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the somewhat vague words, 'ridgy, massy, close, and high,' the whole being still more obscured by modern mystery in its most tangible form of smoke. But the celours are all definite : note the rainbow band of them- gloomy or dusky red, sable (pure black), amethyst (pure purple), green and gold-in a noble chord throughout." Elsewhere Mr. Ruskin says, “ In consequence of his unselfishness and humility, Scott's enjoyment of Nature is incomparably greater than any other poet I know. All the rest carry their cares to her, and begin maundering in
her ears about their own affairs. But with Scott the love is entirely humble į and unselfish. I, Scott, am nothing, and less than nothing : but these crags, and heaths, and clouds, how great are they, how lovely, how for ever to be beloved, only for their own silent thoughtless sake!'"
Without attempting any detailed topographical illustration of the poem, it may be worth while to notice some of the spots of chief interest which are referred to. Newark Castle, where the old minstrel is supposed to chant his tale before the
duchess, stands in ruins in its “birchen bower" on the righ: hank of the | Yarrow-a large square tower, dismantled and unroofed, with crumbling outer
wall and turrets. It was built by James II. for a hunting seat, afterwards belonged to the outlaw Murray, and has long been a possession, as it still is, of the house of Buccleuch. Newark Castle, where the imaginary minstrel poured forth his song, is included within the grounds of Bowhill, the favourite seat of another fair duchess, at whose request, when Countess of Dalkeith, Scott commenced the poem which developed into the Lay. He accordingly, says Lockhart, “shadows out his own beautiful friend in the person of her lord's ancestor, the last of the original stock of that great house; himself, the favoured inmate of Bowhill, introduced certainly to the familiarity of that circle by his devotion to the poetry of a by-past age, in that of an aged minstrel seeking shelter at the gate of Newark." This is the point of many arch allusions in the poem. There is also a personal interest in the closing lines, which refer, it is believed, to the day-dream of Ashestiel -the purchase of a modest mountain farm in that neighbourhood : "a hundred acres, two spare bed-rooms, with dressing-rooms, each of which will on a pinch have a couch-bed" a dream which afterwards grew into the ambitious scheme of Abbotsford. Lockhart deems it, in one point of view, the greatest misfortune of Scott's life that the original vision was not realized; but “the success of the poem itself . changed the spirit of his dream.'” Ashestiel, where the Lay was partly written, lies at the foot of Minchmoor, on the right bank of the Tweed.
Branksome Tower still overlooks the Langholm Road, on the left bank of the Te. viot, between two and three miles above Hawick. Various alterations have gradually reduced the dimensions of the building, and one square tower of massive thickness is the only part of the original structure which now remains. In the rest of the edifice the castellated style has been abandoned, and the old stronghold presents, with the exception of the towers referred to, the appearance of a handsome modern mansion. The extent of the old castle can still, however, be traced by some vestiges of its foundation. Its situation on a steep bank, surrounded by the Teviot, and flanked by a deep ravine, naturally added to its strength. The present bunting seat of the Duke of Buccleuch in this quarter is at Langholm Lodge. Branksome is celebrated in a song of Alan Ramsay's—
“ As I cam' in by Teviot side," as well as in the Lay. About half a mile nearer Hawick, on the other bank of the river from Branksome, is the peel of Goldielands, in tolerably good preservation.
Harden Castle, another relic of the same period, and the cradle of the poet's ancestry, stands not far off on the bank of Borthwick Water, which here joins
the Teviot. It takes its name from the number of hares which used to frequent the place (Harden--the ravine of hares), and is a deep, dark, narrow glen, threaded by a little mountain streamlet. The castle is perched on the top of the steep bank, and Leyden (Scott's friend), in one of his poems, thus describes the situation :
“Where Bortha hoarse, that loads the meads with sand.
And clouds of ravens o'er the turrets sail." The family of Harden is a cadet branch of the house of Buccleuch, and the heraldic allusion in the poem is to the fact that the Scotts of Harden bear their arms upon the field, while the Scotts of Buccleuch exhibit them on the bend dexter, which they adopted when the estate of Murdiestone came by marriage. One of the most famous of the Scotts of Harden was one Walter, who flourished during the reign of Queen Mary. He was a great freebooter, and used to bring his spoil to the castle on the cliff. His wife was Mary Scott, the Flower of Yarrow (one of the Scotts of Dryhope), and it is of her the well-known story is told of the production of a pair of clean spurs at dinner-time, in a covered dish, as a hint of the want of provisions, and of the way to get them. Notwithstanding his marauding life Walter seems to have prospered. He had a large estate, which was divided among his five sons. A number of the most popular of the Border songs are attributed by tradition to an infant whom he carried off in a raid, and whom his kind-hearted wife cherished as one of her own children. As illustrative of the temper of this rough old chief, Sir Walter tells a characteristic anecdote in one of the notes of the Minstrelsy. “ Upon one occasion, when the village herd was driving out the cattle to pasture, the old laird heard him call loudly to drive out Harden's cow. • Harden's cow !' echoed the affronted chief ; ‘is it come to that pass? By my faith, they shall soon say Harden's kye' (cows). Accordingly he sounded his bugle, set out with his followers, and next day returned with a bow of kye and a lassen'd (brindled) bull. On his return with this gallant prey he passed a very large haystack. It occurred to the provident laird that this would be extremely convenient to fodder his new stock of cattle; but, as no means of transporting it were obvious, he was fain to take leave of it with the apostrophe, now become proverbial, . By my saul, had ye but four feet, ye should not stand lang there! In short, as Froissart says of a similar class of feudal robbers, nothing came amiss to them that was not too heavy or too hot." It was Auld Wat's eldest son, Sir William Scott, who was saved from being hanged for participation in a foray on the lands of Sir Gibson Murray, of Elibank, by the captor's prudent wife suggesting that it was a pity to sacrifice a young man of good estate when they might marry him to one of their three daughters, a proposal to which it did not, under the circumstances, require much argument to reconcile young Harden. Beardie (so called from the long beard he wore in mourning for the execution of Charles I.), the poet's great-grandfather, was the grandson of Sir William Scott.
Hawick spreads itself on both sides of the Slitterick, a tributary of the Teviot, into which it falls just below the town. Having survived repeated burnings during the heat of Border warfare, part of the Tower-inn represents, it is said, the only building which was not consumed in the great blaze of 1570. Hawick is now at the head of the “tweed” manufactories of Scotland. It has a rapidly growing population, already over 8,000, and is continually being enriched with new mills. Minto Castle, the seat of the Earl of Minto-open daily, except Sunday-perched on a height, between Hawick and Selkirk, commands a fine view, and is noted for its magnificent library. Minto Crags, close at hand, are a romantic series of cliffs rising suddenly above the Vale of Teviot. A small platform on a projecting crag is known as Barnhill's Bed, from a famous outlaw and robber, who lived in a strong tower beneath the rocks, of which there are some vestiges, as well as of another old peel on the summit of the heights. Of Melrose a sufficient account is given in the poem and notes. Ruskin is very angry with Scott, because, reverencing it as he did, “he yet casts one of its piscinas, puts a modern steel grate into it, and makes it his fire-place.” Founded in 1136, by David I. (whose liberality in endowing churches wrung from his successor the moan that he was “a sore saint for the crown"), the abbey was finished ten years later, and was peopled with monks from Yorkshire, who, although of the reformed order, called Cistercians—the first of the class seen north of the Tweed-appear
soon to have degenerated into the traditional monkish sensuality, if we may trust | the jeering verse
“ The monks of Melrose made gude kail
As long 's their neighbours' lasted." The abbey was destroyed by the English in 1322, rebuilt by Robert Bruce, cruelly defaced at the Reformation, but still remains one of the noblest and most interesting specimens of Gothic sculpture and architecture in Scotland. The stone of which it is built, though exposed to the weather for so many ages, retains perfect sharpness, so that even the most minute ornaments seem as entire as when newly wrought. The Abbey is the theme of a poem by Arthur Hallam, who dwells especially on its resistance to decay, and covets a similar tardy waning, till looking on the serene, thoughtful figure of the bard of Abbotsford, he
- "Knew that aweless intellect
In the collective mind, and never shall depart." Although Abbotsford has a greater attachment for the traveller than any other spot in the district-not even, perhaps, excepting Melrose itself-it is apt to be a ! disappointment. It is a very indifferent building in an architectural point of view;
defective in taste and poor in effect. It wants elevation, and, above all, repose; the eye is vexed by the composed medley of style, and by the restless pretentious effect to cram a vast deal into a limited space. Most of the pictures help to encourage an exaggerated idea of the imposing aspect of the mansion, and when the stranger sees the reality it falls far short of his expectations. For its own sake it would not be worth the while of turning out of one's road to look at it. To the associations connected with it alone, is due the interest of the place. It should be visited in the spirit of a pilgrimage, and to those who know the sad, romantic story of its creation and consequences, there is a touching interest in every relic and every chamber. How the dreams about the cottage expanded into the ambition of a castle is well known, as well as its disastrous end ; the crushing load of debt, the desperate struggle to redeem it, the over-strained and shattered mind. Between the Clarty Hole when Scott first furnished it—"the naked moor, a few turnipfields painfully reclaimed from it, a Scotch cottage and farm-yard, and some Scotch firs”-and the richly wooded domain, with its turreted chateau, into which
it was gradually converted, there was a wide contrast. Whatever may be thought I of the house, the surrounding plantations were a noble work, and justify the poet's enthusiasm for the work. A public road divides the mansion and pleasaunce from the main body of the park and wood. The house stands near the edge of the wooded bank, sloping down towards the Tweed. A pious pride has been taken in preserving the whole building, as it was in Scott's time. The armour and weapons of all kinds are all in their old array; the same pictures hang on the walls; the books are ranged in the order familiar to the master's hand; and even the lounging-coat, the hat, walking-shoes, and staff are ready in their places. Passing through a porch, you enter the hall, which, with its stained glass, trophies of armour, blazonry of Border heroes, “who keepit the marchys of Scotland in the auld time for the kinge," and lozenge pavement of black and white marble, is the finest part of the house. A narrow, low-arched room, running quite across the building, and filled with more armour and other curiosities, leads to the drawing-room on one side, and the dining-room on the other. The latter is a handsome chamber, with a low, richly-carved roof of dark oak, spacious bowwindow, and numerous valuable and interesting pictures, such as the head of Mary Queen of Scots in a charger, painted by Amias Cawood the day after her decapitation; portraits of old “ Beardie," Lucy Walters, the Duchess of Buccleuch, to whom the Minstrel is supposed to chant his Lay, &c. The drawing-room is panelled with cedar, and fitted with antique ebony furniture, quaint, richly carved cabinets and precious china ware. In a pleasant breakfast-room, overlooking the river, there are some good pictures by Turner, Thomson of Duddingstone, and others. The library is the largest room of the house. Some 70,000 vols. crowd its shelves. From this opens Sir Walter's private study—a snug little chamber, with no furniture, except a small writing-table, a plain arm-chair, covered with black leather, and another smaller chair-clearly indicating it as a place for work, not company. There are a few books on each side of the fire-place, and a sort of supplemental library in a gallery which runs round three sides of the room. In a closet are preserved, under a glass case, the clothes Sir Walter wore just before his death-a broad-skirted green coat, with large buttons, plaid trousers, heavy shoes, broad-brimmed hat, and stout walking-stick. The relics set one thinking of the old man's last days in the house of which he was so proud, the kindly placid figure wheeled about, with all the dogs round him, in a chair, up and down the hall and library, saying, " Ah, I've seen much, but nothing like my ain house-give me one turn more.” Much of the decoration of the house is of ancient design, some borrowed from Melrose, some from Dumfermline, Linlithgow, and Roslin. Even portions of various old edifices are worked into the building. Within the estate is the scene of the last great clan battle of the Borders, that fought in 1526 between the Earls of Angus and Home, backed the former by the Kerrs, and the other by Buccleuch. Mr. Hope Scott, Q.C. who married Scott's granddaughter, has inherited the property.
The success of the Lay was beyond the most sanguine expectations of Scott's most enthusiastic admirers. In the preface of 1830, he himself estimated the sale at upwards of 30,000 copies; but Lockhart tells us that this was an underestimate, and that in twenty-five years no fewer than 44,000 copies had been disposed of an event with few parallels in the history of British poetry. The first edition, a magnificent quarto, of which 750 copies were printed, was quickly exhausted; eleven octavo editions, a small quarto, and a fuolscap edition followed in rapid succession.
THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.
THE way was long, the wind was | The Duchess * mark'd his weary pace, cold,
His timid mien, and reverend face, The Minstrel was infirm and old; And bade her page the menials tell His wither'd cheek, and tresses grey, That they should tend the old man well: Seem'd to have known a better day; | For she had known adversity, The harp, his sole remaining joy,
Though born in such a high degree ; Was carried by an orphan boy.
In pride of power, in beauty's bloom, The last of all the Bards was he,
Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody Who sung of Border chivalry;
tomb ! For, welladay ! their date was fled, His tuneful brethren all were dead;
When kindness had his wants supplied, And he, neglected and oppress'd
And the old man was gratified, Wish'd to be with them, and at rest.
Began to rise his minstrel pride ; No more on prancing palfrey borne,
And he began to talk anon, He carollid light as lark at morn;
Of good Earl Francis, + dead and gone, No longer courted and caress'd,
And of Earl Walter, I rest him, God! High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
A braver ne'er to battle rode ; He pour'd, to lord and lady gay,
And how full many a tale he knew, The unpremeditated lay :
Of the old warriors of Buccleuch : Old times were changed, old manners
And, would the noble Duchess deign gone;
To listen to an old man's strain, A stranger fill'd the Stuarts' throne;
Though stiff his hand, his voice though The bigots of the iron time
weak, Had call'd his harmless art a crime.
He thought even yet, the sooth to speak, A wandering Harper, scorn'd and poor,
That, if she loved the harp to hear, He begg'd his bread from door to door.
He could make music to her ear. And tuned, to please a peasant's ear,
The humble boon was soon obtain'd; The harp, a king had loved to hear.
The Aged Minstrel audience gain'd.
But, when he reach'd the room of state, He pass'd where Newark's stately
Where she, with all her ladies, sate, tower
Perchance he wish'd his boon denied: Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower: The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye
For, when to tune his harp he tried, No humbler resting place was nigh :
* Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and MonWith hesitating step at last,
mouth, representative of the ancient Lords of
Buccleuch, and widow of the unfortunate The embattled portal arch he pass'd, James, Duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded Whose ponderous grate and massy bar in 1685. Had oft roll'd back the tide of war,
Francis Scott, Earl of Buccleuch, father of
the Duchess. But never closed the iron door
1 Walter, Earl of Buccleuch, grandfather of Against the desolate and poor.
the Duchess, and a celebrated warrior.