touches of delight, that can only be excited by the But the great merit of the Monastery is, that it people among whom we live, and the objects that are is a foundation for the ABBOT. This not only reconstantly around us. A far greater proportion of lieves, in a great measure, the reader from the the work is accordingly made up of splendid de- slow detail, or the perplexing retracings and seriptions of arms and dresses, moated and mas- éclaircissemens which detain or interrupt him in a sive castles, tournaments of mailed champions, narrative that is purely fictitious, but is an imsolemn feasts, formal courtesies, and other mat-provement on some of the peculiar advantages of ters of external and visible presentment, that are one that is historical. In the latter, the hard and only entitled to such distinction as connected with meagre outline of his previous knowledge seldom the olden tiroes, and novel by virtue of their anti-contains more than the names and mutual relaquity; while the interest of the story is maintained tions of the principal personages, and what they far more by surprising adventures and extraordi- had previously done, with very little of what they pary situations, the startling effect of exaggerated had previously felt. But where one fiction is foundsentiments, and the strong contrast of overdrawn ed on another, we are introduced not merely to ebaracters, than by the sober charms of truth and persons who are notorious to us, but to old aoreality, the exquisite representation of scenes with quaintances and friends. The knight of Avenel, which we are familiar, or the skilful development the abbot Ambrosius, and the gardener Blinkof affectious which we have often experienced. hoolie, are the Halbert, and Edward, and Boni

These bright lights and deep shadows—this face, into whose early associations and secret feelsuccession of brilliant pictures, addressed as often ings we had been admitted. We meet them as we to the eyes as to the imagination, and oftener to mect, in real life, with thuse whom we have known the imagination than the heart—this preference in long-past times, and in different situations, and of striking generalities to homely details, all be- are interested in tracing, sometimes the resemlong more properly to the province of poetry than blance, and sometimes the contrast, between what of prose; and Ivanhoe, accordingly, seems to us has past and what is present; in observing the efmuch more akin to the most splendid of modern fect of new circumstances in modifying or confirmpoems, than the most interesting of modern novels; ing their old feelings, or in eliciting others which and savours mach more of the author of Marmion, before lay unperceived. We view with interest or the Lady of the Lake, than of Waverley or Old the fiery freedom of Halbert's youth ripened into Mortality.

the steady and stern composure of the approved Without disputing the general verdict, which soldier and skilful politician; and when, as knight places the MONASTERY below the rest of our au- of Avenel, he sighs for birth and name, we recogthor's works, we shall endeavour to ascertain thc nize the feelings that drove him from the obscure grounds on which it may be supposed to be found security of a church vassal, to seek with his sword ed. We believe the principal deficiency lies in, the means of ranking with those proud men who What is usually our author's principal excellence, despised his clownish poverty. And when Amthe female characters. In general, his men add to brose acknowledges that, bent as he is by afflicthe boldvess and animation of the scene, but his tion, he has not forgotten the effect of beauty on women support almost all its interest. Perhaps the heart of youth, that even in the watches of this must always be the case where both are equal the night, broken by the thoughts of an imprisonly well drawn. We sympathize more readily with ed queen, a distracted kingdom, a church laid waste simple than with compound feelings; and there- und ruinous, come other thoughts than these sugfore less easily with those characters, the differ- gest, and other feelings that belong to an earlier ent ingredients of which have, by mutual subser- and happier course of life; a single allusion sends vienee, been moulded into one uniform mass, than us back through the whole intervening time, and with those in which they stand unmixed and con- we see him again in the deep window-recess of trasted. Courage restrained by caution, and libe- Glendearg, and Mary's looks of simple yet earrality by prudence, loyalty, with a view only to nest anxiety, watching for his assistance in their the ultimate utility of power, and love, never for childish studies. The allusion would have been getting itself in its object, are the attributes of pretty, but how inferior if Ambrose had been a men. 'Their parposes are formed on a general ba- new character, and we had been forced to account lance of compensating motives, and pursued only for it by some vague theory as to his former hiswhile their means appear not totally in adequate tory. The Abbot has, however, far greater advanThe greater susceptibility, which is always the tages over its predecessor than those, great as they charm, and sometimes the misfortune, of womea, are, that arise from their relative situation. Weesdeprives them of the same accurate view of the cape from the dull tower of Glendearg, with its narproportion of different objects. The one upon row valley and homely inmates, to Edinburgh, and which they are intent, whether it be a lover, a Holyrood House, and Loch-leven Castle, and the parent, a husband, a child, a king, , preacher, a field of Langside, and to high damcs and mighty ball, or a bonnet, swallows up the rest. Hence earls, and exchange the obscure squabbling of the the enthusiasm of their loyalty, the devotedness of hamlet and the convent for events where the pastheir affection, the abandonment of self, and the sions of individuals decided the fate of kingdoms, general vchemence of emotion, which, in fiction and, above all, we exchange unintelligible fairyisma as well as in reality, operate contagiously on our for human actors and human feelings. feelings. But our author has, in the Monastery, It is true there is a sorceress on the stage, but neglected the power of representing the female one endued with powers far greater for evil or for character, which he possesses so eminently, and, good than the White Lady. History has never de m general, uses so liberally. The heroine is milk scribed, or fiction invented, a character more truly and water, or any thing still more insipid. Dame tragic than Queen Mary. The most fruitful imaGlendinning and Tibbie are the common furni- gination could not have adorned her with more ture of a farm-house; and Mysie Happer and poor accomplishments, or exposed her to greater er. Catherine, though beautiful, aro mere sketches. tremes of fortune, or alternated them with greater

rapidity. And the mystery which, after all the Sir Walter has not, we think, made the most of
exertions of her friends and enemies, still rests on his opportunities. He has complied with the laws
her conduct, and which our author has most skil- of poetical consistency, without recollecting that,
fully left as dark as he found it, prevents our be- in this instance, the notoriety of Elizabeth's his
ing either shocked or unmoved by her final cala- tory warranted their violation. Instead of pushing
mities. The former would have been the case, if to the utmost the opposing qualities that formed
her innocence could have been established. We her character, he has softened even the incidents
could not have borne to see such a being plunged, that he has directly borrowed. When Leicester
by a false accusation, from such happiness into knelt before her at Kenilworth, ere she raised him
such misery. The latter would have followed, if she passed her hand over his head, so near as al-
she could have been proved to be guilty. Her suf- most to touch his long curled and perfumed hair,
ferings, bitter as they were, were less unmixed and with a movement of fondness ihat seemed to
than those of Both well. He too endured a long intimate she would, if she dared, have made the
imprisonment, but it was in a desolate climate, motion a slight carese. Listen to sir James Mel-
without the alleviations which even Elizabeth al- vil's account of the occurrence.
lowed to her rival, without the hope of escape, or “I was required to stay till he was made earl
the sympathy of devoted attendants: such was his of Leicester, which was done at Westminster, the
misery, that his reason sunk under it. And though queen herself helping to put on his ceremonial,
his sufferings were greater than those of his ac- he sitting upon his knees (kneeling) before her
complice, if such she were, his crime was less. with great gravity; but she could not refrain from
He had not to break the same restraints of intimate putting her hands into his neck, smilingly tick-
connexion and of sex. But nobody could read a ling him, the French ambassador and I standing
tragedy of which bis misfortunes formed the sub- by. Then she turned, asking me how I liked him?
stance; because we are sure of his guilt, they will Again, when she discovers Leicester's conduct, in
excite no interest. While we continue to doubt which every cause of personal irritation is most
hers, Mary's will be intensely affecting. skilfully accumulated, she punishes him only by

Though KENILWORTH ranks high among our a quarter of an hour's restraint under the custody
author's works, we think it inferior, as a whole, of the earl-marshal.
to his other tragedies, the Bride of Lammermoor, When, at a later period, and under circum-
the historical part of Waverley, and the Abbot, stances of much less aggravation, she detected his
both in materials and in execution.

marriage with lady Essex, she actually imprisonAmy Robsart and Elizabeth occupy nearly the ed him. Our author has not ventured on the full same space upon the canvas as Catherine Seyton vehemence of her affection or her rage. But, afand Mary. But almost all the points of interest, ter all, his picture of the lion-nearted queen, which are divided between Amy and Elizabeth, though it might perhaps have been improved by historical recollections, beauty, talents, attractive the admission of stronger contrasts, is so vivid, and virtues and unhappy errors, exalted rank and deep so magnificent, that we can hardly wish it other misfortune, are accumulated in Mary; and we than it is. want altogether that union of the lofty and the The PIRATE is a bold attempt to make out a clegant, of enthusiasm and playfulness, which en- long and eventful story, from a very narrow circhanted us in Catherine, Amy is a beautiful spe- cle of society, and a soene so circumscribed as cimen of that class which long ago furnished Des- scarcely to admit of any great scope or variety of demona: the basis of whose character is conjugal action; and its failure, in a certain degree, must love, whose charm consists in its purity and its in fairness be ascribed chiefly to this scantiness devotedness, whose fault springs from its undue and defect of the materials. prevalence over filial duty, and whose sufferings The FORTUNES OF NIGEL is of an historical chaare occasioned by the preverted passions of him racter, and an attempt to describe and illustrate who is the object of it. Elizabeth owes almost all by examples the manners of the court, and, geher interest to our early associations, and to her nerally speaking, of the age of James I of Euge marvellous combination of the male and female land. dispositions, in those points in which they seem Without asserting the high excellence of SAINT most incompatible. The representation of such a Ronan's WELL, we may venture to affirm that it character loses much of its interest in history, and does not deserve the contempt with which it has would be intolerable in pure fiction. In the for- been treated by some critics. The story, indeed, mer, its peculiarities are softened down by the is not very probable, and there are various incona distance, and Elizabeth appears a fine, but not au sistencies in the plot; the characters, though apuncommon object-a great, unamiable sovereign; parently intended to be completely modern, are in and the same peculiarities, shown up by the mi- some instances more suitable to the last generacroscopic exaggeration of fiction, would, if judged tion; the hero's portrait is feebly drawn: the mo. only by the rules of fiction, offenul as unnatural; ral tone of the work is less correct and legitimate but supported by the authority of history, would than that which pervades our author's preceding be most striking. A portrait might be drawn of productions, and the impulses of feeling and huElizabeth, uniting the magnanimous courage, the manity are less natural and forcible; bu: it is still persevering, but governable anger, the power of a work which bears the marks of a master's hand, weighing distant against immediate advantages, the interest is well sustained, the incidents are re and the brilliant against the useful, and of subject- lated with spirit, many of the dialogues are lively ing all surrounding minds, even the most manly, and pleasant, and not only the characters of the to her influence, with the most craving vanity, the heroine, but also those of the landlady of Touchmost irritable jealousy, the meanest duplicity, wood, are drawn with a discriminating and powand the most capricious and unrelenting spite, erful pencil. that ever degraded the silliest and most hateful of In the historical novels of REDGAUNTLET, QUENher sex.

TIN DURWARD, and WOODSTOCK, the author disa

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

plays a truly graphic power in the delineation of been represented with such an air of truth, and so characters, which he sketches with an ease, and much ease and happiness of execution. colours with a brilliancy, and scatters about with Among his faults and failures, we must give & profusion, which but few writers, in any age, the first place to his descriptions of virtuous young have been able to accomplish. With spells of ma- ladies, and his representations of the ordinary busigie potency, and with the creations of a rich and ness of courtship and conversation in polished life. Faried faney, so skilfully has he stolen us from We admit that those things, as they are commonourselves, with such exquisite cunning has he ex- ly conducted, are apt to be a little insipid to a mere traeted a kind of poetry from the common incidents critical spectator, and that while they consequentof life, with such an extent of legendary knowledge, ly require more heightening than strange advenhe has displayed so wonderful an aptitude in draw. tures or grotesque persons, they ailmit less of exing irom historic research those minute traits of aggeration or ambitious ornament: yet we cannot manners and modifications in social life, which, by think it necessary that they should be altogether reason of the wide range which it traverses, and so lame and mawkish as we generally find them in the rapidity with which it moves along, are in his- the hands of this spirited writer, whose powers tory loo general and indistinct; that it would be really seem to require some stronger stimulus to worse than affectation to stand aloof from the ge- bring them into action, than can be supplied by neral feeling, and to refuse our humble proportion the dat realities of a peaceful and ordinary exisof those “ golden opinions he has bought from all tence. His love of the ludicrous, it must also be sorts of men,” and which have fixed him in so high observed, often betrays him into forced and vula rank in the literature of his country.

gar exaggerations, and into the repetition of comThe TALES OF THE CRUSADERS have not been mon and paltry stories; though it is but fair to add, received with that enthusiasm of delight which that he does not detain us Yong with them, and greeted some of our author's former productions: makes amends, by the copioustiess of assortyet they undoubtedly possess considerable merit, ment, for the indifferent quality of some of the and, amidst much that is feeble, uninteresting, specimens. It is another consequence of this exand absurd, bear evident marks of sense and talent. treme abundance in which he revels and riots, and To sam up our observations on the Waverley supplied, that he is at all times

a little apt to over

of the fertility of the imagination from which it is Novels,

in a few words, we think their author has do even those things which he does best. His succeeded by far the best in the representation of most striking and highly-coloured characters aprustic and homely characters, and not in the ludi- pear rather too often, and go on rather too long. cruas or contemptuous representation of them. It is astonishing, indeed, with what spirit they are bat by making them at once more natural and more supported, and how fresh and animated they are interesting than they had ever been made before to the very last; but still there is something too elowns to be laughed at, or wretches to be pitied for and welcomed, if they were not quite so laand despised, --but as human creatures, with as vish of their presence. It was reserved for Shakaany pleasures, and fewer cares, than their supe- speare alone to leave all his characters as new and riors-with affections not only as strong, but often unworn as he found them, and to carry Falstaft as delicate, as those whose language is smoother through the business of three several plays, and and with a vein of humour, a force of sagacity, and leave us as greedy of his sayings as at the moment very frequently an elevation of fancy, as high and of his first introduction. It is no light praise

to the vated beings. The great merit of all these deline us of this, and, as we have before observed, of ations is their admirable truth and fidelity, the other inimitable excellencies in that most gifted of chole manner and cast of the characters being ac- all inventors. carately moulded to their condition; and the finer He is above all things national and Scottish, and altriboies, so blended and harmonized with the never seems to feel the powers of a giant except native rudeness and simplicity of their life and oc- when he touches bis native soil. His countrymen capations, that they are made interesting and even alone, therefore, can have a full sense of his me. Boble beings, without the least particle of foppery rits, or a perfeet relish of his excellencies; and or exaggeration, and delight and amuse us, without those only, indeed, of them, who have mingled, as trespassing at all on the province of pastoral or he has done, pretty freely with

the lower orders,

and made themselves familiar not only with their Next to these, we think, he has found his hap- language, but with the habits and traits of characpiest sabjeets, or at least displayed his greatest ter of which it then only becomes expressive. It powers, in the delineation of the grand and gloomy is one thing to understand the meaning of words, aspects of nature, and of the dark and fierce pas- as they are explained by other words in a glossary nons of the heart. The natural gaiety of his tem-or dictionary, and another to know their value, as per does not indeed allow him to dwell long on expressive of certain feelings and humours in the such themes; but the sketches he occasionally in- speakers to whom they are native, and as signs troduces are executed with admirable force and both of temper and condition among those who are spirit, and give a strong impression both of the familiar with their import. vigour of his imagination and the variety of his We shall make no apology to our readers for talent. It is only in the third rank that we would intruducing here, the following animated delineaplace his piotures of chivalry and chivalrous cha- tion of the author of Waverley, from the pen of an raeter, bis traits of gallantry, nobleness, and ho- acute critic. nour, and that bewitching assemblage of gay and “Sir Walter,” says this writer, “ has found out gentle manners, with generosity, candour, and that facts are better than fiction; that there is no courage, which has long been familiar enough to romance like the romance of real lifer and that readers and writers of borels, but has never before) can we but arrive at what men feel, do, and my.


in striking and singular situations, the result will Master Barnardine,) and Glossin, the soul of an be more lively, audible, and full of vent, than the attorney, and Dandie Dinmont, with his terrier fine-spun cobwebs of the brain. Our author has pack and his pony Dumple, and the fiery colonel conjured up the actual people he has to deal with, Mannering, and the modish old counsellor Pleyor as much as he could get of them, in their ha-dell, and Dominie Sampson: and Rob Roy, (like bits as they lived. He has ransacked old chroni- the eagle in bis eyrie,) and Baillie Nicol Jarvie, cles, and poured the contents upon his page; he and the inimitable major Galbraith, Raslileigh has squeezed out musty records; be has consulted Osbaldistone, and Die Vernon, the best of secretway-faring pilgrims, bed-rid sibyls; he has invok- keepers, and in the Antiquary, the ingenious Mr. ed the spirits of the air; he has conversed with the Oldbuck, and the old bedesman, Edie Ochiltree, living and the dead, and let them tell their story and that preternatural figure of old Elspeth, a livtheir

own way; and by borrowing of others, has ing shadow, in whom the lamp of life had been long enriched his own genius with everlasting variety, extinguished, had it not been fed by remorse and truth, and freedom. He has taken lis materials thick-coming’ recollections; and that striking picfrom the original, authentic sources, in large con- ture of feudal tyranny and fiendish pride, the upcrete masses, and has not tampered with, or too happy earl of Glenallan; and the Black Dwarf, and much frittered them away. He is the only amanu- his friend, Hobbie of the Heughfoot, (the cheerful ensis of truth and history. It is impossible to say hunter,) and his cousin Grace Armstrong, fresh how fine his writings in consequence are, unless and laughing like the morning; and the Children we could describe how fine nature is. All that of the Mist, and the baying of the blood-hound, portion of the history of his country that he has that tracks their steps at a distance, (the hollow touched upon, (wide as the scope is,) the manners, echoes are in our ears now,) and Amy and her hapthe personages, the events, the scenery, lives over less love, and the villain Varney, and the deep voice again in his volumes. Nothing is wanting-the il- of George of Douglas—and the immovable Balalusion is complete. There is a hurtling in the air, fré, and Master Oliver, the barber, in Quentin a trampling of feet upon the ground, as these per- Durward—and the quaint humour of the Fortunes fect representations of human character, or fanciful of Nigel, and the comic spirit of Peveril of the belief, come thronging back upon the imagination. Peak--and the fine old English romance of IvanWe will merely recal a few of the subjects of his hoe. What a list of names! What a host of assopencil to the reader's recollection, for nothing we ciations! What a thing is human life! What a could add by way of note or commendation, could power is that of genius? What a world of thought make the impression more vivid.

and feeling is thus rescued from oblivion! How “There is (first and foremost, because the ear- many hours of heartfelt satisfaction has our author liest of our acquaintance) the baron of Bradwar-given to the gay and thoughtless! How many sad dine, stately, kind-hearted, whimsical, and pedan- hearts has he soothed in pain and solitude! It is tio; and Flora Mac-Ivor, (whom even we forgive no wonder that the public repay, with lengthened for her jacobitism,) the fierce Vich lan Vohr, and applause and gratitude, the pleasure they receive. Evan Dhu, constant in death, and Davie Gellatley, He writes as fast as they can read, and he does not roasting his eggs, or turning his rhymes with rest- write himself down. He is always in the public eye, less volubility, and the two stag hounds that met and we do not tire of him. His

worst is better than Waverley, as fine as ever Titian painted, or Paul any other person's best. His back-grounds (and Veronese;-then there is old Balfour of Burley, his latter works are little else but back-grounds brandishing his sword and his bible with fire-eyed capitally made out,) are more attractive than the fury, trying a fall with the insolent, gigantic principal and most complicated figures of other Bothwell, at the change-house, and vanquishing writers. His works (taken together) are almost him at the noble battle of Loudon-hill; there is like a new edition of human nature. This is indeed Bothwell, himself, drawn to the life, proud, cruel, to be an author! selfish, profligate--but with the love-letters of the “ The political bearing of the Scotch Novels has gentle Alice, (written thirty years before,) and his been a considerable recommendation to them. verses to her memory, found in his pocket after They are a relief to the mind, rarified as it has his death; in the same volume of Old Mortality, been with modern philosophy, and heated with is that lone figure, like one in Scripture, of the ultra-radicalism. The candour of sir Walter's his woman sitting on the stone, at the turning to toric pen levels our bristling prejudices, and sees the mountain, to warn Burley that there is a fair play between roundheads and cavaliers-belion in bis path; and the fawning Claverhouse, tween protestant and papist. He is a writer reconbeautiful as a panther, smooth-looking, blood-ciling all the diversities of human nature to the spotted: and the fanatics, Macbriar and Muckle-reader. He does not enter into the hostile distinowrath, crazed with zeal and sufferings; and the tions of sects and parties, but treats of the strength inflexible Morton, and the faithful Edith, who or the infirmity of the human mind, of the virtues refused to give her hand to another, while her and vices of the human breast, as they are to be heart was with her lover in the deep and dead sea.' found blended in the whole race of mankind. NoIn The Heart of Mid-Lothian, we have Effie Deans, thing can show more handsomely, or be more gal(that sweet faded flower,) and Jeanie, her more lantly executed.” than sister, and old David Deans, the patriarch of Another critic attempts a comparison between St. Leonard's Crags, and Butler, and Dumbiedikes, our author and the late lord Byron, as follows: eloquent in his silence, and Mr. Bartoline Saddle- “The two most celebrated writers of this age, tree, and his prudlent helpmate, and Porteous, lord Byron and sir Walter Scott, resemble each swinging in the wind, and Madge Wildfire, full other not a little in their works. Their respective of finery anul madness, and her ghasily mother. series of productions, from Childe Harold io Don Aguin, there is Meg Merrilies, standing on her Juan, and from Waverley to Woodstock, though rock, stretched on her bier, with her head to the differing essentially in structure, object, and subeast,' and Dirk Hatteraick, (equal to Shakspeare's ject, agree, nevertheless, in several particulars

Each series, for

example, evinces a remarkable Byron; he never travelled without them. “They sualification of mind in the author, and each be- are,” said he to captain Medwin one day, “a lic rays a remarkable defect. It is likewise a singu- brary in themselves a perfect literary treasure. far coineidence, that the same qualification and ibe I could read them once a year with new pleasure.” ane defect should exist in both, viz. extraordinary During that morning he had been reading one of facility of invention as far as respects composition, sir Walter's novels, and delivered the following and difficulty of invention as far as respects cha- criticism: “How difficult it is to say any thing racter. Both authors are about equally remarkable new! Who was that voluptuary of antiqnity who for the said power, and (if the expression may be offered a reward for a new pleasure? Perhaps all ssed) impotence of mind, in these different pro- nature and art could not supply a new idea. This pinces of invention.

page, for instance, is a brilliant one; it is full of * And first as to composition. The prodigal ef- wit. But let us see how much is original. This fusion of poetry, which in Childe Harold, the Cor- passage,” continued his lordship, " comes from sir, the Giaour, &c., &c., almost overwhelmed Shakspeare; this bon mot from one of Sheridan's the reading world, is only to be paralleled by the comedies; this observation from another writer; quantity of prose so dissolutely expended in the and yet the ideas are new moulded, and perhaps composition of Waverley, Guy Mannering, &c., Scott was not aware of their being plagiarisms. It ko, a series to which we can see indeed no pro- is a bad thing to have a good memory." “ I should table termination. Both the poems and the novels not like to have you for a critic," 'observed capindicate a fertility of mind in this respect, amount- tain Medwin. “ Set a thief to catch a thief,” was ing to wbat might be designated even a rank luxu- the reply. riaree. Before we had eaten down one crop of this On the death of the illustrious Byron, sir Walintellectual pasture, another began to present itself, ter Scott evinced his candour and liberality of mind add a third growth shot up whilst our heads were in the following tribute to his lordship’s memory:deep in the second. There is here an obvious re- “ That mighty genius, which walked amongst semblance between the two series of works now men as something superior to ordinary mortaliiy, compared. It would be hard to say whether the and whose powers were beheld with wonder, and poet or the novelist were the greater spendthrift something approaching to terror, as if we knew of his words. In both, eloquence is of so splendid not whether they were of good or of evil, is laid and profluent a nature, that it takes the form, and as soundly to rest as the poor peasant whose ideas might assume the name, of splendid loquacity. never went beyond his daily task. The voice of The labour with these authors seems to have been just blame; and that of malignant censure, are at Derely that of transcribing from the folds of the once silenced; and we feel almost as if the great brain to the leaves of their paper. Facility in com- luminary of heaven had suddenly disappeared from position, and when we say this, we do not mean the sky, at the moment when every telescope was ioeney without a considerable degree of solidity, - levelled for the examination of the spots which is the qualification in which these two great wri- dimmed its brightness. It is not now the question ters resemble each other, and that, perhaps, in what were Byron's faults-what his mistakes: but which they most surpass all their contemporaries. how is the blank which he has left in British lite We allow there is much difference between the rature to be filled up? Not, we fear, in one gene* weighty bullion' of Childe Harold, or Waverley, ration, which, among many highly-gifted persons, od the French wire'into whith the small portion has produced none who approach Byron in origiof sterling ore, forming the real worth of Sardana- nality, the first attribute of genius. Only thirty-sepalos, or Redgauntlet, is drawn; but still, the same ven years old so much already done for immorease of language, the same wealth of imagery, is tality—so much time remaining, as it seems to us Everywhere displayed, even in their most precipi; short-sighted mortals, to maintain and to extend tate works, by each writer,--and with about equal his fame, and to atone for errors in conduct and ela ms on our admiration. Sir Walter, like his late levities in composition: who will not grieve that Doble competitor for the crown of fame, in his such a race has been shortened, though not always more recent works, seems to have depended almost keeping the strait path—such a light extinguished, bolly on the power of writing ad infinitum, agree though sometimes flaming to dazzle and to bewil. ably upon any or no subject. But all-powerful as der! One word on this ungrateful subject ere we those two great writers may be considered, in the quit it for ever. department of eloquence, and what may be gene- “ The errors of lord Byron arose neither from rally described as composition, they are both ra- depravily of heart,-for Nature had not committed dieálly, though not perhaps equally, impotent in the anomaly of uniting to such extraordinary tathe province of character, variously modified by the lents an imperfect moral sense,-nor from feelings different circumstances in which it is placed dead to the admiration of virtue. No man had thronghout all lord Byron's poems,--that of a no- ever a kinder heart for sympathy, or a more open ble-minded, but depraved being, of fine feelings, hand for the relief of distress; and no mind was but irregular passions, more or less satirical and ever more formed for the enthusiastic admiration misanthropical in his disposition, gloomy, heart- of noble actions, provided he was convinced that withered, reckless, and irreligious. Sir Walter the actors had proceeded on disinterested princiScott has taken a circle of somewhat greater cir- ples. But his wonderful genius was of a nature cumference, but within which he is just as strictly which disdained restraint, even when restraint was banged. He has excogitated, or his experience most wholesome. When at school, thc tasks in has furnished him with a certain definite number which he excelled were those only which be unofenaracters, and these he plays as he would chess- dertook voluntarily; and his situation as a young ben, sometimes bringing one forward, sometimes man of rank, with strong passions, and in the unmother, but without ihe power of increasing the controlled enjoyment of considerable fortune, addumber of men on the board.”

ed to that impatience of strictness or coercion The Waverley novels were highly admired by which was natural to him as an author, he refused

« 前へ次へ »