Walter Scott.

The poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet online

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And dally with the storm. Yet 'tis a gull,
An arrant gull, with all this. ^ chieftain .

I fear the devil worst when gown and cassock,
Or in the lack of them, old Calvin's cloak,
Conceals his cloven hoof.


'T is the black ban-dog of our jail — pray look

on him,
But at a wary distance — rouse him not —
He bays not till he worries.

The Black Dog of Newgate.

1 Speak not of niceness, when there 's chance of

The captain said, as ladies writhed their neck
To see the dying dolphin flap the deck :
' If we go down, on us these gentry sup ;
We dine upon them, if we haul them up.
Wise men applaud us when we eat the eaters,
As the devil laughs when keen folks cheat the

cheaters.' The Sea Voyage.

Contentions fierce,
Ardent, and dire, spring from no petty cause.




He came amongst them like a new-raised spirit,
To speak of dreadful judgments that impend,
And of the wrath to come.

The Reformer.

And some for safety took the dreadful leap ;
Some for the voice of Heaven seemed calling

on them ;
Some for advancement, or for lucre's sake —
I leaped in frolic.

The Dream.

High feasting was there there — the gilded

Rung to the wassail-health — the dancer's step
Sprung to the chord responsive — the gay

To fate's disposal flung his heap of gold,
And laughed alike when it increased or lessened :
Such virtue hath court-air to teach us patience
Which schoolmen preach in vain.

Why come ye not to Court?

Here stand I tight and trim,
Quick of eye, though little of limb ;
He who denieth the word I have spoken,
Betwixt him and me shall lances be broken.
Lay of the Little fohn de Saintre.

From " Quentin Durward."

Painters show Cupid blind — hath Hymen

eyes ?
Or is his sight warped by those spectacles
Which parents, guardians, and advisers lend

That he may look through them on lands and

On jewels, gold, and all such rich donations,
And see their value ten times magnified ? —
Methinks 't will brook a question.

The Miseries of Enforced Marriage.

This is a lecturer so skilled in policy
That — no disparagement to Satan's cunning —
I [e well might read a lesson to the devil,
And teach the old seducer new temptations.

Old Play.

I see thee yet, fair France — thou favored land
Of art and nature — thou art still before me ;
Thy sons, to whom their labor is a sport,
So well thy grateful soil returns its tribute ;
Thy sun-burnt daughters, with their laughing

And glossy raven-locks. But, favored France,
Thou hast had many a tale of woe to tell,
In ancient times as now.


II r. mu i Min of Egypt, as he told me,

And one descended from those dread magicians

Who waged rash war, when Israel dwelt in

With Israel and her Prophet — matching rod
With his the son of I>evi's — and encountering
Jehovah's miracles with incantations,

Till upon Egypt came the avenging Angel,
And those proud sages wept for their first-born,
As wept the unlettered peasant.


Rescue or none, Sir Knight, I am your captive ;
Deal with me what your nobleness suggests —
Thinking the chance of war may one day place

Where I must now be reckoned — i' the roll
Of melancholy prisoners.


No human quality is so well wove
In warp and woof but there 's some flaw in it ;
I 've known a brave man fly a shepherd's cur,
A wise man so demean him drivelling idiocy
Had wellnigh been ashamed on 't. For your

Your worldly-wise man, he, above* the rest,
Weaves his own snares so fine he 's often caught

in them.

Old Play.

When Princes meet, astrologers may mark it
An ominous conjunction, full of boding,
Like that of Mars with Saturn.

Old Play.


Thy time is not yet out — the devil thou serv

Has not as yet deserted thee. He aids

The friends who drudge for him, as the blind

Was aided by the guide, who lent his shoulder
O'er rough and smooth, until he reached the

Of the fell precipice — then hurled him down-
er* 1 - f\TJ V7

Old Play.

Our counsels waver like the unsteady bark,
That reels amid the strife of meeting currents.

Old Play.

Hold fast thy truth, young soldier. — Gentle

Keep you your promise plight — leave age its

And gray-haired policy its maze of falsehood ;
But be you candid as the morning sky,
Ere the high sun sucks vapors up to stain it.

The Trial.

From " Saint Ponan's Well."

Quis novus hie hospes ?

Dido apud Virgilium.

Ch'm-Maid ! — The Genman in the front parlor !
Boots's free Translation of the ALneid.

There must be government in all society —
Bees have their Queen, and stag herds have

their leader ;
Rome had her Consuls, Athens had her Ar-

And we, sir, have our Managing Committee.
The Album of Saint Ponans.



Come, let me have thy counsel, for I need it ;
Thou art of those, who, better help their friends
With sage advice, than usurers with gold,
Or brawlers with their swords — I '11 trust to

For I ask only from thee words, not deeds.
The Devil hath met his Match.

Nearest of blood should still be next in love ;
And when I see these happy children playing,
While William gathers flowers for Ellen's

And Ellen dresses flies for William's angle,
I scarce can think that in advancing life
Coldness, unkindness, interest, or suspicion
Will e'er divide that unity so sacred,
Which Nature bound at birth.


Oh ! you would be a vestal maid, I warrant,
The bride of Heaven — Come — we may shake

your purpose :
For here I bring in hand a jolly suitor
Hath ta'en degrees in the seven sciences
That ladies love best — He is young and noble,
Handsome and valiant, gay and rich, and liberal.

The Nun.

It comes — it wrings me in my parting hour,
The long-hid crime — the well-disguised guilt.
Bring me some holy priest to lay the spectre !

Old Play.

Sedet post equitem atra cura —
Still though the headlong cavalier,
O'er rough and smooth, in wild career,

Seems racing with the wind ;
His sad companion — ghastly pale,
And darksome as a widow's veil,
Care — keeps her seat behind.


What sheeted ghost is wandering through the

storm ?
For never did a maid of middle earth
Choose such a time or spot to vent her sorrows.

Old Play.

Here come we to our close — for that which

Is but the tale of dull, unvaried misery.

Steep crags and headlong lins may court the

Like sudden haps, dark plots, and strange ad-

But who would paint the dull and fog-wrapt

In its long tract of sterile desolation ?

Old Play.

From " The Betrothed:'

In Madoc's tent the clarion sounds,
With rapid clangor hurried far ;

Each hill and dale the note rebounds,
But when return the sons of war ?

Thou, born of stern Necessity,
Dull Peace ! the valley yields to thee,
And owns thy melancholy sway.

Welsh Poem-

O, sadly shines the morning sun

On leaguered castle wall,
When bastion, tower, and battlement

Seem nodding to their fall.

Old Ballad.

Now, all ye ladies of fair Scotland,

And ladies of England that happy would
Marry never for houses, nor marry for land,
Nor marry for nothing but only love.

Family Quarrels.

Too much rest is rust,

There 's ever cheer in changing ;
We tyne by too much trust,

So we '11 be up and ranging.

Old Song.

Ring out the merry bells, the bride approaches.
The blush upon her cheek has shamed the

For that is dawning palely. Grant, good saints,
These clouds betoken naught of evil omen !

Old Play.

Julia. Gentle sir,

You are our captive — but we '11 use you so,
That you shall think your prison joys may match
Whate'er your liberty hath known of pleasure.
Roderick. No, fairest, we have trifled here
too long :
And, lingering to see your roses blossom,
I 've let my laurels wither.

Old Play.

From • The Talisman?'

This is the Prince of Leeches ; fever, plague,
Cold rheum, and hot podagra, do but look on

And quit their grasp upon the tortured sinews.


One thing is certain in our Northern land,
Allow that birth or valor, wealth or wit,
Give each precedence to their possessor,
Envy, that follows on such eminence
As comes the lyme-hound on the roebuck's trace,
Shall pull them down each one.

Sir David Lindsay.

You talk of Gayety and Innocence !
The moment when the fatal fruit was eaten,
They parted ne'er to meet again ; and Malice
Has ever since been playmate to light Gayety,
From the first moment when the smiling infant
Destroys the flower or butterfly he toys with,
To the last chuckle of the dying miser,
Who on his death-bed laughs his last to hear
His wealthy neighbor has become a bankrupt.

Old Play.



T is not her sense — for sure, in that
There 's nothing more than common ;

And all her wit is only chat,
Like any other woman.


Were every hair upon his head a life,
And every life were to be supplicated
By numbers equal to those hairs quadrupled,
Life after life should out like waning stars
Before the daybreak — or as festive lamps,
Which have lent lustre to the midnight revel,
Each after each are quenched when guests de-

Old Play.

Must we then sheath our still victorious sword ;
Turn back our forward step, which ever trode
O'er foemen's necks the onward path of glory ;
Unclasp the mail, which with a solemn vow
In God's own house we hung upon our shoul-
ders ;
That vow, as unaccomplished as the promise
Which village nurses make to still their children,
And after think no more of ?

The Crusade, a Tragedy.

When beauty leads the lion in her toils,
Such are her charms he dare not raise his mane,
Far less expand the terror of his fangs ;
So great Alcides made his club a distaff,
And spun to please fair Omphale.


Mid these wild scenes Enchantment waves her

To change the face of the mysterious land ;
Till the bewildering scenes around us seem
The vain productions of a feverish dream.

Astolpho, a Romance.

A GRAIN Of dust

Soiling our cup, will make our sense reject
Fastidiously the draught which we did thirst for ;
A rusted nail, placed near the faithful compass,
Will sway it from the truth and wreck the argosy.
Even this small cause of anger and disgust
Will break the bonds of amity 'mongst princes
And wreck their noblest purposes.

The Crusade.

I'm tears T shed must ever fall !
p not for an absent swain,
For time may happier hours recall,
And parted lovers meet again.

ep not for the silent dead,
Their pains are past, their sorrows o'er,
And those that loved their steps must tread,
When death shall join to part no more.

Bat worse than absence, worse than death,
She wept her lover's sullied fame,

And, fired with all the pride of birth,
She wept a soldi< -r's injured name.


Prom " Woodstock:*

Come forth, old man — thy daughter's side

Is now the fitting place for thee :
When Time hath quelled the oak's bold pride,
The youthful tendril yet may hide

The ruins of the parent tree.

Now, ye wild blades, that make loose inns your

To vapor forth the acts of this sad age,
Stout Edgehill fight, the Newberries and the

W T est,
And northern clashes, where you still fought

best ;
Your strange escapes, your dangers void of fear,
When bullets flew between the head and ear,
Whether you fought by Damme or the Spirit,
Of you I speak.

Legend of Captain Jones.

Yon path of greensward
Winds round by sparry grot and gay pavilion ;
There is no flint to gall thy tender foot,
There 's ready shelter from each breeze or

shower. —
But Duty guides not that way — see her stand,
With wand entwined with amaranth, near yon

Oft where she leads thy blood must mark thy

Oft where she leads thy head must bear the

And thy shrunk form endure heat, cold, and

hunger ;
But she will guide thee up to noble heights,
Which he who gains seems native of the sky,
While earthly things lie stretched beneath his

Diminished, shrunk, and valueless —


My tongue pads slowly under this new language,
And starts and stumbles at these uncouth

They may be great in worth and weight, but

Upon the native of my language
Like Saul's plate-armor on the shepherd boy,
Encumbering and not arming him.


Here we have one head
Upon two bodies — your two-headed bullock
Is but an ass to such a prodigy.
These two have but one meaning, thought, and

counsel ;
And when the single noddle has spoke out,
The four legs scrape assent to it.

Old Play.

Deeds are done on earth
Which have their punishment ere the earth

Upon the perpetrators. Be it the working
Of the remorse-stirred fancy, or the vision,
Distinct and real, of unearthly being,



All ages witness that beside the couch
Of the fell homicide oft stalks the ghost
Of him he slew, and shows the shadowy wound.

Old Play.
We do that in our zeal
Our calmer moments are afraid to answer.

The deadliest snakes are those which, twined
'mongst flowers,

Blend their bright coloring with the varied

Their fierce eyes glittering like the spangled
dew-drop ;

In all so like what nature has most harmless,

That sportive innocence, which dreads no dan-

Is poisoned unawares.

Old Play.

From " Chronicles of the Canongate.'"

Were ever such two loving friends ! —
How could they disagree ?

O, thus it was : he loved him dear,
And thought but to requite him ;

And, having no friend left but he,
He did resolve to fight him.

Duke upon Duke.

There are times
When Fancy plays her gambols, in despite
Even of our watchful senses, when in sooth
Substance seems shadow, shadow substance

When the broad, palpable, and marked partition
'Twixt that which is and is not, seems dissolved,
As if the mental eye gained power to gaze
Beyond the limits of the existing world.
Such hours of shadowy dreams I better love
Than all the gross realities of life.


From " The Fair Maid of Perth."

The ashes here of murdered kings
Beneath my footsteps sleep ;

And yonder lies the scene of death
Where Mary learned to weep.

Captain Marjoribanks.

' Behold the Tiber !' the vain Roman cried,
Viewing the ample Tay from Baiglie's side ;
But where 's the Scot that would the vaunt repay,
And hail the puny Tiber for the Tay.

Fair is the damsel, passing fair —

Sunny at distance gleams her smile !
Approach — the cloud of wof ul care
Hangs trembling in her eye the while.

Lucinda, a Ballad.

O for a draught of power to steep
The soul of agony in sleep !


Lo ! where he lies embalmed in gore,
His wound to Heaven cries ;

The floodgates of his blood implore
For vengeance from the skies.

Uranus and Psyche.

From "Anne of Geierstein."

Cursed be the gold and silver which persuade
Weak man to follow far fatiguing trade.
The lily, peace, outshines the silver store,
And life is dearer than the golden ore.
Yet money tempts us o'er the desert brown
To every distant mart and wealthy town.

Hassan, or the Camel-Driver.

I was one
Who loved the greenwood bank and lowing

The russet prize, the lowly peasant's life,
Seasoned with sweet content, more than the halls
Where revellers feast to fever-height. Believe

There ne'er was poison mixed in maple bowl.


When we two meet, we meet like rushing tor-
rents ;

Like warring winds, like flames from various

That mate each other's fury — there is naught

Of elemental strife, were fiends to guide it,

Can match the wrath of man.


We know not when we sleep nor when we wake.
Visions distinct and perfect cross our eye,
Which to the slumberer seem realities ;
And while they waked, some men have seen such

As set at naught the evidence of sense,
And left them well persuaded they were dream-


These be the adept's doctrines — every ele-
Is peopled with its separate race of spirits.
The airy Sylphs on the blue ether float ;
Deep in the earthy cavern skulks the Gnome ;
The sea-green Naiad skims the ocean-billow,
And the fierce fire is yet a friendly home
To its peculiar sprite — the Salamander.


Upon the Rhine, upon the Rhine they cluster,

The grapes of juice divine,
Which make the soldier's jovial courage mus-
O, blessed be the Rhine !


Tell me not of it — I could ne'er abide
The mummery of all that forced civility.
' Pray, seat yourself, my lord.' With cringing

The speech is spoken, and with bended knee



Heard by the smiling courtier. — ' Before you,

sir ?
It must be on the earth, then.' Hang it all !
The pride which cloaks itself in siich poor

Is scarcely fit to swell a beggar's bosom.

Old Play.

A mirthful man he was — the snows of age
Fell, but they did not chill him. Gayety,
Even in life's closing, touched his teeming brain
With such wild visions as the setting sun
Raises in front of some hoar glacier,
Painting the bleak ice with a thousand hues.

Old Play.

Ay, this is he who wears the wreath of bays

Wove by Apollo and the Sisters Nine,

Which Jove's dread lightning scathes not. He

hath doft
The cumbrous helm of steel, and flung aside
The yet more galling diadem of gold;
While, with a leafy circlet round his brows,
He reigns the King of Lovers and of Poets.

Want you a man
Experienced in the world and its affairs ?
Here he is for your purpose. — He 's a monk.
He hath forsworn the world and all its work —
The rather that he knows it passing well,
'Special the worst of it, for he 's a monk.

Old Play.
Toll, toll the bell !
Greatness is o'er,
The heart has broke,
To ache no more ;
An unsubstantial pageant all —
Drop o'er the scene the funeral pall.

Old Poem.
Here 's a weapon now
Shall shake a conquering general in his tent,
A monarch on his throne, or reach a prelate,
However holy be his offices,
E'en while he serves the altar.

^ Old Play.

From " Count Robert of Paris."

Othus. This superb successor

< )f the earth's mistress, as thou vainly speakest,
Stands midst these ages as, on the wide ocean,
The last spared fragment of a spacious land,
That in some grand and awful ministration

< )f mighty nature has engulfed been,
Doth lift aloft its dark and rocky cliffs

O'er the wild waste around, and sadly frowns
In lonely majesty.

• Constantine Paleologus, Scene i .
Here, youth, thy foot unbrace,

Here, youth, thy brow unbraid,
Each tribute that may grace

The threshold here be paid.
Walk with the stealthy pace

Which Nature teaches deer,
When, echoing in the chase,
The hunter's horn they hear.

The Court.

The storm increases — 't is no sunny shower,
Fostered in the moist breast of March or April,
Or such as parched Summer cools his lip with ;
Heaven's windows are flung, wide ; the inmost

Call in hoarse greeting one upon another ;
On comes the flood in all its foaming horrors,
And where 's the dike shall stop it !

The Deluge, a Poem.

Vain man ! thou mayst esteem thy love as fair

As fond hyperboles suffice to raise.

She may be all that 's matchless in her person,

And all-divine in soul to match her body ;

But take this from me — thou shalt never call her

Superior to her sex while one survives

And I am her true votary.

Old Play.

Through the vain webs which puzzle sophists
Plain sense and honest meaning work their
So sink the varying clouds upon the hill
When the clear dawning brightens into day.

Dr. Watts.

Between the foaming jaws of the white torrent
The skilful artist draws a sudden mound ;
By level long he subdivides their strength,
Stealing the waters from their rocky bed,
First to diminish what he means to conquer ;
Then, for the residue he forms a road,
Easy to keep, and painful to desert,
And guiding to the" end the planner aimed at.
The Engineer.

These were wild times — the antipodes of ours :
Ladies were there who oftener saw themselves
In the broad lustre of a foeman's shield
Than in a mirror, and who rather sought
To match themselves in battle than in dalliance
To meet a lover's onset. — But though Nature
Was outraged thus, she was not overcome.
Feudal Times.

Without a ruin, broken, tangled, cumbrous,

Within it was a little paradise,

Where Taste had made her dwelling. Statuary,

First-born of human art, moulded her images

And bade men mark and worship.


The parties met. The wily, wordy Greek,

Weighing each word, and canvassing each syl-
lable, 8 y

Evading, arguing, equivocating.

And the stern Frank came with his two-hand

Watching to see which way the balance sways,

That he may throw it in and turn the scales.


Strange ape of man ! who loathes thee while

he scorns thee ;
Half a reproach to us and half a jest.
What fancies can be ours ere we have pleasure
In viewing our own form, our pride and passions,
Reflected in a shape grotesque as thine !



5 6l

'T is strange that in the dark sulphureous mine
Where wild ambition piles its ripening stores
Of slumbering thunder, Love will interpose
His tiny torch, and cause the stern explosion
To burst when the deviser 's least aware.


All is prepared — the chambers of the mine
Are crammed with the combustible, which,

While yet unkindled as the sable sand,
Needs but a spark to change its nature so
That he who wakes it from its slumbrous mood
Dreads scarce the explosion less than he who

That 't is his towers which meet its fury.


Heaven knows its time ; the bullet has its

Arrow and javelin each its destined purpose ;
The fated beasts of Nature's lower strain
Have each their separate task.

Old Play.

From " Castle Dangerous?''

A tale of sorrow, for your eyes may weep ;
A tale of horror, for your flesh may tingle ;
A tale of wonder, for the eyebrows arch,
And the flesh curdles if you read it rightly.

Old Play.

Where is he ? Has the deep earth swallowed

him ?
Or hath he melted like some airy phantom
That shuns the approach of morn and the

young sun ?
Or hath he wrapt him in Cimmerian darkness,
And passed beyond the circuit of the sight
With things of the night's shadows ?


The way is long, my children, long and rough —
The moors are dreary and the woods are dark ;
But he that creeps from cradle on to grave,
Unskilled save in the velvet course of fortune,
Hath missed the discipline of noble hearts.

Old Play.

His talk was of another world — his bodements
Strange, doubtful, and mysterious ; those who

heard him
Listened as to a man in feverish dreams,
Who speaks of other objects than the present,
And mutters like to him who sees a vision.

Old Play.

Cry the wild war-note, let the champions pass,

Do bravely each, and God defend the right ;

Upon Saint Andrew thrice can they thus cry,

And thrice they shout on height,

And then marked them on the Englishmen,

As I have told you right.

Saint George the bright, our ladies' knight,

To name they were full fain ;

Our Englishmen they cried on height,

And thrice they shout again.

Old Ballad.



Che Hap of the Hast Jfltnstrel.

The Lay was first published early in January,
1805, in "a magnificent quarto," the price being
25 shillings (about $6.25 in Federal money),
and the edition of 750 copies was speedily ex-
hausted. Up to 1830 the sales had amounted
to 44,000 copies.

The poem had the following preface : —

" The Poem, now offered to the Public, is in-
tended to illustrate the customs and manners
which anciently prevailed on the Borders of
England and Scotland. The inhabitants living
in a state partly pastoral and partly warlike,
and combining habits of constant depredation
with the influence of a rude spirit of chivalry,
were often engaged in scenes highly susceptible
of poetical ornament. As the description of
scenery and manners was more the object of the
Author than a combined and regular narrative,
the plan of the Ancient Metrical Romance was
adopted, which allows greater latitude, in this
respect, than would be consistent with the dig-
nity of a regular Poem. The same model of-
fered other facilities, as it permits an occasional
alteration of measure, which, in some degree,
authorizes the change of rhythm in the text.
The machinery, also, adopted from popular
belief, would have seemed puerile in a Poem

Online LibraryWalter ScottThe poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet → online text (page 60 of 78)