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of the Reign of Terror, Coleridge abandoned his youthful hopes for a settled conservatism. Burke had written at the opening of the Revolution “that the effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do before we risk congratulations which may be soon turned into complaints." In his France; an Ode, Coleridge reaches a similar conclusion. He sees that true liberty must rest upon obedience to a moral law, and that license, or liberty unrestrained, is but tyranny in another form, the tyranny of evil habits and desires.
SIR WALTER SCOTT
Burns was the lawful heir to the songs of Scotland, Walter Scott to her romance and her ballads. The peasant life of Scotland, as it then was, belonged preeminently to the Ayrshire plowman; but the romantic past of Scotland, with its lawlessness, its wild heroism, its chivalric daring, its fascinating background of moun- . tain, loch, and glen, belonged to Scott, the child of the best blood of the Scottish Border.
Life. -- Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, in 1771. Edinburgh, picturesque and romantic in itself, stands in the midst of a region crowded with memorials of Scotland's past. When we look at the map of this historic region, the very names of the places — Tweedsdale, Eskdale, Teviotdale, the Cheviot Hills, Lammermuir, Yarrow, Stirling, the Trossachs, Melrose, Dryburgh, Hawthornden --- are full of poetic and historic suggestion, and all this was Scott's birthright. He was born in this land, and the blood of men who had helped to
make it famous was in his veins. “In Scott," writes Andrew Lang, “met the blood of Highlands and Lowlands, Celtic, Teutonic, and Norman.
Sandy-Knowe. — Scott's father was a writer to the signet (or barrister); his mother, Anne Rutherford, was the daughter of a distinguished Edinburgh physician. When Scott was eighteen months old a serious illness left him incurably lame. He was a delicate child, and in his third year he was sent to his grandfather's farm at Sandy-Knowe, in the valley of the Tweed. neighboring crag was Smailholme Castle, the scene of Scott's ballad, The Eve of St. John; a few rniles away
“... fair Tweed flows round holy Melrose,
Scott's conscious life began among these scenes; their influence entered into him as a child and remained with him until the end. He would lie on the grass, watching the sheep, or listen eagerly to strange tales of Border forays from the old shepherd, or “Cow Baillie," who had charge of the flocks and herds. He loved to hear scraps of old ballads and ancient songs, and thus, while his education was irregular, he came to know the past of his country as he only knows it who learns it not from books but from the traditions of the people themselves.
Knowledge of Scottish Scenery and Life. -- To this knowledge of Scotland's history and romance Scott added, as he grew to manhood, a minute acquaintance with the scenes in which all this drama of the past had been enacted. He knew the little-traveled country roads, the nooks and corners of Scotland. He knew the people, as he only does who enters the doors of many a lonely farmhouse. Such knowledge gave life
and truth to his stories and his poems, when he retold in after life the
“tales that charmed him yet a child.”
By this direct knowledge and comprehensive sympathy, he was able, as it were, to absorb Scotland herself, the outward aspect of her valleys, glens, and lochs, her towns, her fishing villages and hamlets, her people's life, her history, spirit, and tradition, and lift them, by the simple force of his imaginative and poetic art, into the unchanging region of literature.
Early Literary Work. — In 1778, when he was seven years old, Scott was sent to the high school of Edinburgh. He loved romantic literature, but he refused to learn Greek. In 1786 he entered his father's law office, and in 1792 he was called to the bar. In 1796, the year of the death of Burns, Scott began his literary career by publishing his version of the ballads of his own country, and two volumes of his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802) were the first result of his labors. But Scott was himself a Minstrel of the Scottish Border, —
“The last of all the bards was he
The Lay of the Last Minstrel. — After translating German ballads and collecting Scottish ones, it was but natural that Scott should take the further step and pass on to original composition. The Lay of the Last Minstrel, his first extended attempt in this direction, appeared in 1805. The strangeness, vigor, and beauty of the poem, the interest of its story, the buoyant and spirited movement of its verse, fascinated a public accustomed to Cowper's mild reflections, or Crabbe's realism.