The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Scott's first romantic tale, was published in January, 1805, and won for its author his first great success. Constable offered as publisher to pay at once a thousand guineas for the copyright, when he heard that the new poem was begun, though he had not yet seen a line of it. Scott, thirty-five years old, had the impulse upon his mind of a preceding great success, took more than usual pains, and thoroughly enjoyed the writing. Scott continued work while practicing with the Light Horse Volunteers (in preparation for a planned invasion of France!), and in intervals between drill he would sometimes ride his charger at full speed up and down on the sands of Portobello within spray of the wave, while his mind was at work on such lines as -- "They close, in clouds of smoke and dust, With sword-sway and with lance's thrust; And such a yell was there, Of sudden and portentous birth, As if men fought in upper earth, And fiends in upper air."