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1714. The young gentleman having been played the extraordinary talent of being true educated among the muses abroad, testifies to nature, even in the representation of ima decided aversion to the gainful vocations in possible persons. which his father had determined that he: should assist aud succeed him;-and as a punishment for this contumacy, he banishes him for a season to the Siberia of Osbaldistone Hall, from which he himself had been estranged ever since his infancy. The young exile jogs down on horseback rather merrily, riding part of the way with a stout man, who was scandalously afraid of being robbed, and meeting once with a sturdy Scotchman, whose resolute air and energetic discourses make a deep impression on him.-As he approaches the home of his fathers, he is surrounded by a party of fox hunters, and at the same moment electrified by the sudden apparition of a beautiful young woman, galloping lightly at the head of the field, and managing her sable palfrey with all the grace of an Angelica. Making up to this etherial personage, he soon discovers that he is in the heart of his kinsfolks that the tall youths about him are the five sons of Sir Hildebrand; and the virgin huntress herself, a cousin and inmate of the family, by the name of Diana Vernon. She is a very remarkable person this same Diana. Though only eighteen years of age, and exquisitely lovely, she knows all arts and sciences, elegant and inelegant-and has, moreover, a more than masculine resolution, and more than feminine kindness and generosity of character-wearing over all this a playful,
The serious interest of the work rests on Diana Vernon and on Rob Roy; the comic effect is left chiefly to the ministrations of Baillie Nicol Jarvie and Andrew Fairservice, with the occasional assistance of less regular performers. Diana is, in our apprehension, a very bright and felicitous creation-though it is certain that there never could have been any such person. A girl of eighteen, not only with more wit and learning than any man of forty, but with more sound sense, and firmness of character, than any man whatever-and with perfect frankness and elegance of manners, though bred among boors and bigots-is rather a more violent fiction, we think, than a king with marble legs, or a youth with an ivory shoulder. In spite of all this, however, this particular fiction is extremely elegant and impressive; and so many features of truth are blended with it, that we soon forget the impossibility, and are at least as much interested as by a more conceivable personage. The combination of fearlessness with perfect purity and delicacy, as well as that of the inextinguishable gaiety of youth with sad anticipations and present suffering, are all strictly natural, and are among the traits that are wrought out in this portrait with the greatest talent and effect. In the deep tone of feeling, and the capacity of heroic purposes, this heroine bears free, and reckless manner, more characteristic a family likeness to the Flora of Waverley; of her age than her various and inconsistent but her greater youth, and her unprotected accomplishments. The rest of the household situation, add prodigiously to the interest of are comely savages; who hunt all day, and these qualities. Andrew Fairservice is a new, drink all night, without one idea beyond those and a less interesting incarnation of Cuddie heroic occupations-all, at least, except Rash- Headrigg; with a double allowance of selfishleigh, the youngest son of this hopeful family ness, and a top-dressing of pedantry and con-who, having been designed for the church, ceit-constituting a very admirable and just and educated among the Jesuits beyond seas, representation of the least amiable of our had there acquired all the knowledge and the Scottish vulgar. The Baillie, we think, is an knavery which that pious brotherhood was so original. It once occurred to us, that he long supposed to impart to their disciples.- might be described as a mercantile and townAlthough very plain in his person, and very ish Dandie Dinmont; but the points of resemdepraved in his character, he has great talents blance are really fewer than those of contrast. and accomplishments, and a very insinuating He is an inimitable picture of an acute, sagaaddress. He had been, in a good degree, the cious, upright, and kind man, thoroughly low instructor of Diana, who, we should have bred, and beset with all sorts of vulgarities. mentioned, was also a Catholic, and having Both he and Andrew are rich mines of the lost her parents, was destined to take the veil true Scottish language; and afford, in the in a foreign land, if she did not consent to hands of this singular writer, not only an admarry one of the sons of Sir Hildebrand, for ditional proof of his perfect familiarity with all of whom she cherished the greatest aver- all its dialects, but also of its extraordinary sion and contempt. copiousness, and capacity of adaptation to all tones and subjects. The reader may take a brief specimen of Andrew's elocution in the following characteristic account of the purgation of the Cathedral Church of Glasgow, and its consequent preservation from the hands of our Gothic reformers.
Mr. Obaldistone, of course, can do nothing but fall in love with this wonderful infant; for which, and some other transgressions, he incurs the deadly, though concealed, hate of Rashleigh, and meets with several unpleasant adventures through his means. But we will not be tempted even to abridge the details of a story with which we cannot allow ourselves to doubt that all our readers have long been familiar and indeed it is not in his story that this author's strength ever lies; and here he has lost sight of probability even in the conception of some of his characters; and dis
"Ah! it's a brave kirk-nane o' yere whig maleeries and curlie-wurlies and open-steek hems about it-a' solid, weel-jointed mason-wark, that will stand as long as the warld, keep hands and gunpowther aff it. It had amaist a doun-come lang kirks of St. Andrews and Perth, and thereawa, syne at the Reformation, when they pu'd doun the to cleanse them o' Papery, and idolatry, and image
worship, and surplices, and sic like rags o' the muckle boor that sitteth on seven hills, as if ane was na braid aneugh for her auld hinder end. Sae the commons o' Renfrew, and o' the Barony, and the Gorba's, and a' about, they behooved to come into Glasgow ae fair morning to try their hand on purging the High Kirk o' Popish nick-nackets. But the townsmen o' Glasgow, they were feared their auld edifice might slip the girths in gaun through siccan rough physic, sae they rang the common bell, and assembled the train bands wi' took o' drum-By good luck, the worthy James Rabat was Dean o' Guild that year-(and a gude mason he was himsell, made him the keener to keep up the auld bigging), and the trades assembied, and offered downright battle to the commons, rather than their kirk should coup the crans,
1. Ivanhoe. A Romance. By the Author of Waverley, &c. 3 vols. Edinburgh, Constable & Co. 2. The Novels and Tales of the Author of Waverley; comprising Waverley, Guy Mannering, Antiquary, Rob Roy, Tales of My Landlord, First, Second, and Third Series; New Edition, with a copious Glossary. Edinburgh, Constable & Co.: 1820.
SINCE the time when Shakespeare wrote his thirty-eight plays in the brief space of his early manhood-besides acting in them, and drinking and living idly with the other actors -and then went carelessly to the country, and lived out his days, a little more idly, and apparently unconscious of having done any thing at all extraordinary—there has been no such prodigy of fertility as the anonymous author before us. In the period of little more than five years, he has founded a new school of invention; and established and endowed it with nearly thirty volumes of the most animated and original compositions that have enriched English literature for a centuryvolumes that have cast sensibly into the shade all contemporary prose, and even all recent poetry (except perhaps that inspired by the Genius-or the Demon, of Byron)-and, by their force of colouring and depth of feeling by their variety, vivacity, magical facility, and living presentment of character, have rendered conceivable to this later age the miracles of the Mighty Dramatist.
as they had done elsewhere. It was na for luve o' Paparie-na, na!-nane could ever say that o' the trades o' Glasgow-Sae they sune cam to an agreement to take a' the idolatrous statutes of sants (sorrow be on them) out o' their neuks-And sae the bits o' stane idols were broken in pieces by Scripture warrant, and flung into the Molendinar Burn, and the auld kirk stood as crouse as a cat when the fleas are caimed aff her, and a'body was alike pleased. And I hae heard wise folk say,
that if the same had been done in ilka kirk in Scotland, the Reform wad just hae been as pure as it is e'en now, and we wad had mair Christian-like kirks; for I hae been sae lang in England, that naething will drive it out o' my head, that the dogkennell at Osbaldistone-Hall is better than mony a house o' God in Scotland.'"
own satisfaction, that heaven knows how many of these busy bodies have been beforehand with us, both in the genus and the species of our invention!
The author before us is certainly in less danger from such detections, than any other we have ever met with; but, even in him, the traces of imitation are obvious and abundant; and it is impossible, therefore, to give him the same credit for absolute originality as those earlier writers, who, having no successful author to imitate, were obliged to copy directly from nature. In naming him along with Shakespeare, we meant still less to say that he was to be put on a level with Him, as to the richness and sweetness of his fancy, or that living vein of pure and lofty poetry which flows with such abundance through every part of his compositions. On that level no other writer has ever stood-or will ever standthough we do think that there is fancy and poetry enough in these contemporary pages, if not to justify the comparison we have ventured to suggest, at least to save it, for the first time for two hundred years, from being altogether ridiculous. In saying even this, however, we wish to observe, that we have in view the prodigious variety and facility of the modern writer-at least as much as the quality of his several productions. The variety stands out on the face of each of them; and the facility is attested, as in the case of Shakespeare himself, both by the inimitable freedom and happy carelessness of the style in which they are executed, and by the matchless rapidity with which they have been lavished on the public.
Shakespeare, to be sure, is more purely original; but it should not be forgotten, that, in his time, there was much less to borrow and that he too has drawn freely and largely from the sources that were open to him, at least for his fable and graver sentiment:-for his wit and humour, as well as his poetry, are always his own. In our times, all the higher walks of literature have been so long and so often trodden, that it is scarcely possible to keep out of the footsteps of some of our precursors; and the ancients, it is well known, have stolen most of our bright thoughts-and not only visibly beset all the patent ap-! proaches to glory-but swarm in such ambushed multitudes behind, that when we think we have gone fairly beyond their plagiarisms, and honestly worked out an original excellence of our own, up starts some deepread antiquary, and makes it out, much to his
Such an author would really require a review to himself-and one too of swifter than quarterly recurrence; and accordingly we have long since acknowledged our inability to keep up with him, and fairly renounced the task of keeping a regular account of his successive publications; contenting ourselves with greet
ing him now and then in the pauses of his brilliant career, and casting, when we do meet, a hurried glance over the wide field he has traversed since we met before.
We gave it formerly, we think, as our reason for thus passing over, without special notice, some of the most remarkable productions of the age, that they were in fact too remarkable to need any notice of ours-that they were as soon, and as extensively read, as we could hope our account of them to be-and that in reality all the world thought just what we were inclined to say of them. These reasons certainly remain in full force; and we may now venture to mention another, which had in secret, perhaps, as much weight with us as all the rest put together. We mean simply, that when we began with one of those works, we were conscious that we never knew how to leave off; but, finding the author's words so much more agreeable than our own, went on in the most unreasonable manner copying out description after description, and dialogue after dialogue, till we were abused, not altogether without reason, for selling our readers in small letter what they had already in large, --and for the abominable nationality of filling up our pages with praises of a Scottish author, and specimens of Scottish pleasantry and pathos. While we contritely admit the justice of these imputations, we humbly trust that our Southern readers will now be of opinion that the offence has been in some degree ex-pathy a great deal more powerfully than most piated, both by our late forbearance, and our heroines, and is in the highest degree both present proceeding: For while we have done pathetic and sublime; and yet she never violence to our strongest propensities, in pass- says or does any one thing that the daughter ing over in silence two very tempting publi- of a Scotch cowfeeder might not be supposed cations of this author, on Scottish subjects and to say--and scarcely any thing indeed that is in the Scottish dialect, we have at last recur- not characteristic of her rank and habitual red to him for the purpose of noticing the only occupations. She is never sentimental, nor work he has produced on a subject entirely refined, nor elegant; and though acting alEnglish; and one which is nowhere graced ways, and in very difficult situations, with either with a trait of our national character, or the greatest judgment and propriety, never a (voluntary) sample of our national speech. seems to exert more than that downright and Before entering upon this task, however, we obvious good sense which is so often found to must be permitted, just for the sake of keep-rule the conduct of persons of her condition. ing our chronology in order, to say a word or This is the great ornament and charm of the two on those neglected works, of which we work. Dumbiedykes, however, is an admirconstrained ourselves to say nothing, at the able sketch in the grotesque way;-and the time when they formed the subject of all other Captain of Knockdunder is a very spirited, disceptation. and, though our Saxon readers will scarcely believe it, a very accurate representation of a Celtic deputy. There is less description of scenery, and less sympathy with external nature, in this, than in any of the other tales.
valued file" of his productions. The trial and condemnation of Effie Deans are pathetic and beautiful in the very highest degree; and the scenes with the Duke of Argyle are equally full of spirit; and strangely compounded of perfect knowledge of life and of strong and deep feeling. But the great boast of the piece, and the great exploit of the authorperhaps the greatest of all his exploits-is the character and history of Jeanie Deans, from the time she first reproves her sister's flirtations at St. Leonard's, till she settles in the manse in Argyleshire. The singular talent with which he has engrafted on the humble and somewhat coarse stock of a quiet unas suming peasant girl, the heroic affection, the strong sense, and lofty purposes, which distinguish this heroine-or rather, the art with which he has so tempered and modified those great qualities, as to make them appear noways unsuitable to the station or ordinary bearing of such a person, and so ordered and disposed the incidents by which they are called out, that they seem throughout adapted, and native as it were, to her condition,-is superior to any thing we can recollect in the history of invention; and must appear, to any one who attentively considers it, as a remark able triumph over the greatest of all difficulties in the conduct of a fictitious narrative. Jeanie Deans, in the course of her adventurous undertaking, excites our admiration and sym
"The Heart of Mid-Lothian" is remarkable for containing fewer characters, and less variety of incident, than any of the author's former productions:-and it is accordingly, in some places, comparatively languid. The Porteous mob is rather heavily described; and the whole part of George Robertson, or Stanton, is extravagant and unpleasing. The final catastrophe, too, is needlessly improbable and startling; and both Saddletrees and Davie Deans become at last somewhat tedious and unreasonable; while we miss, throughout, the character of the generous and kindhearted rustic, which, in one form or another, gives such spirit and interest to most of the other stories. But with all these defects, the work has both beauty and power enough to vindicate its title to a legitimate descent from its mighty father-and even to a place in "the
"The Bride of Lammermoor" is more sketchy and romantic than the usual vein of the author-and loses, perhaps, in the exag geration that is incident to that style, some of the deep and heartfelt interest that belongs to more familiar situations. The humours of Caleb Balderstone, too, are to our taste the least successful of this author's attempts at pleasantry-and belong rather to the school of French or Italian buffoonery, than to that of English humour; and yet, to give scope to these farcical exhibitions, the poverty of the Master of Ravenswood is exaggerated be yond all credibility, and to the injury even of his personal dignity. Sir W. Ashton is tedious;
and Bucklaw and his Captain, though excel- | productions of which we have been prevented lently drawn, take up rather too much room from speaking in detail, we proceed, without for subordinate agents.-There are splendid further preface, to give an account of the things, however, in this work also.-The pic- work before us. Manher ture of old Ailie is exquisite-and beyond the reach of any other living writer.-The hags that convene in the churchyard, have all the terror and sublimity, and more than the nature of Macbeth's witches; and the courtship at the Mermaiden's well, as well as some of the immediately preceding scenes, are full of dignity and beauty. There is a deep pathos indeed, and a genuine tragic interest in the whole story of the ill-omened loves of the two victims. The final catastrophe of the Bride, however, though it may be founded on fact, is too horrible for fiction.-But that of Ravenswood is magnificent-and, taken along with the prediction which it was doomed to fulfil, and the mourning and death of Balderstone, is one of the finest combinations of superstition and sadness which the gloomy genius of our fiction has ever put together.
"The Legend of Montrose" is also of the nature of a sketch or fragment, and is still more vigorous than its companion.-There is too much, perhaps, of Dalgetty-or, rather, he engrosses too great a proportion of the work, -for, in himself, we think he is uniformly entertaining; and the author has nowhere shown more affinity to that matchless spirit who could bring out his Falstaffs and his Pistols, in act after act, and play after play, and exercise them every time in scenes of unbounded loquacity, without either exhausting their humour, or varying a note from its characteristic tone, than in his large and reiterated specimens of the eloquence of the redoubted Rittmaster. The general idea of the character is familiar to our comic dramatists after the Restoration-and may be said in some measure to be compounded of Captain Fluellen and Bobadil;-but the ludicrous combination of the soldado with the Divinity student of Marischal college, is entirely original; and the mixture of talent, selfishness, courage, coarseness, and conceit, was never so happily exemplified. Numerous as his speeches are, there is not one that is not characteristic and, to our taste, divertingly ludicrous. Annot Lyle, and the Children of the Mist, are in a very different manner-and, though extravagant, are full of genius and poetry. The whole scenes at Argyle's Castle, and in the escape from it-though trespassing too far beyond the bounds of probability-are given with great spirit and effect; and the mixture of romantic incident and situation, with the tone of actual business and the real transactions of a camp, give a life and interest to the warlike part of the story, which belong to the fictions of no other hand. There is but little made of Montrose himself; and the wager about the Candlesticks-though said to be founded in fact, and borrowed from a very well known and entertaining book, is one of the few things in the writings of this author, to which we are constrained to apply the epithets of stupid and silly. Having thus hastily set our mark on those
The story, as we have already stated, is entirely English; and consequently no longer possesses the charm of that sweet Doric dialect, of which even strangers have been made of late to feel the force and the beauty. But our Southern neighbours will be no great gainers, after all, in point of familiarity with the personages, by this transference of the scene of action:-For the time is laid as far back as the reign of Richard I.—and we suspect that the Saxons and Normans of that age are rather less known to them than even the Highlanders and Cameronians of the present. This was the great difficulty the author had to contend with, and the great disadvantage of the subject with which he had to deal. Nobody now alive can have a very clear or complete conception of the actual way of life and manière d'être of our ancestors in the year 1194. Some of the more prominent outlines of their chivalry, their priesthood, and their villenage, may be known to antiquaries, or even to general readers; but all the filling up, and details, which alone could give body and life to the picture, have been long since effaced by time. We have scarcely any notion, in short, of the private life and conversation of any class of persons in that remote period; and, in fact, know less how the men and women occupied or amused themselves-what they talked about-how they looked-or what they habitually thought or felt, at that time in England, than we know of what they did or thought at Rome in the time of Augustus, or at Athens in the time of Pericles. The memorials and relics of those earlier ages and remoter nations are greatly more abundant and more familiar to us, than those of our ancestors at the distance of seven centuries. Besides ample histories and copious orations, we have plays, poems, and familiar letters of the former periods; while of the latter we have only some vague chronicles, some superstitious legends, and a few fragments of foreign romance. We scarcely know, indeed, what language was then either spoken or written. Yet, with all these helps, how cold and conjectural a thing would a novel be, of which the scene was laid in ancient Rome! The author might talk with perfect propriety of the business of the Forum, and the amusements of the Circus-of the baths and the suppers, and the canvass for office-and the sacrifices, and musters, and assemblies. He might be quite correct as to the dress, furniture, and utensils he had occasion to mention; and might even engross in his work various anecdotes and sayings preserved in contemporary authors. But when he came to represent the details of individual character and feeling, and to delineate the daily conduct, and report the ordinary conversation of his persons, he would find himself either frozen in among naked and barren generalities, or engaged with modern Englishmen in the masquerade habits of antiquity.
greater proportion of the work is accordingly made up of splendid descriptions of arms and dresses-moated and massive castles-tourna ments of mailed champions-solemn feasts— formal courtesies, and other matters of external and visible presentment, that are only entitled to such distinction as connected with the olden time, and new only by virtue of their antiquity
while the interest of the story is maintained, far more by surprising adventures and extraordinary situations, the startling effect of exaggerated sentiments, and the strong contrast of exaggerated characters, than by the sober charms of truth and reality,-the exquisite representation of scenes with which we are familiar, or the skilful development of affec
In stating these difficulties, however, we really mean less to account for the defects, than to enhance the merits of the work before us. For though the author has not worked impossibilities, he has done wonders with his subject; and though we do sometimes miss those fresh and living pictures of the characters which we know, and the nature with which we are familiar-and that high and deep interest which the home scenes of our own times, and our own people could alone generate or sustain, it is impossible to deny that he has made marvellous good use of the scanty materials at his disposal-and eked them out both by the greatest skill and dexterity in their arrangement, and by all the resources that original genius could render sub-tions which we have often experienced. servient to such a design. For this purpose he has laid his scene in a period when the rivalry of the victorious Norman and the conquered Saxon, had not been finally composed; and when the courtly petulance, and chivalrous and military pride of the one race, might yet be set in splendid opposition to the manly steadiness, and honest but homely simplicity of the other: And has, at the same time, given an air both of dignity and of reality to his story, by bringing in the personal prowess of Cœur de Lion himself, and other personages of historical fame, to assist in its development. Though reduced, in a great measure, to the vulgar staple of armed knights, and jolly friars or woodsmen, imprisoned damsels, lawless barons, collared serfs, and household fools-he has made such admirable use of his great talents for description, and invested those traditional and theatrical persons with so much of the feelings and humours that are of all ages and all countries, that we frequently cease to regard them-as it is generally right to regard them-as parts of a fantastical pageant; and are often brought to consider the knights who joust in panoply in the lists, and the foresters who shoot deer with arrows, and plunder travellers in the woods, as real individuals, with hearts of flesh and blood beating in their bosoms like our own-actual existences, in short, into whose views we may still reasonably enter, and with whose emotions we are bound to sympathise. To all this he has added, out of the prodigality of his high and inventive genius, the grace and the interest of some lofty, and sweet, and superhuman characters for which, though evidently fictitious, and unnatural in any stage of society, the remoteness of the scene on which they are introduced, may serve as an apology-if they could need any other than what they bring along with them in their own sublimity and beauty.
These bright lights and deep shadows-this succession of brilliant pictures, addressed as often to the eye as to the imagination, and oftener to the imagination than the heart-this preference of striking generalities to homely details, all belong more properly to the province of Poetry than of Prose; and Ivanhoe accordingly seems to us much more akin to the most splendid of modern poems, than the most interesting of modern novels; and savours more of Marmion, or the Lady of the Lake, than of Waverley, or Old Mortality. For our part we prefer, and we care not who knows it, the prose to the poetry-whether in metre or out of it; and would willingly exchange, if the proud alternative were in our choice, even the great fame of Mr. Scott, for that which awaits the mighty unknown who has here raised his standard of rivalry, within the ancient limits of his reign. We cannot now, however, give even an abstract of the story; and shall venture, but on a brief citation, from the most striking of its concluding scenes. The majestic Rebecca, our readers will recollect, had been convicted before the grand master of the Templars, and sentenced to die, unless a champion appeared to do battle with her accuser, before an appointed day. The appointed day at last arrives. Rebecca is led out to the scaffold-faggots are prepared by the side of the lists-and in the lists appears the relentless Templar, mounted and armed for the encounter. No champion appears for Rebecca; and the heralds ask her if she yields herself as justly condemned.
In comparing this work then with the former productions of the same master-hand, it is impossible not to feel that we are passing in a good degree from the reign of nature and reality, to that of fancy and romance; and exchanging for scenes of wonder and curiosity, those more homefelt sympathies and deeper touches of delight that can only be excited by the people among whom we live, and the objects that are constantly around us. A far
that I maintain my innocence, and do not yield me "Say to the Grand Master,' replied Rebecca, as justly condemned, lest I become guilty of mine own blood. Say to him, that I challenge such delay as his forms will permit, to see if God, whose opportunity is in man's extremity, will raise me up a deliverer; and when such uttermost space is passed, may his Holy will be done!' The herald retired to carry this answer to the Grand Master.God forbid,' said Lucas Beaumanoir, that Jew or Pagan should impeach us of injustice.-Until the shadows be cast from the west to the eastward, will we wait to see if a champion will appear for this unfortunate woman.'
The hours pass away-and the shadows begin to pass to the eastward. The assembled multitudes murmur with impatience and compassion-and the Judges whisper to each other, that it is time to proceed to doom.