Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Last Minstrel

The way was long, the wind was cold,
The Minstrel was infirm and old;
 His withered cheek, and tresses grey,
 Seemed to have known a better day;
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, welladay their date was fled,
 His tuneful brethren all were dead
; And he, neglected and oppressed,
Wished to be with them, and at rest.
No more on prancing palfrey borne,
 He carolled, light as lark at morn;
No longer courted and caressed,
High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
He poured to lord and lady gay
The unpremeditated lay:
Old times were changed, old manners gone;
 A stranger filled the Stuarts' throne;
 The bigots of the iron time
Had called his harmless art a crime.
 A wandering Harper, scorned and poor,
He begged his bread from door to door,
 And tuned, to please a peasant's ear,
The harp a king had loved to hear.

(From The Lay of the Last Minstrel)

Sir Walter Scott

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