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of the Curators of the Advocate's Library, where he had as one of his colleagues David Hume, a nephew of the Historian. This appointment is usually awarded to those of the faculty who have given evidences of literary tastes, and serves to show that at this time his merits were beginning to be recognised. In the following year appeared his first published work, but to which his name did not appear,—the translation of the “Wild Hunts. man," by Lenore. Immediately on his acquiring a knowledge of the German language, he had been fascinated by the productions of Schiller and Goethe, and had made translations of some of their beauties which had received the approbation of those friends to whom they were shown. The appearance of his published volume was, he says, “coldly received by strangers, but my reputation began rather to increase among my own friends ; and on the whole I was more bent to show the world that it had neglected something worth notice, than to be affronted by its indifference ; or rather, to speak candidly, I found pleasure in the literary labours, in which I had almost by accident become engaged, and laboured less in the hope of pleasing others, though certainly without despair of doing so, than in pursuit of a new and agreeable amusement to myself.” The spirit of self-confidence, which is invaluable to the attainment of success in any enterprise, is certainly not less so for the aspirant to poetical fame, to whom faith in his own powers and a certain indifference to the approval of the public, is necessary before he can give full utterance to his highest efforts.
In the winter of 1797 the poet was married to Miss Charlotte Carpenter, an amiable and accomplished lady of French extraction, with whom he had fallen in love when visiting in the north of England in the preceding spring. Previous to his marriage he had resided with his father in George Square, on the south side, or old Town of Edinburgh, the houses in which, just previous to that time, were inhabited by the better class of the citizens, but who were now gradually transferring themselves to the more commodious and elegant mansions which were being built on the north side, or new town.
In the summer of 1798 the poet rented a rustic cottage in the picturesque neighbourhood of Lasswade, close to the river Esk, and about six miles south of Edinburgh. In the immediate
vicinity was Melville Castle, the seat of Viscount Melville, and about two miles distant, Dalkeith Palace, the principal residence of the Duke of Buccleuch, with both of which noblemen Scott became intimate, and their friendship materially helped him in his subsequent life. The romantic scenery of the surrounding country and the many places of historic interest are alluded to in the fragment of the “Gray Brother :"
From that fair dome, where suit is paid,
By blast of bugle free,
And haunted Woodhouselee.
And Roslin's rocky glen,
And classic Hawthornden? In this small cottage the poet passed several of his happiest years. Some time after he had left it, being with a friend in the immediate neighbourhood, he could not resist the temptation of going to see how it looked. “It was,” he said, in apology, “our first country house when newly married, and many a contrivance we had to make it comfortable. I made a dining table for it with my own hands. Look at those low miserable, willow trees on either side the gate into the enclosure; they are tied together at the top to be an arch, and a cross made of two sticks over them, is not yet decayed. I wanted to see it again myself, for I assure you that after I had constructed it, Mrs. Scott and I both of us thought it so fine, we turned out to see it by moonlight, and walked backwards from it to the cottage door in admiration of our own magnificence and its picturesque effect." This was whilst he was at Ashestiel, and before he had begun to plan or think of the glories of Abbotsford. But the poet's pride in his surroundings was as keenly felt with the small cottage as with the baronial mansion.
Whilst using this cottage as his summer residence he had also taken a house in Edinburgh for the winter's use, situated in North Castle Street, which he continued to use until obliged to resign it in 1826. In 1799 Walter Scott made his first visit to London, excepting one made in his early years whilst on his way to Bath as an invalid. Just previously, the first work published bearing his name—a translation of Goetz von Berlichingen—had appeared, and though spoken of with approval, did not meet with much success. During this visit he became acquainted with Mr. M. G. Lewis, author of the “Monk,” who was then preparing for publication his “ Tales of Wonder,” and, attracted by Scott's translations from the German, desired his aid as a contributor. Some of the poet's earlier translations eventually appeared in this work on his return to Edinburgh. During this year he wrote some of his best known ballads—“The Eve of St. John,” the scene of which is laid at Smaylhome, the Sandyknowe of his infancy, and the fragment of the “Gray Brother," which, though never completed, evinces how much his mind was embued with the spirit of the ancient ballad, of which it is an admirable imitation. The ballad of the “Fire-King," and several other ballads also belong to this period. Up to this time the poet has not made much way in his profession; whether this was in some degree owing to his known leanings towards literature, which, however praiseworthy in a successful lawyer, are not viewed with a kindly eye in a struggling aspirant. But at this period he had the good fortune to obtain through the good offices of noble friends the appointment to the Sheriffdom of the county of Selkirk, of the value