Crichton Castle was once a lordly residence. It's tucked away out of sight, on a terrace above the River Tyne in Midlothian.
Scott's work both laments the castle laid to ruin, and reflects upon the behaviour of one of its powerful residents, Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell.
Listen to 'With Roses Laced'
Scott set part of his epic 1808 poem 'Marmion' at Crichton Castle. Listen to his lament for those fickle fortunes which changed Crichton’s "lordly gallery fair" into a ruin where cattle and sheep seek shelter.
Read 'With Roses Laced'
Crichtoun! though now thy miry court
But pens the lazy steer and sheep,
Thy turrets rude and tottered keep,
Have been the minstrel's loved resort.
Oft have I traced within thy fort,
Of mouldering shields the mystic sense,
Scutcheons of honour or pretence,
Quartered in old armorial sort,
Remains of rude magnificence.
Nor wholly yet had time defaced
Thy lordly gallery fair...
...Nor yet the stony cord unbraced,
Whose twisted knots, with roses laced,
Adorn thy ruined stair.
Still rises unimpaired below,
The courtyard's graceful portico;
Above its cornice, row and row
Of fair hewn facets richly show
Their pointed diamond form,
Though there but houseless cattle go
To shield them from the storm.
Listen to 'Undaunted Courage'
Walter Scott was a collector of histories, and stored up historic gossip about Scotland's nobility. Listen to his anecdote about Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell – the man who remodelled Crichton Castle – and his way of proving his strength.
Read 'Undaunted Courage'
Sir Thomas Urquhart affirms, that Bothwell would VERY OFTEN, in the presence of ladies whose intimate favourite he was, give some proof of the undauntedness of his courage, and by the mere activity of his body, with the help of a single sword, set upon a lion in his greatest fierceness, and kill him dead upon the place. After this, the reader will not be startled to find that, by way of pastime, he was wont to set upon some ten or twelve swordsmen at once, and lay such thick and threefold load upon them, that he quickly made them betake themselves to their heels.
Sir Walter Scott - Celebrating 250 Years
In 2021-22, Scotland celebrates the 250th anniversary of one of its most famous sons, Sir Walter Scott. This online exhibition and audio trail of his legacies is part of the celebrations.
'With Rose's Laced' and 'Undaunted Courage' have been performed by Edinburgh actor Gavin Paul, who is looking forward to visiting some of these important historical sights.