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Why, "reke," or "reek," means smoke, whence "Auld reekie," the common name for Edinburgh; and in the passage before us, Arthur hied him to "the rising of the smoke," of the fire, to wit, to which he had been directed by the " 'wery wafulle wedowe," and at which the giant "bekez his bakke," &c., all "breklesse," like a very Highlander as he was. And here I may remark that in presence of a crowd of weans such as—
“I suppos, quha than walde seke
Amang thaim all wes noucht a breke,"
a Jock Jabos of the present day, and in the neighbouring street, might speak of a horse as Arthur did of Sir Fererre,
"Thou wille be flayede for a flye that one thy flesche lyghttes," and not one "Breklesse" loon within his hearing would miss his meaning, or for a moment dream that an English ostler, Yorkshire or Midland, was making remarks about his “oss."
4. At line 2542 we have "one lyarde stedes," and again at line 3281 we read
"The lokkes lyarde and longe the lenghe of a 3erde."
In the Glossary the last is explained "disordered." The word occurs in Chaucer as lyard, and the meaning is given-" a grey horse." As lyart, the word is given by Henrysone thus,-"lyart lokis hoir," which explains itself; and few know not the line of Burns—
"His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare.”
5. When the Roman envoys, glowred at by Arthur,
"ruschte to the erthe
ffor (the) ferdnesse of his face, as they fey were,"
they were not dead, as the Glossary tells; nor were the Britons dead, whom Arthur encourages his followers to fight fiercely, telling them, "fellis downe yone feye folke." Arthur himself was not by any means dead when the " wery wafulle wedowe" warned him against the giant, saying, "Thou arte fay, be my faithe;" and, in fine, he was not yet dead when, mortally wounded after the traitor Mordred's death,
"In faye, says the feye kynge, sore ine fore thynkkes.”
In all these passages fey, pronounced, I doubt not, with a diphthongal sound which now only a Scotsman can give, has the same meaning, modified in each case, as it still has in this country-mad, death-doomed, or fiend possessed before death. Sir Walter Scott, in Guy Mannering, at once uses the word, though not spelt as usual, and explains its meaning in the passage regarding the unfortunate Gauger, Kennedy, when excited by the combat between the sloop of war and the smuggling lugger, just before he hurried to destruction.
"I think,' said the old gardener to one of the maids, the gauger's fie,' by which word the common people express those violent spirits which they think a presage of death." The passage in Morte Arthure describing the last mad and fatal onset of Sur Gawan, while containing the word, also explains and most exactly exemplifies its meaning:
"Thare mighte no renke hym areste, his resone was passede!
He feghttis and fellis downe that hymne before standis!
And here, by the way, if the "Great Unknown" had not acknowledged his works, and we had been called upon to seek out an author for this novel from which we have just quoted, and bring home to the "Makkar" his handiwork, surely it would not be from the spelling of such words as "fie," &c., as given by him, but from the words themselves, and the way in which they were used by the characters, that we would seek to prove its nationality. What Englishman far south of the Tweed, what Irishman or Welchman, could write the racy Scottish language as Meg Merrilies and Dandie Dinmont are made to speak it? Ay, or understand and pronounce all their truly characteristic expressions, somewhat diluted though they occasionally are by the author? In my time, at home, in the colonies, and in America, I have often heard Englishmen and others attempt to pronounce such expressions as the following, but the Lowland vowel, diphthongal, and guttural sounds baffled their vocal powers, and a somewhat laughable "claiver," in Scottish ears, was generally the result:-
"The blunker that's biggit the bonnie house down in the howm. Nane o' our fowk wad stir your gear."
"Sign wi' cross, and sain wi' mass,
"What do you glower after our folk for?"
"Ye maun come hame, sir-for my lady's in the dead-thraw.' Repeating the words, in the dead-thraw!' he only said, 'Wife and bairn, baith-mother and son, baith-sair, sair to abide.""
"Meg claught the bairn suddenly out of the gauger's arms—and then he rampauged and drew his sword-for ye ken a fie man and a cusser fears na the deil. So, sir, she grippit him, and clodded him like a stane from the sling ower the craigs of Warrochhead."
"We'll ding Joch o' Dawston Cleugh now after a'."
"He was to have a weary weird o't, till his ane-and-twentieth year. I kenn'd he behoved to drie his weird till that day cam."
"I'll tak the gate-ye maunna spier what for "-"It was a blythe bit ance!" said Meg. "There was an auld saugh tree that's maist blawn down, and it hangs ower the bit burn-mony a day hae I wroght my stocking and sat on my sunkie under that saugh." 1
Now strange to say, every one of these extracts has its precisely similar parallel passage or counterfeit expressions in the Morte Arthure and Geste Hystoriale. Nay, more, the parallel passages are, in some instances, more than once repeated, and the expressions varied with marvellous precision, just as used in Scotland at the present day. And then in such proper names as Derncleuch, Bydethe-bent, Cleikum Inn, &c., of Sir Walter Scott, which are characteristic and Scottish, if ever words were or are, we have compounds the simple words or elements of which are to be met with in many pages of both poems. There is a difference, of course, in the spelling, especially in the case of the Morte Arthure, but this difference is often more apparent than real, owing to the final and other e's which are most profusely and often perhaps unnecessarily expended over the latter.
On looking over the Glossary appended to The Heart of Midlothian, as just issued in the centenary edition of Sir Walter Scott's works, I find upwards of fifty words, every one of which may be
A curious corroboration of the truth of our remark occurred in the setting-up of these very sentences. In the first proof sent for correction there were more mistakes in the spelling of them than in all the preface besides.
repeatedly found idiomatically used in the Morte Arthure and Geste Hystoriale. In the Glossary attached to the Bride of Lammermuir there are upwards of sixty similar words; while on looking over the pages of the latter I find that I could very largely add to the number-the compiler of the Glossary, doubtless a Scotsman, having passed over several to which he was so accustomed as to forget that they were peculiar and Scottish.
In the volume entitled Syr Gawayne, containing a collection of ancient Romance poems by Scottish and English authors, edited by Sir F. Madden for the Bannatyne Club, 1839, the editor discusses at some length the questions respecting the age, the author, &c., of Syr Gawayne and the Grene Knight. His remarks have a most important bearing upon the authorship not only of that poem and the Morte Arthure, but also upon that of the Geste Hystoriale, now printed for the first time by the E. E. T. Society.
"This curious poem is printed for the first time from a manuscript, believed to be unique, preserved in the Cottonian collection, and marked Nero, A. x." "It will not be difficult from a careful inspection of the manus uscript itself, both in regard to the writing and illuminations, to assign it to the reign of Richard II.; and the internal evidence, arising from the peculiarities of costume, armour, and architecture, would lead us to assign the romance to the same period, or a little earlier. There are three other metrical pieces in the volume, all most unquestionably composed by the author of the romance, and these I have carefully read over with the hope of detecting some more direct indication of the age, but without success." "In regard to the author of these poenis much uncertainty also exists. There is sufficient internal evidence of their being Northern, although the manuscript containing them appears to have been written by a scribe of the Midland counties, which will account for the introduction of forms differing from those used by writers beyond the Tweed.
"It is, I think, certain, that the writer of the romance must have been a man of birth and education, for none but a person intimately versed in the gentle science of wode-craft could so minutely describe the various sports of the chase, nor could any but an educated individual have been so well acquainted with the early French literature. Of his poetical talent the pieces contained in the MS. afford unquestionable proof, and the descriptions of the change of the seasons, the bitter aspect of winter, the tempest which preceded the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra, and the sea-storm occasioned by the wickedness of Jonas, are equal to any similar passages in Douglas or Spenser. The individual,
who has the best claim to be recognised as the author, is 'Huchowne of
'Men of gud dyscretyowne
"Mr Chalmers was of opinion that this Huchowne and the Sir Hugh of Eglintoun, mentioned by Dunbar in his Lament for the Makkaris, who flourished in the middle of the 14th century, and died, it is supposed, about the year 1381, were one and the same person; but there are so many difficulties in this supposition, as justly to prevent our yielding assent to it without some additional evidence.3 Admitting, however, Huchowne to be the author of the romance, we are singularly fortunate in possessing probably all the pieces written by him noticed by Wyntown, together with those others on allegorical or scriptural subjects, hitherto not pointed out. It is very evident on the chronicler's authority, that the Gret Gest of Arthure, the Gest Hystoryale and the Gest of Broyttys Auld Story are one and the same poem, and relate to the exploits of Arthur and his knights against the Romans. In this work Huchowne makes Lucius Hiberius emperor, in the time of Arthur, whereas Wyntown, following other authorities, names Leo as emperor. He first defends himself, and then good-naturedly excuses his predecessor, by saying that in the Brute (by which he here means Geoffrey of Monmouth) Lucius is called Procurator, which was more correct, but that if Huchowne had done so,
'That had mare greuyd the cadens,
Wyntown was elected prior of St Serf's in Lochleven, in 1395, so that he must have been contemporary with Huchowne. His chronicle was not finished till the year 1420-1424.
Cronykil of Scotland, vol. i. p. 122, ed. Macpherson, 1795.
See the notices of this Sir Hugh collected in the admirable edition of
Mr Guest regards as the most decisive proof of what is here assumed, the