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ways interested in mediæval lore; the last is inscribed "Mertoun House," and breathes of the Christmas festivities which Scott every year joined in at the seat of the head of his own particular branch of the clan :—

"And thus my Christmas still I hold
Where my great-grandsire came of old
With amber beard and flaxen hair
And reverend apostolic air."

(This, of course, was Beardie, "who lost his land, but kept his beard.")

"Little we heed the tempest drear
While music, mirth, and social cheer
Speed on their wings the passing year.
And Mertoun's halls are fair e'en now
When not a leaf is on the bough.”

To such an extent did he rely upon description for the characteristic strength of this poem, that he expressly justified the making his hero come to Edinburgh by a circuitous route for the opportunities it afforded him of bringing in Gifford, Crichton Castle, and the view from Blackford Hill. Marmion's journey from Edinburgh to Flodden by the more natural coast road enabled him further to introduce Tantallon, rival to Hermitage as a famed castle of the Douglas family; but this last piece of description, graphic as it is, appears to have been taken only from what Scott had heard but never Such was the incredible force of his memory that his eye never needed to look twice at a scene, or his ear to hear a tale repeated.

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Marmion, though it probably contains quite the best passages of Scott's work as a poet, suffers from the unsympathetic character of the titular personage, who scarcely redeems his treachery to his lady-love and his rival by a gallant death; and I do not altogether dissent from the contemporary critics who judged it to be, taken as a whole, inferior to the earlier Border poem, which is more natural, more genuine, more real. The scenes and folk with whom it dealt lay nearest to Scott's heart. Marmion is more detached, has more of the air of prose romance about it, it is more symmetrical and better conceived; also it contains in "young Lochinvar" the best modern romantic ballad in literature. Jeffrey's objection that it was not sufficiently patriotic on the Scottish side appears passing strange. The editor of the Edinburgh probably quite appeased Scott by letting him see his severe "reviewal" before it appeared; but Mrs. Scott could not forbear taunting her guest, with the hope that "Mr. Constable" had paid him well for it. Mr. Constable, by the way, had also paid the poet well too-in advance; but this was not, as Byron thought, because of Scott's greed, but to enable him to assist his brother Thomas, whose affairs were in a bad way.

Like others of his works, its success brought gain to many besides himself. Years after its publication, the poet, on his way to pay a visit to his friend Morritt, at Rokeby, stopped at Flodden to show his children the famous battlefield. The village innkeeper, grateful for the custom he had obtained, wished to replace his sign

of a Tankard with a Scott's Head; and when the poet dissuaded him from this, begged at least for a motto from the work to inscribe under the old sign. Scott complied by suggesting the alteration to "Drink, weary pilgrim, drink, and pay" of the line requesting orisons for the soul of Sibyl Grey; and the suggestion was adopted.

CHAPTER VI

THE "QUARTERLY" AND "THE LADY OF THE LAKE"

O sooner had Scott got Marmion and his edition of Dryden off his shoulders than he began to give his attention to two more "mighty works," which occupied him for several years. Yet he described his editing of the Somers Tracts--though according to his own calculation worth an annual £400 to him for three or four years-as only a sort of relaxation! It was, however, a highly important amusement; for the study of these pamphlets stored his memory with an abundance of historical matter, which he afterwards turned to notable account. The other work, an annotated edition of Swift's writings, was not completed till the eventful year-still six years distant-which saw the publication of Waverley. It is scarce yet superseded, spite of the equal industry and more accurate methods of modern research. One must remember, when one thinks of the labour involved by these and other minor literary undertakings, that Scott had to wait several years before he could touch a penny of salary from his chief legal appointment. Meanwhile it was a great

satisfaction to him that the chief Scottish law lords

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