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My daughter! with thy name this song begun-
And reach into thy heart,—when mine is cold, -
To aid thy mind's developement,--to watch
my nature:-as it is,
Yet, though dull hate as duty should be taught,
And an attainment,—all would be in vain,-
The child of love,—though born in bitterness,
Fain would I waft such blessing upon thee,
NOTES TO CANTO III.
Note 1, page 1.9, stanza xvii.
In - pride of place» here last the eagle flew, etc. « Pride of place, is a term of falconry, and means the highest pitch of flight.-See Macbeth, etc.
« An eagle towering in his pride of place
Note 2, page 160, stanza xx.
Such as Harmodius drew on Athens' tyrant lord. See the famous song on Harmodius and Aristogiton.—The best English translation is in Bland's Anthology, by Mr Denman.
«With myrtle my sword will I wreathe,» etc.
Note 3, page 160, stanza xxi.
And all went merry as a marriage-bell; etc. On the night previous to the action, it is said that a ball was given at Brussels.
Notes 4–5, page 162, stanza xxvi.
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears. Sir Evan Cameron, and his descendant Donald, the “gentle Lochiel» of the « forty-five.»
Note 6, page 162, stanza xxvII.
And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves, etc. The wood of Soignies is supposed to be a remnant of the « forest of Ardennes,« famous in Boiardo's Orlando, and immortal in Shakspeare's « As you like it.» It is also celebrated in Tacitus as being the spot of successful defence by the Germans against the Roman encroachments.—I have ventured to adopt the name connected with nobler associations than those of mere slaughter.
Note 7, page 163, stanza xxx. I turn’d from all she brought to those she could not bring. My guide from Mont St Jean over the field seemed intelligent and accurate. The place where Major Howard fell was not far from two tall and solitary trees (there was a third cut down, or shivered in the battle), wbich stand a few yards from each other at a pathway's side.—Beneath these he died and was buried. The body has since been removed to England. A small hollow for the present marks where it lay, but will probably soon be effaced; the plough has been upon it, and the grain is.
After pointing out the different spots where Picton and other gallant men had perished, the guide said, « here Major Howard lay; I was near him when wounded.» I told him my relationship, and he seemed then still more anxious to point out the particular spot and circumstances. The place is one of the most marked in the field from the peculiarity of the two trees above-mentioned.
I went on horseback twice over the field, comparing it with my recollection of similar scenes. As a plain, Waterloo seems marked out for the scene of some great action, though this may
be mere imagination : I have viewed with attention those of Platea, Troy, Mantinea, Leuctra, Chæronea, and Marathon; and the field around Mont St Jean and Hougoumont appears to want little but a better cause, and that undefinable but impressive halo which the lapse of ages throws around a celebrated spot, to vie in interest with any or all of these, except perhaps the last-mentioned.
Note 8, page 164, stanza xxxiv.
Like to the apples on the Dead Sea's shore, etc. The (fabled) apples on the brink of the lake Asphaltes were said to be fair without, and within ashes. — Vide Tacitus, Histor. 1. 5. 7.
Note 9, page 167, stanza xli.
For sceptred cynics earth were far too wide a den. The great error of Napoleon, « if we have writ our annals true, » was a continued obtrusion on mankind of his want of all community of feeling for or with them; perhaps more offensive to human vanity than the active cruelty of more trembling and suspicious tyranny.
Such were his speeches to public assemblies as well as individuals ; and the single expression which he is said to have used on returning to Paris, after the Russian winter had destroyed his army, rubbing his hands over a fire, « This is pleasanter than Moscow,» would probably alienate more favour from his cause than the destruction and reverses which led to the remark.
Note 10, page 169, stanza xlvur.
«What wants that knave
That a king should have?» was King James's question on meeting Johnny Armstrong and his followers in full accoutrements.—See the Ballad.
Note 11, page 172, song, stanza 1.
The castled crag of Drachenfels. The castle of Drachenfels stands on the highest summit of «the Seven Mountains,» over the Rhine banks ; it is in ruins, and connected with some singular traditions : it is the first in view on the road from Bonn, but on the opposite side of the river; on this bank, nearly facing it, are the remains of another, called the Jew's castle, and a large cross, commemorative of the murder of a chief by his brother: the number of castles and cities along the course of the Rhine on both sides is very great, and their situations remarkably beautiful.