« 前へ次へ »
terest depends on the mental recipient; on his passage down the Rhine; where and when bodily powers decay, the the intense heat of summer aggravated mind clings rather to the remembrance his sufferings, and brought on the worst of early years than to any enjoyment of symptoms, another paralytic stroke, which novel impressions can excite. which at first it was supposed would The Pompeian ruins alone would for- prove immediately mortal. merly have been a source of the great- Henceforward, the light of intellect est amusement and delight to Sir was almost entirely obscured, and the Walter Scott. He would have exca- remaining ihree months of his existvated and explored in this region with ence were spent in a state far too the same enthusiasm with which he painful for description. Only at inonce “ drained the well" at Dunnottar tervals could he recognise his relatives Castle, and exulted in every mouldering and attendants, or express himself so remnant which he brought to light. as to be understood. Under these But now, whatever attractions this complicated sufferings he arrived in world could afford him, were, in Italy, London, where he remained for about faint and feeble; whereas the ties which ten days at a hotel in Jermyn Street, connected him with his own country, receiving the utmost attention from his especially with his favourite Abbots- friend Sir Henry Halford, and other ford, were yet strong, and, while life physicians, and affectionately watched remained, indissoluble. In the course by his family. In so far as his wishes of the spring his health did not, as could be ascertained, they remained was expected, improve. Every means unchangeably bent on home; and he bad been adopted to keep his mind therefore embarked, on the 7th of July, constantly and cheerfully occupied ; so in a steam-vessel, which, by a rapid that, in the complete absence of anxiety and easy voyage, arrived at Edinburgh and intellectual pressure, the vital or- on the evening of the 9th. Here he gans might possibly recover their tone. rested for two days at his house in On this principle, when at Rome in Shandwick Place, scarcely, I believe, the month of April, he was induced to recognising where he was; but on the visit all the scenes and spectacles that first view of Abbotsford from the carusually interest a traveller; but here riage-windows, during his journey thihe became so painfully conscious of ther, it has been told that his excitehis own increasing weakness, that ment was intense - that he fully rehenceforward all efforts devised by cognised the friends around him, and friends for his amusement were in vain. expressed the utmost joy and gratitude Nothing could dispel or overcome the because he had once more beheld that apprehension, that his strength would home to which he was so fondly ataltogether wear out before it was pos- tached. But this recognition was like sible to reach that home which he had an expiring gleam of the intellectual never wished to leave.
lamp, which inmediately afterwards The plans formerly recommended subsided into the faint glimmer of exby physicians were now, therefore, haustion. On his arrival at his own abandoned. It would have been only house, it is said that he no longer took injurious and cruel to detain him in a any interest in the objects around him, country where this gloomy impression or shewed recollection, except by shakkept his mind always on the rack. ing hands cordially with his old acBut the route bome by land through auaintance and faithful steward
21st of September he was released in what manner he would act, and alfrom all his sufferings, and on the 26th most anticipate the very language that took place his funeral; on which day, he would use. I needed not to fear, as it is remarked by a contemporary as in other cases, that the lapse of a journalist, all nature was wrapt in the year, a month, or perhaps a day, might deepest gloom of a lowering autumnal possibly have made an entire change sky, as if even the elemeuis mowned in his views or disposition. Never the extinction of a light such as on was he known to adopt the ordinary earth may not appear again for cen- principles of the world, and desert a turies. His remains were interred in friend in adversity; even by errors and the evening at Dryburgh Abbey,where; misconduct, whilst he always expressed as yet, no monument is erected to his his disapprobation and tendered his memory. Nor is this to be wondered advice, yet he was not readily to be at. By his varied works and bis uns ulienated. Of this I remember several tarpisbed fame, he has himself created instances, with regard to persons who, the most imperishable of monuments; by waywardness and imprudence, had and by no efforts of the most highly given him ample cause for provocation gifted sculptor could the affection of surviving friends be expressed. Such It is said that no commodity is so works of art would seem rather a cheap as good advice, but I suspect mockery of their attachment and af- that advice given in such manner as to fiction. On similar principles, bis do any real good is a "commodity immediate relatives have deserted Ab- of very rare occurrence. Of all counbotsford ; the sight of which only adds sellors on occasions of perplexity that poignancy to feelings which, even after I have known, Scott was infinitely the the lapse of years, are almost too acute best; nor, when obstinately fixed in for endurance. It may be from a his own opinion, did he assume a morbid impression, but, instead of harsh and dictatorial tone. He never wishing to visit Abbotsford, I would, took up a one-sided view of the subject, if travelling in the neighbourhood, ra- but saw it, as if intuitively, in all its ther take a circuitous route to avoid bearings; then, if he had made up his it. With all its natural and artificial mind, and entertaine
any real interest beauty, with its now well-grown and in behalf of the person so counselled, flourishing woods, it presents to the he was not, like the once notable eyes of a friend only the sad memorial General Trappaud, satisfied with anof happiness which has been, and which nouncing what ought to be done, but no earthly power can restore.
exerted liimself to bring his own sugTo this brief memoir it may possibly gestions into execution. I shall never be objected, that I have set down no- cease to remember how earnestly, in thing but praise ; but on the part of 1825, he deprecated certain plans which all those who can speak from personal were then of some consequence, though knowledge of its subject I shall be to himself individually of no moment. acquitted, at least, of having written He had given bis advice, and he perunder the influence of any prejudice. ceived plainly enough that it would Mere truth has been commemorated, not be followed. I was at the threshwithout the slightest colouring from old of the outer door of his house in imagination. That those who were town, when he called to me from the honoured with his friendship might be upper floor, and came down stairs. wholly blinded to faults or failings, is, “ Before you go home,” said he, “ I cumstances, can rationally be supposed surely his merit is not thereby lessened, capable. If you proceed, time will be but enhanced. Such cavillers, perthrown away, property sacrificed, cha- haps, wish to insinuate, that, if doomed racter attacked, if not injured; and, af- to write for daily bread, his genius ter a vain and most fatiguing struggle, would not have triumphed; and, in you will end in a situation far worse truth, could any obstacle have broken than when you began.” A witness to the practically calm but originally irritthe conversation observed, that it was able spirit of Scott, it would have been an extraordinary instance of disinter- poverty. Yet, as there is no state of ested zeal; but that any one should be prosperity to which we cannot natuinsane enough to reject the proffers so rally enough suggest a contrast, I kindly made, or the advice so forcibly could imagine his unyielding and given, was yet more extraordinary. As stern self-control even playfulness to the verification of his predictions, and mildness - over a cup of water this may be understood as a matter and crust of bread, or his expression, of course.
a patul roeult he
“It is my lot in this world, and, if not By some envious detractors it has quite content, I endeavour to be so." been occasionally alleged, that Scott He would, even then, have maintained through life enjoyed advantages such the same principles of independence as rarely fall to the lot of men devoted by which he was actuated through to literature; on which grounds they life; and the perfect tranquillity and would infer that his eminence is less fortitude with which he “looked diffito be wondered at. It is true, that culties in the face" would have disfrom the beginning he was independ- armed them of their terrors. ent; he might talk of the res angusta In this, as in many other passages, domi in early years, but could never I have wished to illustrate the moral experience the horrors of that thraldom character of Scott; in which respect entailed by poverty, when the labour he was even more worthy of admiration of each day is required to provide for than for his literary excellence. Hence existing wants. If, however, in a state no man of genius was ever so univerof perfect independence he submitted sally regretted, or left behind him a to long and arduous literary tasks, reputation so completely without a without any necessity for so doing, blot.
To Bethlehem, with all abundance rife,
Nay!" she replied, with accent sad and stern,
with them, as for their sakes seemed best, She to their mothers' homes dismissed them both : “ The Lord deal kindly with you! make you blest, Each at her mother's house, and give you rest, Each in her husband's home! for kindly ye Have ever dealt both with the dead and me.”
She kissed them both, and bitterly they wept,
“ The path thou treadest shall by me be trod,
“The Lord be with you :” “And the Lord bless thee," They answered him; and when he turned his head, And saw fair Ruth, his steward he questioned, “ Whence came this damsel ?” he made answer clear, “ She with Naomi came from Moab here.
She asked to let her glean here, and I let her ;