Sir Walter Scott

Start Your Free Trial

I want to know the summary of the poem "Patriotism" by Sir Walter Scott.

Expert Answers info

coachingcorner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write1,346 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

In the poem 'Patriotism' by Sir Walter Scott, the poet talks about spiritual ideas, such as that of the soul, in terms of how far a person can call himself a true patriot. Being a Scot, and particularly a Borders Scot, the poet has firm ideas of his own as to what these qualities are. To be a true patriot a man must recognise the land of his birth as being his - in common with his compatriots. he must not only recognise the land he was born on, but love it too. He must feel homesick when away from his motherland and excited and enthusiastic,impatient even, on the thought of his return there. He must be stirred and his heart must swell at his native song and music. He must be a man who looks beyond himself and his own needs and desires towards the needs of his country and compatriots. Any native,Scott says, who does not have these feelings and commitments is not truly alive,has no soul and will die unremembered and unmissed.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

First six lines:

Scott opens the poem with a rhetorical question.  He uses it to say that anyone who has a soul must be patriotic.  Anyone who is truly alive must feel patriotism when they return from a foreign country.

Next two lines:

That kind of person feels no music within them -- means they have no emotions.

Rest of the poem:

No matter how rich or famous or important, that sort of person is selfish.  Because they're selfish, no one will think well of them.  When they die, no one will mourn them or praise them.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

As the title indicates, Scott's poem is designed to discuss the importance of love of one's land.  The first quarter of the poem extols the life and spirit of patriotism, and the results of a life devoid of it.  The poem then explores the implications of what happens when one is stripped of land and identity associated with it.  Being a native of Scotland, perhaps this is where there is some personal reflection in addressing the loss of one's home or the absence of it through war and political strife.  Essentially, Scott argues that no matter the amount of personal wealth and titles, the identity one gains from their own homeland and nation trumps all in fulfilling one's identity.  As you read the poem, keep these ideas in mind and pay attention to the imagery of how Scott brings out the reality of both being in love with one's country and how the absence of this love impacts an individual.  Scott does a very admirable job of bringing out both realities in the poem.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial



divyashreeraj | Student

g

check Approved by eNotes Editorial