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INTRODUCTION TO THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL. again to encounter the severe course of study indispensable to of no great imprudence, when he relinquished his forensic practice success in the juridical profession.

with the hope of making some figure in the field of literature. On the other hand, my father, whose feelings might have been But an established character with the public, in my new caparity, hurt by my quitting the bar, had been for two or three years dead, still remained to be acquired I have policed, that the translations so that I had ne control to thwart my own inclination; and my from Birger had been unsuccessful, nor had the original petry income being equal to all the comforts, and some of the elegancies which appeared under the auspices of Mr. Lewis, in the “'Tales of lite, I was not pressed to an irksome labour by necessity, that of Wonder," in any degree raised my reputation. It is true, I had most powerful of motives : consequently, I was the more easily privale friends disposed to second me in my efforts to obtain seduced to choose the employment which was most agreeable to popularity. But I was sportsman enough to know, that if me. This was yet the easier, that in 1800 I had obtained the the greyhound does not run well, the hallove of his patrons will preferment of Sheriff of Selkirkshire, about 300l. a year in va not obtain the prize for him. Jue, and which was the more agreeable to me, as in that county Neither was I ignorant that the practice of ballad-writing was I had several friends and relations. But I did not abandon tha for the present out of fashion, and that any attempt to revive it; protession to which I had been educated, without cortain pruden or to found a poetical character upon it, would certainly ful tial olutions, wh h, at the risk of some egotism, I will here of success. TI pallad measure itself, which was once li mention; not without the hope that they may be useful to tened to as to an enchanting melody, had become hackneyyoung persons who may stand in circumstances similar to thosood and sickening, from its being the accompaniment of every in which I then stood.

grinding hand-organ; and besides, a long work in quatrains, In the first place, upon considering the lives and fortunes of whether those of the common ballad, or such as are te med persons who had given themselves up to literature, or to the task | elegiac, has an effect upon the mind like that of the bed of Proof pleasing the public, it seenied to me, that the circumstances cruston upon the human body ; for, as it must be both wkward which chictly aflected their happiness and character, were those and difficult to carry on a long sentence from one stanza to anofrom which Horace has bestowed upon anthors the epithet of the ther, it follows, that the meaning of each period must be compres Irritable Race. It requires no depth of philosophic reflection to hended within four lines, and equally so that it must be extended perceive, that the petty warfare of Pope with the Dunces of his so as to fill that space. The alternate dilation and contrartion period could not have been carried on without his suffering the thus rendered necessary is singularly unfavourable to narrative most acute torture, such as a man must endure from mus composition; and the “Gondibert" of Sir William D'Avenant, quitoes, by whose stings he suffers agony, although he can crush though containing many striking passages, has never become them in his grasp by myriads. Nor is it necessary to call to me popular, owing chiefly to its being told in this specios of clegiue mory the many humiliaung instances in which men of the great. verse. est genius have, to avenge some pititul quarrel, made them In the dilemma occasioned by this objection, the idea occurred selves ridiculous during their lives, to become the still more degra- to the Author of using the measured short line, which forms the der objects of pity to future times.

structure of so mueh minstrel poetry, that it may be properly Upon the whole, as I bad no pretension to the genius of the dis termed the Romantic stanza, by way of distinction ; and which tinguished persons who had fallen into such errors, I concluded appears so natural to our language, that tho very best of our poets there could be no occasion for imitating them in their mistakes, or have not been able to protract it into the verso properly called what I considered as such; and, in adopting literary pursuits as Heroic, without the use of epithets which are, to say the least, the principal occupation of my future life, I resolved, if possible, unnecessary. * But, on the other hand, the extreme facility of the to avoid those weaknesses of teniper which seemed to have most short couplet, which seems congenial to our language, and was. easily beset my moro celebrated predecessors.

doubtless for that reason, so popular with our old minstrels, is, for With this view, it was my first resolution to keep as far as was the same reason, apt to provo a snare to the composer who uses in my power abreast of society, continuing to maintain my place it in more modern days, by encouraging him in a habit of slovenly in general company, without yielding to the very natural tempo composition. The necessity of occasional pauses often forces the tation of narrowing myrell to what is called literary society. By young poet to pay more attention to sense, as the boy's kile nises doing so, I imagined I should escape the besetting sin of listening highest when the train is loaded by a due counterpuise. The to language, which, from one motivu or other, is apt to ascribe & Author was therefore intimidated by what Byron calls the “ fatal very undue degree of consequence to literary pursuits, as if they facility of the octo syllabic verse, which was otherwise betler were, indeed, the business, rather than the amusement, of life. adapted to his purpose of imitating the more ancient poetry. The opposite course can only be compared to the injudicious con I was not less at a loss for a subject which might admit of duct of one who pampers himself with cordial and luscious being treated with the simplicity and wildness of the ancient draughts, until he is unable to endure wholesome bitters. Like ballad. But accident dictated both a theme and measure, which Gil Blns, therefore, I resolved to stick by the society of my com decided the subject, as well as the structuro of the poem. mis, instead of seeking that of a more literary cast, and to main. The lovely young Countess of Dalkeith, afterwards Harriet tain my general interest in what was going on around me, reserv. Duchess of Buccleuch, had come to the land of her husband with ing the man of letters for the desk and the library.

the desire of making herself acquainted with its traditions and My second resolution was a corollary from the first. I deter customs, as well as its manners and history. All who remember mined that, without shutting my ears to the voice of true criticism, this lady will agree, that the intellectual character of her extreme I would pay no regard to that which assumes the form of satire beauty, the amenity and courtesy of her manners, the soundness I therefore resolved to arm myself with that triple brass of Horuce, of her understanding, and her unbounded benevolence, gave more of which those of my profession are seldom held deficient, against the idea of an angelic visitant, than of a being belonging to thus all the roving warfare of satire, parody, and sarcasm ; to laugh if nether world ; and such a thought was but too consistent with the jest was a good one, or, if otherwise, to let it hum and buzz the short space she was permitted to tarty among us.' Of course, itself to sleep.

where all made it a pride and pleasure to gratify her wishes she It is to the observance of these rules, (according to my best be soon heard enough of Border lore: among others, an aged peolief) that, aller a life of thirty years engaged in literary labours of tleman of property.I near Langholm, communicated to her ladyvarious kinds, I attribute my never having been entangled in any slip the story of Gilpin Horner, a tradition in which the narratir, literary quarrel or controversy; and, which is a still more pleasing and many more of that country, were firm believers. The young result, that I have been distinguished by the personal friendship of Countess, much delighted with the legend, and the gravity and iny most approved contemporaries of all parties.

full confidence with which it was told, enjoined on me as a task Í adopted, at the same time, another resolution, on which it to compose a ballad on the subject. Of course, to hear was to may doubtless be remarked, that it was well for me that I had it obey; and thus the goblin story, objected by several cnties as in my power to do so, and that, therefore, it is a line of conduct an excrescence upon the poem, was, in fact, the occasion of its which, depending upon accident, can be less generally applicable being written. in other cases. Yet I fail not to record this part of my plan, con A chance similar to that which dictated the şubject, gave me vinced that, though it may not be in every one's power to adopt also the hint of a new mode of treating it. We had at that time exactly the same resolution, he may nevertheless, by his own ex the lease of a pleasant cottage, near Lasswade, on the romantic ertions, in some shape or other, attain the object on which it was banks of the Esk, to which we Ascaped when the vacations of founded, namely, to secure the means of subsistence, without rely, the Court permitted me so much leisure. Here I had the pleasure ing exclusively on literary talents. In this respect, I determined to receive a visit from Mr. Stoddart, (now Sir John Stoidart, that literature should be my staff, but not my crutch, and that the Judge-Advocate at Malta,) who was at that time collecting the protits of my literary labour, however convenient otherwise, particulars which he afterwards embodied in his Remarks on should not, if I could help it, become necessary to iny ordinary ex:

Local Scenery in Scotland. Ş I was of some use to him in pro penses. With this purpuse I resolved, if the interests of my curing the information which he desired, and guiding him to the friends couli so far favour me, to retire upon any of the respecta: scenes which he wished to sec. In return, he made me better acble offices of the law, in which persons of that profession are glad quainted than I had hitherto been with the poetic effusions which to take refuge, when they feel themselves, or are judged by others, have since made the Lakes of Westmoreland, and the authers incompetent to aspire to its higher honours. Upon such a post an by whom they have been sung, so famous wherever the Engush author might hope to retreat, without any perceptible alteration | tongue is spoken. of circumstances, whenever the time should arrive that the public I was already acquainted with the "Joan of Arc," the " Tha. grow weary of his endeavours to please, or he himself should tire nba." and the Metrical Ballads” of Mr. Southes, which had of the pen. At this period of my life. I possessed so many friends found their way to Scotland, and were generally admired. But capable of assisting me in this object of ambition, that I could / Mr. Stoddart, who had the advantage of personal friendship with hardly over rate my own prospects of obtaining the preserment the authors, and who possessed a strong memory with an exerli to which I limited my wishes; and, in fact, I obtained in no long lent taste, was able to repeat to me many long specimens of their period the reversion of a situation which completely met them. poetry, which had not yet appeared in print. Amongst others

Thus far all was well, and the Author had been guilty, perhaps, was the striking fragment called Cliristabel, by Mr. Coleridge,

• Thus it has been often remarked, that, in the opening couplets of Pope's I This was Mr. Beattie of Micklelale, a man then considerably npwar la of translation of the Ilad, there are two syllables forming a superfluous word in eighty, of a wirewd and sarcasue ternper, which he do not at all times supa each line, as may be observed by allending to such worls as are printed in prers, as the following anecdote will show : A worthy clergyman, now us Italica.

al, with better good will than (act, was endeavouring to push the nationwind " Achilles' wrath to Greece the direful spring

in his recollection of Bonder ballads and legends, by expressing te terasa Of Wors annuumber', heerenly gottles, eing;

prive at his wonderful meinory. "No, sir," and oli Micklebale; my memery That wrath which sent to Pluto's gloomy reign,

is geen for little, for it cannot retain what onght to be preserved. I can remen The souls of nighty chiefs in battle slain,

ber all these stories about the anld riding days, which are no enrthly importWhose borres, untrariel on the desert store,

ance; but were you, revereni sir, to repeat your liest wrion in the doing Devouring dogs and hungry cultures tore."

room, I could not tell you half an hour afterwarla what you had been speaking The Dricheta dial in August, 1811 Sir Walter Senti's lines on ber death about will be found in a musequent part of this Cullocuiva.-EU)

Two volumes, toya octavo, 1801.

INTRODUCTION TO THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

315 which, from the singularly inegular structure of the stanzas, and | announce the contents of the chapters of the Faery Queen, such the liberty which it allowed the author to adapt the sound to the as :-sense, em to be exactly suited to such an extravaganza as I

“Babe's bloody hands may not be cleansed). berlated on the subject of Gilpin Horner. As applied to conic

The face of gollen Mean:

Iler sisters two, Extreinities, and humoro's poetry, this mescolanza of measures had been

Her strive to banish clean. already used by Anthony Hall, Anstey, Dr. Wolcott, and others; but it was in Christabel that I first found it used in serious poetry, I entirely agreed with my friendly critic in the necessity of having and it is to Mr. Coleridge that I am bound to make the acknow some sort of pitch-pipe, which might make readere aware of the baizident due from the pupil to his master. I observe that Lord object, or rather the tone, of the publication. But I doubted BT03. in noticing my obligations to Mr. Coleridge, which I have whether, in assuming the oracular style of Spenser's mottoes, the beto always mod ready to acknowledge, expressed, or was under interpreter might not be censured as the harder to be understood stood to expresa, a bore, that I did not write an unfriendly review of the two. I therefore introduced the Old Minstrel, as an approwa Mr Coleridge's productions. On this subject I have only to priate prolocutor, by whom the lay might be sung, or spoken, and

ay that I do not even know the review which is alluded to; and the introduction of whom betwixt the cantos, might remind the Strel ever to take the unbecoming freedom of censuring a man reader at intervals, of the time, place, and circumstances of the of Mr. Colendge'a extraordinary talents, it would be on account recitation. This species of cartre, or frame, afterwards afforded of uw catrice and indolence with which he has thrown from him, the poein its name of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel." as if in mere wantonness, those unfinished scraps of poetry, The work was subsequently shown to other friends during its web, like the Torso of antiquity, defy the skill of his poetical progress, and received the imprimatur of Mr. Francis Jeffrey, brechnea to complete them. The charming fraginents which the who had been already for some time distinguished by his critical eather alandons to their fate, are surely too valuable to be treated talent. le the proofs of careless engravery, the sweepings of whose The poem, being once licensed by the critics as fit for the marstun oflen make the fortune of some painstaking collector. ket, was soon finished, proceeding at about the rate of a canto

I did not immediately proceed upon my projected labour, though per week. There was, indeed, little occasion for pause or hesita1 $*s nox furnished with a subject, and with a structure of verse tion, when a troublesome rhyme might be accommodated by an which might have the effect of novelty to the public ear, and af alteration of stanza, or where an incorrect measure might be reErd the author an opportunity of varying his measure with the medied by a variation in the rhyme. It was finally published in Fanations of a romantic theme. On the contrary, it was, to the 1805, and may be regarded as the first work in which the writer, test of my recollection, more than a year after Mr. Stoddart's who has been since so voluminous, laid his claim to be considered ait, thal, by way of experiment. I composed the first two or three as an original author. Blanzas of" The Lay of the Last Minstrel." I was shortly after The book was published by Longman and Company, and wants visited by two intimate friends, one of whom still survives. Archibald Constable and Company. The principal of the latter They were men whose talents might have raised them to the firm was then commencing that course of bold and liberal industry buchet station in literature, had they not preferred exerting them which was of so much advantage to his cour and might have in their own profession of the law, in which they attained equal been so to himself, but for causes which it is needless to enter preferent. I was in the habit of consulting them on my attempts into here. The work, brought out on the usual terms of division atomposition, having equal confidence in their sound taste and of profits between the author and publishers, was not long after frendly sincerity. In this specimen I had, in the phrase of the purchased by them for 500l., to which Messrs. Longman and ComHizhund servant, packed all that was my own at least, for I had pany afterwards added 1001., in their own unsolicited kindness, ako included a line of invocation, a little softened, from Cole in consequence of the uncommon success of the work. It was Doe

handsomely given to supply the loss of a fine horse, which broke “ Mary, mother, shield us well.”

down suddenly while the author was riding with one of the As neither of my friends said much to me on the subject of the

worthy publishers. Cenas 1 showed them before their departure, I had no doubt that expected some success from "The Lay of the Last Minstrel."

It would be great affectation not to own frankly, that the author tb diegust had been greater than their good-nature chose to

The attempt to return to a more simple and natural style of poetry Eure Looking upon them, therefore, as a failure, I threw the muscript into the fire, and thought as bitle more as I could of tired of heroic hexameters, with all the buckram and binding which

was likely to be welcomed, at a time when the public had become the matter. Some time afterwards I met one of my two counsel belong to them of later daye. But whatever might have been his lans, who inquired, with considerable appearance of interest, expectations, whether moderate or unreasonable, the result left about the progress of the romance I bad commenced, and was pratly surprised at learning its fate. He confessed that neither Minstrel, were numbered "the great names of William Pilt and

them far behind, for among those who smiled on the adventurous be of our mutual friend had been at first able to give a precise Charles Fox. Neither was the extent of the sale inferior to the of ove on a poem so much out of the common road, but that as

character of the judges who received the poem with approbation. they walked home together to the city, they had talked much on Upwards of thirty thousand copies of the Lay were disposed of the subject, and the result was an earnest desire that I would pro- by the trade ; and the author had to perform a task difficult to en with the composition. He also added, that some sort of human vanity, when called upon to make the necessary deductions persone might be necessary, to place the mind of the hearers in from his own merits, in a calm attempt to account for his popularity. the nation to understand and enjoy the poem, and recommended

A few additional remarks on the author's literary attempts tens adortion of such quaint mottoes as Spenser has used to after this period, will be found in the latroduction to the Poem of • Martin's Conversations of Lord Byron, p. 309.

Marmion. tr Water, elvezbere, in allusion to "Coleridge's benntiful and tantaliz ABBOTSFORD, April, 1830. jeg heat of Christabel," aye, " Has not our own imaginative poet cause Elvar 12Cauze age will desire to summon tim from his place of rest, as

One of those, William Erskine, Esq. (Lord Kinnelder.) I have often had occasion to mention, and though I may hardly be thanked for disclosing the

name of the other, yet I cannot het state that the second is George Cranstoup, "To call op bim who left hall told The story of Cambu can bold ? »

Eso, now a Senator of the College of Justice by the title of Lord Corehoue.

1831, Notes to the Abbot.)

$ Mr. Owen Rees.-EJ.]

THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES, EARL OF DALKEITH,

THIS POEM IS INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR.

nance

Three Days.

The Poem, now offered to the Public is intend

INTRODUCTION. ad to illustrate the customs and manners, which anciently prevailed on the Borders of England The way was long, the wind was cold, and Scotland. The inhabitants, living in a state The Minstrel was infirm and old; partly pastoral, and partly warlike, and combining His wither'd cheek, and tresses gray, habits of constant depredation with the influence of Seem'd 10 have known a better day; a rude spirit of chivalry, were often engaged in The harp, his sole remaining joy, seenes, highly susceptible of poetical ornament. As Was carried by an orphan boy. the description of scenery and manners was more The last of all the Bards was he, the object of the Author than a combined and regu Who sung of Border chivalry; lar narrative, the plan of the Ancient Metrical Ro For, welladay! their date was fled, lmance was adopted, which allows greater latitude, His tuneful brethren all were dead; in this respect, than would be consistent with the And he, neglected and oppress'd, dignity of a regular

Poem.* The same model offer Wish'd to be with them, and at rest. ed other facilities, as it permits an occasional alte No more on prancing palfrey borne, ration of measure, which, in some degree, authorizes He caroll'd, light as lark at morn; the change of rhythm in the text. The machinery No longer courted and caress'd, also

, adopted from popular belief, would have seen High placed in hall, a welcome guest, od puerile in a Poem, which did not partake of He pour'd, to lord and lady gay, the rudeness of the old Ballad, or Metrical Ro The unpremeditated lay:

Old times were changed, old manners gone; For these reasons, the Poem was put into the A stranger fill'd the Stuarts' throne; mouth of an ancient Minstrel, the last of the race, The bigots of the iron time who, as he is supposed to have survived the Revolu Had call'd his harmless art a crime. ton, might have caught somewhat of the refine A wandering Harper, scorn'd and poor, ment of modern poetry, without losing the simpli He begg'd his bread from door to door, aty of his original model. The date of the Tale And tuned, to please a peasant's ear, itself is about the middle of the sixteenth century, The harp, a king had loved to hear. when most of the personages actually flourished: The time occupied by the action is Three Nights and He pass'd where Newark's stately tower

Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower: The chief excellence of The Lay consists in the beauty sort of enthusiasm among all classes of readers ; and the concurof the descriptions of local scenery, and the accurate picture of rent voice of the public assigned to it a very exalted rank,

which, endons and manners anong the Scottish Borderen at the time it

on more cool and dispassionate examination, its numerous essenpelat t). The various exploits and adventures which occur in

tial beauties will enable it to maintain. For vivid richness of co. to all cjelize times, when the bands of government were so louring and truth of costume, many of its descriptive pictures stand merly twisted, that every man depended for safety more

on his almost unrivalled ; it carries us back in imagination to the time Dand, or the prowess of his chief, than on the civil power, may of action; and we wander with the poet alung Tweedside, or he said to hold a middle rank between history and private anec: among the wild glades of Ettricke Forest."- Monthly Rcvicio, dettWar is always most picturesque where it is least formed May, 1603.) a science; it hae most variety and interest where the prowers

11* We consider this poem as an attempt to transfer the refineand artrity of individuals has inost play, and the nocturnal expe, ments of modern poetry to the matter and the manner of the anEsas of Duned and Ulysses to seize the chariot and horses of cient metrical romance. The author, enamoured of the boily Rhemes, or a raid of the Scotts or the Kerrs to drive cattle, will visions of chivalry, and partial to tho strains in which they were Bakr a better figure in verre, than all the battles of the great King formerly embodied, seems to have employed all the resources of of Posia. The youth song the beacm-fires, the Jedword-ares, his genus in endeavouring to recall them to the favour and admide nocas troopers, the yol of the sugan,

and all the

irregular war ration of the public, and in adapting to the taste of modern readfure of predatory expeditions, or feuds of hereditary vengeance, ers, a species of poetry which was once the delight of the courtly. pre far tore captivating to the imagination than a park of artil: but has long ceused to gladden any other eyes than those of the kry and battalions of well-drilled soldiers. "-Annual Review, scholar and the antiquary. This is a romance, tberefore, coni

posed by a minstrel of the present day; or such a romance as we * It maist be observed, that there is this difference between may suppose would have been written in modern times, if that the retse of the old romancer, and that assumed by Mr.

Scott: style of composition bud continued to be cultivated, and partakes the aberrations of the first are usually casual and slight; those of consequently of the improvements which every branch of litera. the othe premeditated and systematic. The old romancer may ture has received since the time of its descrtion."-JEFFREY,

Primated to a man who inists his reins to his horse; his pal. April, 1805.1 les citen llunders, and occasionally breaks his pace, sometimes $(“This is a massive square tower, now uproofed and ruinour, luce risacity, oftener through indolence. Mr. Scott sets out, surrounded by an outward wall, defended by round flanking perth the mention of diversifying his journey, by every variety of turrets. It is most beautifully situated, about three miles from 1. He is now at a trot, now at a gallop; nay, he sometimes Selkirk, upon the banks of the Yarrow", a tierce and precipitous SLE, as if to

stream, which unites with the Ettricko about a mile beneath the Make graceful caprioles, and prance

castle. Beseen the pillars.

" Newark Castle was built by Janes II. The royal arms, with A main objection to this plan is to be found in the shock which the unicorn, are engraved on a stone in the western side of the and, it must be allowed, that as different species of verse are in vicinity, called Auldwark, founded, it is said by Alexander 111. dvitally better suited to the expression of the different ideas, Both were designed for the royal residence when the king was het nts, and passions, which it in the object of poetry to con disposed to take his pleasure in the extensive forest of Ettrickc.

3 the happiest efforts may be produced by adapting to the sub Various grants occur in the records of the Privy Seal, bestowing petits most congenial structure of verse." --Critical Review, the keeping of the Castle of Newark upon different barons. There

is a popular tradition, that it was once seized, and held out by From the novelty of its style and subject, and from the spirit the outlaw Murray, a noted character in song, who only surren ef be clecution, Mr. Scoil's' Lay of the Last Minstrel kindled a dered Newark uvon condition of being made hereditary sheriff' of

The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye

The pitying Duchess praised its chime, No humbler resting-place was nigh.

And gave him heart, and gave him time With hesitating step at last,

Till every string's according glee The embattled portal arch he pass'd,

Was blended into harmony. Whose ponderous grate and massy bar

And then, he said, he would full fain Hath oft roll'd back the tide of war,

He could recall an ancient strain, But never closed the iron door

He never thought to sing again. Against the desolate and poor.

It was not framed for village churls, The Duchess* marked his weary pace,

But for high dames and mighty earls His timid mien, and reverend face,

He had play'd it to King Charles the Good, And bade her page the menials tell,

When he kept court in Holyrood; That they should tend the old man well :

And much he wish'd, yet fear'd, to try For she had known adversity,

The long-forgotten melody. Though born in such a high degree ;

Amid the strings his fingers stray'd, In pride of power, in beauty's bloom,

And an uncertain warbling made, Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb!

And oft he shook his hoary head.

But when he caught the measure wild, When kindness had his wants supplied,

The old man raised his face, and smiled; And the old man was gratified,

And lighten'd up his faded eye, Began to rise his minstrel pride:

With all a poet's ecstacy! And he began to talk anon,

In varying cadence, soft or strong, Of good Earl Francis, t dead and gone,

He swept the sounding chords along: And of Ear! Walter, I rest him, God!

The present scene, the future lot, A braver ne'er to battle rode;

His toils, his wants, were all forgot: And how full many a tale he knew,

Cold diffidence, and age's frost, of the old warriors of Buccleuch :

In the full vide of song were lost; And, would the noble Duchess deign

Each blank, in faithless memory void, To listen to an old man's strain,

The poet's glowing thought supplied; Though stiff his hand, his voice though weak, And, while his harp responsive rung, He thought even yet, the sooth to speak,

'Twas thus the LATEST MINSTREL sung. That, if she loved the harp to hear, He could make music to her ear.

The humble boon was soon obtain'd;
The aged Minstrel audience gain'd.

CANTO FIRST,
But, when he reached the room of state,
Where she, with all her ladies, sate,

I.
Perchance he wish'd his boon denied :

The feast was over in Branksome tower, li For, when to tune his harp he tried,

And the Ladye had gone to her secret bower ; His trembling hand had lost the ease,

Her bower that was guarded by word and by spell Which marks security to please;

Deadly to hear, and deadly to tell And scenes, long past, of joy and pain,

Jesu Maria, shield us well! Came wildering o'er his aged brain

No living wight, save the Ladye alone, He tried to tune his harp in vain!

Had dared to cross the threshold stone. tne forest. A long ballad, containing an account of this trans of the Barony of Branksome, or Brankholm,* lying upon the Te action, is preserved in the Border Minstrelsy.' (ante.) Upon viot, about three miles above Hawick. He was probably induced the marriage of James IV. with Margaret, sister of Henry to this transaction from the vicinity of Eranksome to the extenvui, the Castle of Newark, with the whole Forest of Ettricke, sive domain which he possessed in Ettrick Forest and in Terjot was assigned to her as a part of her jointure lands. But of this dale. In the former district he held by occupancy the estate of she could make little advantage ; for, alter the death of her hus Buccleuch,' and much of the forest land on the river Ettrick. ta band, she is found complaining heavily, that Buccleuch hud seized Toyotdale, ho enjoyed the barony of Eckford, by a grant from upon these lands. Indeed, the office of keeper was latterly held by Robert II. to his ancestor. Walter Scott of Kirkurd, for the appre the family of Buccleuch, and with so firm a grasp, that when the hending of Gilbert Ridderford, confirmed by Robert III., 3d Mas. Forest of Ettricke was disparked, they obtained a grant of the 1424. Tradition imputes the exchange betwixt Scott and Inglis to Castle of Newark in property. It was within the court-yard of a conversation, in which the latter, a man, it would appear, of a this Castle that General Lesly did military execution upon the mild and turbearing nature, complained much of tho injuries be prisoners whom he had taken at the battle of Philiphnugh. The was exposed to from the English Borderers, who frequently pina castle continued to be an occasional scat of the Buccleuch family dered his lands of Branksome. Sir William Scott instantly offered for more than a century ; and here, it is said, the Duchess of Mon him the estate of Murdiestone, in exchange for that which was mouth and Buccleuch was brought up. For this reason, probably, subject to such egregious inconvenience. When the bargain was Mr. Scott has chosen to make it the scene in which the Lay of completed, he dryly remarked, that the cattle in Cumberland were the Last Minstrel is recited in her presence, and for her as good as those of Teviotdale; and proceeded to cominence a amusement."--SCHETKY's Illustrations of the Lay of the Last system of reprisals upon the English, which was regularly pursued Minstrel

by his successors. In the next reign, James II granted to Sir It may be added that Bowhill was the favourito residence of Walter Scott of Branksome, and to Sir David, his son, the reLord and Lady Dalkeith, afterwards Duke and Duchess of Buc.maining half of the barony of Branksome, to be held in blanche for clench.) at the time when the poem was composed; the ruins of the payment of a red rose. The cause assigned for the grani is. Newark are all but included in the park attached to that modem their brave and faithful exertions in favour of the King against the scat of the family, and Sir Walter Scott, no doubt, was influenced house of Douglas, with whom James had been recently tuiging in his choice of the locality, by the predilection of the charming for the throne of Scotland. This charter is dated the all'ebruary. lady who suggested the subject of his " Lay" for the scenery of 1443 ; and, in the same month, part of the barony of Langholm, the Yarrow-a beautiful walk on whose banks, leading from the and many lands in Lanarkshire, were conferred upon Si Walter house to the old castle, is called, in memory of' her, the Duchess's and his son by the same monarch. Walk-ED.)

After the period of the exchange with Sir Thomas Ingtis, Brank* Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, representative some became the principal seat of the Buccleuch family. The of the ancient Lorils of Buccleuch, and willow of the unfortunate castle was enlarged and strengthened by Sir David Seutt, the James, Duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded in 1655.

grandson of Sir William, its first possessor. But in 1570-1, the Francis Scott, Earl of Buccleuch, father of the Duchess. vengeance of Elizabeth, provoked by the inroads of Buccleuch, 1 Walter, Earl of Buccleuch, grandfather of the Duchess, and a and his attachment to the cause of Queen Mary, destroyed tbe celebrated warrior.

castle, and laid waste the lands of Pranksome. In the saine year $!" In the very first rank of poetical oxcellence, we are inclined the castle was repaired and enlarged by Sir Walter Scott, its brave to place the introductory and concluding lines of every Canto, in possessor; but the work was not completed until after his death, which the ancient strain is suspended, and the feelings and situa. in 1574, when the widow finished the building. This appears ftum tion of the minstrel himself described in the words of the author. the following inscriptions. Around a stone, bearing the arms of The elegance and the beauty of this setting, if we'may so call it, Scott of Buccleuch, appears the following legend : though entirely of modern workmanship, appears to us to be fully " Sír TV. Scott of Brankheim Bnyt oe of Sir more worthy of admiration than the bolder relief of the antiques which it encloses, and leads us to regret that the author should • Branxholm is the proper name of the barony ; but Brankame has been have wasted, in imitation and antiquarian researches, so much adoptent, 18 suitable to the pronunciation, and more proper for pozury. of those powers which seem fully equal to the task of raising chapel, where, accorling to a truition current in the time of Grote of Saichhim an independent reputation."-JEFFREY.)

ella, many of u. arient harons of Buccleuch lie burial There is an maid ta nini be reign of James 1, Sir William Scott of Buccleuch, chief have been a mill near this polivary spot; an extraordinary circunstance, as of the clan bearing that name, exchanged, with Sir Thomas Inglis little or no corn grows within reveral miles of Buccleuch. Salcbelle say it of Manor, the estate of Murdliestone, in Lanarkshire, for one half was used to grind corn for the touris of the clueftain.

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