1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

W., "Stanzas written on perusing The Lady of the Lake, by Walter Scott" Observer [New York] 1 (23 December 1810) 43.



SCOTIA! erst in battle proved,
Whose hardy chieftains war beloved,
With mighty arm from mountain height,
Poured down the tempest of the fight,
Till southern bands in terror fled,
And every foeman hid his head;
A prouder garland decks thee now,
Than ever graced a warrior's brow!
Love and beauty, sweetly smiling
Valiant chief and cloister'd nun,
Crown the bard, whose song beguiling,
All the praise of verse hath won.

SCOTIA! well my mists enshroud
Thy mountains in imperious cloud,
If Genius shine on thee so bright,
And shed on thee his floods of light,
Well may rough rocks thy clime deface,
Since twining round their rugged base,
And shooting from their cliffs so high,
Grow all the flowers of minstrelsy.
Harp of the North! — thy strains prolong,
And every note shall echo bear,
Till every valley find a tongue,
And every mountain stoop to hear.

Lo! touched by life-inspiring rhyme,
Awake the chiefs of olden time,
Oblivion's massy bars unfold,
And all is new, that late was old,
The mouldering warrior grasps his glaive,
And lances break, and banners wave;
And modern eyes astonished see
The fairy forms of Chivalry.
Hail magic, holy power of song,
To whom all bend the knee,
No gate, hath heaven or earth so strong,
But it shall ope to thee!

List, virgins, list! the song is yours
Of myrtle wreaths and lady bowers,
Of passion's soul-bewitching trance,
And cheeks that blush, and eyes that glance.
Of bosoms, white as trackless snow,
And hearts that bleed, and hearts that glow;
Where, like the silk-worm in his shell,
Lurks the young god, you love so well.
Be every maid like ELLEN fair;
And every bard like SCOTT sublime,
Then every maid shall life immortal share,
And every bard outlive the waste of time.