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In the strength of thy valor and manhood arise,
With the faith that illumes and the will that defies.
15 “Too late!" through God's infinite world,
From his throne to life's nethermost fires, “Too late!” is a phantom that flies at the dawn
Of the soul that repents and aspires.
If pure thou hast made thy desires,
There's no height the strong wings of immortals may gain
Which in striving to reach thou shalt strive for in vain.
Then, up to the contest with fate,
Unbound by the past, which is dead!
What though the heart's roses are ashes and dust?
What though the heart's music be fled?
Still shine the fair heavens o'erhead;
And sublime as the seraph who rules in the sun
Beams the promise of joy when the conflict is won!
HELPS FOR STUDY
What is a lyric?
Why do you think the poet called this a “Lyric of Action”?
What is meant by “heart's roses”?
What do you think would make the “heart 's roses ashes and dust," and cause its music to flee?
Explain “desolate waste," "jealous and craven despair,” “fetters of fear," “strength of thy valor," "faith that illumes,'
" " will that defies." Explain “nethermost fires,” “
What promise is given those who make pure their desires?
Explain "contest with fate," “unbound by the past."
By what other poet and in what poem is the “dead past” referred to?
What is a “seraph”?
Explain “sublime as the seraph who rules in the sun.”
ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS Great Poets and Small
To Henry W. Longfellow My Study
The Mocking-bird Amid Yellow
SELECTION FROM THE LADY OF THE LAKE
Sir Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, August 15, 1771. As a child he was delicate, having been left lame by an illness. In the hope that the country air might do him good, he was taken to his grandfather's home. There he became interested in old stories, legends and romances, and learned to love the old Scotch ballads and traditions. Many of these he afterwards wove into his novels and poems. When he was eight years old he was sent to the Edinburgh High School, and two years later entered the University of Edinburgh. He is equally celebrated as poet and novelist. His novels are known as the Waverley novels, from the title of the first one of the series. He died at Abbotsford, Scotland, September 21, 1832.
Just as the minstrel sounds were staid,
A stranger climb’d the steepy glade;
His martial step, his stately mien,
His hunting suit of Lincoln green,
His eagle glance, remembrance claims —
'T is Snowdoun's Knight, ’t is James Fitz-James.
Ellen beheld as in a dream,
Then, starting, scarce suppress'd a scream:
“O stranger! in such hour of fear,
What evil hap has brought thee here?” —
"An evil hap how can it be,
That bids me look again on thee?
By promise bound, my former guide
Met me betimes this morning tide,
And marshalled, over bank and bourne,
The happy path of my return." -
“The happy path! — what! said he nought
Of war, of battle to be fought,
Of guarded pass?" – "No, by my faith!
Nor saw I aught could augur scathe."
“O haste thee, Allan, to the kern,
– Yonder his tartans I discern;
Learn thou his purpose, and conjure
That he will guide the stranger sure! —
What prompted thee, unhappy man?
The meanest serf in Roderick's clan
Had not been bribed by love or fear,
Unknown to him to guide thee here."
“Sweet Ellen, dear my life must be,
Since it is worthy care from thee;
Yet life I hold but idle breath,
When love or honor's weighed with death.
Then let me profit by my chance,
And speak my purpose bold at once.
I come to bear thee from a wild,
Where ne'er before such blossom smiled;
By this soft hand to lead thee far
From frantic scenes of feud and war.
Near Bochastle my horses wait;
They bear us soon to Stirling gate.
I'll place thee in a lovely bower,
I'll guard thee like a tender flower” –
“O! hush, Sir Knight! 'twere female art,
To say I do not read thy heart;
Too much, before, my selfish ear
Was idly soothed my praise to hear.
That fatal bait hath lured thee back,
In deathful hour, o'er dangerous track;
And how, O how, can I atone
The wreck my vanity brought on! —
One way remains - I'll tell him all —
Yes! struggling bosom, forth it shall!
Thou, whose light folly bears the blame,
Buy thine own pardon with thy shame!
But first — my father is a man
Outlaw'd and exiled, under ban;
The price of blood is on his head,
With me 'twere infamy to wed.
Still wouldst thou speak? — then hear the truth!
Fitz-James, there is a noble youth
If yet he is! — exposed for me
And mine to dread extremity —
Thou hast the secret of my heart;
Forgive, be generous, and depart!"
Fitz-James knew every wily train
A lady's fickle heart to gain;
But here he knew and felt them vain.
There shot no glance from Ellen's eye,
To give her steadfast speech the lie;
In maiden confidence she stood,
Though mantled in her cheek the blood,
And told her love with such a sigh
Of deep and hopeless agony,
As death had sealed her Malcolm's doom,
And she sat sorrowing on his tomb.
Hope vanish'd from Fitz-James's eye,
But not with hope fled sympathy.
He proffered to attend her side,
As brother would a sister guide -
“O! little know'st thou Roderick's heart!
Safer for both we go apart.
O haste thee, and from Allan learn,
If thou may'st trust yon wily kern."
With hand upon his forehead laid,
The conflict of his mind to shade,
A parting step or two he made;
Then, as some thought had crossed his brain,
He paused, and turned, and came again.
"Hear, lady, yet, a parting word! -
It chanced in fight that my poor sword
Preserved the life of Scotland's lord.
This ring the grateful Monarch gave,
And bade, when I had boon to crave,
To bring it back, and boldly claim
The recompense that I would name.
Ellen, I am no courtly lord,
But one who lives by lance and sword,
Whose castle is his helm and shield,
His lordship the embattled field,
What from a prince can I demand,
Who neither reck of state nor land?
Ellen, thy hand - the ring is thine;
Each guard and usher knows the sign.
Seek thou the king without delay;
This signet shall secure thy way;
And claim thy suit, whate'er it be,
As ransom of his pledge to me.”
He placed the golden circlet on,
Paused — kiss'd her hand
and then was gone.
The aged Minstrel stood aghast,
So hastily Fitz-James shot past.
He join'd his guide, and wending down
The ridges of the mountain brown,
Across the stream they took their way,
That joins Loch Katrine to Achray.