Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review: "The Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott





“Harp of the North! that mouldering long hast hung
On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's spring,”



Thus begins one of the loveliest poems composed by man. I have never been a great reader of poetry as I find it tends to make me too introspective and musing and generally overly romantic, yet poetry can live and breathe in such magical ways and I have always dreamed of finding that poetry which would swirl, the way people describe its behavior in books. No doubt you wonder why I give these details? Because all of the above describes “The Lady of the Lake”. It is whimsical and romantic yet it pounds with adventure and battle tension, the poetry going from sylvan to warlike with startling swiftness. One moment you are enjoying mountain vistas and then with a sudden whirl about you are in the midst of scenes of war, dashing you in hopeless delight and heart-stopping power along with it. The poetry mingles things borrowed from history with the things of legend so that the one does not leave before the other begins. Scott based the poem in places he knew well and his love shines through the words. Perhaps he did make the place a little more romantic than it truly was, but he did it so perfectly that in his story and writing he created a flawless world of his own. I was not expecting to be swept away by this poem, but I found myself caught into this work that weaves the richness of countries discovered with that of fairytales.

“The wild rose, eglantine, and broom
Wasted around their rich perfume;
The birch-trees wept in fragrant balm;
The aspens slept beneath the calm;
The silver light, with quivering glance,
Played on the water's still expanse -
Wild were the heart whose passion's sway
Could rage beneath the sober ray! “

- Canto I: XXXV

9 comments:

  1. I've never read this. Shame on me! Maybe I should add it to my Classics Club to-read list.

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  2. BTW, I've nominated you for the Beautiful Blog Award. Read my post here for details :-)

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  3. Hi, I nominated you for the Liebster award! Here is the link: http://cowgirlandadream.blogspot.com/2014/04/ive-been-nominated-again.html

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    1. Thank you so much, Anna! I am, Lord Willing, planning on publishing my answers later this week! BTW I am sooo looking forward to your party!!!

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  4. I really, REALLY want to read this! I think I have ever since I mistook it for the poem Anne describes in AOGG, but now I want to since I've just recently fallen in love with Ivanhoe. Completely and utterly ;)

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    1. Arwen Undomiel,
      Same here, I thought this was the one Anne was referring to as well! I was somewhat disappointed when I first discovered the contrary, but now I love it in its own right!

      And you love Ivanhoe? I literally just (as in yesterday afternoon!) started it. I'm not quite sure about it yet, but I remember having somewhat the same feelings for Scott's The Talisman and yet ended up relishing it and besides I have heard so many wonderful things about it that I am working away upon it. :) Do you happen to have a favorite part?

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I'm so glad you're reading "Ivanhoe"! But yes, you must plough through the beginning, as it takes a while to get extraordinary;) My favorite parts? Hmm...I'd have to say any scene of altercation between Rebecca and Brian Bois-Guilbert. The writing is just so exquisite in those parts!

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    3. I trudged through the beginning and you were absolutely right -- as in, I can hardly set the book aside now! I just finished the part where the castle is destroyed and so far I would say my favorite scenes have been the one with the Black Knight and the friar (hilarious to say the least!) and Locksley, because, well, he is just wonderful. :) The one scene I have read so far with Rebecca and Brian de Bois-Guilbert was indeed amazing. They both have such strong characters it feels, at times, as if they rather sweep the rest of the story before them! :)

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