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with so much of the feelings that are of all ages thor of Marmion, or the Lady of the Lake, than and all countries, that we frequently cease to re- of Waverley or Old Mortality. gard them (as it is generally right to regard them) Without disputing the general verdict, which as parts of a fantastical pageant, and are often places the Monastery below the rest of our aubrought to consider the knights who joust in pa- thor's works, we shall endeavour to ascertain the noply in the lists, and the foresters who shoot grounds on which it may be supposed to be deer with arrows, and plunder travellers in the founded. We believe the principal deficiency woods, as real individuals, with hearts and blood lies in, what is usually our author's principal exbeating in their bosoms like our own-actual cellence, the female characters. In general, his existences, in short, into whose views we may men add to the boldness and animation of the reasonably enter, and with whose emotions we scene, but his women support almost all its inare bound to sympathise. To all this he has terest. Perhaps this must always be the case added, out of the prodigality of his high and in- where both are equally well drawn. We sympaventive genius, the grace and the interest of some thize more readily with simple than with comlofty, and sweet, and superhuman characters, for pound feelings; and therefore less easily with which, though evidenily fictitious, and unnatural those characters, the different ingredients of in any stage of society, the remoteness of the which have, by mutual subservience, been mouldscene on which they are introduced may serve as ed into one uniform mass, than with those in an apology, if they could need any other than which they stand unmixed and contrasted. Couwhat they bring along with them in their own rage restrained by caution, and liberality by sublimity and beauty.
prudence, loyalty, with a view only to the ultiIn comparing this work then with the produc- mate utility of power, and love, never forgetting tions which had already proceeded from the same itself in its object, are the attributes of men. master-hand, it is impossible not to feel that we Their purposes are formed on a general balance are passing in some degree from the reign of na- of compensating motives, and pursued only while ture and reality to that of fancy and romance, their means appear not totally inadequate. The and exchanging for scenes of wonder and curio- greater susceptibility, which is always the charm, sity those more homefelt sympathies, and deeper and sometimes the misfortune, of women, detouches of delight, that can only be excited by prives them of the same accurate view of the the people among whom we live, and the objects proportion of different objects. The one upon that are constantly around us. A far greater which they are intent, whether it be a lover, a proportion of the work is accordingly made up parent, a husband, a child, a king, a preacher, a of splendid descriptions of arms and dresses, ball, or a bonnet, swallows up the rest. Hence moated and massive castles, tournaments of mail- the enthusiasm of their loyalty, the devotedness ed champions, solemn feasts, formal courtesies, of their affection, the abandonment of self, and and other matters of external and visible pre- the general vehemence of emotion, which, in fic. sentment, that are only entitled to such distinction as well as in reality, operate contagiously tion as connected with the olden times, and novel on our feelings. But our author has, in the by virtue of their antiquity; while the interest Monastery, neglected the power of representing of the story is maintained far more by surprising the female character, which he possesses so emiadventures and extraordinary situations, the nently, and, in general, uses so liberally. The startling effect of exaggerated sentiments, and heroine is milk and water, or any thing still more the strong contrast of overdrawn characters, than insipid. Dame Glendinning and Tibbie are the by the sober charnis of truth and reality, the common furniture of a farm-house; and Mysie exquisite representation of scenes with which we Happer and poor Catherine, though beautiful, are are familiar, or the skilful development of affec- mere sketches, tions which we have often experienced.
But the great merit of the Monastery is, that it These bright lights and deep shadows--this is a foundation for the Abbot. This not only succession of brilliant pictures, addressed as often relieves, in a great measure, the reader from the to the eyes as to the imagination, and oftener to slow detail, or the perplexing retracings and the imagination than the heart—this preference éclaircissemens which detain or interrupt him in of striking generalities to homely details, all be- a narrative that is purely fictitious, but is an imlong more properly to the province of poetry provement on some of the peculiar advantages than of prose; and Ivanhoe, accordingly, seems of one that is historical. In the latter, the hard to us much more akin to the most splendid of and meagre outline of his previous knowledge modern poems, than the most interesting of mo- seldom contains more than the names and mutual dern novels; and savours much more of the au- relations of the principal personages, and what
they had previously done, with very little of described, or fiction invented, a character inore what they had previously felt. But where one truly tragic than Queen Mary. The most fruitfiction is founded on another, we are introduced ful imagination could not have adorned her with not merely to persons who are notorious to us, inore accomplishments, or exposed her to greater but to old acquaintances and friends. The extremes of fortune, or alternated them with Knight of Avenel, the Abbot Ambrosius, and the greater rapidity. And the mystery which, after Gardener Blinkhoolie, are the Halbert, and Ed- all the exertions of her friends and enemies, still ward, and Boniface, into whose early associations rests on her conduct, and which our author has and secret feelings we had been admitted. We most skilfully left as daik as he found it, prevents meet them as we meet, in real life, with those our being either shocked or unmoved by her fiwhom we have known in long-past times, and in nal calamities. The former would have been the different situations, and are interested in tracing, case, if her innocence could have been establishsometimes the resemblance, and sometimes the ed. We could not have borne to see such a being contrast, between what has past and what is pre- plunged, by a false accusation, from such happisent; in observing the effect of new circum- ness into such misery. The latter would have stances in modifying or confirming their old feel- followed, if she could have been proved to be ings, or in eliciting others which before lay un- guilty. Her sufferings, bitter as they were, were perceived. We view with interest the fiery free- less unmixed than those of Bothwell. dom of Halbert's youth ripened into the steady endured a long imprisonment, but it was in a and stern composure of the approved soldier and desolate climate, without the alleviations which skilful politician; and when, as Knight of Arenel, even Elizabeth allowed to her rival, without the he sighs for birth and name, we recognize the hope of escape, or the sympathy of devoted atfeelings that drove him from the obscure security tendants : such was his misery, that his reason of a church vassal, to seek with his sword the sunk under it. And though his sufferings were means of ranking with those prond men who de- greater than those of his accomplice, if such she spised his clownish poverty. And when Ambrose were, his crime was less. He had not to break acknowledges that, bent as he is by affliction, he the same restraints of intimate connexion and of has not forgotten the effect of beauty on the sex. But nobody could read a tragedy of which heart of youth – that even in the watches of the his misfortunes formed the substance; because night, broken by the thoughts of an imprisoned we are sure of his guilt, they will excite no inqueen, a distracted kingdom, a church laid waste terest. While we continue to doubt hers, Mary's and ruinous,conte other thoughts than these sug- will be intensely affecting. gest, and other feelings that belong to an earlier Though Kenilworth ranks high among our and happier course of life; a single allusion sends author's works, we think it inferior, as a whole, us back through the whole intervening time, and to his other tragedies, the Bride of Lammermoor, we see him again in the deep window-recess of the historical part of Waverley, and the Abbot, Glendearg, and Mary's looks of simple yet earnest both in materials and in execution. anxiety, watching for his assistance in their Any liobsart and Elizabeth occupy nearly the childish studies. The allusion would have been same space upon the canvas as Catherine Seyton pretty, but how inferior if Ambrose had been a and Mary. But almost all the points of interest, new character, and we had been forced to ac- which are divided between Amy and Elizabeth, count for it by some vague theory as to his for-historical recollections, beauty, talents, attracmer history. The Abbot has, however, far greater tive virtues and unhappy errors, exalted rank advantages over its predecessor than those, great and deep misfortune, are accumulated in Mary; as they are, that arise from their relative situa- and we want altogether that union of the lofty tion. We escape from the dull tower of Glen- and the elegant, of enthusiasm and playfulness, dearg, with its narrow valley and hoinely inmates, which enchanted us in Catherine. Amy is a to Edinburgh, and Holyrood House, and Loch- beautiful specimen of that class which long ago leven Castle, and the field of Langside, and to furnished Desdemona: the basis of whose charachigh dames and mighty earls, and exchange the ter is conjugal love, whose charni consists in its obscure squabbling of the hamlet and the con- purity and its devotedness, whose fault springs vent for events where the passions of individuals from its undue prevalence over filial duty, and decided the fate of kingdoms, and, above all, we whose sufferings are occasioned by the perverted exchange unintelligible fairyism for human ac- passions of him who is the object of it. Elizabeth tors and human feelings.
owes almost all her interest to our early associaIt is true there is a sorceress on the stage, but tions, and to her marvellous combination of the one endued with powers far greater for evil or for male and female dispositions, in those points in good than the White Lady. History has never which they seem most incompatible. The re
presentation of such a character loses much of The Pirate is a bold attempt to make out a its interest in history, and would be intolerable long and eventful story, from a very narrow cirin pure fiction. In the former, its peculiarities cle of society, and a scene so circumscribed as are softened down by the distance, and Elizabeth scarcely to admit of any great scope or variety of appears a fine, but not an uncommon object-a action; and its failure, in a certain degree, must great, unamiable sovereign; and the same pecu- in fairness be ascribed chiefly to this scaptiness liarities, shown up by the microscopic exaggera- and defect of the materials. tion of fiction, would, if judged only by the rules The FORTUNES of Nigel is of an historical chaof fiction, offend as unnatural; but supported by racter, and an attempt to describe and illustrate the authority of history, would be most striking. by examples the manners of the court, and, geA portrait might be drawn of Elizabeth, uniling nerally speaking, of the age of James I. of Engthe magnanimous courage, the persevering but land. governable anger, the power of weighing distant Without asserting the high excellence of Saint against immediate advantages, and the brilliant Ronan's Well, we may venture to affirm that it against the useful, and of subjecting all sur- does not deserve the contempt with which it has rounding minds, even the most manly, to her been treated by some critics. The story, indeed, influence, with the most craving vanity, the most is not very probable, and there are various inconirritable jealousy, the meanest duplicity, and the sistencies in the plot; the characters, though apmost capricious and unrelenting spite, that ever parently intended to be completely modern, are degraded the silliest and most hateful of her sex. in some instances more suitable to the last gene
Sir Walter has not, we think, made the most ration; the hero's portrait is feebly drawn: the of his opportunities. He has complied with the moral tone of the work is less correct and legitilaws of poetical consistency, without recollecting mate than that which pervades our author's prethat, in this instance, the notoriety of Elizabe:h's ceding productions, and the impulses of feeling history warranted their violation. Instead of and humanity are less natural and forcible; but pushing to the utmost the opposing qualities that it is still a work which bears the marks of a masformed her character, he has softened even the ter's hand, the interest is well sustained, the inincidents that he has directly borrowed. When cidents are related with spirit, many of the diaLeicester knelt before her at Kenilworth, ere she logues are lively and pleasant, and not only the raised him she passed her hand over his head, so characters of the heroine, but also ihose of the near as almost to touch his long curled and per- landlady of Touchwood, are drawn with a discrifumed hair, and with a movement of fondness minating and powerful pencil. that seemed to intimate she would, if she dared, In the historical novels of RedGAUNTLET, QUENhare made the motion a slight caress. Listen to TiN DURWARD, and Woodstock, the author disSir James Melvil's account of the occurrence. plays a truly graphic power in the delineation
« I was required to stay till he was made Earl of characters, which he sketches with an ease, of Leicester, which was done at Westminster, the and colours with a brilliancy, and scatters about queen herself helping to put on his ceremonial, with a profusion, which but few writers, in any he sitting upon his knees (kneeling) before her age, have been able to accomplish. With spells with great gravity; but she could not refrain of magic potency, and with the creations of a from putting her hands into his neck, smiling- rich and varied fancy, so skilfully has he stolen ly tickling him, the French ambassador and 1 us from ourselves, with such exquisite cunning standing by. Then she turned, asking me how I has he extracted a kind of poetry from the comliked him?» Again, when she discovers Leices- mon incidents of life, with such an extent of leter's conduct, in which every cause of personal gendary knowledge, he has displayed so wonderirritation is most skilfully accumulated, she pu- ful an aptitude in drawing from historic research nishes him only by a quarter of an hour's restraint those minute traits of manners and modifications under the custody of the earl-marshal.
in social life, which, by reason of the wide range When, at a later period, and under circum- which it traverses, and the rapidity with which it stances of much less aggravation, she detected moves along, are in history too general and inhis marriage with Lady Essex, she actually impri- distinct; that it would be worse than affectation soned him. Our author has not ventured on the to stand aloof from the general feeling, and to full vehemence of her affection or her rage. But, refuse our humble proportion of those golden after all, his picture of the lion-hearted queen, opinions he has bought from all sorts of men," though it might perhaps have been improved by and which have fixed him in so high a rank in the admission of stronger contrasts, is so vivid, the literature of his country. and so magnificent, that we can hardly wish it The TALES OF THE Crusaders have not been other than it is.
received with that enthusiasm of delight which
greeted some of our author's former productions: they are commonly conducted, are apt to be a yet they undoubtedly possess considerable merit, little insipid to a mere critical spectator,-and and, amidst much that is feeble, uninteresting, that while they consequently require more and absurd, bear evident marks of sense and ta- heightening than strange adventures or grolent.
tesque persons, they admit less of exaggeration or To sum up our observations on the Waverley ambitious ornament: yet we cannot think it neNovels, in a few words, we think their author has cessary that they should be altogether so lame succeeded by far the best in the representation of and mawkish as we generally find them in the rustic and homely characters, and not in the lu- hands of this spirited writer, whose powers really dicrous or contemptuous representation of them seem to require some strooger stimulus to bring -- but by making them at once more natural and them into action, than can be supplied by the more interesting than they had ever been made tat realities of a peaceful and ordinary existence. before in any work of fiction; by showing them, His love of the ludicrous, it must also be observnot as clowns to be laughed at, or wretches to be ed, often betrays him into forced and vulgar expitied and despised, --but as human creatures, aggerations, and into the repetition of common with as many pleasures, and fewer cares, than and paltry stories ; though it is but fair to add, their superiors with affections not only as that he does not detain us long with them, and strong, but often as delicate, as those whose lan- makes amends, by the copiousness of his assortguage is smoother-and with a vein of humour, a ment, for the indifferent quality of some of the force of sagacity, and very frequently an eleva- specimens. It is another consequence of this tion of fancy, as high and as natural as can be extreme abundance in which he revels and riots, met with among more cultivated beings. The and of the fertility of the imagination from great merit of all these delineations is their ad- which it is supplied, that he is at all times a litmirable truth and fidelity, the whole manner tle apt to overdo even those things which he does and cast of the characters being accurately best. His most striking and highly-coloured moulded to their condition; and the finer attri- characters appear rather too often, and go on butes, so blended and harmonized with the na- rather too long. It is astonishing, indeed, with tive rudeness and simplicity of their life and oc- what spirit they are supported, and how fresh cupations, that they are made interesting and and animated they are to the
but still even noble beings, without the least particle of there is something too much of them, and they foppery or exaggeration, and delight and amuse would be more waited for and welcomed, if they us, without trespassing at all on the province of were not quite so lavish of their presence. pastoral or romance.
was reserved for Shakspeare alone to leave all Next to these, we think, he has found his hap- his characters as new and unworn as he found piest subjects, or at least displayed his greatest them, and to carry Falstaff through the business powers, in the delineation of the grand and of three several plays, and leave us as greedy of gloomy aspects of nature, and of the dark and his sayings as at the moment of his first introducfierce passions of the heart. The natural gaiety tion. It is no light praise to the author before of his temper does not indeed allow him to dwell us, that he has sometimes reminded us of this, long on such themes; but the sketches he occa- and, as we have before observed, of other inimisionally introduces are executed with admirable table excellencies in that most gifted of all inforce and spirit, and give a strong impression ventors. both of the vigour of his imagination and the He is above all things national and Scottish, variety of his talent. It is only in the third and never seems to feel the powers of a giant exrank that we would place his pictures of chivalry cept when he touches bis native soil. His counand chivalrous character, his traits of gallantry, trymen alone, therefore, can have a full sense of nobleness, and honour, and that bewitching his merits, or a perfect relish of his excellencies; assemblage of gay and gentle manners, with and those only, indeed, of thein, who have mingenerosity, candour, and courage, which has gled, as he has done, pretty freely with the lower long been familiar enough to readers and writers orders, and made themselves familiar not only of novels, but has never before been represented with their language, but with the habits and with such an air of truth, and so much ease and traits of character of which it then only becomes happiness of execution.
expressive. It is one thing to understand the Among his faults and failures, we must give meaning of words, as they are explained by other the first place to his descriptions of virtuous words in a glossary or dictionary, and another young ladies, and his representations of the or- to know their value, as expressive of certain dinary business of courtship and conversation in feelings and humours in the speakers to whom polished life. We admit that those things, as they are native, and as signs both of temper and
, are apt to be a 1 spectator, –and y require more entures or groof exaggeration or w not think it netogether so lame
find them in the ose powers really
stimulus to bring e supplied by the ordinary existence. st also be observ. -d and vulgar exition of common but fair to add, with them, and ess of his assort
y of some of the sequence of this
revels and riots, magination from at all times a litgs which he does highly-coloured ften, and go on g, indeed, with
and how fresh y last; but still them, and they Icomed, if they ir presence. It ne to leave all rn as he found gh the business us as greedy of is first introduce author before vded us of this, of other inimi
condition among those who are familiar with their proud, cruel, selfish, profligate-but with the import
love-letters of the gentle Alice (written thirty We shall make no apology to our readers for years before), and his verses to her memory, found introducing here, the following animated deline- in his pocket after his death ; in the same volume ation of the author of Waverley, from the pen of Old Mortality, is that lone figure, like one in of an acute critic.
Scripture, of the woman sitting on the stone, at « Sir Walter,» says this writer, « has found out the turning to the mountain, to warn Burley that that facts are better than fiction; that there is no there is a lion in his path; and the fawning Claromance like the romance of real life ; and that verhouse, beautiful as a panther, smooth-looking, can we but arrive at what men feel, do, and say, blood-spotted : and the fanatics, Macbriar and in striking and singular situations, the result will Mucklewrath, crazed with zeal and sufferings ; be more lively, audible, and full of vent, than and the inflexible Morton, and the faithful Edith, the fine-spun cobwebs of the brain. Our author who refused to give her hand to another, while has conjured up the actual people he has to deal her heart was with her lover in the deep and with, or as much as he could get of them, in dead sea.' In The Heart of Mid-Lothian, we have their habits as they lived.
He has ransacked Effie Deans (that sweet faded flower), and Jeanie, old chronicles, and poured the contents upon his her more than sister, and old David Deans, the papage; he has squeezed out musty records; he has triarch of St Leonard's Crags, and Butler, and consulted way-faring pilgrims, bed-rid sibyls; Dambiedikes, eloquent in his silence, and Mr he has invoked the spirits of the air; he has con- Bartoline Saddletree, and his prudent helpmate, versed with the living and the dead, and let them and Porteous, swinging in the wind, and Madge tell their story their own way; and by borrowing Wildfire, full of finery and madness, and her of others, has enriched his own genius with ever-ghastly mother. Again, there is Meg Merrilies, lasting variety, truth, and freedom. He has taken standing on her rock, stretched on her bier, with his materials from the original, authentic sources,' her head to the east,' and Dirk Hatteraick, (equal in large concrete masses, and has not tampered to Shakspeare's Master Barnardine), and Glossin, with, or too much frittered them away. He is the soul of an attorney, and Dandie Dinmont, the only amanuensis of truth and history. It is with his terrier-pack and his pony Dumple, and impossible to say how fine his writings in conse- the fiery Colonel Mandering, and the modish old quence are, unless we could describe how fine counsellor Pleydell, and Dominie Sampson : and nature is. All that portion of the history of his Rob Roy (like the eagle in his eyrie), and Baillie country that he has touched upon (wide as the Nicol Jarvie, and the inimitable Major Galbraith, scope is), the manners, the personages, the events, Rashleigh Osbaldistone, and Die Vernon, the best the scenery, lives over again in his volumes. No- of secret-keepers ; and in the Antiquary, the ingething is wanting, the illusion is complete. There nious .Mr Oldbuck, and the old bedesman, Edie is a hurtling in the air, a trampling of feet upon Ochiltree, and that preternatural figure of old the ground, as these perfect representations of Elspeth, a living shadow, in whom the lamp human character, or fanciful belief, come throng- of life had been long extinguished, had it not ing back upon the imagination. We will merely been fed by remorse and thick-coming' rerecal a few of the subjects of his pencil to the collections; and that striking picture of feudal reader's recollection, for nothing we could add tyranny and fiendish pride, the unhappy Earl of by way of note or commendation, could make the Glenallan; and the Black Dwarf, and his friend, impression more vivid.
Hobbie of the Heughfoot (the cheerful hunter), « There is (first and foreinost, because the earliest and his cousin Grace Armstrong, fresh and laughof our acquaintance), the Baron of Bradwardine, ing like the morning; and the Children of the stately, kind-hearted, whimsical, and pedantic; Mist, and the baying of the blood-hound, that and Flora Mac-Ivor (whom even we forgive for tracks their steps at a distance (the hollow echoes her jacobitism), the fierce Vich Jan Vohr, and are in our ears now), and Amy and her hapless Evan Dhu, constant in death, and Davie Gellat- love, and the villain Varney, and the deep voice ley, roasting his eggs, or turning his rhymes with of George of Douglas-and the immoveable Balarestless volubility, and the two stag-hounds that fré, and Master Oliver, the barber, in Quentin met Waverley, as fine as ever Titian painted, or Durward-and the quaint humour of the Fortunes Paul Veronese :-- then there is old Balfour of of Nigel, and the comic spirit of Peveril of the Burley, brandishing his sword and his Bible with Peak - and the fine old English romance of Ivanfire-eyed fury, trying a fall with the insolent, gi- hoe. What a list of names! What a host of asgantic Bothwell, at the 'change-house, and van-sociations! What a thing is human life! What a quishing him at the noble battle of Loudon-hill; power is that of genius! What a world of thought there is Bothwell, himself, drawn to the life, and feeling is thus rescued from oblivion ! How
zitted of all in
I and Scottish, rs of a giant exoil. His coun· a full sense of is ercellencies; who have minwith the lower hiliar not only he habits and I only becomes nderstand the ained by other 1, and another isive of certain eakers to whom
1 of temper and