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PROFESSOR IN ENGLISH LITERATURE.
EDITOR OF GEORGE ELIOT's “ SILAS MARNER."
APPLEGATE, SURGEON," ETC.
SIBLEY & COMPANY
The prolific genius of Walter Scott has seldom had a parallel. Under the stress of grief and need, Johnson composed Rasselas in a week. Lope de Vega wrote whole dramas in a day, and exhibited something of the marvellous uniform capacity for composition in both quality and quantity that characterized the great Scotch romance writer. But Walter Scott was also a singular example of versatility, - a gift, indeed, which is seldom attended by either profundity or great achievement. Scotland's revealer, however, while not highly original or philosophical in conception, was notably and meritoriously successful as poet and romancist; if not profound, he was highly dramatic in his instincts and writings. He left to his contemporaries and posterity poems and tales which will always place him among the foremost masters in English literature of the nineteenth century. He covered the whole field of Scotch folk-lore in which Macpherson and Bishop Percy were worthy pioneers.
In preparing “ Marmion” for the “Students' Series of English Classics,” the editor, conscious of the mass of information open to the general reader concerning Scott's life from its beginning to its close, has deemed it best to confine herself — by means of compilation chiefly, from the author himself and his sympathetic biographer, Lockhart — to a picture of the poet's literary development and bias till the time of the publication of “Marmion.” This sketch is supplemented by a synopsis of the leading subsequent events in Scott's life. The notes also include, as far as possible consistently with this edition, the poet's own notes. The editor has endeavored to make her annotation of the poem so complete that the student will find works of reference unnecessary; and it is therefore her earnest hope that the present edition will be found eminently suitable, not only for college preparatory examinations, but also for study in high schools and seminaries. She has also thought it advisable to present, continuously, first the poem proper of Marmion, and secondly the six epistles.
MARY HARRIOTT NORRIS.
NEW YORK, AUGUST, 1891.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
WALTER Scott, one of a family of twelve children, was born in Edinburgh, Aug. 15, 1771. He died at Abbotsford, Sept. 21, 1832.
"Every Scottishman has a pedigree. It is a national prerogative as unalienable as his pride and his poverty. My birth was neither distinguished nor sordid. According to the prejudices of my country, it was esteemed gentle, as I was connected, though remotely, with ancient families both by my father's and my mother's side.” Autobiography.
[During Walter Scott's second year, owing to the loss of power in his right leg, he was sent to the country, to his grandfather's farm of Sandy-Knowe.]
“It is here at Sandy-Knowe, in the residence of my paternal grandfather, that I have the first consciousness of existence. ... The local information, which I conceive had some share in forming my future tastes and pursuits, I derived from the old songs and tales which then formed the amusement of a retired country family. The ballad of Hardyknute I was early master of."