Friday, August 10, 2012


Gustavus Adolphus, who Walter Scott’s "A Legend of Montrose" character Major Dalgetty served during the Thirty Years’ War, built a navy to patrol the Baltic.  The Vasa was to serve at sea, joining land efforts of men such as Dalgetty in this same war.  Many know the story, of how this top-heavy vessel sank, minutes into its maiden voyage, on August 10, 1628.  

Thankfully, the Vasa was salvaged, in 1961.  For those of you who have not yet seen the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, it is well worth the trip (Link: ).  

Vasa is a family name, a family of which Gustavus Adolphus (Gustavus II of Sweden) was a member.  Scott met Prince Gustav of Vasa, who is descended from a different line than Gustavus Adolphus, when that prince resided in Edinburgh, in 1820.  From John Gibson Lockhart’s “Memoirs of Sir Walter Scott”:

‘…In a letter, already quoted, there occurs some mention of the Prince Gustavus Vasa, who was spending this winter in Edinburgh, and his Royal Highness's accomplished attendant, the Baron Poller. I met them frequently in Castle Street, and remember as especially interesting the first evening that they dined there. The only portrait in Scott's Edinburgh dining-room was one of Charles XII. of Sweden, and he was struck, as indeed every one must have been, with the remarkable resemblance which the exiled Prince's air and features presented to the hero of his race. Young Gustavus, on his part, hung with keen and melancholy enthusiasm on Scott's anecdotes of the expedition of Charles Edward Stuart. — The Prince, accompanied by Scott and myself, witnessed the ceremonial of the proclamation of King George IV. on the 2d of February at the cross of Edinburgh, from a window over Mr Constable's shop in the High Street; and on that occasion also, the air of sadness that mixed in his features with eager curiosity, was very affecting. Scott explained all the details to him, not without many lamentations over the barbarity of Auld Reekie Bailies, who had removed the beautiful Gothic Cross itself, for the sake of widening the thoroughfare. The weather was fine, the sun shone bright; and the antique tabards of the heralds, the trumpet notes of God sate the King, and the hearty cheerings of the immense uncovered multitude that filled the noble old street, produced altogether a scene of great splendour and solemnity. The Royal Exile surveyed it with a flushed cheek and a watery eye; and Scott, observing his emotion, withdrew with me to another window, whispering—" Poor lad! poor lad! God help him." Later in the season, the Prince spent a few days at Abbotsford…’

No comments:

Post a Comment