severe course of study indispensable to success in the juridical profession." | His next production was - Sir Tristrem, a metrical romance of the thirteenth century, by Thomas of Ercildoun," printed in 1804. Still, however, Mr Scott may be said as yet to have been only rising in fame: but he soon gained enough to have intoxicated an ordinary mind in the applause bestowed upon his - Lay of the Last Minstrel, - which appeared, in quarto, in 1805. It appears, from the introduction prefixed to the last edition of this poem, that the incident of the goblin page, which some critics have objected to as an excrescence upon the poem, was in fact the first foundation of the work. The incidents which occasioned the production of this poem, and the chain of circumstances and considerations which induced the author to select the unusual measure and rhythm adopted so successfully in it, are detailed in a minute and interesting manner in the Introduction referred to, but are too long to be quoted here. It appears also from the same Introduction, that the poem was originally brought out on the usual terms of a division of profits between the author and the booksellers, but the | latter soon afterwards purchased Mr Scott's in: terest for 5ool., to which they subsequently added | ool. more, in consequence of the uncommon success of the work. Upwards of 30,000 copies were disposed of by the trade. It was about this time that the first idea of Waverley appears to have suggested itself to Mr Scott's mind. He thus details the incident in his general Preface to the novels, already referred to:• I had been a good deal in the Highlands at a time when they were much less accessible, and much less visited, than they have been of late years, and was acquainted with many of the old warriors of 1745, who were, like most veterans, easily induced to fight their battles over again, for the benefit of a willing listener like myself. It naturally occurred to me, that the ancient traditions and high spirit of a people, who, living in a civilised age and country, retained so strong a tincture of manners belonging to an early period of society, must afford a subject favourable for romance, if it should not prove a curious tale marred in the telling. • It was with some idea of this kind, that, about the year 1805, I threw together about onethird part of the first volume of Waverley. It was advertised to be published by the late Mr John Ballantyne, bookseller in Edinburgh, under the name of “Waverley, or 'tis Fifty Years since,'—a title afterwards altered to ‘’T is Sixty | years since, that the actual date of publication

might be made to correspond with the period in which the scene was laid. Having proceeded as far, I think, as the Seventh Chapter, I showed my work to a critical friend, whose opinion was unfavourable; and having then some poetical reputation, I was unwilling to risk the loss of it by attempting a new style of composition. I therefore threw aside the work I had commenced, without either reluctance or remonstrance. I ought to add, that though my ingenious friend's sentence was afterwards reversed, on an appeal to the public, it cannot be considered as any imputation on his good taste; for the specimen subjected to his criticism did not extend beyond the departure of the hero for Scotland, and, consequently, had not entered upon the part of the story which was finally found most interesting. • Be that as it may, this portion of the manuscript was laid aside in the drawers of an old writing-desk, which, on my first coming to reside at Abbotsford, in 1811, was placed in a lumber garret, and entirely forgotten. Thus, though I sometimes, among other literary avocations, turned my thoughts to the continuation of the romance which I had commenced, yet as I could not find what I had already written, after searching such repositories as were within my reach, and was too indolent to attempt to write it anew from memory, I as often laid aside all thoughts of that nature.” It was only by mere accident that, two years afterwards, Mr Scott, in looking for some fishing tackle, found the long-lost manuscript in the old writing-desk before-mentioned: he immediately completed it, and from its appearance, in 1814, dates the never-dying celebrity of the author of Waverley. But to return from this digression; in 1806, Mr Scott published the Memoirs of Sir Henry Slingsby in one volume, and also a collection of a Ballads and Lyrical Pieces;" the same year saw him appointed to a situation which greatly increased his worldly prosperity. As the incidents attending this appointment are equally honourable to Mr Scott and to his political opponents, we shall quote his own words from the introduction to the last edition of Marmion :• An important circumstance had, about the same time, taken place in my life. Hopes had been held out to me from an influential quarter, of a nature to relieve me from the anxiety which I must have otherwise felt, as one upon the precarious tenure of whose own life rested the principal prospects of his family, and especially as one who had necessarily some dependence upon the favour of the public, which is proverbially capricious; though it is but justice to add, that, in my own case, I have not found it so. Mr Pitt had expressed a wish to my personal friend, the Right Honourable William Dundas, now Lord Clerk Register of Scotland, that some fitting opportunity should be taken to be of service to me; and as my views and wishes pointed to a future rather than an immediate provision, an opportunity of accomplishing this was soon found. One of the Principal Clerks of Session, as they are called (official persons who occupy an important and responsible situation, and enjoy a considerable income), who had served upwards of thirty years, felt himself, from age, and the infirmity of deafness with which it was accompanied, desirous of retiring from his official situation. As the law then stood, such official persons were entitled to bargain with their successors, either for a sum of money, which was usually a considerable one, or for an interest in the emoluments of the office during their life. My predecessor, whose services had been unusually meritorious, stipulated for the emoluments of the office during his life, while I should enjoy the survivorship, on the condition that Idischarged the duties of the office in'the meantime. Mr Pitt, however, having died in the interval, his administration was dissolved, and was succeeded by that known by the name of the Fox and Grenville Ministry. My affair was so far completed, that my commission lay in the office subscribed by his Majesty; but, from hurry or mistake, the interest of my predecessor was not expressed in it, as had been usual in such cases. Although, therefore, it only required payment of the fees, I could not in honour take out the commission in the present state, since, in the event of my dying before him, the gentleman whom I succeeded must have lost the vested interest which he had stipulated to retain. I had the honour of an interview with Earl Spenceron the subject, and he, in the most handsome manner, gave directions that the commission should issue as originally intended; adding, that the matter having received the royal assent, he regarded only as a claim of justice what he would have willingly done as an act of favour. I never saw Mr Fox on this, or on any other occasion, and never made any application to him, conceiving that in doing so I might have been supposed to express political opinions contrary to those which I had always professed. In his private capacity, there is no man to whom I would have been more proud to owe an obligation, had I been so distinguished. • By this arrangement I obtained the surviworship of an office the emoluments of which were fully adequate to my wishes; and as the law respecting the mode of providing for superannuated officers was, about five or six years after, altered from that which admitted the arrangement of as

sistant and successor, my colleague very handsomely took the opportunity of the alteration to accept of a retiring annuity provided in such cases, and admitted me to the full benefit of the office.” In the year 1807, the attention of our author was again turned towards prose composition by an engagement made with Mr Murray, an incident unimportant in itself, but which acquires interest from its having been in some measure instrumental in inducing Mr Scott to resume his intention of completing Waverley. In the Preface to the novels, so often referred to, the anecdote is thus related:— • In the year 1807-8, I undertook, at the request of John Murray, Esq. of Albemarle-street, to arrange for publication some posthumous productions of the late Mr Joseph Strutt, distinguished as an artist and an antiquary, amongst which was an unfinished romance, entitled “QueenHoo-Hall.' The scene of the tale was laid in the reign of Henry VI, and the work was written to illustrate the manners, customs, and language of the people of England during that period. The extensive acquaintance which Mr Strutt had acquired with such subjects in compiling his laborious “Horda Angel Cynnan, his ‘Royal and Ecclesiastical Antiquities, and his ‘Essay on the Sports and Pastimes of the People of England,' had rendered him familiar with all the antiquarian lore necessary for the purpose of composing the projected romance; and although the manuscript bore the marks of hurry and incoherence natural to the first rough draught of the author, it evinced (in my opinion) considerable powers of imagination. • As the work was unfinished, I deemed it my duty, as Editor, to supply such a hasty and imartificial conclusion as could be shaped out from the story of which Mr Strutt had laid the foundation. This concluding chapter is also added to the present Introduction, for the reason already mentioned regarding the preceding fragment. It was a step in my advance towards romantic composition; and to preserve the traces of these is in a great measure the object of this Essay. • Queen-Hoo-Hall was not, however, very successful. I thought I was aware of the reason, and supposed that, by rendering his language too ancient, and displaying his antiquarian knowledge too liberally, the ingenious author had raised up an obstacle to his own success. Every work designed for mere amusement must be expressed in language easily comprehended; and when, as is sometimes the case in Queen-Hoo-Hall, the author addresses himself exclusively to the Anti

quary, he inust be content to be dismissed by the

general reader with the criticism of Mungo, in the Padlock, on the Mauritanian music, ‘What signifies me hear, if me no understand? . I conceived it possible to avoid this error; and by rendering a similar work more light and obvious to general comprehension, to escape the rock on which my predecessor was shipwrecked. But I was, on the other hand, so far discouraged by the indifferent reception of Mr Strutt's romance, as to become satisfied that the manners of the middle ages did not possess the interest which I had conceived; and was led to form the opinion that a romance, founded on a Highland story, and more modern events, would have a better chance of popularity than a tale of chivalry. My thoughts, therefore, returned more than once to the tale which I had actually commenced, and accident at length threw the lost sheets in my way." From the time, however, of the publication of the-Lay of the Last Minstrel," Mr Scott entertained the idea of writing a poem on which he intended to bestow the greatest labour, in the hope of rendering it free from the looseness of style which characterised his former productions, and making it a monument which might perpetuate for him an unalloyed and spotless poetic fame. This work was Marmion; and the author appears to look back with peculiar pleasure to the time occupied in its composition, and to the frame of | mind which induced those familiar epistles pre| fixed as introductions to the several cantos, which though useless as aids to the conduct of the poem, are at once the most elegant and least faulty spetimens of the poetic talent of the author. This poem, was, however, prematurely given to the world, and it was with reference to the circumto connected with its publication that Lord Byron wrote the well-known lines in his English | Bards, ending with

For this we scorn Apollo's venal son, | And bid a long • Good night to Marm.ion."

Notwithstanding the good terms on which Byron and Scott were at a later period, this passage still appears to have left an unpleasant sensation on the mind of the latter, as in his new Introduction to Marmion, published in 1830, he thus expresses himself on the subject:— • The misfortunes of a near relation and friend, which happened at this time, led me to alter my prudent determination, which had been, to use great precaution in sending this poem into the world; and made it convenient at least, if not absolutely necessary, to hasten its publication. The publishers of ‘The Lay of the Last Minstrel, emboldened by the success of that poem, willingly offered a thousand pounds for “Marmion.' The transaction being no secret, afforded Lord Byron, who was then at general war with all who black

ed paper, an opportunity to include me in his

satire, entitled “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.' I never could conceive how an arrangement between an author and his publishers, if satisfactory to the persons concerned, could afford matter of censure to any third party. I had taken no unusual or ungenerous means of enhancing the value of my merchandise, I had never higgled a moment about the bargain, but accepted at once what I considered the handsome offer of my publishers. These gentlemen, at least, were not of opinion that they had been taken advantage of in the transaction, which indeed was one of their own framing; on the contrary, the sale of the Poem was so far beyond their expectation, as to induce them to supply the author's cellars with what is always an acceptable present to a young Scottish housekeeper, namely, a hogshead of excellent claret. • The Poem was finished in too much haste, to allow me an opportunity of softening down, if not removing, some of its most prominent defects." The sale of this work exceeded the most lavish expectations of its author, 36,000 copies having been sold previous to the year 1825. During the same year, which was distinguished by the appearance of a Marinion,” Mr Scott favoured the world with a complete edition of the Works of Dryden, in which he gave a new life of that great writer, and numerous notes. But this was not the only instance of the fecundity of his genius and the rapidity of his pen, for, while these volumes were proceeding through the press, he found time for a quarto of . Descriptions and Illustrations of the Lay of the Last Minstrel,” and a volume of the . Memoirs of Captain George Carleton." Within a few months after this he undertook, at the request of the booksellers, the superintendence of a new edition of Lord Somers's collection of Historical Tracts; and at the same time

edited Sir Ralph Sadler's State Papers, Anna Se

ward's Letters and Poetical Works, and the Memoirs of Sir Robert Cary. Yet the very year in which these last publications appeared witnessed the birth of another original offspring of his prolific muse. This was . The Lady of the Lake,” the most popular of all his poems, though, in the opinion of many, inferior in several respects to his • Lay of the Last Minstrel." On the composition of this poem, and the versification of the local details, the author bestowed unusual pains, which he describes with considerable minuteness in his introduction to the new edition of it, published in 1830. He appears fully aware that this was the last act of his poetic reign, and accordingly winds up that introb

duction with the following passage, the truth of which will readily be acknowledged by all who have had any means of investigating his character, or experiencing his kindness :• It only remains for me to say, that, during my short pre-eminence of popularity, I faithfully observed the rules of moderation which I had resolved to follow before I began my course as a man of letters. If a man is deterinined to make a noise in the world, he is as sure to encounter abuse and ridicule, as he who gallops furiously through a village must reckon on being followed by the curs in full cry. Experienced persons know, that in stretching to flog the latter, the rider is very apt to catch a bad fall; nor is an attempt to chastise a malignant critic attended with less danger to the author. On this principle, I let parody, burlesque, and squibs, find their own level; and while the latter hissed most fiercely, I was cautious never to catch them up, as school-boys do, to throw them back against the naughty boy who fired them off, wisely remembering, that they are, in such cases, apt to explode in the handling. Let me add, that my reign (since Byron has so called it) was marked by some instances of good-nature as well as patience. I never refused a literary person of merit such services in smoothing his way to the public as were in my power; and I had the advantage, rather an uncommon one with our irritable race, to enjoy general favour, without incurring permanent ill-will, so far as is known to me, among any of my contemporaries." • The Vision of Don Roderick • appeared in 1811, and was intended by its author to cominemorate the achievements of the Duke of Wellington and the British army in Spain. This poem is considered a complete failure. The same year was published . The Secret History of the Court of King James I," in two volumes. About this time Mr Scott removed from Ashiestiel to Abbotsford, the estate at which he has ever since resided. The motives of this change, and the nature of his occupations at this period, together with the train of reasoning by which he was led to change his garb of poet for that of novelist, are so well described by hinself in his Introduction to the last edition of • Rokeby," that it would be unjust not to quote it entire. • Between the publication of ‘The Lady of the Lake,' which was so eminently successful, and that of “Rokeby’ in 1813, three years had intervened. I shall not, I believe, be accused of ever having attempted to usurp a superiority over many men of genius, my contemporaries; but, in point of popularity, not of actual talent, the caprice of the public had certainly given me such

a temporary superiority over men, of whom, in regard to poetical fancy and feeling, I scarcely thought myself worthy to loose the shoe-latch. On the other hand, it would be absurd affectation in me to deny, that I conceived myself to understand, more perfectly than many of my contemporaries, the manner most likely to interest the great mass of mankind. Yet, even with this belief, I must truly and fairly say, that I always considered myself rather as one who held the bets, in time to be paid over to the winner, than as having any pretence to keep them in my own right. • In the mean time years crept on, and not without their usual depredations on the passing generation. My sons had arrived at the age when the paternal home was no longer their best abode, as both were destined to active life. The field sports, to which I was peculiarly attached, had now less interest, and were replaced by other amusements of a more quiet character; and the means and opportunity of pursuing these were to be sought for. I had, indeed, for some years attended to farming, a knowledge of which is, or at least was them, indispensable to the comforts of a family residing in a solitary country-house; but although this was the favourite amusement of many of my friends, I have never been able to consider it as a source of pleasure. I never could think it a matter of passing importance, that my cattle, or crops, were better or more plentiful than those of my neighbours, and nevertheless I began to feel the necessity of some more quiet out-door occupation than I had hitherto pursued. I purchased a small farm of about loo acres, with the purpose of planting and improving it, to which property circumstances afterwards enabled me to make considerable additions ; and thus an era took place in my life, almost equal to the important one mentioned by the Vicar of Wakefield, when he removed from the Blue room to the Brown. In point of neighbourhood, at least, the change of residence made little more difference. Abbotsford, to which we removed, was only six or seven miles down the Tweed, and lay on the same beautiful stream. It did not possess the romantic character of Ashiestiel, my former residence; but it had a stretch of meadow-land along the river, and possessed, in the phrase of the landscape-gardener, considerable capabilities. Above all, the land was my own, like Uncle Toby's Bowling-green, to do what I would with. It had been, though the gratification was long postponed, an early wish of mine to connect myself with my mother-earth, and prosecute those experiments by which a species of creative power is exercised over the face of mature. I can trace, even to childhood, a pleasure derived from Dodsley's account of Shenstone's Leasowes, and I envied the poet much more for the pleasure of accomplishing the objects detailed in his friend's sketch of his grounds, than for the possession of pipe, crook, flock, and Phillis to the boot of all. My memory, also, tenacious of quaint expressions, still retained a phrase which it had gathered from an old almanack of Charles the Second's time (when every thing down to almanacks affected to be smart), in which the reader, in the month of June, is advised for health's sake to take a walk of a mile or two before breakfast, and, if he can possibly so manage, to let his exercise be taken upon his own land. ... With the satisfaction of having attained the fulfilment of an early and long-cherished hope, I commenced my improvements, as delightful in their progress as those of the child who first makes a dress for a new doll. The nakedness of the land was in time hidden by woodlands

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But the Cavaliers and Roundheads, whom I attempted to summon up to tenant this beautiful region, had for the public neither the novelty nor the peculiar interest of the primitive Highlanders. This, perhaps, was scarcely to be expected, considering that the general mind sympathises readily and at once with the stamp which nature herself has affixed upon the manners of a people living in a simple and patriarchal state; whereas it has more difficulty in understanding or interesting itself in manners which are founded upon those peculiar habits of thinking or acting, which are produced by the progress of society. We could read with pleasure the tale of the adventures of a Cossac or a Mongol Tartar, while we only wonder and stare over those of the lovers in the “Pleasing Chinese History,’ where the embarrassments turn upon difficulties arising out of unintelligible delicacies peculiar to the customs and manners of that af. fected people. • The cause of my failure had, however, a far deeper root. The manner, or style, which, by its novelty, attracted the public in an unusual degree, had now, after having been three times before them, exhausted the patience of the reader, and began in the fourth to lose its charms. The reviewers may be said to have apostrophised the author in the language of Parnell's Edwin: And here reverse the charm, he cries, *

And let it fairly now suffice,
The gambol has been shown.

• The licentious combination of rhymes, in a manner not perhaps very congenial to our language, had not been confined to the author. Indeed, in most similar cases, the inventors of such novelties have their reputation destroyed by their own imitators, as Actaeon fell under his own dogs. The present author, like Bobadil, had taught his trick of fence to a hundred gentlemen (and ladies), who could fence very nearly, or quite, as well as himself. For this there was no remedy; the harmony became tiresome and ordinary, and both the original inventor and his invention must have fallen into contempt, if he had not found out another road to public favour. What has been said of the metre only, must be considered to apply equally to the structure of the poem and of the style. The very best passages of any popular style are not, perhaps, susceptible of imitation, but they may be approached by men of talent; and those who are less able to copy them, at least lay hold of their peculiar features, so as to produce a burlesque instead of a serious copy. In either way, the effect of it is rendered cheap and common; and, in the latter case,

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