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_ The Fire-King (imitated from Goethe) . . ib.
_Nora's Vow . . . . ib.
Mr Kemble's Farewell Address, on taking
Song—0h say not, my love, with that morti-
To a Lady, with flowers from a Roman wall
Song, on the lifting of the Banner of the
Farewell Address, Spoken at the Edinburgh
'.' The Figure: between parentheien, thus (u), refer to Notes 1 the end of each Poem ; those marked thus, ' to
Sm Warren Scorr, descended from one of the most ancient families of Scotland—the Scotts of Harden, is the eldest surviving son of a gentleman of the same name, who was an eminent writer to the signet at Edinburgh, where the subject of this sketch was born, August 15, 177:. His mother was Miss Rutherford, daughter of an eminent physician. Many biographers have fallen into the error of confounding this Miss Rutherford with another lady of the same name who afterwards obtained some success as an authoress. Sir Walter Scott alludes to this mistake in the following passage appended as a note to his Hemarks on Popular Poetry :— ~ I cannot here suppress some complaint of the newspapers of my own native city, which have ' repeatedly stated my mother to be the daughter ~ of Mrs Scott of Wauchope, born Miss Rutherford, ‘ and daughter of a gentleman of good family of that name, who was a writer to the signet. Mrs Scott of VVauchope was authoress of Corah and other poems, and a correspondent of Burns. My mother was fond of poetry, but contented herself with admiring what she never dreamed of imitating. Dr Rutherford, her father, was a man of high reputation in his time, and one of the four pupils of the celebrated Boerhaavc, who first brought the University of Edinburgh into public notice, as a school of medicine. The error which I have noticed, is of very little consequence in itself, but surely when it is thought worth while to mention so trivial a subject, some little care might be taken to make it accurate. Mrs Scott of Wauchope, instead of being my grandmother, was as young as my mother, her supposed daughter. The only points in common between the ladies were, that they were both born 7 of the respectable name of Rutherford, and both changed it by marriage for that of Scott. The circumstance is not much worth notice, but the author is rather too old to be stolen from his parents.» Walter, from the tenderness of his constitution, and the circumstance of his lameness, occasioned
by a fall from his nurse's arms at two years of Y
age, -was in a great measure brought up at home, under the immediate care and instruction of this excellent parent, to whom he was much attached
through life, and whose loss he sincerely lament- .,
ed. Of his early pursuits little is known, except that he evinced a genius for drawing landscapes after nature.—At a proper age he was sent to the High School at Edinburgh, then directed by Dr Alexander Adam. In this school, young Scott passed through the different forms without exhibiting any of those extraordinary powers of genius, which are seldom remembered till the person to whom they are ascribed has become, by the maturity of his talents, an object of distinction. It is said, that he was considered in his boyhood rather heavy than otherwise, and that the late Dr Hugh Blair had discernment enough to predict his future eminence, when the master of the school lamented his dulness; but this only affords another instance of the fallacy of human opinion in pronouncing upon the real capacity of the youthful understanding.‘ Barrow, the greatest scholar of his age, was discarded as a blockhead by successive teachers; and his pupil, the illustrious Newton, was declared to be fit for nothing but to drive the team, till some friends succeeded in getting him transplanted to college.
We learn however from himself that, although not distinguished by application to the routine of school business, the mind of Walter Scottwas not inactive, and the future magician of the north was already able to rivet the attention of his schoolfellows by spells as potent, in the circle of their influence, as the maturer efforts of his genius, by which he has brought the whole world within the sphere ofhis enchant1nent,l1ave proved to be in theirs. He thus alludes to this circumstance in the Preface to the last edition of the Waverley No
1 The prediction of Dr Blair, here alluded to, arose out of the following circumstances. Shortly after Dr Paterson succeeded to the grammar-school, Musselburgh, where Walter Scott was a short time a pupil, Blair, accompanied by some friends, paid him a visit; in the course of which he examined several of his pupils, and paid particular attention to young Scott. Dr Paterson thought it was the outh's stupidity that engaged the doctor's notice, and said, a My predecessor tells me, that boy has the thickest skull in the school.» a May be so,» replied Dr Blair, is but through that thick skull I can discern many bright rays of future genius»
- I mustrefer to a very early period of my life, were I to point out my first achievements as a taleteller—but I believe some of my old schoolfellows can still bear witness that I had a distinguished character for that talent, at a time when the applause of my companions was my recompense for the disgraces and punishments which the future romance writer incurred for being idle himself, and keeping others idle, during hours that should have been employed on our tasks. The chief enjoyment ofmy holidays was to escape with a chosen friend, who had the same taste with myself, and alternately to recite to each other such wild adventures as we were able to devise. We told, each in turn, interminable tales of knight-errantry and battles and enchantinents, which were continued from one day to another as opportunity offered, without our ever thinking of- bringing them to a conclusion. As we observed a strict secrecy on the subj ect of this intercourse, it acquired all the character of a concealed plea. sure, and we used to select, for the scenes of our indulgence, long walks through the solitary and romantic environs of Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags, Braid Hills, and similar places in the vicinity of Edinburgh; and the recollection of those holidays still forms an oasis in the pilgrimage which I have to look back upon.»
It was about this period that a circumstance occurred which may probably have laid the real foundation of that facility which has characterized the fictitious productions of our author. A severe illness interrupted the course of his studies, and rendered him incapable of any bodily exertion. The effect which this produced on his mind, will best be described in his own words.
1 My indisposition arose, in part at least, from my having broken a blood-vessel; and motion and speech were for a longtime pronounced positively dangerous. For several weeks I was confined strictly to my bed, during which timel was not allowed to speak above a whisper, to eat more than a spoonful or two of boiled rice, or to have more covering than one thin counterpane. When the reader is informed that I was at this time a growing youth, with the spirits, appetite, and impatience of fifteen, and suffered, of course, greatly under this severe regimen, which the repeated return of my disorder rendered indispensable,he will not be surprised thatlwas abandoned to my own discretion, so far as reading (my almost sole amusement) was concerned, and still less so, that Iabused the indulgence which left my time so much at my own disposal.
-There was at this time a circulating libraryzin Edinburgh, founded, I believe, by the celebrated Allan Ramsay, which, besides contai ing a most respectable collection of books of every descrip
of reading without compass or pilot; and unless ~
when some one had the charity to play at chess with me, I was allowed to do nothing save read, from morning to night. I was, in kindness and pity, which was perhaps erroneous, however natural, permitted to select my subjects of study at my own pleasure, upon the same principle that the humours of children are indulged to keep them out of mischief. As my taste and appetite were gratified in nothing else, I indemnified myself by becoming aglutton of books. Accordingly, I believe] read almost all the romances, old plays, and epic poetry, in that formidable collection, and no doubt was unconsciously amassing materials for the task in which it has been my lot to be so much employed.
-At the same time I did not in all respects abuse the license permitted me. Familiar acquaintance with the specious miracles of fiction brought with it some degree of satiety, and I began, by degrees, to seek in histories, memoirs, voyages and travels, and the like, events nearly as wonderful as those which were the work of imagination, with the additional advantage that they were at least in a great measure true. The lapse of nearly two years, during which I was left to the exercise of my own free will, was followed by a temporary residence in the country, where I was again very lonely but for the amusement which I derived from a good though old-fashioned library. The vague and wild use which I made of this advantage I cannot describe better than by referring my reader to the desnltory.stndies of Waverley ina similarsituation; the passages concerning whose course of reading were imitated from recollections of my own.—lt must the understood that the resemblance extends no farll-l6l'.w
Having completed his classical studies at the High School, with as much repntation,we suppose, as others of his standing, Walter Scott was removed to the University of Edinburgh, where, also, he passed the classes in a similar manner.
His continuance here, however, could not have been long ; for, after serving the prescribed terms in the office of a writer to the signet, he was admitted an advocate of the Scotch bar, when he had not quite attained the age of twenty-one.
His success at the bar, although not brilliant, was sufficient to justify the friendship with which his social disposition, added to the fund of general