« 前へ次へ »
SIR WALTER SCOTT,<.
With memoir and Critical Dissertation,
REV. GEORGE GILFILLAN.
WITH THE ORIGINAL NOTES OF THE AUTHOR,
MEMOIR OF SIR WALTER SCOTT.
WALTER SCOTT, the possessor of a name and fame only inferior to those of Homer and Shakspeare, was born in Edinburgh on the 15th of August 1771—the same day of the month as had been signalised two years previously by the birth of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was the son of Walter Scott, W.S., and Anne Rutherfurd, daughter of Dr John Rutherfurd, Professor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh. Sir Walter, by his father, was descended from a family on the Border, of old extraction, which had branched off from the main current of the blood of Buccleuch, and produced some remarkable characters,—such as Auld Watt of Harden, famous in Border-story, and in the song of his great descendant, and Beardie (so called from an enormous beard, which he never cut, in token of his regret for the banished house of Stuart), who was the great-grandfather of the poet. Through his mother he was connected with two other ancient families—the Bauld Rutherfords, mentioned in the notes to the “ Lay of the Last Minstrel,” and the Swintons, one of whom (Sir John) is extolled by Froissart, and through them with William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, the poet and dramatist. Sir Walter was proud of his lineage, proud of his connexion with the Border, and almost looked on Harden as his birthplace. He for many years made a regular autumnal excursion to the tower where Auld Watt brought home his
beautiful bride, Mary Scott, the "Flower of Yarrow”-a tower situated in a romantic glen near the Teviot. From his ancestors Scott derived some of his principal peculiarities—his ardent attachment to Scotland, his tendency to Jacobitism, his sympathy with martial enterprise and spirit, and a certain " hair-brained sentimental trace," which took eccentric shapes in his predecessors, but in him became the fire of the great lyrical bard.
Sir Walter's father was born at Sandyknowe-a farm near Smailholme Tower-occupied by Robert Scott, his father. He was educated as a W.S., and although not much fitted naturally, particularly in point of temper, for the profession, rose to eminence in it by his diligence. He was a man of somewhat distant and formal manners, but of singular kindness of heart, of sterling worth, and of deep-toned piety, after the Calvinistic mode. He had a noble presence; and, as Sir Walter says," he looked the mourner so well,” he was often invited to funerals, and seems to have positively enjoyed those monotonous and melancholy formalities connected with Scottish interments, which were disgusting to his son. Our readers will find in the character of old Fairford, in “Redgauntlet,” a graphic and faithful sketch of the father from the pen of his gifted son. His mother was well educated, according to the fashion of those times, somewhat stiff in manners, and short of stature. She lived to a great age. Their first six children (including a Walter) died in infancy. The first who survived was Robert. He became an officer in the East India Company's Service, and died a victim to the climate. The second, John, was a major in the army, and lived long on his half-pay in Edinburgh. The third was the great poet. The fourth was a daughter, Anne, who was cut off in 1801. The fifth was Thomas, a man of much humour and excellent parts, who went to Canada as paymaster to the 70th regiment, and died there. He was at one time suspected of being the author of the “ Waverley Novels.” The sixth was Daniel, the scapegrace of the family, whose conduct was in the last degree imprudent, and whose fate was unfortunate—he died on his return in disgrace from the West Indies, in 1806. Sir
ng a Walter to a great. Stiff in man