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Words by Sir Walter Scott.
Dedicated to Lady Alexina Duff.
Originally published by Ashdown in 1867.
In Scott's novel, Quentin Durward, the eponymous hero has just been shown to his room in a French inn and hears these verses sung by a "the maid of the veil, and of the lute" from a little turret opposite his. Scott writes:
The words had neither so much sense, wit, or fancy, as to withdraw the attention from the music, nor the music so much of art, as to drown all feeling of the words. The one seemed fitted to the other; and if the song had been recited without the notes, or the air played without the words, neither would have been worth noting. It is, therefore, scarcely fair to put upon record lines intended not to be said or read, but only to be sung. But such scraps of old poetry have always had a sort of fascination for us; and as the tune is lost for ever -- unless Bishop happens to find the notes, or some lark teaches Stephens to warble the air -- we will risk our credit, and the taste of the Lady of the Lute, by preserving the verses, simple and even rude as they are.
Page modified 5 November 2012