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been characterized by some as the finest specimen of his poetical genius. Within four years after this appeared his "Vision of Don Roderick," "Rokeby," and "The Lord of the Isles."
The fame of Byron now seemed likely to overshadow Scott, and his last poems failed, perhaps deservedly, to win the popularity of his earlier ones. He therefore began writing in prose, and published his story of "Waverly" without attaching his name. The novel was instantly successful, and for some years he continued to write anonymously, and the question of the identity of the "Great Unknown" was eagerly discussed in every literary circle. Following "Waverly," came in rapid succession "Guy Mannering," "The Antiquary," "The Black Dwarf," "Old Mortality," "Heart of Midlothian," etc., about thirty novels in all. They are
mainly historical, and give a very correct picture of the times they represent. "The Monastery" and "The Abbot" are concerning Mary Queen of Scots; "Kenilworth" gives a fair picture of Elizabeth's times; "The Fortunes of Nigel" gives the reign of James I; "Woodstock," the Civil War and the Commonwealth; "Peveril of the Peak," the reign of Charles II; "Waverly," the period of the Pretender's attempt to secure the throne in 1745; while "Ivanhoe," "The Talisman,” and "Count Robert of Paris," are concerning the Crusaders.
Scott was now able to gratify his ambition by the purchase of a large landed property. So, on the banks of his favorite Tweed, near the ruins of Melrose Abbey, he purchased his estate, and gave it the name of Abbotsford. Here his happy family sprang up around him, and here in 1820 he received from George IV the coveted
title of baronet. No greater instance of pecuniary success was ever recorded than
that of Scott, and no greater instance of pecuniary failure. The great publishing
firm of Ballantyne & Co., in which Scott had a heavy interest, failed, involving
Scott to the amount of more than a hundred thousand pounds. He retired
immediately to Edinburgh and set courageously to work to pay off the immense
debt by his pen.
With so much success did he labor that in four years he had
reduced the debt by one-half. He wrote the "Life of Napoleon," "Tales of a
Grandfather," "Letters on Demonology," "Woodstock," and several other works,
but now, in 1830, he began to break down: a stroke of paralysis foretold the
end. He spent a year abroad in the attempt to recover his health, but turned
homeward to die. He was brought, almost unconscious, to Abbotsford, where
he passed away September 21, 1832. His two sons, two daughters, and several
grandchildren survived him. His son-in-law, Lockhart, received his parting
words: "Be a good man; be virtuous, be religious; be a good man. Nothing
else will comfort you when you come to lie here."
THE PARTING OF MARMION AND DOUGLAS.
OT far advanced was morning day,
When Marmion did his troop array
To Surrey's camp to ride;
He had safe conduct for his band
Beneath the royal seal and hand,
And Douglas gave a guide:
The ancient Earl, with stately grace,
Would Clara on her palfrey place,
And whispered, in an undertone,
"Let the hawk stoop, his prey is flown."
The train from out the castle drew,
But Marmion stopped to bid adieu.—
"Though something I might plain," he said,
"Of cold respect to stranger guest,
Sent hither by your king's behest,
While in Tantallon's towers I staid;
Part we in friendship from your land,
And, noble Earl, receive my hand."
But Douglas round him drew his cloak,
Folded his arms, and thus he spoke :
"My manors, halls, and bowers shall still
Be open, at my sovereign's will,
To each one whom he lists, howe'er
Unmeet to be the owner's peer.
My castles are my king's alone,
From turret to foundation stone-
The hand of Douglas is his own ;
And never shall in friendly grasp
The hand of such as Marmion clasp."
Burned Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire
And shook his very frame for ire,
And-" This to me!" he said,—
"An' 'twere not for thy hoary beard,
Such hand as Marmion's had not spared
To cleave the Douglas' head!
And, first, I tell thee, haughty peer,
He who does England's message here,
Although the meanest in her State,
May well, proud Angus, be thy mate.
And, Douglas, more, I tell thee here,
E'en in thy pitch of pride,
Here in thy hold, thy vassals near
(Nay, never look upon your lord,
And lay your hands upon your sword),
I tell thee, thou'rt defied!
And if thou said'st I am not peer
To any lord of Scotland here,
Lowland or highland, far or near,
Lord Angus, thou hast lied!”—
On the Earl's cheek the flush of rage
O'ercame the ashen hue of age;
Fierce he broke forth,-" And dar'st thou then
To beard the lion in his den,
The Douglas in his hall!
And hopest thou hence unscathed to go?
No, by St. Bride of Bothwell, no!
Up drawbridge, grooms!-what, warder; ho!