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him. His daughter, Hervor, afterwards took it from his tomb. The dirlogue which passed betwixt her and Angautyr's spirit on this occasion has been often translated. The whole history may be found in the HervararSaga. Indeed, the ghosts of the northern warriors were not wont tamely to suffer their tombs to be plundered; and hence the mortal heroes had an additional temptation to attempt such adventures; for they held nothing more worthy of their valour than to encounter supernatural beings.Bartholinus De causis contemptæ a Danis mortis, lib. i. cap. 2, 9, 10, 13.
NOTE 50, page 97.
- St Bride of Douglas. This was a favourite saint of the house of Douglas, and of the Earl of Angus in particular, as we learn from the following passage :-"The Queen Regent had proposed to raise a rival noble to the duca dignity; and discoursing of her purpose with Angus, he answered, “Why not, madam ? we are happy that have such a princess, that can know and will acknowledge men's services, and is willing to recompense it; but, by the might of God,' (this was his oath when he was serious and in anger; at other times, it was by St Bryde of Douglas,) if he be a Duke, I will be a Drake!' So she de sísted from prosecuting of that purpose.”—Godscroft, vol. ii. p. 131.
NOTE 1, page 112.
Holds converse with the unburied corse. THE romance of the Morte d'Arthur contains a sort of abridgment of the most celebrated adventures of the Round Table; and, being written in comparatively modern language, gives the general reader an excellent idea of what romances of chivalry actually were. It has also the merit of being written in pure old
English; and many of the wild adventures which it contains are told with a simplicity bordering upon the sublime. Several of these are referred to in the text; and
I would have
illustrated them by more full extracts, but as this curious work is about to be republished, I confine myself to the tale of the Chapel Perilous, and of the quest of Sir Launcelot after the Sangreal.
" Right so Sir Launcelot departed, and when he came to the Chapell Perilous, he alighted downe, and tied his horse to a little gate. And as soon as he was within the churchyard, he saw, on the front of the chapell, many faire rich shields turned upside downe; and many of the shields Sir Launcelot had seene knights have before; with that he saw stand by him thirtie great knights, more, by a yard, than any man that ever he had seene, and all those grinned and gnashed at Sir Launcelot; and when he saw their countenance, hee dread them sore, and so put his shield afore him, and tooke his sword in his hand, ready to doe battaile; and they were all armed in black harneis, ready, with their shields and swords drawn. And when Sir Launcelot would have gone through them, they scattered on every side of him, and gave him the way; and therewith he waxed all bold, and entered into the chapell, and then
hee saw no light but a dimme lampe burning, and then was he ware of a corps covered with a cloath of silke; then Sir Launcelot stooped downe, and cut a piece of that cloth away, and then it fared under him as the earth had quaked a little, whereof he was afeard, and then hee saw a faire sword lye by the dead knight, and that he gat in his hand, and hied him out of the chappell. As soon as he was in the chappell-yerd, all the
knights spoke to him with a grimly voice, and said, 'Knight, Sir Launcelot, lay that sword from thee, or else thou shalt die.' - Whether I live or die, said Sir Launcelot, with no great words get yee it againe, there for fight for it an yee list. Therewith he passed through them; and, beyond the chappellyerd, there met hin a faire damosell, and said, Sir Launcelot, leave that sword behind thee, or thou wilt die for it.'-'I will not leave it,' said Sir Launcelot, 'for no threats. No?said she; and ye did leave that sword, Queen Guenever should ye never see.' Then were I a fool and I would leave this sword,' said Sir Launcelot.-Now, gentle knight,' said the damosell, 'I require thee to kiss me once. - Nay,' said Sir Launcelot, that God forbid !' - Well, sir. said she, and thou haddest kissed me thy life dayes had been done; but now, alas !' said she, I have lost all my labour; for I ordeined this chappell for thy sake, and for Sir Gawaine: and once I had Sir Gawaine within it, and at that time he fought with that knight which there lieth dead in yonder chappell, Sir Gilbert the bastard, and at that time hee smote off Sir Gilbert the bastard's left hand. And so, Sir Launcelot, now I tell thee, that I have loved thee this seaven yeare; but there may no woman have thy love but Queene Guenever; but sithen I may not rejoyice thee to have thy body alive, I had kept no more joy in this
world but to have had thy dead body; and I would have balmed it and served, and so have kept it in my life daies, and daily I should have clipped thee, and kissed thee, in the despite of Queen Guenever.' ---Yee say well,' said Sir Launcelot; Jesus preserve me from your subtill craft' And therewith he took his horse, and departed from her."
NOTE 2, page 112.
He might not view with waking eye.
eaten, (a precious relic, which had long remained concealed from human eyes, because of the sins of the land,) suddenly appeared to him and all his chivalry. The consequence of this vision was, that all the knights took on them a solemn vow to seek the Sangreal. But, alas! it could only be revealed to a knight at once accomplished in earthly chivalry, and pure and guiltless of evil conversation. All Sir Launcelot's noble accomplishments were therefore rendered vain by his guilty intrigue with Queen Guenever, or Ganore; and in his holy quest he encountered only such disgraceful disasters as that which follows:
" But Sir Launcelot rode overthwart and endlong in a wild forest, and held no path but as wild
adventure led him; and at the last, he came unto a stone crosse, which departed two wayes, in wast land;
and, by the crosse, was a stone that was of marble; but it was so dark, that Sir Launcelot might not well know what it was. Then Sir Launcelot looked by him, and saw an old chappell, and there he wend to have found people. And so Sir Launcelot tied his horse to a tree, and there he put off his shield, and hung it upon a tree, and then hee went unto the chappell doore, and found it asted and broken. And within he found s faire altar, full richly arrayed with cloth of silk, and there stood a faire candlestick, which beare six great candles, and the candlesticke was of silver. And when Sir Launcelot saw this light, hee had a great will for to enter into the chappell, but he could find no place where hee might enter. Then was he passing heavie and dismaied. Then he returned, and came againe to his horse, and tooke off his saddle and his bridle, and let him pasture, and unlaced his helme, and ungirded his sword, and laid him downe to sleepe upon his shield, before the
" And so he fell on sleepe; and, halfe waking and halfe sleeping, he saw come by him to palfreys, both faire and white, the which beare a litter, therein lying a sicke knight and when he was nigh the crosse, he there abode still. All this Sir Launcelot saw and beheld, iar hee slept not verily, and hee heard him say, 'O sweete Lord, when shall this sorrow leave me, and when shall the holy vessel come by me, where through I shall be blessed, for I have en dured thus long for little trespasse!' And thus a great while complained the knight, and alwaies Sir Launcelot heard
it. With that Sir Launcelot saw the candlesticke, with the fire tapers, come before the crosse; but he could see nobody that brought it. Also there came a table of silver, and the holy vessell of the Sancgreall, the which Sir Launcelot had seen before that time in King Petchour's house. And therewithall the sicke knight set him upright, aná held up both his hands, and said, Faire sweete Lord, which is here within the holy vessell, take heede to mee, that I may bee hole of this great malady !' And therewith upon his hands, and upon his knees, he went so nigh, that he touched the holy vessell and kissed it : And anon he was hole, and then he said, Lord God, I thank thee, for I am healed of this malady.' Soo when the holy vessell had been there a great while, it went into the chappelle againe, with the candlesticke and the light, so that Sir Launcelot wist not where it became, for he was overtaken with sinne, that hee had no power to arise against the holy vessell, wherefore afterward many men said of him shame. But he tooke repentance atterward Then the sicke knight dressed him upright, and kissed the crosse. Then anon his squire brought him his armes, and asked his lord how he did. Certainly,' said hee, I thanke God right heartily for through the holy vessell I am healed : But I have right great mervaile of this sleeping
knight, which hath had neither grace nor power to awake during the time that this holy vessell hath beene here present.'- I dare it right well say,' said the squire, that this same knight is defouled with some manner of deadly sinne, whereof he has never confessed.'-By my faith,' said the knight, whatsoever he be, he is unhappie; for, as I deeme, he is of the fellowship of the Round Table, the which is entered into the quest of the Sancgreall.'-Sir,' said the squire, here I have brought you all
your armes, save your helme and your sword; and, therefore, by mine assent, now may ye take this knight's helme and his sword; and so he did. And when he was cleane armed, he took Sir Launcelot's horse, for he was better than his owne, and so they departed from the crosse. “ Then anon Sir Launcelot
awaked, and set himselfe upright, and he thought him what hee had there seene, and whether it were dreames or not; right so he heard a voice that said,
Sir Launcelot, more hardy than is the stone, and more bitter than is the wood, and more naked and bare than is the liefe of the fig-tree, therefore go thou from hence, and withdraw thee from this holy place; and when Sir Launcelot heard this, he was passing heavy, and wist not what to doe. And so he departed sore weeping, and cursed the time that he was borne: for then he deemed never to have had more worship; for the words went unto his heart, till that he knew wherefore that hee was so called."
NOTE 3, page 112.
Had raised the Table Round again. Dryden's melancholy account of his projected Epic Poem, blasted by the selfish and sordid parsimony of his patrons, is contained in an “Essay on Satire," addressed to the Earl of Dorset, and prefixed to the Translation of Juvenal. After mentioning a plan of supplying machinery from the guardian angels of kingdoms, mentioned in the Book of Daniel, he adds
“ Thus, my lord, I have, as briefly as I could, given your lordship, and by you the world, * rude draught of what I have been long labouring in my imagination, and what I had in tended to have put in practice; (though far unable for the attempt of such a poem);
and to have left the stage, to which my genius never much inclined me, for a work which would have taken up my life in the
performance of it. This, too, I had intended chiefly for the honour of my native country, to which a poet is particularly obliged. of two subjects, both relating to it, I was doubtful whether I should choose that of King Arthur conquering the Baxons, which, being farther distant in time, gives the greater scope to my invention; or that of Edward the Black Prince, in subduing Spain, and restoring it to the lawful prince, though & great tyrant, Don Pedro the Cruel; which, for the compass of time, including only the expedition of one year, for the greatness of the action, and its answerable event, for the
magnanimity of the English hero, opposed to the ingratitude of the person whom he restored, and for the many beautiful episodes
which I had interwoven with the principal design, together with the characters of the chiefest English persons, (wherein, after Virgil and Spenser, I would have
taken occasion to represent my living friends and patrons of the noblest families, and also shadowed the events of future ages in the succession of our imperial line),---with these helps, and those of the machines which I have mentioned, I might perhaps have done, as well as some of my predecessors, or at least chalked out a way for others to amend my errors in a like design, but being encouraged only with fair words by King Charles II., my little salary ill paid, and no prospect of a future subsistence, I was then discouraged in the beginning of my attempt; and now age has overtaken me, and want, a more insufferable evil, through the change of the times, has wholly disabled me."
NOTE 4, page 113.
Of Ascapart, and Bevis bold. The "History of Bevis of Hampton” is abridged by my friend Mr. George Ellis, with that liveliness which extracts amusement even out of the most rude and unpromising of our old tales of chivalry. Ascapart, a most important personage in the romance, is thus described in an extract:
"This geaunt was mighty and strong,
And full thirty foot was long.
Specimens of Metrical Romances, vol. ii. p. 138. I am happy to say, that the memory of Sir Bevis is still fragrant in his town of Southampton; the gate of which is sentinelled by the effigies of that doughty knight-errant and his gigantic associate.
NOTE 5, page
114. Day set on Norham's castled sheep,
And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep, doc. The ruinous castle of Norham (anciently called Ubbanford) is situated on the southern bank of the Tweed, about six miles above Berwick, and where that river is still the boundary between England and Scotland. The extent of its ruins, as well as its historical importance, shows it to have been a place of maguificence, as well as strength. Edward I. resided there when he was created umpire of the dispute concerning the Scottish succession. It was repeatedly taken and retaken during the wars between England and Scotland; and, indeed, scarce any happened, in which it had not a principal share. Norham Castle is situated on a steep bank, which overhangs the river. The repeated sieges which the castle had sustained, rendered frequent repairs necessary. In 1164, it was almost rebuilt by Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, who added a huge keep, or donjon; notwithstanding which, King Henry II., in 1174, took the castle from the bishop, and committed the keeping of it to William de Neville. After this period it seems to have been chiefly garrisoned by the King, and considered as a royal fortress. The Greys of Chillingham Castle were frequently the castellans, or captains of the garrison : Yet, as the castle was situated in the patrimony of St Cuthbert, the property was in the see of Durham till the Reformation. After that period it passed through various hands. At the union of the crowns, it was in the possession of Sir Robert Carey (afterwards Earl of Monmouth) for his own life, and that of two of his sons. After King James's.accession, Carey sold Norham Castle to George Home, Earl of Dunbar, for £6000. See his curious Memoirs, published by Mr Constable of Edinburgh.
According to Mr Pinkerton, there is in the British Museum, Cal. B. 6. 216, a curious memoir of the Dacres on the state of Norham Castle in 1522, not long after the battle of Flodden. The inner ward, or keep, is represented as impregnable:-“The provisions are three great vats of salt eels forty-four kine, three hogsheads of salted salmon, forty quarters of grain, besides many cows and four hundred sheep, lying under the castle-wall
nightly; but a number of the arrows wanted feathers, and a good Fletcher [i. e. maker of arrows] was required."-History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 201, note.
The ruins of the castle are at present considerable, as well as picturesque. They consist of a large shattered tower, with many vaults, and fragments of other edifices, enclosed within an outward wall of great circuit.
NOTE 6, page 114.
The battled towers, the donjon keep. It is perhaps unnecessary to remind my readers, that the donjon, in its proper signification, means the strongest part of a feudal castle; a high square tower, with walls of tremendous thickness, situated in the centre of the other buildings, from which, however, it was usually detached. Here, in case of the outward defences being gained, the garrison retreated to make their last stand. The donjon contained the great hall, and principal rooms of state for solemn occasions, and also the prison
of the fortress; from which last circumstance we derive the modern and restricted use of the word duageon. Ducange (voce DUNJO) conjectures plausibly, that the name is derived from these keeps being usually built upon a hill, which in Celtic is called Dun. Borlase supposes the word came from the darkness of the apartments in these towers, which were thence figuratively called Dangeons; thus deriving the ancient word from the modern application of it.
NOTE 7, page 115.
In mail and plate of Milan steel. The artists of Milan were famous in the middle ages for their skill in armoury, as appears from the following passage, in which Froissart gives an account of the preparations made by Henry, Earl of Hereford, afterwards Henry IV., and Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marischal, for their proposed combat in the lists at Coventry:—“These two lords made ample provision of all things necessary for the combat; and the Earl of Derby sent off messengers to Lombardy, to have armour from Sir Galeas, Duke of Milan. The Duke complied with joy, and gave the knight, called Sir Francis, who had brought the message, the choice of all his armour for the Earl of Derby. When he had selected what he wished for in plated and mail armour, the Lord of Milan, out of his abundant love for the Earl, ordered four of the best armourers in Milan to accompany the knight to England, that the Earl of Derby might be more completely armed.”—JOANES' Froissart, vol. iv.
NOTE 8, page 116.
Rho checks at me, to death is dight. The crest and motto of Marmion are borrowed from the following storySir David de Lindsay, first Earl of Crauford, was, among
other gentlemen of quality, attended, during a visit to London in 1390, by Sir William Dalzell
, who was, according to my authority, Bower, not only excell ng in wisdom, but also of a lively wit. Chancing to be at the court, he there saw Sir Piers Courtenay, an English knight, famous for skill in tilting, and for the beauty of his person, parading the palace, arrayed in a new mantle, bearing for device an embroidered falcon, with this rhyme,
" I bear a falcon, fairest of flight,
In graith." The Scottish knight, being a wag, appeared next day in a dress exactly similar to that of Courtenay, but bearing a magpie instead of the falcon, with a motto ingeniously contrived to rhyme to the vaunting inscription of Sir Piers:
"I bear a pie picking at a piece,
Whoso picks at her, I shall pick at his nese, !