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LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL
Introduction and Canto 1.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
FULLY ILLUSTRATED WITH NOTES,
W. T. JEFFCOTT AND G. J. TOSSELL,
PHILOLOGY is rapidly gaining a front place in the conflict of studies, and it certainly deserves to hold it. The philological section of this book, the Editors hope, will satisfy a want long felt by those engaged in elementary education; and it cannot fail to be welcome to those preparing for the ensuing Oxford Local Examination.
For many years the Editors have been compelled, by lack of proper text-books, to dictate to their pupils the words occurring in the book set by the Oxford Examiners; doubtless many other teachers have done the same ; to save the time thus occupied was the primary desire and intention of the compilers.
The book will serve as an introduction to the critical study of English ; the paging and questions will be of assistance to teachers and pupils.
LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.
LAY (A.S., ley, a song). A poem in simple style, a
metrical tale. MINSTREL (Old Fr., menestrel ; Low L., minis
trellus, a servant). One of a body of men whose profession it was to recount and sing to the harp heroic deeds in verse, often composed by themselves. The term “ last minstrel” implies also that he was the last of the bards who sang of Border Chivalry, and he is thus marked off from the lower class of wandering
musicians who performed at public gatherings. METRE. — The regular falling of “ Accent” divides
a line of verse into certain portions called feet.
An Iambic is a two-syllabled foot, with the accent on the second syllable. A line of four feet is called a Tetrameter.
• The way I was long | the wind | was cosa” is therefore called an IAMBIC TETRAMETER; this, in couplets, was Sir Walter Scott's favourite metre.