Изображения страниц

and pushed forward against another large division of the Scottish army in his front, headed by the Earls of Crawford and Montrose, both of whom were slain, and their forces routed. On the left, the success of the English was yet more decisive; for the Scottish right wing, consisting of undisciplined Highlanders, commanded by Lennox and Argyle, was unable to sustain the charge of Sir Edward Stanley, and especially the severe execution of the Lancashire archers. The King and Surrey, who commanded the respective centres of their armies, were meanwhile engaged in close and dubious conflict. James, surrounded by the flower of his kingdom, and impatient of the galling discharge of arrows, supported also by his reserve under Bothwell, charged with such fury. that the standard of Surrey was in danger. At that critical moment, Stanley, who had routed the left wing of the Scottish, pursued his career of victory, and arrived on the right flank, and in the rear of James's division, which, throwing itself into a circle, disputed the battle till night came on. Surrey then drew back his forces; for the Scottish centre not having been broken, and the left wing being victorious, he yet doubted the event of the field. The Scottish army, however, felt their loss, and abandoned the field of battle in disorder, before dawn. They lost, perhaps, from eight to ten thousand men; but that included the very prime of their nobility, gentry, and even clergy. Scarce a family of eminence but has an ancestor killed at Flodden; and there is no province in Scotland, even at this day, where the battle is mentioned without a sensation of terror and sorrow. The English also lost a great number of men, perhaps within one-third of the vanquished, but they were of inferior note.-See the only distinct detail of the Field of Flodden in PINKERTON'S History, Book xi ; all former accounts being full of blunders and inconsistency.

“The spot from which Clara views the battle, must be supposed to have been on a hillock commanding the rear of the English right wing, which was defeated, and in which conflict Marmion is supposed to have fallen.'-Scott.

Lockhart adds this quotation :- In 1810, as Sir Carnaby Haggerstone's workmen were digging in Flodden Field, they came to a pit filled with human bones, and which seemed of great extent; but, alarmed at the sight, they immediately filled up the excavation, and proceeded no farther.

* In 1817, Mr. Grey of Millfield Hill found, near the traces of an ancient encampment, a short distance from Flodden Field, a tumulus, which, on removing, exhibited a very singular sepulchre. In the centre, a large urn was found, but in a thousand pieces. It had either been broken to pieces by the stones falling upon it when digging, or had gone to pieces on the admission of the air. This urn was surrounded by a number of cells formed of flat stones, in the shape of graves, but too small to hold the body in its natural state. These sepulchral recesses contained nothing except ashes, or dust of the same kind as that in the urn."-Sykes' Local Records . (2 vols. 8vo, 1833), vol. ii. pp. 60 and 109.'

Stanza XXIV. 1. 717. Sir Brian Tunstall, called in the romantic language of the time, Tunstall the Undefiled, was one of the few Englishmen of rank slain at Flodden. He figures in the ancient English poem, to which I may safely refer my readers, as an edition, with full explanatory notes, has been published by my friend, Mr. Henry Weber. Tunstall, perhaps, derived his epithet of undefiled from his white armour and banner, the latter bearing a white cock, about to crow, as well as from his unstained loyalty and knightly faith. His place of residence was Thurland Castle.'Scott.

Stanza XXV. 1. 744. Bent, the slope of the hill. It is less likely to mean the coarse grass on the hill-also a possible meaning of the word-because spectators would see the declivity and not what was on it. For the former usage see Dryden, 'Palamon and Arcite,' II. 342-45:

"A mountain stood,
Threat'ning from high, and overlook'd the wood;
Beneath the low'ring brow, and on a bent,

The temple stood of Mars armipotent.' 1. 745. The tent was fired so that the forces might descend amid the rolling smoke.

1. 747. As a poetical critic Jeffrey was right for once when he wrote thus of this great battle piece:

Of all the poetical battles which have been fought, from the days of Homer to those of Mr. Southey, there is none, in our opinion, at all comparable, for interest and animation—for breadth of drawing and magnificence of effect—with this of Mr. Scott's.'

1. 757. To this day a commanding position to the west of the hill is called the ‘King's Chair.'

Stanza XXVI. 1. 795. 'Badenoch-man,' says Lockhart, ‘is the correction of the author's interleaved copy of the ed. of 1830.' Highlandman was the previous reading. Badenoch is in the S. E. of ço. of Inverness, between Monagh Lea mountains and Grampians.

Stanza XXVIII. 1. 867. Sped, undone, killed. Cp. Merchant
of Venice, ii. 9. 70: "So be gone : you are sped.' See also note on
*Lycidas' 122, Clarendon Press Milton, vol. i.

Stanza Xxx. The two prominent features of this stanza are
the sweet tenderness of the verses, and the illustration of the irony of
events in the striking culmination of the hero's career.
1. 904. Cp. Pope, ‘Moral Epistles,' II. 269:-

* And yet, believe me, good as well as ill,

Woman's at best a contradiction still.'
1. 906. Cp. Byron's Sardanapalus,’I. ii. 511:-

"Your last sighs
Too often breathed out in a woman's hearing,
When men have shrunk from the ignoble care

Of watching the last hour of him who led them.'
Stanza XXXII. 1. 972. See above, III. x.
1. 976. Metaphor from the sand-glass. Cp. Pericles, v. 2. 26:-

"Now our sands are almost run.'
Stanza XXXIII. 11. 999-1004. Charlemagne's rear-guard
under Roland was cut to pieces by heathen forces at Roncesvalles, a
valley in Navarre, in 778. Roland might have summoned his
uncle Charlemagne by blowing his magic horn, but this his valour
prevented him from doing till too late. He was fatally wounded,
and the Song of Roland,' telling of his worth and prowess, is one of
the best of the mediæval romances. Olivier was also a distinguished
paladin, and the names of the two are immortalized in the
proverb 'A Rowland for an Oliver. Fontarabia is on the coast of
Spain, about thirty miles from Roncesvalles. See Paradise Lost, I.
586, and note in Clarendon Press ed.

1. 1011. Our Caledonian pride, fitly and tenderly named “the
flowers of the forest.'

Stanza XXXIV. 1. 1034. Cp. 'spearmen's twilight wood,'
'Lady of the Lake,' VI. xvii.

1. 1035. Cp. Aytoun’s ‘Edinburgh after Flodden,' vii, where
Randolph Murray tells of the “riven banner':-

• It was guarded well and long
By your brothers and your children,

By the valiant and the strong.
One by one they fell around it,

As the archers laid them low,
Grimly dying, still unconquered,

With their faces to the foe.'

1. 1059. Lockhart here gives an extract from Jeffrey : The powerful poetry of these passages can receive no illustration from any praise or observations of ours. It is superior, in our apprehension, to all that this author has hitherto produced; and, with a few faults of diction, equal to any thing that has ever been written upon similar subjects. From the moment the author gets in sight of Flodden Field, indeed, to the end of the poem, there is no tame writing, and no intervention of ordinary passages. He does not once flag or grow tedious; and neither stops to describe dresses and ceremonies, nor to commemorate the harsh names of feudal barons. from the Border. There is a flight of five or six hundred lines, in short, in which he never stoops his wing, nor wavers in his course ; but carries the reader forward with a more rapid, sustained, and lofty movement, than any epic bard that we can at present remember.'

Stanza XXXV. 1. 1067. Lockhart quotes from Byron's · Lara' as a parallel

·Day glimmers on the dying and the dead,

The cloven cuirass, and the helmless head,' &c. 1. 1084. “There can be no doubt that King James fell in the battle of Flodden. He was killed, says the curious French Gazette, within a lance's length of the Earl of Surrey; and the same account adds, that none of his division were made prisoners, though many were killed ; a circumstance that testifies the desperation of their resistance. The Scottish historians record many of the idle reports which passed among the vulgar of their day. Home was accused, by the popular voice, not only of failing to support the King, but even of having carried him out of the field, and murdered him. And this tale was revived in my remembrance, by an unauthenticated story of a skeleton, wrapped in a bull's hide, and surrounded with an iron chain, said to have been found in the well of Home Castle, for which, on enquiry, I could never find any better authority than the sexton of the parish having said, that, if the well were cleaned out, he would not be surprised at such a discovery. Home was the chamberlain of the King, and his prime favourite; he had much to lose (in fact did lose all) in consequence of James's death, and nothing earthly to gain by that event: but the retreat, or inactivity, of the left wing, which he commanded, after defeating Sir Edmund Howard, and even the circumstance of his returning unhurt, and loaded with spoil, from so fatal a conflict, rendered the propagation of any calumny against him easy and acceptable. Other reports gave a still more romantic turn to the King's fate, and averred, that

James, weary of greatness after the carnage among his nobles, had gone on a pilgrimage, to merit absolution for the death of his father, and the breach of his oath of amity to Henry. In particular, it was objected to the English, that they could never show the token of the iron belt; which, however, he was likely enough to have laid aside on the day of battle, as encumbering his personal exertions. They produce a better evidence, the monarch's sword and dagger, which are still preserved in the Herald's College in London. Stowe has recorded a degrading story of the disgrace with which the remains of the unfortunate monarch were treated in his time. An unhewn column marks the spot where James fell, still called the King's Stone.'-Scott. See also Mr. Jerningham’s ‘Norham Castle,'chap.xi.

1. 1084. See above, V. vii, &c.

Stanza XXXVI. 1. 1096. “This storm of Lichfield Cathedral, which had been garrisoned on the part of the King, took place in the Great Civil War. Lord Brook, who, with Sir John Gill, commanded the assailants, was shot with a musket-ball through the vizor of his helmet. The royalists remarked that he was killed by a shot fired from St. Chad's Cathedral, and upon St. Chad's day, and received his death-wound in the very eye with which, he had said, he hoped to see the ruin of all the cathedrals in England. The magnificent church in question suffered cruelly upon this, and other occasions; the principal spire being ruined by the fire of the besiegers.'-Scott.

Ceadda, or Chad, after resigning the bishopric of York in 669 A.D., was appointed Bp. of Lichfield, where he lived for a little while in great holiness.' See Hunt's · English Church in the Middle Ages,' p. 17.

1. 1110. The allusion is to the old fragment on Flodden, which has been so skilfully extended by Jean Elliot and also by Mrs. Cockburn in their national lyrics, The Flowers o' the Forest.'

1. 1117. Once more the poet uses the irony of events with significant force.

Stanza XXXVII. 1. 1125. There is now a font of stone with a drinking cup, and an inscription on the back of the font runs thus:

Drink, weary pilgrim, drink and stay,

Rest by the well of Sybil Grey.' Stanza XXXVIII. In this stanza the poet indicates the spirit in which romances are written, clearly indicating that those only that have ears will be able to hear. Buvâvra ouveTolow might be

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »