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Note I. '
The Old Town of Edinburgh was secured on the north side by a lake, now drained, and on the south by a wall, which there was some attempt to make defensible even so late as 1745. The gates, and the greater part of the wall, have been pulled down, in the course of the late extensive and beautiful enlargement of the city. Mr. Thomas Campbell proposed to celebrate Edinburgh under the epithet here borrowed. But the “Queen of the North” has not been so fortunate as to receive from so eminent a pen the proposed distinction.
Note II. Flinging thy white arms to the sea.—P.161. Since writing this line, I find I have inadvertently borrowedit almost verbatim, though with somewhat a different meaning, from a chorus in “Caractacus:”
Britain heard the descant bold,
Proud in her leafy bosom to enfold
family, fled to Scotland after the fatal battle of Towton. Queen
Ung nouveau roy creerent,
Par despiteur, vouloir,
Et son legitime hoir,
D'Escosse le garand,
Et le plus toilerant.
Note IV. .
the romantic strain,
Whose Anglo-Norman tones whilere
Could win the Second Henry's ear—P. 164.
Mr. Ellis, in his valuable Introduction to the “Specimens of
Romance,” has proved, by the concurring testimony of La Ravaillere, Tressan, but especially the Abbe de la Rue, that the courts of our Anglo-Norman kings, rather than those of the French monarchs, produced the birth of romance literature. Marie, soon after mentioned, compiled from Armorican originals, and translated into Norman-French, or romance language, the twelve curious Lays, of which Mr. Ellis has given us a precis in the Appendix to his introduction. The story of Blondel, the famous and faithful minstrel of Richard I., needs no commentary.
- Note v. The cloth-yard arrows flew like hail—P. 167. This is no poetical exaggeration. In some of the counties of England, distinguished for archery, shafts of this extraordinary length were actually used. The Scottish, according to Ascham, had a proverb, that every English archer carried un
der his belt twenty-four Scots, in allusion to his bundle of unerring shafts. Note VI. To pass, to wheel, the croup to gain, And high curvet, that not in vain The sword-sway might descend amain On foeman's casque below.—P.168. “The most useful air, as the Frenchmen term it, is territerr; the courbettes, cabrioles, or un pas, et un sault, being fitter for horses of parade and triumph than for soldiers: yet I cannot deny but a demivolte with courbettes, so that they be not too high, may be useful in a fight or meslee; for, as Labroue hath it, in his Book of Horsemanship, Monsieur de Montmorency having a horse that was excellent in performing the demivolte, did, with his sword, strike down two adversaries from their horses in a tourney, where divers of the prime gallants of France did meet; for, taking his time, when the horse was in the height of his courbette, and discharging a blow them, his sword fell with such weight and force upon the two cavaliers, one after the other, that he struck them from their horses to the ground.”—Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Life, p. 48.
Note VII. He saw the hardy burghers there March armed, on foot, withfaces bare.—P. 168. The Scottish burgesses were like yeoman, appointed to be armed with bows and sheaves, sword, buckler, knife, spear, or a good ax instead of a bow, if worth L. 100: their armour to be of white or bright harness. They wore white hats, i.e. bright steel caps, without crest or visor. By an act of James IV., their
weapon-schawings are appointed to be held four times a-year, under the aldermen or bailiffs.
Bows and quivers were in vain recommended to the peasantry of Scotland, by repeated statutes; spears and axes seem universally to have been used instead of them, Their defensive armour was the plate-jack, hauberk, or brigantine; and their missile weapons cross-bows and culverins. All wore swords of excellent temper, according to Patten; and a voluminous handkerchief round their neck, “not for cold, but for cutting.” The mace also was much used in the Scottish army: The old poem on the battle of Flodden, mentions a band—
Who manfully did meet their foes
When the feudal array of the kingdom was called forth, each man was obliged to appear with forty days' provision. When this was expended, which took place before the battlé of Flodden, the army melted away of course. Almost all the Scottish forces, except a few knights, men-at-arms, and the Border-prickers, who formed excellent light cavalry, acted upon foot.
In all transactions of great or petty importance, and among whomsoever taking place, it would seem, that a present of wine was a uniform and indispensable preliminary. It was not to Sir John Falstaff alone that such an introductory preface was necessary, however well judged and acceptable on the part of Mr. Brook; for Sir Ralph Sadler, while on embassy to Scotland in 1539-40, mentions, with complacency, “the same night came Rothesay % herald so called) to me again,
and brought me wine from the king, both white and red.” Clifford's Edition, p. 39.
Few readers need to be reminded of this belt, to the weight of which Jamesadded certain ounces every year that he lived. Pitscottie founds his belief, that James was not slain in the battle of Flodden, because the English never had this token of the iron-belt to show to any Scottishman. The person and character of James are delineated according to our best historians. His romantic disposition, which led him highly to relish gayety, approaching to license, was, at the same time, tinged with enthusiastic devotion. These propensities sometimes formed a strange contrast. He was wont, during his fits of devotion, to assume the dress, and conform to the rules, of the order of Franciscans; and when he had thus done penance for some time in Stirling, to plunge again into the tide of pleasure. Probably, too, he sometimes laughed at the superstitious observances to which he at other times subjected himself. There is a very singular poem by Dunbar, seemingly addressed to James IV., on one of these occasions of monastic seclusion. It is a most daring and profane parody on the services of the church of Rome, entitled,
Dunbar's Dirige to the King,
We that are here, in heaven's glory,