Lullaby of an Infant Chief 47°

Pihroch of Donald Dhu 471

Nora's Vow ib.

Mac-Gregor's Gathering 47a

Donald Caird "s come again . ib.

Hackrimmon's Lament 473

On Ettrick Forest's mountains dun . . ib.

The Sun upon the Weirdiaw-hill . . ib.

The Maid of Isla 474

The Foray ib.

The Monks of Bangor's March .... ib.

The Search after Happiness; or the Quest of

Sultaun Solimaun 475

The Poacher 478

The Dance of Death 479

Farewell to the Muse 4^°

Epitaph on Mi's Erskine . ... . . ib.

Mr Kemblf's Farewell Address, on taking
leave of the Edinburgh Stage . . /}8i

Epilogue to The Appeal ib.

Song—Oh say not, my love, with that morti-

fied air ib.

The Palmer ib.

The Maid of Neidpath 482

Wandering Willie ib.

Hunting-song—Waken, lords and ladies gay 483

The Violet ib.

To a Lady, with flowers from a Roman wall ib.

The Bard'.s Incantation, written under the

threat of invasion, in the autumn of 1804. ib.
The Resolve (in imitation of an old English
poem) 484

Epitaph designed for a monument in Lichfield
Cathedral, at the Burial Place of the Family
of Miss Seward ib.

The Return to Ulster 485

On the Massacre of Glencoe .... ib.

Prologue to Miss Baillies play of the Family
Legend ib.

Farewell Jo Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail

(from the Gaelic) 486

Imitation of the preceding song . . . ib.

War-song of Lachlan, High Chief of Maclean

(from the Gaelic) . . . . . . 487

Saint-Cloud (written in September, i8i5) . ib.

Romance of Duuois (from the French) . . ib.

The Troubadour ....'... 488

From the French—It chanced that Cupid on
a season ib.

Song, for the Anniversary Meeting of the Pitt

Club of Scotland ib.

Song, on the lifting of the Banner of the

house of Bucrleugh, at a great Football-

Match on Cartcrhaugh ib.

Impromptu, to M. Alexandre .... 489

The Figures between parentheses, thus. (1) refer tn Notts at the end of each Poem; tltosi
marked thus, to Notes at the bottom of the page.

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Sik Waltfk Sc*>tt, descended from one of the ■ou ancient families of Scotland—the Scotls of Harden, is the eldest surviving son of a gentleman of the same name, who was an eminent , writer to the signet at Edinburgh, where the taltft-ct of this sketch was horn, August 1 :>, i--i- His mother, Mrs Elizabeth Scott, was the daughter of David Rutherford, Esq., writer to ihc signet, from whom she obtained a ■untisome fortune. She was a woman of great virtue and accomplishments, with a good taste for poetry, as apj>eared from some of her prodnctioos, which were deemed worthy of being primed after her death, in 1789. Walter, from 1 the tenderness of his constitution, and the circaawtaace of his lameness, occasioned by a fall t'r «u his nurse's arm.-; at two years of agf, was in a great measure brought up at home, under the immediate care and instruction of this excellent parent, to whom he was much attached taroogh life, and whose loss be sincerely lamented. Of hi* early pursuits little is known, except that he evinced a genius for drawing landscapes after nature.—At a proper age he was scut to tar Hi{;h School at Edinburgh, then directed by l>r Alexander Adam. In this school, young -*wtt |>atted through the different forms with■at exhibiting any of those extraordinary l« *fr» of genius, which are seldom reniemher.-d till the person to whom they are ascribed ha* become, by the maturity of his talents, an abject of distinction. It is said, that he wasconvArrM in his boyhood rather heavy than otherwise, and that Uie late Or Hugh lilair had disat enough to predict his future eminence, 1 the master of the school lamented his dul•ru; bat this only affords another instance of Dw fallacy of human opinion in pronouncing - aj*m the real capacity of the youthful under1 wand wig.' Barrow, the greatest schol.ir of his *£«■. wu* discarded as a blockhead by successive teachers; and his pupil, the illustrious Newton,

1 * The prediction of Dr Blsir, here alluded in. arose out 'A the followiop « ircumstances. Shortly after Dr Paterson

, narrredrd lo lb* grammar-school, Musselburgh, where Walter Scott wu a short time*pupil, rlbur, accompanied

> by Mm friends, paid hitn a visit; in the course of whi<:h

J be eiamuml several of his pupils, arid paid particular

was declared to be fit for nothing but to drive the team, till some friends succeeded in getting him transplanted to college.

Having completed his classical studies at the High School, with as much reputation, we suppose, as others of his standing, Walter Scott was removed to the I Diversity of Ediuburgh, where, also, he passed the classes in a similar manner.

His continuance here, however, could not have been long; for, after serving the prescribed terms in the oflice of a writer to the signet, he was admitted an advocate of the Scotch bar, when he had not quite attained the age of twenty-one.— Erom this time to the year 1798, his life appears to have passed in a devoted attention to his professional duties, mindful of the adwee,

Not to pen stamas when he should engross.

At the last-mentioned date he entered into the matrimonial state with Miss Carpeuter,hy whom he has four children. At the close of the year following, he received the appointment of .'sheriff-Depute of the county of SelkirL; and in March, 1806, he was named one of the principal clerks of Session in Scotland. With regard to this last preferment, it should be observed that his warrant, though drawn, had not passed the seals when the death of Mr Pitt produced an eutire change in the ministry. The appointment of Mr Scott had been effected through the friendship of Lord Melville, who was then actually under impeachment. This circumstance seemed very ominous against the confirmation of the nomination; but, fortunately for Mr Scott, the new ministry consisted of such men as the late Mr Eox, Sheridan, Lord Erskiue, and the Marquis of I-ansdowue, with several others attached to literature and philosophy; and, in a manner that did them infinite honour, they made no objection to the advancement of their poetical opponent. Thus, as a witty friend remarked, this appointment was the • last Lay of the old Ministry.*

attention to ynuiif; Scott. Dr Patercou thought it was the youth's stupidity that engaged the doctor's notire, and said, «My predecessor tells me, that hoy has the thickest skull in the school.* « May he so,w replied Dr Blair, « but through that thick skull I can discern many bright rays of future geriius.»

Released now from the drudgery of professional labour, by (lie acquisition of two lucrative situations, and the possession of a handsome estate through the death of bis father and that of an uncle, Mr Scott was enabled to court the Muses at bis pleasure, and to indulge in a variety of literary pursuits without interruption.— His first publications were translations from the German, at a time when the wildest productions of that country were much sought after iu England, owing to the recent appearance of that horrible story of Lenora of Burger. The very year when different versions of that tale came out, and some of these highly ornamented, Mr Scott produced two German ballads in an English dress, entitled, - The Wild Huntsmen," and « William and Helen.*

These little pieces, however, were not originally intended for the press, being nothing more than exercises in the way of amusement, till a friend, to whom they were shown, prevailed upon the author to publish thorn, and at the same time contributed the preface. Three years elapsed before MY Scott ventured to appear again in print, when he produced another translation from the German, • Goetz of Berlichiogen,» a tragedy, by Goethe. Two years afterwards the late Matthew Gregory (commonly called Monk) Lewis, enriched his « Tales of Wonder ■ with two ballads communicated to Itim by our author, one entitled « The Eve of Saint John,* and the other * Glcnfinlas.*

In iHoa his first great work, « The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,* came out, beautifully printed ut Kelso, by Ballantync. This collection immediately arrested general attention, and though the pieces of which it is composed are very unequal, the master-mind and soaring genius of the poet are conspicuous throughout.

The studies of our author at this time were entirely antiquarian. He lived and breathed only among the knights, the heroes, the monks, and robbers of olden time; the feats of chivalry, and the rough heroism of northern warfare and border feuds, were the scenes in which his soul delighted to dwell. He drank deeply of the stream of history as it darkly Howed over the middle ages, and his spirit seemed for a time to be imbued with the mysteries, the superstitions, ami the romantic valour which characterised the theu chieftains of the nor (A count He.

liis next production was ■ Sir Tristram, a metrical romance of the thirteenth century, by Thomas of ErcMdoun,* printed iu i8o{. Still, however, Mr Scott may be said as yet to have been only rising iu fame: but he soon gained enough to have intoxicated an ordinary mind in the applause bestowed upon his ■ Lay of the last

Minstrel,* which appeared, iu quarto, in i8o5.— The following year he published a collection of « Ballads and Lyrical Pieces. ■ Shortly after this, public expectation was raised by the promise of a poem, on the perfection of which the bard was said to labour as for immortality. Accordingly, in 1808, appeared « Marmion, a tale of Flodden Eield,* which the author himself has characterised as « containing the b«t and the worst poetry he has ever written.*

The same year Mr Scott favoured the world with a complete edition of the Works of Dryden, in which he gave a new life of that great writers and numerous notes. But this was not the only instance of the fecundity of his genius and the rapidity of his pen, for, while these volumes were proceeding through the press, he found time for a quarto of • Descriptions and Illustrations of the Lay of the Last Minstrel.*

Within a few months after this he undertook, at the request of the booksellers, the superintendence of a new edition of Lorxl Somers's collection of Historical Tracts; nod at the same time edited Sir Ralph Sadler's State Papers, and Anua Seward's Poetical Works. Yet the very year in which these List publications appeared witnessed the birth of another original offspring of his prolific muse. This was « The I.adv of the Lake,* the most popular of all his poems, though, in the opinion of many, inferior in several respects to his « Lay of the Last Minstrel.*

« The Vision of Don Roderick* appeared in 1811, and was intended by its author to commemorate the achievements of the Duke of Wellington and the British army iu Spain. This poem is considered a complete failure.

• Bokeby • was published in I8i?-i3. It comprises, in an eminent degree, all the beauties and all the defects of our poet's muse.

In 1Hj4 ■ The Lord of the Isles* appeared, but failed to excite equal interest with most of its predecessors. This is the last grand original poern of the northern bard.

In the last-mentioned year he also published a prose work, entitled, ■ The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland, with Descriptions and Illustrations,* and brought out a new edition of Swift, with a biographical memoir and annotations.

These were followed by two performances, one in prose and the other iu verse, the first entitled • Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk,* and the other - The Battle of Waterloo.*

As an instance of the popularity of Scott's poems, we subjoin a statement of the sale of ■ Bokeby* and -The lady of the Lake,- in nearly four months, as submitted by the publisher*.

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Wtihall now attempt to offer a few critical •tmrralions 0n the three most deservedly popuU- (arms of Walter Scott, viz. The Lay of the 1 La Mimtrtl, Marmion, and The Lady of the


ThtLtT or The Last Minstrel is an endeavour *n»^ertbe refinements of modern poetry to ^irjtieraod the manner of the ancient metriJmojocc. The author, enamoured of the lofty ■WHof chivalry, and partial to the strains in ■s*a they were formerly embodied, employed ivi* resources of his genius in endeavouring to r-a, linn to the favour aud admiration of the pHic, and in adapting to the taste of modern *^*n a species of poetry, which was once the "piof the courtly, but which lias long ceased 'iUden any other eyes than those of the scholia! the antiquary. This is a romance, there"imposed by a minstrel of the present day, '*i a romance as we may suppose would have "iritien in modern times, if that style of -■nostion had been cultivated, and partaken, 'J^atntly, of the improvements which every ■■a of literature has received since the time •'* desertion. 'pan ibis supposition, it was evidently the au•'lUsiness to retain all that was good, and * "ject all that was bad, in the models upon T"i he was to form himself; adding, at the ■"tine, all the interest and the beauty which *J possibly be assimilated to the manner and spntof hit original. It was his duty, therefore, •-rHwta the rambling, obscure, aud iuterminawaarrativesof the ancient romancers,— to mo*>n ilicir digressions,—to abridge or retrench "wproliior needless descriptions,—and to exP^e altogether those feeble and prosaic pas*P- the rude stupidity of which is so apt to ^■e the derision of a modern reader: at the ** >i«K he was to rival, if he could, the force "• Wacity of their minute and varied repre•"atiooj—tlie cliaracteristic simplicity of their ."irtsof Buliners —the energy and conciseness

with which they frequently describe great events —and the lively colouring and accurate drawing by which they give the effect of reality to every scene they undertake to delineate. In executing this arduous task, he was permitted to avail himself of all the variety of slyle aud manner which had been sanctioned by the ancient practice, and bound to embellish bis performance with all the graces of diction and versification which could be reconciled to the simplicity and familiarity of the minstrel's song.

The success which attended Mr Scott's efforts in the execution of this adventurous essay is well known; — he produced a very beautiful and entertaining poem, in a style which might fairly be considered as original, and the public approbation afforded the most flattering evidence of the genius of the author. Perhaps, indeed, his partiality for the strains of antiquity imposed a little upon the severity of his judgment, and impaired the beauty of bis imitation, by directing his attention rather to what was characteristic, than to what was unexceptionable in his originals. Though he spared too many of their faults, bowever, he improved upon their beauties, and while it was regretted by many, that the feuds of border chieftains should have monopolized as much poetrj as might have served to immortalize the whole baronage of the empire, yet it produced a stronger inclination to admire the iuterest and magnificence which he contrived to communicate to a subject so unpromising.

Marmio.n has more tedious and flat passages, and more ostentation of historical and antiquarian lore, than its predecessor, but it has also greater richness and variety, both of character and incident; and, if it lias less sweetness and pathos in the softer passages, it has certainly more vehemence and force of colouring in the loftier and busier representations of action and emotion. The place of the prologuizing minstrel is but ill supplied, indeed, by the epistolary dissertations which are prefixed to each book of this poem ; but there is more airiness aud spirit in the lighter delineations, and the story, if not more skilfully conducted, is at least better complicated, and extended through a wider field of adventure. The characteristics of both, however, are evidently the same; — a broken narrative — a redundancy of minute description—bursts of unequal and energetic poetry—and a general tone of spirit and animation, unchecked by timidity or affectation, and unchastencd by any great delicacy of taste, or elegance of fancy.

The Lady Of The Lake is more polished in its diction, and more regular in its. versification, than the author's preceding poems; the story is constructed with infinitely more skill aud address1;

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