The Most Common Characteristics of Romanticism in Sir Walter Scott’s Poem “Marmion”
Close your eyes and try to picture what a “Romantics” poem looks and sounds like. What comes to mind? Do you picture a poem that is all about love and the yearning of being together? The most common characteristics of Romanticism consist of an importance on emotional and creative impulsiveness, the significance of expressiveness and singular sensation. Romantic poetry is about the heart and the sentiments. Romanticism searches the ‘truth of the imagination’ instead of the logical accuracy. With this in mind, what is the first poet or poem that you think of? My first thought rushes to Sir Walter Scott and his poem Marmion.
Walter Scott’s Marmion was much more intriguing than any other type of poetry we have read in this class. The plot began in Act 1 revealing major character’s complexity among the text. It dives into a clear description and insight of Marmion’s character.“He was a stalworth knight, and keen,And had in many a battle been;The scar on his brown cheek reveal’d” (Scott 65).His thick mustache, and curly hair,Coal-black, and grizzled here and there, (Scott 70).It is clear that Marmion has had some history behind his battles and hardships. This description of Marmion allowed readers to get an actual understanding of his past and facial features. Sir Walter then dives into unfolding the meaning of his text.When Lord Marmion travels, he is received and greeted with that of respect.
He is known as a nobleman whose status as a courageous and fearless knight is unblemished. The English monarch directs him to the Scottish high court. He is to attempt to convince that country’s ruler to terminate the fortified invasions. Marmion makes a request to be provided with him an escort. When there is no others are available, a righteous man who had completed numerous journeys to religious shrines is suggested.Coinciding at this time, a prioress, escorted by quite a few nuns, is undertaking an ocean passage to Cuthbert Isle. There to hold an interrogation over two detainees of the Church. One of the nuns onboard is Clare Fitz-Clare, a beautiful young lady that came to the convent subsequently after her fiancé was thought to have perished. The other is Constance de Beverley.
In fact, Marmion had professed his affection for Constance de Beverley, who forsook her oaths, departed from the convent, and traveled with him. Before death finds her, Constance acknowledges to the prioress, confiding in her the truth of her existence, affections, and unfaithfulness and of her fall from grace. She states that it was Marmion, the fair-minded adventurer, well-known everywhere as a picture of qualities and merits, that seduced her, manipulated her to act and perform a horrific wrongdoing against Clara’s betrothed and at that point persistently gave an account of her to the abbess.
The Climax is when Marmion does the least expected, being he is a valiant knight. Trusting his declarations of love and affection for her, Constance runs away from the convent and trails behind him for years as his page. When Marmion encounters lovely Clare Fitz-Clare, and, since she is a beneficiary of great treasure, he leaves Constance to pursue Clare for his wife-to-be. His obsession with this rich woman’s wealth pushes him to committing forgery to ruin her current relationship with her fiancé. The monarch would promise him young Clare’s hand; however she loves another knight, Ralph de Wilton. It is a huge plot twist for a knight to do something so sneaky and wrong.Marmion reports treason to the monarchy. He has paperwork, though forged, that shows fabricated evidence that de Wilton is disloyal to the king. The two knights battle in a duel, where de Wilton is left for dead. Constance, whom is shortly to die, offers the documents verifying the falsification to the abbess and pleads her to send the documents to the king to save Clare from an intolerable wedding. Even though Clare has gone into a convent instead of wanting to marry Marmion, the king will show his power and force the marriage if Clare is found. Though the courts have pity on her, Constance is suffers an atrocious death.
Marmion is held responsible for Constance being buried alive. This hero does not seem so heroic after all.After hearing the appalling story, the abbess seeks to locate de Wilton, however, the supposedly dead knight has found a way to come back into the country. With great surprise, the discreet and serene priest, Marmion’s guide and companion, is de Wilton in masquerade. He tracks Marmion, who desires to depart after effectively implementing the King’s assignment. Marmion has ideas to request of Henry VIII that he be able to take Clara de Clare from the convent and make her wed him. The abbess, after learning this, delivers the evidence to de Wilton, with hopes that his name will be cleared and he will be able to charge Marmion of these hideous corruptions he committed.After acquiring the documentation, a disguise is not needed for de Wilton anymore. At his return he delivers the evidences of his innocence to Marmion’s host. Profoundly surprised and revolted by Marmion’s actions, the host instantaneously reinstates de Wilton and provided him with a new horse and armor. Once again a knight, de Wilton desires to return to Marmion to destroy him for good.In the intervening time, Marmion arrives and begins to court not only the wife of Douglas but also the mistress of King James.
King James furiously sends Marmion back to Archibald Douglas. In the process of Marmion heading there, the abbess and Clara are seized and are also taken to Douglas.However, the Battle of Flodden disrupts everyone’s plans. In the trenches of war, Marmion glimpses the “priest” he journeyed with. The “priest” is now covered in protective covering and sits on a glorious horse. At some point, Marmion identifies de Wilton. de Wilton charges Marmion of all his evil deeds. With the desire to dual again, sadly this never occurs. In the pandemonium of the conflict, Marmion is fatally injured and passes away, regretful of his sins. Marmion performed several actions that depicted a terrible representation of how Knights are supposed to present their selves. At the end, karma sneaks up on him leading him to his death. The resolution is that Marmion’s terrible actions did not allow him to live a long life.”He shook the fragment of his blade,And shouted ‘Victory!- Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!’Were the last words of Marmion” (990).Sadly, the results of the story ended in his death.
In this Romantic poem, there was love and the desire for love. There was also the belief that the savage is noble, childhood is good and the emotions inspired by both beliefs causes the heart to soar. The hero was a hero but also was unheroic. The elements of this poem show us that scheming and lying will only get you so far. It also shows us that Karma has a way of sneaking up on us when we least expect it.
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