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The gory bridal bed, the plunder'd shrine, The murder'd Surrey's blood, the tears of Geral
Which told the mystic hour, approaching nigh,
When wise Cornelius promised, by his art, To show to him the ladye of his heart,
Albeit betwixt them roard the ocean grim; Yet so the sage had hight to play his part,
That he should see her form in life and limb, And mark, if still she loved, and still she thought
To which the wizard led the gallant Knight, Save that before a mirror, huge and high,
A hallow'd taper shed a glimmering light On mystic implements of magic might;
On cross, and character, and talisman, And almagest, and altar, nothing bright:
For fitful was the lustre, pale and wan, As watchlight by the bed of some departing
XXI. Both Scots, and Southern chiefs, prolong Applauses of Fitztraver's song ; These hated Henry's name as death, And those still held the ancient faith. Then, from his seat, with lofty air, Rose Harold, bard of brave St. Clair ; St. Clair, who, feasting high at Home, Had with that lord to battle come. Harold was born where restless seas Howl round the storm-swept Orcades ;' Where erst St. Clairs held princely sway O'er isle and islet, strait and bay ;Still nods their palace to its fall, Thy pride and sorrow, fair Kirkwall ! Thence oft he mark'd fierce Pentland rave, As if grim Odin rode her wave; And watch'd, the whilst, with visage pale, And throbbing heart, the struggling sail ; For all of wonderful and wild Had rapture for the lonely child.
Was seen a self-emitted light to gleam; And forms upon its breast the Earl 'gan spy,
Cloudy and indistinct, as feverish dream;
To form a lordly and a lofty room,
Placed by a couch of Agra's silken loom,
The slender form, which lay on couch of Ind! O'er her white bosom stray'd her hazel hair,
Pale her dear cheek, as if for love she pined; All in her night-robe loose she lay reclined,
And, pensive, read from tablet eburnine, Some strain that seem'd her inmost soul to find;
That favor'd strain was Surrey's raptured line, That fair and lovely form, the Lady Geraldine.
XXII. And much of wild and wonderful In these rude isles might fancy cull; For thither came, in times afar, Stern Lochlin's sons of roving war, The Norsemen, train’d to spoil and blood, Skill'd to prepare the raven's food; Kings of the main their leaders brave, Their barks the dragons of the wave." And there, in many a stormy vale, The Scald had told his wondrous tale ; And many a Runic column high Had witness'd grim idolatry. And thus had Harold, in his youth, Learn'd many a Saga's rhyme uncouth, — : Of that Sea-Snake, tremendous curl'd, Whose monstrous circle girds the world ;Of those dread Maids, whose hideous yell Maddens the battle's bloody swell; Of Chiefs, who, guided through the glooin By the pale death-lights of the tomb, Ransack'd the graves of warriors old, Their falchions wrench'd from corpses' hold, Waked the deaf tomb with war's alarms, And bade the dead arise to arms! With war and wonder all on flame,
XX. Slow rolld the clouds upon the lovely form,
And swept the goodly vision all awaySo royal envy roll’d the murky storm
O'er my beloved Master's glorious day. Thou jealous, ruthless tyrant! Heaven repay
On thee, and on thy children's latest line, The wild caprice of thy despotic sway,
pomplished Sarrey, has more of the richness and polish of the Italian poetry, and is very beautifully written in a stanza rebeabling that of Spenser."-JEFFREY.
1 Sæ Appendix, Note 4 G. ; Ibid. Note 4 H. • The chiefs of the Vakingr, or Scandinavian pirates, as
sumed the title of Sekonungr or Sea-kings. Ships, in the inflated language of the Scalds, are often termed the serpents of the ocean. See Appendix, Note 4 I.
* Ibid. Note 4 K, 6 Ibid. Note 4 L.
1 “The third song is intended to represent that wild style of 10 " I observe a great poetic climax, designed, doubtless, in composition which prevailed among the bards of the Northern the two last of these songs from the first."-AnnA SEWARD. Continent, somewhat softened and adorned by the Minstrel's “We (G. Ellis and J. H. Frere) entertain some doubts residence in the south. We prefer it, upon the whole, to either about the propriety of dwelling so long on the minstrel sougs of the two former, and shall give it entire to our readers, who in the last canto. I say we doubt, because we are not aware will probably be struck with the poetical effect of the dramatic of your having ancient authority for such a practice ; but form into which it is thrown, and of the indirect description by though the attempt was a bold one, inasmuch as it is not usual which every thing is most expressively told, without one word to add a whole canto to a story which is already finished, we of distinct narrative."-JEFFREY.
are far from wishing that you had left it unattempted."2 This was a family name in the house of St. Clair. Henry Ellis to Scott. “The sixth canto is altogether redundant ; St. Clair, the second of the line, married Rosabelle, fourth for the poem should certainly have closed with the union daughter of the Earl of Stratherne.
of the lovers, when the interest, if any, was at an end. But 8 See Appendix, Note 4 M.
4 Inch, isle. what could I do? I bad my book and my page still on my 6 First Edit. “A wet shroud roll'd."
hands, and must get rid of them at all events. Manage them 6 First Edit. “ It reddened,” &c.
as I would, their catastrophe must have been insufficient to 7 First Edit. “Both vaulted crypt,”' &c.
occupy an entire canto; so I was fain to eke it out with the 8 See Appendix, Note 4 N.
songs of the minstrels."'--Scott to Miss Seward-Life, vol. ii. 9 First Edit. “But the kelpie rung and the mermaids sung."
pp. 218, 222
And chill'd the soul of every guest;
But none of all the astonish'd train
For he was speechless, ghastly, wan,
Who spoke the spectre-hound in Man.?
That he had seen, right certainly,
Like pilgrim from beyond the sea ;
A flash of lightning came;
The castle seem'd on flame.
It broke, with thunder long and loud,
From sea to sea the larum rung;
To arms the startled warders sprung.
No sound was made, no word was spoke,
And he a solemn sacred plight
Of Michael's restless sprite.
Just where the page had flung him down,
And some the waving of a gown. The guests in silence pray'd and shook, And terror dimm'd each lofty look.
1“ The Goblin Page is, in our opinion, the capital deform- we can easily be made to sympathize. But the story of Gilpin ity of the poem. We have already said the whole machinery Horner was never believed out of the village where he is said is useless ; but the magic studies of the lady, and the rifled to have made his appearance, and has no claims upon the cretomb of Michael Scott, give occasion to so much admirable dulity of those who were not originally of his acquaintance. poetry, that we can, on no account, consent to part with There is nothing at all interesting or elegant in the scenes of them. The page, on the other hand, is a perpetual burden which he is the hero ; and in reading these passages we really to the poet and to the readers; it is an ondignified and im- could not help suspecting that they did not stand in the roprobable fiction, which excites neither terror, admiration, mance when the aged minstrel recited it to the royal Charles De astonishment, but needlessly debases the strain of the and his mighty earls, but were inserted afterwards to suit the wbole work, and excites at once our incredulity and con- taste of the cottagers among whom he begged his bread on the tempt. He is not a 'tricksy spirit,' like Ariel, with whom border. We entreat Mr. Scott to inquire into the grounds of the imagination is irresistibly enamored, nor a tiny monarch, this suspicion, and to take advantage of decent
pretext he like Oberon, disposing of the destinies of mortals; he rather can lay hold of for purging the ‘Lay' of this ungraceful appears to ns to be an awkward sort of a mongrel between intruder. We would also move for a quo warranto against Puck and Caliban, of a servile and brutal nature, and limited the Spirits of the River and the Monntain ; for though they in his powers to the indulgence of petty malignity, and the are come of a very high lineage, we do not know what lawful infliction of despicable injuries. Besides this objection to his business they could have at Branksome Castle in the year character, his existence has no support from any general or 1550."-JEFFREY. established superstition. Fairies and devils, ghosts, angels,
? See Appendix, Note 4 0. 3 Ibid. Note 4 P. and witches, are creatures with whom we are all familiar, and sho excite in all classes of mankind emotions with which
4 See the Author's Introduction to the Lay,' p. 13.
XXVIII. Naught of the bridal will I tell, Which after in short space befell; Nor how brave sons and daughters fair Bless'd Teviot's Flower, and Cranstoun’s heir : After such dreadful scene, 'twere vain To wake the note of mirth again. More meet it were to mark the day
Of penitence and prayer divine, When pilgrim-chiefs, in sad array,
Sought Melrose holy shrine.
And solemn requiem for the dead;
DIES IRÆ, DIES ILLA,
SOLVET SÆCLUM IN FAVILLA; While the pealing organ rung:
Were it meet with sacred strain
To close my lay, so light and vain, Thus the holy Fathers sung.
HYMN FOR THE DEAD,
That day of wrath, that dreadful day, When heaven and earth shall pass away, What power shall be the sinner's stay? How shall he meet that dreadful day?
When, shrivelling like a parched scroll
Did every pilgrim go;
Through all the lengthen'd row:
Forgotten their renown;
And there they knelt them down:
In long procession came;
With the Redeemer's name.
And bless'd them as they kneelid;
And fortunate in field.
Oh! on that day, that wrathful day,
Hush'd is the harp—the Minstrel gone. And did he wander forth alone? Alone, in indigence and age, To linger out his pilgrimage? No; close beneath proud Newark's tower,' Arose the Minstrel's lowly bower; A simple hut; but there was seen The little garden, hedged with green, The cheerful hearth, and lattice clean. There shelter'd wanderers, by the blaze, Oft heard the tale of other days; For much he loved to ope his door, And give the aid he begg'd before. So pass'd the winter's day; but still, When summer smiled on sweet Bowhilla
For manhood to enjoy his strength;
WORDSWORTH's Yarrow Visited.
" the vale unfolds Rich groves of lofty stature, With Yarrow winding through the pomp
Of cultivated nature;
Behold a ruin hoary,
Renown'd in Border story. "Fair scenes for childhood's opening bloom,
For sportive youth to stray in;
2 Bowhill is now, as has been mentioned already, a seat of the Duke of Buccleuch. It stands immediately below Newark Hill, and above the junction of the Yarrow and the Ettrick. For the other places named in the text, the reader is referred to various notes on the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.ED.
And July's eve, with balmy breath,
And circumstance of chivalry,
1 Orig.—" And grain waved green on Carterhaugh.” measures, it would have been impossible for bim to have
9 " The arch allusions which run through all these Introduc- brought in such names as Watt Tinlinn; Black John, Priesttions, without in the least interrupting the truth and graceful haugh, Scrogg, and other Scottish names, or to have spoken pathos of their main impression, seem to me exquisitely char- of the lyke-uake, and the slogan, and driving of cattle, which acteristic of Scott, whose delight and pride was to play with Pope and Gray would have thought as impossible to introduce the genias which nevertheless mastered him at will. For, in into serious poetry, as Boileau did the names of towns in the truth, what is it that gives to all his works their unique and campaigns of Louis IV. Mr. Scott has, therefore, very judimarking ebarm, except the matchless effect which sudden ciously thrown in a great mixture of the familiar, and varied effasions of the purest heart-blood of nature derive from their the measure; and if it has not the finished harmony, which, being poured ont, to all appearance involuntarily, amidst dic- in such a subject, it were in vain to have attempted, it has tion and sentiment cast equally in the mould of the busy great ease and spirit, and never tires the reader. Indeed we world, and the seemingly habitual desire to dwell on nothing think we see a tendency in the public taste to go back to the bat what might be likely to excite curiosity, without too much more varied measures and familiar style of our earlier poets ; disturbing deeper feelings, in the saloons of polished life? a natural consequence of having been satiated with the reguSach oarbursts come forth dramatically in all his writings ; lar harmony of Pope and his school, and somewhat wearied but in the interludes and passionate parentheses of the Lay with the stiffness of lofty poetic language. We now know of the Last Minstrel we have the poet's own inner soul and what can be done in that way, and we seek entertainment and temperament laid bare and throbbing before us. Even here, variety, rather than finished modulation and uniform dignity. indeed, he has a mask, and he trusts it-bat fortunately it is a We now take our leave of this very elegant, spirited, and stritransparent one.
king poem."'Annual Review, 1804. ** Many minor personal allusions have been explained in the “From the various extracts we have given, our readers will motes to the last edition of the · Lay.' It was hardly neces- be enabled to form a tolerably correct judgment of the poem ; sary even then to say that the choice of the hero had been and, if they are pleased with those portions of it which have dictated by the poet's affection for the living descendants of now been exhibited, we may venture to assure them that they the Baron of Cranstoun ; and now-none who have perused will not be disappointed by the perusal of the whole. The the preceding pages can doubt that he had dressed out his whole night journey of Deloraine—the opening of the Wizard's Margaret of Branksome in the form and features of his own tomb—the march of the English battle--and the parley before first love. This poem may be considered as the bright con- the walls of the castle, are all executed with the same spirit sammate flower' in which all the dearest dreams of his youth- and poetical energy, which we think is conspicuous in the fal fancy had at length found expansion for their strength, specimens we have already extracted ; and a great variety of "spirit, tenderness, and beauty,
short passages occur in every part of the poem, which are still * In the closing lines
more striking and meritorious, though it is impossible to detach * Hash'd is the harp—the Minstrel gone ;
them, without injury, in the form of a quotation. It is but And did he wander forth alone ?
fair to apprize the reader, on the other hand, that he will Alone, in indigence and age,
meet with very heavy passages, and with a variety of details To linger out his pilgrimage ?
'which are not likely to interest any one but á Borderer or an No !-close beneath proud Newark's tower
antiquary. We like very well to hear of the gallant Chief
of Otterburne,' or 'the Dark Knight of Liddesdale,' and feel Arose the Minstrel's humble bower,' &c.
the elevating power of great names, when we read of the -in these charming lines he has embodied what was, at the tribes that mustered to the war, beneath the crest of Old time when he penned them, the chief day-dream of Ashestiel. Dunbar and Hepburn's mingled banners.' But we really canFrom the moment that his uncle's death placed a considerable not so far sympathize with the local partialities of the author, sum of ready money at his command, he pleased himself, as as to feel any glow of patriotism or ancient virtue in hearing of we have seen, with the idea of buying a mountain farm, and the Todrigor Johnston clans, or of Elliots, Armstrongs, and becoming not only the sheriff' (as he had in former days Tinlinns ; still less can we relish the introduction of Black delighted to call himself), but the laird of the cairn and the Jock of Athelstane, Whitslade the Hawk, Arthur Fire-thesaar.'"-LOCKHART. Life of Scott, vol. ii. p. 212.
Braes, Red Roland Forster, or any other of those worthies, * The large quotations we have made from this singular who poem mast have convinced our readers that it abounds equal
Sought the beeves that made their broth, ly with poetical description, and with circumstance curious
In Scotland and in England both,' to the antiquary. These are farther illustrated in copious and very entertaining notes: they, as well as the poem, must be into a poem which has any pretensions to seriousness or digparticularly interesting to those who are connected with Scot- nity. The ancient metrical romance might have admitted tish famílies, or conversant in their history. The author has these homely personalities; but the present age will not enmanaged the versification of the poem with great judgment, dure them; and Mr. Scott must either sacrifice his Border and the most happy effect. If he had aimed at the grave prejudices, or offend all his readers in the other part of the and stately cadence of the epic, or any of our more regular empire."-JEFFREY.