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This content is taken from the University of Aberdeen & The Abbotsford Trust's online course, Walter Scott: The Man Behind the Monument. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds ALISON LUMSDEN: Scott was passionate about the Scottish landscape, and often describes it in his poems and novels.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds ALISON LUMSDEN: And often, this encouraged tourists to come and visit the sites that he had described. This was particularly true of his poems. In “The Lay of the Last Minstrel,” for example, he writes,

Skip to 0 minutes and 33 seconds SPEAKER 2: If thou would’st view fair Melrose aright, go visit it by the pale moonlight. For the gay beams of lightsome day gild’ but to flout the ruins grey. When the broken arches are black in night, and each shafted oriel glimmers white. When the cold light’s uncertain shower streams on the ruined central tower. When buttress and buttress alternately, seem framed of ebon and ivory. When silver edges the imagery, and the scrolls that teach thee to live and die. When distant tweed is heard to rave, and the owlet to hoot o’er the dead man’s grave. Then go. But go alone the while. Then view St. David’s ruined pile. And home returning, soothly swear, was never scene so sad and fair.

Visiting Scott’s Landscapes

Scott’s work offers vivid descriptions of Scotland and often inspires a desire to visit the places described.

In this video you will hear a passage read from The Lay of the Last Minstrel. In it Scott invites his readers to visit Melrose Abbey by moonlight.

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Walter Scott: The Man Behind the Monument

University of Aberdeen

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