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The Lady of the Lake

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,001 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
A kindly heart had brave Fitz-James; Fast poured his eyes at pity's claims, And now, with mingled grief and ire, He saw the murdered maid expire. "God, in my need, be my relief, As I wreak this on yonder Chief!" -from The Lady of the Lake Wildly successful with readers and critics on both sides of the Atlantic when it was first published in 1810, this is Scott's renowned r ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published November 30th 2005 by Cosimo Classics (first published 1810)
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Sam Howard
May 28, 2012 Sam Howard rated it it was amazing
The only thing i read on my Romantic Literature MA that i gave a crap about. If you want Romantic poetry that defies Wordsworth, and his ever-so-tedious ilk, then this is the guy. Rock on Scotland, the progenitor of pissing people off.

This poem is written with extensive notes; it is PIVOTAL that the poem is read in conjunction with these. All the peri-textual material, the introduction, the notes are as much the beating heart of the poem as the Cantos. They display a measure of detail, both rea
Diamond Cowboy
Oct 01, 2015 Diamond Cowboy rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful romantic poem in the midst of the rivalry of James the fifth and the Clan of Douglas in Scottland. It was originally printed in 1810. In this version there are explanitary notes and a wonderful introduction which explains the times in which this was written to better understand the poem.
I recommend all of Walter Scott's books but especially this one.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Nikki Nielsen
Mar 07, 2008 Nikki Nielsen rated it it was amazing
I found the copy of this book that I have under a floor board in our barn. The copyright is 1882 and there are notes written all through it in an old-style cursive from a student that was apparently studying the book at school.

I love the description .. each seperate sonnet or poem takes you to new surroundings, and when I'm not pre-occupied with other thoughts while reading these, I find myself feeling the emotions described. I read this to my children at bed time to calm them down. Here;s a sa
Sep 08, 2010 Chandra rated it it was amazing
The Lady of the Lake is a narrative poem set in the Trossachs region of Scotland. There are three main plots going at once: the constant war between the high and lowland Scots (the "Gaels" and "Saxons"), a battle between three men to win the heart of the young and alluring Ellen Douglas, and the feud and eventual rapprochement that occurs between James V (cunningly disguised and going by the alias James Fitz-James) and James Douglas. This is the first of Scott's work I've read and I'm already a ...more
Sirpa Grierson
Amazingly, this used to be taught in the 9th grade at the turn of the last century. Don't know if our students could read it today. The story is wonderful and would make a romantic and action-packed film. At his best, Sir Walter Scott is eloquent and the story flows through it's poetic cantos so quickly that one can't put it down. Some parts however, drag a bit for a modern audience. Based loosely on the reign of James V, King of Scotland, and the beautiful Ellen, this is an almost forgotten yet ...more
May 02, 2011 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
I bought this 1919 edition at an antique store in Boothbay Harbour, ME. It's on my shelf for life even if I never finish it!

I FINALLY finished it! The beginning is very confusing with introducing a lot of characters at once and trying to figure out who's talking and who's who. But towards the end, it all started to fall into place and get exciting with war, love, politics, and the most wonderful descriptions. I think if I went back to read it again I would enjoy it doubly since I now can follow
Oct 27, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
I love the sound of poetry like this, but I definitely feel like I'm not entirely sure what happened.
Aug 28, 2009 Suvi rated it liked it
I'm not entirely sure if I like rhymed poetry but there are some beautiful parts and Scotland is always appreciated.
Well, to say "I read this" is being a little kind to myself. It is true that my eyes passed over all of the words, but I have never had a head for poetry and my comprehension of the poem is seriously lacking. Most of the time I had no idea what was going on and what little I understood was aided by the synopsis of each canto on wikipedia. I have discovered a major lack within my own literary understanding and hope one day to correct it, at which point I will try and read this again. And maybe th ...more
Feb 08, 2017 keira rated it really liked it
My sister bought me a 1845 edition of this book when I was twelve, I'm 17 now and I've only just plucked up the courage to read it! The writing and format was not the thing that was keeping me from reading it, the delicate pages and worn spine were the problem.
The writing on the opening page leads me to believe it belonged to a Scottish priest who for certain is no longer alive and the thought of accidentally destroying that history kept me from even picking it up.
I'm mad at myself for not readi
Apr 18, 2014 Xavier rated it liked it
The poetry itself was exquisite. Sir Walter Scott's imagery is vivid and deep, and his command of rhyme is masterful. Whether it is the intensity of combat or the calm stillness of the lake, he is at his best when describing his romantic vision of medieval Scotland. Where the poem came short, in my opinion, was with the plot - the plot itself was fine, but it wasn't explained well at all. For every stanza describing the setting or the characters, there is precious little explicit explanation of ...more
Braveheart-romantiikan lähteillä: kaikki tämä, mikä siihen aikaan (1810) oli niin uutta ja ihmeellistä - Ylämaan villi luonto, muinaiset soturisankarit ja taistelut - on nyt ultimate klisee, koska elokuvien ja kirjojen keskiaikainen soturimeininki on nimenomaan rakennettu Scottin viitoittamalle historiallisen fiktion tielle. Ihailtavan huolitellulla ja paikallisväritteisellä runokielellä kuvatut käsikähmät ovat koreografialtaan niitä kaikkein kuluneimpia, joita Monty Python voi parodioida Holy G ...more
Jul 29, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing
The Regency equivalent of a western, and a narrative poem with easy to appreciate rhymes that has withstood the test of time. Roderick and FitzJames have a great fight scene and there are many beautiful songs, plus a memorable tragic area involving a mad woman in the mountains. Malcolm--Ellen's love interest--is the main problem, as he's nothing so cool as either of the other boyfriend possibilities, but thats pretty much the only fault I find in this delightful escape into the past.
Emily Dybdahl
"The rose is fairest when 't is budding new,
And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears,
The rose is sweetest washed with morning dew,
And love is loveliest when embalmed in tears."

This is a beautiful epic poem set in Scotland. The story is full of adventure centering around hunting, war, and love. This poem reminded me a little of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in its lyricism and epic plot.
Feb 20, 2016 Lucy rated it it was amazing
Was ever an author as inconsistent as Scott? When I read through his novels (yes, all of them), I found some were un-put-downable while others were barely pick-up-againable. And now, the same with his poems - Marmion was something of a confusing and tedious ramble, but The Lady of the Lake is brilliant. Technically faultless, it's also a rattling good story with wonderful descriptive passages. Not to be missed.
Jul 17, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent narrative poem if you need a little more verse in your life. It's got everything that a work in verse should have: chivalry, Scottish clans, feats of strength, green tights, war, a mad druid and of course a lovely maid, and should almost be read out loud it's so beautiful at times. I also learned a thing or two about Scottish history... and also American history: (coming from Wikipedia...) Frederick Douglass takes his last name from one of the families in this poem.
Oct 22, 2013 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Lady of the Lake" is an exciting Scottish tale of maidens fair, warriors true, and leaders of benevolent hue.

The language and poetry tantalized my senses. I felt the breeze from the lake, the smell of the musty grotto, I heard the broad swords clang in battle, saw the eagle alight on the craggy mountain top and tasted the soldier's meal of dried venison.
The language in this poem is archaic, so keep your dictionaries handy so you can appreciate every turn of phrase.
Jun 22, 2011 Bryan rated it really liked it
The edition of the book that I have has been on the bookshelf in my home since I was a child. The entire work is written in prose and though it took a handful of pages to become accustomed to, it was absolutely worth it. the story was fantastic, and the versatile use of language required to maintain the prose without becoming predictable or cliche was a pleasure to read. If you can get this in that version I highly recommend it.
Mar 10, 2010 Lynne-marie rated it really liked it
It sings itself. I've heard it many times and places called the ultimate description of the part of Scotland in which it's set, so I was eager to read it. What I didn't know was that it would carry me along on its wings refusing to put me down until it was over. What a romantic ballad and how infinitely descriptive. A joy to read!
Jessica Snell
Oct 25, 2011 Jessica Snell rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, poetry
I read this in bits and pieces over several months, so I lost the narrative thread a few times. But it was great. First Scott I’ve really read, I think, and oh! You can SEE the scenery when he describes it. And some of the characterization is awesome. And the reveal of the true person of James FitzJames at the end – beautiful!
Apr 14, 2012 Jared rated it it was ok
The storyline was okay. I think I would have enjoyed it more had it been written in prose.

I didn't know until recently that the story was published in the early 1800's. That said, I thought Scott did a fine job of keeping an ancient feel to the story.
May 11, 2013 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Copy given to my grandfather on his 12th birthday by twin cousins.
The most interesting aspect is the footnotes full of Scottish tradition, history and customs.
I don't know if I'll ever finish it because it is so dense and the heroine eventually dies.
Milena March
Oct 31, 2009 Milena March rated it it was amazing
The Lady of the Lake is not only an excellent poem - well structured and compelling - but it is also extremely readable, which immediately drew me to it. I found myself hooked, drawn into the tale and into the words themselves.
Jan 04, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't always able to follow what was happening but a very pleasant read. As other reviews have said it definitely made me want to visit the Scottish Highlands and learn more about Scottish history. Which is no bad thing in a book.
Aug 05, 2013 Dragonlady-sci-fi-fantasy rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
My husband got me the 1869 edition! I have re-read it after many years. Still beautiful. Must wear gloves to handle this book!
Cassandra Kay Silva
Jan 27, 2013 Cassandra Kay Silva rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A beautifully written love/adventure type setting with excellent verse!
Ice Bear
Nov 24, 2011 Ice Bear rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Once again I enjoyed the rhythm of the prose, but got lost in working out who was who and what happened. Perhaps I read it too fast.
Jun 13, 2010 Frieda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great book
Apr 23, 2013 Ange rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Been reading the short bio. in the front of Scott. Interesting man. Didn't realize the Lady of the Lake was a poem, or did I?
RK Byers
Feb 21, 2012 RK Byers rated it it was ok
a cameo from Robin Hood and his band prevented me from suicide but didn't keep me from wanting to kill (the already dead; i know) Walter Scott!
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Sir Walter Scott was born on August 15, 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Scott created and popularized historical novels in a series called the Waverley Novels. In his novels Scott arranged the plots and characters so the reader enters into the lives of both great and ordinary people caught up in violent, dramatic
More about Walter Scott...

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“My hope, my heaven, my trust must be,
My gentle guide, in following thee.”
“so wondrous wild, the whole might seem
the scenery of a fairy dream”
More quotes…