Зображення сторінки

The Hours.

At midnight, four times in each year, does her sprite, chiefly from lameness, led to his being placed und: When inortals in elumber are bound,

the charge of some relations in the country; Arrayed in her bridal apparel of white,

when a mere child, yet old enough to receive in Alar in the hall with the skeleton knight,

pressions from country life and border stories. And shriek as he whirls her around !

resided with his grandfather at Sandr-Knows, 1 While they drink out of skulls newly torn from the

romantic situation a few miles from Kelso. The

ruined tower of Smailholm (the scene of Somet! grave,

bailad. the Eve of St John) was close to the farm Dancing round them the spectres are seen; Their liquor is blood, and this horrible stave

and beside it were the Eildon Hills, the river Twente They howl: 'To the health of Alonzo the Brare,

Dryburgh Abbey, and other poetical and historiaa And his consort, the Fair Imogine !

objects, all enshrined in the lonely contemplative boy's fancy and recollection. He afterwards resided

with another relation at Kelso, and here, at the # The Helmsman.

of thirteen, he first read Percy's Reliques, in 13 Hark, the bell! it sounds midnight! all hail, thou new

tique garden, under the shade of a huge platanus, or

oriental plane-tree. This work had as great an heaven! How soft sleep the stars on their bosom of night;

effect in making him a poet as Spenser had on While o'er the full moon, as they gently are driven,

Cowley, but with Scott the seeds were long in gt?

minating. Previous to this he had indeed tried bis Slowly floating, the clouds bathe their fleeces in light.

hand at verse. The following, among other lives, The warm feeble breeze scarcely ripples the ocean, were discovered wrapped up in a cover inscribed by

And all seem 80 hushed, all so happy to feel; Dr Adam of the High School, Walter Scott, dus So sinooth glides the bark, I perceive not her motion, / 1783.'

While low sings the sailor who watches the wheel. 'Tis 80 sad, 'tis so sweet, and some tones come so

On the Setting Sun. swelling,

Those evening clouds, that setting ray, So right from the heart, and so pure to the ear,

And beauteous tints, serve to display That sure at this moment bis thoughts must be dwelling

Their great Creator's praise; On one who is absent, most kind and most dear.

Then let the short-lived thing called man, Oh! may she, who now dictates that ballad so tender,

Whose life's comprised within a span, Diffuse o'er your days the heart's solace and ease,

To him his homage raise.
As yon lovely moon, with a gleam of mild splendour, We often praise the evening clouds,
Pure, tranquil, and bright, over-silvers the seas !

And tints so gay and bold,
But seldom think upon our God,

Who tinged these clouds with gold. Ne'er were the zephyrs known disclosing

The religious education of Scott may be seen ! More sweets, than when in Tempe's shades

this effusion : his father was a rigid Presbyterian They waved the lilies, where reposing,

The youthful poet passed through the High School Sat four-and-twenty lovely maids.

and university of Edinburgh, and made some prob,

ciency in Latin, and in the classes of ethics, mitos Those lovely maids were called 'the Hours,'

| philosophy, and history. He had an avers The charge of Virtue's flock they kept ; And each in turn employed her powers

Greek, and we may perhaps regret, with Busty

that he refused to enter into that chamber 10 To guard it while her sisters slept.

magic palace of literature in which the stola.com False Love, how simple souls thou cheatest! relics of antiquity are stored.' He knew general In myrtle bower that traitor near

but not critically, the German, French, Italian, de Long watched an llour—the softest sweetest Spanish languages. He was an insatiable nauti The evening Hour, to shepherds dear.

and during a long illness in his youth, slot, In tones so bland he praised her beauty;

mind with a vast variety of miscellaneous know that Such melting airs his pipe could play,

Romances were among his chief favourites, a. The thoughtless Hour forgot her duty,

had great facility in inventing and telling stutt And fled in Love's erubrace away.

He also collected ballads from his earliest peaks Meanwhile the fold was left unguarded;

Scott was apprenticed to his father as a writer, a

which he studied for the bar, and put on his The wolf broke in, the lambs were slain ;

in his twenty-first year. His health was not And now from Virtuc's train discarded, With tears her sisters speak their pain.

gorous and robust, and he made frequent excursio

into the country, which he pleasantly denomika Time flies, and still they weep; for never

raids. The knowledge of rural life, character." The fugitive can time restore;

ditions, and anecdotes, which he picked up in An Hour once fled, has fled for ever,

rambles, formed afterwards a valuable mille to use And all the rest shall smile no more!

both as a poet and novelist. His manner."

easy and agreeable, and he was always a SIR WALTER SCOTT.

guest. Scott joined the Tory party; and

dread of an invasion agitated the country, he WALTER SCOTT was born in the city of Edinburgh | one of a band of volunteers, 'bro thers true, ('mine own romantic town') on the 15th of August | he held the rank of quarter-ma ster. His 1771. His father was a respectable writer to the l as a cavalry officer, and the jovialties of eignet: his mother, Anne Rutherford, was daughter room, occupied much of his time, but I of a physician in extensive practice, and professor sued, though irregularly, his Literary st of medicine in the university of Edinburgh. Byl an attachment to a Perthshire lady (thous both parents the poet was remotely connected with

mately unfortunate) tended still more strong some respectable ancient Scottish families-- cir- I prevent his sinking into idle frivolity or disse cumstance gratifying to his feelings of nationality, Henry Mackenzie, the Man of Feeling, and to his imagination. Delicate health, arising | duced a taste for German literature into


party; and when the

ers true,' in which

Toma ster. His exercia le jovialties of the mest s tim e; but he still purs Literary studies, and

lady (though ulti.

of Feeling,' hari intron literature into the intellet




cual classes of his native city, and Scott was one of printer in Edinburgh. The copartnery was kept a its most eager and ardent votaries. In 1796 he secret, and few things in business that require secrecy published translations of Burger's Lenore and the are prosperous or beneficial. The establishment, Wild Huntsman, ballads of singular wildness and upon which was afterwards engrafted a publishing power. Next year, while fresh from his first-love business, demanded large advances of money, and disappointment, he was prepared, like Romeo, to Scott's name became mixed up with pecuniary * take some new infection to his eye,' and, meeting at transactions and losses to a great amount. In 1806, Gilsland, & watering-place in Cumberland, with a the powerful friends of the poet procured him the young lady of French parentage, Charlotte Margaret appointment of one of the principal clerkships of the Carpenter, he paid his addresses to her, was accepted, Court of Session, worth about £1300 per annum ; and married on the 24th of December. Miss Car- but the emoluments were not received by Scott penter had some fortune, and the young couple until six years after the date of his appointment, retired to a cottage at Lasswade, where they seem when his predecessor died. In his share of the to have enjoyed sincere and unalloyed happiness. printing business, and the certainty of his clerkship, The ambition of Scott was now fairly wakened-his the poet seemed, however, to have laid up (in addilighter vanities all blown away. His life hencefor- tion to his literary gains and his sheriffdom) an Ward was one of severe but cheerful study and ap-honourable and even opulent provision for his family. plication. In 1799 appeared his translation of In 1808 appeared his great poem of Warmion, the Groethe's tragedy, Goetz von Berlichingen, and the most magnificent of his chivalrous tales, and the same year he obtained the appointment of sheriff of same year he published his edition of Dryden. In Deskirkshire, worth £300 per annum. Scott now 1810 appeared the Lady of the Luke, which was still paid a series of visits to Liddisdale, for the purpose more popular than either of its predecessors; in 01.collecting the ballad poetry of the Border, an 1811, The Vision of Don Roderick; in 1813, Rukeby, object in which he was eminently successful. In and The Bridal of Triermain; in 1814, The Lord of

802, the result appeared in his Minstrelsy of the the Isles ; in 1815, The Field of Waterloo ; and in scottish Border, which contained upwards of forty | 1817, Harold the Dauntless. Some dramatic pieces, preces never before published, and a large quantity | scarcely worthy of his genius, were also written of prose illustration, in which might have been during this busy period. It could not be concealed, seen the germ of that power which he subse- that the later works of the great minstrel were inquently developed in his novels. A third volume ferior to his early ones. His style was now familiar, was added next year, containing some imitations of and the world had become tired of it. Byron had le old minstrels by the poetical editor and his friends. made his appearance, and the readers of poetry were

required little sagacity to foresee that Walter | bent on the new worship. Scott, however, was too scott was now to be a great name in Scotland. His dauntless and intrepid, and possessed of too great

task was editing the metrical romance of Sir resources, to despond under this reverse. “As the ristrem, supposed to be written by Thomas the old mine gave symptoms of exhaustion,' says Bulanymer, or Thomas of Ercildoune, who flourished wer, the new mine, ten times more affluent, at least about the year 1280. The antiquarian knowledge in the precious metals, was discovered ; and just as

Scott, and his poetical taste, were exhibited in the in “ Rokeby” and “ Triermain" the Genius of the ssertations which accompanied this work, and the Ring seemed to flag in its powers, came the more mitation of the original which was added to com- | potent Genius of the Lamp in the shape of Waverley.' plete the romance. At length, in January 1805, The long and magnificent series of his prose fictions appeared the Lay of the Last Minstrel, which in- we shall afterwards advert to. They were poured h ty stamped him as one of the greatest of the forth even more prodigally than his verse, and for

ing poets. His legendary lore, his love of the seventeen years--from 1814 to 1831- the world chiva

aufous and supernatural, and his descriptive hung with delight on the varied creations of the overs, were fully brought into play; and though potent enchanter. Scott had now removed from his he after

afterwards improved in versatility and freedom, pleasant cottage at Ashestiel : the territorial dream we achieved nothing which might not have been was about to be re

was about to be realised. In 1811 he purchaied a predicted from this first performance. His concep- hundred acres of moorland on the banks of the

on of the minstrel was inimitable, and won all | Tweed, near Melrose. The neighbourhood was full hearts--even those who were indifferent to the of historical associations, but the spot itself was supernatural part of the tale, and opposed to the bleak and bare. Four thousand pounds were exirregularity of the ballad style. The unprecedented pended on this purchase ; and the interesting and success of the poem inclined Scott to relax any now immortal name of Abbotsford was substituted Esertions he had ever made to advance at the bar, for the very ordinary one of Cartley Hole. Other pur

nough his cautious disposition made him at all chases of land followed, generally at prices considermes fear to depend over much upon literature. ably above their value-Kaeside, £4100; Outfield he had altogether a clear income of about £1000 of Toftfield, £6000 ; Toftfield, and parks, £10,000 ; per annum; but his views stretched beyond this easy | Abbotslea, £3000 ; field at Langside, £500; Shearing competence; he was ambitious of founding a family | Flat, £3500; Broomilees, £4200 ; Short Acres and hat might vie with the ancient Border names he Scrabtree Park, £700; &c. From these farms and venerated, and to attain this, it was necessary to pendicles was formed the estate of Abbotsford. In

come a landed proprietor, and to practise a liberal planting and draining, about £5000 were expended; and graceful hospitality. Well was he fitted to adorn and in erecting the mansion-house (that 'romance and dignify the character! But his ambition, though of stone and mortar,' as it has been termed), and conTree from any tinge of sordid acquisition, proved a structing the garden, &c., a sum not less than snare for his strong good sense and penetr

1 sense and penetration. | £20.000 was spent. In his baronial residence the poet Scott and his family had gone to reside at Ashestiel, received innumerable visitors-princes, peers, and a beautiful residence on the banks of the Tweed, poets-men of all ranks and grades. His mornings as it was necessary for him, in his capacity of sheriff, were devoted to composition (for he had long practo live part of the year in the county of Selkirk. tised the invaluable habit of early rising), and the

hortly after the publication of the Lay, he entered | rest of the day to riding among his plantations, and no partnership with his old schoolfellow, James entertaining his guests and family. The honour of į Ballantyne, then rising into extensive business as a | the baronetcy was conferred upon him in 1820 by

[ocr errors]

times He had


George IV., who had taste enough to appreciate cumulating, the princely hospitalities of Abbotsford cordially his genius. Never, certainly, had literature knew no check or pause. Heavy was the day of done more for any of its countless votaries, ancient reckoning-terrible the reverse ; for when the spell or modern. Shakspeare had retired early on an broke in January 1826, it was found that, including easy competency, and also become a rural squire; the Constable engagements, Scott, under the conbut his gains must have been chiefly those of the mercial denomination of James Ballantyne and Com theatrical manager, not of the poet. Scott's splen- owed £117,000. If this was a blot in the poet's dour was purely the result of his pen : to this he scutcheon, never, it might be said, did man make owed his acres, his castle, and his means of hospi- nobler efforts to redeem the honour of his name. tality. His official income was but as a feather in He would listen to no overtures of composition with the balance. Who does not wish that the dream his creditors—his only demand was for time. He had continued to the end of his life?. It was sud- ceased • doing the honours for all Scotland,' sold off denly and painfully dissolved. The commercial his Edinburgh house, and taking lodgings there, distresses of 1825-6 fell upon publishers as on other laboured incessantly at his literary tasks. "The classes, and the bankruptcy of Constable involved fountain was awakened from its inmost recesses, the poet in losses and engagements to the amount as if the spirit of affliction had troubled it in his of about £60,000. His wealth, indeed, had been passage.' În four years he had realised for his almost wholly illusory; for he had been paid for his creditors no less than £70,000. works chiefly by bills, and these ultimately proved English literature presents two memorable and valueless. In the management of his publish-striking events which have never been paralleled in ing house, Scott's sagacity seems to have for any other nation. The first is, Milton advanced in saken him : unsaleable works were printed in years, blind, and in misfortune, entering upon the thousands; and while these losses were yearly ac- l composition of a great epic that was to determine

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Abbotsford. his future fame, and hazard the glory of his country had liberally rewarded their illustrious 1

arded their illustrious favourite in competition with what had been achieved in the The ultimate prize was within view, and the wor classic ages of antiquity. The counterpart to this cheered him on, eagerly anticipating his trium, noble picture is Walter Scott, at nearly the same but the victor sank exhausted on the course. age, his private affairs in ruin, undertaking to liqui- had spent his life in the struggle. The strong date, by intellectual labours alone, a debt of £117,000. I was bowed down, and his living honour, geniu Both tasks may be classed with the moral sublime integrity, were extinguished by delirium and of life. Glory, pure and unsullied, was the ruling In February 1830 Scott had an attack of paraly aim and motive of Milton; honour and integrity He continued, however, to write several hours en formed the incentives to Scott. Neither shrunk day. In April 1831 he suffered a still more se from the steady prosecution of his gigantic self-im- attack; and he was prevailed upon, as a me posed labour. But years rolled on, seasons returned withdrawing him from mental labour, to underland and passed away, amidst public cares and private a foreign tour. The admiralty furnished a soup calamity, and the pressure of increasing infirmities, war, and the poet sailed for Malta and Naples ere the seed sown amidst clouds and storms was the latter place he resided from the 17th of white in the field. In six years Milton had realised ber 1831 to the 16th of April following.. the object of his hopes and prayers by the comple- | laboured at unfinished romances, but his mi tion of Paradise Lost. His task was done; the in ruins. From Naples the poet went to field of glory was gained; he held in his hand his On the 11th of May he began his return home passport to immortality. In six years Scott had and reached London on the 13th of June. A nearly reached the goal of his ambition. He had attack of apoplexy, combined with paralysi manged the wide fields of romance, and the public laid prostrate his powers, and he was con





Abbotsford a helpless and almost unconscious wreck. and institutions of feudalism, were constantly present He lingered on for some time, listening occasionally | to his thoughts and imagination. Then, his powers to passages read to him from the Bible, and from his of description were unequalled--certainly never surfavourite author Crabbe. Once he tried to write, I passed. His landscapes, his characters and situabut his fingers would not close upon the pen. Hetions, were all real delineations; in general effect and never spoke of his literary labours or success. At individual details, they were equally perfect. None times his imagination was busy preparing for the of his contemporaries had the same picturesqueness, reception of the Duke of Wellington at Abbotsford; fancy, or invention; none so graphic in depicting at other times he was exercising the functions of a manners and customs; none so fertile in inventing Scottish judge, as if presiding at the trial of mem incidents ; none so fascinating in narrative, or so bers of his own family. His mind never appeared various and powerful in description. His diction to wander in its delirium towards those works which was proverbially careless and incorrect. Neither in had filled all Europe with his fame. This we learn prose nor poetry was Scott a polished writer. He from undoubted authority, and the fact is of interest | looked only at broad and general effects ; his words in literary history. But the contest was soon to be had to make pictures, not melody. Whatever could over ; 'the plough was nearing the end of the fur- be grouped and described, whatever was visible and row.' 'About half-past one, P. M.,' says Mr Lock- tangible, lay within his reach. Below the surface hart, on the 21st of September 1832, Sir Walter he had less power. The language of the heart was breathed his last, in the presence of all his children. | not his familiar study; the passions did not obey It was a beautiful day-80 warm that every window his call. The contrasted effects of passion and situa. was wide open and so perfectly still that the sound tion he could portray vividly and distinctly-the sin of all others most delicious to his ear, the gentle and suffering of Constance, the remorse of Marmion ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles, was distinctly and Bertram, the pathetic character of Wilfrid, audible as we knelt around the bed, and his eldest the knightly grace of Fitz-James, and the rugged son kissed and closed his eyes.'

virtues and savage death of Roderick Dhu, are all

fine specimens of moral painting. Byron has nothing Call it not vain; they do not err

better, and indeed the noble poet in some of his tales Who say, that when the poet dies,

copied or paraphrased the sterner passages of Scott. Mute nature mourns her worshipper,

But even in these gloomy and powerful traits of And celebrates his obsequies ;

his genius, the force lies in the situation, not in the Who say tall cliff and cavern lone,

thoughts and expression. There are no talismanic For the departed bard make moan;

words that pierce the heart or usurp the memory; That mountains weep in crystal rill;

none of the impassioned and reflective style of That flowers in tears of balm distil;

Byron, the melodious pathos of Campbell, or the Through his loved groves that breezes sigh,

profound sympathy of Wordsworth. The great And oaks, in deeper groans, reply ;

strength of Scott undoubtedly lay in the prolific And rivers teach their rushing wave

richness of his fancy, and the abundant stores of his To murmur dirges round his grave.

Lay of the Last Minstrel. memory, that could create, collect, and arrange such

a multitude of scenes and adventures; that could The novelty and originality of Scott's style of find materials for stirring and romantic poetry in poetry, though exhausted by himself, and debased the most minute and barren antiquarian details ; by imitators, formed his first passport to public and that could reanimate the past, and paint the favour and applause. The English reader had to present, in scenery and manners with a vividness go back to Spenser and Chaucer ere he could find and energy unknown since the period of Homer. so knightly and chivalrous a poet, or such paintings The 'Lay of the Last Minstrel’ is a Border story of antique manners and institutions. The works of of the sixteenth century, related by a minstrel, the the elder worthies were also obscured by a dim and last of his race. The character of the aged minstrel, obsolete phraseology ; while Scott, in expression, sen- and that of Margaret of Branksome, are very finely timent, and description, could be read and under-drawn: Deloraine, a coarse Border chief, or mossstood by all. The perfect clearness and transparency trooper, is also a vigorous portrait; and in the of his style is one of his distinguishing features; and description of the march of the English army, the it was further aided by his peculiar versification. | personal combat with Musgrave, and the other Coleridge had exemplified the fitness of the octo- feudal accessories of the piece, we have finished syllabic measure for romantic narrative poetry, and pictures of the olden time. The goblin page is no parts of his Christabel' having been recited to favourite of ours, except in so far as it makes the Scott, he adopted its wild rhythm and harmony, story more accordant with the times in which it is joining to it some of the abruptness and irregularity placed. The introductory lines to each canto form of the old ballad metre. In his hands it became a an exquisite setting to the dark feudal tale, and powerful and flexible instrument, whether for light / tended greatly to cause the popularity of the poem. narrative and pure description, or for scenes of The minstrel is thus described :tragie wildness and terror, such as the trial and death of Constance in • Marmion,' or the swell and The way was long, the wind was cold, agitation of a battle-field. The knowledge and en The minstrel was infirm and old; thusiasm requisite for a chivalrous poet Scott pos His withered cheek and tresses gray, sessed in an eminent degree. He was an early wor Seemed to have known a better day ; shipper of hoar-antiquity. He was in the maturity The harp, his sole remaining joy, of his powers (thirty-four years of age) when the Was carried by an orphan boy. Lay was published, and was perhaps better in The last of all the bards was he formed on such subjects than any other man living. Who sung of Border chivalry; Border story and romance had been the study and For, well-a-day! their date was fil; the passion of his whole life. In writing ‘Marmion' His tuneful brethren all were dead; and ‘Ivanhoe,' or in building Abbotsford, he was And he, neglected and oppressed, impelled by a natural and irresistible impulse. The Wished to be with them, and at rest. baronial castle, the court and camp—the wild High No more on prancing palfry borne, land chase, feud, and foray-the antique blazonry, l. He carolled, light as lark at morn;

Still as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as to me, of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left;
And thus I love them better still,
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow's stream still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way;
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,
Although it chill my withered cheek;
Still lay my head by Teviot stone,
Though there, forgotten and alone,
The bard may draw his parting groan.

Marmion' is a tale of Flodden Field, the fate of the hero being connected with that memorable engagement. The poem does not possess the unity and completeness of the Lay, but if it has greater faults, it has also greater beauties. Nothing can be more strikingly picturesque than the two opening stanzas of this romance:

No longer courted and caressed,
High placed in hall a welcome guest,
He poured to lord and lady gay
The unpremeditated lay:
Old times were changed, old manners gone;
A stranger filled the Stuart's throne;
The bigots of the iron time
Had called his harmless art a crime.
A wandering harper, scorned and poor,
He begged his bread from door to door,
And tuned to please a peasant's ear,

The harp a king had loved to hear. Not less picturesque are the following passages, which instantly became popular :

[Description of Melrose Abbey.] If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moonlight; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray. When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafted oriel glimmers white; When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruined central tower; When buttress and buttress, alternately, Seem framed of ebon and ivory; When silver edges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die; When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave, Then go-but go alone the while Then view St David's ruined pile ; And, home returning, soothly swear, Was never scene so sad and fair! The moon on the east oriel shone, Through slender shafts of shapely stone,

By foliaged tracery combined;
Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand
'Twixt poplars straight the ozier wand,

In many a freakish knot, had twined;
Then framed a spell, when the work was done,
And changed the willow wreaths to stone.

The silver light, so pale and faint,
Showed many a prophet and many a saint.

Whose image on the glass was dyed ;
Full in the midst, his cross of red
Triumphant Michael brandished,

And trampled the apostate's pride.
The moonbeam kissed the holy pane,
And threw on the pavement a bloody stain,

(Love of Country.)
Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land !
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
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 bis name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf.
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.

O Caledonia ! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child !
Land of brown heath and sbaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band
l'hat knits me to thy rugged strand !

Day set on Norham's castled steep,
And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,

And Cheviot's mountains lone;
The battled towers, the donjon keep,
The loop-hole grates where captives weep,
The flanking walls that round it sweep,

In yellow lustre shone.
The warriors on the turrets high,
Moving athwart the evening sky,

Seemed forms of giant height;
Their armour, as it caught the rays.
Flashed back again the western blaze,

In lines of dazzling light.
St George's banner, broad and gay,
Now faded, as the fading ray

Less bright, and less, was flung;
The evening gale had scarce the power
To wave it on the donjon tower,

So heavily it hung.
The scouts had parted on their search,

The castle gates were barred;
Above the gloomy portal arch,
Timing his footsteps to a march,

The warder kept his guard,
Low humming, as he paced along,

Some ancient border-gathering song. The same minute painting of feudal times characterises both poems, but by a strange oversight (soon seen and regretted by the author) the hero is made to commit the crime of forgery, a crime unsuited to a chivalrous and half-civilized age. The battle of Flodden, and the death of Marmion, are among Scott's most spirited descriptions. The former is related as seen from a neighbouring hill; and the progress of the action-the hurry, impetuosity, and confusion of the fight below, as the different armies rally or are repulsed- is given with such animation, that the whole scene is brought before the reader with the vividness of reality. The first tremendous onset is thus dashed off, with inimitable power, by the mighty minstrel :

[Battle of Plodden.] • But see! look up-on Flodden bent, The Scottish foe has fired his tent.'

And sudden as he spoke,
From the sharp ridges of the bill,
All downward to the banks of Till,

Was wreathed in sable smoke; Volumed and vast, and rolling far, The cloud enveloped Scotland's war,

As down the hill they broke;

« НазадПродовжити »