Page images
PDF
EPUB

NOTES TO CANTO III.

Note I.

When, dancing in the sunny beam, He marked the crane on the Baron's crest.—P. 75. The crest of the Cranstouns, in allusion to their name, is a crane dormant, holding a stone in his foot, with an emphatic Border motto, Thou shalt want ere I want.

.

Note H.

Much he marvelled a knight of pride, Like a book-bosomed priest should ride.—P. 78. "At Unthank, two miles N. E. from the church (of Ewes,) there are the ruins of a chapel for divine service, in time of popery. There is a tradition, that friars were wont to come from Melrose, or Jedburgh, to baptise and marry in this parish; and, from being in use to carry the mass-book in their bosoms, they were called, by the inhabitants, Book-a-bosomes. There is a man yet alive, who knew old men who had been baptised by these Book-a-bosomes, and who says one of them. called Hair, used this parish for a very long time."—Account of Parish of Ewes, apud Macforlane's MSS.

Note IH.

It had much of glamour might.—P. 79. Glamour, in the legends of Scottish superstition, means the magic power of imposing on the eye-sight of the spectators, so that the appearance of an object shall be totally different from the reality. The transformation of Michael Scott by the Witch of Falsehope, already mentioned, was a genuine operation of glamour. To a similar charm the ballad of Johnny Fa' imputes the fascination of the lovely Countess, who eloped with that gypsey leader:

Sae soon as they saw her weel far'd face,
They cast the glamour o'er her.

It was formerly used even in war. In 1381, when the Duke of Anjou lay before a strong castle, upon the coast of Naples, a necromancer offered to "make the ayre so thycke, that they within shal thynke that there is a great bridge on the see (by which the castle was surrounded,) for ten men to go a front; and whan they within the castle se this bridge, they wil be so afrayde, that they shall yelde them to your mercy. The Duke demanded—Fayre Master, on this bridge that ye speke of, may our people assuredly go thereon to the castell to assayle it? Syr, quod the enchantour, I dare not assure you that; for if any that passeth on the bridge make the signe of the crosse on hym, all shall go to noughte, and they that be on the bridge shall fall into the see. Then the duke began to laugh; and a certain of young knightes, that were there present, said, Syr, for godsake, let the mayster essay his cunning; we shal leve making of any signe of the crosse on us for that tyme." The Earl of Savoy, shortly after, entered the tent, and recognized in the enchanter the same person who had put the castle into the power of Sir Charles de la Payx, who then held it, by persuading the garrison of the Queen of Naples, through magical deception, that the sea was coming over the walls. The sage avowed the feat, and added, that he was the man in the world most dreaded by Sir Charles de la Payx. "By my fayth, quod the Erl of Savoy, ye say well; and I will that Syr Charles de la Payx shall know that he hath gret wronge to fear you. But I shall assure him of you; for ye shall never do enchauntment to deceyve hym, nor yet none other. I wolde nat that in tyme to come we shulde be reproached that in so high an enterprise as we be in, wherein there be so many noble knyghtes and squyres assembled, that we shulde do any thyng be enchauntment, nor that we shulde wyn our enemys by suche crafte. Than he called to him a servaunt, and sayd, Go and get a hangman, and let hym stryke of this mayster's heed without delay; and as sone as the Erle

had commaunded it, incontynent it was done, for his heed was s

stryken of before the Erle's tent."—Froiss Art, Voj.i. ch. 391, 393.

The art of glamour, or other fascination, was anciently a principal part of the skill of the jongleur, or juggler, whose tricks formed much of the amusement of a Gothic castle. Some instances of this art may be found in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, vol. III. p. 119. In a strange allegorical poem, called the Houlat, written by a dependant of the house of Douglas, about 1452-3, the jay, in an assembly of birds, plays the part of the juggler. His feats of glamour are thus, described:

He gart tbera see, as it semyt, in samyo hour,

Hunting at herdis in holds so hair;
Some sailand on the see schippis of tourc,
Bernis battalland on burd brim as a bare;
He coulde carye the coop of the king is des,
Syne leve in the stede,
Bot a black bunwede;
He could of a henis hcdc,
Make a man mcs.

He gart the Emproure trow, and trewlye bebald,

That the corncraik, the pundare at hand,
Had poyndit all his pris hors in a poynd fald,

Because thai ete of tbe corn in the kirkland.
He could wirk wiodaris, quhat way that he wald;

Mak a gray gus a gold garland,
A lang spere of a bittile for a berne bald,

Nobilis of natschelles, andsilvcr of sand.

husjoukit with juxters the janglane ja,
Fair ladyes in ringis,
Knychtis in caralyngis,
Bayth dansis and singis,
It seinyt as sa.

Note.IV.
Now, if you ask who gave the stroke,
I cannot tell, so mot I thrive;
It was not given by man alive.—P. 80.
Dr Henry More, in a letter prefixed to Glanville's Saducis-
mus Triumphatus, mentions a similar phenomenon.

"I remember an old gentleman in the country, of my acquaintance, an excellent justice of peace, and a piece of a mathematician; but what kind of a philosopher he was, you may understand from a rhyme of his own making, which he commended to me at my taking horse in his yard, which rhyme Is this:

Ens is nothing till sense finds out;

Sense ends in nothing, so naught goes about.

Which rhyme of his was so rapturous to himself, that, oh the reciting of the second verse, the old man turned himself about upon his toe as nimbly as one may observe a dry leaf whisked round in the corner of an orchard-walk by some little whirlwind. With this philosopher I have had many discourses concerning the immortality of the soul and its distinction; when I have run him quite down by reason, he would but

« PreviousContinue »