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Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet

Raeburn's portrait of Sir Walter Scott in 1822.
Born 15 August 1771
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Died 21 September 1832 (aged 61)
Melrose, Scotland, UK
Occupation Historical novelist, poet
Portrait of Sir Walter Scott, by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet, popular throughout Europe during his time. Scott has been said to be particularly associated with Toryism[citation needed], though several passages in Tales of a Grandfather display a liberal, progressive and Unionist outlook on Scotland's history.

Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.


Early days

Scott's childhood at Sandyknowe farm, seen across the lochan from Smailholm Tower, introduced him to the Borders.

Born in College Wynd in the Old Town of Edinburgh in 1771, the son of a solicitor, Scott survived a childhood bout of polio in 1773 that left him lame. To cure his lameness he was sent in 1773 to live in the rural Borders region at his grandparents' farm at Sandyknowe, adjacent to the ruin of Smailholm Tower, the earlier family home. Here he was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, and learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and legends that characterized much of his work. In January 1775 he returned to Edinburgh, and that summer went with his aunt Jenny to take spa treatment at Bath in England, where they lived at 6 South Parade.[1] In the winter of 1776 he went back to Sandyknowe, with another attempt at a water cure at Prestonpans during the following summer.[2]

In 1778 Scott returned to Edinburgh for private education to prepare him for school, and in October 1779 he began at the Royal High School of Edinburgh. He was now well able to walk and explore the city and the surrounding countryside. His reading included chivalric romances, poems, history and travel books. He was given private tuition by James Mitchell in arithmetic and writing, and learned from him the history of the Kirk with emphasis on the Covenanters. After finishing school he was sent to stay for six months with his aunt Jenny in Kelso, attending the local Grammar School where he met James Ballantyne who later became his business partner and printed his books.[3]

Thomas Blacklock
Robert Burns

Scott's meeting with Blacklock and Burns

Scott began studying classics at the University of Edinburgh in November 1783, at the age of only 12, a year or so younger than most of his fellow students. In March 1786 he began an apprenticeship in his father's office, to become a Writer to the Signet. While at the university Scott had become a friend of Adam Ferguson, the son of Professor Adam Ferguson who hosted literary salons. Scott met the blind poet Thomas Blacklock who lent him books as well as introducing him to James Macpherson's Ossian cycle of poems. During the winter of 1786–87 the 15-year-old Scott saw Robert Burns at one of these salons, for what was to be their only meeting. When Burns noticed a print illustrating the poem "The Justice of the Peace" and asked who had written the poem, only Scott knew that it was by John Langhorne, and was thanked by Burns.[4] When it was decided that he would become a lawyer he returned to the university to study law, first taking classes in Moral Philosophy and Universal History in 1789–90.[3]

After completing his studies in law, he became a lawyer in Edinburgh. As a lawyer's clerk he made his first visit to the Scottish Highlands directing an eviction. He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1792. He had an unsuccessful love suit with Williamina Belsches of Fettercairn, who married Sir William Forbes, 6th Baronet.

Literary career launched

Scott's childhood at Sandyknowes, close to Smailholm Tower, introduced him to tales of the Scottish Borders.

At the age of 25 he began dabbling in writing, translating works from German, his first publication being rhymed versions of ballads by Bürger in 1796. He then published a three-volume set of collected Scottish ballads, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. This was the first sign of his interest in Scottish history from a literary standpoint.

Scott then became an ardent volunteer in the yeomanry and on one of his "raids" he met at Gilsland Spa Margaret Genevieve Charpentier (or Charpenter), daughter of Jean Charpentier of Lyon in France, whom he married in 1797. They had five children. In 1799 he was appointed Sheriff-Deputy of the County of Selkirk, based in the Royal Burgh of Selkirk.

In his early married days Scott had a decent living from his earnings at the law, his salary as Sheriff-Deputy, his wife's income, some revenue from his writing and his share of his father's rather meagre estate.

After Scott had founded a printing press, his poetry, beginning with The Lay of the Last Minstrel in 1805, brought him fame. He published other poems over the next ten years, including the popular The Lady of the Lake, printed in 1810 and set in the Trossachs. Portions of the German translation of this work were set to music by Franz Schubert. One of these songs, Ellens dritter Gesang, is popularly labelled as "Schubert's Ave Maria".

Another work from this period, Marmion, produced some of his most quoted (and mis-attributed) lines. Canto VI. Stanza 17 reads:

Yet Clare's sharp questions must I shun,
Must separate Constance from the nun
Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!
A Palmer too! No wonder why
I felt rebuked beneath his eye;

In 1809 he co-founded the Quarterly Review, a review journal to which he made several anonymous contributions.

In 1813 he was offered the position of Poet Laureate. He declined and the position went to Robert Southey.[5]


Walter Scott

When the press became embroiled in pecuniary difficulties, Scott set out in 1814 to write a cash-cow. The result was Waverley, a novel that did not name its author. It was a tale of the "Forty-Five" Jacobite rising in the Kingdom of Great Britain with its English protagonist Edward Waverley, by his Tory upbringing sympathetic to Jacobitism, becoming enmeshed in events but eventually choosing Hanoverian respectability. The novel met with considerable success. There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, he maintained the anonymous habit he had begun with Waverley, always publishing the novels under the name Author of Waverley or attributed as "Tales of..." with no author. Even when it was clear that there would be no harm in coming out into the open he maintained the façade, apparently out of a sense of fun. During this time the nickname The Wizard of the North was popularly applied to the mysterious best-selling writer. His identity as the author of the novels was widely rumoured, and in 1815 Scott was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet "the author of Waverley".

In 1819 he broke away from writing about Scotland with Ivanhoe, a historical romance set in 12th-century England. It too was a runaway success and he wrote several books along the same lines. Among other things the book is noteworthy for having a very sympathetic Jewish major character, Rebecca, considered by many critics to be the book's real heroine — relevant to the fact that the book was published at a time when the struggle for the Emancipation of the Jews in England was gathering momentum.

Scott wrote The Bride of Lammermoor, a novel based on a true story of two lovers. In the novel, Lucie Ashton and Edgar Ravenswood exchange vows, but when Lucie's mother discovers that her daughter wants to wed an enemy of their family, she intervenes and forces her daughter to marry Sir Arthur Bucklaw, who has just inherited a large sum of money on the death of his aunt. On their wedding night, Lucie goes insane and stabs the bridegroom, and succumbing to insanity, dies. Donizetti's opera "Lucia di Lammermoor" was based on Scott's novel.

As his fame grew he was granted the title of baronet, becoming Sir Walter Scott. He organized the visit of King George IV to Scotland, and when the King visited Edinburgh in 1822 the spectacular pageantry that Scott had concocted to portray George as a rather tubby reincarnation of Bonnie Prince Charlie made tartans and kilts fashionable and turned them into symbols of Scottish national identity.

Scott included little in the way of punctuation in his drafts, which he left to the printers to supply.[6]

He eventually acknowledged that he was the author of the Waverley novels in 1827.[7]

Financial woes

Beginning in 1825 he went into dire financial straits again, as his company nearly collapsed. Rather than declare bankruptcy he placed his home, Abbotsford House, and income into a trust belonging to his creditors, and proceeded to write his way out of debt. He kept up his prodigious output of fiction (as well as producing a biography of Napoléon Bonaparte) until 1831. By then his health was failing, and he died at Abbotsford in 1832. Though he died in debt his novels continued to sell, and he made good his debts from beyond the grave. He was buried in Dryburgh Abbey where nearby there is a large statue of William Wallace, one of Scotland's many romanticised historical figures.

His home, Abbotsford House

Displays of armour at Abbotsford House

When Scott was a boy he sometimes travelled with his father from Selkirk to Melrose in the Border Country where some of his novels are set. At a certain spot the old gentleman would stop the carriage and take his son to a stone on the site of the battle of Melrose (1526). Not far away was a little farm called Cartleyhole, and this he eventually purchased. The farmhouse developed into a wonderful home that has been likened to a fairy palace. Through windows enriched with the insignia of heraldry the sun shone on suits of armour, trophies of the chase, a library of over 9,000 volumes,[8] fine furniture, and still finer pictures. Panelling of oak and cedar and carved ceilings relieved by coats of arms in their correct colour added to the beauty of the house. More land was purchased until Scott owned nearly 1,000 acres (4 km²), and it is estimated that the building cost him over £25,000. A neighbouring Roman road with a ford used in olden days by the abbots of Melrose suggested the name of Abbotsford.

Critical assessment

The Scott Monument, Edinburgh
Alternative View

Among the early critics of Scott was Mark Twain, who blamed Scott's "romanticization of battle" for what he saw as the South's decision to fight the American Civil War. Twain's ridiculing of chivalry in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, in which the main character repeatedly utters "great Scott" as an oath, is considered as targeting Scott's books. Twain also targeted Scott in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where he names a sinking boat the "Walter Scott".

Sir Walter Scott's statue at his memorial in Edinburgh

From being one of the most popular novelists of the 19th century,[9] Scott suffered from a disastrous decline in popularity after the First World War. The tone was set in E.M. Forster's classic Aspects of the Novel (1927), where Scott was savaged as being a clumsy writer who wrote slapdash badly-plotted novels. Scott also suffered from the rising star of Jane Austen. Considered merely an entertaining "woman's novelist" in the 19th century, in the 20th Austen began to be seen as perhaps the major English novelist of the first few decades of the 19th century. As Austen's star rose Scott's sank, although, ironically, he had been one of the few male writers of his time to recognize Austen's genius.

Scott's ponderousness and prolixity were out of step with Modernist sensibilities. Nevertheless, he was responsible for two major trends that carry on to this day. First, he essentially invented the modern historical novel; an enormous number of imitators (and imitators of imitators) appeared in the 19th century. It is a measure of Scott's influence that Edinburgh's central railway station, opened in 1854 by the North British Railway, is called Waverley. Second, his Scottish novels followed on from James Macpherson's Ossian cycle in rehabilitating the public perception of Highland culture after years in the shadows following southern distrust of hill bandits and the Jacobite rebellions. As enthusiastic chairman of the Celtic Society of Edinburgh he contributed to the reinvention of Scottish culture. It is worth noting, however, that Scott was a Lowland Scot, and that his re-creations of the Highlands were more than a little fanciful. His organisation of the visit of King George IV to Scotland in 1822 was a pivotal event, leading Edinburgh tailors to invent many "clan tartans" out of whole cloth, so to speak. After being essentially unstudied for many decades, a small revival of interest in Scott's work began in the 1970s and 1980s. Ironically, postmodern tastes, which favoured discontinuous narratives and the introduction of the 'first person', were more favourable to Scott's work than Modernist tastes. Where F.R. Leavis had rubbished Scott, seeing him as a thoroughly bad novelist and a thoroughly bad influence (The Great Tradition (1948)), Marilyn Butler offered a political reading of the fiction of the period that found a great deal of genuine interest in his work (Romantics, Revolutionaries, and Reactionaries]] (1981)). Despite all the flaws, Scott is now seen as an important innovator and a key figure in the development of Scottish and world literature.

Plaque to Walter Scott, Rome, Italy

Memorials and commemoration

The 61.1 metre tall Victorian Gothic spire of the Scott Monument (completed 1844) dominates the south side of Princes Street, Edinburgh.

Portraits of him were painted by Landseer and fellow-Scots Sir Henry Raeburn and James Eckford Lauder.

Scott is commemorated in Makars' Court, outside The Writers' Museum, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh. Selections for Makars' Court are made by The Writers' Museum; The Saltire Society; The Scottish Poetry Library.


Appearance on banknotes

Scott has been credited with rescuing the Scottish banknote. In 1826, there was outrage in Scotland at the attempt of the United Kingdom Parliament to prevent the production of banknotes of less than five pounds. Scott wrote a series of letters to the Edinburgh Weekly Journal under the pseudonym "Malachi Malagrowther" for retaining the right of Scottish banks to issue their own banknotes. This provoked such a response that the government was forced to relent and allow the Scottish banks to continue printing pound notes. This campaign is commemorated by his continued appearance on the front of all notes issued by the Bank of Scotland. The image on the 2007 series of banknotes is based on the portrait by Henry Raeburn.[10]


The Waverley Novels

Tales of My Landlord

Tales from Benedictine Sources

Short stories

  • Chronicles of the Canongate, 1st series (1827). Collection of three short stories:

"The Highland Widow, "The Two Drovers" and "The Surgeon's Daughter".

  • The Keepsake Stories (1828). Collection of three short stories:

"My Aunt Margaret's Mirror", "The Tapestried Chamber" and "Death Of The Laird's Jock".



Sir Walter Scott's study at Abbotsford
  • Introductory Essay to The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland (1814–1817)
  • The Chase (translator) (1796)
  • Goetz of Berlichingen (translator) (1799)
  • Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk (1816)
  • Provincial Antiquities of Scotland (1819–1826)
  • Lives of the Novelists (1821–1824)
  • Essays on Chivalry, Romance, and Drama Supplement to the 1815–24 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica
  • Halidon Hill (1822)
  • The Letters of Malachi Malagrowther (1826)
  • The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1827)
  • Religious Discourses (1828)
  • Tales of a Grandfather, 1st series (1828)
  • History of Scotland, 2 vols. (1829–1830)
  • Tales of a Grandfather, 2nd series (1829)
  • The Doom of Devorgoil (1830)
  • Wild Deception (1830)
  • Essays on Ballad Poetry (1830)
  • Tales of a Grandfather, 3rd series (1830)
  • Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1831)
  • The Bishop of Tyre


Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
from The Lay of the Last Minstrel by Walter Scott

Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!

from Marmion, Canto VI. Stanza 17. by Walter Scott

References in other literature

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, there is a wrecked ship called Walter Scott.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, the protagonist is made to read Walter Scott's book Ivanhoe, and he refers to the author as "Sir Walter Scout", in reference to his own sister's nickname.

In To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf a few of the characters discuss their views on Scott's Waverley Novels at dinner. Afterwards, one of the characters sits down to read and reacts to The Antiquary.

In Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., memoirist and playwright Howard W. Campbell, Jr. prefaces his text with the six lines beginning "Breathes there the man. . ."

In John Brown by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson writes, "Walter Scott would have delighted to draw his picture and trace his adventurous career."

See also


  1. ^ "No 1 Nos 2 and 3 (Farrell's Hotel) Nos 4 to 8 (consec) (Pratt's Hotel)". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  2. ^ "Sandyknowe and Early Childhood". 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  3. ^ a b "School and University". 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  4. ^ "Literary Beginnings". 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Scott the Poet". 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  6. ^ Stuart Kelly quoted by Arnold Zwicky in The Book of Lost Books at Language Log
  7. ^ "Walter Scott Digital Archive - Chronology". 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  8. ^ Abbotsford House website. See also Advocates Library, search on keywords 'Abbotsford' and 'Collection' for catalogue of the library at Abbotsford
  9. ^ "…it would be difficult to name, from among both modern and ancient works, many read more widely and with greater pleasure than the historical novels of … Walter Scott." —Alessandro Manzoni, On the Historical Novel
  10. ^ "Bank of Scotland to launch new series of banknotes". Bank of Scotland press releases. HBOS plc. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 


  • Sir Walter Scott, John Buchan, Coward-McCann Inc., New York, 1932

Further reading

  • Bautz, Annika. Reception of Jane Austen and Walter Scott: A Comparative Longitudinal Study. Continuum, 2007. ISBN 082649546X, ISBN 978-0826495464.
  • Brown, David. Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination. Routledge, 1979. ISBN 0710003013.
  • Duncan, Ian. Scott's Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh. Princeton UP, 2007. ISBN 978-0-691-04383-8.
  • Lincoln, Andrew. Walter Scott And Modernity. Edinburgh UP, 2007.

External links

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New title Baronet
(of Abbotsford)
1st creation
1820 - 1832
Sir Walter Scott


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Portrait of Sir Walter Scott, by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (August 14, 1771September 21, 1832) was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet popular throughout Europe during his time.



  • Still are the thoughts to memory dear.
    • Rokeby, Canto I, st. 33 (1813)
  • A mother's pride, a father's joy.
    • Rokeby, Canto III, st. 15 (1813)
  • Oh, Brignal banks are wild and fair,
    And Greta woods are green,
    And you may gather garlands there
    Would grace a summer's queen.
    • Rokeby, Canto III, st. 16 (1813)
  • O! many a shaft at random sent
    Finds mark the archer little meant!
    And many a word, at random spoken,
    May soothe or wound a heart that's broken!
    • The Lord of the Isles, Canto V, st. 18 (1815)
  • Randolph, thy wreath has lost a rose.
    • The Lord of the Isles, Canto VI, st. 18 (1815)
  • A lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect.
  • Come as the winds come, when
    Forests are rended,
    Come as the waves come, when
    Navies are stranded.
    • Pibroch of Donald Dhu, St. 4 (1816)
  • War's a fearsome thing. They'll be cunning that catches me at this wark again.
    • Old Mortality, Volume II, Chapter XI (1816)
  • Time will rust the sharpest sword,
    Time will consume the strongest cord
    That which molders hemp and steel,
    Mortal arm and nerve must feel.
    • Harold the Dauntless, Canto I, st. 4 (1817)
  • My foot is on my native heath, and my name is MacGregor.
  • when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stanes when they werena gude bairns - But naebody's nails can reach the length o' Lunnon.
    • The Heart of Midlothian', Ch. 4 (1818)
  • Jock, when ye hae naething else to do, ye may be ay sticking in a tree; it will be growing, Jock, when ye're sleeping.
    • The Heart of Midlothian', Ch. 8 (1818)
  • Revenge is the sweetest morsel to the mouth, that ever was cooked in hell.
    • The Heart of Midlothian', Ch. 30 (1818)
  • Vacant heart, and hand, and eye,
    Easy live and quiet die.
  • Oh, poverty parts good company.
  • Ah! County Guy, the hour is nigh,
    The sun has left the lea.
  • Fat, fair, and forty.
    • St. Ronan's Well, ch. 7 (1824)
O, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
  • Tell that to the marines—the sailors won't believe it.
  • Rouse the lion from his lair.
  • Recollect that the Almighty, who gave the dog to be companion of our pleasures and our toils, hath invested him with a nature noble and incapable of deceit.
    • The Talisman, Ch. 24 (1825)
  • A miss is as good as a mile.
    • Journal (December 3, 1825)
  • The eye of the yeoman and peasant sought in vain the tall form of old Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley, as, wrapped in his laced cloak, and with beard and whiskers duly composed, he moved slowly through the aisles, followed be the faithful mastiff, or bloodhound, which in old time had saved his master by his fidelity, and which regularly followed him to church. Bevis indeed, fell under the proverb which avers, ‘He is a good dog, which goes to church’; for, bating an occasional temptation to warble along with the accord, he behaved himself as decorously as any of the congregation, and returned much edified, perhaps, as most of them.
  • If you keep a thing seven years, you are sure to find a use for it.
  • Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can,
    Come saddle your horses, and call up your men;
    Come open the West Port, and let me gang free,
    And it's room for the bonnets of Bonny Dundee!
    • The Doom of Devorgoil, Bonny Dundee, Chorus (1830)
  • One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum.
  • Thy hue, dear pledge, is pure and bright
    As in that well-remember'd night
    When first thy mystic braid was wove,
    And first my Agnes whisper'd love.

The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805)

  • The way was long, the wind was cold,
    The Minstrel was infirm and old;
    His withered cheek, and tresses gray,
    Seemed to have known a better day.
    • Introduction
  • Steady of heart, and stout of hand.
    • Canto I, st. 21
  • I cannot tell how the truth may be;
    I say the tale as 'twas said to me.
    • Canto II, st. 22
  • In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed;
    In war, he mounts the warrior's steed;
    In halls, in gay attire is seen;
    In hamlets, dances on the green.
    Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
    And men below, and saints above;
    For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
    • Canto III, st. 2
  • For ne'er
    Was flattery lost on poet's ear:
    A simple race! they waste their toil
    For the vain tribute of a smile.
    • Canto IV, conclusion
  • Call it not vain;—they do not err,
    Who say, that when the Poet dies,
    Mute Nature mourns her worshipper,
    And celebrates his obsequies.
    • Canto V, st. 1
  • True love's the gift which God has given
    To man alone beneath the heaven
    It is not fantasy's hot fire,
    Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly;
    It liveth not in fierce desire,
    With dead desire it doth not die;
    It is the secret sympathy,
    The silver link, the silken tie,
    Which heart to heart, and mind to mind
    In body and in soul can bind.
    • Canto V, st. 13
  • Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
    Who never to himself hath said,
    This is my own, my native land!
    Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
    As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,
    From wandering on a foreign strand!
    If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
    For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
    High though his titles, proud his name,
    Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
    Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung.
    • Canto VI, st. 1
  • O Caledonia! stern and wild,
    Meet nurse for a poetic child!
    Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
    Land of the mountain and the flood!
    • Canto VI, st. 2
  • That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
    When heaven and earth shall pass away,
    What power shall be the sinner's stay?
    How shall he meet that dreadful day?
    • Canto VI, st. 31

Marmion (1808)

  • November’s sky is chill and drear,
    November’s leaf is red and sear.
    • Canto I, introduction, st. 1
  • Stood for his country’s glory fast,
    And nail’d her colours to the mast!
    • Canto I, introduction, st. 10
  • But search the land of living men,
    Where wilt thou find their like again?
    • Canto I, introduction, st. 11
  • And come he slow, or come he fast,
    It is but Death who comes at last.
    • Canto II, introduction, st. 30
  • Oh, young Lochinvar is come out of the West,
    Through all the wide Border his steed was the best.
    • Canto V, st. 12 (Lochinvar, st. 1)
  • So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
    There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
    • Canto V, st. 12 (Lochinvar, st. 1)
  • For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
    Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.
    • Canto V, st. 12 (Lochinvar, st. 2)
  • She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to sigh,
    With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.
    • Canto V, st. 12 (Lochinvar, st. 5)
  • Heap on more wood!-the wind is chill;
    But let it whistle as it will,
    We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.
    • Canto VI, introduction, st. 1
  • England was merry England, when
    Old Christmas brought his sports again.
    ‘Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale;
    ‘Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
    A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
    The poor man’s heart through half the year.
    • Canto VI, introduction, st. 3
  • And darest thou then
    To beard the lion in his den,
    The Douglas in his hall?
    • Canto VI, st. 14
  • O, what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practise to deceive!
    • Canto VI, st. 17
  • O, Woman! in our hours of ease,
    Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
    And variable as the shade
    By the light quivering aspen made;
    When pain and anguish wring the brow,
    A ministering angel thou!
    • Canto VI, st. 30
  • A light on Marmion’s visage spread,
    And fired his glazing eye:
    With dying hand, above his head,
    He shook the fragment of his blade,
    And shouted "Victory!-
    Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!"
    Were the last words of Marmion.
    • Canto VI, st. 32
  • To all, to each, a fair good-night,
    And pleasing dreams, and slumbers light!
    • L'Envoy

The Lady of the Lake (1810)

  • The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
    Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
    And deep his midnight lair had made
    In lone Glenartney's hazel shade.
    • Canto I, st. 1
  • With head upraised, and look intent,
    And eye and ear attentive bent,
    And locks flung back, and lips apart,
    Like monument of Grecian art,
    In listening mood, she seemed to stand,
    The guardian Naiad of the strand.
    • Canto I, st. 17
  • On his bold visage middle age
    Had slightly pressed its signet sage,
    Yet had not quenched the open truth
    And fiery vehemence of youth;
    Forward and frolic glee was there,
    The will to do, the soul to dare,
    The sparkling glance, soon blown to fire,
    Of hasty love or headlong ire.
    • Canto I, st. 21
  • Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
    Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;
    Dream of battled fields no more,
    Days of danger, nights of waking.
    • Canto I, st. 31
  • Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances!
    • Canto II, st. 19
  • Some feelings are to mortals given
    With less of earth in them than heaven;
    And if there be a human tear
    From passion's dross refined and clear,
    A tear so limpid and so meek
    It would not stain an angel's cheek,
    'Tis that which pious fathers shed
    Upon a duteous daughter's head!
    • Canto II, st. 22
  • Like the dew on the mountain,
    Like the foam on the river,
    Like the bubble on the fountain,
    Thou art gone, and forever!
    • Canto III, st. 16 (Coronach, st. 3)
  • Come one, come all! this rock shall fly
    From its firm base as soon as I.
    • Canto V, st. 10
  • Respect was mingled with surprise,
    And the stern joy which warriors feel
    In foeman worthy of their steel.
    • Canto V, st. 10
  • Where, where was Roderick then!
    One blast upon his bugle-horn
    Were worth a thousand men.
    • Canto VI, st. 18

The Antiquary (1816)

  • It's no fish ye're buying, it's men's lives.
    • Volume I, Ch. 11

On the postal service

Chapter 15 opens at a small Scottish post office, "Mrs. Mailsetter's shop, —a source more famous for the circulation of news than for their accuracy."

  • ...We beg leave to transport the reader to the back-parlour of the post-master's house at Fairport, where his wife, he himself being absent, was employed in assorting for delivery the letters which had come by the Edinburgh post. This is very often in country towns the period of the day when gossips find it particularly agreeable to call on the man or woman of letters, in order, from the outside of the epistles, and, if they are not belied, occasionally from the inside also, to amuse themselves with gleaning information, or forming conjectures about the correspondence and affairs of their neighbours. Two females of this description were, at the time we mention, assisting, or impeding, Mrs. Mailsetter in her official duty.

An express has arrived at the office, and which must now rise to the challenge of delivering it.

  • "I'm no gaun to let naebody see the letter," sobbed the boy, "till I gie't to Mr. Lovel, for I am a faithfu' servant o' the office—if it werena for the powny."
    "Very right, my little man," said Ochiltree, turning the reluctant pony's head towards Monkbarns; "but we'll guide him atween us." ...
    [They met Lovel on the way,] and Davie, who insisted upon a literal execution of his commission by going on to Monkbarns, was with difficulty prevailed upon to surrender the packet to its proper owner, although he met him a mile nearer than the place he had been directed to. "But my minnie said, I maun be sure to get twenty shillings and five shillings for the postage, and ten shillings and sixpence for the express—there's the paper."
    "Let me see—let me see," said Oldbuck, putting on his spectacles, and examining the crumpled copy of regulations to which Davie appealed. "Express, per man and horse, one day, not to exceed ten shillings and sixpence. One day? why, it's not an hour—Man and horse? why, 'tis a monkey on a starved cat!"
    • Vol. I, Ch.15

Ivanhoe (1819)

  • Pride and jealousy there was in his eye, for his life had been spent in asserting rights which were constantly liable to invasion; and the prompt, fiery, and resolute disposition of the man, had been kept constantly upon the alert by the circumstances of his situation.
    • Ch. 3
  • He’s expected at noon, and no wight till he comes
    May profane the great chair, or the porridge of plums;
    For the best of the cheer, and the seat by the fire,
    Is the undenied right of the Barefooted Friar.
    • Ch. 17, One of the verses of the ballad "The Barefooted Friar", sung by Friar Tuck to the Black Knight.
  • Her haughtiness and habit of domination was, therefore, a fictitious character, induced over that which was natural to her, and it deserted her when her eyes were opened to the extent of her own danger, as well as that of her lover and her guardian; and when she found her will, the slightest expression of which was wont to command respect and attention, now placed in opposition to that of a man of a strong, fierce, and determined mind, who possessed the advantage over her, and was resolved to use it, she quailed before him.
    • Ch. 23
  • "Alas! fair Rowena," returned De Bracy, "you are in presence of your captive, not your jailor; and it is from your fair eyes that De Bracy must receive that doom which you fondly expect from him."
    • Ch. 23, De Bracy's vain attempt to woo Rowena using the language of courtly love.
  • Pax vobiscum will answer all queries. If you go or come, eat or drink, bless or ban, Pax vobiscum carries you through it all. It is as useful to a friar as a broom-stick to a witch, or a wand to a conjuror.
    • Ch. 26, Wamba explaining to Cedric how to get away with impersonating a priest. Pax vobiscum means "peace be with you."
  • Norman saw on English oak.
    On English neck a Norman yoke;
    Norman spoon to English dish,
    And England ruled as Normans wish;
    Blithe world in England never will be more,
    Till England's rid of all the four.
    • Ch. 27, Proverb recited by Wamba to De Bracy and Front-de-Boeuf.
  • "What remains?" cried Ivanhoe; "Glory, maiden, glory! which gilds our sepulchre and embalms our name."
    • Ch. 29, Ivanhoe to Rebecca, who questions the value of chivalry and has asked what remains for knights when death takes them.
  • Chivalry!-why, maiden, she is the nurse of pure and high affection-the stay of the oppressed, the redresser of grievances, the curb of the power of the tyrant-Nobility were but an empty name without her, and liberty finds the best protection in her lance and her sword.
    • Ch. 29, Ivanhoe explains to Rebecca the virtues of chivalry.
  • Saint George and the Dragon!-Bonny Saint George for Merry England!-The castle is won!
    • Ch. 31, Wamba celebrates their victory.
  • For he that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good which he performs, but for the evil which he forbears.
    • Ch. 33, The Black Knight speaking to Locksley.
  • Women are but the toys which amuse our lighter hours-ambition is the serious business of life.
    • Ch. 36, Malvoisin speaking to De Bois-Guilbert.
  • Thou and I are but the blind instruments of some irresistible fatality, that hurries us along, like goodly vessels driving before the storm, which are dashed against each other, and so perish.
    • Ch. 39, De Bois-Guilbert speaking to Rebecca.
  • There is yet spirit in him, were it well directed- but, like the Greek fire, it burns whatever approaches it.
    • Ch. 43, Malvoisin to Mont-Fitchet
  • You have power, rank, command, influence; we have wealth, the source both of our strength and weakness; the value of these toys, ten times multiplied, would not influence half so much as your slightest wish.
    • Ch. 44, Rebecca speaking to Rowena.

The Monastery (1820)

  • The happy combination of fortuitous circumstances.
    • Answer of the Author of Waverley to the Letter of Captain Clutterbuck
  • As old as the hills.
    • Ch. 9
  • Within that awful volume lies
    The mystery, of mysteries!
    • Ch. 12
  • And better had they ne'er been born,
    Who read to doubt, or read to scorn.
    • Ch. 12
  • Spur not an unbroken horse; put not your plowshare too deep into new land.
    • Ch. 25

External links

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to Author:Walter Scott article)

From Wikisource

Walter Scott
See biography, media, indexes. A prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet popular throughout Europe during his time.
Walter Scott




  • Anne of Geierstein, (1829)
  • The Antiquary, (1816)
  • The Fair Maid of Perth, (1828)
  • The Fortunes of Nigel, (1822)
  • Guy Mannering, (1815)
  • Ivanhoe, (1820)
  • Kenilworth, (1821)
  • Peveril of the Peak (1922)
  • The Pirate, 1822
  • Quentin Durward, (1823)
  • Redgauntlet, (1824)
  • Rob Roy, (1818)
  • St. Ronan's Well, (1824)
  • Tales of my Landlord, 1st series, The Black Dwarf and Old Mortality, (1816)
  • Tales of my Landlord, 2nd series, The Heart of Midlothian, (1818)
  • Tales of my Landlord, 3rd series, The Bride of Lammermoor and A Legend of Montrose, (1819)
  • Tales of my Landlord, 4th series, Count Robert of Paris and Castle Dangerous, (1832)
  • Tales of the Crusaders, consisting of The Betrothed and The Talisman, (1825)
  • Waverley, (1814)
  • Woodstock, (1826)


As editor

  • The Works of John Dryden (18 volumes)
  • A collection of scarce and valuable tracts, on the most interesting and entertaining subjects (also known as Somers' Tracts
  • The state papers and letters of Sir Ralph Sadler
  • The Poetical Works of Anna Seward
  • The Works of Jonathan Swift


  • Ballads and Lyrical Pieces, (1806)
  • The Bishop of Tyre
  • The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland, (1814 – 1817)
  • The Bridal of Triermain, (1813)
  • The Bride of Lammermoor
  • The Chase, (translator) (1796)
  • Chronicles of the Canongate, 1st series, The Highland Widow, The Two Drovers and The Surgeon's Daughter, (1827)
  • The Doom of Devorgoil, (1830)
  • Essays on Ballad Poetry, (1830)
  • The Field of Waterloo, (1815)
  • Goetz of Berlichingen, (translator) (1799)
  • Halidon Hall, (1822)
  • Harold the Dauntless, (1817)
  • History of Scotland, 2 vols., (1829 –1830)
  • Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, (1831)
  • The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, (1827)
  • Lives of the Novelists, (1821-1824)
  • The Lord of the Isles, (1815)
  • Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk, (1816)
  • Provincial Antiquities of Scotland, (1819 – 1826)
  • Religious Discourses, (1828)
  • Rokeby, (1813)
  • Tales from Benedictine Sources, consisting of The Abbot and The Monastery, (1820)
  • Tales of a Grandfather, 1st series, (1828)
  • Tales of a Grandfather, 2nd series, (1829)
  • Tales of a Grandfather, 3rd series, (1830)
  • William and Helen, Two Ballads from the German, (translator) (1796)
  • The Tapestried Chamber

Works about Scott

PD-icon.svg Works by this author published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago. Translations or editions published later may be copyrighted. Posthumous works may be copyrighted based on how long they have been published in certain countries and areas.

Simple English

Portrait of Sir Walter Scott, by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a Scottish novelist and poet. He was extremely popular in Europe during his time. He wrote many historical novels. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works are though of as classics. Some of his most famous works are: the poem The Lady of the Lake and the novels Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.mrj:Скотт, Вальтер


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