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Short poem

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

It was an English Ladye Bright

              1It was an English ladye bright,
              2    (The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
              3And she would marry a Scottish knight,
              4    For Love will still be lord of all.

              5Blithely they saw the rising sun
              6    When he shone fair on Carlisle wall;
              7But they were sad ere day was done,
              8    Though Love was still the lord of all.

              9Her sire gave brooch and jewel fine,
            10    Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall;
            11Her brother gave but a flask of wine,
            12    For ire that Love was lord of all.

            13For she had lands both meadow and lea,
            14    Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,
            15And he swore her death, ere he would see
            16    A Scottish knight the lord of all.

            17That wine she had not tasted well
            18    (The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
            19When dead, in her true love's arms, she fell,
            20    For Love was still the lord of all!

            21He pierced her brother to the heart,
            22    Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall:--
            23So perish all would true love part
            24    That Love may still be lord of all!

            25And then he took the cross divine,
            26    Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,
            27And died for her sake in Palestine;
            28    So Love was still the lord of all.

            29Now all ye lovers, that faithful prove,
            30    (The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
            31Pray for their souls who died for love,
            32    For Love shall still be lord of all!


1] This ballad is taken from "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" (1805); it is represented as sung at the wedding festivities by Albert Graeme:

"And first stept forth old Albert Graeme,
he minstrel of that ancient name:
Was none who struck the harp so well,
Within the Land Debateable;
Well friended too, his hardy kin,
Whoever lost, were sure to win;
They sought the beeves that made their broth,
In Scotland and in England both.
In homely guise, as nature bade,
His simple song the Borderer said."

Scott says the residence of the Graemes was chiefly in the Debateable Land, so called because it was claimed by both kingdoms. The ballad imitates the simple minstrelsy of the Border and the burden, according to the author, is derived from an old Scottish song beginning--

"She lean'd her back against a thorn,
The sun shines fair on Carlisle wa':
And there she has her young babe born
And the lyon shall be lord of a'."

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Sir Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; Edinburgh: James Ballantyne, 1805). E-10 1889 (Fisher Library).
First publication date: 1805
RPO poem editor: W. J. Alexander, William Hall Clawson
RP edition: RP (1912), pp. 119-20; RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/3

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Sir Walter Scott