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CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
Stanza xviii. line 5.
“Pride of place” is a term of falconry, and means the highest pitch of flight.-See Macbeth, &c.
“ An eagle towering in his pride of place
Stanza xx. line 9.
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," &c.
Stanza xxi. line 8. On the night previous to the action, it is said that a ball was given at Brussels.
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears.
Stanza xxvi. line 9. Sir Evan Cameron, and his descendant Donald, the “gentle Lochiel" of the “forty-five."
Stanza xxvii. line 1.
The wood of Soignies is supposed to be a remnant of the “ forest of Ardennes,” famous in Boiardo's Orlando, and immortal in Shakespeare'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.
7. I turn'd from all she brought to those she could not bring.
Stanza xxx. line 9.
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) which 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 abovementioned.
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.
Stanza xxxiv. line 6.
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.
Stanza xli. line 9.
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.
Stanza xlviii. line 6.
« 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.