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solely from his own exertions, and the remainder, which at the time of his death had been brought down to about £30,000, was completely extinguished by the sale of the copyright in his various works. But the ardour with which he devoted himself to his self-imposed tasks was too great, even for his indomitable spirit, and in 1829 his health seriously began to give way, Nevertheless, he struggled on until he was attacked by paralysis in the following year, which quite shattered his strength, and from which he never thoroughly recovered; but he still continued his literary labours in the quiet seclusion of Abbotsford--a residence at which seemed for a time partially to restore his wonted energy. In 1831 his weakness, however, became so apparent, that he was, though with difficulty, induced by the persuasion of his friends to desist from his occupations and to proceed to Italy, in the hopes that the change of climate would lead to returning strength. A grateful country placed a ship of war at his disposal, in which he was conveyed to Malta and afterwards to Naples. Here, and at Rome, he remained until the spring of the following year; but as his weakness had increased he became urgent to return to
his loved Abbotsford, on which all his thoughts were centred. At the sight of his own house he seemed to revive. His son-in-law says “as we descended the dale of the Gala he began to gaze about him, and by degrees it was obvious that he was recognising the features of that familiar landscape. Presently he murmured a name or two
Gala Water, surely, Buckholm - and Torwoodlee.' As we mounted the hill at Ladhope, and the outline of the Eildons burst on him, he became greatly excited.” But even Abbotsford could not bring back the poet's strength, and he gently declined until the 21st September, 1832, when he died.
Hush'd is the harp—the Minstrel gone. Sir Walter was buried in Dryburgh Abbey by the side of his affectionate wife. His family, who were all alive at the time of his death, within a few years had passed away ; and no direct representative of the great poet now remains.
INTRODUCTION TO THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.
POEM of nearly thirty years' standing may
be supposed hardly to need an Introduction, since, without one, it has been able to keep itself afloat through the best part of a generation. Nevertheless, as in the edition of the Waverley Novels now in course of publication, I have imposed on myself the task of saying something concerning the purpose and history of each, in their turn, I am desirous that the Poems for which I first received some marks of the public favour, should also be accompanied with such scraps of their literary history as may be supposed to carry interest along with them. Even if I should be mistaken in thinking that the secret history of what was once so popular, may still attract public attention and curiosity, it seems to me not without its use to record the manner and circumstances under
which the present, and other Poems on the same plan, attained for a season an extensive reputation.
I must resume the story of my literary labours at the period at which I broke off in the Essay on the Imitation of Popular Poetry, when I had enjoyed the first gleam of public favour, by the success of the first edition of the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. The second edition, published in 1803, proved, in the language of the trade, rather a heavy concern. The demand in Scotland had been supplied by the first edition, and the curiosity of the English was not much awakened by poems in the rude garb of antiquity, accompanied with notes referring to the obscure feuds of barbarous clans, of whose very names civilised history was ignorant.
At this time I stood personally in a different position from that which I occupied when first I dipt my desperate pen in ink for other purposes than those of my profession. In 1796, when I first published the translations from Bürger, I was an insulated individual, with only my own wants to provide for, and having, in a great measure, my own inclinations alone to consult. In 1803, when the second edition of the Minstrelsy appeared, I had arrived at a period of life when men, however thoughtless, encounter duties and circum
stances which press consideration and plans of life upon the most careless minds. I had been for some time married--was the father of a rising family, and, though fully enabled to meet the consequent demands upon me, it was my duty and desire to place myself in a situation which would enable me to make honourable provision against the various contingencies of life.
It may be readily supposed that the attempts which I had made in literature had been unfavour. able to my success at the bar. The goddess Themis is, at Edinburgh, and I suppose everywhere else, of a peculiarly jealous disposition. She will not readily consent to share her authority, and sternly demands from her votaries not only that real duty be carefully attended to and dischargel, but that a certain air of business shall be observed even in the midst of total idleness. It is prudent, if not absolutely necessary, in a young barrister, to appear completely engrossed by his profession ; however destitute of employment he may be, he ought to preserve, if possible, the appearance of full occupation. He should at least seem perpetually engaged among his law-papers, dusting them, as it were ; and, as Ovid advises the fair,
Si nullus erit pulvis, tamen excute nullum. Perhaps such extremity of attention is more