'Lochinvar' by Sir Walter Scott

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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 enter'd 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 I am 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 gailiard 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 Graemes 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?

Editor 1 Interpretation

Lochinvar - A Classic Piece of Poetry by Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott is undoubtedly one of the greatest poets of all time, and his works continue to captivate readers even today. One of his most renowned poems is Lochinvar, a romantic ballad that tells the story of a nobleman who rides into a wedding ceremony and sweeps the bride off her feet. The poem is a testament to Scott's mastery of language and his ability to convey emotion through words.

The Plot

The poem begins with the introduction of Lochinvar, a Scottish nobleman who is in love with a woman named Ellen. However, Ellen's father has arranged for her to marry another man, a wealthy lord who is hosting a grand wedding ceremony. Despite this, Lochinvar decides to attend the wedding, determined to win Ellen's heart.

When Lochinvar arrives at the wedding, he is greeted with suspicion and hostility by the lord and his guests. However, he manages to charm Ellen with his wit and charisma, and she agrees to run away with him. The two ride off into the night, pursued by the angry lord and his men.

In the end, Lochinvar and Ellen manage to outrun their pursuers and escape to safety. The poem ends with the suggestion that the two lovers will live happily ever after.

The Language

Scott's use of language in Lochinvar is nothing short of remarkable. The poem is written in ballad form, with a simple and repetitive structure that is easy to follow. However, the language itself is rich and vivid, with a wealth of descriptive imagery that brings the story to life.

For example, consider the following lines:

So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

These lines not only convey the character of Lochinvar himself but also evoke the entire chivalric tradition of medieval Europe. The use of the word "knight" conjures up images of shining armor and noble deeds, while the phrase "faithful in love" emphasizes the romantic aspect of the story.

Similarly, the description of Ellen as "the fairest of maidens" is a classic trope of medieval romance, while the imagery of the "flashing white steed" that Lochinvar rides is both vivid and evocative.

The Themes

Underlying the story of Lochinvar are several key themes that are relevant even today. These include the power of love, the conflict between duty and desire, and the triumph of the individual over society.

At its core, Lochinvar is a story about two people who are in love and are willing to risk everything for each other. Ellen is torn between her duty to her family and her love for Lochinvar, while Lochinvar is willing to risk his life to win her heart.

Furthermore, the conflict between Lochinvar and the lord who is hosting the wedding represents the conflict between the individual and society. Lochinvar is a nobleman who is used to getting his way, while the lord represents the established order that seeks to maintain social norms and conventions.

Finally, the triumph of Lochinvar and Ellen at the end of the poem represents the triumph of love over all obstacles. Despite the odds against them, the two lovers manage to escape and live happily ever after, a testament to the power of love to overcome even the most daunting challenges.

The Legacy

Lochinvar has become a classic piece of poetry that continues to be studied and admired today. Its themes of love, duty, and individualism are timeless and relevant, and its language and imagery continue to inspire readers.

Furthermore, the poem has had a lasting impact on popular culture, with references to Lochinvar appearing in everything from movies to TV shows to popular songs. Its enduring popularity is a testament to the enduring power of Scott's poetry and the universal appeal of its themes.


In conclusion, Lochinvar is a classic piece of poetry that continues to captivate readers even today. It is a testament to Sir Walter Scott's mastery of language and his ability to convey emotion through words.

The poem's themes of love, duty, and individualism are timeless and relevant, and its language and imagery continue to inspire readers. With its enduring popularity and lasting impact on popular culture, Lochinvar is truly a masterpiece of poetry that will continue to be admired for generations to come.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Lochinvar: A Timeless Tale of Love and Chivalry

If there is one poem that has stood the test of time and captured the hearts of generations, it is Sir Walter Scott's "Lochinvar." This classic ballad, first published in 1808, tells the story of a brave knight who rides to the rescue of his beloved, defying all odds and obstacles to win her hand in marriage. With its vivid imagery, stirring language, and timeless themes of love and chivalry, "Lochinvar" remains a beloved masterpiece of English literature.

The poem opens with a description of the Scottish countryside, where the "young Lochinvar" is riding to the wedding of his lady love, Ellen. The scene is set with rich detail, as Scott paints a picture of rolling hills, rushing rivers, and a sky "as soft and bright as a poet's dream." The reader is immediately transported to this idyllic setting, and the stage is set for the drama to come.

As Lochinvar arrives at the wedding feast, he is greeted with suspicion and hostility by Ellen's family. They fear that he has come to disrupt the wedding and steal away their daughter. But Lochinvar is undaunted, and he boldly declares his love for Ellen, vowing to win her hand in marriage or die trying. His words are passionate and persuasive, and he wins over the crowd with his charm and charisma.

The heart of the poem is the thrilling chase scene that follows, as Lochinvar and Ellen flee the wedding feast and ride off into the night. The pursuit is described in vivid detail, with Scott's language evoking the sound of hooves pounding on the ground, the rush of wind in the riders' ears, and the thrill of danger and adventure. The reader is swept up in the excitement of the chase, rooting for Lochinvar and Ellen to escape their pursuers and find happiness together.

The climax of the poem comes when Lochinvar and Ellen finally reach safety, and he declares his love for her once again. His words are tender and heartfelt, and he promises to cherish her forever. Ellen is won over by his sincerity and bravery, and she agrees to marry him. The poem ends on a note of triumph and joy, as the two lovers ride off into the sunset together.

What makes "Lochinvar" such a timeless classic is its themes of love and chivalry. Lochinvar is the archetypal knight in shining armor, brave and noble in his pursuit of his lady love. He is willing to risk everything for her, even his own life, and his devotion to her is unwavering. Ellen, for her part, is a worthy match for Lochinvar, strong and independent in her own right. She is not content to be a passive object of desire, but rather an active participant in the drama, making her own choices and standing up for what she believes in.

The poem also captures the beauty and romance of the Scottish countryside, with its rolling hills, rushing rivers, and dramatic landscapes. Scott's language is rich and evocative, painting a vivid picture of this idyllic setting and immersing the reader in its beauty and charm.

But perhaps the most enduring aspect of "Lochinvar" is its sense of adventure and excitement. The poem is a thrilling ride from start to finish, with its chase scenes, daring escapes, and moments of high drama. It is a story of passion and courage, of love and loyalty, and of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.

In conclusion, "Lochinvar" is a timeless masterpiece of English literature, a classic ballad that has captured the hearts of generations. Its themes of love and chivalry, its vivid imagery and stirring language, and its sense of adventure and excitement make it a work of enduring beauty and power. Sir Walter Scott's poem is a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit, and a celebration of the timeless values of courage, devotion, and true love.

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