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Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Rosabelle
(The Lay of the Last Minstrel: Canto VI)

(excerpt)


[ROSABELLE]

      6.352  O listen, listen, ladies gay!
      6.353    No haughty feat of arms I tell;
      6.354Soft is the note, and sad the lay,
      6.355    That mourns the lovely Rosabelle.

      6.356  "Moor, moor the barge, ye gallant crew!
      6.357    And, gentle ladye, deign to stay,
      6.358Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch,
      6.359    Nor tempt the stormy firth to-day.

      6.360  "The blackening wave is edg'd with white:
      6.361    To inch and rock the sea-mews fly;
      6.362The fishers have heard the Water-Sprite,
      6.363    Whose screams forebode that wreck is nigh.

      6.364  "Last night the gifted Seer did view
      6.365    A wet shroud swathed round ladye gay;
      6.366Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch:
      6.367    Why cross the gloomy firth to-day?"--

      6.368  "'Tis not because Lord Lindesay's heir
      6.369    To-night at Roslin leads the ball,
      6.370But that my ladye-mother there
      6.371    Sits lonely in her castle-hall.

      6.372  "'Tis not because the ring they ride,
      6.373    And Lindesay at the ring rides well,
      6.374But that my sire the wine will chide,
      6.375    If 'tis not fill'd by Rosabelle."--

      6.376  O'er Roslin all that dreary night
      6.377    A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam;
      6.378'Twas broader than the watch-fire's light,
      6.379    And redder than the bright moon-beam.

      6.380  It glar'd on Roslin's castled rock,
      6.381    It ruddied all the copse-wood glen;
      6.382'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak,
      6.383    And seen from cavern'd Hawthorn-den.

      6.384  Seem'd all on fire that chapel proud,
      6.385    Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffin'd lie,
      6.386Each Baron, for a sable shroud,
      6.387    Sheath'd in his iron panoply.

      6.388  Seem'd all on fire, within, around,
      6.389    Deep sacristy and altar's pale,
      6.390Shone every pillar foliage-bound,
      6.391    And glimmer'd all the dead men's mail.

      6.392  Blaz'd battlement and pinnet high,
      6.393    Blaz'd every rose-carved buttress fair--
      6.394So still they blaze when fate is nigh
      6.395    The lordly line of high St. Clair.

      6.396  There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold
      6.397    Lie buried within that proud chapelle;
      6.398Each one the holy vault doth hold--
      6.399    But the sea holds lovely Rosabelle!

      6.400  And each St. Clair was buried there,
      6.401    With candle, with book, and with knell;
      6.402But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds sung
      6.403    The dirge of lovely Rosabelle.


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; a poem (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme; Edinburgh: James Ballantyne, 1805). E-10 1889 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1805
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP 2.128.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/3

Rhyme: abab


Other poems by Sir Walter Scott