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they tear out of the bottom of the hills, than human passions do to the consequences of their indulgence; such are many of the aspects of nature we viewed."
Four years later, just after the publication of his first novel had opened a new chapter in his life, he had another opportunity of studying similar stern sublimities of nature in his voyage round Scotland with the Lighthouse Commissioners. In those four years much had happened. Swift was done with; besides Waverley two long poems had been published; and Ashestiel had been left for Abbotsford. Even before the arrangement had been completed which put Scott in possession of his salary as Clerk of Session, he had made his first purchase of land, borrowing the money to pay for it partly on the security of a new poem to be called Rokeby. It was a farm extending about half a mile along the Tweed, some miles higher up than Ashestiel and within sight of Melrose Abbey. The place was almost bare of vegetation, much of it undrained, and bore the ugly name of Clarty Hole; but to the new possessor these things were as nothing in view of the facts that besides being part of the old abbey lands it comprised the scene (familiar to him from boyhood) of the Border battle, fought in presence of James V., between the Kerrs and Scotts, with incidents still commemorated by many place names, and had the silver Tweed as its perpetual ornament and delight. As for the As for the name, the ford at the junction with the Gala suggested the henceforth classical designation of Abbotsford. And then,
though Ashestiel was much more beautiful, Abbotsford was his own he was in possession of his kingdom of Barataria.
The move to the Clarty Hole farmhouse, which was to be transmuted into the new "cottage cottage" of Abbotsford, took place at Whitsuntide, 1812. Its humours, which tempered the regrets at least of the younger inhabitants at Ashestiel, are delightfully described in a letter to one of his numerous lady correspondents
"The neighbours have been much delighted with the procession of my furniture, in which old swords, bows, targets, and lances made a very conspicuous show. A family of turkeys was accommodated within the helmet of some preux chevalier of ancient Border fame; and the very cows, for aught I know, were bearing banners and muskets. I assure your Ladyship that this caravan, attended by a dozen of ragged rosy peasant children, carrying fishing-rods and spears, and leading poneys, grayhounds, and spaniels, would as it crossed the Tweed, have furnished no bad subject for the pencil, and really reminded me of one of the gypsey groupes of Callot upon their march."
It was some fourteen years before the farm and cottage developed into the well-wooded estate and mansion stored with historic memories which we now know as Abbotsford; and during great part of these-the busiest years of his life-one of Scott's most constant occupations was the active superintendence of the process.
In a single room, twelve feet square, screened by an old bed-curtain but with the noise of the workmen hammering and the children repeating their lessons in his ears, he began the experiment of writing two poems
simultaneously. These were Rokeby and The Bridal of Triermain. The scene of each is laid in England, but they have nothing in common, and indeed purported to come from a different hand, The Bridal being a deliberate attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the critics, and particularly of Jeffrey. It was supposed to be from the pen of William Erskine, whose mannerisms Scott endeavoured to imitate while enlisting his friend's help in the deception. The mystification was about as successful as the later one as to the authorship of the Waverley novels; but the pretence was not kept up for nearly so long, nor could the matter excite anything like so much interest. Scott evidently enjoyed writing this anonymous work much more than he did the composition of Rokeby, which, however, he looked upon as the successor of The Lady of the Lake. And, allowing for the artificiality of construction involved in weaving tale within tale, and some slight faults of taste which were noticed at the time, the present writer is inclined to agree in the high praise which the poet's son-in-law has awarded it.
The poem shows, perhaps better than anything else he wrote, what Scott could do in the realm of pure fairyland, unencumbered by his usual paraphernalia of mosstroopers of the Border or Highland chieftains with their accompanying maidens and minstrels. Not the least successful part of it is the Arthurian legend called Lyulph's Tale," containing such splendid audacities as the King's charger bolting "twenty feet upright" in his
agony and fright when a drop of Guendolen's magic draught falls on his neck, and closing with the impressive passage which tells how Merlin appears and dooms Gyneth to her long sleep in the Valley of St. John. The country was familiar to Scott from his visits to Southey and Wordsworth, and he is almost as much at home amidst its scenery as in Perthshire or by Tweedside. "Glaramara" is Saddleback; while "Penrith's Table Round" and "Mayburgh's mound and stones of power" are recognisable relics of antiquity. Moreover, we may perchance find in this "Lover's Tale"-or rather in the setting of it-an attempt on the part of the poet to idealise his own marriage. Triermain was part of the territory of the barony of Gilsland, in which neighbourhood Scott had met and wooed his bride. He might well have been thinking of Abbotsford and its mistress when he wrote:
"There's no illusion there; these flowers
Are, Lucy, all our own;
And since thine Arthur call'd thee wife
The poem of Rokeby cost its author much pains. Thinking, indeed, that he had "corrected the spirit out of it," he tore up all he had written, and did it again in