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many hours of heartfelt satisfaction has our au- bable termination. Both the poems and the nothor given to the gay and thoughtless! How vels indicate a fertility of mind in this respect, many sad hearts has he soothed in pain and so- amounting to what might be designated even a litude! It is no wonder that the public repay, rank luxuriance. Before we had eaten down one wiih lengthenedl applause and gratitude, the plea-crop of this intellectual pasture, another began sure they receive. He writes as fast as they can to present itself, and a third growth shot up read, and he does not write himself down. He whilst our heads were deep the second. There is always in the public eye, and we do not tire of is here an obvious resemblance between the two him. His worst is better than any other person's series of works now compared. It would be hard best. His back-grounds (and his latter works are to say whether the poet or the novelist were the little else but back-grounds capitaliy made ont), greater spendthrift of his words. In both, eloare more attractive thau the principal and most quence is of so splendid and profluent a nature, complicated figures of other writers. His works that it takes the form, and might assume the (taken together) are almost like a new edition of name, of splendid loquacity. The labour with human nature. This is indeed to be an author! these authors seems to have been merely that of
« The political bearing of the Scotch Novels bas transcribing from the folds of the brain to the been a considerable recommendation to them. leaves of their paper. Facility in compositionThey are a relief to the mind, rarified as it has and when we say this, we do not mean fluency been with modern philosophy, and heated with without a considerable degree of solidity,- is the ultra-radicalisin. The candour of Sir Walter's qualification in which these two great writers rehistoric pen levels our bristling prejudices, and semble each other, and that, perhaps, in which sees fair play between roundheads and cavaliers they most surpass all their contemporaries. We
- between protestant and papist. He is a writer allow there is much difference between the reconciling all the diversities of human nature to weighty bullion' of Childe Harold, or Waverthe reader. He does not enter into the hostile ley, and the French wire' into which the small distinctions of sects and parties, but treats of the portion of sterling ore, forming the real worth of strength or the infirmity of the human mind, of Sardanapalus, or Redgauntlet, is drawn; but still, the virtues and vices of the human breast, as they the same ease of language, the same wealth of are to be found blended in the whole race of imagery, is everywhere displayed, even in their mankind. Nothing can show more haudsomely, most precipitate works, by each writer,--and with or be more gallantly executed. »
about equal claims on our admiration. Sir WalAnother critic attempts a comparison between ter, like his late noble competitor for the crown our author and the late Lord Byron, as follows:- of fame, in his more recent works, seems to have
« The two most celebrated writers of this age, depended almost wholly on the power of writing Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott, resemble each ad infinitum, agreeably upon any or no subject. other not a little in their works. Their respective But all-powerful as those two great writers may series of productions, from Childe Harold to Don be considered, in the department of eloquence, Juan, and from Waverley to Woodstock, though and what may be generally described as compodiffering essentially in structure, object, and sub- sition, they are both radically, though not perject, agree, nevertheless, in several particulars. haps equally, impotent in the province of characEach series, for example, evinces a remarkable ter, variously modified by the different circumqualification of mind in the author, and each be- stances in which it is placed throughout all Lord trays a remarkable defect. It is likewise a singu- Byron's poenis,--that of a noble-minded, but delar coincidence, that the same qualification and praved being, of fine feelings, but irregular pasthe saine defect should exist in both, viz. extra- sions, more or less satirical and misanthropical in ordinary facility of invention as far as respects his disposition, gloomy, heart-withered, reckless, composition, and difficulty of invention as far as and irreligious. Sir Walter Scott has taken a cirrespects character. Both authors are about equally cle of somewhat greater circumference, but within remarkable for the said power, and (if the ex- which he is just as strictly confined. He has expression may be used) impotence of mind, in cogitated, or his experience has furnished him these different provinces of invention.
with a certain definite number of characters, and « And first as to composition. The prodigal ef- these he plays as he would chess-men, sometimes fusion of poetry, which in Childe Harold, the bringing one forward, sometimes another, but Corsair, the Giaour, etc., etc., almost overwhelmed without the power of increasing the number of the reading world, is only to be paralleled by the men on the board.» quantity of prose so dissolutely expended in the The Waverley novels were highly admired by composition of Waverley, Guy Mannering, eic., Byron; he never travelled without them. « They etc., a series to which we can see indeed no pro- are,” said he to Captain Medwin one day,
ms ard the no-
In both, elo-
P's, in which raries. We between the , or Waverch the small real worth of wn; but still, e wealth of - en in their ,-and with 1. Sir Wal· the crown ems to have : of writing no subject. rriters may eloquence, as compoinot per
of characit circumat all Lord d, but degular pashropical in 1, reckless, iken a cir
library in themselves-a perfect literary trea- had ever a kinder heart for sympathy, or a more
I could read them once a year with new open hand for the relief of distress; and no mind pleasure. During that morning he had been was ever more formed for the enthusiastic admireading one of Sir Walter's novels, and delivered ration of noble actions, provided he was conthe following criticism: « low difficult it is to vinced that the actors had proceeded on disinsay any thing new! Who was that voluptuary of terested principles. But his wonderful genius antiquity who offered a reward for a new plea- was of a nature which disdained restraint, even sure? Perhaps all nature and art could not sup- when restraint was most wholesome. When at ply a new idea. This page, for instance, is a school, the tasks in which he excelled were those brilliant one;
it is full of wit. But let us see how only which lie undertook voluntarily; and his simuch is original. This passage, » continued his tuation as a young man of rank, with strong lordship, « comes from Shakspeare; this bon mot passions, and in the uucontrolled enjoyment of from one of Sheridan's comeilies; this observa- considerable fortime, added to that impatience tion from another writer; and yet the ideas are of strictness or coercion which was natural to new moulded, and perhaps Scott was not aware him as an author; he refused to plead at the bar of their being plagiarisms. It is a bad thing to of criticism. As a man, he would not submit to have a good memory."
« I should not like to be morally amenable to the tribunal of public have you for a critic,» observed Captain Medwin. opinion. Remonstrances from a friend, of whose « Set a thief to catch a thief,» was the reply. intentions and kindness he was secure, had often
On the death of the illustrious Byron, Sir Wal- great weight with him; but there were few who ter Scott evinced his candour and liberality of could venture on a task so difficult. Reproof he inind in the following tribute to his lordship's endured with impatience, and reproach hardened memory:-
hiin in his error; so that he ofien resembled the « That mighty genius, which walked amongst gallant war-steed, who rushes forward on the men as something superior to ordinary mortality, steel that wounds him. In the most painful and whose powers were beheld with wonder, and crisis of his private life, he evinced this irritabisomething approaching to terror, as if we knew lity and impatience of censure in such a degree, not whether they were of good or of evil, is laid as almost to resemble the noble victim of the as soundly to rest as the poor peasant whose bull-fight, which is more maddened by the squibs, ideas never went beyond his daily task. The darts, and petty annoyances of the unworthy voice of just blame; and that of malignant cen- crowds beyond the lists, than by the lance of his sure, are at once silenced; and we fel almost as nobler, and (so to speak) his more legitimate anif the great luminary of heaven had suddenly tagonist. In a word, much of that in which he disappeared from the sky, at the moment when erred was in bravado and scorn of his censors, every telescope was levelled for the examination and was done with the motive of Dryden's deof the spots which dimmell its brightness. It is spot, to show his arbitrary power.' It is neednot now the question what were Byron's faults- less to say that his was a false and prejudicial what his mistakes: but how is the blank which view of such a contest; and, if the noble bard he has left in British literature to be filled up? gained a sort of triump by compelling the Not, we fear, in one generation, which, among world to read poetry, though mixed with baser many highly-gifted persons, has produced none matter, because it was his, he gave in return an who approach Byron in originality, the first at- unworthy triumph to the unworthy, beside deep tribute of genius. Only thirty-seven years old — sorrow to those whose applause, in his cooler moso much already done for immortality--so much menis, he most valued. time remaining, as it seenis to us short-sighted « It was the same with his politics, which on mortals, to maintain and to extend his fame, and several occasions assumed a tone menacing and to atone for errors in conduct and levities in contemptuous to the constitution of his country; composition : who will not grieve that such a while, in fact, he was in his own heart sufficiently race has been shortened, though not always keep. sensible, not only of his privileges as a Briton, ing the straight path-such a light extinguished, but of the distinction attending his high birth though sometimes flaming to dazzle and to be and rank, and was peculiarly sensitive of those wilder? One word on this ungrateful subject ere shades which constitute what is termed the manwe quit it for ever.
ners of a gentleman. Indeed, notwithstauding « The errors of Lord Byron arose neither from his having employed epigrams, and all the petty depravity of heart,-- for Nature had not commit- war of wit, when such would have been much ted the anomaly of uniting 10 such extraordinary better abstained from, he would have been found, talents an imperfect moral sense, -- nor from feel- had a collision taken place between the different ings dead to the admiration of virtue. No man parties in the state, exerting all his energies in
but within le has ershed him cters, and sometimes other, but number of
dmired by m. - They ve day,
defence of that to which he naturally belonged ment of levity, but contributing his fortune, and
« We are not Byron's apologists, for now, alas! hazarding his life, in behalf of a people only enhe needs none. His excellencies will now be deared to him by their past glories, and as fellowuniversally acknowledged, and his faults (let us creatures suffering under the yoke of a heathen hope and believe) not remembered in his epi- oppressor. To have fallen in a crusade for freetaph. It will be recollected what a part he has dom and humanity, as in olden times, it would sustained in British literature since the first ap- have been an atonement for the blackest crimes, pearance of Childe Harold, a space of nearly six- and may in the present be allowed to expiate teen years. There has been no reposing under greater follies than even exaggerated calumny the shade of his laurels, no living upon the re- has propagated against Byron.» source of past reputation; none of those petty The first person on whom his Majesty George precautions which little authors call taking care iv., conferred a baronetage, was Sir Walter Scott; of their fame. Byron let his fame take care of and in August, 1822, when the king honoured itself. His foot was always in the arena, his Edinburgh with a visit, Sir Walter acted as croushield hung always in the lists; and although his pier, or vice-president, at a dinner given by the own gigantic renown increased the difficulty of Lord Provost and corporation, to the royal guest. the struggle, since he could produce nothing, In the summer of 1825, Sir Walter paid a vihowever great, which exceeded the public esti- sit to Ireland, where he was most hospitably remate of his genius, yet he advanced to the ho-ceived by the sons of the Shamrock. During his nourable contest again and again, and came al- stay in Dublin, he frequently visited the library ways off with distinction, almost always with adjoining St Patrick's cathedral ; on one of these complete triumph. As various in composition as occasions the deputy librarian, who happened to Shakspeare himself (this will be admitted by all be a collegian, having got into conversation with who are acquainted with his Don Juan), he has the (then) « Great Unknown," wished to take him embraced every topic in human life, and sounded by surprise, and thereby prove his own dexteevery string on the divine harp, from its slightest rity. With this view he exclaimed, « Oh, Sir to its most powerful and heart-astounding tones. Walter, do you know that it is only lately I have There is scarce a passion or a situation which had time to get through your Nedgauntlet.» «Sir,» las escaped his pen; and he might be drawu, like replied Sir Walter, «I never met with such a Garrick, between the weeping and the laughing book.” The librarian stood rebuked, and said muse, although his most powerful efforts have nothing. certainly been dedicated to Melpomene. His ge- As Sir Walter and a friend were one day slowly nius seemed as prolific as various. The most saurtering along the High-street, Edinburgh, their prodigal use did not exhaust his powers, but ears were saluted by the cries of an Italian venseemed rather to increase their vigour. Neither der of images, who, in broken English, was exChilde Harold, nor any of the most beautiful of tolling his brittle ware to excite custom. The his earlier tales, contain more exquisite morsels chief burthen of the itinerant merchant's song, of poetry than are to be found scattered through however, was the bust of de Grate Unknown, which the cantos of Don Juan, amidst verses which he he declared to be a perfect likeness. He now ofappears to have thrown off with an effort as fered his wares to the inspection of our two genspontaneous as that of a tree resigning its leaves tlemen, still dwelling upon « de Grate Unknown,» to the wind. But that noble tree will never more
as de « most parfaite likeness of de vonderful oribear fruit or blossom! It has been cut down in ginal himself.» The friend of Sir Walter desired its strength, and the past is all that remains to him to look at the features of the latter, when the us of Byron. We can scarce reconcile ourselves poor fellow, in an ecstacy of joy, exclaimed, u't is to the idea-scarce think that the voice is silent he, 't is de grand unknown! I make my most profor ever, which, bursting so often on our ear, fits by him, and I vill beg him to take von, two, was often heard with rapturous admiration, tree images, all vat he like, for not any ting.” sumetimes with regret, but always with the deep- The following lively description of Sir Walter's est interest :
personal appearance was written by a gentleman All that's bright must fade,
who visited Edinburgh about two years ago :The brightest still the fleetest.
My departure from was so sudden,
that I had no time to seek letters of introduction; With a strong feeling of awful sorrow, we and the Scotch are not naturally fond of introtake leave of the subject. Death creeps upon ductions which only give theru trouble; but I had our most serious as well as upon our most idle resolved upon seeing Sir Walter Scott before I employments; and it is a reflexion solemn and left Edinburgh, and, had Constable been open, I gratifying, that he found our Byron in no mo- could have been at no loss, but his door was un
fortunately shut. I contrived, however, to get then looked so kindly. The Scotch venerate hini, an introduction to Mr--, the historical painter, as well they may:- suum magnum ingenium howith whom I knew the poet was acquainted, and morem illis facit.' I gazed on this extraordinary with whom it appears he spends many an hour, man until his image was indelibly engraven on but I was just thirty minutes too late! Sir Wal- my organs of vision ; and, were I a portrait paintter had been there, had told the painter some er, I could now paint bis likeness from recollecanecdotes which he assured me threw him into tion. Observing I was a stranger, placed in the convulsions, and that he had been laughing ever advocates' seat, and no advocate, and appearing, since; and I believed him, for he was hardly out I have no doubt, very curious, he gazed upon me of a convulsion when I entered. Disappointed ---we looked at each other, like poor Sterne and I proceeded to the Parliament-house (where Sir the fair glover, for some time, it was curiosity Walter sits as chief clerk to the Lord Commission- in me, but condescension in him.. ers), and as soon as I found out my way into It is not generally known that there was a poet court, I had the good luck to find the object of of the name of Walter Scott, before the present my pursuit. I needed no monitor to point him celebrated bard. He lived about the middle of out-I knew him instantly. I had never seen the seventeenth century, and describes himself as him before in my life; but I had read some of his works, and, from the pictorial and ideal toge
An old souldier and no scholler;
And one that can write none ther, I had formed in my mind his face exactly
But just the letters of his name. and had I seen him hobbling in his favourite * Prince's-street,' I should have known him to
On the death of his grandfather, Sir Robert be Sir Walter Scott. I pushed on to the advo- Scott, of Thirlstone, his father, having no meaus cates' bench (a place reserved exclusively for the to bring up his children, put this Walter to atadvocates), to be as near him as possible—there l tend cattle in the field; a but,” says he, « I gave had no right to be, certainly, but, much to the them the short cut at last, and left the kine in the credit of Scotch manners, they saw I was a stran- corn; and ever since tbat time, I have continued ger-knew no better-and they suffered me to a souldier abroad and at home. He left a poem remain.-On first beholding Sir W. Scott, 1 felt written at the age of seventy-three, dedicated to all the veneration which is due to the good and two gentlemen of the name of Scott, which he the great. I confess I could have knelt down and thus concludes: worshipped him, though to man I never bent a knee. I shall endeavour to describe his person
Begone my book, stretch forth thy wings and fly, he is tall, five feet ten or eleven inches, rather
Amongst the nobles and gentility; stout than otherwise, but not corpulent-appears Thou 'rt not to sell to scavengers and clowns, to be about sixty-is healthy, but lamed in one But given to worthy persons of renown. of his legs, and walks with difficulty. His hair
The number 's few I've printed, in regard
My charges have been great, and I bope reward ; is pure white, and, falling thinly over his ruddy
I caused not to print many above twelve score, forehead, gives him a venerable aspect. You
And the printers are engaged that they shall print no inight fancy him the “Village Preacher' of Oliver Goldsmith, and his costume heightens the resemblance. His complexion is ruddy. His head Lately at a private dinner-party, Sir Walter is singularly formed; uncommonly high from the Scott, Mr H. Mackenzie,' and Mr Alisona happened eye-brows to the crown, and tapers upwards, to be present. In taking their seats, sans cérésomewhat in the conical form, but there is no monie, the baronet found himself placed between projection of forehead, the bump which philoso- these two illustrious individuals. The relative phers lay so much stress upon as being a sign of position of these three celebrated characters soon great intellect, His eyes are small, and I think attracted the attention of a gentleman present, dark-blue-you can seldom catch their expres- who exclaimedsion, on account of the great projection of the eye-brows; but when you do, the look is divine;
Our host hath his guests most happily placed ;
See Genius supported by feeling and taste. they express a mine of intellect, and a kind heart. I wonder many who have seen him say, his coun
We know of no species of composition so detenance is expressive of shrewd cunning'
lightful as that which presents us with personal there is no cunning in his looks-nothing but anecdotes of eminent men; and if its greatest goodness and genius. His manners are prepossessing, and he is very accessible. I perceived, - The celebrated author of the « Man of Feeling.» whenever an advocate or law-man came to speak 2 Autbør of « Essays on the Nature and Principles of with him, he took him kindly by the hand—and Taste.»
charm be in the gratification of our curiosity, it supernatural, and of popular superstitions. I is a curiosity, at least, that has its origin in en- read to him my Eve of St John and Glenfinlas; thusiasm. We are anxious to know all that is and he requested my perinission to insert these possible to be known of those who have an ho- two poems in his Tales of Wonder.' poured place in public opinion. It is not merely Dr Pichot.— I should apprehend that the that every circumstance derives a value from the Monk of Lewis is a little ont of fashion.' person to whom it relates; but an apparently in- SIR WALTER Scost. - It is a work written with significant anecdote often throws an entirely new power. It produced an effect, although it came light on the bistory of the most admired works : after the romances of Mrs Radcliffe. Like the the most noble actions, intellectual discoveries, latter, Lewis chose the south as the seat of his or brilliant deeds, though they shed a broad and action: in a southern atmosphere, passions as lasting lustre round those who have achieved well as vegetation have more energy; passion is them, occupy but a small portion of the life of wanted in works of this kind. The marvellous an individual; and we are not unwilling to pe- alone will not suffice for so sceptica) an age as netrate the dazzling glory, and to see how the this. I should have liked Mrs Radcliffe more, if remaining intervals are filled up-to look into she had been less anxious about the explanation the minor details, to detect incidental foibles, and of her mysteries. Lewis wrote as if he believed.' to be satisfied what qualities they have in com- Dr Pichot.-- Might not Mrs Radcliffe, as a mon with ourselves, as well as distinct from us, woman, be in dread of passing for superstitious ?' entitled to our pity, or raised above our imitation. Sir Walter Scott. - It may be so. Her The heads of great men, in short, are not all we works, compared with the common novel, are want to get a sight of; we wish to add the limbs, what melo-drames are, compared with tragedies the drapery, the back-ground. It is thus that, in and comedies. Terror is their chief spring of the intimacy of retirement, we enjoy with them action. But there are some good melo-drames. « calm contemplation and poetic ease.» We see Walpole created the melo-dramatic romance; but the careless smile play upon their expressive fea- Mrs Radcliffe surpassed Walpole. Lewis and Matures; we hear the dictales of unstudied wisdom, turin have alone come near Mrs Radcliffe. The or the sallies of sportive wit fall without disguise Montorio Family is a very astonishing work.' from their lips; we see, in fine, how poets, and DR Pichot. - - Was your Goetz von Berlichinphilosophers, and scholars, live, converse, and gen published at Edinburgh ?' behave. With these sentiments, our readers will Sir Walter Scott.--No, I published it at not be surprised at our introducing here the fol- London, where I then was. It is from the same lowing literary and miscellaneous dialogue, trans- epoch that my acquaintance with Messrs Canning lated from the tour of an eminent foreigner. and Frere commenced.' « Sir W. Scort.—'Well, doctor, how did you
Dr Pichot.-? You have contributed to translike the banks of the Tweed and Melrose Abbey?' fer a portion of the English bookselling business
De Pichot.—' They are worthy of the bard to Edinburgh.' who has sung them. I, besides, paid a visit to
Sir Walter SCOTT.--' Authors doubtless make Abbotsford, and surveyed with interest your Go- publishers; but Mr Archibald Constable has done thic sculptures, your armoury, and pictures, some much for Scotch authorship.' of which are speaking representations. I shall DR Pichot. --Scotland has always supplied now re-peruse, with double pleasure, the Lay of great men to the literary republic.' the Last Minstrel, and
Sir Walter Scott.—' The patriarch of our Sın Walter Scott.-- Are you acquainted authors is Mr Henry Mackenzie, who knew Hume with the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Porder?' and Robertson intimately. In his Life of John
Dr Pichot.— A great part of it; but more es- Home, he has charmingly described the literary pecially with your own initations of the old bor- society of Edinburgh during the second half of der ballads. It was, I believe, your first publi- the last century. He is a poet and romancecation ?
writer; a poet in versification, and a poet also Sir Walten Scott.— Not exactly. I made my in his prose fictions; indeed, it is difficult for a début in 1799, with an imitation of some ballads good romance-writer not to be so in some degree. of Bürger, and a translation of the chivalresque He is an ingenious critic in his periodical essays drama of Gæthe, Goetz von Berlichingen. These (the Mirror and Lounger), and a pathetic author essays procured me the acquaintance of the fa- in his novels. There is a little of Sterne's manner mous Lewis, author of the Monk, and surnamed in his Man of Feeling; the pathos of Julia de Monk Lewis.
He was a very agreeable man, Roubigné is more natural and pure.' whose imagination was particularly fond of the Dr Pichot.—- Scotland continues to enrich