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The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott

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1689, 4to, p. 574).

"To the history of this sentient and prescient weapon, I beg
leave to add, from memory, the following legend, for which I
cannot produce any better authority. A young nobleman, of high
hopes and fortune, chanced to lose his way in the town which he
inhabited, the capital, if I mistake not, of a German province.
He had accidentally involved himself among the narrow and winding
streets of a suburb, inhabited by the lowest order of the people,
and an approaching thunder-shower determined him to ask a short
refuge in the most decent habitation that was near him. He
knocked at the door, which was opened by a tall man, of a grisly
and ferocious aspect, and sordid dress. The stranger was readily
ushered to a chamber, where swords, scourges, and machines, which
seemed to be implements of torture, were suspended on the wall.
One of these swords dropped from its scabbard, as the nobleman,
after a moment's hesitation, crossed the threshold. His host
immediately stared at him with such a marked expression, that the
young man could not help demanding his name and business, and the
meaning of his looking at him so fixedly. 'I am,' answered the
man, 'the public executioner of this city; and the incident you
have observed is a sure augury that I shall, in discharge of my
duty, one day cut off your head with the weapon which has just
now spontaneously unsheathed itself.' The nobleman lost no time
in leaving his place of refuge; but, engaging in some of the
plots of the period, was shortly after decapitated by that very
man and instrument.

"Lord Lovat is said, by the author of the Letters from Scotland
(vol. ii. p. 214), to have affirmed that a number of swords that
hung up in the hall of the mansion-house, leaped of themselves
out of the scabbard at the instant he was born. The story passed
current among his clan, but, like that of the story I have just
quoted, proved an unfortunate omen."

311. If courtly spy hath, etc. The 1st ed. has "If courtly spy,
and harbored," etc. The ed. of 1821 reads "had harbored."

319. Beltane. The first of May, when there was a Celtic
festival in honor of the sun. Beltane = Beal-tein, or the fire
of Beal, a Gaelic name for the sun. It was celebrated by
kindling fires on the hill-tops at night, and other ceremonies,
followed by dances, and merry-making. Cf. 410 below. See also
The Lord of the Isles, i. 8: "The shepherd lights his belane-
fire;" and Glenfinlas:

"But o'er his hills, in festal day,
How blazed Lord Ronald's beltane-tree!"

323. But hark! etc. "The moving picture--the effect of the
sounds --and the wild character and strong peculiar nationality
of the whole procession, are given with inimitable spirit and
power of expression" (Jeffrey).

327. The canna's hoary beard. The down of the canna, or cotton-

335. Glengyle. A valley at the northern end of Lock Katrine.

337. Brianchoil. A promontory on the northern shore of the

342. Spears, pikes, and axes. The 1st ed. and that of 1821 have
Spears, but all the recent ones misprint "Spear." The "Globe"
ed. has "Spear, spikes," etc.

343. Tartans. The checkered woollen cloth so much worn in
Scotland. Curiously enough, the name is not Gaelic but French.
See Jamieson or Wb.

Brave. Fine, beautiful; the same word as the Scottish braw. Cf.
Shakespeare, Sonn. 12. 2: "And see the brave day sunk in hideous
night;" Ham. ii. 2. 312: "This brave o'erhanging firmament," etc.
It is often used of dress, as also is bravery (= finery); as in
T. of S. iv. 3. 57: "With scarfs and fans and double change of
bravery." See also Spenser, Mother Hubberds Tale, 858: "Which
oft maintain'd his masters braverie" (that is, dressed as well as
his master).

351. Chanters. The pipes of the bagpipes, to which long ribbons
were attached.

357. The sounds. Misprinted "the sound" in the ed. of 1821, and
all the more recent eds. that we have seen. Cf. 363 below.

363. Those thrilling sounds, etc. Scott says here: "The
connoisseurs in pipe-music affect to discover in a well-composed
pibroch, the imitative sounds of march, conflict, flight,
pursuit, and all the 'current of a heady fight.' To this opinion
Dr. Beattie has given his suffrage, in that following elegant
passage:--'A pibroch is a species of tune, peculiar, I think, to
the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland. It is performed on
a bagpipe, and differs totally from all other music. Its rhythm
is so irregular, and its notes, especially in the quick movement,
so mixed and huddled together, that a stranger finds it
impossible to reconcile his ear to it, so as to perceive its
modulation. Some of these pibrochs, being intended to represent
a battle, begin with a grave motion, resembling a march; then
gradually quicken into the onset; run off with noisy confusion,
and turbulent rapidity, to imitate the conflict and pursuit; then
swell into a few flourishes of triumphant joy; and perhaps close
with the wild and slow wailings of a funeral procession' (Essay
on Laughter and Ludicrious Composition, chap. iii. note)."

367. Hurrying. Referring to their, or rather to the them
implied in that word.

392. The burden bore. That is, sustained the burden, or chorus,
of the song. Cf. Shakespeare, Temp. i. 2. 381: "And, sweet
sprites, the burden bear."

399. Hail to the Chief, etc. The metre of the song is dactylic;
the accents being on the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th syllables. It
is little used in English. Tennyson's Charge of the Light
Brigade and Longfellow's Skeleton in Armor are familiar examples
of it.

405. Bourgeon. Bud. Cf. Fairfax, Tasso, vii. 76: When first on
trees bourgeon the blossoms soft;" and Tennyson, In Memoriam,

"Now burgeons every maze of quick
About the flowering squares," etc.

408. Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu. "Besides his ordinary name and
surname, which were chiefly used in the intercourse with the
Lowlands, every Highland chief had an epithet expressive of his
patriarchal dignity as head of the clan, and which was common to
all his predecessors and successors, as Pharaoh to the kings of
Egypt, or Arsaces to those of Parthia. This name was usually a
patronymic, expressive of his descent from the founder of the
family. Thus the Duke of Argyll is called MacCallum More, or the
son of Colin the Great. Sometimes, however, it is derived from
armorial distinctions, or the memory of some great feat; thus
Lord Seaforth, as chief of the Mackenzies, or Clan-Kennet, bears
the epithet of Caber-fae, or Buck's Head, as representative of
Colin Fitzgerald, founder of the family, who saved the Scottish
king, when endangered by a stag. But besides this title, which
belonged to his office and dignity, the chieftain had usually
another peculiar to himself, which distinguished him from the
chieftains of the same race. This was sometimes derived from
complexion, as dhu or roy; sometimes from size, as beg or more;
at other times, from some peculiar exploit, or from some
peculiarity of habit or appearance. The line of the text
therefore signifies,

Black Roderick, the descendant of Alpine.

"The song itself is intended as an imitation of the jorrams, or
boat songs, of the Highlanders, which were usually composed in
honor of a favorite chief. They are so adapted as to keep time
with the sweep of the oars, and it is easy to distinguish between
those intended to be sung to the oars of a galley, where the
stroke is lengthened and doubled, as it were, and those which
were timed to the rowers of an ordinary boat" (Scott).

410. Beltane. See on 319 above.

415. Roots him. See on i. 142 above.

416. Breadalbane. The district north of Loch Lomond and around
Loch Tay. The seat of the Earl of Breadalbane is Taymouth
Castle, near the northern end of Loch Tay.

For Menteith, see on i. 89 above.

419. Glen Fruin. A valley to the southwest of Loch Lomond. The
ruins of the castle of Benuchara, or Bannochar (see on 422 just
below), still overhang the entrance to the glen.

Glen Luss is another valley draining into the lake, a few miles
from Glen Fruin, and Ross-dhu is on the shore of the lake, midway
between the two. Here stands a tower, the only remnant of the
ancient castle of the family of Luss, which became merged in that
of Colquhoun.

422. The best of Loch Lomond, etc. Scott has the following note

"The Lennox, as the district is called which encircles the lower
extremity of Loch Lomond, was peculiarly exposed to the
incursions of the mountaineers, who inhabited the inaccessible
fastnesses at the upper end of the lake, and the neighboring
district of Loch Katrine. These were often marked by
circumstances of great ferocity, of which the noted conflict of
Glen Fruin is a celebrated instance. This was a clan-battle, in
which the Macgregors, headed by Allaster Macgregor, chief of the
clan, encountered the sept of Colquhouns, commanded by Sir
Humphry Colquhoun of Luss. It is on all hands allowed that the
action was desperately fought, and that the Colquhouns were
defeated with slaughter, leaving two hundred of their name dead
upon the field. But popular tradition has added other horrors to
the tale. It is said that Sir Humphry Colquhoun, who was on
horseback, escaped to the Castle of Benechra, or Bannochar, and
was next day dragged out and murdered by the victorious
Macgregors in cold blood. Buchanan of Auchmar, however, speaks
of his slaughter as a subsequent event, and as perpetrated by the
Macfarlanes. Again, it is reported that the Macgregors murdered
a number of youths, whom report of the intended battle had
brought to be spectators, and whom the Colquhouns, anxious for
their safety, had shut up in a barn to be out of danger. One
account of the Macgregors denies this circumstance entirely;
another ascribes it to the savage and bloodthirsty disposition of
a single individual, the bastard brother of the Laird of
Macgregor, who amused himself with this second massacre of the
innocents, in express disobedience to the chief, by whom he was
left their guardian during the pursuit of the Colquhouns. It is
added that Macgregor bitterly lamented this atrocious action, and
prophesied the ruin which it must bring upon their ancient clan.

"The consequences of the battle of Glen Fruin were very
calamitous to the family of Macgregor, who had already been
considered as an unruly clan. The widows of the slain
Colquhouns, sixty, it is said, in number, appeared in doleful
procession before the king at Stirling, each riding upon a white
palfrey, and bearing in her hand the bloody shirt of her husband
displayed upon a pike. James VI. was so much moved by the
complaints of this 'choir of mourning dames,' that he let loose
his vengeance against the Macgregors without either bounds or
moderation. The very name of the clan was proscribed, and those
by whom it had been borne were given up to sword and fire, and
absolutely hunted down by bloodhounds like wild beasts. Argyll
and the Campbells, on the one hand, Montrose, with the Grahames
and Buchanans, on the other, are said to have been the chief
instruments in suppressing this devoted clan. The Laird of
Macgregor surrendered to the former, on condition that he would
take him out of Scottish ground. But, to use Birrel's
expression, he kept 'a Highlandman's promise;' and, although he
fulfilled his word to the letter, by carrying him as far as
Berwick, he afterwards brought him back to Edinburgh, where he
was executed with eighteen of his clan (Birrel's Diary, 2d Oct.
1903). The clan Gregor being thus driven to utter despair, seem
to have renounced the laws from the benefit of which they were
excluded, and their depredations produced new acts of council,
confirming the severity of their proscription, which had only the
effect of rendering them still more united and desperate. It is
a most extraordinary proof of the ardent and invincible spirit of
clanship, that notwithstanding the repeated proscriptions
providently ordained by the legislature, 'for the timeous
preventing the disorders and oppression that may fall out by the
said name and clan of Macgregors, and their followers,' they
were, in 1715 and 1745, a potent clan, and continue to subsist as
a distinct and numerous race."

426. Leven-glen. The valley of the Leven, which connects Loch
Lomond with the Clyde.

431. The rosebud. That is, Ellen. "Note how this song connects
Allan's forebodings with Roderick's subsequent offer" (Taylor).

444. And chorus wild, etc. The MS. has "The chorus to the
chieftain's fame."

476. Weeped. The form is used for the rhyme. Cf. note on i.
500 above.

477. Nor while, etc. The MS. reads:

"Nor while on Ellen's faltering tongue
Her filial greetings eager hung,
Marked not that awe (affection's proof)
Still held yon gentle youth aloof;
No! not till Douglas named his name,
Although the youth was Malcolm Graeme.
Then with flushed cheek and downcast eye,
Their greeting was confused and shy."

495. Bothwell. See on 141 above.

497. Percy's Norman pennon. Taken in the raid which led to the
battle of Otterburn, in Northumberland, in the year 1388, and
which forms the theme of the ballads of Chevy Chase.

501. My pomp. My triumphal procession; the original meaning of

504. Crescent. The badge of the Buccleuch family (Miss Yonge).

506. Blantyre. A priory, the ruins of which are still to be
seen on a height above the Clyde, opposite Bothwell Castle.

521. The dogs, etc. The MS. has "The dogs with whimpering notes

525. Unhooded. The falcon was carried on the wrist, with its
head covered, or hooded, until the prey was seen, when it was
unhooded for flight. Cf. vi. 665 below.

526. Trust. Believe me.

527. Like fabled Goddess. The MS. has "Like fabled huntress;"
referring of course to Diana.

534. Stature fair. The reading of the 1st ed. and that of 1821;
"stature tall" in most of the other eds.

541. The ptarmigan. A white bird.

543. Menteith. See on i. 89 above.

548. Ben Lomond. This is much the highest (3192 feet) of the
mountains on the shores of Loch Lomond. The following lines on
the ascent were scratched upon the window-pane of the old inn at
Tarbet a hundred years or more ago:

"Trust not at first a quick adventurous pace;
Six miles its top points gradual from its base;
Up the high rise with panting haste I past,
And gained the long laborious steep at last;
More prudent thou--when once you pass the deep,
With cautious steps and slow ascend the steep."

549. Not a sob. That is, without panting, or getting out of
breath, like the degenerate modern tourist.

574. Glenfinlas. A wooded valley between Ben-an and Benledi,
the entrance to which is between Lochs Achray and Vennachar. It
is the scene of Scott's ballad, Glenfinlas, or Lord Ronald's
Coronach. A mile from the entrance are the falls of the Hero's
Targe. See iv. 84 below.

577. Still a royal ward. Still under age, with the king for

583. Strath-Endrick. A valley to the southeast of Loch Lomond,
drained by Endrick Water.

584. Peril aught. Incur any peril. Milton uses the verb
intransitively in Reason of Church Government, ii. 3: "it may
peril to stain itself."

587. Not in action. The 1st ed. has "nor in action."

594. News. Now generally used as a singular; but in old writers
both as singular and as plural. Cf. Shakespeare, K. John, iii.
4. 164: "at that news he dies;" and Id. v. 7. 65: "these dead
news," etc.

601. As. As if. See on 56 above.

606. Glozing. That glosses over the truth, not plain and
outspoken. Sometimes it means to flatter, or deceive with smooth
words; as in Spenser, F. Q. iii. 8. 14:

"For he could well his glozing speeches frame
To such vaine uses that him best became;"

Smith, Sermons (A. D. 1609): "Every smooth tale is not to be
believed; and every glosing tongue is not to be trusted;" Milton,
P. L. iii. 93: "his glozing lies;" Id. ix. 549: "So glozed the
Tempter;" Comus, 161: "well-placed words of glozing courtesy,"

615. The King's vindictive pride, etc. Scott says here: "In
1529, James made a convention at Edinburgh, for the purpose of
considering the best mode of quelling the Border robbers, who,
during the license of his minority, and the troubles which
followed, had committed many exorbitances. Accordingly he
assembled a flying army of ten thousand men, consisting of his
principal nobility and their followers, who were directed to
bring their hawks and dogs with them, that the monarch might
refresh himself with sport during the intervals of military
execution. With this array he swept through Ettrick Forest,
where he hanged over the gate of his own castle Piers Cockburn of
Henderland, who had prepared, according to tradition, a feast for
his reception. He caused Adam Scott of Tushiclaw also to be
executed, who was distinguished by the title of King of the
Border. But the most noted victim of justice during that
expedition was John Armstrong of Gilnockie, famous in Scottish
song, who, confiding in his own supposed innocence, met the King,
with a retinue of thirty-six persons, all of whom were hanged at
Carlenrig, near the source of the Teviot. The effect of this
severity was such, that, as the vulgar expressed it, 'the rush-
bush kept the cow,' and 'thereafter was great peace and rest a
long time, wherethrough the King had great profit; for he had ten
thousand sheep going in the Ettrick Forest in keeping by Andrew
Bell, who made the king as good count of them as they had gone in
the bounds of Fife' (Pitscottie's History, p. 153)."

623. Meggat's mead. The Meggat, or Megget, is a mountain stream
flowing into the Yarrow, a branch of the Etrrick, which is itself
a branch of the Tweed. The Teviot is also a branch of the Tweed.

627. The dales, etc. The MS. has "The dales where clans were
wont to bide."

634. By fate of Border chivalry. Scott says: "James was, in
fact, equally attentive to restrain rapine and feudal oppression
in every part of his dominions. 'The King past to the isles, and
there held justice courts, and punished both thief and traitor
according to their demerit. And also he caused great men to show
their holdings, wherethrough he found many of the said lands in
non-entry; the which he confiscate and brought home to his own
use, and afterwards annexed them to the crown, as ye shall hear.
Syne brought many of the great men of the isles captive with him,
such as Mudyart, M'Connel, M'Loyd of the Lewes, M'Neil, M'Lane,
M'Intosh, John Mudyart, M'Kay, M'Kenzie, with many other that I
cannot rehearse at this time. Some of them he put in ward and
some in court, and some he took pledges for good rule in time
coming. So he brought the isles, both north and south, in good
rule and peace; wherefore he had great profit, service, and
obedience of people a long time hereafter; and as long as he had
the heads of the country in subjection, they lived in great peace
and rest, and there was great riches and policy by the King's
justice' (Pitscottie, p. 152)."

638. Your counsel. That is, give me your counsel. Streight =

659. The Bleeding Heart. See on 200 above.

662. Quarry. See on i. 127 above.

672. To wife. For wife. Cf. Shakespeare, Temp. ii. 1. 75:
"such a paragon to their queen;" Rich. II. iv. 1. 306: "I have a
king here to my flatterer," etc. See also Matt. iii. 9, Luke,
iii. 8, etc.

674. Enow. The old plural of enough; as in Shakespeare, Hen. V.
iv. 1. 240: "we have French quarrels enow," etc.

678. The Links of Forth. The windings of the Forth between
Stirling and Alloa.

679. Stirling's porch. The gate of Stirling Castle.

683. Blench. Start, shrink.

685. Heat. Misprinted "heart" in many eds.

690. From pathless glen. The MS. has "from hill and glen."

692. There are who have. For the ellipsis, cf. Shakespeare,
Temp. ii. 1. 262: "There be that can rule Naples," etc. See also
iii. 10 below.

694. That beetled o'er. Cf. Hamlet, i. 4. 71:

"the dreadful summit of the cliff That beetles o'er his
base into the sea."

696. Their dangerous dream. The MS. has "their desperate

702. Battled. Battlemented; as in vi. 7 below.

703. It waved. That it waved; an ellipsis very common in
Elizabethan and earlier English. Cf. 789 below.

708. Astound. Astounded. This contraction of the participle
(here used for the sake of the rhyme) was formerly not uncommon
in verbs ending in d and t. Thus in Shakespeare we find the
participles bloat (Ham. iii. 4. 182), enshield (M. for M. ii. 4.
80), taint (1 Hen. VI. v. 3. 183), etc.

710. Crossing. Conflicting.

716. Ere. The 1st ed. misprints "e'er."

731. Level. Aim; formerly a technical term. Cf. 2 Hen. IV.
iii. 2. 286: "The foeman may with as great aim level at the edge
of a penknife," etc.

747. Nighted. Benighted. It is to be regarded as a contraction
of that word; like lated for belated in Macbeth, iii. 3. 6, etc.
Nighted (= dark, black) in Hamlet, i. 2. 68 ("thy nighted
colour") is an adjective formed from the noun night.

757. Checkered shroud. Tartain plaid. The original meaning of
shroud (see Wb.) was garment.

763. Parting. Departing. See on 94 above.

768. So deep, etc. According to Lockhart, the MS. reads:

"The deep-toned anguish of despair
Flushed, in fierce jealousy, to air;"

but we suspect that "Flushed" should be "Flashed."

774. So lately. At the "Beltane game" (319 above).

781. Thus as they strove, etc. The MS. reads:

"Thus, as they strove, each better hand
Grasped for the dagger or the brand."

786. I hold, etc. Scott has the following note on the last page
of the 1st ed.: "The author has to apologize for the inadvertent
appropriation of a whole line from the tragedy of Douglas: 'I
hold the first who strikes my foe.'"

789. His daughter's hand, etc. For the ellipsis of that, see on
703 above. Deemed is often misprinted "doomed."

791. Sullen and slowly, etc. The MS. reads:

"Sullen and slow the rivals bold
Loosed at his hest their desperate hold,
But either still on other glared," etc.

795. Brands. A pet word with Scott. Note how often it has been
used already in the poem.

798. As faltered. See on 601 above.

801. Pity 't were, etc. Scott says here: "Hardihood was in
every respect so essential to the character of a Highlander, that
the reproach of effeminacy was the most bitter which could be
thrown upon him. Yet it was sometimes hazarded on what we might
presume to think slight grounds. It is reported of old Sir Ewen
Cameron of Lochiel, when upwards of seventy, that he was
surprised by night on a hunting or military expedition. He
wrapped him in his plaid, and lay contentedly down upon the snow,
with which the ground happened to be covered. Among his
attendants, who were preparing to take their rest in the same
manner, he observed that one of his grandsons, for his better
accommodation, had rolled a large snow-ball, and placed it below
his head. The wrath of the ancient chief was awakened by a
symptom of what he conceived to be degenerate luxury. 'Out upon
thee,' said he, kicking the frozen bolster from the head which it
supported, 'art thou so effeminate as to need a pillow?' The
officer of engineers, whose curious Letters from the Highlands
have been more than once quoted, tells a similar story of
Macdonald of Keppoch, and subjoins the following remarks: 'This
and many other stories are romantick; but there is one thing,
that at first thought might seem very romantick, of which I have
been credibly assured, that when the Highlanders are constrained
to lie among the hills, in cold dry weather, they sometimes soak
the plaid in some river or burn (i.e. brook), and then holding up
a corner of it a little above their heads, they turn themselves
round and round, till they are enveloped by the whole mantle.
They then lay themselves down on the heath, upon the leeward side
of some hill, where the wet and the warmth of their bodies make a
steam, like that of a boiling kettle. The wet, they say, keeps
them warm by thickening the stuff, and keeping the wind from
penetrating. I must confess I should have been apt to question
this fact, had I not frequently seen them wet from morning to
night, and, even at the beginning of the rain, not so much as
stir a few yards to shelter, but continue in it without
necessity, till they were, as we say, wet through and through.
And that is soon effected by the looseness and spunginess of the
plaiding; but the bonnet is frequently taken off, and wrung like
a dishclout, and then put on again. They have been accustomed
from their infancy to be often wet, and to take the water like
spaniels, and this is become a second nature, and can scarcely be
called a hardship to them, insomuch that I used to say, they
seemed to be of the duck kind, and to love water as well. Though
I never saw this preparation for sleep in windy weather, yet,
setting out early in a morning from one of the huts, I have seen
the marks of their lodging, where the ground has been free from
rime or snow, which remained all round the spot where they had
lain' (Letters from Scotland, Lond. 1754, 8vo, ii. p. 108)."

809. His henchman. Scott quotes again the Letters from Scotland
(ii. 159): "This officer is a sort of secretary, and is to be
ready, upon all occasions, to venture his life in defence of his
master; and at drinking-bouts he stands behind his seat, at his
haunch, from whence his title is derived, and watches the
conversation, to see if any one offends his patron. An English
officer being in company with a certain chieftain, and several
other Highland gentlemen, near Killichumen, had an argument with
the great man; and both being well warmed with usky [whisky], at
last the dispute grew very hot. A youth who was henchman, not
understanding one word of English, imagined his chief was
insulted, and thereupon drew his pistol from his side, and
snapped it at the officer's head; but the pistol missed fire,
otherwise it is more than probable he might have suffered death
from the hand of that little vermin. But it is very disagreeable
to an Englishman over a bottle with the Highlanders, to see every
one of them have his gilly, that is, his servant, standing behind
him all the while, let what will be the subject of conversation."

829. On the morn. Modifying should circle, not the nearer verb
had sworn.

831. The Fiery Cross. See on iii. 18 below.

846. Point. Point out, appoint. Cf. Shakespeare, Sonn. 14. 6:

"Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain, and wind."

The word in this and similar passages is generally printed
"'point" by modern editors, but it is not a contraction of

860. Then plunged, etc. The MS. has "He spoke, and plunged into
the tide."

862. Steered him. See on i. 142 above.

865, 866. Darkening ... gave. In the 1st ed. these lines are
joined to what precedes, as they evidently should be; in all the
more recent eds. they are joined to what follows.

Canto Third.

3. Store. See on i. 548 above.

5. That be. in old English, besides the present tense am, etc.,
there was also this form be, from the Anglo-Saxon beon. The 2d
person singular was beest. The 1st and 3d person plural be is
often found in Shakespeare and the Bible.

10. Yet live there still, etc. See on ii. 692 above.

15. What time. Cf. ii. 307 above.

17. The gathering sound. The sound, or signal, for the
gathering. The phrase illustrates the difference between the
participle and the verbal noun (or whatever it may be called) in
-ing. Cf. "a laboring man" and "a laboring day" (Julius Caesar,
i. 1. 4); and see our ed. of J. C. p. 126.

18. The Fiery Cross. Scott says here: "When a chieftain
designed to summon his clan, upon any sudden or important
emergency, he slew a goat, and making a cross of any light wood,
seared its extremities in the fire, and extinguished them in the
blood of the animal. This was called the Fiery Cross, also Crean
Tarigh, or the Cross of Shame, because disobedience to what the
symbol implied, inferred infamy. It was delivered to a swift and
trusty messenger, who ran full speed with it to the next hamlet,
where he presented it to the principal person, with a single
word, implying the place of rendezvous. He who received the
symbol was bound to send it forward, with equal despatch, to the
next village; and thus it passed with incredible celerity through
all the district which owed allegiance to the chief, and also
among his allies and neighbours, if the danger was common to
them. At sight of the Fiery Cross, every man, from sixteen years
old to sixty, capable of bearing arms, was obliged instantly to
repair, in his best arms and accoutrements, to the place of
rendezvous. He who failed to appear suffered the extremities of
fire and sword, which were emblematically denounced to the
disobedient by the bloody and burnt marks upon this warlike
signal. During the civil war of 1745-6, the Fiery Cross often
made its circuit; and upon one occasion it passed through the
whole district of Breadalbane, a tract of thirty-two miles, in
three hours. The late Alexander Stewart, Esq., of Invernahyle,
described to me his having sent round the Fiery Cross through the
district of Appine, during the same commotion. The coast was
threatened by a descent from two English trigates, and the flower
of the young men were with the army of Prince Charles Edward,
then in England; yet the summons was so effectual that even old
age and childhood obeyed it; and a force was collected in a few
hours, so numerous and so enthusiastic, that all attempt at the
intended diversion upon the country of the absent warriors was in
prudence abandoned, as desperate."

19. The Summer dawn's reflected hue, etc. Mr. Ruskin says
(Modern Painters, iii. 278): "And thus Nature becomes dear to
Scott in a threefold way: dear to him, first, as containing those
remains or memories of the past, which he cannot find in cities,
and giving hope of Praetorian mound or knight's grave in every
green slope and shade of its desolate places; dear, secondly, in
its moorland liberty, which has for him just as high a charm as
the fenced garden had for the mediaeval; ... and dear to him,
finally, in that perfect beauty, denied alike in cities and in
men, for which every modern heart had begun at last to thirst,
and Scott's, in its freshness and power, of all men's most

"And in this love of beauty, observe that the love of colour is a
leading element, his healthy mind being incapable of losing,
under any modern false teaching, its joy in brilliancy of hue.
... In general, if he does not mean to say much about things, the
one character which he will give is colour, using it with the
most perfect mastery and faithfulness."

After giving many illustrations of Scott's use of colour in his
poetry, Ruskin quotes the present passage, which he says is
"still more interesting, because it has no form in it at all
except in one word (chalice), but wholly composes its imagery
either of colour, or of that delicate half-believed life which we
have seen to be so important an element in modern landscape."

"Two more considerations," he adds, "are, however, suggested by
the above passage. The first, that the love of natural history,
excited by the continual attention now given to all wild
landscape, heightens reciprocally the interest of that landscape,
and becomes an important element in Scott's description, leading
him to finish, down to the minutest speckling of breast, and
slightest shade of attributed emotion, the portraiture of birds
and animals; in strange opposition to Homer's slightly named
'sea-crows, who have care of the works of the sea,' and Dante's
singing-birds, of undefined species. Compare carefully the 2d
and 3d stanzas of Rokeby.

"The second point I have to note is Scott's habit of drawing a
slight moral from every scene, ... and that this slight moral is
almost always melancholy. Here he has stopped short without
entirely expressing it:

"The mountain-shadows ..
..................... lie
Like future joys to Fancy's eye.'

His completed thought would be, that these future joys, like the
mountain-shadows, were never to be attained. It occurs fully
uttered in many other places. He seems to have been constantly
rebuking his own worldly pride and vanity, but never

'The foam-globes on her eddies ride,
Thick as the schemes of human pride
That down life's current drive amain,
As frail, as frothy, and as vain.'"

Ruskin adds, among other illustrations, the reference to
"foxglove and nightshade" in i. 218, 219 above.

28. Like future joys, etc. This passage, quoted by Ruskin
above, also illustrates what is comparatively rare in figurative
language-- taking the immaterial to exemplify the material. The
latter is constantly used to symbolize or elucidate the former;
but one would have to search long in our modern poetry to find a
dozen instances where, as here, the relation is reversed. Cf.
639 below. We have another example in the second passage quoted
by Ruskin. Cf. also Tennyson's

"thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke,
That like a broken purpose waste in air;"

and Shelly's

"Our boat is asleep on Serchio's stream;
Its sails are folded like thoughts in a dream."

30. Reared. The 1st ed. has "oped."

32. After this line the MS. has the couplet,

"Invisible in fleecy cloud,
The lark sent down her matins loud,"

which reappears in altered form below.

33. Gray mist. The MS. has "light mist."

38. Good-morrow gave, etc. Cf. Byron, Childe Harold:

"and the bills
Of summer-birds sing welcome as ye pass."

39. Cushat dove. Ring-dove.

46. His impatient blade. Note the "transferred epithet." It is
not the blade that is impatient.

47. Beneath a rock, etc. The MS. reads:

"Hard by, his vassals' early care
The mystic ritual prepare."

50. Antiquity. The men of old; "the abstract for the concrete."

59. With her broad shadow, etc. Cf. Longfellow, Maidenhood:

"Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?"

62. Rowan. The mountain-ash.

71. That monk, of savage form and face. Scott says here: "The
state of religion in the middle ages afforded considerable
facilities for those whose mode of life excluded them from
regular worship, to secure, nevertheless, the ghostly assistance
of confessors, perfectly willing to adapt the nature of their
doctrine to the necessities and peculiar circumstances of their
flock. Robin Hood, it is well known, had his celebrated domestic
chaplain Friar Tuck. And that same curtal friar was probably
matched in manners and appearance by the ghostly fathers of the
Tynedale robbers, who are thus described in an excommunication
fulminated against their patrons by Richard Fox, Bishop of
Durham, tempore Henrici VIII.: 'We have further understood, that
there are many chaplains in the said territories of Tynedale and
Redesdale, who are public and open maintainers of concubinage,
irregular, suspended, excommunicated, and interdicted persons,
and withal so utterly ignorant of letters, that it has been found
by those who objected this to them, that there were some who,
having celebrated mass for ten years, were still unable to read
the sacramental service. We have also understood there are
persons among them who, although not ordained, do take upon them
the offices of priesthood, and, in contempt of God, celebrate the
divine and sacred rites, and administer the sacraments, not only
in sacred and dedicated places, but in those which are prophane
and interdicted, and most wretchedly ruinous, they themselves
being attired in ragged, torn, and most filthy vestments,
altogether unfit to be used in divine, or even in temporal
offices. The which said chaplains do administer sacraments and
sacramental rites to the aforesaid manifest and infamous thieves,
robbers, depredators, receivers of stolen goods, and plunderers,
and that without restitution, or intention to restore, as evinced
by the act; and do also openly admit them to the rites of
ecclesiastical sepulchre, without exacting security for
restitution, although they are prohibited from doing so by the
sacred canons, as well as by the institutes of the saints and
fathers. All which infers the heavy peril of their own souls,
and is a pernicious example to the other believers in Christ, as
well as no slight, but an aggravated injury, to the numbers
despoiled and plundered of their goods, gear, herds, and

74. Benharrow. A mountain near the head of Loch Lomond.

77. Brook. See on i. 566 above.

81. The hallowed creed. The Christian creed, as distinguished
from heathen lore. The MS. has "While the blest creed," etc.

85. Bound. That is, of his haunts.

87. Glen or strath. A glen is the deep and narrow valley of a
small stream, a strath the broader one of a river.

89. He prayed, etc. The MS. reads:

"He prayed, with many a cross between,
And terror took devotion's mien."

91. Of Brian's birth, etc. Scott says that the legend which
follows is not of his invention, and goes on to show that it is
taken with slight variation from "the geographical collections
made by the Laird of Macfarlane."

102. Bucklered. Served as a buckler to, shielded.

114. Snood. Cf. i. 363 above. Scott has the following note
here: "The snood, or riband, with which as Scottish lass braided
her hair, had an emblematical signification, and applied to her
maiden character. It was exchanged for the curch, toy, or coif,
when she passed, by marriage, into the matron state. But if the
damsel was so unfortunate as to lose pretensions to the name of
maiden, without gaining a right to that of matron, she was
neither permitted to use the snood, nor advanced to the graver
dignity of the curch. In old Scottish songs there occur many sly
allusions to such misfortune; as in the old words to the popular
tune of 'Ower the muir amang the heather:'

'Down amang the broom, the broom,
Down amang the broom, my dearie,
The lassie lost her silken snood,
That gard her greet till she was wearie.'"

120. Or ... or. For either ... or, as often in poetry.

131. Till, frantic, etc. The MS. reads:

"Till, driven to frenzy, he believed
The legend of his birth received."

136. The cloister. Here personified as feminine.

138. Sable-lettered. "Black-letter;" the technical term for the
"old English" form of letter, used in the earliest English
manuscripts and books.

142. Cabala. Mysteries. For the original meaning of the word,
see Wb.

144. Curious. Inquisitive, prying into hidden things.

148. Hid him. See on i. 142 above.

149. The desert gave him, etc. Scott says here: "In adopting
the legend concerning the birth of the Founder of the Church of
Kilmallie, the author has endeavored to trace the effects which
such a belief was likely to produce, in a barbarous age, on the
person to whom it related. It seems likely that he must have
become a fanatic or an impostor, or that mixture of both which
forms a more frequent character than either of them, as existing
separately. In truth, mad persons are frequently more anxious to
impress upon others a faith in their visions, than they are
themselves confirmed in their reality; as, on the other hand, it
is difficult for the most cool-headed impostor long to personate
an enthusiast, without in some degree believing what he is so
eager to have believed. It was a natural attribute of such a
character as the supposed hermit, that he should credit the
numerous superstitions with which the minds of ordinary
Highlanders are almost always imbued. A few of these are
slightly alluded to in this stanza. The River Demon, or River-
horse, for it is that form which he commonly assumes, is the
Kelpy of the Lowlands, an evil and malicious spirit, delighting
to forebode and to witness calamity. He frequents most Highland
lakes and rivers; and one of his most memorable exploits was
performed upon the banks of Loch Vennachar, in the very district
which forms the scene of our action: it consisted in the
destruction of a funeral procession, with all its attendants.
The 'noontide hag,' called in Gaelic Glas-lich, a tall,
emaciated, gigantic female figure, is supposed in particular to
haunt the district of Knoidart. A goblin dressed in antique
armor, and having one hand covered with blood, called, from that
circumstance, Lham-dearg, or Red-hand, is a tenant of the forests
of Glenmore and Rothiemurcus. Other spirits of the desert, all
frightful in shape and malignant in disposition, are believed to
frequent different mountains and glens of the Highlands, where
any unusual appearance, produced by mist, or the strange lights
that are sometimes thrown upon particular objects, never fails to
present an apparition to the imagination of the solitary and
melancholy mountaineer."

161. Mankind. Accented on the first syllable; as it is almost
invariably in Shakespeare, except in Timon of Athens, where the
modern accent prevails. Milton uses either accent, as suits the
measure. We find both in P. L. viii. 358: "Above mankind, or
aught than mankind higher."

166. Alpine's. Some eds. misprint "Alpine;" also "horsemen" in
172 below.

168. The fatal Ben-Shie's boding scream. The MS. reads:

"The fatal Ben-Shie's dismal scream,
And seen her wrinkled form, the sign
Of woe and death to Alpine's line."

Scott has the following note here: "Most great families in the
Highlands were supposed to have a tutelar, or rather a domestic,
spirit, attached to them, who took an interest in their
prosperity, and intimated, by its wailings, any approaching
disaster. That of Grant of Grant was called May Moullach, and
appeared in the form of a girl, who had her arm covered with
hair. Grant of Rothiemurcus had an attendant called Bodach-an-
dun, or the Ghost of the Hill; and many other examples might be
mentioned. The Ben-Shie implies the female fairy whose
lamentations were often supposed to precede the death of a
chieftain of particular families. When she is visible, it is in
the form of an old woman, with a blue mantle and streaming hair.
A superstition of the same kind is, I believe, universally
received by the inferior ranks of the native Irish.

"The death of the head of a Highland family is also sometimes
supposed to be announced by a chain of lights of different
colours, called Dr'eug, or death of the Druid. The direction
which it takes marks the place of the funeral." [See the Essay
on Fairy Superstitions in Scott's Border Minstrelsy.]

169. Sounds, too, had come, etc. Scott says: "A presage of the
kind alluded to in the text, is still believed to announce death
to the ancient Highland family of M'Lean of Lochbuy. The spirit
of an ancestor slain in battle is heard to gallop along a stony
bank, and then to ride thrice around the family residence,
ringing his fairy bridle, and thus intimating the approaching
calamity. How easily the eye as well as the ear may be deceived
upon such occasions, is evident from the stories of armies in the
air, and other spectral phenomena with which history abounds.
Such an apparition is said to have been witnessed upon the side
of Southfell mountain, between Penrith and Keswick, upon the 23d
June, 1744, by two persons, William Lancaster of Blakehills, and
Daniel Stricket his servant, whose attestation to the fact, with
a full account of the apparition, dated the 21st of July, 1745,
is printed in Clarke's Survey of the Lakes. The apparition
consisted of several troops of horse moving in regular order,
with a steady rapid motion, making a curved sweep around the
fell, and seeming to the spectators to disappear over the ridge
of the mountain. Many persons witnessed this phenomenon, and
observed the last, or last but one, of the supposed troop,
occasionally leave his rank, and pass, at a gallop, to the front,
when he resumed the steady pace. The curious appearance, making
the necessary allowance for imagination, may be perhaps
sufficiently accounted for by optical deception."

171. Shingly. Gravelly, pebbly.

173. Thunderbolt. The 1st ed. has "thunder too."

188. Framed. The reading of the 1st ed.; commonly misprinted
"formed," which occurs in 195.

190. Limbs. The 1st ed. has "limb."

191. Inch-Cailliach. Scott says: "Inch-Cailliach, the Isle of
Nuns, or of Old Women, is a most beautiful island at the lower
extremity of Loch Lomond. The church belonging to the former
nunnery was long used as the place of worship for the parish of
Buchanan, but scarce any vestiges of it now remain. The burial-
ground continues to be used, and contains the family places of
sepulture of several neighboring clans. The monuments of the
lairds of Macgregor, and of other families claiming a descent
from the old Scottish King Alpine, are most remarkable. The
Highlanders are as zealous of their rights of sepulture as may be
expected from a people whose whole laws and government, if
clanship can be called so, turned upon the single principle of
family descent. 'May his ashes be scattered on the water,' was
one of the deepest and most solemn imprecations which they used
against an enemy." [See a detailed description of the funeral
ceremonies of a Highland chieftain in the Fair Maid of Perth.]

203. Dwelling low. That is, burial-place.

207. Each clansman's execration, etc. The MS. reads:

"Our warriors, on his worthless bust,
Shall speak disgrace and woe;"

and below:

"Their clattering targets hardly strook;
And first they muttered low."

212. Stook. One of the old forms of struck. In the early eds.
of Shakespeare, we find struck, stroke, and strook (or strooke)
for the past tense, and all these, together with stricken,
strucken, stroken, and strooken, for the participle. Cf. Milton,
Hymn of Nativity, 95:

"When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet
As never was by mortal finger strook;"

where, as here, it used for the sake of the rhyme.

214. Then, like the billow, etc. The repetition of the same
rhyme here gives well the cumulative effect of the rising billow.

217. Burst, with load roar. See on i. 73 above; and cf. 227

228. Holiest name. The MS. has "holy name."

245. Mingled with childhood's babbling trill, etc. "The whole
of this stanza is very impressive; the mingling of the children's
curses is the climax of horror. Note the meaning of the triple
curse. The cross is of ancestral yew--the defaulter is cut off
from communion with his clan; it is sealed in the fire--the fire
shall destroy his dwelling; it is dipped in blood--his heart's
blood is to be shed" (Taylor).

253. Coir-Uriskin. See on 622 below.

255. Beala-nam-bo. "The pass of the cattle," on the other side
of Benvenue from the Goblin's Cave; "a magnificent glade,
overhung with birch-trees, by which the cattle, taken in forays,
were conveyed within the protection of the Trosachs" (Black).

279. This sign. That is, the cross. To all, which we should
not expect with bought, was apparently suggested by the
antithetical to him in the preceding line; but if all the
editions did not read bought, we might suspect that Scott wrote

281. The murmur, etc. The MS. has "The slowly muttered deep

286. The muster-place, etc. The MS. reads "Murlagan is the spot

Lanrick Mead is a meadow at the northwestern end of Loch

300. The dun deer's hide, etc. Scott says: "The present brogue
of the Highlanders is made of half-dried leather, with holes to
admit and let out the water; for walking the moors dry-shod is a
matter altogether out of the question. The ancient buskin was
still ruder, being made of undressed deer's hide, with the hair
outwards,-- a circumstance which procured the Highlanders the
well-known epithet of Red-shanks. The process is very accurately
described by one Elder (himself a Highlander), in the project for
a union between England and Scotland, addressed to Henry VIII.:
'We go a-hunting, and after that we have slain red-deer, we flay
off the skin by and by, and setting of our barefoot on the inside
thereof, for want of cunning shoemakers, by your grace's pardon,
we play the cobblers, compassing and measuring so much thereof as
shall reach up to our ankles, pricking the upper part thereof
with holes, that the water may repass where it enters, and
stretching it up with a strong thong of the same above our said
ankles. So, and please your noble grace, we make our shoes.
Therefore, we using such manner of shoes, the rough hairy side
outwards, in your grace's dominions of England, we be called
Rough-footed Scots' (Pinkerton's History, vol. ii. p. 397)."

Cf. Marmion, v. 5:

"The hunted red-deer's undressed hide
Their hairy buskins well supplied."

304. Steepy. For the word (see also iv. 374 below) and the
line, cf. Shakespeare, T. of A. i. 1. 75:

"Bowing his head against the steepy mount
To climb his happiness."

309. Questing. Seeking its game. Bacon (Adv. of Learning, v.
5) speaks of "the questing of memory."

310. Scaur. Cliff, precipice; the same word as scar. Cf.
Tennyson's Bugle Song: "O sweet and far, from cliff and scar;"
and in the Idyls of the King: "shingly scaur."

314. Herald of battle, etc. The MS. reads:

"Dread messenger of fate and fear,
Herald of danger, fate and fear,
Stretch onward in thy fleet career!
Thou track'st not now the stricken doe,
Nor maiden coy through greenwood bough."

322. Fast as the fatal symbol flies, etc. "The description of
the starting of the Fiery Cross bears more marks of labor than
most of Mr. Scott's poetry, and borders, perhaps, on straining
and exaggeration; yet it shows great power" (Jeffrey).

332. Cheer. In its original sense of countenance, or look. Cf.
Shakespeare, M. N. D. iii. 2. 96: "pale of cheer;" Spenser, F. Q.
i. 1. 2: "But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad;" Dryden,
Hind and Panther, iii. 437: "Till frowning skies began to change
their cheer," etc.

333. His scythe. The reading of the 1st and other early eds.;
"the scythe" in more recent ones.

342. Alas, thou lovely lake! etc. "Observe Scott's habit of
looking at nature, neither as dead, nor merely material, nor as
altered by his own feelings; but as having an animation and
pathos of its own, wholly irrespective of human passion--an
animation which Scott loves and sympathizes with, as he would
with a fellow creature, forgetting himself altogether, and
subduing his own humanity before what seems to him the power of
the landscape. ... Instead of making Nature anywise subordinate
to himself, he makes himself subordinate to HER--follows her lead
simply--does not venture to bring his own cares and thoughts into
her pure and quiet presence--paints her in her simple and
universal truth, adding no result of momentary passion or fancy,
and appears, therefore, at first shallower than other poets,
being in reality wider and healthier" (Ruskin).

344. Bosky. Bushy, woody. Cf. Milton, Comus, 313: "And every
bosky bourn from side to side;" Shakespeare, Temp. iv. i. 81: "My
bosky acres and my unshrubb'd down," etc.

347. Seems for the scene, etc. The MS. has "Seems all too
lively and too loud."

349. Duncraggan's huts. A homestead between Lochs Achray and
Vennachar, near the Brigg of Turk.

355. Shot him. See on i. 142 above. Scott is much given to
this construction.

357. The funeral yell, etc. The MS. has "'T is woman's scream,
't is childhood's wail."

Yell may at first seem too strong a word here, but it is in
keeping with the people and the times described. Besides Scott
was familiar with old English poetry, in which it was often used
where a modern writer would choose another word. Cf. Surrey,
Virgil's AEneid: "With wailing great and women's shrill yelling;"
and Gascoigne, De Profundis:

"From depth of doole wherein my soule dooth dwell,
. . . . . . . . . . .
O gracious God, to thee I crie and yell."

362. Torch's ray. The 1st ed. reads "torches ray" and supply;"
corrected in the Errata to read as in the text. Most eds. print
"torches' ray."

369. Coronach. Scott has the following note here: "The Coronach
of the Highlanders, like the Ululatus of the Romans, and the
Ululoo of the Irish, was a wild expression of lamentation, poured
forth by the mourners over the body of a departed friend. When
the words of it were articulate, they expressed the praises of
the deceased, and the loss the clan would sustain by his death.
The following is a lamentation of this kind, literally translated
from the Gaelic, to some of the ideas of which the text stands
indebted. The tune is so popular that it has since become the
war-march, or gathering of the clan.

Coronach on Sir Lauchlan, Chief of Maclean.

'Which of all the Senachies
Can trace thy line from the root, up to Paradise,
But Macvuirih, the son of Fergus?
No sooner had thine ancient stately tree
Taken firm root in Albin,
Than one of thy forefathers fell at Harlaw.--
'T was then we lost a chief of deathless name.

''T is no base weed--no planted tree,
Nor a seedling of last Autumn;
Nor a sapling planted at Beltain;[FN#7]
Wide, wide around were spread its lofty branches--
But the topmost bough is lowly laid!
Thou hast forsaken us before Sawaine.[FN#8]

'Thy dwelling is the winter house;--
Loud, sad, and mighty is thy death-song!
Oh! courteous champion of Montrose!
Oh! stately warrior of the Celtic Isles!
Thou shalt buckle thy harness on no more!'

"The coronach has for some years past been suspended at funerals
by the use of the bagpipe; and that also is, like many other
Highland peculiarities, falling into disuse, unless in remote

370. He is gone, etc. As Taylor remarks, the metre of this
dirge seems to be amphibrachic; that is, made up of feet, or
metrical divisions, of three syllables, the second of which is
accented. Some of the lines appear to be anapestic (made up of
trisyllabic feet, with the last syllable accented); but the
rhythm of these is amphibrachic; that is, the rhythmic pause is
after the syllable that follows the accent.

"(He) is gone on | the mountain,
{Like) a summer- | dried fountain."

Ten lines out of twenty-four are distinctly amphibrachic, as

"To Duncan | no morrow."

So that it seems best to treat the rest as amphibrachic, with a
superfluous unaccented syllable at the beginning of the line.
Taylor adds: "The song is very carefully divided. To each of the
three things, mountain, forest, fountain, four lines are given,
in the order 3, 1, 2."

384. In flushing. In full bloom. Cf. Hamlet, iii. 3. 81:
"broad blown, as flush as May."

386. Correi. A hallow in the side of a hill, where game usually

387. Cumber. Trouble, perplexity. Cf. Fairfax, Tasso ii. 73:
"Thus fade thy helps, and thus thy cumbers spring;" and Sir John
Harrington, Epigrams, i. 94: "without all let [hindrance] or

388. Red. Bloody, not afraid of the hand-to-hand fight.

394. Stumah. "Faithful; the name of a dog" (Scott).

410. Angus, the heir, etc. The MS. reads:

"Angus, the first of Duncan's line,
Sprung forth and seized the fatal sign,
And then upon his kinsman's bier
Fell Malise's suspended tear.
In haste the stripling to his side
His father's targe and falchion tied."

439. Hest. Behest, bidding; used only in poetry. Cf.
Shakespeare, Temp. iii. 1. 37: "I have broke your hest to say
so;" Id. iv. 1. 65: "at thy hest," etc.

452. Benledi saw the Cross of Fire, etc. Scott says here:
"Inspection of the provincial map of Perthshire, or any large map
of Scotland, will trace the progress of the signal through the
small district of lakes and mountains, which, in exercise of my
imaginary chieftain, and which, at the period of my romance, was
really occupied by a clan who claimed a descent from Alpine,--a
clan the most unfortunate and most persecuted, but neither the
least distinguished, least powerful, nor least brave of the
tribes of the Gael.

"The first stage of the Fiery Cross is to Duncraggan, a place
near the Brigg of Turk, where a short stream divides Loch Achray
from Loch Vennachar. From thence, it passes towards Callander,
and then, turning to the left up the pass of Leny, is consigned
to Norman at the Chapel of Saint Bride, which stood on a small
and romantic knoll in the middle of the valley, called Strath-
Ire. Tombea and Arnandave, or Adrmandave, are names of places in
the vicinity. The alarm is then supposed to pass along the Lake
of Lubnaig, and through the various glens in the district of
Balquidder, including the neighboring tracts of Glenfinlas and

453. Strath-Ire. This valley connects Lochs Voil and Lubnaig.
The Chapel of Saint Bride is about half a mile from the southern
end of Loch Lubnaig, on the banks of the River Leny, a branch of
the Teith (hence "Teith's young waters"). The churchyard, with a
few remains of the chapel, are all that now mark the spot.

458. Until, where, etc. The MS. reads:

"And where a steep and wooded knoll
Graced the dark strath with emerald green."

465. Though reeled his sympathetic eye. That is, his eye reeled
in sympathy with the movement of the waters--a poetic expression
of what every one has felt when looking into a "dizzily dancing"

478. That morning-tide. That morning time. Tide in this sense
is now used only in a few poetic compounds like eventide,
springtide, etc. See iv. 59 below. For its former use, cf.
Spenser, F. Q. i. 2. 29: "and rest their weary limbs a tide;" Id.
iii. 6. 21: "that mine may be your paine another tide," etc. See
also Scott's Lay, vi. 50: "Me lists not at this tide declare."

483. Bridal. Bridal party; used as a collective noun.

485. Coif-clad. Wearing the coif, or curch. See on 114 above;
as also for snooded.

488. Unwitting. Unknowing. Cf. 367 above. For the verb wit,
see on i. 596 above.

495. Kerchief. Curch, which is etymologically the same word,
and means a covering for the head. Some eds. print "'kerchief,"
as if the word were a contraction of handkerchief.

508. Muster-place. The 1st ed. has "mustering place;" and in
519 "brooks" for brook.

510. And must he, etc. The MS. reads: "And must he then
exchange the hand."

528. Lugnaig's lake. loch Lubnaig is about four miles long and
a mile broad, hemmed in by steep, and rugged mountains. The view
of Benledi from the lake is peculiarly grand and impressive.

530. The sickening pang, etc. Cf. The Lord of the Isles, vi. 1:
"The heartsick faintness of the hope delayed." See Prov. xiii.

531. And memory, etc. The MS. reads:

"And memory brought the torturing train
Of all his morning visions vain;
But mingled with impatience came
The manly love of martial fame."

541. Brae. The brow or side of a hill.

545. The heath, etc. The metre of the song is the same as that
of the poem, the only variation being in the order of the rhymes.

546. Bracken. Fern; "the Pteris aquilina" (Taylor).

553. Fancy now. The MS. has "image now."

561. A time will come, etc. The MS. reads:

"A time will come for love and faith,
For should thy bridegroom yield his breath,
'T will cheer him in the hour of death,
The boasted right to thee, Mary."

570. Balquidder. A village near the eastern end of Loch Voil,
the burial-place of Rob Roy and the scene of many of his
exploits. The Braes extend along the north side of the lake and
of the Balvaig which flows into it.

Scott says here: "It may be necessary to inform the Southern
reader that the heath on the Scottish moorlands is often set fire
to, that the sheep may have the advantage of the young herbage
produced, in room of the tough old heather plants. This custom
(execrated by sportsmen) produces occasionally the most beautiful
nocturnal appearances, similar almost to the discharge of a
volcano. This simile is not new to poetry. The charge of a
warrior, in the fine ballad of Hardyknute, is said to be 'like
fire to heather set.'"

575. Nor faster speeds it, etc. "The eager fidelity with which
this fatal signal is hurried on and obeyed, is represented with
great spirit and felicity" (Jeffrey).

577. Coil. Turmoil. Cf. Shakespeare, Temp. i. 2. 207:

"Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
Would not infect his reason?"

C. of E. iii. 1. 48: "What a coil is there, Dromio?" etc.

579. Loch Doine. A lakelet just above Loch Voil, and almost
forming a part of it. The epithets sullen and still are
peculiarly appropriate to this valley. "Few places in Scotland
have such an air of solitude and remoteness from the haunts of
men" (Black).

582. Strath-Gartney. The north side of the basin of Loch

583. Each man might claim. That is, WHO could claim. See on i.
528 above.

600. No law but Roderick Dhu's command. Scott has the following
note here:

"The deep and implicit respect paid by the Highland clansmen to
their chief, rendered this both a common and a solemn oath. In
other respects, they were like most savage nations, capricious in
their ideas concerning the obligatory power of oaths. One solemn
mode of swearing was by kissing the dirk, imprecating upon
themselves death by that, or a similar weapon, if they broke
their vow. But for oaths in the usual form, they are said to
have had little respect. As for the reverence due to the chief,
it may be guessed from the following odd example of a Highland
point of honour:

'The clan whereto the above-mentioned tribe belongs, is the only
one I have heard of which is without a chief; that is, being
divided into families, under several chieftains, without any
particular patriarch of the whole name. And this is a great
reproach, as may appear from an affair that fell out at my table,
in the Highlands, between one of that name and a Cameron. The
provocation given by the latter was, "Name your chief." The
return of it at once was, "You are a fool." They went out next
morning, but having early notice of it, I sent a small party of
soldiers after them, which, in all probability, prevented some
barbarous mischief that might have ensued; for the chiefless
Highlander, who is himself a petty chieftain, was going to the
place appointed with a small-sword and pistol, whereas the
Cameron (an old man) took with him only his broadsword, according
to the agreement.

'When all was over, and I had, at least seemingly, reconciled
them, I was told the words, of which I seemed to think but
slightly, were, to one of the clan, the greatest of all
provocations' (Letters from Scotland, vol. ii. p. 221)."

604. Menteith. See on i. 89 above.

607. Rednock. The ruins of Rednock Castle are about two miles
to the north of Loch Menteith, on the road to Callander.
Cardross Castle (in which Robert Bruce died) was on the banks of
the Clyde, a few miles below Dumbarton. Duchray Castle is a mile
south of Lochard. Loch Con, or Chon, is a lakelet, about three
miles northwest from Lochard (into which it drains) and two miles
south of Loch Katrine.

611. Wot ye. Know ye. See on i. 596 above.

622. Coir-nan-Uriskin. Scott has the following note here: "This
is a very steep and most romantic hollow in the mountain of
Benvenue, overhanging the southeastern extremity of Loch Katrine.
It is surrounded with stupendous rocks, and overshadowed with
birch-trees, mingled with oaks, the spontaneous production of the
mountain, even where its cliffs appear denuded of soil. A dale
in so wild a situation, and amid a people whose genius bordered
on the romantic, did not remain without appropriate deities. The
name literally implies the Corri, or Den, of the Wild or Shaggy
Men. Perhaps this, as conjectured by Mr. Alexander Campbell
(Journey from Edinburgh, 1802, p. 109), may have originally only
implied its being the haunt of a ferocious banditti. But
tradition has ascribed to the Urisk, who gives name to the
cavern, a figure between a goat and a man; in short, however much
the classical reader may be startled, precisely that of the
Grecian Satyr. The Urisk seems not to have inherited, with the
form, the petulance of the silvan deity of the classics; his
occupation, on the contrary, resembled those of Milton's Lubbar
Fiend, or of the Scottish Brownie, though he differed from both
in name and appearance. 'The Urisks,' says Dr. Graham, 'were a
sort of lubberly supernaturals, who, like the Brownies, could be
gained over by kind attention to perform the drudgery of the
farm, and it was believed that many families in the Highlands had
one of the order attached to it. They were supposed to be
dispersed over the Highlands, each in his own wild recess, but
the solemn stated meetings of the order were regularly held in
this Cave of Benvenue. This current superstition, no doubt,
alludes to some circumstance in the ancient history of this
country' (Scenery on the Southern Confines of Perthshire, p. 19,
1806). It must be owned that the Coir, or Den, does not, in its
present state, meet our ideas of a subterraneous grotto or cave,
being only a small and narrow cavity, among huge fragments of
rocks rudely piled together. But such a scene is liable to
convulsions of nature which a Lowlander cannot estimate, and
which may have choked up what was originally a cavern. At least
the name and tradition warrant the author of a fictitious tale to
assert its having been such at the remote period in which this
scene is laid."

639. With such a glimpse, etc. See on 28 above.

641. Still. Stillness; the adjective used substantively, for
the sake of the rhyme.

656. Satyrs. "The Urisk, or Highland satyr" (Scott).

664. Beal-nam-bo. See on 255 above; and for the measure of the
first half of the line, on i. 73 above.

667. 'Cross. Scott (1st ed.) prints "cross," as in 750 below.

672. A single page, etc. Scott says: "A Highland chief, being
as absolute in his patriarchal authority as any prince, had a
corresponding number of officers attached to his person. He had
his body-guards, called Luichttach, picked from his clan for
strength, activity, and entire devotion to his person. These,
according to their deserts, were sure to share abundantly in the
rude profusion of his hospitality. It is recorded, for example,
by tradition, that Allan MacLean, chief of that clan, happened
upon a time to hear one of these favorite retainers observe to
his comrade, that their chief grew old. 'Whence do you infer
that?' replied the other. 'When was it,' rejoined the first,
'that a solider of Allan's was obliged, as I am now, not only to
eat the flesh from the bone, but even to tear off the inner skin,
or filament?' The hint was quite sufficient, and MacLean next
morning, to relieve his followers from such dire necessity,
undertook an inroad on the mainland, the ravage of which
altogether effaced the memory of his former expeditions for the
like purpose.

"Our officer of Engineers, so often quoted, has given us a
distinct list of the domestic officers who, independent of
Luichttach, or gardes de corps, belonged to the establishment of
a Highland chief. These are, 1. The Henchman. 2. The Bard. See
preceding notes. 3. Bladier, or spokesman. 4. Gillie-more, or
sword-bearer, alluded to in the text. 5. Gillie-casflue, who
carried the chief, if on foot, over the fords. 6. Gillie-
comstraine, who leads the chief's horse. 7. Gillie-
Trushanarinsh, the baggage-man. 8. The piper. 9. The piper's
gillie, or attendant, who carries the bagpipe (Letters from
Scotland, vol. ii. p. 158). Although this appeared, naturally
enough, very ridiculous to an English officer, who considered the
master of such a retinue as no more than an English gentleman of
500 a year, yet in the circumstances of the chief, whose
strength and importance consisted in the number and attachment of
his followers, it was of the last consequence, in point of
policy, to have in his gift subordinate offices, which called
immediately round his person those who were most devoted to him,
and, being of value in their estimation, were also the means of
rewarding them."

693. To drown, etc. The MS. reads:

"To drown his grief in war's wild roar,
Nor think of love and Ellen more."

713. Ave Maria! etc. "The metrical peculiarity of this song is
that the rhymes of the even lines of the first quatrain (or set
of four lines) are taken up as those of the odd lines in the
second, and that they are the same in all three stanzas"

722. We now must share. The MS. has "my sire must share;" and
in 725 "The murky grotto's noxious air."

733. Bow us. See on i. 142, and cf. 749 below.

754. Lanrick height. Overlooking Lanrick Mead. See on 286

755. Where mustered, etc. The MS. reads:

"Where broad extending far below,
Mustered Clan-Alpine's martial show."

On the first of these lines, cf. i. 88 above.

773. Yell. See on 357 above.

774. Bochastle's plain. See on i. 106 above.

Canto Fourth.

2. And hope, etc. The MS. has "And rapture dearest when
obscured by fears."

5. Wilding. Wild; a rare word, used only in poetry. Cf.
Tennyson, Geraint and Enid: "And like a crag was gay with wilding
flowers." Spenser has the noun (= wild apples) in F. Q. iii. 7.
17: "Oft from the forrest wildings he did bring," etc. Whom is
used on account of the personification.

9. What time. Cf. ii. 307 and iii. 15 above.

19. Braes of Doune. The undulating region between Callander and
Doune, on the north side of the Teith. The Doune of 37 below is
the old Castle of that name, the ruins of which still form a
majestic pile on the steep banks of the Teith. It figures in
Waverley as the place where the hero was confined by the

36. Boune. Prepared, ready; a Scottish word. Cf. 157 and vi.
396 below.

42. Bide. Endure; not to be printed 'bide, as if a contraction
of abide. Cf. Shakespeare, Lear, iii. 4. 29: "That bide the
pelting of this pitiless storm," etc.

Bout. Turn (of fortune).

47. Repair. That is, to repair.

55. 'T is well advised. Well thought of, well planned. Cf.
advised careful, well considered; as in M. of V. i. 1. 142: "with
more advised watch," etc.

The MS. reads:

"'Tis well advised--a prudent plan,
Worthy the father of his clan."

59. Evening-tide. See on iii. 478 above.

63. The Taghairm. Scott says here: "The Highlanders, like all
rude people, had various superstitious modes of inquiring into
futurity. One of the most noted was the Taghairm, mentioned in
the text. A person was wrapped up in the skin of a newly-slain
bullock, and deposited beside a waterfall, or at the bottom of a
precipice, or in some other strange, wild, and unusual situation,
where the scenery around him suggested nothing but objects of
horror. In this situation, he revolved in his mind the question
proposed; and whatever was impressed upon him by his exalted
imagination, passed for the inspiration of the disembodied
spirits, who haunt these desolate recesses. In some of the
Hebrides they attributed the same oracular power to a large black
stone by the sea-shore, which they approached with certain
solemnities, and considered the first fancy which came into their
own minds, after they did so, to be the undoubted dictate of the
tutelar deity of the stone, and, as such, to be, if possible,
punctually complied with."

68. Gallangad. We do not find this name elsewhere, but it
probably belongs to some part of the district referred to in
Scott's note inserted here: "I know not if it be worth observing
that this passage is taken almost literally from the mouth of an
old Highland kern, or Ketteran, as they were called. He used to
narrate the merry doings of the good old time when he was
follower of Rob Roy MacGregor. This leader, on one occasion,
thought proper to make a descent upon the lower part of the Loch
Lomond district, and summoned all the heritors and farmers to
meet at the Kirk of Drymen, to pay him black-mail; i.e., tribute
for forbearance and protection. As this invitation was supported
by a band of thirty or forty stout fellows, only one gentleman,
an ancestor, if I mistake not, of the present Mr. Grahame of
Gartmore, ventured to decline compliance. Rob Roy instantly swept
his land of all he could drive away, and among the spoil was a
bull of the old Scottish wild breed, whose ferocity occasioned
great plague to the Ketterans. 'But ere we had reached the Row
of Dennan,' said the old man, 'a child might have scratched his
ears.' The circumstance is a minute one, but it paints the time
when the poor beeve was compelled

'To hoof it o'er as many weary miles,
With goading pikemen hollowing at his heels,
As e'er the bravest antler of the woods' (Ethwald)."

73. Kerns. The Gaelic and Irish light-armed soldiers, the
heavy-armed being known as gallowglasses. The names are often
associated; as in Macbeth, i. 2. 13: "kerns and gallowglasses;" 2
Hen. VI. iv. 9. 26: "gallowglasses and stout kerns;" Drayton,
Heroical Epist.: "the Kerne and Irish Galliglasse," etc.

74. Beal'maha. "The pass of the plain," on the east of Loch
Lomond, opposite Inch-Cailliach. In the olden time it was one of
the established roads for making raids into the Lowlands.

77. Dennan's Row. The modern Rowardennan, on Loch Lomond at the
foot of Ben Lomond, and a favorite starting=point for the ascent
of that mountain.

82. Boss. Knob; in keeping with Targe.

83. Verge. Pronounced varge, as the rhyme shows. In v. 219
below it has its ordinary sound; but cf. v. 812.

84. The Hero's Targe. "There is a rock so named in the Forest
of Glenfinlas, by which a tumultuary cataract takes its course.
This wild place is said in former times to have afforded refuge
to an outlaw, who was supplied with provisions by a woman, who
lowered them down from the brink of the precipice above. His
water he procured for himself, by letting down a flagon tied to a
string into the black pool beneath the fall" (Scott).

98. Broke. Quartered. Cf. the quotation from Jonson below.
Scott says here: "Everything belonging to the chase was matter of
solemnity among our ancestors; but nothing was more so than the
mode of cutting up, or, as it was technically called, breaking,
the slaughtered stag. The forester had his allotted portion; the
hounds had a certain allowance; and, to make the division as
general as possible, the very birds had their share also. 'There
is a little gristle,' says Tubervile, 'which is upon the spoone
of the brisket, which we call the raven's bone; and I have seen
in some places a raven so wont and accustomed to it, that she
would never fail to croak and cry for it all the time you were in
breaking up of the deer, and would not depart till she had it.'
In the very ancient metrical romance of Sir Tristrem, that
peerless knight, who is said to have been the very deviser of all
rules of chase, did not omit the ceremony:

'The rauen he yaue his yiftes
Sat on the fourched tre.' [FN#9]

"The raven might also challenge his rights by the Book of St.
Albans; for thus says Dame Juliana Berners:

'slitteth anon
The bely to the side, from the corbyn bone;
That is corbyns fee, at the death he will be.'

Jonson, in The Sad Shepherd, gives a more poetical account of the
same ceremony:

'Marian. He that undoes him,
Doth cleave the brisket bone, upon the spoon
Of which a little gristle grows--you call it
Robin Hood. The raven's bone.
Marian. Now o'er head sat a raven
On a sere bough, a grown, great bird, and hoarse,
Who, all the while the deer was breaking up,
So croaked and cried for 't, as all the huntsmen,
Especially old Scathlock, thought it ominous.'"

115. Rouse. Rise, stand erect. Cf. Macbeth, v. 5. 12:

"The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in 't."

119. Mine. Many eds. have "my."

128. Fateful. The reading of the 1st ed. and that of 1821;
"fatal" in some recent eds.

132. Which spills, etc. The MS. has "Which foremost spills a
foeman's life."

"Though this be in the text described as a response of the
Taghairm, or Oracle of the Hide, it was of itself an augury
frequently attended to. The fate of the battle was often
anticipated, in the imagination of the combatants, by observing
which party first shed blood. It is said that the Highlanders
under Montrose were so deeply imbued with this notion, that on
the morning of the battle of Tippermoor, they murdered a
defenceless herdsman, whom they found in the fields, merely to
secure an advantage of so much consequence to their party"

140. A spy. That is, Fitz-James. For has sought, the 1st ed.
has "hath sought."

144. Red Murdoch, etc. The MS. has "The clansman vainly deemed
his guide," etc.

147. Those shall bring him down. For the ellipsis of who, see
on i. 528 above. The MS. has "stab him down."

153. Pale. In the heraldic sense of "a broad perpendicular
stripe in an escutcheon." See Wb.

155. I love to hear, etc Cf. v. 238 below.

156. When move they on? etc. The MS reads:

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