"Bloomsbury Poetry Classics" are selections from the work of some of our greatest poets. The series is aimed at the general reader rather than the specialist and carries no critical or explanatory apparatus. This can be found elsewhere. In the series the poems introduce themselves, on an uncluttered page and in a format that is both attractive and convenient. The selections have been made by the distinguished poet, critic and biographer Ian Hamilton. Sir Walter Scott was born in 1771. He was trained as a lawyer but as a young man his chief leisure interest was in Scottish border tales and ballads, and in the history behind them. He collected three volumes of Scottish balladry before attempting his own "Lay of the Last Minstrel", published in 1805. With this work and others - "Lady of the Lake" and "Marmion" - he achieved great prestige and popularity as a poet, and in 1813 was offered the Poet Laureateship, which he declined. A year later he published the first of the Waverley novels for which he is today best known. Thereafter, the novels poured out at the rate of one a year, and all the more urgently after his bankruptcy in 1826.