AD's English Literature : Sir Walter Scott’s The Lay of the Last Minstrel: Patriotism is an Eternal Ideology for Loving of One’s Country

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sir Walter Scott’s The Lay of the Last Minstrel: Patriotism is an Eternal Ideology for Loving of One’s Country

The bright, fervent love of one’s country i. e. affection with which people care their homeland is an eternal ideology. In the name of patriotism we are eager for the sacrifice which will be celebrated with honor on the occasion of freedom. We all anticipate that happy moment. Whereas, a hater of his homeland is shadowed in the blackest darkness, by reason of the betrayal veil that obscures his sight.The theme of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lay of the Last Minstrel is centered on the same subject of patriotism. In simple words, the poet extols patriotism and denounces lackness in patriotism. The tone of the poem is patriotic. Each line thrills with deep patriotic feelings. Love of one’s own country is the kernel of this poem. The lines are highly inspiring.

The poet says that if there be any man who has never felt proud of his country, who after returning from abroad never speak of his country proudly that this is his native land, his own country, his motherland. He should be marked well; such a person is noted down as an aberration, a freak of nature:

 “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!”

No poet will ever sing of such a man. No minstrel will speak any word of praise for him even though he might be great man, he might be a very rich man. His titles, his riches, his social status will not be of any use to him.

Such a man will lose all name and fame despite his power and self. Such wretched man will live miserable life; he will be despised by all. After death such a man will be reduced to death. Nobody will weep for him, nobody will pay any homage to him, nobody will remember him, and nobody will sing any song in praise of him:

 “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, unhonored , and unsung.”
Lay of the Last Minstrel is replete with poetic imagery. “Soul so dead”, “Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned”, “Boundless his wealth” are beautiful images. Again, Scott’s style is simple; diction is chaste. There is rhythm and flow in each line. The first six lines rhymes together. After that every two lines rhyme together. Scott’s lyric is so simple, best to be accurate, clear, and with a sense of metrical and rhythmical form. With regard to these principles, even more than the others, we shall welcome Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel a beautiful lyric apart from a patriotic poem.

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

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