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.
The first hints of The Lord of the Isles can be found in two letters of 1808 and 1810 from Scott to Joanna Baillie: in 1808 he expressed his hope that he would one day include the Battle of Bannockburn in a poem, and in 1810 he states that if he writes another poem (after The Lady of the Lake ) he intends 'to take the Hebridean character and scenery with that of the North of Ireland for [his] subject'.  It seems that Scott made a substantial start on the poem featuring the Bruce, then called 'The Nameless Glen', in late 1811 or early 1812, but he laid it aside for Rokeby, begun in the spring of the latter year.  With Rokeby completed at the end of 1812 Scott's thoughts turned again to the Bruce poem: in June 1813 he offered a half share in the poem to Archibald Constable for £2500 (or the whole for £5000), but the contract eventually concluded on 22 July 1815 set this sum at 1500 guineas (£1575).  Scott's creative energies during 1813 and 1814 had been devoted mainly to the completion of his first novel Waverley . In August and early September 1814 he arranged to join a voyage to inspect the lighthouses around the Scottish coast on the cutter of the Commissioners for the Northern Lights so that when he resumed work on The Lord of the Isles he would be 'strong on scenery'.  He had hoped to have the work ready for the Christmas trade,  but although he made good progress it took a month longer than he had anticipated: Canto 3 was complete by 10 November,  and the last stanza of the sixth and final canto was sent off on 16 December. 
The Lord of the Isles was published on 2 January in Edinburgh by Archibald Constable and Co. and on 13 January in London by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown. The price was two guineas (£2 2s or £2.10), and 1750 copies were printed. Two further less expensive editions appeared in March and April (14s or 70p), adding a further 12,000 copies.  In 1830 Scott provided the poem with a new Introduction in Volume 9 of the 11-volume set of The Poetical Works. 
A critical edition is due to be published as Volume 6 of The Edinburgh Edition of Walter Scott's Poetry by Edinburgh University Press. 
Canto 1: In 1307 at Artornish Castle, Edith of Lorn gloomily awaits the arrival of her bridegroom Ronald, Lord of the Isles, believing that he does not love her. Ronald's fleet passes a skiff containing two knights and a maiden [Robert the Bruce, his brother Edward, and their sister Isabel] who are granted shelter at the castle.
Canto 2: The elder knight is recognised by Edith's brother the Lord of Lorn as the Bruce, who had murdered his father-in-law the Red Comyn in Greyfriars Church, Dumfries. Swords are drawn, and Isabel makes an appeal for peace, nominally to the visiting English knight De Argentine but in fact to Ronald whose response indicates that he is in love with her. De Argentine seeks to arrest the Bruce in the name of the King of England, but the Abbot who arrives to conduct the wedding, after trying to pronounce a curse on the Bruce as an excommunicated murderer, is moved instead to acclaim him as the rightful king of Scotland before sailing off again.
Canto 3: Ronald pledges his loyalty to the Bruce, and they leave for Skye while Edward escorts Isabel to Ireland. Edith and her stepmother Morag have fled with the Abbot's party. On Skye the Bruce and Ronald are attacked by a band of Lorn supporters who slay Ronald's page as he mounts guard but are all killed in their turn. A mute minstrel boy captured at sea by the band survives and joins the Bruce and Ronald.
Canto 4: Edward arrives on Skye to announce that King Edward has died and that forces are assembling to support the Bruce who leaves to meet them on Arran. There he visits Isabel in St Bride's convent, to which she has been entrusted by Edward, and presses Ronald's claims to her affections (at his request). However, she says that her thoughts are fixed on heaven, and that Ronald should marry Edith as arranged unless she renounces him by returning his ring. The Bruce leaves to arrange for a message to be sent to a bedesman Cuthbert in Carrick on the mainland opposite to kindle a beacon when the time is propitious for him to cross over.
Canto 5: The next morning, Isabel finds Ronald's ring on the floor of her cell with a covering note from Edith and realises the page, who has now disappeared, must be Edith. She sends a priest to ask that the Bruce, or at least the page, should return to the convent, but the Bruce discovers that Edward has sent the page to carry the Bruce's mandate to Cuthbert. When the Bruce arrives at Carrick in response to the beacon, he is met by the page bearing a message from Cuthbert warning him that the light was deceptive and that the English forces under Clifford are strong, but he decides to press on regardless. Ronald takes charge of the page, but the 'boy' is captured by some of Clifford's men from Turnberry Castle and led to execution. The Bruce and Ronald capture the castle and rescue the page (now known as Amadine).
Canto 6: The Bruce sends Amadine to join Isabel at St Bride's where they pass some years in calm seclusion, Isabel taking the veil. In 1314 Isabel advises Edith (with the Bruce's knowledge and consent) to reassume her page disguise to test the sincerity of Ronald's reported repentance of his breach of faith. Amadine/Edith arrives at Bannockburn on the eve of the battle for Stirling Castle, the last English possession in Scotland. During the battle the apparently mute Amadine spurs the onlookers to join in the conflict. De Argentine is one of the English slain as their army is defeated. The Bruce prepares to attend the wedding of Ronald and Edith.
Although The Lord was not judged the best of Scott's poems it met with a generally favourable reception.  Its weakest feature was the unsatisfactory relationship between the historical and fictitious elements, Francis Jeffrey writing in The Edinburgh Review : 'we continue to look for the resumption of that wilder legend, long after the Bruce has filled the scene with his own real presence; and, of course, lend but a careless ear to the first exploits of him whom we do not immediately recognize as its proper hero'.  Generally the characters were thought somewhat lacking in interest. The concluding description of Bannockburn was pronounced fine, but inferior to that of Flodden which ends Marmion.
Robert I, popularly known as Robert the Bruce, was King of Scots from 1306 to his death in 1329. One of the most renowned warriors of his generation, Robert eventually led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland's place as an independent kingdom and is now revered in Scotland as a national hero.
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.
The Battle of Bannockburn on 23 and 24 June 1314 was a victory of the army of King of Scots Robert the Bruce over the army of King Edward II of England in the First War of Scottish Independence. Although it did not bring an end to the war, as victory would only be secured 14 years later, Bannockburn is still a major landmark in Scottish history.
Sir James Douglas was a Scottish knight and feudal lord. He was one of the chief commanders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.
Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray was a soldier and diplomat in the Wars of Scottish Independence, who later served as regent of Scotland. He was a nephew of Robert the Bruce, who created him as the first earl of Moray. He was known for successfully capturing Edinburgh Castle from the English, and he was one of the signatories of the Declaration of Arbroath.
Walter Stewart was the 6th Hereditary High Steward of Scotland and was the father of King Robert II of Scotland, the first Stewart monarch.
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.
Clan MacKinnon or Clan Fingon is a Highland Scottish clan associated with the islands of Mull and Skye, in the Inner Hebrides.
The Bruce campaign was a three-year military campaign in Ireland by Edward Bruce, brother of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce. It lasted from his landing at Larne in 1315 to his defeat and death in 1318 at the Battle of Faughart in County Louth. It was part of the First War of Scottish Independence and the conflict between the Irish, Scoto-Normans, and the Hiberno-Normans.
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.
Lorne is an ancient province in the west of Scotland, which is now a district in the Argyll and Bute council area. The district gives its name to the Lynn of Lorn National Scenic Area, one of forty such areas in Scotland, which have been defined so as to identify areas of exceptional scenery and to ensure its protection from inappropriate development. The national scenic areas cover 15,726 ha, of which 10,088 ha are marine seascape, and includes the whole of the island of Lismore, along with neighbouring areas on the mainland such as Benderloch and Port Appin, and the Shuna Island.
The Battle of Dalrigh, also known as the Battle of Dail Righ, Battle of Dalry or Battle of Strathfillan, was fought in 1306 between the army of King Robert the Bruce against Clan MacDougall of Argyll, who were allies of Clan Comyn and the English. It took place at the hamlet of Dalrigh near Tyndrum in Perthshire, Scotland. Bruce's army, reeling westwards after defeat by the English on 19 June at the Battle of Methven, was intercepted and all but destroyed, with Bruce himself narrowly escaping capture. The battle took place sometime between July and early August, but the exact date is unknown.
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.
Malcolm Maclean or Maolcaluim mac Giliosa in Scottish Gaelic, was the 3rd Chief of Clan Maclean. Malcolm's name has been written Maol-Calum and Gille-Calum, which means Servant of Columba. He became the Chief of Clan Maclean on the death of his father in 1300. He was succeeded by John Dubh Maclean, 4th Clan Chief, his youngest son. Though the eldest son inherited in many clans by then (including Robert Bruce, the eldest of four sons of Robert Bruce VI. who became King of Scots, and Alexander Og Macdonald, his father's eldest son who became Lord of the Isles on the death of Angus Mor Macdonald, it was a time of transition concerning the law of primogeniture. He died around 1320.
The Brooch of Lorn or Braìste Lathurna in Gaelic, is a medieval "turreted" disk brooch supposedly taken from Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Dalrigh in 1306. However it is today dated long after this period.
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.
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 Queen's Wake is a narrative poem by James Hogg, first published in 1813. It consists of an Introduction, three Nights, and a Conclusion, totalling over five thousand lines, and there are also authorial notes. The poem presents the contributions, in various metres, of a series of Scottish bards to a competition organised by Mary, Queen of Scots on her arrival in Scotland from France in 1561.