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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Spenser (search)
haggis, or the German in his sauer-kraut. The uninitiated foreigner puts his handkerchief to his nose, wonders, and gets out of the way as soon as he civilly can. Barbour's Brus, if not precisely a poem, has passages whose simple tenderness raises them to that level. That on Freedom is familiar. Though always misapplied in quois mind. He meant merely freedom from prison. But its highest merit is the natural and unstrained tone of manly courage in it, the easy and familiar way in which Barbour always takes chivalrous conduct as a matter of course, as if heroism were the least you could ask of any man. I modernize a few verses to show what I mean. When the King of England turns to fly from the battle of Bannockburn (and Barbour with his usual generosity tells us he has heard that Sir Aymer de Valence led him away by the bridle-rein against his will), Sir Giles d'argente Saw the king thus and his menie Shape them to flee so speedily, He came right to the king in hy [hastily] A