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Lochinvar -- Sir Walter Scott

Guest poem sent in by Pavithra Krishnan
(Poem #125) Lochinvar
 O, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
 Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
 And save his good broadsword, he weapons had none,
 He rode all unarm'd, and he rode all alone.
 So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
 There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

 He staid not for brake, and he stopp'd not for stone,
 He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
 But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
 The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
 For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
 Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

 So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall,
 Among bride's-men, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all:
 Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword,
 (For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
 "O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
 Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?"--

 "I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied;--
 Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide--
 And now am I come, with this lost love of mine,
 To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
 There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
 That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar."

 The bride kiss'd the goblet; the knight took it up,
 He quaff'd off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
 She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to sigh,
 With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.
 He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar,--
 "Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar.

 So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
 That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
 While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
 And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
 And the bride-maidens whisper'd, " 'Twere better by far
 To have match'd our fair cousin with young Lochinvar."

 One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
 When they reach'd the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
 So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
 So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
 "She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
 They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar.

 There was mounting 'mong Grfmes of the Netherby clan;
 Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
 There was racing and chasing, on Cannobie Lee,
 But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
 So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
 Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?
-- Sir Walter Scott
This is an old favorite that I remember from school. A narrative poem in the
grand old style. There's a flippancy to the brisk rhyme scheme, a careless
kind of ease to the story-telling that immediately delight. As for the
debonair Lochinvar himself- one would be hard put to find his Literary equal
in sheer dash and 'Knight in Shining Armour'-type gallantry. Here's a hero
with Attitude.

Scott always did know how to tell a story.


52 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Bruce Eatinger said...

How delightful to find this old poem on the web! I've been trying to locate
it lately. What a romatic spirit he must have been. I love the name!

Sanjay Kumar said...

thanks so much for putting this on the Web. I was desperately trying to locate it, it was my favorite poem in school. I rememebr reading it in Class 6.

Krickett M Robbins said...

I memorized this poem in the eighth grade and have been trying to find a copy for many years now. Thank you so much for ending my long search!

Joan Palmer said...

This is my favourite poem and now has particular significance because I live in Dumfries and Galloway and am familiar with the Eske river and the Solway.

I read somewhere that plans were afoot to make a film of Lochinvar, so I do hope it will do it justice.
Joan Palmer-Moore

jfarrington said...

A friend of mine's Grandfather called all of her boyfriends Lochinvar when
she was growing up. She now has daughters, and she calls their boy friends
Lochinvar. She told me the story and how he was a knight. I had to look up
the story. It is a wonderful poem. She laughed when I showed it to her,
and she showed it to her daughter, who also enjoyed it very much. It is a
great poem/story.

Nitin Desai said...

A professor of English from Surat Dr. Kalidas Desai, once explained to me
the vigorous metre as a subconscious reminder of the rhythm of a galloping
horse! Many thanks for putting an old memory on the net.

Elizabeth Watkin said...

It seems that a lot of people learnt this poem at school. I learnt it about 40 years ago at school in Australia. It is good to read it again to fill in the 'dum-dee-dee' bits that I had forgotten. Thanks.

minarcik said...

This was the very favorite poem of one of our favorite teachers at
Quigley prep in 1960 in Chicago (alas I have forgotten his name).

He was a great guy and recited the poem with great enthusiasm.

Whenever we did something "naughty", e.g., forgot homework, talked in
class, etc., in lieu of demerits he would point at us and say "LOCHINVAR!"

(which means we had to write it out)

That's why I have never forgotten this poem and can almost recite it by
memory 46 years later!

I am sure I will remember his name.....right now "Father Cahill" sounds
about right to me.

John Minarcik

Barrow Straughn said...

Thanks for this. Read it in school 35-40 yrs. ago. Don't know what made me think of it. B.

Bent Erden van der said...

Hello friends,

On the album "Smiler" of Rod Stewart there is an instumental song
composed bij P. Sears and it's called "Lochinvar".
It is thanks to this song and to the poem that I have named my motorbike

Greetings from
Erden A. van der Bent
from Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Jow Woo said...

I was studying this peom when I was in high school in Hong Kong in 1963. Who would imagine a chinese would study this poem in Hong Kong. Then I saw this poem written on the wall of a restaurant just south of the Firth bridge outside Edinburgh and until today that I can locat this poem again. It is great peom and after forty years I still remember most of the poem. Now I can read the whole peom again.

Sidney Guberman said...

How can any romantic man worth his salt not be MOVED by Lochinvar?

What a guy!

Sidney Guberman

Manilyn Lopez said...

thanx also for posting this ballad on the web, and for your i can have my class presentation intelligently..

zaynab said...

we have been learning about this in poetry at schooll i think its a vrery nice poem

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Anonymous said...

I found this poem in a children's book of short stories & poetry when I was home on leave from the Army (about 30 years ago). In a quiet time out on an 'exercise' in the German forest, I would practice telling it to myself. It was the beginning of a love for reciting narrative stories - which I do now as a Biblical storyteller (and pastor). Many of the Gospel stories read(tell) like an adventure - even romance on a par with Lochinvar himself (Jesus rescued an accused woman from a murderous crowd, for example). By the way,I came across an account in National Geographic of a similar Native American story(an actual event or legend- who knows?) about a woman who was tied to a scaffolding and about to be tortured when a man on horseback rides into the midst, cuts her down, and carries her off to safety. Good stuff!

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Anonymous said...

the poem is indeed a b'ful one. i remember my granny reciting it to me, explaining the strides of romantic chivalry of those ages and now seeing it here makes me relive all time spent with her...:) and you have a lovely blog.

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Luchinvar Palasan said...

My mom just love this poem that she even named me after it...and everybody just love it coz they find the name so unique...some has difficulty pronouncing it though.

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