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By the festal cities' blaze,
YE MARINERS OF ENGLAND,
Ye mariners of England,
The spirits of your fathers
Britannia needs no bulwarks,
With thunders from her native oak,
HOHENLINDEN. On Linden, when the sun was low, All bloodless lay the untrodden snow; And dark as winter was the flow Of Iser, rolling rapidly. But Linden saw another sight, When the drum beat at dead of night, Commanding fires of death to light The darkness of her scenery. By torch and trumpet fast arrayed, Each horseman drew his battle-blade; And furious every charger neighed To join the dreadful revelry. Then shook the hills with thunder riven, Then rushed the steed to battle driven, And louder than the bolts of heaven Far flashed the red artillery. But redder yet that light shall glow On Linden's hills of stained snow, And bloodier yet the torrent flow Of Iser, rolling rapidly. 'Tis morn; but scarce yon level sun Can pierce the war-clouds, rolling dun, Where furious Frank and fiery Hun Shout in their sulphurous canopy.
The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
SIR W. SCOTT. SIR WALTER Scott is the most eminent of the literary men of whom Scotland is justly proud. He was born in 1771. Infirm health during a part of his boyhood opposed obstacles to the progress of his education; but the great number of imaginative works which it left him leisure to read, and which must have weakened an intellect less robust, appears but to have stimulated his genius, and given to it that direction which it afterwards followed. He found time for graver studies at a later time; and while cultivating poetry and antiquarian researches, pursued his profession as a lawyer, and attained its distinctions and emoluments. The Lay of the last Minstrel, the most spirited and brilliant, as it was one of the earlier of his works, gained at once a well-deserved celebrity. Marmion, The Lady of the Lake, The Lord of the Isles, Rokeby, and several poems besides, followed in succession, and met with a like success. It was the peculiar merit of Scott's poetry that it revived something of that chivalrous sentiment without which society rusts in selfishness and sordid pursuits, and that it turned back the eyes of a self-conceited age to the “olden time." The vividness, if not always the poetic truthfulness, with which Scott described the Highland scenery of his native land, conduced not less to the revival of that appreciation of nature which had almost ceased to exist while English poetry copied French models. Not less salutary was the poetry of Scott from its manly, healthful tone, and its absence of frivolity, morbidness, and sentimentality. These merits did not prevent it from being in a large measure supplanted by the higher colouring and coarser appeals of Lord Byron's early works. With that absence of petty jealousy which belonged to him, Scott willingly yielded place to a younger competitor; and devoting himself to a new class of literature, of which he was almost the inventor, produced that series of historical novels with which, even more than with poetry, his name is identified. It was, however, adversity which brought out the unpretending greatness of his robust character. Having unfortunately entered into a sort of partnership with an eminent publisher, he suddenly found that by the bankruptcy of the firm that large fortune which years of labour had acquired for him was confiscated; while for an enormous debt he continued responsible. Without a murmur he applied himself to the gigantic task of meeting those new liabilities; and, labouring with increased industry in almost every department of literature, he acquired within a few years a second fortune so large as nearly to defray the debt, as well as to preserve for his family the domain which he had purchased at Abbotsford - a suitable residence for that new branch of the ancient house of Scott to found which had been his ambition. Those labours proved, however, too severe for his health. Being ordered to try a southern climate, a frigate was placed at his disposal by King William the Fourth. After a brief sojourn at Naples and at Rome, he returned home through Germany; his long-cherished desire to meet Goethe being, however, frustrated by the death of that poet, which had just taken place at Weimar. Scott expired soon after his return to Abbotsford, A.D. 1832; and was interred, according to his own wish, among the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey. With the frank nature and cordial humour which belonged to Chaucer and Shakespeare, Scott possessed much also of that dramatic insight which belonged to them. He has been called, with reference to his novels, “a prose Shakespeare;" nor is the title an exaggerated one, if we appreciate the full difference between poetry and the most poetical prose. Several of his poems may be considered as novels in verse; and it is remarkable that as such they do not possess passages which equal in poetic power the best passages in his prose novels. Scott's poetry hardly aims at either the philosophic depth or the imaginative elevation which belong to the best poetry of the age; and having been composed, in some instances, almost with the rapidity of an improvisatore rather than the loving labour of a poet devoted to his art, and zealous for its fame, if not for his own, its diction is deficient in richness, expressiveness, force, and finish; but his poems are also free from the faults and affectations so often united with lofty pretensions.
The feast was over in Branksome tower,
Knight, and page, and household squire
Or crowded round the ample fire:
The stag-hounds, weary with the chase,
Lay stretched upon the rushy floor, And urged in dreams the forest race
From Teviot-stone to Eskdale-moor.
Hung their shields in Branksome Hall;
Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall
Ten of them were sheathed in steel,
They lay down to rest,
With corslet laced,
They carved at the meal
With gloves of steel, And they drank the red wine through the helmet barred. Ten squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men, Waited the beck of the warders ten; Thirty steeds, both fleet and wight, Stood saddled in stable day and night, Barbed with frontlet of steel, I trow, And with Jedwood-axe at saddle-bow; A hundred more fed free in stall : Such was the custom in Branksome Hall.
Why do these steeds stand ready dight?
Lest Scroop, or Howard, or Percy's powers
Threaten Branksome's lordly towers