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Keep. It is not food: I bring wherewith, my lord,
Ed. And let it enter! it shall not be stopp'd.
Keep. My lord, the winter now creeps on apace :
Ed. Glanc'd to the up-risen sun! Ay, such fair morns,
Keep. Yes, my good lord, the cold chill year advances, Therefore I pray you, let me close that wall.
Ed. I tell thee no, man; if the north air bites, Bring me a cloak. Where is thy dog to day? a
Keep. Indeed I wonder that he came not with me. As he is wont.
Ed. Bring him, I pray thee, when thou com’st agailu He wags his tail and looks up to my face With the assured kindliness of one Who has not injured me.
SIR WALTER SCOTT. It has been said it is a happy circumstance for us of the nineteenth century, that we live in the age of the author of Waverly. At the time this remark was made, the author of Waverly was unknown. For more than ten years the press at Edinburgh sent forth a succession of novels, which entertained the whole reading world. Waverly was the first of these charming books, and the author studiously concealed himself from the curiosity of the public. The author of Waverly was rightly suspected to be Walter Scott. About the year 1905, the Lay of the Last Minstrel was published. This poem was acknowledged to be the production of Mr. Scott. He is a native of Scotland, curious in the antiquities of that country, and has long been known for his researches into Scottish poetry, for his talent of general criticism, and his · poetic invention.
After the publication of the Lay, Scott wrote Marmioni, and several other metrical romances of extraordinary beauty. The novels before mentioned bear me..y re. semblances to the poems, and on these resemblances was founded the presumption that the poet was also the novelist. All conjecture upon this subject has been put at rest, by the declaration of Sir Walter Scott that he is in truth the author of Waverly.
This great poet has with much propriety been compared with Shakspeare. “Shakspeare,” says Mr. Campbell,"lived in an age within the verge of chivalry, an age overflowing with chivalrous and romantic reading; he was led by his vocation to have daily recourse to that kind of reading; he dwelt on the spot which gave him constant access to it, and was in habitual intercourse with men of genius."
Sir Walter Scott has lived now that the “age of chivalry is gone;" but his country overflows with romantic reading and traditions, and his genius seems to have taken its inspirations and the subjects of invention chiefly from these sources from the states of society, the character and
sentimeats of men of various ranks, as they are recorded to have existed under the influences of the feudal state, and the times immediately succeeding ; like Shakspeare, he has the talent each change of many-coloured life to draw, to move laughter and to excite tears. The parallelism between these great men, however, applies rather to the attributes of their genius than to their fortune in life. Mediocrity of fortune, and a moderate estimate of his talents, was all the outward meed awarded to Shakspeare by his contemporaries.
Homer says of poets, they are regarded as divine beings, “far as the sun displays his vital fire.”— But few poets have the happiness to live in the “ blaze of their fame” as Scott has done. Wherever English is read, there the poems and the novels of the immortal Northern Minstrel are known; and from every region where they are known, the tribute of praise and admiration is offered to him. On the accession of George IV. the present king of England, (1820) one . of the first acts of his reign was to bestow on Mr. Scott the rank of baronet, and he has since been known as Sir Walter Scott. The pecuniary profit derived to him from his works has been great, and the distinguished minds of his time have looked up to him as the first of living men.
The Lay of the Last Minstrel consists of a tale in verse, supposed to be recited by a wandering minstrel who took refuge in the castle of Anne, Dutchess 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.
The minstrel recites to the Dutchess, and her ladies, a story of her ancestors.
THE LAST MINSTREL.
The harp, his sole remaining joy, Was carried by an orphan boy.
The last of all the bards was he, Who sung of border chivalry. For, well-a-day! their date was fled, His tuneful brethren all were dead; And he, neglected and oppressed, Wished to be with them and at rest. No more, on prancing palfrey borne, He caroll'd light as lark at morn; No longer courted and caress'd, High plac'd in hall, a welcome guest, He pour'd to lord and lady gay, The unpremeditated lay : Old times were chang’d, old manners gone ; A stranger fill'd the Stuart's throne; The bigots of the iron time Had call'd his harmless art a crime. A wandering Harper, scorn'd and poor, He begg'd his bread from door to door ; And tun'd, to please a peasant's ear, The harp, a king had lov'd to hear.
He pass'd where Newark's stately tower Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower: The minstrel gaz'd with wishful eyeNo humbler resting-place was nigh. With hesitating step at last, The embattl'd portal-arch he pass'd, Whose pondrous grate and massy bar Had oft roll'd back the tide of war, But never clos'd the iron door Against the desolate and poor. The Dutchess mark'd his weary pace, His timid mein, and reverend face, And bade her page the menjals tell, That they should tend the old man well: For she had known adversity, Though born in such a high degree;
In pride of power, in beauty's bloom,
When kindness had his wants supplied,
The humble boon was soon obtain'd; The aged Minstrel audience gain’d. But when he reach'd the room of state, Where she, with all her ladies, sate, 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 brainHe tried to tune his harp in vain. The pitying Dutchess prais’d its chime, And gave himn 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 recall 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;