The Lay of the Last Minstrel
I have chosen the sixth and final Canto of Sir Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel. After the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border this was Scott’s first epic poem and helped to establish his name in the public’s mind. I also have a personal affection for the lines, as anyone who has been to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will know. Since I started narrating this world famous show in 1992 I have closed each night with words taken from this last canto of the Lay of the Last Minstrel. When Sir Michael Parker asked me to find a suitable ending for the show I scoured Scottish poetry high and low and found no finer description of a deep love of my country of Scotland than the lines which Sir Walter Scott had written in this ballad.
Interior View of the South Transept of Melrose Abbey. Engraving of interior of Melrose Abbey by J. Johnstone after J. Bower. Used here with the permission of the Walter Scott Digital Archive Image Collection.