Sir Walter Scott Questions and Answers

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Can you summarize the poem "Lochinvar" by Sir Walter Scott?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The story of young Lochinvar, a gallant knight, is really a stirring one and a well written one. To summarize, we first see Lochinvar as he gallops upon his steed over the countryside. He carries his broadsword but wears no other weapon or armor:

And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,
He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone.

We are told he was hastening on with a fury of rush to the castle of Netherby because within Ellen was to be wed to the wrong man: "a laggard in love, and a dastard in war." His uninvited entry to the bridal hall caused quite the tumult, for Ellen's father, ready to draw his sword, asked why he was there: was Lochinvar there to celebrate Ellen's wedding or to cause a riot of trouble?

Here we learn that Lochinvar's suit for Ellen's hand was rejected by her father and that he has come to drink one goblet of wine and to dance one dance with Ellen by way of mourning and parting rather than by way of celebrating. In dread, this is allowed. Ellen hands him a cup with a kiss in it and with blush on her face. Then, before her mother can stop him, he takes Ellen's hand and they begin a dance.

Amidst this tense scene, he leans and speaks something in her ear. When their dance has led them to the door, they run for it, jump upon his horse and fly away with all his charger's speed. Though all look and search for her, Ellen of Netherby is never seen again, nor is Lochinvar. [Interesting side note that it seems Jane Austen may have borrowed Netherby for Bingley's home, Netherfield, in Pride and Prejudice.]

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?

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