Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Let us read a few lines addressed by

Is rea

CS

SS

spring in strange places !” Crabbe to a Library :

Wisdom loves
This seat serene, and virtue's self approves :
Here come the grieved, a change of thought to find,-
The curious here, to feed a craving mind ;
Here the devout their peaceful temple choose,
And here the poet meets his favourite muse.
With awe, around these silent walks I tread, -
These are the lasting mansions of the dead :
“ The dead !" methinks a thousand tongues reply-
“ These are the tombs of such as cannot die !
Crowned with eternal fame, they sit sublime,
And laugh at all the little strife of time !"

Sir Walter Scott, who has been styled “the potent wizard of romance, at the waving of whose wand came trooping on the stage of life again, gallant knights and ladies fair, foaming chargers and splendid tournaments, with their Aashing armour and blazoned shields,” was also the poet who loved to sing of knightly deeds of valour and old traditional love-lays.

He was endowed with a wonderful facility of composition. His brain has been compared to a high-pressure engine, the steam of which was “up” as soon as he entered his study, which was generally at six o'clock in the morning. After three hours' labour came breakfast, and after that he resumed his studies till dinnertime.

Scott is believed to have acquired over half a million of pounds sterling by his various literary labours,—an amount altogether unapproached by any other author of ancient or modern times. His own life-story, so full of vicissitude and surprising incident, has been styled a greater marvel than any of his romantic fictions.

[graphic][merged small]

His severe literary toils were not intermitted even amid the heavy financial disasters which overtook him in connection with the failure of his publishers; but with heroic determination he persevered in the noble purpose of discharging these obligations. Having accomplished the herculean task, his physical strength began to fail ; and after a tour to Italy, he returned to Abbotsford, totally exhausted. When he arrived there, his dogs came about his knees, and he sobbed over them till he was reduced to a state of stupefaction. After lingering for two months, his mind became more clear, when he would ask to be placed at his desk, but the fingers refused to grasp the pen, and he sunk back, weeping. On the 21st of September, 1832, Sir Walter breathed his last.

Not long before he died, he said: “I have been, perhaps, the most voluminous author of the day, and it is a comfort to me to think that I have tried to unsettle no man's faith, to corrupt no man's principles, and that I have written nothing which, on my death-bed, I should wish blotted.”

Melrose he has consecrated by his genius, Abbotsford by his living presence, and Dryburgh is made sacred by his sleeping dust : while Nature herself may be said, in his own beautiful lines, to do homage to the memory of his muse :

ain

Call it not vain ; they do not err,

Who say that when the poet dies,
Mute Nature mourns her worshipper,

And celebrates his obsequies :
Who say,—tall cliff and cavern lone,
For the departed bard make moan:
That mountains weep in crystal rill,-
That Alowers in tears of balm distil, –
Through his loved groves that breezes sigh,
And oaks in deeper groan reply;
And rivers teach the rushing wave
To murmur dirges round his grave.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Allen-a-Dale has no fagot for burning,
Allen-a-Dale has no furrow for turning,
Allen-a-Dale has no fleece for the spinning,
Yet Allen-a-Dale has red gold for the winning.
Come, read me my riddle; come, hearken my tale !
And tell me the craft of bold Allen-a-Dale.

« AnteriorContinuar »