Kenilworth

Kenilworth

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Kenilworth

Kenilworth

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The origin of "Kenilworth" is well known. Mr. Irving, Scott's friend in boyhood, and in a writer's office, says: "After the labours of the day were over, we often walked in the meadows" -- a large grassy space adjoining old Mr. Scott's house in George's Square -- "especially in the moonlight nights; and he seemed never weary of repeating the first stanza of Mickle's ballad --

The dews of summer night did fall;
The moon, sweet regent of the sky,
Silver'd the walls of Cumnor Hall,
And many an oak that grew thereby."

(Lockhart, i. 132.)

When Constable, after "The Abbot," requested that a picture of Elizabeth might follow that of Mary, Scott's memory went back to the magical verse of the ballad. Constable wished him to write on the affair of the Armada, suggesting that as a title, but Sir Walter was true to his old love. Constable himself insisted, against Scott's wish, on "Kenilworth," rather than "Cumnor Hall," as the name of the tale. John Ballantyne said the result "would be something worthy of the kennel," "but Constable had all reason to be satisfied with the child of his christening" (Lockhart, vi. 267). Constable had, at first, wanted a tale of the Puritans in the reign of Charles I.

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