By Terence Allan Hoagwood (auth.)
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24 In this way, the sheer textuality of the project is emphasized even while claims for primitive authenticity adorn the (sometimes forged) verses. Scott surrounds them with modern introductions, footnotes, and scholarly disputation. The charming illusion that the primitive past is present behind that museum glass depends upon the modern construction of the cabinet, and the reality of artifice cultivates the faux primitivism. Like the social and economic class distinctions that Harker emphasizes, this learnedness of the Minstrelsy calls upon the appeals of a modern, sophisticated, antiquarian pose; it is a discourse of the parlor feigning a discourse of the rugged mountains.
18 It was in connection with this project of the Light Dragoons that Scott met Henry Dundas (later Lord Melville), “the principal dispenser of Scottish patronage,”19 and the Duke of Buccleuch, both of whom arranged Scott’s appointment as Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire, a position with few duties and a salary of ₤250. What J. G. ”20 In 1794, Percy’s use of that phrase echoed Burke’s phrase, “chivalrous spirit,” from Reflections on the Revolution in France (116). The rhetoric of chivalry is a recurrent theme in Burke’s book: “the age of chivalry is gone .
25 With his annotations to the text of the poetry, too, Scott increases the artificial effect of the learned rhetoric, even while ostensibly authenticating the poetry’s ancient origin. ’ ”26 The irony of treating a psalm and a dram as alternative readings is obvious: the meaning of the speaker, the stanza, or the poem is not fixed; emphasizing the variety of contradictory readings, Scott calls attention to the textuality of the poem and to his own activity as its editor. In addition to Scott’s nine-page introduction to the five-page poem, and in addition to the footnote that I have just quoted, Scott adds three explanatory endnotes to the poem, the third of them reporting a “tradition” or legend about the poem’s subject-matter, “transmitted to me by Mr.