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glare and irregularity. There is nothing in Scott's impressed with the stamp of romantic and pechpoetry of the severe and majestic style of Milton- liar times, and expressed in language rich and feor of the terse and fine composition of Pope-or licitous, must be felt by the most obtuse intellect; of the elaborate elegance and melody of Campbell yet we are not sure that its success would be great
or even of the flowing and redundant diction of on the stage, if for the stage it had ever been deSouthey; but there is a medley of bright images signed. The beauties by which it charms and enand glowing words, set carelessly and loosely to-chains attention in the closet-those bright and gether-a diction tinged successively with the innumerable glimpses of past times those frecareless richness of Shakspeare, the harshness and quent allusions to ancient deeds and departed heantique simplicity of the old romances, the home- roes-the action of speech rather than of body, liness of vulgar ballads and anecdotes, and the would be lost in the vast London theatres, where sentimental glitter of the most modern poetry- a play is wanted, adapted to the eye rather than passing from the borders of the ludicrous to those to the head or heart." The time of action equals, of the sublime-alternately minute and energetic it is true, the wisbes of the most limited critic; --sometimes artificial, and frequently negligent, the place, too, the foot of Halidon, and its barren but always full of spirit and vivacity-abounding ascent, cannot be much more ample than the in images that are striking, at first sight, to minds space from the further side of the stage to the of every contexture-and never expressing a sen- upper regions of the gallery; and the heroes who timent which it can cost the most ordinary reader are called forth to triumph and to die are native any exertion to comprehend.
flesh and blood, who yet live in their descendants. Among the peculiarities of Scott, as a poet, we It has all the claims which a dramatic poem can might notice his singular talent for description, well have on a British audience; yet we always and especially for that of scenes abounding in mo-hoped it would escape the clutches of those who tion or action of any kind. In this department, cut up quantities for the theatres. indeed, he may be considered almost without a The transfer which the poet has avowedly made rival, either among modern or ancient bards; and of the incidents of the baile of Homildon to the the character and process of his descriptions are Hill of Halidon, seems such a violation of authenas extraordinary as their effect is astonishing. He tic history, as the remarkable similarity of those places before the eyes of his readers a more dis-two disastrous battles can never excuse. It is dantinct and complete picture, perhaps, than any gerous to attempt this violent shifting of heroio other artist ever presented by mere words; and deeds. The field of Bannockburn would never yet he does not enumerate all the visible parts of tell of any other victory than the one which has the subject with any degree of minuteness, nor rendered it renowned: 'History lifts up her voice confine himself by any means to what is visible. against it; nor can the Hill of Homildon tell the The singular merit of his delineations, on the con- story of the Hill of Halidon, nor that of any other trary, consists in this, that, with a few bold and battle but its own. abrupt strokes, he sketches a most spirited outline, It will scarcely be expected that, in this rapid and ihen instantly kindles it by the sudden light sketch, we should enter into a respective analysis and colour of some moral affection. There are of those works, so well known, and so universall, none of his fine descriptions, accordingly, which admired, by the appellation of the “Waverley do not derive a great part of their clearness and Novels.” The painful circumstances which compicturesque effect, as well as their interest, from pelled their author to disclose himself are still the quantity of character and moral expression fresh in the recollection and the sympathy of the which is thus blended with their details, and which, public: the motives, or no motives, which induced so far from interrupting the conception of the ex- him so long and so pertinaciously to abstain from ternal object, very powerfully stimulate the fancy avowing himself, it is not our province to criticise, of the reader to complete it; and give a grace and nor do we wish to make a boast of having always a spirit to the whole representation, of which we believed what could scarcely be ever doubted, viz. do not know where to look for a similar example, that the Great Unknown and the author of MarWalter Scott has many other characteristic excel- mion were “one and indivisible.” lencies, but we must not detain our readers any The annexed is a list of the novels in question, longer with this imperfect sketch of his poetical produced by this great author in the space of orly character.
iwelve years. To the list of poetical works given above, we have here to add two poems, at first published Waverley
1814 anonymously, but since acknowledged, viz. “ The Guy Mannering Bridal of Triermain,” and “ Harold the Dauntless;” The Antiquary
1810 and, in 1822, a dramatic sketch called “ Halidon Tales of My Landlord, Hill.” In his preface to the latter, the poet says,
1816 that his dramatic sketch is in no particular de
Second Series signed or calculated for the stage, and that any
1819 attempt to produce it in action will be at the peril
1818 of those who make the experiment. The truth is Ivanhoe that, like most of the higher poetical spirits of the The Monastery age, he has found out a far safer and surer way to The Abbot equitable judgments and fame, than trusting to the Kenilworth hazardous presentment of the characters he draws, 'The Pirate by the heroes of the sock and buskin, and to the The Fortunes of Nigel dubious and captious shouts of the pit and gallery. Quentin Durward
That Halipon Hill is a native, lieroic, and chi Peveril of the Peak valrous drama-clear, brief, and moving in its St. Ronan's Well
1824 story-full of pictures, living and breathing, and Redgauntlet
1820 1820 1820 1821 1822 1822 1823 1825
Tales of the Crusaders 1825 the vulgarities of society and nature, maintain,
through cternal folios, their visionary virtues,
without the stain of any moral frailty, or the de It may, then, be fearlessly asserted that, since gradation of any human necessities. But this the time when Shakspeare wrote his thirty-eight high-flown style went out of fashion as the great plays in the brief space of his early manhood, mass of mankind became more informed of each there has been no such prodigy of literary ferti- other's feelings and concerns, and as nearer oblity as the author of these novels. In a few brief servation ta ght them that the real course of huyears, he has founded a new school of invention, man life is a conflict of duty and desire, of virtue and embellished and endowed it with volumes of and passion, of right and wrong: in the descrip the most animaled and original composition that tion of which it is difficult to say whether uniform have enriched British literature for a century- virtue, or unredeemed vice, would be in the greater volumes that have cast into the shade all contem- degree tedious and absurd. porary prose, and, by their force of colouring and The novelists next endeavoured to exhibit a depth of feeling, by their variety, vivacity, ma- general view of society. The characters in Gil gical facility, and living presentment of character, Blas and Tom Jones are not individuals so much have rendered conceivable to this later age the as specimens of the human race; and these demiracles of the mighty dramatist. Shakspeare is, lightful works have been, are, and ever will be, undoubtedly, more purely original, but it must be popular; because they present lively and accurate remembered that, in his time, there was much delineations of the workings of the human soul, less to borrow-and that he too has drawn freely and that every man who reads them is obliged to and largely from the sources that were open to confess to himself, that, in similar circumstances him, at least for his fable and graver sentiment; with the personages of Le Sage and Fielding, he for his wit and humour, as well as his poetry, are would probably have acted in the way in which always his own. In our times, all the higher walks they are described to have done. of literature have been so long and so otten trod From this species the transition to a third was den, that it is scarcely possible to keep out of the natural. The first class was theory-it was imfootsteps of some of our precursors; and the an. proved into a genuine description, and that again eients, it is well known, have anticipated all our led the way to a more particular classificationbright thoughts, and not only visibly beset all the a copying not of man in general, but of men of a obvious approaches to glory, but swarm in such peculiar nation, profession, or temper, or to go a ambushed multitudes behind, that when we think step further-of individuals. we have gone fairly beyond their plagiarisms, and Thus Alexander and Cyrus could never have honestly worked out an original excellence of our existed in human society--they are neither French, own, un starts some deep-read antiquary, and nor English, nor Italian, because it is only alle makes out, much to his own satisfaction, that, gorically that they are men. Tom Jones night heaven knows how, many of these busy-bodies have been a Frenchman, and Gil Blas an Englishhave been beforehand with us, both in the genus man, because the essence of their characters in and the species of our invention.
human nature, and the personal situation of the Although sir Walter Scott is certainly in less individual, are almost indifferent to the success danger from such detections than any other we of the object which the author proposed to him. have ever met with, even in him the traces of imi- self; while, on the other hand, the characters of ation are obvious and abundant; and it is impos- the most popular novels of later times are Irish, uble, therefore, to give him the same credit for or Scotch, or French, and not, in the abstract, absolute originality as those earlier writers, who, men.-- The general operations of nature are cir Laving no successful author to imitate, were oblig- cumscribed to her effects on an individual characed to copy directly from nature. In naming him ter, and the modern novels of this class, compared along with Shakspeare, we mean still less to say, with the broad and noble style of the earlier wri. that he is to be put on a level with him, as to the ters, may be considered as Dutch pictures, delightriehness and sweetness of his fancy, or that living ful in their vivid and minute details of common vein of pure and lofty poetry which Aows with life, wonderfully entertaining to the close observer such abundance through every part of his compo- of peculiarities, and highly creditable to the accu. sition. On that level no other writer has ever racy, observation, and humour of the painter, but stood, or will ever stand; though we do think that exciting none of those more exalted feelings, and there are faney and poetry enough in the Waver- giving none of those higher views of the human ley Novels, if not to justify the comparison we soul, which delight and exalt the mind of the specbave ventured to suggest, at least to save it from tator of Raphael, Corregio, or Murillo. being altogether ridiculous. The variety stands The object of WAVERLEY was evidently to preout in the face of each of them, and the facility is sent a faithful and animated picture of the manattested, as in the case of Shakspeare himself, buth ners and state of society that prevailed in the by the inimitable freedom and happy carelessness northern part of the island in the earlier part of of the style in which they are executed, and by last century; and the author judiciously fixed up the matehless rapidity with which they have been on the era of the Rebellion in 1745, not only as lavished ou the public.
enriching his pages with the interest inseparably We must now, however, for the sake of keep- attached to the narration of such occurrences, but ing our chronology in order, be rmitted to say as affording a fair opportunity for bringing out all a word or two on the most popular of these works. the contrasted principles and habits which distin
The earlier novelists wrote at periods when so- guished the different classes of persons who then ciety was not perfectly formed, and we find that divided the country, and formed among themselves their picture of life was an embodying of their the basis of almosi all that was peculiar in the naown conceptions of the beau ideal.' Heroes all tional character. That unfortunate contention generosity, and ladies all chastity, exalted above brought conspicuously to light, and for the last
time, the fading image of feudal chivalry in the stalks grimly about with his battle-axe on his mountains, and vulgar fanaticism
in the plains; shoulder, without speaking a word to any body, and startled the more polished parts of the land to the lively unprincipled activity of Callum Beg, with the wild but brilliant picture of the elevated the coarse unreflecting hardihood and heroism of valour, incorruptible fidelity, patriarchal brother- Evan Maccombich, and the pride, gallantry, elehood, and savage habits, of the Celtic elans on the gance, and ambition of Fergus himself. In the one hand, -and the dark, untractable, and domi- lower class of the lowland characters, again, the neering bigotry of the covenanters on the other. vulgarity of Mrs. Flockhart and of Lieutenant'JinBoth forms of society had indeed been prevalent ker is perfectly distinct and original, as well as in the other parts of the country, but had there the puritapism of Gilfillau and Cruickshanks, the been so long superseded by more peaceable habits, depravity of Mrs. Mucklewrath, and the slow soand mildler manners, that their vestiges were al- lemnity of Alexander Saunderson. The baron of most effaced, and their very memory nearly for- Bradwardine, and Baillie Macwheeble, are carigotten.
catures no doubt, after the fashion of the caricaThe feudal principalities had been extinguished tures in the novels of Smollett, -unique and exin the South for near three hundred years, and traordinary; but almost all the other personages the dominion of the puritans from the time of the in the history are fair representations of classes Restoration. When the glens of the central high- that are still existing, or may be remembered at lands, therefore, were opened up to the gaze of least to have existed, by many whose recollecthe English, it seemed as if they were carried lions do not extend quite so far back as the year back to the days of the Heptarchy: when they saw 1745. the array of the West Country whigs, they might The successful reception of Waverley was owimagine themselves transported to the age of Crom-ing not only to the author's being a man of genius, well. The effect, indeed, is almost as startling at but that he had also virtue enough to be true to the present moment; and one great source of the nature throughout, and to content himself, even interest which the novel of Waverley possesses is in the marvellous parts of his story, with copying to be sought in the surprise that is excited by dis- from actual existences, rather than from the phancovering, that in our own country, and almost in tasms of his own imagination. The charm which our own age, manners and characters existed, and this communicates to all works that deal in the were conspicuous, which we had been accustomed representation of human actions and characters is to consider as belonging to remote antiquity, or more readily felt than understood, and operates extravagant romance.
with unfailing efficacy even upon those who have The way in which they are here represented no acquaintance with the originals from which the must at once have satisfied every reader, by an picture has been borrowed. It requires no ordiinternal tact and conviction, that the delineation nary talent, indeed, to choose such realities as may had been made from actual experience and obser- outshine the bright imaginations of the inventive, vation;--experieneed observation employed per- and so to combine them as to produce the most haps only on a few surviving relies and specimens advantageous effect; but when this is once accomof what was familiar a little earlier, but general-plished, the result is sure to be something more ized from instances sufficiently numerous and com- firm, impressive, and engaging, than can ever be plete, to warrant all that may have been added to produced by mere fiction. There is a consistency the portrait.
in nature and truth, the want of which may alThe great traits of clannish dependence, pride, ways be detected in the happiest combinations of and fidelity, may still be detected in many dis- faney; and the consciousness of their support gives triets of the highlands, though they do not now a confidence and assurance to the artist, which enadhere to the chieftains when they mingle in ge- courages him occasionally to risk a strength of neral society; and the existing contentions of bur-colouring, and a boldness of touch, upon which ghers and antiburghers, and cameronians, though he would scarcely have ventured in a sketch that shrunk into comparative insignificance, and left was purely ideal. The reader, too, who by these indeed without protection to the ridicule of the or still finer indications, speedily comes to perprofane, may still be referred to as complete ve-ceive that he is engaged with scenes and characrifications of all that is here stated about Gifted ters that are copied from existing originals, DalurGilbllan, or Ebenezer Cruickshanks. The traits ally lends a more eager attention to the story in of Scottish national character in the lower ranks which they are unfolded, and regards with a keencan still less be regarded as antiquated or tradi- er interest what he no longer considers as a betional; nor is there any thing in the whole compass wildering series of dreams and exaggerations, but of the work which gives us a stronger impression as an instructive exposition of hunian actions and of the nice observation and graphical talents of sir energies, and of all the singular modifications Walter, than the extraordinary fidelity and feliei- which our plastic nature receives from the circumty with which all the inferior agents in the story stances with which it is surrounded. are represented. No one who has not lived long Although Guy MANNERING is a production far among the lower orders of all descriptions, and below Waverley, it is still a work of considerable made himself familiar with their various tempers merit. Its inferiority to Waverley is, however, and dialects, can perceive the full merit of those very decided, not only as to general effect, but in rapid and characteristie sketches; but it requires every individual topic of interest. The story is only a general knowledge of human nature, lo feel less probable, and is carried on with much machithat they must be faithful copies from known ori- nery and effort; the incidents are less natural; the ginals; and to be aware of the extraordinary faci- characters are less distinctly painted, and less lity and flexibility of hand which has touched, for worth painting; in short, the whole tone of the instance, with such discriminating shades, the va- book is pitched in an inferior key. rious gradations of the Celtic character, from the The gratuitous introduction of supernatural mvage imperturbability of Dugald Mahony, who agency in some parts of this novel is certainly te
be disapproved of. Even Shakspeare, who has the heroine--or rather the art with which he has been called the mighty magician, was never guilty so tempered and modified those great qualities, as of this mistake. His magic was employed in fairy- to make them appear nowise unsuitable to the staland, as in the Tempest; and his ghosts and gob- tion or ordinary bearing of such a person, and so lins in dark ages, as in Macbeth and Hamlet. ordered and disposed the incidents by which they When he introduces a witch in Henry VI, it is are called out, that they seem throughout adapted, because, historically, his representation was true; and native, as it were, to her condition, is supewhen he exhibits the perturbed dreams of a mur-rior to any thing we can recollect in the history derer, in Richard III, it was because his represen- of invention; and must appear to any one, who attation was morally probable; but he never ihought tentively considers it, as a remarkable triumph of making these fancies actual agents in an histo- over the greatest of all difficulties, in the conduct rical scene. There are no ghosts in Henry VIII, of a fictitious narrative. Jeanie Deans, in the and no witches in the Merry Wives of Windsor course of her adventurous undertaking, excites our (except the merry ladies;) and when, in one of his admiration and sympathy more powerfully than comedies, he chooses to wander out of nature, he most heroines, and is in the highest degree both m destly calls his drama a dream, and mixes up pathetic and sublime;—and yet she never says or fairies, witches, mythology, and common life, as does any thing that the daughter of a Scotch cowa brilliant extravaganza, which affects no histori-| feeder might not be supposed to say or to do and cal uor eren possible truth, and which pretends to scarcely any thing indeed that is not characterisrepresent neither actual nor possible nature. Not tic of her rank and habitual occupations. She is so Guy Mannering: it brings down witchery and wever sentimental, oor refined, nor elegant; and supernatural agency into our own times, not to be though always acting in very difficult situations, laughed at by the better informed, or credited by with the greatest judgment and propriety, never the vulgar; but as an active, effective, and real seems to exert more than that downright and obpart of his machinery. It treats the supernatural vious good sense, which is so often found to rule agency not as a superstition, but as a truth; and the conduct of persons of her condition. This is the result is brought about, not by the imagina- the great ornament and charm of the work. Dumtoas of men deluded by a fiction, but by the ac-biedikes is, however, an admirable sketch in the tual operation of a miracle, contrary to the opi- grotesque way;—and the captain of Knockdunder Don and belief of all the parties concerned. is not only a very spirited, but also a very accu
The ASTIQUARY is not free from this blame; rate representation of a Celtic deputy. There is there are two or three marvellous dreams and less description of scenery, and less sympathy in apparitions, upon which the author probably in- external nature in this, than in any of the other tended to ground some important parts of his de- tales. nouement; but his laste luckily took fright: the The Bride or LAMMERMOOR is more sketchy apparitions do not contribute to the catastrophe, and romantic than the usual vein of the author and they now appear in the work as marks rather and loses, perhaps, in the exaggeration that is inof the author's own predilection to such agency, cident to the style, some of the deep and heartthan as any assistance to him in the way of machi- felt interest that belongs to more familiar situakery.
tions. The humours of Caleb Balderstone are, to The HEART OF MID-LOTAIAN, is remarkable for our taste, the least successful of this author's 'atcontaining fewer characters, and less variety of tempts at pleasantry, and belong rather to the incident, than any of sir Walter's former produc- school of French or Italian butfoonery, than to tions:- and it is aceordingly, in some places, com- that of English humour;-and yet, to give scope paratively languid. The Porteous mob is rather to these farcical exhibitions, the poverty of the heavily described; and the whole part of George master of Ravenswood is exaggerated beyond all Robertson, or Staunton, is extravagant or unpleas- credibility, and to the injury even of his personal ing. The final catastrophe, too, is needlessly im- dignity. Sir William Ashton is tedious; and Buck. probable and startling; and both Saddletree and law and his captain, though excellently drawn, Davie Deans, becoine at last rather tedious and take up rather too much room for subordinate anreasonable; while we miss, throughout, the agents. There are splendid things, however, in this character of the generous and kind-hearted rus- work also. The picture of old Ailie is exquisite tic, which in one form or another, gives such spi--and beyond the reach of any other living writer. rit and interest to the former stories. But with The hags that convene in the church-yard have all all these defects, the work has both beauty and the terror and sublimity, and more than the napower enough to vindicate its title to a legitimate ture of Macbeth's witches; and the courtship at descent from its mighty father-and even to a the Mermaiden's well, as well as some of the ima place in “ the valued file” of his
productions. The mediately preceding scenes, are full of dignity and trial and condemnation of Effie Deans are pathetic beauty. The catastrophe of the bride, though it and beautiful in the very highest degree; and the may be founded on fact, is too horrible for fiction. scenes with the duke of Argyle are equally full But that of Ravenswood is magnificent---and, taken of spirit; and strangely compounded of perfect along with the prediction which it was doomed to knowledge of life, and strong and deep feeling. fulfil, and the mourning and death of Balderstone, But the great boast of the piece, and the great ex- is one of the finest combinations of superstition ploit of the author, is the character and history and sadness, which the gloomy genius of our ficof Jeanie Deans, from the time she first reproves tion ever put together. her sister's flirtatious at St. Leonard's till she set The LEGEND OF Moxtrose is also of the nature des in the masse in Argyleshire. The singular of a sketch or fragment, and is still more vigortaleat with which he has engrafted on the humble ous than its companion. There is too much, perand somewhat coarse slock of a quiet and unas- haps, of Dalgetty---or, rather, he engrosses too suming peasant girl, the powerful affection, the great a proportion of the work; for, in himself, strong sense, and lofty purposes, which distinguish we think he is uniformly entertaining;---and the
anithor has nowhere shown more affinity to that be quite correct as to the dress, furniture, and matchless spirit, who could bring out his
Falstaffs utensils he had occasion to mention; and might and his Pistols, in act after act, and play after play, even embody in his work various anecdotes and and exercise them every time with scenes of un- sayings preserved in contemporary authors. But bounded loquacity, without either exhausting their when he came to represent the details of individual humour, or varying a note from its characteristic character and feeling, and to delineate the daily tone, than in his ample and reiterated specimens conduct, and report the ordinary conversation of of the eloquence of the redoubted Rittmaster. The his persons, he would find himself either frozen general idea of the character is familiar to our in among barren generalities, or engaged with comic dramatists after the restoration--and may modern Englishmen in the masquerade habits of be said, in some measure, to be compounded of antiquity: captain Fluellen and Bobadil;--but the ludicrous Jn stating these difficulties, however, we really combination of the soldado with the student of mean less to account for the defects, than to enMareschal College is entirely original; and the hance the merits of the work we are treating of. mixture of talent, selfishness, courage, coarseness, For though the author has not worked inipossibiand conceit, was never so happily exemplified. lities, he has done wonders with his subject; and Numerous as his speeches are, there is not one though we do sometimes miss those fresh and live that is not characteristic-and, to our taste, di- ing pictures of the characters which we know, and verlingly ludicrous. Annot Lyle, and the Children the nature with which we are familiar, and that of the Mist, are in a very different manner, and high and deep interest which the home scenes of are full of genius and poetry. The whole of the our own times and own people, could alone gescenes at Argyle's castle, and in the escape from nerate or sustain, it is impossible to deny that he it--though trespassing too far beyond the bounds has made marvellous good use of the scanty maof probability-are given with great spirit and el-terials he had at his disposal, and eked them out feci; and the mixture of romantic incident and si- both by the greatest skill and dexterity in their tuation, with the tone of actual business, and the arrangement, and by all the resources that origireal transactions of a camp, give a life and inter- nal genius could render subservient to such a deest to the warlike part of the story, which belong sign. For this purpose he has laid his scene in a to the fictions of no other hand.
period when the rivalry of the victorious Normans From the Tales of My Landlord we must pass and the conquered Saxons had not been finally rapidly over to the beautiful romance of Ivanhoe, composed; and when the courtly petulance and the story of which is entirely English, and the chivalrous and military pride of the one race migh: time laid as far back as the reign of Richard I, the yet be set in splendid opposition to the manly Saxons and Normans of which age are less known steadiness and honest but homely simplicity of the to us than the higblanders and cameronians of the other; and has, at the same time, given an air both present. This was the great difficulty the author of dignity and reality to his story, by bringing in had to contend with, and the great disadvantage the personal prowess of Cæur de Lion himself, of the subject with which he had to deal. Nobody and other personages of historical fame, to assist now alive can have a very clear conception of the in its development. Though reduced in a great actual way of life, and manière d'être of our an- measure to the vulgar staple of armed knights, and cestors in the year 1194. Some of the more pro-jolly friars and woodmen, imprisoned damsels, minent outlines of their chivalry, their priesthood, lawless barons, collared serfs, and household fools, and their villanage, may be known to antiquaries, he has made such use of his great talents for deor even to general readers; but all the filling up scription, and invested those traditional and theaand details, which alone can give body and life to trical persons with so much of the feelings that the picture, have been long since effaced by time. are of all ages and all countries, that we frequentWe have scarcely any notion, in short, of the pri- ly cease to regard them (as it is generally right to vate life and conversation of any class of persons regard them) as parts of a fantastical pageant, and in that remote period; and, in fact, know less how are often brought to consider the knights who the men and women occupied and amused them- joust in panoply in the lists, and the foresters who selves what they talked about-how they looked shoot deer with arrows, and plunder travellers in -or what they actually thought or felt, at that the woods, as real individuals, with hearts and time in England, than we know of what they did blood beating in their bosoms like our own—acor thought at Rome in the time of Augustus, or at tual existences, in short, into whose views we may Athens in the time of Pericles. The memorials reasonably enter, and with whose emotions we are and relics of those earlier ages and remoter na- bound to sympathise. To all this he has added, tions are greatly more abundant and more familiar out of the prodigality of his high and inventi'e to us, than those of our ancestors at the distance genius, the grace and the interest of some lofty, of seven centuries. Besides ample histories and and sweet, and superhuman characters, for which, copious orations, we have plays, poems, and fami-though evidently fictitious, and unnatural in any liar letters of the former period; while of the lat- stage of society, the remoteness of the scene on ter we have only some vague chronicles, supersti- which they are introduced may serve as an apol.2tious legends, and a few fragments of foreigu ro- gy, if they could need any other than what they mance. We scarcely know indeed what language bring along with them in their own sublimity and was then either spoken or written. Yet, with all beauty. these helps, how cold and tural a thing lo comparing this work then with the produce would a novel be, of which the scene was laid in tions which had already proceeded from the sair : ancient Rone! The author might talk with per- master-hand, it is impossible not to feel that w: fect propriety of the beauties of the Forum, and are passing in some degree from the reign of nathe arrangements of the circus—of the baths and ture and reality to that of fanoy and romance, and the suppers, and the canvass for office, and the sa- exchanging for scenes of wonder and curiosity orifices, and musters, and assemblies. He might those more homefelt sympathies, and deep: