1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

David Carey, in "The Mansion of the Poets" Beauties of the Modern Poets (1820) xvii-xviii.



Next advanced a stately personage, in the guise of a minstrel. His habiliments and antiquated manners seemed to have been formed on the models of the age of chivalry. He sung, to the sound of a small harp which he carried, some peculiarly wild and martial romances, which were well suited to interest and influence a warlike people. There was, in his manner and air, a sportive buoyancy, which shewed, that though he had assumed the garb of old age, his frame had not acknowledged the power of its frigid hand. He touched the strings, not with the constraint of art, but with the wildness and playfulness of nature, and in a manner peculiarly calculated to charm and to interest the young, the enthusiastic, and the romantic.

His tales of border feuds, of Highland forays, and his description of semi-barbarous manners, interested and pleased, whilst his descriptive powers were the themes of universal eulogium.

A crown, composed of the simple heath-bell and the thistle, enriched with gold and jewels, was vouchsafed to the bard, who was announced to be WALTER SCOTT.

He retired, expressing his grateful acknowledgments, and promising soon to present himself to the judges again in another guise.