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of it, "The force of The Lay is thrown on style, of Marmion on description, and of The Lady of the Lake on incident." The verdict of Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review, is usually considered final. "It is more polished in its diction, and more regular in its versification; the story is constructed with infinitely more skill and address; there is a greater proportion of pleasing and tender passages with much less antiquarian detail; and upon the whole, a larger variety of characters, more artfully and judiciously contrasted. There is nothing so fine, perhaps, as the battle in Marmion, or so picturesque as some of the scattered sketches in The Lay; but there is a richness and a spirit in the whole piece which does not pervade either of those poems, a profusion of incident and a shifting brilliancy of coloring that reminds us of the witchery of Ariosto, and a constant elasticity and occasional energy which seems to belong more peculiarly to the author now before us." Such passages as the picturing of the glen at sunset in the first canto, of Ellen in the same, of the gathering and preparation of the Fiery Cross in the third, of the parting of Roderick Dhu and James Fitz-James, and of the sports at Stirling in the fifth, are of rare excellence. In narration the Combat and the Battle of Beal' an Duine are second only to the account of Flodden Field in Marmion. Lockhart tells how The Lady of the Lake first reached a company of Scotch soldiers in Spain during the Napoleonic wars. They were exposed at the time to the fire of the enemy. The men were made to lie at full length on the earth, while the captain, himself kneeling, read aloud the
description of that battle of Beal' an Duine. All danger was forgotten, and the listening soldiers only interrupted him by a joyous huzza, when the French shot struck the bank close above them. Again, this poem is one of Scott's titles to be called "the poet of association." Every bank, glen, and stream, as well as every old ruin, held him, not only by its intrinsic beauty, but also by every possible legend or adventure that could be suggested by it. Purpose and Conclusion. It is the fashion nowadays
to seek for some underlying "criticism of life” in every bit of literature. Sir Walter lived before it became necessary that even a poetic tale should have a purpose. Besides, he was not that sort of man. He preferred to take you with him on a ramble or a gallop in the invigor ating breezes of his beloved Highlands, and introduce you to all the fascinating people along the road. If you prefer to sit indoors by the fire and moralize, it is no concern of his. Perhaps, after all, the tonic of the Trosachs may be more healthful to soul as well as to body. Best of all it may be, to have spent these hours with eyes wider open than before to the flowers and the sunrise glory, in the companionship of a great-minded Man who was to the lay of his death a frank, warm-hearted, unspoiled Boy.
CHIEF WRITINGS OF SCOTT
L. TRANSLATIONS, 1795-1800.
II. BALLADS, 1800-1819.
Eve of St. John