1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

W. G. King (age 12), "Lines to Sir Walter Scott" Ladies' Monthly Museum S3 17 (April 1823) 236-37.



When mourning Scotland first survey'd
Her Burns in endless slumbers laid,
She wept to see her fairest flow'r
Thus perish in untimely hour:

Like the red rose, full blown and gay,
The flourish'd but a summer's day,
And in the midst of all its pride,
Faded and wither'd, droop'd and died.

To Jove fair Caledonia pray'd,
"Behold my Burns on death-bed laid,
Grant me a bard my sons to fire
Again to deeds of warlike ire;

"Whose sounding harp, and golden string,
Shall with heroic actions ring;
And in my noble warriors' praise,
Douglas and Bruce, shall swell his lays."

Her prayer was heard, the minstrel came,
Who sung of war in words of flame,
And rous'd her martial sons to do,
Such matchless deeds at Waterloo.

That minstrel fam'd, whose generous fire,
Flow'd gushing from the tuneful lyre,
Immortal bard! Who knows him not?
Who has not heard the name of SCOTT?

The bard who wrote in tender strain,
The gallant knight of Triermain,
In whose sweet verse, the bravery shone
Of the bold hero Marmion.

Each tender passion doth he wake,
For the fair Lady of the Lake;
And sings of Cranstoun's deeds of fight,
And dauntless Harold's matchless might.

For him, the poet who has told
The deeds of Island Ronald bold,
For him I tune my humble lay,
The only tribute I must pay.

Since the soft music of his rhyme,
And his sweet harp's enchanting chime,
The power of verse first bade me know,
And taught my early strains to flow.

The lay of Burns, the fire of Pope,
The flames that Dryden's harp awoke,
By Scott's effulgent blaze of light,
Are all eclipsed in endless night.

Not his the strain, not his the lay,
That is but born to die away,
When other minstrels are forgot,
Long shall survive the fame of Scott.