Page:The Grammar of Heraldry, Cussans, 1866.djvu/83

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69
Flags.

The depth of a flag is called the dip, and the width the fly.

Several varieties of flags were formerly in use, indicating, by their form and size, the rank of the bearer. Many of these, however, have now become obsolete; but, as frequent allusion is made to them in history and ancient ballads, it is necessary that we should possess some knowledge of this interesting subject.

In the following passage from ‘Marmion,’ mention is made of several of the various flags which were carried in mediaeval times:—

‘Nor marked they less, where in the air
A thousand streamers flaunted fair;
    Various in shape, device, and hue,
    Green, sanguine, purple, red, and blue,
Broad, narrow, swallow-tailed, and square,
Scroll, pennon, pensil, bandrol, there
    O’er the pavilions flew.
Highest and midmost was descried
The royal banner, floating wide;
The staff, a pine-tree strong and straight.
    Pitched deeply in a massive stone,
    Which still in memory is shown,
Yet bent beneath the standard’s weight,
Whene’er the western wind unrolled.
With toil, the huge and cumbrous fold.
    And gave to view the dazzling field,
    Where, in proud Scotland’s royal shield.
The ruddy lion ramped in gold.’

The Pennon

Was a small narrow flag, separating at the fly into two points, resembling the modem burgee. It was affixed to the end of a lance, from which, when in actual use, it depended, and the charge is always