Marmion "Nailed Her Colors To The Mast!"

Sir Walter Scott

"Nailed Her Colors To The Mast!"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Scott introduced each of the six cantos of his poem Marmion, a semi-historical tale of false and true love on the Scottish Border in the early 16th century, with a verse epistle to a friend. The introduction to the first canto, written to scholar and poet William Stewart Rose, is a eulogy of Britain's naval hero of the Napoleonic wars, Lord Nelson, and the rival statesmen Sir William Pitt and Charles James Fox. Speaking of Fox's firm, patriotic stand at the opening of the war against France, Scott wrote:

When Europe crouch'd to France's yoke,
And Austria bent, and Prussia broke,
And the firm Russian's purpose brave
Was barter'd by a timorous slave,
Even then dishonour's peace he spurn'd,
The sullied olive-branch return'd,
Stood for his country's glory fast,
And nail'd her colours to the mast!