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THE LADY OF THE LAKE
J. HOWARD B. MASTERMAN, D.D.
LATE LECTURER OF S. JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
this edition of The Lady of the Lake is intended for Junior students, no apology is needed either for the short and simple character of the notes, or for the length of the glossary. I have tried to make both explanatory rather than illustrative, because I thought that the class of students for whom this edition is primarily intended would be hindered rather than helped by illustrative quotations and etymological discussions, such as would naturally be included in an edition designed for more advanced readers.
The text of The Lady of the Lake has recently been carefully revised by Mr Rolfe and by Professor Minto. In this edition I have followed Professor Minto's text, with only one or two trifling changes, which are referred to, where they occur, in the notes. I have added a short glossary of Gaelic names, for which I am chiefly indebted to Robertson's Gaelic Topography. I have tried to indicate the cases where his interpretations are not generally accepted; but any detailed discussion of the questions at issue would be out of place.
I have made free use of previous editions of the poem, and also of Scott's notes, where they seemed suitable.
J. H. B. MASTERMAN.
S. JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
WALTER SCOTT belonged to the Border family of the Scotts, of which the Duke of Buccleuch was the head. He was descended from Wat of Harden, celebrated in the sixteenth century for his plunderings in the borders. His great-grandfather, Walter Scott of Teviotdale, had acquired the name of 'Beardie' from his oath that he would not cut his beard till the Stuarts were restored. He kept his oath, and narrowly escaped being executed as a traitor for his efforts on their behalf.
Beardie's second son, Robert Scott, farmed a small estate at Sandyknowe, near Dryburgh, and lived the life of a country gentleman. Walter, the eldest son of this Robert Scott, and father of the poet, settled in Edinburgh as a writer to the Signet, or what in England is called a solicitor. He appears to have been the first of the family who ever adopted a town life, and we may trace the influence of the family traditions in Scott's love of military adventure, and of open air life, of which his poems give us so many illustrations.
Walter Scott, the poet, was born in Edinburgh on the 15th of August, 1771. Owing to an illness at the age of eighteen months, which left him permanently lame, he spent much of his childhood at Sandyknowe. Here he wandered freely among the ruins of the Castle of Smailholm:
"That mountain tower
"Which charmed my fancy's wakening hour-"
stored his mind with border songs and legends, and almost entirely outgrew his early delicacy of health.