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I know that we shall meet our babe (his mother dear and I) Where God for aye shall wipe away all tears from every eye. Whate'er befalls his brethren twain, his bliss can never cease; Their lot may here be grief and fear, but his is certain peace. It may be that the tempter's wiles their souls from bliss may
sever, But, if our own poor faith fail not, he must be ours forever. When we think of what our darling is, and what we still
must be ; When we muse on that world's perfect bliss, and this world's
misery; When we groan beneath this load of sin, and feel this grief
and pain, O, we'd rather lose our other two than have him here again.
XXXVIII. - COMBAT BETWEEN THE KNIGHT OF THE
LEOPARD AND SALADIN.
(WALTER Scott was born in Edinburgh, August 15, 1771, and died at Abbotsford, September 21, 1832. In 1792 he was called to the Scotch bar as an advocate; but he made but little progress in his profession, being soon allured from it by the higher attractions of literature. After having written and published a few fugitive pieces, and edited a collection of border ballads, he broke upon the world, in 1805, with his Lay of the Last Minstrel, which was received with a burst of admiration almost without parallel in literary history. This was followed by Marmion and The Lady of the Lake, which added to the author's reputation, and by Rokeby and The Lord of the Isles, which fairly sustained it. These poems were unlike any thing that had preceded them. Their versification was easy and graceful, though sometimes slovenly; their style was energetic and condensed; their pictures were glowing and faithful; the characters and incidents were fresh and startling; and in the battle scenes there was a power of painting which rivalled the pages of Homer. The whole civilized world rose up to greet with admiration the poet who transported them to the lakes and mountains of Scotland, introduced them to knights and moss-troopers, and thrilled their worn bosoms with scenes of wild adventure and lawless violence. Scott held andisputed parression of the poetical throne until Lord Byron disputed it with him, sod won a popularity more intense, if not more wide.
But these brilliant and successful poems were hardly more than an introduction to Scott's literary career. In 1814 there appeared, without any preliminary announce ment, and anonymously, a novel called Waverley, which soon attracted great attention, and gave rise to much speculation as to its authorship. This was the beginning of that splendid series of works of fiction commonly called the Waverley novels, which con. tinued to be poured forth in rapid succession till 1827. From the first, there was very little doubt that Scott was the author of these works, although they were published without any name; and when the avowal was made in 1827, it took nobody by sur prise. Of the great powers put forth in these novels of their immense popularity and of the influence they have exerted, and are still exerting, upon literature, it is not necessary to speak, nor could such a subject be discussed in a notice like this. Admirable as the whole series is, there is a power, a freshness, and an originality in the earlier ones, such as Guy Mannering and The Antiquary, where the scenery and characters are Scotch, which give them & marked superiority over their younger brethren.
Besides his poems and novels, Scott wrote a Life of Napoleon, various other biogo raphies, and many works besides. He was a man of immense literary industry, and his writings fill eighty-eight volumes of small octavo size. All this did not prevent his discharging faithfully the duties of a citizen, a father of a family, and (for many years) of a magistrate.
Scott's life has been written by his son-in-law, Lockhart; and it is a truthful record of what he was and what he did. His was a noble nature, on the whole, with much to love and much to admire. He was a warm friend, most affectionate in his domestio relations, and ever ready to do kind acts to those who stood in need of them. After his first literary successes, he lived before the public eye; and since his death, his whcle life and being have been exposed to the general gaze, and there are few lives on record that would bear such an ordeal better.
In consequence of a secret and unwise partnership with a printer and publisher, Scott became a bankrupt at the age of fifty-five. He met this blow with an heroic spirit, and addressed himself to the task of discharging the liabilities against him with a moral energy which was nothing less than sublime. The amount of work he did between this date and that of his death is fearful to contemplate. His life was shortened by his excessive toils; but he accomplished what he proposed to himself. His debcs, materially diminished before his death, have since been entirely discharged by the profits on his collected works. In this portion of his life, Scott's character shines with a moral grandeur far above all mere literary fame.
Scott was made a baronet in 1820.
This extract is from The Talisman, one of the Tales of the Crusaders, published in 1825. The Saracen knight turns out to be the celebrated eastern sultan, alad who plays an important part in the subsequent action of the novel.]
The burning sun of Syria had not yet attained its highest point in the horizon, when a knight of the Redcross, who had left his distant northern home, and joined the host of the crusaders in Palestine, was pacing slowly along the sandy deserts which lie in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, or, as it is called, the Lake Asphaltites, where the waves of the Jordan pour themselves into an inland sea, from which there is no discharge of waters.
The warlike pilgrim had toiled among cliffs and precipices during the earlier part of the morning; more lately, issuing from those rocky and dangerous defiles, he had entered upon that great plain, where the accursed cities provoked, in ancient days, the direct and dreadful vengeance of the Omnipotent.
The toil, the thirst, the dangers of the way, were forgotten, as the traveller recalled the fearful catastrophe which had converted into an arid and dismal wilderness the fair and fertile valley of Siddim, once well watered, even as the garden of the Lord, now a parched and blighted waste, condemned to eternal sterility.
Upon this scene of desolation the sun shone with almost intolerable splendor, and all living nature seemed to have hidden itself from the rays, excepting the solitary figure which moved through the flitting sand at a foot's pace, and appeared the sole breathing thing on the wide surface of the plain. The dress of the rider and the accoutrements of his horse were peculiarly unfit for the traveller in such a country. A coat of linked mail, with long sleeves, plated gauntlets, and a steel breastplate, had not been esteemed a sufficient weight of armor; there was also his triangular shield suspended round his neck, and his barred helmet of steel, over which he had a hood and collar of mail, which was drawn around the warrior's shoulders and throat, and filled up
between the hauberk and the head-piece. His lower limbs were sheathed, like his body, in flexible mail, securing the legs and thighs, while the feet rested in plated shoes, which corresponded with the gauntlets. A long, broad, straight-shaped, double-edged falchion, with a handle formed like a cross, corresponded with a stout poniard on the other side. The knight also bore, secured to his saddle, with one end resting on his stirrup, the long steel-headed lance, his own proper weapon, which, as he rode, projected backwards, and displayed its little pennoncelle,* to dally with the faint breeze, or drop in the dead calm. To this cumbrous equipment must be added a surcoat † of em. broidered cloth, much frayed and worn, which was thus far
* Pennoncelle, a small flag or banner.
useful, that it excluded the burning rays of the sun from the arrior, which they would otherwise have rendered intolerable to the wearer. The surcoat bore, in several places, the arms of the owner, although much defaced. These seemed to be a couchant* leopard, with the motto, “I sleep — wake me not.” An outline of the same device might be traced on his shield, though many a blow had almost effaced the painting. The flat top of his cumbrous cylindrical helmet was unadorned with any crest. In retaining their own unwieldy defensive armor, the northern crusaders seemed to set at defiance the nature of the climate and country to which they were come to war.
The accoutrements of the horse were scarcely less massive and unwieldy than those of the rider. The animal had a heavy saddle plated with steel, uniting in front with a species of breastplate, and behind with defensive armor made to cover the loins. Then there was a steel axe, or hammer, called a mace-of-arms, and which hung to the saddle bow; the reins were secured by chain work, and the front stall of the bridle was a steel plate, with apertures for the eyes and nostrils, having in the midst a short, sharp pike, projecting from the forehead of the horse like the horn of the fabulous unicorn.
But habit had made the endurance of this load of panoply a second nature, both to the knight and his gallant charger. Numbers, indeed, of the western warriors who hurried to Palestine died ere they became inured to the burning climate, but there were others to whom that climate became innocent, and even friendly, and among this fortunate number was the solitary horseman who now traversed the border of the Dead Sea.
Nature, which cast his limbs in a mould of uncommon strength, fitted to wear his linked hauberk with as much ease as if the meshes had been formed of cobwebs, had endowed him with a constitution as strong as his limbs, and which bade defiance to almost all changes of climate, as well as to fatigue and privations of every kind. His disposition seemed, in some degree, to partake of the qualities of his bodily frame; and as the one possessed great strength and endurance, united with the power of violent exertion, the other, under a calm and undisturbed semblance, had much of the fiery and enthusiastic love of glory which constituted the principal attribute of the renowned Norman line, and had rendered them sovereigns in every corner of Europe where they had drawn their adventurous swords.
* Couchant, a term in heraldry, applied to animals, represented, in coats of arms, as lying down, with the head raised.
Nature had, however, her demands for refreshment and repose, even on the iron frame and patient disposition of the Knight of the Sleeping Leopard; and at noon, when the Dead Sea lay at some distance on his right, he joyfully hailed the sight of two or three palm trees, which arose beside the well which was assigned for his midday station. His good horse, too, which had plodded forward with the steady endurance of his master, now lifted his head, expanded his nostrils, and quickened his pace, as if he snuffed afar off the living waters, which marked the place of repose and refreshment. But labor and danger were doomed to intervene ere the horse or horseman reached the desired spot.
As the Knight of the Couchant Leopard continued to fix his eyes attentively on the yet distant cluster of palm trees, it seemed to him as if some object was moving among them. The distant form separated itself from the trees, which partly hid its motions, and advanced towards the knight with a speed which soon showed a mounted horseman, whom his turban, long spear, and green caftan floating in the wind, on his nearer approach, proved to be a Saracen cavalier. “In the desert," saith an Eastern proverb, “no man meets a friend.” The crusader was totally indifferent whether the infidel, who now approached on his gallant barb, as if borne on the wings of an eagle, came as friend or foe — perhaps, as a vowed champion of the cross, he might rather have preferred the latter. He lisengaged his lance from his saddle, seized it with the right