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orch as willack and has live.punk from the celer / claimesged : „The 'wo
receped upothe acquinole,
this monarch; who, referring to this matter, I complete set of the self-same conspicuous tarsaid, “I shall always reflect with pleasure on tans : Sir Walter Scott's (baronetcy) being the first
“He caught Sir William Curtis in a kilt, creation of my reign." This was in 1820, in the
While thronged the Chiefs of every Highland very ineridian of Scott's popularity and intel
clan lectual power. Scott's reverence for George IV
To hail their brother, Vich Ian Alderman." was carried to a ridiculous excess. He described him as "the first English gentleman of In truth, this portentons apparition cast an air he day," and the very best teller of anecdotes of ridicule and caricature over the whole of Sir and short stories that he ever met with. It was Walter's keltified pageantry. A sharp little during one of these London visits (1815) that he bailie from Aberdeen, who had previously made amet Lord Byron, for the first tiine, and the two | acquaintance with the worthy Guildhall baropoets contracted a mutual respect, which lasted net, and tasted the turtle-soup of the City of as long as thes lived. In London, Scott, at the London, tortured Sir William as he sailed down table of his friends, came in contact with some the long gallery of Holyrood, by suggesting that, strange characters. To one of these he refers after all, his (Sir William's) costume was not in the following extract from his diary, under quite perfect. The worthy alderman, who had the date of December 9th, 1825 :
been rigged out "regardless of expense," ex"The gay world has been kept in hot water claimed that he must be mistaken, begged he lately by the impudent publication of the cele would explain his criticism, and, as he spoke, brated Harriet Wilson-who, punk from earliest | threw a glance of admiration on a "skene dhu" possibility, I suppose, has lived with half the gay | (black knife), which, like a true " warrior and world at hack and manger, and now obliges | hunter of deer," he had stuck into one of his such as will not pay hush-money with a history garters. "Oo ay, oo ay," quoth the Aberdonian; of whatever she knows, or can invent, about **the knife's a richt mon; but faar's your them. *** I think I supped once in her com speen?" (where's your spoon.) pany, more than twenty years since, at Mat This alleged conversation between the AberLewis's, in Argyle Street, where the company, deen bailie and the London alderman was told by as the Duke says to Lucio, chanced to be fairer Scott to the King, for (as Lockart insinuates) the than honest. She was far from beautiful, if it purpose of restoring the King's good-humour, be the same chiffonne; but a smart, saucy girl, so grievously shaken by the corpulent alderwith good eyes, and dark hair, and the manners man's ludicrous resemblance to himself of a wild schoolboy. I am glad this accident has Another important event in the life of Scott, escaped her memory, for, being a sort of French was his first visit to the French capital, in 1815. falconer, who hawks at all they see, I might have Paris was then occupied by the victorious allies, had a distinction which I am far from desir and all France lay prostrate and exhausted ing.'
after her gigantic efforts at universal dominion. When, in 1822, George IV visited Edinburgh, To superficial lookers-on, it seemed as if never the principal task of arranging the monarch's again would the peace of Europe or the balance reception, and making everything pleasant, de of power be in any serious danger from anyvolved upon Scott; and it was conceded on all thing that the grand nation could do to disturb hands that he acquitted himself to perfection. them. Not so, however, to the eyes of Scott; Though, on the whole, the arrangements for who, though in domestic politics his views were the reception of the monarch were admirably as shortsighted and as worthless as a common. carried out, and gave perfect satisfaction, both place country “Squire," could see and judge to the royal guest and to Scott, who had the important European questions with the eye and principal superintendence of them, yet there oc the mind of a true statesman. Referring to the curred one or two mishaps which had a decided abject and apparently helpless condition of tendency to impart a ludicrous appearance to France, he writes:-"Yet this country will soon what was intended to be dignified and impres recover the actual losses she has sustained ; for sive, and which, though they greatly annoyed never was there a soil so blessed by nature, or both the King and Sir Walter, were highly so rich in corn, and wine, and oil, and in the amusing to the rest of the community. One of animated industry of its inhabitants. France is these laughable incidents consisted in the loyal at present the fabled giant, struggling, or rather crowd, assembled to do reverence to King Jying supine, under the load of mountains which George, mistaking Sir William Curtis, a tall and have been precipitated on her; but she is not, portly alderman of the City of London, for his and cannot be, crushed. Remove the incumbent excessively stout and most sacred Majesty, and weight of 600,000 or 700,000 foreigners, and sho thus wasting upon a mere municipal dignitary will soon stand upright-happy, if experience the loyal and enthusiastic cheers which of right shall have taught her, -to be contented to exert belonged to the anointed sovereign of the Great her natural strength only for her own protecBritish empire. The cause and manner of this tion, and not for the annoyance of her neighmemorable instance of mistaken identity were bours." as follows:
At Paris, he received the most courteous atThe King at one of his levees diverted many, tentions from Lords Cathcart, Aberdeen, and and delighted Scott, by appearing in the full Castlereagh. Sir John Malcolm introduced him Highland garb--the same brilliant Stuart Tar to the Duke of Wellington; who then, and ever tans, so called, in which, certainly, no Stuart, afterwards, treated him with a kindness and except Prince Charles, had ever before presented confidence which Scott, whose reverence for the himself in the saloons of Holyrood. His Ma vanquisher of Napoleon verged on idolatry, conjesty's Keltic toilette had been carefully watched sidered "the highest distinction of his life." He and assisted by the gallant laird of Garth, who was also introduced to the Emperor Alexander, was not a little proud of the result of his dex who, glancing at his lame foot, took it for granted terous manipulation of the royal plaid, and pro that he had served in the army, and been nounced the King to be a “vera pretty man." wounded in some battle. Scott was amused at And certainly the King did look a most stately the Czar's mistake; but, in reply to the Emand imposing person in that beautiful dress. peror's inquiry, “In what affair were you But his satisfaction therein was cruelly dis wounded?" gave his Majesty to understand turbed, when his Majesty discovered, towering that his lameness was the result of natural inand blazing among and above the genuine Glen- firmity. “But," retorted the Emperor, “Lord garries, and Macleods, and MacGregors, a figure Cathcart gave me to understand that you had even more portly than his own, equipped, from | served." Lord Cathcart, upon this, looked rather & sudden impulse of loyal ardour, in an equally embarrassed; but Sir Walter came to his lord
* The King at Quot by appearing Stuart Tar 100 erws
ced thipulationoud of the
muistake but hat faktair weerstand
thfection. Platode-camp, that heview, when he
with othenad great most familials, in wb
ship's aid, by promptly answering, "Oh, yes; in The great misfortune of 1826 broke the spirit, n certain sense, I have served that is, in the and shattered the health, of Sir Walter. In 1831. yeomanry cavalry,- a home force, resembling he was advised to reside in the south of Italy, the Landwher or Landsturn."
on account of the delicate state of his health. Under what commander?
A government frigate was placed at his disposal: "The Chevalier Rae," (Sir William Rae.)
and in October, 1831, he embarked at Ports** Were you ever engaged?"
mouth, on board the Barham, one of the finest "In somie slight actions-such as the battle of frigates in the navy; and after a short sojourn at the Cross Causeway, and the affair' of Moredun Malta, arrived at Naples on the 27th of Decemhill," replied Sir Walter ; who, glancing at Lord ber. Here he resided till the following April, Cathcart's face, saw that he had said quite suf when, feeling himself dying, he set out for Scotficient about his military exploits, so he ma- land, paying a visit to Rome on his journey. On naged to turn the conversation to some other the ilth of July, 1832, he found himself once more subject.
at his beloved Abbotsford, surrounded by his Next day, when Scott and Mr. Pringle, a friend sorrowing family, who were now alive to the of his, were walking together in the Rue de la | mournful fact that the earthly existence of one Paix, the Hetman Platoff happened to come up, of the kindest fathers and most faithful friends cantering with some of his Cossacks. As soon that ever lived was to be numbered by days, if as he saw Scott, he jumped off his horse, and, not by hours and minutes. By this time, the running up to him, kissed him on each side of once stalwart and vigorous frame was completely the cheek with extraordinary demonstrations of I helpless. His mind, also, was evidently entraced affection. Platoff then made him understand, with other than the material realities around through an aide-de-camp, that he wished him to him. He had great difficulty in recognising the join his staff at the next great review, when he scenes and persons most familiar to him. He would take care to mount him on the gentlest of I had, however, some lucid intervals, in which the his Ukraine horses.
overtasked brain flashed forth sparks of its Scott received more attention from the Het- wonted keen and penetrating intelligence. man Platoff and Marshal Blucher than from Arrived at his own door, his land-steward. any foreign general; and yet, the probabilities Laidlaw, was waiting for him at the porch, and are that neither of them had read one line of assisted in lifting him into the dining-room. Sir his poetry or prose works.
Walter sat bewildered for a few moments; and In 1825, Sir Walter paid a visit to Ireland, then, resting his eye on Laidlaw, recognised him, where he was most hospitably received, and with and exclaimed, “Ha, Willie Laidlaw! O man, the people and scenery of which he was in the how often I have thought of you!" By this time highest degree delighted
his dogs had assembled about his chair, and began The following year, 1826, was, in some respects, to fawn upon him and lick his hands, and he althe most important, and, in all things, the most ternately sobbed and smiled over them, until. disastrous. in Sir Walter's life. He had been a weary and worn out, he fell asleep. partner, first in the printing and publishing firms It was not, however, until the 21st of Septemof John and James Ballantyne, and afterwards ber, 1832, about half-past one p.m., that Sir in that of Constable and Co. In the financial | Walter Scott breathed his last, in the presence of
all his children. Three days before his death, in well as many others, became bankrupt to im one of his intervals of consciousness, he said to mense amounts. As a partner, Scott was re his son-in-law, who was standing by his bedside, sponsible to the creditors, and the earnings of a "Lockhart, I may have buit a minute to speak laborions lifetime were all swallowed up. The to you. My dear, be a good man-be virt11011S alluring vision of being the founder of a great be religious-be a good man. Nothing else will territorial family dissolved into thin air. But give you comfort when you come to lie here." though heartbroken, he did not despair. He set These were almost the last words of this good himself manfully to work to pay all his creditors; and great Sir Walter Scott. and by the disposal of copyrights, and exertions A post-mortem examination showed the there the most arduous, he, at the Christmas of 1827, was a slight softening of the brain, but his death succeeded in paying a dividend of six shillings was the result of the complete, though gradual, in the pound. The result of his heroic endea decay of his whole vital powers. On the 26th of vours, between January, 1826, and January 1828, September he was buried in Dryburgh Abbey. was the enormous sum of £40,000! Well may by the side of his wife, in the sepulchre of his anhis son-in-law observe, “No literary biographer, cestors. in all likelihood, will ever have such a fact to re Sir Walter Scott had four children, two of cord."
whom were sons. Walter', the elder, who suc. His financial embarassments necessitated his ceeded his father in the title, was a lieutenantacknowledgment of the authorship of the colonel in the 15th Hussars. Charles became a * Waverley Novels,” which till then were pub clerk in the Foreign Office. Sophie, the eldest lished anonymously, and which circumstance, daughter, was married to John Lockhart, Esq., owing to their immense popularity, excited a M.P., for many years editor of the “Quarterly great deal of controversy as to their author. Review," and a poet, novelist, essayist, and Scott had a strong liking for mystery implanted translator of no ordinary power. Annie, his sein his nature. He delighted in puzzling his cond daughter, died unmarried. friends and the public on subjects of this descrip Sir Walter, who had an idolatrous veneration tion. At the same time, more was made of the for ancestral honours, and whose great ambition anonymous authorship of his prose fictions than was to be the founder of a powerful family of was at all necessary--for in literary circles there the name of Scott, has no living descendant in was hardly the shadow of a doubt as to who the the male line. His fame, therefore, exclusively "Great Unknown" was, long before his publie rests upon the progeny of his brain and his avowal of the "sold and undivided" authorship name and memory are as durable as the English of the tales in question, in 1827.
well as mancurred in that year, in the financial / We zit 1832, about moment until the list
THE Poem now offered to the public, is intended to illustrate the customs and manners which anciently prevailed on the Borders of England and Scotland. The inhabitants, living in a state partly pastoral and partly warlike, and combining habits of constant depredation with the influence of a rude spirit of chivalry, were often engaged in scenes highly susceptible of poetical ornament. As the description of scenery and manners was more the object of the Author, than a combined and regular narrative, the plan of the ancient metrical romance was adopted, which allows greater latitude, in this respect, than would be consistent with the dignity of a regular Poem. The same model offered other facilities, as it permits an occasional alteration of measure, which, in some degree, authorises the changes of rhythm in the text. The machinery also, adopted from popnlar belief, would have seemed puerile in a Poem, which did not partake of the rudeness of the old Ballad, or Metrical Romance.
For these reasons, the Poem was put into the mouth of an ancient Minstrel, the last of the race, who, as he is supposed to have survived the Revolution, might have caught somewhat of the refinement of modern poetry, without losing the simplicity of his original model. The date of the tale itself is about the middle of the sixteenth century, when most of the personages actually fiourished. The time occupied by the action is three nights and three days.
And of Earl Walter,* rest him God
The way was long, the wind was cold, The Minstrel was infirm and old; His withered cheek, and tresses gray, Seemed to have known a better day ; The harp, his sole remaining joy, Was carried by an orphan-boy. The last of all the bards was he, Who suing of Border chivalry; For, well-a-day! their date was fled, His tuneful brethren all were dead; And he, neglected and oppressed, Wished to be with them, and at rest. No more, on prancing palfrey borne, He carolled, light as lark at morn; No longer courted and caressed, High placed in hall, a welcome guest, He poured to lord and lady gay The unpremeditated lay : Old times were changed, old manners gone A stranger filled the Stuart's throne; The bigots of the iron time Had called his harmless art a crime. A wandering harper, scorned and poor, He begged his bread from door to door; And tuned, to please a peasant's ear, The harp a king had loved to hear.
The humble boon was soon obtained; The aged Minstrel audience gained. But, when he reached the room of state, Where she, with all her ladies sate, Perchance he wished his boon denied: For, when to tune his harp he tried, His trembling hand had lost the case Which marks security to please; And scenes, long past, of joy and pain, Came wildering o'er his aged brainHe tried to tune his harp in vain. The pitying Duchess praised its chime, And gave him heart, and gave him time, Till every string's according glee Was blended into harmony. And then, he said, he would full fain He could recall an ancient strain, He never thonght to sing again. It was not framed for village churls, But for high dames and mighty earls; He had played it to King Charles the Good, When he kept Court in Holyrood; And much he wished, yet feared, to try The long-forgotten melody.
cave hiring's armony full fain
He passed where Newark's stately tower Looks out from Yarrow's birchin bower: The Minstrel gazed with wishful eyeNo humbler resting-place was nigh. With hesitating step, at last, The embattled portal-arch he passed, Whose ponderous grate and massy bar Had oft rolled back the tide of war, But never closed the iron door Against the desolate and poor. The Duchess* marked his weary pace, His timid mien and reverend face, And bade her page thę meniais tell, That they should tend the old man well : For she had known adversity, Though born in such a high degree; In pride of power, in beauty's bloom, Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb! When kindness had its wants supplied, And the old man was gratified, Began to rise his minstrel pride : And he began to talk anon, Of good Earl Francis,f dead and gone,
Amid the strings his fingers strayed, And an uncertain warbling made, And oft he shook his hoary head. But when he caught the measure wild. The old man raised his face, and siniled; And lightened up his faded eye, With all a poet's ecstacy! In varying cadence, soft or strong, He swept the sounding chords along: The present scene, the future lotHis toils, his wants,- were all forgot: Cold diffidence, and ages' frost, In the full tide of song were lost; Each blank, in faithless memory void, The poet's glowing thought supplied; And, while his harp responsive rung. 'Twas thus the LATEST MINSTREL sung.
* Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, representative of the ancient Lords of Buccleuch, and widow of the unfortunate James, Duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded in 1685.'
+ Francis Scott, Earl of Buccleuch, father of the Duchess.
* Walter, Earl of Buccleuch, grandfather of the Duchess, and a celebrated warrior,