« 上一頁繼續 »
which he discharged six arrows at the Christian with such unerring skill, that the goodness of his harness alone saved him from being wounded in as many places. The seventh shaft apparently found a less perfect part of the armor, and the Christian dropped heavily from his horse. But what was the surprise of the Saracen, when, dismounting to examine the condition of his prostrate enemy, he found himself suddenly within the grasp of the European, who had had recourse to this artifice to bring his enemy within his reach! Even in this deadly grapple, the Saracen was saved by his agility and presence of mind. He unloosed the sword-belt, in which the Knight of the Leopard had fixed his hold, and thus eluding his fatal grasp, mounted his horse, which seemed to watch his motions with the intelligence of a human being, and again rode off. But in the last encounter the Saracen had lost his sword and his quiver of arrows, both of which were attached to the girdle which he was obliged to abandon. He had also lost his turban in the struggle. These disadvantages seemed to incline the Moslem to a truce. He approached the Christian with his right hand extended, but no longer in a menacing attitude.
"There is truce betwixt our nations," he said, in the Lingua Franca 19 commonly used for the purpose of communication with the Crusaders; wherefore should there be war betwixt thee and me? — Let there be peace betwixt us."
"I am well contented," answered he of the Couchant Leopard; "but what security dost thou offer that thou wilt observe the truce?"
"The word of a follower of the Prophet was never broken," answered the Emir. "It is thou, brave Nazarene, from whom I should demand security, did I not know that treason seldom dwells with courage." The Crusader felt that the confidence of the Moslem made him ashamed of his own doubts.
"By the cross of my sword," he said, laying his hand on the weapon as he spoke, "I will be true companion to thee, Saracen, while our fortune wills that we remain in company together."
"By Mohammed, Prophet of God, and by Allah, God of the Prophet," replied his late foeman, "there is not treachery in my heart toward thee. And now wend we to yonder fountain, for the hour of rest is at hand, and the stream had hardly touched my lip when I was called to battle by thy approach."
The Knight of the Couchant Leopard yielded a ready and courteous assent; and the late foes, without an angry look, or gesture of doubt, rode side by side to the little cluster of palm-trees.
NOTES TO THE TALISMAN.
THE extract given is the first chapter of "The Talisman." It well illustrates Scott's largeness of style, and his powers of graphic description.
The events narrated in "The Talisman" are supposed to have occurred during the Third Crusade. This was undertaken by Frederick Barbarossa, Emperor of Germany, with the support of Phillip II. of France, and Richard I., surnamed Cœur de Lion, of England. It accomplished nothing farther than the establishment of a truce with Saladin, during which the privilege of visiting the holy places of Palestine was accorded to Christians.
"The Talisman was Scott's first attempt to treat an Eastern theme. In this field he had been preceded by other distinguished English writers. Southey in his "Thalaba," Moore in his "Lalla Rookh," and Byron in several of his romantic tales, had treated Oriental scenes and characters with eminent success. Scott felt a hesitancy, as he tells us, about entering into rivalry with his illustrious contemporaries, especially as he had never had an opportunity to observe the landscape and people that he undertook to describe. The result, however, showed his fears to be groundless, and served only to increase his overshadowing reputation.
1. Knight of the Red-cross
Sir Kenneth of Scotland.
2. A name derived from the ancient classical writers. In Lat. Lacus Asphaltites.
3. Accursed cities
4. This name is taken from Gen. xiv. 10.
10. Head-piece II. Pennoncelle Called also pencel.
5. See Deut. xxix. 23.
6. These features are exaggerated.
Sodom and Gomorrah. See Gen. xix. 24, 25.
Birds abound; and no noisome
smell nor noxious vapor arises from the lake.
7. Naptha contains no sulphur; hence the adjective must be taken as referring only to color.
8. Barred helmet. - See Webster.
9. Hauberk = a shirt of mail formed of small steel rings interwoven. The "coat of linked mail" referred to above. See Webster.
a small flag or streamer borne at the top of a lance.
the long and flowing drapery of knights, anterior to the introduction of plate armor.
13. Arms 14. Crest helmet.
armorial device or coat of arms.
the plume of feathers, or other decoration, worn on a
From Gr. pan, all, and hoplon, im
15. Panoply complete armor.
plement of war, harness.
16. Caftan: = a Persian or Turkish vest or garment.
17. Saracen cavalier = Sheerkohf, the Lion of the Mountain, from Kurdistan.
18. Emir an Arabian prince. As he informed Sir Kenneth afterwards, ten thousand men were ready to take the field at his word. 19. Lingua Franca = a kind of corrupt Italian, with a considerable admixture of French words.