1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

A. S., "On the Death of Sir Walter Scott" Baldwin's London Weekly Journal (6 October 1832).



Harp of the North! thy mighty Hand
That swept thy chords with matchless skill
Is powerless now — the Enchanter's wand
Is broken — and his heart is still.
Thy minstrel sings in realms above
The triumphs of redeeming love.

Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of his sires he loved so well,
From lordly hall to cottage rude,
Ah! who will now thy glories tell,
Or cast a wizard spell o'er thee,
O'er hill and lake — o'er tower and tree!

His fame requires no sculptur'd stone,
No "storied urn" to tell his glory;
His monument is Marmion—
His name's enshrined in deathless story;
Heroes and kings may be forgot,
But ne'er the mighty name of Scott!

The cold earth claims the mouldering clay;
But mortal fetters cannot bind,
Nor give to dust and dull decay
The triumphs of the immortal mind—
And while we mourn for him that's gone,
His better part is still our own.

His spirit breathes o'er flood and fell,
By mountain, valley, wood, and stream,
And hallows may a Highland dell
Where lingering fancy loves to dream,
And listen to the melting strain
That flows from white-hair'd Allan-Bane.

His was the high creative power—
The secret charm that Shakspeare knew;
Nature's best gift and richest dower,
By many sought, but found by few—
Revealing in his pictured page
The manners of a former age.

The belted Knight, on war-steed bounding,
With nodding plume and kindling glance,
And banners waving — trumpets sounding—
The pomp and pride of old romance—
Start into life beneath his pen,
In all their glowing tints again!

Of lady-love and father-land,
His high-toned harp would deeply thrill;
The generous heart — the open hand—
He sung with all the poet's skill,
Who felt their force, and best could tell
Emotions that he knew so well.

To Abbotsford, his much-loved home,
He came from foreign lands to die;
In his own Scotland sought a tomb,
And heaved at home his latest sigh.
The peasant points his sacred mound,
And treads on consecrated ground!

Harp of the North, thy tones are mute!
The mountain breezes is o'er thee sighing,
Like the low murmuring of a lute
That sorrows for the dead or dying!
The hand that waked thy noblest strain,
Will never rouse those strings again.