to the King’s grace, were standing presently beside the King, who thought to have laid hands on this man, that they might have speired further tidings at him: But all for nought; they could not touch him; for he vanished away betwixt them, and was no more seen.’ Buchanan, in more elegant, though not more impressive language, tells the same story, and quotes the personal information of our Sir David Lindesay: ‘In iis, (i.e. qui propius astiterant) fuit David Lindesius, Montanus, homo spectatae fidei et probitatis, nec a literarum studiis alienus, et cujus totius vitae tenor longissime a mentiendo aberat; a quo nisi ego haec uti tradidi, pro certis accepissem, ut vulgatam vanis rumoribus fabulam omissurus eram.”— Lib. xiii. The King’s throne, in St. Catherine’s aisle, which he had constructed for himself, with twelve stalls for the Knights Companions of the Order of the Thistle, is still shown as the place where the apparition was seen. I know not by what means St. Andrew got the credit of having been the celebrated monitor of James IV; for the expression in Lindesay’s narrative, “My mother has sent me,” could only be used by St. John, the adopted son of the Virgin Mary. The whole story is so well attested, that we have only the choice between a miracle or an imposture. Mr. Pinkerton plausibly argues, from the caution against incontinence, that the Queen was privy to the scheme of those who had recourse to this expedient, to deter King James from his impolitic war.’
Stanza XV. line 287. ‘In Scotland there are about twenty palaces, castles, and remains, or sites of such,
“Where SCOTIA’S kings of other years”
had their royal home.
‘Linlithgow, distinguished by the combined strength and beauty of its situation, must have been early selected as a royal residence. David, who bought the title of saint by his liberality to the Church, refers several of his charters to his town of Linlithgow; and in that of Holyrood expressly bestows on the new monastery all the skins of the rams, ewes, and lambs, belonging to his castle of Linlitcu, which shall die during the year. . . . The convenience afforded for the sport of falconry, which was so great a favourite during the feudal ages, was probably one cause of the attachment of the ancient Scottish monarchs to Linlithgow and its fine lake. The sport of hunting was also followed with success in the neighbourhood, from which circumstance it probably arises that the ancient arms of the city represent a black greyhound bitch tied to a tree. . . . The situation of Linlithgow Palace is eminently beautiful. It stands on a promontory of some elevation, which advances almost into the midst of the lake. The form is that of a square court, composed of buildings of four storeys high, with towers at the angles. The fronts with the square, and the windows, are highly ornamented, and the size of the rooms, as well as the width and character of the staircases, are upon a magnificent scale. One banquet-room is ninety-four feet long, thirty feet wide, and thirty-three feet high, with a gallery for music. The King’s wardrobe, or dressing-room, looking to the west, projects over the walls, so as to have a delicious prospect on three aides, and is one of the most enviable boudoirs we have ever seen.’— SIR WALTER SCOTT’S Provincial Antiquities. — Prose Works, vol. vii. p. 382.
line 288. With ‘jovial June’ cp. Gavin Douglas’s ‘joyous moneth tyme of June,’ in prologue to the 13th AEneid, ‘ekit to Virgill be Maphaeus Vegius,’ and the description of the month in Lyndsay’s ‘Dreme,’ as:—
‘Weill bordourit with dasyis of delyte.’
line 291. ‘I am glad of an opportunity to describe the cry of the deer by another word than BRAYING, although the latter has been sanctified by the use of the Scottish metrical translation of the Psalms. BELL seems to be an abbreviation of bellow. This silvan sound conveyed great delight to our ancestors, chiefly, I suppose, from association. A gentle knight in the reign of Henry VIII, Sir Thomas Wortley, built Wantley Lodge, in Wancliffe Forest, for the pleasure (as an ancient inscription testifies) of “listening to the hart’s BELL”’— SCOTT.
line 298. Sauchie-burn, where James III fell, was fought 18 June, 1488., ‘James IV,’ says Scott, ‘after the battle passed to Stirling, and hearing the monks of the chapel-royal deploring the death of his father, he was seized with deep remorse, which manifested itself in severe penances.’ See below, note on V. ix.
line 300. ‘When the King saw his own banner displayed against him, and his son in the faction of his enemies, he lost the little courage he ever possessed, fled out of the field, fell from his horse as it started at a woman and water-pitcher, and was slain, it was not well understood by whom.’— SCOTT.
Stanza XVI. line 312. In the church of St. Michael, adjoining the palace.
line 316. The earliest known mention of the thistle as the national badge is in the inventory of the effects of James III, Thistles were inscribed on the coins of the next four reigns, and they were accompanied in the reign of James VI for the first time by the motto Nemo me impune lacessit. James II of Great Britain formally inaugurated the Order of the Thistle on 29 May, 1687, but it was not till the reign of Anne, 31 Dec. 1703, that it became a fully defined legal institution. The Order is also known as the Order of St. Andrew. — See CHAMBERS’S Encyclopedia.
line 318. It was natural and fit that Lyndsay should be present. It is more than likely that he had a leading hand in the enterprise. As tutor to the young Prince, it had been a recognised part of his duty to amuse him by various disguises; and he was likewise the first Scottish poet with an adequate dramatic sense.
line 336. See St. John xix. 25–27.
Stanza XVII. line 350. The special reference here is to the influence of Lady Heron. See above, I. xvi. 265, and below, V. x. 261.
Stanza XIX. The skilful descriptive touches of this stanza are noteworthy. Cp. opening passages of Coleridge’s ‘Christabel,’ especially the seven lines beginning, ‘Is the night chilly and dark?’
Stanza XXI. line 440. Grimly is not unknown as a poetical adj. ‘Margaret’s GRIMLY ghost,’ in Beaumont and FIetcher’s ‘Knight of the Burning Pestle,’ II. i, is a familiar example. See above, p. 194, line 25, ‘GRIMLY voice.’ For ‘ghast’ as an adj., cp. Keats’s ‘Otho the Great,’ V. v. 11, ‘How ghast a train!’
line. 449. See below, V. xxiv, ”Twere long and needless here to tell,’ and cp. AEneid I. 341:—
‘Longa est iniuria, longae
Ambages; sed summa sequar fastigia rerum.’
Stanza XXII. line 461. See above, III. xxv. 503, and note.
lines 467–470. Rothiemurchus, near Alvie, co. of Inverness, on Highland Railway; Tomantoul in co. of Banff, N. E. of Rothiemurchus; Auchnaslaid in co. of Inverness, near S. W. border of Aberdeen; Forest of Dromouchty on Inverness border eastward of Loch Ericht; Glenmore, coextensive with Caledonian Canal.
lines 477–480. Cp. the teaching of Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Christabel.’ In the former these stanzas are specially notable:—
‘O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.
The selfsame moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.’
line 487. bowne = prepare. See below, V. xx, ‘to bowne him for the war’; and ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel,’ V. xx, ‘bowning back to Cumberland.’ Cp. ‘Piers the Plowman,’ III. 173 (C Text):—
‘And bed hem alle ben BOUN . beggeres and othere,
To wenden with hem to Westemynstre.’
Stanza XXIII. line 490. Dun–Edin = Edwin’s hill-fort, poetic for Edinburgh.
line 497. The Braid Hills, S. E. of Edinburgh, recently added to the recreation grounds of the citizens.
Stanza XXIV. Blackford Hill has now been acquired by the City of Edinburgh as a public resort. The view from it, not only of the city but of the landscape generally, is striking and memorable.
lines 511–15. Cp. Wordsworth’s ‘The Fountain — a Conversation’:—
‘No check, no stay, this Streamlet fears:
How merrily it goes!
’Twill murmur on a thousand years,
And flow as now it flows.
And here on this delightful day,
I cannot choose but think
How oft, a vigorous man, I lay
Beside this fountain’s brink.
My eyes are dim with childish tears,
My heart is idly stirred,
For the same sound is in my ears
Which in those days I heard.’
Stanza XXV. line 521. ‘The Borough, or Common Moor of Edinburgh, was of very great extent, reaching from the southern walls of the city to the bottom of Braid Hills. It was anciently a forest; and, in that state, was so great a nuisance, that the inhabitants of Edinburgh had permission granted to them of building wooden galleries, projecting over the street, in order to encourage them to consume the timber; which they seem to have done very effectually. When James IV mustered the array of the kingdom there, in 1513, the Borough-moor was, according to Hawthornden, “a field spacious, and delightful by the shade of many stately and aged oaks.” Upon that, and similar occasions, the royal standard is traditionally said to have been displayed from the Hare Stane, a high stone, now built into the wall, on the left hand of the highway leading towards Braid, not far from the head of Bruntsfield Links. The Hare Stane probably derives its name from the British word Har, signifying an army.’— SCOTT.
Stanza XXVI. lines 535–538. The proper names in these lines are Hebrides; East Lothian; Redswire, part of Carter Fell near Jedburgh; and co. of Ross.
Stanza XXVII. line 557. ‘Seven culverins so called, cast by one Borthwick.’— SCOTT.
Stanza XXVIII. line 566. ‘Each ensign intimated a different rank.’— SCOTT.
line 567. As illustrating an early mode of English encampment, Scott quotes from Patten’s description of what he saw after Pinkie, 1547:—
‘As they had no pavilions, or round houses, of any commendable compass, so wear there few other tentes with posts, as the used manner of making is; and of these few also, none of above twenty foot length, but most far under; for the most part all very sumptuously beset, (after their fashion,) for the love of France, with fleur-delys, some of blue buckeram, some of black, and some of some other colours. These white ridges, as I call them, that, as we stood on Fauxsyde Bray, did make so great muster toward us, which I did take then to be a number of tentes, when we came, we found it a linen drapery, of the coarser cambryk in dede, for it was all of canvas sheets, and wear the tenticles, or rather cabyns and couches of their soldiers; the which (much after the common building of their country beside) had they framed of four sticks, about an ell long a piece, whereof two fastened together at one end aloft, and the two endes beneath stuck in the ground, an ell asunder, standing in fashion like the bowes of a sowes yoke; over two such bowes (one, as it were, at their head, the other at their feet), they stretched a sheet down on both sides, whereby their cabin became roofed like a ridge, but skant shut at both ends, and not very close beneath on the sides, unless their sticks were the shorter, or their wives the more liberal to lend them larger napery; howbeit, when they had lined them, and stuff’d them so thick with straw, with the weather as it was not very cold, when they wear ones couched, they were as warm as they had been wrapt in horses dung.’— PATTEN’S Account of Somerset’s Expedition.
line 578. ‘The well-known arms of Scotland. If you will believe Boethius and Buchanan, the double tressure round the shield (mentioned above, vii. 141), counter fleur-delysed, or lingued and armed azure, was first assumed by Achaias, King of Scotland, contemporary of Charlemagne, and founder of the celebrated League with France but later antiquaries make poor Eochy, or Achy, little better than a sort of King of Brentford, whom old Grig (who has also swelled into Gregorius Magnus) associated with himself in the important duty of governing some part of the north-eastern coast of Scotland.’— SCOTT.
Stanza XXIX. lines 595–9. Cp. the ‘rash, fruitless war,’ &c., of Thomson’s ‘Edwin and Eleonora,’ i. 1, and Cowper’s ‘Task,’ v. 187:—
‘War’s a game which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at.’
Stanza XXX. This description of Edinburgh is one of the passages mentioned by Mr. Ruskin in ‘Modern Painters’ as illustrative of Scott’s quick and certain perception of the relations of form and colour. ‘Observe,’ he says, ‘the only hints at form given throughout are in the somewhat vague words “ridgy,” “ massy,” “close,” and “high,” the whole being still more obscured by modern mystery, in its most tangible form of smoke. But the COLOURS are all definite; note the rainbow band of them — gloomy or dusky red, sable (pure black), amethyst (pure purple), green and gold — a noble chord throughout; and then, moved doubtless less by the smoky than the amethystine part of the group,
“Fitz–Eustace’ heart felt closely pent,” &c.’
line 632. In the demi-volte (one of seven artificial equestrian movements) the horse rises on his hind feet and makes a half-turn. Cp. below, v. 33.
Stanza XXXI. line 646. 6 o’clock a.m., the first canonical hour of prayer.
lines 650–1. St. Catherine of Siena, a famous female Spanish saint, and St. Roque of France, patron of those sick of the plague, who died at Montpelier about 1327.
line 655. Falkland, in the west of Fife, at base of Lomond Hills, a favourite residence of the Stuart kings, and well situated for hunting purposes. The ancient stately palace is now the property of the Marquis of Bute.
Stanza XXXII. line 679. stowre, noise and confusion of battle. Cp. ‘Faery Queene,’ I. ii. 7, ‘woeful stowre.’
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00