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lished, and that after five of the prose romances had taken Great Britain by storm. It was unfortunate that Harold the Dauntless should have been forced into comparison with Byron's Childe Harold by the similarity of title, although a part of the former had appeared before its rival.
Place as a Poet. With this closes the story of Walter Scott the poet. His poetic style we will discuss later in connection with The Lady of the Lake. It has been the fashion often to rank him below his contemporaries, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, and Keats. Whether such will be the decision of the future remains to be determined. Subtle and complex he was not. Wordsworth's mystical communion with nature, Shelley's prophetic vision and lyric music, he had not; neither had he the marvellous command of imagination and rhythm found in Coleridge's fragments, nor the intangible felicity of phrase which draws us to Keats. He lacks Byron's resistless sweep. But was he not Byron's instructor in the metrical romance? And there is a strong sympathy with his brother man; a closeness to nature, in her Scottish haunts at least; a descriptive power often magical; and an unerring sense of that which was most human and most poetic in the past of his native land. When these qualities are combined with the smooth but spirited verse movement, we have a poet who is not far below the mighty. He is termed "the great modern troubadour," and in the poetry of action he has no rival since Shakespeare.
The Waverley Novels. Four years after the publica
tion of The Lady of the Lake, Scott completed a Jaco bite story which he had commenced ten years before. This was the first of the twenty-nine romances, on which, even more than on his verse, rests Scott's fame. The popularity of Waverley was instantaneous, and the public never lost its enthusiasm for the successive volumes "by the author of Waverley." Scott did not acknowledge their parentage until 1821, the year that Kenilworth appeared. Still several friends were in the secret, and the disguise was always rather thin. The resemblance between his style in the novels and that in the prose introductions of the poems is so close, and the tastes shown in both are so similar, that we wonder that there should have been any mystification at all. Indeed, when Guy Mannering came out, James Hogg, the poet, known as the "Ettrick Shepherd," said to Professor Wilson ("Christopher North"): "I have done wi' doubts now. Colonel Mannering is just Walter Scott painted by himself."
In so brief a sketch of the poet Walter Scott, space cannot be spared for more than a glance at the Waverley Novels. There are no better companions for boys and girls, from twelve years old to seventy, than these healthy Scottish folk. Naturally their creator was most at ease in his own country with Waverley, Rob Roy, Guy Mannering, The Bride of Lammermoor, with Jeanie Deans in The Heart of Midlothian, Claverhouse in Old Mortality, and Mary Stuart in The Abbot. And yet could any picture be more vivid than that of Richard the Lionhearted in The Talisman and Ivanhoe, of Louis XI. in
Quentin Durward, or of good Queen Bess in Kenilworth? The critics say that Scott did not know how to paint women, being too gallant to see their weaknesses. That charge cannot apply to his queens or his peasant lassies. They say that he did not sufficiently analyze character. In these days of vivisection, it is rather a relief to be spared the too often morbidly subjective study. A third criticism has more weight-that he is not accurate historically. Neither is Shakespeare. Probably Scott's Richard I. is as historically correct as Shakespeare's Richard III. We wish that there might have been no anachronisms and that all the personages were as true to life as Dugald Dalgetty and Jeanie Deans. In matters of delicate detail Scott was weak. His was a large nature, and his canvas has the same breadth, dealing with public rather than private affairs. With due allowance for his faults, he remains one of the cleanest and most high-minded of novelists, and the one best adapted to inspire in young readers a lively interest in the exhaustless treasures of real history. Besides the writings already mentioned, and many lesser ones, he published a careful biography of Napoleon, and the charming Tales of a Grandfather. This latter was composed for his little invalid grandson, Johnnie Lockhart, and most of it was tried upon the child as the two took long rides side by side on horseback.
Homes. Although Scott was born in Edinburgh, and is one of the special prides of that beautiful Northern Athens, he e was too much of an out-of-doors man to make his chief home within city walls. His name is insepara
bly connected with Abbotsford, but his poetical career was nearly completed in two earlier homes, the cottage at Lasswade on the Esk, some six miles from Edinburgh, and Ashiestiel in Selkirkshire, to which he removed when he was made sheriff of that county. In the former he settled almost immediately after marriage, and for this honeymoon cottage he made much of the furniture, including the dining table, with his own hands. While there, too, he bought the first wheeled carriage which ever entered Liddesdale. In the opening summer of this century, he and his pretty wife enjoyed many an excursion, among his favorite haunts, driving in the new phaeton, to the admiration of the natives.
In 1804, the family, now increased by three little ones, moved to Sir Walter's brother's house at Ashiestiel, situated on a brook which runs into the Tweed. One of his best bits of descriptive poetry is in the introduction to the first canto of Marmion:
"November's sky is chill and drear,
You scarce the rivulet might ken,
Here he began the daily programme carried on with few variations until 1825. Rising at five, he was at his desk by six, with his papers arranged methodically before him, with his books of reference, and with at least one favorite dog at his feet. By breakfast time, between nine and ten, he said he had accomplished enough "to break the neck of the day's work." A couple of hours' more writing, and by noon he was his "own man." When the weather was stormy, he was on horseback by one o'clock, and visitors could scarcely realize the forenoon of solitary labor that had preceded. Riding, hunting, and salmon-spearing were his favorite amusements, and, lame though he was, Scott was usually the most daring of the company.
His delight in adorning the grounds of Ashiestiel increased his longing for land-ownership, and in 1812 the increase of the salary for his Clerkship of Session enabled him to buy his coveted mountain farm, five miles lower down the Tweed. To Abbotsford he owed his happiest days and some of his heaviest sorrows. The first years were unclouded, however, and the removal thither was a merry one. The loud grief of the neighbors at losing their kind friends gave way to laughter at the collection of twenty-five cartloads of furniture and antiquities, dogs, pigs, horses, poultry, fishing-rods, guns, and children. A young family of turkeys screened themselves from rude gaze in the helmet of some medieval Lochinvar, and Scott adds, in a letter to a friend, "The very cows, for aught I know, were bearing banners and muskets." The new property was christened Abbotsford because the land formerly belonged to the Abbots of Melrose Abbey, the