Arts In Berwick -- Ballads and Poems
Walter Scott's Marmion
Undoubtedly the most influential poetical treatment of the battle of Flodden
is Walter Scott's Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field (1808).
Marmion of the title is the villain of the story lusting after the wealthy
Lady Clare. With the help of a forged letter his rival, Ralph De Wilton,
is accused of treason. But Constance, a fugitive nun, seduced by Marmion,
reveals the truth. Marmion is killed in the battle and Ralph and Clare
are reunited. Constance gets walled up alive for breaking her vows.
Scott's poem was one of his early successes written before he started
to make his reputation as a historical novelist. It was very influential
with Scott's evocative descriptions of several Borders sites such as Norham
Castle, Lindisfarne and the Flodden battlefield being reprinted in every
guidebook for the next century or more. In Scott's lifetime there were
several stage versions of the story and a couple of silent movies in early
years of the cinema.
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