Walter Scott.

The poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet online

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Thought, acted, suffered, as a living man,
To be a ghastly form of bloody clay,
Soon the foul food for reptiles.

Old Play.

'T is when the wound is stiffening with the cold,
The warrior first feels pain — 't is when the heat
And fiery fever of his soul is past,
The sinner feels remorse.

Old Play.

I 'll walk on tiptoe ; arm my eye with caution,
My heart with courage, and my hand with

Like him who ventures on a lion's den.

Old Play.
Now, by Our Lady, Sheriff, 't is hard reckoning
That I, with every odds of birth and barony,
Should be detained here for the casual death
Of a wild forester, whose utmost having
Is but the brazen buckle of the belt
In which he sticks his hedge-knife.

Old Play.
You call it an ill angel — it may be so ;
But sure I am, among the ranks which fell,
Tis the first fiend e er counselled man to' rise
And win the bliss the sprite himself had forfeited'

Old Play.
At school I knew him — a sharp-witted youth
Grave, thoughtful, and reserved amongst his

Turning the hours of sport and food to labor
Starving his body to inform his mind.

Old Play.
Now on my faith this gear is all entangled,
Like to the yarn clew of the drowsy knitter
Dragged by the frolic kitten through the cabin
W nile the good dame sits nodding o'er the fire —
Masters, attend; 'twill crave some skill to
clear it.

Old Play.
It is not texts will do it — Church artillery
Are silenced soon by real ordnance,
And canons arc but vain opposed to cannon
Go, com your crosier, melt your church plate

Bid the starved soldier banquet in your halls
And<|i.;iff your long-saved hogsheads. — Turn

thun out

Thus primed with your good cheer, to guard

your wall,
And they will venture for 't.

Old Play.

Prom " The Abbot."

In the wild storm
The seaman hews his mast down, and the mer-
Heaves to the billows wares he once deemed

precious :
So prince and peer, mid popular contentions,
Cast off their favorites.

Old Play.

Thou hast each secret of the household, Francis.
I dare be sworn thou hast been in the buttery
Steeping thy curious humor in fat ale,
And in the butler's tattle — ay, or chatting
With the glib waiting-woman o'er her comfits —
These bear the key to each domestic mystery.

Old Play.

The sacred tapers' lights are gone,
Gray moss has clad the altar stone,
The holy image is o'erthrown,

The bell has ceased to toll.
The long ribbed aisles are burst and shrunk,
The holy shrines to ruin sunk,
Departed is the pious monk,

God's blessing on his soul !


Life hath its May, and all is mirthful then :
The woods are vocal and the flowers all odor ;
Its very blast has mirth in 't, and the maidens,
The while they don their cloaks to skreen their

Laugh at the rain that wets them.

Old Play.
Nay, hear me, brother — I am elder, wiser,
And holier than thou ; and age and wisdom
And holiness have peremptory claims,
And will be listened to.

Old Play.
Not the wild billow, when it breaks its barrier —
Not the wild wind, escaping from its cavern —
Not the wild fiend, that mingles both together
And pours their rage upon the ripening harvest,
Can match the wild freaks of this mirthful

meeting —
Comic, yet fearful — droll, and yet destructive.
The Conspiracy.

Youth ! thou wear'st to manhood now ;

Darker lip and darker brow,

Statelier step, more pensive mien,

In thy face and gait are "seen:

Thou must now brook midnight watches,

I ake thy food and sport by snatches !

For the gambol and the jest

Thou wert wont to love the best,

Graver follies must thou follow,

But as senseless, false, and hollow.

Life, a Poem.



It is and is not — 'tis the thing I sought for,
Have kneeled for, prayed for, risked my fame

and life for,
And yet it is not — no more than the shadow
Upon the hard, cold, flat, and polished mirror.
Is the warm, graceful, rounded, living substance
Which it presents in form and lineament.

Old Play.

Give me a morsel on the greensward rather,
Coarse as you will the cooking — let the fresh

Bubble beside my napkin — and the free birds,
Twittering and chirping, hop from bough to

To claim the crumbs I leave for perquisites —
Your prison-feasts I like not.

The Woodman, a Drama.

'Tis a weary life this —
Vaults overhead, and grates and bars around me,
And my sad hours spent with as sad companions,
Whose thoughts are brooding o'er their own

Far, far too deeply to take part in mine.

The Woodman.

And when Love's torch hath set the heart in

Comes Seignior Reason, with his saws and cau-

Giving such aid as the old gray-beard Sexton,

Who from the church-vault drags his crazy

To ply its dribbling ineffectual streamlet

Against a conflagration.

Old Play.

Yes, it is she whose eyes looked on thy child

And watched with trembling hope thy dawn of

That now, with these same eyeballs, dimmed

with age,
And dimmer yet with tears, sees thy dishonor.

Old Play.

In some breasts passion lies concealed and silent,
Like war's swart powder in a castle vault,
Until occasion, like the linstock, lights it ;
Then comes at once the lightning and the thun-
And distant echoes tell that all is rent asunder.

Old Play.

Death distant ? — No, alas ! he 's ever with us,
And shakes the dart at us in all our actings :
He lurks within our cup while we 're in health ;
Sits by our sick-bed, mocks our medicines ;
We cannot walk, or sit, or ride, or travel,
But Death is by to seize us when he lists.

The Spanish Father.

Ay, Pedro, — come you here with mask and

Ladder of ropes, and other moonshine tools —
Why, youngster, thou mayst cheat the old

Flatter the waiting-woman, bribe the valet ;
But know, that I her father play the Gryphon,

Tameless and sleepless, proof to fraud or bribe.
And guard the hidden treasure of her beauty.
The Spanish Lather.

It is a time of danger, not of revel,
When churchmen turn to masquers.

The Spanish Father.

Ay. sir — our ancient crown, in these wild times,
Oft stood upon a cast — the gamester's ducat,
So often staked and lost and then regained,
Scarce knew so many hazards.

The Spanish Father.

From " Kenilworth."

Not serve two masters ? — Here 's a youth will

try it —
Would fain serve God, yet give the devil his due ;
Says grace before he doth a deed of villany,
And returns his thanks devoutly when 't is acted.

Old Play.

He was a man
Versed in the world as pilot in his compass.
The needle pointed ever to that interest
Which was his loadstar, and he spread his sails
With vantage to the gale of others' passion.
The Deceiver, a Tragedy.

This is he
Who rides on the court-gale ; controls its tides ;
Knows all their secret shoals and fatal eddies ;
Whose frown abases and whose smile exalts.
He shines like any rainbow — and, perchance,
His colors are as transient.

Old Play.

This is rare news thou tell'st me, my good

fellow ;
There are two bulls fierce battling on the green
For one fair heifer — if the one goes down,
The dale will be more peaceful, and the herd,
Which have small interest in their brulziement,
May pasture there in peace.

Old Play.

Well, then, our course is chosen ; spread the

sail, —
Heave oft the lead and mark the soundings well ;
Look to the helm, good master ; many a shoal
Marks this stern coast, and rocks where sits

the siren
Who, like ambition, lures men to their ruin.
The Shipwreck.

Now God be good to me in this wild pilgrimage !
All hope in human aid I cast behind me.
O, who would be a woman ? who that fool,
A weeping, pining, faithful, loving woman ?
She hath hard measure still where she hopes

And all her bounties only make ingrates.

Love's Pilgrimage.

Hark ! the bells summon and the bugle calls,
But she the fairest answers not ; the tide
Of nobles and of ladies throngs the halls,
But she the loveliest must in secret hide.



What eyes were thine, proud prince, which in

the gleam
Of yon gay meteors lost that better sense
That o'er the glow-worm doth the star esteem,
\nd merit's modest blush o'er courtly insolence ?
The Glass Slipper.

What, man, ne'er lack a draught when the full

Stands at thine elbow and craves emptying I —
Nay, fear not me, for I have no delight
To watch men's vices, since I have myself
Of virtue naught to boast of. — 'I 'm a striker,
Would have the world strike with me, pell-
mell, all.

Pandcemonium .

Now fare thee well, my master ! if true service
Be guerdoned with hard looks, e'en cut the

And let our barks across the pathless flood
Hold different courses.


Now bid the steeple rock — she comes, she

comes !
Speak for us, bells ! speak for us, shrill-tongued

tuckets !
Stand to the linstock, gunner ; let thy cannon
Play such a peal as if a Paynim foe
Came stretched in turbaned ranks to storm the

We will have pageants too ; but that craves wit,
And I 'm a rough-hewn soldier.

The Virgin-Queen, a Tragi- Comedy.

The wisest sovereigns err like private men,
And royal hand has sometimes laid the sword
Of chivalry upon a worthless shoulder,
Which better had been branded by the hangman.
What then ? Kings do their best, — and they

and we
Must answer for the intent, and not the event.

Old Play.

Here stands the victim — there the proud be-
E'en as the hind pulled down by strangling dogs
Lies at the hunter's feet, who courteous proffers
To some high dame, the Dian of the chase,
To whom he looks for guerdon, his sharp blade
To gash the sobbing throat.

The Woodman.

HIGH o'er the eastern steep the sun is beaming,
And darkness flies with her deceitful shadows ;
So truth prevails o'er falsehood.

Old Play.

From " The Pirate?

'T is not alone the scene — the man, Anselmo.
The man finds sympathies in these wild wastes
And roughly tumbling seas, which fairer views
And smoother waves deny him.

Ancient Drama.

She does no work by halves, yon raving ocean ;
Engulfing those she strangles, her wild womb
Affords the mariners whom she hath dealt on
Their death at once and sepulchre.

Old Play.

This is a gentle trader and a prudent —
He 's no Autolycus, to blear your eye
With quips of worldly gauds and gamesomeness,
But seasons all his glittering merchandise
With wholesome doctrine suited to the use,
As men sauce goose with sage and rosemary.

Old Play.

All your ancient customs
And long-descended usages I '11 change.
Ye shall not eat, nor drink, nor speak, nor move,
Think, look, or walk, as ye were wont to do ;
Even your marriage-beds shall know mutation ;
The bride shall have the stock, the groom the

wall ;
For all old practice will I turn and change,
And call it reformation — marry, will I !

' Tis Even that we We at Odds.

We '11 keep our customs — what is law itself
But old established custom ? What religion —
I mean, with one half of the men that use it —
Save the good use and wont that carries them
To worship how and where their fathers wor-
shipped ?
All things resolve in custom — we '11 keep ours

Old Play.

I do love these ancient ruins !
We never tread upon them but we set
Our foot upon some reverend history,
And questionless, here in this open court —
Which now lies naked to the injuries
Of stormy weather — some men lie interred,
Loved the Church so well and gave so largely

to it,
They thought it should have canopied their

Till doomsday ; — but all things have their end —
Churches and cities, which have diseases like

to men,
Must have like death which we have.

Duchess of Malfy.

See yonder woman, whom our swains revere
And dread in secret, while they take her counsel
When sweetheart shall be kind, or when cross

dame shall die ;
Where lurks the thief who stole the silver

And how the pestilent murrain may be cured ; —
This sage adviser 's mad, stark mad, my friend ;
Yet in her madness hath the art and cunning
To wring fools' secrets from their inmost bosoms,
And pay inquirers with the coin they gave her.

Old Play.

What ho, my jovial mates ! come on ! we '11
frolic it

Like fairies frisking in the merry moonshine,

Seen by the curtal friar, who, from some chris-

Or some blithe bridal, hies belated cell-ward —



He starts, and changes his bold bottle swagger
To churchman's pace professional, — and, ran-
His treacherous memory for some holy hymn,
Finds but the roundel of the midnight catch.

Old Play.

I strive like to the vessel in the tide-way,
Which, lacking favoring breeze, hath not the

To stem the powerful current. — Even so,
Resolving daily to forsake my vices,
Habit, strong circumstance, renewed temptation,
Sweep me to sea again. — O heavenly breath,
Fill thou my sails, and aid the feeble vessel,
Which ne'er can reach the blessed port without

thee !

'T is Odds when Evens meet.

Parental love, my friend, has power o'er

And is the charm, which, like the falconer's lure,
Can bring from heaven the highest soaring

spirits. —
So, when famed Prosper doffed his magic robe
It was Miranda plucked it from his shoulders.

Old Play.

Hark to the insult loud, the bitter sneer,
The fierce threat answering to the brutal jeer ;
Oaths fly like pistol-shots, and vengeful words
Clash with each other like conflicting swords. —
The robber's quarrel by such sounds is shown,
And true men have some chance to gain their

Captivity, a Poem.

Over the mountains and under the waves,
Over the fountains and under the graves,
Over floods that are deepest,

Which Neptune obey,
Over rocks that are steepest,
Love will find out the way.

Old Song.

From " The Fortunes of Nigel."

Now Scot and English are agreed,

And Saunders hastes to cross the Tweed,

Where, such the splendors that attend him,

His very mother scarce had kenned him.

His metamorphosis behold

From Glasgow frieze to cloth of gold ;

His back-sword with the iron-hilt,

To rapier fairly hatched and gilt ;

Was ever seen a gallant braver !

His very bonnet 's grown a beaver.

The Reformation.

This, sir, is one among the Seigniory,
Has wealth at will, and will to use his wealth,
And wit to increase it. Marry, his worst folly
Lies in a thriftless sort of charity,
That goes a-gadding sometimes after objects
Which wise men will not see when thrust upon

The Old Couple.

Ay, sir, the clouted shoe hath ofttimes craft in 't,
As says the rustic proverb ; and your citizen,
In 's grogram suit, gold chain, and well-blacked

Bears under his flat cap ofttimes a brain
Wiser than burns beneath the cap and feather,
Or seethes within the statesman's velvet


Read me my Riddle.

Wherefore come ye not to court ?
Certain 't is the rarest sport ;
There are silks and jewels glistening,
Prattling fools and wise men listening,
Bullies among brave men justling,
Beggars amongst nobles bustling ;
Low-breathed talkers, minion lispers,
Cutting honest throats by whispers ;
Wherefore come ye not to court ?
Skelton swears 't is glorious sport.

Skelton Skeltonizeth.

O, I do know him — 't is the mouldy lemon
Which our court wits will wet their lips withal.
When they would sauce their honied conversa-
With somewhat sharper flavor. — Marry, sir,
That virtue 's wellnigh left him — all the juice
That was so sharp and poignant is squeezed out ;
While the poor rind, although as sour as ever,
Must season soon the draff we give our grunters,
For two-legged things are weary on 't.

The Chamberlain, a Comedy.

Things needful we have thought on ; but the

Of all most needful — that which Scripture

As if alone it merited regard,

The one thing needful — that 's yet unconsid-

The Chamberlain.

Ah ! mark the matron well — and laugh not,

At her old steeple-hat and velvet guard —
I 've called her like the ear of Dionysius ;
I mean that ear-formed vault, built o'er the

To catch the groans and discontented murmurs
Of his poor bondsmen. — Even so doth Martha
Drink up for her own purpose all that passes,
Or is supposed to pass, in this wide city —
She can retail it too, if that her profit
Shall call on her to do so ; and retail it
For your advantage, so that you can make
Your profit jump with hers.

The Conspiracy.

Bid not thy fortune troll upon the wheels
Of yonder dancing cups of mottled bone ;
And drown it not, like Egypt's royal harlot,
Dissolving her rich pearl in the brimmed wine-
These are the arts, Lothario, which shrink acres
Into brief yards — bring sterling pounds to

Credit to infamy ; and the poor gull,



Who might have lived an honored, easy life,
To ruin and an unregarded grave.

The Changes.

This is the very barn-yard
Where muster daily the prime cocks o' the game,
Ruffle their pinions, crow till they are hoarse,
And spar about a barleycorn. Here, too,

The callow unfledged brood of forward folly,
Learn first to rear the crest, and aim the spur,
And tune their note like full-plumed Chanticleer.
The Bear Garden.

Let the proud salmon gorge the feathered hook,
Then strike, and then you have him. — He will

wince ;
Spin out your line that it shall whistle from you
Some twenty yards or so, yet you shall have

him —
Marry ! you must have patience — the stout rock
Which is his trust hath edges something sharp ;
And the deep pool hath ooze and sludge enough
To mar your fishing — 'less you are more careful.
Albion, or the Double Kings.

Give way — give way — I must and will have

And tell me not of privilege and place ;
Where I am injured, there I'll sue redress.
Look to it, every one who bars my access ;
I have a heart to feel the injury,
A hand to right myself, and, by my honor,
That hand shall grasp what gray-beard Law

denies me.

The Chamberlain.

Come hither, young one — Mark me ! Thou art

'Mongst men o' the sword, that live by reputation
More than by constant income — Single-suited
They are, I grant you ; yet each single suit
Maintains, on the rough guess, a thousand

followers —
And they be men who, hazarding their all,
Needful apparel, necessary income,
And human body, and immortal soul,
Do in the very deed but hazard nothing —
So strictly is that all bound in reversion ;
Clothes to the broker, income to the usurer, —
And body to disease, and soul to the foul fiend ;
Who laughs to see Soldadoes and fooladoes
Play better than himself his game on earth.
The Mohocks.

Mother. What ! dazzled by a flash of Cupid's
With which the boy, as mortal urchins wont,
Klings back the sunbeam in the eye of passen-
Then laughs to see them stumble !

'hUr. Mother 1 no —

It was a lightning-flash which dazzled me,
And never shall these eyes see true again.

Beef and Pudding, <m Old English Comedy.

I'.v t h is good light, a wench of matchless mettle !
Thil were a leagucr-lass to love a soldier,
To bind hia wounds, and kiss his bloody brow,

And sing a roundel as she helped to arm him,
Though the rough foeman's drums were beat
so nigh
They seemed to bear the burden.

Old Play.

Credit me, friend, it hath been ever thus

Since the ark rested on Mount Ararat.

False man hath sworn, and woman hath be-
lieved —

Repented and reproached, and then believed
once more.

The New World.

Rove not from pole to pole — the man lives

Whose razor 's only equalled by his beer ;
And where, in either sense, the cockney-put
May, if he pleases, get confounded cut.

On the Sign of an Alehouse kept by a Barber.

Chance will not do the work — Chance sends

the breeze ;
But if the pilot slumber at the helm,
The very wind that wafts us towards the port
May dash us on the shelves. — The steersman's

part is vigilance,
Blow it or rough or smooth.

Old Play.

This is the time — Heaven's maiden-sentinel
Hath quitted her high watch — the lesser

Are paling one by one ; give me the ladder
And the short lever — bid Anthony
Keep with his carabine the wicket-gate ;
And do thou bare thy knife and follow me,
For we will in and do it — darkness like this
Is dawning of our fortunes.

Old Play.

Death finds us mid our playthings — snatches

As a cross nurse might do a wayward child,
From all our toys and baubles. His rough call
Unlooses all our favorite ties on earth ;
And well if they are such as may be answered
In yonder world, where all is judged of truly.

Old Play.

Give us good voyage, gentle stream — we stun

Thy sober ear with sounds of revelry,
Wake not the slumbering echoes of thy banks
With voice of flute and horn — we do but seek
On the broad pathway of thy swelling bosom
To glide in silent safety.

The Double Bridal.

This way lie safety and a sure retreat ;
Yonder lie danger, shame, and punishment.
Most welcome danger then — nay, let me say,
Though spoke with swelling heart — welcome

e en shame ;
And welcome punishment — for, call me guilty,
I do but pay the tax that 's due to justice ;
And call me guiltless, then that punishment
Is shame to those alone who do inflict it.

The Tribunal.



How fares the man on whom good men would

With eyes where scorn and censure combated,
But that kind Christian love hath taught the

lesson —
That they who merit most contempt and hate
Do most deserve our pity —

Old Play.

Marry, come up, sir, with your gentle blood !
Here 's a red stream beneath this coarse blue

That warms the heart as kindly as if drawn
From the far source of old Assyrian kings,
Who first made mankind subject to their sway.

Old Play.

We are not worse at once — the course of evil
Begins so slowly and from such slight source,
An infant's hand might stem its breach with

But let the stream get deeper, and philosophy —
Ay, and religion too — shall strive in vain
To turn the headlong torrent.

Old Play.

From " Peveril of the Peak."

Why then, we will have bellowing of beeves,
Broaching of barrels, brandishing of spigots ;
Blood shall flow freely, but it shall be gore
Of herds and flocks and venison and poultry,
Joined to the brave heart's-blood of John-a-
Barleycorn !

Old Play.

No, sir, I will not pledge — I 'm one of those
Who think good wine needs neither bush nor

To make it welcome. If you doubt my word,
Fill the quart-cup, and see if I will choke on 't.

Old Play.

You shall have no worse prison than my


Nor jailer than mvself. ™ „ .. .

} i The Captain.

Ascasto. Can she not speak ?

Oswald. If speech be only in accented sounds,
Framed by the tongue and lips, the maiden 's

But if by quick and apprehensive look,
By motion, sign, and glance, to give each mean-
Express as clothed in language, be termed

She hath that wondrous faculty ; for her eyes,
Like the bright stars of heaven, can hold dis-
Though it be mute and soundless.

Old Play.

This is a love meeting ? See the maiden mourns,
And the sad suitor bends his looks on earth.
There 's more hath passed between them than

To Love's sweet sorrows. Old Play.

Now, hoist the anchor, mates — and let the sails
Give their broad bosom to the buxom wind,
Like lass that woos a lover.


He was a fellow in a peasant's garb ;
Yet one could censure you a woodcock's carv-
Like any courtier at the ordinary.

The Ordinary.

We meet, as men see phantoms in a dream,
Which glide and sigh and sign and move their

But make no sound ; or, if they utter voice,
'T is but a low and undistinguished moaning,
Which has nor word nor sense of uttered sound.
The Chieftain.

The course of human life is changeful still

As is the fickle wind and wandering rill ;

Or, like the light dance which the wild-breeze

Amidst the faded race of fallen leaves ;
Which now its breath bears down, now tosses

Beats to the earth, or wafts to middle sky.
Such, and so varied, the precarious play
Of fate with man, frail tenant of a day !


Necessity — thou best of peacemakers,

As well as surest prompter of invention —

Help us to composition ! ,

r r Anonymous.

This is some creature of the elements

Most like your sea-gull. He can wheel and

His screaming song, e'en when the storm is

loudest —
Take for his sheeted couch the restless foam
Of the wild wave-crest — slumber in the calm,

Online LibraryWalter ScottThe poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet → online text (page 59 of 78)