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Since the publication of this work, in addition to the Novels mentioned in their proper place, Sir Walter Scott has published three Series of Tales of a Grandfather, being stories selected from Scottish History, and told in an easy unpretending style; this work is principally intended for youth, and is both interesting and amusing, though in many parts too strongly tinctured with the political feelings and prejudices of the author, to deserve unqualified praise as an historical work. He has also written a small History of Scotland for Dr Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopedia, which although necessarily merely an epitome, is a work of judgment and merit; a small volume entitled, - Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, - addressed to Mr Lockhart; and two Religious Discourses, origitally given to a young friend in manuscript, but subsequently published. His iniscellaneous works, such as songs, biographical sketches, and articles in periodical publications, particularly the Edinburgh, Quarterly, and Foreign Quarterly Reviews, Blackwood's Magazine, Ballantyne's • Sale-Room,”
Napoleon,” in which the general's fidelity to his late tilled master is more than called in question. To this charge the general, in a long letter inserted in the Paris journals, has given the “lie direct,” and termed the whole work a romance. Sir Walter has since published a spirited reply in the English newspapers, and produced copies of the official documents, etc., on which the passages in disaussion were founded.
and some of the annuals, are too numerous to be particularised, even were it possible to ascertain thein correctly. Some of these scattered pieces, particularly two stories in prose, written for the • Keepsake,” and the Essay on Molière, inserted in the Foreign Quarterly Review, have been reprinted in a small duodecimo volume by Messrs Galignani. The family of Sir Walter Scott consists of two daughters, Sophia and Ann (the eldest of whom is married to Mr John Gibson Lockhart, author of Adam Blair, Reginald Dalton, and Matthew Wald), and two sons, one a captain in the 10th Hussars, and the other a student at Oxford. We cannot better conclude this sketch than by quoting the following paragraph from the Edinburgh Journal, which records an incident equally honourable to both parties concerned in it:• At the meeting of the creditors of Sir Walter Scott, held at Edinburgh on the 17th of December, 1830, the following resolution was unanimously passed :—That Sir Walter Scott be requested to accept of his furniture, plate, linen, paintings, library, and curiosities of every description, as the best means the creditors have of expressing their very high sense of his most honourable conduct, and in grateful acknowledgment for the unparalleled and most successful exertions he has made, and continues to make for them.”
The poem now offered to the public is intended to illustrate the customs and manners which anciently prevailed on the Borders of England and Scotland. The inhabitants, living in a state partly pastoral and partly warlike, and combining habits of constant depredition with the influence of a rude spirit of chivalry, were often engaged in scenes highly susceptible of poetical ornament. As the description of scenery and manners was more the object of the author than a combined and regular narrative, the plan of the ancient metrical romance was adopted, which allows greater latitude, in this respect, than would be consistent with the dignity of a regular poem. The same model offered other facilities, as it permits an occasional alteration of measure, which, in some degree, authorises the change of rhythm in the text. The machinery also, adopted from popular belief, would have seemed puerile in a poem which did not partake of the rudenew of the old ballad or metrical romance.
For these reasons, the poem was put into the mouth cf an ancient minstrel, the last of the race, who, as he is supposed to have survived the Revolution, might have caught somewhat of the refinement of modern poetry, without losing the simplicity of his original model. The date of the Tale itself is about the middle of the sixteenth century, when most of the personages *inally flourished. The time occupied by the action "three nights and three days.
The way was long, the wind was cold,
The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye–
When kindness had his wants supplied, And the old man was gratified, Began to rise his minstrel pride : And he began to talk anon, Of good Earl Francis,” dead and gone, And of Earl Walter, 3 rest him God! A braver ne'er to battle rode; And how full many a tale he knew Of the old warriors of Buccleuch; And, would the noble duchess deign To listen to an old man's strain, Though stiff his hand, his voice though weak, He thought, even yet, the sooth to speak, That, if she loved the harp to hear, He could make music to her ear.
The humble boon was soon obtain'd; The aged Minstrel audience gain'd. But when he reach d the room of sate, Where she with all her ladies state, Perchance he wish d his boon denied : For when to tune his harp he tried, His trembling hand had lost the ease Which marks security to please; And scenes, long past, of joy and pain, Came wildering o'er his aged brain– He tried to tune his harp in vain. The pitying duchess praised its chime, And gave him heart, and gave him time, Till every string's according glee Was blended into harmony. And then he said, he would full fain He could recal an ancient strain, He never thought to sing again. It was not framed for village churls, But for high dames and mighty earls; He had play'd it to King Charles the Good, When he kept court in Holyrood; And much he wish'd, yet fear'd to try The long-forgotten melody. Amid the strings his fingers stray'd, And an uncertain warbling made, And oft he shook his hoary head.
* Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, representative of the ancient lords of Buccleuch, and widow of the unfortunate
James, Duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded in 1685. * Francis Scott, Earl of Buccleuch, father to the duchess.
• Walter, Earl of Buccleuch, grandfather to the duchess, and a
But when he caught the measure wild,
LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.
- I. The feast was over in Branksome tower, (1) And the Ladye had gone to her secret bower; Her bower that was guarded by word and by spell, Deadly to hear and deadly to tell— Jesu Maria shield us well No living wight, save the Ladye alone, Had dared to cross the threshold stone.
ii. The tables were drawn, it was idlesse all; Knight, and page, and household squire, Loiter'd through the lofty hall, Or crowded round the ample fire. The stag-hounds, weary with the chace, Lay stretch'd upon the rushy floor, And urged in dreams the forest race, From Teviot-stone to Eskdale-moor.
Nine-and-twenty knights of fame
Hunt; their shields in Branksome-hall; (2) Nine-and-twenty squires of name
Brought them their steeds from bower to stall; Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall Waited duteous on them all : They were all knights of mettle true, Kinsmen to the bold Buccleuch.
IV. Ten of them were sheathed in steel, With belted sword, and spur on heel: They quitted not their harness bright, Neither by day, nor yet by night: They lay down to rest With corslet laced, Pillow'd on buckler cold and hard; They carved at the meal With gloves of steel, And they drank the red wine through the helmet barr'd.