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Summary

Sir Walter Scott's second major work, Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field, is a narrative poem that tells of both romance and historical events. In the poem, Lord Marmion falls in love with a rich woman, Clara de Clare. In order to make her available to him, Marmion and his mistress Constance de Beverley, develop a plan to get rid of Clara’s fiancé, Sir Ralph De Wilton. The two forge documents indicating him in treason. After the charges against him find him to be guilty, De Wilton tries to defend his honor by the right to combat against Marmion; however, De Wilton loses and must run away to another country.

Lord Marmion’s plan unravels as Clara escapes to a convent in order to avoid him. Marmion abandons his mistress. Constance was a nun but she broke her vows to be with Marmion; therefore, she must face her punishment: death. Before the punishment is carried out, being walled up alive, she testifies providing documents that De Wilton is actually innocent.

During this time, De Wilton returns as a pilgrim in disguise and plans his revenge against Marmion. He follows Marmion to Scotland. There, the Earl of Angus has Constance’s documents and exonerates De Wilton. He provides De Wilton with armor to fight Marmion. However, once again a plan is doesn’t work out. Marmion dies on the battlefield fighting in the battle of Flodden Filed before De Wilton can get his revenge.

De Wilton fights honorably and bravely in the battle. He is given back is honor and property and is able to reunite with Clara. They are married and live a happy life.