Imágenes de páginas


Each trophied beam, each sculptur'd At length, by fits, he darkly told, stone,

With broken hint, and shuddering Were instant seen, and instant gone ; cold, Full through the guests' bedazzled That he had seen, right certainly, band

A shape with amice wrapp'd around, Resistless flash'd the levin-brand, IVith a wrought Spanish baldric bound, And fillid the hall with smouldering Like pilgrim from beyond the sea; smoke,

And knew-but how it matter'd notAs on the elvish page it broke. It was the wizard, Michael Scott. It broke, with thunder long and loud,

XXVII. Dismay'd the brave, appall’d the The anxious crowd, with horror pale, proud,

All trembling heard the wondrous From sea to sea the larum rung ; On Berwick wall, and at Carlisle No sound was made, no word was withal,

spoke, To arms the startled warders Till noble Angus silence broke; sprung.

And he a solemn sacred plight When ended was the dreadful roar, Did to St. Bride of Douglas make, The elvish dwarf was seen no more! That he a pilgrimage would take

To Melrose Abbey, for the sake XXVI.

Of Michael's restless sprite. Some heard a voice in Branksome Then each, to ease his troubled breast, Hall,

To some bless'd saint his prayers adSome saw a sight, not seen by all;

dress'd : That dreadful voice was heard by Some to St. Modan made their vows, some,

Some to St. Mary of the Lowes, (ry, with loud summons, Gyllin, Some to the Holy Rood of Lisle, COME!'

Some to our Ladye of the Isle ; And on the spot where burst the Each did his patron witness make, brand,

That he such pilgrimage would take, Just where the page had flung And monks should sing, and bells him down,

should toll, Some saw an arm, and some a hand, | All for the weal of Michael's soul.

And some the waving of a gown. While vows were ta'en, and prayers The guests in silence pray'dand shook,

were pray'd, And terror dimm'd each lofty look. 'Tis said the noble dame, dismay'd, But none of all the astonish'd train Renounc'd, for aye, dark magic's aid. Was so dismay'd as Deloraine ; His blood did freeze, his brain did

XXVIII. burn,

Nought of the bridal will I tell, 'Twas fear'd his mind would ne'er Which after in short space befell; return;

Nor how brave sons and daughters fair For he was speechless, ghastly, wan, Blessd Teviot's Flower, and CranLike him of whom the story ran,

stoun's heir: Who spoke the spectre-hound in After such dreadful scene, 'twere vain

To wake the note of mirth again.





More meet it were to mark the day And far the echoing aisles prolong

Of penitence, and prayer divine, The awful burthen of the song,- . When pilgrim-chiefs, in sad array, DIES IRÆ, DIES ILLA, Sought Melrose holy shrine. Solver SÆCIUM IX FAVILLA, —

While the pealing organ rung. With naked foot, and sackcloth vest, Were it meet with sacred strain And arms enfolded on his breast,

To close my lay, so light and vain, Did every pilgrim go ;

Thus the holy Fathers sung :
The standers-by might hear uneath,
Footstep, or voice, or high-drawn

HYMN FOR THE DEAD. Through all the lengthen'd row: That day of wrath, that dreadful day, No lordly look, nor martial stride;

When heaven and earth shall pass Gone was their glory,sunk their pride,

away, Forgotten their renown;

What power shall be the sinner's stay? Silent and slow, like ghosts they glide How shall he meet that dreadful day? To the high altar's hallow'd side,

When, shriveling like a parched scroll, And there they knelt them down: Above the suppliant chieftains wave

The flaming heavens together roll;

When louder yet, and yet more dread, The banners of departed brave; Beneath the letter'd stones were laid

Swells the high trump that wakes the The ashes of their fathers dead ; From many a garnish'd niche around, | Oh! on that day, that wrathful day, Stern saints and tortur d martyrs When man to judgment wakes from frown'd


Be Tuor the trembling sinner's stay, And slow up the dim aisle afar, Though heaven and earth shall pass With sable cowl and scapular,

And snow-white stoles, in order due,
The holy Fathers, two and two, Hush's is the harp: the Minstrel
In long procession came;

Taper and host, and book they bare, And did he wander forth alone ?
And holy banner, flourish'd fair Alone, in indigence and age,
With the Redeemer's name.

To linger out his pilgrimage?
Above the prostrate pilgrim band Yo; close beneath proud Newark's
The mitred Abbot stretch'd his hand,

tower, And bless'd them as they kneeld; Arose the Minstrel's lowly bower; With holy cross he sign'd them all, A simple hut; but there was seen And pray'd they might be sage in hall, The little garden hedged with green, And fortunate in field.

The cheerful hearth, and lattice clean. Then mass was sung, and prayers. There shelter'dwanderers, bytheblaze, were said,

Oft heard the tale of other days; And solemn requiem for the dead; For much he lov'd to ope his door, And bells tolld out their mighty peal, ! And give the aid he begg'd before. For the departed spirit's wcal; So pass'd the winter's day; but still, And ever in the office close

When summer smild on sweet Bow The hymn of intercession rose;




And July's eve, with balmy breath, Then would he sing achievements Wav'd the blue-bells on Newark

high, heath;

And circumstance of chivalry, When throstles sung in Harehead- Till the rapt traveller would stay, shaw,

Forgetful of the closing day ; And corn was green on Carterhaugh, And noble youths, the strain to hear, And flourish'd broad Blackandro's Forsook the hunting of the deer; oak,

And Yarrow, as he roll'd along, The aged Harper's soul awoke! Bore burden to the Minstrel's song.


Introduction and Notes to the Bay of the

Last Minstrel.

INTRODUCTION TO THE EDITION OF 1830. A POEM of nearly thirty years' standing when the second edition of the Minstrelsy apmay be supposed hardly to need an Intro peared, I had arrived at a period of life when duction, since, without one, it has been able / men, however thoughtless, encounter duties to keep itself afloat through the best part of and circumstances which press consideration a generation. Nevertheless, as, in the edi and plans of life upon the most careless tion of the Waverley Novels now in course minds. I had been for some time married of publication (1830), I have imposed on was the father of a rising family, and, though myself the task of saying something con- fully enabled to meet the consequent demands cerning the purpose and history of cach, in upon me, it was my duty and desire to place their turn, I am desirous that the Poems for myself in a situation which would enable me which I first received some marks of the to make honourable provision against the public favour, should also be accompanied various contingencies of life. with such scraps of their literary history as It may be readily supposed that the at. may be supposed to carry interest along with ! tempts which I had made in literature had thein. Even if I should be mistaken in think been unfavourable to my success at the bar. ing that the secret history of what was once The goddess Themis is, at Edinburgh, and so popular, may still attract public attention I suppose everywhere else, of a peculiarly and curiosity, it seems to me not without its jealous disposition. She will not readily use to record the manner and circumstances consent to share her authority, and sternly under which the present, and other Poems on demands from her votaries, not only that the same plan, attained for a season an ex real duty, be carefully attended to and distensive reputation.

charged, but that a certain air of business I must resume the story of my literary shall be observed even in the midst of total labours at the period at which I broke off in idleness. It is prudent, if not absolutely the Essay on the Imitation of Popular Poetry necessary, in a young barrister, to appear

see post), when I had enjoyed the first gleam completely engrossed by his profession; howof public favour, by the success of the first ever destitute of employment he may in edition of the Minstrelsy of the Scottish reality be, he ought to preserve, if possible, Border. The second edition of that work, the appearance of fulloccupation. He should, published in 1803, proved, in the language of the therefore, seem perpetually engaged among trade, rather a heavy concern. The demand his law-papers, dusting them, as it were; and, in Scotland had been supplied by the first as Ovid advises the fair, edition, and the curiosity of the English was not much awakened by poems in the rude

Si nullus erit pulvis, tamen excute nullum.' garb of antiquity, accompanied with notes Perhaps such extremity of attention is more referring to the obscure feuds of barbarous especially required, considering the great clans, of whose very names civilized history number of counsellors who are called to the was ignorant. It was, on the whole, one of bar, and how very small a proportion of them those books which are more praised than are finally disposed, or find encouragement, they are read,

to follow the law as a profession. Hence the At this time I stood personally in a dif. number of deserters is so great, that the least ferent position from that which I occupied | lingering look behind occasions a young when I'first dipt my desperate pen in ink for novice to be set down as one of the intending other purposes than those of my profession. fugitives. Certain it is, that the Scottish In 1796, when I first published the transla Themis was at this time peculiarly jealous of tions from Bürger, I was an insulated indivi- | any flirtation with the Muses, on the part of dual, with only my own wants to provide those who had ranged themselves under her for, and having, in a great measure, my banners. This was probably owing to her own inclinations alone to consult. In 1803,, consciousness of the superior attractions of

her rivals. Of late, however, she has relaxed have been able to acquire since I have in some instances in this particular, an emi travelled in a more commodious manner. I nent example of which has been shown in practised most silvan sports also, with some the case of my friend, Mr. Jeffrey, who, after success, and with great delight. But these long conducting one of the most influential pleasures must have been all resigned, or literary periodicals of the age, with unques used with great moderation, had I determined tionable ability, has been, by the general to regain my station at the bar. It was consent of his brethren, recently elected to even doubtful whether I could, with perfect be their Dean of Faculty, or President, character as a jurisconsult, retain a situation being the highest acknowledgment of his in a volunteer corps of cavalry, which I then professional talents which they had it in their held. The threats of invasion were at this power to offer. But this is an incident much time instant and menacing; the call by beyond the ideas of a period of thirty years' Britain on her children was universal, and distance, when a barrister who really pos was answered by some, who, like myself, sessed any turn for lighter literature, was at consulted rather their desire than their ability as much pains to conceal it, as if it had in to bear arms. My services, however, were reality been something to be ashamed of; found useful in assisting to maintain the and I could mention more than one instance discipline of the corps, being the point on in which literature and society have suffered which their constitution rendered them most much loss, that jurisprudence might be en amenable to military criticism. In other riched.

respects, the squadron was a fine one, conSuch, however, was not my case; for the sisting chiefly of handsome men, well mountreader will not wonder that my open inter ed and armed at their own expense. My ference with matters of light literature di attention to the corps took up

a good deal of minished my employment in the weightier time; and while it occupied many of the matters of the law. Nor did the solicitors, happiest hours of my life, it furnished an upon whose choice the counsel takes rank in additional reason for my reluctance again to his profession, do me less than justice, by re encounter the severe course of study indisgarding others among, my contemporaries pensable to success in the juridical profesas fitter to discharge the duty due to their sion. clients, than a young man who was taken up On the other hand, my father, whose feelwith running after ballads, whether Teutonic ings might have been hurt by my quitting or national.” My profession and I, therefore, the bar, had been for two or three years came to stand nearly upon the footing which dead, so that I had no control to thwart my honest Slender consoled himself on having own inclination; and my income being equal established with Mistress Anne Page; There to all the comforts, and some of the eleganwas no great love between us at the begin cies, of life, I was not pressed to an irksome ning, and it pleased Heaven to decrease it labour by necessity, that most powerful of on farther acquaintance. I became sensible motives; consequently, I was the more easily that the time was come when I must either seduced' to choose the employment which buckle myself resolutely to the 'toil by day, was most agreeable to me. This was yet the the lamp by night,' renouncing all the De easier, that in 1800 I had obtained the prelilahs of my imagination, or bid adieu to the ferment of Sheriff of Selkirkshire, about profession of the law, and hold another £300 a-year in value, and which was the course.

more agreeable to me, as in that county I I confess my own inclination revolted from had several friends and relations. But I did the more severe choice, which might have not abandon the profession to which I had heen deemed by many the wiser alternative. been educated, without certain prudential As my transgressions had been numerous, resolutions, which, at the risk of some egomy repentance must have been signalized by tism, I will here mention; not without the unusual sacrifices. I ought to have men hope that they may be useful to young per tioned, that since my fourteenth or fifteenth sons who may stand in circumstances similar year, my health, originally delicate, had be. to those in which I then stood. come extre:nely robust. From infancy I had In the first place, upon considering the laboured under the infirmity of a severe lives and fortunes of persons who had given lameness, but, as I believe is usually the themselves up to literature, or to the task of case with men of spirit who suffer under per pleasing the public, it seemed to ine, that sonal inconveniences of this nature, I had, the circumstances which chiefly affected since the improvement of my health, in de their happiness and character, were those fiance of this incapacitating circumstance, from which Horace has bestowed upon distinguished myself by the endurance of toil authors the epithet of the Irritable Race. It on foot or horse-back, having often walked requires no depth of philosophic reflection to thirty miles a-day, and rode upwards of a perceive, that the petty warfare of Pope with hundred, without resting. In this manner I the Dunces of his period could not have been inade many pleasant journeys through parts carried on without his suffering the most of the country then not very accessible, gain. acute torture, such as a man must endure ing more amusement and instruction than I from inusquittoes, by whose stings he suffers

« AnteriorContinuar »