Tuesday, January 29, 2019


The Unpatriotic Man

Walter Scott (1771-1832), The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto VI, Stanza I:
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, unhonoured, and unsung.
"Comic, contemptible, and miserable poetry to boot," according to John McCormick, "Patriots, Expatriates, and Scoundrels," Sewanee Review 105.3 (Summer, 1997) 341-355 (at 342). I like these verses nonetheless.

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