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The Celtic Voice in Walter Scotts Waverley One aspect of this novel which may not have received its due attention is Scotts emphasis on the strength and vitality of traditional Scottish culture especially folk poetry and music The presence of such an element is hardly surprising in as much as Scotts first important literary work was an edition of Scottish folk ballads Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border 1803 The Celtic cultural aspect of Waverley is scarcely mentioned by the author in his prefaces to the novel Nonetheless there is evidence to suggest that exposure to the old Celtic ways plays an important role in the development of the character of Edward Waverley throughout the novelWhen Edward enters the grounds of the manor-house at Tully-Veolan the first human voice he hears is that of a strange individual singing an old Scottish ditty p 82 False love and hast thou played me thusour narrators bardic apparition turns out to be Davie Gellatley a villager reportedly not completely in his right mind whom Bradwardine has adopted as his personal servantfool and who compensates for his supposed defects with a prodigious memory and an ear for music p 105 and an immense repertory of traditional songs which he sings almost incessantly Davie half-crazed simpleton though he may be is also a custodian of the collective Celtic memoryDavie Gellatley at times recalls the Fool in King Lear with his often too apropos scraps of minstrelsyp 435 His aged mother suspected of being a witch declares Davies no just like other folk puir fallow but hes no sae silly as folk tak him for p 440 and near the end when the manor-house has been plundered and pillaged by the English troops and reduced to an apparently irreparable ruin Edward identifies Davies tones among the wreckage Amid these general marks of ravage he heard a voice from the interior of the building singing in well-remembered accents an old Scottish songAnd
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