14 March 2012

The Lay of the Last Minstrel (excerpt)

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 burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
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, unhonored , and unsung.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

About the Poem

The affection with which people view their homeland is an almost universal phenomenon, but it reached a new level of meaning with the rise of the modern nation state and the emphasis on patriotism.  One of the best known poems celebrating this “state of mind” is the verse by the Scottish nobleman, aptly named Sir Walter Scott.

About the Painting
The River Tweed Below Melrose"- 1899.
Scottish Borders landscape.
Watercolour by Tom Scott RSA (1845-1927)

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