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the weather for so many ages, retains perfect sharpness, so that even the most minute ornaments seem as entire as when newly wrought. In some of the cloisters, as is hinted in the next Canto, there are representations of flowers, vegetables, &c carved in stone, with accuracy and precision so delicate, that we almost distrust our senses, when we consider the difficulty of subjecting so hard a substance to such intricate and exquisite modulation. This superb convent was dedicated to St Mary, and the monks were of the Cistertian order. At the time of the Reformation, they shared in the general reproach of sensuality and irregularity, thrown upon the Roman churchmen. The old words of Galashiels, a favourite Scottish air, ran thus:
O the monks of Melrose made gude kale *
On Fridays when they fasted;They wanted neither beef nor ale, As long as their neighbour's lasted.
* Kale, Broth.
NOTES TO CANTO II.
Note I. When silver edges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die.—P. 44. The buttresses, ranged along the sides of the ruins of Melrose Abbey, are, according to the Gothic style, richly carved and fretted, containing niches for the statues of saints, and labelled with scrolls, bearing appropriate texts of Scripture. Most of these statues have been demolished.
Note II. St David's ruined pile.—P. 44. David I. of Scotland purchased the reputation of sanctity, by founding, and liberally endowing, not only the monastery of Melrose, but those of Kelso, Jedburgh, and many others, which led to the well-known observation of his successor, that he was a sore saint for the crown.
Lands and livings many a rood, Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.—P. 45. The Buccleuch family were great benefactors to the Abbey of Melrose. As early as the reign of Robert II., Robert Scott, baron of Murdieston and Rankelburn (now Buccleuch,) gave to the monks the lands of Hinkery, in Ettricke Forest, pro salute anima sua.—Chartulary of Melrose, 28th May, 1415.
Save to patter an Ave Mary, When I ride on a Border foray.—P. 47. The Borderers were, as may be supposed, very ignorant about religious matters. Colville, in his Paranesis, or Admonition, states, that the reformed divines were so far from undertaking distant journies to convert the Heathen, "as I wold wis at God that ye wold only go bot to the Hielands and Borders of our own realm, to gain our awin countreymen, who, for lack of preching and ministration of the sacraments, must, with tyme, becum either infidells, or atheists." But we learn, from Lesly, that, however deficient in real religion, they regularly told their beads, and never with more zeal than when going on a plundering expedition.
Note V. Beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.—P. 48. The cloisters were frequently used as places of sepulture. An instance occurs in Dryburgh Abbey, where the cloister has an inscription, bearing, Hicjacet Jrater Archibaldus.
Note VI. So had he seen, in fair Castile,
The youth in glittering squadrons start;Sudden the flying jennet wheel, And hurl the unexpected dart.—P. 48. "By my faith," sayd the Duke of Lancaster, (to a Portuguese squire) " of all the feates of armes that the Castellyans, and they of your countrey doth use, the castynge of their dartes best pleaseth me, and gladly I wolde se it; for, as I hear say, if they strike one aryghte, without he be well armed, the dart will pierce him thrughe."—" By my fayth, Sir," sayd the squyer, "ye say trouth 5 for I have seen many a grete stroke given with them, which at one time cost us derely, and was to us great displeasure; for, at the said skyrmishe, Sir John Laurence of Coygne was striken with a dart in such wise, that the head perced all the plates of his cote of mayle, and a sacke stopped with sylke, and passed thrughe his body, so that he fell down dead."—Froissart, Vol. II. ch. 44.—This mode of fighting with darts was imitated in the military game called Juego de las canas, which the Spaniards borrowed from their