The narrative poems in this collection are written by Sir Walter Scott — the well-known Scottish poet and novelist. Each of these five poems are based loosely upon German ballads: rewritten in flowing English meter.
* The Chase — a.k.a. The Wild Huntsman — A profligate, noble-born keeper of the royal forest — avidly addicted to the pleasures of the hunt — cruelly uses and mistreats his fellow-men. One day God's messengers come to test him: executing sentence immediately in just proportion to the huntsman's responses.
* William & Helen — William — long thought dead — unexpectedly returns at midnight from the crusades to marry his betrothed. Helen — relieved at his return — joyfully agree,s after initial misgivings: follows him on horseback into the night. Approaching the church in which they will celebrate their wedding: it is clear to Helen that all is not what it seems. But, with their mutual love strong enough to transcend death itself — what can possibly go wrong?
* The Fire King — Count Albert never returns from crusade: having being imprisoned by Saracens. Rosalie, his betrothed, swears to leave at once for Lebanon to find him. Rosalie succeeds — but alas, all is changed between them forever: and their parting is death itself.
* Frederick & Alice — Frederick breaks troth and abandons the beautiful Alice: sending her mad with grief. But Alice contrives to meet her faithless lover once more: beyond the grave.
* The Erl-King — The Erl-King (or Oak-King) sings for the soul of a human boy: who cringes for dear life within the arms of his father riding home through the dreary wood. But do spirits really have power to charm away the lives of the living?
(Introduction by Godsend)
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