The Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake was written by Sir Walter Scott following a visit to the Trossachs in 1809. It is mainly set around Loch Katrine and is partly responsible for tourism in the Trossachs area becoming so popular!

  • Introduction to the Lady of the Lake by Scott, April 1830.

The poem is set over a period of six days with each day being represented by a canto with each canto introduced by one or more Spenserian stanzas (see below), forming a kind of prelude to it.  Those prefixed to the first canto serve as an introduction to the whole poem, which is inspired by the spirit of the old Scottish minstrelsy.

The version presented here was edited, with notes, by William J. Rolfe, A.M. (formerly Head Master of the High School, Cambridge, Mass.) in Boston 1883.

The Spenserian stanza, first used by Spenser in his Faerie Queene, consists of eight lines of ten syllables, followed by a line of twelve syllables, the accents throughout being on the even syllables (the so-called iambic measure).  There are three sets of rhymes: one for the first and third lines; another for the second, fourth, fifth, and seventh; and a third for the sixth, eighth, and ninth.

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