1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

Author of The Rival Muses, "Lines to Walter Scott, Esq." Morning Post (4 February 1815).



Again to SCOTT, I raise the lay,
Again to Genius tribute pay—
Anew my votive lyre I string,
And by his lays inspir'd, I sing—
Let Scotland ne'er again deplore,
She boasts the laurel wreath no more;
A brighter far adorns her now,
Than e'er entwin'd a warrior's brow,
'Tis her's a lovelier meed to claim
Than decks the steel-clad arms of fame—
For Scotland! we award to thee,
The peerless prize of Minstrelsy!

Tho' cold thy clime, the Poet's fire
Is kindled on thy mountains high;
Say, do those flames such warmth inspire
Which lighten o'er thy northern sky,
When Fancy in her bright career,
Views warriors with their fiery spear?
Say, sighing thro' the leafless trees,
Or tow'ring on thy cliffs in air,
Do sounds immortal swell the breeze,
Or shapes celestial hover there,
And tempt the Poet's mind to soar
Such heights as none have gain'd before?
If so — oh, were I Scotia's child!
Yet be that wayward wish represt—
For heart as warm, and thought as wild,
May glow beneath a Southern breast,
And Albion's isle is dear to me,
As Caledonia, SCOTT! to thee!

Oh, did'st thou mid'st some snowy storm,
Catch a bright beam from Phoebus' form,
When for an instant peeing forth,
He glanc'd upon the icy north?
Thou didst — and still detain'd the ray
To warm us thro' the wintry day,
With SUNBEAMS written is thy lay,
Which on our minds reflected play!
For still, when clouds and storms prevail,
When falls the snow, and pours the hail—
Unfelt, unheard, the blasts assail,
When bend we o'er thy vivid tale!
From the cold North such warmth doth flow—
Thus children, when they toss the snow,
The warmest bloom of beauty shew—
And while the fates my life prolong,
I still must love the minstrel song,
For what amid the wearying strife,
And sad realities of life,
Has warm'd my heart to rapture's glow,
Or made the welcome tear to flow—
But sweetest notes of potent sound,
Which Bards inspir'd have flung around—
And never from my soul can part
This "cherish'd madness of my heart!"

Of old when ORPHEUS struck the lyre,
Did rocks, and dancing hills, respire—
And when AMPHION wak'd the strain,
A city rose upon the plain.
Now, powers as great belong to THEE,
Tho' different the effect we see—
The STONE that did for ages stand,
As trembling for its parent land,
Is now enchain'd by minstrel spells,
And fix'd, in admiration dwells!
While thrilling o'er my waken'd soul,
The echoes of thy lyre still roll,
The minstrel song, the minstrel glow,
I thus return to whence they flow.