Scotland’s Wizard of the North

March 20th is the 250th anniversary celebrating Sir Walter Scott’s birth, Scotland’s Wizard of the North, named due to his spellbinding talent for storytelling.

We make our bread by storytelling, and honest bread it is……quote by Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott, historical novelist, poet, playwright and historian wrote, The Lady of the Lake in 1810, arguably his best poem to-date.

I studied his work and person in a short course on Future Learn and came off thinking how brilliant he was in his narratives. He was not only a visionary but an astoundingly intelligent dramatist. His descriptions were flawless.

The Lady of the Lake, a narrative poem has 6 cantos which concerns the actions of a single day. Three main plots make up the poem; a contest among three men to win the love of Ellen Douglas, the feud & reconciliation of King James V of Scotland with James Douglas; and the war among the Lowland Scots and the Highland clans.

I thought these lines from the second canto sensational, taken from:

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
 The Summer dawn's reflected hue
     To purple changed Loch Katrine blue;
     Mildly and soft the western breeze
     Just kissed the lake, just stirred the trees,
     And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,
     Trembled but dimpled not for joy
     The mountain-shadows on her breast
     Were neither broken nor at rest;
     In bright uncertainty they lie,
     Like future joys to Fancy's eye.
     The water-lily to the light
     Her chalice reared of silver bright;
     The doe awoke, and to the lawn,
     Begemmed with dew-drops, led her fawn;
     The gray mist left the mountain-side,
     The torrent showed its glistening pride;
     Invisible in flecked sky The lark sent clown her revelry:
     The blackbird and the speckled thrush
     Good-morrow gave from brake and bush;
     In answer cooed the cushat dove
     Her notes of peace and rest and love.


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