Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 15, 1771. He began his literary career by writing metrical tales. The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Marmion, and The Lady of the Lake made him the most popular poet of his day. Sixty-five hundred copies of The Lay of the Last Minstrel were sold in the first three years, a record sale for poetry. His other poems include The Vision of Don Roderick, Rokeby, and The Lord of the Isles. He then abandoned poetry for prose. In 1814, he anonymously published a historical novel, Waverly, or, Sixty Years Since, the first of the series known as the Waverley novels. He wrote 23 novels anonymously during the next 13 years. The first master of historical fiction, he wrote novels that are historical in background rather than in character: A fictitious person always holds the foreground. In their historical sequence, the Waverley novels range in setting from the year 1090, the time of the First Crusade, to 1700, the period covered in St. Roman's Well (1824), set in a Scottish watering place. His other works include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, and The Bride of Lammermoor. He died on September 21, 1832.
The Lay of the Last Minstrel: A Poem, in Six Cantos