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Scott undoubtedly lay in the prolific richness of Then go-but go alone the whilehis fancy, in his fine healthy moral feeling, and Then view St David's ruined pile ; in the abundant stores of his memory, that could
And, home returning, soothly swear, create, collect, and arrange such a multitude of
Was never scene so sad and fair ! ... scenes and adventures; that could find materials
The moon on the east oriel shone, for stirring and romantic poetry in the most
Through slender shafts of shapely stone, minute and barren antiquarian details; and that
By foliaged tracery combined; could reanimate the past, and paint the present, in
Thou wouldst have thought some fairy's hand
'Twixt poplars straight the osier wand, scenery and manners, with a vividness and energy
In many a freakish knot, had twined ; unknown since the period of Homer.
Then framed a spell, when the work was done, The Lay of the Last Minstrel is a Border story And changed the willow wreaths to stone. of the sixteenth century, related by a minstrel, the The silver light, so pale and faint, last of his race. The character of the aged min Shewed many a prophet and many a saint, strel, and that of Margaret of Branksome, are very Whose image on the glass was dyed : finely drawn; Deloraine, a coarse Border chief or
Full in the midst, his cross of red moss-trooper, is also a vigorous portrait ; and in Triumphant Michael brandished, the description of the march of the English army,
And trampled the Apostate's pride.
The moonbeam kissed the holy pane, the personal combat with Musgrave, and the
And threw on the pavement a bloody stain. other feudal accessories of the piece, we have finished pictures of the olden time. The goblin
Love of Country. page is no favourite of ours, except in so far as it makes the story more accordant with the times in Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, which it is placed. The introductory lines to each
Who never to himself hath said, canto form an exquisite setting to the dark feudal
This is my own, my native land ! tale, and tended greatly to cause the popularity of
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, the poem. The minstrel is thus described :
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand !
If such there breathe, go, mark him well :
For him no minstrel raptures swell ;
High though his titles, proud his name, The minstrel was infirm and old ;
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim ; His withered cheek, and tresses gray,
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, Seemed to have known a better day;
The wretch, concentred all in self, The harp, his sole remaining joy,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown, Was carried by an orphan boy.
And, doubly dying, shall go down The last of all the bards was he
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, Who sung of Border chivalry ;
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung. For, well-a-day! their date was fled;
O Caledonia! stern and wild, His tuneful brethren all were dead;
Meet nurse for a poetic child ! And he, neglected and oppressed,
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, Wished to be with them, and at rest.
Land of the mountain and the flood, No more, on prancing palfrey borne,
Land of my sires ! what mortal hand He caroled, light as lark at morn;
Can e'er untie the filial band No longer, courted and caressed,
That knits me to thy rugged strand ! High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
Still as I view each well-known scene, He poured, to lord and lady gay,
Think what is now, and what hath been, The unpremeditated lay :
Seems as, to me, of all bereft, Old times were changed, old manners gone ;
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left ; A stranger filled the Stuarts' throne;
And thus I love them better still, The bigots of the iron time
Even in extremity of ill. Had called his harmless art a crime.
By Yarrow's streams still let me stray, A wandering harper, scorned and poor,
Though none should guide my feeble way; He begged his bread from door to door,
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break, And tuned, to please a peasant's ear,
Although it chill my withered cheek ; The harp a king had loved to hear.
Still lay my head by Teviot stone,
Though there, forgotten and alone, Not less picturesque are the following passages,
The bard may draw his parting groan. which instantly became popular :
Marmion is a tale of Flodden Field, the fate of
the hero being connected with that memorable Description of Melrose Abbey.
engagement. The poem does not possess the If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,
unity and completeness of the Lay, but if it Go visit it by the pale moonlight ;
has greater faults, it has also greater beauties. For the gay beams of lightsome day
Nothing can be more strikingly picturesque than Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.
the two opening stanzas of this romance:
Norham Castle at Sunset.
Day set on Norham's castled steep,
And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep, Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
And Cheviot's mountains lone : When silver edges the imagery,
The battled towers, the donjon keep, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
The loophole grates where captives weep, When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
The flanking walls that round it sweep,
The warriors on the turrets high,
Wide raged the battle on the
plain ; Moving athwart the evening sky,
Spears shook, and falchions flashed amain ;
Fell England's arrow-flight like rain;
Crests rose, and stooped, and rose again,
Wild and disorderly.
Evening fell on the deadly struggle, and the spec-
tators were forced from the agitating scene.
But as they left the darkening heath,
More desperate grew the strife of death.
The English shafts in volleys hailed,
In headlong charge their horse assailed :
Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep,
To break the Scottish circle deep,
That fought around their king.
But yet, though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go,
Though bill-men ply the ghastly blow,
Unbroken was the ring;
The stubborn spearmen still made good The same minute painting of feudal times charac Their dark impenetrable wood, terises both poems, but by a strange.oversight Each stepping where his comrade stood, soon seen and regretted by the author-the hero The instant that he fell. is made to commit the crime of forgery, a crime
No thought was there of dastard flight; unsuited to a chivalrous and half-civilised age.
Linked in the serried phalanx tight, The battle of Flodden, and the death of Marmion,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well; are among Scott's most spirited descriptions. The former is related as seen from a neighbouring hill;
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O'er their thin host and wounded king. and the progress of the action-the hurry, impet
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands uosity, and confusion of the fight below, as the Led back from strife his shattered bands; different armies rally or are repulsed—is given And from the charge they drew, with such animation, that the whole scene is As mountain-waves from wasted lands brought before the reader with the vividness Sweep back to ocean blue. of reality. The first tremendous onset is thus Then did their loss his foemen know ; dashed off, with inimitable power, by the mighty
Their king, their lords, their mightiest low, minstrel :
They melted from the field as snow,
When streams are swoln and south winds blow, Battle of Flodden.
Dissolves in silent dew.
Tweed's echoes heard the ceaseless plash, “But see ! look up-on Flodden bent,
While many a broken band,
Disordered, through her currents dash,
To gain the Scottish land ;
To town and tower, to down and dale,
To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
And raise the universal wail.
Tradition, legend, tune, and song,
Shall many an age that wail prolong :
Still from the sire the son shall hear
Of the stern strise and carnage drear Announced their march ; their tread alone,
Of Flodden's fatal field, At times one warning trumpet blown,
Where shivered was fair Scotland's spear,
And broken was her shield !
The hero receives his death-wound, and is borne Scarce could they hear or see their foes,
off the field. The description, detached from the Until at weapon-point they close.
context, loses much of its 'interest ; but the They close in clouds of smoke and dust,
mingled effects of mental agony and physical With sword-sway and with lance's thrust; And such a yell was there,
suffering, of remorse and death, on a bad but Of sudden and portentous birth,
brave spirit trained to war, is described with true As if men fought upon the earth,
sublimity : And fiends in upper air. . .
Death of Marmion.
When, doffed his casque, he felt free air,
Around 'gan Marmion wildly stare : Aside the shroud of battle cast;
Where 's Harry Blount? Fitz-Eustace, where ? And, first, the ridge of mingled spears
Linger ye here, ye hearts of hare ! Above the brightening cloud appears ;
Redeem my pennon-charge again! And in the smoke the pennons flew,
Cry—“Marmion to the rescue 1"_Vain ! As in the storm the white sea-mew.
Last of my race, on battle plain Then marked they, dashing broad and far,
That shout shall ne'er be heard again ! The broken billows of the war,
Yet my last thought is England's :fly; And plumèd crests of chieftains brave,
To Dacre bear my signet-ring; Floating like foam upon the wave ;
Tell him his squadrons up to bring. But nought distinct they see :
Fitz-Eustace, to Lord Surrey hie : 118
Tunstall lies dead upon the field ;
It may not be !-this dizzy trance His life-blood stains the spotless shield :
Curse on yon base marauder's lance, Edmund is down—my life is reft ;
And doubly cursed my failing brand ! The Admiral alone is left.
A sinful heart makes feeble hand.' Let Stanley charge with spur of fire
Then, fainting, down on earth he sunk,
Supported by the trembling monk.
With fruitless labour Clara bound,
And strove to stanch, the gushing wound: Leave Marmion here alone--to die.'
The monk, with unavailing cares, They parted, and alone he lay;
Exhausted all the church's prayers; Clare drew her from the sight away,
Ever, he said, that, close and near, Till pain wrung forth a lowly moan,
A lady's voice was in his ear, And half he murmured : 'Is there none,
And that the priest he could not hear, Of all my halls have nursed,
For that she ever sung, Page, squire, or groom, one cup to bring
'In the lost battle, borne down by the flying, of blessed water from the spring,
Where mingles war's rattle with groans of the To slake my dying thirst!'
So the notes rung; O woman ! in our hours of ease,
Avoid thee, Fiend !-with cruel hand, Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
Shake not the dying sinner's sand ! And variable as the shade
O look, my son, upon yon sign
of the Redeemer's grace divine ; By the light quivering aspen made;
O think on faith and bliss !
By many a death-bed I have been,
And many a sinner's parting seen, When, with the baron's casque, the maid
But never aught like this. To the nigh streamlet ran :
The war, that for a space did fail, Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears ;
Now trebly thundering, swelled the gale,
And · Stanley!' was the cry;
A light on Marmion's visage spread,
And fired his glazing eye : But in abhorrence backward drew;
With dying hand, above his head
He shook the fragment of his blade,
And shouted Victory >
Charge, Chester, charge ! On, Stanley, on !'
Were the last words of Marmion.
We may contrast with this
the silent and appalling Where water, clear as diamond spark,
death-scene of Roderick Dhu, in the Lady of the In a stone basin fell.
Lake. The savage chief expires while listening Above, some half-worn letters say,
to a tale chanted by the bard or minstrel of his Drink.wearp. pilgrim. drink. and. pray,
clan : For . the . kind, soul.of. Sybil. Grey.
At first, the chieftain to his chime, Teho built. this. cross. and. well.
With listed hand, kept feeble time; She filled the helm, and back she hied,
That motion ceased ; yet feeling strong, And with surprise and joy espied
Varied his look as changed the song : A monk supporting Marmion's head ;
At length no more his deafened ear A pious man, whom duty brought
The minstrel's melody can hear ; To dubious verge of battle fought,
His face grows sharp ; his hands are clenched, To shrieve the dying, bless the dead.
As if some pang his heart-strings wrenched;
Set are his teeth, his fading eye
Is sternly fixed on vacancy.
Thus, motionless and moanless, drew
His parting breath, stout Roderick Dhu. Then as remembrance rose
The Lady of the Lake is more richly picturesque "Speak not to me of shrift or prayer !
than either of the former poems, and the plot is I must redress her woes. Short space, few words, are mine to spare ;
more regular and interesting. "The subject, says Forgive and listen, gentle Clare!'
Sir James Mackintosh, ‘is a common Highland Alas!' she said, 'the while
irruption ; but at a point where the neighbourO think of your immortal weal !
hood of the Lowlands affords the best contrast of In vain for Constance is your zeal;
manners—where the scenery affords the noblest She died at Holy Ísle.'
subject of description--and where the wild clan is Lord Marmion started from the ground,
so near to the court, that their robberies can be As light as if he felt no wound;
connected with the romantic adventures of a disThough in the action burst the tide,
guised king, an exiled lord, and a high-born beauty. In torrents, from his wounded side.
The whole narrative is very fine.' It was the most * Then it was truth !'-he said—I knew
popular of the author's poems : in a few months That the dark presage must be true. I would the Fiend, to whom belongs
twenty thousand copies were sold, and the district The vengeance due to all her wrongs,
where the action of the poem lay was visited by Would spare me but a day!
countless thousands of tourists. With this work For wasting fire, and dying groan,
closed the great popularity of Scott as a poet. And priests slain on the altar-stone,
Rokeby, a tale of the English Cavaliers and RoundMight bribe him for delay. heads, was considered a failure, though displaying
the utmost art and talent in the delineation of
Fleet foot on the correi, character and passion. Don Roderick_is vastly
Sage counsel in cumber, inferior to Rokeby; and Harold and Triermain
Red hand in the foray, are but faint copies of the Gothic epics, however
How sound is thy slumber!
Like the dew on the mountain, finely finished in some of the tender passages. The
Like the foam on the river, Lord of the Isles is of a higher mood. It is a
Like the bubble on the fountain, Scottish story of the days of Bruce, and has the
Thou art gone, and for ever ! characteristic fire and animation of the minstrel, when, like Rob Roy, he has his foot on his native heath. Bannockburn may be compared
Song from 'Quentin Durward.' with Flodden Field in energy of description, Ah! County Guy, the hour is nigh, though the poet is sometimes lost in the chronicler The sun has left the lea, and antiquary. The interest of the tale is not The orange flower perfumes the bower, well sustained throughout, and its chief attraction
The breeze is on the sea. consists in the descriptive powers of the author,
The lark, his lay who thrilled all day, who, besides his feudal halls and battles, has drawn
Sits hushed his partner nigh, the magnificent scenery of the West Highlands
Breeze, bird, and flower confess the hour, the cave of Staffa, and the dark desolate grandeur
But where is County Guy? of the Coriusk lakes and mountains-with equal The village maid steals through the shade, truth and sublimity. The lyrical pieces of Scott
Her shepherd's suit to hear; are often very happy. The old ballad strains may To beauty shy, by lattice high, be said to have been his original nutriment as a Sings high-born cavalier. poet, and he is consequently often warlike and The star of Love, all stars above, romantic in his songs. But he has also gaiety,
Now reigns o'er earth and sky; archness, and tenderness, and if he does not touch And high and low the influence knowdeeply the heart, he never fails to paint to the eye
But where is County Guy ? and imagination.
Song from 'The l'irate.'
Love wakes and weeps
While Beauty sleeps!
O for music's softest numbers,
To prompt a theme
For Beauty's dream,
Soft as the pillow of her slumbers !
Through groves of palm
Sigh gales of balm,
Fire-fies on the air are wheeling;
While through the gloom
Comes soft perfume,
The distant beds of flowers revealing.
O wake and live!
No dreams can give
A shadowed bliss the real excelling;
No longer sleep,
From lattice peep,
And list the tale that love is telling !
Hymn of the Hebrew Maid.- From ‘Ivanhoe.'
When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out from the land of bondage came,
Her father's God before her moved,
An awful guide in smoke and flame.
By day, along the astonished lands
The cloudy pillar glided slow;
By night, Arabia's crimsoned sands
Returned the fiery column's glow.
There rose the choral hymn of praise,
And trump and timbrel answered keen ;
And Zion's daughters poured their lays,
With priest's and warrior's voice between.
No portents now our foes amaze,
Forsaken Israel wanders lone;
Our fathers would not know Thy ways,
And Thou hast left them to their own.
But, present still, though now unseen!
When brightly shines the prosperous day,
Be thoughts of Thee a cloudy screen,
To temper the deceitful ray.
10r corri, the hollow side of the hill where game usually lies. 120