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LYRICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PIECES.
* Bridal Song,
LYRICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PIECES. PAGE ! LYRICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PIECES, PAGE
* Norman, the Forester's Song,
• Songs of Dick Haiteraick and
SIR WALTER SCOTT,
The Lay of
Lay of the Last Minstrel:
A POEM, IN SIX CANTOS.
Dum relego, scripsisse pudet ; quia plurima cerno,
Me quoque, qui feci, judice, digna lini.
ADVERTISEMENT TO EDITION 1833.
was once so popular, may still attract public attention THE INTRODUCTION to The LAY OF THE LAST Min- and curiosity, it seems to me not without its use to
record the manner and circumstances under which STREL, written in April 1830, was revised by the the present, and other Poems on the same plan, atAuthor in the autumn of 1831, when he also made tained for a season an extensive reputation. some corrections in the text of the Poem, and several
I must resume the story of my literary labours at additions to the notes. The work is now printed from the period at which I broke off in the Essay on the his interleaved copy.
Imitation of Popular Poetry, (see post,] when I had It is much to be regretted that the original MS. of enjoyed the first gleam of public favour, by the sucthis Poem bas not been preserved. We are thus denied the advantage of comparing throughout the tish Border. The second edition of that work, pub
cess of the first edition of the Minstrelsy of the ScotAuthor's various readings, which, in the case of Mar- lished in 1803, proved, in the language of the trade, mion, the Lady of the Lake, the Lord of the Isles, &c. rather a heavy concern. The demand in Scotland are often highly curious and instructive.-Ed.
bad been supplied by the first edition, and the curio.
sity of the English was not much awakened by poems INTRODUCTION TO EDITION 1830.
in the rude garb of antiquity, accompanied with notes A POEM of nearly thirty years' standing' may be sup- referring to the obscure feuds of barbarous clans, of posed hardly to need an Introduction, since, without whose very names civilized history was ignorant. It one, it has been able to keep itself afloat through was, on the whole, one of those books which are more the best part of a generation. Nevertheless, as, in praised than they are read.? the edition of the Waverley Novels now in course of At this time I stood personally in a different posipublication, [1830,] I have imposed on myself the tion from that which I occupied when I first dipt my task of saying something concerning the purpose and desperate pen in ink for other purposes than those of history of each, in their turn, I am desirous that the my profession. In 1796, when I first published the Poems for which I first received some marks of the translations from Bürger, I was an insulated indivipublic favour, should also be accompanied with such dual, with only my own wants to provide for, and scraps of their literary history as may be supposed to having, in a great measure, my own inclinations alone carry interest along with them. Even if I should be to consult. In 1803, when the second edition of the mistaken in thinking that the secret history of what Minstrelsy appeared, I had arrived at a period of lifo
I Published in itn. (£1, is! Jannarr 183.
? " The 'Lay' is the best of all possible comments on the Border Minstrelsy," - British Crila, dugust 1845.
when men, however thoughtless, encounter duties' Such, however, was not my case ; for the reader and circumstances which press consideration and will not wonder that my open interference with matplans of life upon the most careless minds. I had ters of light literature diminished my employment in been for some time married—was the father of a rising the weightier matters of the law. Nor did the solicifamily, and, though fully enabled to meet the conse- tors, upon whose choice the counsel takes rank in his quent demands upon me, it was my duty and desire profession, do me less than justice, by regarding to place myself in a situation which would enable me others among my contemporaries as fitter to discharge to make honourable provision against the various con- the duty due to their clients, than a young man who tingencies of life.
was taken up with running after ballads, whether It may be readily supposed that the attempts which I Teutonic or national. My profession and I, therehad made in literature had been unfavourable to mysuc- fore, came to stand nearly upon the footing which cess at the bar. The goddess Themis is, at Edinburgh, honest Slender consoled himself on having established and I suppose everywhere else, of a peculiarly jealous with Mistress Anne Page; “ There was no great love disposition. She will not readily consent to share her between us at the beginning, and it pleased Heaven authority, and sternly demands from her votaries, not to decrease it on farther acquaintance." I became only that real duty be carefully attended to and dis- sensible that the time was come when I must either charged, but that a certain air of business shall be buckle myself resolutely to the “ toil by day, the observed even in the midst of total idleness. It is lamp by night,” renouncing all the Delilabs of my prudent, if not absolutely necessary, in a young bar- imagination, or bid adieu to the profession of the law, rister, to appear completely engrossed by his profes- and hold another course. sion ; however destitute of employment he may in I confess my own inclination revolted from the reality be, he ought to preserve, if possible, the ap- more severe choice, which might have been deemed pearance of full occupation. He should, therefore, by many the wiser alternative. As my transgressions seem perpetually engaged among his law-papers, dust- had been numerous, my repentance must have been ing them, as it were ; and, as Ovid advises the fair, signalized by unusual sacrifices. I ought to have
“Si nullus erit pulvis, tamen excute nullum.” 1 mentioned, that since my fourteenth or fifteenth year, Perhaps such extremity of attention is more especially my bealth, originally delicate, had become extremely required, considering the great pumber of counsellors robust. From infancy I had laboured under the inwho are called to the bar, and how very small a pro- firmity of a severe lameness, but, as I believe is usually portion of them are finally disposed, or find encou- the case with men of spirit who suffer under perragement, to follow the law as a profession. Hence the sonal inconveniences of this nature, I had, since the number of deserters is so great, that the least lingering improvement of my health, in defiance of this incapalook behind occasions a young novice to be set down as citating circumstance, distinguished myself by the one of the intending fugitives. Certain it is, that the endurance of toil on foot or horse-back, having often Scottish Themis was at this time peculiarly jealous of walked thirty miles a-day, and rode upwards of a any flirtation with the Muses, on the part of those who hundred, without resting. In this manner I made had ranged themselves under her banners. This was many pleasant journeys through parts of the country probably owing to her consciousness of the superior then not very accessible, gaining more amusement and attractions of her rivals. Of late, however, she has instruction than I have been able to acquire since I relaxed in some instances in this particular, an emi- have travelled in a more commodious manner. I nent example of which has been shown in the case of practised most silvan sports also, with some success, my friend, Mr. Jeffrey, who, after long conducting and with great delight. But these pleasures must one of the most influential literary periodicals of the have been all resigned, or used with great moderation, age, with unquestionable ability, has been, by the had I determined to regain my station at the bar. general consent of his brethren, recently elected to It was even doubtful whether I could, with perfect be their Dean of Faculty, or President,-being the character as a jurisconsult, retain a situation in a highest acknowledgment of his professional talents volunteer corps of cavalry, which I then held. The which they had it in their power to offer. But this threats of invasion were at this time instant and is an incident much beyond the ideas of a period of menacing; the call by Britain on her children was thirty years' distance, when a barrister who really universal, and was answered by some, who, like mypossessed any turn for lighter literature, was at as self, consulted rather their desire than their ability to much pains to conceal it, as if it had in reality been bear arms. My services, however, were found useful something to be ashamed of; and I could mention in assisting to maintain the discipline of the corps, more than one instance in which literature and society being the point on which their constitution rendered have suffered much loss, that jurisprudence might be them most amenable to military criticism. In other enriched.
respects, the squadron was a fine one, consisting
1 If dust be none, yet brush that none away.
elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates. In 1830, under
Earl Grey's Ministry, he was appointed Lord Advocate of 3 Mr. Jeffrey, after conducting the Edinburgh Review for Scotland, and, in 1834, a Senator of the College of Justice by twenty-seven years, withdrew from that office in 1829, on being the title of Lord Jeffroy.-ED.