‘He was, indeed, in this canto[the last of Marmion], at his best; and when “Scott’s poetry is at its best”, says Matthew Arnold, “it is undoubtedly very good indeed.”…Matthew Arnold quotes these verses: -
Turnstall lies dead upon the field,
His life blood stains the spotless shield:
Edmund is down: - my life is reft;
The admiral alone is left.
Let Stanley charge with spur of fire;
With Chester charge, and Lancashire,
Full upon Scotland’s central host,
Or victory, and England’s lost.
And then adds, “That is, no doubt, as vigorous as possible. As spirited as possible; it is exceedingly fine poetry.” And there is much hardly less good…’
The statements above come from Charles Eliot Norton’s introduction to “The Complete Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott. Poet Matthew Arnold was born on December 24, 1822.