The Lady of the Lake "The Guardian Naiad Of The Strand"

Sir Walter Scott

"The Guardian Naiad Of The Strand"

Context: When the stag at eve had drunk his fill, he had made his bed in a wood in Glenartney, but with the dawn a hunt begins. A hundred hounds and mounted riders pursue the stag all day. Finally only one rider and two hounds are still in the chase. At evening, when it seems that the stag is cornered and will have to stand at bay, it eludes the hounds and slips off into safety in the wildest part of the Trosachs. When this event occurs, the huntsman's gallant gray horse falls to the ground and dies. The hunter then blows the horn to recall the hounds, which limp back to him, slow, crippled, and sullen. The hunter finds himself upon the shore of Loch Katrine; the scenery is so beautiful that it seems like a fairy dream rather than reality. He enjoys the view for a while and imagines what a magnificent site it would be for a nobleman's or proud churchman's tower, a lady's bower, or a cloister. As, however, he is hopelessly lost in strange territory, he blows his hunting horn again to see if help might be forthcoming. The blast of the horn causes a little skiff to issue from a bay. The occupant of the boat, a young woman of exceeding beauty, comparable only to a Greek deity, actually the Lady of the Lake, like the guardian Naiad of the shore, pauses to listen to the echoes of the horn.

. . .
The boat had touched this silver strand,
Just as the Hunter left his stand,
And stood concealed amid the brake,
To view this Lady of the Lake.
The maiden paused, as if again
She thought to catch the distant strain.
With head upraised, and look intent,
And eye and ear attentive bent,
And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,
In listening mood, she seemed to stand,
The guardian Naiad of the strand.