Explanatory Notes


The primary purpose of these Explanatory Notes is twofold: to explain or identify words and phrases that might be obscure to modern readers of Quebec Hill and its Preface; and to call attention to words, phrases and passages that allude to or, as the case may be, derive from the words of other writers.  In this latter category, the notes are intended complement the Introduction, where emphasis is placed less on local verbal and phrasal echoes than on the large patterns and assumptions that link Quebec Hill both with the writers and ideas of Mackay's own time and with later developments in the Canadian literary continuity.  Quotations from Pope, Thomson and Goldsmith—the poets most frequently echoed in the diction, tone and poetic texture of Quebec Hill—are from the Twickenham edition of Alexander Pope, Pastoral Poetry and an Essay on Criticism, edited by E. Audra and Aubrey Williams (London: Methuen; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), James Sambrook's edition of James Thomson, The Seasons (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961) and Arthur Friedman's edition of The Collected Works of Oliver Goldsmith, IV (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966).  Quotations from Carver and Kalm—the explorers and travellers upon whom Mackay makes the heaviest levies—are from the following editions: Jonathon Carver's Travels through the Interior Parts of North America in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768, 3rd ed. (1781; rpt. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Ross and Haines, 1956) and Peter Kalm, Travels into North America; Containing its Natural History, and a Circumstantial Account of its Plantations and Agriculture in General, with the Civil, Ecclesiastical and Commercial State of the Country, the Manners of the Inhabitants, and Several Curious and Important Remarks on Various Subjects, trans. John Reinhold Foster, 2nd. ed. (London: T. Lowndes, 1772) and "A Letter . . . containing a particular Account of the GREAT FALL of Niagara" in John Bartram, Observations on the Inhabitants, Climate, Soil, Rivers, Productions, Animals, and other matters worthy of Notice (London: J. Whiston and B. White, 1751), pp. 79-94.  P. Campbell, Travels in the Interior Inhabited Parts of North America in the Years 1791 and 1792, ed. H.H. Langton, and with Notes by H.H. Langton and W.F. Ganong (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1937) and Thomas Cary, Abram's Plains: A Poem, ed. D.M.R. Bentley (London: Canadian Poetry Press, 1986) are the editions of Campbell, originally published in 1793, and Cary, originally published in 1789, from which quotations have been made in the Explanatory Notes.  The edition of Thomas James that has been used is The Dangerous Voyage of Capt. Thomas James, in his intended Discovery of  North West Passage into the South Sea, 2nd. ed. (1633; rpt. London: O. Payne, 1740) as reprinted in 1973 in Coles Canadiana Collection.  Other quotations in the notes are from standard or definitive editions of their author's works.

In compiling these notes, extensive use has been made of the Oxford English Dictionary and of Sir Paul Harvey's Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1937), as well as of numerous, specialized works, on eighteenth-century poetry and early Canadian history, including John Arthos, The Language of Natural Description in Eighteenth-Century Poetry (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; London: Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford University Press, 1949) and Robert Leslie Jones, "Agriculture in Lower Canada, 1792-1815," Canadian Historical Review, 27 (1946), 33-52.  Also useful and informative have been American Husbandry, ed. Harry J. Carman, Columbia University Studies in the History of American Agriculture, No. 6 (New York, Morningside Heights: Columbia University Press, 1939) and the first volume of the Historical Atlas of Canada: From the Beginnings to 1800, ed. R. Cole Harris (1987).


Quebec Hill; or, Canadian Scenery.  A Poem in Two Parts  The title refers of course to the hill upon which Quebec, the principal town and port of Lower Canada in Mackay's day, is built.  Peter Kalm, Travels, II, 257 gives the following description of eighteenth-century Quebec and its "Hill": "Quebec . . . lies on the western shore of the river St. Lawrence, close to the water's edge, on a neck of land, bounded by that river on the east side, and by the river St. Charles on the north side; the mountain, on which the town is built, rises still higher on the fourth side, and behind it begin great pastures; and the same mountain likewise extends a good way westward."  Kalm also observes (II, 258) that "The mountain, on which the upper city is situated, reaches above the houses of the lower city . . ." and that ". . . the view [from the mountain] of the lower city . . . is enough to cause a swimming in the head."  Mackay's tripartite title resembles that of a topographical poem published in 1767 by Richard Jago: Edge-Hill; or, The Rural Prospect Delineated and Moralized: a Poem, in Four Books.  Similar titles were not uncommon in the eighteenth century, however, since writers frequently used extended titles to give information about the content and form of their works.  See the Introduction, pp. xvii-xviii, for a discussion of the relation between Quebec Hill and previous hill-poems.


__EGO LAUDO . . . HOR.  The epigraph is taken from Epistle, I, x, 6-7 by the Roman poet and essayist Horace (65-8 B.C.).  It is translated by H. Rushton Fairclough as follows in the Loeb Classical Library edition of Horace's Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica: ". . . I praise the lovely country's brooks, its grove and moss-grown rocks."  Addressed to Aristius Fuscus, a literary friend who remains in the town while the poet goes to the country, Epistle, I, x is, in Fairclough's words, ". . . a rhapsody upon the simplicity and charm of country life . . . [with which] Horace is perfect content, save for the fact that his friend is elsewhere" (p. 313).  The phrase elided by Mackay at the beginning of his epigraph is "Tu nidum servas" ("You keep the nest").  For a discussion of the epigraph, see the Introduction, pp. xxx-xxxi.


notice   Note; attention

competent   Properly qualified.

Canada   In Mackay's day, Canada referred to Lower and Upper Canada (roughly present-day Quebec and Ontario), as distinct from the Maritime regions.


prosecution   Writing, execution.


perspicuity   Clearness of statement; freedom from obscurity or ambiguity; clarity; lucidity.


studies   Concerns; aims.


solicitude   Unease; disquiet; anxiety.  Robert Arnold Aubin, Topographical Poetry in XVIII-Century England (1936; rpt. 1966) notes that the ". . .use of explanatory notes [in the anonymous Margate Guide (1797)], frequently resorted to from the 1790's on, aroused a mild controversy" in such British periodicals as The Critical Review and The Monthly Review.  See the Introduction, pp. xxxvi-xxxvii for a discussion of the reviews of Quebec Hill.


sensible   Aware.


poetical . . . veracity   Mackay's alignment of his poem with truth and accuracy (as opposed to the merely "poetical": extravagant; polished) in this paragraph reflects the bias among "descriptive" poets of his day (see Introduction, pp. xiii and xxix), and it is also a common feature of travel and exploration literature.  In the "Introduction" to his Travels, xvi, for example, Jonathon Carver asks his "Readers" to bear in mind "in the perusal" of his work that he has been ". . .more employed on giving a just description of [the] country . . ." than on his ". . .stile or composition; and more careful to render his language intelligible and explicit, than smooth and florid."  Similarly, Kalm, Letter, p. 94 assures his correspondent (Benjamin Franklin) of the exactness and "truth" of a "Description" of Niagara Falls that includes no "extravagant wonders".  The writer who reviewed Quebec Hill in The Analytical Review, 25 (January-June, 1797), 279-281 comments as follows on Mackay's preference for "veracity" over the "poetical": "The author . . . tells us in his preface, with very commendable modesty, that he is sensible he might have rendered his poem more poetical, if less attention had been paid to unadorned description, and that the subject which he has chosen cannot be rendered poetical, without the assistance of extraneous imagery and embellishment, he has made a very injudicious selection.  But this is not the case, for, by his own account, the country in Canada is remarkable for its rich and romantic scenery."


head   Point, topic.


romantic   In 1797, the word "romantic" was in the process of becoming increasingly complex in its meaning(s).  Here, and in the overall context of Quebec Hill, it appears to be nearly synonymous with wild—that is, relatively uncultivated and uninhabited and, hence, emotionally appealing and poetically inspiration according to current theories of the sublime and the picturesque (see the notes to Preface, above I, 9, 11-22, 20, 21, 96, 171-176 and so on, below).  See also Thomson, Preface (Appendix B in Sambrook's edition of The Seasons, as, for example, in "Summer," 459 ("romantic Mountain") and "Autumn," 880 ("Sees CALEDONIA, in romantic View. . .").

I, 1

Doric reed   Rustic or pastoral pipe: a musical instrument made from a hollow reed of grass.  See Thomson, "Autumn", 3 (". . . the Doric Reed . . .") and 890 (". . . my Doric Reed . . ."), and Sambrook's commentary on "Autumn," 3: "The Doric dialect of ancient Greece was used by Theocritus in some of his idylls, and thereafter 'Doric' was often a synonym for the language of pastoral poetry or of country people."

I, 1

laurels   A crown of laurel is traditionally bestowed on poets as a sign of distinction.

I, 2

fam'd Quebec   The principal source of Quebec's fame in Mackay's day was its capture by the forces of General James Wolfe after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 (see the note to I, 177-180, below).

I, 2

aspiring heights   Rising, soaring.  See Sir John Denham, Cooper's Hill, 18: ". . . Aspiring mountain . . . ."

I, 3

native   Not artificial or adorned: left or remaining in a plain and natural state.

I, 3

scatter'd   Spread over a wide area.

I, 5

Here, woods and waters, wilds and vales conspire   See Pope, Windsor-Forest, 11-12: "Here Hills and Vales, the Woodland and the Plain, / Here Earth and Water seem to strive again . . ." and Thomson, "Spring," 460-461: ". . . by the vocal Woods and Waters lull'd / And lost in lonely Musing . . . ."  Vales: chiefly a poeticism in Mackay's day (though less so in North America): fairly extensive tracts of low land between ridges of hills; valleys.

I, 6

swell the cadence   Increase the volume or rhythmical effect.

I, 6

rustic lyre   Like the "Doric reed" of I, 1 (see the note, above), the "rustic lyre" is a symbol of pastoral poetry.  The Greeks used a lyre (a stringed instrument resembling a harp) to accompany songs and recitations—that is, lyric poems.

I, 7

lawns   Open spaces of glass-covered land; glades.

I, 7

Virgil   Two works by the Roman poet Virgil (70-19 B.C.) are especially pertinent to Quebec Hill: the Georgicsagricultural poems that praise the farming life while also containing a didactic component—and the Eclogues—pastoral poems in the manner of Theocritus that celebrate the virtues of rustic life.  Both of these collections lie centrally in the background of Thomson, Pope, and the other poets upon whom Mackay's poem makes levies.  Thomson refers to Virgil several times in the course of The Seasons (as, for example, in "Spring," 55).  See also the Introduction, pp. xxx-xxxi.

I, 7

silvan shade   A phrase derived ultimately from Virgil, Aeneid, I, 164 "silvis scena coruscis"), but probably adapted by Mackay from a more proximate source such as Pope's Messiah, 3 ("Sylvan Shades").  See also Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 140 ("Silvan Scene") and Pope, Windsor-Forest, 285 ("flow'ry Sylvan Scenes").

I, 8

choicest colours   Favourite or best light.

I, 9

confess   Acknowledge.

I, 9

sublime   Awe-inspiring.  Mountains, high hills and other elevated objects were a principal source of sublime feelings (astonishment, awe, veneration, pleasant horror) in Mackay's day.  For a discussion of the sublime in Quebec Hill, see the Introduction, pp. xviii-xxii.

I, 10

numbers   Lines, verses.

I, 10

emulate   Imitate; equal.  See Thomson, "Spring," 466-479 on the question of ". . . who can paint / Like Nature?"

I, 10

clime   Poeticism: region, with a residual (and in Quebec Hill quite pertinent) sense of the word's original meaning of climate.

I, 11-22

The sense of "Order in Variety" (Pope, Windsor-Forest, 5, and see also the note to I, 21, below) in this passage indicates its general debt to the picturesque aesthetic of the eighteenth century and, very likely, its particular debt to Windsor-Forest, especially ll. 11-28 of Pope's poem.  For a discussion of Mackay's use of the picturesque, see the Introduction, pp. xxii-xxiv.  See also Thomson, "Autumn," 950-962 for a description of a "Prospect" seen from a "Height" that draws upon the picturesque aesthetic and conventions.

I, 12

floods   Rivers.

I, 12

groves   Small groups or avenues of trees.

I, 12

varied hue   See Thomson, "Summer," 247 ("vary'd Hues") and John Dyar, "Grongar Hill," 9 ("various hues").

I, 13

hamlets   Small villages; clusters of houses in the country.

I, 13

swell   Rise; stand out.

I, 14

dale   Valley.

I, 15

bow'rs   Arbours; shady recesses made of trees and branches.

I, 15

unknown to classic lay   See Thomson, "Summer," 653 ("Here lofty Trees, to ancient Song unknown . . .") and "A Hymn" (". . . distant barbarous Climes, / Rivers unknown to Song . . .").  A "lay" here means poem or, more generally, poetry.

I, 16

culture's charms   The attractions of cultivation and, by extension, the amenities of civilization.

I, 16

sweets   Attractions, beauties.

I, 17

bounded   Limited; circumscribed by the horizon.

I, 19

verdure   Green vegetation.

I, 20

simple grandeur   Plain, unadorned splendour or magnificence, with a suggestion of the sublime (see the note to I, 9, above).

I, 21

Admiration   Agreeable surprise; wonder mingled with veneration or reverence.  Mackay's use of such words and phrases as "varied verdure," "grandeur," "Admiration" and "the pleasing whole," in this section of Quebec Hill echoes back in the eighteenth century to Joseph Addison, who writes in the second paragraph of his famous essay on the "Pleasures of the Imagination" in The Spectator, No. 412 (June 23, 1712) of the "pleasing Astonishment," "delightful Stillness and Amazement in the Soul" that can arise from the contemplation of "a whole view" containing a "Variety of Objects" and "Grandeur".  See also the note to I, 9, above.

I, 22n.

For "The country . . . romantic scenery . . .", see the note to Preface, 21, above.  Only if Canada (Lower and Upper) is conceived as a whole can Mackay's statement that ". . . the soil is, in general, poor, and unproductive of corn . . ." be considered accurate.  Cf. American Husbandry, pp. 16-17: "The soil in Canada is of two sorts, the stoney, and the pure loam . . .; both are in the world . . . their husbandry is very bad . . . this . . . arise from nothing but the plenty of land. . . ."  As a matter of historical fact, Lower Canada, where wheat—the basis of the French-Canadian diet—had been the main agricultural product since the seventeenth century, became between 1760 and 1807 an exporter of increasing quantities of "wheat and flour."  As Robert Leslie Jones writes in "Agriculture in Lower Canada, 1792-1815", Canadian Historical Review, 27 (1946), p. 39: "From 1792 to 1807 the outstanding consequence in Lower Canada of the European wars was the expansion of the grain trade.  There was a large demand for wheat in Great Britain in 1793, 1794, and 1795. . . .  As a result, more flour and wheat were exported from the St. Lawrence during those years than ever before. . . .  Slacker British demand and rather poor harvests were reflected in a reduction of exports from 1797 to 1799.  Then, for three years, there was a rapid increase. . . ."  In this note, as elsewhere in the poem (I, 243 and 276), Mackay uses the word "corn" to refer to the various types of grain—wheat, oats, peas, barley, and Indian corn—that were grown in Lower Canada in the latter half of the eighteenth century.  Kalm's Travels (upon which American Husbandry draws heavily) makes numerous references to the soil and crops of Canada.

I, 23

Columbian climes   Poeticism: America, particularly the United States (from the fact that Christopher Columbus was held to be the discoverer of America; see the notes to I, 37-40, below).

I, 24

mazy shade   The adjective "mazy" (having the character of a maze: a winding and confusing net-work of paths or passages) has sinister, Miltonic resonances (see Paradise Lost, IV, 239 and IX, 161), but it is also used several times by Thomson in The Seasons (see "Spring," 577 and 797, and "Summer," 373).

I, 25-26

See Introduction, p. xii for some speculations about Mackay's youth and the identity of the "traveller".

I, 30

ideal   Imaginary, as opposed to real or actual.

I, 31

Disclos'd   Revealed; exposed to view.

I, 32

Xerxes   The King of Persia from 486 to 465 B.C., Xerxes the Great (d. 465 B.C.), the Ahasuerus of the Bible and a formidable military leader, invaded Greece in 484-480 B.C., defeating the Spartans at Thermopylae and occupying Athens.  In 480 his fleet was destroyed by the Greeks at Salamis, and a year later his army, under general Mardonius, was defeated at Plataea.  A further Greek naval victory at Mycale ended the threat of a further invasion by the Persians.

I, 33

From the end of the fifth century B.C. to the second century A.D., and especially in the Republican and Imperial periods from c. 270 B.C. to 65 A.D., the "Roman state" grew first stronger and then weaker in military power.

I, 36

swell'd   Filled.

I, 37-40

See Kalm, Travels, II, [2]76-277: "The Europeans have never been able to find any characters, much less writings, or books, among the Indians, who have inhabited North-America since time immemorial. . . .  These Indians have therefore lived in the greatest ignorance and darkness, during some centuries, and are totally unacquainted with the state of their country before the arrival of the Europeans, and all their knowledge of it consists in vague traditions, and mere fables.  It is not certain whether any other nations possessed America, before the present Indian inhabitants came into it, or whether any other nations visited this part of the globe before Columbus discovered it. . . .  The history of the country can be traced no further, than from the arrival of the Europeans; for everything that happened before that period, is more like a fiction or a dream, than anything that really happened."

I, 37

Involv'd   Enwrapped; hidden.

I, 40

and n. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) "discovered America" in 1492, landing first, on October 12 of that year, on an island in the Bahama group and then, on December 5, on Hispaniola.  (This information is not uncontroversial, and in recent years has been the subject of heated debate among geographers and historians.)  On a second voyage in 1493, his landfall was made in the Lesser Antilles and his discoveries included various other islands.  On a third voyage in 1498 he realized that his expeditions had brought him to the North American continent rather than to Asia (Mackay's "E[ast] Indies"), a fact that did not deter him from organizing a final search for a "western way" to Asia in 1502.

I, 41-45

See Kalm, Travels, II, [2]76-277: "The Indians have ever been as ignorant of architecture and manual labour as of science and writing.  In vain does one seek for built towns and houses, artificial fortifications, high towers and pillars, and such like, among them, which the old world can shew, from the most antient times. . . .  Travellers do not enjoy a tenth part of the pleasure in traversing these countries, which they must receive on their journies through our old countries, where they, almost every day, meet with some vestige or other of antiquity: now an antient celebrated town presents itself to view; here the remains of an old castle. . . ."

I, 41

Antiquarian   Antiquary: someone devoted to the study of ancient times through their relics; an archeologist.  See The Gentleman's Magazine (1793), 743 for a review castigating an author for using "Antiquarian" rather than the more 'correct' "Antiquary".

I, 42

Severus   Severus or Septimus Severus (146-211 A.D.) was Emperor of Rome from 193 to 211 A.D., during which time he gave expression to his interest in architecture by adorning his capital city with new buildings, such as the Arch of Septimus Severus in the Old Forum.  While in Britain between 208 and his death in 211 A.D., Severus saw to the repair of Hadrian's Wall.  The section on "Rome" in Addison's Remarks on Italy mentions various edifices built in the reign of Severus.

I, 43

declension   Deterioration, decay.

I, 46-47

See the notes to I, 9, 20 and 21, above.

I, 49-52

Both the Po and the Tyber (Tiber) rivers are in Italy and both have been "celebrate[d] by various poets—the former under the name of Eridanus by Virgil in the Georgics, I, 482 and IV, 372, for example, and the latter (which, of course, flows through Rome) by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, II, 259.  Pope mentions both rivers in Windsor-Forest ("Nor Po so swells the fabling Poet's Lays . . . [227]; "Tho' Tyber's Streams immortal Rome behold . . ." [337]); Denham praises the Eridanus in Cooper's Hill, 193-194; Dyer refers to the Tiber at several points in the companion piece to Grongar Hill: The Ruins of Rome; and Goldsmith mentions the Po at the beginning of The Traveller.  In addition to these poets, Mackay's "Ye" may well encompass the Addison of A Letter from Italy who expiates on the "Poetick fields" (11) and mountains "Renown'd in verse" (15) of Virgil's native land and mentions "Eridanus . . . / . . . king of floods" (26) and the "fam'd," "gentle Tiber" (37-38) as "streams immortaliz'd in song" (32).  "[O]n classic ground," Addison remarks, "ev'ry stream in heavenly numbers flows" (12, 16).

I, 53

lakes . . . like to seas   See Carver, Travels, p. 132: "It [Lake Superior] might justly be termed the Caspian of America. . . ."  Drawing on Carver, Cary in Abram's Plains, 19 describes the Great Lakes as "fresh seas".  See also Kalm, A Letter, p. 83: "Lake Superior, Lake Mischigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie . . . are rather small seas than lakes. . . ."

I, 53n.

See Carver, Travels, p. 132: "Its [Lake Superior's] circumference, according to the French charts, is about fifteen hundred miles; but I believe, that if it was coasted round, and the utmost extent of every bay taken, it would exceed sixteen hundred."  Of Lake Ontario Carver writes: "The form of it is nearly oval, . . . and in circumference about six hundred miles."  As Mackay's figures indicate, a league is approximately three miles.

I, 54

floods, unknown   See Carver, Travels America, p. 138: "Lake Superior has nearly forty rivers that fall into it, some of which are of a considerable size."

I, 55

Adorn'd by isles   See Carver, Travels, p. 134 (the "many islands" in Lake Superior) and p. 143: ". . .the entrance into Lake Superior, from these straights (the Straights of St. Marie, near present-day Sault Ste. Marie), affords one of the most pleasing prospects in the world. . . .  [M]any beautiful little islands . . . extend a considerable way before you. . . ."  Carver also mentions Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron (p. 146).

I, 56

lofty groves of various dyes   See Dyer, Grongar Hill, 57-59: ". . .trees unnumbered rise, / Beautiful in various dyes: / The gloomy pine. . . ."  Carver also uses the phrase "various dyes" (dyes: colours, hues) in Travels, p. 168, but in reference to his infamous "hissing snake" of Lake Erie.

I, 57-58

See Kalm, Travels, II, 391-399 for a detailed description (though at the time of the French Régime) of the process of bartering summarized in these two lines.  Kalm enumerates in detail the "furs" and "wares" exchanged by the Indians and the traders, observing that ". . .men, every year undertake long and troublesome voyages for [this] purpose, carrying with them such goods as they know the Indians like, and are in want of."  The exchange of raw materials from the colony for manufactured goods from the mother country is a principal characteristic of the mercantilist system that governed the relationship between Canada and Britain in Mackay's day (see "Introduction," Cary, Abram's Plains, pp. xix-xx and xxiv-xxv).

I, 58

downy   Feathery soft.

I, 59-60

and n.  See Carver, Travels, p. 141 "[Lake Superior] is as much affected by storms as the Atlantic Ocean; the waves run as high, and are equally as dangerous to ships."  A ship called the Mohawk, built in 1759 and mounting eighteen guns, was lost on the Great Lakes in 1764 (see K.R. Macpherson, "List of Vessels Employed on British Naval Service on the Great Lakes, 1755-1875," Ontario History, 55 [1963], pp. 173-179).

I, 61-64

As the notes to I, 65-80, below indicate, Carver's many descriptions of the predatory and poisonous inhabitants of the North American forests are pertinent here.  But see also Kalm, Travels, II, 204, describing a botanizing excursion on the shores of Lake Champlain: ". . . we passed over mountains and sharp stones; through thick forests and deep marshes, all of which were known to be inhabited by numberless rattle-snakes. . . ."

I, 65

See Carver, Travels, p. 444 on "The wolves of North America . . ." and Thomson, "Spring," 342-343 on "The Wolf, who . . . / Fierce-drags the bleating Prey. . . ."

I, 66-68

See Carver, Travels, pp. 479-485 on the Rattle Snake, especially pp. 480-481 for the comment that the "rattling [of the snake's] tail" seems to have been provided by "heaven . . .as a means to counteract the mischief this venomous reptile would otherwise be the perpetrator of" since by its "timely intimation . . . the unwary traveller is apprized of his danger, and has an opportunity of avoiding it."  Carver describes in detail the nature and effects of a rattle-snake bite.  See also Kalm, Travels, II, 218 for the observation that "The Rattle Snake, according to the unanimous accounts of the French, is never seen . . .near Montreal and Quebec. . . ." and Goldsmith, The Deserted Village, 354 for the ". . . rattling terrors of the vengeful snake" which, among other dangers, confront emigrants to North America.

I, 68

baleful   Deadly or, at least, injurious.

I, 70

gay   Attractive; charming.

I, 71-72

See Carver, Travels, p. 442 on "The Tyger of North America"—that is, the Cougar—which "resembles in shape those of Africa and Asia, but is considerably smaller.  Nor does it appear to be so fierce and ravenous as they are.  The colour of it is a darkish yellow, and it is entirely free from spots."  Goldsmith includes a North American tiger waiting for its "hapless prey" in The Deserted Village, 355.  See also Thomson, "Spring," 345 ("the deadly Tyger") and "Summer," 916-917 ("The Tyger darting fierce, / Impetuous on the Prey his glance has doom'd").

I, 73-76

See Carver, Travels, pp. 442-444 on bears and their "dens"—"retreats" in "hollow" or fallen trees in which they hibernate during the winter.  Kalm, Travels, I, 91 recounts the fanciful notion (discredited by his English editor [91n.]) that a bear kills its victim by ". . . biting a hole into the hide, and blow[ing] with all his power into it, till the animal swells excessively and dies. . . ."  By comparison with this, Mackay's description of the bear 'hugging' its "gasping victim" has almost the ring of verisimilitude.

I, 74

amain   With full force or at full speed; violently or quickly.

I, 75

circling   Encircling

I, 76

high-erected crest   A crest is literally an excrescence (such as a comb or tuft of feathers) on an animal's head.  Mackay is referring here to the ability of the bear to raise itself up on its hind legs. 

I, 77

speckled adder   In the section "Of Serpents" in his Travels, pp. 478-488, Carver mentions but does not describe the Adder; he does, however, describe a non-venomous "Speckled Snake" (p. 487).

I, 78

brutal   Inhuman: cruel, fierce, savage.

I, 78

chequer'd   Marked with alternate light and shade; variegated.  See Pope, Windsor-Forest, 17-18: "Here waving Groves a checquer'd Scene display, / And part admit and part exclude the Day . . ." and Thomson, "Autumn," 455-457: ". . .the howling Pack, / Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting Chest, / And mark his beauteous chequer'd Sides with Gore."

I, 81

deep involv'd in woods   See the note to I, 37, above.  See also Milton, Paradise Lost, IX, 75 (". . .Satan involv'd in rising Mist . . .") and a resonantly Miltonic passage in Thomson, "Spring," 129 (". . .all involv'd in Smoke, the latent Foe . . .").

I, 81-86

Both Kalm, Travels, II, 139-140 and II, 187-189 and Carver, Travels, I, 328-342 describe in some detail the supposedly characteristic penchant of the Indians for "revenge".  Carver even goes so far as to assert that a ". . .diabolical lust for revenge . . .is the predominant passion in the breast of every individual of every tribe. . . ."  Carver also writes at length (Travels, pp. 283-293) on the hunting techniques and skills of the Indians, noting that while they are engaged in hunting they ". . . become active, persevering, and indefatigable" (p. 284).

I, 83

inur'd   Accustomed.

I, 84

roe   Deer.  Mackay has affixed the name of a European species of deer to a quite different North American one.  Cf. the note to I, 71-72, above.

I, 85

darts   Arrows or, possibly, spears.  See Carver, Travels, p. 295: "Some [Indian] nations make use of a javelin pointed with a bone worked into different forms; but their Indian weapons in general are bows and arrows. . . ."

I, 86

pointed   Sharp, piercing; and also directed, aimed.

I, 85n.

See Carver, Travels, 283 and 294: "A dextrous and resolute hunter is held . . . in . . . great admiration . . ."; and "Such [Indians] as have an intercourse with the Europeans make use of tomahawks, knives, and fire-arms; but those whose dwellings are situated to the westward of the Mississippi, and who have not an opportunity of purchasing these kinds of weapons, use bows and arrows. . . ."  Promiscuously: indiscriminately.

I, 87(and n.)-89

See Kalm, Travels, I, 181 and 296: "A KIND of cold fever, which the English in this country [the Northeastern portion of what is now the United States] call Fever and Ague, is very common in several parts of the English colonies.  There are, however, other parts, where the people have never felt it.  Several of the most considerable inhabitants of this town [New York] . . . were of the opinion, that this disease [probably malaria] was occasioned by the vapours arising from stagnant fresh water, from marshes, and from rivers. . ."; ". . . most of these places are covered with trees, by which means the wet is shut up still more. . . ."  Kalm later observes that "INTERMITTING fevers of all kinds are very rare in Quebec. . . .  On the contrary, they are very common near Fort St. Frederic, and near Fort Detroit. . . between Lake Erie and Lake Huron . . ." (II, 361-362)—which is to say, in what would become Upper Canada.  See also Thomson, "Summer," 292-294 ("The hoary Fen, / In putrid Streams, emits the living Cloud / Of pestilence") and 1028f. (". . . from swampy Fens, / Where Putrefaction into Life ferments, / And breathes destructive Myriads; or from Woods . . ." and so on).  The idea that "dread diseases rise from fœtid fens" and other damp places was common in Mackay's day and can be traced back to Aristotle and Lucretius.

I, 87

fœtid fens   Stinking marshes.

I, 90

vent'rous   Venturous: adventurous.

I, 93

tribute   Offering or gift, rendered as if through duty.

I, 94

swelling   See the note to I, 13, above.

I, 95

See Kalm, A Letter, pp. 79-80: ". . .Niagara Fall [is] esteemed one of the greatest curiosities in the World. . . ."  By 1797 Niagara Falls had achieved renown through the accounts of several travellers, including Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Isaac Weld and, not least, Peter Kalm.  See Charles Mason Dow, Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls (1921), I, 17-123.

I, 96

dreadful grandeur . . . appalls   See the notes to I, 9 and 20, above, and Kalm, A Letter, p. 84: "When all this water comes to the very Fall, there it throws itself down perpendicular!  It is beyond all belief the surprize when you see this!  I cannot with words express how amazing it is!  You cannot see it without being quite terrified; to behold such a vast quantity of water falling headlong from a surprising height!"  Like Mackay's "dreadful grandeur . . . appalls," this is a fairly typical response to a sublime sight.

I, 96

passengers   Passers-by; travellers.  I, 97-102 Cf. Thomson's description of a waterfall in "Summer," 590-598:

                SMOOTH to the shelving Brink a copious Flood
                Rolls fair, and placid; where collected all,
                In one impetuous Torrent, down the Steep
                It thundering shoots, and shakes the Country round.
                At first, an azure Sheet, it rushes broad;
                Then whitening by Degrees, as prone it falls
                And from the loud-resounding Rocks below
                Dash'd in a Cloud of Foam, it sends aloft
                A hoary Mist, and forms a ceaseless Shower.

See also Kalm, A Letter, p. 85: "When the water is come down to the bottom of the rock of the Fall, it jumps back to a very great heighth in the air. . . ."  Kalm (pp. 85-86) does not find the falls as noisy as he had been led to believe by Father Hennepin's account.

I, 102

swells   Increases in volume or force.

I, 103-104

See Kalm, A Letter, p. 88: ". . . they find also several sorts of dead fish [below Niagara Falls]. . . .  Just below the fall the water is not rapid, but goes all in circles and whirls like a boiling pot; which however doth not hinder the Indians going upon it in small canoes a fishing. . . ."

I, 105

rising mist   See the quotation from Paradise Lost at I, 81, above.

I, 105-106

Cf. the quotation from Thomson's "Summer" at I, 97-102, above and Kalm, A Letter, pp. 86-87: "From the Place where the water falls, there rise abundance of vapours, like the greatest and thickest smoak, sometimes more, sometimes less: these vapours rise high in the air when it is calm. . . .  [Y]out would think all the woods thereabouts were set on fire by the Indians, so great is the apparent smoak."

I, 107-108

See Kalm, A Letter, pp. 91-92: "The east side of the river is nearly perpendicular, the west side more sloping."  The illustration of the Falls that accompanies Kalm's letter in Bartram's Observations shows the "lofty banks" of the river very clearly.

I, 109-116

See Kalm, A Letter, pp. 87-88: ". . . among the abundance of birds found dead below the fall, there are no other sorts than such as live and swim frequently in the water; as swans, geese, ducks, water-hens, teal, and the like.  And very often great flocks of them are seen going to destruction in this manner: they swim in the river above the fall, and so are carried down lower and lower by the water, and as water-fowl commonly take great delight in being carry'd with the stream, so here they indulge themselves in enjoying this pleasure so long, till the swiftness of the water becomes so great, that 'tis no longer possible for them to rise, but they are driven down the precipice, and perish.  They are observ'd when they draw nigh the fall, to endeavour with all their might to take wing and leave the water, but they cannot . . . .  [B]esides the fowl, they find also . . . deer, bears, and other animals are generally found broken to pieces."

I, 110

lave   Bathe, wash.

I, 111

involv'd   See the notes to I, 37 and 81, above.

I, 113

partake   Take part in; share in.

I, 115

augmenting   Increasing.

I, 117-122

Cf. Kalm, A Letter, p. 93: "They have often found below the Fall pieces of human bodies, perhaps of drunken Indians, that have unhappily came down the Fall."  Kalm also recounts (pp. 88-91) a story of two "drunken Indians" who, after great alarm and "with much working", were able to avoid going over the Falls by getting "on shore" at Goat Island, from whence they eventually descended to safety on a makeshift ladder.

I, 120

involv'd   See the notes to I, 37, 81 and 111, above.

I, 121

baleful   See the note to I, 68, above.

I, 122

prove   Learn; find out by experience.

I, 124-127

See Kalm, A Letter, p. 82: ". . .the whole course of the water for two leagues and a half up to the great Fall [is] a series of smaller Falls, one under another. . .  ."  And cf. the continuation of the description of the waterfall quoted above (see the note to I, 97-102) in Thomson, "Summer," 599-606:

                      Nor can the tortur'd Wave here [below the Fall] find Repose:
                      But, raging still amid the shaggy Rocks,
                      Now flashes o'er the scatter'd Fragments, now
                      Aslant the hollow'd Channel rapid darts;
                      And falling fast from gradual Slope to Slope,
                      With wild infracted Course, and lessen'd Roar,
                       It gains a safer Bed, and steals, at last,
                      Along the Mazes of the quiet Vale.


I, 124

glades, unknown to classic song   See the notes to I, 15 and 49-52, above.

I, 125

boils chaotic   See the passage from Kalm, A Letter quoted above at I, 103-104.

I, 126

sounding shock   A sudden and violent blow that produces a loud noise.

I, 128

sportive   Playful.

I, 129

Great are the treasures   Cf. Thomson, "Summer," 643-644: "Great are the Scenes, with dreadful Beauty crown'd / And barbarous Wealth. . . ."

I, 130

tribute   See the note to I, 93, above.

I, 132

prosecutes   Pursues, follows.

I, 136

These brightly gleam, and gold bespangles those   Cf. Pope, Windsor-Forest, 144: "The yellow Carp, in Scales bedrop'd with Gold. . . ." and Cary, Abram's Plains, 258: "Thee silver white, and thou bedropt with gold. . . ."

I, 137

finny race   Thomson, "Spring," 395: ". . .finny race . . ."

I, 139-142

Cf. Addison, Letter from Italy, 27-30: "The king of floods . . . proudly swoln with a whole winter's snows, / Distributes wealth and plenty where he flows."

I, 139

swain   Farm labourer.

I, 140

hind   Farm labourer or, in Scotland and Northern England, a skilled agricultural worker for whom a cottage is supplied.  Cf. II, 245-248.

I, 146

laves   See the note to I, 110, above.

I, 146n.

See Kalm, Travels, II, 230-235 and Campbell, Travels, pp. 118-119 for descriptions of the size and beauty of the "island of Montreal".  Kalm (II, 230) notes that "The river passes between the town and this island, and is very rapid", and later (II, 241) observes that "The ice in the river close to this town [Montreal] is every winter above a French foot thick, and sometimes it is two of such feet . . . ."

I, 147

verdant isle   Cf. Pope, Windsor-Forest, 26-28 for ". . . fruitful Fields . . , / That crown'd with tufted Trees and springing Corn, / Like verdant Isles the sable Waste adorn."  The phrase "verdant Isles" (verdant: green with vegetation) also occurs in Milton, Paradise Lost, VIII, 631.

I, 147-149

See Campbell, Travels, pp. 117-118: "In the island of Montreal . . . are many spacious and fine farms, some of which are possessed by Englishmen, who cultivate and manure their land as is done in that country, and raise crops which astonish the natives, who now begin to follow their example. . . ."  It may not be coincidental that this passage follows shortly after Campbell's account of the Mackay family of Montreal.

I, 147

commerce   Trading.  It may be relevant to note that Campbell, Travels, p. 118 follows the passage just quoted with details of the prices of wheat and poultry in Lower Canada at the time of his visit in 1791.  Kalm, Travels, II, 234-235 speaks of Montreal as the centre of "commerce" that it was and is.

I, 149

culture   See the note to I, 16, above: cultivation, not simply manure, as the quotation at I, 147-149 might suggest.  Kalm, Travels, II, 236 notices the ". . .excellent corn-fields, charming meadows, and delightful woods" in the environs of Montreal.

I, 150

scenes romantic   See the note to Preface, 21, above.

I, 150

circumvent   Encompass, enclose.

I, 151-154

Kalm, Travels, II, 242-253 writes at length about the relatively well populated and cultivated land on either side of the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Quebec, noting that "The farm-houses [Mackay's "burnish'd cot(s)": bright cottages] . . . are generally built all along the rising banks of the river . . . " (II, 242) and that "The shores [Mackay's "border(s)"] of the river are closesly inhabited for about three quarters of an English mile up the country; but beyond that the woods and the wilderness increase . . ." (II, 251-252).

I, 155-156 and n.

While travelling between Montreal and Quebec, Kalm, Travels, II, 242-243 and 251, comments on the presence of many Roman Catholic churches and road-side shrines in the landscape.  Cary, Abram's Plains, 362-396, waits until he is at Quebec itself to reveal the protestant prejudice that he shares with Mackay by fulminating against the error and superstition of Lower Canada's Catholics.  By "scrupulously blind" Mackay means ignorant or unenlightened as a result of a conscientious adherence to the Catholic religion, and it is worth noting that Kalm, Travels, II, 204 comments on the relative punctiliousness of the French Canadians in their religious observances.  The "English bishop" who "of late . . . settled in Quebec" was Jacob Mountain, who in 1793 was appointed the Anglican Lord Bishop of Quebec, a position that he held until his death until 1825.  An item in the Quebec Gazette for June 27, 1793 reads as follows: "It is reported here (upon what authority we are not very certain) that the Revd. Dr. Mountain Chaplain to the Bishop of Lincoln, is appointed Bishop of Quebec, with a salary of £2000 per annum.  W. Stanford Reid, The Church of Scotland in Lower Canada: Its Struggle for Establishment (1936), p. 35 quotes a letter from Mountain to Lord Bathurst stating that in 1805 the Bishop's annual stipend was still £2000.  Reid compares this sum with the £50 that the three ministers of the Church of Scotland in Canada shared between them in 1790 (p. 36).  The "two protestant churches" in Montreal in 1797 were Christ's Church (Church of England) and St. Gabriel Street Presbyterian Church (Church of Scotland); the former was dedicated in 1789 and the latter in 1792.

I, 157

strain   Song; poem.

I, 158

Quebec's firm front   See Kalm, Travels, II, 257: "Quebec, the chief city in Canada, lies on the western shore of the river St. Lawrence, close to the water's edge. . . ."

I, 159

frozen fetters   Cf. Cary, Abram's Plains, 143: ". . . icy chains . . ." and Thomas Stanley, Psalms, CXL VIII, 8: ". . . cold fetters . . ."

I, 160

ardent   Hot; parching.

I, 160n.

Kalm, Travels, II, 136 and 138 comments on the "excessive" heat of the Canadian summer, and writes of his difficulty breathing on an especially hot day.  By "inflammable", Mackay means easily combustible or explosive—that is, ready to burst into the thunder and lightning storms with which the note concludes.  Cf. Carver, Travels, p. 145 for an inconclusive attempt to explain the cause of the "continual thunder" in the Thunder Bay region of Lake Huron.

I, 161-168

Cf. Cary, Abram's Plains, 98f. for Quebec, the centre of French commercial and military activity in North America before the conquest, as, above all, a "strong base" for the British garrison and a "secure" harbour for the British navy.

I, 168

The phrasing and balance of this line give it a markedly Popean quality.

I, 170

finny throng   A Thomsonian periphrasis; cf. the note to I, 137, above.

I, 171-176

The division of this passage into foreground (I, 171-172) middleground (I, 173-174) and background (I, 175-176) is another instance (see the Introduction, p. xxii and the note to I, 11-22, above) of Mackay's organization of the Canadian landscape in accordance with picturesque conventions.  Kalm, Travels, II, 251-252 also divides the landscape into foreground ("the shores of the river . . ."), middleground (". . .beyond that the woods and the wilderness increase . . .") and background ("At a great distance . . . we say a chain of very high mountains, running from north to south" . . . ["on the north-west side of the river"]).

I, 171

heaving   Rising.

I, 175

arbor   Shady retreat; bower.

I, 177-180

Mackay is referring, of course, to the Plains of Abraham, the scene to the south of Quebec of the decisive battle between the British and the French in North America during the Seven Years' War (1759-1763).  Lasting for less than half an hour on September 12, 1759, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham claimed the life of the victorious General Wolfe (1727-1759), who "clos'd his eyes in death!" after being assured of the victory of his forces over those of the French General, Montcalm.  See Cary, Abram's Plains, 279-331 for a more detailed account of the battle that includes reference to ". . . mementos of the soldier's spade . . ."—earthworks related to Mackay's "deep dug trenches".

I, 177

fence   Presumably, the "high wall" (Kalm, Travels, II, 265) that surrounded the town of Quebec.

I, 181-182

From his base on the Île d'Orléans, Wolfe sailed up the St. Lawrence past Quebec on September 5 and 6, using the cover of darkness to avoid fire from the bastions ("turrets") that constituted a formidable part of the town's defenses.  In a note to Kalm, who states that "[I]t seems impossible for an enemy's ships or boats to come to the town without running into imminent danger of being sunk" (II, 265), the English editor of his Travels observes that the "fortifications of Quebec" were of no avail in 1759.

I, 183-184

On September 13, Wolfe led his soldiers up the cliffs between the shore of the St. Lawrence and the Plains of Abraham.

I, 184

Cf. Thomson on the career of Sir Walter Raleigh in "Summer," 1510: " . . . he conquer'd, and  . . . he bled."

I, 185

terrestrial vale   Cf. Shakespeare, Richard II, III, ii, 41: " . . . terrestrial ball".

I, 186

There were two hundred and seventy British killed at the Siege of Quebec, and over twelve hundred wounded.  French casualties are unknown, but have been estimated at over a thousand killed or wounded.

I, 187f. and n.

Cf. Cary (who borrows the phrase "Destructive war!" from Pope's Essay on Criticism, 184), Abram's Plains, 52-53: "Destructive war! at best the good of few, / Its dire effects whilst millions daily rue" and Thomson, "Summer," 1480-1481: " . . .the Splendor of heroic War, / And more heroic Peace. . . ."  Although Mackay's condemnation of "unjust and savage warfare" and of "undeserving and barbarous" heroes does not appear to be directed at any particular war or individual, it should be remembered that in the winter of 1796-1797, when Quebec Hill was printed and published (and probably partly written), Napoleon Bonaparte was engaged in gaining control of Italy from the Austrians and the Sardinians.

I, 188

repose   Rest; particularly, in this context, the final rest of death.

I, 195

laurel   Like poets of distinction (see the note to I, 1, above), victorious military leaders are traditionally honoured with a crown of laurel.

I, 198

sanguine   Bloody.

I, 199

cultur'd field   See the notes to I, 16 and 149, above. 

I, 200

hamlet   See the note to I, 13, above.

I, 201-206

covey   A family of partridges (or sometimes other game birds such as grouse).  Mackay's distaste for hunting recalls both Denham and Thomson; see, for instance, Cooper's Hill, 250-251 (" . . . nor man's eye, nor heavens should invade / His [the stag's] soft repose . . .") and "Autumn" 360f. (" . . . the Sportsman's Joy, / the Gun fast-thundering . . . the circling Covey . . .").  In Windsor-Forest, 93-110, Pope compares partridge-hunting with human warfare, as, implicitly, does Mackay in this portion of Quebec Hill.

I, 207-211

Following the bird-shooting passage in "Autumn" (see previous note), Thomson refers to the "Song" and "Joy" of his "peaceful Muse" (379f.).  Mackay uses the word "matelots" (French: sailors) to describe the source of his "voice of joy and song," but he may well be referring to voyageurs, romantic figures whose boat-songs were celebrated in the early nineteenth century by Thomas Moore and others.  "Our voyageurs had good voices, and sung perfectly in tune together" wrote Moore in a note to "A Canadian Boat-Song.  Written on the St. Lawrence", adding that he ". . . could understand but little [of their song], from the barbarous pronunciation of the Canadian."  The most famous "Canadian Boat-Song" was published in Blackwood's Magazine in September 1829 (see "The 'Canadian Boat-Song': A Mosaic," comp. D.M.R. Bentley, Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, No. 6 [Spring/Summer 1980], pp. 69-79).

I, 208

barks   Rowing boats.  It is possible that Mackay is referring to one of the three types of boats described by Kalm, Travels, II, 192 as being commonly in use on the St. Lawrence: " . . . bark boats, made of the bark of trees, with ribs of wood. . . ."

I, 209

train   A body of persons travelling together.

I, 210

plying   Busily working, perhaps with the nautical sense of working up a river or against the wind.

I, 210

strain   See the note to I, 157, above.

I, 214

font   Fount: spring, rivulet.

I, 216-220

See Kalm, Travels, II, 251 and 242 "All the rivulets joining the St. Lawrence . . . are likewise well inhabited on both sides"; "To some farms are annexed small orchards . . . ; almost every farmer has a kitchen-garden."

I, 218

blanchant   Apparently a portmanteau word based on the English blanched and the French blanchir: whitened, bleached, or white-washed?

I, 218

cot   Cottage.

I, 218

well-fenc'd farm   See the note to I, 245-146, below.

I, 221

the lark . . . to soar   Carver, Travels, p. 466 mentions but does not subsequently describe the North American lark—the "alouette" of the French-Canadian song.  The sky-lark (which Mackay seems to be describing) is not indigenous to Canada, though there are field larks in Ontario and Quebec.  Cf. Thomson, "Spring," 40: ". . . soaring Lark . . . "  See the Introduction, pp. xv-xvii for a discussion of the birds in Quebec Hill.

I, 223

jocund youth and pensive age   The cheerful young person and the thoughtful old one are stock figures reminiscent of Milton's "L'Allegro" (with its "jocund rebecks" [94]) and "Il Penseroso" (with its "pensive Nun" [31]).

I, 225-232 and 229n.

Mackay calls the reader's attention especially to Jeune Lorette, the village in which the Huron Indians who came to Quebec in the last half of the seventeenth century, eventually settled.  Frequently referred to simply as Lorette, Jeune Lorette (now Loretteville) is on the St. Charles River about twelve kilometres to the Northwest of Quebec.  Cf. Cary, Abram's Plains, 412-417.  Kalm, Travels, II, 308 notes of the Hurons at Lorette that "They all plant maize; and some have small fields of wheat and rye.  Many of them keep cows."  He also comments on the "indolence" of the Indians in Canada (II, 392) and on their conversion to Roman Catholicism and attendance of Catholic church services (II, 307-309 and 320).  The "colony of a similar nature . . . near Montreal" to which Mackay refers in his note is probably Caughnawaga, where groups of Mohawks and Oneidas settled in 1716.

I, 226

huts   See Kalm, Travels, II, 307-308 for an account of the "huts" (Kalm's word) built after the French style by the Hurons at Lorette.

I, 235-240

Cf. Kalm, Travels, II, 307-308 for an account of the general abstemiousness of the Lorette Hurons in the context of a predilection that Kalm sees among Indians for alcoholic liquor.

I, 238

train   Surroundings; context.

I, 240

frantic   Wild; uncontrollable.

I, 243-244

Cf. Pope, Windsor-Forest, 27: " . . . tufted Trees and springing Corn . . ." and Shakespeare, Richard II, II, iii, 53: " . . . tuft of trees. . . ."  Scenes composed of grasslands ("lawns") varied by clusters ("tufts") of trees, particularly trees bending or inclining downward or forward with a swaying movement ("nodding"), were considered especially picturesque in Mackay's day.

I, 245-246

See Kalm, Travels, II, 242: "All the farms in Canada stand separate from each other, so that each farmer has his possessions entirely distinct from those of his neighbour. . . ."  The original, Swedish version of Kalm's Travels includes an illustration and a detailed discussion of the unusual "pointed fence[s]" of the French-Canadian farms ("pointed" because their posts rose considerably above their rails), but Forster and later English editors and translators omit these portions of the book as being of insufficient interest to a British audience (see II, 304).  Could Mackay have known Kalm's work in the original as well as in translation or, indeed, merely in the original?

I, 247

hind   See the note to I, 140, above.

I, 247

pelf   Wealth, riches: excessive money.

I, 248

competence   The condition of having sufficient, but not excessive, means of living comfortably.

I, 249-264

See the Introduction, pp. xxi and xxxiii-xxxiv and the notes to I, 155-156 and n. and 225-232 and 229n., above for commentary on Mackay's religious views.  In I, 259-264 Mackay advances his guardedly optimistic and certainly hopeful analysis of the displacement of Roman Catholicism in Lower Canada by "true Devotion" (Presbyterianism?).

I, 253

dome   The rounded roof of a large building, particularly a church.

I, 263-264

placid Peace . . . tender Charity   Cf. Thomson, "Summer," 1605-1607: ". . . white Peace, and social Love; / The tender-looking Charity, intent / On gentle Deeds. . . ."

I, 265-286

Mackay's picturesque description (see the Introduction, pp. xxii-xxiii and the notes to I, 11-22 and I, 21, above) of the Île d'Orléans, located in the St. Lawrence about six kilometres downstream from Quebec, is anticipated in Kalm, Travels, II, 332: "The isle [of Orleans] . . . is well cultivated, and nothing but fine houses of stone, large corn-fields, meadows, pastures, woods of diciduous trees, and some churches built of stone, are to be seen on it."  See also Cary, Abram's Plains, 430-433 for the Île d'Orléans as ". . . the garden of the blue-eyed train [presumably the British sailors], / Who wanton sport here e'er they seek the main" and as a fertile landscape of ". . . corn and fruits, . . . herbage, roots, and flow'rs. . . ."  It is tempting to suggest that Cary's "Here . . . / Plenty, from her rich cornucopia, pours. / Be thankful swains . . . Safe is the product of the peasant's toil . . ." (432-434 and 443) finds an echo in Mackay's "Where smiling plenty crowns the peasant's toil" (I, 270), but, of course, "plenty" (the personification of natural abundance) is a stock figure and "peasant's toil" a recurring phrase in eighteenth-century poetry.

I, 272

purling streams   A Popean phrase: see, for example, Essay on Man, I, 204 ("purling rill") and "An Epistle . . . to Dr. Arbuthnot," 150 ("purling Stream").  Purling: Rippling, undulating, murmuring.

I, 273-274

cuckoo . . . nightingales   Carver, Travels, 466 mentions the cuckoo and the nightingale in his list "Of the Birds" of North America, and he later describes the "Whetsaw" as "of the cuckoo kind" (475).  In what is now Quebec there are indeed cuckoos (both black- and yellow-billed), but no nightingales.  Mackay may be applying the latter word to one or other of the varieties of the nocturnal, buff-coloured Goatsucker that are found in Quebec—the Whip-Poor-Will or the Common Nighthawk, for example.  Both of these varieties migrate south in the winter (see II, 11-12), and the former has a distinctive call that could have associated it in the poet's mind with the nightingale.  See Introduction, pp. xv-xvii for a discussion of the presence of the cuckoo and the nightingale in Quebec Hill.

I, 276

noisy mill   Probably a flour mill.

I, 285-286

Carver, Travels, p. 495 mentions the oak, the cedar and the pine (see I, 314) in his list "Of the Trees . . ." of North America.

I, 288

See the quotation from Pope's Windsor-Forest, 17-18 at I, 78, above.

I, 290-291

view'd from far . . . More near, is seen   Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, 305: " . . . But view them closer, craft and fraud appear. . . ."

I, 291

tare   The tare-vetch (or, possibly, the tare-thistle, but see I, 292): a plant that grows as a weed in corn.

I, 293

crabs   Wild or sour apples.  Carver, Travels, 502-503 observes that the North American crab-apple tree ". . . bears a fruit that is much larger and better flavoured than those of Europe."

I, 294

blast   Wither; blight.

I, 296

airy   Immaterial; empty.

I, 297

prospects   Views and expectations.

I, 299

Beaupré   Beauport, one of the oldest settlements in Canada, lies to the Northeast of Quebec on the St. Lawrence.  In Mackay's day, it was a bustling market town and, hence, "profitably gay."

I, 301f.

Montmorency's Falls attract the ear   According to Kalm, Travels, II, 358-360, these famous falls, about nine kilometres to the northeast of Quebec (and considerably higher than Niagara Falls), could ". . . sometimes [be] heard at Quebec. . . .  At other times, . . . a good way lower to the north. . . ."  Mackay treats the falls as a sublime (appalling) sight similar to Niagara Falls; see the notes to I, 9, 20 and, especially, 96, above.

I, 316

bending   Flexible or, in another sense, curving downwards.

I, 317-324

As discussed in the Introduction, pp. xxvii-xxviii, Mackay uses "The row of ten mountains" which, in Kalm's words, lies ". . . on the west side of the river, and runs nearly from south to north, gradually com[ing] nearer to the river . . ." (Travels, II, 312-313), as the occasion for describing an optical curiosity: under certain atmospheric conditions, the mountains seem both larger and more distant than they actually are, thus creating problems of scale and depth-perception which, in effect, violate normal perspectival expectations.  The following explanation of "Perspective" in the 1771 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is germane: "In describing things at a great distance, observe the proportion, both in magnitude and distance . . . which appears from the object to the eye. . . .  [A]ccording as the distance grows greater and greater . . . the colours [will] be feinter and feinter, till they lose themselves in a darkish sky-colour"—a progression violated by Mackay's mountains "richly cloth'd, in the colours of the air".  It is possible that Mackay was moved to his observations by the following passage in James, Dangerous Voyage, pp. 77-78: "From a little Hill . . . in the clearest Weather, when the Sun shone with all the Purity of Air . . . we could not see a little Island, which bore off us S.S.E. 4 Leag. but if the Weather was misty . . . then we should often see it, from the lowest Place. . . .  This shows how great a Refraction here is.

I, 320

meads   Meadows.

I, 325n.

See Introduction, pp. xxix.

I, 327-330

Cf. the famous opening stanza of Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," 2-4: ". . . The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, / The plowman homeward plods his weary way, / And leaves the world to darkness and to me."

I, 331

yellow Indians   The "yellow" of the Indians may refer to their racial origins as well as to their colour.  Both Kalm (Travels, II, 280f.) and Carver (Travels, p. 181f.) support the common view that the Indians of North America came to Canada from Asia at some point or points in the distant past.  Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, 416: " . . . the brown Indian. . . ."

I, 336

pliant   Compliant: accommodating, responsive.

I, 337-340

Cf. Kalm, Travels, 253-254: "They have a very peculiar method of catching fish near the shore here [on the St. Lawrence].  They place hedges along the shore, made of twisted oziers, so close that no fish can get through them, and from one foot to a yard high. . . .  Within this enclosure they place several wheels, or fish-traps, in the form of cylinders, but broad below. . . .  In some places hereabouts they place nets instead of the hedges of twigs."

I, 337

fated   Controlled or guided by fate.

I, 339

respiting   Resting.

I, 339

brood   Young fish or group of fish.

I, 341

feather'd warblers   A tautological periphrasis; cf. Thomson, "Spring," 729 ("feather'd Youth") and "Winter" 793 ("feather'd Game").

I, 342

matted   Tangled and interlaced, with a possible echo of Goldsmith's description of North America's " . . . matted woods where birds forget to sing" in The Deserted Village, 349.

I, 343

ravish   Entrance: fill the listener with delight.

I, 344

radiant Phœbus   The sun, supposed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the cart of Phœbus ('the bright') Apollo, the god of light.

I, 348

gale   In the nautical sense, a strong wind; in the literary sense "a wind not tempestuous, but stronger than a breeze" (Samuel Johnson's Dictionary).

I, 350

kindling   Growing; rising.

I, 352

fraught   Filled; freighted.

I, 353

fiery   Having the appearance of fire or (see the note to I, 160n., above) liable to take fire or explode.

I, 354

sickly dews   Rain that causes sickness or ill-health.  See Gray, "The Progress of Poesy," 49: "Night, and all her sickly dews . . . ."  See also the note to I, 87 (and n.)-89, above.

I, 355

flutt'ring   Intermittently and lightly blowing.

I, 357

solar orb   A periphrasis for the sun.

I, 357

azure   Blue.

I, 358

smiling   Pleasant, agreeable to the sight.

I, 359

sage   A wise, discreet, judicious person.

II, 3

How chang'd the stream   Cf. Thomson, "Summer," 784: "How chang'd the scene!"

II, 4

dreary   Gloomy, uninteresting.

II, 4

waste   A land covered with snow or, more generally, a wild and desolate region.

II, 5

spiral   Tall and tapering or pointed.  Cf. Richard Savage, The Wanderer: A Vision, IV, 15: " . . . spiral Firs. . . ."

II, 5

hardy thorn   The hawthorn, which is hardy in the horticultural sense of being able to grow in the open air throughout the year.  The hawthorn is not, however, an evergreen as implied here.

II, 7-8

Mackay seems to be referring to various shrubs which are neither so well-known nor so high-standing as the trees in the previous lines.

II, 8

bloom   Presumably in the sense, not of flower, but of flourish.  Carver, Travels, p. 509 says of the evergreen shrub "Winter Green" that its " . . . red berries . . . are preserved during the severe season by the snow, and at that time in this highest perfection."

II, 9

feather'd songsters   Another tautological periphrasis; see the note to I, 341, above.

II, 11-12

See the note to I, 273-274 and Thomson, "Autumn," 844-848 for the migration of various species of birds to "warmer Climes" during winter.  Mackay's "line" is, of course, the equator.

II, 13-17

As noted in the Introduction, p.xxxi, the repetition of the phrase "No more" in these, and subsequent lines (II, 29-32), is reminiscent of Goldsmith, The Deserted Village, 243-245.  See also Pope, "Winter," 45-60.

II, 17

culture   Cultivation; see the notes to I, 16 and 149, above.

II, 18

friendly   Helpful; serviceable.

II, 19

Siberia   See Thomson, "Winter," 902f. for a description of the earth's coldest inhabited region.

II, 22

thick'ning floods   See the note to II, 93-102, below.

II, 23

hind   See the note to I, 140, above.

II, 23

cheerless plain   Cf. Thomson, "Winter," 41 ("chearless Empire"), 76 ("unsightly Plain") and 248 ("joyless Fields").  See also Savage, The Wanderer, 47: "chearless Scenes".

II, 24-28

Mackay's personification of "Winter" as a "Stern" ruler, complete with an entourage ("train") and "frigid splendours" recalls Thomson's "Winter," particularly in its opening lines: "See, WINTER comes, to rule the vary'd Year, / Sullen, and sad, with all his rising Train; / Vapours, and Clouds, and Storms."  But see also Savage, The Wanderer, 44f. for a personification of "Frost" with a "Robe snow-wrought, and hoar'd with Age. . . ."

II, 24

rigour   A sudden chill, accompanied with fits of shivering or, in another sense, extreme severity, harshness.

II, 29-32

Cf. Thomson, "Summer," 442-443: "Echo no more returns the chearful Sound / Of Sharpening Scythe. . . ."

II, 30

pond'rous   Heavy.

II, 33

drooping   Lacking in strength, energy, vigour.  Cf. Thomson, "Winter," 63 (" . . . Cattle droop . . . ") and 240-241 ("Drooping, the Labourer-Ox / Stands cover'd o'er with snoe . . . ").

II, 33

artists   Craftsmen.

II, 34

faggots   Bundles of sticks, small branches and the like.

II, 34

vital heat   According to a theory of the mechanics of life that was common from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, the sun (or, to a Christian, ultimately God) was the source of the spirit or warmth essential to all life.  Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, VII, 236 ("vital warmth"), Pope Essay on Man, III, 118 ("vital flame") and Thomson, "Winter," 52-53: " . . . vital Heat, / Light, Life, and Joy, the dubious Day forsake."

II, 35-44 and n.

Cf. Kalm, Travels, II, 269: " . . . [the St. Lawrence at Quebec is] covered with ice during the whole winter, which is strong enough for walking, and a carriage may go over it."  See also the note to I, 146n., above.  Impending: overhanging.  Cf. James Dangerous Voyage, pp. 3-4 and f. for the pieces of ice as high and higher than a ship's mast that found their way into S.T. Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

II, 43

frozen fetters   See the note to I, 159, above.

II, 45

dismantled   Stripped of leaves.

II, 47-54 and 49n.

The following description of noon in Thomson, "Summer," 432-439 lies centrally in the background of these lines:

                  'Tis raging Noon; and, vertical, the Sun
                   Darts on the Head direct his forceful Rays.
                   O'er Heaven and Earth, far as the ranging Eye
                   Can sweep, a dazling Deluge reigns; and all
                   From Pole to Pole is undistinguish'd Blaze.
                   In vain the Sight, dejected to the Ground,
                   Stoops for Relief; thence hot ascending Streams
                   And keen Reflection pain. . . .

II, 51

Sun . . . car   See the note to I, 344, above.

II, 52

purest   Clearest, most transparent.  See the quotation from James, Dangerous Voyage at I, 317-324, above.

II, 57

Terrific grandeur!   In Mackay's day, darkness was considered sublime; see the notes to I, 9, 20 and 96, above.

II, 58

pinions   Wings.

II, 59

amain   See the note to I, 74, above.

II, 63-72

The point of departure for these lines may be Thomson, "Winter," 943-949: "Immers'd in Furs, / Doze the gross Race. . . .  Till morn at length . . . calls the quiver'd Savage to the Chace."  But see also Gray, "The Progress of Poesy", 57: " . . . the shiv'ring Natives dull abode" and Goldsmith, The Traveller, 65: "The shudd'ring tenant in the frigid zone. . . ."

II, 63

shed   See the note to I, 226, above.

II, 63n.

upper country   Pays d'en haut: hinterland.  Carver, Travels, p. 78 describes the "more temperate climate" and "small quantity of snow" in the interior of the continent, noting " . . . a total disuse of snow shoes by the Indians, without which none of the more eastern nations can possibly travel during the winter."

II, 73

greedy wolf   See the note to I, 65, above.

II, 74

roe   See the note to I, 84, above.

II, 75

artful   Cunning.

II, 75

carcajou   French: wolverine.  Carver, Travels, p. 450 provides the following description of the "Carcajou": "This creature, which is of the cat kind, is a terrible enemy of the preceding four species of beasts [the Deer, the Elk, the Moose and the Carrabou].  He either comes upon them from some concealment unperceived, or climbs up into a tree, and taking his station on some of the branches, waits till one of them, driven by an extreme of heat or cold, takes shelter under it; [t]hen he fastens upon his neck, and opening the jugular vein, soon brings his prey to the ground.  This he is able to do by his long tail, with which he encircles the body of his adversary. . . ."

II, 77-78

See the notes to I, 73-76 and 76, above.

II, 77

See the note to I, 71-72, above.

II, 80

Cf. Carver, Travels, p. 444: "When [the wolves] herd together, as they often do in the winter, they make a hideous and terrible noise."

II, 80

ambient   Surrounding.  See Milton, Paradise Lost, VII, 88-90 " . . . this which yields or fills / All space, the ambient Air wide interfus'd / Imbracing round this florid Earth. . . ."

II, 81-90

In this description of the "northern winds" Mackay could be answering a question posed by Carver, Travels, pp. 78-79: " . . . may not the winds that set violently into the Bay of Mexico about the latter end of the year, take their course over the continent in the same direction as the Mississippi does; till meeting with the north winds (that from a similar cause blow up the Boubon from Hudson's Bay) they are forced across the great lakes, down the current of the waters of the St. Lawrence, and united, commit those ravages, and occasion those severe winters, experienced in [New England and Canada]?"  See also the quotation from Kalm's Travels at II, 125-132, below and the passage in Thomson's "Winter" referred to at II, 19, above.

II, 90

Disowns   Refuses, rejects.  The stormy ocean ("agitated main") temporarily resists the supremacy of the ice.

II, 90

Greenland   See James, Dangerous Voyage, p. 7: "The 4th of June we made the Land of Greenland; . . . by two in the Morning, we found ourselves encompassed with Ice . . ." and F. Marten's Voyage into Spitzbergen and Greenland (trans. 1694; rpt. 1855): "The ice begirts these countries on all sides. . . ."  See also Thomson, "Winter," 887f. on Greenland and other arctic regions.

II, 91-102

Cf. Thomson, "Winter," 913-916:

                  Ocean itself can no longer resist
                  The binding Fury; but, in all its Rage
                  Of Tempest taken by the boundless Frost,
                  Is many a Fathom to the Bottom chain'd,
                  And bid to roar no more: a bleak Expanse . . .

In comparison with this, Mackay's description of the process by which the ocean freezes has a markedly scientific tone (see Introduction, pp. xxviii-xxix).  Perhaps he is responding to the following passage in James, Dangerous Voyage, pp. 69-71: "In the beginning of this Month, the Sea was all firmly frozen over, so that we could see no Water any Way.  I hope it will not seem tedious to the Readers, if I here deliver my Opinion, how this Abundance of Ice comes to be ingender'd . . . .  [By] the latter End of October . . . the Sea [has been brought] to that Coldness, that as it snows, the Snow will lie upon the Water in Flakes without changing his Colour; but with the Wind is wrought together; and as the Winter goes forward, it begins to freeze on the Surface of it, 2 or 3 Inches, or more, in one Night: which being carried with the half Tide, meets with some Obstacle, as it soon doth, and then it crumples and so runs upon itself, that in a few Hours, it will be 5 or 6 Foot thick.  The half Tide still flowing, carries it so fast away, that by December it is growing to an infinite Multiplication of Ice.  And thus by this Storing of it up, the Cold gets the Predomination in the Sea. . . .  This may appear by our Experience, though in all this, I freely submit myself to the more learned."

II, 98

confess   Concede, acknowledge, manifest.

II, 102

frigid fetters   See the note to I, 159, above (and also II, 43).

II, 109-124

Thomson's account of a "Swain" getting lost and dying in the snow in "Winter," 276-321 is clearly the model for this passage, but, once again (as above, II, 91-102), Mackay adds a dash of science to Thomson's sentiment, in this case a description of the effects of intense cold on the circulation and appearance of its victim (II, 114-117).  As W. Derham's note in Physico-Theology; or, a Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, from his Works of Creation (12th ed.; 1754), p. 24 intimates, "Instances of . . . Persons buried under the Snow . . . which are found uncorrupted in the Summer, when the snow is melted . . ." were of considerable interest in the eighteenth century.  See James, Dangerous Voyage, p. 86 for a particularly gruesome instance of the disclosure of a dead body in ice.  James (pp. 64-65 and 74) also provides descriptions of the effects of cold on the extremities of the human body.

II, 111

Boreas   In Greek mythology, the god of the north wind.

II, 113

etherial flood   In the late eighteenth century, ether was still considered to be the ubiquitous fluid through which light and heat were transmitted, though Mackay's phrase may be merely a periphrasis for air.  Cf. Thomson, "Winter," 155-157: "On the passive Main / Descends th' etherial Force, and with strong Gust / Turns from its Bottom the discolour'd Deep."

II, 116

livid   Bluish (as the colour of a bruise).

II, 116

sanguine current   A periphrasis for blood.

II, 119

obsequious   An unusual usage, but Mackay clearly means helpful or accommodating.

II, 120

procure   Obtain; provide.

II, 122

frozen corse   See the general note to II, 91-102, above and Thomson, "Winter," 320-321: " . . . a stiffen'd Corse [ corpse], / Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern Blast."

II, 124

weeping   Dripping.

II, 127-132

The passage is a versification of Kalm, Travels, II, 299: "They reckon the north-east wind the most piercing of all, here [in Quebec].  Many of the best people . . . assured me, that this wind, when it is very violent in winter, pierces through walls of a moderate thickness, so that the whole wall on the inside of the house is covered with snow, or a thick hoar frost. . . ."  See also James, Dangerous Voyage, pp. 72-73: "Our House on the Out-side, was cover'd two thirds Parts with Snow; and on the Inside frozen, and hung with Icesickles."

II, 127

domes   Houses (from the Latin domus).

II, 127

confess   See the note to II, 98, above.

II, 128

pierces walls   See the general note to II, 127-132, above and Thomson, "Winter," 336: "Sore pierc'd by wintry Winds. . . ."

II, 132

pendant   Hanging.

II, 133-140

Cf. Thomson, "Summer," 939-946:

                UNHAPPY he! who from the first of Joys,
                Society, cut off, is left alone
                Amid this World of Death.  Day after Day,
                Sad on the jutting Eminence he sits,
                And views the Main that ever toils below;
                Still fondly forming in the farthest Verge,
                Where the round Ether mixes with the Wave,
                Ships, dim-discovered, dropping from the Clouds.

II, 137

Unmindful   Careless, heedless, though Mackay appears to mean forgetful.

II, 140

drooping   See the note to II, 33, above.

II, 140

Commerce   See the note to I, 147, above.  See also Thomson, "Autumn," 118f. and Cary, Abram's Plains, 107f. for treatments of British "Commerce".

II, 141-143 and 141n.

The economy of Lower Canada was in a state of relative depression in the 1790s, with exports of everything except wheat (that is, furs and timber) either declining or stagnating from year to year and, thus, providing relatively little opportunity for businessmen to "acquire opulence and independence. . . ."  The anonymous American author of American Husbandry, writes as follows of Canada in the late eighteenth century: "The circumstance that must keep down this colony, and make it unprofitable to settle in, is the want of a short and regular navigation", and he adds: "Whoever has in England, or Scotland, money enough to pay their passage and expenses to Quebec, to stock a farm, and go thro' the expenditure of the first year . . . might certainly employ that money in farming at home to better advantage. . . .  [T]here are certainly men who make money in Canada—but a few instances are not what should . . . be attended to, but the general nature of the country, and the situation of the greater number" (pp. 31-33).

II, 143

ether stream   See the note to II, 113, above and Pope, Essay on Man, III, 115-116: "Whate'er of life all quick'ning æther keeps, / Or breathes thro' air. . . ."

II, 145-150 (and also 141n.)

See Thomson, "Winter," 630f. on "Winter-Night" in the "City" as a scene in which "The Sons of Riot" turn to gambling and other more-or-less detrimental activities.

II, 147

mein fantastic   Mein: mien, a literary term for the appearance of a person as expressive of their character or mood.  The expressions of Mackay's revellers are indicative of their odd and irrational ("fantastic") behaviour.

II, 148

ideal   See the note to I, 30.

II, 153

scan   Estimate or judge by a certain rule or standard.  Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, 333-334: " . . . even the peasant boasts these rights to scan, / And learns to venerate himself as man."

II, 155

soothing   Pleasant; mitigating.

II, 158-162

See Thomson, "Winter," 760f. for outdoor activities during the season and 424f. for winter as a time for study and, in Mackay's phrase, "mental joys".

II, 159

cars   Presumably carrioles—the light, horse-drawn carriages on runners that are peculiar to French Canada.  Cf. Cary, Abram's Plains, 542-545.

II, 163-182

See Thomson, "Winter," 603-608 on " . . . Hope . . . [for] Scenes / Of Happiness, and Wonder; where the Mind . . . Rises from State to State, and World to World" as a respite from Winter.

II, 166

vernal   Spring.

II, 167

ardent   See the note to I, 160, above.

II, 168

Ere radiant Phœbus quits the aërial twins   Before the sun (see the note to I, 344, above) leaves Gemini ("th' aërial twins"), the sign of the zodiac into which it was observed by ancient astronomers to move in the Spring, and enters Cancer, the sign into which it moves at the Summer solstice in June.  Cf. Pope, Windsor-Forest, 147: "Now Cancer glows with Phœbus' fiery when bright Phœbus from the twins invites. . . ."  See also Thomson, "Summer," 43-44: "When now no more th' alternate Twins are fir'd, / And Cancer reddens with the solar Blaze. . . ."

II, 171

balmy   Delicately and deliciously fragrant.  Cf. Pope, "Winter": 49: ". . . balmy Zephyrs, silent since her Death. . . ."

II, 172

pinions   See the note to II, 58, above.

II, 173

Philomela   In Greek mythology, the unfortunate Philomela was turned by the gods into a swallow; however, later tradition had her turned into a nightingale, the bird probably intended here by Mackay (and see the note to I, 273-274, above).  See also (in conjunction with the "whisp'ring wind" of the previous line) Pope, "Winter," 78-79: "Such Silence waits on Philomela's Strains, / . . . when the whisp'ring Breeze / Pants on the Leaves. . . .", and Thomson, "Spring," 601: " . . . when listening Philomela. . . ."

II, 178

alluding to   Hinting at.

II, 185

as climates I compare, / And manners note   See Goldsmith, The Traveller, 75-76: " . . . if countries we compare, / And estimate the blessings which they share. . . ."  Goldsmith anticipates Mackay in emphasizing the climates and "manners" (The Traveller, 239) of the countries that he compares.

II, 187-194

Mackay's paean to Britain has numerous precedents but probably derives from three principal models: Pope, Windsor Forest, 91f., Thomson, "Summer" 1595f. (beginning "ISLAND of Bliss!") and Goldsmith, The Traveller, 317f. (including the lines "Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd, / Extremes are only in the master's mind . . .").

II, 194

Carthage   The ancient city state of Carthage accumulated great wealth beginning in the sixth century B.C. and lasting, more-or-less, until the city's complete destruction by Rome in the third Punic War (149-146 B.C.).

II, 195

luxury   Indulgence in the rich and rare.

II, 197-200

The direction of Mackay's reference to "artful men, / Fomenting broils" in Britain is unclear, though a possible butt of his comments are the worsening troubles in Ireland of his day.  In the summer of 1795 numerous outrages were committed in that country against Protestants by Catholics who despaired of obtaining fair treatment by the Irish Parliament.  Angry Protestants calling themselves Orangemen retaliated, and early in 1796 the United Irishmen, a Presbyterian organization committed to uniting Catholics and Protestants, sent their leader, Wolfe Tone, to France to urge the Directory established as a result of the French Revolution to invade Ireland and establish a republic.  The failure of the large French force sent to invade Ireland in December, 1796 was not followed by an abatement of Irish violence, which continued into the Rebellion of 1798 and beyond.  And not only in Ireland but also in England and Scotland, the spirit of revolution emanating from France led to unrest and defensiveness in the mid-to-late seventeen nineties.  In October, 1795, George III was surrounded (and nearly killed) by a mob on his way to open Parliament in London—an outburst which, in turn, provoked William Pitt's notorious Treason and Sedition Acts.

II, 197

artful   See the note to II, 75, above.

II, 198

broils   Disturbances; quarrels.

II, 200-201

Mackay may be referring here to a variety of "Disorders" and manifestations of "faction" in late eighteenth-century North America, from the American Revolution to the French-English tension that began to mount after the Constitutional Act of 1791 (and as a result of the Revolution in France).  There were riots along racial and class lines in Lower Canada in 1794 and 1796, and one particularly gruesome instance of official retaliation, only a few months after the publication of Quebec Hill: the hanging, drawing and quartering for treason of David MacLane in Quebec on July 21, 1797.  Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, 345: " . . . Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar. . . ."

II, 204

molest   Cause annoyance or vexation.

II, 206

where beasts with men contend   See Goldsmith, The Traveller, 414-416: " . . . tangled forests, and . . . dangerous ways;  / Where beasts with man divided empire claim, / And the brown Indian marks with murderous aim. . . ."

II, 209

novelty   Unusual character.

II, 210

desart   Uninhabited or uncultivated.

II, 212

gayer . . . smiling   See the note to I, 70 and I, 358.

II, 213-216

Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, 123-124: "But small the bliss that sense alone bestows, / And sensual bliss is all the nation [Italy] knows" and (in conjunction with II, 230: " . . . centre in the skies") 423-424: "Vain . . . my weary search to find / That bliss which onl centers in the mind. . . ."

II, 218

local comforts . . . commix'd with shade   See the quotations from Pope and Goldsmith at I, 78 (and see also I, 288) and I, 290-291, above.  In his discussions of France, Italy and elsewhere in The Traveller, Goldsmith's narrator proves himself continually a man of "alternate passions" (55) as he emphasizes the positive and negative aspects of each country.  Commix'd: Commingled, mixed together.

II, 221-226

In these lines Mackay appears to be modifying the following passage from near the conclusion of Goldsmith's The Traveller with his own vision of all earthly life as a mixture of the good and the bad:

                  Still, to ourselves in every place consign'd,
                  Our own felicity we make or find:
                  With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,
                  Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.


II, 226

alloy   A substance or quality that impairs, sullies, or compromises that with which it is mixed.

II, 227

proofs   Evidence.

II, 228

aught   Anything whatever.

II, 229

invoke   Call upon.