The Lady of the Lake "Soldier, Rest! Thy Warfare O'er"

Sir Walter Scott

"Soldier, Rest! Thy Warfare O'er"

Context: Beside Loch Katrine a lost huntsman, from whom his prey, a stag, had escaped, blows his hunting horn to summon help, and succeeds in calling up a wondrously beautiful young woman, the Lady of the Lake. She had thought that her father had blown the horn, but she invites the stranger to come to her island home for entertainment for the night. She explains that all was prepared for him: his bed was made and ample game had been shot and fish netted for his food. When he explains that he is a total stranger to this part of the country, the lady, Ellen by name, replies that she is aware of that fact, for old Allan-bane had last night foretold his coming and perfectly described him. The two row to an island and follow a hidden road to a dwelling made from a wide variety of local materials. As they enter the house, a great sword falls to the floor from its place on a deer's antlers on the wall. The guest remarks that he has known only one man strong enough to wield it, but no explanation is given as to its ownership. The walls inside the building are covered with trophies of the battle and the hunt. The hostess of the house, the Lady Margaret, a relative, acts in place of a mother to Ellen. After dinner, to the sounds of an unseen harp, Ellen sings a song which begins with the statement that the soldier's fighting is over.

Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;
Dream of battled fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking.
In our isle's enchanted hall,
Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,
Fairy strains of music fall,
Every sense in slumber dewing.
Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more;
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Morn of toil, nor night of waking.