Yet, once again, farewell, thou Minstrel Harp!
Yet, once again, forgive my feeble sway,
And little reck I of the censure sharp
May idly cavil at an idle lay.
Much have I owed thy strains on life’s long way,
Through secret woes the world has never known,
When on the weary night dawned wearier day,
And bitterer was the grief devoured alone.—
That I o’erlive such woes, Enchantress! is thine own.
Hark! as my lingering footsteps slow retire,
Some Spirit of the Air has waked thy string!
’Tis now a seraph bold, with touch of fire,
’Tis now the brush of Fairy’s frolic wing.
Receding now, the dying numbers ring
Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell;
And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring
A wandering witch-note of the distant spell—
And now, ’tis silent all!—Enchantress, fare thee well!
Abbreviations Used In The Notes.
Cf. (confer), compare.
F.Q., Spenser’s Faerie Queene.
Id. (idem), the same.
Lockhart, J. G. Lockhart’s edition of Scott’s poems (various
P.L., Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Taylor, R. W. Taylor’s edition of The Lady of the Lake (London,
Wb., Webster’s Dictionary (revised quarto edition of 1879).
Worc., Worcester’s Dictionary (quarto edition).
The abbreviations of the names of Shakespeare’s plays will be
readily understood. The line-numbers are those of the “Globe”
The references to Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel are to canto and line; those to Marmion and other poems to canto and stanza.
The Lady of the Lake was first published in 1810, when Scott was thirty-nine, and it was dedicated to “the most noble John James, Marquis of Abercorn.” Eight thousand copies were sold between June 2d and September 22d, 1810, and repeated editions were subsequently called for. In 1830, the following “Introduction” was prefixed to the poem by the author:—
After the success of Marmion, I felt inclined to exclaim
Ulysses in the Odyssey:
Greek Letters Odys. X. 5.
“One venturous game my hand
has won to-day—
Another, gallants, yet remains to play.”
The ancient manners, the habits and customs of the aboriginal race by whom the Highlands of Scotland were inhabited, had always appeared to me peculiarly adapted to poetry. The change in their manners, too, had taken place almost within my own time, or at least I had learned many particulars concerning the ancient state of the Highlands from the old men of the last generation. I had always thought the old Scottish Gael highly adapted for poetical composition. The feuds and political dissensions which, half a century earlier, would have rendered the richer and wealthier part of the kingdom indisposed