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idle and occupied world, it is of all others
perhaps the kind of poetry best fitted to win
on our softer hours, and to sink deep into va-
cant bosoms-unlocking all the sources of
fond recollection, and leading us gently on
through the mazes of deep and engrossing
meditation-and thus ministering to a deeper
enchantment and more lasting delight than

a remembered friend. There is, accordingly,
no living poet, we believe, whose advertise-
ment excites greater expectation than Mr.
Campbell's: and a new poem from him is
waited for with even more eagerness (as it is
certainly for a much longer time) than a new
novel from the author of Waverley. Like all
other human felicities, however, this high ex-
pectation and prepared homage has its draw-can ever be inspired by the more importunate
backs and its dangers. A popular author, as strains of more ambitious authors.
we have been led to remark on former occa-
sions, has no rival so formidable as his former
self-and no comparison to sustain half so
dangerous as that which is always made be-
tween the average merit of his new work, and
the remembered beauties-for little else is
ever remembered-of his old ones.

There are no doubt peculiar and perhaps insuperable difficulties in the management of themes so delicate, and requiring so fine and so restrained a hand-nor are we prepared to say that Mr. Campbell has on this occasion entirely escaped them. There are passages that are somewhat fade:-there are expressions that are trivial:-But the prevailing character is sweetness and beauty; and it prevails over all that is opposed to it. The story, though abundantly simple, as our readers will immediately see, has two distinct compartments-one relating to the Swiss maiden, the other to the English wife. The former, with all its accompaniments, we think nearly perfect. It is full of tenderness, purity, and pity; and finished with the most exquisite elegance, in few and simple touches. The other, which is the least considerable, has more decided blemishes. The diction is in many places too familiar, and the incidents too common-and the cause of distress has the double misfortune of being unpoetical in its nature, and improbable in its result. But the shortest way is to give our readers a slight account of the poem, with such specimens as may enable them to judge fairly of it for themselves.

How this comparison will result in the present instance, we do not presume to predict with confidence-but we doubt whether it will be, at least in the beginning, altogether in favour of the volume before us. The poems of this author, indeed, are generally more admired the more they are studied, and rise in our estimation in proportion as they become familiar. Their novelty, therefore, is always rather an obstruction than a help to their popularity; and it may well be questioned, whether there be any thing in the novelties now before us that can rival in our affections the long remembered beauties of the Pleasures of Hope-of Gertrude-of O'Connor's Child-the Song of Linden-The Mariners of England-and the many other enchanting melodies that are ever present to the minds of all lovers of poetry.

the

The leading piece in the present volume is an attempt at a very difficult kind of poetry; and one in which the most complete success can hardly ever be so splendid and striking as to make amends for the difficulty. It is entitled "a Domestic Story"-and it is so;turning upon few incidents-embracing few characters dealing in no marvels and no terrors-displaying no stormy passions. Without complication of plot, in short, or hurry of action-with no atrocities to shudder at, or feats of noble daring to stir the spirits of the ambitious it passes quietly on, through the shaded paths of private life, conversing with gentle natures and patient sufferings-and unfolding, with serene pity and sober triumph, pangs which are fated at times to wring the breast of innocence and generosity, and the courage and comfort which generosity and innocence can never fail to bestow. The taste and the feeling which led to the selection of such topics, could not but impress their character on the style in which they are treated. It is distinguished accordingly by a fine and tender finish, both of thought and of diction by a chastened elegance of words and images a mild dignity and tempered pathos in the sentiments, and a general tone of simplicity and directness in the conduct of the story, which, joined to its great brevity, tends at first perhaps to disguise both the richness and the force of the genius required for its production. But though not calculated to strike at once on the dull palled ear of an

It opens, poetically, with the description of a fine scene in Switzerland, and of a rustic church-yard; where the friend of the author points out to him the flowery grave of a maiden, who, though gentle and fair, had died of unrequited love:-and so they proceed, between them, for the matter is left poetically obscure, to her history. Her fancy had been early captivated by the tales of heroic daring and chivalric pride, with which her country's annals abounded-and she disdained to give her love to any one who was not graced with the virtues and glories of those heroic times. This exalted mood was unluckily fostered by her brother's youthful ardour in praise of the commander under whom he was serving abroad-by whom he was kindly tended when wounded, and whose picture he brought back with him on his return to his paternal home, to renew, and seemingly to realize, the daydreams of his romantic sister. This picture, and the stories her brother told of the noble Theodric, completed the poor girl's fascination. Her heart was kindled by her fancy; and her love was already fixed on a being she had never seen! In the mean time, Theodric, who had promised a visit to his young protegé, passes over to England, and is betrothed to a lady of that country of infinite worth and amiableness. He then repairs to Switzerland, where, after a little time, he discovers the love of Julia, which he gently, but firmly re

bukes-returns to England, and is married. | O'er clust'ring trees and terrace-mantling vines. His wife has uncomfortable relations-quarrel- As gay as ever, the laburnum's pride Lglidesome, selfish, and envious; and her peace is Waves o'er each walk where she was wont to sometimes wounded by their dissensions and As lovely blooms, though trode by strangers now. And still the garden whence she grac'd her brow, unkindness. War breaks out anew, too, in How oft from yonder window o'er the lake, Theodric's country; and as he is meditating Her song, of wild Helvetian swell and shake, a journey to that quarter, he is surprised by a Has made the rudest fisher bend his ear, visit from Julia's brother, who informs him, And rest enchanted on his oar to hear! that, after a long struggle with her cherished Thus bright, accomplish'd, spirited, and bland, Well-born, and wealthy for that simple land, love, her health had at last sunk under it, and Why had no gallant native youth the art that she now prayed only to see him once To win so warm-so exquisite a heart? more before she died! His wife generously She, midst these rocks inspir'd with feeling strong urges him to comply with this piteous request. Herselt descended from the brave in arms, By mountain-freedom-music-fancy-song, He does so; and arrives, in the midst of wintry And conscious of romance-inspiring charms, tempests, to see this pure victim of too warm Dreamt of Heroic beings; hoped to find an imagination expire, in smiles of speechless Some extant spirit of chivalric kind; gratitude and love. While mourning over And scorning wealth, look'd cold ev'n on the claim her, he is appalled by tidings of the dangerous Of manly worth, that lack'd the wreath of Fame." illness of his beloved Constance-hurries to pp. 3-7. England-and finds her dead!—her fate hav- We pass over the animated picture of the ing been precipitated, not occasioned, by brother's campaigns, and of the fame of Theothe harsh and violent treatment she had met dric, and the affectionate gratitude of parents with from her heartless relations. The piece and sister for his care and praises of their closes with a very touching letter she had left noble boy. We must make room, however, for her husband-and an account of its sooth- for this beautiful sketch of his return. ing effects on his mind.

This, we confess, is slight enough, in the way of fable and incident: But it is not in those things that the merit of such poems consists; and what we have given is of course a mere naked outline, or argument rather, intended only to explain and connect our

extracts.

For these, we cannot possibly do better than begin with the beginning.

"'Twas sunset, and the Ranz des Vaches was sung,
And lights were o'er th' Helvetian mountains flung,
That gave the glacier tops their richest glow,
And ting'd the lakes like molten gold below.
Warmth flush'd the wonted regions of the storm,
Where, Phoenix-like, you saw the eagle's form,
That high in Heav'ns vermilion wheel'd and soar'd!
Woods nearer frown'd; and cataracts dash'd and
roar'd,
From heights brouzed by the bounding bouquetin;
Herds tinkling roam'd the long-drawn vales

"In time, the stripling, vigorous and heal'd.
Resum'd his barb and banner in the field,
And bore himself right soldier-like, till now
The third campaign had manlier bronz'd his brow;
When peace, though but a scanty pause for breath-
A curtain-drop between the acts of death-
A check in frantic war's unfinished game.
Yet dearly bought, and direly welcome, came.
The camp broke up, and Udolph left his chief
As with a son's or younger brother's grief:
But journeying home, how rapt his spirits rose!
How light his footsteps crush'd St. Gothard's snows!
How dear seem'd ev'n the waste and wild Shreck-

horn,

tween,

[green.
And hamlets glitter'd white, and gardens flourish'd
'Twas transport to inhale the bright sweet air!
The mountain-bee was revelling in its glare,
And roving with his minstrelsy across
The scented wild weeds, and enamell'd moss.
Earth's features so harmoniously were link'd,
She seem'd one great glad form, with life instinct,
That felt Heav'n's ardent breath, and smil'd below
Its flush of love with consentaneous glow.
A Gothic church was near; the spot around
Was beautiful, ev'n though sepulchral ground;
For there nor yew nor cypress spread their gloom,
But roses blossom'd by each rustic tomb.
Amidst them one of spotless marble shone-
A maiden's grave-and 'twas inscrib'd thereon,
That young and lov'd she died whose dust was
there:

"'Yes.' said my comrade, 'young she died, and

fair!

Grace form'd her, and the soul of gladness play'd
Once in the blue eyes of that mountain-maid!
Her fingers witch'd the chords they passed along,
And her lips seem'd to kiss the soul in song:
Yet woo'd and worshipp'd as she was, till few
Aspir'd to hope, 'twas sadly, strangely true,
That heart, the martyr of its fondness burn'd
And died of love that could not be return'd.
"Her father dwelt where yonder Castle shines

Though wrapt in clouds, and frowning as in scorn,
Upon a downward world of pastoral charms;
Where, by the very smell of dairy-farms,
And fragrance from the mountain-herbage blown,
Blindfold his native hills he could have known!

"His coming down yon lake-his boat in view The arms spread out for him-the tears that burstOf windows where love's flutt'ring kerchief flewbe-Twas Julia's, 'twas his sister's met him first :) Their pride to see war's medal at his breast. And all their rapture's greeting, may be guess'd." pp. 12, 13.

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Th' unlikely thought could scarcely reach his mind, | To share existence with her, and to gain
That eyes so young on years like his should beam
Unwoo'd devotion back for pure esteem."
pp. 17, 18.

Sparks from her love's electrifying chain,
Of that pure pride, which, less'ning to her breast
Life's ills, gave all its joys a treble zest,
Before the mind completely understood
That mighty truth-how happy are the good!"

p. 25.

Symptoms still more unequivocal, however, at last make explanations necessary; and he is obliged to disclose to her the secret of his love and engagement in England. The effects of this disclosure, and all the intermediate events, are described with the same grace and delicacy. But we pass at once to the close of poor Julia's pure-hearted romance.

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These must suffice as specimens of the Swiss part of the poem, which we have already said we consider as on the whole the most perfect. The English portion is undoubtedly liable to the imputation of being occupied with scenes too familiar, and events too trivial, to admit of the higher embellishments of poetry. The occasion of Theodric's first seeing Constance-in the streets of London on a night of public rejoicing-certainly trespasses on the borders of this wilful stooping of the Muses' flight-though the scene itself is described with great force and beauty. "'Twas a glorious sight! At eve stupendous London, clad in light, Pour'd out triumphant multitudes to gaze; Youth, age, wealth, penury, smiling in the blaze! Th' illumin'd atmosphere was warm and bland, And Beauty's groups the fairest of the land, Conspicuous, as in some wide festive room, In open chariots pass'd, with pearl and plume. Amidst them he remark'd a lovelier mien," &c. p. 15.

The description of Constance herself, however, is not liable to this, or to any other objection.

-"And to know her well

Prolong'd, exalted, bound, enchantment's spell;
For with affections warm, intense, refin'd,
She mix'd such calm and holy strength of mind,
That, like Heav'n's image in the smiling brook,
Celestial peace was pictur'd in her look.
Hers was the brow, in trials unperplex'd,
That cheer'd the sad and tranquilliz'd the vex'd.
She studied not the meanest to eclipse,
And yet the wisest listen'd to her lips;
She sang not, knew not Music's magic skill,
But yet her voice had tones that sway'd the will."

p. 16.

"To paint that being to a grov'ling mind Were like pourtraying pictures to the blind. 'Twas needful ev'n infectiously to feel Her temper's fond, and firm, and gladsome zeal,

All this, we think, is dignified enough for poetry of any description; but we really cantracassaries of this noble creature's unworthy not extend the same indulgence to the small relations their peevish quarrels, and her painful attempts to reconcile them-her husband's grudges at her absence on those errands-their teazing visits to him—and his vexation at their false reports that she was to spend "yet a fortnight" away from him. We object equally to the substance and the diction of the passages to which we now refer. There is something questionable even in the fatal indications by which, on approaching his home, he was first made aware of the calamity which had befallen him-though undoubtedly there is a terrible truth and impressive brevity in the passage.

"Nor hope left utterly his breast, Till reaching home, terrific omen! there The straw-laid street preluded his despairThe servant's look-the table that reveal'd His letter sent to Constance last, still seal'd, Though speech and hearing left him, told too clear That he had now to suffer not to fear!"'-p. 37.

We shall only add the pathetic letter in which this noble spirit sought, from her deathbed, to soothe the beloved husband she was leaving with so much reluctance.

444

Theodric! this is destiny above
Our power to baffle! Bear it then, my love!
Your soul, I know, as firm is knit to mine
As these clasp'd hands in blessing you now join:
Shape not imagin'd horrors in my fate-
And when your grief's first transports shall sub-
Ev'n now my suff'rings are not very great;
I call upon your strength of soul and pride [side,
To pay my memory, if 'tis worth the debt
Love's glorifying tribute-not forlorn regret :
I charge my name with power to conjure up
Reflection's balmy, not its bitter cup.

My pard'ning angel, at the gates of Heaven,
Shall look not more regard than you have given
To me and our life's union has been clad
In smiles of bliss as sweet as life e'er had.
Shall gloom be from such bright remembrance cast?
Shall bitterness outflow from sweetness past?
No! imaged in the sanctuary of your breast,
There let me smile, amidst high thoughts at rest;
And let contentment on your spirit shine,
As if its peace were still a part of mine:
For if you war not proudly with your pain,
For you I shall have worse than liv'd in vain.
But I conjure your manliness to bear
My loss with noble spirit-not despair :
I ask you by our love to promise this!
And kiss these words, where I have left a kiss-
The latest from my living lips for yours?'
pp. 39-41.

39

The tone of this tender farewell must remind all our readers of the catastrophe of Gertrude; and certainly exposes the author to the charge of some poverty of invention in the structure of his pathetic narratives-a charge from which we are not at this moment particularly solicitous to defend him.

The minor poems which occupy the rest of

the volume are of various character, and of | Your hangman fingers cannot touch his fame.
Still in your prostrate land there shall be some
Long trains of ill may pass unheeded, dumb,
Proud hearts, the shrines of Freedom's vestal flame.
But Vengeance is behind, and Justice is to come."

pp. 78-81. Mr. Campbell's muse, however, is by no means habitually political; and the greater part of the pieces in this volume have a purely moral or poetical character. The exquisite stanzas to the Rainbow, we believe, are in every body's hands; but we cannot resist the temptation of transcribing the latter part of

them.

course of unequal merit; though all of them are marked by that exquisite melody of versification, and general felicity of diction, which makes the mere recitation of their words a luxury to readers of taste, even when they pay but little attention to their sense. Most of them, we believe, have already appeared in occasional publications, though it is quite time that they should be collected and engrossed in a less perishable record. If they are less brilliant, on the whole, than the most exquisite productions of the author's earlier days, they are generally marked, we think, by greater solemnity and depth of thought, a vein of deeper reflection, and more intense sympathy with human feelings, and, if possible, by a more resolute and entire devotion to the cause of liberty. Mr. Campbell, we rejoice to say, is not among those poets whose hatred of oppression has been chilled by the lapse of years, or allayed by the suggestions of a base self-interest. He has held on his course through good and through bad report, unseduced, unterrified; and is now found in his duty, testifying as fearlessly against the invaders of Spain, in the volume before us, as he did against the spoilers of Poland in the very first of his publications. It is a proud thing indeed for England, for poetry, and for mankind, that all the illustrious poets of the present day-Byron, Moore, Rogers, Campbell-are distinguished by their zeal for freedom, and their scorn for courtly adulation; while those who have deserted that manly and holy cause have, from that hour, felt their inspiration withdrawn, their harpstrings broken, and the fire quenched in their censers! Even the Laureate, since his unhappy Vision of Judgment, has ceased to sing; and fallen into undutiful as well as ignoble silence, even on court festivals. As a specimen of the tone in which an unbought Muse can yet address herself to public themes, we subjoin a few stanzas of a noble ode to the Memory of the Spanish Patriots who died in resisting the late atrocious invasion.

"Brave men who at the Trocadero fell

Beside your cannons-conquer'd not, though slain!
There is a victory in dying well
For Freedom-and ye have not died in vain ;
For come what may, there shall be hearts in Spain
To honour, ay, embrace your martyr'd lot,
Cursing the Bigot's and the Bourbon's chain,
And looking on your graves, though trophied not.
As holier, hallow'd ground than priests could make
the spot!"

"Yet laugh not in your carnival of crime
Too proudly, ye oppressors!-Spain was free;
Her soil has felt the foot-prints, and her clime
Been winnow'd by the wings of Liberty!
And these, even parting, scatter as they flee
Thoughts-influences, to live in hearts unborn,
Opinions that shall wrench the prison-key
From Persecution-show her mask off-torn,
And tramp her bloated head beneath the foot of
Scorn.

"Glory to them that die in this great cause!
Kings, Bigots, can inflict no brand of shame.
Or shape of death, to shroud them from applause :-
No!-manglers of the martyr's earthly frame!

+

"When o'er the green undelug'd earth

Heaven's covenant thou didst shine, How came the world's grey fathers forth To watch thy sacred sign?

"And when its yellow lustre smil'd
O'er mountains yet untrod,
Each mother held aloft her child
To bless the bow of God!

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Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,
The first-made anthem rang,
On earth deliver'd from the deep,
And the first poet sang.

Nor ever shall the Muse's eye
Unraptur'd greet thy beam:
Theme of primeval prophecy,
Be still the poet's theme!

"The earth to thee her incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
When glitt'ring in the freshen'd fields
The snowy mushroom springs!
"How glorious is thy girdle cast

O'er mountain, tower, and town,
Or mirror'd in the ocean vast,

A thousand fathoms down!
"As fresh in yon horizon dark,

As young thy beauties seem,
As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam.
"For, faithful to its sacred page,

Heaven still rebuilds thy span.
Nor lets thy type grow pale with age
That first spoke peace to man.'
pp. 52-55.

""

The beautiful verses on Mr. Kemble's retirement from the stage afford a very remarkable illustration of the tendency of Mr. Campbell's genius to raise ordinary themes into occasions of pathetic poetry, and to invest trivial occurrences with the mantle of solemn thought. We add a few of the stanzas.

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Those tears upon Cordelia's bosom shed, In doubt more touching than despair, If 'twas reality he felt?"

"And there was many an hour
Of blended kindred fame,
When Siddons's auxiliar power
And sister magic came.
Together at the Muse's side

The tragic paragons had grown-
They were the children of her pride,
The columns of her throne !
And undivided favour ran

From heart to heart in their applause,
Save for the gallantry of man,

In lovelier woman's cause."--pp. 64-67. We have great difficulty in resisting the temptation to go on: But in conscience we must stop here. We are ashamed, indeed, to think how considerable a proportion of this little volume we have already transferred into our extracts. Nor have we much to say of the poems we have not extracted. "The Ritter Bann" and "Reullura" are the two longest pieces, after Theodric-but we think not the most successful. Some of the songs are exquisite-and most of the occasional poems too good for occasions.

The volume is very small-and it contains all that the distinguished author has written for many years. We regret this certainly:but we do not presume to complain of it. The service of the Muses is a free service and all that we receive from their votaries is a free gift, for which we are bound to them in gratitude-not a tribute, for the tardy rendering of which they are to be threatened or distrained. They stand to the public in the relation of benefactors, not of debtors. They shower their largesses on unthankful heads; and disclaim the trammels of any sordid contract. They are not articled clerks, in short, whom we are entitled to scold for their idleness, but the liberal donors of immortal possessions; for which they require only the easy quit-rent of our praise. If Mr. Campbell is lazy, therefore, he has a right to enjoy his laziness, unmolested by our importunities. If, as we rather presume is the

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case, he prefer other employments to the feverish occupation of poetry, he has a right surely to choose his employments-and is more likely to choose well, than the herd of his officious advisers. For our own parts, we are ready at all times to hail his appearances with delight-but we wait for them with respect and patience; and conceive that we have no title to accelerate them by our reproaches.

Before concluding, we would wish also to protect him against another kind of injustice. Comparing the small bulk of his publications with the length of time that elapses between them, people are apt to wonder that so little has been produced after so long an incubation, and that poems are not better which are the work of so many years-absurdly supposing, that the ingenious author is actually labouring all the while at what he at last produces, and has been diligently at work during the whole interval in perfecting that which is at last discovered to fall short of perfection! To those who know the habits of literary men, nothing however can be more ridiculous than this supposition. Your true drudges, with whom all that is intellectual moves most wretchedly slow, are the quickest and most regular with their publications: while men of genius, whose thoughts play with the ease and rapidity of lightning, often seem tardy to the public, because there are long intervals between the flashes! We are far from undervaluing that care and labour without which no finished performance can ever be produced by mortals; and still farther from thinking it a reproach to any author, that he takes pains to render his works worthy of his fame. But when the slowness and the size of his publications are invidiously put together in order to depreciate their merits, or to raise a doubt as to the force of the genius that produced them, we think it right to enter our caveat against a conclusion, which is as rash as it is ungenerous; and indicates a spirit rather of detraction than of reasonable judgment.

(April, 1805.)

The Lay of the Last Minstrel: a Poem. By WALTER SCOTT, Esq. 4to. pp. 318. Edinburgh, Constable and Co.: London, Longman and Co.: 1805.*

WE consider this poem as an attempt to transfer the refinements of modern poetry to the matter and the manner of the ancient

The Novels of Sir Walter Scott have, no doubt, cast his Poetry into the shade: And it is beyond question that they must always occupy the highest and most conspicuous place in that splendid trophy which his genius has reared to his memory. Yet, when I recollect the vehement admiration it once excited, I cannot part with the belief that there is much in his poetry also, which our age should not allow to be forgotten. And it is under this impression that I now venture to reprint my

metrical romance. The author, enamoured of the lofty visions of chivalry, and partial to the strains in which they were formerly

contemporary notices of the two poems which I think produced the greatest effect at the time: the one as the first and most strikingly original of the whole series: the other as being on the whole the best; and also as having led me to make some remarks, not only on the general character of the author's genius, but on the peculiar perils of very popular poetry of which the time that has since elapsed has afforded some curious illustra tions.

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