The Lay of the Last Minstrel
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1899. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... INTRODUCTION The way was long, the wind was cold, The Minstrel was infirm and old; His wither'd cheek, and tresses grey, Seem'd to have known a better day; 5 The harp, his sole remaining joy, Was carried by an orphan boy. The last of all the Bards was he, Who sung of Border chivalry; For well a day! their date was fled, 10 His tuneful brethren all were dead; And he, neglected and oppress'd, Wish'd to be with them, and at rest. No more, on prancing palfrey borne, He caroll'd light as lark at morn; 15 No longer courted and caress'd, High placed in hall, a welcome guest, He pour 'd to lord and lady gay, The unpremeditated lay: Old times were changed, old manners gone; 20 A stranger fill'd the Stuarts' throne; The bigots of the iron time Had call'd his harmless art a crime. A wandering Harper, scorn'd and poor, He begg'd his bread from door to door; 25 And tuned to please a peasant's ear, The harp a king had loved to hear. He pass'd where Newark's stately tower Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower: The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye-- No humbler resting-place was nigh. so With hesitating step, at last, The embattled portal arch he pass'd, Whose ponderous grate and massy bar Had oft roll'd back the tide of war, But never closed the iron door ss Against the desolate and poor. The Duchess mark'd his weary pace, His timid mien, and reverend face, And bade her page the menials tell, That they should tend the old man well: 40 For she had known adversity, Though born in such a high degree; In pride of power, in beauty's bloom, Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb. When kindness had his wants supplied, 45 And the old man was gratified, Began to rise his minstrel pride: And he began to talk anon, Of good Earl Francis, dead and gone, And of Earl Walter, rest him, God! so A ...
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