Imágenes de páginas

-Stirrup, steel-boot, and cuish gave way,

It stiffen'd and grew coldBeneath that blow's tremendous sway,

“ And, O farewell !” the victor cried, The blood gush'd from the wound;

“ Of chivalry the flower and pride, And the grim Lord of Colonsay

The arm in battle bold, Hath turn'd him on the ground,

The courteous mien, the noble race, And laugh'd in death-pang, that his blade

The stainless faith, the manly face !-The mortal thrust so well repaid.

Bid Ninian's convent light their shrine,

For late-wake of De Argentine.

O'er better knight on death-bier laid,
Now toild the Bruce, the battle done,

Torch never gleam'd nor mass was said!”
To use his conquest boldly won;
And gave command for horse and spear

To press the Southron's scatter'd rear,

Nor for De Argentine alone, Nor let his broken force combine,

Through Ninian's church these torches shone, -When the war-cry of Argentine

And rose the death-prayer's awful tone.2
Fell faintly on his ear;

That yellow lustre glimmer'd pale,
Save, save his life," he cried, “ O save

On broken plate and bloodied mail, The kind, the noble, and the brave ! ”

Rent crest and shatter'd coronet, The squadrons round free passage gave,

Of Baron, Earl, and Banneret; The wounded knight drew near;

And the best names that England knew, He raised his red-cross shield no more,

Claim'd in the death-prayer dismal due.3 Helm, cuish, and breastplate stream'd with

Yet mourn not, Land of Fame! gore,

Though ne'er the leopards on thy shield Yet, as he saw the King advance,

Retreated from so sad a field, He strove even then to couch his lance

Since Norman William came. The effort was in vain!

Oft may thine annals justly boast The spur-stroke fail'd to rouse the horse;

Of battles stern by Scotland lost; Wounded and weary, in mid course

Grudge not her victory, He stumbled on the plain.

When for her freeborn rights she strove; Then foremost was the generous Bruce

Rights dear to all who freedom love, To raise his head, his helm to loose;

To none so dear as thee !5 “ Lord Earl, the day is thine! My Sovereign's charge, and adverse fate,

XXXVI. Have made our meeting all too late:

Turn we to Bruce, whose curious ear Yet this may Argentine,

Must from Fitz-Louis tidings hear; As boon from ancient comrade, crave

With him, a hundred voices tell A Christian's mass, a soldier's grave."

Of prodigy and miracle,

“ For the mute page had spoke.”XXXIV.

“ Page!" said Fitz-Louis,“ rather say, Bruce press'd his dying hand-its grasp

An angel sent from realms of day, Kindly replied; but, in his clasp,

To burst the English yoke.

1 MS.--"Now toil'd the Bruce as leaders ought,

dwells fondly on the valour and generosity of the invaders, To use his conquest boldly bought.”

but actually makes an elaborate apology to the English for ? See Appendix, Note 4 F.

having ventured to select for his theme a story which records 3 MS.-" And the best names that England owns

their disasters. We hope this extreme courtesy is not inSwell the sad death-prayer's dismal tones." tended merely to appease critics, and attract readers in the 4 MS." When for her rights her sword was bare, southern part of the island-and yet it is difficult to see for what Rights dear to all who freedom share."

other purposes it could be assumed. Mr. Scott certainly need 5 “The fictitious part of the story is, on the whole, the not have been afraid either of exciting rebellion among his counleast interesting-though we think that the author has ha- trymen, or of bringing his own liberality and loyalty into queszarded rather too little embellishment in recording the adven- tion, although, in speaking of the events of that remote period, tures of the Bruce. There are many places, at least, in which where an overbearing conqueror was overthrown in a lawless he has evidently given an air of heaviness and flatness to his attempt to subdue an independent kingdom, he had given full narration, by adhering too closely to the authentic history; expression to the hatred and exultation which must have and has lowered down the tone of his poetry to the tame level prevailed among the victors, and are indeed the only passions of the rude chroniclers by whom the incidents were originally which can be supposed to be excited by the story of their exrecorded. There is a more serious and general fault, however, ploits. It is not natural, and we are sure it is not poetical, to rein the conduct of all this part of the story,—and that is, that present the agents in such tremendous scenes as calm and init is not sufficiently national-and breathes nothing either of dulgent judges of the motives or merits of their opponents; and, that animosity towards England, or that exultation over her by lending such a character to the leaders of his host, the author defeat, which must have animated all Scotland at the period has actually lessened the interest of the mighty fight of Banto which he refers; and ought, consequently, to have been nockburn, to that which might be supposed to belong to a wellthe ruling passion of his poem. Mr. Scott, however, not only regulated tournament among friendly rivals."-JEFFREY.

I saw his plume and bonnet drop,

Let him array, besides, such state, When hurrying from the mountain top;

As should on princes' nuptials wait. A lovely brow, dark locks that wave,

Ourself the cause, through fortune's spite, To his bright eyes new lustre gave,

That once broke short that spousal rite, A step as light upon the green,

Ourself will grace, with early morn, As if his pinions waved unseen!"

The bridal of the Maid of Lorn."4 “ Spoke he with none ?”?_“ With none-one word Burst when he saw the Island Lord, Returning from the battle-field.”“ What answer made the Chief?”_“ He kneeld, Durst not look up, but mutter'd low,

CONCLUSION. Some mingled sounds that none might know, Go forth, my Song, upon thy venturous way; And greeted him 'twixt joy and fear;

Go boldly forth; nor yet thy master blame, As being of superior sphere."

Who chose no patron for his humble lay,

And graced thy numbers with no friendly name, XXXVII.

Whose partial zeal might smooth thy path to fame. Even upon Bannock's bloody plain,

There was—and O! how many sorrows crowd Heap'd then with thousands of the slain,

Into these two brief words !-there was a claim 'Mid victor monarch's musings high,

By generous friendship given--had fate allow'd, Mirth laugh’d in good King Robert's eye.

It well had bid thee rank the proudest of the proud ! “ And bore he such angelic air, Such noble front, such waring hair?

All angel now—yet little less than all, Hath Ronald kneelid to him ?” he said,

While still a pilgrim in our world below! « Then must we call the church to aid

What 'vails it us that patience to recall, Our will be to the Abbot known,

Which hid its own to soothe all other woe; Ere these strange news are wider blown,

What 'vails to tell, how Virtue's purest glow To Cambuskenneth straight ye pass,

Shone yet more lovely in a form so fair:5 And deck the church for solemn mass,3

And, least of all, what ’vails the world should know, To pay for high deliverance given,

That one poor garland, twined to deck thy hair, A nation's thanks to gracious Heaven.

Is hung upon thy hearse, to droop and wither there !6

1 MS.-" Excepted to the Island Lord,

in the incidents that occur. There is a romantic grandeur, When turning," &c.

however, in the scenery, and a sort of savage greatness and 2 MS.--"Some mingled sounds of joy and woe.'

rudc antiquity in many of the characters and events, which 3 The MS. adds:

relieves the insipidity of the narrative, and atones for many " That priests and choir, with morning beams,

defects in the execution." Prepare, with reverence as beseems,

After giving copious citations from what he considers as To pay," &c.

“ the better parts of the poem," the critic says, “ to give a 4 “Bruce issues orders for the celebration of the nuptials; complete and impartial idea of it, we ought to subjoin some whether they were ever solemnized, it is impossible to say. from its more faulty passages. But this is but an irksome As crilics, we should certainly have forbidden the banns; task at all times, and, with such an author as Mr. Scott, is because, although it is conceivable that the mere lapse of time both invidious and unnecessary. His faults are nearly as nomight not havo eradicated the passion of Edith, yet how such torious as his beauties; and we have announced in the outset, a circumstance alone, without even the assistance of an in- that they are equally conspicuous in this as in his other proterview, could have created one in the bosom of Ronald, is ductions. There arc innumerable harsh lines and uncouth altogether inconceivable. Ho must have proposed to marry expressions,-passages of a coarse and licavy diction,-and her merely from compassion, or for the sake of her lands ; details of uninteresting minuteness and oppressive explanaand, upon either supposition, it would have comported with tion. It is needless, after this, to quote such couplets as the delicacy of Edith to refuse his proffered hand."- Quarterly

A damsel tired of midnight bark, Review.

Or wanderers of a moulding stark,'To Dr. James Ballantyne.- Dear Sir,-You have now the whole affair, excepting two or three concluding stanzas. As

' 'Tis a kind youth, but fanciful, your taste for bride's-cake may induce you to desire to know more of the wedding, I will save you some criticism by saying,

Unfit against the tide to pull;'I have settled to stop short as above.-Witness my hand, or to recite the many weary pages which contain the collo

“ W. S." quics of Isabel and Edith, and set forth the unintelligible rea5 The reader is referred to Mr. Hogg's “ Pilgrims of the sons of their unreasonable conduct. The concerns of these Sun" for some beautiful lines, and a highly interesting note, two young ladies, indeed, form the heaviest part of the poem on the death of the Duchess of Buccleuch. See ante, p. 407. The mawkish generosity of the one, and the piteous fidelity of

6 The Edinburgh Reviewer (Mr. Jeffrey) says, “The story of the other, are equally oppressive to the reader, and do not the Lord of the Isles, in so far as it is fictitions, is palpably de- tend at all to put him in good humour with Lord Ronald, ficient both in interest and probability; and, in so far as it is who, though the beloved of both, and the nominal hero of the founded on historical truth, seems to us to be objectionable, work, is certainly as far as possible from an interesting per. both for want of incident, and want of variety and connexion son. The lovers of poetry have a particular aversion to the


inconstancy of other lovers,—and especially to that sort of in- description; and, as to the language and versification, the constancy which is viable to the suspicion of being partly in- poem is in its general course as inferior to · Rokeby' (by much spired by worldly ambition, and partly abjured from conside the most correct and the least justly appreciated of the aurations of a still meaner selfishness. We suspect, therefore, thor's works) as it is in the construction and conduct of its that they will have but little indulgence for the fickleness of fable. It supplies whole pages of the most prosaic narrative; the Lord of the Isles, who breaks the troth he had pledged but, as we conclude by recollecting, it displays also whole to the heiress of Lorn, as soon as he sees a chance of succeed- pages of the noblest poetry.” ing with the King's sister, and comes back to the slighted bride, when his royal mistress takes the vows in a convent, and the heiress gets into possession of her lands, by the forfeiture of her brother. These characters, and this story, form The British Critic says: “No poem of Mr. Scott has yet the great blemish of the poem ; but it has rather less fire and appeared with fairer claims to the public attention. If it flow and facility, we think, on the whole, than some of the have less pathos than the Lady of the Lake, or less display of author's other performances."

character than Marmion, it surpasses them both in grandeur of conception, and dignity of versification. It is in cvery respect decidedly superior to Rokeby; and though it may not reach the Lay of the Last Minstrel in a few splendid passages,

it is far more perfect as a whole. The fame of Mr. Scoit, The Monthly Reviewer thus assails the title of the poem :- among those who are capable of distinguishing the rich ore of “ The Lord of the Isles himself, selon l's rèyles of Mr. Scott's poetry from the dross which surrounds it, will receive no small compositions, being the hero, is not the first person in the advancement by this last effort of his genius. We discoverin poem. The attendant here is always in white muslin, and it a brilliancy in detached expressions, and a power of lanTilburina herself in white linen. Still, among the Deutero- guage in the combination of images, which has never yet approtoi (or second best) of the author, Lord Ronald holds a re- peared in any of his previous publications. spectable rank. He is not so mere a magic-lantern figure, once “ We would also believe that as his strength has increased, scen in bower and once in field, as Lord Cranstoun; he far ex- so his glaring errors have been diminished. But so embedded ceeds that tame rabbit boiled to rags without onion or other and engrained are these in the gems of his excellence, that no saucc, De Wilton; and although he certainly falls infinitely blindness can overlook, no art can divide or destroy their conshort of that accomplished swimmer Malcolm Græme, yet he nexion. They must be tried together at the ordeal of time, rises proportionably above the red-haired Redmond. Lord Ro- and descend unseparated to posterity. Could Mr. Scott but nald, indeed, bating his intended marriage with one woman 'endow his purposes with words'-could he but decorate the while he loves another, is a very noble fellow; and, were he not justice and the splendour of his conceptions with more unal. so totally eclipsed by ‘The Bruce,' he would have served very loyed aptness of expression, and more uniform strength and well to give a title to any octosyllabic epic, were it even as harmony of numbers, he would claim a place in the highest vigorous and poetical as the present. Nevertheless, it would rank among the poets of natural feeling and natural imagery. have been just as proper to call Virgil's divine poem 'The Even as it is, with all his faults, we love him still; and when Anchiseid,' as it is to call this. The Lord of the Isles.' To all he shall cease to write, we shall find it difficult to supply his intents and purposes the aforesaid quarto is, and ought to be, place with a better." The Bruce.'"

The Monthly Reriercer thus concludes his article: "In some detached passages, the present poem may challenge any of Mr. Scott's compositions; and perhaps in the Abbot's involuntary The Quarterly Rerincer, nfter giving his outline of the story blessing it excels any single part of any one of them. The of The Lord of the Isles, thus proceeds :-" In whatever point battle, too, and many dispersed lines besides, have transcend- of view it be regarded, whether with reference to the incidents ant merit. In point of fable, however, it has not the grace and it contains, or the agents by whom it is carried on, we think elegance of The Lady of the Lake,' nor the general clearness that one less calculated to keep alive the interest and curioand vivacity of its narrative; nor the unexpected happiness of sity of the reader could not easily have heen conceired. Of its catastrophe; and still less does it aspire to the praise of the the characters, we cannot say much; they are not conceived complicated, but very proper and well- managed story of with any great degree of originality, nor delineated with any 'Rokchy.' It has nothing so pathetic as “The Cypress Wreath;' particular spirit. Neither are we disposed to criticise with nothing so sweetly touching as the last erering scene at Roke-minuteness the incidents of the story; but we conceive that by, before it is broken by Bertram ; nothing (with the excep. the whole poem, considering it as a narrative poem, is protion of the Abbot) so awfully mclancholy as much of Mor-jected upon wrong principles. tham's history, or so powerful as Bertram's farewell to Ed- “ The story is obviously composed of two independent plots, mund. It vies, as we have already said, with ‘ Marmion,' in connected with each other merely by the accidental circumthe generally favourite part of that poem; but what has it stances of time and place. The liberation o: Scotland by (with the exception before stated) equal to the immurement Bruce has not naturally any more connexion with the loves of Constance? On the whole, however, we prefer it to 'Mar- of Ronald and the Maid of Lorn, than with those of Dido and mion ;' which, in spite of much merit, always had a sort of Æneas ; por are we able to conceive any possible motive noisy royal-circus air with it; a clap-trappery, if we may ren- which should have induced Mr. Scott to weave them as he ture on such a word. "Marmion,' in short, has become quite has done into the same narrative, except the desire of comidentified with Mr. Braham in our minds; and we are there bining the advantages of a heroical, with what we may call, fore not perhaps rubiassed judges of its perfections. Finally, for want of an appropriate word, an ethical subject; an attempt we do not hesitate to place · The Lord of the Isles' below both which we feel assured he never would have made, had he of Mr. Scott's remaining longer works; and as to ‘The Lay of duly weighed the very different principles upon which these the Last Minstrel,' for numerous common places and separate dissimilar sorts of poetry are founded. Thus, had Mr. Scott beauties, that poem, we believe, still constitutes one of the introduced the loves of Ronald and the Maid of Lorn as an highest stepe, if not the very highest, in the ladder of the au- episode of an epic poem upon the subject of the battle of Banthor's reputation. The characters of the present talo (with nockburn, its want of connexion with the main action might the exception of “The Bruce,' who is vividly painted from have been excused, in favour of its intrinsic merit; but, by a history-and of some minor sketches) are certainly, in point of great singularity of judgment, he has introduced the battle of invention, c? the most novel, that is, of the most Minerva-press Bannockburn as an episode, in the loves of Ronald and the

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Maid of Lorn. To say nothing of the obvious preposterous- ** These passages [ referring to the preceding extract from ness of such a design, abstractedly considered, the effect of the Quarterly, and that from the Edinburgh Review, at the it has, we think, decidedly been to destroy that interest which commencement of the poem] appear to me to condense the either of them might separately have created; or, if any inte result of deliberate and candid refiection, and I have thererest remain respecting the fate of the ill-requited Edith, it is fore quoted them. The most important remarks of either because at no moment of the poem do we feel the slightest Essayist on the details of the plot and execution are annexed degree of it, respecting the enterprise of Bruce.

to the last edition of the poem; and show such an exact co“ The many beautiful passages which we have extracted incidence of judgment in two masters of their calling, as had from the poem, combined with the brief remarks subjoined not hitherto been exemplified in the professional criticism of to each canto, will sufficiently show, that although the Lord his metrical romances. The defects which both point out, of the Isles is not likely to add very much to the reputation are, I presume, but too completely explained by the precedof Mr. Scott, yet this must be imputed rather to the great- ing statement of the rapidity with which this, the last of those ness of his previous reputation, than to the absolute inferio- great performances, had been thrown of† ;-[see Life, vol. v. rity of the poem itself. Unfortunately, its merits are merely pp. 13--15)-nor do I see that either Reviewer has failed to incidental, while its defects are mixed up with the very ele- do sufficient justice to the beauties which redeem the imperments of the poem. But it is not in the power of Mr. Scoti to fections of the Lord of the Isles-except as regards the whole write with tameness ; be the subject what it will, (and he character of Bruce, its real hero, and the picture of the Battle could not easily have chosen one more impracticable,) he im- of Bannockburn, which, now that one can compare these presses upon whatever scenes he describes, so much move- works from something like the same point of view, does not ment and activity,--he infuses into his narrative such a flow appear to me in the slightest particular inferior to the Flodden of life, and, if we may so express ourselves, of animal spirits, of Marmion. that without satisfying the judgment, or moving the feelings, “This poem is now, I believe, about as popular as Rokebs; or elevating the mind, or even very greatly interesting the but it has never reached the same station in general favour curiosity, he is able to seize upon, and, as it were, exhilarate with the Lay, Marmion, or the Lady of the Lake. The first the imagination of his readers, in a manner which is often edition of 1800 copies in quarto, was, however, rapidly distruly unaccountable. This quality Mr. Scott possesses in an posed of, and the separate editions in 8vo, which ensued beadmirable degree; and supposing that he had no other ob- fore his poetical works were collected, amounted together to ject in view than to convince the world of the great poetical | 15,250 copies. This, in the case of almost any other author, powers with which he is gifted, the poem before us would be would have been splendid success; but, as compared with quite sufficient for his purpose. But this is of very inferior what he had previously experienced, even in his Rokeby, and importance to the public; what they want is a good poem, still more so as compared with the enormous circulation at and, as experience has shown, this can only be constructed once attained by Lord Byron's early tales, which were then upon a solid foundation of taste and judgment and medita- following each other in almost breathless succession, the fall tion.'

ing off was decided "-LOCKHART, vol. v. p. 27.

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fourme abovesaid, he shall have wages of cc. Ib. sterlyng of

English money yearly; and after the rate of the tyme that he Thy rugged halls, Artornish! rung.-P. 410. shall be occupied in the seid werres.

Ilem, The seià Donald shall, from the seid feste of WhitThe ruins of the Castle of Artornish are situated upon a tesontyde, have and take, during his lyf, yerly, in tyme of promontory, on the Morven, or mainland side of the Sound peas, for his sees and wages, xx I. sterlyng of Englysh mones; of Mull, a name given to the deep arm of the sea, which di- and, when he shall be occupied and intend to the werre, with vides that island from the continent. The situation is wild his myght and power, and in manner and fourme aboveseid, and romantic in the highest degree, having on the one hand he shall have and take, for his wages yearly, al l. sterlynge of a high and precipitous chain of rocks overhanging the sea, Englysh money; or for the rate of the tyme of werreand on the other the narrow entrance to the beautiful salt- Item, The seid John, sonn and heire apparant of the said water lake, called Loch Alline, which is in many places finely Donald, shall have and take, yerely, from the seid fest, for fringed with copse wood. The ruins of Artornish are not now his fees and wages, in the tyme of peas, x l. sterlynge of Engvery considerable, and consist chiefly of the remains of an old lysh money; and for tyme of werre, and his intendyng thereto, keep, or tower, with fragments of outward defences. But, in in manner and fourme aboveseid, he shall have, for his fees former days, it was a place of great consequence, being one of and wages, yearly xx l. sterlynge of Englysh money; or after the principal strongholds, which the Lords of the Isles, during the rate of the tyme that he shall be occupied in the werre: the period of their stormy independence, possessed upon the And the seid John, th' Erle Donald and John, and eche of

mainland of Argyleshire. Here they assembled what popu- them, shall have good and sufficiaunt paiment of the seid fees ·lar tradition calls their parliaments, meaning, I suppose, their and wages, as wel for tyme of peas as of werre, accordyng to

cour plenière, or assembly of feudal and patriarchal vassals thees articules and appoyntements. Item, It is appointed, and dependents. From this Castle of Artornish, upon the accorded, concluded, and finally determined, that, if it so be 19th day of October, 1461, John de Yle, designing himself that hereafter the said reaume of Scotlande, or the more part Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles, granted, in the style of an thereof, be conquered, subdued, and brought to the obeissance independent sovereign, a commission to his trusty and well of the seid most high and Christien prince, and his heires, or beloved cousins, Ronald of the Isles, and Duncan, Arch-Dean successourcs, of the seid Lionell, in fourme aboveseid descendof the Isles, for empowering them to enter into a treaty with yng, be the assistance, helpe, and aide of the said John Erle the most excellent Prince Edward, by the grace of God, King of Rosse, and Donald, and of James Erle of Douglas, then, of France and England, and Lord of Ireland. Edward IV., the said fees and wages for the tyme of peas cessying, the on his part, named Laurence, Bishop of Durham, the Earl of same erles and Donald shall have, by the graunte of the same Worcester, the Prior of St. John's, Lord Wenlock, and Mr. most Christien prince, all the possessions of the said reaume Robert Stillington, keeper of the privy seal, his deputies and beyonde Scottishe see, they to be departed equally betwix commissioners, to confer with those named by the Lord of them: eche of them, his heires and successours, to holde his the Isles. The conference terminated in a treaty, by which parte of the seid most Christien prince, his heires and succesthe Lord of the Isles agreed to become a vassal to the crown sours, for evermore, in right of his croune of England, by hoof England, and to assist Edward IV. and James Earl of mage and feaute to be done therefore. Donglas, then in banishment, in subduing the realm of Scot- Item, If so be that, by th' aide and assistence of the seid land.

James Erle of Douglas, the said reaume of Scotlande be conThe first article provides, that John de Isle, Earl of Ross, quered and subdued as above, then he shall have, enjoie, and with his son Donald Balloch, and his grandson John de Isle, inherite all his own possessions, landes, and inheritaunce, on with all their subjects, men, people, and inhabitants, become this syde the Scottishe see; that is to saye, betwixt the seid rassals and liegemen to Edward IV. of England, and assist Scottishe see and Englande, such he hath rejoiced and be him in his wars in Scotland or Ireland; and then follow the possessed of before this; there to holde them of the said most allowances to be made to the Lord of the Isles, in recompense high and Christien prince, his heires, and successours, as is of his military service, and the provisions for dividing such abovesaid, for evermore, in right of the coroune of Englonde, conquests as their united arms should make upon the main- as weel the said Erle of Douglas, as his heires and succesland of Scotland among the confederates. These appear such sours, by homage and feaute to be done therefore."—RYcurious illustrations of the period, that they are here sub- MER's Fædera Conventiones Literæ et cujuscunque generis joined:

Acta Publica, fol. vol. v., 1741. “ Item, The seid John Erle of Rosse shall, from the seid Such was the treaty of Artornish ; but it does not appear fest of Whittesontyde next comyng, yerely, duryng his lyf, that the allies ever made any very active effort to realize their have and take, for fees and wages in tyme of pens, of the seid ambitious designs. It will serve to show both the power of most high and Christien prince c. marc sterlyng of Englysh these reguli, and their independence upon the crown of Scotmoney; and in tyme of werre, as long as he shall entende land. with his myght and power in the said werres, in manner and It is only farther necessary to say of the Castle of Artornish,

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