|Genre||Epic poem, verse novel|
|Publisher||John Ballantyne, and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown|
Rokeby (1813) is a narrative poem in six cantos with voluminous antiquarian notes by Walter Scott. It is set in Teesdale during the English Civil War.
The first hint of Rokeby is found in a letter of 11 January 1811 from Scott to Lady Abercorn in which he says that although he is not currently engaged on a new poem he has 'sometimes thought of laying the scene during the great civil war in 1643'.  In June he was offered 3000 guineas for the poem, which had not yet been begun.  By 10 December he is thinking of setting the new work 'near Barnard Castle',  and on the 20th he writes to his friend J. B. S. Morritt, owner of Rokeby Park, that he has in mind 'a fourth romance in verse, the theme during the English civil wars of Charles I. and the scene your own domain of Rokeby', and asking for detailed local information. The proceeds of the poem will help finance building work at his new home, Abbotsford.  Composition seems to have started in the spring of 1812, but the first canto ran into problems. On 2 March he told Morritt that he had destroyed it 'after I had written it fair out because it did not quite please me'.  In the later spring he was at work again, now accompanied by the sound of the builders extending the cottage at Abbotsford.  In the middle of July he sent the new Canto 1 for comment by James Ballantyne and William Erskine,  but their verdict was unfavourable, sapping his confidence.  He decided to burn what he had written, having 'corrected the spirit out of it', but by 2 September he had 'resumed the pen in [his] old Cossack manner' and 'succeeded rather more to [his] own mind'.  Thereafter composition proceeded briskly, though at one stage Scott contemplated reducing the length to five cantos to enable publication for the Christmas market.  He paid Rokeby a visit in late September and early October to gather local colour.  The work was completed on the last day of 1812. 
Rokeby was published by John Ballantyne and Co. at Edinburgh on 11 January 1813, and at London on 15 January by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown. The price was two guineas (£2 2s or £2.10), and about 3000 copies were printed. Four further editions followed in the same year.  In 1830 Scott provided the poem with a new Introduction in Volume 8 of the 11-volume set of The Poetical Works. 
A critical edition is due to be published as Volume 4 of The Edinburgh Edition of Walter Scott's Poetry by Edinburgh University Press. 
At Oswald's instigation Bertram makes an attempt on the life of Philip, which he mistakenly thinks has succeeded, and an attack on Rokeby Castle, in which the castle is set on fire. Wilfrid and Matilda, through the efforts of Redmond, are able to escape the blaze. It emerges that Redmond, now in Oswald's hands, is the long-lost son of Philip, and that Philip has survived the assassination attempt. Oswald tries to force Lord Rokeby to accept a marriage between Wilfrid and Matilda, but this is prevented by Wilfrid's death. Bertram kills his master Oswald to avoid further bloodshed, but is killed in his turn. Philip is reunited with his son, and the young lovers marry.
Canto 1: Bertram Risingham arrives at Barnard Castle, and after informing Oswald Wycliffe that he has killed Philip Mortham, as agreed, while Philip and he were both fighting for the Parliament at Marston Moor, claims Philip's accumulated treasure as his reward. Oswald instructs his son Wilfrid, a soft lad in love with Matilda Rokeby, to accompany Bertram to Mortham Castle to secure the treasure.
Canto 2: As they arrive at Mortham, Bertram, who believes he has seen Philip's ghost, inadvertently reveals to Wilfrid that he killed him, but when Wilfrid tries to arrest him he reacts violently before being stopped by the living Philip who disappears again after warning Wilfrid not to divulge his continued existence. Oswald arrives, accompanied by Rokeby's page Redmond O'Neale, who says he witnessed the murder at Marston and initiates a vain search for Bertram who has fled the scene. Oswald tells his son that Rokeby has been taken prisoner in the battle and consigned to his charge, and that though Redmond is Wilfrid's rival for Matilda's affection she may be induced to accept him to secure her father's release.
Canto 3: After an arduous flight Bertram vows vengeance on Redmond, Oswald, and Wilfrid, believing that Oswald had intended to deprive him of the treasure. He encounters Guy Denzil and agrees to head a band of outlaws, including a young minstrel Edmund of Winston, quartered in a cave. Denzil tells Bertram that the treasure is in fact at Rokeby, whither Philip had moved it intending that his niece Matilda should inherit it in the event of his death in battle. Denzil and Bertram make plans to attack the castle.
Canto 4: Matilda takes the air with the civilised rivals for her affections Wilfrid and Redmond: the latter had been her childhood companion after he was consigned to Rokeby's keeping because of his grandfather's destitution and physical deterioration in Ireland. For a while Rokeby had been inclined to favour a match proposed by Oswald between Matilda and Wilfrid, but he had changed his mind when Oswald defected to the Parliamentary side. Matilda tells Wilfrid and Redmond how Philip had consigned his treasure to her with a written account of his story: Oswald had failed to seduce his wife and in revenge had managed matters so that Oswald should kill her on suspicion of infidelity. Soon afterwards Philip's infant son had been abducted by armed men. After a career of piracy in South America Philip had returned, accompanied by Bertram, seeking vengeance and his son. After renouncing vengeance on religious grounds, he had entrusted the treasure to Matilda's keeping. Wilfrid and Redmond agree to convey Matilda to her captive father in Barnard Castle, transferring the treasure from Rokeby at the same time.
Canto 5: Matilda, with Wilfrid and Redmond at Rokeby, admits the minstrel Edmund who opens the postern for Bertram and his robber band. The castle is set alight: Matilda, Redmond, the injured Wilfrid, and separately Bertram escape the conflagration.
Canto 6: Three days later, Edmund returns to the robber cave and unearths a small casket with gold artefacts. He is interrupted by Bertram and tells him how Denzil and he, taken captive after the conflagration, had agreed with Oswald to save their lives by making a statement that Rokeby had enlisted their aid to storm Barnard Castle. Oswald had received a letter from Philip asking for the return of his son; Denzil announced that that son was Redmond, who had been abducted to Ireland as an infant by his grandfather O'Neale and brought back as a young man to be Rokeby's page, along with the artefacts which fell into Denzil's thieving hands, and which included an account engraved on gold tablets. Oswald has sent Edmund to retrieve the artefacts. Edmund tells Bertram that he intends to convey the artefacts to Philip and inform him that Redmond is his son. Bertram, moved, sends Edmund to tell Philip of his repentance, and ask him to lead forces to help Redmond. Oswald has Denzil executed and prepares to put pressure on Matilda to marry Wilfrid by readying the ruined church of Egliston for the beheading of her father and Redmond. Matilda agrees, but Wilfrid dies of his wounds. Oswald commands the executions to proceed, but Bertram rides into the church and shoots him dead before himself being killed by Oswald's men. Matilda and Redmond marry.
Rokeby was judged Scott's best poem to date by several reviewers.  In particular the newly developed character interest was generally welcomed, and there was praise for the vigorous and well-conducted story and for the work's moral beauty.
Sales were initially promising. J. G. Lockhart reported that bookshops in Oxford were besieged by customers wanting to read the poem, and bets were placed as to whether Rokeby would outsell Byron's recent Childe Harold's Pilgrimage . Byron himself wrote urgently from Italy asking his publisher John Murray to send him a copy.  In the event Rokeby sold ten thousand copies in the first three months. 
Thomas Moore sarcastically wrote that Scott's works were turning into a picturesque tour of Britain's stately homes.  Lockhart, writing after Scott's death, admired the scenery of Rokeby, and found many thrilling episodes and lines scattered through the poem; he attributed its disappointing sales to the inevitable comparisons drawn by the public with Childe Harold’s greater raciness and romantic glamour.  In the 20th century John Buchan thought the plot too intricate for a poem. Comparing Rokeby with Scott's earlier works he found the landscape not as beguiling, but the character-drawing more subtle, and the songs superior to all of his former lyrics.  Andrew Lang also admired the songs, but considered the poem as a whole inferior to its predecessors, and, in common with other critics, thought the story better suited for a novel.   In Edgar Johnson's opinion the structure of the poem was strikingly innovative, but beyond Scott's powers at that date to bring off wholly successfully.  A. N. Wilson noted that most readers today think of it as a failure. He himself, while agreeing that it fell below the standard of vintage Scott, thought it worth re-reading. 
Over a hundred musical adaptations or settings of lines from Rokeby are known. These include several songs and glees by John Clarke Whitfield, a song by William Hawes, an opera called Rokeby Castle by William Reeve, and a projected opera by Glinka from which only one song survives.  
The actor-manager William Macready wrote, produced and starred in a stage version of Rokeby in 1814. Another adaptation by George John Bennett, a five-act play called Retribution, or Love's Trials, was produced at Sadler's Wells in 1850.  
The artist J. M. W. Turner produced a watercolour of the river Greta at Rokeby in 1822, which had been commissioned from him as an illustration to Scott's poem. 
The unincorporated area of Rokeby, Nebraska, is believed to be named after the poem. 
rokeby glinka scott.
Abbotsford is a historic country house in the Scottish Borders, near Galashiels, on the south bank of the River Tweed. Now open to the public, it was built as the residence of historical novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott between 1817 and 1825. It is a Category A Listed Building and the estate is listed in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, was a Scottish historical novelist, poet, playwright and historian. Many of his works remain classics of European and Scottish literature, notably the novels Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Waverley, Old Mortality, The Heart of Mid-Lothian and The Bride of Lammermoor, and the narrative poems The Lady of the Lake and Marmion. He had a major impact on European and American literature.
Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field is a historical romance in verse of 16th-century Scotland and England by Sir Walter Scott, published in 1808. Consisting of six cantos, each with an introductory epistle, and copious antiquarian notes, it concludes with the Battle of Flodden in 1513.
The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) is a narrative poem in six cantos with copious antiquarian notes by Walter Scott. Set in the Scottish Borders in the mid-16th century, it is represented within the work as being sung by a minstrel late in the 1600s.
Castle Dangerous (1831) was the last of Walter Scott's Waverley novels. It is part of Tales of My Landlord, 4th series, with Count Robert of Paris. The castle of the title is Douglas Castle in Lanarkshire, and the action, based on an episode in The Brus by John Barbour, is set in March 1307 against the background of the First War of Scottish Independence.
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border is an anthology of Border ballads, together with some from north-east Scotland and a few modern literary ballads, edited by Walter Scott. It was first published in 1802, but was expanded in several later editions, reaching its final state in 1830, two years before Scott's death. It includes many of the most famous Scottish ballads, such as Sir Patrick Spens, The Young Tamlane, The Twa Corbies, The Douglas Tragedy, Clerk Saunders, Kempion, The Wife of Usher's Well, The Cruel Sister, The Dæmon Lover, and Thomas the Rhymer. Scott enlisted the help of several collaborators, notably John Leyden, and found his ballads both by field research of his own and by consulting the manuscript collections of others. Controversially, in the editing of his texts he preferred literary quality over scholarly rigour, but Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border nevertheless attracted high praise from the first. It was influential both in Britain and on the Continent, and helped to decide the course of Scott's later career as a poet and novelist. In recent years it has been called "the most exciting collection of ballads ever to appear."
The Lady of the Lake is a narrative poem by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1810. Set in the Trossachs region of Scotland, it is composed of six cantos, each of which concerns the action of a single day. There are voluminous antiquarian notes. The poem has three main plots: the contest among three men, Roderick Dhu, James Fitz-James, and Malcolm Graeme, to win the love of Ellen Douglas; the feud and reconciliation of King James V of Scotland and James Douglas; and a war between the Lowland Scots and the Highland clans. The poem was tremendously influential in the nineteenth century, and inspired the Highland Revival.
Sir Thomas Robinson, 1st Baronet (1703–1777), of Rokeby, Yorkshire, was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1727 to 1734 and a Governor of Barbados. He was an architect, collector and an extravagant character, whose life was the inspiration for numerous anecdotes.
The Vision of Don Roderick is a poem in Spenserian stanzas by Sir Walter Scott, published in 1811. It celebrated the recent victories of the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War, and proceeds of its sale were to raise funds for Portugal.
The Bridal of Triermain is a narrative poem in three cantos by Walter Scott, published anonymously in 1813. It is written in a flexible metre of four and three stress lines. Set in Cumberland, it recounts the exploits of a knight as he seeks to rescue a beautiful maiden, Gyneth, the illegitimate daughter of King Arthur, doomed by Merlin 500 years previously to an enchanted sleep inside a magic castle.
Harold the Dauntless is a narrative poem in six short cantos by Walter Scott, published in 1817. It employs a variety of metres.
The Lord of the Isles is a narrative poem by Walter Scott in six cantos with substantial notes. Set in 1307 and 1314 Scotland it covers the story of Robert the Bruce from his return from exile in Ireland to the successful culmination of his struggle to secure Scottish independence from English control at the Battle of Bannockburn. Interwoven with this account is a romantic fiction centring on one of the Bruce's prominent supporters, Ronald, Lord of the Isles, involving his love for the Bruce's sister Isabel, who eventually takes the veil, and the transfer of his affections to Edith of Lorn to whom he had been betrothed at the beginning of the poem and whom he marries at the end.
William Erskine, Lord Kinneder (1768–1822), was a friend and confidant of Sir Walter Scott, and a scholar and songwriter.
John Bacon Sawrey Morritt was an English traveller, politician and classical scholar.
Ralph Rokeby was an English barrister and judge who held high office in Ireland.
The Field of Waterloo is a poem by Walter Scott, written and published in 1815. It is in iambic tetrameters and trimeters with a few Spenserian stanzas at the end. The work moves from a depiction of the site of the battle, with farm life renewing in the autumn, to an account of the conflict, highlighting Napoleon and Wellington, and a roll-call of prominent British casualties.
“Glenfinlas; or, Lord Ronald's Coronach” by Walter Scott, written in 1798 and first published in 1800, was, as Scott remembered it, his first original poem as opposed to translations from the German. A short narrative of 264 lines, it tells a supernatural story based on a Highland legend. Though highly appreciated by many 19th century readers and critics it is now overshadowed by his later and longer poems.
The letters of Sir Walter Scott, the novelist and poet, range in date from September 1788, when he was aged 17, to June 1832, a few weeks before his death. About 7000 letters from Scott are known, and about 6500 letters addressed to him. The major repository of both is the National Library of Scotland. H. J. C. Grierson's The Letters of Sir Walter Scott (1932–1937), though it includes only about 3500, remains the standard edition.
Illustrations of Northern Antiquities (1814), or to give its full title Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, from the Earlier Teutonic and Scandinavian Romances; Being an Abstract of the Book of Heroes, and Nibelungen Lay; with Translations of Metrical Tales, from the Old German, Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic Languages; with Notes and Dissertations, was a pioneering work of comparative literature which provided translations and abstracts of various works written in medieval Germany and Scandinavia. Its three authors were Henry Weber, who précised the Nibelungenlied and Heldenbuch; Robert Jamieson, who translated Danish and other ballads, stressing their close connection with Scottish ballads; and Walter Scott, who provided an abstract of Eyrbyggja saga. It significantly extended British readers' access to early Germanic literature.
Christopher Rokeby, Rokesby, Rooksby, or Rooksbie was an English soldier and secret agent.