« AnteriorContinuar »
37. basnet, helmet. curch, kerchief, veil.
40. lightly, scorn.
51. slight, raze.
53. lowe, flame.
54. sloken, quench.
61. marchmen, men of the marches, or borders.
62. ain name, own name, i.e., of the clan of Scott.
67. splent on spauld, armor on shoulder.
68. gleuves, gloves.
69-76. Buccleuch divides his men into four squads of ten each. 75. broken men, outlaws.
76. Woodhouselee, a house on the Border, belonging to Buccleuch. 77. Bateable land, a strip of country along the Border, inhabited mainly by outlaws
Who sought the beeves that made their broth
In England and in Scotland both.
It was called the Debatable Land, since both countries laid claim to it.
91. herry, plunder, rob. corbie, crow.
92. wons, lives.
95. Dickie of Dryhope, a famous Scottish raider of that day.
96. lear, learning. Dickie apparently was readier with a blow than with a word.
98. Row-footed, rough-footed.
100. Sae, so.
102. the Eden, a river in the north of England, between Carlisle and the Border.
103. mickle of spait, at high flood.
106. hie, high.
108. nie, neigh.
118. the lead, the roof.
124. wha dare meddle wi' me, a famous Scotch Border tune, or slogan.
129. King James, the sixth of that name, afterwards James I of England.
132. sic a stear, such a stir, or panic.
133. coulters, plowshares, used to force open the doors.
141. saft, lightly.
142. fley'd, frightened.
144.. speir, ask.
145. hente, caught.
146. starkest, strongest.
Teviotdale, a district of the Scotch Border.
147-152. Willie speaks these lines.
151. lodging maill, bill for lodging.
156. airns, irons, fetters.
158. wud, mad.
162. I have ridden a horse out over the furrows.
164. sic, such.
179. trew, trust.
182. maun, must.
184. Christentie, Christendom.
SIR PATRICK SPENS
Of the many versions of this fine old ballad, the one here given tells the story in the fullest detail. There does not seem to be any historical
basis for the events related.
LINE 1. Dunfermline, one of the old royal towns of Scotland, situated on the Firth of Forth.
3. skeely, skillful.
9. a braid letter, a broad, or, as we say, a long letter.
16. maun, must.
23. this time of the year. It seems to have been late in the year, and an old Scotch law forbade sea voyages, at least for ships with valuable cargoes, between October 28 and February 2, on account of the stormy weather in the North Sea in winter.
29. hoysed, hoisted.
32. Wodensday, Wednesday. This day of the week is named for the old German god Woden.
38. fee, wealth, property.
39-44. Sir Patrick answers the inhospitable Norwegians.
42. gane, suffices.
43. a half-fou, a quart. - goud, gold.
45. Sir Patrick is so angry that he determines to leave Norway at
once and orders his men to prepare for the voyage.
47-48. An old sailor answers Sir Patrick with a prophecy of bad weather.
47. alake, alack, alas.
49. yestreen, yesterday evening.
55. lift, sky.
56 gurly, grim, threatening.
57. lap, sprang out. 71. a bout, a bolt.
73. claith, cloth.
75 wap, wrap or lap. In one ci Captain Cook's voyages a quilted sail was let down outside the ship to stop a leak that could not be reached from within.
81. laith, loath, reluctant.
82. shoon, shoes.
83-84. Long before the game was over (that is, before the ship sank) they wet the top of their hats.
86. flatter'd, fluttered, floated. - faem, foam.
98. goud kaims, gold combs.
101. Aberdeen, a town on the northeast coast of Scotland.
THE DOUGLAS TRAGEDY
The scene of this ballad is laid by tradition in a wild and solitary glen near the little river Yarrow in Scotland. Here are still to be seen the ruins of a very ancient tower, one of the first possessions of the great house of Douglas. Seven stones are pointed out as marking the spot where the seven brothers were slain, and the Douglas burn, which flows through the glen to join the Yarrow, is said to be the stream at which the lovers stopped to drink. There are several ballads so like this in Danish that scholars think the story may have had a Scandinavian origin.
LINE 1. Lady Douglas rouses her lord with the news of his daughter's flight.
4. under night, by night, secretly.
9. He, Lord William, who is carrying off Lady Margaret Douglas. 16. the lee, the lea, the meadow.
26. sair, sore, hard.
30. the holland, a kind of linen.
31. dighted, dressed.
34. gang or bide, go or stay.
65-66. Lord William dies of the wound he has concealed, and Lady Margaret of a broken heart.
69. St. Marie's kirk, St. Mary's church on St. Mary's Lake, not far from the supposed scene of the tragedy.
70. quire, the choir of the church, the part beyond the transepts. 73. plat, plaited, intertwined.
77. But bye and rade, but there rode by.. the Black Douglas, the head of the Douglas family. He was so angry at the elopement of Lady Margaret that he pulled up the brier that grew from her lover's grave. 78. wow, alas.
80. flang, flung. Loch, lake.
THOMAS THE RYMER
This ballad celebrates one of the most famous characters in Scottish legend, Thomas of Ercildoune, generally called Thomas the Rymer, or True Thomas. According to the story, he was a famous poet and minstrel who was carried off by the Queen of the Fairies. He spent seven years in Fairyland and came back with the gift of prophecy. Many of his rhymes relating to the wars between England and Scotland, or prophesying future events, were current among the Scotch peasantry as late as Sir Walter Scott's day.
LINE 4. fernie brae, ferny hillside.
7. ilka tett, every lock.
17. Harp and carp, play and sing.
19. To kiss a fairy or spirit was said to put the daring mortal in the power of the supernatural being.
22. That fate shall never frighten me.
23. Syne, then.
24. the Eildon Tree, a haunted tree on the Eildon Hills, not far from the home of True Thomas near the Scottish Border.
42. To eat the fruit of Fairyland would make Thomas a prisoner of the fairies forever.
52. ferlies, wonders.
58. lillie leven, lawn of lilies.
67. gin, if.
69. even, smooth.
According to the old story, Thomas came back from Fairyland and was held in high honor by the Scottish lords. But he was bound to return to the Queen of the Fairies whenever she should call him. One day when he was feasting with his friends, a man came running in to announce that a milk-white hart and hind were slowly parading the village street. Thomas recognized this as a sign, and rising up from the feast, followed the animals to the forest, where he disappeared from mortal view. According to the legend, he is still in Fairyland and will one day revisit the upper earth.
THE FAERIE QUEENE
The Faerie Queene, Spenser's longest and most famous poem, is both a romantic tale of knight-errantry and a moral allegory. The general end of all the book," said Spenser, "is to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline "; in other words, to hold up the mirror of true manhood to Elizabethan gentlemen among whom the poet moved. The poem was planned to consist of twelve books. In each of these a knight was to represent some virtue, such as Holiness, Temperance, or Courtesy, and was to go out on adventures and conquer the enemies of Virtue. Chief among these knights was Arthur, the famous hero of old British legend, who represents in Spenser's poem "the magnificence of the whole Virtue." Gloriana, the Fairy Queen, after whom the poem is named, represents the divine glory which every true knight is bound to seek and serve. At the close of the poem she was to be united in marriage to Prince Arthur.
Only half of The Faerie Queene was ever written, and even this half is too long for the patience of most readers. The story grows very confused at times; but it is full of beautiful passages, and no one who has read it to the end has ever thought his labor lost.
LINE 1. pricking, riding.
8. jolly, gallant.
9. giusts, jousts, combats in the lists.
10. bloudie crosse. This gentle knight with the bloody cross on his breast is generally spoken of as the Red Cross Knight. He is the Knight of Holiness, and stands for the pattern Englishman, the Christian knight. It is his purpose in life to fight sin in all its shapes and forms. 13. The line seems to mean 'He always adored his Lord, who, although dead, ever liveth.'
17. His looks were too grave and serious.
18. ydrad, dreaded.
19. bond, bound.
22. worship, knightly honor.
24. earne, yearn.
27. his foe, a dragon, the Devil.
28. A lovely ladie, Una, who stands for Truth; and also for the