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The Life of Buddha and Its Lessons By Henry Steel Olcott Characters: 39225

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805 Full well the conscious maiden guessed

He probed the weakness of her breast;

But, with that consciousness, there came

A lightening of her fears for Graeme,

And more she deemed the Monarch's ire

810 Kindled 'gainst him, who, for her sire

Rebellious broadsword boldly drew;

And, to her generous feeling true,

She craved the grace of Roderick Dhu.

"Forbear thy suit-the King of kings

815 Alone can stay life's parting wings.

I know his heart, I know his hand,

Have shared his cheer, and proved his brand.

My fairest earldom would I give

To bid Clan-Alpine's Chieftain live!-

820 Hast thou no other boon to crave?

No other captive friend to save?"

Blushing, she turned her from the King,

And to the Douglas gave the ring,

As if she wished her sire to speak

825 The suit that stained her glowing cheek.

"Nay, then, my pledge has lost its force,

And stubborn justice holds her course.

Malcolm, come forth!"-and, at the word,

Down kneeled the Graeme to Scotland's lord.

830 "For thee, rash youth, no suppliant sues,

From thee may Vengeance claim her dues,

Who, nurtured underneath our smile,

Hast paid our care by treacherous wile,

And sought, amid thy faithful clan,

835 A refuge for an outlawed man,

Dishonoring thus thy loyal name.

Fetters and warder for the Graeme!"

His chain of gold the King unstrung,

The links o'er Malcolm's neck he flung,

840 Then gently drew the glittering band,

And laid the clasp on Ellen's hand.

* * *

Harp of the North, farewell! The hills grow dark,

On purple peaks a deeper shade descending;

In twilight copse the glowworm lights her spark,

845 The deer, half seen, are to the covert wending.

Resume thy wizard elm! the fountain lending,

And the wild breeze, thy wilder minstrelsy;

Thy slumbers sweet with Nature's vespers blending,

With distant echo from the fold and lea,

850 And herdboy's evening pipe, and hum of housing bee.

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.

855 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'erlived such woes, Enchantress! is thine own.

860 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

865 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!

* * *



2. witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's spring. The well or spring of St. Fillan is on the summit of a hill near Loch Earn, some miles northeast of the scene of the poem. The reason why Scott places the "Harp of the North" here is that St. Fillan was the favorite saint of Robert Bruce, and a relic of the saint had been borne in a shrine by a warlike abbot at the battle of Bannockburn. The word "witch" (more properly spelled "wych") is connected with "wicker" and means "bending," "drooping."

10. Caledon. Caledonia, poetic name for Scotland.

29. Monan's rill. Scott takes the liberty of assigning a "rill" to this Scottish martyr of the fourth century on his own authority, unless his editors have been at fault in failing to discover the stream indicated.

31. Glenartney's. Glen Artney or Valley of the Artney. The Artney is a small river northeast of the main scene of the poem.

33. Benvoirlich. "Ben" is Scottish for mountain. Benvoirlich is near the western end of Glenartney.

53. Uam-Var. A mountain between Glenartney and the Braes of Doune. The name signifies "great den," and is derived from a rocky enclosure on the mountain-side, believed to have been used in primitive times as a toil or trap for deer. As told in Stanza IV a giant was fabled to have inhabited this den.

71. linn. This word means either "waterfall" or "steep ravine." The latter is probably the meaning here.

89. Menteith. A village and district southeast of the line of lakes-Loch Katrine, Loch Achray, and Loch Vennachar-about which the main action of the poem moves.

93. Lochard. Loch Ard, a small lake south of Loch Katrine. Aberfoyle. A village east of Loch Ard.

95. Loch-Achray. See note on 89.

97. Benvenue. A mountain on the south bank of Loch Katrine.

103. Cambusmore. An estate owned by Scott's friends, the Buchanans, on the border of the Braes of Doune.

105. Benledi. A majestic mountain shutting in the horizon to the north of Loch Vennachar.

106. Bochastle's heath. The plain between Loch Vennachar and the river Teith.

112. Brigg of Turk. A romantic bridge, still in existence, between Loch Vennachar and Loch Achray.

120. dogs of black Saint Hubert's breed. A breed of dogs, usually black in color, very keen of scent and powerful in build, were kept by the abbots of St. Hubert in commemoration of their patron saint, who was a hunter.

138. whinyard. Obsolete term for sword.

145. Trossachs. A wild and beautiful defile between Loch Katrine and Loch Achray. The word signifies "rough or bristled country."

166. Woe worth the chase. "Woe worth" is an exclamation, equivalent to "alack!"

178. Round and around the sounds were cast. Notice the mimicry of the echo in the vowel sounds of the line.

196. tower ... on Shinar's plain. The Tower of Babel.

208. dewdrops sheen. What part of speech is sheen? Is this use of the word obsolete in prose?

227. frequent flung. "Frequent" is used in the original Latin sense (Lat. frequens) of "crowded together," "numerous."

256. Unless he climb, with footing nice. Scott says: "Until the present road was made through the romantic pass I have presumptuously attempted to describe, there was no mode of issuing out of the defile called the Trossachs, excepting by a sort of ladder, composed of the branches and roots of trees." What is the meaning of "nice" here? What other meanings has the word had?

313. Highland plunderers. The clans inhabiting the region about Loch Katrine were in the habit of making incursions into the neighboring Lowlands to plunder and lay waste the country. Their warlike habits were fostered by the rugged and almost inaccessible character of the country, which prevented the Lowlanders from retaliating upon them, and enabled them also to resist the royal authority.

363. snood. A ribbon worn by Scotch lassies and upon marriage replaced by the matron's "curch" or cap. plaid. A rectangular shawl-like garment made of the checkered cloth called tartan.

438. couch was pulled. Freshly pulled heather was the most luxurious bedding known to the Highlander.

440. ptarmigan and heath-cock. These birds are a species of grouse, the one red, the other black.

460. on the visioned future bent. The gift of second-sight was universally believed in at this period in the Highlands.

504. retreat in dangerous hour. "The Celtic chieftains, whose lives were continually exposed to peril, had usually, in the most retired spot of their domain, some place of retreat for the hour of necessity ... a tower, a cavern, or a rustic hut." (Scott's note in edition of 1830.)

546. target. What is the connection of this word with that used in archery and gun-practice?

566. brook to wield. "Brook" commonly means "endure." What is its exact meaning here?

573. Ferragus, or Ascabart. Two giants whose names appear frequently in medieval romances of chivalry. The first is better known as Ferran, under which name he figures in the Orlando Furioso of Ariosto. Ascabart plays a part in the old English metrical romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton.

580. To whom, though more than kindred knew. This is a very obscure expression for Scott, who is usually so careful to make himself clear. The meaning seems to be: Ellen regarded her as a mother, though that was more than the actual kinship of the two justified (literally "knew how to recognize").

591. Knight of Snowdoun, James Fitz-James. As appears later in the poem, these were not his true name and title, though he was entitled to bear them.

622. a harp unseen. In modern Scotland the bagpipe has altogether taken the place of the harp. A writer of the sixteenth century says: "They (the Highlanders) take great delight to deck their harps with silver and precious stones; the poor ones that cannot attain thereunto deck them with crystal. They sing verses prettily compounded (i.e., composed) containing for the most part praises of valiant men."

638. pibroch. (Pronounced pee-brock.) A wild tumultuous tune played on the bagpipes in the onset of battle.

642. bittern. A wading bird, allied to the heron.

657. reveillé. As the rhyme shows, this word is pronounced reh-vail'yah here. The common pronunciation in the United States is rev-a-lee'. It is the drum-beat or bugle-call at dawn to arouse soldiers.


1. blackcock. See note to I, 440.

7. minstrel grey. Until well on in the eighteenth century it was customary for Highland chieftains to keep in their service a bard, whose chief duty it was to sing the exploits of the ancestors of the line.

69. Lead forth his fleet. What kind of figure is contained in the word fleet as applied to the flock of ducks?

131. harp, which erst Saint Modan swayed. St. Modan was not a harper, as Scott elsewhere ingenuously confesses, adding, however, that "Saint Dunstan certainly did play upon that instrument."

141. Wailed loud through Bothwell's bannered hall. The minstrel tries to account for the strange way in which his harp gives back mournful sounds instead of the joyous ones he is trying to evoke, by calling to Ellen's mind two other occasions when it behaved similarly. One of these was when it foreboded the death of Ellen's mother; the other when it foreboded the exile of the Douglasses during the minority of James V. For particulars, see the introduction on the historical setting of the poem. Bothwell Castle is on the Clyde, a few miles from Glasgow.

159. From Tweed to Spey. The Tweed is in the extreme southern part, the Spey in the northern part, of Scotland.

200. Lady of the Bleeding Heart. The minstrel calls Ellen so because a bleeding heart was the heraldic emblem of the Douglas family.

206. strathspey. A dance, named from the district of Strath Spey, in the north of Scotland. It resembled the reel, but was slower.

213. Clan-Alpine's pride. Clan Alpine was the collective name of the followers of Roderick Dhu, who figures later in the poem as Ellen's rejected suitor and the enemy of the mysterious "Knight of Snowdoun" who has just taken his departure from the island.

216. Lennox foray. Lennox is the district south of Menteith, in the Lowlands. It was the scene of innumerable forays and "cattle-drives."

221. In Holy-Rood a knight he slew. Holyrood is the royal castle at Edinburgh, where the court usually was held. It was deemed a heinous and desperate offense to commit an act of blood in the royal residence or its immediate neighborhood, since such an act was an indirect violation of the majesty of the king, and a breaking of "the king's peace." It was for this offense that Roderick Dhu was exiled, and compelled to live like an outlaw in his mountain fastness.

227. Who else dared give. Notice how skilfully Scott manages to give us the relations of the chief characters of the poem to each other, and to show that Ellen's father, pursued by the hatred of James V, has been given the island shelter in Loch Katrine by Roderick Dhu who is about to make his appearance in the story.

236. Full soon may dispensation sought. A papal dispensation was necessary, because Ellen and Roderick Dhu were cousins. See next note.

249. All that a mother could bestow. Here again the poet takes the indirect way of making clear his point, namely that the matron introduced in the first canto is the mother of Roderick Dhu. The phrase "an orphan in the wild," is in apposition with the following phrase "her sister's child"-i.e., Ellen herself. From this it appears that Lady Margaret is Ellen's aunt, and that Roderick Dhu is, therefore, Ellen's cousin.

260. Maronnan's cell. A chapel at the eastern extremity of Loch Lomond, dedicated to the rather obscure saint here named.

270. Bracklinn's thundering wave. The reference is to a cascade made by a mountain torrent at the Bridge of Bracklinn, near the village of Callender in Menteith. Notice how Scott's numerous references to places in the region where the poem is laid tend gradually to give us an idea of the richness and diversity of the landscape.

274. claymore. A large two-handed sword.

305. Thy father's battle-brand. Some swords, especially those which had been magically forged, were held to possess the property of drawing themselves from their scabbard at the approach of their owner's deadly enemy. This is the first vague hint which Scott gives us as to the real identity of the "Knight of Snowdoun." To throw a further glamor of romance about the prophetical weapon, he tells us that it was given by fairies to an ancestor of its present owner, namely, to Archibald, third Duke of Angus, called Tine-man (Loseman) because he always lost his men in battle, and that this gift was made while Archibald was in league with Harry Hotspur.

319. Beltane game. The sports of May Day.

327. canna. Cotton grass.

Stanza XVI. In this and the two following stanzas notice how skillfully description and narrative are woven together, and how the picture gains in detail and distinctness as the boats approach.

334. barges. What change has occurred in the use of this word?

335. Glengyle ... Brianchoil. Why does the poet introduce these proper names? Are they of any value as information?

343. tartans. See note to I, xix, 363.

395. The chorus first could Allan know. The chorus was the first part of the song which the harper, listening from the shore, could distinctly make out.

408. Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu. The words vich and dhu are Gaelic, the first meaning "descendant of," the second "black or swarthy." King Alpine was the half-mythical ancestor from whom the clan of Alpine sprung. The line means, therefore, "Black Roderick, descendant of Alpine." Compare II, xii, 220, where Allan-bane calls the chieftain "Black Sir Roderick."

410. Blooming at Beltane. See note to II, 319.

416. Breadalbane. A large district in the western part of the county of Perth.

419–426. Glen Fruin, Bannochar, Glenn Luss, Ross-dhu, Leven-glen. What, in simple language, should you say was the value of this array of obscure names in the song?

431. the rose-bud that graces yon islands. To whom do the singers metaphorically refer?

497. Percy's Norman pennon. Captured by the Douglas in the raid which led to the battle of Otterburn, as celebrated in the old ballad of Chevy Chase. (Sprague.)

504. The waned crescent. This may be taken as referring to some victory over the Turkish armies in the East, or to the defeat of Scott's ancestor, Sir Walter Scott of Buccleugh, who was defeated in an attempt to set the young king free from the Douglas. The shield of Sir Walter bore a crescent moon.

506. Blantyre. A priory on the banks of the Clyde near Bothwell castle, of which ruins still remain.

574. Glenfinlas. A valley to the northeast of Loch Katrine, between Ben-An and Ben-Ledi.

577. royal ward. Malcolm, as a minor, was still under the king's guardianship.

583. Strath-Endrick glen. A valley on the southeast of Loch Lomond, presumably Malcolm's home.

623–625. The Meggat, the Yarrow, and the Ettrick are successive tributaries, the waters of which eventually reach the Tweed. The Teviot is also a tributary of the Tweed. All five rivers are in the southern part of Scotland.

678. Links of Forth. Banks of the river Forth. In general the word "links" means flat or undulating stretches of sandy soil, partially covered with grass or heather.

692. There are who have. How does this differ from the prose idiom?

801. pity 'twere such cheek should feel the midnight air. Was there anything in the Highland character and training which would make these words seem particularly cutting? Notice how the insult is deepened later by the assumption on Rhoderick Dhu's part that Malcolm is capable of treachery toward Douglas and the Clan of Alpine.

809. henchman. This word is said to have been originally "haunch-man" because it was the duty of this retainer to stand beside his master's chair (at his haunches as it were) at the feast, in readiness to do his bidding or to defend him if attacked.

831. Fiery Cross. The signal for the gathering of the clan to war. The preparation and carrying abroad of this cross is described in the next canto.


39. cushat dove. Better known as the ringdove.

63. shivers. "Slivers" is the more common word, but the verb "to shiver," meaning to break in pieces, keeps the original meaning.

74. Benharrow. This mountain is near the north end of Loch Lomond.

87. strath. A wide open valley, distinguished from a glen, which is narrow.

104. fieldfare. A species of thrush.

116. virgin snood. See note to I, 363.

154. River Demon. Concerning this creature Scott gives the current observation: "The River Demon, or River-horse, is an evil spirit, delighting to forebode and witness calamity. He frequents most Highland lakes and rivers; and one of his most memorable exploits was performed upon the banks of Loch Vennachar: it consisted in the destruction of a bridal party with all its attendants."

156. noontide hag. A gigantic emaciated female figure which, contrary to the general rule of ghostly creatures, appeared in the full blaze of noon.

168. Ben-Shie's boding scream. The ben-shie or banshee was a tutelar spirit, supposed to forebode by midnight howlings the death of a member of a family to which it was attached. The superstition is still prevalent in Ireland.

191. Inch-Cailliach. An island in Loch Lomond, used as a place of burial for several neighboring clans, of whom the descendants of King Alpine were the chief. The name means "Isle of Nuns," or "Isle of Old Women."

Stanza IX. Notice the change in the rime system which marks the break from flowing narrative to solemn dramatic speech, and is continued through the stanza to increase the effect of solemnity.

253. Coir-Uriskin, thy goblin cave. This cave and the pass of Beala-nam-bo were on the slopes of Ben Venue, a mountain near Loch Katrine. See notes to 622 and 664.

286. Lanrick mead. This meadow is still pointed out to the traveler on the road from Loch Vennachar to the Trossachs.

300. dun deer's hide. It was their shoes made of untanned deer's hide, with the hair outwards, which gave the Highlander's their nickname, "Red-shanks."

349. Duncraggan. A village between Loch Achray and Loch Vennachar.

369. coronach. Death-song.

386. correi. Scott explains this as "the hollow side of the hill, where game usually lies."

387. cumber. Trouble, perplexity.

394. Stumah. The name of a dog, signifying "faithful."

461. chapel of St. Bride. This chapel stood on the knoll of Strath-Ire, mentioned at the beginning of the stanza, halfway up the pass of Leny. Scott is singularly c

areful not to take liberties with the geography of the localities where his story is laid.

468. pole-ax. An old weapon consisting of a broad ax-head fastened to a long pole, with a prick at the back.

480. Tombea's Mary. Tombea and Armandave are names of places in the vicinity of Strath-Ire.

546. bracken. Fern.

570. Balquidder. The braes of Balquidder extended west from Loch Voil, to the northward of the scene of the poem. midnight blaze. The heather on the moorlands is often set on fire by the shepherds in order that new herbage may spring up.

578. Loch Voil, etc. This and the following names are of poetic value in suggesting tangibly the rapid passage of the runner from place to place.

622. Coir-nan-Uriskin. Scott says that this name, signifying "Den of the Shaggy Men," was derived from the mythical inhabitants of the place, creatures half man and half goat, resembling the satyrs of classical mythology.

641. still, stillness. Can you instance other cases of the use of adjective for noun?

656. satyrs. See note to 622.

664. Beal-nam-bo. The name signifies "Pass of cattle." It is described as a "most magnificent glade, overhung with aged birch-trees, a little higher up the mountains than the Coir-nan-Uriskin."

672. A single page, to bear his sword. The sword bearer, like the henchman and the bard, was a regular officer attached to the person of a Highland Chief. He was called in Gaelic "Gilliemore," or sword-man.


19. Braes of Doune. Doune is a village on the Teith, a few miles northwest of Stirling. The word "brae" means slope or declivity; the braes of Doune stretch away east and north from the village.

36. boune. An obsolete word meaning "prepared."

63. Taghairm. The word means "Augury of the Hide."

68. When swept our merrymen Gallangad. The reference is to one of the forays or "cattledrives" which the Highland chiefs were fond of making at the expense of their neighbors. The situation of Gallangad is now unknown, but it was presumably a portion of the Lennox district.

73. kerns. The kern or cateran of the Highlands was a light-armed infantryman, as opposed to the heavy-armed "gallowglass."

78. scatheless. Without fear of injury, because of the weariness of the animal after the march.

82. boss. The word means knob or protuberance, especially that in the center of a shield. What the boss of a cliff can be it is a little difficult to understand.

98. watching while the deer is broke. The cutting up of the deer and allotting of the various portions was technically known as the "breaking" of the deer. A certain gristly portion was given, by long custom, to the birds, and came to be known as "the raven's bone."

140. A spy has sought my land. Roderick refers, as appears later, to the "Knight of Snowdoun" of Canto I.

150. glaive, sword.

153. sable pale. An heraldic term, applied to a black perpendicular stripe in a coat of arms.

174. stance, station, foundation.

231. Cambus-kenneth's fane. The ruins of Cambus-kenneth Abbey are still to be seen on the banks of the Forth near Stirling.

262. mavis and merle, thrush and blackbird.

283. darkling was the battle tried. Scott first wrote "blindfold" in place of "darkling."

285. pall. A rich cloth, from which mantles of noblemen were made. Vair. A fur much used for the garments of nobility in medieval times.

298. wonn'd, an obsolete equivalent of "dwelt."

306. fairies' fatal green. The elves or gnomes wore green, and were angered when any mortal ventured to wear that color. For this or some other reason green was held an unlucky color in many parts of Scotland.

308. thou wert christened man. Urgan, as appears later, was a mortal, who had fallen under the spell of the elves and lived their life, but who still retained some of the privileges and immunities which belonged, according to medieval belief, to all persons who had been baptized into the Christian church.

371. Dunfermline. An Abbey sixteen miles northwest of Edinburgh.

385. my former guide. This is Red Murdoch, of whom Roderick Dhu speaks, see 144 ff.

531. The Allan and the Devan are two streams which descend from the hills of Perthshire into the lowland plain.

555. from Maudlin's charge. Maudlin, as a proper name, is a corruption of Magdalen. The curious development of meaning which has taken place in the word should be looked out in the dictionary.

559. peasant pitched a bar. "Pitching the bar" was a feat of strength like the modern "putting the shot." It was usually indulged in by the peasantry at fairs and on the village greens.

564. that savage groom. The mad woman refers to Red Murdoch, the guide.

594. a stag of ten. With ten branches on his antlers.


46. shingles, declivities or "slides" of small broken stone.

124. While Albany with feeble hand. After the death of James IV at Flodden Field the regency was held first by the mother of the young king, and then by the Duke of Albany. The latter was forced by the Estates to leave Scotland in 1624, and soon after the regency fell practically, though, not constitutionally, into the hands of the king's step-father, Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus. See introduction on the historical setting of the poem.

198. curlew. A shore-bird, with a long curved bill.

253. jack. A coat of mail made of leather or heavy padded cloth.

301. On Bochastle the moldering lines, etc. East of Lake Vennachar, in the moor of Bochastle, are some traces of the Roman occupation, in the form of mounds and intrenchments.

409. mountain-cat. "Catamount" is the common name in America.

461. palfrey. A saddle-horse as distinguished from a war-horse.

465. weed, garment. The word is now restricted to the phrase "widow's weeds."

490–497. Torry, Lendrick, Deanstown, Doune, Blair-Drummond, Ochtertyre, and Kier, are all on the Teith, between Bochastle and Sterling.

525. by Saint Serle. The necessities of rime compel the poet to choose a very obscure saint from the calendar.

532. postern gate, the small rear gate of a castle, generally used by the servants only.

584. jennet. A small Spanish horse, originally a cross between native and Arabian stock.

611. morricers, morrice dancers. The morrice or morris was an old dance, imported into England from Spain. Believed to be a corruption of "Moorish."

613. butts, the targets for archery practice.

614. Bold Robin Hood and all his band. It is of course not meant that the renowned outlaw himself and his followers were there, but masqueraders representing these traditional characters. All the names that follow occur in one or other of the legends and ballads which gathered about Robin Hood's name.

622. the white, i.e., the white center of the target.

660. Ladies Rock. A hillock between the Castle and Grayfriar's church, from which the court ladies viewed the games.

872. lily lawn. A conventional phrase in old ballad poetry, without any very definite meaning.


42. harness, armor and other war gear.

60. halberd, a weapon consisting of a battle-ax and pike at the end of a long staff. brand, a poetical word for sword.

92. black-jack, a large drinking can of tarred or waxed leather.

95. Drink upsees out. "Upsees" is a corruption of a Dutch Bacchanalian interjection.

103. cure. Parish or charge. placket. Petticoat.

104. lurch, swindle, leave in difficulty.

306. prore, poetical form of "prow."

377. erne, eagle.

Stanza XVII. Notice how both rime and rhythm mirror the growing excitement of the conflict.

452. As their Tinchel cows the game. The "Tinchel" was a circle of hunters, surrounding a herd of deer and gradually closing in on them.

488. linn, the word here means waterfall.

586. Bothwell's lord, Douglas. See note to II, xiii, 141.

591. How Roderick brooked his minstrelsy. "Brooked" is not used in its strong sense of "endured," but in the weaker one of "received"; we should say colloquially "how he took it."

* * *


(Adapted, and enlarged, from the Manual for the Study of English Classics, by George L. Marsh)


Life of Scott

What prominent traits of Scott's character can be traced to his ancestors (pp. 9, 10)?

How did he regard the members of his clan, especially the chief (pp. 19, 20)?

What characteristic is represented in his refusal to learn Latin and Greek at school?

What was his own method of obtaining an education? In what did he become proficient (p. 12)?

How did he regard his legal studies? How did they benefit him in his later work?

How was he first interested in ballad-writing?

Tell of the composition, publication, and popularity of his first poems (pp. 20 ff.).

In what business venture did he become involved, and what was the final outcome? What defect in his character is it charged that his business relations brought to light (pp. 24, 25)?

Tell of the composition of his novels. Why were they published incognito?

What can you say of his last years and his struggle to pay off the debts incurred by his connection with Ballantyne?

Scott and the Romantic Movement

What is meant by the "Romantic Movement"? What four men were chiefly instrumental in bringing about this revolution in English poetry (p. 40)?

What was the influence of Scott's poetry on the age in comparison with that of his chief contemporaries? Give the reasons (p. 41).

What were the distinguishing qualities of the literature of the eighteenth century? Illustrate these by examples from Pope or any other poet that you choose from that period, and put them into contrast with the qualities of the romantic poets. Does Scott's style differ greatly from that of the poets of the preceding century?

The Lady of the Lake-Construction

Is there anything that has taken place before the opening of the poem that has to be understood for a thorough appreciation of the story (p. 46)? How are the previous fortunes of the Douglas family related (pp. 96–98)?

What purpose in the plot does the Minstrel serve throughout?

What do you think of the opening?

Does the chase serve merely to furnish an opportunity for the description?

Is the action rapid or slow? How is it often retarded?

For what are the songs introduced?

Note the transition from stanza X to XI (p. 66); from XVI to XVII (p. 71); from XXIV to XXV (p. 144); and many others.

How many cases of concealed identity are there in the poem? Does this turning of the plot on mistaken identity make it seem unreal? Show in each case where the identity is exposed and where hints have been given beforehand of the real identity.

Is there any intimation of the identity of Ellen and her father in lines 565–7, page 81; lines 728–39, page 87?

What is the purpose of Fitz-James's dream (p. 86)?

What is the first hint of Ellen's love story and the name of her lover (pp. 74, 92)?

When is Roderick Dhu first mentioned (p. 96)? In what light?

Where are the relations of Ellen with Roderick and with Malcolm further discussed (p. 98)?

To whom is the reference in lines 732–34, page 116?

What action does the struggle between Roderick and Malcolm motive?

How does Canto Third advance the plot? What is its poetical value (p. 56)?

What purpose does Brian serve?

Does the prophecy (p. 157) heighten the dramatic effect of the following scene (see p. 196)?

For what are lines 138–47, page 157, a preparation (p. 168)?

What is the purpose of the Ballad of Alice Brand (pp. 162 ff.)?

What other results of Scott's early interest in ballad literature can you point out in The Lady of the Lake?

Does the warning of James by the song of mad Blanche seem improbable?

What is the purpose of the long speeches between James and Roderick in the dramatic scene following Roderick's calling of his men?

Does the combat between James and Roderick (pp. 198, 199) seem a real fight?

Why was Roderick preserved to die in the castle at Stirling?

Are lines 519–30, page 203, an artistic preparation for the following scene?

How do the games in the Castle park hasten the plot to its end?

How is the fight between Clan-Alpine and the Earl of Mar described?

How much of the action takes place outside the poem and is related?

Note the use of the supernatural (p. 239). Does it seem impressive?

Is the conclusion sustained and dramatic?


Are the nature descriptions given for scenic effect, or do they serve as a background and setting for the story?

Does Scott employ incidents of plot for the sake of dragging in descriptions?

Which is the best in the poem: nature description, plot construction, character, description, or the portrayal of old life and customs?

Is the descriptive language suggestive?

Are the landscape scenes given minutely, or are they drawn broadly, with a free hand?

Does Scott keep closely to the geography of the region of his tale (see map, p. 6, and note 461, p. 259)?

Perry Pictures 912–17 (from Landseer's paintings of deer) and 1511 (Ben Lomond) may be used in illustration of The Lady of the Lake.


Are the characters distinctly drawn-do they seem real people of flesh and blood?

How is Ellen's character displayed?

Do you feel any sympathy for Roderick Dhu? Does your impression of his character improve (pp. 96, 98, 99, 182, 188, 195, and 241)?

Was Douglas an historical character?

Is the character of James Fitz-James true to James V of Scotland?

Is Allan-bane representative of the place in the ancient Scottish clan which the minstrel had?


1. Scott's boyhood (with emphasis on the cultivation of characteristics displayed in his poems; pp. 10–12).

2. Scott as a landed proprietor (pp. 27–33). This may well take the form of an imaginary visit to Abbotsford.

3. Scott in business (pp. 23–25, 34–36). Compare his struggle against debt with Mark Twain's.

4. The historical setting of The Lady of the Lake (pp. 46–48).

5. A visit to the scene of The Lady of the Lake.

6. Summary of the action; as a whole, or by parts (cantos or other logical divisions).

7. Character sketches of Fitz-James, Roderick Dhu, Ellen, Malcolm, Douglas.

8. Highland customs reflected in the poem (pp. 129 ff., 253, 254, etc.).

9. The use of the Minstrel in the poem.

10. The interpolated lyrics-what purposes do they, respectively, serve?

11. Descriptions of scenes resembling, in one way or another, attractive scenes depicted in The Lady of the Lake.

12. Soldier life in Stirling Castle (pp. 219 ff.).

13. Contrast feudal warfare (especially as shown on pp. 81, 182) with modern warfare.

14. Show, by selected passages, Scott's veneration for the ideals of feudalism (pp. 81, 228, etc.).

15. Rewrite the scene of the combat between Roderick and Fitz-James (pp. 198–200) in the prose style of Scott as in the tournament scene in Ivanhoe.


1. The chase (pp. 60–65).

2. The Trossachs (pp. 66–68).

3. Ellen (pp. 72–74).

4. Ellen's song (pp. 83–85).

5. Roderick's arrival (pp. 100–105).

6. Roderick's proposal (pp. 113–118).

7. The consecration of the bloody cross (pp. 128–132).

8. The summoning of the clan (pp. 132–135).

9. The Coronach (pp. 136, 137).

10. Roderick overhears Ellen's song (pp. 148–149).

11. The ballad of Alice Brand (pp. 162–167).

12. Fitz-James and the mad woman (pp. 172–178).

13. The hospitality of a Highlander (pp. 180–183).

14. The hidden army (pp. 191–192).

15. The combat (pp. 195–200).

16. Douglas at the games (pp. 207–211).

17. The speech of Douglas (pp. 212, 213).

18. The Battle of Beal' an Duine (pp. 232–240).

19. Fitz-James reveals himself to Ellen (pp. 244–249).


It is important for the student of poetry to know the principal classes into which poems are divided. The following brief explanations do not pretend to be exhaustive, but they should be of practical aid. It must be remembered that a long poem is sometimes not very definitely of any one class, but combines characteristics of different classes.

Narrative poetry, like narrative prose, aims primarily to tell a story.

The epic is the most pretentious kind of narrative poetry; it tells in serious verse of the great deeds of a popular hero. The Iliad, the Aeneid, Beowulf, Paradise Lost are important epics. The Idylls of the King is in the main an epic poem.

The metrical romance is a rather long story in verse, of a less exalted and heroic character than the true epic. Scott's Lady of the Lake is a familiar example.

The verse tale is shorter and likely to be less dignified and serious than the metrical romance. The stories in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, or Burns's Tam O'Shanter, may serve as examples.

The ballad is a narrative poem, usually rather short and in such form as to be sung. It is distinguished from a song by the fact that it tells a story. Popular or folk ballads are ancient and of unknown authorship-handed down by word of mouth and varied by the transmitters. Artistic ballads are imitations, by known poets, of traditional ballads.

Descriptive and reflective poems have characteristics sufficiently indicated by the adjectives in italics.

The pastoral is a particular kind of descriptive and narrative poem in which the scene is laid in the country.

The idyll is, according to the etymology of its name, a "little picture." Tennyson's Idylls of the King are rather more epic than idyllic in the strict sense of the term. The terms idyll and pastoral are not definitely discriminated.

Lyric poetry is poetry expressing personal feeling or emotion and in tuneful form. Songs are the simplest examples of lyric poetry; formal odes, such as Wordsworth's on "Immortality," the most elaborate. A lyric does not primarily tell a story, but it may imply one or refer to one.

The elegy is a reflective lyric prompted by the death of some one. Tennyson's In Memoriam is a collection of elegiac lyrics.

A hymn is a religious lyric.

Dramatic poetry presents human life in speech and action.

A tragedy is a serious drama which presents its hero in a losing struggle ending in his death.

A comedy does not end in death, and is usually cheerful and humorous.

The dramatic monologue is a poem in which a dramatic situation is presented, or perhaps a story is told, by one speaker.

Satire in verse aims to correct abuses, to ridicule persons, etc.

Didactic poetry has the purpose of teaching.

Transcriber's Note:

The following errors have been corrected in this text:

Page 41: added period after "Southey in 1774"

Page 89: put blank line between lines 18 and 19 of Canto Second

Page 98: moved line number 255 of Canto Second to correct position (in the original the line number was at line 254)

Page 165: changed "by their monarch's si" to "... side"

Page 196: changed "by" to "my" in "When foeman bade me draw my blade;"

Page 212: changed "shreik" to "shriek" in "the women shriek;"

Page 253: changed comma to period after "a harp unseen"

Page 256: changed "364" to "363" in note on line 343 of Canto Second

Page 258: changed "364" to "363" in note on line 116 of Canto Third

Page 260: added period after "150" in note on line 150 of Canto Fourth

Page 262: added period after "from the calendar"

Page 262: changed "Robinhood" to "Robin Hood" in "Bold Robin Hood and all his band."

Page 268: changed "p. 5" to "p. 6" in question "Does Scott keep ..."

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