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The Dying Bard


The Norman Horse-Shoe

The Maid of Toro.........

The Palmer

The Maid of Neidpath..

Wandering Willie

* Health to Lord Melville, 1806.

Hunting Song

The Resolve....

Epitaph, designed for a Monument in
Lichfield Cathedral, at the Burial-place

of the family of Miss Seward............ ib.
Prologue to Miss Baillie's Play of the
Family Legend....

The Poacher......

Song—“Oh, say not, my love, with that
mortified air"

The Bold Dragoon; or, the Plain of

On the Massacre of Glencoe.

"For a' that an'a' that."--A new song to
an old tune.....

Song, for the Anniversary Meeting of the
Pitt Club of Scotland

Pharos Loquitur ....

Lines, addressed to Ranald Macdonald,
Esq., of Staffa....

* Letter in Verse, on the Voyage with the

Commissioners of Northern Lights.-
To his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch,


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tory as may be supposed to carry interest along

with them. Even if I should be mistaken in think-

THE INTRODUCTION TO THE LAY OF THE LAST MIN- ing that the secret history of what was once so

STEEL written in April, 1830, was revised by the popular, may still attract public attention and cu-

Author in the autumn of 1831, when he also made riosity, it seems to me not without its use to record

some corrections in the text of the Poem, and sev- the manner and circumstances under which the

eral additions to the notes. The work is now present, and other Poems on the same plan, at-

printed from his interleaved copy.

tained for a season an extensive reputation.

It is much to be regretted that the original MS.

I must resume the story of my literary labors at

of this Poem has not been preserved. We are the period at which I broke off in the Essay on the

thus denied the advantage of comparing through-Imitation of Popular Poetry (see post], when I had

out the Author's various readings, which, in the enjoyed the first gleam of public favor, by the suc-

case of Marmion, the Lady of the Lake, the Lord cess of the first edition of the Minstrelsy of the

of the Isles, &c, are often highly curious and in- Scottish Border. The second edition of that work,


published in 1803, proved, in the language of the

trade, rather a heavy concern. The demand in


Scotland had been supplied by the first edition, and

A POEM of nearly thirty years' standing' may be the curiosity of the English was not much awaken-
supposed hardly to need an Introduction, since, ed by poems in the rude garb of antiquity, accom-
without one, it has been able to keep itself afloat panied with notes referring to the obscure feuds of
through the best part of a generation. Neverthe- barbarous clans, of whose very names civilized his-
less, as, in the edition of the Waverley Novels now tory was ignorant. It was, on the whole, one of
in course of publication (1830), I have imposed on those books which are more praised than they are
myself the task of saying something concerning the read.'
purpose and history of each, in their turn, I am At this time I stood personally in a different po-
desirous that the Poems for which I first received sition from that which I occupied when I first dipt
some marks of the public favor, should also be ac- my desperate pen in ink for other purposes than
companied with such scraps of their literary his those of my profession. In 1796, when I first pub-
lished the translations from Bürger, I was an insu- by the general consent of his brethren, recently lated individual, with only my own wants to pro- elected to be their Dean of Faculty, or President, vide for, and having, in a great measure, my own -being the highest acknowledgment of his proinclinations alone to consult. In 1803, when the fessional talents which they had it in their power second edition of the Minstrelsy appeared, I had to offer. But this is an incident much beyond the arrived at a period of life when men, however ideas of a period of thirty years' distance, when a thoughtless, encounter duties and circumstances barrister who really possessed any turn for lighter which press consideration and plans of life upon literature, was at as much pains to conceal it, as if the most careless minds. I had been for some time it had in reality been something to be ashamed of; married—was the father of a rising family, and, and I could mention more than one instance in though fully enabled to meet the consequent de- which literature and society have suffered much mands upon me, it was my duty and desire to place logs, that jurisprudence might be enriched. myself in a situation which would enable me to Such, however, was not my case ; for the reader make honorable provision against the various con- will not wonder that my open interference with tingencies of life.

a Pablished in 4to (£1 5s.), January, 1805.

3 “ The 'Lay' is the best of all possible comments on the
Border Minstrelsy."--British Critic, August, 1805.

matters of light literature diminished my employIt may be readily supposed that the attempts ment in the weightier matters of the law. Nor which I had made in literature had been unfavor- did the solicitors, upon whose choice the counsel able to my success at the bar. The goddess The- takes rank in his profession, do me less than jusmis is, at Edinburgh, and I suppose everywhere tice, by regarding others among my contemporaelse, of a peculiarly jealous disposition. She will ries as fitter to discharge the duty due to their not readily consent to share her authority, and clients, than a young man who was taken up with sternly demands from her votaries, not only that running after ballads, whether Teutonic or national. real duty be carefully attended to and discharged, My profession and I, therefore, came to stand nearbut that a certain air of business shall be observed ly upon the footing which honest Slender consoled even in the midst of total idleness. It is prudent, himself on having established with Mistress Anne if not absolutely necessary, in a young barrister, Page : “ There was no great love between us at to appear completely engrossed by his profession; the beginning, and it pleased Heaven to decrease however destitute of employment he may in real it on farther acquaintance.” I became sensible that ity be, he ought to preserve, if possible, the ap- the time was come when I must either buckle mypearance of full occupation. He should, therefore, self resolutely to the “toil by day, the lamp by seem perpetually engaged among his law-papers, night,” renouncing all the Delilahs of my imaginadusting them, as it were ; and, as Ovid advises tion, or bid adieu to the profession of the law, the fair,

and hold another course. "Si nullus erit pulvis, tamen excute nullum.”ı

I confess my own inclination revolted from the

more severe choice, which might have been deemed Perhaps such extremity of attention is more espe- by many the wiser alternative. As my transgrescially required, considering the great number of sions had been numerous, my repentance must have counsellors who are called to the bar, and how very been signalized by unusual sacrifices. I ought to small a proportion of them are finally disposed, or have mentioned, that since my fourteenth or fiffind encouragement, to follow the law as a profes-teenth year, my health, originally delicate, had sion. Hence the number of deserters is so great, become extremely robust. From infancy I had that the least lingering look behind occasions a labored under the infirmity of severe lameness, young novice to be set down as one of the intend- but, as I believe is usually the case with men of ing fugitives. Certain it is, that the Scottish The spirit who suffer under personal inconveniences of mis was at this time peculiarly jealous of any flirt- this nature, I had, since the improvement of my ation with the Muses, on the part of those who had health, in defiance of this incapacitating circumranged themselves under her banners. This was stance, distinguished myself by the endurance of probably owing to her consciousness of the superior toil on foot or horseback, having often walked thirty attractions of her rivals. Of late, however, she has miles a day, and rode upwards of a hundred without relaxed in some instances in this particular, an em- resting. In this manner I made many pleasant jourinent example of which has been shown in the case neys through parts of the country then not very acof my friend, Mr. Jeffrey, who, after long conduct- cessible, gaining more amusement and instruction ing one of the most influential literary periodicals than I have been able to acquire since I have travelof the age, with unquestionable ability, has been, led in a more commodious manner. I practised most

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 , 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 Jeffrey.-ED.

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