Monday, August 15, 2011


Sir Walter Scott, as we know, was born on August 15, 1832.  Another Scottish poet, John Barclay, arrived at his death on the same day, in the year 1621; possibly by poison.  The connection doesn’t end on dates.  Sir Walter Scott read Barclay in his research for “Marmion.  Barclay’s major work was “Argensis”, but it is the “Euphormionis Satyricon “ that is quoted  in the notes of “Marmion”.

‘Barclay, in his "Euphormion," gives a singular account of an officer who had ventured,
 with his servant, rather to intrude upon a haunted house, in a town in Flanders, than to put up 
with worse quarters elsewhere. After taking the usual precautions of providing fires, lights, and arms,
 they watched till midnight, when, behold! The severed arm of a man dropped from the ceiling;
 this was followed by the legs, the other arm, the trunk, and the head of the body, all separately.
The members rolled together, united themselves in the presence of the astonished soldiers,
 and formed a gigantic warrior, who defied them both to combat. Their blows, although they
 penetrated the body, and amputated the limbs, of their strange antagonist, had, as the reader may
 easily believe, little effect on an enemy who possessed such powers of self-union; nor did his efforts
 make more effectual impression upon them. How the combat terminated I do not exactly remember,
 and have not the book by me; but I think the spirit made to the intruders on his mansion the usual
 proposal, that they should renounce their redemption; which being declined, he was obliged to retreat.

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