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in some instancesmore suitable to the last generation; the hero's portrait is feebly drawn: the moral tone of the work is less correct and legitimate than than which pervades our author's preceding productions, and the impulses of feeling and humanity are less natural and forcible; but it is still a work which bears the marks of a master's hand, the interest is well sustained, the incidents are related with spirit, many of the dialogues are lively and pleasant, and not only the character of the heroine, but also that of the landlady of Touchwood, are drawn with a discriminating and powerful pencil.
In the historical novels of REDGAUNTLET, Queurm Dunwnm, and WOODSTOCK, the author displays a truly graphic power in the delineation of characters, which he sketches with an ease, and colours with a brilliancy, and scatters about with a profusion, which but few writers, in any age, have been able to accomplish. With spells of magic potency, and with the creations of a rich and varied fancy, so skilfully has he stolen us from ourselves, with such exquisite cunning has be extracted a kind of poetry from the common incidents of life, with such an extent of legendary knowledge, heihas displayed so wonderful an aptitude in drawing from historic research those minute traits of manners and modifications in social life, which, by reason of the wide range which it traverses, and the rapidity with which it moves along, are in history too general and indistinct; that it would be worse than affectation to stand aloof from the general feeling, and to refuse our humble proportion of those 1 golden opinions he has bought from all sorts of men,»
and which have fixed him in so high a rank in,
the literature of his country.
The TALES or run: CKUSADI-IRS have not been received with that enthusiasm of delight which greeted some of our authors former productions: yet they undoubtedly possess considerable merit, and, amidst much that is feeble, uninteresting, and absurd, bear evident marks of sense and talent.
To sum up our observations on the Waverley Novels, in a few words, we think their author has succeeded by far the best in the representation of rustic and homely characters, and not in the ludicrous or contemptuous representation of them —but by making them at once more natural and more interesting than they had ever been made before in any work of fiction; by showing them, not as clowns to be laughed at, or wretches to be pitied and despised,—but as human creatures, with as many pleasures, and fewer cares, than their superinrs—witl1 affections not only as strong, but often as delicate, as those whose language is smoother—and with a vein of humour, a force
of sagacity, and very frequently an elevation of fancy, as high and as natural as can be met with among more cultivated beings. The great merit of all these deliueations is their admirable truth and fidelity, the whole manner and cast of the characters being accurately moulded to their condition; and the finer attributes, so blended and harmonized with the native rudeness and simpli
city of their life and occupations, that they are ‘
made interesting and even noble beings, without the least particle of foppery or exaggeration, and delight iand amuse us, without trespassing at all on the province of pastoral or romance.
Next to these, we think, he has found his happiest subjects, or at least displayed his greatest powers, in the delineation of the grand and gloomy aspects of nature, and of the dark and fierce passions of the heart. The natural gaiety of his temper does not indeed allow him to dwell long on such themes; but the sketches he\occasionally introduces are executed with admirable force and spirit, and give a strong impression both of the vigour of his imagination and the variety of his talent. It is only in the third rank that we would place his pictures of chivalry and chivalrous character, his traits of gallantry, nobleness, and honour, and that hewitching assemblage of gay and gentle manners, with generosity, candour, and courage, which has long been familiar enough to readers and writers of novels, but has never before been represented with such an air of truth, and so much ease and happiness of execution.
Among his faults and failures, we must give the first place to his descriptions of virtuous young ladies, and his representations of the ordinary business of courtship and conversation in polished life. We admit that those things, as they are commonly conducted, are apt to be a little insipid to a mere critical spectator,—and that while they consequently require more heightening than strange adventures or grotesque persons, they admit less of exaggeration or ambitious ornament: yet we cannot think it necessary that they should be altogether so lame and mawkish as we generally find them in the hands of this spirited writer, whose powers really seem to require some stronger stimulus to bring them into action, than can be supplied by the flat realities of a peaceful and ordinary existence. His love ofthe ludicrous, it must also be observed, often betrays him into forced and vulgar exaggerations, and into the repetition of common and paltry stories; though it is but fair to add, that he does not detain us long with them, and makes amends, by the copiousness of his assortment, for the indifferent quality of some of the specimens. It is another consequence of this ex
treme abundance in which he revels and riots, and of the fertility of the imagination from which it is supplied,that he is at all timesa little apt to overdo even those things which he does best. His most striking and highly-coloured characters appear rather too often, and go on rather too long. It is astonishing, indeed, with what spirit they are supported, and how fresh and animated they are to the very last; but still there is something too much of them, and they would he more waited for and welcomed, if they were not quite so lavish of their presence. It was reserved for Shakspeare alone to leave‘ all his characters as new and un\vorn as he found them, and to carry Falstaff through the business of three several plays, and leave us as greedy ofhis sayings as at the moment of his first introduction. It is no light praise to the
l author before us, that he has sometimes reminded
us of this, and, as we have before observed, of other inimitable excelllencies in that most gifted of all inventors.
He is above all things national and Scottish, and never seems to feel the powers ofa giant except when he touches his native soil. His countrymen alone, therefore, can have a full sense of his merits, or a perfect relish of his excellencics; and those only, indeed, ofthem, who have mingled, as he has done, pretty freely with the lower orders, and made themselves familiar not only with their language, but with the habits and traits of character of which it then only becomes expressive. It is one thing to understand the meaning of words, as they are explained by other words in a glossary or dictionary, and another to know their value, as expressive of certain feelings and humours in the speakers to whom they are native, and as signs both of temper and condition among those who are familiar with their import.
We shall make no apology to our readers for introducing here, the following animated delineation of the author of Waverley, from the pen of an acute critic.I
1 Sir Walter,- says this writer, at has found out that facts are better than fiction; that there is no romance like the romance of real life; and that can we but arrive at what men feel, do, and say, in striking and singular situations, the result will be more lively, audible, and full of vent, than the i'll’\Hpllll cobwebs of the brain. Our author has conjured up the actual people he has to deal with, or as much as he could get of them, in ‘their habits as they lived.’ ‘He has ransacked old chronicles, and poured the contents upon his page; he has squeezed out musty records; be has consulted way-faring pilgrims, bed-rid sibyls; he has invoked the spirits of the air; he has con
I Mr Hazlitt. in the “Spirit of the Age.»
versed with the living and the dead, and let them tell their story their own way; and by borrowing of others, has enriched his own genius with everlasting variety, truth, and freedom. He has taken his materials from the original, authentic sources, in large concrete masses, and has not tampered with, or too much frittered them away. lie is the only amanuensis of truth and history. It is impossible to say how fine his writings in consequence are, unless we could describe how fine nature is. All that portion of the history of his country that he hastouched upon (wide as the scope is), the manners, the personages, the events, the scenery, llives over again in his volumes. Nothing is wanting-—the illusion is complete. There is a hurtling in the air, a trampling of feet upon the ground, as these perfect representations of human character, or fanciful belief, come thronging back upon the imagination. We will merely rccal a few of the subjects of his pencil to the reader's recollection, for nothing we could add by way of note or commendation, could make the impression more vivid.
-There is (first and foremost, because the earliest of our acquaintance), the Baron of Bradwardine, stately, kind-hearted, whimsical, and pedantic; and Flora Mac-Ivor (whom even we forgive for her jacohitism), the fierce Vich Ian Vohr, and Evan Dhu, constant in death, and Davie Gellatley, roasting his eggs, or turning his rhymes with restless volubility, and the two stag-hounds that met Waverley, as fine as ever Titian painted, or Paul Ver0nese:—then there is old Balfour of Burley, brandishing his sword and his Bible with lire-eyed fury, trying a fall with the insolent, gigantic Bothwell, at the 'change-house, and vanquishing him at the noble battle of London-hill; there is lBothwell himself, drawn to the life, proud, cruel, selfish, profligate—but with the lovc-letters of the gentle Alice (written thirty years before), and his verses to her memory, found in his pocket after his death; in the same volume of Old Mortality, is that lone figure, like one in Scripture, of the woman sitting on the stone, at the turning to the mountain, to warn Bnrley that there is a mil in his path; and the fawning Claverhouse, beautiful as a panther, smooth-looking, blood~spotted : and the fanatics, Macbriar and Mucklgwrath, crazed with zeal and sufferings: and the inflexible Morton, and the faithful Edith, who refused to ‘give her hand to another, while her heart was with her lover in the deep and dead sea.' In The Heart ofMid-Lotltian, we have Effie Deans (that sweet faded flower), and Jeanie, her more than sister, and old David Deans, the patriarch of St Leonard's Crags, and Butler, and Dnmbiedikes, eloquent in his silence, and Mr Bartoline Saddletrec, and his prudent helpmate,
and Porteous, swinging in the wind, and Madge \Vildfire, full of finery and madness, and her ghastly mother. Again, there is Meg Merrilies, standing on her ruck, stretched on her bier with ‘her head to the east,‘ and Dirk iiatteraick (equal to Shakspeare's Master Barnardine), and Glossin, the soul of auattorney, and Dandie Dinmont, with his terrier-pack and his pony Dumple, and the fiery Colonel Mannering, and the modish old. counsellor Pleydell, and Dominic Sampson: and Rob Roy (like the eagle in his eyrie), and Bailie Nicol Jarvie, and the inimitable Major Galbraith, Rashleigh Osbaldistone, and Die Vernon, the best of secret-keepers; ‘and in the Antiqunry, the ingenious Mr Oldbuck, and the old bedesman, Edie Ochiltree, and that preternatnral figure of old Elspeth, a living shadow, in whom the lamp of life had been long extinguished, had it not been fed by remorse and ‘ thick-coming’ recollections; and that striking picture of feudal tyranny and fiendish pride, the unhappy Earl of Glenallan; and the Black Dwarf, and his friend, Hobbie of the Heughfoot (the cheerful hunter), and his cousin Grace Armstrong, fresh and laughing like the morning; and the Children of the Mist, and the haying of the blood-hound, that tracks their steps at a distance (the hollow echoes are in our ears now), and Amy and her hapless love, and the villain Varney, and the deep voice of George of Douglas-—and the imlnoveable Balafré, and'Master Oliver, the barber, in Quentin Durward-—and the quaint humour ofthe Fortunes of Nigel, and the comic spirit of Peveril of the Peak-and the fine old English romance of Ivanhoe. What a list of names ! What a host of associations! What a thing is humanlife ! What a power is that of genius! What a world of thought and feeling is thus rescued from oblivion! How many hours of heartfelt satisfaction has our author given to the gay and thoughtless! How many sad hearts has he soothed in pain and solitude! It is no wonder that the public repay, with lengthened applause and gratitude, the pleasure they receive. He writes as fast as they can read, and he does not write himself down. He is always in the public eye, and we do not tire of him. His worst is better than any other person's best. His back-grvumls (and his latter works are little else but back-grounds capitally made out), are more attractive than the principal and most complicated-figures of other writers. His works (taken together) are almost like a new edition of human nature. This is indeed to be an author!
“The political bearing of the Scotch Novels has been a considerable recommendation to them. They are a relief to the mind, raritied as it has been with modern philosophy, and heated with ultra-radicalism. The candour of Sir Walter's
historic pen levels our bristling prejudices, and sees fair play between roundheads and cavaliers --between protestant and papist. He is a writer reconciling all the diversities of human nature to the reader. He does not enter into the hostile distinctions of sects and parties, but treats of the strength or the infirmity of the human mind, of the virtues and vices of the human breast, as they are to be found blended in the whole race of mankind. Nothing can show more handsomely, or be more gallantly executed.»
The Waverley novels were highly admired by Byron; he never travelled without them. “They are,» said he to Captain Medwin one day, I3.
library in themselves-a perfect literary trea- sure. I could read them once a year with new '
pleasure.» During that morning he had been reading one of Sir Walter’s novels, and delivered the following criticism: -1-low difficult it is to say any thing new ! Who was that voluptuary of antiquity who offered a reward for a new pleasure? Perhaps all nature and art could not supply a new idea. This page, for instance, is a brilliant one; it is full of wit. But let us see how much is original. This passage,»- continued his lordship, ~- comes from Shakspeare; this ban mot from one of Sheridan's comedies; this observation from another writer; and yet the ideas are new moulded, and perhaps Scott was not aware of their being plagiarisms. It is a bad thing to have a good memory.-- “I should not like to have you fora critic,n observed Captain Medwin. “Set a thief to catch a thief,» was the reply.
On the death of the illustrious Byron, Sir Walter Scott evinced his candour and liberality of mind in the following tribute to his lordship's memory :—
- That mighty genius, which walked amongst men as something superior to ordinary mortality, . and whose powers were beheld with wonder, and something approaching to terror, as if we knew not whether they were of good or of evil, is laid as soundly to rest as the poor peasant whose ideas never went beyond his daily task. The voice ofjust blame, and that of malignant censure, are at once silenced ; and we feel almost as
mortals, to maintain and to extend his fame, and to atone for errors in conduct and levities in composition: who will not grieve that such a race has been shortened, though not always keep_ing the straight path-such a light extinguished, though somtimes flaming to dazzle and to bewilder? One word on this ungrateful subject ere we quit it for ever. - The errors of Lord Byron arose neither from depravity of heart,—for Nature had not committed the anomaly of uniting to such extraordinary talents an imperfect moral sense,—-nor from feelings dead to the admiration of virtue. No man had ever a kinder heart for sympathy, or a more open hand for the relief of distress; and no mind was ever more formed for the enthusiastic admiration of noble actions, provided he was collvinced that the actors had proceeded on disinterested principles. But his wonderful genius was of a nature which disdained restraint, even when restraint was most wholesome. When at school, the tasks in which he excelled were those only which he undertook voluntarily; and his situation as a young man of rank, with strong passions, and in the uncontrolled enjoyment of considerable fortune, added to that impatience of strictness or coercion which was natural to him as an author; he refused to plead at the bar of criticism. As a man, he would not submit to be morally amenable to'the tribunal of public opinion. Remonstrances from a friend, of whose intentions and kindness he was secure, had often great weight with him; but there were few who could venture on a task so difficult. Reproof he endured with impatience, and reproach hardened him in his error; so that he often resembled the gallant war-steed, who rushes forward on the steel that wounds him. In the most painful crisis of his private life, he evinced this irritability and impatience of censure in such a degree, as almost to resemble the noble victim of the bull-fight, which is more maddened by the squibs, darts, and petty annoyances of the unworthy crowds beyond the lists, than by the lance of his nobler, and (so to speak) his more legitimate antagonist. In a word, much of that in which he erred was in bravado and scorn of his censors, and was done with the motive of Dryden's despot, ‘to show his arbitrary power.’ It is needless to say that his was a false and prejudicial view of such a contest; and, if the noble bard gained a sort of triumph, by compelling the world to read poetry, though mixed with haser matter, because it was his, he gave in return an unworthy triumph to the unworthy, beside deep sorrow to those whose applause, in his cooler moments, he most valued.
time remaining, as it seemed to us short-sighted u it was the same with his politics, which on
several occasions assumed a tone menacing and contemptuous to the constitution of his country; while, in fact, he was in his own heart sufficiently sensible, not only of his privileges as a Briton, but of the distinction attending his high birth and rank, and was peculiarly sensitive of those shades which constitute what is termed the manners of a gentleman. Indeed, notwithstanding his having employed epigrams, and all the petty war of wit, when such would have been much better abstained from, he would have been found, had a collision taken place between the different parties in the state, exerting all his energies in defence of that to which be naturally belonged.
u We are not Byron's apologists, for now, alas! he needs none. His excellencies will now be universally acknowledged, and his faults (let us hope and believe) not remembered in his epitaph. It will be recollected what a part he has sustained in British literature since the first appearance of Childe Harold, a space of nearly sixteen years. There has been no reposing under the shade of his laurels, no living upon the resource of past reputation; none of those petty precautions which little authors call taking care of their fame. Byron let his fame take care of itself. His foot was always in the arena, his shield hung always in the lists; and although his own gigantic renown increased the difficulty of the struggle, since he could produce nothing, however great, which exceeded the public estimate of his genius, yet he advanced to. the honourable contest again and again. and came always off with distinction, almost always with complete triumph. As various in composition as Sbaltspeare himself (this will be admitted by all who are acquainted with his Don Juan), he has embraced every topic in human life, and sounded every string on the divine harp, from its slightest to its most powerful and heart-astounding tones. There is scarce a passion or a situation which has escaped his pen-, and he might be drawn, like Garrick, between the weeping and the laughing muse, although his most powerful efforts have certainly been dedicated to Melpomene. His genius seemed as prolific as various. The most prodigal use did not exhaust his powers, but seemed rather to increase their vigour. Neither Childe Harold, nor any of the most beautiful of his earlier tales, contain more exquisite morsels of poetry than are to be found scattered through the cantos of Don Juan, amidst verses which he appears to have thrown off with an effort as spontaneous as that of a tree resigning its leaves to the wind. But that noble tree will never more bear fruit or blossom ! It has been cut down in its strength, and the past is all that remains to
:1 With a strong feeling of awful sorrow, we take leave of the _subject. Death creeps upon our most serious as well as upon our most idle employments; and it is a reflection solemn and gratifying, that he found our Byron in no moment of levity, but contributing his fortune, and hazarding his life, in behalf ofa people only endeared to him by their past glories, and as fellowcreatures suffering under the yoke of a heathen oppressor. To have fallen in a crusade for freedom and humanity, as in olden times, it would have been an atonement for the blackest crimes, and may in the present he allowed to expiate greater follies than even exaggerated calumny has propagated against Byron.”
The first person on whom his Majesty George IV conferred a baronetage, was Sir Walter Scott; and in August,'1822, when the king honoured Edinburgh with a visit, Sir Walter acted as croupier, or vice-president, at a dinner given by the Lord Provost and corporation, to the royal guest.
In the summer of 1825, Sir Walter paid a visit to Ireland, where he was most hospitably received by the sons of the Shamrock. During his stay in Dublin, he frequently visited the library adjoining St Patrick's cathedral; on one of these occasions the deputy librarian, who happened to be a collegian, having got into conversation with the (then) :1 Great Unknown,» wished to take him by surprise, and thereby prove his own dexterity. With this view he exclaimed, - Oh, Sir Walter, do you know that it is only lately Ihave had time to get through your Redgauntlet. » “Sir, :1 replied Sir Walter, ~I never met with such a book.- The librarian stood rebuked, and said nothing. _
The following lively description ‘of Sir Walter's personal appearance was written by a gentleman who visited Edinburgh in 1 825.
:4 My departure from————-was so sudden that I had no time to seek letters of introduction; and the Scotch are not naturally fond of introductions which only give them trouble; but I had resolved upon seeing Sir Walter Scott before I left Edinburgh, and, had Constable been open, I could have been at no loss, but his door was unfortunately shut. I contrived, however, to get an introduction to Mr ——, the historical painter, with whom I knew the poet was acquainted, and
with whom it appears he spends many an hour, but I was just thirty minutes too late! Sir Walter had beeu there, had told the painter some anecdotes which he assured me threw him into convulsions, and that he had been laughing ever since; and I believed him, for he was hardly out of a convrlsion when I entered. Disappointed—I proceeded to the Parliament-house (where Sir Walter sits as chief clerk to the Lord Commissioners), and as soon as I found out my way into court, I had the good luck to find the object of my pursuit. I needed no monitor to point him out—I knew him instantly. lihad never seen him before in my life; but I had read some of his works, and, from the pictorial and ideal together, I had formed in my mind his face exactlyand had I seen him hobbling in his favourite
‘Prince’s-street,’ I should have known him to ' I pushed on to the advo- '
be 'Sir Walter Scott. cates' bench (a place reserved exclusiifely for the advocates), to be as near him as possible—-there I had no right to be, certainly, but, much to the credit of Scotch manners, they saw I was a stranger—knew no better—and they suffered me to remain.-—-On first beholding Sir W. Scott, I felt all the veneration which is due to the good and the great. I confess I could have knelt down and worshipped him, though to man I never bent a knee. I shall endeavour to describe his person-— he is tall, five feet ten or eleven inches, rather stout than otherwise, but not corpulent—appears to be about sixty-—-is healthy, but lamed in one of his legs, and walks with difficulty. His hair is pure white, land, falling thinly over his ruddy forehead, gives him a venerable aspect. You might fancy him the ‘Village Preacher’ of Oliver Goldsmith, and his costume heightens the resemblance. His complexion is ruddy. His head is singularly formed; uncommonly high from the eye-brows to the crown, and tapers upwards, somewhat in the conical form, but there is no projection of forehead, the bump which philosophers lay so much stress upon as being a sign of great intellect. His eyes are small, and I think dark-blue—you can seldom catch their expression, on account of the great projection of the eye-brows; but when you do, the look is divine;
they express a mine of intellect, and a kind heart. '
I wonder many who have seen him say, his countenance is expressive of ‘ shrewd cunning'— there is no cunning in his looks-nothing but goodness and genius. His manners are prepossessing, and he is very accessible. I perceived, whenever an advocate or law-man came to speak with him, he took him kindly by the hand—and then looked so kindly. The Scotch venerate him, as well they may :—‘suum magnum ingenium honorem illis facit.’ I gazed on this extraordinary