Two people do not have more rights
than one person, or two hundred, or
two thousand, or two million, any more
than they have more intelligence or decency.
From The Lay of The Last Minstrel
by Walter Scott
First published 1805
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL
by Walter Scott
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there-breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
O Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the ﬂood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e’er untie the ﬁlial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Still, as I view each well known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as, to me, of all bereft,
Sole friends, thy woods and streams were left;
And thus I love them better still,
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow’s stream still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way;
Still feel the breeze down Ettricke break,
Although it chill my withered cheek;
Though there, forgotten and alone,
The Bard may draw his parting groan.
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