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I. A GUIDE TO THE STUDY OF SIR WALTER SCOTT.
A CHRONOLOGICAL SURVEY OF HIS LIFE.
Border ancestry. Birth at Edinburgh, August 15, 1771. Precocious imagination ; education at Edinburgh High School and University. Unsuccessful attempts at law. Publication of first poem, 1796. Marriage, 1797. Publication of first novel, 1814. Establishment of Abbotsford. Travels. Baronetcy, 1820. Publication of histories. Bankruptcy and paralysis. Death at Abbotsford, September 21, 1832. Tomb at Dryburgh Abbey.
CHIEF ROMANTIC POEMS.
The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), a story of Scottish Border warfare. Marmion (1808), a tale of Flodden Field.
The Lady of the Lake (1810), a romance relating to Ellen Douglas.
TEN SELECTED NOVELS. Waverley (1814), a historical romance recounting the adventures of a Scotch hero in the service of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.
The Antiquary (1816), a story presenting two of Scott's best character sketches, in the portrayals of Jonathan Oldbuck and Edie Ochiltree, a Scottish mendicant of the 18th century.
Old Mortality (1816), a historical novel, so called because of the nickname given to the central character; he spent his time in restoring the gravestones of the Covenanters.
Rob Roy (1817), a novel narrating the adventures of the famous freebooter, MacGregor, “the foe of the rich and the friend of the poor.”
The Heart of Midlothian (1818), a romance of the Tolbooth, a famous prison in Edinburgh. The story has for its central figure one of Scott's most attractive heroines.
Ivanhoe (1819), a historical romance, whose graphic scenes are laid in England when Richard Cæur de Lion was king:
The Abbot (1820), a novel founded upon incidents in the history of Mary, Queen of Scots; a sequel to The Monastery.
Kenilworth (1821), a historical romance introducing Queen Elizabeth and her favorite courtier, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
The Talisman (1825), a novel whose scene is laid in Palestine in the time of the Crusades. Richard Cour de Lion and Saladin are leading characters.
Woodstock (1826), a novel that well illustrates Scott's partiality for the Stuart family. Oliver Cromwell figures as a leading character.
A GROUP OF HIS FRIENDS.
James Hogg (1770-1835).
A FEW BIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES.
Life of Sir Walter Scott, by John Gibson Lockhart.
Sir Walter Scott, a short biography, by R. H. Hutton (English Men of Letters Series).
Homes and Haunts of the British Poets, Vol. II., by William Howitt.
The Lands of Scott, by J. F. Hunnewell.
II. SCOTT THE POET.
Scott the poet has been characterized as the latest minstrel, the last voice of the Old World, akin to Homer. Not the thoughts of men, but the deeds of heroes, constitute the chief material of his stirring poems. Scottish memories of a hot-blooded past delighted him, and he well understood the limit of his power, when he referred to his “hurried frankness of poetic composition, which pleases soldiers, sailors, and young people of bold and active dispositions." A romantic story he loved to tell, –
“Of lovers' sleights, of ladies' charms,
Of witches' spells and warriors' arms." Several circumstances contributed to foster Scott's adventure-loving spirit: His ancestors had, in their time, numbered many a hard rider along the English Border, and more than one of his clan had known how to handle a sword with as much skill as did Roderick Dhu. Likewise, the first eight years of the poet's life tended to develop a natural appreciation of the romantic. He was a sturdy little lad, but because of his lameness, he was sent from his Edinburgh home to his grandfather's farm, where it was thought that he might be cured by the outdoor life. This locality abounded in legends of the Border Country, and it was his chief delight