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Title: Homes and haunts of the most eminent British poets, Vol. II (of 2)
Author: Howitt, William
Language: English
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HOMES AND HAUNTS OF THE MOST EMINENT BRITISH POETS.

VOL. II.



HOMES AND HAUNTS OF THE MOST EMINENT BRITISH POETS.


BY

WILLIAM HOWITT.


The Illustrations Engraved by H. W. Hewet.


"An indissoluble sign of their existence has stamped itself on the
abodes of all distinguished men, a sign which places all kindred
spirits in communion with them."--_The Citizen of Prague._


IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.


NEW YORK:
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
82 CLIFF STREET.
1847.



CONTENTS OF VOL. II.


POETS.        ILLUSTRATIONS.                               PAGE

CRABBE       _Belvoir Castle_                                 5
HOGG                                                         34
COLERIDGE    _Coleridge Enlisting_                           81
MRS. HEMANS  _Residence at Rhyllon_                         122
L. E. L.     _Cape Coast Castle_                            145
SCOTT        _Abbotsford_                                   167
             _Tomb_       , _Dryburgh Abbey_                536
CAMPBELL     _Gateway of Glasgow College_                   231
SOUTHEY      _Residence at Keswick_                         255
             _Birthplace at Bristol_                        284
BAILLIE                                                     285
WORDSWORTH   _Grasmere_                                     295
MONTGOMERY   _Fulneck Moravian Settlement_                  334
LANDOR       _Residence near Fiesole_                       369
LEIGH HUNT   _Birthplace at Southgate_                      396
ROGERS       _House in St. James's Place_                   420
MOORE        _Cottage at Sloperton_                         445
ELLIOTT      _The "Ranter" Preaching_                       462
WILSON                                                      501
PROCTER                                                     508
TENNYSON     _Birthplace at Somersby_                       513
             _Antique Cross_                                532
CONCLUDING REMARKS                                          533



[Illustration: _Belvoir Castle_]



GEORGE CRABBE.


When a youth, with a voracious appetite for books, an old lady, who
kindly supplied me with many, put one day into my hands Crabbe's
Borough. It was my first acquaintance with him, and it occasioned me
the most singular sensations imaginable. Intensely fond of poetry, I
had read the great bulk of our older writers, and was enthusiastic in
my admiration of the new ones who had appeared. The Pleasures of Hope,
of Campbell, the West Indies and World before the Flood, of
Montgomery, the first Metrical Romances of Scott, all had their due
appreciation. The calm dignity of Wordsworth and the blaze of Byron
had not yet fully appeared. Every thing, however, old or new, in
poetry, had a certain elevation of subject and style which seemed
absolutely necessary to give it the title of poetry. But here was a
poem by a country parson; the description of a sea-port town, so full
of real life, yet so homely and often prosaic, that its effect on me
was confounding. Why, it is not poetry, and yet how clever! Why, there
is certainly a resemblance to the style of Pope, yet what subjects,
what characters, what ordinary phraseology! The country parson,
certainly, is a great reader of Pope, but how unlike Pope's is the
music of the rhythm--if music there be! What an opening for a poem in
four-and-twenty Books!

    "Describe the Borough--though our idle tribe
    May love description, can we so describe,
    That you shall fairly streets and buildings trace,
    And all that gives distinction to the place?
    This can not be; yet moved by your request,
    A part I paint--let fancy form the rest.
    Cities and towns, the various haunts of men,
    Require the pencil; they defy the pen.
    Could he, who sung so well the Grecian Fleet,
    So well have sung of Alley, Lane, or Street?
    Can measured lines these various buildings show,
    The Town-Hall Turning, or the Prospect Row?
    Can I the seats of wealth and want explore,
    And lengthen out my lays from door to door?"

No, good parson! how should you? I exclaimed to myself. You see the
absurdity of your subject, and yet you rush into it. He who sung of
the Greek Fleet certainly would never have thought of singing of
Alley, Lane, or Street! What a difference from

    "Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
    Of woes unnumbered, heavenly goddess, sing!"

Or--

    "The man for wisdom's various arts renowned,
    Long exercised in woes, O Muse, resound!"

What a difference from--

    "Arms and the man I sing, who forced by fate,
    And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate!"

Or from the grandeur of that exordium:--

    "Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
    Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
    Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
    With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
    Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
    Sing, heavenly Muse! that on the secret top
    Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
    That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed
    In the beginning, how the Heavens and Earth
    Rose out of chaos; or, if Sion-hill
    Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flowed
    Fast by the Oracle of God, I thence
    Invoke thine aid to my adventurous song,
    That with no middle flight intends to soar
    Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
    Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
    And chiefly Thou, O Spirit! that dost prefer
    Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
    Instruct me, for Thou knowest: Thou from the first
    Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
    Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
    And mad'st it pregnant; what in me is dark
    Illumine, what is low raise and support;
    That to the height of this great argument
    I may assert Eternal Providence,
    And justify the ways of God to men."

With this glorious sound in my ears, like the opening hymn of an
archangel--language in which more music and more dignity were united
than in any composition of mere mortal man, and which heralded in the
universe, God and man, perdition and salvation, creation and the great
sum total of the human destinies,--what a fall was there to those
astounding words--

    "Describe the Borough!"

It was a shock to every thing of the ideal great and poetical in the
young and sensitive mind, attuned to the harmonies of a thousand great
lays of the by-gone times, that was never to be forgotten. Are we then
come to this? I asked. Is this the scale of topic, and is this the
tone to which we are reduced in this generation? Turning over the
heads of the different Books did not much tend to remove this feeling.
The Church, Sects, the Election, Law, Physic, Trades, Clubs and Social
Meetings, Players, Almshouse and Trustees, Peter Grimes and Prisons!
What, in heaven's name, were the whole nine Muses to do with such a
set of themes! And then the actors! See a set of drunken sailors in
their ale-house:--

    "The Anchor, too, affords the seaman joys,
    In small smoked room, all clamor, crowds, and noise;
    Where a curved settle half surrounds the fire,
    Where fifty voices purl and punch require;
    They come for pleasure in their leisure hour,
    And they enjoy it to their utmost power;
    Standing they drink, they swearing smoke, while all
    Call, or make ready for a second call."

But, spite of all, a book was a book, and therefore it was read. At
every page the same struggle went on in the mind between all the old
notions of poetry, and the vivid pictures of actual life which it
unfolded. When I had read it once, I told the lender that it was the
strangest, cleverest, and most absorbing book I had ever read, but
that it was no poem. It was only by a second and a third perusal that
the first surprise subsided; the first shock gone by, the poem began
to rise out of the novel composition. The deep and experienced
knowledge of human life, the sound sense, the quiet satire, there was
no overlooking from the first; and soon the warm sympathy with poverty
and suffering, the boldness to display them as they existed, and to
suffer no longer poetry to wrap her golden haze round human life, and
to conceal all that ought to be known, because it must be known before
it could be removed; the tender pathos, and the true feeling for
nature, grew every hour on the mind. It was not long before George
Crabbe became as firmly fixed in my bosom as a great and genuine poet,
as Rembrandt, or Collins, or Edwin Landseer are as genuine painters.

Crabbe saw plainly what was become the great disease of our
literature. It was a departure from actual life and nature.

    "I've often marveled, when by night, by day,
    I've marked the manners moving in my way,
    And heard the language and beheld the lives
    Of lass and lover, goddesses and wives,
    That books which promise much of life to give
    Should show so little how we truly live.
      To me it seems, their females and their men
    Are but the creatures of the author's pen;
    Nay, creatures borrowed, and again conveyed
    From book to book, the shadows of a shade.
    Life, if they'd seek, would show them many a change;
    The ruin sudden and the misery strange;
    With more of grievous, base, and dreadful things,
    Than novelists relate, or poet sings.
    But they who ought to look the world around,
    Spy out a single spot in fairy ground,
    Where all in turns ideal forms behold,
    And plots are laid, and histories are told."

To these home-truths, succeeds that admirable satirical description of
our novel literature, which introduces the sad story of Ellen Orford.
My space is little, but I must give a specimen of the manner in which
the Cervantes of England strips away the sublime fooleries of our
literary knight-errantry.

    "Time have I lent--I would their debt were less--
    To flowing pages of sublime distress;
    And to the heroine's soul-distracting fears
    I early gave my sixpences and tears;
    Oft have I traveled in these tender tales,
    To _Darnley Cottages and Maple Vales_.

    *      *      *      *      *      *

    I've watched a wintry night on castle walls,
    I've stalked by moonlight through deserted halls;
    And when the weary world was sunk to rest,
    I've had such sights--as may not be expressed.
      "Lo! that chateau, the western tower decayed,
    The peasants shun it, they are all afraid;
    For there was done a deed! could walls reveal
    Or timbers tell it, how the heart would feel.
    Most horrid was it:--for, behold the floor
    Has stains of blood, and will be clean no more.
    Hark to the winds! which, through the wide saloon,
    And the long passage, send a dismal tune,--
    Music that ghosts delight in; and now heed
    Yon beauteous nymph who must unmask the deed:
    See! with majestic sweep she swims alone
    Through rooms all dreary, guided by a groan.
    Though windows rattle, and though tapestries shake,
    And the feet falter every step they take,
    Mid moans and gibing sprites she silent goes,
    To find a something which shall soon expose
    The villainies and wiles of her determined foes:
    And having thus adventured, thus endured,
    Fame, wealth, and lover, are for life secured.
      "Much have I feared, but am no more afraid,
    When some chaste beauty, by some wretch betrayed,
    Is drawn away with such distracted speed
    That she anticipates a dreadful deed.
    Not so do I. Let solid walls impound
    The captive fair, and dig a moat around:
    Let there be brazen locks and bars of steel,
    And keepers cruel, such as never feel.
    With not a single note the purse supply,
    And when she begs let men and maids deny.
    Be windows those from which she dare not fall,
    And help so distant 'tis in vain to call;
    Still means of freedom will some power devise,
    And from the baffled ruffian snatch the prize."

From all this false sublime, Crabbe was the first to free us, and to
lead us into the true sublime of genuine human life. How novel at that
time, and yet how thrilling, was the incident of the sea-side visitors
surprised out on the sands by the rise of the tide. Here was real
sublimity of distress, real display of human passion. The lady, with
her children in her hand, wandering from the tea-table which had been
spread on the sands, sees the boatmen asleep, the boat adrift, and the
tide advancing:--

    "She gazed, she trembled, and though faint her call,
    It seemed like thunder to confound them all.
    Their sailor-guests, the boatman and his mate,
    Had drank and slept, regardless of their state;
    'Awake!' they cried aloud! 'Alarm the shore!
    Shout all, or never shall we reach it more!'
    Alas! no shout the distant land can reach,
    No eye behold them from the foggy beach:
    Again they join in one loud, fearful cry,
    Then cease, and eager listen for reply;
    None came--the rising wind blew sadly by.
    They shout once more, and then they turn aside
    To see how quickly flowed the coming tide;
    Between each cry they find the waters steal
    On their strange prison, and new horrors feel.
    Foot after foot on the contracted ground
    The billows fall, and dreadful is the sound;
    Less and yet less the sinking isle became,
    And there was weeping, wailing, wrath, and blame."

It has been said that Crabbe's poetry is mere description, however
accurate, and that he has not a spark of imagination. The charge
arises from a false view of the man and his objects. He saw that the
world was well supplied with what are poems of the creative faculty,
that it was just as destitute of the poetry of truth and reality. He
saw human life lie like waste land, as worthless of notice, while our
poets and romancers

    "In trim gardens took their pleasure."

He saw the vice, the ignorance, the misery, and he lifted the veil and
cried--"Behold your fellow-men! Such are the multitude of your
fellow-creatures, among whom you live and move. Do you want to weep
over distress? Behold it there, huge, dismal, and excruciating! Do you
wish for a sensation? Find it there! Follow the ruined gentleman from
his gaming and his dissipation, to his squalid den and his death.
Follow the grim savage, who murders his shrieking boy at sea. Follow
the poor maiden to her ruin, and the parent weeping and withering
under the curse of a depraved child. Go down into the abodes of
ignorance, of swarming vice, of folly, and madness--and if you want a
lesson, or a moral, there they are by thousands."

Crabbe knew that the true imaginative faculty had a great and
comprehensive task, to dive into the depths of the human heart, to
fathom the recesses and the springs of the mind, and to display all
their movements under the various excitements of various passions,
with the hand of a master. He has done this, and done it with
unrivaled tact and vigor. Out of the scum and chaos of lowest life, he
has evoked the true sublime. He has taught us that men are our proper
objects of display, and that the multitude has claims on our
sympathies that duty as well as taste demand obedience to. He was the
first to dare these desperate and deserted walks of humanity, and
prove to us that still it was humanity. At every step he revealed
scenes of the truest pathos, of the profoundest interest, and gave
instances of the most generous sacrifices, the most patient love, the
most heroic duty, in the very abodes of unvisited wretchedness. He
made us feel that these beings were men! There is no picture so
touching in all the million volumes of romance, as that of the dying
sailor and his sweetheart. What hero ever breathed a more beautiful
devotion, or clothed it in more exquisite language, than this poor
sailor youth, when believing himself dying at sea:--

    "He called his friend, and prefaced with a sigh
    A lover's message--'Thomas, I must die.
    Would I could see my Sally, and could rest
    My throbbing temples on her faithful breast,
    And gazing go!--if not, this trifle take,
    And say till death I wore it for her sake:
    Yes, I must die--blow on, sweet breeze, blow on!
    Give me one look before my life be gone,
    Oh! give me that and let me not despair,
    One last fond look--and now repeat the prayer.'

    *        *        *        *        *

    She placed a decent stone his grave above,
    Neatly engraved--an offering of her love,
    For that she wrought, for that forsook her bed,
    Awake alike to duty and the dead."

It was by these genuine vindications of our entire humanity, that
Crabbe, by casting the full blaze of the sunshine of truth and genius
on the real condition of the laboring population of these kingdoms,
laid the foundations of that great popular feeling which prevails at
the present day. Patriots and patrons of the people are now plentiful
enough, but in Crabbe's day the work had to be begun; the swinish
multitude had yet to be visited in their sties; and the Circe of the
modern sorceries of degradation, to feel the hand of a hero upon her,
compelling her to restore the swine to their human form. George Crabbe
was not merely a poet, but the poet who had the sagacity to see into
the real state of things, and the heart to do his duty--the great
marks of the true poet, who is necessarily a true and feeling man. To
him popular education, popular freedom, popular advance into knowledge
and power, owe a debt which futurity will gratefully acknowledge, but
no time can cancel.

George Crabbe was born on the borders of that element which he so
greatly loved, and which he has so powerfully described in the first
chapter of the Borough. He has had the good-fortune to have in his son
George a biographer such as every good man would desire. The life
written by him is full of the veneration of the son, yet of the candor
of the historian; and is at once one of the most graphic and charming
of books.

From this volume we learn that the poet was born at Aldborough, in
Suffolk, on the Christmas-eve of 1754. His birthplace was an old house
in that range of buildings which the sea has now almost demolished.
The chamber projected far over the ground-floor; and the windows were
small, with diamond panes almost impervious to the light. A view of it
by Stanfield forms the vignette to the biography.

The father as well as grandfather of Crabbe bore the name of George,
as well as himself. The grandfather, a burgess of Aldborough, and
collector of customs there, yet died poor. The father, originally
educated for trade, had been in early life the keeper of a parochial
school in the porch of the church at Orford. He afterward became
schoolmaster and parish clerk at Norton, near Loddon, in Norfolk, and
finally, returning to his native Aldborough, rose to the collection of
the salt duties, as Salt-master. He was a stern, but able man, and
with all his sternness not destitute of good qualities. The mother of
Crabbe was an excellent and pious woman. Beside himself there were
five other children, all of whom, except one girl, lived to mature
years. His next brother, Robert, was a glazier, who retired from
business at Southwold. John Crabbe, the third son, was a captain of a
Liverpool slave-ship, who perished by an insurrection of the slaves.
The fourth brother, William, also a seafaring man, was carried
prisoner by the Spaniards into Mexico, and was once seen by an
Aldborough sailor on the coast of Honduras, but never heard of again.
This sailor brother, in his inquiries after all at home, had expressed
much astonishment to find that _George_ was become a _clergyman_, when
he left him a _doctor_; and on this incident Crabbe afterward founded
the sailor's story in The Parting Hour. His only surviving sister
married a Mr. Sparkes, a builder of Aldborough, and died in 1827. Such
were Crabbe's family. The scenery among which he spent his boyhood has
been frequently described in his poetry, especially in the opening
letter of his Borough. It is here equally livingly given in his son's
prose.

"Aldborough, or, as it is more correctly written, Alderburgh, was, in
those days, a poor and wretched place, with nothing of the elegance
and gayety which have since sprung up about it, in consequence of the
resort of watering-parties. The town lies between a low hill or cliff,
on which only the old church and a few better houses were then
situated, and the beach of the German ocean. It consisted of two
parallel and unpaved streets, running between mean and scrambling
houses, the abodes of seafaring men, pilots, and fishers. The range of
houses nearest to the sea had suffered so much from repeated invasions
of the waves, that only a few scattered tenements appeared erect among
the desolation. I have often heard my father describe a tremendous
spring-tide of, I think, the 17th of January, 1779, when eleven houses
here were at once demolished; and he saw the breakers dash over the
roofs, and round the walls, and crush all to ruin. The beach consists
of successive ridges--large rolled stones, then loose shingles, and,
at the fall of the tide, a stripe of fine, hard sand. Vessels of all
sorts, from the large, heavy troll-boat, to the yawl and pram, drawn
up along the shore--fishermen preparing their tackle, or sorting their
spoil--and, nearer, the gloomy, old town-hall, the only indication of
municipal dignity, a few groups of mariners, chiefly pilots, taking
their quick, short walks backward and forward, every eye watchful of
the signal from the offing--such was the squalid scene which first
opened on the author of The Village!

"Nor was the landscape in the vicinity of a more engaging aspect: open
commons and sterile farms, the soil, poor and sandy, the herbage, bare
and rushy, the trees, 'few and far between,' and withered and stunted
by the bleak breezes of the sea. The opening picture of The Village
was copied, in every touch, from the scene of the poet's nativity and
boyish days:--

    'Lo! where the heath, with withering brake grown o'er,
    Lends the light turf that warms the neighboring poor;
    From thence a length of burning sand appears,
    Where the thin harvest waves its withered ears;
    Rank weeds, that every art and care defy,
    Reign o'er the land, and rob the blighted rye;
    There thistles spread their prickly arms afar,
    And to the ragged infants threaten war.'

"The broad river, called the Ald, approaches the sea close to
Aldborough, within a few hundred yards, and then turning abruptly,
continues to run for about ten miles parallel to the beach, from which
a dreary stripe of marsh and waste alone divides it, until it at
length finds its embouchure at Orford. The scenery of this river has
been celebrated as lovely and delightful, in a poem called Slaughden
Vale, written by Mr. James Bird, a friend of my father's; and old
Camden talks of 'the beautiful vale of Slaughden.' I confess, however,
that though I have ever found an indescribable charm in the very weeds
of the place, I never could perceive its claims to beauty. Such as it
is, it has furnished Mr. Crabbe with many of his happiest and most
graphical descriptions; and the same may be said of the whole line of
coast from Orford to Dunwich, every feature of which has, somewhere or
other, been reproduced in his writings. The quay of Slaughden, in
particular, has been painted with all the minuteness of a Dutch
landscape:--

    'Here samphire banks and saltwort bound the flood,
    There stakes and sea-weeds withering on the mud;
    And higher up a range of all things base,
    Which some strong tide has rolled upon the place....
    Yon is our quay! those smaller hoys from town,
    Its various wares for country use bring down,' etc.

        *            *                *          *

"For one destined to distinction as a portrayer of character,"
continues his son, "few scenes could have been more favorable than
that of his infancy and boyhood. He was cradled among the rough sons
of the ocean--a daily witness of unbridled passions, and of manners
remote from the sameness and artificial smoothness of polished
society. At home, as has already been hinted, he was subject to the
caprices of a stern and imperious, though not unkindly nature; and
probably few whom he could familiarly approach but had passed through
some of those dark tragedies in which his future strength was to be
exhibited. The common people of Aldborough in those days are described
as--

                    'A wild, amphibious race,
    With sullen woe displayed in every face;
    Who far from civil arts and social fly,
    And scowl at strangers with suspicious eye.'"

Crabbe, though imbibing every thing relating to the sea, and sailors,
and fishermen, was by no means disposed to be one of this class
himself. He early exhibited a bookish turn, and was reckoned
effeminate; but his father saw his talent, and gave him a good
education. He was then put apprentice to a surgeon, who was also a
farmer, and George alternately pounded the pestle and worked in the
fields, till he was removed to another surgeon at Woodbridge. Here he
became a member of a small literary club, which gave a new stimulus to
his love of poetry, already sufficiently strong, and in his eighteenth
year he fell in love with the young lady who was destined to be his
wife. Before the expiration of his apprenticeship he had published a
volume of poems. His apprenticeship terminated, he set out for London;
but unfurnished with money to attend the hospitals, he remained awhile
in mean lodgings in Whitechapel, and then returned to Aldborough, and
after engaging himself as an assistant for a short time, commenced
practice for himself. It would not do, however, his practice was
profitless; and as he filled up his leisure time by botanizing in the
country, the people got a notion that he gathered his medicine out of
the ditches. At length, starved out, he resolved to return to London
as a literary adventurer. With £5 in his pocket, a present for the
purpose, from Dudley North, brother to the candidate for Aldborough,
he took his passage in a sloop for town.

In thinking of Crabbe, we generally picture him to ourselves as the
well-to-do clergyman, comfortably inditing his verse in a goodly
parsonage; but Crabbe commenced as a regular hack-author about town,
and went through all the racking distress of that terrible life,
utterly without funds, without patrons, or connections. Chatterton had
perished in the desperate undertaking just before, and it appeared
likely enough for a long time that Crabbe might perish too. In vain
he wrote, nobody would publish; in vain he addressed ministers of
state in verse and prose, nobody would hear him. He maintained
this fearful struggle for twelve months. He had lodgings at a Mr.
Vickery's, a hairdresser, near the Exchange, who afterward removed to
Bishopsgate-street, whither he accompanied them. The people appeared
to behave well to him, and gave him more trust than is usual with such
people, though at length even their patience seems to have been
exhausted, and he was threatened with a prison.

While he resided there he often spent his evenings at a small
coffee-house near the Exchange, where he became acquainted with
several clever young men, then beginning the world like himself. One
of these was Bonnycastle, afterward master of the military academy at
Woolwich; another was Isaac Dalby, afterward professor of mathematics
in the military college of Marlowe; and a third, Reuben Burrow, who
rose to high distinction in the service of the East India Company, and
died in Bengal. To obtain healthy exercise, he used to walk much in
the daytime; and would accompany Mr. Bonnycastle on his visits to
different schools in the suburbs; but more frequently stole off alone
into the country, with a small edition of Ovid, Horace, or Catullus,
in his pocket. Two or three of these little volumes remained in his
possession in later days, and he set a high value on them, saying they
were his companions in his adversity. His favorite haunt was Hornsey
wood, where he sought for plants and insects. On one occasion he had
strolled too far from town to return, and having no money he was
compelled to lodge on a mow of hay, beguiling the time while it was
light with reading Tibullus, and in the morning returned to town.

Of the depth of distress to which Crabbe was reduced, his journal,
kept through that dark time, testified, but nothing more so than this
prayer:--

"My God, my God, I put my trust in thee; my troubles increase, my soul
is dismayed; I am heavy and in distress; all day long I call upon
thee; O be thou my helper in the needful time of trouble.

"Why art thou so far from me, O my Lord? why hidest thou thy face? I
am cast down; I am in poverty and affliction; be thou with me, O my
God; let me not be wholly forsaken, O my Redeemer!

"Behold, I trust in thee, blessed Lord. Guide me, and govern me unto
the end. O Lord, my salvation, be thou ever with me. Amen."

Unlike poor Chatterton, Crabbe had a firm trust in Providence, and was
neither so passionate nor so reservedly haughty. He determined to
leave no stone unturned; and at length he wrote to the only man of the
age who was likely to lend him a kindly ear--that was Edmund Burke.
From that moment his troubles were at an end, and his fortune made.
Burke sent for him, looked at his manuscripts, perceived his claims to
genius well founded, and received him to his own table. He then
introduced him to Dr. Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the surly old
Lord Chancellor Thurlow; the last of whom, though he had paid no
attention to a letter he had before written to him, nor to a stinger
which he had sent him in consequence, now sent for him, and told him
that he _ought_ to have noticed the first letter, and that he
forgave the second, and that there was his reply. He put a sealed
paper into Crabbe's hand, which on being opened contained a banknote,
value one hundred pounds! Burke advised Crabbe to take orders, as they
were walking together one day at Beaconsfield, whither Burke had
invited him. This was soon managed; he was examined and admitted to
priest's orders by the Bishop of Norwich, and was sent, to the
astonishment of the natives, to officiate as curate in his native
town. But Burke soon procured him the chaplaincy to the Duke of
Rutland, and he went down to reside at Belvoir Castle. At this
splendid establishment, and in a fine country, Crabbe did not enjoy
himself. His son says: "The numberless allusions to the nature of a
literary dependent's existence in a great lord's house, which occur in
my father's writings, and especially in the tale of The Patron, are
quite enough to lead any one that knew his character and feelings to
the conclusion that, notwithstanding the kindness and condescension of
the duke and duchess themselves--which were, I believe, uniform, and
of which he always spoke with gratitude,--the situation he filled at
Belvoir was attended with many painful circumstances, and productive
in his mind of some of the acutest sensations of wounded pride that
have ever been traced by any pen." He was always delighted to get away
from the cold stateliness of Belvoir, with its troops of insolent
menials, to the small seat of Chevely, about the period of the
Newmarket races; or to Croxton, another small seat near Belvoir, where
the family sometimes went to fish in the extensive ponds. Here the
servants were few, ceremony was relaxed, and he could wander in the
woods after his insects and his plants. Thurlow gave him two small
livings in Dorsetshire, Frome St. Quintin, and Evershot; saying at the
time, "By G--d, you are as much like Parson Adams as twelve to a
dozen." He now published The Village, which was at once popular, and
he got married.

Miss Sarah Elmy, to whom he became engaged at eighteen, had, through
all his struggles in the metropolis, with unswerving affection,
maintained the superiority of his talents, and encouraged him to
persevere. The Duke of Rutland being appointed lord-lieutenant of
Ireland, the ducal family quitted Belvoir for Dublin, and Crabbe being
left behind, was, on his proposed marriage, invited to bring his wife
to the castle, and occupy certain apartments there. This was done; but
the annoyance of another man's, and a great man's menials to attend on
you, was too much for Crabbe, and he fled the castle, and took up his
abode as curate of Stathern, in the humble parsonage there.

In this obscure parsonage Crabbe lived four years. He had three
children born there--his two sons, George and John, and a daughter,
who died in infancy. There he published, too, his poem, The Newspaper,
which also was well received; and then he laid by his poetic pursuits
for _two-and-twenty years_! Nay, his son says, that after this
period of two-and-twenty years, he published The Parish Register, and
again lay by from his thirty-first year till his fifty-second; and so
completely did he bury himself in the obscurity of domestic and
village life, that he was gradually forgotten as a living author, and
the name of Crabbe only remembered through some passages of his poems
in the Elegant Extracts.

Of the four years spent in Stathern, he used to speak as the very
happiest of his life. He had won a pleasant retreat after his
desperate clutch at fortune. His perseverance was rewarded by the
society of her who had been the one faithful and congenial friend of
his youth, and they could now ramble together at their ease amid the
rich woods of Belvoir, without any of the painful feelings which had
before checkered his enjoyment of the place. At home, a garden
afforded him healthful exercise and unfailing amusement; and, as a
mere curate, he was freed from any disputes with the villagers about
him. Here he botanized, entomologized, and geologized to his heart's
content. At one time he was tempted to turn sportsman, but neither his
feelings nor his taste would allow him to continue one; and he
employed his leisure hours much more to his satisfaction in exercising
his medical skill to relieve the pains of his parishioners.

At the instance of the Duchess of Rutland,--Thurlow having exchanged
the poet's Dorsetshire livings for those of Muston, in Leicestershire,
and Allington, in Lincolnshire, but near each other,--Mr. Crabbe, in
1789, left Stathern, and entered on his rectory at Muston. Here his
life continued much the same, but the country around was open and
uninteresting. "Here," says his son, "were no groves, nor dry green
lawns, nor gravel roads, to tempt the pedestrian in all weathers; but
still, the parsonage and its premises formed a pretty little oasis in
the clayey desert. Our front windows looked full on the church-yard,
by no means like the common forbidding receptacles of the dead, but
truly ornamental ground; for some fine elms partially concealed the
small beautiful church and its spire, while the eye traveled through
their stems, and rested on the banks of a stream, and a picturesque
old bridge. The garden inclosed the other two sides of the
church-yard; but the crown of the whole was a gothic archway, cut
through a thick hedge and many boughs; for through this opening, as in
the deep frame of a picture, appeared, in the center of the aerial
canvas, the unrivaled Belvoir."

The home picture of Crabbe, at this period, is given by his son, with
a glow of grateful remembrance of the happiness of the time to
himself, then a child, that is beautiful. "Always visibly happy in the
happiness of others, especially of children, our father entered into
all our pleasures, and soothed and cheered us in all our little
griefs, with such overflowing tenderness, that it was no wonder we
almost worshiped him. My first recollection of him is, of his carrying
me up to his private room to prayers, in the summer evenings, about
sunset, and rewarding my silence and attention, afterward, with a view
of the flower-garden through his prism. Then I recall the delight it
was to me to be permitted to sleep with him during a confinement of my
mother's--how I longed for the morning; because then he would be sure
to tell me some fairy tale of his own invention, all sparkling with
gold and diamonds, magic fountains, and enchanted princesses. In the
eye of memory I can still see him as he was at this period of his
life; his fatherly countenance, unmixed with any of the less lovable
expressions that, in too many faces, obscure that character--but
preëminently _fatherly_; conveying the ideas of kindness, intellect,
and purity; his manners grave, manly, and cheerful, in unison with his
high and open forehead; his very attitudes, whether he sat absorbed in
the arrangement of his minerals, shells, and insects, or as he labored
in his garden, until his naturally pale complexion acquired a tinge of
fresh, healthy red, or as coming lightly toward us with some
unexpected present, his smile of indescribable benevolence spoke
exultation in the foretaste of our raptures.

"But I think even earlier than these are my first recollections of my
mother. I think the very earliest is of her combing my hair one
evening, by the light of the fire, which hardly broke the long shadows
of the room, and singing the plaintive air of 'Kitty Fell,' till,
though I could not be more than two or three years old, my tears
dropped profusely."

Equally charming is the writer's recollection of a journey into
Suffolk with his father while a boy. This was to Parham, the house of
Mrs. Crabbe's uncle Tovell, with whom she had been brought up. The
picture presented of the life and establishment of a wealthy yeoman is
so vivid, that I must take leave to add it to the passage already
quoted.

"My great-uncle's establishment was that of the first-rate yeoman of
that period--the yeoman that already began to be styled by courtesy an
esquire. Mr. Tovell might possess an estate of some eight hundred
pounds per annum, a portion of which he himself cultivated. Educated
at a mercantile school, he often said of himself, 'Jack will never
make a gentleman;' yet he had a native dignity of mind and manners
which might have enabled him to pass muster in that character with any
but very fastidious critics. His house was large, and the surrounding
moat, the rookery, the ancient dovecote, and the well stored
fishponds, were such as might have suited a gentleman's seat of some
consequence; but one side of the house immediately overlooked a
farmyard, full of all sorts of domestic animals, and the scene of
constant bustle and noise. On entering the house there was nothing, at
first sight, to remind one of the farm: a spacious hall paved with
black and white marble, at one extremity a very handsome drawing-room,
and at the other a fine old stair-case of black oak, polished till it
was as slippery as ice, and having a chime clock and a barrel organ on
its landing-places. But this drawing-room, a corresponding
dining-parlor, and a handsome sleeping apartment up stairs, were all
_tabooed_ ground, and made use of on great and solemn occasions
only, such as rent-days, and an occasional visit with which Mr. Tovell
was honored by a neighboring peer. At all other times the family and
their visitors lived entirely in the old-fashioned kitchen, along with
the servants. My great-uncle occupied an arm-chair, or, in attacks of
gout, a couch on one side of a large open chimney. Mrs. Tovell sat at
a small table, on which, in the evening, stood one small candle, in an
iron candlestick, plying her needle by the feeble glimmer, surrounded
by her maids, all busy at the same employment; but in winter a noble
block of wood, sometimes the whole circumference of a pollard, threw
its comfortable warmth and cheerful blaze over the apartment.

"At a very early hour in the morning, the alarum called the maids and
their mistress also; and if the former were tardy, a louder alarum,
and more formidable, was heard chiding the delay--not that scolding
was peculiar to any occasion, it regularly went on through all the
day, like bells on harness, inspiriting the work whether it was done
ill or well. After the important business of the dairy and a hasty
breakfast, their respective employments were again resumed; that which
the mistress took for her especial privilege being the scrubbing the
floors of the state apartments. A new servant, ignorant of her
presumption, was found one morning on her knees, hard at work on the
floor of one of these preserves, and was thus addressed by her
mistress:--'_You_ wash such floors as these? Give me the brush
this instant, and troop to the scullery, and wash that, madam!... As
true as G--d's in heaven, here comes Lord Rochford to call on Mr.
Tovell. Here, take my mantle,'--a blue woolen apron--'and I'll go to
the door.'

"If the sacred apartments had not been opened, the family dined in
this wise: the heads seated in the kitchen at an old table; the
farm-men standing in the adjoining scullery, with the door open; the
female servants at a side-table, called a _bouter_; with the
principal at the table, perchance some traveling rat-catcher, or
tinker, or farrier, or an occasional gardener in his shirt-sleeves,
his face probably streaming with perspiration. My father well
describes, in The Widow's Tale, my mother's situation, when living in
her younger days at Parham:

    'But when the men beside their station took,
    The maidens with them, and with these the cook;
    When one huge wooden bowl before them stood,
    Filled with large balls of farinaceous food;
    With bacon, mass saline! where never lean
    Beneath the brown and bristly rind was seen:
    When, from a single horn, the parties drew
    Their copious draughts of heavy ale and new;
    When the coarse cloth she saw with many a stain,
    Soiled by rude hands who cut and came again;
    She could not breathe, but with a heavy sigh,
    Reined the fair neck, and shut the offended eye;
    She minced the sanguine flesh in frustrums fine,
    And wondered much to see the _creatures_ dine.'

"On ordinary days, when the kitchen dinner was over, the fire
replenished, the kitchen sanded and lightly swept over in waves,
mistress and maids, taking off their shoes, retired to their chambers
for a nap of one hour to a minute. The dogs and cats commenced their
siesta by the fire. Mr. Tovell dozed in his chair, and no noise was
heard, except the melancholy and monotonous cooing of a turtledove,
varied with the shrill treble of a canary. After the hour had expired,
the active part of the family were on the alert; the bottles--Mr.
Tovell's tea equipage--placed on the table; and, as if by instinct,
some old acquaintance would glide in for the evening's carousal, and
then another and another. If four or five arrived, the punch-bowl was
taken down, and emptied and filled again. But whoever came, it was
comparatively a dull evening, unless two especial knights-companions
were of the party. One was a jolly old farmer, with much of the person
and humor of Falstaff, a face as rosy as brandy could make it, and an
eye teeming with subdued merriment, for he had that prime quality of a
joker, superficial gravity. The other was a relative of the family, a
wealthy yeoman, middle-aged, thin, and muscular. He was a bachelor,
and famed for his indiscriminate attachment to all who bore the name
of woman--young or aged, clean or dirty, a lady or a gipsy, it
mattered not to him; all were equally admired. Such was the strength
of his constitution, that, though he seldom went to bed sober, he
retained a clear eye and stentorian voice to his eightieth year, and
coursed when he was ninety. He sometimes rendered the colloquies over
the bowl peculiarly piquant; and as soon as his voice began to be
elevated, one or two of the inmates--my father and mother, for
example--withdrew with Mrs. Tovell into her own _sanctum sanctorum_;
but I, not being supposed capable of understanding much that might be
said, was allowed to linger on the skirts of the festive circle; and
the servants, being considered much in the same point of view as the
animals dozing on the hearth, remained to have the full benefit of
their wit, neither producing the slightest restraint, nor feeling it
themselves."

This jolly old Mr. Tovell being carried off suddenly, Mr. Crabbe,
induced by the desire to be in his own county, and among his own
relatives, placed a curate at Muston, and went to reside at Parham in
Mr. Tovell's house. It was not a happy removal. It was a desertion of
his proper flock and duty in obedience to his own private
inclinations, and it was not blessed; his son says, that as they were
slowly quitting Muston, preceded by their furniture, a person who knew
them, called out in an impressive tone--"You are wrong, you are
wrong!" The sound, Crabbe said, found an echo in his own conscience,
and rung like a supernatural voice in his ears, through the whole
journey. His son believes that he sincerely repented of this step. At
Parham he did not find that happiness that perhaps the dreams of his
youth--for there lived Miss Elmy during their long attachment--had led
him first to expect there. Mrs. Elmy, his wife's mother, and Miss
Tovell, the sister of the old gentleman, were the coheiresses of their
brother, and resided with him. The latter seems to have been a regular
old-fashioned fidget. She used to stalk about with her tall
ivory-tipped walking-cane, and on any the slightest alteration made,
were it but the removal of a shrub, or a picture on the walls, would
say, "It was enough to make Jacky (her late brother) shake in his
grave if he could see it," and would threaten to make a _cadicy_
to her will.

Mr. Crabbe stood it for four years--memorable instance of
patience!--and then found a residence to his heart's content. This was
Great Glemham Hall, belonging to Mr. North, and then vacant. He took
it, and continued there five years. We may imagine these five of as
happy years as most of Crabbe's life. The house was large and
handsome. It stood in a small, but well wooded park, occupying the
mouth of a glen; and, in this glen, lay the mansion. The hills, that
were on either hand, were finely hung with wood; a brook ran at the
foot of one of these, and all round were woodlands, "and those green,
dry lanes, which tempt the walker in all weathers, especially in the
evenings, when, in the short grass of the dry, sandy banks, lies,
every few yards, a glowworm, and the nightingales are pouring forth
their melody in every direction." Just at hand was the village; and
the church at which he preached at Sweffling was convenient. At
Parham, he was not more popular out doors than he was in, because he
was no jovial fellow, like Mr. Tovell, and did not like much visiting.
Here, he was popular as a preacher, drew large congregations, and, in
Mr. Turner, his rector, had an enlightened and admiring friend. In
such a place, too, a paradise to his boys, he was as busy in botany as
ever; wrote a treatise on the subject, which, however, he was advised,
to the public loss, not to publish, because such books had usually
been published in _Latin_! He therefore burned it, as he used to
do novels, which it was his great delight to write scores of, and then
make bonfires of; his boys carrying them out to him by armfuls in the
garden, and glorying in the blaze as he presided over it.

He returned in 1805, to Muston, to which he was called by the bishop.
At the end of five years he had been obliged to quit his beautiful
retreat at Glemham. It was sold, the house pulled down, and another
built in its place. For the four further years that he continued in
Suffolk, he lived at the village of Rendham. At Muston, the shepherd
being absent, all had gone wrong; the warning voice had been
fulfilled. The Methodist and the Huntingtonian had, in the absence of
the pastor, set up their tabernacles, and had become successful
rivals. Crabbe was not destitute of professional feelings or zeal. He
preached against these interlopers, and only increased the evil. The
farmers here were shy of him, for they had heard that he was a
Jacobin, of all things! that is, he was no advocate for the terrible
war which was raging with France, and which kept up the price of their
corn. In this cold, clayey, and farming county, he continued nine
years. Here he issued to the world his Parish Register and his
Borough, perhaps, after all, his very best work, for it is full of
such a variety of life, all drawn with the force and clearness of his
prime; here also he published his Tales in verse; but here, too, he
lost his wife, who had been an invalid for many years. It was
therefore become to him a sad place. His health and spirits failed
him; and it was a fortunate circumstance, that at this juncture, the
living of Trowbridge was conferred on him by the Duke of Rutland. He
removed thither in June, 1814.

From long before the time of Mr. Crabbe's removal to Trowbridge, he
had been in the habit of making, during the season, occasionally a
visit to London. His fame, especially after the publication of The
Borough, was established. His power of painting human life and
character, the bold and faithful pencil with which he did this, the
true sympathies with the poor and afflicted and neglected which
animated him, were all fully perceived and acknowledged; and he found
himself a welcome guest in the highest circles of both aristocracy and
literature. He who had been the humble curate of Belvoir, subject to
slights and insults from pompous domestics, which are difficult to
complain of, but are deeply felt, had, long before quitting the
neighborhood of the castle, been the honored guest in the midst of the
proudest nobles. In London, all the literary coteries were eager to
have him. Holland-house, Lansdowne-house, the Duke of Rutland's, and
other great houses, found him a frequent guest amid lords and ladies,
dukes and duchesses; and at Holland-house, and Mr. Rogers's, he was
surrounded by all that was at the time brilliant and famous in the
political and literary world. These visits, after the death of his
wife, became annual, and the old man wonderfully enjoyed them. The
extracts which his son has given from his journal, teem with men and
women of title and name. He is dining or breakfasting with Lady Errol,
Lady Holland, the Duchess of Rutland. He meets Mr. Fox, Mr. Canning,
Foscolo; Lords Haddington, Dundas, Strangford, etc.; Moore, Campbell,
Sir Walter Scott, Sir James Mackintosh; Ladies Spencer and Besborough;
Duke and Duchess of Cumberland; in fact, every body. He became much
attached to the Hoares, of Hampstead, and used to take up his quarters
there, and with them make summer excursions to Hastings, the isle of
Wight, and the like places. With them he saw Miss Edgeworth, Joanna
Baillie, etc. So popular was he become, that John Murray gave him
£3000 for his Tales of the Hall, and he carried the bills for that sum
home in his waistcoat pocket. His meeting with Sir Walter Scott caused
him to accept a pressing invitation from him to Scotland, whither he
happened to go at the time of George IV.'s visit to Edinburgh; by
which means, though he saw all the gala of the time, and all Highland
costumes, he missed seeing Scott at Abbotsford. At Scott's house, in
Castle-street, occurred his adventure with the three Highland chiefs,
which has caused much merriment. He came down one morning and found
these three portly chiefs in full Highland costume, talking at a great
rate, in a language which he did not understand; and not thinking of
Gaelic, concluded that they were foreigners. They, on their part,
seeing an elderly gentleman, dressed in a somewhat antiquated style,
with buckles in his shoes, and perfectly clerical, imagined him some
learned abbé, who had come on a visit to Sir Walter. The consequence
was, that Sir Walter, entering the breakfast-room with his family,
stood a moment in amazement to hear them all conversing together in
execrable French; and then burst into a hearty laugh, saying,--"Why,
you are all fools together! This is an Englishman, and these
Highlanders, Mr. Crabbe, can speak as good English as you can." The
amazement it occasioned may be imagined.

Trowbridge is not the sort of place that you would imagine a poet as
voluntarily choosing as a place of residence. It is a manufacturing
town of about twelve thousand inhabitants, chiefly of the working
class, with a sprinkling of shop-keepers and wealthy manufacturers. It
has no striking features, but, to a person proceeding thither from
London, has a mean, huddled, and unattractive aspect. The country
round is a good dairy country, but is not by any means striking.
Crabbe, however, found there families of intelligence and great
kindness. His sons married well among them, and John acted as his
curate; George, the writer of his biography, had the living, and
occupied the parsonage of Pucklechurch, about twenty miles only
distant. These were all circumstances, with a good parsonage, and a
wide field of usefulness in comforting and relieving his poor
parishioners, as well as instructing them, which were calculated to
make a man like Crabbe happy. By all classes he soon became much
beloved; and was, in all senses, a most excellent pastor. In his own
children he seems to have been peculiarly blest; his two sons,
clergymen, being all that he could desire, and they and his
grandchildren held him in the warmest and most reverential affection.

One of his great haunts were the quarries near Trowbridge, where he
used to geologize assiduously; for, after his wife's death, he ceased
to retain his taste for botany; her youthful botanical rambles with
him no doubt now coming back too painfully upon him.

His parsonage was a good, capacious old house, of gray stone, and
pointed gables, standing in a large garden surrounded by a high wall.
It lies almost in the heart of the town, and within a hundred yards of
the church-yard. In his time, I understand, the garden was almost a
wood of lofty trees. Many of these have since been cut down. Still it
is a pleasant and spacious retirement, with some fine trees about it.
The church is a very old building, and threatening to tumble. At the
time of my visit workmen were busy lowering the tower, and the
northern aisle showed no equivocal marks of giving way, and must come
down. The church-yard was also undergoing the process of leveling; the
turf was removed, and it altogether looked dismal. A very civil and
intelligent sexton, living by the church-yard gate, in a cottage
overhung with ivy, showed me the church, and appeared much interested
in the departed pastor and poet. I ascended into the pulpit, and
imagined how often the author of The Borough had stood there and
addressed his congregation. There is a monument to his memory in the
chancel, by Baillie. The old man is represented as lying on his
death-bed, by which are two celestial beings, as awaiting his
departure. The likeness to Crabbe is said to be excellent. The
inscription is as follows: "Sacred to the memory of the Rev. George
Crabbe, LL.B., who died February the third, 1832, in the
seventy-eighth year of his age, and the nineteenth of his services as
rector of this parish. Born in humble life, he made himself what he
was. By the force of his genius he broke through the obscurity of his
birth; yet never ceased to feel for the less fortunate. Entering, as
his works can testify, into the sorrows and privations of the poorest
of his parishioners; and so discharging the duties of his station, as
a minister and a magistrate, as to acquire the respect and esteem of
all his neighbors. As a writer he is well described by a great
cotemporary, as 'Nature's sternest painter, yet her best.'"

In the north aisle is also a tablet to the memory of the wife of his
son George, who it appears died two years after Crabbe himself, and in
the very year, 1834, in which her husband published his excellent and
most interesting life of his father.

Trowbridge impressed me, as numbers of other places have done where
men of genius have lived, with the fleeting nature of human
connections. Crabbe, so long associated with Trowbridge, was gone; his
sons were gone; neither of them succeeding him in the living; and all
trace of him, except his monument, seemed already wiped out from the
place. Another pastor occupied his dwelling and his pulpit; and the
population seemed to bear no marks of a great poet having been among
them; but were rich subjects for such a pen as that of Crabbe. The
character of the place may be judged of by its head inn. It was a
fair; and I found the court-yard of this old-fashioned inn set out
with rows of benches, all filled with common people drinking. On one
side of the yard was a large room, in which the fiddle went merrily,
and a crowd of dancers hopped as merrily to it. At a window near that
room, on the same side, a woman was delivering out pots of ale, as
fast as somebody within could supply them, to the people in the yard.
On the other side of the court lay, however, the main part of the inn.
Here a gallery ran along which conducted to the different bedrooms,
through the open air, and from this sundry spectators were surveying
the scene below. All was noise; loud and eager talking; and odors not
the most delectable, of beer, fish, and heaven knows what. The house
was dirty, dark, and full of the same fumes. People, of all sorts,
were passing up and down stairs, and in and out of the house in
crowds. The travelers' room was the only place, I was informed, where
there was much room or comfort. Thither I betook myself; and while my
dinner was preparing, I heard the fine, strong, clear voice of a woman
in an adjoining room, which I instantly recognized, by the style of
singing, to be German. I walked into the said room to see who was
the singer, and what was her audience. It was a strong-built,
healthy-looking German girl, who was accompanying her singing on a
guitar, in a little room close packed with the ordinary run of people.
To these she was singing some of the finest airs of Germany, with no
mean skill or voice; but in a language of which they did not
understand a syllable. My appearance among them occasioned some
temporary bustle; but this soon passed, and they politely offered me a
chair. I stayed to hear several songs, and proposed some of the most
rare and excellent that I knew, among them some Austrian airs, which,
in every instance, the poor girl knew and sung with great effect. As I
went out, two Frenchwomen were entering with a tambourine; and I soon
heard them, accompanied by a fiddle, also performing their parts.
Thus, through the whole day, the strolling musicians of the fair
entered this little concert-room of the head inn of Trowbridge, and
entertained the fair-going bacchanals. It was a scene which Crabbe
would have made much of.



JAMES HOGG, THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.


Among the many remarkable men which the humble walks of life in
Scotland have furnished to the list of poets, Hogg, the Ettrick
Shepherd, is one of the most extraordinary. There have been Allan
Ramsay, the barber, Burns, the ploughman, Allan Cunningham, the stone
cutter, Tannahill and Thom, the weavers. Had there been no Burns, Hogg
would have been regarded as a miracle for a rural poet; yet how
infinite is the distance between the two! Burns's poetry is full of
that true philosophy of life, of those noble and manly truths which
are expressions for eternity of what lives in every bosom, but can not
form itself on every tongue.

    "His lines are mottoes of the heart,
    His truths electrify the sage."

Such a poet becomes at once and forever enshrined in the heart of his
whole country; its oracle and its prophet. To no such rank can James
Hogg aspire. His chief characteristics are fancy, humor, a love of the
strange and wonderful, of fairies and brownies, and country tradition,
mixed up with a most amusing egotism, and an ambition of rivaling in
their own way the greatest poets of his time. He wrote The Queen's
Wake, in imitation of Scott's metrical romances, and bragged that he
had beaten him in his own line. Byron, Wordsworth, Southey, Rogers,
Campbell, all the great poets of the day he imitated, and that in a
wonderful manner for any man, not simply for a poor shepherd of
Ettrick. Scott had a poem on Waterloo, Hogg had a Waterloo too, and in
the same metre; Byron wrote Hebrew Melodies, and Hogg wrote Sacred
Melodies; and On Carmel's Brow, The Guardian Angels, The Rose of
Sharon, Jacob and Laban, The Jewish Captive's Parting, etc., left no
question as to the direct rivalry. His third volume was one published
as avowed poems by Scott, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, and
Wilson. He had conceived the scheme of getting a poem from each of
these popular authors, and publishing them in a volume, by which to
raise money for the stocking of a farm. Byron consented, and destined
Lara for Hogg's benefit; but Scott at once refused, not approving the
plan, for which Hogg most unceremoniously assailed him; and Byron
being afterward induced not to send Lara, Hogg set about at once, and
wrote poems for them and the others named, and published them under
the title of the Poetic Mirror. Of these poems, which were clever
burlesques rather than serious forgeries, I may speak anon; here I
wish only to point out one of the most striking characteristics of
Hogg, that of imitation of style. This was also shown in the famous
Chaldee Manuscript, which appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, and
created so much noise. But this great versatility of manner; this
ambition of rivaling great authors in their own peculiar fields,
marked a want of a prominent caste of genius of his own. There was an
absence of individuality in him. There was nothing, except that
singular egotism and somewhat extravagant fancy, which could lead you
on reading a poem of his to say, that is Hogg and can be no one else.
His poems are generally extremely diffuse; they surprise and charm you
on opening them, at the vigor, liveliness, and strength of the style,
but they are of that kind that the farther you go the more this charm
wears off; you grow weary, you hardly know why; you can not help
protesting to yourself that they are very clever, nay, wonderful; yet
there wants a certain soul, a condensation, a something to set upon
them the stamp of that genius which seizes on your love and admiration
beyond question or control. Accordingly, while you find every man and
woman in Scotland, the peasantry as much as the more cultivated
classes, having lines and verses of Burns's treasured in their
memories, as the precious wealth of the national mind, you rarely or
never hear a similar quotation from Hogg. "A clever, ranting chiel was
the shepherd," is the remark; his countrymen read, and admire, and do
justice to his genius, but he can not, with all his ambition, seat
himself in their heart of hearts like Robert Burns.

There is nothing so amusing as Hogg's autobiography. His good-natured
egotism overflows it. The capital terms on which he is with himself
makes him relate flatteries and rebuffs with equal _naïveté_; and
the familiarity with which he treats the greatest names of modern
literature, presenting the most grave and dignified personages as his
cronies, chums, and convivial companions, is ludicrous beyond every
thing. He opens his narrative in this style:--"I like to write about
myself: in fact, there are few things which I like better; it is so
delightful to call up old reminiscences. Often have I been laughed at
for what an Edinburgh editor styles my good-natured egotism, which is
sometimes any thing but that; and I am aware that I shall be laughed
at again. But I care not: for this _important_ memoir, now to be
brought forward for the fourth time, at different periods of my life,
I shall narrate with the same frankness as formerly; and in all
relating either to others or to myself speak fearlessly and
unreservedly out. Many of those formerly mentioned are no more; others
have been unfortunate; but of all I shall speak the plain truth, and
nothing but the truth."

Immediately afterward he adds--"I must apprise you, that, whenever I
have occasion to speak of myself and my performances, I find it
impossible to divest myself of an inherent vanity." Of this no one can
doubt either the truth or the candor of the confession. He tells us
that he was the second of four sons of Robert Hogg and Margaret
Laidlaw, the wife in Scotland often retaining her maiden name. That
his father was a shepherd, but, saving money, had taken the farms of
Ettrick-house and Ettrick-hall. At the latter place Hogg was born, he
says, on the 25th of January, 1772; but he assigns this date to his
birth out of his desire to resemble Robert Burns, so much as even to
have been born on the same day and month. He used to boast of this,
and even of some similar occurrence, as of having been in some sort of
danger at his birth through a storm, and the necessary help for his
mother being difficult to procure in night and tempest. He has
related, in his life, that he was born on the same day of the same
month as Burns, but on referring to the parish registry it did not
bear him out, but showed him to have been born on the 9th of December,
1770. He tells us that his father was ruined, and that they were
turned out of doors without a farthing when he was six years old, but
that a worthy neighboring farmer, Mr. Brydon of Crosslie, took
compassion on them, leased the farm of Ettrick-house, one of those
Hogg's father had occupied, and put him as shepherd upon it. Here the
embryo poet went to the parish school just by for a few months, and
then at Whitsuntide was sent out to service to a farmer in the
neighborhood, as a herd-boy. The account that he gives of himself, as
a lad of seven years old, in this solitary employment on the hills, is
curious enough. "My wages for the half-year were a ewe-lamb and a pair
of new shoes. Even at that early age my fancy seems to have been a
hard neighbor for both judgment and memory. I was wont to strip off my
clothes, and run races against time, or rather against myself; and in
the course of these exploits, which I accomplished much to my own
admiration, I first lost my plaid, then my bonnet, then my coat, and
finally my hosen, for as for shoes, I had none."

The next winter, he tells us, he went to school again for a quarter,
got into a class who read in the Bible, and "horribly defiled several
sheets of paper with copy lines, every letter of which was nearly an
inch long." This, he says, finished his education, and that he never
was another day at school. The whole of his career of schooling he
computes at about half-a-year, but says that his old schoolmaster even
denied this, declaring that he never was at his school at all! What a
stock of education on which to set up shepherd, farmer, and poet!

Like Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott, and other illustrious men, Hogg, of
course, fell in love in his very childhood, and, to say truth, his
relation of this juvenile passion is as interesting as that of any of
theirs. "It will scarcely be believed that at so early an age I should
have been an admirer of the other sex. It is, nevertheless, strictly
true. Indeed, I have liked the women a great deal better than the men
ever since I remember. But that summer, when only eight years old, I
was sent out to a height called Broadheads, with a rosy-cheeked
maiden, to herd a flock of new-weaned lambs, and I had my mischievous
cows to herd beside. But as she had no dog, and I had an excellent
one, I was ordered to keep close by her. Never was a master's order
better obeyed. Day after day I herded the cows and lambs both, and
Betty had nothing to do but to sit and sew. Then we dined together
every day, at a well near to the Shiel-sike head, and after dinner I
laid my head down on her lap, covered her bare feet with my plaid, and
pretended to fall sound asleep. One day I heard her say to herself,
'Poor little laddie! he's joost tired to death:' and then I wept till
I was afraid she would feel the warm tears trickling on her knee. I
wished my master, who was a handsome young man, would fall in love
with her, and marry her, wondering how he could be so blind and stupid
as not to do it. But I thought if I were he, I would know well what to
do."

By the time he was fifteen years of age he says he had served a dozen
masters, being only engaged for short terms, and odd jobs. When about
twelve years old, such was the flourishing state of his circumstances
that he had two shirts, so bad that he could not wear them, and
therefore went without, by this means falling into another difficulty,
that of keeping his trowsers up on his bare skin, there being no
braces in those days. Yet he had a fiddle, which cost five shillings,
with which he charmed the cow-houses and stable-lofts at night, after
his work was done. In his eighteenth year he entered the service of
Mr. Laidlaw, of Black-house, near St. Mary's Loch, on Yarrow. He had
been in the service of two others of the same family, probably
relatives by his mother's side, who was a Laidlaw, at Willensee, and
at Elibank, on the Tweed; and he now continued with Mr. Laidlaw, of
Black-house, ten years, as shepherd. William Laidlaw, the son of his
master, and afterward the bailiff of Sir Walter Scott, and also the
author of the sweet song of "Lucy's Flitting," was here his great
companion, and here they read much together, and stimulated in each
other the flame of poetry. These must have been happy years for Hogg.
The year after Burns's death he first heard Tam o' Shanter repeated,
and heard of Burns, as a ploughman, who had written beautiful songs
and poems. "Every day," says he, "I pondered on the genius and fate of
Burns. I wept, and always thought with myself, what is to hinder me
from succeeding Burns? I too was born on the 25th of January, and I
have much more time to read and compose than any ploughman could have,
and can sing more old songs than ever ploughman could in the world.
But then I wept again, because I could not write. However, I resolved
to be a poet, and follow in the steps of Burns!" A brave resolve, to
be a poet, in a man that could not write. Nevertheless, he composed
songs, and one of these, called M'Donald, had the luck to get sung at
a great masonic meeting at Edinburgh, and was taken up by a General
M'Donald, who fancied it was written upon him, and had it sung every
week at his mess. Hogg, now thirty-one years of age, resolved to
astonish the world with his genius, and the account of the way he took
is not a little amusing.

"In 1801, believing that I was then become a grand poet, I most
sapiently determined on publishing a pamphlet, and appealing to the
world at once. Having attended the Edinburgh market one Monday, with a
number of sheep for sale, and being unable to dispose of them all, I
put the remainder into a park until the market on Wednesday. Not
knowing how to pass the interim, it came into my head that I would
write a poem or two from my memory, and get them printed. The thought
had no sooner struck me than it was put in practice; and I was obliged
to select, not the best poems, but those that I remembered best. I
wrote several of these during my short stay, and gave them all to a
person to print at my expense; and having sold off my sheep on
Wednesday morning, I returned to the forest. I saw no more of my poems
until I received word that there were one thousand copies of them
thrown off. I knew no more of publishing than the man in the moon; and
the only motive that influenced me was, the gratification of my vanity
by seeing myself in print. All of them were sad stuff, although I
judged them to be exceedingly good. Notwithstanding my pride of
authorship, in a few days I had discernment enough left to wish my
publication heartily at the devil, and I had hopes that long ago it
had been consigned to eternal oblivion, when, behold! a London critic
had, in malice of heart, preserved a copy, and quoted liberally out of
it last year, to my intense chagrin and mortification;" _i.e._,
while Hogg was, but four years before his death, lionizing in London.

His adventures afterward in Edinburgh, publishing his subsequent
poems, are equally curious. How he published by subscription, and one
third of his subscribers took his books, but never paid for them. How
he set up a weekly literary paper--"The Spy," which he continued a
year. How he became a great spouter at a debating club called "The
Forum." How he wrote a musical farce, and a musical drama; all ending
in ruin and insolvency, till he brought out the Queen's Wake, and won
a good reputation. Here he with great simplicity tells us, that Mr.
Jeffrey never noticed the poem till it had got into a third edition,
and having given offense to Mr. Anster by comparing the two poets, he
never afterward took any notice of any of his writings. Whereupon,
Hogg says, proudly, he thinks that conduct can do him no honor in the
long run; and that he would match the worst poem he ever published
with some that Mr. Jeffrey has strained himself to bring forward. But
Hogg was now a popular man. His Queen's Wake went on into edition
after edition. He was introduced to Blackwood, who became his
publisher, and Hogg looked upon himself as on a par in fame with the
first men of his time. The familiar style in which he relates his
first acquaintance with Professor Wilson, will excite a smile.

"On the appearance of Mr. Wilson's Isle of Palms, I was so greatly
taken with many of his fanciful and visionary scenes, descriptive of
bliss and woe, that it had a tendency to divert me occasionally of all
worldly feelings. I reviewed this poem, as well as many others, in a
Scottish review then going in Edinburgh, and was exceedingly anxious
to meet with the author; but this I tried in vain for the space of six
months. All I could learn of him was, that he was a man from the
mountains of Wales, or the west of England, with hairs like eagle's
feathers, and nails like bird's claws, a red beard, and an uncommon
degree of wildness in his looks. Wilson was then utterly unknown in
Edinburgh, except slightly to Mr. Walter Scott, who never introduces
any one person to another, nor judges it of any avail. However, having
no other shift left, I sat down and wrote him a note, telling him that
I wished much to see him, and if he wanted to see me, he might come
and dine with me at my lodgings in the road of Gabriel, at four. He
accepted the invitation, and dined with Grieve and me; and I found him
so much a man according to my own heart, that for many years we were
seldom twenty-four hours asunder when in town. I afterward went and
visited him, staying with him a month at his seat in Westmoreland,
where we had some curious doings among the gentlemen and poets of the
lakes."

It was now that Hogg wrote his Poetic Mirror, in which he passed off a
number of poems as those of the most popular writers of the day. It
must be confessed that the different compositions display uncommon
ability, and if they were written as Hogg says, that is, a volume of
nearly three hundred pages 8vo. in three weeks, they are wonderful. As
is common with such poems, they catch the mannerisms of the authors
rather than their spirit. To have risen to an equal height of sublime
feeling and philosophical thought with such writers as Byron,
Wordsworth, Coleridge, etc. would have been to place himself not on an
equality with them, but far beyond, for he must in himself have
combined the various lofty qualities of them all. Some of them, and
especially those attributed to Wordsworth, are admirably grave
quizzes. We may take one specimen:--

    "A boy came from the mountains, tripping light,
    With basket on his arm,--and it appeared
    That there was butter there, for the white cloth
    That over it was spread, not unobserved,
    In tiny ridges gently rose and fell,
    Like graves of children covered o'er with snow;
    And by one clumsy fold the traveler spied
    One roll of yellow treasure, all as pure
    As primrose bud reflected in the lake.
    'Boy,' said the stranger, 'wilt thou hold my steed,
    Till I walk round the corner of that mere?
    When I return I will repay thee well.'"

This stranger who has approached leaves the horse with the boy, and
never does return. All the hot day the boy stands holding the horse on
the dusty road, till the steed, taking alarm at a thunder-storm,
breaks away,--

                        "And never more
    Was in those regions seen."...

As for the boy, he lifted up his basket, and he felt

    "With his left hand how it affected was
    By the long day and burning sun of Heaven.
    It was all firm and flat--no ridges rose
    Like graves of children--basket, butter, cloth,
    Were all one piece, coherent. To his home
    The boy returned right sad and sore aghast."

According to Hogg, he had the honor of being the projector and
commencer of no less a periodical than Blackwood's Magazine. This is
his account of it. "From the time I gave up 'The Spy,' I had been
planning with my friends to commence the publication of a magazine on
a new plan; but for several years we only conversed about the utility
of such a work, without doing any thing further. At length, among
others, I chanced to mention it to Mr. Thomas Pringle; when I found
that he and his friends had a plan in contemplation of the same kind.
We agreed to join our efforts, and try to set it a-going; but as I
declined the editorship, on account of residing mostly on my farm at a
distance from town, it became a puzzling question who was the best
qualified among our friends for that undertaking. We at length fixed
on Mr. Gray as the fittest person for a principal department, and I
went and mentioned the plan to Blackwood, who, to my astonishment, I
found had likewise long been cherishing a plan of the same kind. He
said he knew nothing about Pringle, and always had his eye on me as a
principal assistant; but he would not begin the undertaking till he
saw that he could do it with effect. Finding him, however, disposed to
encourage such a work, Pringle, at my suggestion, made out a plan in
writing, with a list of his supporters, and sent it in a letter to me.
I inclosed it in another, and sent it to Mr. Blackwood, and not long
after that period Pringle and he came to an arrangement. Thus I had
the honor of being the beginner and almost sole instigator of that
celebrated work--'Blackwood's Magazine.'"

One can not avoid smiling over this account, in which Hogg cuts so
great a figure, and especially at the idea of _his_ becoming the
editor of such a work; a man who, though a good poet, and wonderful,
all things considered, could just write, and that was all. In the
accounts given by Pringle and Lockhart of the origin of this famous
magazine, we have little or no mention of James Hogg, far less of the
probability of his editorship of it. In this account we must attribute
the largeness of James's figure on the canvas to "that inherent
vanity," which he says he could not for the life of him divest himself
of when speaking of himself. It is true and notorious, however, that
he became and continued for many years one of its chief contributors,
and figured most conspicuously in those admirable papers, the Noctes
Ambrosianæ. In these, language of the most beautiful and poetical kind
was often put into the Shepherd's mouth; but it must also be
confessed, much oftener language of a very different kind. He was made
to figure as a coarse toper and buffoon. That he was at once proud of
figuring so largely in the Noctes, and yet felt acutely the degrading
character fixed on him there, is evident from his own statement in his
autobiography. In speaking of Professor Wilson, to whom he deservedly
awards a noble nature, he says: "My friends in general have been of
opinion that he has amused himself and the public too often at my
expense: but, except in one instance, which terminated very ill for
me, and in which I had no more concern than the man in the moon, I
never discerned any evil design on his part, and thought it all
excellent sport. At the same time, I must acknowledge that it was
using too much freedom with any author, to print his name in full to
poems, letters, and essays, which he himself never saw. I do not say
that he has done this; but either he or some one else has done it many
a time."[1]

          [1] Memoir, p. 87.

But speaking of Blackwood, the publisher, he assumes a different tone.
"For my part, after twenty years of feelings hardly suppressed, he has
driven me beyond the bounds of human patience. That magazine of his,
which owes its rise principally to myself, has often put words and
sentiments into my mouth of which I have been greatly ashamed, and
which have given much pain to my family and relations; and many of
these, after a solemn written promise that such freedoms should never
be repeated. I have been often urged to restrain and humble him by
legal measures, as an incorrigible offender deserves. I know I have it
in my power, and if he dares me to the task, I want but a hair to make
a tether of."[2]

          [2] Ib., p. 107.

It must be confessed that no justification can be offered for such
treatment. Such was my own opinion, derived from this source, of Hogg,
and from prints of him, with wide open mouth and huge straggling
teeth, in full roars of drunken laughter, that, on meeting him in
London, I was quite amazed to find him so smooth, well-looking, and
gentlemanly a sort of person.

There are many truths which James Hogg in his honest candor speaks
out, that not one author in a thousand, stand as high and as strong as
he may, dares speak out, for fear of the trade, as it is called. For
instance, who will not set the seal of his authorly experience to
this: "I would never object trusting a bookseller, were he a man of
any taste; for, unless he wishes to reject an author altogether, he
can have no interest in asserting what he does not think. But the
plague is, they _never read works themselves_, but give them to
their minions, with whom there never fails to lurk a literary
jealousy; and whose suggestions may be uniformly regarded as any thing
but truth. For my own part, I know that I have always been looked on
by the learned part of the community as an intruder in the paths of
literature, and every opprobrium has been thrown on me from that
quarter. The truth is, that I am so. The walks of learning are
occupied by a powerful aristocracy, who deem that province their own
peculiar right; else, what would avail all their dear-bought
collegiate honors and degrees?"[3]

          [3] Memoir, p. 81.

So true is James, so far as regards the practice of publishers never
reading the MSS. submitted to them, but consigning them to
readers;--_i.e._, publishers being the only dealers who never
pretend to judge of the article they deal in;--that since the
publication of the Book of Seasons, which was declined by half-a-dozen
of the principal publishing houses in London, I never suffered a MS.
of mine to be inspected by any publisher. What is more, finding that
publishers in bargaining for copyrights never offered more than half
the profits of a single edition, I have always persisted in refusing
to sell copyrights, and sold only editions. This is a point that all
authors should attend to. An author is not justified in selling the
copyrights of his works, which should become the property of his
family, especially as he may rest assured that he will, in nine cases
out of ten, never get more for the whole copyright than he ought to
have for a single edition. The late Mr. Longman once spoke to me a
great truth--a truth confirmed by all experiences of all authors, in
all ages, the present forming no exception--that "Authorship is an
agreeable addition to a tolerable fixed income, but as a total
dependence is a wretched reed." Scott, the most successful author of
any age, though possessed of a good income independent of literature,
died a bankrupt. Maginn, Hood, Blanchard, and a host of others, have
yet to swell the history of the calamities of authors.

Speaking again of a certain publisher, James says, "The great fault of
the man is, that the more he can provoke an author by insolence and
contempt, he likes the better. Beside, he will never confess that he
is in the wrong, else any thing might be forgiven. No, no, the thing
is impossible that he can ever be wrong! The poor author is not only
always in the wrong, but, 'Oh! he is the most insufferable beast!'"

And the truth is, that authors are in the wrong. They are in the wrong
not to have combined long ago, like other professions, for the
maintenance of their common interests, and for the elevation of the
character of the class. They are a rope of sand. Cliques and small
coteries may and do congregate, but there has ever been wanting among
authors a comprehensive plan of union. It is true that their body is
continually swelled by adventurers, and often characterless
adventurers. He who succeeds in nothing else, thinks he can succeed as
an author, or the master of a school. These men, often unprincipled,
or poor, bring great reproach upon the whole body, and accordingly you
hear authors commonly spoken of by publishers, as a most reckless,
improvident, unprincipled, and contemptible set of men. This is the
tone in which publishers are educated, it is the tone that pervades
their publishing houses, it is the spirit and gospel of the Row. The
authors of the present day are regarded by publishers exactly as they
were in the days of Grub-street. In their eyes, they are poor,
helpless, and untractable devils. And whence arises this? It is
because authors have taken no single step to place themselves on a
different footing. Are authors now what authors were in the days of
Grub-street? They are a far different body. They are a far more
numerous, and far more respectable body. We may safely assert, that
there is no profession which includes so much talent, as there is none
which diffuses such a vast amount of knowledge and intelligence
through the world. They are the class, indeed, which are the
enlighteners, and modelers, and movers of society. Yet, strange to
say, invincibly powerful in the public cause, they are weak as water
in their own: capable of challenging offenders in the very highest
places; arraigning at the public tribunal, lords, peers, or the very
crowned heads themselves; and sure, when they have truth on their
side, of being victorious: yet they lie prostrate in individual
weakness at the foot of every well-fed seller of a book, and receive
his kicks with an astonishing patience. Nay, they have not the
shrewdness of our butchers and bakers, who hang together and grow
rich; they are a set of Ishmaelites, whose hands are against every man
of their own class, and every man's hand is against them. From behind
the barricades of newspapers and reviews, they fire with murderous
rage on each other, instead of turning their force on the common
enemy.

When we call to mind the men who are now actually living as members of
the great community of authors, rich bankers, men of titles and large
estates, wealthy traders, ladies and gentlemen of the most respectable
private fortunes, professional men, clearing large incomes by their
professions, distinct from literature, it must be confessed that the
world has no such instance of infatuation to show as that of authors.
Combine, and they may defy poverty and the world. How small a sum,
contributed annually by every author, would soon raise a fund capable
of not only succoring all cases of professional need, without recourse
to the present Literary Fund, which is a degrading charity toward
those who should establish a claim on a proper professional fund for
themselves! How small a sum would not only do this, but also present a
noble fund for the support of every authorly interest, the defense of
every authorly right! If the men of property, character, and influence
in the body, would but bestow a very small portion of their time and
attention to the general interests of the body, how soon would the
whole body feel the animating, and, I may add, reforming spirit of
such coalition! The upright and honorable would acquire confidence,
the unprincipled would be discountenanced, and the tone of publishers
would rapidly alter toward men who had not only learned to respect
themselves, but were resolved to establish respect for the body. "Get
authors to combine! Sooner," exclaim both publishers and authors
themselves, when such a notion is avowed, "chain the winds, or make
granite slabs out of sea-sand!" Yet, spite of this humiliating opinion
of authors, let but a number of the most respectable names once unite
for the purpose, and it will be seen that the rest of the worthy will
flock round them, and that few would venture to stand alone, as
individuals improvident, or indifferent to the interests and the
character of the body.

I have considered it my duty to corroborate the main opinions of James
Hogg on this point. In the course of inquiries necessary for the
writing of this work, I have had to stand on so many spots marked by
the miseries of authors; in rooms where they have shed their own
blood, or perished by poison in the hour of destitution and despair;
by dismal pools, where they have plunged at midnight from starvation
to death; or where, covered with fame, they have lain on their
death-beds with scarce any other covering; and I have vowed, on those
awful spots, to call on my fellow-authors to come forward and
vindicate their most glorious profession, and to found an association
which shall give a motive to every member to respect the name he
bears--that of a prophet and an apostle of truth to the world--and a
hope of ultimate aid to him and his, if such aid be needful, as a
right and not a boon.

Nearly twenty years of authorship have shown me much and sad
experience; but nothing ever revealed to me the low estimation in
which authors are held by publishers, so much as a simple fact,
mentioned some time ago, in Chambers' Journal, but which was witnessed
by myself. I was in an eminent publisher's, when the principal
addressed the head clerk thus:--

_Principal._--"Mr. ---- wishes to open an account with us. He is
a publisher of some standing, and seems getting on very well; I think
we may do it."

_Clerk._--(Drawing himself up in an attitude of ineffable
surprise)--"_Sir! he is an author!_"

_Principal._--"Oh! that alters the question entirely. I did not
know that. Open an account? Certainly not! certainly not!"

Is there an author who hears this, who does not ask himself the
question, why they who ought to be regarded only with reverence, and
whose talents should invest them with a panoply of salutary fear,
should thus be the objects of uttermost contempt? But take another
anecdote. The publisher of a celebrated review and myself were
conversing on literary matters, when a very popular author was
announced, who begged a word with the publisher, and they retired
together. Presently the publisher came back.

_Publisher._--"We were talking of the relative merits of authors
and publishers just now."

_Myself._--"Yes."

_Publisher._--"Well, you authors regard yourselves as the salt of
the earth. It is you who are the great men of the world; you move
society, and propel civilization; we publishers are but good
pudding-eaters, and paymasters to you."

_Myself._--"True enough; but _you_ think that you are the
master manufacturers, and we authors the poor devil artisans who
really have no right to more than artisan wages."

_Publisher._--"Ay, if you will take them as wages, and often
before they are earned. Grant that you are the salt of the earth;
methinks the salt has wonderfully lost its savor, when it has to come
with a manuscript in one hand, and holds out the other for the instant
pay, or the kettle can not boil. See, there now is a man just gone,
that will be a name these five hundred years hence; yet what does he
come to me for? For a sovereign! I tell you candidly, that if no hero
can be a hero to his valet de chambre, neither can an author be a hero
to his publisher, when he comes _in forma pauperis_ every day
before him. For the life of me I can not maintain an admiration of a
man, when, like a rat, he is always nibbling at my purse-strings, and
especially when I know--and what publisher does not know it?--that
give the coin before the work is done, and it never is done. I content
myself with things as I find them, and I leave all homage to the
reader."

Let the whole body of authors lay these things duly to heart, and
there will not long be an association for the maintenance of its honor
and its interests in every profession but theirs.

Of his cotemporary authors Hogg speaks in his life with the highest
honor. He confesses that he used most unmeasured language toward both
Sir Walter Scott and John Wilson, when they offended him, but records
their refusal to be offended with him, and their cordial kindness. Of
Southey, Lockhart, Sym, the Timothy Tickler of Blackwood, Galt, etc.,
his reminiscences are full of life and interest. Of Wordsworth's
poetry he entertained the high notion that a true poet must do; but
there occurred a scene at Rydal which James gives in explanation of
his caricaturing Wordsworth, which, as it is his own account, is worth
transcribing.

"I dined with Wordsworth, and called on himself several times
afterward, and certainly never met with any thing but the most genuine
kindness; therefore people have wondered why I should have indulged in
caricaturing his style in the Poetic Mirror. I have often regretted
that myself; but it was merely a piece of ill-nature at an affront
which I conceived had been put upon me. It was the triumphal arch
scene. This anecdote has been told and told again, but never truly;
and was likewise brought forward in the Noctes Ambrosianæ, as a joke;
but it was no joke: and the plain, simple truth of the matter was
this:--

"It chanced one night, when I was there, that there was a resplendent
arch across the zenith, from the one horizon to the other, of
something like the Aurora Borealis, but much lighter. It was a scene
that is well remembered, for it struck the country with admiration, as
such a phenomenon had never before been witnessed in such perfection;
and, as far as I can learn, it had been more brilliant over the
mountains and pure waters of Westmoreland than anywhere else. Well,
when word came into the room of the splendid meteor, we all went out
to view it; and on the beautiful platform of Mount Rydal, we were
walking in twos and threes, arm-in-arm, talking of the phenomenon,
and admiring it. Now, be it remembered, that there were present,
Wordsworth, Professor Wilson, Lloyd, De Quincy, and myself, beside
several other literary gentlemen, whose names I am not certain that I
remember aright. Miss Wordsworth's arm was in mine, and she was
expressing some fears that the splendid stranger might prove ominous,
when I, by ill luck, blundered out the following remark, thinking that
I was saying a good thing:--'Hout, me'em! it is neither mair nor less
than joost a triumphal airch, raised in honor of the meeting of the
poets.'

"'That's not amiss. Eh? eh?--that's very good,' said the professor,
laughing. But Wordsworth, who had De Quincy's arm, gave a grunt and
turned on his heel, and, leading the little opium-chewer aside, he
addressed him in these disdainful and venomous words: 'Poets? Poets?
What does the fellow mean?--Where are they?'

"Who could forgive this? For my part, I never can, and never will! I
admire Wordsworth, as who does not, whatever they may pretend? But,
for that short sentence, I have a lingering ill-will at him which I
can not get rid of. It is surely presumption in any man to
circumscribe all human excellence within the narrow sphere of his own
capacity. The '_Where are they?_' was too bad. I have always some
hopes that De Quincy was _leeing_, for I did not myself hear
Wordsworth utter the words."

Whether Wordsworth did utter these words, or De Quincy only quizzed
Hogg with them, it is a great pity that poor Hogg's mind was suffered
to the last to retain the rankling supposition of it. The anecdote
appeared in the Noctes; it was made the subject of much joke and
remark, and must have reached Wordsworth's ears. What a thousand
pities, then, that, by a single line to Hogg, or in public, he did not
take the sting out of it. Nobody was so soon propitiated as Hogg. To
have been acknowledged as a brother poet by Wordsworth would have
filled his heart with much happiness. Immediately after his death
Wordsworth hastened to make such a recognition; but of how little
value is posthumous praise! Hogg died on the 21st of November, and on
the 30th Wordsworth sent the following lines to the Athenæum, which I
quote entire, because they commemorate other departed lights of the
age.

    THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.

    Extempore Effusion, upon reading, in the Newcastle Journal, the
    notice of the death of the poet, James Hogg.

    "When first descending from the moorland,
    I saw the stream of Yarrow glide
    Along a fair and open valley,
    The Ettrick Shepherd was my guide.

    "When last along its banks I wandered,
    Through groves that had begun to shed
    Their golden leaves upon the pathways,
    My steps the Border Minstrel led.

    "The mighty minstrel breathes no longer,
    'Mid moldering ruins low he lies:
    And death upon the braes of Yarrow
    Has closed the shepherd poet's eyes.

    "Nor has the rolling year twice measured
    From sign to sign his steadfast course,
    Since every mortal power of Coleridge
    Was frozen at its marvelous source.

    "The rapt-one of the godlike forehead,
    The heaven-eyed creature sleeps in death;
    And Lamb, the frolic and the gentle,
    Has vanished from his lonely hearth.

    "Like clouds that robe the mountain summits,
    Or waves that own no curbing hand,
    How fast has Brother followed Brother,
    From sunshine to the sunless land!

    "Yet I, whose lids from infant slumbers
    Were earlier raised, remain to hear
    A timid voice that asks in whispers,
    'Who next will drop and disappear?'

    "Our haughty life is crowned with darkness,
    Like London with its own black wreath,
    On which with thee, O Crabbe, forth-looking,
    I gazed from Hampstead's breezy heath.

    "As if but yesterday departed,
    Thou, too, art gone before; yet why
    For ripe fruit, seasonably gathered,
    Should frail survivors heave a sigh?

    "No more of old romantic sorrows,
    The slaughtered youth and love-lorn maid;
    With sharper grief is Yarrow smitten,
    And Ettrick mourns with her their shepherd dead."

These extracts throw a deal of light on the peculiar character of
Hogg's mind. Simple, candid to an astonishment, vain without an
attempt to conceal it, sensitive to an extreme, with such a
development of self-esteem that no rebuffs or ridicule could daunt
him, and full of talent and fancy. But, to estimate the extent of all
these qualities, you must read his prose as well as his poetry; and
these, considering how late he began to write, and that he did not die
very old, are pretty voluminous. During the greater part of his
literary life he was a very popular contributor to various magazines.
Of his collected works he gives us this list.

                                      VOL.

    The Queen's Wake                    1
    Pilgrims of the Sun                 1
    The Hunting of Badlewe              1
    Mador of the Moor                   1
    Poetic Mirror                       1
    Dramatic Tales                      2
    Brownie of Bodsbeck                 2
    Winter Evening Tales                2
    Sacred Melodies                     1
    Border Garland                      1
    Jacobite Relics of Scotland         2
    The Spy                             1
    Queen Hynde                         1
    The Three Perils of Man             3
    The Three Perils of Woman           3
    Confessions of a Sinner             1
    The Shepherd's Calendar             2
    A Selection of Songs                1
    The Queer Book                      1
    The Royal Jubilee                   1
    The Mountain Bard                   1
    The Forest Minstrel                 1
                                       --
                              Total    31
                                       --

It may be imagined that while the produce of his literary pen was so
abundant, that of his sheep-pen would hardly bear comparison with it.
That was the case. Hogg continually broke down, as a shepherd and a
farmer. He

    "Tended his flocks upon Parnassus hill;"

his imagination was in Fairyland, his heart was in Edinburgh, and his
affairs always went wrong. To give him a certain chance of support,
the Duke of Buccleugh gave him, rent-free for life, a little farm at
Altrive in Yarrow, and then Hogg took a much larger farm on the
opposite side of the river, which he called Mount Benger. From this it
will be recollected that he often dated his literary articles. The
farm was beyond his capital, and far beyond his care. It brought him
into embarrassments. To the last, however, he had Altrive Lake to
retreat to; and here he lived, and wrote, and fished, and shot grouse
on the moors. Let us, before visiting his haunts, take a specimen or
two of his poetry, that we may have a clear idea of the man we have in
view.

In all Hogg's poetry there is none which has been more popular than
the Legend of Kilmeny, in the Queen's Wake. It is the tradition of a
beautiful cottage maiden, who disappears for a time and returns again
home, but, as it were, glorified and not of the earth. She has, for
her purity, been transported to the land of spirits, and bathed in the
river of immortal life.

    "They lifted Kilmeny, they led her away,
    And she walked in the light of a sunless day:
    The sky was a dome of crystal bright,
    The fountain of vision and fountain of light:
    The emerald fields were of dazzling glow,
    And the flowers of everlasting blow.
    Then deep in the stream her body they laid,
    That her youth and beauty never might fade;
    And they smiled on Heaven when they saw her lie
    In the stream of life that wandered by.
    And she heard a song, she heard it sung,
    She kenned not where, but so sweetly it rung,
    It fell on her ear like a dream of the morn;
    O! blest be the day that Kilmeny was born.
    Now shall the land of the spirits see,
    Now shall it ken what a woman may be!
    The sun that shines on the world sae bright,
    A borrowed gleid frae the fountain of light;
    And the moon that sleeks the sky sae dun,
    Like a gowden bow, or a beamless sun,
    Shall wear away, and be seen nae mair,
    And the angels shall miss them traveling the air.
    But lang, lang after baith night and day,
    When the sun and the world have elyed away;
    When the sinner has gaed to his waesome doom,
    Kilmeny shall smile in eternal bloom!"

But Kilmeny longs once more to revisit the earth and her kindred at
home, and,

    "Late, late in a gloaming, when all was still,
    When the fringe was red on the westlin hill,
    The wood was sere, the moon i' the wane,
    The reek of the cot hung over the plain,
    Like a little wee cloud in the world its lane;
    When the ingle glowed with an eiry leme,
    Late, late in the gloaming Kilmeny came hame!
    'Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been?
    Lang hae we sought baith holt and den;
    By linn, by ford, and greenwood tree,
    Yet ye are hailsome and fair to see.
    Where gat ye that joup o' the lily scheen?
    That bonny snood o' the birk sae green?
    And these roses, the fairest that ever were seen?
    Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been?'
      "Kilmeny looked up with a lovely grace,
    But nae smile was seen on Kilmeny's face;
    As still was her look, and as still was her ee,
    As the stillness that lay on the emerant lea,
    As the mist that sleeps on a waveless sea.
    For Kilmeny had been she knew not where,
    And Kilmeny had seen what she could not declare;
    Kilmeny had been where the cock ne'er crew,
    Where the rain never fell, and the wind never blew!"

But on earth the spell of heaven was upon her. All loved, both man and
beast, the pure and spiritual Kilmeny; but earth could not detain her.

    "When a month and a day had come and gone,
    Kilmeny sought the greenwood wene;
    There laid her down on the leaves so green,
    And Kilmeny on earth was never mair seen.
    But O the words that fell from her mouth
    Were words of wonder, and words of truth!
    But all the land were in fear and dread,
    For they kennedna whether she was living or dead.
    It was not her hame, and she couldna remain;
    She left this world of sorrow and pain;
    And returned to the land of thought again."

The Legend of Kilmeny is as beautiful as any thing in that department
of poetry. It contains a fine moral; that purity of heart makes an
earthly creature a welcome denizen of heaven; and the tone and imagery
are all fraught with a tenderness and grace that are as unearthly as
the subject of the legend.

There is a short poem introduced into the Brownie of Bodsbeck, worthy
of the noblest bard that ever wrote.


    DWELLER IN HEAVEN.

    "Dweller in heaven high, Ruler below!
    Fain would I know thee, yet tremble to know!
    How can a mortal deem, how it may be,
    That being can ne'er be but present with thee?
    Is it true that thou sawest me ere I saw the morn?
    Is it true that thou knewest me befere I was born?
    That nature must live in the light of thine eye?
    This knowledge for me is too great and too high!

    "That, fly I to noonday or fly I to night,
    To shroud me in darkness, or bathe me in light,
    The light and the darkness to thee are the same,
    And still in thy presence of wonder I am!
    Should I with the dove to the desert repair,
    Or dwell with the eagle in cleugh of the air;
    In the desert afar--on the mountain's wild brink--
    From the eye of Omnipotence still must I shrink!

    "Or mount I, on wings of the morning, away,
    To caves of the ocean, unseen by the day,
    And hide in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    Even there to be living and moving in thee!
    Nay, scale I the clouds, in the heaven to dwell,
    Or make I my bed in the shadows of hell,
    Can science expound, or humanity frame,
    That still thou art present, and all are the same?

    "Yes, present forever! Almighty! Alone!
    Great Spirit of Nature! unbounded! unknown!
    What mind can embody thy presence divine?
    I know not my own being, how can I thine?
    Then humbly and low in the dust let me bend,
    And adore what on earth I can ne'er comprehend:
    The mountains may melt, and the elements flee,
    Yet a universe still be rejoicing in thee!"

The last that we will select is one which was written for an
anniversary celebration of our great dramatist; yet is distinguished
by a felicity of thought and imagery that seem to have sprung
spontaneously in the soul of the shepherd poet, as he mused on the
airy brow of some Ettrick mountain.

    TO THE GENIUS OF SHAKSPEARE.

          "Spirit all-limitless,
          Where is thy dwelling-place?
    Spirit of him whose high name we revere!
          Come on thy seraph wings,
          Come from thy wanderings,
    And smile on thy votaries who sigh for thee here!

          "Come, O thou spark divine!
          Rise from thy hallowed shrine!
    Here in the windings of Forth thou shalt see
          Hearts true to nature's call,
          Spirits congenial,
    Proud of their country, yet bowing to thee!

          "Here with rapt heart and tongue,
          While our fond minds were young,
    Oft thy bold numbers we poured in our mirth;
          Now in our hall for aye
          This shall be holyday,
    Bard of all nature! to honor thy birth.

          "Whether thou tremblest o'er
          Green grave of Elsinore,
    Stayest o'er the hill of Dunsinnan to hover,
          Bosworth, or Shrewsbury,
          Egypt, or Philippi;
    Come from thy roamings the universe over.

          "Whether thou journeyest far,
          On by the morning star,
    Dreamest on the shadowy brows of the moon,
          Or lingerest in Fairyland,
          Mid lovely elves to stand,
    Singing thy carols unearthly and boon:

          "Here thou art called upon,
          Come, thou, to Caledon!
    Come to the land of the ardent and free!
          The land of the lone recess,
          Mountain and wilderness,
    This is the land, thou wild meteor, for thee!

          "O, never, since time had birth,
          Rose from the pregnant earth
    Gems, such as late have in Scotia sprung;--
          Gems that in future day,
          When ages pass away,
    Like thee shall be honored, like thee shall be sung!

          "Then here, by the sounding sea,
          Forest, and greenwood tree,
    Here to solicit thee, cease shall we never.
          Yes, thou effulgence bright,
          Here must thy flame relight,
    Or vanish from nature forever and ever!"

Such strains as these serve to remind us that we go to visit the
native scenes of no common man. To reach Ettrick, I took the mail from
Dumfries to Moffat, where I breakfasted, after a fresh ride through
the woods of Annandale. With my knapsack on my back, I then ascended
the vale of Moffat. It was a fine morning, and the green pastoral
hills rising around, the white flocks scattered over them, the waters
glittering along the valley, and women spreading out their linen to
dry on the meadow grass, made the walk as fresh as the morning itself.
I passed through a long wood, which stretched along the sunny side of
the steep valley. The waters ran sounding on deep below; the sun
filled all the sloping wood with its yellow light. There was a
wonderful resemblance to the mountain woodlands of Germany. I felt as
though I was once more in a Suabian or an Austrian forest. There was
no wall or hedge by the way: all was open. The wild raspberry stood in
abundance, and the wild strawberries as abundantly clothed the ground
under the hazel bushes. I came to a cottage and inquired,--it was
_Craigieburn Wood_, where Burns met "The lassie wi' the lintwhite
locks."

But the pleasure of the walk ceased with the sixth milestone. Here it
was necessary to quit Moffat and cross over into Ettrick dale. And
here the huge hills of Bodsbeck, more villainous than the Brownie in
his most vindictive mood, interposed. I turned off the good road which
would have led me to the Gray-Mare's-Tail, to the inn of Innerleithing
(St. Ronan's Well), and St. Mary's Lake on Yarrow, and at Capel-gill
forsook Moffat water and comfort at once.

And here, by the by, as all the places in these dales are called
gills, and hopes, and cleughs, as Capel-gill, Chapel-hope,
Gamel-cleugh, etc., I may as well explain that a hope is a sort of
slight ravine aloft on the hillside, generally descending it pretty
perpendicularly; a cleugh, a more deep and considerable one; and a
gill, one down which a torrent pours, continuing longer after rains
than in the others. At least, this was the definition given me, though
the different terms are not, it seems, always very palpably
discriminative.

Turning off at Capel-gill, I crossed the foot-bridge at the farm of
Bodsbeck, where the Brownie used to haunt, and began to ascend the
hill, assuredly in no favor with the Brownie. These hills are long
ranges, inclosing deep valleys between them; and there are but few
entrances into the dales, except by crossing the backs of these great
ridges. I found the ascent of the Bodsbeck excessively steep, rugged,
boggy, stony, and wet, and far higher than I had anticipated. A more
fatiguing mountain ascent I never made. I was quite exhausted, and lay
down two or three times, resolving to have a good long rest and sleep
on the grass, with my knapsack for a pillow; but the Brownie came in
the shape of rain, and woke me up again. I suppose I was two hours in
getting to the summit; and then I did lie down, and slept for a
quarter of an hour; but the Brownie was at me again with a bluster of
wind and rain, and awoke me.

Preparing to set forward, what was my astonishment to see a cart and
horse coming over the mountain with a load of people. It was a farmer
with his wife and child; and they were about to descend the rugged,
rocky, boggy, steep hillside, with scarcely a track! They descended
from the cart; the man led the horse; the woman walked behind,
carrying the child; and they went bumping and banging over the
projecting crags, as if the cart was made of some unsmashable timber,
the horse a Pegasus, and the people without necks to break. 'Tis to be
hoped that they reached the bottom somehow.

I had supposed by my map that from Moffat to Ettrick kirk would be
about six miles. Imagine, then, my consternation at the tidings these
adventurous people gave me, that I had still eight miles to go! That,
instead of six, it was sixteen from Moffat to Ettrick kirk! There was
a new road made all down this side of the mountain; very fair to look
at in the distance, but infamous for foot travelers, being all loose,
sharp cubes of new broken whinstone. My feet were actually strained
with coming up the mountain; and were now so knocked to pieces and
blistered in going down it, that I suppose I crawled on at about two
miles an hour. In fact, I was seven hours and a half, between Moffat
and Ettrick kirk, on foot. Down, down, down I went for eight weary
miles, one long descent, with nothing on either hand but those
monotonous green mountains which extend all over the south of
Scotland. Soft they can look as the very hills of heaven under the
evening light, with their white flocks dotting them all over, and the
shepherds shouting, and their dogs barking from afar. And dark,
beautifully dark, they can look beneath the shadow of the storm, or
the thunder-cloud. Wild, drearily wild, they can look when the winds
come sweeping and roaring like some broken-loose ocean, fierce and
strong as ocean waters, and with this mighty volume fill the scowling
valleys, and rush, without the obstacle of house or tree, over the
smooth, round heights; and men at ease, especially if in want of a
stroll, and in good company, may, and no doubt do, find them very
attractive. But to me they were an endless green monotony of swelling
heaps; and Ettrick dale, with its stream growing continually larger in
its bottom, an endless vale of bare greenness, with but here and there
a solitary white house, and a cluster of fir-trees, with scarcely a
cultured field even of oats or potatoes for eight miles. It was one
eternal sheep-walk; and, for me, eight miles too much of it. Yet the
truth is, that every one of these hills, and every portion of this
vale, and every house with its hope, or its cleugh, or its plantation,
and every part of the river where the torrent has boiled and raged for
a thousand years, till it has worn the iron-like whinstone into the
most hideous channels and fantastic shapes, has its history and its
tradition. There is Phaup, and Upper Phaup, and Gamelshope, and
Ettrick-house, and all have their interest; but to me they were then
only white houses with black plantations, many of them on the other
side of the water, without bridge, or any visible means of access; and
with huge flocks of sheep collected and collecting in their yards and
pens, with the most amazing and melancholy clamor. It was the time
when they prepare for the great lamb fairs, and were separating those
they meant to sell; and there was one loud lamentation all through
these hills. It is amazing what a sentiment of attachment and distress
can exist in mutton!

But no sentimental piece of mutton was ever more in distress than I
was. I was quite famished and knocked up; and when at length I saw the
few gray houses at Ettrick kirk, I actually gave a shout of
exultation. I shouted, however, before I was out of the wood; for
Ettrick kirk was not, as I had fancied, a Kirk Ettrick--that is, a
village,--it was Ettrick kirk, and nothing more. I knew that Hogg was
born and buried here, and that here I must stop; but unluckily I saw
no village, no stopping-place. To my left hand stood the kirk, a
little elevated on the side of the valley, and what was clearly the
manse near it, in a garden. A little farther on was a farmhouse, and
then a cottage or two, and that was all. I saw a large, queer sign
over a door, and flattered myself that that at least must be a
public-house; but a Gipsy with his stockings off in a little stream
tickling trout, while his basket and his set of tea-trays stood on the
road, soon told me my fortune. "Is that an inn?" "No, sir, the inn is
three miles farther down!"

Three miles farther down! It was enough to have finished all Job's
miseries! "What! is it not a public-house even?" "No, it is a shop."

And a shop it was; and when I hoped at least to find a shop that sold
bread, it turned out to be a tailor's shop!

Just as I was driven to despair, I fancied that the next building
looked like a school; in I went, and a school it was. I had hopes of a
Scotch schoolmaster. He is generally a scholar and a gentleman. The
master was just hearing his last class of boys: I advanced to him, and
told him that I must take the liberty to rest, for that I was
outrageously tired and hungry, and was told that it was three miles to
the next inn. He said it was true, but that it was not three hundred
yards to his house, and he would have much pleasure in my accompanying
him to tea. Never, of all the invitations to tea which I have received
in the course of this tea-drinking life, did I ever receive so welcome
a one as that! I flung off my knapsack, laid up my legs quite at my
ease on a bench, and heard out the class with great satisfaction.
Anon, the urchins were dismissed, and Mr. Tait, the master, a tall and
somewhat thin young man, with a very intelligent and thoughtful face,
declared himself ready to accompany me. I told him I wanted to visit
the birthplace and grave of Hogg, and presented my card. "Ha!"
exclaimed he, on reading the name, "why, we are not strangers, I
find--we are old friends. A hearty welcome, Mr. Howitt, to Ettrick!"
Mr. Tait was an old friend of Hogg's, too--the very man of all others
that I should have sought out for my purpose. We were soon at a very
handsome new cottage, with a capital garden, the upper end full of
flowers, and the lower of most flourishing kitchen-garden produce.
Tired as I was, I could not avoid staying to admire this garden, which
was the master's own work; and was then introduced to his mother and
sister. The old lady was in a consternation that, by one of those
accidents that sometimes in mountainous districts afflict a whole
country, the baker had upset his cart, broken his leg, and by his
absence deprived all the vales from Moffat to the very top of Ettrick,
namely, Upper Phaup, of wheaten bread. It was a circumstance that did
not in the least trouble me, except on account of the lady's
housewifery anxiety. An old friend of mine once said that he never
knew the want of bread but once in his life, and then he made a good
shift with pie-crust, and I made an actual feast on barley cake and
tea.

The schoolmaster and I were now soon abroad, and on our way up the
valley to Hogg's birthplace. Ettrick-house, where Hogg saw the light,
according to the people, though according to his tombstone it was
Ettrick-hall, on the opposite side of the valley, is now a new-built
farm-house, standing within a square embankment, which is well grown
with a row of fine trees. This marks the site of an old house, and no
doubt was the site of Ettrick old house. But the house in which Hogg
was born, or, if not born, where he lived as a child, was only a sort
of hind's house, belonging to the old house. That, too, is now pulled
clean down. Hogg, during his lifetime, never liked to hear its
demolition proposed. Here he had lived as a child, and here he lived
when grown up, and rented the farm, before going to Altrive. He used
always to inquire of people from Ettrick, if the house really were yet
destroyed. I believe it stood till after his death, but it is now
quite gone. The bricklayers? There is no such thing here; all is built
of the iron-like, hard whinstone of the hills;--the builders, then,
with a sentiment which does honor to them, were reluctant to pull down
the birthplace and home of the shepherd-poet; and, when obliged to do
so, to mark and commemorate the exact spot, when they built the wall
along the front of the ground which they cleared by the highway, built
a large blue sort of stone upright in it. The stone is very
conspicuous, by its singular hue and position, and on it they have
subscribed the poet's initials, J. H. Ettrick-hall, as already said,
lying on the opposite side of the valley, was in Hogg's father's
hands. Afterward, in Mr. Brydon's, of Crosslee, with whom Hogg was
shepherd. This Mr. Brydon, who, Hogg says, was the best friend their
family had in the world, died worth £15,000; and, indeed, these
sheep-farmers generally do well. There was a Mr. Grieve here, who used
to live up the valley, at a house where I saw a vast flock of sheep
collected, who was also a most excellent friend of Hogg's. Hogg had
lived as a herd-boy at most of the houses in this valley, and from
that association he laid the scene of most of his poems and tales
here.

Hogg's birthplace and his grave are but a few hundred yards asunder.
The kirk-yard of Ettrick is old, but the kirk is recent; 1824 is
inscribed over the door. Like most of the country churches of
Scotland, it is a plain fabric, plainly fitted up within with seats,
and a plain pulpit. Such a thing as "a kist full of o' whitles" the
Scotch can not endure. It is a curious fact, that neither in Scotland
nor Ireland do you find those richly finished old parish churches that
you do in England. This is significant of the ancient state of these
countries. Catholic though they all were, neither Scotland nor Ireland
could at any age pretend to any thing like the wealth of England.
Hence, in those countries, the fine abbeys and cathedrals are rare,
the parish churches are very plain; while, in England, spite of all
the ravages of Puritanism, the country abounds with the noblest
specimens of cathedral and convent architecture, and the very parish
churches in obscure villages are often perfect gems of architecture
and carving, even of the old Saxon period.

Ettrick kirk lifts its head in this quiet vale with a friendly air. It
is built of the native adamantine rock, the whinstone; has a square
battlemented tower; and, what looks singular, has, instead of Gothic
ones, square doorways, and square, very tall sash windows. Hogg's
grave lies in the middle of the kirk-yard. At its head stands a rather
handsome headstone, with a harp sculptured on a border at the top, and
this inscription beneath it:--"James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, who
was born at Ettrick Hall, 1770, and died at Altrive Lake, the 21st day
of November, 1835."

After a wide space, left for other inscriptions, as of the widow and
children, this is added:--"This stone is erected, as a tribute of
affection, by his widow, Margaret Hogg."

As Hogg used to boast that he was born on the same day as Burns, and
as this assertion was negatived by the parish register, we can not but
admire the thoughtful delicacy which induced the widow to omit the day
of his birth altogether, though carefully inserting the day of his
death.

On the right hand of the poet's headstone stands another, erected by
the shepherd himself, as follows: "Here lieth William Laidlaw, the far
famed Will o' Phaup, who, for feats of frolic, agility, and strength,
had no equal in that day. He was born at Ettrick, A.D. 1691, and died
in the eighty-fourth year of his age. Also Margaret, his eldest
daughter, spouse to Robert Hogg, and mother of the Ettrick Shepherd,
born at Over Phaup in 1730, and died in the eighty-third year of her
age. Also Robert Hogg, her husband, late tenant of Ettrick-hall, born
at Bowhill, in 1729, and died in the ninety-third year of his age."

There are several curious particulars connected with these stones.
Those which I have pointed out--Hogg's birthday being omitted;
Ettrick-hall being given as his birthplace, yet the people asserting
it to be Ettrick-house; and the much shorter life of the poet than
those of his parents and ancestors. His father died at the age of
ninety-three, his mother at eighty-three, his grandfather at
eighty-four; he died at sixty-three. The poet had lived faster than
his kindred. What he lost in duration of life he had more than made up
in intensity. They held the quiet tenor of their way in their native
vale; he had spread his life over the whole space occupied by the
English language, and over generations to come. In his own pleasures,
which were of a far higher character than theirs, he had made
thousands and tens of thousands partakers. Many of Hogg's family and
friends were not pleased at the memorial he thus gives to Will o'
Phaup; but it is very characteristic of the Shepherd, who gloried as
much himself in the sports, feats, and exploits of the borders, as in
poetry.

Hogg, in his younger years, displayed much agility and strength in the
border games, and in his matured years was often one of the umpires at
them. In Lockhart's Life of Scott are related two especial occasions
in which James Hogg figured in such games. One was of a famous
football match, played on the classic mead of Carterhaugh, between the
men of Selkirk and of Yarrow, when the Duke of Buccleugh, and numbers
of other nobles and gentlemen, as well as ladies of rank, were
present. When the different parties came to the ground with pipes
playing, the Duke of Buccleugh raised his ancient banner, called the
banner of Bellenden, which, being given by Lady Ann Scott to young
Walter Scott, he rode round the field displaying it; and when Sir
Walter led on the men of Selkirk, and the Earl of Home, with James
Hogg as his aid-de-camp, led on the men of Yarrow. The other occasion
was at the annual festival of St. Ronan's Well, when James Hogg used
to preside as captain of the band of border bowmen, in Lincoln Green,
with broad blue bonnets; and when, already verging on three score, he
used often to join at the exploits of racing, wrestling, or
hammer-throwing, and would carry off the prizes, to universal
astonishment; afterward presiding, too, at the banquet in the evening,
with great éclat, supported by Sir Walter Scott, Professor Wilson, Dr.
Adam Fergusson, and Peter Robertson.

Another curious thing is, that he states himself, in his Life, to be
one of four sons, and, on the headstone, that his father and
_three_ sons lie there. Now he, himself, was living, of course,
when he set up the stone, and his brother William still survives.
There could, then, be but _two_, if he were one of _four_.

Hogg died at Altrive, but was buried here, as being his native parish;
and, indeed, I question whether there be a nearer place where he could
be buried, though Altrive is six miles off, and over the hills from
one valley to another. His funeral must have been a striking thing in
this solitary region--striking, not from the sensation it created, or
the attendance of distinguished men, but from the absence of all this.
The shepherd-poet went to his grave with little pomp or ceremony. Of
all the great and the celebrated with whom he had associated in life,
not an individual had troubled himself to go thus far to witness his
obsequies, except that true-hearted man, Professor Wilson. An
eye-witness says: "No particular solemnity seemed to attend the scene.
The day was dull and dismal, windy and cloudy, and every thing looked
bleak, the ground being covered with a sprinkling of snow. Almost the
whole of the attendants were relatives and near neighbors, and most of
them, with solid irreverence, were chatting about the affairs of the
day. Professor Wilson remained for some time near the newly-covered
grave, after all the rest had departed."

I walked over this road to Altrive, the day after my arrival in
Ettrick. But before quitting Ettrick, I must remark, that every part
of it presents objects made familiar by the Shepherd. At the lower end
are Lord Napier's castle, Thirlstane, a quaint castellated house, with
round towers, and standing in pleasant woodlands; and the remains of
the old tower of Tushielaw, and its hanging-tree, the robber chief of
which strong-hold James VI. surprised, and hanged on his own tree
where he had hanged his victims, treating him with as little ceremony
as he did Johnny Armstrong, and others of the like profession. All
these the hearty and intelligent schoolmaster pointed out to me,
walking on to the three-mile distant inn, and seeing me well housed
there.

What is called Altrive Lake, the farm on the Yarrow, given for life by
the Duke of Buccleugh to Hogg, and where he principally lived after
leaving Ettrick, and where he died, stands in a considerable opening
between the hills, at the confluence of several valleys, where the
Douglas burn falls into the Yarrow. Thus, from some of the windows,
you look up and down the vale of Yarrow, but where the vale has no
very striking features. The hills are lower than on Ettrick, and at a
greater distance, but of the same character, green and round.
Shepherds are collecting their flocks; the water goes leaping along
stony channels; you see, here and there, a small white farmhouse with
its clump of trees, and a circular inclosure of stone wall for the
sheep-fold. A solitary crow or gull flies past; there are black stacks
of peat on the bogs, and on the hill-tops--for there are bogs there,
too, and you perceive your approach to a house by the smell of peat.
This is the character of the whole district.

Altrive Lake is, in truth, no lake at all. One had always a pleasant
notion of Hogg's house standing on the borders of a cheerful little
lake. I looked naturally for this lake in the wide opening between the
streams and hills, but could see none. I inquired of the farmer who
has succeeded Hogg, for this lake, and he said there never was one.
Hogg, he said, had given it that dignified name, because a little
stream, that runs close past the house, not Douglas burn, but one
still less, is called the Trive Lake. The present farmer, who is an
old, weather-beaten Scotchman, eighty-two years of age, but hardy, and
pretty active, and well off in the world, expressed himself as quite
annoyed with the name, and said it was not Altrive Lake; he would not
have it so called. It should be Aldenhope, for it was now joined to
his farm, which was the Alden farm. I believe the Altrive farm is but
about a hundred acres, including sheep-walk on the hills, and lets for
£45 a-year; but old Mr. Scott, the present tenant, has a larger and
better farm adjoining; and in his old house, which is just above this,
across the highway from Ettrick, but almost hidden in a hollow, he
keeps his hinds. Hogg's house is apparently two white cottages, for
the roof, in the middle, dips down like it, but it is really but one.
It stands on a mound, in a very good and pleasant flower-garden. The
garden is inclosed with palisades, and the steep bank down from the
house, descending to the level of the garden, is gay with flowers. It
has another flower-garden behind, for the tenant has his
kitchen-garden at his other house; and around lie green meadows, and
at a distance, slope away the green pastoral hills. As you look out at
the front door, the Yarrow runs down the valley at the distance of,
perhaps, a quarter of a mile on the left hand, with a steep scaur, or
precipitous earthy bank, on its farther side, in full view, over the
top of which runs the highway from Edinburgh to Galashiels. Down the
valley, and on the other side of the water, lies, in full view also,
the farm of Mount Benger, which Hogg took of the Duke of Buccleugh
after he came to Altrive. It is much more inclosed and cultivated in
tillage than Altrive. The house where Hogg lived, however, is now
pulled down, all except one ruinous white wall, and a very capital
farmhouse is built near it; with a quadrangle of trees, which must
have been originally planted to shelter a house long ago gone.

An old farmer and his wife in the neighborhood, who seemed the last
people in the world to admire poets or poetry, though very worthy
people in their way, blamed Hogg extremely for taking Mount Benger. He
was more fitted for books than for farming, said they. "Perhaps," I
observed, "he did not find that little farm of Altrive enough to
maintain him." "Why should he not?" asked they. "He had nothing to do
there but look after his little flock--that was all he had to care
for--and that was the proper business of a man that called himself the
Ettrick Shepherd--as though there was never a shepherd in Ettrick
beside himself. And if he wanted more income, had not he his pen, and
was not he very popular with the periodicals? But he was always
wanting to take great farms, without any money to stock them. He was
hand and glove with great men in Edinburgh, Professor Wilson, and
Scott, and the like; he was aye going to Abbotsford and Lord Napier's;
and so he thought himself a very great man too, and Mrs. Hogg thought
herself a great woman, and looked down on her neighbors. These poets
think nothing's good enough for them. Hogg paid the duke no rent, but
he caught his fish, and killed his game; he was a desperate fellow for
fishing and shooting. If people did not do just what he wanted, he
soon let them know his mind, and that without much ceremony. He wrote
a very abusive letter to Sir Walter Scott, because he would not give
him a poem to print when he asked him, and would not speak to him for
months; and when he took Mount Benger he wrote to his generous friend,
Mr. Grieve, of Ettrick, and desired him to send him £350 to stock the
farm, which Mr. Grieve refused, because he knew that the scheme was a
ruinous one; on which he wrote _him_ a very abusive letter, and
would not speak to him for years. The upshot was, that he failed, and
paid eighteenpence in the pound; and yet the duke, though he got no
rent, allows the widow the rental of Altrive."

It is curious to hear the estimation that a man is held in by his
neighbors. It is generally the case, that a man who raises himself
above those with whom he set out on equal or inferior terms in life,
is regarded with a very jealous feeling. I found Grace Darling denied
all merit by those of her own class in her own neighborhood. Hogg, who
is admired by the more intellectual of his countrymen, is still, in
the eyes of the now matter-of-fact sheep farmers of Ettrick and
Yarrow, regarded only as an aspiring man, and bad farmer. They can not
comprehend why he should be so much more regarded than themselves, who
are great at market, great on the hills, and pay every man, and lay up
hard cash. Yet these men who pay eighteen pence in the pound, have
farms for nothing, and their families after them, and associate with
lords and dukes. That is very odd, certainly.

For worldly prudence, I am afraid, we can not boast of Hogg; and he
confesses that he did rate Sir Walter soundly for not giving him a
poem for his Poetic Mirror, and that he would not speak to him, till
Scott heaped coals of fire on his head by sending the doctor to him
when he was ill, and by Hogg finding out that Scott had come or sent
daily to inquire how he was going on, and had told his friends not to
let Hogg want for any thing. Hogg was a creature of the quickest
impulse; he resented warmly, and he was as soon melted again by
kindness. He had the spirit of a child, sensitive, quick to resent,
but forgiving and generous. His imprudence in taking Mount Benger is
much lessened, too, when we learn that he expected £1,000 from his
wife's father, who, however, proved a bankrupt, and Hogg had already,
through the intervention of Scott, obtained possession of the farm,
and incurred the debt for the stocking of it before he became aware of
the disastrous fact. In truth, he was probably too good a poet to be a
good farmer; nor need we wonder at the opinion yet held of him by some
of his neighbors, when we find him relating, in his Life, that when
leaving Edinburgh once because his literary projects had failed, he
found his character for a shepherd as low in Ettrick as it was for
poetry in the capital, and that no one would give him any thing to do.
Such are the singular fortunes of men of genius!

It is said in his own neighborhood, that his last visit to London
hastened his death. That the entertainments given him there, and the
excitement he went through, had quite exhausted him. That he never
afterward seemed himself again. That he was listless and feeble, and
tried to rally, but never did. Probably his breach with Blackwood
might prey upon his spirits; for, on Blackwood declining to give a
complete edition of his works, he had entered into arrangements with
Cochrane and Johnstone of London, who commenced his edition, but
failed on the issue of the first volume. By the act of quitting
Blackwood, all the old associations of his life, its happiest and most
glorious, seemed broken up. After that, his name vanished from the
magazine, and was no more seen there, and the new staff on which he
leaned proved a broken reed. Truly many are the verifications of the
melancholy words of Wordsworth:

    "We poets in our youth commence in gladness;
    But thereof comes in the end, despondency and madness."

I have received the following account of his last days from one of his
oldest and most intimate friends:

    "Innerleithen, 21st Feb., 1846.

    "Mr. Hogg, although apparently in good health, had been ailing for
    some years previous to his death, with water in the chest. When
    this was announced to him by his friend, Dr. W. Gray, from India,
    a nephew of Mr. Hogg, he seemed to laugh at the idea, and
    pronounced it impossible, as one drop of water he never drank.
    Notwithstanding, he very shortly after had a consultation with
    some of the Edinburgh medical folks, who corroborated Dr. Gray's
    opinion. Mr. Hogg, on his return from town, called upon me in
    passing, and seemed somewhat depressed in spirits about his
    health. The Shepherd died of what the country folks call black
    jaundice, on the 21st November, 1835, and was buried on the 27th,
    in the church-yard of Ettrick, within a few hundred yards of
    Ettrick-house, the place where he was born. It was a very imposing
    scene, to see Professor Wilson standing at the grave of the
    Shepherd, after every one else had left it, with his head
    uncovered, and his long hair waving in the wind, and the tears
    literally running in streams down his cheek. A monument has been
    erected to the memory of Hogg by his poor wife. At this the good
    people of the forest should feel ashamed. Mr. Hogg was confined
    to the house for some weeks, and, if I recollect right, was
    insensible some days previous to his death. He has left one son
    and four daughters; the son, as is more than probable you are
    aware, went out to a banking establishment, in Bombay, some two
    years ago. Mr. Hogg left a considerable library, which is still in
    the possession of Mrs. Hogg and family. With regard to the state
    of his mind at the time of his death, I am unable to speak. I may
    mention, a week or two previous to his last illness, he spent a
    few days with me in angling in the Tweed; the last day he dined
    with me, the moment the tumblers were produced, he begged that I
    would not insist upon him taking more than one tumbler, as he felt
    much inclined to have a tumbler or two with his friend Cameron, of
    the inn, who had always been so kind to him, not unfrequently
    having sent him home in a chaise, free of any charge whatever. The
    moment the tumbler was discussed, we moved off to Cameron's; and
    by way of putting off the time until the innkeeper returned from
    Peebles, where he had gone to settle some little business matter,
    we had a game at bagatelle; but no sooner had we commenced the
    game, than poor Hogg was seized with a most violent trembling. A
    glass of brandy was instantly got, and swallowed; still the
    trembling continued, until a second was got, which produced the
    desired effect. At this moment, the Yarrow carrier was passing the
    inn on his way to Edinburgh, when Mr. Hogg called him in, and
    desired him to sit down until he would draw an order on the
    Commercial Bank for £20, as there was not a single penny in the
    house at home. After various attempts, he found it impossible even
    to sign his name, and was, therefore, obliged to tell the carrier,
    that he must, of necessity, defer drawing the order until next
    week. The carrier, however, took out his pocket-book, and handed
    the Shepherd a five-pound note, which he said he could
    conveniently want until the following week, when the order would
    be cashed. A little before the gloaming, Mr. Hogg's caravan cart
    landed for him, which he instantly took possession of; but, before
    moving off, he shook hands with me, not at all in his usual way,
    and at the same time stated to me, that a strong presentiment had
    come over his mind, that we would never meet again. It was too
    true. I never again saw my old friend, the Shepherd, with whom I
    had been intimately acquainted since the year 1802.

    "Yours truly,

    "P. BOYD."

I went over his house at Altrive with much interest. His little study
is in the center of the front of the house, and within that is the
equally small bedroom where he died. The house has been much improved,
as well as the garden about it, since his time, for all agree that
Hogg was very slovenly about his place. However, as Lockhart has
justly observed, there will never be such another shepherd.

He has a brother still living, William Hogg, who has always been
considered a very clever man. He lives somewhere in Peebleshire, as a
shepherd. His widow and family live in Edinburgh.

                     *      *      *      *      *

In many of my visits to the homes and haunts of the poets, I have
fallen in with persons and things which I regret that I could not
legitimately introduce, and which yet are so full of life, that they
deserve to be preserved. Exactly such a person did I meet with at
Altrive Lake, at Mr. Scott's, the successor of Hogg. It was a jolly
wool-buyer. He was a stout, fine, jovial-looking man, one of that
class who seem to go through the world, seeing only the genial side of
it, and drawing all the good out of it, as naturally as the sun draws
out of the earth flowers and fruit. The hearty fellow was sitting at
luncheon with Mr. Scott as I went in, and I was requested to join
them. His large, well fed person, and large, handsome face, seemed
actually to glow and radiate with the fullness of this world's
joyousness and prosperity. His head of rich, bushy, black hair, and
his smooth, black suit, both cut in town fashion, marked him as
belonging to a more thronged and bustling region than these tawny,
treeless, solitary hills. The moment I mentioned Hogg, and my object
in visiting Altrive and Ettrick, the stranger's countenance lit up
with a thorough, high-flowing tide of rosy animation. "Eh, but ye
should ha' had me in Ettrick wi' ye! I know every inch of all these
hills, and the country round. Haven't I bought the wool all over this
country these twenty years? Hogg! why, sir, I've bought his wool many
a time, and had many a merry 'clash' and glass of toddy wi' him at
this verra table." Nothing would do, but I must accept half his gig
thence to Galashiels that evening, a distance of twenty miles. It was
a very friendly offer, for it saved me much time. Our drive was a
charming one, and my stout friend knowing all the country, and
apparently, every body in it, he pointed out every thing, and had a
nod, a smile, a passing word, for every one that we met, or passed in
their cottages by the road-side. He pointed out the piece of a wall,
the only remains of Hogg's old house, at Mount Benger, adding,--"Ay, I
bought his wool!" We descended the vale of Yarrow, passing through the
beautiful woods of _Hangingshaw_. "Ye'll remember," said he, "what was
said by some English noblemen in the rising in '45, when they heard
that the lairds of _Hangingshaw_ and _Gallowshiels_ were among the
Scotch conspirators. These are ominous names, said they, we'll have
nothing to do with 'em; and withdrew, and thereby saved their own
necks." So we went on, every few hundred yards bringing new histories
of my jolly friend's wool-buying, and of matters which seemed nearly
as important in his eyes. There was Newark tower, a beautiful object,
standing on a lofty green mound on the other side of the Yarrow, the
banks of which are most beautifully wooded. The tower, indeed, is
included in the pleasure-grounds of Bowhill, a seat of the Duke of
Buccleugh's, within sight; and you see neat walks running all along
the river side for miles amid the hanging woods, and looking most
tempting. Opposite to Newark, my friend pointed out a farmhouse. "Do
you know what that is?" "A farmhouse," I replied. "Ay, but what
farmhouse, that's the thing? Why, sir, that's the house where Mungo
Park lived, and where his brother now lives." He then related the fact
recorded in Scott's Life, of Sir Walter finding Mungo Park standing
one day in an abstracted mood, flinging stones into the Yarrow; and
asking him why he did that, he told Scott that he was sounding the
depth of the river, it being a plan he had discovered and used on his
African tour; the length of time the bubbles took coming to the top
indicating the comparative depth, and showing whether he might venture
to ford the stream or not. Soon after, Park again set out for Africa,
never to return. "There, too, I buy the wool," added my companion.
"But do you see," again he went on, "the meadow there below us, lying
between those two streams?"--"Yes."--"Well, there meet the Ettrick and
Yarrow, and become the Tweed; and the meadow between is no other than
that of _Carterhaugh_; you've heard of it in the old ballads. I buy
all the wool off that farm." I have no doubt, if the jolly fellow had
fallen in with the fairies on Carterhaugh, he would have tried to buy
their wool.

Ever and anon, out of the gig he sprung, and bolted into a house. Here
there was a sudden burst of exclamation, a violent shaking of hands.
Out he came again, and a whole troop of people after him. "Well but
Mr. ----, don't you take my wool this time!" "Oh! why not? What is it?
what weight? what do you want?" "It is so and so, and I want so much
for it." "Oh, fie, mon! I'll gie ye so much!" "That's too little."
"Well, that's what I'll gie--ye can send it, if ye like the price;"
and away we brushed, the man all life and jollity giving me a poke in
the side with his elbow, and a knowing look, with--"He'll send it! It
won't do to spend much time over these little lots;" and away we went.
At one house, no sooner did he enter, than out came a bonny lass with
a glass and the whisky-bottle, and most earnestly and respectfully
pressing that I should take a glass! "What could the bonny girl mean
by being so urgent that I should take some of her whisky?" "Oh," said
he, laughing heartily, "it was because I told her that ye were a
Free-church minister frae London, and they're mighty zealous
Free-church folk here."

At Selkirk my jolly friend put himself and horse to a great deal of
labor in ascending the steep hill into the town, which we might have
avoided, that I might see the statue of Sir Walter Scott, by Richie,
in the market-place. This, however, was but part of his object.
Leaving the gig at the inn, he said we must just look in on a friend
of his. It was at a little grocer's shop, and, in a little dusky
parlor, he introduced me to a young lady, his wife's sister, and we
must have some tea with her. The young lady was a comely, quiet,
dark-complexioned person, who seemed to have a deal of quiet sense,
and some sly humor; just such a person as Scott would have introduced
into one of his stories as a Jenny Middlemass; or the like; and it was
most amusing to sit and listen to all their talk, and jokes, and his
mystifications, and her quick detection of them, and their united
mirth over them. The good man finally landed me in Galashiels, and
there I had no little difficulty in getting away to my inn; as he
thought of nothing less than my staying to supper with him, and
hearing a great deal more of all the country round, of Scott and
Burns, Hogg and wool-buying, trading and tradition, the old glories of
border reiving, and new glories of Galashiels, and its spinning and
weaving, without end.



[Illustration: Coleridge Enlisting]



SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.


Coleridge, whose simple, unworldly character is as well known as his
genius, seems to have inherited his particular disposition from his
father. His father was the Rev. John Coleridge, the vicar of Ottery
St. Mary, in Devonshire. He was a learned man, the head master of
the free grammar-school at Ottery, as well as vicar. He had been
previously head master of the school at South Molton, and was one of
the persons who assisted Dr. Kennicott in his Hebrew Bible. "He was an
exceedingly studious man," says Gillman, on the authority of Coleridge
himself, "pious, of primitive manners, and the most simple habits:
passing events were little heeded by him, and therefore he was usually
characterized as 'the absent man.'" Coleridge was born October 21st,
1772, the youngest of thirteen children, of which nine were sons, one
of whom died in infancy. Of all these sons Coleridge is said to have
most resembled his father in mind and habit. His mother was, except
for education, in which she was deficient, a most fitting wife for
such a man. She was an active, careful housekeeper and manager, looked
well after worldly affairs, and was ambitious to place her sons well
in the world. She always told them to look after good, substantial,
sensible women, and not after fine harpsichord ladies. Coleridge used
to relate many instances of his father's absence of mind, one or two
of which we may quote. On one occasion, having to breakfast with his
bishop, he went, as was the practice of that day, into a barber's shop
to have his head shaved, wigs being then in common use. Just as the
operation was completed, the clock struck nine, the hour at which the
bishop punctually breakfasted. Roused as from a revery, he instantly
left the barber's shop, and in his haste forgetting his wig, appeared
at the breakfast-table, where the bishop and his party had assembled.
The bishop, well acquainted with his absent manners, courteously and
playfully requested him to walk into an adjoining room, and give his
opinion of a mirror which had arrived from London a few days
previously, and which disclosed to his astonished guest the
consequence of his haste and forgetfulness.

The old gentleman, Coleridge also related, had to take a journey on
some professional business, which would detain him from home for three
or four days: his good wife, in her care and watchfulness, had packed
a few things in a small trunk, and gave them in charge to her husband,
with strong injunctions that he was to put on a clean shirt every day.
On his return home, his wife went to search for his linen, when, to
her dismay, it was not in the trunk. A closer search, however,
discovered that the vicar had strictly obeyed her injunctions, and had
put on daily a clean shirt, but had forgotten to remove the one
underneath. This might have been the pleasantest and most portable
mode of carrying half-a-dozen shirts in winter, but not so in the
dog-days.

The poor idolized him and paid him the greatest reverence; and among
other causes, for the odd one of quoting the original Hebrew liberally
in his sermons. They felt themselves particularly favored by his
giving them "the very words the Spirit spoke in;" the agricultural
population flocked in from the neighborhood with great eagerness to
hear him on this account; and such an opinion did they acquire of his
learning, that they regarded his successor with much contempt, because
he addressed them in simple English. This worthy old man died when
Coleridge was about seven years old only.

He seems to have been a delicate child, of timid disposition. Being so
much younger than his brothers, he never came in to be a playfellow of
theirs, and thus to acquire physical hardihood and activity. "I was,"
he says, "in earliest childhood huffed away from the enjoyment of
muscular activity in play, to take refuge at my mother's side, or on
my little stool to read my book, and to listen to the talk of my
elders. I was driven from life in motion, to life in thought and
sensation. I never played except by myself, and then only acting over
what I had been reading or fancying; or half one, half the other, with
a stick cutting down weeds and nettles, as one of the seven champions
of Christendom. Alas! I had all the simplicity, all the docility of a
child, but none of the child's habits. I never thought as a child,
never had the language of a child. I forget whether it was in my fifth
or sixth year, but I believe the latter, in consequence of some
quarrel between me and my brother, in the first week in October, I ran
away from fear of being whipped, and passed the whole night--a night
of rain and storm--on a bleak side of a hill on the Otter, and was
there found at daybreak without the power of using my limbs, about six
yards from the naked bank of the river."

This anecdote has been differently related by Cottle, and by the
author of Pen and Pencil Sketches. They state that little Sammy
Coleridge, as they call him, when between three and four years of age,
had got a thread and a crooked pin from his elder sister Ann, and,
unknown to the family, had set out to fish in the Otter. That he had
wandered on and on, till, overtaken by fatigue, he lay down and slept.
That he continued out all night, to the consternation of the family,
and was found by a wagoner the next morning, who, going along the road
at four o'clock, thought he heard a child's voice. He stopped, and
listened. He now heard the voice cry out, "Betty! Betty! I can't pull
up the clothes." The wagoner went to the margin of the river, where he
saw, to his astonishment, a little child with a withy bough in his
hand, which hung over the stream, pulling hard, and on the very point
of dragging himself into the water. The child when awakened, as well
as frightened, could only say his name was Sammy, and the wagoner
carrying him into Ottery, joy indescribable spread through the town
and the parsonage.

Which version of this story is the more correct, who shall decide?
Little Coleridge, at the age of ten, was placed in Christ's Hospital
in London, through the influence of Judge Buller, who had been
educated by his father. This school was then, it seems, conducted in a
very miserable and unkind manner. Coleridge was half starved there,
neglected and wretched. The first bitter experiences of children who
have had tolerable homes, of such as have had a decent house over
their heads, and decent parents or friends, is on going to school.
There has, no doubt, been much improvement in these as in other
respects of late years. Schoolmasters, like other men, have felt the
growing influences of civilization and true feeling. But there is yet
much to be done in schools. Let it be remembered that fagging and
flogging still continue in our great public schools of Westminster,
Eton, and others. Riding the other day on the top of an omnibus
through London, we could, from that popular eminence, see the master
of a naval and military school exercising his vocation with the cane
on one of his unhappy scholars. This I presume is a part of what the
boys are systematically taught there--the preparatory initiation into
the floggings that they are likely to get in the army or navy. That is
bad and brutalizing enough, but that we are not yet advanced beyond
the absurd idea of driving learning into our gentlemen with the cudgel
and the birch, says very little indeed for our advance in true social
philosophy. Southey gives a very lively idea of the school change in a
boy's life, in his Hymn to the Penates.

    "When first a little one I left my home,
    I can remember the first grief I felt,
    And the first painful smile that clothed my front
    With feelings not its own. Sadly at night
    I sat me down beside a stranger's hearth;
    And when the lingering hour of rest was come,
    First wet with tears my pillow."

In The Retrospect he has still more clearly depicted it:--

    "Corston, twelve years in various fortunes fled
    Have passed in restless progress o'er my head.
    Since in thy vale, beneath the master's rule,
    I roamed an inmate of the village school."


The place, he tells us, had been the ample dwelling of the lord of the
manor, but--

    "Here now in petty empire o'er the school,
    The mighty master held despotic rule;
    Trembling in silence, all his deeds we saw,
    His look a mandate, and his word a law;
    Severe his voice, severe and stern his mien,
    And wondrous strict he was, and wondrous wise, I ween.

    "Even now, through many a long, long year I trace
    The hour when first with awe I viewed his face;
    Even now, recall my entrance at the dome,--
    'Twas the first day I ever left my home.
    Years, intervening, have not worn away
    _The deep remembrance of that wretched day_.

    "Methinks e'en now the interview I see.
    The mistress's kind smile, the master's glee.
    Much of my future happiness they said,
    Much of the easy life the scholars led;
    Of spacious playground, and of wholesome air,
    The best instruction, and the tenderest care;
    And when I followed to the garden door
    My father, till, through tears, I saw no more,--
    How civilly they soothed my parting pain,
    _And how they never spake so civilly again_."

Bravo! Southey! In these lines how many feelings of how many oppressed
little hearts you have given vent to! Improvement, I do believe, has
found its way, in a great degree, since then into private schools; but
in many of them still, how much remains to be done! How much more may
the spirits of masters and mistresses be humanized! How much more the
law of love be substituted for the law of severity! It can not be too
deeply impressed on the hearts of those who take the charge of
children often at a great distance, that there is no tyranny so
cowardly and mean as that which is exercised, not over grown men, but
over tender children.

Coleridge calls this change, being "first plucked up and
transplanted;" and adds--"Oh, what a change! I was a depressed,
moping, friendless, poor orphan, half-starved;--at that time the
portion of food to the Bluecoats was cruelly insufficient for those
who had no friends to supply them." For those who had friends to
supply them, the distinction set up was of the most detestable kind.
They had luxuries brought in and served up before these poor
half-starved little wretches. Charles Lamb, under the title of Elia,
describes his own case as one of these favored ones. "I remember Lamb
at school, and can well remember that he had some peculiar advantages,
which I and others of his schoolfellows had not. His friends lived in
town and were at hand, and he had the privilege of going to see them
almost as often as he wished, through some invidious distinction which
was denied us. The present treasurer of the Inner Temple can explain
how it happened. He had his tea and hot rolls in the morning, while we
were battening upon our quarter of a penny loaf; our _crug_ moistened
with attenuated small beer in wooden piggins, smacking of the pitched
leathern jack it was poured from. On Mondays, milk porritch, blue and
tasteless, and the pease soup of Saturday, coarse and choking, were
enriched for him with a slice of 'extraordinary bread and butter' from
the hot loaf of the Temple. The Wednesday's mess of millet, somewhat
less repugnant--(we had three banyan to four meat days in the
week)--was endeared to his palate with a lump of double-refined, and a
smack of ginger, or the fragrant cinnamon, to make it go down the more
glibly. In lieu of our _half-pickled_ Sundays, or _quite fresh_ boiled
beef on Thursdays, strong as caro equina, with destestable marigolds
floating in the pail to poison the broth; our scanty mutton crags on
Fridays; and rather more savory, but grudging portions of the same
flesh, rotten-roasted, or rare, on the Tuesdays--the only dish which
excited our appetites, and disappointed our stomachs in almost equal
proportion; he had his hot plate of roast veal, or the more tempting
griskin, exotics unknown to our palates, cooked in the paternal
kitchen."

"I," says Coleridge, giving us the other side of the case, "was a poor
friendless boy; my parents, and those who should have cared for me,
were far away. Those few acquaintances of theirs, which they could
reckon on being kind to me in the great city, after a little forced
notice, which they had the grace to take of me on my first arrival in
town, soon grew tired of my holyday visits. They seemed to them to
recur too often, though I thought them few enough; one after another,
they all failed me, and I felt myself alone among six hundred
playmates. O, the cruelty of separating a poor lad from his early
homestead! The yearnings which I used to have toward it in those
unfledged years! How in my dreams would my native town, far in the
west, come back, with its churches, and trees, and faces! To this late
hour of my life do I trace the impressions left by the painful
recollections of those friendless holydays. The long, warm days of
summer never return but they bring with them a gloom from the haunting
memories of those _whole day's leave_, when, by some strange
arrangement, we were turned out for the live-long day, upon our own
hands, whether we had friends to go to or none. I remember those
bathing excursions to the New river, which Lamb recalls with such
relish, better, I think, than he can, for he was a home-seeking lad,
and did not care for such water parties. How we would sally forth into
the fields, and strip under the first warmth of the sun, and wanton
like young dace in the streams, getting appetites for the noon which
those of us that were penniless had not the means of allaying; while
the cattle, and the birds, and the fishes were at feed about us, and
we had nothing to satisfy our cravings: the very beauty of the day,
the exercise of the pastime, and the sense of liberty, setting a
keener edge upon them! How, faint and languid, finally, we would
return, toward nightfall, to our desired morsel, half-rejoicing,
half-reluctant, that the hours of uneasy liberty had expired!

"It was worse, in the days of winter, to go prowling about the streets
objectless; shivering at cold windows of print-shops, to extract a
little amusement; or, haply, as a last resort, in the hope of a little
novelty, to pay a fifty times repeated visit to the lions in the
Tower, to whose levee, by courtesy immemorial, we had a prescriptive
right of admission, and where our individual faces would be as well
known to the warden as those of his own charges."

What an amount of cruelty may be perpetrated even under the show of
favor! what hard days for the stomach, under the guise of holydays!
Coleridge was, from all accounts, at this time, "a delicate and
suffering boy." His stomach was weak, his feet tender, so that he was
obliged to wear very large, easy shoes. This might be one cause why he
more readily fell into sedentary reading habits. He was to be found
during play hours, often, with the knees of his breeches unbuttoned,
and his shoes down at the heel, walking to and fro, or sitting on a
step, or in a corner, deeply engaged in some book. The future author
of the Ancient Mariner, and translator of Wallenstein, sitting on
door-steps and at corners, with his book on his knee, was a very
interesting object, if the Ancient Mariner and Wallenstein could have
been seen seated in that head of black, cropped hair; as it was, it
did excite attention; and Bowyer, one of those clever brutes who, on
the strength of a good store of Latin and Greek, think themselves
authorized to rain a good store of blows on the poor children in their
power, testified his hopes of Coleridge's progress by continually and
severely punishing him. He was often heard to say that "the lad was so
ordinary a looking lad, with his black head, that he generally gave
him, at the end of a flogging, an extra cut; for, said he, you are
such an ugly fellow."

Books were the poor fellow's solace for the flagellations of the
masters and the neglect of the boys, among whom Lamb was not to be
reckoned, for he was very fond of him and kind to him. "From eight to
fourteen I was a playless day-dreamer," he observes; "a _helluo
librorum_; my appetite for which was indulged by a singular
incident a stranger who was struck by my conversation, made me free of
a circulating library in King-street, Cheapside."

This incident, says Gillman, was indeed singular. Going down the
Strand, in one of his daydreams, fancying himself swimming across the
Hellespont, thrusting his hands before him as in the act of swimming,
one hand came in contact with a gentleman's pocket. The gentleman
seized his hand; turned round, and looked at him with some anger,
exclaiming "What! so young and so wicked!" at the same time accusing
him of an attempt to pick his pocket. The frightened boy sobbed out
his denial of the intention, and explained to him how he thought
himself Leander swimming across the Hellespont. The gentleman was so
struck and delighted with the novelty of the thing, and with the
simplicity and intelligence of the boy, that he subscribed, as before
stated, to the library, in consequence of which Coleridge was further
enabled to indulge his love of reading.

It is stated that at this school he laid the foundation of those
bodily sufferings, which made his life one of sickness and torture,
and occasioned his melancholy resort to opium. He greatly injured his
health, it is said, and reduced his strength by his bathing
excursions; but is it not quite as likely that the deficiency of food,
and those holyday days when he was turned out to starvation, had quite
as much to do with it? On one occasion he swam across the New river in
his clothes, and dried them on his back. This is supposed to have laid
the foundation of his rheumatic pains; but may not that lying out all
night in the rain at a former day have been even a still earlier
predisposing cause? However that might be, he says, that "full half
the time from seventeen to eighteen was passed in the sick-ward of
Christ's Hospital, afflicted with jaundice and rheumatic fever."

At an earlier day he had undergone a medical treatment, which was
oddly enough the cause of his breaking out into verse. He had a
remarkably delicate white skin, which was once the cause of great
punishment to him. His dame had undertaken to cure him of the itch,
with which the boys of his ward had suffered much; but Coleridge was
doomed to suffer more than his comrades, from the use of sulphur
ointment, through the great sagacity of his dame, who with her
extraordinary eyes, aided by the power of glasses, could see the
malady in the skin, deep and out of power of common vision; and
consequently, as often as she employed this miraculous sight, she
found, or thought she found, fresh reason for continuing the friction,
to the prolonged suffering and mortification of her patient. This
occurred when he was about ten years of age, and gave rise to his
first attempt at making a verse, as follows:

    "O Lord, have mercy on me!
    For I am very sad!
    For why, good Lord? I've got the itch,
    And eke I've got the _tad_!"

the school name for ringworm.

In classical study Coleridge made wonderful progress, though but
little in mathematics. He read on through the catalogue, folios and
all, of the library in King-street, and was always in a low fever of
excitement. His whole being was, he says, with eyes closed to every
object of present sense, to crumple himself up in a sunny comer, and
read, read, read; fancying himself on Robinson Crusoe's island,
finding a mountain of plum-cake and eating a room for himself, and
then eating out chairs and tables--hunger and fancy!

So little affection had Coleridge for the school, that he greatly
wanted, at fifteen, to put himself apprentice to a shoemaker. It was
of the same class of odd attempts as his future one at soldiering.

"Near the school there resided a worthy and, in their rank of life, a
respectable middle-aged couple. The husband kept a little shop and was
a shoemaker, with whom Coleridge had become intimate. The wife, also,
had been kind and attentive to him, and that was sufficient to
captivate his affectionate nature, which had existed from earliest
childhood, and strongly endeared him to all around him. Coleridge
became exceedingly desirous of being apprenticed to this man, to learn
the art of shoemaking; and in due time, when some of the boys were old
enough to leave the school and be put to trade, Coleridge, being of
the number, tutored his friend Crispin how to apply to the head
master, and not to heed his anger, should he become irate.
Accordingly, Crispin applied at the hour proposed to see Bowyer, who,
having heard the proposal to take Coleridge as an apprentice, and
Coleridge's answer and assent to become a shoemaker, broke forth with
his favorite adjuration:--'Ods my life, man, what d'ye mean?' At the
sound of his angry voice Crispin stood motionless, till the angry
pedagogue, becoming infuriate, pushed the intruder out of the room
with such force that Crispin might have sustained an action at law
against him for the assault. Thus, to Coleridge's mortification and
regret, as he afterward in joke would say, 'I lost the opportunity of
supplying safeguards to the understandings of those who, perhaps, will
never thank me for what I am aiming to do in exercising their
reason.'"

Disappointed in becoming a shoemaker, he was next on fire to become a
surgeon. His brother Luke was now in London, walking the London
hospitals. Here, every Saturday, he got leave and went, delighted
beyond every thing if he were permitted to hold the plasters, or
attend dressings. He now plunged headlong into books of medicine,
Latin, Greek, or English; devoured whole medical dictionaries; then
fell from physic to metaphysics; thence to the writings of infidels;
fell in love, like all embryo poets, and wrote verse. He was, however,
destined neither to make shoes nor set bones, but for the university;
whither he went in 1791, at the age of nineteen, being elected to
Jesus College, Cambridge.

Here his friend Middleton, afterward Bishop of Calcutta, who had been
his most distinguished schoolfellow at Christ's Hospital, had preceded
him, and was an under-graduate at Pembroke College. Their friendship
was revived, and Coleridge used to go to Pembroke College sometimes to
read with him. One day he found Middleton intent on his book, having
on a long pair of boots reaching to the knees, and beside him, on a
chair next to the one he was sitting on, a pistol. Coleridge had
scarcely sat down before he was startled by the report of the pistol.
"Did you see that?" said Middleton, "See what?" said Coleridge. "That
rat I just sent into its hole again. Did you feel the shot? It was to
defend my legs that I put on these boots. I am frightening these rats
from my books, which, without some precaution, I shall have devoured."
Middleton, notwithstanding his hard studies, failed in his contest for
the classical medal, and so in his hopes of a fellowship--a good thing
eventually for him, for it drove him out of college into the world and
a bishopric.

Coleridge came to the university with a high character for talent and
learning; and the Blues, as they are called, or Christ's Hospital
boys, anticipated his doing great honor to their body. This he
eventually did by his poetical fame, and might have done by his
college honors, had he but been as well versed in mathematics as in
the classics. In his first year he contested for the prize for the
Greek ode, and won it. In his second year he stood for the Craven
scholarship, and, of sixteen or eighteen competitors, four were
selected to contend for the prize; these were Dr. Butler, late Bishop
of Lichfield; Dr. Keate, the late head master of Eton; Mr. Bethell,
and Coleridge. Dr. Butler was the successful candidate, and Coleridge
was supposed to stand next. But college honors were contingent on a
good mathematical stand; this Coleridge, who hated mathematics,
despaired of, and determined to quit the university. He was, moreover,
harassed with debts, the most serious of which, it seems, was incurred
immediately on his arrival at Cambridge. He was no sooner at his
college, than a polite upholsterer accosted him, requesting to be
permitted to furnish his rooms. The next question was, "How would you
like to have them furnished?" The answer, prompt and innocent enough,
was, "Just as you please, sir"--thinking the individual employed by
the college. The rooms, were, therefore, furnished according to the
taste of the artisan, and the bill presented to the astonished
Coleridge. On quitting the college, it seems that his debts were about
one hundred pounds--no great matter, but to him as overwhelming as if
they had been a thousand. Cottle, in his account of him, says he had
fallen in love, as well as into debt, with a Mary G----, who rejected
his offer. He made his way to London, and there, of all things in the
world, enlisted for a soldier. The story is very curious, and as
related, both by Cottle and Gillman, who were intimate with him at
different periods of his life, is no doubt true.

In a state of great dejection of mind, he strolled about the streets
of London till night came on, when he seated himself on the steps of a
house in Chancery-lane, speculating on the future. In this situation,
overwhelmed with his own painful thoughts, and in misery himself, he
had now to contend with the misery of others; for he was accosted by
various kinds of beggars importuning him for money, and forcing on him
their real or pretended sorrows. To these applicants he emptied his
pockets of his remaining cash. Walking along Chancery-lane, he noticed
a bill posted on the wall--"Wanted, a few smart lads for the 15th
Elliott's Light Dragoons:" he paused a moment, and said to himself,
"Well, I have had all my life a violent antipathy to soldiers and
horses; the sooner I cure myself of these absurd prejudices the
better; and so I will enlist in this regiment." Forthwith, he went as
directed to the place of enlistment. On his arrival, he was accosted
by an old sergeant, with a remarkably benevolent countenance, to whom
he stated his wish. The old man, looking at him attentively, asked him
if he had been in bed? On being answered in the negative, he desired
him to take his, made him breakfast, and bade him rest himself awhile,
which he did. This feeling sergeant, finding him refreshed in his
body, but still suffering apparently from melancholy, in kind words
begged him to be of good cheer, and consider well the step he was
about to take; gave him half-a-guinea, which he was to repay at his
convenience, desiring him, at the same time, to go to the play, and
shake off his melancholy, and not to return to him. The first part of
the advice Coleridge attended to; but returned, after the play, to the
quarters he had left. At the sight of him, this kind-hearted man burst
into tears. "Then it must be so," said he. This sudden and unexpected
sympathy from an entire stranger deeply affected Coleridge, and nearly
shook his resolution; but still considering that he could not in honor
even to the sergeant retreat, he kept his secret, and, after a short
chat, they retired to rest. In the morning the sergeant mustered his
recruits, and Coleridge, with his new comrades, was marched to
Reading. On his arrival at the quarters of the regiment, the general
of the district inspected the recruits, and looking hard at Coleridge,
with a military air, "What's your name, sir?" He had previously
determined to give one thoroughly Kamtschatkan; but having observed
one somewhere, over a door, Cumberbatch, he thought this sufficiently
outlandish, and therefore gave it with a slight alteration, which
implied a joke on himself as a horseman, Silas Tomken Comberbacke, as
thus it is spelled in the books at the War-office. "What do you come
here for?" said the officer, as if doubting that he had any business
there. "Sir," said Coleridge, "for what most other persons come, to be
made a soldier." "Do you think," said the general, "you can run a
Frenchman through the body?" "I don't know," replied Coleridge, "as I
never tried; but I'll let a Frenchman run me through before I'll run
away." "That will do," said the general, and Coleridge was turned into
the ranks.

Here, in his new capacity, laborious duties devolved on Mr. Coleridge.
He endeavored to think on Cæsar, Epaminondas, and Leonidas, with other
ancient heroes, and composed himself to his fate, remembering that in
every service there must be a commencement; but still he found
confronting him no imaginary difficulties. Perhaps he who had most
cause of dissatisfaction was the drill-sergeant, who thought his
professional character endangered; for, after using his utmost efforts
to bring his raw recruit into any thing like a training, he expressed
the most serious fears, from his unconquerable awkwardness, that he
never should be able to make _a proper soldier of him_. It
appears that he never advanced beyond the awkward squad, and that the
drill-sergeant was obliged continually to warn the members of this
squad by vociferously exclaiming--"Take care of that Comberback! take
care of him, for he will ride over you!" and other such complimentary
warnings.

Coleridge, or Cumberbatch, or Comberback, could never manage to rub
down his own horse. The creature, he said, was a vicious one, and
would return kick or bite for all such attempts; but then in justice
to the poor animal, the awkwardness of the attempts should be taken
into the account. Comberback at this time complained of a pain at the
pit of his stomach, accompanied with sickness, which totally prevented
his stooping, and in consequence he could never rub the heels of his
horse at all. He would very quietly have left his horse unrubbed, but
then he got a good rubbing down himself from the drill-sergeant.
Between sergeant and steed he was in a poor case, for when he mounted
his horse, it, like Gilpin's nag,

    "What thing upon its back had got,
      Did wonder more and more."

But the same amiable and benevolent conduct which was so interwoven in
his nature, soon made him friends, and his new comrades vied with each
other in their endeavors to be useful to him. They assisted to clean
his horse, and he amply repaid the obligation by writing all their
letters to their sweethearts and wives. Such an amanuensis we may well
affirm no lucky set of soldiers ever had before. Their lasses and good
wives must have wondered at the new burst of affectionate eloquence in
the regiment.

Poor Comberback's skill in horsemanship did not progress. He was
always encountering accidents and troubles. So little did he often
calculate for a due equilibrium, that in mounting on one side
perhaps--the wrong stirrup--the probability was, especially if his
horse moved, that he lost his balance, and if he did not roll back on
this side, came down ponderously on the other! The men, spite of their
liking for him, would burst into a laugh, and say to one another,
"Silas is off again!" Silas had often heard of campaigns, but he never
before had so correct an idea of hard service.

From his inability to learn his exercise, the men considered him a
sort of natural, though of a peculiar kind--a talking natural. This
fancy he stoutly resisted, but no matter--what was it that he could do
cleverly?--therefore a natural he must be.

But now came a change. He had been placed as a sentinel at the door of
a ball-room, or some public place of resort, when two of his officers
passing in, stopped for a moment near Coleridge talking about
Euripides, two lines being quoted by one of them as from that poet. At
the sound of Greek the sentinel instinctively turned his ear, when,
with all deference, touching his cap, he said, "I hope your honor will
excuse me, but the lines you have repeated are not quite accurately
cited. These are the lines;" which he gave in their true form.
"Beside," said Comberback, "instead of being in Euripides they will be
found in the second antistrophe of the OEdipus of Sophocles." "Why,
who the d---l are you?" said the officer, "old Faustus ground young
again?"--"I am only your honor's humble sentinel," said Coleridge,
again touching his cap.

The officers hastened into the room, and inquired about that "odd
fish" at the door; when one of the mess, the surgeon, it is believed,
told them that he had had his eye upon him, but he could neither tell
where he came from, nor any thing about his family of the Comberbacks.
"But," continued he, "instead of an 'odd fish,' I suspect him to be a
'stray bird' from the Oxford or Cambridge aviary." They learned also
the laughable fact that he was bruised all over by frequent falls from
his horse. The officers kindly took pity on the poor scholar, and had
him removed to the medical department, where he was appointed
"assistant" in the regimental hospital. This change was a vast
improvement in Mr. Coleridge's condition; and happy was the day also
on which it took place, for the sake of the sick patients; for Silas
Tomken Comberback's amusing stories, they said, did them more good
than all the doctor's physic. If he began talking to one or two of his
comrades,--for they were all on a perfect equality, except that those
who were clever in their exercise lifted their heads a little above
the awkward squad, of which Comberback was, by acclamation, the
preëminent member,--if he began to talk, however, to one or two,
others drew near, increasing momently, till by and by the sick beds
were deserted, and Comberback formed the center of a large circle.
Many ludicrous dialogues occurred between Coleridge and his new
disciples, particularly with the "geographer."

On one occasion he told them of the Peloponnesian war, which lasted
twenty-seven years. "There must have been famous promotions there,"
said one poor fellow, haggard as a death's head. Another, tottering
with disease, ejaculated, "Can you tell, Silas, how many rose from the
ranks?"

He now still more excited their wonderment by recapitulating the feats
of Archimedes. As the narrative proceeded, one restrained his
skepticism till he was almost ready to burst, and then vociferated,
"Silas, that's a lie!" "D'ye think so?" said Coleridge, smiling, and
went on with his story. The idea, however, got among them that Silas's
fancy was on the stretch, when Coleridge, finding that this would not
do, changed his subject, and told them of a famous general called
Alexander the Great. As by a magic spell, the flagging attention was
revived, and several, at the same moment, to testify their eagerness,
called out, "The general! the general!" "I'll tell you all about him,"
said Coleridge, and impatience marked every countenance. He then told
them who was the father of this Alexander the Great--no other than
Philip of Macedon. "I never heard of him," said one. "I think I have,"
said another, ashamed of being thought ignorant. "Silas, wasn't he a
Cornish man? I knew one of the Alexanders at Truro."

Coleridge now went on, describing to them, in glowing colors, the
valor, the wars, and the conquests of this famous general. "Ah," said
one man, whose open mouth had complimented the speaker for the
preceding half-hour, "Ah," said he, "Silas, this Alexander must have
been as great a man as our colonel!" Coleridge now told them of the
"Retreat of the Ten Thousand." "I don't like to hear of retreat," said
one. "Nor I," said a second; "I'm for marching on." Coleridge now told
of the incessant conflicts of those brave warriors, and of the virtues
of "the square." "They were a parcel of crack men," said one. "Yes,"
said another, "their bayonets fixed, and sleeping on their arms day
and night." "I should like to know," said a fourth, "what rations were
given with all that hard fighting;" on which an Irishman replied, "To
be sure, every time the sun rose, two pounds of good ox beef, and
plenty of whisky."

At another time he told them of the invasion of Xerxes, and his
crossing the _wide_ Hellespont. "Ah!" said a young recruit, a
native of an obscure village in Kent, who had acquired a decent
smattering of geography, knowing well that the earth went round, was
divided into land and water, and that there were more countries on the
globe than England, and who now wished to show off a little before his
comrades--"Silas, I know where that 'Hellspont' is. I think it must be
the mouth of the Thames, for _'tis_ very wide."

Coleridge now told them of the heroes of Thermopylæ; when the
geographer interrupted him by saying, "Silas, I know, too where that
there Moppily is, it's somewhere up in the north." "You are quite
right, Jack," said Coleridge, "it is to the north of the line." A
conscious elevation marked his countenance; and he rose at once five
degrees in the estimation of his friends.

But the days of Comberback were drawing to an end. An officer,
supposed to be Captain Nathaniel Ogle, who sold out of that regiment
toward the end of the same year that Coleridge left it, had, it is
said, had his attention drawn toward this singular private, by finding
the following sentence written on the walls of the stable where
Comberback's horse equipage hung: "_Eheu! quam infortunii miserrimum
est fuisse felicem!_" He showed him particular distinction. When
Captain Ogle walked the streets, Coleridge walked behind him as his
orderly; but when out of town, they walked abreast, to the great
mystification of his comrades, who could not comprehend how a man out
of the awkward squad could merit this honor. It was probably Ogle who
wormed the secret out of Coleridge, and informed his friends where he
was. It has, however, been said to have been through a young man, who
had lately left Cambridge for the army, and, on his road through
Reading to join his regiment, met Coleridge in the street, in his
dragoon's dress, who was about to pass him; on which he said, "No,
Coleridge, this will not do; we have been seeking you this six months.
I must and will converse with you, and have no hesitation in declaring
that I shall immediately inform your friends that I have found you."

Whether owing to one or both of these causes, but as Comberback was
sitting as usual at the foot of a bed, in the hospital, in the midst
of one of his talks, and surrounded by his usual gaping auditors, the
door suddenly opened, and in came two or three gentlemen, his friends,
looking in vain some time for their man, amid the uniform dresses. At
length they pitched on their man, and taking him by the arm, led him
in silence out of the room. As the supposed _deserter_ passed the
door, one of the astonished auditors uttered, with a sigh--"Poor
Silas! I wish they may let him off with a cool five hundred!"

Comberback was no more! but his memory was long and affectionately
preserved among his hospital companions, one of whom he had
volunteered to attend during a most malignant attack of small-pox,
when all others deserted him, and had waited on him, and watched him
for six weeks. To prevent contagion, the patient and his noble-hearted
nurse, and eventual savior, were put into an out-house, where
Coleridge continued all that time, night and day, administering
medicine, guarding him from himself during violent delirium, and when
again capable of listening, sitting by his bed, and reading to him. In
the annals of humanity, that act must stand as one of the truest
heroism.

Connected with this singular passage in Coleridge's life, an old
friend of his told Cottle this anecdote. The inspecting officer of his
regiment, on one occasion, was examining the guns of the men; and
coming to one piece which was rusty, he called out in an authoritative
tone, "Whose rusty gun is this?"--"Is it _very_ rusty, sir?" asked
Coleridge. "Yes, Comberbatch, it is," said the officer, sternly.
"Then, sir," replied Coleridge, "it must be mine!" The oddity of the
reply disarmed the officer, and the "poor scholar" escaped without
punishment.

There are various anecdotes abroad, at once illustrative of
Coleridge's queer horsemanship and happy knack at repartee, of which a
specimen or two may be given here, before we dismiss him as a trooper.

His awkwardness on horseback was so marked that it attracted general
notice. Once riding along the turnpike-road in the county of Durham, a
wag approaching him, noticed his peculiarity, and thought the rider
a fine subject for a little fun. Drawing near, he thus accosted
Coleridge, "I say, young man, did you meet a _tailor_ on the road?"
"Yes," replied Coleridge, "I did, and he told me if I went a little
farther I should meet a _goose_." The goose trotted on, quite
satisfied with what he had got.

Coleridge is represented as being at this time on his way to a
neighboring race-course. That a farmer at whose house he was staying,
knowing his sorry horsemanship, had put him on the least and poorest
animal he had, with old saddle and bridle and rusty stirrups. On this
Rosinante, Coleridge went in a black dress coat, with black breeches,
black silk stockings and shoes. Two other friends, as better horsemen,
were intrusted with better steeds, and soon left him on the road. At
length, reaching the race-ground, and thrusting his way through the
crowd, he arrived at the spot of attraction to which all were
hastening. Here he confronted a barouche and four, filled with smart
ladies and attendant gentlemen. In it was also seated a baronet of
sporting celebrity, steward of the course, and member of the House of
Commons; well known as having been bought and sold in several
parliaments. The baronet eyed the figure of Coleridge, as he slowly
passed the door of the barouche, and thus accosted him: "A pretty
piece of blood, sir, you have there."--"Yes!" answered
Coleridge.--"Rare paces, I have no doubt, sir!"--"Yes," answered
Coleridge, "he brought me here a matter of four miles an hour." He was
at no loss to perceive the honorable baronet's drift, who wished to
show off before the ladies: so he quietly waited the opportunity of a
suitable reply. "What a free hand he has!" continued Nimrod; "how
finely he carries his tail! Bridle and saddle well suited, and
appropriately appointed!"--"Yes!" said Coleridge.--"Will you sell
him?" asked the sporting baronet.--"Yes," was the answer, "if I can
have my price."--"Name your price, then, putting the rider into the
bargain!"--"My price," replied Coleridge, "for _the horse_, sir,
if I sell him, is _one hundred_ guineas; as to the _rider_,
never having been in parliament, and never intending to go, _his_
price is not yet fixed." The baronet sat down more suddenly than he
had risen--the ladies began to titter--while Coleridge quietly now
moved on.

Coleridge returned to Cambridge, but only for a very short time. The
French Revolution, in its early promise, had raised the spirit of
enthusiasm for liberty in the bosom of all generous-natured young men.
This had brought together Coleridge, Southey, and others of the like
temperament. Coleridge now went to visit Southey, at Oxford, where
they hit upon the Pantisocracy scheme, an offshoot from the root of
Rousseau's visions of primitive life. Coleridge is said first to have
broached it, and that it was eagerly adopted by Southey, and a college
friend of his, George Burnet. These young men, soon after, set off to
Bristol, Southey's native place, where they were soon joined by
Coleridge. Here Southey, Coleridge, and Burnet occupied the same
lodging; Robert Lovell, a young Quaker, had adopted this scheme, and
they all concluded to embark for America, where, on the banks of the
Susquehannah, they were to found their colony of peace and perfection,
to follow their own ploughs, harvest their own corn, and show forth to
the world the union of a patriarchal life of labor, with the highest
exercise of intellect and virtue. Luckily for them, the mainspring was
wanting. Without the root of all evil, they could not rear this tree
of all good fruits. They were obliged to borrow cash of Cottle even to
pay for their lodgings; and the shrewd bookseller, while he listened
to their animated descriptions of their future transatlantic Eden,
chuckled to himself on the impossibility of their ever carrying it
out. The dream gradually came to an end. Lovell died unexpectedly,
being carried off by a fever, brought on through a cold, caught on a
journey to Salisbury. Symptoms of jarring had shown themselves among
the friends, which were rather ominous for the permanence of a
pantisocracy. Coleridge had quarreled with Lovell before he died,
because Lovell, who was married to a Miss Fricker, opposed Coleridge's
marriage with her sister till he had better prospects. Coleridge and
Southey quarreled about the pantisocracy afterward. The most important
results to Southey and Coleridge of this pantisocratic coalition were,
that they eventually married the two sisters of Lovell's wife. Both
these young poets, with their minds now fermenting with new schemes of
politics and doctrines of religion, commenced at Bristol as lecturers
and authors. The profits of the lectures were to pay for the voyage to
America; they did not even pay the rent. Coleridge lectured on the
English Rebellion and Charles I., the French Revolution, and on
Religion and Philosophy; Southey, on General History: both displaying
their peculiar talents and characters--Coleridge all imagination,
absence of mind, and impracticability; Southey, with less genius, but
more order, prudence, and worldly tact. Both of those remarkable men
began by proclaiming the most ultra-liberalism in politics and
theology--both came gradually back to the opinions which early
associations and education had riveted on them unknown to themselves,
but with very different degrees of rapidity, and finally with a very
different tone. Coleridge ran through infidelity, unitarianism, the
philosophy of Berkeley, Spinoza, Hartley, and Kant; and came back
finally to good old Church-of-Englandism, but full of love and
tolerance. Southey, more prudent, and notoriously timid, was at once
startled by the horrors of the French committed in the name of
liberty; saw that the way of worldly prosperity was closed for life to
him who was not orthodox, and became at once orthodox. But the
consciousness of that sudden change hung forever upon him. He knew
that reproach would always pursue the suspicious reconversion, and on
that consciousness grew bitterness and intolerance. Coleridge, having
wandered through all opinions himself, was afraid to condemn too
harshly those who differed from him. He contented himself with loving
God, and preaching the true principles of Christianity.

    "He prayeth best who _loveth_ best
    Both man and beast, both great and small;
    For the great God who loveth us
    He made and loveth all."

Southey, on the contrary, stalked into the fearful regions of bigotry,
assumed in imagination the throne and thunder-bolts of Deity, and

    "Dealt damnation round the land
    On all he deemed his foes."

But this was the worst view of Southey's character. He had that lower
class of virtues which Coleridge had not, and out of his prudence and
timidity sprung that worldly substance which Coleridge was never
likely to acquire, and by which he kindly made up for some of
Coleridge's deficiencies. Coleridge could not provide properly for his
family; Southey helped to provide for them, and invited Coleridge's
wife and daughter to his house, where for many years they had a home.
In all domestic relations, Southey was admirable; he failed only in
those which would have given him a name, perhaps, little short of
Milton for glorious patriotism, had he proceeded to the end as he
began.

Of the literary life of Southey, Coleridge, and Wordsworth, who soon
after joined them in the west, I have yet to speak. We must now follow
Coleridge.

The circumstances which had brought Coleridge to Bristol, though they
did not end in pantisocracy, ended in marriage, which for some years
fixed him in that part of the country. Cottle, who, a poet of some
merit himself, saw the great talent of these young men, offered
Southey fifty guineas for his Joan of Arc, and became its publisher.
He also offered Coleridge thirty guineas for a volume of poems, the
cash to be advanced when he pleased from time to time. On this slender
foundation, Coleridge began the world. He took a cottage at Clevedon,
some miles from Bristol, and thither he took his bride. It appears
truly to have been the poetic idea--love in a cottage, for there was
love and little more. Cottle says it had walls, and doors, and
windows, but as for furniture, only such as became a philosopher. This
was not enough even for poetic lovers. Two days after the wedding, the
poet wrote to Cottle to send him the following unpoetical, but very
essential articles:--"A riddle-slice; a candle-box; two ventilators;
two glasses for the wash-hand stand; one tin dust-pan; one small tin
tea-kettle; one pair of candlesticks; one carpet brush; one
flour-dredge; three tin extinguishers; two mats; a pair of slippers; a
cheese-toaster, two large tin spoons; a Bible; a keg of porter;
coffee, raisins, currants, catsup, nutmegs, allspice, rice, ginger,
and mace."

So Coleridge began the world. Cottle, having sent these articles,
hastened after them to congratulate the young couple. This is his
account of their residence. "The situation of the cottage was
peculiarly eligible. It was in the extremity, not in the center of the
village. It had the benefit of being but one story high; and, as the
rent was only five pounds per annum, and the taxes naught, Mr.
Coleridge had the satisfaction of knowing that, by fairly mounting his
Pegasus, he could make as many verses in a week as would pay his rent
for a year. There was also a small garden, with several pretty
flowers, and the 'tallest tree-rose' did not fail to be pointed out,
which 'peeped at the chamber window,' and has been honored with some
beautiful lines."

The cottage is there yet in its garden; but Coleridge did not long
inhabit it. He soon found that even Clevedon was too far out of the
world for books and intellect; and returning to Bristol, took lodgings
on Redcliff-hill. From this abode he soon again departed, being
invited by his friend, Mr. Thomas Poole, of Nether Stowey, to visit
him there. During this visit, he wrote some of his first volume of
poems, including the Religious Musings; he then returned to Bristol,
and started the idea of his Watchman, and made that journey through
the principal manufacturing towns, to obtain subscribers for it, which
he so amusingly describes in his Biographia Literaria. This was a
failure; but about this time, Charles Lloyd, the eldest son of Charles
Lloyd, the banker, of Birmingham, whom Byron has commemorated in the
alliterative line of

    "-- -- -- --Lovell, Lamb, and Lloyd,"

was smitten with the admiration of Coleridge's genius, and offered to
come and reside with him. He therefore took a larger house on
Kingsdown, where Lloyd was his inmate. Mr. Poole, of Stowey, however,
was not easy to be without the society of Coleridge; he sent him word
that there was a nice cottage there at liberty, of only seven pounds
per annum rent, and pressed him to come and fix there. Thither
Coleridge went, Lloyd also agreeing to accompany them. Unfortunately,
Lloyd had the germs of insanity, as well as poetry, in him. He was
subject to fits, which agitated and alarmed Coleridge. They eventually
disagreed, and Lloyd left, but was afterward reconciled, well
perceiving that his morbid nervousness had had much to do with the
difference.

This place became for two years Coleridge's home. Here he wrote some
of his most beautiful poetry. "The manhood of Coleridge's true
poetical life," has been observed by a cotemporary, "was in the year
1797." He was yet only twenty-five years of age; but his poetical
faculty had now acquired a wide grasp and a deep power. Here he wrote
his tragedy of Remorse, Christabelle, the Dark Ladie, the Ancient
Mariner, which was published in the Lyrical Ballads jointly with
Wordsworth's first poems, his ode on the Departing Year, and his Fears
in Solitude. These works are at once imbued with the highest spirit of
his poetry, and the noblest sentiments of humanity. Here he was
visited by Charles Lamb, Charles Lloyd, Southey, Hazlitt, De Quincy,
who had previously presented him generously with £300; the two great
potters, the Wedgwoods, and other eminent men. Wordsworth lived near
him at Allfoxden, and was in almost daily intercourse with him. The
foot of Quantock was to Coleridge, says one of his biographers, a
memorable spot. Here his studies were serious and deep. They were
directed not only to poetry, but into the great bulk of theological
philosophy. Here, with his friend, Thomas Poole, a man sympathizing in
all his tastes, and with Wordsworth, he roamed over the Quantock
hills, drinking in at every step new knowledge and impressions of
nature. In his Biographia Literaria, he says, "My walks were almost
daily on the top of Quantock, and among its sloping coombs." He had
got an idea of writing a poem, called THE BROOK, tracing a
stream which he had found, from its source, in the hills, among the
yellow-red moss, and conical glass-shaped tufts of bent, to the first
break, or fall, where its drops become audible, and it begins to form
a channel; thence to the peat and turf barn, itself built of the same
dark masses as it sheltered; to the sheepfold; to the first cultivated
spot of ground; to the lonely cottage, and its bleak garden won from
the heath; to the hamlets, the market-towns, the manufactories, and
the sea-port. It will be seen, that this was not _quite_ on so
fine a scale as Childe Harold, and that Wordsworth has carried out the
idea, in the Sonnets on the river Duddon, not quite so amply as the
original idea itself. He says, when strolling alone, he was always
with book, paper, and pencil in hand, making studies from nature,
whence his striking and accurate transcripts of such things. It will
be noticed, in the article on Wordsworth, that these rambles, in the
ignorant minds of the country people, converted him and Coleridge into
suspicious characters. Coleridge was so open and simple, that they
said, "As to Coleridge, he is a whirlbrain, that talks whatever comes
uppermost; but that Wordsworth! he is a _dark_ traitor. You never
hear _him_ say a syllable on the subject!"

Coleridge himself, in his Biographia Literaria, tells us, that a
certain baronet, in the neighborhood, got government to send down a
spy to watch them. That this spy was a very honest fellow, for a
wonder. That he heard them, he said, at first, talking a deal of
_Spy Nosey_ (Spinosa), and thought they were up to him, as his
nose was none of the smallest; but he soon found that it was all about
books. Coleridge also gives the amusing dialogue between the innkeeper
and the baronet, the innkeeper having been ordered to entertain the
spy, but, like the spy, soon found that the strange gentlemen were
only _poets_, and going to put Quantock into verse.

Many are the testimonies of attachment to this neighborhood, and the
wild Quantock hills, to be found in the poems of Coleridge; and in the
third book of the Excursion, Wordsworth describes the Quantock, and
their rambles, with all the gusto of a fond memory. First, we have a
peep at his own abode. We are conveyed--

    "To a low cottage in a sunny bay,
    Where the salt sea innocuously breaks,
    And the sea breeze as innocently breathes
    On Devon's leafy shores; a sheltered hold
    In a soft clime, encouraging the soil
    To a luxuriant bounty. As our steps
    Approach the embowered abode--our chosen seat
    See rooted in the earth, her kindly bed
    The unendangered myrtle, decked with flowers,
    Before the threshold stands to welcome us!
    While, in the flowering myrtle's neighborhood,
    Not overlooked, but courting no regard,
    Those native plants, the holly and the yew.
    Give modest intimation to the mind
    How willingly their aid they would unite
    With the green myrtle, to endear the hours
    Of winter, and protect that pleasant place."

This, though placed in Devon instead of Somerset, accurately describes
Wordsworth's pleasant nook there; but the Quantock walks are more
strikingly like.

    "Wild were the walks upon those lonely downs,
    Track leading into track, how marked, how worn,
    Into light verdure, between fern and gorse.
    Winding away its never ending line
    On their smooth surface, evidence was none;
    But, there, lay open to our daily haunt,
    A range of unappropriated earth,
    Where youth's ambitious feet might move at large;
    Whence, unmolested wanderers, we beheld
    The shining giver of the day diffuse
    His brightness o'er a track of sea and land
    Gay as our spirits, free as our desires,
    As our enjoyments boundless. From those heights
    We dropped at pleasure into sylvan coombs,
    Where arbors of impenetrable shade,
    And mossy seats detained us side by side,
    With hearts at ease, and knowledge in our breasts
    That all the grove and all the day was ours."

In Coleridge's poem of Fears in Solitude, a noble-hearted poem, these
hills, and one of these very dells, are described with equal graphic
truth and affection.

    "A green and silent spot amid the hills,
    A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
    No singing skylark ever poised himself;
    The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope,
    Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on,
    All golden with the never bloomless furz
    Which now blooms most profusely; but the dell
    Bathed by the mist is fresh and delicate
    As vernal cornfields, or the unripe flax,
    When through its half-transparent stalks at eve
    The level sunshine glimmers with green light.
    Oh! 'tis a quiet, spirit-healing nook!
    Which all, methinks, would love: but chiefly he,
    The humble man, who, in his youthful years,
    Knew just so much of folly as had made
    His early manhood more securely wise!
    Here might he lie on fern or withered heath,
    While from the singing lark, that sings unseen
    The minstrelsy that solitude loves best,
    And from the sun and from the breezy air,
    Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame;
    And he with many feelings, many thoughts,
    Made up a meditative joy, and found
    Religious musings in the forms of nature!
    And so his senses gradually wrapped
    In a half-sleep, he dreams of better worlds,
    And dreaming hears thee still, O singing lark,
    That singest like an angel in the clouds."

Here, buried in summer beauty from the world, in this green and
delicious oratory, he lay and poured out those finely human thoughts
on war and patriotism, which enrich this poem; which closes with a
descriptive view of these hills, the wide prospects from them, and of
little quiet Stowey lying at their feet.

    "But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad
    The fruit-like perfume of the golden furz;
    The light has left the summit of the hill;
    Though still a sunny gleam lies beautiful
    Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell,
    Farewell, awhile, O soft and silent spot!
    On the green sheep-track, up the heathy hill,
    Homeward I wend my way; and lo! recalled
    From bodings that have well nigh wearied me,
    I find myself upon the brow, and pause
    Startled! And after lonely sojourning
    In such a quiet and surrounded nook,
    This burst of prospect,--here the shadowy main,
    Dim-tinted, there the mighty majesty
    Of that huge amphitheater of rich
    And dewy fields, seems like society
    Conversing with the mind, and giving it
    A livelier impulse and a dance of thought!
    And now, beloved Stowey! I behold
    Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge elms
    Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend;
    And close behind them, hidden from my view,
    Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe,
    And my babe's mother, dwell in peace! With light
    And quickened footsteps thitherward I tend
    Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!
    And grateful that, by nature's quietness
    And solitary musings, all my heart
    Is softened, and made worthy to indulge
    Love, and the thoughts that yearn for all mankind."

Stowey, like all other places where remarkable men have lived, even
but a few years ago, impresses us with a melancholy sense of rapid
change, of the swift flight of human life. There is the little town,
there ascend beyond it the green slopes and airy range of the Quantock
hills, scattered with masses of woodland, which give a feeling of deep
solitude. But where is the poet, who used here to live, and there to
wander and think? Where is his friend Poole? All are gone, and village
and country are again resigned to the use of simple and little-informed
people, who take poets for spies and dark traitors. The little town is
vastly like a continental one. It consists of one street, which at
an old market-cross diverges into two others, exactly forming an
old-fashioned letter Y. The houses are, like continental ones, white,
and down the street rolls a little full stream, quite in the fashion
of a foreign village, with broad flags laid across to get at the
houses. It stands in a particularly agreeable, rich, and well wooded
country, with the range of the Quantock hills, at some half-mile
distance, and from them a fine view of the sea and the Welsh coast, on
the other side of the Bristol Channel.

The house in which Thomas Poole used to live, and where Coleridge and
his friend had a second home, is about the center of the village. It
is a large, old-fashioned house, with pleasant garden, and ample
farmyard, with paddocks behind. It is now inhabited by a medical man
and his sister, who do all honor to the memory of Coleridge, and very
courteously allow you to see the house. The lady obligingly took me
round the garden, and pointed out to me the windows of the room
overlooking it, where so many remarkable men used to assemble.

Mr. Poole, who was a bachelor and a magistrate, died a few years ago,
leaving behind him the character of an upright man, and a genuine
friend to the poor. On his monument in the church is inscribed, that
he was the friend of Coleridge and Southey.

The cottage inhabited by Coleridge is the last on the left hand going
out toward Allfoxden. It is now, according to the very common and odd
fate of poets' cottages, a Tom and Jerry shop. Moore's native abode
is a whisky-shop; Burns's native cottage is a little public-house;
Shelley's house at Great Marlowe is a beer-shop; it is said that a
public-house has been built on the spot where Scott was born, since
I was in that city; Coleridge's house here is a beer-shop. Its rent
was but seven pounds a-year, and it could not be expected to be
very superb. It stands close to the road, and has nothing now to
distinguish it from any other ordinary pot-house. Where Coleridge sat
penning the Ode to the Nightingale, with its

                      "Jug, jug, jug,
    And that low note more sweet than all;"

which the printer, by a very natural association, but to his infinite
consternation, converted into

                      "Jug, jug, jug,
    And that low note more sweet than ale;"

sat, when I entered, a number of country fellows, and thought their
ale more sweet than any poet's or nightingale's low notes. Behind the
house, however, there were traces of the past pleasantness, two good,
large gardens, and the old orchard where Coleridge sat on the
apple-tree, "crooked earthward;" and while Charles Lamb and his sister
went to ascend the hills and gaze on the sea, himself detained by an
accident, wrote his beautiful lines, "This Lime-tree Bower, my
prison," including this magnificent picture:--

                      "Yes, they wander on
    In gladness all: but thee, methinks, most glad,
    My gentle-hearted Charles! for thou hast pined
    And hungered after nature, many a year;
    In the great city pent, winning thy way,
    With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain,
    And strange calamity! Ah! slowly sink
    Behind the western ridge, thou glorious sun!
    Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb,
    Ye purple heath flowers! richlier beam, ye clouds!
    Live in the yellow light, ye distant groves!
    And kindle, thou blue ocean! So my friend,
    Struck with deep joy, may stand as I have stood,
    Silent with swimming sense: yea, gazing round
    On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem
    Less gross than bodily; and of such hues
    As veil the Almighty Spirit when yet he makes
    Spirits perceive his presence."

The woman in the house,--her husband was out in the fields,--and her
sister, had neither of them heard of such a thing as a poet. When I
asked leave to see the house and garden, on account of a gentleman who
had once lived there, "Yes," said the landlady, quite a young woman,
"a gentleman called one day, some time ago, and said he wished to
drink a glass of ale in this house, because a great man had lived in
it."

"A great man, did he say? Why, he was a poet."

"A poet, sir! what is that?"

"Don't you know what a poet is?"

"No, sir."

"But you know what a ballad singer is?"

"Oh, yes; to be sure."

"Well, a poet makes ballads and songs, and things of that kind."

"Oh, lauks-o'me! why the gentleman said it was a great man."

"Well, he was just what I tell you--a poet--a ballad maker, and all
that. Nothing more, I assure you."

"Good lauk-a-me! how could the gentleman say it was a great man! Is it
the same man you mean, think you?"

"Oh! no doubt of it. But let me see your garden."

The sister went to show it me. There were, as I have said, two
gardens, lying high above the house, so that you could see over part
of the town, and, in the other direction, the upland slopes and hills.
Behind the garden was still the orchard, in which Coleridge had so
often mused. Returning toward the house, the remains of a fine
bay-tree caught my attention, amid the ruins of the garden near the
house, now defaced with weeds, and scattered with old tubs and empty
beer barrels.

"That," said I, "was once a fine bay-tree."

"Ay, that was here when we came."

"No doubt of it. That poet planted it, as sure as it is there. That is
just one of those people's tricks. Where they go they are always
planting that tree."

"Good Lord! do they? What odd men they must be!" said the young woman.

Such is the intelligence of the common people of the west, and in many
other parts of England. Is it any wonder that the parents of these
people took Coleridge for a spy, and Wordsworth for a dark traitor?
But these young women were very civil, if not very enlightened. As I
returned through the house, the young landlady, evidently desirous to
enter into further discourse, came smiling up, and said, "It's very
pleasant to see relations addicting to the old place." Not knowing
exactly what she meant, but supposing that she imagined I had come to
see the house because the poet was a relation of mine, I said, "Very;
but I was no relation of the poet's."

"No! and yet you come to see the house; and perhaps you have come a
good way?"

"Yes, from London."

"From London! what, on purpose?"

"Yes, entirely on purpose."

Here the amazement of herself, her sister, and the men drinking, grew
astoundingly. "Ah!" I added, "he was a great man--a very great man--he
was a particular friend of Mr. Poole's."

"Oh, indeed!" said they. "Ay, he must have been a gentleman, then, for
Mr. Poole was a very great man, and a justice."

Having elevated the character of Coleridge from that of a poet into
the friend of a justice of the peace, I considered that I had
vindicated his memory, and took my leave.

In September, 1798, Coleridge quitted Stowey and England, in company
with Wordsworth, for a tour in Germany. His two wealthy friends,
Thomas and Josiah Wedgwood, the great Staffordshire potters, had
settled on him £150 a-year, for life, which, with other slight means,
enabled him to undertake this journey, with Wordsworth and his sister.
The Wedgwoods were Unitarians, and now looked on Coleridge as the
great champion of the cause, for he preached at Taunton and other
places in the chapels of that denomination; and in his journey on
account of the Watchman, had done so in most of the large
manufacturing towns, entering the pulpit in a blue coat and white
waistcoat, that not a rag of the woman of Babylon might be seen on
him. These are his own words, in his Biographia Literaria. Thomas
Wedgwood either died long before Coleridge, and so the annuity died
with him, or he might have withdrawn his moiety when Coleridge ceased
to fulfill his religious hopes: it did, however, cease; but the £75
from Josiah Wedgwood was paid punctually to the day of his death.

From this journey to Germany we may date a great change in the tone of
Coleridge's mind. He became more metaphysical, and a thorough Kantist.
From this period, there can be no doubt, on looking over his poems,
that his poetry suffered from the effects of his philosophy. But to
this journey we owe, also, the able translation of Wallenstein, which
was then a new production--the original being published only on the
eve of Coleridge's return to England, September, 1799, and the
translation appearing in 1800. In Coleridge's own account of this
tour, the description of the ascent of the Brocken is one of the most
living and graphic possible. Having gone over the ground myself, the
whole scene, and feeling of the scene, has never since been revived by
any thing which I have read, in any degree, like the account of
Coleridge. In that, too, is to be found the same story of their rude
treatment at an inn in Hesse, which is given in the article on
Wordsworth.

On Coleridge's return to England, he settled in London for a time, and
brought out his translation of Wallenstein, which was purchased by the
Messrs. Longman, on the condition that the English version, and
Schiller's play in German, should be published simultaneously.
Coleridge now engaged to execute the literary and political department
of the Morning Post, to which Southey, Wordsworth, and Lamb were also
contributors. In this situation he was accused by Mr. Fox, under the
broad appellation of the Morning Post, but with allusion to his
articles, of having broken up the peace of Amiens, and renewing the
war. It was a war, said Fox, produced by the Morning Post. His
strictures on Bonaparte occasioned that tyrant to select him for one
of the objects of his vengeance, and to issue an order for his arrest
when in Italy. Coleridge, on quitting the Morning Post, went to reside
near his friends Southey and Wordsworth. He was much at the houses of
each. In 1801, he regularly took a house at Keswick, thinking, like
his two great friends, to reside there permanently. The house, if not
built for him, was expressly finished for him by a then neighbor, Mr.
Jackson; but it was soon found that the neighborhood of the lakes was
too damp for his rheumatic habit. In 1803, his health was so much
worse, that it was considered necessary for him to seek a warmer
climate; and he accepted an invitation from his friend Mr., and since
Sir John Stoddart, to visit him at Malta, which he accepted. Here he
acted for some time as public secretary of the island. In 1805 he
returned, not much benefited by his sojourn. He came back through
Italy, and at Rome saw Allston, the American painter, and Tieck, the
German poet. It was on this occasion that he was warned of the order
of Bonaparte to arrest him; and hastening to Leghorn with a passport
furnished him by the Pope, was carried out to sea by an American
captain. At sea, however, they were chased by a French vessel, which
so alarmed the American that he compelled Coleridge to throw all his
papers overboard, by which all the fruits of his literary labors in
Rome were lost.

On his return to England he again went to the lakes, but this time was
more with Wordsworth than with Southey. Wordsworth was at this time
living at Grasmere, and we have a humorous account of Coleridge, in
his "Stanzas in my pocket copy of Thomson's Castle of Indolence," as
"the noticeable man with large gray eyes." In another place Wordsworth
has, in one line descriptive of him there, given us one of the most
beautiful portraitures of a poet dreamer,--

    "The brooding poet with the heavenly eyes."

At Grasmere he planned The Friend, Wordsworth and some other of his
friends furnishing a few contributions. From this period till 1816 he
appears to have been fluctuating between the Lakes, London, and the
west of England. In 1807 we find him at Bristol; and then at Stowey
again, at Mr. Poole's. It was at this time that De Quincey sought an
interview with him. He went to Stowey, did not meet with Coleridge,
but stayed two days with Mr. Poole; and describes him and his house
thus:--"A plain-dressed man, in a rustic, old-fashioned house, amply
furnished with modern luxuries, and a good library. Mr. Poole had
traveled extensively, and had so entirely dedicated himself to his
humbler fellow-countrymen, who resided in his neighborhood, that for
many miles round he was the general arbiter of their disputes, the
guide and counselor of their daily life; beside being appointed
executor and guardian to his children by every third man who died in
or about the town of Nether Stowey."

De Quincey followed Coleridge to Bridgewater, and found him thus:--"In
Bridgewater I noticed a gateway, standing under which was a man,
corresponding to the description given me of Coleridge, whom I shall
presently describe. In height he seemed to be five feet eight inches;
in reality he was about an inch and a half taller, though, in the
latter part of life, from a lateral curvature in the spine, he
shortened gradually from two to three inches. His person was broad and
full, and tended even to corpulence; his complexion was fair, though
not what painters technically style fair, because it was associated
with black hair; his eyes were large and soft in their expression; and
it was by a peculiar appearance of haze or dimness which mixed with
their light, that I recognized my object. This was Coleridge. I
examined him steadily for a moment or more, and it struck me that he
neither saw myself, nor any other object in the street. He was in a
deep revery; for I had dismounted, made two or three trifling
arrangements at the inn door, and advanced close to him, before he
seemed apparently conscious of my presence. The sound of my voice
announcing my name first awoke him. He stared, and for a moment seemed
at a loss to understand my purpose, or his own situation, for he
repeated rapidly a number of words which had no relation to either of
us. There was no _mauvaise honte_ in his manner, but simple
perplexity, and an apparent difficulty in recovering his position
among daylight realities. This little scene over, he received me with
a kindness of manner so marked that it might be called gracious."

Mr. De Quincey then tells us that Coleridge was at this moment
domesticated with a most amiable and enlightened family, descendants
of Chubb, the philosophic writer; and that walking out in the evening
with Coleridge, in the streets of Bridgewater, he never saw a man so
much interrupted by the courteous attentions of young and old.

In 1809 we find him again at the Lakes; in 1810 he left them again
with Mr. Basil Montague, and remained some time at his house. In 1811
he was visiting at Hammersmith with Mr. Morgan, a common friend of
himself and Southey, whose acquaintance they had made at Bristol; and
here he delivered a course of lectures on Shakspeare and Milton. While
still residing with Mr. Morgan, his Tragedy of Remorse was brought
upon the stage at Drury-lane, at the instance of Lord Byron, then one
of the managing committee, with admirable success. After this he
retired to the village of Calne, in Wiltshire, with his friend Morgan,
partly to be near Lisle Bowles; where he arranged and published his
Sibylline Leaves, and wrote the greater part of the Biographia
Literaria. He also dedicated to Mr. Morgan the Zapolya, which was
offered to Mr. Douglas Kinnaird, for Drury-lane, and declined. The
effect of this refusal Coleridge has noticed in some lines at the end
of the Biographia Literaria, quoted from this very play:--

    "O we are querulous creatures! Little less
    Than all things can suffice to make us happy;
    Though little more than nothing is enough
    To make us wretched."

In 1816, he took refuge under the roof of Mr. Gillman, the surgeon, at
Highgate, where he continued till his death. The motive for his going
to reside with this gentleman was, that he might exercise a salutary
restraint upon him as it regarded the taking of opium. His rheumatic
pains had first led him to adopt the use of this insidious drug; and
it had, as usual, in time, acquired so much power over him as to
render his life miserable. He became the victim of its worst terrors,
and so much its slave, that all his resolutions and precautions to
break the habit, he regularly himself defeated. At one time, a friend
of his hired a man to attend him everywhere, and to sternly refuse all
his solicitations for, or attempts to get opium; but this man he
cheated at his pleasure. He would send the man on some trifling
errand, while on their walks, turn into a druggist's shop, and secure
a good stock of the article. Mr. Gillman, who had only himself and
wife in his family, was recommended to him as the proper man to
exercise a constant, steady, but kindly authority over him in this
respect. Coleridge, at the first interview, was so much delighted with
the prospect of this house, that he was impatient to get there, and
came very characteristically with Christabel in his hand, to send to
his host. With the Gillmans Coleridge continued till his death; and
his abode here is too well known to need much mention of it. Here he
held a species of soirée, at which numbers of persons were in the
habit of attending to listen to his extraordinary conversations, or
rather monologues. Those who heard him on these occasions used to
declare, that you could form no adequate idea of the intellect of the
man, till you had also heard him. Yet, by some strange neglect, or
some wish of his own, these extraordinary harangues were never taken
down; which, if they merited the praises conferred on them, is a loss
to the world, as well as to his full fame.

The house which Mr. Gillman occupied is now occupied by a Mr. Brendon.
There is nothing remarkable about the house except its view.
Coleridge's room looked upon a delicious prospect of wood and meadow,
with a gay garden full of color under the window. When a friend of
his first saw him there, he said he thought he had taken his
dwelling-place like an abbot. There he cultivated his flowers, and had
a set of birds for his pensioners, who came to breakfast with him. He
might be seen taking his daily stroll up and down near Highgate, with
his black coat and white locks, and a book in his hand; and was a
great acquaintance of the little children. He loved, says the same
authority, to read great folios, and to make old voyages with Purchas
and Marco Polo; the seas being in good visionary condition, and the
vessel well stocked with botargoes.



[Illustration: Residence at Rhyllon]



FELICIA HEMANS.


If the lives of our poets had been written with the same attention to
the placing of their abodes as clearly before you as that of Mrs.
Hemans has been, both by Mr. Chorley and by her own sister, it might
have saved me some thousand of miles of travel to visit and see them
for myself.

Felicia Dorothea Browne, the future poetess, bearing the familiar name
of Mrs. Hemans, was born in Duke-street, Liverpool, on the 25th of
September, 1793. The house is still pointed out to strangers, but has
nothing beside this event to give it a distinction from other
town-houses. Her father was a considerable merchant, a native of
Ireland. There seems to have been a particular connection with the
state of Venice, for her mother was descended from an old Italian
family. Her father was the Imperial and Tuscan Consul at Liverpool.
The old name of Mrs. Hemans's maternal ancestry is said to have been
Veniero, but had got corrupted to the German name of Wagner. Mrs.
Hemans was the fifth of seven children, one of whom died in infancy.
Before she was seven years old, her father, having suffered losses in
trade, retired from business, and settled at Gwrych, near Abergele, in
Denbighshire, close to the sea, in a large, old, solitary mansion,
shut in by a range of rocky mountains. Here the family resided nine
years, so that the greater and more sensitive part of her girlhood was
passed here. She was sixteen when they removed. Here, then, the
intense love of nature and of poetry, which distinguished her, grew
and took its full possession of her. How strong this attachment to the
beauty and fresh liberty of nature had become by her eleventh year,
was shown by the restraint which she felt in passing a winter in
London at that age, with her father and mother, and her intense
longing to be back. Her rambles on the shore, and among the hills; her
wide range through that old house, with a good library, and the
companionship of her brothers and sisters, were all deeply calculated
to call forth the spirit of poetry in any heart in which it lay. Her
elder sister died; and she turned for companionship to her younger
sister, since her biographer, and her younger brother, Claude Scott
Browne, who also died young. Her two elder brothers, who with her
younger sister only remain, became officers in the army; and this
added a strong martial tendency to the spirit of her genius. Her
mother, who was a very noble-minded and accomplished woman, bestowed
great care on her education, and her access to books filled her mind
with all the food that the young and poetical heart craves for. The
Bible and Shakspeare were her two great books; and the traces of their
influence are conspicuous enough in the genuine piety and the lofty
imagery of her writing. She used to read Shakspeare among the branches
of an old apple-tree. In this secret retreat, and in the nut-wood, the
old arbor and its swing, the post-office tree--a hollow tree, where
the family put letters for each other, the pool where they launched
their little ships, used to be referred to by her as belonging to a
perfect elysium of childhood. She was fond of dwelling on "the strange
creeping awe with which the solitude and stillness of Gwrych inspired
her." It had the reputation of being haunted--another spur to the
imaginative faculty. There was a tradition of a fairy grayhound, which
kept watch at the end of the avenue, and she used to sally forth by
moonlight to get a sight of it. The seashore was, however, her
favorite resort; and one of her biographers states, that it was a
favorite freak of hers, when quite a child, to get up of a summer
night, when the servants fancied her safe in bed, and, making her way
to the water side, indulge in a stolen bathe. The sound of the ocean,
and the melancholy sights of wreck and ruin which follow a storm, are
said to have made an indelible impression upon her mind, and gave
their coloring and imagery--

    "A sound and a gleam of the moaning sea,"

to many of her lyrics. In short, a situation can not be imagined, more
certain to call forth and foster all the elements of poetry than this
of the girlhood of Mrs. Hemans. To the forms of nature, wild, lonely,
and awful, the people, with their traditions, their music, and their
interesting characteristics, added a crowning spell. The young poetess
was rapidly springing in this delightful wilderness into the woman.
She is described by her sister, at fifteen, as "in the full glow of
that radiant beauty which was destined to fade so early. The mantling
bloom of her cheeks was shaded by a profusion of natural ringlets, of
a rich, golden brown; and the ever varying expression of her brilliant
eyes gave a changeful play to her countenance, which would have made
it impossible for any painter to do justice to it."

According to all accounts, at this period she was one of the most
lovely and fascinating creatures imaginable; she was at once
beautiful, warm-hearted, and enthusiastic. Her days had been spent in
wandering through mountain and glen, and along the sea-shore, with her
brothers and sister, or in brooding over the pages of Froissart and
Shakspeare. Her mind was full of visions of romance, her heart of
thrilling sensibilities; and at this moment the feeling of martial
glory came to add a new enthusiasm to her character. Her two elder
brothers were in the army, and one was fighting in Spain. There were
many poetic and chivalrous associations with this country, which now
were felt by her with double force, and which turned all her heart and
imagination in this direction. In this critical hour a young officer,
who was visiting in the neighborhood, was introduced to the family,
and her fate was decided. It was Captain Hemans. The hero of the hour,
he became completely so when he also set sail for Spain. It was
natural for so enthusiastic and poetic a damsel to contemplate him as
a warrior doing battle for the deliverance of that land of Gothic and
of Moorish romance, in the most delusive coloring. When he returned,
it was to become her husband in an ill-fated marriage.

In the mean time, in 1809, and when she was about seventeen, her
family quitted Gwrych, so long her happy home. Since then the greater
part of the house has been pulled down, and a baronial-looking castle
has arisen in its stead, the seat of Mr. Lloyd Bamford Hesketh.
Bronwylfa, near St. Asaph, in Flintshire, became the residence of her
family. Here she lived for about three years, or till 1812, when
Captain Hemans returned, and they were married. For a short time she
lived with her husband at Daventry, when they returned to Bronwylfa,
where they lived till 1818, or about six years, the whole period of
their married life that they lived together. From that time till the
death of Mrs. Hemans, seventeen years more, they lived apart--she in
Wales, England, and Ireland, he in Italy.

At the time of Captain Hemans's first acquaintance with her, or in
1808, she was already an avowed poetess, having not only written much
verse, but having already published a volume. While they lived
together, though called upon to care for a rapidly increasing
family--for at the time of Captain Hemans's departure for Italy he was
the father of five boys--she still pursued her studies, and wrote and
published her poems. In 1812 appeared, Domestic Affections and other
Poems; and soon after, Tales and Historic Scenes. After her husband's
departure she continued her writing with undaunted fortitude. In 1819
she contended for the prize for a poem on Sir William Wallace, and
bore it away from a host of competitors. In 1820 she published The
Skeptic; and the following year she won another prize from the Royal
Society of Literature, for the best poem on Dartmoor. From this time
Mrs. Hemans may be said to be fairly before the public; and her fame,
from year to year, continued steadily to advance. There is something
admirable in the manner in which Mrs. Hemans, as a deserted wife, her
father also now being dead, and at such a distance from the literary
world, marched on her way, and at every step won some fresh ground of
honor. During this period she made a firm and fatherly friend of Dr.
Luxmore, the Bishop of St. Asaph, and, at his house, became acquainted
with Reginald Heber. Her sister returning from a visit to Germany,
where one of her brothers then was, brought with her a store of German
books, and a great enthusiasm about German literature. This opened up
to her a new field of intellectual life, and produced a decided effect
on her poetic tone and style. From the hour of Mrs. Hemans's
acquaintance with the German literature you perceive that she had
discovered her own _forte_, and a new life of tenderness and
feeling was manifest in all she wrote. She became an almost constant
writer in Blackwood's and Colburn's Magazines. Schiller, Goethe,
Körner, and Tieck--how sensibly is the influence of their spirit felt
in The Forest Sanctuary; how different was the tone of this to all
which had gone before! The cold classical model was abandoned, the
heart and the fancy spoke out in every line, warm, free, solemn, and
tenderly thoughtful. She dared the stage, in The Vespers of Palermo;
and though the tragedy was cruelly used in London, she bore up bravely
against the unkindness, and was afterward rewarded by a reception of
it in Edinburgh, as cordially rapturous, and which brought her the
friendship of Sir Walter Scott.

In 1825, Mrs. Hemans made another remove, though but a short one. The
house in which she lived at Bronwylfa had been purchased by her elder
brother, who came to live in it; and she, with her mother, sister, and
her children, removed about a quarter of a mile, to Rhyllon, yet in
full view of the old house. This house at Rhyllon is described as
being a tall, staring, brick building, almost destitute of trees, of
creepers on the walls, or of shrubbery; while Bronwylfa, on the
contrary, was a perfect bower of roses, peeping, says her sister, like
a bird's nest out of the foliage in which it was embosomed. "In spite,
however," continues the same sisterly biographer, "of the unromantic
exterior of her new abode, the earlier part of Mrs. Hemans's residence
at Rhyllon may, perhaps, be considered as the happiest of her life; as
far, at least, as the term happiness could ever be fitly applied to
any period of it later than childhood. The house, with all its
ugliness, was large and convenient; the view from the windows
beautiful and extensive; and its situation, on a fine green slope,
terminating in a pretty woodland dingle, peculiarly healthy and
cheerful. Never, perhaps, had she more thorough enjoyment of her boys
than in witnessing and often joining in their sports, in those
pleasant, breezy fields, where the kites soared so triumphantly, and
the hoops trundled so merrily, and where the cowslips grew as cowslips
never grew before. An atmosphere of home soon gathered round the
dwelling; roses were planted, and honeysuckles trained; and the
rustling of the solitary poplar near the window was taken to her
heart, like the voice of a friend. The dingle became a favorite haunt,
where she would pass many dream-like hours of enjoyment with her
books, and her own sweet fancies, and her children playing around her.
Every tree and flower, and tuft of moss that sprung amid its green
recesses, was invested with some individual charm by that rich
imagination, so skilled in

    "Clothing the palpable and the familiar
    With golden exhalations of the dawn."

Here, on what the boys would call "mamma's sofa,"--a little grassy
mound under her favorite beech-tree--she first read The Talisman, and
has described the scene with a loving minuteness, in her Hour of
Romance.

    "There were thick leaves above me and around,
      And low sweet sighs, like those of childhood's sleep,
    Amid their dimness, and a fitful sound,
      As of soft showers on water. Dark and deep
    Lay the oak shadows o'er the turf, so still,
    They seemed but pictured glooms; a hidden rill
    Made music--such as haunts us in a dream--
    Under the fern-tufts; and a tender gleam
    Of soft green light, as by the glow-worm shed,
    Came pouring through the woven beech-boughs down."

Many years after, in the sonnet, To a distant Scene, she addresses,
with a fond yearning, this well remembered haunt--

    "Still are the cowslips from thy bosom springing,
        O far off grassy dell!"

How many precious memories has she hung round the thought of the
cowslip, that flower, with its "gold coat," and "fairy favors," which
is, of all others, so associated with the "voice of happy childhood,"
and was, to her, ever redolent of the hours when her

    "Heart so leapt to that sweet laughter's tune!"

Another favorite resort was the picturesque old bridge over the Clwyd;
and when her health admitted of more aspiring achievements, she
delighted in roaming to the hills; and the announcement of a walk to
Cwm, a remote little hamlet, nestled in a mountain hollow amid very
lovely sylvan scenery, about two miles from Rhyllon, would be joyously
echoed by her elated companions, to whom the recollection of those
happy rambles must always be unspeakably dear. Very often, at the
outset of these expeditions, the party would be reinforced by the
addition of a certain little Kitty Jones, a child from a neighboring
cottage, who had taken an especial fancy to Mrs. Hemans, and was
continually watching her movements. This little creature never saw her
without at once attaching itself to her side, and confidingly placing
its tiny hand in hers. So great was her love for children, and her
repugnance to hurt the feelings of any living creature, that she never
would shake off this singular appendage, but let little Kitty rejoice
in her "pride of place," till the walk became too long for her
capacity, and she would quietly fall back of her own accord.

Those who only know the neighborhood of St. Asaph from traveling along
its highways, can be little aware how much delightful scenery is
attainable within walks of two or three miles' distance from Mrs.
Hemans's residence. The placid beauty of the Clwyd, and the wilder
graces of its sister stream, the Elwy, particularly in the vicinity of
"Our Lady's Well," and the interesting rocks and caves at Cefu, are
little known to general tourists; though, by the lovers of her poetry,
it will be remembered how sweetly she had apostrophized the

    "Fount of the chapel, with ages gray;"

and how tenderly, amid far different scenes, her thoughts reverted to
the

    "Cambrian river, with slow music gliding
        By pastoral hills, old woods, and ruined towers."

This is a peep into the daily life of the poetess, which is worth a
whole volume of ordinary biography. We see her here amid the lonely
magnificence of nature; yet, at the same time, surrounded by those
affectionate ties that make the only real society on earth. The
affectionate mother, the beloved brother and sister, the buoyant
hearts and voices of her own children. We see that there and then she
was and must be happy. We see how wise was that instinctive love that
drew the poetic heart from the flattering and worshiping things of the
city, to dwell apart with God, with nature, and with family affection.
What has all the society of ordinary city and literary life to equal
that? The throng of drawing-rooms, where people stand and look at each
other, and remain strangers as much as if they were sundered by half
the globe! Nay, it is not half a globe, it is a whole world of fast
succeeding engagements; dissipations that beget indifference;
flittings of the eye from face to face, and of the ear from gossip to
gossip, where neither eye nor ear ever finds any power or wish for
rest, but the heart yawns in insufferable weariness, if decorum keep
the mouth shut. It is this dreary world which is thrust between man
and man, and kills at once time and enjoyment. What has such a life,
with all its petty scandals, and bitterness, and foul criticisms, and
rankling jealousies, to compare with the breezy mountain, and the blue
sky soaring high above; with the gray ruin, and the rushing river;
with the dell and its whispering leaves, soothing down the mind to a
peaceful consciousness, in which thoughts of eternity steal into it,
and come forth again to the eternal page?

It is a deep consolation to know that the teachers and refiners of men
do sometimes enjoy a life thus heavenly, and repose at once on the
gracious bosom of nature, and on those of long tried and beloved
friends. Such was, for a time, the life of Mrs. Hemans here. For a
time the elements of happiness seemed daily to augment themselves. Her
younger brother, a man of a most genial nature, and his amiable wife,
came from service in Canada, and settled down among them. The circle
of affinity and social pleasure seemed complete; but time rapidly
causes a change upon the completest combinations of earth. In rapid
succession death and sorrow fell on the house of her elder brother;
her mother sickened and died; her younger brother was called to an
appointment in Ireland, and her sister was married, and was withdrawn
to a distance. The fatal inroad was made into the circle of happiness;
and from that time Mrs. Hemans began to contemplate quitting the scene
of so many years' sojourn. She made a visit to Liverpool, which ended
in her concluding to quit Wales, and settle there, for more congenial
society and the education of her children. One of her last pleasures
in Wales was the enjoyment of the society of Miss Jewsbury, who passed
part of the summer and autumn of 1828 in the neighbourhood of St.
Asaph.

For about thirty years she had resided in Wales; the bulk of her life;
for she was but about six years of age when her family went to reside
there; and she survived her departure from it only the same number of
years. The whole of her existence, therefore, excepting that twelve
years, was spent in her favorite Wales. For the short remainder of her
life she seemed rather a wanderer in the earth than a settled
resident. She was at Liverpool, at the Lakes, in Scotland, in Ireland;
and there, finally, seldom long in one place.

Her choice of Liverpool seemed to be determined by the consideration
of education already mentioned, and by the desire to be near two
families to which she was much attached,--those of Mrs. Lawrence, of
Wavertree-hall, and the Chorleys, of Liverpool. She took a house in
the village of Wavertree, a little apart from the road. It must have
been a dreary change from the fine, wild, congenial scenery of North
Wales, to the flat, countryless neighborhood of Liverpool. Nothing,
surely, but the sense of maternal duty could have made such a change
endurable to a mind like Mrs. Hemans's. This residence has been
described by the author of Pen and Ink Sketches, who, though some of
his relations have been much called in question, seems, in this
instance, to have stated the simple facts. "The house," he says, "was
one of a row, or terrace, as it was called, situated on the high-road,
from which it was separated only by the foot-way, and a little
flower-garden, surrounded by a white-thorn hedge. I noticed that all
the other houses on either side of it were unadorned with flowers;
they had either grass lawns or a plain gravel surface; some of them
even grew cabbages and French beans,--hers alone had flowers.

"I was shown into a very small apartment, but every thing about it
indicated that it was the home of genius and taste. Over the
mantle-piece hung a fine engraving of William Roscoe, author of the
Lives of the De Medici, with a presentation line or two in his own
handwriting. The walls were decorated with prints and pictures, and on
the mantle-shelf were some models in _terra cotta_, of Italian
groups. On the table lay casts, and medallions, and a portfolio of
choice prints and water-color drawings."

The writer was first received by Miss Jewsbury, who happened to be
there, and whom he truly describes as one of the most frank and
open-hearted creatures possible. He then adds:--

"It was not long before the poetess entered the room. She held out her
hand and welcomed me in the kindest manner, and then sat down opposite
to me, first introducing Miss Jewsbury. I can not well conceive a more
exquisitely beautiful creature than Mrs. Hemans was; none of the
portraits or busts I have ever seen do her justice, nor is it possible
for words to convey to the reader any idea of the matchless, yet
serene beauty of her expression. Her glossy, waving hair was parted on
her forehead, and terminated on the sides in rich and luxuriant auburn
curls. There was a dove-like look in her eyes, and yet a chastened
sadness in their expression. Her complexion was remarkably clear, and
her high forehead looked as pure and spotless as Parian marble. A calm
repose, not unmingled with melancholy, was the characteristic
expression of the face; but when she smiled, all traces of sorrow were
lost, and she seemed to be but 'a little lower than the
angels,'--fitting shrine for so pure a mind!"

The writer says, that he, some time after, paid a second visit to
Wavertree. "Some time I stood before the well remembered house. The
little flower-garden was no more--but rank grass and weeds sprung up
luxuriously; the windows were, many of them, broken; the entrance-gate
was off its hinges; the vine in front of the house trailed along the
ground, and a board, with 'This house to let' upon it, was nailed on
the door. I entered the deserted garden, and looked into the little
parlor--once so full of taste and elegance; it was gloomy and
cheerless. The paper was spotted with damp, and spiders had built
their webs in the comers. Involuntarily I turned away; and during my
homeward walk mused upon the probable home and enjoyments of the two
gifted creatures I had formerly seen there. Both were now beyond the
stars; and as I mused on the uncertainty of human life, I exclaimed,
with the eloquent Burke,--'What shadows we are, and what shadows,
alas, do we pursue!'"

Spite of the warm and congenial friends Mrs. Hemans had at Liverpool,
she soon found that it was not the location for her. She had lost all
that her mind and heart had been accustomed to sustain themselves upon
in a beautiful country; her hopes of educational advantages were not
realized, and she was subjected to all the annoying interruptions
which celebrity has to endure from idle curiosity, without any of its
attendant advantages. To fly the evils and regain some of her old
pleasures, she in 1829 made a journey into Scotland, to visit her
friends Mr. Hamilton and his lady, at Chiefswood, near Abbotsford.
This, of course, brought her into immediate contact with Sir Walter
Scott. She was invited to Abbotsford, and the great minstrel showed
her over his estate, and through the classic beauty of all that
border-land fame which must from her early years have been regions of
deepest romance to a mind like hers. The particulars of this visit, so
cheering and delightful to her whole nature, are to be found in the
biography written by her sister. She was, of course, received in
Edinburgh with the cordial hospitality characteristic of that capital,
and which was sure to be shown with double extent, in consequence of
her great fame, and the pleasure which every one had derived from her
productions. During this visit she was introduced, among other
distinguished people, to Mrs. Grant, of Laggan; Lord Jeffery; Captain
Basil Hall; Mr. Alison; Kirkpatrick Sharpe; Baron Hume; Sir Robert
Liston, and the old literary veteran, Henry Mackenzie.

The advantage and the happiness of this visit to the north, determined
her the next summer to pay a visit to the Lakes. Here she took up her
abode for a fortnight with Wordsworth, at Rydal Mount, and there so
charmed was she with the country, and so much did her health need the
quiet refreshment of rural retirement, that she took for the remainder
of the summer a small cottage overlooking Windermere, called Dove's
Nest. But quiet as the spot appeared, secluded as it is, it was a
great mistake to suppose that a woman of any reputation could escape
the inroads of the Tourist Vandals so near Ambleside, and Lowood. If
any one wants to set up for a lion or lioness, let him or her go and
take a cottage in the Lake country: there they will be lionized to
their heart's content. There, in the height of summer, the whole
region is alive with tourists and idlers, who are all on the lookout
for any novelty; and a literary creature is a fascinating monster,
more _piquant_ to the tribe than badger or fox to the old race of
Nimrods. If I heard of a literary person settling at the Lakes, I
should at once say, that person is anxious to be lionized. But this
was not the case with Mrs. Hemans. To avoid all such notoriety, she
never, after her reputation was spread, would visit London; she sought
for peace, but here she could not find it. "The soothing and healthful
repose which had been so thoroughly and thankfully appreciated," says
her sister, "was, alas! not destined to be of long continuance."
Subsequent letters speak of the irruption of parties hunting for lions
in Dove's Nest; of a renewal of "the Album persecution;" of an
absolute mail storm of letters and papers, threatening "to boil over
the drawer to which they were consigned;" till at last the despairing
conclusion is come to, that "one might as well hope for peace in the
character of a shadowless man as of a literary woman."

The inundation was irresistible and overwhelming; in August she fled
in desperation, and again made a journey into Scotland.

Mrs. Hemans had three of her boys with her at Dove's Nest, and they
enjoyed the place to perfection. It was just the place for boys to be
turned loose in; and with fishing, sketching, and climbing the hill
above the Nest, they were in elysium. Her own health, however, was so
far undermined now, that she complains in her letter she can not
follow them as she would, but that she is more a child in heart than
any of them. Her own description of the Dove's Nest is this: "The
house was originally meant for a small villa, though it has long
passed into the hands of farmers; and there is in consequence an air
of neglect about the little demesne, which does not at all approach
desolation, and yet gives it something of attractive interest. You see
everywhere traces of love and care beginning to be effaced; rose-trees
spread into wildness; laurels darkening the windows with too luxuriant
branches; and I can not help saying to myself, 'Perhaps some heart
like my own in its feelings and suffering, has here sought refuge and
repose.' The ground is laid out in rather an antiquated style, which,
now that nature is beginning to reclaim it from art, I do not at all
dislike. There is a little grassy terrace immediately under the
window, descending to a small court with a circular grass plat, on
which grows one tall white rose-tree. You can not imagine how I
delight in that fair, solitary, neglected-looking tree. I am writing
to you from an old-fashioned alcove in the little garden, round which
the sweet-brier and moss-rose trees have completely run wild; and I
look down from it upon lovely Windermere, which seems at this moment
even like another sky, so truly is our summer cloud and tint of azure
pictured in its transparent mirror."

This cottage is, in fact, a very simple affair. It is regularly let by
the people, farmers, who live in one end of it, and who have now built
another house near it with farm buildings. It stands, perhaps, at half
the elevation of Professor Wilson's house at Elleray, and not at such
a distance from Windermere, and nearer to Lowood inn than to
Ambleside. A considerable wild wood ascends above it to the top of the
rocky hills; and it seems, indeed, to have had its place cut out of
the front of the wood for it. You can ascend from Lowood by a steep,
straight carriage road, all bordered with laurels luxuriantly grown,
and overshadowed by forest trees; or you may, if coming from
Ambleside, ascend a foot-path, which is by far the most charming way.
Yes, a very charming way it is--a regular wild wood walk, reminding
you of many of those in Germany. It is narrow, and overhung with
hazels; at the time of my visit full of nuts, in abundant and large
clusters. Here water is running by the wayside, clear, and in fleet
abundance. The wood opens its still solitudes, ever and anon; and far
above you the rocks are seen lifting themselves into the heavens in a
gray silence. This wood walk goes on and on, bordered with wild
flowers, and odorous with the scent of meadow-sweet, till you arrive
in about half-a-mile at the cottage.

This consists of but four rooms in front; two little sitting-rooms,
and two bedrooms over them. It is a little white battlemented affair,
with a glass door. The woman of the house pointed out to me the
chamber, that on the right hand as you face the house, at which Mrs.
Hemans, she said, used to write; and which commands a fine view of the
lake and its encircling hills.

The woman is a regular character. She was very violent against steam,
railroads, and all sorts of new-fangled things. She wondered what
parliament was about that they did not stop the steam. "What are your
Sir Robert Peels, your Grahams, and your Stanleys good for, if they
can not stop the steam?" She would make them sit, if she could have
her way, till they did some good; for they had done none yet. She
almost preferred O'Connell to them, for he _did_ get master of
the queen!

"You seem to be a great radical," I said.

"Nay, nay!" she replied; "I'm naw radical. I stick fast to the church;
but I _am_ a great politic! And what _will_ all those
navies do when the railways are all made? What _is_ to become of
the poor boatmen when there are nothing but steamers?"

"Well, but has not Mr. Wordsworth written against the railroads?"

"Ay, he may write; but there's more nor Mister Wordsworth nowadays.
People are got too clever now; and if he writes there's twenty ready
to write against him."

All the time that the woman was getting on in this style, she had a
sort of smile on her face as if she was merely talking for talking's
sake; and, as she proceeded, she led the way to show me the garden,
which is a very pleasant little retirement, looking down the hill, and
toward Lowood upon the lake, and far across to its distant shores and
mountains. We then passed into a second garden, at the top of which is
the alcove mentioned by Mrs. Hemans. It is in the wall, arched above,
and whitewashed within, and with seats set round, and a most luxuriant
Ayrshire rose climbing and mantling it about, high and thick. Here,
said the woman, Mrs. Hemans sat in fine weather, generally to write.
At the lower end of the garden stood the tall white rose-tree which
Mrs. Hemans so much admired. From this the landlady plucked a flower,
and begged me to send it to my wife; as well as a number of moss-roses
growing about, which she said Mrs. Hemans admired; but not so much as
this white rose. The strange woman, unpolished, but evidently full of
strong independent feeling, and keen spirit of observation, was also
as evidently possessed of tender feelings too. She declared it often
made her melancholy to see that rose-tree and that alcove.

"Ah, poor thing!" said she, "it was a pity she did not open her
situation sooner; but she did not open her heart enough to her rich
relations, who were very fond of her. It was anxiety, sir; it was
anxiety, you may depend on it. To maintain five boys, and edicate 'em
with one pen, it was too much, you are sure. Ay, I have thought a deal
more of her since, than I did at the time; and so many ladies come
here, and wished she had but opened her situation sooner, for when
government did something for her, it was too late!"

"Did she seem quite well here?"

"Oh, yes; she seemed pretty well; and she had three of her children
with her: and well behaved, nice children they were. Charles, they
tell me, is turned Catholic, and Henry is gone abroad, and Claude is
dead. Who could have believed it, when they were all so merry here!
Poor thing! if she _had_ but made known her situation--it was
wearing her away. Mr. Graves, who was the tutor to the boys, and is
now rector of Bowness, came here with the boys when she went to
Dublin, and she was to come back, and be with me by the year; and then
the boys could have been still with Mr. Graves, for he got the living
just then. He always comes to tell me when he hears any thing about
them--and her husband is dead too, I hear."

Such was the woman's information; and there may be more truth in it
than we would like to believe. There can be no doubt that Mrs. Hemans
taxed all her strength and power to maintain her family. It is not to
be believed but that her brothers and sister, who were well off, did
all she would allow them to do; but we know the honorable pride of a
truly noble mind--not to be burdensome when it can itself do its own
work. How sensitive and shrinking it is! That Mrs. Hemans, in her
praiseworthy endeavor to furnish the means of her boys' education, did
overtax herself, and was obliged to write more than either her
inclination or her true fame prompted, we have the evidence of
herself, in one of her very last letters to her friend, Mrs. Lawrence.
"You know into how rugged a channel the poor little stream of my life
has been forced, and through what rocks it has wrought its way; and it
is now longing for repose in some still valley. It has ever been one
of my regrets that the constant necessity of providing sums of money,
to meet the exigences of the boys' education, has obliged me to waste
my mind in what I consider mere desultory effusions:

                      Pouring myself away,
    As a wild bird, amid the foliage, tunes
    That which within him thrills, and beats, and burns,
    Into a fleeting lay.

My wish ever was to concentrate all my mental energy in the production
of some more noble and complete work; something of pure and holy
excellence, which might permanently take its place as the work of a
British poetess. I have always hitherto written as if in the breaking
times of storms and billows. Perhaps it may not even yet be too late
to accomplish what I wish, though I sometimes feel my health so deeply
penetrated, that I can not imagine how I am ever to be raised up
again. But a greater freedom from these cares, _of which I have been
obliged to bear up under the whole responsibility_, may do much to
restore me; and though my spirits are greatly subdued by long
sickness, I feel the powers of my mind in full maturity."

This is a plain enough confession;--and it is the old melancholy
story, of genius fighting for the world, and borne down by the world
which should be its friend. Once more, and for the ten thousandth time
under such circumstances, we must exclaim with Shakspeare--

    "O what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!"

We have here the bright, warm-hearted, fascinating girl of Bronwylfa,
full of all the romance of life and the glorious visions of poetry,
now sinking the martyr of the heart betrayed in its tenderest trust,
doomed to labor like Pegasus in the peasant's cart and harness,
perishing of exhaustion, and feeling that the unequal contest of life
had yet left undeveloped the full affluence of the spirit. I could not
avoid gazing again on the empty alcove,--the beautiful prospect, and
the wildly growing white rose, and feeling the full contagion of their
and the good woman's melancholy.

But at once, out broke the strange creature with a different look and
tone--"And we have now got another writer-lady down at Ambleside."

"A poet?"

"Nay, nothing of the sort; another guess sort of person, I can tell
you."

"Why, who is that?"

"Who is that? Why Miss Martineau they call her. They tell me she wrote
up the Reform Bill for Lord Brougham; and that she's come from the
Lambtons here; and that she's writing now about the taxes. Can she
stop the steam, eh? can she, think you? Nay, nay, I warrant, big and
strong as she is. Ha! ha! good lauk! as I met her the other day
walking along the muddy road below here--'Is it a woman, or a man, or
what sort of an animal is it?' said I to myself. There she came
stride, stride,--great heavy shoes,--stout leather leggins on, and a
knapsack on her back! Ha! ha! that's a _political comicalist_,
they say. What's that? Do they mean that she can stop steam? But I
said to my husband--goodness! but that _would_ have been a wife
for you. Why she'd ha' ploughed! and they say she mows her own grass,
and digs her own cabbage and potatoes! Ha! ha! well, we see some queer
'uns here. Wordsworth should write a poem on her. What was Peter Bell
to a comicalist?"

The good woman laughed outrageously at the images she had raised in
her own mind, and infected by her mirth, as I had been by her
melancholy, I bade her good-by. Her husband, a quiet man, sat all this
time, and spite of all our talk, never for one moment looked up from
his newspaper, nor uttered a syllable. Possibly he might be deaf;
otherwise he was as impassive as an old Indian.

The warnings of failing health, which often operate insensibly on the
mind, seemed now to draw Mrs. Hemans toward the society of her younger
brother and his amiable wife, who were then settled in Ireland, and
were living at the Hermitage near Kilkenny, where Colonel Browne was
acting as a stipendiary magistrate. Here she joined them, and from
this point visited Woodstock near Thomas-town, the residence of Mrs.
Tighe, and where she is buried. At these places we must not linger.
Her brother removed to Dublin, as Commissioner of Police, and she went
there also. It was in 1831 that she took up her abode in Dublin. She
first resided in Upper Pembroke-street; then removed to 36,
Stephen's-green, and finally to 20, Dawson-street, still within a
hundred yards of Stephen's-green or so.

It is needless to say that, in Dublin, Mrs. Hemans received all the
respect that was due to her genius and virtues; but her health was so
delicate, as to oblige her to live as quietly as possible. Her boys
were now a good deal off her hands, or, rather, did not require her
immediate attention. And she was enabled, the first autumn of her
abode in Dublin, to make an excursion to the mountains of Wicklow.
Dawson-street was well situated for quietness and airiness.
Stephen's-green is one of the largest squares in the world, far larger
than any London one. While she resided in it, she had a set of
backrooms, the noise of Upper Pembroke-street having been too much for
her. The College grounds, of great extent, are at the bottom of
Dawson-street, this spacious green at its top. And near, are
Merrion-square, and the gardens of what was once the palace of the
Duke of Leinster; so that no part of Dublin could offer more openness.
Her lodgings in Dawson-street consisted of the apartments over the
shop of the proprietor, Mr. Jolliffe, a very respectable tailor. These
could, London fashion, be thrown into one drawing-room, but were
generally used as two rooms; and in the backroom she nearly always sat
and wrote.

In 1833, her sister and brother-in-law arrived in Dublin, and Mrs.
Hemans and they met after a five years' separation. "The ravages of
sickness," says her sister, "on her worn and faded form, were
painfully apparent to those who had not seen her for so long; yet her
spirits rallied to all their wonted cheerfulness, and the powers of
her mind seemed more vivid and vigorous than ever." With all her own
cordial kindliness, she busied herself in forming various plans for
the interest and amusement of her visitors; and many happy hours of
delightful converse, and old home communion were passed by her and her
sister in her two favorite resorts, the lawn of the once stately
mansion of the Duke of Leinster, now occupied by the Dublin Society,
and the spacious gardens of Stephen's-green.

In the gardens of the Dublin Society, Mrs. Hemans took that cold,
which, seizing on an already enfeebled frame, terminated fatally. She
had one day taken a book with her, and was so much absorbed by it,
that she was thoroughly chilled by the autumnal fog, and feeling a
shudder pass through her frame, she hastened home, already filled with
a strong presentiment that her hours were numbered.

In her illness, by which she was gradually wasted to a skeleton, she
enjoyed all the consolations which affection can bestow. Her sister
attended her assiduously till she was called away by the serious
illness of her husband. Her place was then tenderly supplied by her
sister-in-law, the lady of Colonel Browne; and her son Charles was
with her the whole time; George, now a prosperous engineer, for some
days; and Henry, then a school-boy at Shrewsbury, likewise, during the
Christmas holydays. For a time, she was removed to Redesdale, a seat
of the Archbishop of Dublin, about seven miles from the city; but she
returned, and died in Dawson-street, on the 16th of May, 1835. During
her last illness, she wrote some of the finest poetry that she ever
produced, especially that most soul-full effusion, Despondency and
Aspiration; and the Sabbath Sonnet; which she dedicated to her
brother, less than three weeks before her death, the last of her lays.

Her remains were interred in a vault beneath St. Ann's Church, but a
short distance from her house, on the same side of the street; where,
on the wall, under the gallery, on the right hand, as you enter, you
observe a tablet, bearing this inscription--"In the vault beneath are
deposited the Mortal Remains of Felicia Hemans, who died, May 16, 1835.

    "Calm on the bosom of thy God,
      Fair spirit, rest thee now;
    Even while with us thy footsteps trod,
      His seal was on thy brow.
    Dust to its narrow house beneath,
      Soul to its place on high!
    They that have seen thy look in death
      No more will fear to die."

The same vault, as nearly as possible three years afterward, received
the remains of her faithful and very superior servant, Anna Creer, a
native of the isle of Man, who had lived with her seven years, and,
after her death, married Mr. Jolliffe, the master of the house. The
worthy man was much affected in speaking of the circumstance, and bore
also the highest testimony to the character of Mrs. Hemans, saying,
"it was impossible for any one to know her without loving her." To
such a tribute, what can be added? The perfection of human character
is to excite at once admiration and lasting affection.



[Illustration: Cape Coast Castle]



L. E. L.


There is not much to be said about the homes and haunts of Mrs.
Maclean, or, as I shall call her in this article, by her poetical
cognomen, L. E. L. She was a creature of town and social life. The
bulk of her existence was spent in Hans-place, Sloane-street, Chelsea.
Like Charles Lamb, she was so molded to London habits and tastes, that
that was the world to her. The country was not to her what it is to
those who have passed a happy youth there, and learned to sympathize
with its spirit, and enjoy its calm. In one respect she was right.
Those who look for society alone in the country, are not likely to be
much pleased with the change from London, where every species of
intelligence concentrates; where the rust of intellectual sloth is
pretty briskly rubbed off, and old prejudices, which often lie like
fogs in low still nooks of the country, are blown away by the lively
winds of discussion. Though descended from a country family, and
spending some time, as a child, in the country, she was not there long
enough to cultivate those associations with places and things which
cling to the heart in after-life. Her mind, naturally quick, and all
her tastes, were developed in the city. City life was part and parcel
of her being; and as she was one of the most brilliant and attractive
of its children, we must be thankful to take her as she was. It robs
us of nothing but of certain attributes of the picturesque in the
account of her abodes.

Her ancestors, it seems, from Mr. Blanchard's memoir of her, were,
about the commencement of the eighteenth century, settled at Crednall
in Herefordshire, where they enjoyed some landed property. A Sir
William Landon was a successful participator in the South Sea Bubble,
but afterward contrived to lose the whole patrimonial estates. A
descendant of Sir William was the great-grandfather of L. E. L. He was
rector of Nursted and Ilsted in Kent, and a zealous antagonist of all
dissent. His son was rector of Tedstone Delamere, near Bromyard,
Herefordshire. At his death, the property of the family being
exhausted, his children, eight in number, were left to make their way
through the world as they could. Miss Landon's father, John Landon,
was the eldest of these children. He went to sea and made two voyages,
one to the coast of Africa, and one to Jamaica. His friend and patron,
Admiral Bowyer, dying, his career in the naval service was stopped. In
the mean time, the next of his brothers, Whittington Landon, had
acquired promotion in the Church, and eventually became Dean of
Exeter. By his influence the father of the poetess was established as
a partner in the prosperous house of Adair, army agents, in Pall Mall.
On this he married Catherine Jane Bishop, a lady of Welsh extraction,
and settled at No. 25, in Hans-place. Here Miss Landon was born, on
the 14th of August, 1802. Beside her, the only other surviving child
was a brother, the present Rev. Whittington Henry Landon.

In her sixth year she was sent to school to Miss Rowden at No. 22,
Hans-place; the house in which she was destined to pass the greater
part of her life. This lady, herself a poetess, afterward became
Countess St. Quentin, and died near Paris. In this school Miss Mitford
was educated, and here Lady Caroline Lamb was for a time an inmate. At
this period, however, Miss Landon was here only a few months. She had
occasionally been taken into the country to a farm in which her father
was deeply interested, called Coventry-farm, in Hertfordshire. She now
went with her family to reside at Trevor-park, East Barnet, where her
education was conducted by her cousin, Miss Landon. She was now about
seven years old, and here the family continued to live about six
years. Here she read a great deal of romance and poetry, and began to
show the operation of her fancy by relating long stories to her
parents, and indulging in long, meditative walks in the lime walk in
the garden. Her brother was her companion, and, spite of her nascent
authorship, they seemed to have played, and romped, and enjoyed
themselves as children should do. They read Plutarch, and had a great
ambition of being Spartans. An anecdote is related of their taking
vengeance on the gardener for some affront by shooting at him with
arrows with nails stuck in them for piles, and of his tossing them
upon a quickset hedge for punishment; most probably one of the
old-fashioned square-cut ones, where they would be rather prisoners
than sufferers. This man, whose name was Chambers, Miss Landon taught
to read; and he afterward saved money, and retired to keep an inn at
Barnet.

Now she read the Arabian Nights, Scott's Metrical Romances, and
Robinson Crusoe, beside a book called Silvester Trampe. This last
professed to be a narrative of travels in Africa, and seems especially
to have fascinated her imagination. No doubt that the united effects
of this book, of other African travels, and of the fact of her father
and one of her cousins having made voyages to that continent, had no
little influence in deciding the fatal step of marrying to go out to
Cape Coast. To the happy days spent at Trevor-park, and the reading of
books like these, always a period of elysium to a child, Miss Landon
makes many references, both in her poems, and her prose sketches,
called Traits and Trials of Early Life. Some lines addressed to her
brother commemorate these imaginative pleasures very graphically:--

    "It was an August evening, with sunset in the trees,
    When home you brought his voyages, who found the fair South Seas.
    For weeks he was our idol, we sailed with him at sea,
    And the pond, amid the willows, our ocean seemed to be;
    The water-lilies growing beneath the morning smile,
    We called the South Sea Islands, each flower a different isle.
    Within that lovely garden what happy hours went by,
    While we fancied that around us spread a foreign sea and sky."

From this place the family removed to Lower-place, Fulham, where they
continued about a year, and then removed again to Old Brompton. Miss
Landon now gave continually increasing signs of a propensity to
poetry. Mr. Jordan, the editor of the Literary Gazette, was a neighbor
of her father, and from time to time her compositions were shown to
him, who at once saw and acknowledged their great promise. It does not
appear very clear whether Miss Landon continued at home during this
period--that is, from the time the family came to live here when she
was about fourteen, till the death of her father when she was about
twenty,--but it is probable that she was for a good part of this time
at the school, No. 22, Hans-place, which was now in the hands of the
Misses Lance, as she says of herself,--"I have lived all my life since
childhood with the same people. The Misses Lance," etc. However, it
was at about the age of eighteen that her contributions appeared in
the Literary Gazette, which excited universal attention. These had
been preceded by a little volume now forgotten, The Fate of Adelaide,
a Swiss romantic tale; and was speedily followed by the
Improvisatrice. It was during the writing of this her first volume of
successful poetry that her father died, leaving the family in narrow
circumstances.

The history of her life from this time is chiefly the history of her
works. The Improvisatrice was published in 1824; the Troubadour in
1825; the Golden Violet in 1826; the Venetian Bracelet, 1829. In 1830,
she produced her first prose work, Romance and Reality. In 1831, she
commenced the editorship of Fisher's Drawing-room Scrap Book, which
she continued yearly till the time of her marriage--eight successive
volumes. In 1835, she published Francesca Carrara; the Vow of the
Peacock, 1835; Traits and Trials of Early Life, 1836; and in the same
year, Ethel Churchill. Beside these works, she wrote immensely in the
annuals and periodicals, and edited various volumes of illustrated
works for the publishers.

None of the laborious tribe of authors ever toiled more incessantly or
more cheerfully than Miss Landon--none with a more devotedly generous
spirit. She had the proud satisfaction of contributing to the support
of her family, and to the last minute of her life this great object
was uppermost in her mind. On her marriage, she proposed to herself to
go on writing still, with the prospect of being thus enabled to devote
the whole of her literary profits to the comfort of her mother and the
promotion of the fortunes of her brother. In all social and domestic
relations no one was ever more amiable or more beloved. It has been
said that the same generous and disinterested spirit actuated her in
her literary character; and that, in the many opportunities which she
possessed of giving an opinion from the press on the works of
cotemporaries, she displayed not only a fair, but a magnanimous
disposition. I regret to say that from documents--manuscripts of her
own--which chanced to fall into my hands, I can not by any means fully
subscribe to this opinion. But no mortal is perfect; and let these
exceptions to the generally amiable spirit of a high-hearted and
gifted woman sleep with her in the grave.

With occasional visits to different parts of the kingdom, and once to
Paris, Miss Landon continued living in Hans-place till 1837. The
Misses Lance had given up the school, I believe, about 1830, but she
continued still to reside there with Mrs. Sheldon, their successor. In
1837 Mrs. Sheldon quitted Hans-place, for 28 Upper Berkeley-street
West, whither Miss Landon accompanied her. Here she resided only a few
months, when, at the request of some much attached friends, she took
up her abode with them in Hyde-park-street. On the 7th of June, 1838,
she was married to Mr. Maclean, Governor of Cape Coast Castle, and
almost immediately left this country, never to return.

Of the abode where the greater part of Miss Landon's life was spent,
and where almost every one of her works was written, the reader will
naturally wish to have some description. The following particulars are
given by Laman Blanchard, as from the pen of a female friend.
"Genius," says our accomplished informant, "hallows every place where
it pours forth its inspirations. Yet how strongly contrasted,
sometimes, is the outward reality round the poet with the visions of
his inward being. Is it not D'Israeli, in his Curiosities of
Literature, referring to this frequent incongruity, who mentions,
among other facts, that Moore composed his Lalla Rookh in a large
barn. L. E. L. remarks on this subject, 'A history of the _how_
and _where_ works of imagination have been produced, would often
be more extraordinary than the works themselves.' Her own case, is, in
some degree, an illustration of independence of mind over all external
circumstances. Perhaps to the L. E. L. of whom so many nonsensical
things have been said--as, 'that she should write with a crystal pen,
dipped in dew, upon silver paper, and use for pounce the dust of a
butterfly's wing;' a _dilettante_ of literature would assign, for
the scene of her authorship, a fairy-like boudoir, with rose-colored
and silver hangings, fitted with all the luxuries of a fastidious
taste. How did the reality agree with this fairy sketch? Miss Landon's
drawing-room, indeed, was prettily furnished, but it was her
invariable habit to write in her bedroom. I see it now, that homely
looking, almost uncomfortable room, fronting the street, and barely
furnished; with a simple white bed, at the foot of which was a small,
old, oblong-shaped sort of dressing-table, quite covered with a
common, worn writing-desk, heaped with papers, while some strewed the
ground, the table being too small for aught beside the desk; a
high-backed cane chair, which gave you any idea rather than that of
comfort. A few books scattered about completed the author's
paraphernalia."

Certainly one would have imagined a girl's school in London just the
last place that a poet would have fixed upon to live and work in. But
as London was the city of cities to Miss Landon, so, no doubt,
Hans-place, from early associations, was to her the place of places;
and, when she was shut in her little bedroom, was just as poetical as
any other place in the world. I recollect there was a little garden
behind the house, which, if I remember right, you saw into through a
glass door from the hall. At all events, a person full of poetic
admiration once calling upon her, saw a little girl skipping very
actively in this court or garden, and was no little astonished to see
the servant go up to her, and announce the caller, whereupon the
little girl left her skipping, and turned out to be no other than Miss
Landon herself.

Of her person, Mr. Blanchard gives this description:--"Nobody who
might happen to see her for the first time, enjoying the little quiet
dance, of which she was fond, or the snug corner of the room where the
little lively discussion, which she liked still better, was going on,
could possibly have traced in her one feature of the sentimentalist
which popular error reported her to be. The listener might only hear
her running on from subject to subject, and lighting up each with a
wit never ill-natured, and often brilliant; scattering quotations as
thick as hail, opinions as wild as the winds; defying fair argument to
keep pace with her, and fairly talking herself out of breath. He would
most probably hear from her lips many a pointed and sparkling
aphorism, the wittiest things of the night, let who might be around
her,--he would be surprised, pleased; but his heroine of song, as
painted by anticipation, he would be unable to discover. He would see
her looking younger than she really was; and perhaps, struck by her
animated air, her expressive face, her slight but elegant figure, his
impression would at once find utterance in the exclamation which
escaped from the lips of the Ettrick Shepherd on being presented to
her, whose romantic fancies had often charmed him in the wild
mountains--'Hey! but I did not think ye'd bin sae bonnie!'

"Without attempting an elaborate description of the person of L. E.
L., we cite this expression of surprise as some indication that she
was far prettier than report allowed her to be, at the period we are
speaking of. Her easy carriage and careless movements would seem to
imply an insensibility to the feminine passion for dress; yet she had
a proper sense of it, and never disdained the foreign aid of ornament,
always provided it was simple, quiet, and becoming. Her hair was
darkly brown, very soft and beautiful, and always tastefully arranged;
her figure, as before remarked, slight, but well formed and graceful;
her feet small, but her hands especially so, and faultlessly white,
and finely shaped; her fingers were fairy fingers; her ears also were
observably little. Her face, though not regular in any feature, became
beautiful by expression; every flash of thought, every change and
color of feeling, lightened over it as she spoke, when she spoke
earnestly. The forehead was not high, but broad and full; the eyes had
no overpowering brilliancy, but their clear intellectual light
penetrated by its exquisite softness; her mouth was not less marked by
character; and, beside the glorious faculty of uttering the pearls and
diamonds of fancy and wit, knew how to express scorn, or anger, or
pride, as well as it knew how to smile winningly, or to pour forth
those short, quick, ringing laughs, which, not even excepting her
_bon-mots_ and aphorisms, were the most delightful things that
issued from it."

This may be considered a very fair portrait of Miss Landon. Your first
impressions of her were--what a little, light, simple, merry-looking
girl. If you had not been aware of her being a popular poetess, you
would have suspected her of being nothing more than an agreeable,
bright, and joyous young lady. This feeling in her own house, or among
a few congenial people, was quickly followed by a feeling of the
kind-heartedness and goodness about her. You felt that you could not
be long with her without loving her. There was a frankness and a
generosity about her that won extremely upon you. On the other hand,
in mixed companies, witty and conversant as she was, you had a feeling
that she was playing an assumed part. Her manner and conversation were
not only the very reverse of the tone and sentiment of her poems, but
she seemed to say things for the sake of astonishing you with the very
contrast. You felt not only no confidence in the truth of what she was
asserting, but a strong assurance that it was said merely for the sake
of saying what her hearers would least expect to hear her say. I
recollect once meeting her in company, at a time when there was a
strong report that she was actually though secretly married. Mrs.
Hofland, on her entering the room, went up to her in her plain,
straightforward way, and said, "Ah! my dear, what must I call
you?--Miss Landon, or who?" After a well feigned surprise at the
question. Miss Landon began to talk in a tone of merry ridicule of
this report, and ended by declaring that, as to love or marriage, they
were things that she never thought of.

"What, then, have you been doing with yourself this last month?"

"Oh, I have been puzzling my brain to invent a new sleeve; pray how do
you like it?" showing her arm.

"You never think of such a thing as love!" exclaimed a young,
sentimental man, "you who have written so many volumes of poetry upon
it?"

"Oh! that's all professional, you know!" exclaimed she, with an air of
merry scorn.

"Professional!" exclaimed a grave Quaker, who stood near--"why, dost
thou make a difference between what is professional and what is real?
Dost thou write one thing and think another? Does not that look very
much like hypocrisy?"

To this the astonished poetess made no reply, but by a look of genuine
amazement. It was a mode of putting the matter to which she had
evidently never been accustomed.

And, in fact, there can be no question that much of her writing was
professional. She had to win a golden harvest for the comfort of
others as dear to her as herself; and she felt, like all authors who
have to cater for the public, that she must provide, not so much what
she would of her free-will choice, but what they expected from her.
Still, working for profit, and for the age, the peculiar idiosyncrasy
of her mind showed itself through all. Before we advance to the last
melancholy home of L. E. L., let us take a review of her literary
career; rapid, yet sufficiently full to point out some particulars in
her writings which I think too peculiar not to interest strongly the
reader.

The subject of L. E. L.'s first volume was love; a subject which we
might have supposed, in one so young, would have been clothed in all
the gay and radiant colors of hope and happiness; but, on the
contrary, it was exhibited as the most fatal and melancholy of human
passions. With the strange, wayward delight of the young heart, ere it
has known actual sorrow, she seemed to riot and to revel amid death
and woe; laying prostrate life, hope, and affection. Of all the
episodical tales introduced into the general design of the principal
poem, not one but terminated fatally or sorrowfully; the heroine
herself was the fading victim of crossed and wasted affections. The
shorter poems which filled up the volume, and which were mostly of
extreme beauty, were still based on the wrecks and agonies of
humanity.

It might be imagined that this morbid indulgence of so strong an
appetite for grief was but the first dipping of the playful foot in
the sunny shallows of that flood of mortal experience through which
all have to pass; and but the dallying, yet desperate pleasure
afforded by the mingled chill and glittering eddies of the waters,
which might hereafter swallow up the passer through; and that the
first real pang of actual pain would scare her youthful fancy into the
bosom of those hopes and fascinations with which the young mind is
commonly only too much delighted to surround itself. But it is a
singular fact, that, spite of her own really cheerful disposition, and
spite of all the advice of her most influential friends, she persisted
in this tone from the first to the last of her works, from that time
to the time of her death. Her poems, though laid in scenes and times
capable of any course of events, and though filled to overflowing with
the splendors and high-toned sentiments of chivalry; though enriched
with all the colors and ornaments of a most fertile and sportive
fancy, were still but the heralds and delineations of melancholy,
misfortune, and death. Let any one turn to any, or all, of her
poetical volumes, and say whether this be not so, with few, and in
most of them, no exceptions. The very words of her first heroine might
have literally been uttered as her own:--

    "Sad were my shades; methinks they had
      Almost a tone of prophecy--
    I ever had, from earliest youth,
      A feeling what my fate would be."

    _The Improvisatrice_, p. 3.

This is one singular peculiarity of the poetry of L. E. L., and her
poetry must be confessed to be peculiar. It was entirely her own. It
had one prominent and fixed character, and that character belonged
wholly to itself. The rhythm, the feeling, the style, and phraseology
of L. E. L.'s poetry were such that you could immediately recognize
it, though the writer's name was not mentioned. Love was still the
great theme, and misfortune the great doctrine. It was not the less
remarkable that, in almost all other respects, she retained to the
last the poetical tastes of her very earliest years. The heroes of
chivalry and romance, feudal pageants, and Eastern splendor, delighted
her imagination as much in the full growth as in the budding of her
genius.

I should say, that it is the young and ardent who must always be the
warmest admirers of the larger poems of L. E. L. They are filled with
the faith and the fancies of the young. The very scenery and ornaments
are of that rich and showy kind which belongs to the youthful
taste;--the white rose, the jasmine, the summer garniture of deep
grass and glades of greenest foliage; festal gardens with lamps and
bowers; gay cavaliers, and jeweled dames, and all that glitters in
young eyes and love-haunted fancies. But among these, numbers of her
smaller poems from the first dealt with subjects and sympathies of a
more general kind, and gave glimpses of a nobility of sentiment, and a
bold expression of her feeling of the unequal lot of humanity, of a
far higher character. Such, in the Improvisatrice, are The Guerilla
Chief, St. George's Hospital, The Deserter, Gladesmure, The
Covenanters, The Female Convict, The Soldier's Grave, etc. Such are
many that might be pointed out in every succeeding volume. But it was
in her few last years that her heart and mind seemed every day to
develop more strength, and to gather a wider range of humanity into
their embrace. In the latter volumes of the Drawing-room Scrap Book,
many of the best poems of which have been reprinted with the Zenana,
nothing was more striking than the steady development of growing
intellectual power, and of deep, generous, and truly philosophical
sentiments, tone of thought, and serious experience.

But when L. E. L. had fixed her character as a poet, and the public
looked only for poetical productions from her, she suddenly came forth
as a prose writer, and with still added proofs of intellectual vigor.
Her prose stories have the leading characteristics of her poetry.
Their theme is love, and their demonstration that all love is fraught
with destruction and desolation. But there are other qualities
manifested in the tales. The prose page was for her a wider tablet, on
which she could, with more freedom and ampler display, record her
views of society. Of these, Francesca Carrara, and Ethel Churchill,
are unquestionably the best works, the latter preëminently so. In
these she has shown, under the characters of Guido and Walter Maynard,
her admiration of genius, and her opinion of its fate; under those of
Francesca and Ethel Churchill, the adverse destiny of pure and
high-souled woman.

These volumes abound with proofs of a shrewd observation of society,
with masterly sketches of character, and the most beautiful snatches
of scenery. But what surprise and delight more than all, are the sound
and true estimates of humanity, and the honest boldness with which her
opinions are expressed. The clear perception of the fearful social
condition of this country, and the fervent advocacy of the poor,
scattered through these works, but especially the last, do honor to
her woman's heart. These portions of L. E. L.'s writings require to be
yet more truly appreciated.

There is another characteristic of her prose writings which is
peculiar. Never were the feelings and experiences of authorship so
cordially and accurately described. She tells us freely all that she
has learned. She puts words into the mouth of Walter Maynard, of which
all who have known any thing of literary life must instantly
acknowledge the correctness. The author's heart never was more
completely laid open, with all its hopes, fears, fatigues, and
enjoyments, its bitter and its glorious experiences. In the last hours
of Walter Maynard, she makes him utter what must at that period have
been daily more and more her own conviction. "I am far cleverer than I
was. I have felt, have thought so much! Talk of the mind exhausting
itself!--never! Think of the mass of materials which every day
accumulates! Then experience, with its calm, clear light, corrects so
many youthful fallacies; every day we feel our higher moral
responsibility, and our greater power."

They are the convictions of "higher moral responsibilities and greater
power," which strike us so forcibly in the later writings of L. E. L.

But what shall we say to the preparation of prussic acid, and its
preservation, by Lady Marchmont? What of the perpetual creed of L. E.
L., that all affection brings woe and death? What of the
Improvisatrice, in her earlier work already quoted--

    "I ever had, from earliest youth,
    A feeling what my fate would be;"

and then the fate itself?

Whether this melancholy belief in the tendency of the great theme of
her writings, both in prose and poetry; this irresistible annunciation,
like another Cassandra, of woe and desolation; this evolution of
scenes and characters in her last work, bearing such dark resemblance
to those of her own after-experience; this tendency in all her plots,
to a tragic catastrophe, and this final tragedy itself--whether these
be all mere coincidences or not, they are still but parts of an
unsolved mystery. Whatever they are, they are more than strange, and
are enough to make us superstitious; for surely, if ever

    "Coming events cast their shadows before,"

they did so in the foreboding tone of this gifted spirit.

The painful part of Miss Landon's history is, that almost from the
first outbreak of her reputation, she became the mark of the most
atrocious calumnies. How far any girlish thoughtlessness had given a
shadow of ground on which the base things said of her might rest, is
not for me, who only saw her occasionally, to say. But my own
impressions, when I did see her and converse with her, were, that no
guilty spirit could live in that bright, clear, and generous person,
nor could look forth through those candid, playful, and transparent
eyes. It was a presence which gave you the utmost confidence in the
virtuous and innocent heart of the poetess, however much you might
regret the circumstances which had directed her mind from the
cultivation of its very highest powers. In after-years, and when I had
not seen her for a long time, rumors of a like kind, but with a show
of foundation more startling, were spread far and wide. That they were
equally untrue in fact, we may reasonably infer from the circumstance,
that they who knew her best, still continued her firm and unflinching
friends. Dr. and Mrs. Todd Thomson, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall, Mr.
Blanchard, General Fagan and his family, and many others; among them,
Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley, Miss Jane Porter, Miss Strickland, Miss
Costello, and Mrs. and Miss Sheldon, whose inmate she had been for so
many years; who began with prejudice against her, and who soon became,
and continued to the last, with the very best means of observation,
her sincere friends.

These calumnies, however, must for years have been a source of anguish
to her, haunting, but, happily, not disabling her in the midst of her
incessant exertions for the holiest of purposes. They put an end to
one engagement of marriage; they very probably threw their weight into
the decision which conducted her into the fatal one she ultimately
formed.

The circumstances connected with her marriage and death are too well
known, to require narrating here. Time has shown no clear light on the
mystery. Mr. Laman Blanchard, in his memoir of her, has labored hard
to prove that she did not die by the poison of prussic acid. His
reasoning will not bear a moment's examination. That she died with a
bottle in her hand, which contained it, he confesses is proved by
other evidence than that of Mrs. Bailey, who first found her dead. He
quotes Dr. Thomson, who furnished her order for her medicine-chest,
and examined the list of articles actually put into it, and who also,
on referring to the prescriptions written by him for her on former
occasions, certified that on no occasion had he ordered her prussic
acid. On this, Mr. Blanchard says, very innocently, how then could she
possibly have got it? and adds, that very probably she was quite
ignorant of its existence and nature; as he says he himself was! That
is, that hydrocyanic acid was prussic acid!

Unfortunately, the fact stands that she was found _by the
surgeon_ with an empty bottle, labeled "hydrocyanic acid," in her
hand, and was dead. "An empty bottle, though it bear on its label the
words, 'hydrocyanic acid,' ceases to be a proof of her having taken
any, when it is found there in her hand!" Poor Blanchard! How little
did he think, in his generous desire to rescue his friend from the
stigma of self-destruction, that no person, except himself, would
require more conclusive evidence of the fact of a person's dying from
the taking of prussic acid, than that of finding her dead on the
floor, with an exhausted bottle of it in her hand! But, unfortunately,
there are other facts which, however we may conclude as to the
circumstance of her having thus taken it willfully, leave us no doubt
of her being well acquainted with the effects of this poison; of her
being in the habit of keeping it; and of her having actually, years
before, threatened to make a fatal use of this very remedy.

In Ethel Churchill will be found her own recital of the Countess
Marchmont distilling herself this very poison from the laurel, and
keeping secretly by her this poison, for the purpose of
self-destruction under certain circumstances. This shows, most
unanswerably, that Miss Landon not only was well aware of the
character of this poison, but of the mode of its preparation. She does
not send her heroine at once to the druggist's shop for it; though
scores, as is too well known, have found no difficulty in procuring it
there; but she details to us the process of its distillation,
bottling, and secreting for use.

There is a still more painful fact in existence, which, I believe, has
never been before adverted to in print, but is unquestionable, which
brings the matter more painfully home. During the agonies of mind
which Miss Landon suffered, at a time when calumny was dealing very
freely with her name, her old friend, and, for a long time, co-inmate,
Miss Roberts, came in one day, and found her very much agitated. "Have
those horrible reports," she eagerly inquired, "got into the papers,
Miss Roberts?" Miss Roberts assured her they had not. "If they do,"
she exclaimed, opening a drawer in the table, and taking out a vial,
"I am resolved--here is my remedy!" The vial was a vial of prussic
acid. This fact I have on the authority of the late Emma Roberts
herself. There remains, therefore, no question that Miss Landon was
well acquainted with the nature of prussic acid, for she kept it by
her, and had declared, under circumstances of cruel excitement, her
resolve to use it on a certain contingency. Being found, therefore,
with an emptied vial of this very poison in her hand, and dead on the
floor, can leave no rational doubt that she died by it, and by her own
hand.

But there remains the question, whether she took it purposely; and it
may be very strongly doubted that she did. From all that has
transpired, it is more probable that she had taken it by mistake. That
being in the habit of taking, by Dr. Thomson's prescription, the
_Tinctura Hyosciami_, she had been misled, in seeking hastily in
her spasms for it, by the similar label of _Acidum
Hydrocyanicum_; and, perceiving her mistake, had hurried toward the
door to call for assistance, but in vain; the usual quantity of
_Hyosciamus_ being an almost instant death-draught of the acid.

That Mrs. Maclean was likely to take this poison purposely, there is
no ground to imagine. On the contrary, to the very last, her letters
to England were full of a cheerfulness that has all the air of
thorough reality. It is true, there are many circumstances that we
could wish otherwise: that her husband had a connection with, and, it
is believed, a family by, a native Fantee woman; that he insisted on
the marriage with Miss Landon in England remaining a secret till just
before sailing, as if fearful of the news preceding him home; that he
went on shore in the night, through the surf, and at great risk, as if
to remove this woman from the spot, or see that she was not on it;
that the last two letters written to her family in England, were
detained by her husband; that the Mrs. Bailey, who attended on Mrs.
Maclean, and was about to sail the next day with her husband for
England, not only gave up these letters, but stayed there a year
longer; and that she turned out to be any thing but truthful in her
statements. Beside these, there are other facts which surprise us.
That Mrs. Maclean should have married under the impression that she
was not to go out to Cape Coast at all; that then she was to stay only
three years; that though Mr. Maclean knew the position L. E. L. had
held here--that she had been occupied with writing, and not with
cooking; that a woman who had been, as she had been for the greater
part of her life, the cherished and caressed favorite of the most
intelligent society of London, could not make, for the man of her
choice, a more entire sacrifice, than to go out to a distant barbarous
coast and settlement, in which was no single Englishwoman, except the
wife of a missionary; and might, therefore, reasonably expect that
that man should make every arrangement possible for her comfort; that
he should not object to her taking an English maid; that he should at
least have pots and pans in his house, where his celebrated wife was
to become housekeeper, and almost cook; that he should not lie in bed
all day, and leave her to entertain strange governors and their
suites. There are these and other things, which we must always wish
had been much otherwise; but all these will not induce us to let go
the belief to which we cling, that L. E. L., though she unquestionably
died by her own hand, died so through accident, and not through
resolve or cause for it.

The circumstances connected with this last home of the young poetess
are strange enough in themselves, independent of the closing tragedy.
That she who was educated in, and for, London; who could hardly bear
the country; who says, she worshiped the very pavement of London; who
was the idolized object of the ever moving and thronging social
circles of the metropolis, should go voluntarily out to the desert of
an African coast, to a climate generally fatal to Englishwomen, and to
the year-long solitude of that government fort, was a circumstance
which astonished every one. The picture of this home of exile, and of
herself and her duties in it, is drawn livingly by herself. Before
giving this, we may here simply state that Cape Coast Castle is one of
the eight British settlements on the Gold Coast. The castle stands on
a rock of gneiss and mixed slate, about twenty feet above the level of
the sea, in 5° 6' N. lat., and 1° 10' W. long. Outside there is a
native town; and the adjacent country, to a considerable distance, has
been cleared, and rendered fit for cultivation. The ruling natives are
the Fantees, a clever, stirring, turbulent race.

In one of her letters, she gives this account of the situation and
scenery of the castle:--"On three sides we are surrounded by the sea.
I like the perpetual dash on the rocks--one wave comes up after
another, and is forever dashed in pieces, like human hopes, that only
swell to be disappointed. We advance,--up springs the shining froth of
love or hope,--'a moment white, then gone forever!' The land view,
with its cocoa and palm-trees, is very striking--it is like a scene in
the Arabian Nights. Of a night, the beauty is very remarkable; the sea
is of a silvery purple, and the moon deserves all that has been said
in her favor. I have only been once out of the fort by daylight, and
then was delighted. The salt lakes were first dyed a deep crimson by
the setting sun, and as we returned they seemed a faint violet by the
twilight, just broken by a thousand stars; while before us was the red
beacon-light."

We may complete the view, exterior and interior, by other extracts. "I
must say, in itself, the place is infinitely superior to all that I
ever dreamed of. The castle is a fine building--the rooms excellent. I
do not suffer from heat; insects there are few, or none; and I am in
excellent health. The solitude, except an occasional dinner, is
absolute: from seven in the morning till seven, when we dine, I never
see Mr. Maclean, and rarely any one else. We were welcomed by a series
of dinners, which I am glad are over,--for it is very awkward to be
the only lady; still the great kindness with which I have been
treated, and the very pleasant manners of many of the gentlemen, made
me feel it as little as possible. Last week we had a visit from
Captain Castle of the Pylades. We had also a visit from Colonel Bosch,
the Dutch governor, a most gentlemanlike man. But fancy how awkward
the next morning!--I can not induce Mr. Maclean to rise; and I have to
make breakfast, and do the honors of adieu to him and his
officers--white plumes, mustaches, and all. I think I never felt more
embarrassed.

"The native huts I first took for ricks of hay; but those of the
better sort are pretty white houses, with green blinds. The English
gentlemen resident here have very large houses, quite mansions, with
galleries running round them. Generally speaking, the vegetation is so
thick, that the growth of the shrubs rather resembles a wall. The
solitude here is Robinson Crusoeish. The hills are covered to the top
with what we should call calf-weed, but here is called bush: on two of
these hills are small forts built by Mr. Maclean. The natives seem
obliging and intelligent, and look very picturesque, with their fine
dark figures, with pieces of the country cloth flung round them: they
seem to have an excellent ear for music. The band seems to play from
morning to night.

"The castle is a fine building, a sort of double square, shaped like
an H, of which we occupy the middle. A large flight of steps leads to
the hall, on either side of which is a suite of rooms. The one in
which I am writing would be pretty in England. It is of a pale blue,
and hung with some beautiful prints, for which Mr. Maclean has a
passion.

"You can not imagine how different every thing is here to England. I
hope, however, in time to get on pretty well. There is, nevertheless,
a deal to do. I have never been accustomed to housekeeping, and here
every thing must be seen to by yourself; it matters not what it is, it
must be kept under lock and key. I get up at seven, breakfast at
eight, and give out flour, butter, sugar, all from the store. I have
found the bag you gave me so useful to hold the keys, of which I have
a little army. We live almost entirely on chickens and ducks, for if a
sheep be killed it must be all eaten that day. The bread is very good:
they use palm wine for yeast. Yams are a capital substitute for
potatoes; pies and puddings are scarce thought of, unless there is a
party. The washing has been a terrible trouble, but I am getting on
better. I have found a woman to wash some of the things, but the men
do all the starching and ironing. Never did people require so much
looking after. Till Mr. Maclean comes in from court at seven, I never
see a living creature but the servants. * * * The weather is now very
warm; the nights so hot that you can only bear the lightest sheet over
you. As to the beds, the mattresses are so hard, they are like iron.
The damp is very destructive; the dew is like rain, and there are no
fireplaces: you would not believe it, but a grate would be the first
of luxuries. Keys, scissors, every thing rusts. * * * I find the
servants civil, and not wanting in intelligence, but industry. Each
has servants to wait on him, whom they call sense-boys, _i.e._,
they wait on them to be taught. Scouring is done by the prisoners.
Fancy three men employed to clean a room, which, in England, an old
woman could do in an hour, while a soldier stands over them with a
drawn bayonet."

Such was the last strange, solitary home of L. E. L.; such the strange
life of one who had been before employed only in diffusing her
beautiful fancies amid her countrymen. Here she was rising at seven,
giving out flour, sugar, etc. from the stores, seeing what room she
would have cleaned, and then sitting down to write. In the midst of
this new species of existence, she is suddenly plunged into the grave,
leaving the wherefore a wonder. The land which was the attraction of
her childhood, singularly enough, thus became her sepulcher. A marble
slab, with a Latin inscription, is said to be erected there by her
husband; and in Brompton Church a monument has been placed by her
admiring friends.



[Illustration: Abbotsford]



SIR WALTER SCOTT.


Many and wonderful as are the romances which Sir Walter Scott wrote,
there are none of them so wonderful as the romance of his own life. It
is not that from a simple son of a Writer to the Signet, he raised
himself to wealth and title;--that many have done before him, and far
more than that. That many a man of most ordinary brain can achieve;
can, as it were, almost stumble into, he knows not how. That many a
scrivener, a paviour, or a pawnbroker, has accomplished, and been
still deemed no miracle. The city of London, from the days of Dick
Whittington to those of Sir Peter Laurie, can show a legion of such
culminations. But Sir Walter Scott won _his_ wealth and title in
fields more renowned for starvation and "Calamities," than for making
of fortunes--those of literature. It was from the barren hills of
Parnassus that he drew down wealth in quantities that struck the whole
world with astonishment, and made those famous mountains, trodden bare
with the feet of glorious paupers, rivals of the teeming heights of
Mexico and Peru. At a period when the sources of literature appeared
to have exhausted themselves; when it was declared that nothing
original could be again expected in poetry, that all its secret places
were rifled, all its fashions outworn, all its imagery beaten into
triteness; when romance was grown mawkish and even childish; when Mrs.
Radcliffe and Horace Walpole had exhausted its terrors, and the
novelist's path through common life, it was thought, had been gleaned
of all possible discovery by Fielding, Richardson and Smollett,
Goldsmith and Sterne,--when this was confirmed in public opinion by
the sentimentalities of Henry Mackenzie, forth started Scott as a
giant of the first magnitude, and demolished all the fond ideas of
such dusty-brained dreamers. He opened up on every side new scenes of
invention. In poetry and romance, he showed that there was not a
corner of these islands which was not, so far from being exhausted,
standing thick with the richest materials for the most wonderful and
beautiful creations. The reign of the schoolmen and the copyists was
at an end. Nature, history, tradition, life, every thing and every
place, were shown by this new and vigorous spirit to be full to
overflowing with what had been, in the dim eyes of former
_soi-disant_ geniuses, only dry bones; but which, at the touch of
this bold necromancer, sprung up living forms of the most fascinating
grace. The whole public opened eyes of wonder, and in breathless
amazement and delight saw this active and unweariable agent call round
him, from the brooks and mountains of his native land, troop after
troop of kings, queens, warriors, women of regal forms and more regal
spirits; visions of purity and loveliness; and lowly creations of no
less glorious virtues. The whole land seemed astir with armies,
insurrections, pageantries of love, and passages of sorrow, that for
twenty years kept the enraptured public in a trance, as it were, of
one accumulating marvel and joy. There seemed no bounds to his powers,
or the field of his operations. From Scotland he descended into
England, stepped over into France, Germany, Switzerland, nay, even
into Palestine and India; and people asked, as volumes, any one of
which would have established a first-rate reputation, were poured out,
year after year, with the rapid prodigality of a mountain stream,--is
there no limit to the wondrous powers of this man's imagination and
creative faculty? There really seemed none. Fresh stories, of totally
novel construction, fresh characters, of the most startling
originality, were continually coming forward, as from an inexhaustible
world of soul. Not only did the loftiest and most marked characters of
our history, either the Scotch or English, again move before us in all
their vitality of passions and of crimes, of virtue and of heroism
as--Bruce, James V. and VI., Richard Coeur de Lion, Elizabeth, Mary
of Scots, Leicester, James I. of England, Montrose, Claverhouse,
Cumberland the butcher; not only did the covenanters preach and fight
anew, and the highland clans rise in aid of the Stuart, but new
personages, of the rarest beauty, the haughtiest command, or the most
curious humor, swarmed out upon the stage of life, thick, as if their
creation had cost no effort. Flora M'Ivor, Rose Bradwardine, Rebecca,
the high-souled Jewess, the unhappy Lucy Ashton and Amy Robsart, the
lowly Effie Deans, and her homely yet glorious sister Jenny, the
bewitching Di Vernon, and Brenda Troil of the northern isles, stand
radiant amid a host of lesser beauties; while Rob Roy, the Robin Hood
of the hills, treads in manly dignity his native heather; Balfour of
Burley issues a stalwart apparition from his hiding-places; and for
infinitude of humor, and strangeness of aspect and mood, where are the
pages that can present a troop like these: the Baron of Bradwardine,
Dominie Sampson, Meg Merrilies, Monkbarns, Edie Ochiltree, Dugald
Dalgetty, Old Mortality, Bailie Nicol Jarvie, Andrew Fairservice,
Caleb Balderstone, Flibbertigibbet, Norna of the Fitful Head, and that
fine fellow, the farmer of Liddesdale, with whom every one feels a
desire to shake hands, honest Dandie Dinmont, with all his Peppers and
Mustards yaffling at his heels?

It may be safely said that, in twenty years, one man enriched the
literature of his country with more story of intense beauty, and more
original character, than all its literati together for two hundred
years before. And this is only part of the wonder with Sir Walter
Scott; he was all this time a man of business, of grave and various
business--a Clerk of Session, sitting in the Parliament-house of
Edinburgh daily, during term, from ten to four o'clock--the Sheriff of
Selkirk, with its calls--an active cavalry volunteer--a sitter on gas
and other committees--a zealous politician and reviewer--mixed up in a
world of printing and publishing concerns, and ready to run off and
traverse as diligently sea and land, in all directions, at every
possible interval. Beside all this, he was a buyer of lands, a planter
of extensive woods, a raiser of a fairy castle, a keen sportsman with
grayhound and fish-spear. Amid all these avocations and amusements,
his writing appeared the produce of his odd hours; and this mass of
romance, on which his fame chiefly rests, after all, but a fragment of
his literary labor. In the enormous list of his works, to be found at
the end of his Life by Lockhart, his novels and poems appear but a
slight sprinkling amid his heavier toils: reviews, translations,
essays, six volumes; Tales of a Grandfather, twelve volumes; sermons,
memoirs, a multitude; editions of Swift and Dryden, in nineteen
volumes and eighteen volumes; Somers's Tracts, in thirteen volumes;
antiquities, lives, etc., etc. The array of works, written and edited,
is astounding: and when we recollect that little of this was done
before forty, and that he died at the age of sixty-one, our
astonishment becomes boundless. It is in vain to look for another such
life of gigantic literary labor, performed by a man of the world, and
no exclusive, unmitigated bookworm; much less of such an affluent
produce of originality. In these particulars, Scott stands alone.

But though the wonder of his life is seen in this, the romance of it
yet remains. He arose to fill a great and remarkable point of time. A
new era was commencing, which was to be enriched out of the neglected
matter of the old. The suppression of the rebellion of 1745 was the
really vitalizing act of the union of Scotland and England. By it the
old clan life and spirit were extinguished. The spirit which
maintained a multitude of old forms, costumes, and modes of life, was
by that event annihilated; and the rapid amalgamation of the two
nations in a time of internal peace, would soon have obliterated much
that was extremely picturesque and full of character, were it not
seized and made permanent by some mighty and comprehensive mind. That
mind was Scott's! He stood on the threshold of a new world, with the
falling fabric of the past close beneath his view. Every circumstance
which was necessary to make him the preserver of the memory and life
of this past world met in him, as by a marked decree of the Almighty.
He had all the sensibility and imagination of the past, with the
keenest relish of every thing that was prominent in living character
among his fellow-men. He was inspired with the love of nature, as an
undying passion, by having been, in his earliest years, suffered to
run wild amid the rocks of Smailholm, and the beautiful scenery of
Kelso. The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry--that herald of nature
to all that were capable of loving her at that period, and which,
without saying a word about the false taste of the age, at once awoke
in it the true one, was to him but the revelation of still further
relics of the like kind in his own country. He had heard similar
strains from his nurses--from the country people among whom he had
been cast, from the ladies of his family; and Percy's volume was but
as a trumpet note, awakening him to a consciousness of poetic wealth,
that lay all around him thick as the dews of a spring morning. In
highland and in lowland, but especially along that wild border-land
which had become the delight of his boyhood, the lays and the
traditions of the past were in every mouth, and awaited some fortunate
hand to gather them. His was the hand destined to do that and more.
Every step that he made in the pursuit of the old ballad literature of
his country, only showed him more and more of the immense mass of the
materials of poetry and romance which the past ages had neglected as
vulgar. The so-called poets of two or three generations had gone about
on the stilts of classical pride; and had overlooked, nay, had scorned
to touch even with their shoe-toes, the golden ore of romantic
character and deed, that lay in actual heaps on every mountain, and
along every mountain stream. Young Scott, transported at the sight,
flew east and west; traversed mountain and heath, with all the
buoyancy of youth and the throbbing pulse of poetry. He went among the
common people; and amid shepherds, and with housewives at their
wheels, and milk-maids over their pails, he heard the songs and
ballads which had been flashed forth amid the clash of swords, or
hymned mournfully over the fallen, in wild days of wrong and strife,
and still stirred the blood of their descendants when they were become
but the solace of the long watch on the brae with the flock, or the
excitement of the winter fireside. Nay, he found not only poetry and
romance, but poets and romancers. Hogg and Leyden, Laidlaw and
Shortreed, all men of genius, all glowing with love of their native
land, became his friends, companions, and fellow-gatherers. The
romance of his life had now begun. Full of youth and the delicious
buoyancy of its enjoyment, full of expanding hopes and aspirations,
dreams of power came upon him. He put forth his volumes of The
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, and found them realized. His
horizon was at once wonderfully widened. The brightest spirits of
England, as well as of his own country, hailed him as a true brother.
The dawn of this new era was kindling apace. The hearts which had
caught the same impulse from the same source as himself, and owned the
native charms of nature, were now becoming vocal with the burden of
this new music. Campbell, Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge, and others,
were sending forth new strains of poetry, such as had not been heard
since Shakspeare, and Spenser, and Milton had lived. But Walter Scott
was to become something more than a poet. His destiny was to become
the great romance writer of his age; to gather up and mold into a new
form the life and spirit of the past many-colored ages of his country,
and to leave them as a legacy of delight to the world forever. For
this purpose he was qualified, by sundry accomplishments and
experiences. He studied the literature of Germany, and drew thence a
love of the wild and wonderful; he became a lawyer, and thus was
brought into closer contact with the inner workings of society, its
forms and formalities. He was brought to a close gaze upon family
history, upon the passions that agitate men in the transitions of
property, and in the committal of crime, or the process of its arrest
and punishment. He was made to study men, both as they were and had
been, and was enriched with a knowledge of the technicalities which
are so essential to him who will describe, with accuracy, trials and
transactions in which both life and property are at stake, and the
crooked arts of villains, especially the villains of the law. To these
most auspicious preparations for his great task--a task not yet
revealed to him--he added a keen relish for antiquities; and a memory
as gigantic as his frame was robust. Did there yet want any thing? It
was a genial humor, which rejoiced in the social pleasures of life,
and that, while it lived amid the open hearts of his fellow-men, in
the hours of domestic freedom and convivial gayety, saw deep into
their hearts, and hoarded up without knowing it theories of the
actuality of existence, and of original character. This too was
eminently his.

His Border Minstrelsy published, he turned his views northward, and a
still more stirring scene presented itself. The Highlands, with their
beautiful mountains and lakes, their clan life, their thrilling
traditions and stories of but recently past conflicts, bloodshed, and
sorrow;--their striking costume, their pipers blowing strains that,
amid the rocks, and forests, and dark heather of that romantic region,
kindled even in the heart of the stranger a strange enthusiasm,--all
was to him full of the fire of poetry, and of a romance too large,
with all its quick and passionate characters, and its vivid details,
for poetry itself. First came forth his Metrical Romances--themselves
a new and inspiriting species of poetry, founded, indeed, on an old
basis, but quickened with the soul of modern knowledge, and handled
with the harmonious freedom of a modern master. These, however, now we
may regard them as somewhat overstepped by the more impassioned lays
of Byron, and by the more expansive wonders of the author's own prose
romances, were, at the time, an actual infusion of new life-blood into
the public. They were the opening up of a totally new world, fresh and
beautiful as the imagination could conceive. They actually seemed to
smell of the heather. Every rock, hung with its dark pines, or
graceful birches; every romantic lake, bosomed in its lonely
mountains; the hunt careering along its richly colored glens; the
warrior, full of a martial and chivalrous spirit; the lithe
Highlander, with dirk and philibeg, crouching in the heath, like the
Indian in his forest, or speeding from clan to clan with the fiery
cross of war,--every one of these vivid images was as new to the
English public as if they had been brought from the farthest regions
of Japan. Then the whole of these newly discovered regions, the
Highlands, for such they were, was covered with traditions of
strangest exploits; the people were a wild, irritable, vengeful, but
still high-minded people, exhibiting the equally prominent virtues and
crimes of a demi-civilized race. How refreshing was the contemplation
of such scenes and people to the jaded minds of the English, so long
doomed to mediocre monotony! I well remember, then a youth, with what
avidity a new poem of Walter Scott's was awaited for and devoured. It
was a poetry welcome to all, because it had not merely the qualities
of good poetry, which would have been lost on the majority of readers,
but it had all this novelty of scenery and character, and the
excitement of brilliant story, to recommend it. Then it was
perpetually shifting its ground. It was now amid the lonely regions of
the south of Scotland; now high up amid heaths, and lochs, and
pine-hung mountains, the shepherd's sheiling, the roar of the
cataract, and the cry of the eagle, mixing with the wild sound of the
distant pibroch; and now amid the green, naked mountains and islands
of the west, and savage rocks, and thundering seas, and the cries of
sea-birds, as they were roused by the wandering Bruce and his
followers, on their way to win back the crown of Scotland from the
English invader.

The sensation which these poems produced is now forgotten, and can
only be conceived by those who can remember their coming out; but
these were soon to be eclipsed by the prose romances of the same
author. The ground, the spirit, and the machinery were the same; but
these were now allowed to work in broad, unfettered prose, and a
thousand traits and personages were introduced, which could by no
possibility have found a place in verse. The variety of grotesque
characters, the full country dialect and dialogues of all sorts of
actors in the scenes, thus gave an infinite superiority to the prose
over the poetry. The first reading of Waverley was an era in the
existence of every man of taste. There was a life, a color, a feeling
given to his mind, which he had never before experienced. To have
lived at that period when, ever and anon, it was announced that a new
novel by the Author of Waverley was coming out; to have sat down the
moment it could be laid hold of, and have entered through it into
another world, full of new objects of admiration, new friends, and new
subjects of delight and discussion,--was, in truth, a real privilege.
The fame of Scott, before great, now became unbounded. It flew over
sea and land. His novels were translated into every language which
could boast of a printing-press; and the glory of two such men as
himself and Byron made still more proud the renown of that invincible
island, which stood against all the assaults of Napoleon, and had now
even chained that terrible conqueror, as its captive, on a far
sea-rock.

I say the fame of Scott was thus augmented by the Waverley Novels.
Yes, they were, long before they were owned to be his, felt by the
public to be nobody else's. The question might be, and was agitated,
but still there was a tacit feeling that Scott was their author, far
and wide diffused. Dense, indeed, must they have been who could doubt
it. What were they but prose amplifications of his Lady of the Lake,
his Marmion, and his Lord of the Isles? So early as 1820, rambling on
foot with Mrs. Howitt in the Highlands, we came to Aberfoil, where the
minister, Mr. Graham, who had written Sketches of the Scenery of
Perthshire, accompanied us to spots in that neighborhood which are
marked ones in the novel of Rob Roy. It was he who had first turned
the attention of Scott to the scenery of Lock Katrine and the
Trosachs. "Can there be any doubt," we asked, "that Scott is the
author of Waverley?" "Could it possibly be any body else?" he replied.
"If the whole spirit and essence of those stories did not show it, his
visits here during the writing of Rob Roy would have been decisive
enough. He came here, and inquired out all the traditionary haunts of
Rob. I accompanied him upon Loch Ard, and at a particular spot I saw
his attention fixed; he observed my notice, but desired his daughter
to sing something, to divert it; but I felt assured that before long I
should see that spot described--and there, indeed, was Helen Macgregor
made to give her celebrated breakfast." Long before the formal
acknowledgment was made, few, in fact, were they who were not as fully
satisfied of the identity of Walter Scott and the author of Waverley,
as was the shrewd Ettrick Shepherd, who, from the first, had had the
Waverley Novels bound and labeled, "Scott's Novels." No one could have
seen Abbotsford itself without being at once convinced of it, if he
had never been so before. Without, the very stones of the old gateway
of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh stared the fact in his face; within, it
was a perfect collection of testimonies to the fact. The gun of Rob
Roy; the pistols of Claverhouse; the thumbikins which had tortured the
Covenanters; nay, a whole host of things cried out--"We belong to the
author of Waverley."

And never did fame so richly follow the accomplishment of deeds of
immortality as in the case of Sir Walter. From the monarch to the
meanest reader; from Edinburgh to the farthest wilds of Russia and
America, the enthusiastic admiration of "The Great Northern Magician,"
as he was called, was one universal sentiment. Wherever he went he was
made to feel it; and from every quarter streamed crowds on crowds to
Abbotsford to see him. He was on the kindliest terms of friendship
with almost every known writer; to his most distinguished
cotemporaries, especially Byron, Miss Edgeworth, and Miss Joanna
Baillie, he seemed as though he could not testify sufficient honor;
and, on the other hand, the highest nobility, nay, royalty itself,
felt the pride of his presence and acquaintance. Never had the glory
of any literary man, not even of those who, like Petrarch, had been
crowned publicly as the poetic monarchs of the age, reached such a
pitch of intense and universal splendor. The field of this glory was
not one country,--it was that of the vast civilized world, in which
almost every man was a reader. No evidences more striking of this were
ever given than on his tour in Ireland, where the play was not allowed
to go on in Dublin till he showed himself to the eager people; and on
his return from whence, he declared that his whole journey had been an
ovation. It was the same on his last going on the Continent. But the
fact mentioned by Lockhart as occurring during his attendance in
London at the coronation of George IV., in 1821, is worth a thousand
others, as it shows how truly he was held in honor by the common
people. He was returning from the coronation banquet in Westminster
Hall. He had missed his carriage, and "had to return on foot, between
two and three in the morning, when he and a young gentleman, his
companion, found themselves locked in the crowd, somewhere near
Whitehall; and the bustle and tumult were such, that his friend was
afraid some accident might happen to the lame limb. A space for the
dignitaries was kept clear, at that point, by the Scots Grays. Sir
Walter addressed a sergeant of this celebrated regiment, begging to be
allowed to pass by him into the open ground in the middle of the
street. The man answered shortly, that his orders were strict--that
the thing was impossible. While he was endeavoring to persuade the
sergeant to relent, some new wave of turbulence approached from
behind, and his young companion exclaimed, in a loud voice--'Take
care, Sir Walter Scott, take care!' The stalwart dragoon hearing the
name, said--'What! Sir Walter Scott? He shall get through, anyhow.' He
then addressed the soldiers near him--'Make room, men, for Sir Walter
Scott, our illustrious countryman!' The men answered--'Sir Walter
Scott! God bless him!' and he was in a moment within the guarded line
of safety."

This is beautiful. Sir Walter had won a proud immortality, and lived
now in the very noon of its living radiance. But the romance is still
behind. When about six-and-twenty, at the pleasant little
watering-place of Gilsland, in Cumberland, he fell in love with a
young French lady, Charlotte Margaret Charpentier. The meeting was
like one of those in his own novels. He was riding with his friend,
Adam Fergusson--the joyous, genial friend of his whole life--one day
in that neighborhood, when they met a young lady taking an airing on
horseback, whom neither of them had before seen. They were so much
struck with her appearance, as to keep her in view till they were sure
that she was a visitor at the wells. The same evening they met her at
a ball, and so much was Scott charmed with her that he soon made her a
proposal, and she became his wife. All who knew her in her youth speak
of her as a very charming person; though I confess that her portrait
at Abbotsford does not give me much idea of her personal charms. But,
says Mr. Lockhart, who had the best opportunity of knowing, "Without
the features of a regular beauty, she was rich in personal
attractions; 'a form that was fashioned as light as a fairy's;' a
complexion of the clearest and the brightest olive; eyes large,
deep-set and dazzling, of the finest Italian brown; and a profusion of
silken tresses, black as the raven's wing: her address hovering
between the reserve of a pretty Englishwoman who has not mingled
largely in general society, and a certain natural archness and gayety
that suited well with the accompaniment of a French accent. A lovelier
vision, as all who remember her in the bloom of her days have assured
me, could hardly have been imagined."

With his charming young wife, Scott settled at Lasswade, about seven
miles from Edinburgh. Here he had a lonely and retired cottage, in a
most beautiful neighborhood; and was within an easy distance of
Edinburgh and his practice there as an advocate. Here he busied
himself in his literary pursuits, and made those excursions into
Liddesdale, and Ettrick forest, and other parts of the border country,
in quest of materials for his Border Minstrelsy, in which he found
such exquisite delight. Here he found Shortreed, Hogg, Laidlaw, men
all enthusiastic in the same pursuits and tastes. At this time, too,
he became acquainted, in Edinburgh, with Leyden, also a border man,
full of ballad and poetry, and with powers as gigantic as Scott
himself, though uncouth as a colt from the moors. There is nothing in
any biography which strikes me so full of the enjoyment of life as
Scott's _raids_, as he called them, into Liddesdale, and other
border wildernesses, at that period. He found everywhere a new
country, untrodden by tourists, unknown to fame, but richly deserving
of it. There was a new land discovered, full, from end to end, of wild
scenery, and strange, rude, but original character, rich in native
wit, humor, and fun. Down Liddesdale there was no road; in it there
was no inn. Scott's gig, on the last of seven years' _raids_, was
the first wheel-carriage that ever entered it. "The travelers passed
from the shepherd's hut to the minister's manse; and again from the
cheerful hospitality of the manse, to the rough and jolly welcome of
the homestead." "To these rambles," says Lockhart, "Scott owed much of
the material of his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, and not less of
that intimate acquaintance with the living manners of those
unsophisticated regions, which constitutes the chief charm of one of
the most charming of his prose works." "He was _makin' himsel'_
a' the time," said Mr. Shortreed; "but he did na ken, may be, what he
was about till years had passed. At first he thought o' little, I dare
say, but the queerness and the fun." That overflowing enjoyment of
life which so much distinguished Scott at all periods, except the
short melancholy one of his decline, now exhibited itself in all its
exuberance. "Eh me!" says Mr. Shortreed, "sic an endless fund o' humor
and drollery as he then had wi' him! Never ten yards but we were
either laughing, or roaring, and singing. Wherever we stopped, how
brawlie he suited himsel' to every body! He aye did as the lave did;
never made himsel' the great man, or took ony airs in the company." It
was in one of these _raids_ that they fell in with the original
Dandie Dinmont.

His Border Minstrelsy came out; his fame spread. His Metrical Romances
followed; and he was the most popular man of the day. In matters of
business he rapidly advanced. He was made Clerk of Session and Sheriff
of Selkirk. He quitted his cottage at Lasswade, for the still more
beautiful, but more solitary farm of Ashestiel, on the banks of the
Tweed. Lord Byron's poetry blazed out; but Scott took another flight,
in the Historical Novel, and was still, if not the greatest poet, the
most popular man of his age. Never had there been any evidence of such
pecuniary success in the literary world. He made about £15,000 by his
poetry; but by his prose he made, by a single work, his £5,000, his
£10,000, his £12,000. His facility was equal to his success; it was no
long and laborious task to complete one of these truly golden volumes;
they were thrown off as fast as he could write; and, in three months,
a novel, worth eight or ten thousand pounds in the market, was
finished! Well might his hopes and views tower to an unprecedented
height. The spirit of poetry and romance reveled in his brain, and
began to show itself not only in the construction of volumes, but in
the building of a castle, an estate, a family to stand amid the
aristocratic families forever. The name of Walter Scott should not
only descend with his children as that of an illustrious writer, but
should clothe them with the world-honored mantle of titular rank. And
every thing was auspicious. The tide and the wind of fortune, and
public favor, blew wondrously. Work after work was thrown off;
enormous sums often were netted. Publishers and printers struggled for
his patronage; but Constable and the Ballantynes, acquaintances of his
youth, were selected for his favor; and great became their standing
and business. There seemed not one fortune, but three secure of
accomplishment. The poet, in the romantic solitude of Ashestiel, or
galloping over the heathy hills in the neighborhood, as he mused on
new and ever succeeding visions of romances among them, conceived the
most fascinating scheme of all. It was to purchase lands, to raise
himself a fairy castle, to become, not the minstrel of a lord, as were
many of those of old, but a minstrel-lord himself. The practical
romance grew. On the banks of the Tweed, then, began to rise the fairy
castle. Quaint and beautiful as one of his descriptions, it arose;
lands were added to lands; over hill and dale spread the dark
embossment of future woods; and Abbotsford began to be spoken of far
and wide. The poet had chosen his seat in the midst of the very land
of ancient poetry itself. At three miles' distance stood the fair pile
of Melrose, which he had made so attractive, by his Lay of the Last
Minstrel, to the whole world. Near that showed themselves the Eildon
hills, the haunt of True Thomas; at their feet ran the classic stream
of Huntly burn. The Cowdenknows lifted its black summit farther down
the Tweed; and upward was a whole fairy land--Carterhaugh, Newark
Tower, Ettrick forest, St. Mary's Lake, and the Dowie Dens of Yarrow.
There was scarcely an object in the whole country round--neither hill,
nor wood, nor stream, nor single rock--which was not full of the
associations of ballad fame. Here, then, he lived, like an old feudal
lord, with his hounds and his trusty vassals; some of the latter, as
Laidlaw and Tom Purdie, occupying the station of those humble,
faithful friends, who tend so much to complete the happiness of life.
In truth, never did the poet himself dream a fairer dream beneath a
summer oak than he had now realized around him. His lovely wife, the
lady of the domain; his children shooting fast up into beautiful
manhood and womanhood; his castle and domain built, and won, as they
were, from the regions of enchantment; and friends and worshipers
flocking from every country, to behold the far famed minstrel.
Princes, and nobles, and men of high name in every walk of life, were
his guests.

Every man of any note called him friend. The most splendid equipages
crowded the way toward his house; the feast was spread continually as
it were the feast of a king; while on the balcony, ranging along the
whole front, stalked to and fro, in his tartans, the wild piper, and
made the air quiver with the tempestuous music of the hills. Arms and
armor were ranged along the walls and galleries of his hall. There
were portraits of some of the most noted persons who had figured in
his lays and stories--as of Claverhouse, Monmouth, the Pretender, the
severed head of the Queen of Scots; with those of brother poets,
Dryden, Thomson, Prior, and Gay. There were the escutcheons of all the
great clan chieftains blazoned round the ceiling of his hall; and
swords, daggers, pistols, and instruments of torture, from the times
and the scenes he had celebrated.

Such was the scene of splendor which had sprung from the pen of one
man. If it were wonderful, the streams of wealth which continued to
pour from the same enchanted goose-quill were still more astounding.
From Lockhart's Life we see that, independent of what these works have
made since, he had pretty early netted above £13,000 by his poems,
though he had sold some of them in their first edition.

                                                  £   _s._  _d._
    Border Minstrel, 1st and 2d vol. 1st edit.    78   10    0
    Copyright of the same work                   500    0    0
    Lay of the Last Minstrel, copyright sold     769    6    0
    Marmion, copyright sold                    1,000    0    0
    Lady of the Lake, copyright sold           2,100    0    0
    Rokeby, copyright sold                     5,000    0    0
    Lord of the Isles                          3,000    0    0
    Halidan Hill                               1,000    0    0
                                            ------------------
                                             £13,447   16    0
                                            ------------------

But this was nothing to the produce of his romances. Of Waverley,
fifty-one thousand copies had been sold when that Life was published,
and Scott tells us that he cleared £400 by each one thousand copies,
that is £20,400.

    Guy Mannering, 60,000, or              £24,000      0    0
    Rob Roy, 53,000, or                     21,200      0    0

Of the rest we have no total amount given; but, at a similar rate, his
twenty-one novels would make an amount of £460,000! Beside this, he
received for the Life of Napoleon above £18,000. In three months he
wrote Woodstock, for which he tells us that he received £8,400 at
once. Then there are his Tales of a Grandfather, twelve volumes, a
most popular work, but of which no proceeds are given. For his History
of Scotland for Lardner's Cyclopædia, £1,500; for editing Dryden,
£756; for seven Essays for the Encyclopædia Britannica, £300; Paul's
Letters to his Kinsfolk, £1,350; for a contribution to the Keepsake,
£400, which he says he considered poor pay. Then he wrote thirty-five
Reviews for the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, for which such a
writer could not, on an average, receive less than £50 each, probably
£100; but say £50, that is £1,750. And these items are exclusive of
the vast mass of edited editions of Swift, of Memoirs, Antiquities,
etc., etc. They do not either, except in the three novels specified,
include the proceeds of the collective editions of either his prose or
his poetry. It appears certain that his works must have produced to
the author or his trustees, at the very least, _half-a-million of
money_!

Truly this was the revenue of a monarch in the realm of letters!
Popular as Lord Byron was, I suppose the whole which he received for
his writings did not realize £30,000. Scott cleared that by any two of
his novels. He could clear a third of it in three months. Well might
he think to lay field to field, and house to house, and plant his
children in the land as lords of the soil, and titled magnates
forever!

But, as the fabric of this glorious estate had risen as by the spell
of a necromancer, so it fell. It was like one of those palaces, with
its fairy gardens, and lawns scattered with diamonds instead of dews,
in the Arabian Nights, which, with the destruction of the spell,
passed away in a crash of thunder. A house of cards is proverbial, and
this house of books fell at one shock, and struck the world with a
terrible astonishment. It was found that the great minstrel was not
carefully receiving his profits, and investing them; but was engaged
as partner in the printing and publishing of his works. His publisher
and his printers, drained on the one hand by the vast outlay for
castle-building, land-buying, and the maintenance of all comers; and,
on the other, infected with the monstrous scene of acquisition which
was revealed to their eyes--were moving on a slippery course, and at
the shock of the great panic in 1826 went to the ground; leaving Scott
debtor to the amount of £120,000, beside a mortgage of £10,000 on his
estate!

In some instances the darkness and the difficulty come in the early
stages, and wind up in light and happiness; in others, the light comes
first, and the darkness at the end. These latter are tragedies, and
the romance of Scott's life was a tragedy. How sad and piteous is the
winding up here to contemplate! The thunderbolt of fate had fallen on
the "Great Magician." The glory of his outward estate was over, but
never did that of his inner soul show so brilliantly. Gentle, and
genial, and kindly to all men, had he shown himself in his most
prosperous days; but now the giant strength of his fortitude, and the
nobility of his moral principle, came into magnificent play. He was
smitten, sorely smitten, but he was not subdued. Not a hero which he
had described could match him in his contest with the rudeness of
adversity. He could have paid his dividend, as is usual in such cases,
and his prolific pen would have raised him a second fortune. But,
then, his honor! no, he would pay to the uttermost farthing! And so,
with a sorrowful but not murmuring or desponding heart, he went to
work again on his giant's work, and, in six years, with his own hand,
with his single pen, paid off £16,000 a-year! This is an achievement
which has no parallel. With failing health, with all his brilliant
hopes of establishing a great family dashed to the ground, with the
dearest objects of his heart and health dropping and perishing before
him, he went on and won £60,000, resolved to pay all or perish. And he
did perish! His wife, shattered by the shock, died; he was left with a
widowed heart still to labor on. Awful pangs and full of presage
seized his own frame; a son and a daughter failed too in health; his
old man, Tom Purdie, died suddenly; his great publisher, and one of
his printers, died, too, of the fatal malady of ruined hopes. All
these old connections, formed in the bright morning of life, and which
had made his ascent so cheering and his toil so easy, seemed now to be
giving way; and how dark was become that life which had exceeded all
others in its joyous luster!

Yet, in the darkness, how the invincible soul of the heroic old man
went on rousing himself to fight against the most violent shocks of
fortune and of his own constitution. "I have walked the last on the
domains I have planted; sat the last in the halls I have built; but
death would have taken them from me if misfortune had spared them. My
poor people whom I loved so well! There is just another die to turn
against me in this run of ill luck; _i.e._, if I should break my
magic wand in the fall from this elephant, and lose my popularity with
my fortune!... But I find my eyes moistening, and that will not do; I
will not yield without a fight for it." "Well, exertion, exertion. O
invention, rouse thyself! May man be kind! may God be propitious! The
worst is, I never quite know when I am right or wrong." "Slept ill,
not having been abroad these eight days; now a dead sleep in the
morning, and, when the awakening comes, a strong feeling how well I
could dispense with it for once and forever. This passes away,
however, as better and more dutiful thoughts arise in my mind." Poor
man! and that worst which he feared came. His publisher told him,
though reluctantly, that his power had departed, and that he had
better lay by his pen! To a man like Scott, who had done such wonders,
and still doggedly labored on to do others as great, that was the last
and the bitterest feeling that could remain with life.

Is there any thing in language more pathetic than the words of Sir
Walter, when, at Abbotsford, he looked round him after his wife's
death and wrote thus in his journal:--"When I contrast what this place
now is, with what it has been not long since, I think my heart will
break. Lonely, aged, deprived of my family--all but poor Anne; an
impoverished, an embarrassed man, deprived of the sharer of my
thoughts and counsels, who could always talk down my sense of the
calamitous apprehensions which break the heart that must bear them
alone."

Sir Walter was the Job of modern times. His wealth and prosperity had
been like his, and the fabric of his fortune was smitten at the four
corners at once by the tempest of calamity; but his patience and
resignation rivaled even those of the ancient patriarch. In no period
of his life, though he was admirable in all, did he display so lofty a
nobility of nature as in that of his adversity. Let us, who have
derived such boundless enjoyment from his labors, praise with a
fitting honor his memory. How descriptive are the words of Prior,
which in his last days he applied to himself:--

    "Whate'er thy countrymen have done,
    By law and wit, by sword and gun,
      In thee is faithfully recited;
    And all the living world that view
    Thy works, give thee the praises due--
      At once instructed and delighted."

That tragic reverse which bowed down himself and so many of those who
had shared with him in his happiness, did not stop with his death. His
daughters and one of his sons soon followed him. His eldest and only
surviving child, the present Sir Walter, has no family; there is no
heir of his name, though, I believe, there are two of his blood, the
son and daughter of Mr. Lockhart, of the third generation. As in the
greatest geniuses in general, in Milton, Shakspeare, Byron, the direct
male line has failed in Sir Walter Scott. "The hope of founding a
family," says Lockhart, "died with him."

Such is the wonderful and touching romance of the life of Sir Walter
Scott. We might pause and point to many a high teaching in it--but
enough; in the beautiful words of Sir Egerton Bridges, quoted by
Lockhart--"The glory dies not, and the grief is past."

We will now visit seriatim the homes and haunts of this extraordinary
man.

Sir Walter has pointed out himself in his autobiography the place of
his birth. He says, "I was born, I believe, on the 15th of August,
1771, in a house belonging to my father at the head of the College
Wynd. It was pulled down with others to make room for the northern
part of the new college." In ascending the Wynd, it occupied the
left-hand corner at the top, and it projected into what is now North
College-street. According to the account of my friend, Mr. Robert
Chambers, in his Reekiana, it has been pulled down upward of sixty
years. "The site," he says, "is now partly occupied as a wood-yard,
and partly used in the line of North College-street. Mr. Walter Scott,
W. S., father of the poet, here lived _au troisième_, according
to the simple fashion of our fathers, the _flat_ which he
occupied being accessible by a stair leading up from the little court
behind. It was a house of what would now be considered humble aspect,
but at that time neither humble from its individual appearance, nor
from its vicinage. When required to be destroyed for the public
convenience, Mr. Scott received a good price for it; he had some time
before removed to a house on the west side of George's-square, where
Sir Walter spent all his school-boy and college days. At the same time
that Mr. Scott lived in the third flat, the two lower floors were
occupied as one house by Mr. Keith, W.S., grandfather to the late Sir
Alexander Keith, knight-marischal of Scotland.

"In the course of a walk through this part of the town in 1825, Sir
Walter did the present writer the honor to point out the site of the
house in which he had been born. On Sir Walter mentioning that his
father had got a good price for his share of it, in order that it
might be taken down for the public convenience, the individual who
accompanied him took the liberty of expressing his belief that more
money might have been made of it, and the public _much more_
gratified, if it had remained to be shown as the birthplace of a man
who had written so many popular books. 'Ay, ay,' said Sir Walter,
'that is very well; but I am afraid it would have been necessary for
me to die first, and that, you know, would not have been so
comfortable.'"

Thus, the birthplace of Scott remains to this hour exactly in the
condition described above, being used for a wood-yard, and separated
from North College-street merely by a wooden fence.

The other spots in Edinburgh connected with Scott, are, his father's
house in George's square; his own house, 39, North Castle-street; 19,
South Castle-street, the second flat, which he occupied immediately
after his marriage; the High-school and the Parliament-house. We may
as well notice these at once, as it will then leave us at liberty to
take his country residences in consecutive order.

George's-square is a quiet and respectable square, lying not far from
Heriot's hospital, and opposite to Watson's hospital, on the left hand
of the Meadows-walk. Mr. Robert Chambers--my great informant in these
matters in Edinburgh, and who is an actual walking history of the
place--every house, and almost every stone, appearing to suggest to
him some memorable fact connected with it--stated that this was the
first square built, when Edinburgh began to extend itself, and the
nobility and wealthy merchants to think of coming down from their
lofty stations in flats of the old town ten-storied houses, and
seeking quieter and still more airy residences in the suburbs. It was
the first sign of the new life and growth before the new town was
thought of. No doubt, when Scott's father removed to it, it was the
very center of fashion, and still it bears traces of the old
gentility. Ancient families still linger about it, and you see
door-plates bearing some aristocratic title. At the top, or north side
of the square, lived Lord Duncan, at the time that he set out to take
command of the fleet, and fight the battle of Camperdown. Before his
setting out, he walked to and fro on the pavement here before his
house, and, with a friend, talked of his plans; so that the victory of
Camperdown may be said to have been planned in this square. The house
still belongs to the family. Many other remarkable people have lived
just about here. Blacklock, the blind poet, lived near; and Anderson,
the publisher of the series of the The Poets, under his name, lived
near also, in Windmill-street. A quieter square now could not,
perhaps, be found; the grass was growing greenly among the stones when
I visited it. The houses are capacious and good, and from the upper
windows, many of them look out over the green fields, and have a full
view of the Pentland hills. The new town, however, has now taken
precedence in public favor, and this square is thought to be on the
wrong side of the city. The house which Scott's father occupied, is
No. 25.

On the window of a small backroom, on the ground-floor, the name of
Walter Scott still remains written on a pane of glass, with a diamond,
in a school-boy's hand. The present occupiers of the house told us,
that not only the name, but verses had been found on several of the
windows, undoubtedly by Walter Scott, and that they had had the panes
taken out and sent to London, to admirers of the great author.

The room in which this name is written on the glass, used to be his
own apartment. To this he himself, in his autobiography, particularly
refers; and Lord Jeffrey relates, that, on his first call on young
Walter Scott, "he found him in a small den, on the sunk floor of his
father's house, in George's-square, surrounded with dingy books." Mr.
Lockhart says, "I may here add the description of that early
_den_, with which I am favored by a lady of Scott's
family:--'Walter had soon begun to collect out-of-the-way things of
all sorts. He had more books than shelves; a small painted cabinet,
with Scotch and Roman coins in it, and so forth. A claymore and
Lochabar ax, given him by Mr. Invernahyle, mounted guard on a little
print of Prince Charlie; and _Broughton's Saucer_ was hooked up
against the wall below it.' Such was the germ of the magnificent
library and museum at Abbotsford; and such were the 'new realms' in
which he, on taking possession, had arranged his little paraphernalia
about him, 'with all the feelings of novelty and liberty.'" "Since
those days," says Mr. Lockhart, "the habits of life in Edinburgh, as
elsewhere, have undergone many changes; and 'the convenient parlor' in
which Scott first showed Jeffrey his collection of minstrelsy, is now,
in all probability, thought hardly good enough for a menial's
sleeping-room." This is very much the fact; such a poor little damp
_den_ did this appear, on our visit, being evidently used by the
cook, as it was behind the kitchen, for a sort of little lumber-room
of her own, that my companion contended that Scott's room must have
been the one over this. The evidence here is, however, too strong as
to its identity; and, indeed, who does not know what little dingy
nooks children, and even youths, with ardent imaginations, can convert
into very palaces.

This house will always be one of the most truly interesting spots
connected with Scott's history. It was here that he lived, from a very
child to his marriage. Here passed all that happy boyhood and youth
which are described with so much beautiful detail in his Life, both
from his own autobiography and from added materials collected by
Lockhart. These show, in his case, how truly and entirely

    "The child was father of the man;"

or, as Milton had it long before,

          "The childhood shows the man
    As morning shows the day."

    _Paradise Regained_, Book iv. p. 63.

Here it was that he led his happy boyhood, in the midst of that
beautiful family life which he has so attractively described: the
grave, careful, but kind father; the sweet, sensible, ladylike, and
religious mother; the three brothers, various in their fortunes as in
their dispositions; and that one unfortunate sister, Anne Scott, whom
he terms from her cradle the butt for mischance to shoot arrows at.
She who had her hand caught by the iron gate leading into the area of
the square in a high wind, and nearly crushed to pieces; who next fell
into a pond, and narrowly escaped drowning; and was finally, at six
years of age, so burned by her cap taking fire, that she soon after
died. Here, as school-boy, college student, and law student, he made
his early friendships, often to continue for life, with John Irvine;
George Abercrombie, son of the famous general, and now Lord
Abercrombie; William Clerk, afterward of Eldin, son of Sir John Clerk,
of Pennycuick-house; Adam Fergusson, the son of the celebrated
Professor Fergusson; the present Earl of Selkirk, David Boyle, present
lord justice clerk, Lord Jeffrey, Mr. Claude Russell, Sir William Rae,
David Monypenny, afterward Lord Pitmilly; Sir Archibald Campbell of
Succoth, bart.; the Earl of Dalhousie, George Cranstoun (Lord
Corehouse), John James Edmonstone, of Newton; Patrick Murray, of
Simprim; Sir Patrick Murray, of Ochtertyre; David Douglas (Lord
Preston); Thomas Thompson, the celebrated legal antiquary; William
Erskine (Lord Kinedder); Alexander Frazer Tytler (Lord Woodhouselee),
and other celebrated men, with many of whom he was connected in a
literary club.

Here it was that, with one intimate or another, and sometimes in a
jovial troop, he set out on those country excursions which were to
render him so affluent in knowledge of life and varied character;
commencing with their almost daily strolls about Arthur's Seat and
Salisbury Crags, repeating poetry and ballads; then to Preston-Pans,
Pennycuick, and so extending their rambles to Roslyn, Lasswade, the
Pentlands, down into Roxburghshire, into Fife, to Flodden, Chevy
Chase, Otterburn, and many another scene of border renown, Liddesdale
being, as we have stated, one of the most fascinating; and finally
away into the Highlands, where, as the attorney's clerk, his business
led him among those old Highland chiefs who had been out in the '15
and '45, and where the veteran Invernahyle set him on fire with his
stories of Rob Roy, Mar, and Prince Charlie; and where the Baron of
Bradwardine and Tullyveolan, and all the scenes of Waverley, and
others of his Scotch romances, were impressed on his soul forever.
Here it was, too, that he had for tutor that good-hearted, but formal
clergyman, Mr. Mitchell, who was afterward so startled when Sir
Walter, calling on him at his manse in Montrose, told him he was
"collecting stories of fairies, witches, and ghosts:" "intelligence,"
said the pious old presbyterian minister, "which proved to me an
electric shock;" adding, that moreover, "these ideal beings, the
subjects of his inquiry," were not objects on which he had himself
wasted his time. And here, finally, it was that, in the ballads he
read,--as in that of Cumnor-hall, the germ of Kenilworth, of which he
used as a boy to be continually repeating the first verse,

    "The dews of summer night did fall--
      The moon, sweet regent of the sky,
    Silvered the walls of Cumnor-hall,
      And many an oak that grew thereby;--"

in the lays of Tasso, Ariosto, etc., he laid up so much of the food of
future romance, and where Edie Ochiltrees and Dugald Dalgettys were
crossing his everyday path.

It was here that occurred that singular scene, in which his mother
bringing in a cup of coffee to a gentleman who was transacting
business with her husband, when the stranger was gone, Mr. Scott told
his wife that this man was Murray of Broughton, who had been a traitor
to Prince Charles Stuart; and saying that his lip should never touch
the cup which a traitor had drank out of, flung it out of the window.
The saucer, however, being preserved, was secured by Scott, and became
a conspicuous object in his juvenile museum.

Such to Scott was No. 25, George's-square. Is it not the secret charm
of these old and precious associations which has recently led his old
and most intimate friend, Sir Adam Fergusson, to take a house in this
square, and within, I believe, one door of Scott's old residence?

We may dismiss in a few words No. 19, South Castle-street, the house
where he occupied a flat immediately on his marriage, and the
Parliament-house, where he sat, as a clerk of session, and the
_Outer house_, where he might, in his earlier career, be seen
often making his acquaintance merry over his stories;--these places
will always be viewed with interest by strangers: but it is his house,
39, North Castle-street, around which gather the most lively
associations connected with his mature life in Edinburgh.

Here it was that he lived when in town, from soon after his marriage
till the great break up of his affairs in 1826. Here a great portion
of the best of his life was passed. Here he lived, enjoyed, worked,
saw his friends, and felt, in the midst of his happy family, the sense
of the great name and affection that he had won among his fellow-men.
It is evident, from what he says in his journal, when it had to be
sold, that he was greatly attached to it. It was his pride very often
when he took strangers home with him, to stop at the crossing of
George-street, and point out to them the beauty and airiness of the
situation. In one direction was St. George's Church, in another the
whole length of George-street, with the monuments of Pitt and Dundas.
In one direction, the castle on its commanding rock, in the other the
frith of Forth, and the shores of Fife beyond. It was in this house
that "the vision of the hand" was seen from a neighboring one in
George-street, which is related in Lockhart's Life. A party was met in
this house which was situated near to, and at right angles with,
George-street. "It was a party," says the relator, "of very young
persons, most of them, like Menzies and myself, destined for the bar
of Scotland. The weather being hot, we adjourned to a library, which
had one large window looking northward. After carousing here an hour
or more, I observed that a shade had come over the aspect of my
friend, who happened to be placed immediately opposite to myself, and
said something that intimated a fear of his being unwell. 'No,' said
he, 'I shall be well enough presently, if you will only let me sit
where you are, and take my chair; for there is a confounded hand in
sight of me here, which has often bothered me before, and now it won't
let me fill my glass with a goodwill.' I rose to change places with
him accordingly, and he pointed out to me this hand, which, like the
writing on Belshazzar's wall, disturbed his hour of hilarity. 'Since
we sat down,' said he, 'I have been watching it--it fascinates my
eye--it never stops--page after page is finished and thrown on that
heap of manuscript, and still it goes on unwearied, and so it will be
till candles are brought in, and God knows how long after that. It is
the same every night--I can't stand a sight of it when I am not at my
books.' 'Some stupid, dogged, engrossing clerk, probably,' exclaimed
myself, or some other giddy youth of our society. 'No, boys,' said our
host, 'I well know what hand it is--'tis Sir Walter Scott's.' This was
the hand that in the evenings of three summer weeks, wrote the two
last volumes of Waverley."

I went with Mr. Robert Chambers into this house to get a sight of this
window, but some back wall or other had been built up and shut out the
view. In the next house, occupied I think by a tailor, we, however,
obtained the desired sight of this window on the second story at the
back of Scott's house, and could very well have seen any hand at work
in the same situation. The house is now inhabited by Professor Napier,
the editor of the Edinburgh Review.

The houses and places of business of the Ballantynes and Constable are
not devoid of interest, as connected with Scott. In all these he was
frequently for business or dining. The place of business of Constable,
was at one time that which is now the Crown hotel, at the east end of
Princes-street. That which is now the commercial room, or the first
floor, was Constable's book-dépôt, and where he sat a good deal; and a
door near the window, looking out toward the Register Office, entered
a lesser room, now altered, where Scott used to go and write
occasionally. The private residence of Constable was at Palton, six or
seven miles from Edinburgh. James Ballantyne's was in St. John-street,
a row of good, old-fashioned, and spacious houses, adjoining the
Canongate and Holyrood, and at no great distance from his printing
establishment. John Ballantyne's auction-rooms were in Hanover-street,
and his country house, styled by him Harmony-hall, was near the frith
of Forth by Trinity. Of both the private and convivial entertainments
at these places we have full accounts given by Lockhart. Sometimes, he
says, Scott was there alone with only two or three intimate friends;
at others, there were great and jovial dinners, and that all guests
with whom Scott did not wish to be burdened were feasted here by John
Ballantyne, in splendid style; and many were the scenes of uproarious
merriment amid his "perfumed conversations," and over the Parisian
delicacies of the repast.

But, in fact, the buildings and sites in and around Edinburgh, with
which associations of Scott are connected, are innumerable, almost
universal. His Marmion, his Heart of Mid-Lothian, his Tales of the
Canongate, have peopled almost every part of the city and neighborhood
with the vivid characters of his creation. The Canongate, the Cowgate,
the Nether and West Bows, the Grass-market, the site of the old
Tolbooth, Holyrood, the Park, Muschat's cairn, Salisbury-craig, Davie
Dean's cottage, Liberton, the abode of Dominie Butler, Craigmillar
Castle, and a thousand other places, are all alive with them. We are
astonished, on visiting Edinburgh, to find how much more intense is
the interest cast over different spots by his genius than by ordinary
history.

A superb monument to his memory, a lofty and peculiarly beautiful
gothic cross, now stands in Princes-street, within which stands his
statue.

The first place in the country which Scott resided at, is the scene of
a sojourn at a very early age, and of subsequent visits--Sandy-knowe,
near Kelso. In his autobiography he gives a most picturesque account
of his life here. He says that it was here that he came soon after the
commencement of his lameness, which was attributed to a fever,
consequent on severe teething when he was about eighteen months old.
He dates his first consciousness of life from this place. He came here
to be strengthened by country air, and was suffered to scramble about
among the crags to his heart's content. His father, Walter Scott, was
the first of his family who entered on a town life. His grandfather,
Robert Scott, then very old, was living at this Sandy-knowe. The place
is some five or six miles from Kelso. The spot lies high, and is still
very wild, but in the time of Scott's childhood would be far wilder.
It was then surrounded, far and wide, with brown moorlands. These are
now, for the most part, reclaimed by the plough; but the country is
open, naked, and solitary. The old tower of Smailholm, which stands on
the spot, is seen afar off as a tall, square, and stern old border
keep. In his preface to the Eve of St. John, Scott says, "The circuit
of the outer court being defended on three sides by a precipice and a
morass, is accessible only from the west by a steep and rocky path.
The apartments, as usual in a border keep or fortress, are placed one
above another, and communicate by a narrow stair. On the roof are two
bartizans, or platforms, for defense or pleasure. The inner door of
the tower is wood, the outer an iron grate; the distance between them
being nine feet, the thickness, namely, of the walls. Among the crags
by which it is surrounded, one more eminent is called the
_Watchfold_; and is said to have been the station of a beacon in
the times of war with England."

Stern and steadfast as is this old tower, being, as Scott himself
says, nine feet thick in the wall, each room arched with stone, and
the roof an arch of stone, with other stones piled into a steep ridge
upon it; and being built of the iron-like whinstone of the rocks
around, it seems as if it were a solid and time-proof portion of the
crag on which it stands. The windows are small holes, and the feeling
of grim strength which it gives you is intense. Since Scott's day, the
inner door and the outer iron grate are gone. The place is open, and
the cattle and the winds make it their resort. All around the black
crags start out of the ground; it is an iron wilderness. There are a
few laborious cotters just below it, and not far off is the spot where
stood the old house of Scott's grandfather, a good modern farmhouse
and its buildings. This savage and solitary monument of the ages of
feud and bloodshed, stands no longer part of a waste where

    "The bittern clamored from the moss,
      The wind blew loud and shrill,"

but in the midst of a well cultivated corn farm, where the farmer
looks with a jealous eye on visitors, wondering what they can want
with the naked old keep, and complaining that they leave his gates
open. He had been thus venting his chagrin to the driver of my chaise,
and wishing the tower were down--a stiff business to accomplish--but
withdrew into his house at my approach.

Sterile and bare as is this wild scene, Scott dates from it, and no
doubt correctly, his deep love of nature and ballad romance. In the
Introduction to the third canto of Marmion, he thus refers to it:--

    "It was a barren scene and wild,
    Where naked cliffs were rudely piled;
    But ever and anon between
    Lay velvet tufts of loveliest green;
    And well the lonely infant knew
    Recesses where the wall-flower grew,
    And honeysuckle loved to crawl
    Up the low crag and ruined wall.
    I deemed such nooks the sweetest shade
    The sun in all his rounds surveyed;
    And still I thought the shattered tower
    The mightiest work of human power:
    And marveled as the aged hind
    With some strange tale bewitched my mind--
    Of forayers, who, with headlong force,
    Down that same strength had spurred their horse,
    Their southern rapine to renew,
    Far in the distant Cheviots blue;
    And home returning, filled the hall
    With revel, wassail-rout, and brawl.
    Methought that still with trump and clang
    The gateway's broken arches rang;
    Methought grim features, seamed with scars,
    Glanced through the window's rusty bars.
    And even, by the winter hearth
    Old tales I heard of woe and mirth,
    Of lover's slights, of lady's charms:
    Of witches' spells, of warriors' arms;
    Of patriot battles won of old
    By Wallace wight and Bruce the bold;
    Of later fields of feud and fight,
    When, pouring from their Highland height,
    The Scottish clans in headlong sway,
    Had swept the scarlet ranks away.
    While stretched at length upon the floor,
    Again I fought each battle o'er;
    Pebbles and shells in order laid,
    The mimic works of war displayed;
    And onward still the Scottish lion bore,
    And still the scattered southron fled before."

Here we have the elements of Waverley at work in the child of four or
five years old. In fact, the years that he spent here were crowded
with the impressions of romance and the excitement of the imagination.
He was surrounded by singular and picturesque characters. The recluse
old clergyman;--old MacDougal, of Markstoun, in his little laced
cocked hat, embroidered scarlet waistcoat, light-colored coat, and
white hair tied military fashion, kneeling on the carpet before the
child, and drawing his watch along to induce him to follow it. Old
Ormistoun, the herdsman, that used to carry him out into the
moorlands, telling him all sorts of stories, and blew his whistle when
the nurse was to fetch him home. The nurse herself, who went mad, and
to escape from this solitude, confessed that she had carried the child
up among the crags, under a temptation of the devil, to cut his throat
with her scissors, and bury him in the moss; and was therefore
dismissed at once, but found to be a maniac. All these things were
certain of sinking deep into the child's mind, amid the solitude and
wildness of the place; but all this time too he was stuffed daily with
all sorts of border and other ballads: Watt of Harden, Wight Willie of
Aikwood, Jamie Telfer of the fair Dodhead, Hardyknute, and the like;
and the stories of the cruelties practiced on the rebels at Carlisle,
and in the Highlands, after the battle of Culloden, related to him by
a farmer of Yethyn who had witnessed them--"tragic tales which," said
Scott, "made so great an impression upon me." In fact, here again were
future materials of Waverley. Before quitting the stern old tower of
Smailholm, and Sandy-knowe, why so called, and why not rather
Whinstone-knowe, it were difficult to say,--we may, in the eloquent
words of Mr. Lockhart, point out the celebrated scenes which lie in
view from it. "Nearly in front of it, across the Tweed, Lessudden, the
comparatively small, but still venerable and stately abode of the
lairds of Raeburn; and the hoary abbey of Dryburgh, surrounded with
yew-trees as ancient as itself, seem to lie almost at the feet of the
spectator. Opposite him rise the purple peaks of Eildon, the
traditional scene of Thomas the Rhymer's interview with the Queen of
Faerie; behind are the blasted peel which the seer of Erceldoun
himself inhabited, 'The Broom of the Cowdenknowes,' the pastoral
valley of the Leader, and the black wilderness of Lammermoor. To the
eastward, the desolate grandeur of Hume Castle breaks the horizon, as
the eye travels toward the range of the Cheviot. A few miles westward,
Melrose, 'like some tall rock with lichens gray,' appears clasped amid
the windings of the Tweed; and the distance presents the serrated
mountains of the Gala, the Ettrick, and the Yarrow, all famous in
song. Such were the objects that had painted the earliest images on
the eye of the last and greatest of the border minstrels."

The next place which became a haunt of the boyhood of Scott was Kelso.
Here he had an uncle, Captain Robert Scott, and an aunt, Miss Janet
Scott, under whose care he had spent the latter part of his time at
Sandy-knowe. Scott, as I have observed, was one of the most fortunate
men that ever lived in the circumstances of his early life, in which
every possible event which could prepare him for the office of a great
and original novelist concurred, as if by appointment of Providence.
He was led to visit and explore all the most beautiful scenery of his
country--the Borders, the Highlands, those around Edinburgh; and in
every place at that time existed multitudes of singular characters,
many of them still retaining the quaint garb and habits of a former
day. We have seen that his school and college fellows comprised almost
all the afterward distinguished men of their age, no trivial advantage
to him in his own progress. At Sandy-knowe, beside the characters we
have referred to, his old grandfather and grandmother, and their quiet
life--"Old Mrs. Scott sitting, with her spinning-wheel, at one side of
the fire in a _clean, clean_ parlor; the grandfather, a good deal
failed, in his elbows-chair opposite; and the little boy lying on the
carpet at the old man's feet, listening to the Bible, or whatever good
book Miss Jenny was reading to them." He was away sometimes at
Prestonpans, and there, as fortune would have it, for he must be
enriched with all such treasure, he saw in George Constable the
original of Monkbarns, and also the original Dalgetty. Kelso now added
to the number of his original characters, and scenes for future
painting. Miss Janet Scott lived, he tells us, in a small house in a
large garden to the eastward of the church-yard of Kelso, which
extended down to the Tweed. This fine old garden of seven or eight
acres, had winding walks, mounds, and a banqueting house. It was laid
out in the old style, with high pleached hornbeam hedges, and had a
fine plane-tree. In many parts of the garden were fine yews and other
trees, and there was also a goodly old orchard. Here, as in a very
paradise, he used to read and devour heaps of poetry. Tasso's
Jerusalem Delivered, Percy's Reliques, and the works of Richardson,
Fielding, Smollett, Mackenzie, and other of the great novelists. The
features of this garden remained deeply imprinted in his mind, and
have been reproduced in different descriptions of his works. Like the
garden of Eden itself this charming old garden has now vanished.
Indeed, he himself relates with what chagrin he found, on revisiting
the place many years afterward, the good old plane-tree gone, the
hedges pulled up, and the bearing trees felled! I searched for some
trace of it on my visit there in vain, though its locality is so well
defined. There was, however, the old grammar-school not far off to
which he used to go, and where he found, in Lancelot Whale, the
prototype of Dominie Sampson, and in two of the boys, his future
printers, James and John Ballantyne. The neighborhood of Kelso, the
town itself, quiet and old-fashioned, was well calculated to charm a
boy of his dreaming and poetry-absorbing age. The Tweed here is a
fine, broad stream, the banks are steep and magnificently hung with
splendid woods. The adjoining park and old castle, the ruins of the
fine abbey in the town, and charming walks by the Tweed or the Teviot,
which here unite, with their occasional broad, sandy beach, and
anglers wading in huge boots; all made their delightful impressions
upon him. He speaks with rapture of the long walks along the river
with John Ballantyne, repeating poetry and telling stories. His uncle,
Captain Robert Scott, lived somewhat farther out on the same side as
his aunt, at a villa called Rosebank, which still stands unchanged
amid much fine lofty timber, and with its lawn running down to the
Tweed.

Kelso was the last country abode of the boyhood of Scott. Edinburgh,
with his occasional flights into the Highlands, and his _raids_
into Liddesdale, kept him till his manhood. That found him with his
blithe little wife in his cottage at Lasswade.

Lasswade is a lovely neighborhood. It is thrown up with lofty ridges
all finely wooded. The country there is rich, and the noble woods, the
fine views down into the fertile valleys, and the Esk coming sounding
along its channel from Rosslyn and Hawthornden, make it very charming.
It is in the immediate neighborhood not only of Rosslyn with its
beautiful chapel, and the classic cliffs and woods of Hawthornden, but
of Dalkeith; and Lord Melville's park is at Lasswade itself.

The cottage of Scott is still called Lasswade cottage. Every one still
knows the house as the one where he lived. A miller near said, "He
minded him weel. He was an advocate then, and his wife a little dark
Frenchwoman." The house is now occupied as a ladies' school, kept by
two Miss Mutters. It looks somewhat neglected, and wants painting and
keeping in more perfect order; but it is itself a very sweet, secluded
place. It is before you come to the village of Lasswade, about
half-way down the hill, from an ordinary hamlet called Loanhead. It
stands about fifty yards from the roadside; and, in fact, the road
divides at the projecting corner of its higher paddock; the main
highway descending to the left to Lasswade, and the other to the right
proceeding past several pleasant villas to the Esk. There are two
roads leading from the highway up to the house; one being the carriage
drive up to the front, and the other to the back, past some laborers'
cottages. It is a somewhat singular-looking house, having one end
tall, and thatched in a remarkably steep manner; and then a long, low
range, running away from it. The whole is thatched, whitewashed, and
covered with Ayrshire roses, evergreen plants, and masses of ivy. When
you get round to the front, for it turns its back on the road, you
find the lofty part projecting much beyond the low range, and having a
sort of circular front. A gravel walk or drive goes quite round to
this side, and is divided from a paddock by laurels. There are three
paddocks. One opposite to the tall end, and extending down to the
road, one in front, and one behind the house, in which stands, near
the house, in a still smaller inclosure, a remarkably large
sycamore-tree. The paddocks are all surrounded by tall, full-grown
trees, and they shut in the place to perfect retirement. At the end of
the low range lies a capital large kitchen garden, with plenty of
fruit trees; and this extends to the backlane, proceeding toward the
valley of the Esk. The neighborhood is full of the houses of people of
wealth and taste. Here for many years lived Henry Mackenzie, the Man
of Feeling. Here, at this cottage, however secluded, Scott found
plenty of literary society. He was busy with his German translations
of Lenore, Gôtz von Berlichingen, etc.; and his Border Minstrelsy.
Here Mat. Lewis, and Heber, the collector of rare books, visited him;
as well as the crabbed Ritson, whom the rough and impatient Leyden put
to flight. Then came Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, from a tour in
the Highlands; and Scott set off on a ramble down to Melrose and
Teviotdale. He had here partly written the Lay of the Last Minstrel,
and edited and published Sir Tristram. These facts are enough to give
a lasting interest to the cottage of Lasswade. The duties of his
sheriffdom now called him frequently to the forest of Ettrick, and he
fixed his abode at the lovely but solitary Ashestiel.

Ashestiel occupied as an abode a marked and joyous period of Scott's
life. He was now a happy husband, the happy father of a lovely young
family. Fortune was smiling on him. He held an honorable and to him
delightful office, that of the sheriff of the county of Selkirk; which
bound him up with almost all that border ballad country, in which he
reveled as in a perfect fairy land. He was fast rising into fame, and
in writing out the visions of poetry which were now warmly and rapidly
opening upon his mind, he was located in a spot most auspicious to
their development. The solitude of Ashestiel was only felt by him as a
refreshing calm, for his spirit was teeming with life and action, and
his rides over hill and dale, his coursing with his favorite dogs and
friends, along the hills of Yair, "his burning of the water," in the
deep and dark Tweed, which rolled sounding on beneath the forest banks
below his house--that is, spearing salmon by torch-light: these were
all but healthy and joyous set-offs to the bustle of inward life in
the composition of The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Marmion, The Lady of
the Lake, The Lord of the Isles, of Waverley, and the active labors on
Dryden, and a host of other literary undertakings. I believe Scott
resided about seven years at Ashestiel; and it is amazing what a mass
of new and beautiful compositions he worked off there. It was here
that his poetic fame grew to its full height; and he was acknowledged,
though Southey, Wordsworth, Campbell, and Coleridge were now pouring
out their finest productions, to be the most original and popular
writer of the day. There was to be one fresh and higher flight even by
him, that of "The Great Unknown," and this was reserved for
Abbotsford. There the fame of his romances began, there grew into its
full-blown greatness; but here the sun of his poetic reputation
ascended to its zenith. In particular, the poem of Marmion will
forever recall the memory and the scenery of Ashestiel. The
introductions to the several cantos, than which there are no poems in
the English language more beautiful of this kind, are all imbued with
the spirit of the place. They breathe at once the solitary beauty of
the hills, the lovely charm of river, wood, and heath, and the genial
blaze of the domestic hearth; on which love, and friendship, and
gladsome spirits of childhood, and the admiration of eager visitors to
the secluded abode of "The Last Minstrel," had made an earthly
paradise. The summer rambles up the Ettrick or Yarrow, by Newark
Tower, St. Mary's Loch, or into the wilds of Moffatdale, when

    "The lavroch whistled from the cloud:
    The stream was lively, but not loud;
    From the white-thorn the May-flower shed
    Its dewy fragrance round our head:
    Not Ariel lived more merrily
    Under the blossomed bough than we."

Then how the time flew by in the brighter season of the year, by dale
and stream, in wood and wold, till the approach of winter and the
Edinburgh session called them to town. How vividly are these days of
storm and cloud depicted.

    "When dark December glooms the day,
    And takes our autumn joys away:
    When short and scant the sunbeam throws
    Upon the weary waste of snows,
    A cold and profitless regard,
    Like patron on a needy bard--
    When sylvan occupation's done,
    And o'er the chimney rests the gun,
    And hang, in idle trophy near,
    The game-pouch, fishing-rod, and spear:
    When wiry terrier, rough and grim,
    And grayhound with its length of limb,
    And pointer, now employed no more,
    Cumber our narrow parlor floor:
    When in his stall the impatient steed
    Is long condemned to rest and feed:
    When from our snow-encircled home
    Scarce cares the hardiest step to roam,
    Since path is none, save that to bring
    The needful water from the spring:
    When wrinkled news-page, thrice conned o'er,
    Beguiles the dreary hour no more,
    And darkling politician, crossed,
    Inveighs against the lingering post,
    And answering housewife sore complains
    Of carriers' snow-impeded wains:
    When such the country cheer, I come,
    Well pleased to seek our city home;
    For converse, and for books, to change
    The forest's melancholy range;
    And welcome, with renewed delight,
    The busy day and social night."

    _Introduction to Canto v._

It was on a fine, fresh morning, after much rain, that, with a smart
lad as driver, I sped in a gig from Galashiels up the valley on the
way to Ashestiel. The sweet stream of the Gala water ran on our left,
murmuring deliciously, and noble woods right and left, among them the
classic mansion of Torwoodlee, and wood-crowned banks, made the way
beautiful. Anon we came out to the open country, bare but pleasant
hills, and small light streams careering along the valleys, and
shepherds, with their dogs at their heels, setting out on their long
rounds for the day. There was an inspiriting life and freshness in
every thing--air, earth, and sky. The way is about six miles in
length, from Galashiels to Ashestiel. About three parts of this was
passed when we came to Clovenfoot, a few houses among the green hills,
where Scott used often to lodge for days and weeks at the little inn,
before he got to Ashestiel. The country about Ashestiel consists of
moorland hills, still showing the darkness of the heather upon them.
It is wilder, and has an air of greater loneliness than the pastoral
mountains of Ettrick and Moffatdale; and the pleasant surprise is the
more lively, when at once, in the midst of this brown and treeless
region, after going on wondering where this Ashestiel can have hidden
itself, not a house or a trace of existence being visible, but bare
hill beyond hill, you suddenly see before you, down in a deep valley,
a mass of beautiful woodlands emerging into view; the Tweed displays
its broad and rapid stream at the foot of this richly wooded scene,
and a tasteful house on the elevated bank beyond the river shows its
long front and gables over the tree-tops. This is Ashestiel, the
residence of Scott, where he wrote Marmion and commenced Waverley. We
descended to the Tweed, where there is no bridge, but a ford, called
by Scott "none of the best," "that ugly ford," which after long rains
is sometimes carried away, and instead of a ford becomes a gulf. I
remembered the incident of Scott himself being once pushed into it,
when his horse found no bottom and had to swim across; and of a cart
bringing the new kitchen-range being upset, and leaving the much
desired fireplace at the bottom. The river was now much swollen, but
my stout-hearted lad said he did not fear it; he often went there; and
so we passed boldly through the powerful stream, and up the woodland
bank to the house. The proprietor and present occupant, Major General
Sir James Russell, a relative of Sir Walter's, was just about to mount
his horse to go out, but very kindly turned back and introduced me to
Lady Russell, an elegant and very agreeable woman, the sister of Sir
James and Captain Basil Hall. They showed me the house with the
greatest pleasure, and pressed me to stay luncheon. The house, Sir
James said, was in Scott's time much less than at present. It was a
farmhouse made out of an old border tower, by his father, and in the
room looking down the Tweed, a beautiful view, Scott wrote Marmion,
and the first part of Waverley, as well as the conclusion of the Lay
of the Last Minstrel, and the whole of the Lady of the Lake. That room
is now the center sitting-room, and Sir Walter's little drawing-room
is Sir James's bedroom. Sir James has greatly enlarged and improved
the house. He has built a wing at each end, running at right angles
with the old front, and his dining-room now enjoys the view which
Scott's sitting-room had before. The house is very elegantly
furnished, as well as beautifully situated. The busts of Sir Walter
Scott and Captain Basil Hall occupy conspicuous places in the
dining-room, and recall the associations of the past and the present.
The grounds which face the front that is turned from the river and
looks up the hill, are very charming; and at a distance of a field is
the mound in the wood called "The Shirra's knowe," because Scott was
fond of sitting there. Its views are now obstructed by the growth of
the trees, but if they were opened again would be wildly woodland,
looking down on the Tweed, and on a brook which rushes down a deep
glen close by, called the Stiel burn. The knowe has all the character
of a cairn or barrow, and I should think there is little doubt that it
is one. It does not, however, stand on Sir James's property, and
therefore it is not kept in order. Above the knowe, and Sir James's
gardens, stretch away the uplands, and on the distant hill lies the
mound and trench called Wallace's trench.

One would have thought that Scott was sufficiently withdrawn from the
world at Ashestiel; but the world poured in upon him even here, and
beside the visits of Southey, Heber, John Murray, and other of his
distant friends, the fashionable and far wandering tribes found him
out. "In this little drawing-room of his," said Sir James Russell, "he
entertained three duchesses at once." Adding, "Happy had it been for
him had he been contented to remain here, and have left unbuilt the
castle of Abbotsford, so much more in the highway of the tourist, and
offering so much more accommodation." That is too true. The present
house is good enough for a lord, and yet not too good for a private
gentleman; while its situation is, in some respects, more beautiful
than that of Abbotsford. The site of the house is more elevated,
standing amid its fine woods, and yet commanding the course of the
bold river deep beneath it, with its one bank with dark hanging
forests, and that beyond open to the bare and moorland hills. But
Scott would to Abbotsford, and so must we.

I have, somewhere else, expressed how greatly the landlords of
Scotland are indebted to Scott. It is to him that thousands of them
owe not merely subsistence, but ample fortunes. In every part of the
country where he has touched the earth with his magic wand, roads have
run along the heretofore impassable morass, rocks have given way for
men, and houses have sprung up full of the necessary "entertainment
for man and horse." Steamers convey troops of summer tourists to the
farthest west and north of the Scottish coast; and every lake and
mountain swarms with them. On arriving at Melrose, I was greatly
struck with the growth of this traffic of picturesque and romantic
travel. It was twenty years since I was in that village before. Scott
was then living at Abbotsford, and drew up to the inn door to take
post-horses on to Kelso. While these were got out, we had a full and
fair view of him as he sat, without his hat, in the carriage reading,
as we ourselves were breakfasting near the window of a room just
opposite. Then, there was one small inn in the place, and very few
people in it; now, there were two or three; and these, beside
lodging-houses, all crammed full of guests. The inn-yards stood full
of traveling carriages, and servants in livery were lounging about in
motley throngs. The ruins of the abbey were like a fair for people,
and the intelligent and very obliging woman who shows them said, that
every year the numbers increased, and, that every year, foreigners
seemed to arrive from more and more distant regions.

At Abbotsford it was the same. It must be recollected, that there had
been a summer of incessant rain, yet both at the inn and at the abbey
the people said that it had appeared to make no difference, they had
been constantly full. As I drove up toward Abbotsford it was getting
toward evening, and I feared I might be almost too late to be allowed
to see through the house, but I met three or four equipages returning
thence, and as many fresh ones arrived while I was there. Some of
these were obliged to wait a long time, as the housekeeper would not
admit above a dozen persons or so at once; and carriages stood about
the court as though it were some great visiting day there. That
visiting day endures the whole summer through; and the money received
for inspection alone must be a handsome income. If the housekeeper
gets it all, as she receives it all, she will eventually match the old
housekeeper of the Duke of Devonshire, at Chatsworth, who is said to
have died a few years ago, worth £120,000! and was still most anxious
to secure the reversion of the post for her niece, but in vain; the
duke probably and very justly thinking, that there should be
turn-about even in the office of such liberal door-keeping.

Abbotsford, after twenty years' interval, and having then been seen
under the doubly exaggerating influence of youth and the recent
influence of Scott's poetry, in some degree disappointed me. I had
imagined the house itself larger, its towers more lofty, its whole
exterior more imposing. The plantations are a good deal grown, and
almost bury the house from the distant view, but they still preserve
all their formality of outline, as seen from the Galashiels road.
Every field has a thick, black belt of fir-trees, which run about,
forming on the long hillside the most fantastic figures. The house is,
however, a very interesting house. At first, you come to the front
next to the road, which you do by a steep descent down the plantation.
You are struck, having a great castle in your imagination, with the
smallness of the place. It is neither large nor lofty. Your ideal
Gothic castle shrinks into a miniature. The house is quite hidden till
you are at it, and then you find yourself at a small, castellated
gateway, with its crosses cut into the stone pillars on each side, and
the little window over it, as for the warden to look out at you. Then
comes the view of this side of the house with its portico, its bay
windows with painted glass, its tall, battlemented gables, and turrets
with their lantern terminations; the armorial escutcheon over the
door, and the corbels, and then another escutcheon aloft on the wall
of stars and crescents. All these have a good effect; and not less so
the light screen of freestone finely worked and carved with its
elliptic arches and iron lattice-work, through which the garden is
seen with its espalier trees, high brick walls, and greenhouse, with a
doorway at the end leading into a second garden of the same sort. The
house has a dark look, being built of the native whinstone, or
grau-wacke, as the Germans call it, relieved by the quoins and
projections of the windows and turrets in freestone. All looks
classic, and not too large for the poet and antiquarian builder. The
dog Maida lies in stone on the right hand of the door in the court,
with the well known inscription. The house can neither be said to be
Gothic nor castellated. It is a combination of the poet's, drawn from
many sources, but all united by good taste, and forming an unique
style, more approaching to the Elizabethan than any other. Round the
court, of which the open-work screen just mentioned is the farther
boundary, runs a covered walk, that is, along the two sides not
occupied by the house and the screen; and in the wall beneath the
arcade thus formed, are numerous niches, containing a medley of old
figures brought from various places. There are Indian gods, old
figures out of churches, and heads of Roman emperors. In the corner of
the court, on the opposite side of the portico to the dog Maida, is a
fountain, with some similar relics reared on the stone-work round it.

The other front gives you a much greater idea of the size. It has a
more continuous range of façade. Here, at one end, is Scott's square
tower, ascended by outside steps, and a round or octagon tower at the
other; you can not tell, certainly, which shape it is, as it is
covered with ivy. On this the flag-staff stands. At the end next to
the square tower, _i.e._, at the right-hand end as you face it,
you pass into the outer court, which allows you to go round the end of
the house from one front to the other, by the old gateway, which once
belonged to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. Along the whole of this front
runs a gallery, in which the piper used to stalk to and fro while they
were at dinner. This man still comes about the place, though he has
been long discharged. He is a great vagabond.

Such is the exterior of Abbotsford. The interior is far more
interesting. The porch, copied from that of the old palace of
Linlithgow, is finely groined, and there are stags' horns nailed up in
it. When the door opens, you find yourselves in the entrance-hall,
which is, in fact, a complete museum of antiquities and other matters.
It is, as described in Lockhart's Life of Scott, wainscoted with old
wainscot from the kirk of Dumfermline, and the pulpit of John Knox is
cut in two, and placed as chiffonniers between the windows. The whole
walls are covered with suits of armor and arms, horns of moose deer,
the head of a musk bull, etc. At your left hand, and close to the
door, are two cuirasses, some standards, eagles, etc., collected at
Waterloo. At the opposite end of the room are two full suits of armor,
one Italian, and one English of the time of Henry V., the latter
holding _in its hands_ a stupendous two-handed sword, I suppose
six feet long, and said to have been found on Bosworth field. Opposite
to the door is the fireplace of freestone, imitated from an arch in
the cloister at Melrose, with a peculiarly graceful spandrel. In it
stands the iron grate of Archbishop Sharpe, who was murdered by the
Covenanters; and before it stands a most massive Roman camp kettle. On
the roof, at the center of the pointed arches, runs a row of
escutcheons of Scott's family, two or three at one end being empty,
the poet not being able to trace the maternal lineage so high as the
paternal. These were painted accordingly _in nubibus_, with the
motto, _Nox alta velat_. Round the door at one end are emblazoned
the shields of his most intimate friends, as Erskine, Moritt, Rose,
etc., and all round the cornice ran the emblazoned shields of the old
chieftains of the Border, with this motto, in old English
letters:--"THESE BE THE COAT ARMOURIES OF THE CLANNIS AND CHIEF
MEN OF NAME WHO KEEPIT THE MARCHYS OF SCOTLAND IN THE AULDE TYME OF
THE KING. TREWE WEARE THEY IN THEIR TYME, AND IN THEIR DEFENCE, GOD
THEM DEFEND IT."

The chairs are from Scone Palace. On the wall hangs the chain shirt of
Cromwell; and on a table at the window where visitors sign their
names, lies the huge, tawny lion skin, sent by Thomas Pringle from
South Africa.

A passage leading from the entrance-hall to the breakfast-room has a
fine groined ceiling, copied from Melrose, and the open space at the
end, two small full-length paintings of Miss Scott, and Miss Anne
Scott.

In the breakfast-room where Scott often used to read, there is a
table, constructed something like a pyramid, which turns round. On
each side of this he laid books of reference, and turned the table as
he wanted one or the other. Here is also a small oak table, at which
he breakfasted. His daughter Anne used generally to join him at it;
but if she did not come, he made breakfast himself, and went to work
again without waiting. In this room--a charming little room, with the
most cheerful views up the valley--there is such a collection of books
as might serve for casual reading, or to refresh the mind when weary
of writing, poetry and general literature: beside a fine oil painting
over the fireplace of the Wolf's craig, in Lammermoor, _i.e._,
Fast Castle, by Thomson, and numbers of sweet water-color pictures.
Also a bust of Mackenzie, the Man of Feeling, in a niche.

Then there is the library, a noble room, with a fine cedar ceiling,
with beautiful compartments, and most lovely carved pendants, where
you see bunches of grapes, human figures, leaves, etc. It is copied
from Rosslyn or Melrose. There are three busts in this room: the
first, one of Sir Walter, by Chantrey; one of Wordsworth; and in the
great bay window, on a table, a cast of that of Shakspeare, from
Stratford. There is a full-length painting of the poet's son, the
present Sir Walter, in his hussar uniform, with his horse. The
work-table in the space of the bay window, and the fine carved ceiling
in this part of the room, as well as the brass hanging lamp brought
from Herculaneum, are particularly worthy of notice. There is a pair
of most splendidly carved box-wood chairs, brought from Italy, and
once belonging to some cardinal. The other chairs are of ebony,
presented by George IV. There is a tall silver urn, standing on a
porphyry table, filled with bones from the Piræus, and inscribed as
the gift of Lord Byron. The books in this room, many of which are
secured from hurt by wire-work doors, are said to amount to twenty
thousand. Many, of course, are very valuable, having been collected
with great care by Scott, for the purpose of enabling him to write his
different works. Then, there is a large collection of both printed and
MS. matter, relative to the rebellions of '15 and '45; and others
connected with magic and demonology. Altogether the books, many of
which are presentation copies, from authors, not only of this but
various other countries, make a goodly show, and the room is a noble
one.

In the drawing-room, the wood also is of cedar; and here hangs the
large painting by Raeburn, containing the full-length portrait of Sir
Walter, as he sits under a wall, and of his two dogs. This, one often
sees engraved. It is said to be most like him, and is certainly very
like Chantrey's bust when you examine them together. There is a
portrait of Lady Scott, too. Oh! such a round-faced little blackamoor
of a woman! One instantly asks--where was Sir Walter's taste? Where
was the judgment which guided him in describing Di Vernon, Flora
MacIvor, or Rebecca? "But," said the housekeeper, "she was a very
brilliant little woman;" and this is also said by those who knew her.
How greatly, then, must the artist have sinned against her! The
portrait of Miss Anne Scott is lovely, and you see a strong likeness
to her father. Scott's mother is a very good, amiable,
motherly-looking woman, in an old-fashioned lady's cap. Beside these
articles, there is a table of verd antique, presented by Lord Byron.
This is placed between the front windows, and bears a vase of what
resembles purple glass, a transparent marble, inlaid beautifully with
gold. There is also a black ebony cabinet, which was presented by
George IV. with the chairs now in the library.

The armory is a most remarkable room; it is the collection of the
author of Waverley; and to enumerate all the articles which are here
assembled, would require a volume. Take a few particulars. The old
wooden lock of the Tolbooth of Selkirk; Queen Mary's offering-box, a
small iron ark or coffer, with a circular lid, found in
Holyrood-house. Then Hofer's rifle--a short, stout gun, given him by
Sir Humphry Davy, or rather by Hofer's widow to Sir Humphry for Sir
Walter. The housekeeper said, that Sir Humphry had done some service
for the widow of Hofer, and in her gratitude she offered him this
precious relic, which he accepted for Sir Walter, and delighted the
poor woman with the certainty that it would be preserved to posterity
in such a place as Abbotsford. There is an old white hat, worn by the
burgesses of Stowe when installed. Rob Roy's purse and his gun; a very
long one, with the initials R. M. C., Robert Macgregor Campbell, round
the touch-hole. A rich sword in a silver sheath, presented to Sir
Walter by the people of Edinburgh, for the pains he took when George
IV. was there. The sword of Charles I., afterward belonging to the
Marquis of Montrose. A collection of claymores, and of the swords of
German executioners, of the very kind still used in that
semi-barbarous, though _soi-disant_ philosophical country; a
country of _private_ trials without juries, of torture in prison,
and of the bloodiest mode of execution possible. There the criminal,
if not--as was a poor tailor of Köningsberg, in 1841--broken on the
wheel inch by inch for killing a bishop, is seated in a chair on the
platform, with his head against a post, and the executioner strikes
off his head. The head falls, the blood spouts like fountains from the
struggling trunk, and falls in a crimson shower all over the figure--a
horrible spectacle!

On the blades of one of these swords is an inscription, thus
translated by Scott himself:

    "Dust, when I strike, to dust; from sleepless grave,
    Sweet Jesu, stoop a sin-stained soul to save."

The hunting-bottle of James I.; the thumbikins with which the
Covenanters were tortured; the iron crown of the martyr Wishart;
Bonaparte's pistols, found in his carriage at Waterloo; the pistols of
Claverhouse, all of steel, according to the fashion of that time, and
inlaid with silver. Two great keys of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, found
after the doors were burned by the mob who seized and hanged Captain
Porteus; and innumerable other objects of the like kind.

In the dining-room, the most curious thing is the painting of the head
of Mary Queen of Scots, immediately after decapitation. Of this, it is
said, Sir Walter took great pains to establish the authenticity. It is
by Amias Cawood, and, to my fancy, strange as it may seem, gives a
better notion of the beauty of Mary than any of her living portraits.
But the hair is still black, not gray, or rather white, as stated by
the historians. There are a considerable number of good portraits in
this room. A fine one of Nell Gwynn, also much handsomer than we
generally see her; it is a fellow to the one in Glammis Castle. An
equestrian portrait of Lord Essex, the parliament general. Thomson,
the poet, who must likewise have been handsome, if like this. John
Dryden. Oliver Cromwell, when young. The Duke of Monmouth. The
marriage of Scott of Harden, to muckle-mouthed Meg, who is making the
widest mouth possible, with a very arch expression, as much as to say,
"As you will be obliged to have me, I will, for this once, have the
pleasure of giving you a fright." Charles XII. of Sweden. Walter
Raleigh, in a broad hat, very different to any other portrait I have
seen of him--more common looking. Small full-lengths of Henrietta,
queen of Charles I., and of Ann Hyde, queen of James II. Prior and
Gay, by Jervas. Hogarth, by himself. Old Beardie, Scott's
great-grandfather. Lucy Walters, first mistress of Charles II., and
mother of the Duke of Monmouth; with the Duchess of Buccleugh,
Monmouth's wife.

Lastly, and on our way back to the entrance-hall, we enter the
writing-room of Sir Walter, which is surrounded by book-shelves, and a
gallery, by which Scott not only could get at his books, but by which
he could get to and from his bedroom, and so be at work when his
visitors thought him in bed. He had only to lock his door, and he was
safe. Here are his easy leathern chair and desk, at which he used to
work, and, in a little closet, is the last suit that he ever wore--a
bottle-green coat, plaid waistcoat, of small pattern, gray plaid
trowsers, and white hat. Near these hang his walking-stick, and his
boots and walking-shoes. Here are, also, his tools, with which he used
to prune his trees in the plantations, and his yeoman-cavalry
accouterments. On the chimney-piece stands a German light-machine,
where he used to get a light, and light his own fire. There is a chair
made of the wood of the house at Robroyston, in which William Wallace
was betrayed; having a brass plate in the back, stating that it is
from this house, where "Wallace was done to death by Traitors." The
writing-room is connected with the library, and this little closet had
a door issuing into the garden; so that Scott had all his books at
immediate command, and could not only work early and late, without any
body's knowledge, but, at will, slip away to wood and field, if he
pleased, unobserved. In his writing-room, there is a full-length
portrait of Rob Roy, and a head of Claverhouse. The writing-room is
the only sitting-room facing the south. It ranges with the
entrance-hall, and between them lies a little sort of armory, where
stand two figures, one presenting a specimen of chain armor, and the
other, one of wadded armor--that is, silk stuffed with cotton.

Here, then, is a tolerable account of the interior of Abbotsford. I
perceive that Mr. Lockhart, in his recent People's Edition of his Life
of Scott, has given an account said to have been furnished by Scott
himself to an annual. If it were correct at the time it was written,
there must have been a general rearrangement of paintings and other
articles. Mr. Lockhart says, he suspects its inaccuracy; but what
makes me doubt that Scott drew up the account is, that some of the
most ornamental ceilings, which can _not_ have been changed, are
stated to be of dark oak, whereas they are of pencil cedar.

I again walked up the mile-long plantation, running along the hillside
from the house up the valley, and found it again merely a walk through
a plantation--nothing more. It is true that, as you get a good way up,
you arrive at some high ground, and can look out up the valley toward
Selkirk, and get some views of the Tweed, coming down between its
moorland hills, which are very sweet. But the fault of Abbotsford is,
that it is not laid out to the advantage that it might be. The ground
in front of the house, highly capable of being laid out in beautiful
lawn and shrubbery, is cut up with trees that shut out the noblest
feature of the scene--the river. One side of the house is elbowed up
with square brick garden walls, which ought to be at a distance, and
concealed; the other with an unsightly laundry-yard, with its posts
and lines. Just down before the house, where the sweet and rich
verdure of lawn should be, is set the farmyard; and then comes the
long, monotonous wood. This, in some degree, might be altered, and
probably sometime will. At present, the fault of the whole estate is
stiffness and formality. The plantations of fir have, necessarily, a
stiff, formal look; but this, too, will mend with time. They are now
felling out the fir timber; and then what is called the hard-wood,
that is, the deciduous trees, will in course of time, present a softer
and more agreeable look.

I ranged all through these plantations, from the house to the foot of
the Eildon hills, down by the Rhymer's glen and Huntly burn. It is
amazing what a large stretch of poor land Sir Walter had got together.
It is not particularly romantic, except for the fine background of the
Eildon hills; but Sir Walter saw the scene with the eyes of poetic
tradition. He saw things which had been done there, and sung of; and
all was beautiful to him: and in time, when the trees are better
grown, and have a more varied aspect, and the plantations are more
broken up, it _will_ be beautiful. The views from the higher
grounds are so now. Down at the house the trees have so grown and
closed up the prospects, that you can scarcely get a single glimpse of
the river; but when you ascend the woods, and come to an opening on
the hills, you see up and down the valley, far and wide. Near a mount
in the plantations, on which an old carved stone is reared, and held
upright by iron stays, probably marking the scene of some border
skirmish, there are seats of turf, from which you have fine views. You
see below Abbotsford, where the Gala water comes sweeping into the
Tweed, and where Galashiels lies smoking beyond, all compact, like a
busy little town as it is. And in another direction, the towers and
town of Melrose are discerned at the foot of the bare but airy Eildon
hills; and, still farther, the black summit of the Cowdenknowes.

Something beyond this spot, after issuing out of the first mass of
plantations, and ascending a narrow lane, I came to a farmhouse. I
asked a boy in the yard what the farm was called; and a thrill went
through me when he answered--KAESIDE. It was the farm of William
Laidlaw, the steward and the friend of Sir Walter. We have seen how,
in his earlier, joyous days, Sir Walter fell in with Laidlaw, Hogg,
and Leyden. The expeditions into Ettrick and Yarrow, in quest of old
border ballads, brought Scott into contact with the two former. He
found, not only poetry, but actual living poets, among the shepherds
and sheep-farmers of the hills. I know nothing more beautiful than the
relation of these circumstances in Lockhart's Life of Scott. In
Chambers's Edinburgh Journal of July and August, 1845, there is also a
very interesting account of Laidlaw, and especially of the coming of
Scott and Leyden to Blackhouse farm, in Yarrow, Laidlaw's farm, and of
their strolling over all the classic ground of the neighborhood; to
St. Mary's Loch, to the thorn of Whitehope, Dryhope Tower, the former
abode of "the Flower of Yarrow," Yarrow Church, and the Seven Stones,
which mark the graves of the Seven Brothers, slain in "The Douglas
Tragedy." How Laidlaw produced the famous ballad of "Auld Maitland,"
and how Leyden walked about in the highest excitement while Scott read
it aloud. Then follows the equally interesting account of the visit of
Scott and Laidlaw to Hogg, in Ettrick. These were golden days. Laidlaw
and Hogg were relatives, and old friends. Hogg had been shepherd at
Blackhouse, with Laidlaw's father. The young men had grown poets, from
the inspiration of the scenes they lived among, and their mutual
conversation. Then comes the great minstrel of the time, seeking up
the scattered and unedited treasures of antiquity, and finds these
rustic poets of the hills, and they become friends for life. It is a
romance. Laidlaw was of an old and famous, but decayed family. The
line had been cursed by a maternal ancestress, and they believed that
the curse took effect: they all became lawless men. But Laidlaw went
to live at Abbotsford, as the factor or steward of Scott; and in him
Scott found one of the most faithful, intelligent, and sympathizing
friends, ready either to plant his trees or write down his novels at
his dictation, when his evil days came upon him. In our daydreams we
imagine such things as these. We lay out estates, and settle on them
our friends and faithful adherents, and make about us a paradise of
affection, truth, and intellect; but it was the fortune of Scott to do
this actually. Here, at his little farm of Kaeside, lived Laidlaw, and
after Scott's death went to superintend estates in Rosshire; and his
health at length giving way, he retired to the farm of his brother, a
sheep-farmer of Contin; and there, in as beautiful scenery as Scotland
or almost any country has to show, the true poet of nature, this
true-hearted man, breathed his last on the 18th of May, 1845.

Those who wander through the woods of Abbotsford, and find their
senses regaled by the rich odor of sweet-brier and woodbines, with
shrubs oftener found in gardens, as I did with some degree of
surprise, will read with interest the following direction of Scott to
Laidlaw, in which he explains the mystery:--"George must stick in a
few wild roses, honeysuckles, and sweet-briers, in suitable places, so
as to produce the luxuriance we see in the woods which nature plants
herself. We injure the effect of our plantings, so far as beauty is
concerned, very much by neglecting underwood." In the woods of
Abbotsford the memory of Laidlaw will be often recalled by the sight
and odor of these fragrant plants.

Descending into a valley beyond Kaeside, I came to the forester's
lodge, on the edge of a little solitary loch. Was this cottage
formerly the abode of another worthy--Tom Purdie, whom Scott has, on
his grave-stone in Melrose abbey-yard, styled "Wood-forester of
Abbotsford?"--a double epithet which may be accounted for by foresters
being often nowadays keepers of forests where there is no wood, as in
Ettrick, etc. Whether this was Tom Purdie's abode or not, however, I
found it inhabited by a very obliging and intelligent fellow, as
porter there. The little loch here I understood him to be called
Abbotsford Loch, in contradiction to Cauldshiels Loch, which is still
further up the hills. This Cauldshiels Loch was a favorite resort of
Scott's at first. It had its traditions, and he had a boat upon it;
but finding that it did not belong to his estate, as he supposed, by
one of his purchases, he would never go upon it again, though
requested to use it at his pleasure by the proprietor. By the
direction of the forester, I now steered my way onward from wood to
wood, toward the Eildon hills, in quest of the glen of Thomas the
Rhymer. The evening was now drawing on, and there was a deep solitude
and solemnity over the dark pine woods through which I passed. The
trees which Scott had planted were now in active process of being
thinned out, and piles of them lay here and there by the cart tracks
through the woods, and heaps of the peeled bark of the larch for sale.
I thought with what pleasure would Scott have now surveyed these
operations, and the beginning of the marketable profit of the woods of
his own planting. But that day was passed. I went on over fields
embosomed in the black forest, where the grazing herds gazed wildly at
me, as if a stranger were not often seen there; crossed the deep glen,
where the little stream roared on, lost in the thick growth of now
lofty trees; and then passed onward down the Rhymer's glen to Huntly
burn: every step bearing fresh evidence of the vanished romance of
Abbotsford. How long was it since Miss Edgeworth sat by the little
water-fall in the Rhymer's glen, and gave her name to the stone on
which she was seated? The house at Huntly burn, which Scott had
purchased to locate his old friend Sir Adam Fergusson near him, was
now the house of the wood-factor; and piles of timber, and sawn boards
on all sides, marked its present use. Lockhart was gone from the
lovely cottage just by at Chiefswood. And Scott himself, after his
glory and his troubles, slept soundly at Dryburgh. The darkness that
had now closed thickly on my way, seemed to my excited imagination to
have fallen on the world. What a day of broad hearts and broad
intellects was that which had just passed! How the spirit of power,
and of creative beauty, had been poured abroad among men, and
especially in our own country, as with a measureless opening of the
divine hand; and how rapidly and extensively had then the favored
ministers of this intellectual diffusion been withdrawn from the
darkened earth! Scott, and almost all his family who had rejoiced with
him--Abbotsford was an empty abode--the very woods had yielded up
their faithful spirits--Laidlaw and Purdie were in the earth--Hogg,
the shepherd-poet, had disappeared from the hills. And of the great
lights from England, how many were put out!--Crabbe, Southey,
Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Campbell, Mrs. Hemans, Miss Landon,
Hood, and Lamb, many of them bidding farewell to earth amid clouds and
melancholy, intense as was the contrasting brightness of their noonday
fame. "Sic transit gloria mundi." The thought passed through me--but a
second followed it, saying, "Not so--_they only_ by whom the
glory is created travel onward in the track of their eternal destiny.

    'Won is the glory, and the grief is past.'"

The next morning I took my way to Dryburgh, the closing scene of the
present paper. Dryburgh Abbey lies on the Tweed, about four miles from
Melrose. You turn off--when you have left the Eildon hills on your
right, and have seen on your left, in the course of the river, the
Cowdenknowes, Bemerside, and other classic spots--down a steep and
woody lane, and suddenly come out at a wide bend of the river, where,
on your side, the gravel brought down by the floods spreads a
considerable strand, and the lofty banks all round on the other are
finely wooded. Few are the rivers which can show more beautiful
scenery in their course than the Tweed. But what strikes you strangely
are the ruins of a chain bridge, which some time ago was carried away
by the wind. There stand aloft the tall white frames of wood to which
the bridge was attached at each end, like great skeletons; and the two
main chains stretch across, and fragments of others dangle in the
air--iron rags of ruin. It has a most desolate and singular look.
This, I suppose, was put up by the late whimsical Earl of Buchan, to
whom Dryburgh belonged, as now, to his nephew. At the opposite end of
the bridge peeps out of the trees the top of a little temple. It is a
temple of the Muses, where the nine sisters are represented
consecrating Thomson the poet. Aloft, at some distance in a wood, you
descry a gigantic figure of stone; and this, on inquiry, you find to
be William Wallace, who, I believe, was never here, any more than
Thomson. It was intended for Burns, but as the block was got out of
the quarry on the opposite side of the river, close to where you land
from the ferry-boat, the fantastic old fellow took it into his head
that, as it was so large a block, it should be Wallace.

As you ascend a lane from the ferry to go to the abbey, you find a few
cottages, and a great gate, built in the style of an old castle
gateway, with round stone pillars with lantern summits, and the cross
displayed on each--a sort of poor parody on the gateway at Abbotsford.
This castle gateway is the entrance, however, to no castle, but to a
large orchard, and over the gate is inscribed--"Hoc Pomarium sua manus
satum Parentibus suis optimis sac: D. S. Buchaniæ Comes." That is,
"This orchard, _sown_ by his own hands, the Earl of Buchan
dedicates to his best of parents." The whole is worthy of the man. If
there be any sense in it, the orchard was _sown_ by this silly
old lord, not the _trees_; and these were merely _sown_ by
him, and not _planted_. And why dedicate an orchard to his
deceased parents? Were they so excessively fond of apples? Why not
satisfy himself with some rational monument? But then he must have
been rational himself; and it must be recollected that this was the
man who, when Scott was once very ill, forced himself into the house
in order to get at the invalid, and arrange with him, in his last
moments, the honors of a great heraldic funeral procession; the same
man that Scott afterward congratulated himself was dead first, lest he
should have made some foolish extravagance of the sort over his
remains.

But, to return to the orchard gateway--it is droll enough, immediately
under the pious and tender inscription to his parents, in Latin, to
see standing this sentence, in plain English--"MAN-TRAPS AND
SPRING-GUNS PLACED IN THIS ORCHARD." Quere? Are they, too, dedicated
to his best of parents, or only to his poor brethren of mankind?

Dryburgh is a sweet old monastic seclusion. Here, lying deep below the
surrounding country, the river sweeps on between high, rocky banks,
overhung with that fine growth of trees which no river presents in
more beauty, abundance, and luxuriance. A hush prevails over the spot,
which tells you that some ancient sanctity is there. You feel that
there is some hidden glory of religious art and piety somewhere about,
though you do not see it. As you advance, it is up a lane overhung
with old ashes. There are primitive-looking cottages, also
overshadowed by great trees. There are crofts, with thick, tall
hedges, and cattle lying in them with a sybaritic luxury of indolence.
You are still, as you proceed, surrounded by an ocean of foliage, and
ancient stems; and a dream-like feeling of past ages seems to pervade
not only the air, but the ground. I do not know how it is, but I think
it must be by a mesmeric influence that the monks and the holy
dreamers of old have left on the spots which they inhabited their
peculiar character. You could not construct such a place now, taking
the most favorable materials for it. Take a low, sequestered spot,
full of old timber and cottages, and old gray walls; and employ all
the art that you could, to give it a monastic character--it would be
in vain. You would feel it at once; the mind would not admit it to be
genuine. No, the old monastic spots are full of the old monastic
spirit. The very ground, and the rich old turf, are saturated with it.
Dig up the soil, it has a monastery look. It is fat, and black, and
crumbling. The trees are actual monks themselves. They stand and dream
of the Middle Ages. With the present age and doings they have no
feelings, no sympathies. They keep a perpetual vigil, and the sound of
anthems has entered into their very substance. They are solemn piles
of the condensed silence of ages, of cloistered musings; and the very
whisperings of their leaves seem to be muttered aves and _ora pro
nobises_.

This feeling lies all over Dryburgh like a living trance; and the
arrangements of these odd Buchans for admitting you to the tomb of
Scott, enable you to see the most of it. You perceive a guide-post,
and this tells you to go on to the house where the keys are kept. You
descend a long lane amid these old trees and crofts, and arrive at a
gate and lodge, which seem the entrance to some gentleman's grounds.
Here probably you see too a gentleman's carriage waiting, and present
yourself to go in. But you are told that, though this is the place,
you must not enter there. You must go on still farther to the house
where the keys are kept. At length, you find yourself at the bottom of
another stretch of lane, and here you stop, for the simple reason that
you can go no farther--you have arrived at the bank of the river.
Necessarily then looking about you, you see on one side a gate in a
tall wall, which looks into an orchard, and on the other a cottage in
a garden. On this cottage there is a board, bearing this
long-sought-after inscription--"The abbey keys kept here." You knock,
and ask if you can see the abbey; and a very careless "Yes," assures
you that you can. The people appointed to show the ruins and Scott's
grave, are become notorious for their lumpish, uncivil behavior. It
would seem as if the owner of the place had ordered them to make it as
unpleasant to visitors as possible; a thing very impolitic in them,
for they are making a fortune by it. Indeed, Scott is the grand
benefactor of all the neighborhood, Dryburgh, Melrose, and Abbotsford.
At Abbotsford and Melrose they are civil, at Dryburgh the very
reverse. They seem as though they would make you feel that it was a
favor to be admitted to the grounds of Lord Buchan; and you are
pointed away at the gate of exit with a manner which seems to say,
"There!--begone!"

The woman of the cottage was already showing a party; and her sister,
just as sulky, ungracious a sort of body as you could meet with, was
my guide. The gate in the wall was thrown open, and she said, "You
must go across the grass there." I saw a track across the grass, and
obediently pursued it; but it was some time before I could see any
thing but a very large orchard of young trees, and I began to suppose
this another Pomarium dedicated by old Lord Buchan to his parents, and
to wish him and his Pomaria under the care of a certain old gentleman;
but, anon!--the ruins of the abbey began to tower magnificently above
the trees, and I forgot the planter of orchards and his gracious
guides. The ruins are certainly very fine, and finely relieved by the
tall, rich trees, which have sprung up in and around them. The
interior of the church is now greensward, and two rows of cedars grow
where formerly stood the pillars of the aisles. The cloisters and
south transept are more entire, and display much fine workmanship.
There is a window aloft, I think in the south transept, peculiarly
lovely. It is formed of, I believe, five stars cut in stone, so that
the open center within them forms a rose. The light seen through this
window gives it a beautiful effect. There is the old chapter-house
also entire, with an earthen floor, and a circle drawn in the center,
where the bodies of the founder and his lady are said to lie. But even
here the old lord has been with his absurdities; and at one end, by
the window, stands a fantastic statue of Locke, reading in an open
book, and pointing to his own forehead with his finger. The damp of
the place has blackened and mildewed this figure, and it is to be
hoped will speedily eat it quite up. What has Locke to do in the
chapter-house of a set of ancient friars?

The grave of Scott, for a tomb he has not yet got, is a beautiful
fragment of the ruined pile, the lady aisle. The square from one
pillar of the aisle to the next, which in many churches, as in
Melrose, formed a confessional, forms here a burial-place. It is that
of the Scotts of Haliburton, from whom Scott descended; and that was
probably one reason why he chose this place, though its monastic
beauty and associations were, no doubt, the main causes. The fragment
consists of two arches' length, and the adjoining one is the family
burial-place of the Erskines. The whole, with its tier of small Norman
sectional arches above, forms, in fact, a glorious tomb, much
resembling one of the chapel tombs in Winchester; and the trees about
it are dispersed by nature and art so as to give it the utmost
picturesque effect. It is a mausoleum well befitting the author of the
Lay of the Last Minstrel; and, though many wonder that he should have
chosen to be interred in another man's ground and property, yet,
independent of all such considerations, we must say, that it would be
difficult to select a spot more in keeping with Scott's character,
genius, and feelings. But that which surprises every one, is the
neglect in which the grave itself remains. After thirteen years it is
still a mere dusty and slovenly heap of earth. His mother lies on his
right hand, that is, in front of him, and his wife on his left. His
mother has a stone laid on her grave, but neither Scott nor his wife
has any thing but the earth which covers them; and lying under the
arched ruin, nature herself is not allowed, as she otherwise would, to
fling over the poet the verdant mantle with which she shrouds the
grave of the lowliest of her children. The contrast is the stranger
now, that so splendid a monument is raised to his honor in Edinburgh;
and that both Glasgow and Selkirk have their statue-crowned column to
the author of Waverley. The answer to inquiries is, that his son has
been out of the country; but a plain slab, bearing the name, and the
date of his death, would confer a neatness and an air of respectful
attention on the spot, which would accord far more gratefully with the
feelings of its thousands and tens of thousands of visitors than its
present condition.

                     *      *      *      *      *

As this goes to press, I hear that at length a stone is preparing for
Sir Walter's grave.



[Illustration: Gateway of Glasgow College]



THOMAS CAMPBELL.


Thomas Campbell was born in Glasgow, on the 27th of July, 1777. His
father was a resident of that city, and a respectable shopkeeper, or
_merchant_ as the Scotch say, which is equivalent to the
_Kauffman_ of their kindred the Germans. Merchant Campbell was
descended from an old Highland family, upon which circumstance it is
said the poet prided himself no little, though most probably he
himself was the greatest man his family had ever produced. He was the
tenth and youngest child of his parents, and was born in the
sixty-seventh year of his father's age, at which age it is somewhat
remarkable that he himself died. He was baptized by his father's
intimate friend, Dr. Thomas Bird, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the
university, after whom he was also named. The house in which Campbell
was born stood very near the university, close, I believe, to the east
end of George-street; it has been, however, cleared away in effecting
some of the modern improvements of the city; but as to how much is now
known about it, or the place where it stood, may be best shown from my
own experience in Glasgow in the autumn of last year.

My peregrinations in that city in quest of traces of Campbell, was one
of the most curious things I ever met with. Accompanied by Mr. David
Chambers, the younger brother of Messrs. William and Robert Chambers,
of the Edinburgh Journal, I called on a Mr. Gray, a silversmith in
Argyle-street, a cousin of Campbell, and the gentleman at whose house
he stayed when he came there. Here we made ourselves sure of our
object, at least as to where Campbell was born. We were not so sure,
however. Mr. Gray, a tall gray man, made his appearance; and on my
asking if he could oblige me by informing me where Campbell was born,
to our great astonishment he replied, that he really did not know.
"And, indeed," asked he, very gravely, "what may be your object in
making this inquiry?" I presented my card, and informed him that it
was to gain information for a work on the residences of celebrated
poets. The tall gray man reared himself to an extraordinary height,
and looked very blank, as though it was a sort of business very
singular to him, and quite out of his line. Had my name been that of a
silver merchant, no doubt it would have been instantly recognized; as
it was, it was just as much known to him as if it had been Diggery
Mustapha, the Ambassador of the Grand Turk himself. He shook his head,
looked very solemn, and "could really say nothing to it." "What!" I
exclaimed, "not know where your celebrated cousin was born?" "Well, he
had an idea that he had sometime heard that it was in High-street."
"In what house?" "Could not say--thought it had been pulled down."
"Could he tell us of any other part of the city where Campbell had
lived?" You might just as well have asked the tallest coffee-pot in
his shop. He put on a very forbidding air,--"Gentlemen, you will
excuse me,--I have business to attend to. Good-morning!" Away went Mr.
Gray, and away we retreated as precipitately.

This was an odd beginning. We then proceeded to the shop of Mr.
Robertson the bookseller, who entered most cordially into the inquiry,
and said at once, "Oh! Mr. Gray, the silversmith, is the man!" We
laughed, and related our adventure. On this, Mr. Robertson, with the
most zealous kindness, accompanied me to various parties; but it was
not till we reached Mr. Strang, the city chamberlain, that we got a
glimpse of intelligence. Mr. Strang most politely offered to accompany
me in my search. He believed it was in High-street. Away we went, and
called on the secretaries of the Campbell Club; but they, like the
tall Mr. Gray, and still more like the Shakspeare Club, who know
nothing about Shakspeare, knew nothing of Campbell. So we proceeded to
the very end of the town, to a blind gentleman, a nephew, I believe,
of Campbell; but he was not so blind but that he had found his way
out. He was not at home. On returning, we met another Mr. Gray, a
brother of the former one, and Mr. Strang exclaimed, "Now we have it!
Mr. Gray is a particular friend of mine, and we shall learn all about
it." We accosted him with the question, but he shook his head--and
"really did not know!" This was rather too much for my gravity, and I
observed that I supposed the fact was, that Campbell was not known in
Glasgow at all. This remark seemed not quite lost. He replied
gravely--"They _had_ heard of him." And we too, had heard of him,
but not where he was born. On this we went and asked two or three
other people, with the like result. We then went across the bridge, I
suppose a mile, to Mr. Strang's house, and consulted several books.
Mr. Dibdin in his Northern Tour, we found, gave a very long account of
many things in Glasgow, and incidentally mentioned that Campbell, the
poet, was a native of the town. We referred to other books, and
learned just as much. Taking my leave of Mr. Strang, a man of much
literary taste, and a friend of the late poet Motherwell, and who had
amid pressing public business devoted some hours to assist my inquiry,
I went and dined, and afterward set out afresh to clear up this great
mystery. Had I wanted but a manufacturer of any stuff but poetry, how
soon could I have found him! I directed my way to High-street itself,
a very long street, running up to the High Kirk, that is, the old
cathedral, and in which the college stands; and inquired of the
booksellers. It was in vain. One bookseller had been forty years on
the spot, but had never heard where Campbell was born. Seeing all
inquiries vain, I went on to the cemetery, to see the grave of
Motherwell. Now Motherwell, too, was born in Glasgow, and he is buried
here. He was not only a poet, but an active editor of a paper. I asked
a respectable-looking man, walking near the cemetery gate, if he knew
where he lay. "Oh," said he, "ye'll find his grave, and that of
Tennant too." "What! is Tennant dead then?" "Oh, ay, sure is he."
"What! Tennant the author of Anster Fair? Why, he did not live here,
and I fancy is still living." "Oh, no," replied the man, "I mean Mr.
Tennant of the Secret Chemical Works there;" pointing to a tall
smoking chimney. Heaven help us! what is a poet in Glasgow!--I went on
and found tombs and mausolea as big as houses, ay, and fine large
houses too; but Motherwell has not a stone as big as an ostrich egg to
mark the spot where he lies! One of the grave-diggers, however, knew
the place. "Strangers," he said, "often inquired after it; but you'll
not find it yourself," he said, "there's nothing to distinguish
it"--so he went and pointed it out. There stand, however, on the spot
a thorn and a laburnum. It is at a turn of the carriage-road, as you
ascend at the north end of the cemetery. God save the mark! There is
the poet's grave, sure enough, without a stone or epitaph, and
opposite to it is a large Doric temple, with wreaths of bay on its
front, the resting-place, no doubt, of some mighty man of mills. Such
was my day's perambulation in Glasgow in quest of the traces of poets.

But to return now to Campbell, as a boy living in Glasgow. As a child
he gave evidence of considerable powers of mind, and before he
attained the age of twelve was a good Latin scholar. At twelve he
commenced his studies in the university, where he distinguished
himself greatly. As regards this part of his life we can not do better
than quote from a well written biographical sketch of his life,
published last year in Hogg's Weekly Instructor. "In his thirteenth
year, Campbell succeeded, after a formidable competition with a
student nearly twice his own age, in gaining the bursary on Archbishop
Leighton's foundation. He continued seven years at the university,
receiving at the close of each session numbers of prizes, the reward
of his industry and zeal. The exercises which gained him these
distinctions were often of a very difficult nature, and such as tested
his powers severely; but his correct taste and sound judgment,
combined with his diligence and application, enabled him to accomplish
the tasks prescribed to him, in a manner highly creditable to himself
and most satisfactory to his teachers. In translations from the Greek
especially he excelled; so much so, indeed, that his fellow-students
were afraid to enter the lists with him. His poetical versions of
several Greek plays of Aristophanes, Æschylus, and others, obtained
the highest commendations of his professor; who, in awarding the prize
for the translation of The Clouds of Aristophanes, thus eulogized, in
terms the most flattering, the production of the youthful poet--that,
in his opinion, it was the best performance which had ever been given
within the walls of the university. Portions of these translations
have been published in his works.

"At this period of his life, Campbell is described as being a fair and
beautiful boy, with pleasant and winning manners, and a mild and
cheerful disposition. That he had at this early age an innate
perception of his own growing powers, is proved by his commencing to
write poetry at the age of thirteen, and by his great desire, even
while still but a year or two at college, to see himself in print.
Having got one of his juvenile poems printed, to defray the expense of
this, to him, then bold adventure, it is related that he had recourse
to the singular expedient--whether of his own accord, or suggested to
him by some of his class-fellows, is not known--of selling copies to
the students at a penny each. This anecdote has been told by one who
remembers having seen the beautiful boy standing at the college gate
with the slips in his hand. Campbell himself, in after-years, used to
be angry when he was reminded of this incident; but surely it reflects
any thing but discredit on him.

"The Greek chair, during his attendance at the university, was filled
by Professor Young, who was a complete enthusiast in Greek literature.
From him Campbell caught the same enthusiasm, which, nourished and
strengthened as it was by his success at college, endured during his
whole life. Often, in his latter years, has the writer of this sketch,
while sitting in his company, been electrified by the beauty and power
with which he recited his favorite passages from the Greek poets; with
whose writings his mind was richly stored, and which he appreciated
and praised with the characteristic warmth of one who was himself a
master in their divine art.

"On leaving college he went to reside for about a year on the romantic
banks of Loch Gail, among the mountains of Argyleshire. His paternal
grandfather possessed the estate of Kernan, in the Highlands; and it
was in reference to it, that the beautiful and pathetic stanzas,
beginning, 'At the silence of twilight's contemplative hour,' were
composed. He was for some time tutor in a private family residing on
the sea-coast of the island of Mull; and while in that situation he
planned and wrote a considerable part of his most celebrated poem, The
Pleasures of Hope. His youthful musings were nourished amid the
magnificent scenery around him; and by the contemplation of the wild
aspects of nature that presented themselves on every side, his ideas
were expanded, and his imagination was filled with many bright and
majestic images, which he afterward introduced with such admirable
effect into his poetry. Lochiel's Warning and Lord Ullin's Daughter,
for instance, could only have been written by one who cherished an
intense love and admiration for Highland scenery and Highland
associations. He himself has mentioned the delight with which he used
to listen, at the distance of many leagues, to the far famed roar of
Corryvreckan. 'When the weather is calm,' he says, 'and the adjacent
sea scarcely heard on these picturesque shores, the sound of the
vortex, which is like the sound of innumerable chariots, creates a
magnificent effect.'"

The poem, however, into which it seems to me he has most thoroughly
infused the spirit of the wild and romantically desolate scenery of
the Western Isles, is Reullura, one of the most exquisite poems of the
language. Without any apparent attempt at description, either of
scenery or individual character, both stand forth in strong and clear
distinctness: Aodh, the far famed preacher of the word in Iona; and
Reullura, beauty's star, with her calm, clear eye, to which visions of
the future were often revealed; and those desolate, treeless islands,
the savage shores of which, riven by primeval earthquakes, will be
lashed by the waves of a wild, stormy sea, to the end of time. The
church of Iona again stands aloft, the Gail listens to the preaching
of the word, and the heathen sea-kings come from Denmark for plunder
and massacre. This poem it is, above all others, into which the wild
music of the Corryvreckan entered; and, though it was written many
years after the poet's residence amid these scenes, nothing can be
clearer evidence of the deep impression which they made upon his mind.

After leaving Mull, Campbell removed to Edinburgh, where he also was
engaged in private tuition. He lived in Alison-square, or court, in
the old town, with his mother, who, it is said, being afflicted with
an unhappy temper, did not make her son's home as pleasant as it might
have been. It was during this time, and amid these home annoyances,
with narrow income and with a portion of his time devoted to the
drudgery of teaching, that he completed his longest and greatest poem,
The Pleasures of Hope. It is said, that at this time he was much given
to solitude, and might often be seen wandering alone over the bridge,
or in the vicinity of the city. This seems probable enough. The
Pleasures of Hope was published in April, 1799, when Campbell was
twenty-two--about the same age that Shelley published his Revolt of
Islam; Keats, his Lamia and Hyperion; and Byron, his first two cantos
of Childe Harold. The public heart, refreshed and purified by the
writings of Cowper, was in a fit state to receive with the deepest
love and the warmest admiration a poem like The Pleasures of Hope. The
success of the work was instantaneous, and at once the young author
and humble private tutor found himself in the possession of a
brilliant reputation, and taking rank among the first poetical names
of the age. This poem, remarkable for the harmony of its
versification, and the genuine fervor of its style, and for the
generous sentiments and feelings of patriotism which pervade it,
gained for him the notice and friendship of Dugald Stewart, Professor
Playfair, Henry Mackenzie, author of the Man of Feeling, and also
gained him the acquaintance of Brougham, Jeffrey, and Sidney Smith.

"The profits of this work," says the able writer we have already
quoted, "which ran through four editions in the year, enabled him to
make a tour in Germany. Early in 1800, he accordingly proceeded from
Leith to Hamburg, and remained for about a year on the Continent,
visiting several of the German states. War was at that time raging in
Bavaria, and thither he hastened, with a strong desire, as he himself
expressed it, animating his breast of seeing human nature exhibited in
its most dreadful attitude. From the walls of the monastery of St.
Jacob, he witnessed the celebrated battle of Hohenlinden, fought on
the 3d of December, 1800, between the French and Austrians. 'The sight
of Ingoldstadt in ruins,' he said, in a letter he wrote, descriptive
of the scene, 'and Hohenlinden covered with fire seven miles in
circumference, were spectacles never to be forgotten.' His
spirit-stirring lyric of Hohenlinden was written upon this event. He
afterward proceeded in the track of Moreau's army over the scene of
combat, and then continued his route. He used to relate the following
incident, as illustrative of the phlegm and attention to his own
interest of his German postillion, which happened at this time. The
latter, while driving him near a place where a skirmish of cavalry had
occurred, suddenly stopped, alighted, and disappeared, without
uttering a word, leaving the carriage, with Campbell in it, alone in
the cold, for the ground was covered with snow; and he was absent for
a considerable time. On his return, the poet discovered that the
provident German had been engaged cutting off the long tails of the
slain horses, which he deliberately placed on the vehicle beside him,
and silently pursued his journey. When Ratisbon was occupied by the
French, Mr. Campbell happened to be in the town at the time, but he
was treated with kindness by the victors. The enthusiasm and genius of
the young traveler seem to have made a very favorable impression on
the French officers, who evinced their respect for him by entertaining
him at their different mess-tables, and furnishing him with a pass
that carried him in safety through the French army. Afterward,
however, he was not so fortunate, as he was plundered of nearly all
his money, books, and papers, while endeavoring to cross into Italy,
by the route of the Tyrol, which prevented him from proceeding farther
in that direction. While he continued in Germany, he devoted himself
to acquiring the German language, and also resumed his Greek studies,
under Professor Heyne. He made the friendship of the two Schlegels,
and of other eminent men of that country, and passed an entire day
with the venerable Klopstock, who died two years afterward. On his
return to Hamburg, on his way home, he casually became acquainted with
some refugee Irishmen, who had been engaged in the rebellion of 1798,
and their story suggested to him his beautiful ballad of The Exile of
Erin, which he wrote at Altona. The hero of the poem was an Irish
exile, named Anthony M'Cann, whom he had met at Hamburg. After
remaining in that city for a few weeks, he embarked for Leith; but the
vessel he was on board of, being, while on its passage, chased by a
Danish privateer, was compelled to put in at Yarmouth. Finding himself
so near London, he at once decided upon paying it a visit. He entered
the metropolis for the first time, without being provided with a
single introduction; but his reputation had preceded him, and he soon
found admission into literary society. In one of his letters,
published by Washington Irving, he describes his impressions of a sort
of literary social club, to which he had been introduced by Sir James
Mackintosh, in the following terms: "Mackintosh, the Vindiciæ Gallicæ,
was particularly attentive to me, and took me with him to his
convivial parties at the King of Clubs--a place dedicated to the
meetings of the reigning wits of London--and, in fact, a lineal
descendant of the Johnson, Burke, and Goldsmith society, constituted
for literary conversations. The dining-table of these knights of
literature was an arena of very keen conversational rivalship,
maintained, to be sure, with perfect good-nature, but in which the
gladiators contended as hardly as ever the French and Austrians, in
the scenes I had just witnessed. Much, however, as the wit and
erudition of these men pleases an auditor at the first or second
visit, this trial of minds becomes at last fatiguing, because it is
unnatural and unsatisfactory. Every one of these brilliants goes there
to shine; for conversational powers are so much the rage in London,
that no reputation is higher than his who exhibits them. Where every
one tries to instruct, there is, in fact, but little instruction; wit,
paradox, eccentricity, even absurdity, if delivered rapidly and
facetiously, takes priority, in these societies, of sound reasoning
and delicate taste. I have watched sometimes the devious tide of
conversation, guided by accidental associations, turning from topic to
topic, and satisfactory upon none. What has one learned? has been my
general question. The mind, it is true, is electrified and quickened,
and the spirits finely exhilarated; but one grand fault pervades the
whole institution; their inquiries are desultory, and all improvements
to be reaped must be accidental." Campbell's own conversational powers
were of the highest order, and he showed singular discrimination in
the choice of subjects of an interesting and instinctive nature. Mere
talk for display on the part of others, must, therefore, have been
exceedingly disagreeable to him.

"After a short sojourn in London, the poet returned to Edinburgh,
where, strange to say, he was subjected to a private examination by
the authorities as a suspected spy, from his having been known to have
been in the society, while on the Continent, of some of the Irish
refugees. He easily satisfied the civic guardians of his unshaken
loyalty, and continued to reside for about a year in Edinburgh, during
which time he wrote his Lochiel's Warning, and others of his well
known ballads and minor poems. It is related, as an instance of the
wonderful powers of memory of Sir Walter Scott, that on Lochiel's
Warning being read to him in manuscript, he requested to be allowed to
peruse it for himself, and then astonished the author by repeating it
from memory from beginning to end. Campbell now determined upon
removing to London, as the best field for literary exertion.
Accordingly, early in 1803, he repaired to the metropolis, and on his
arrival he resided for some time in the house of his brother poet, Mr.
Telford, the celebrated engineer. In the autumn of the same year he
married his cousin, Miss Matilda Sinclair, of Greenock, a lady of
considerable personal beauty, and fixed his residence in the beautiful
village of Sydenham, in Kent, about seven miles from London. At the
time of Campbell's marriage, it appears that hope, and reliance on his
own exertions, formed by far the largest portion of his worldly
fortune; for, on his friend Telford remonstrating with him on the
inexpediency of marrying so early, he replied, 'When shall I be better
off? I have £50, and six months' work at the Encyclopædia.' The
Encyclopædia here mentioned was Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopædia, to
which he contributed several papers."

Campbell resided at Sydenham eighteen years. His house was on
Peak-hill, and had a quiet and sweet view toward Forest-hill. The
house is one of two tenements under the same roof, consisting of only
one room in width, which, London fashion, being divided by folding
doors, formed, as was needed, two. The front looked out upon the
prospect already mentioned. To the left was a fine mass of trees, amid
which showed itself a large house, which, during part of the time, was
occupied by Lady Charlotte Campbell. The back looked out upon a small
neat garden, inclosed from the field by pales; and beyond it, on a
mass of fine wood, at the foot of which ran a canal, and now along its
bed, the atmospheric railway from London to Croydon. The house is, as
appears, small, and very modest; but its situation is very pleasant
indeed, standing on a green and quiet swell, at a distance from the
wood, and catching pleasant glimpses of the houses in Sydenham, and of
the country round. In the little back parlor he used to sit and write;
and to prevent the passage of sound, he had the door which opened into
the hall covered with green baize, which still remains. This at once
defended him from the noise of the passing, and operations of the
housemaid, as the door was near the stairs, and also from any one so
plainly hearing him, when, in poet-fashion, he sounded out sonorously
his verses as he made them.

The next door to Campbell lived his landlord, a Mr. Onis, and who is
still living there, an old man of ninety, having every one of his
windows in front filled with strong jealousies, painted green, which
give a singular and dismal air to the house, as the dwelling of one
who wishes to shut out the sight of the living world, and the sun at
the same time. To prevent too familiar inspection from his neighbor's
premises, Campbell ran up a sort of buttress between the houses at the
back, and planted trees there, so that no one could get a sight of him
as he sat in his little parlor writing. In the village is still living
Miss Mayhew, a lady afterward alluded to, and now of course, very
aged. Here Campbell lost a son, of about eleven or twelve years of
age, who is buried at Lewisham. His wife was ill at the time he left
in 1821, and he had much trouble about that time. He went to reside in
London in 1821, on account of his literary engagements. Here he wrote
Gertrude of Wyoming. The country, which then was so fresh and retired,
is now cut up with railroads, and new buildings are seen rising like
crowding apparitions on every side.

Soon after his settlement at Sydenham, he published, anonymously, a
compiled work, in three volumes 8vo, entitled, Annals of Great
Britain, from the accession of George III. to the Peace of Amiens,
intended, probably, as a continuation of Hume and Smollett's
histories. This was the first of his commissions from a London
publisher. He now devoted himself to writing and compiling for the
booksellers, and furnishing occasional articles to the daily press and
other periodical publications. His conversational powers, as we have
already stated, were very great; and these, with his other qualities,
acquired for him an extensive circle of friends. In the social parties
and convivial meetings of Sydenham and its neighborhood, his company
was at all times eagerly courted; and among the kindred spirits with
whom he was in the habit of associating there, were the brothers James
and Horace Smith, Theodore Hook, and others who afterward
distinguished themselves in literature. Through the influence of
Charles James Fox, he obtained in 1806, shortly before that
statesman's death, a pension from government of £300 per annum.

Campbell was at this period, and for many years afterward, a working
author, the better portion of his days being spent in literary
drudgery and task-work. His gains from the booksellers were not
always, however, in proportion to the merit of the matter supplied to
them; and an anecdote is recorded which strongly illustrates his
feelings in regard to them. Having been invited to a booksellers'
dinner, soon after Pam, one of the trade, had been executed by command
of Napoleon, he was asked for a toast, and with much earnestness as
well as gravity of manner, he proposed to drink the health of
Bonaparte. The company were amazed at such a toast, and asked for an
explanation of it. "Gentlemen," said Campbell, with sly humor, "I give
you Napoleon,--he was a fine fellow,--he shot a bookseller!"

In the beginning of 1809, he published his second volume of poems,
containing Gertrude of Wyoming, a simple Indian tale, in the
Spenserian stanza, the scene of which is laid among the woods of
Pennsylvania; Glenara, the Battle of the Baltic, Lochiel, and Lord
Ullin's Daughter. A subsequent edition contained also the touching
ballad of O'Connor's Child. This volume added greatly to his
popularity, and the high reputation which he had now acquired must
have been very gratifying to his feelings. Indeed, even in the
meridian of his living renown, the native simplicity and goodness of
his heart rendered him peculiarly pleased with any attention of a
complimentary nature which was shown to him. Of this many instances
might be given, but the following, related by himself, may be quoted
here:--In writing to a friend in 1840, respecting the launch of a
man-of-war at Chatham, at which he was present, he mentioned that none
of the compliments paid to him on that occasion affected him so deeply
as the circumstance of the band of two regiments striking up "The
Campbells are coming," as he entered the dockyard.

Campbell himself preferred Gertrude of Wyoming to the Pleasures of
Hope. It is said that one cause of this preference was, that from
hearing himself so exclusively called the author of the Pleasures of
Hope, it became so hackneyed, that he felt toward it as the Athenian
did, who was tired of hearing Aristides called the Just.

"His mode of life at Sydenham," says Mr. Cyrus Redding, in a memoir of
the poet now publishing in the New Monthly Magazine, "was almost
uniformly that which he afterward followed in London when he made it a
constant residence. He rose not very early, breakfasted, studied for
an hour or two, dined at two or three o'clock, and then made a call or
two in the village, often remaining for an hour or more at the house
of a maiden lady, of whose conversation he was remarkably fond. He
would return home to tea, and then retire early to his study,
remaining there to a late hour; sometimes even to an early one. His
life was strictly domestic. He gave a dinner party now and then, and
at some of them Thomas Moore, Rogers, and other literary friends from
town were present. His table was plain, hospitable, and cheered by a
hearty welcome. While he lived at Sydenham," continues Mr. Redding,
"or at least during a portion of the time, there resided in that
village the well known Thomas Hill, who was a sort of walking
chronicle. He knew the business and affairs of every literary man, and
could relate a vast deal more about them than they had ever known
themselves. There was no newspaper office into which he did not find
his way; no third-rate scribbler of whom he did not know his business
at the time. But his knowledge was not confined to literary men, he
knew almost all the world of any note. It was said of him, that he
could stand at Charing-cross at noonday, and tell the name and
business of every body that passed Northumberland-house. He died of
apoplexy in the Adelphi four or five years ago, nearly at the age of
eighty, few supposing him more than sixty.

"At the table of this singular personage at Sydenham, there used to
meet occasionally a number of literary men and choice spirits of the
age. There was to be found Theodore Hook, giving full swing to his
jests, at the expense of every thing held cheap or dear in social
life, or under conventional rule. There, too, came the authors of the
Rejected Addresses, whose humor was only the lowest among their better
qualities. The poet living hard by, could not in the common course of
things miss being among those who congregated at Hill's. Repartee and
pun passed about in a mode vainly to be looked for in these degenerate
days at the most convivial tables. Some practical jokes were played
off there, which for a long time afterward formed the burden of
after-dinner conversations. Campbell was behind none of the party in
spirits. He entered with full zest into the pleasantries of the hour.
Some of the party leaving Sydenham to return home by Dulwich, to which
they were obliged to walk on one occasion, for want of a conveyance,
those who remained behind in Sydenham escorted their friends to the
top of the hill to take leave, in doing which the poet's residence had
to be passed. But he scorned to leave his party. All went on to the
parting-place on the hill summit, exchanging jokes, or manufacturing
indifferent puns. When they separated, it was with hats off and three
boisterous cheers."

In 1820, Campbell undertook the editorship of the New Monthly
Magazine; and in this magazine appeared some of his most beautiful
minor poems. For some time he had lodgings at 62, Margaret-street,
Cavendish-square. In 1824, he published Theodoric, a poem, by no means
equal to his former productions. "To Mr. Campbell," says his anonymous
biographer, "belongs the merit, we believe, of originating the London
University, in which project Lord Brougham was an active coadjutor.
During the struggle for independence in which Greece was engaged, and
in which she was ultimately successful, he took a strong interest in
the cause of that country, as he subsequently, and indeed all his life
did in that of Poland." In November, 1826, he was chosen lord rector
of the university of Glasgow. It was with the utmost enthusiasm, as
might well be supposed, that this election took place; it was a
triumphal return to the scenes of his early life; and among the
numerous incidents which might be given in evidence of the enthusiasm
felt by all classes toward their illustrious townsman may be
mentioned, the notice which was taken of a very beautiful rainbow,
which was seen on the day he entered his native city, and which fond
admirers of his genius regarded as a token that Heaven was smiling on
the event.

"The poet, after the death of his wife, and suffering from an
accumulation of domestic calamities, gave up the editorship of the New
Monthly Magazine, and went into chambers, where he resided for some
years in a state of comparative loneliness at No. 61,
Lincoln's-inn-fields. His chambers were on the second floor, where he
had a large, well furnished sitting-room, adjoining which was his
bedroom. One side of his principal room was arranged with shelves,
like a library, which were full of books. In that room has the writer
of this sketch passed many a pleasant and profitable hour with him,
and he never shall forget the active benevolence and genuine
kindliness of heart displayed by the poet on one occasion when he
called upon him. On entering the room one forenoon in the year 1839,
he found Mr. Campbell busy looking over his books, while, near the
fireplace, was seated an elderly gentlewoman in widow's weeds. He was
desired to take a chair for a few minutes. Presently the poet
disappeared into his bedroom, and returned with an armful of books,
which he placed among a heap of others that he had collected together,
on the floor. 'There now,' he said, addressing the widow, 'these will
help you a little, and I shall see what more I can do for you by the
time you call again. I shall get them sent to you in the course of the
day.' The widow thanked him with tears in her eyes, and shaking her
cordially by the hand, he wished her a good-morning. On her departure,
the poet said, with great feeling--'That lady whom you saw just now is
the widow of an early friend of mine, and as she is now in somewhat
reduced circumstances, she wishes to open a little book and stationery
shop, and I have been busy looking out all the books for which I have
no use, to add to her stock. She has taken a small shop in the
neighborhood of town, and I shall do all I can to serve her, and
forward her prospects, as far as my assistance and influence extend.
Old times should not be forgotten.' He mentioned the name of the
place, and asked if the writer had any acquaintances in the vicinity
to whose notice he might recommend the widow, but was answered in the
negative. The abstraction of the volumes he thus so generously
bestowed on the poor widow made a sensible alteration in the
appearance of his library. On another occasion, soon after this, when
the writer introduced to him a friend of his of the name of Sinclair,
he said, while he shook him by the hand, 'I am glad to see you, sir,
your name recommends you to me;' adding, with much tenderness, 'my
wife's name was Sinclair.'

"In 1832, the interest excited by the French conquest and colonization
of Algiers induced him to pay it a visit, and on his return he
furnished an account of his journey to the New Monthly Magazine, which
he afterward published under the name of Letters from the South, in
two volumes. He did not confine himself to Algiers, but made an
excursion into the interior of the country as far as Mascara; and his
work, with a great deal of light gossiping matter, contains much
interesting information respecting Algiers and the various races
inhabiting that part of Barbary. The same year, in conjunction with
the Polish poet Niemcewiez, Prince Czartoryski, and others, he founded
the society styled the Literary Association of the Friends of Poland.
He also originated the Clarence Club, where he occasionally dined. In
1834 he published his Life of Mrs. Siddons. On the death, that year,
of his friend Mr. Telford the engineer, after whom he had named his
surviving son, he, as well as Mr. Southey, was left a legacy of £500;
which, added to the gains from his works, placed him in very
comfortable circumstances so far as money was concerned.

Soon after the queen's coronation, she made Campbell a present of her
portrait. It was highly prized by him, and is especially mentioned in
his will, together with the silver bowl given to him by the students
of Glasgow; which two articles, says the said will, were considered by
him the two jewels of his property. With regard to this picture, which
always filled him with ecstasy and admiration, I can not do better
than again quote the biographical sketch to which I am already so much
indebted.

"It was, or rather is, a large, full-length engraving, inclosed in a
splendid frame, and was hung up in his sitting-room in
Lincoln's-inn-fields, on the same side as the fireplace, but nearer
the window. The writer of this called upon him a day or two after he
received it, and the explanation he then gave of the way in which it
was presented to him, is so nearly alike what has already appeared
regarding it, that it may be given here in nearly the same words.
Indeed, he was so much flattered by the unexpected compliment of a
present of her portrait from his sovereign, that he must have spoken
of it in a somewhat similar manner to every one on terms of intimacy
with him, who about that time happened to come into his company. 'I
was at her majesty's coronation in Westminster Abbey,' said Campbell,
'and she conducted herself so well, during the long and fatiguing
ceremony, that I shed tears many times. On returning home, I resolved,
out of pure esteem and veneration, to send her a copy of all my works.
Accordingly, I had them bound up, and went personally with them to Sir
Henry Wheatley, who, when he understood my errand, told me that her
majesty made it a rule to decline presents of this kind, as it placed
her under obligations which were unpleasant to her. Say to her
majesty, Sir Henry, I replied, that there is not a single thing the
queen can touch with her scepter in any of her dominions, which I
covet; and I therefore entreat you, in your office, to present them
with my devotion as a subject. Sir Henry then promised to comply with
my request; but next day they were returned. I hesitated,' continued
Campbell, 'to open the parcel, but, on doing so, I found, to my
inexpressible joy, a note inclosed, desiring my autograph upon them.
Having complied with the wish, I again transmitted the books to her
majesty, and in the course of a day or two received in return this
elegant engraving, with her majesty's autograph, as you see below.' He
then directed particular attention to the royal signature, which was
in her majesty's usual bold and beautiful handwriting.

"In 1842, his Pilgrim of Glencoe, and other Poems, appeared, dedicated
to his friend and physician. Dr. William Beattie, whom he also named
one of his executors; Mr. William Moxon, of the Middle Temple, brother
of Mr. Edward Moxon, his publisher, being the other. He also wrote a
Life of Petrarch, and a year or two before his death he edited the
Life of Frederic the Great, published by Colburn. In this year, that
is, in 1842, he again visited Germany. On one occasion, in the
writer's presence, he expressed a strong desire to go to Greece; but
he never carried that intention into effect, probably from the want of
a companion. On his return from Germany, with which he was now become
familiar, he took a house at No. 8, Victoria-square, Pimlico, and
devoted his time to the education of his niece, Miss Mary Campbell, a
Glasgow lady, whom he took to live with him. But his health, which had
long been in a declining state, began to give way rapidly. He was no
longer the man he was; the energy of his body and mind was gone, and
in the summer of 1843 he retired to Boulogne, where at first he
derived benefit from the change of air and scene. But this did not
continue long, and he gradually grew feebler; he seldom went into
society, and for some months before his death he corresponded but
little with his friends in this country. A week before his decease Dr.
Beattie was sent for from London, and on his arrival at Boulogne he
found him much worse than he had anticipated. The hour was approaching
when the spirit of the poet of Hope was to quit this transitory scene,
and return to God who gave it. On Saturday afternoon, the 15th June,
1844, he breathed his last, in the presence of his niece, his friend
Dr. Beattie, and his medical attendants. His last hours were marked by
calmness and resignation. The Rev. Mr. Hassell, an English clergyman,
was also with Mr. Campbell at the time of his death.

"Campbell's funeral," continues this able writer, "was worthy of his
fame. He was buried in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey, on
Wednesday, July 3, 1844. The funeral was attended by a large body of
noblemen and gentlemen, and by several of the most eminent authors of
the day. Mr. Alexander Campbell and Mr. Wiss, two nephews of the
deceased poet, with his executors, were the chief mourners; and the
pall was borne by Sir Robert Peel, the Earl of Aberdeen, the Duke of
Argyle, Lord Morpeth, Lord Brougham, Lord Campbell, Lord Dudley Coutts
Stuart, and Lord Leigh. The corpse was followed by a large number of
members of parliament and other distinguished gentlemen. The following
interesting account of the funeral was written by an American, who was
present among the crowd of spectators, on the mournful occasion:--

"'At twelve o'clock the procession, which had been formed in the
Jerusalem Chamber, adjoining the abbey, came in sight, as you looked
through the length of the abbey toward the western door. All you could
see, at first, at this immense distance, was a dark mass; and so
slowly did the procession advance, that it scarcely seemed to move. As
it came near, every voice was hushed, and, beside the solemn tramp of
the procession, the only voice audible was the voice of the clergyman
echoing along the vaulted passages, "I am the resurrection and the
life." Borne before the coffin were a number of mourning plumes, so
arranged as to correspond with it in shape. When the procession
halted, and the coffin was laid upon the temporary scaffold before the
desk, the plumes were placed upon it. There was no other attempt at
splendor. All was as simple as in the most ordinary funeral solemnity.
It was a grand spectacle, and such as I never expect to see again. Not
merely the nobles of the land, but its ablest men, who, from day to
day, are directing the destinies of the mightiest monarchy on the
globe, and whose names will live in after-times, were bearing the
remains of the departed poet to the hallowed palace of the dead. Among
the pall-bearers were Lord Brougham, Sir Robert Peel, and Lord
Aberdeen; among the mourners, Macaulay, D'Israeli, Lockhart, and many
others known to fame. I had hoped to see Wordsworth, and, perhaps,
Carlyle, but neither of them were there. The burial-service was read
by the Rev. Dr. Milman [canon of Westminster, and rector of St.
Margaret's], author of The Siege of Jerusalem, History of the Jews,
and other works. At the close of the service, the plumes were taken
from the coffin, and the body lowered into the grave. As the mourners
gathered around the opening, the sound of what seemed distant thunder
called my attention to the windows. It was a dull, dark day, and I
supposed, for a moment, that a storm was at hand, till the sweet
strain of a beautiful melody, from the organ in the choir, in the
rear, undeceived me. Then followed again the rumbling of thunder, like
the marching of mighty masses of the dead, varied occasionally by
snatches of harmony, and conveying an impression of unutterable
solemnity. It was the Dead March in Saul.

"'There was one part of the ceremony more impressive still. A
deputation from the Polish Association was present, in addition to the
Poles who attended as mourners; and when the officiating clergyman
arrived at that portion of the ceremony in which dust is consigned to
dust, one of the number (Colonel Szyrma) took a handful of dust,
brought for the occasion from the tomb of Kosciusko, and scattered it
upon the coffin. It was a worthy tribute to the memory of him who has
done so much to immortalize the man and the cause; and not the less
impressive because so perfectly simple. At the conclusion of the
service, the solemn peals of the organ again reverberated for some
minutes through the aisles of the abbey, and the procession retired as
it came.

"'The barrier with iron spikes, which protected the mourners from the
jostling of the crowd, was then removed, and there was a rush to get a
sight of the coffin. After waiting a little while, I succeeded in
looking into the grave, and read the inscription on the large gilt
plate:--

    THOMAS CAMPBELL, LL.D.
    AUTHOR OF THE PLEASURES OF HOPE,
    Died June 15, 1844.
    Aged 67.

"'On visiting the abbey the next day, I found the stone over the grave
so carefully replaced, that a stranger would never suspect there had
been a recent interment. To those who may hereafter visit the spot, it
may be interesting to know that it is situated between the monument of
Addison and the opposite pillar, not far from that of Goldsmith, and
closely adjoining that of Sheridan. His most Christian wish is
accomplished. He lies in the Poet's Comer, surrounded by the tombs and
monuments of kings, statesmen, warriors, and scholars, in the massy
building guarded with religious care, and visited from all parts of
the land with religious veneration.'"


[Illustration: Residence at Keswick]



ROBERT SOUTHEY.


The great home and haunt of Robert Southey was Keswick. Of the
sixty-nine years that he lived, he spent exactly forty there. He
settled there at the early age of twenty-nine, and commenced a life of
the most unremitting industry, which he pursued till nature gave way,
and the powers of his mind sunk under their taskmaster. There never
was a more thorough fixture as a literary man. It seemed to be the
highest enjoyment of his life to work; and having taken the bent in
time to work on the right side, he avoided the general fate of
literary men, and died in good esteem with the powers that be, and
worth £12,000.

Of the period of Southey's life previous to settling at Keswick, there
is little to be said in this work. No good biography of him exists,
and the materials for his life are still in the hands of his
executors, and not issued in due form to the public. He was born in
Bristol, 1774. His father was a linendraper there,--a most extensive
wholesale linendraper, says a short memoir of him affixed to a French
selection from his poems. This, I suppose, is one of the statements
usually made to take off from the lives of men who have risen to
eminence, the writers think, something of their vulgar origin. But
what care all sensible people what a man's origin was, so that his
career was honorable? Who thinks, because Shakspeare was the son of a
wool-comber; because Ben Jonson was apprenticed to a mason; because
Milton was a schoolmaster; because Sir Walter Scott was the son of an
attorney; because Moore was the son of a grocer and spirit dealer, and
Chatterton was a charity boy, that they are one whit less the genuine
nobles of the land? It is high time that we got rid of this vulgar way
of thinking, and regarded all men, all trades, all origins honorable,
when there has been no moral obliquity about the persons themselves.
Whether Southey's father, then, was "a most extensive linendraper,"
and could say with John Gilpin,

    "I am a linendraper bold,
        As all the world doth know;"

there is no doubt that he was a retail as well as wholesale trader.
His shop was at the sign of the Golden Key, in Wine-street; and there
the shop still remains in the very same trade, and with the golden key
hanging in front still, as the sign. In this shop Robert used to serve
as a boy. I believe his father was then deceased, and the concern was
in the hands of his uncle, who brought him up. However, he was a gay
youth, and served only of a fashion. At one time he was measuring off
his drapery goods with his yard-wand, at another he was measuring the
fields after the hounds, and used to come in amid all the shop
customers in his splashed boots and scarlet coat. His uncle did not
augur much success in trade from this style of doing business, and
destined him for the Church. His friends and associates were chiefly
dissenters; but young dissenters, caught early and well drilled, make
the stanchest churchmen. He was first educated by a Baptist minister,
Mr. Foote, a very able, but very old man. He was then removed to a
school at Corston, where he remained about two years, and it was
probably at the conclusion of this schooling that it was intended to
put him to the drapery business. On the plan of devoting him to the
Church opening itself, he would naturally be sent to one of the Church
preparatory schools; and accordingly he went to Westminster, in 1787,
where, in 1790, he fell under censure, for his concern in the
rebellion excited against the master, Dr. Vincent. In 1792, he became
a student under Baliol College, Oxford, but Unitarian principles and
the revolutionary mania put an end to that design. So strongly did he
imbibe the new opinions on politics, which the explosion in France had
produced, that he, with his friends Lovell and Coleridge, projected a
plan of settling on the banks of the Susquehannah, in North America,
and there founding a new republic, under the name of the Pantisocracy.
This utopian scheme was soon dissolved for the want of means; and in
1795, Mr. Southey married Miss Fricker. Every one remembers Byron's
lines in Don Juan, when speaking of Coleridge, he says:

    "When he and Southey, following the same path,
    Espoused two partners, milliners of Bath."

Coleridge and Lovell were townsmen of Southey's, and youthful
companions. Lovell was of a Quaker family, and all were connected with
the dissenters. Soon after his marriage, Southey accompanied his
maternal uncle, the Rev. Dr. Hill, to Portugal, that gentleman being
appointed chaplain to the Factory at Lisbon. In 1810, Southey obtained
the appointment of secretary to the Right Hon. Isaac Corry, chancellor
of the exchequer for Ireland. In retiring from office with his patron,
our author went to reside at Keswick, where also dwelt, under the same
roof, the widow of his friend Lovell, and the wife of Mr. Coleridge,
both which ladies were sisters to Mrs. Southey. Such were the
movements of Southey till he settled down at Keswick, and there, busy
as a bee in its hive, worked out the forty years of his then remaining
life. The mere list of his works attests a wonderful industry:--Joan
of Arc, 4to, 1796. Poems, 1797. Letters from Spain and Portugal, 8vo.
1797. Annual Anthology, edited by him, 2 vols. 1799-1800. Amadis de
Gaul, from a Spanish version, 4 vols. 1803. Edited the works of
Chatterton, 3 vols. 1803. Thalaba, 2 vols. 1804. Madoc, 1805.
Specimens of Latin Poets, 3 vols. 1807. Palmerin of England, from the
Portuguese, 4 vols. 1807. Espriello's Letters, 3 vols. 1807. Edited
the Remains of H. K. White, 2 vols. 1807. The Chronicle of the Cid,
from the Spanish, 1808. The History of Brazil, 3 vols. 1809. The Curse
of Kehama, 1811. Omniana, 3 vols. 1812. Life of Nelson, 2 vols. 1813.
Carmen Triumphale, 1814. Odes to the Allied Sovereigns, 1814.
Roderick, the Last of the Goths, 1814. The Vision of Judgment. The
Life of Bunyan. Morte Arthur, 2 vols. 1817. Life of Wesley, 2 vols.
1820. Expedition of Orsua and Crimes of Aguirre, 1821. All for Love,
or the Sinner Well Saved, 1829. Pilgrimage to Compostella. Tales of
Paraguay, etc. Essays Political and Moral, 2 vols. 1831. Book of the
Church, 2 vols. Sir Thomas More, or Colloquies on the State of
Society, 2 vols. 1832. Lives of British Admirals, 5 vols. 1839-40.
Vindicia Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ. The Doctor, 5 vols.; etc., etc.

This is a striking list of the works of one man, though he took nearly
fifty years of almost unexampled health and industry to complete it.
But this does not include the large amount of his contributions to the
Quarterly and other periodicals; nor does the mere bulk of the work
thrown off convey any idea of the bulk of work gone through. The
immense and patient research necessary for his histories, was scarcely
less than that which he bestowed on the subject matter and
illustrative notes of his poems. The whole of his writings abound with
evidences of learning and laborious reading that have been rarely
equaled. But the variety of talents and humor displayed in his
different writings is equally extraordinary. The love of fun, and the
keenness of satire, which distinguished his smaller poems, are enough
to make a very brilliant reputation. The Devil's Walk, so long
attributed to Porson, but, as testified by themselves, conceived and
written by Southey, with some touches and additions from the hand of
Coleridge; The Old Woman of Berkeley; The Surgeon's Warning; The Pig;
Gooseberry Pie; Ruprecht the Robber; The Cataract of Lodore; Bishop
Hatto; The Pious Painter; St. Antidius, the Pope, and the Devil; The
March to Moscow;--these and others of the like kind would make a
volume, that might be attributed to a man who had lived only for joke
and quiz. Then the wild and wandering imagination of Thalaba and
Kehama; the grave beauty of Madoc; the fine youthful glow of liberty
and love in Joan of Arc; and the vivid fire and vigor of Roderick the
last of the Goths, are little less in contrast to the jocose
productions just mentioned, than they are to the grave judgment
displayed in his histories, or the keenness with which he enters, in
his Book of the Church, the Colloquies, and his critiques, into the
questions and interests of the day, and puts forth all the acumen and
often the acidity of the partisan.

With all our admiration of the genius and varied powers of Southey,
and with all our esteem for his many virtues, and the peculiar
amiability of his domestic life, we can not, however, read him without
a feeling of deep melancholy. The contrast between the beginning and
the end of his career, the glorious and high path entered upon, and so
soon and suddenly quitted for the pay of the placeman and the
bitterness of the bigot, cling to his memory with a lamentable effect.
Without doing as many hastily do, regarding him as a dishonest
renegade; allowing him, on the contrary, all the credence possible for
an earnest and entire change in his views; we can not the less mourn
over that change, or the less elude the consciousness that there was a
moment when this change must have been a matter of calculation. They
who have held the same high and noble views of human life and social
interests, and still hold them, find it impossible to realize to
themselves the process by which such a change in a clear-headed and
conscientious man can be carried through. For a man whose heart and
intellect were full of the inspiration of great sentiments, on the
freedom of man in all his relations as a subject and a citizen as well
as a man, on peace, on religion, and on the oppressions of the poor,
to go round at once to the system and the doctrines of the opposite
character, and to resolve to support that machinery of violence and
oppression which originates all these evils, is so unaccountable as to
tempt the most charitable to hard thoughts. Nothing is so easy of
vindication as a man's honesty, when he changes to his own worldly
disadvantage, and to a more free mode of thinking; but when the
contrary happens, suspicion will lie in spite of all argument. We can
well conceive, for instance, the uncle of the young poet, with whom he
went out to Portugal, a clergyman of the Church of England, saying to
him, "Robert, my dear fellow, these notions and these terrible
democratic poems,--this Wat Tyler, these Botany Bay Eclogues, and the
like, are not the way to flourish in the world. No doubt you want to
live comfortably; then just look about you, and see _how_ you are
to live. Here are church and state, and there are Wat Tyler and the
Botany Bay Eclogues. Here are promotion and comfort, there are poverty
and contempt. Take which you will." We can well conceive the effect of
such representations on a young man who, with all his poetic and
patriotic devotion, did not like poverty and contempt, and did hope to
live comfortably. This idea once taking the smallest root in a young
man having a spice of worldly prudence as well as a great deal of
ambition, we can imagine the youth nodding to himself and
saying,--"True, there is great wisdom in what my uncle says. I must
live, and so no more Wat Tylers, nor Botany Bay Eclogues. I will
adhere to the powers that be, but I will still endeavor to infuse
liberal and generous views into these powers." Very good, but then
comes the transplanting to a new soil, and into new influences. Then
come the hearing of nothing but a new set of opinions, and the feeling
of a very different tone in all around him. Then comes the _facilis
descensus Averni_, and the _sed revocare gradum hoc opus, hic
labor est_. The metamorphosis goes on insensibly--_Nemo repentè
fuit turpissimus_; but the end is not the less such as, if it could
have been seen from the beginning, would have made the startled
subject of it exclaim, "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this
thing?"

Allowing Dr. Southey the full benefit of all these operating
influences, so as to clear his conscience in the metamorphosis as much
as possible, yet what a metamorphosis that was! The man who set out in
a career that augured the life of a second Milton, ending as the most
thorough, though probably unconscious tool of tyranny and state
corruption. The writer of Wat Tyler lauding George IV. and
Castlereagh! The author of The Battle of Blenheim, singing hymns to
the allied sovereigns, and hosannas over the most horrible war and
carnage, and for the worst purposes in history. The advocate of the
pauper and the mill operative, supporting the power and the system
which made pauperism universal, and manufacturing oppressive to the
artisan. And last, and worst, the man who justly lashed Lord Byron for
his licentious pen, being subjected to the necessity of slurring over
the debaucheries of such a monster as George IV., and singing his
praises, as a wise, and just, and virtuous prince. While Southey
congratulated himself on never having prostituted his pen to the cause
of vice, he forgot that to prostitute it to the praise of those who
were the most libidinous and vicious characters of their age, was only
the same thing in another form. No greater dishonor could have
befallen a man of Southey's private character, than to have so fully
justified the scarifying strictures of his aristocratic satirist:--

    "He said--I only give the heads--he said
      He meant no harm in scribbling; 'twas his wa
    Upon all topics; 'twas beside his bread,
      Of which he buttered both sides; 'twould delay
    Too long the assembly, he was pleased to dread,
      And take up rather more time than a day,
    To name his works--he would but cite a few--
    Wat Tyler--Rhymes on Blenheim--Waterloo.

    "He had written praises of a regicide;
      He had written praises of all kings whatever;
    He had written for republics far and wide,
      And then against them bitterer than ever:
    For pantisocracy he once had cried
      Aloud, a scheme less moral than 'twas clever;
    Then grew a hearty anti-Jacobin--
    Had turned his coat--and would have turned his skin.

    "He had sung against all battles, and again
      In their high praise and glory; he had called
    Reviewing, 'the ungentle craft,' and then
      Become as base a critic as e'er crawl'd--
    Fed, paid, and pampered by the very men
      By whom his muse and morals had been mauled.
    He had written much blank verse, and blanker prose,
    And more of both than any body knows."

    BYRON, _The Vision of Judgment_.

Spite of the indecencies of Byron's muse, and the orthodox character
of Southey's, it must be confessed that the former is much less
mischievous than the latter. Everywhere, Byron speaks out boldly his
opinion of men and things. Everywhere, he hates despotism, and laughs
to scorn cant and hypocrisy. If he be too free in some of his
sentiments, he is equally free where he ought to be so. The world will
never have to complain that the liberties of mankind have been
curtailed through the inculcations of Lord Byron; or that he has
endeavored to confound all just sense of morals, by heaping incense on
the vilest of princes. What an impressive contrast is there between
the Laureate's hymning of the bloated George IV. into Dublin, and the
Irish Avater of Byron:--

        "Oh, what a joy was there!
        In loud huzzas prolonged.
        Surge after surge the tide
        Of popular welcome rose;
        And in the interval alone
    Of that tumultuous sound of glad acclaim
        Could the deep cannon's voice
      Of duteous gratulation, though it spake
        In thunder, reach the ear.
    From every tower the merry bells rung round,
        Peal hurrying upon peal,
      Till with the still reverberating din
    The walls and solid pavement seem to shake,
      And every bosom with the tremulous air
        Inhaled a dizzy joy.

        Age, that came forth to gaze
          That memorable day,
      Felt in its quickened veins a pulse like youth;
    And lisping babes were taught to bless their king,
      And grandsires bade their children treasure up
        The precious sight, for it would be a tale,
          The which in their old age
    Would make their children's children gather round,
          Intent all ears to hear."

    _Southey's Ode on the King's Visit to Ireland._

Who would not have believed that this was some virtuous monarch, the
father of his people? What had the Irish to bless this king for? What
ears now are intent to hear of this vaunted boon of this great and
good king's visit sung by this paid poet, the pious Southey? What a
much more healthy though terrible truth exists in the Irish Avater, by
Lord Byron!

It is a circumstance that redeems the age, that when despotism was
making its most hardy attempts in England, when too many of our
literary men were disposed to flatter and follow in its train, and
when such a man as Southey was the loudest to hymn the follies and
crimes of the despots, Lord Byron, the very man who was accused of
corrupting the public morals, should still have been the man to
denounce, with all the powers of poetry, wit, and withering sarcasm,
the nefarious attempt. What a fall was that of Southey, from the poet
of liberty to the laudator of crime, tyranny, and carnage! What a
position in which to see him stand, crying for a continuance of
religious slavery, for the slavery of the press, and advancing beyond
all former example of fanatic bigotry, assuming the office of the
Deity himself, and dooming those who differed in opinion from him to
perdition in the next world! If Robert Southey, as he wrote the
epitaph to Algernon Sidney, or the sonnet to Mary Wollstoncraft, could
have been shown himself, writing his Vision of Judgment, representing
Junius as afraid to speak in his own defense, and George IV. lauded as
good, and wise, and "treading in the steps of his father," with what
horror would he have regarded himself. With what shame would he have
seen Lord Byron, like his avenger, ever ready at hand to turn his
solemn adulation to ridicule, and to lash him with a merciless scourge
of immortal indignation.

It is with deepest sorrow that I view Southey in this light; but the
lesson to future poets should never be withheld. Truth is of eternal
interest to mankind, and it can never be too often impressed on youth,
that no temporary favor or emolument can make a millionth part of
amends for the loss of the glorious reputation of the patriot.
Allowing that Southey became sincerely convinced that he was right in
his adopted political creed, his own private opinion can not alter the
eternal nature of things, and the fact is not the less a fact that his
change was a mischievous and an unworthy one. If, while he lived in
dread of public opinion, as evinced in his Colloquies, "First the
Sword governs; then the Laws; next in succession is the government of
Public Opinion. To this we are coming. Already its claims are openly
and boldly advanced ... timidly, and therefore feebly resisted!" (vol.
ii. p. 114) he could have seen to what a pitch this government of
public opinion has now arrived, and how peacefully and beneficially
all advances under it, with what regret must he have looked back on
his own acts and counsels. How much he must have deplored the terms of
factionists, seditionists, schismatics, and "lying slanderers," which
he had heaped on all who dared to utter an independent opinion. See,
especially, his Vision of Judgment. And that the laureate's feelings
were very keen, circumstances always showed; for though he declares in
his Colloquies that his enemies might as well shoot their arrows at a
rhinoceros as at him, yet on every occasion when an able antagonist
adverted to his peculiar career, he writhed and turned in bitterest
resentment; as on William Smith, of Norwich, for his remarks on Wat
Tyler in parliament, and on Lord Byron. That outward policy, and a
regard for the position which he had assumed, tended to make him write
in a more church and state strain than he otherwise would, is rendered
more than probable by the freedom of opinion which he allowed himself
in The Doctor, where he was shielded by his incognito.

Deploring the grand error of Southey's life--for we bear no resentment
to the dead--more especially as England has gone on advancing and
liberalizing, spite of his slavish dogmas, and thus rendered his most
zealous advocacy of narrow notions perfectly innoxious--we would ask,
whether this peculiar change of his original opinions may not have had
a peculiar effect on his poetry? Much and beautifully as he has
written, yet, if I may be allowed the expression, he never seems to be
at home in his poetry, any more than in the country which, with his
new opinions, he adopted. We can read once, especially in our youth,
his poems, even the longest--but it is rarely more than once. We are
charmed, sometimes a little wearied, but we never wish to recur to
them again. There are a few of his smaller poems, as the Penates, the
Bee, Blenheim, and a few others, which are exceptions, with some
exquisite passages, as that often quoted one on love in Kehama. But,
on the whole, we are quite satisfied with one reading. There is a
want, somehow, of _the spiritual_ in his writing. Beautiful
fancy, and tender feeling, and sometimes deep devotion, there are; but
still there lacks that spirit, that essence of the soul which makes
Wordsworth and many of the poems of Lord Byron, a never satiating
aliment and refreshment--a divine substance on which you live and
grow, and by its influence seem to draw nearer to the world of mind
and of eternity. Southey's poetry seems a beautiful manufacture; not a
part of himself. He carries you in it, as in an enchanted cloud, to
Arabia, India, or America; to the celestial Meru, to the dolorous
depths of Padalon, or to the Domdaniel caves under the roots of the
ocean; but he does not seem to entertain you at home; to take you down
into himself. He does not seem to be at rest there, or to have there
"his abiding city."

It is exactly the same as to the country in which he lived. He seemed
to live there as a stranger and a sojourner. That he loved the lakes
and mountains around, there can be no question; but has he linked his
poetry with them? Has he, like Wordsworth, woven his verse into almost
every crevice of every rock? Cast the spell of his enchantment upon
every stream? Made the hills, the waters, the hamlets, and the people,
part and parcel of his life and his fame? We seek in vain for any such
amalgamation. With the exception of the cataract of Lodore, there is
scarcely a line of his poetry which localizes itself in the fairy
region where he lived forty years. When Wordsworth is gone, he will
leave on the mountains, and in all the vales of Cumberland, an
everlasting people of his creation. The Wanderer, and the Clergyman of
the Excursion, Michael, and Matthew, and the Wagoner, and Peter Bell,
Ruth, and many a picturesque vagrant will linger there forever. The
Shepherd Lord will haunt his ancient hills and castles, and the White
Doe will still cross Rylston fells. A thousand associations will start
up in the mind of many a future generation, as they hear the names of
Helvellyn, Blencathra, or Langdale Pikes. But when you seek for
evidences of the poetic existence of Southey in Cumberland, you are
carried at once to Greta-hall at Keswick, and there you remain. I
suppose the phrenologists would say it was owing to his
idiosyncrasy--that he had much imitativeness, but very little
locality. It is most singular, that look over the contents of his
voluminous poems, and you find them connected with almost every region
of the world, and every quarter of these kingdoms, except with the
neighborhood of his abode. He would seem like a man flying from the
face of the world, and brushing out all traces of his retreat as he
goes. In Spain, France, America, India, Arabia, Africa, the West
Indies, in Ireland, Wales, England, and Scotland, you perceive his
poetical habitations and resting-places; but not in Cumberland. He has
commemorated Pultowa, Jerusalem, Alentejo, Oxford, Blenheim, Dreux,
Moscow, the Rhine. He has epitaphs and inscriptions for numbers of
places in England, Spain, and Portugal. In his Madoc, Wales; in his
Roderick, Spain; in his Joan of Arc, France, find abundance of their
localities celebrated. In his Pilgrimage to Waterloo, Flanders has its
commemorations; but Cumberland--no! You would think it was some
district not glorious with mountain, lake, and legend, but some fenny
flat on which a poetic spirit could not dwell.

Almost the only clews that we get at are to be found in the
Colloquies. Here we learn that the poet and his family did sometimes
walk to Skiddaw Dod, Causey Pike, and Watenlath. At page 119 of vol.
i., where these names occur, we find the poet proposing an excursion
to Walla Crag, on the waters of the Derwentwater. "I, who perhaps
would more willingly have sat at home, was yet in a mood to suffer
violence, and making a sort of compromise between their exuberant
activity and my own inclination for the chair and the fireside, fixed
on Walla Crag." Beside this mention, you have in Colloquy XII., pages
59 to 69, an introduction to a long history of the Clifford family, in
which you are introduced to Threlkeld farm and village. This peep into
the mountains makes you wonder that Southey did not give you more of
them; but no, that is all. It is evident that his heart was, as he
hinted just above, "at home in the chair by the fireside." It was in
his library that he really lived, and there is little question that
when his children did get him out on the plea that it was necessary
for his health, his mind was gone off with some Thalaba or Madoc or
other, or with that other favorite hero of his, whose "walk," and
whose exploits with old women, he has described with a gusto that
might have fitly fixed on him the appellation he gave to Lord
Byron--the head of the Satanic school.

To Keswick we must then betake ourselves as the sole haunt of Robert
Southey. My visit there in the summer of 1845 was marked by a
circumstance which may show how well the fame of Dr. Southey, the
laureate of Church and State, and the bard who sung the triumphs of
legitimacy on the occasion of the allied sovereigns coming to England
in 1814, is spread among the nations which are the strictest
maintainers of his favorite doctrines; a fettered press, a law church,
and a government maintained by such statesmen as Castlereagh and
Metternich. I was traveling at that time with four of the subjects of
these allied sovereigns, whom our laureate had so highly lauded; a
Russian, a Cossack, an Austrian, and a Bohemian; the Cossack no other
than the nephew of the Hetman Platoff, and the Bohemian, Count
Wratislaw, the present representative of that very ancient family of
which the queen of our Richard II., "the good Queen Anne," who sent
out Wickliffe's Bible to Huss, and was thus the mother of the
Reformation on the Continent; and, singularly also, still closely
connected with our royal family, his mother being sister to the
Princess of Leiningen, wife to the half-brother of Queen Victoria.
Austrian and Russian nobles are not famous for great reading, but
every one of these were as familiar with Dr. Southey's name as most
people the world over are with those of Scott and Byron. They not only
went over the laureate's house with the greatest interest, but carried
away sprigs of evergreen to preserve as memorials.

Southey's house, which lies at a little distance from the town of
Keswick, on the way to Bassenthwaite water, is a plain stuccoed
tenement, looking as you approach it almost like a chapel, from the
apparent absence of chimneys. Standing upon the bridge over the Greta
which crosses the high-road here, the view all round of the mountains,
those which lie at the back of Southey's house, Skiddaw being the
chief, and those which lie in front, girdling the lake of
Derwentwater, is grand and complete. From this bridge the house lies
at the distance of a croft, or of three or four hundred yards, on an
agreeable swell. In front, that is, between you and the house, ascends
toward it a set of homelike crofts, with their cut hedges and a few
scattered trees. When Southey went there, and I suppose for twenty
years after, these were occupied as a nursery ground, and injured the
effect of the immediate environs of the house extremely. Nothing now
can be more green and agreeable. On the brow of the hill, if it can be
called so, stand two stuccoed houses; the one nearest to the town, and
the largest, being Southey's. Both are well flanked by pleasant trees,
and partly hidden by them, that of Southey being most so. The smaller
house has the air of a good neighbor of lesser importance, who is
proud of being a neighbor. It is at present occupied by a Miss Denton,
daughter of the former vicar of Crosthwaite, the place just below on
the Bassenthwaite road, and where Southey lies buried.

The situation of Southey's house, taking all into consideration, is
exceeded by few in England. It is agreeably distant from the road and
the little town, and stands in a fine, open valley, surrounded by
hills of the noblest and most diversified character. From your stand
on Greta bridge, looking over the house, your eye falls on the group
of mountains behind it. The lofty hill of Latrig lifts its steep,
green back with its larch plantations clothing one edge, and scattered
in groups over the other. Stretching away to the left, rises the still
loftier range and giant masses of Skiddaw, with its intervening dells
and ravines, and summits often lost in their canopy of shadowy clouds.
Between the feet of Skiddaw and Greta bridge, lie pleasant knolls and
fields with scattered villas and cottages, and Crosthwaite Church. On
your right hand is the town, and behind it green swelling fields
again, and the more distant inclosing chain of hills.

If you then turn your back on the house, and view the scene which is
presented from the house, you find yourself in the presence of the
river, hurrying away toward the assemblage of beautifully varied
mountains, which encompass magnificently the lake of Derwentwater.

The vicinity to the lake itself would make this spot as a residence
most attractive. I think I like Derwentwater more than any other of
the lakes. The mountains all round are so bold and so diversified in
form. You see them showing themselves one behind another, many tending
to the pyramidal form, and their hues as varied as their shapes. Some
are of that peculiar tawny, or lion color, which is so singular in its
effect in the Scotch mountains of the south; others so softly and
smoothly green; others so black and desolate. Some are so beautifully
wooded, others so bare. When you look onward to the end of the lake,
the group of mountains and crags there, at the entrance of Borrowdale,
is one of the most beautiful and pictorial things imaginable. If any
artist would choose a scene for the entrance into fairy land, let him
take that. When, again, you turn and look over the town, there soars
aloft Skiddaw in his giant grandeur, with all his slopes, ridges,
dints, ravines, and summits clear in the blue sky, or hung with the
cloud-curtains of heaven, full of magnificent mystery. There is a
perfect pyramid, broad and massy as those of Egypt, standing solemnly
in one of its ascending vales, called Carrsledrum. Then, the
beautifully wooded islands of Derwentwater, eight in number, and the
fine masses of wood that stretch away between the feet of the hills
and the lake, with here and there a villa lighting up the scene, make
it perfect. In all the changes of weather, the changes of aspect must
be full of new beauty; but, in bright and genial summer weather, how
enchanting must it be! As it was at our visit, the deep-black, yet
transparent shadow that lay on some of the huge piles of mountain, and
the soft light that lay on others, were indescribably noble and
poetical, and the strangers exclaimed continually,--"_Prächtig!_"
"_Wunderschön!_" and "_Très beau!_"

When we ascend to the house, it is through a narrow sort of croft or a
wide shrubbery, which you will. The carriage-road goes another way,
and here you have only a single footpath, and on your right hand a
grassy plot scattered with a few flower-beds, and trees and shrubs,
which brings you, by a considerable ascent, to the front of the house,
which is screened almost wholly from view by tall trees, among which
some are fine maples and red beeches. Here, on the left hand, a little
side gate leads to Miss Denton's house, and on the other stretches out
the lawn, screened by hedges of laurel and other evergreens. Behind
this little lawn, on the right hand of the house, lie one or two
kitchen gardens, and passing through these, you come to a wood
descending toward the river, which you again find here sweeping around
the house. Down this wood or copse, which is half-orchard, and half of
forest trees, you see traces of winding footpaths, but all now grown
over with grass. The house is deserted; the spirits which animated the
scene are fled, some one way, and some another; and there is already a
wildness and a desolation about it. The Greta, rushing over its weir
beneath this wood, moans in melancholy sympathy with the rest of the
scene. You see that great pleasure has sometime been taken in this
spot, in these gardens, in this shadowy and steeply descending wood;
and the river that runs on beneath, and the melancholy feeling of the
dreamlike nature and vanity of human things, its fame and happiness
included, seizes irresistibly upon you. A little footpath which runs
along the Greta side toward the town deepens this feeling. Through the
trees, and behind the river, lie deep and grassy meadows with masses
of woodland, having a very Cuyp or Paul Potter look; and, between the
higher branches of the trees you see the huge green bulk of Skiddaw,
soaring up with fine and almost startling effect. You may imagine
Southey walking to and fro along the footpath under the trees, in the
fields leading to the town, by another route, and thinking over his
topics, while he took the air, and had in view a scene of mountain
magnificence, of the effect of which the poet was fully conscious.
"The height and extent of the surrounding objects seem to produce a
correspondent expansion and elevation of mind, and the silence and
solitude contribute to this emotion. You feel as if in another region,
almost in another world."[4] Here, too, you may imagine Coleridge
lying and dreaming under the trees of the wood within sound of the
river. He was here, at one time, a great while.

          [4] Colloquies, vol. ii. p. 61.

To return to the house, however. It is a capacious house enough, but
not apparently very well built. The floors of the upper rooms shake
under your tread; and I have heard, that when Southey had these rooms
crowded and piled with books, there was a fear of their coming down.
The house is one of those square houses of which you may count the
rooms without going into them, but at each end is a circular
projection, making each a snug sort of ladies' room. The room on the
right hand as we entered, was said to be the sitting-room, and that on
the left, the library, while the room over it was Southey's
writing-room; and most of these rooms, as well as the entrance-hall,
were all crowded with books. We were told that, after several days'
sale at home, where some books as well as the furniture were sold,
fourteen tuns of books and similar articles were sent off for sale in
London.

If Southey has not told us much about his haunts in the mountains, he
has, however, particularly described that where his heart lay--his
library. To this he has given a whole chapter in his Colloquies; and
in this volume we must, as a matter of course, give a few extracts,
for it is almost the only haunt of Southey, of which he has left us
any glimpse in his writings.

"I was in my library," he says, "making room upon the shelves for some
books which had just arrived from New England, removing to a less
conspicuous station others which were of less value, and in worn
dress, when Sir Thomas entered.

"'You are employed,' said he, 'to your heart's content. Why,
Montesinos, with these books, and the delight you take in their
constant society, what have you to covet or desire more?'

"MONTESINOS.--'Nothing, ... except more books.'

"SIR THOMAS MORE.--'_Crescit, indulgens sibi, dirus hydrops._'

"MONTESINOS.--'Nay, nay, my ghostly monitor, this at least is
no diseased desire! If I covet more, it is for the want I feel, and
the use I should make of them. "Libraries," says my good old friend,
George Dyer, a man as learned as he is benevolent, ... "libraries are
the wardrobes of literature, whence men, properly informed, might
bring forth something for ornament, much for curiosity, and more for
use." These books of mine, as you well know, are not drawn up here for
display, however much the pride of the eye may be gratified in
beholding them; they are on actual service. Whenever they may be
dispersed, there is not one among them that will ever be more
comfortably lodged, or more highly prized by its possessor; and
generations may pass away before some of them will again find a
reader.... It is well that we do not moralize too much upon such
subjects, ...

    "For foresight is a melancholy gift,
    Which bears the bald, and speeds the all-too swift."

But the dispersion of a library, whether in retrospect or
anticipation, is to me always a melancholy thing.'

"SIR THOMAS MORE.--'How many such dispersions must have taken
place to have made it possible that these books should be thus brought
together here among the Cumberland mountains!'

"MONTESINOS.--'Many, indeed; and in many instances, most disastrous
ones. Not a few of these volumes have been cast up from the wreck of
the family or convent libraries, during the Revolution. Yonder Acta
Sanctorum belonged to the Capuchins, at Ghent. This book of St.
Bridget's Revelations, in which not only all the initial letters are
illuminated, but every capital throughout the volume was colored, came
from the Carmelite nunnery at Bruges. That copy of Alain Chartier,
from the Jesuits' College at Louvain; that _Imago Primi Sæculi
Societatis_, from their college at Ruremond. Here are books from
Colbert's library; here others from the Lamoignon one. And here are
two volumes of a work--Chronicles of the barefooted Franciscans in the
Philippines, China, Japan, etc.--for which I am indebted to my friend
Sir Robert Harry Inglis; a work, not more rare than valuable for its
contents, divorced, unhappily, and it is to be feared forever, from
the volume which should stand between these. They were printed in a
convent at Manilla, and brought from thence when that city was taken
by Sir William Draper. They have given me, perhaps, as many
pleasurable hours, passed in acquiring information which I could not
otherwise have obtained, as Sir William spent years of anxiety and
vexation in vainly soliciting the reward of his conquest.'

"'About a score of the more out-of-the-way works in my possession,
belonged to some unknown person, who seems carefully to have gleaned
the bookstalls a little before and after the year 1790. He marked them
with certain ciphers, always at the end of the volume. They are in
various languages, and I never found his mark in any book that was not
worth buying, or that I should not have bought without that indication
to induce me. All were in ragged condition, and having been dispersed
on the owner's death, probably as of no value, to the stalls they had
returned; and there I found this portion of them, just before my old
haunts as a book-hunter in the metropolis were disforested, to make
room for improvements between Westminster and Oxford-road. I have
endeavored, without success, to discover the name of their former
possessor.' * * * *

"'Yonder Chronicle of King D. Manoel, by Damiam de Goes, and yonder
General History of Spain, by Esteban de Garibay, are signed by their
respective authors. The minds of these laborious and useful scholars
are in their works; but you are brought into a more perfect relation
with them when you see the page upon which you know that their eyes
have rested, and the very characters which their hands have traced.
This copy of Casaubon's Epistles was sent to me from Florence by
Walter Landor. He had perused it carefully, and to that perusal we are
indebted for one of the most pleasing of his Conversations. These
letters had carried him in spirit to the age of their writer, and
shown James I. to him in the light in which James was regarded by
cotemporary scholars; and, under the impression thus produced, Landor
has written of him in his happiest mood, calmly, philosophically,
feelingly, and with no more favorable leaning than justice will always
manifest when justice is in good-humor, and in charity with all men.
The book came from the palace library at Milan ... how or when
abstracted I know not; but this beautiful dialogue would never have
been written had it remained there in its place upon the shelf, for
the worms to finish the work which they had begun.' * * * *

"'Here is a book with which Lauderdale amused himself, when Cromwell
kept him prisoner in Windsor Castle. He has recorded his state of mind
during that imprisonment, by inscribing in it, with his name and dates
of time, the Latin word _Durate_, and the Greek [Greek: Oisteou
kai elpisteou]. The date is 22d Oct. 1657. The book is the _Pia
Hilaria Angelini Gazæi_.... Here is a memorial of a different kind,
inscribed in this "Rule of Penance of St. Francis," as it is ordered
for religious women.... "I beseech my dear mother humbly to accept of
this exposition of our holy rule, the better to conceive what your
poor child ought to be who daly beges your blessing. Constantia
Francisco." And here are the Apophthemata, collected by Conrad
Lycosthenes, and published, after drastic expurgation by the Jesuits,
as a commonplace book,--some Portuguese has entered a hearty vow, that
he would never part with the book, nor lend it to any one. Very
different was my poor old Lisbon acquaintance, the abbé, who, after
the old humorous form, wrote in all his books, and he had a rare
collection, _Ex libris Francisci Garnier, et amicorum_.'

"SIR THOMAS MORE.--'How peaceably they stand together.... Papists and
Protestants side by side!'

"MONTESINOS.--'Their very dust reposes not more quietly in
the cemetery. Ancient and modern, Jew and Gentile, Mohammedan and
Crusader, French and English, Spaniards and Portuguese, Dutch and
Brazilians, fighting their old battles silently now upon the shelf;
Fernam Lopez and Pedro de Ayala; John de Laet and Barlæus, with the
historians of Joam Ferandes Vieira; Fox's Martyrs, and the Three
Conversations of Father Persons; Cranmer and Stephen Gardiner;
Dominican and Franciscan; Jesuit and _Philosophe_, equally
misnamed: Churchmen and Sectarians; Roundheads and Cavaliers!

    "Here are God's conduits, grave divines; and here
    Is nature's secretary, the philosopher;
    And wily statesmen, which teach how to tie
    The sinews of a city's mystic body;
    Here gathering chroniclers; and by them stand
    Giddy fantastic poets of each land."--_Donne._

Here I possess these gathered treasures of time, the harvest of so
many generations, laid up in my garners; and when I go to the windows,
there is the lake, and the circle of the mountains, and the
illimitable sky.'"

                     *      *      *      *      *

This noble collection, of which their possessor might well be proud,
which is said to have included by far the best collection of Spanish
books in England, and the gathering of which together, through many
researches, many inquiries, and many years, had, perhaps, given him
almost as much pleasurable excitement as their perusal, is once more
dispersed into thousands of hands. The house, indeed, at the time we
visited it, was in the act of being repaired, fresh painted and
papered, ready for a new tenant; and, of course, looked desolate
enough. All the old paper had been torn off the walls, or scraped
away; and workmen, with piles of rolls of new paper, and buckets of
paste, were beginning their work of revival. The whole house, outside
and inside, had an air of dilapidation, such as houses in the country
are often allowed to fall into; but, no doubt, when all furnished and
inhabited, would be comfortable and habitable enough.

But death had been there, and the appraiser and auctioneer, and a
crowd of eager sale-attenders after them; and the history of the poet
and the poet's family life was wound up and done there. A populous
dwelling it must have been when Southey and his wife and children, and
Mrs. Coleridge and her daughter, and perhaps other friends, were all
housed in it. And an active and pleasant house it must have been when
great works were going on in it, a Thalaba, a Madoc, an article for
the Quarterly, and news from London were coming in, and letters were
expected of great interest, and papers were sending off by post to
printers and publishers, and correspondents. All that is now passed
over as a dream; the whole busy hive is dispersed many ways, and the
house and grounds are preparing to let at £55 a-year, just as if no
genius had set a greater value on them than on any other premises
around. It is when we see these changes that we really feel the vanity
of human life. But the beauty of the life of genius is, that though
the scene of domestic action and sojourn can become as empty as any
other, the home of the poet's mind becomes thenceforth that of the
whole heart and mind of his nation, and often far beyond that. The
Cossack and the Bohemian--did they not also carry away from it to
their far-off lands tokens of their veneration?

Before quitting Southey's house for his tomb, I can not resist
referring to a little fact connected with his appointment to the
laureateship. It is well known that the post was first offered to
Walter Scott, who declined it, but recommended Southey, who was
chosen. The letters on the whole transaction are given in Lockhart's
Life of Scott (chap. xxvi.), and certainly present one of the most
luxurious bits of human nature imaginable. Scott, who was then only
plain Walter Scott; who was not made Sir Walter for seven years after;
who had published the greater number of his popular poetical romances,
but had not yet published Waverley; felt, however, quite terrified at
the offer of the laureateship. He was quite agonized with shame at the
prospect, and wrote off to the Duke of Buccleugh to ask his advice how
he was to get decently out of the scrape without offending the prince
regent. "I am," says Scott, "very much embarrassed by it. I am, on the
one hand, very much afraid of giving offense, where no one would
willingly offend, and perhaps losing the opportunity of smoothing the
way to my youngsters through life; on the other hand the _offer is a
ridiculous one_; somehow or other, they and I should be well
quizzed," etc. * * * "I feel much disposed to shake myself free of it.
I should make but a bad courtier, and an ode-maker is described by
Pope as a man out of his way, or out of his senses."

Almost by return of post came the duke's answer. "As to the offer of
his royal highness to appoint you laureate, I shall frankly say, that
I should be mortified to see you hold a situation which, by the
general concurrence of the world, is stamped ridiculous. There is no
good reason why it should be so; but it is so. _Walter Scott, Poet
Laureate_, ceases to be Walter Scott, of the Lay, Marmion, etc. Any
future poem of yours would not come forth with the same probability of
a successful reception. The poet laureate would stick to you and your
productions like a piece of _court plaster_. * * * Only think of
being chanted and recitatived by a parcel of hoarse and squeaking
choristers, on a birthday, for the edification of the bishops, pages,
maids of honor, and gentlemen-pensioners! Oh, horrible! thrice
horrible!"

Scott replied, "I should certainly never have survived the recitative
described by your grace; it is a part of the etiquet I was quite
unprepared for, and should have sunk under it."

Such was the horror of Scott, and his great patron Buccleugh, at the
very idea of this most ridiculous of offers, of _this piece of court
plaster_, of this horrible, thrice horrible of all quizzes--Scott
at once declined the _honor_; and though he said he should make a
bad courtier, assuredly no courtier could have done it in better
style, professing that the office was too distinguished for his
merits; that he was by no means adequate to it. Now Scott, all this
time, had but an income of £2,000 a-year, out of all his resources; we
have these calculated and cast up on the very same page, opposite to
his letter to Buccleugh; nay, he is in embarrassments, and in the very
same letter requests the duke to be guaranty for £2,000 for him: and
he thought the laureateship worth £300 or £400 a-year. These facts all
testify to his thorough idea of the ignominy of the office. How rich,
then, is the sequel! This ignominy, this burning shame of an office,
this piece of adhesive _court plaster_, he goes at once and
recommends to Southey! "Hang it," he says to himself, "it would never
do for such a man as me; but, by the by, it will do very well for
Southey!" Well, he writes at once to Southey--tells him that he has
had this offer, but that he has declined it, because he has had
already two pieces of preferment, and, moreover, "my dear Southey, I
had you in my eye." He adds--and now let any one who thinks himself
flattered on any particular occasion, remember this delicious bam--"I
did not refuse it _from any foolish prejudice against the
situation_--otherwise how durst I offer it to you, (ay, how,
indeed!) my elder brother in the muse?--but from a sort of internal
hope that they would give it to you, on whom it would be so much more
worthily conferred. For I am not such an ass as not to know that you
are my better in poetry, though I have had, probably but for a time,
the tide of popularity in my favor. I have not time to add the
thousand other reasons, but I only wished to tell you how the matter
was, and to beg you to think before you reject the offer which, I
flatter myself, will be made to you. If I had not been, like Dogberry,
a fellow with two gowns already, _I should have jumped at it like a
cock at a gooseberry_. Ever yours, most truly, WALTER SCOTT."

The whole is too rich to need a remark, except that Southey accepted
it, and Scott wrote him a letter of warmest congratulation on getting
this piece of _court plaster_ clapped on his back, and putting
himself into a position to be "well quizzed;" but was quite confounded
to learn that the honorarium for the "horrible! thrice horrible!" was
not £400 a-year, but only £100 and a butt of wine. I wonder whether
poor Southey lived to read Scott's life!

The present illustrious holder of this post accepted it with a dignity
worthy of his character and fame, declining it till it was stripped of
all its disgusting duties. The next step, it is to be hoped, will be
to abolish an office equally derogatory to monarch and subject. No
poet of reputation should feel himself in a position to pay mercenary
praise; no monarch of this country need purchase praise; to a worthy
occupier of the throne it will be freely accorded from the universal
heart of the nation.

Crosthwaite Church, in whose grave-yard Robert Southey's remains lie,
is about a quarter of a mile from the house, on the Bassenthwaite
water-road. It is a very simple and lowly village church with a low
square tower, but stands finely in the wide open valley, surrounded at
a considerable distance, by the scenery I have described. I suppose it
is nearly a mile from the foot of Skiddaw. From Southey's house the
walks to it, and again from it along the winding lanes, and over the
quiet fields toward Skiddaw, are particularly pleasant. Southey in his
Colloquies speaks of the church and church-yard with much affection.
He quotes the account of an old man who more than fifty years ago
spoke of the oldest and finest yew-trees in the country standing in
this church-yard, and of having seen all the boys of the school-house
near, forty in number, perched at once on the boughs of one of them.

At the northwest comer of the church-yard, stands Southey's tomb. It
is a plain altar-tomb of reddish freestone, covered with a slab of
blue slate, with this inscription,--"Here lies the body of Robert
Southey, LL.D. Poet Laureate; Born August 12, 1774. Died March 26,
1843. Also of Edith his wife, Born May 20, 1774; Died Nov. 16, 1837. I
am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord."

Close in front of the tomb lies the grave of Mrs. Southey; and behind,
and close to the hedge, stands a stone bearing this inscription,--"The
Lord gave and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
Sacred to the memory of Emma Southey, who departed in May 1809, aged
14 months. And of Herbert Southey, who departed April 17th, 1816, in
the tenth year of his age. Also of George Fricker, their uncle, aged
26, 1814. Also, Isabel Southey, their sister, who departed on the 16th
of July, 1826, aged 13 years. Also of Edith Southey, their mother, who
departed May, 1837, aged 63. Requiescat in pace."

I recollected that there was something peculiar connected with the
death of the son, Herbert. The old clerk said that his disorder could
not be discovered till after his death, but that on opening him, a
human hair was found fast round his heart!

I wished to see the pew where the Southeys used to sit, but I found
the interior of the church, as well as of his house, undergoing the
revolution of repair, or rather of renewal. It seemed as if people had
only waited for Southey's death, to begin and clear off all traces of
his existence here. The church is fine and capacious within, but all
the old pews, all the old seats, pulpit, and every thing belonging to
them, have been cleared away, and the whole replaced by fittings in
the ancient style. There are nothing but open benches, with a single
exception. The benches are of solid oak, with heavy, handsome carving,
and have a very goodly and substantial look. The windows are also
renewed with handsome painted glass, and the tables of the Decalogue,
etc. placed behind the altar, are all painted in the old missal style.
The church will be very handsome, at the same time that it is a sign
of the times. Of course Southey's pew is gone. In the church is an
ancient monument of the Radcliffes, ancestors to the Earl of
Derwentwater; and two of the Brownrigs of Armathwaite, immediate
maternal relations of my wife.

The close of Southey's life was melancholy. His mind gave way,
probably from having been overtasked, and he sunk into a condition of
utter imbecility. Shortly before this event he had married, as his
second wife, his friend of many years' standing, Caroline Bowles, one
of the sweetest and most genuine poetesses of the age. In her early
widowhood she has the satisfaction of reflecting, that, as one of the
tenderest nurses and most assiduous companions, she did all that
mortal power could do to render his last gloomy stage on earth easy
and comfortable. She wrote for him when he could no longer write, read
to him for days, weeks, months, when he was not allowed to read
himself, and watched over him with untiring affection when he was no
longer sensible of the value and devotion of these services. What is
to be deeply regretted is, that we believe her pecuniary sacrifices by
this marriage were as serious as those demanded in the shape of
anxiety, vigilance, and physical exertion, from a mind of the quickest
feeling and a frame never strong; her own personal income being
contingent on such a circumstance. Such a woman, who has adorned the
literature of her country with some of its most exquisite
contributions, and sacrificed every thing to render the last days of
one of its finest writers as serene as possible, ought not to be left
to wear away the remainder of her life in the _res augustæ domi_,
stripped of those simple elegances and enjoyments to which, as a
gentlewoman, she has always been accustomed. Even they who differ most
in opinion from that writer, and most regret the direction which his
mind took on many great questions, still admit most cheerfully the
brilliant services rendered by him to the national literature and
fame, and would desire that the wife of Robert Southey should enjoy
that ease and consideration which his merits, independent of her own,
ought to secure her.


[Illustration: Birthplace at Bristol]



JOANNA BAILLIE.


The powerful dramatic writer, the graceful and witty lyrist, and the
sweet and gentle woman, who has for so many years, in her quiet
retreat at Hampstead, let the world flow past her as if she had
nothing to do with it, nor cared to be mentioned by it, was born in
one of the most lovely and historical districts of Scotland. She was
born in a Scottish manse, in the upper dale of the Clyde, which has,
for its mild character and lavish production of fruit, been termed
"Fruitland." As you pass along the streets of Scotch towns, you see on
fruit-stalls in the summer, piles of plums, pears, and other fruits,
labeled "Clydesdale Fruit." One of the finest specimens of the fruit
of this luxuriant and genial dale, is Joanna Baillie, a name never
pronounced by Scot or Briton of any part of the empire, but with the
veneration due to the truest genius, and the affection which is the
birthright of the truest specimens of womanhood. The sister of the
late amiable and excellent Dr. Baillie, the friend of Walter Scott,
the woman whose masculine muse every great poet has for nearly
half-a-century delighted to honor, Joanna Baillie, wrote because she
could not help pouring out the fullness of her heart and mind, and the
natural consequence was fame; otherwise, whoever sees that quiet,
amiable, and unassuming lady, easy and cheerful as when she played
beneath the fruit-laden boughs of her native garden, sees that, though
not scorning the fair reputation of well exercised intellect, she is
at home in the bosom of home, and lets no restless desire for mere
fame disturb the pure happiness of a serene life, and the honor and
love of those nearest and dearest to her. Had the lambent flame of
genius not burned in the breast of Joanna Baillie, that of a pure
piety and a spirit made to estimate the blessings of life, and to
enjoy all the other blessings of peace and social good which it
brings, would have still burned brightly in her bosom, and made her
just as happy though not as great.

The birthplace of Joanna Baillie is the pretty manse of Bothwell, in
the immediate neighborhood of Bothwell brig; and, therefore, as will
at once be seen, in the center of ground where stirring deeds have
been done, and where the author of Waverley has added the vivid
coloring of romance to those deeds. Bothwell manse, from its elevated
site, looks directly down upon the scene of the battle at Bothwell
brig; upon the park of Hamilton, where the Covenanters were encamped;
and upon Bothwellhaugh, the seat of Hamilton, who shot the regent
Murray. This is no mean spot in an historical point of view, and it is
richly endowed by nature. Near it also, a little farther down the
river, stands Bothwell Castle, on _Bothwell bank_, on which the
charm of poetry has been conferred with an almost needless
prodigality, for it is so delightful in its own natural beauty.

The country as you proceed to Bothwell from Glasgow, from which it is
distant about ten miles, though from the first rich and well
cultivated, is not so agreeable, from the quantity of coal that is
found along the roads into Glasgow, and which seems to have given a
blackness to every thing. As you advance, however, it grows
continually more elevated, open, airy, and pleasant. About a mile
before you reach Bothwell, the tall, square church steeple of which,
seen far before you, serves you for a guide, a pair of lodge gates on
your right hand marks the entrance to the grounds of Bothwell Castle.
By writing your name and address in a book kept by the gate-keeper,
you are admitted, and can then pursue your way alone to the castle,
and make your own survey without the nuisance of a guide. The castle
lies about half-a-mile from the high-road. You first arrive at very
beautifully kept pleasure grounds, in which stands a good modern
mansion, the seat of the proprietor, Lord Douglas. Passing through
these grounds, and close to the right of the house, you soon behold
the ruins of the old castle. It is of a very red sandstone, extensive
in its remains, and bearing evidence of having been much more
extensive. Its tall red walls stand up amid fine trees and masses of
ivy, and seem as if created by Time to beautify the modern scene with
which they blend so well. The part remaining consists of a great
oblong square, with two lofty and massy towers overlooking the river
which lies to your left. There are also remains of an ample chapel.
From the openings in the ruins, the river below, and its magnificent
valley or glen, burst with startling effect upon you. The bank from
the foot of the castle descends with considerable steepness to the
river far below, but soft and green as possible; and beyond the dark
and hurrying river, rise banks equally high, and as finely wooded and
varied. Advancing beyond the castle you come again to the river, which
sweeps round the ruins in a fine curve. Here every charm of scenery,
the great river in its channel, its lofty and well wooded banks, the
picturesque views of Blantyre Priory opposite, the slopes and swells
of most luxurious green, and splendid lime-trees hanging their
verdurous boughs to the ground, mingle the noble and the beautiful
into an enchanting whole. A gravel walk leads you down past the front
of the castle, and presents you with a new and still more impressive
view of it. Here it stands aloft on the precipice above you, a most
stately remnant of the old times; and nature has not stinted her
labors in arraying it in tree, bush, and hanging-plant, so as to give
it the grace of life in its slow decay, making it in perfect harmony
with herself. Few scenes are more fascinating than this. Above you the
towers of the castle, which once received as its victorious guest
Edward I. of England; which again sheltered the English chiefs fleeing
from the disastrous field of Bannockburn; which was the stronghold of
Archibald the Grim, and the proud hall of the notorious Earl Bothwell.
Below, slopes down in softest beauty the verdant bank, and the stately
Clyde, dark and deep, flows on amid woods and rocks worthy of all
their fame. The taste of the proprietor has seized on every
circumstance to give a finish to a scene so lovely; and it is
impossible not to exclaim, in the words of the celebrated old ballad--

    "Oh, Bothwell bank, thou bloomest fair."

The village of Bothwell is, as I have said, a mile farther on the way
toward Hamilton. The church and manse lie to the left hand as you
enter it, and the latter is buried, as it were, in a perfect sea of
fruit trees. You may pass through the church-yard to it, and then
along a footpath between two high hedges, which leads you to the
carriage-road from the village to its front. The house in which Miss
Baillie was born, and where she lived till her fourth year, seems to
stand on a sort of mount, on one side overlooking the valley of the
Clyde, and on the other the church-yard and part of the village. The
situation is at once airy and secluded. Between the manse and the
church-yard lies the garden, full of fruit trees; and other gardens,
or rather orchards, between that and the village, add to the mass of
foliage, in which it is immersed. Between the church-yard and the
manse garden commences a glen, which runs down, widening and deepening
as it goes, on the side of the manse most distant from the village, to
the great Clyde valley. This gives the house a picturesqueness of
situation peculiarly attractive. It has its own little secluded glen,
its sloping crofts, finely shaded with trees, and beyond again other
masses of trees shrouding cottages and farms.

The church has been rebuilt within these few years, of the same red
stone as Bothwell Castle; but the old chancel of the church still
remains standing, in a state of ruin. The church-yard is extensive,
scattered with old-fashioned tombs, and forming a famous playground
for the children of the neighboring village school, who were out
leaping in the deep damp soil, and galloping among its rank hemlocks
and mallows to their hearts' content. Having, by the courtesy of the
minister, Dr. Matthew Gardner, seen the manse, and had a stroll in the
garden, I again wandered over the church-yard, watching the boys at
their play, and reading the inscriptions on the tombs and headstones;
one of which I copied in evidence of the state of parochial education
in Scotland, where it has existed as a national institution, I believe
ever since the days of Knox:--

    "Erected by Margaret Scott, in memory of her husband, Robert
    Stobo, Late Smith and Farrier o' Gowkthrapple, who died 7th of May
    1834, in the 70th year of his age.

        "My sledge and hammer lies declined,
        My bellows pipes have lost its wind;
        My forge's extinct, my fires decayed,
        And in the dust my vice is laid.
        My coal is spent, my iron is gone,
        My nails are drove, my work is Done."

What struck me as not less curious was the following handbill, posted
on the jamb of the church door:--"Gooseberries for sale, by public
roup. The gooseberries in the orchards of Bothwell manse, also at
Captain Bogles Laroyet, and in, etc., etc. Sale to begin at Bothwell
manse, at five o'clock, P.M. 10th of July." This was, certainly,
characteristic of "Fruitland."

Though Miss Baillie only spent the first four years of her life at
this sweet and secluded parsonage, it is the place which she has said
she likes best to think of, of any in her native country. And this we
may well imagine; it is just the place for a child's paradise,
embosomed amid blossoming trees, with its garden lying like a little
hidden yet sunny fairy land in the midst of them, with its flowers and
its humming bees, that old church and half-wild church-yard alongside
of it, and its hanging crofts, and little umbrageous valley.

To Bothwell brig you descend the excellent highway toward Hamilton,
and coming at it in something less than a mile, are surprised to find
what a rich and inviting scene it is. The brig, which you suppose,
from being described as a narrow, steep, old-fashioned concern in the
days of the Covenanters, to be something gray and quaint, reminding
you of Claverhouse and the sturdy Gospelers, is, really, a very
respectable, modern-looking affair. The gateway which used to stand in
the center of it has been removed, the breadth has been increased, an
additional arch or arches have been added at each end, and the whole
looks as much like a decent, everyday, well-to-do, and toll-taking
bridge as bridge well can do. There is a modern toll-bar at the
Bothwell end of it. There is a good house or two, with their gardens
descending to the river. The river flows on full and clear, between
banks well cultivated and well covered with plantations. Beyond the
bridge and river the country again ascends with an easy slope toward
Hamilton, with extensive plantations, and park walls belonging to the
domain of the Duke of Hamilton. You have scarcely ascended a quarter
of a mile, when, on your left hand, a handsome gateway, bearing the
ducal escutcheons, and with goodly lodges, opens a new carriage way
into the park. Every thing has an air of the present time, of wealth,
peace, and intellectual government, that make the days of the battle
of Bothwell brig seem like a piece of the romance work of Scott, and
not of real history.

Scott himself tells us in his Border Minstrelsy, in his notes to the
old Ballad of Bothwell Brig, that "the whole appearance of the ground
as given in the picture of the battle at Hamilton Palace, even
including a few old houses, is the same as the scene now presents. The
removal of the porch or gateway, upon the bridge, is the only
perceptible difference." There must have been much change here since
Scott visited the spot. The old houses have given way to new houses.
The old bridge is metamorphosed into something that might pass for a
newish bridge. The banks of the river, and the lands of the park
beneath, are so planted and wooded, that the pioneers would have much
to do before a battle could be fought. All trace of moorland has
vanished, and modern inclosure and cultivation have taken possession
of the scene. When we bring back by force of imagination the old view
of the place, it is a far different one.

    "Where Bothwell's bridge connects the margin steep,
    And Clyde below runs silent, strong, and deep,
    The hardy peasant, by oppression driven
    To battle, deemed his cause the cause of Heaven.
    Unskilled in arms, with useless courage stood,
    While gentle Monmouth grieved to shed his blood;
    But fierce Dundee, inflamed with deadly hate,
    In vengeance for the great Montrose's fate,
    Let loose the sword, and to the hero's shade
    A barbarous hecatomb of victories paid."

    _Wilson's Clyde._

When we picture to ourselves the Duke of Monmouth ordering his brave
footguards under command of Lord Livingstone, to force the bridge,
which was defended by Hackstone of Rathillet, and Claverhouse sitting
on his white horse on the hillside near Bothwell, watching the
progress of the fray, and ready to rush down with his cavalry and fall
on the infatuated Covenanters who were quarreling among themselves on
Hamilton haughs, we see a wild and correspondent landscape, rough as
the Cameronian insurgents, and rude as their notions. The Bothwell
brig of the present day has all the old aspect modernized out of it.
Its smiling fields, and woods that speak of long peaceful times, and
snug modern homes--oh! how far off are they from the grand old
melancholy tone of the old ballad:--

    "Now farewell father, and farewell mother,
      And fare ye weel, my sisters three;
    An' fare ye weel, my Earlstoun,
      For thee again I'll never see!

    "So they're away to Bothwell hill,
      An' waly they rode bonily!
    When the Duke of Monmouth saw them comin'
      He went to view their company.

        *      *      *      *

    "Then he set up the flag o' red,
      A' set about wi' bonny blue;
    'Since ye'll no cease, and be at peace,
      See that ye stand by ither true.'

    "They stelled their cannons on the height,
      And showered their shot down in the howe;
    An' beat our Scots' lads even down,
      Thick they lay slain on every knowe.

        *      *      *      *

    "Alang the brae, beyond the brig,
      Mony brave man lies cauld and still;
    But lang we'll mind, and sair we'll rue,
      The bloody battle of Bothwell hill."

To the left, looking over the haughs or meadows of Hamilton, from
Bothwell brig, you discern the top of the present house of
Bothwellhaugh over a mass of wood. Here another strange historical
event connects itself with this scene. Here lived that Hamilton who
shot in the streets of Linlithgow the Regent Murray, the half-brother
of the Queen of Scots. The outrage had been instigated by another,
which was calculated especially in an age like that when men took the
redress of their wrongs into their own hands without much ceremony, to
excite to madness a man of honor and strong feeling. The regent had
given to one of his favorites Hamilton's estate of Bothwellhaugh, who
proceeded to take possession with such brutality that he turned
Hamilton's wife out naked, in a cold night, into the open fields,
where before morning she became furiously mad. The spirit of vengeance
took deep hold of Hamilton's mind, and was fanned to flame by his
indignant kinsmen. He followed the regent from place to place seeking
an opportunity to kill him. This at length occurred by his having to
pass through Linlithgow on his way from Stirling to Edinburgh.
Hamilton placed himself in a wooden gallery, which had a window toward
the street, and as the regent slowly, on account of the pressure of
the crowd, rode past, he shot him dead.

Add to these scenes and histories that Hamilton Palace, in its
beautiful park, lies within a mile of the Bothwell brig, and it must
be admitted that no poetess could desire to be born in a more
beautiful or classical region. Joanna Baillie's father was at the time
of her birth minister of Bothwell. When she was four years old he
quitted it, and was removed to different parishes, and finally, only
three years before his death, was presented to the chair of divinity
at Glasgow. After his death Miss Baillie spent with her family six or
more years in the bare muirlands of Kilbride, a scenery not likely to
have much attraction for a poetical mind, but made agreeable by the
kindness and intelligence of two neighboring families. She never saw
Edinburgh till on her way to England when about twenty-two years of
age. Before that period she had never been above ten or twelve miles
from home, and, with the exception of Bothwell, never formed much
attachment to places. Since then she has only seen Scotland as a
visitor, and at distant intervals.

For many years Joanna Baillie has been a resident of Hampstead, where
she has been visited by nearly all the great writers of the age.
Scott, as may be seen in his letters to Joanna Baillie, delighted to
make himself her guest, and on her visit to Scotland, in 1806, she
spent some weeks in his house at Edinburgh. From this time they were
most intimate friends; she was one of the persons to whom his letters
were most frequently addressed, and he planted, in testimony of his
friendship for her, a bower of pinasters, the seeds of which she had
furnished, at Abbotsford, and called it Joanna's bower. In 1810 her
drama, The Family Legend, was through his means brought out at
Edinburgh. It was the first new play brought out by Mr. Henry Siddons,
and was very well received, a fortune which has rarely attended her
able tragedies, which are imagined to be more suitable for the closet
than the stage. There they will continue to charm, while vigor of
conception, a clear and masterly style, and healthy nobility of
sentiment, retain their hold on the human mind.


[Illustration: Grasmere]



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.


William Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth on the 7th of April, 1770.
He was educated at Hawkeshead school, in High Furness, and at St.
John's College, Cambridge. He had several brothers. One was lost at
sea, as commemorated in his poems in various places, as in vol. iii.
p. 96, in the sixth poem on the naming of places; and in vol. iv. p.
332, in Elegiac Stanzas; and again in the very next poem--To the
Daisy. He was, as we learn from a note, commander of the East India
Company's vessel, the Earl of Abergavenny. Another brother was the
late Master of Trinity College, Cambridge; and a third, a solicitor in
Staples inn. On quitting college, he lived some time in the west of
England, and then traveled abroad; resided a year and a half in
France, at Orleans, Nantes, Paris, etc. He then went into Germany. In
these countries he traveled much on foot, and often quite alone;
passing through the solitary forests, and penetrating into the most
obscure villages. I have heard him relate that coming late,
accompanied by his sister and Coleridge, into a desolate German
hamlet, in Hesse Cassel,--and wretched places they are often, as every
one knows who has had to seek rest or refreshment in them,--they were
refused admittance, and thought they must have to pass the night in
the open street. Knocking, however, pretty determinedly at the door of
the village inn, the landlord, as if provoked by being disturbed,
suddenly rushed out upon them, and fell upon them with a huge cudgel,
so that they considered themselves in great personal danger, as well
they might at that time of day, when the visits of foreigners were not
very common; and not only were the common village publicans very
boorish, but, if we are to believe the hand-books of the traveling
handicrafts, many a foul murder was committed in those obscure places
for the stranger's purse and knapsack. Neither Wordsworth nor
Coleridge, however, were destined to be extinguished in that manner.
They succeeded in defending themselves, in making their way into the
house, and by appealing to them as Christian people, whose duty it was
to entertain, and not abuse strangers, they secured a night's lodging,
such as it was. Coleridge relates the anecdote somewhat differently in
his Biographia Literaria. He says, the rudeness of the landlord
within, was seconded by a rabble without. That the travelers could get
neither supper, coffee, nor beds; and finally, asking for some bundles
of straw to sleep upon, these possibly might have been granted, but
that he, Coleridge, happened to ask impatiently, if there were no
Christians left in Hesse Cassel; which so incensed them, that being
reported in the street, the rabble rushed in and expelled them from
the house, by hurling the burning brands from the hearth at them; and
that they bivouacked where they could; Coleridge passing his night
under a furz bush, well punctured by its thorns. You may find many
traces of Wordsworth's wanderings thus in his poems, particularly in
vol. iii., and also in vol. iv., where he very characteristically
narrates the adventures of a fly on a cold winter's day, as it
traverses the stove before which he sat warming himself.

Before going abroad he lived some time in Dorsetshire and
Somersetshire. It is probable that he made the acquaintance of
Coleridge at Cambridge. Coleridge had now become connected with
Southey and Lovell, two Bristol men, and was in a great measure
located there. The spirit of poetry had revived again after a long
period of mere imitation; and by these circumstances three of the
chief leaders of literary reform were thus brought together. Southey
was a Bristol man, Coleridge was a Devonshire man, Wordsworth a
Cumberland man; but here they were drawn together, and Bristol for a
time seemed as though it were to have the honor of becoming a sort of
western Athens. But Bristol itself had no sympathy with any literary
spirit. It is one of those places that have the singular fortune to
produce great men, though it never cherishes them. It produced
Chatterton, and let him perish; it produced Southey, and let him go
away to rear the fabric of his fame where he pleased. The spirit of
trade, and that not in its most adventurous or liberal character, was
and is the spirit of Bristol. By a wretched and penny-wise policy,
even of trade, it has allowed Gloucester, at many miles' distance from
the sea, to become a great port at its expense; by the same spirit it
has created Liverpool; and whoever now sees its wretched docks coming
up into the middle of the town, instead of stretching, business-like
and compactly, along the banks of the Avon, its dusty and unwatered
streets, and altogether dingy and sluggish appearance, feels at once,
that not even the poetry of trade can flourish there. Yet Bristol had
the honor thrust upon it, of issuing to the world the first
productions of Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge. Joseph Cottle, the
author of Alfred, an epic poem, whom Byron so mercilessly handled,
grafting upon him the name of his brother Amos, for the sake of more
ludicrous effect--Joseph Cottle was a bookseller here, and became the
patron of those three young, aspiring, but far from wealthy young men.

Coleridge had made the acquaintance of a Mr. Thomas Poole, of Nether
Stowey, a gentleman of some property, and a magistrate. Mr. Poole was
a friend of the two great brother potters, Josiah and Thomas
Wedgewood, of Staffordshire; he introduced Coleridge to them, and
eventually they settled on him an annuity of £150 a-year. Poole
invited Coleridge to come down to Stowey to see him, and after his
marriage prevailed on him to go and live in Stowey. The Wedgewoods
were accustomed also to visit Mr. Poole; and the same causes drew
Wordsworth and Southey occasionally down there. Thus Bristol ceased to
be the general rendezvous of this new literary coterie, and the
solitudes of Somersetshire received them. People have often wondered
what induced this poetical brotherhood to select a scene so far out of
the usual haunts of literary men, so inferior to Wordsworth's own
neighborhood, as Stowey and its vicinity. These are the circumstances.
It was Mr. Poole and cheapness which had a deal to do with it. Poole
drew Coleridge, Coleridge and the dreams of Pantisocracy drew most of
the others. Wordsworth, I believe, never speculated on the exclusive
happiness of following the plough on the banks of the Susquehannah;
but the whole of the corps had made the discovery that true poetry was
based on nature, and that it was to be found only by looking into
their own minds, and into the world of nature around them. They
therefore sought, not cities, but solitude, where they could at once
read, reflect, and store up that treasury of imagery, full of beauty
and truth, which should be reproduced, woven into the living tissue of
their own thought and passion, as poetry of a new, startling, and high
order. To this life of country seclusion Wordsworth and Southey
adhered, from choice, all their after-lives.

Wordsworth first resided at Racedown in Dorsetshire, where Coleridge
visited him. When Coleridge went to settle at Stowey, Wordsworth also
removed to Allfoxden, about five miles farther down, near the Bristol
Channel. Here his secluded habits gave rise to some ludicrous
circumstances, annoying enough, however, to drive him out of the
neighborhood. He was deep in the composition of poetry. He had a
Tragedy on the anvil, a poem called Salisbury Plain, never yet
published, and Peter Bell, beside his Lyrical Ballads, which last
Cottle brought out while he was here. He sought the deepest solitude,
and here, if anywhere, he could find it. Allfoxden house is situated
at the very extremity of the Quantock hills, and within about a mile
and a quarter of the Bristol Channel. As you advance from Stowey, the
Quantock hills run along at some little distance on your left hand.
They are of the character of downs, open and moorland on the top, and
with great masses of wood here and there on their slopes. The country
on your right is level, rich, and well wooded. On arriving near
Allfoxden, you turn abruptly to the left, and winding about through a
woody lane, and passing through a little hamlet, you begin to feel as
if you were going quite out of the world of mankind. You are at the
foot of the hills, and a thick wood terminates your way. But through
this wood you have to pass to find the house where Wordsworth had
hidden himself. Passing into this wood at a gate, you find yourself in
a most Druidical gloom. The wood is of well grown, tall, and thickly
growing oak; filled still closer with hollies, which were once
underwood, but which have shot up, and emulated the very oaks
themselves in altitude. They are unquestionably among the loftiest
hollies in England. Altogether the mass of wood is dense, the scene is
shadowy, the ground is strewn with its brown carpet of fallen leaves.
As you advance, on your right hand you catch a sound of water, and
pursuing it you find it issues from the bottom of a deep narrow glen
or dean, which no doubt gives the name to the place--All fox den, or
glen of all the foxes. This glen is a very poetical feature of the
place, and especially attractive to a man in Wordsworth's then turn
of mind, which led him to the deepest seclusion for the sake of
abstraction. Tall trees soar up from its sides, and meet above; some
of them have fallen across, dashed down by the wind. Wild plants grow
luxuriantly below; woodbines and other creepers climb and cling from
bough to bough; and the pure and crystal water hurries along over its
gravelly bed, beneath this mass of shade and overhanging banks, with a
merry music to the neighboring sea.

Leaving this glen, you hold on through the wood to the left, and soon
emerge into a park, inclosed by hills and woods, where a good
country-house looks out toward the sea. It is one of the most
secluded, and yet pleasantly secluded, houses in England. Around it
sweep the hills, scattered with fine timber, beneath which reposes a
herd of deer, and before it stretches the sea at a little distance.
The house is somewhat raised above the level of the valley, so as to
catch the charming view of the lands, woods, and outspread waters
below. To the left, near the coast, you catch a view of the walls of
St. Audrey, the seat of Sir Peregrine Ackland, pleasingly assuring you
that you are not quite cut off from humanity. Below the house lies a
sunny flower-garden, and, behind, the ascending lawn is enriched by
finely disposed masses of trees; among them some enormous old oaks,
and elms of noblest growth. There are two elms, growing close
together, of remarkable size and height, beneath which a seat is
placed, commanding a view of the park and sea; and just below it a
fine, well grown larch, which used to be a very favorite tree of the
poet. Under these trees he used to sit, and read and compose; and no
man could have coveted a more congenial study. Here originated or took
form many of his lyrical ballads.

If you ascend the park, you find yourself, after a good, stout climb,
on the open hills. One summit after another, covered with clumps of
Scotch firs, allures you to ascend, till at length you find yourself
far from any abode, on the high moorland hills, amid a profound, but a
glorious solitude. Fine glens, with glittering streams, and here and
there a lonely cottage sending up its quiet smoke, run among these
hills, and extensive tracts of woodland offer you all the charms of
forest seclusion. The hills which range along behind Stowey cease
here, and were the great haunt of Coleridge and Wordsworth. They
might, if they pleased, extend their rambles over them, from the abode
of the one to that of the other. We find numerous evidences of their
haunting of these hills, among their poems. The ballad of The Thorn is
said to be derived hence. Coleridge mentions their name occasionally.
He has a poem to a brook among the Quantock hills; and the opening of
his Fears in Solitude, written in 1798, when he was at Stowey, is most
descriptive of their scenery:--

    "A green and silent spot amid the hills,
    A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
    No singing skylark ever poised herself.
    The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope,
    Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on,
    All golden with the never bloomless furz,
    Which now blooms most profusely; but the dell,
    Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate
    As vernal cornfield, or the unripe flax,
    When, through its half-transparent stalks at eve,
    The level sunshine glimmers with green light.
    Oh! 'tis a quiet, spirit-healing nook!
    Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he,
    The humble man, who in his youthful years
    Knew just so much of folly as had made
    His early manhood more securely wise!
    Here he might lie on fern or withered heath,
    While from the singing lark, that sings unseen
    The minstrelsy that solitude loves best,
    And from the sun, and from the breezy air,
    Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame,
    And he with many feelings, many thoughts,
    Made up a meditative joy, and found
    Religious musings in the forms of nature!
    And so, his senses gradually wrapped
    In a half-sleep, he dreams of better worlds,
    And dreaming hears thee still, O singing lark,
    That singest like an angel in the clouds!"

But the views from the Quantock hills are as charming as the hills
themselves. From above Allfoxden you look down directly on the Bristol
Channel, the little island of Steepholms lying in the liquid
foreground, and the Welsh hills stretching along in the back. On your
right you see the whole level but rich country stretching away to
Bridgewater, and on toward Bristol.

In this pleasant but solitary region we must recollect, however, that
the young poets were not left entirely to their solitary rambles and
cogitations. Coleridge had his wife and one or two young children with
him. Wordsworth had his sister, and great companion in his many
wanderings through various parts of the kingdom, Dorothy. Then there
was Mr. Poole, their common friend at Stowey; Charles Lloyd, the son
of the Quaker banker of Birmingham, a poet, with the usual fate of a
poet, sorrow and an early death, was there part of the time, as a
great admirer of, and boarder at, Coleridge's. Southey, Cottle,
Charles Lamb, and the two Wedgewoods, and others, visited them. We may
well believe that this knot of friends, young, full of enthusiasm, of
the love of nature, and the dreams of poetry, became a source of the
strangest wonder to the simple and very ignorant inhabitants of that
part of the country. People, whose children at the present hour, as
will be seen by the account of Coleridge, do not know what a poet
means, were not very likely to comprehend what could bring such a
number of strange young men, all at once, into their neighborhood.
What could they be after there? The honest people had no idea of
persons frequenting a place but in pursuit of some honest or dishonest
calling. They could not see what calling these young gentlemen were
following there, and they very naturally set down their business to be
of the latter description. They were neither lawyers, doctors, nor
parsons. They were neither farmers, merchants, nor, according to their
notions, thorough gentlefolks, _i.e._, people who lived in large
houses, kept large numbers of servants, and drove about in fine
carriages. On the contrary, they went wandering about among the hills
and woods, and by the sea. They were out, it was said, more by night
than by day; and I have heard people of rank and education, which
ought to have informed them better, assert, and who still do assert,
that they led a very dissolute life! The grave and moral Wordsworth,
the respectable Wedgewoods, correct Robert Southey, and Coleridge
dreaming of glories and intellectualities beyond the moon, were set
down for a very disreputable gang! Innocent Mrs. Coleridge, and poor
Dolly Wordsworth, were seen strolling about with them, and were
pronounced no better than they should be! Such was the character which
they unconsciously acquired, that Wordsworth was at length actually
driven out of the country.

Coleridge, writing to Cottle, says, "Wordsworth has been caballed
against _so long and so loudly_, that he has found it impossible
to prevail on the tenant of the Allfoxden estate to let him the house,
after their first agreement is expired, so he must quit it at
midsummer. Whether we shall be able to procure him a house and
furniture near Stowey, we know not, and yet we must; for the hills,
and the woods, and the streams, and the sea, and the shores, would
break forth into reproaches against us, if we did not strain every
nerve to keep their poet among them. Without joking, and in serious
sadness, Poole and I can not endure to think of losing him.

"At all events, come down, Cottle, as soon as you can, but before
midsummer; and we will procure a horse, easy as thy own soul, and we
will go on a roam to Linton and Limouth, which, if thou comest in May,
will be in all their pride of woods and water-falls, not to speak of
its august cliffs, and the green ocean, and the vast valley of stones,
all which live disdainful of the seasons, or accept new honors only
from the winter's snows."

This poetic trip, in company with another strange man, would, of
course, be considered by the neighbors to be another smuggling or spy
excursion. What else could they be going all that way for, to look at
"the green sea," and at great "valleys of stones?" I remember the
knowing laughter with which a country innkeeper in Cornwall once broke
out, when, on his asking me what was my business in that part of the
country, I replied, "to look about me."

"To look about! Oh, yes, the gentleman knows very well! To look about!
Yes, indeed, make me believe that people go a great way off, into
strange neighborhoods, merely to look about them!" The people of
Somersetshire were equally sagacious at finding a mare's nest.
Wordsworth, always a solemn-looking mortal, even in his youth, was
particularly obnoxious to their suspicions, especially as he lived in
that large house, in that very solitary place. Hear Cottle's account
of the affair.

"Mr. Wordsworth had taken the Allfoxden house, near Stowey, for one
year, during the minority of the heir; and the reason why he was
refused a continuance by the ignorant man who had the letting of it,
arose, as Mr. Coleridge informed me, from a whimsical cause, or rather
a series of causes. The wiseacres of the village had, it seems, made
Mr. Wordsworth the object of their serious conversation. One said,
that 'he had seen him wander about by night, and look rather strangely
at the moon! And then, he roamed over the hills like a partridge.'
Another said, 'he had heard him mutter, as he walked, in some
outlandish brogue, that nobody could understand!' Another said, 'It's
useless to talk, Thomas, I think he is what people call "a wise man"'
(a conjurer!). Another said, 'You are every one of you wrong. I know
what he is. We have all met him tramping away toward the sea. Would
any man in his senses take all that trouble to look at a parcel of
water! I think he carries on a snug business in the smuggling line,
and in these journeys, is on the lookout for some wet cargo!' Another
very significantly said, 'I know that he has got a private still in
his cellar; for I once passed his house at a little better than a
hundred yards' distance, and I could smell the spirits as plain as an
ashen fagot at Christmas.' Another said, 'However that was, he is
surely a desperd French jacobin; for he is so silent and dark that
nobody ever heard him say one word about politics.' And thus these
ignoramuses drove from their village a greater ornament than will ever
again be found among them."

Southey once thought of settling near Neath instead of the Lakes, and
had pitched on a house which was to let, but the owner refused to
receive him as tenant, because he had heard a rumor of his being a
jacobin.

Cottle gives an amusing adventure at Allfoxden, which must not be
omitted. "A visit to Mr. Coleridge at Stowey, in the year 1797, had
been the means of my introduction to Mr. Wordsworth. Soon after our
acquaintance had commenced, Mr. Wordsworth happened to be in Bristol,
and asked me to spend a day or two with him at Allfoxden. I consented,
and drove him down in a gig. We called for Mr. Coleridge, Miss
Wordsworth, and the servant at Stowey; and they walked, while we rode
to Mr. Wordsworth's house, distant two or three miles, where we
purposed to dine. A London alderman would smile at our bill of fare.
It consisted of philosopher's viands; namely, a bottle of brandy, a
noble loaf, and a stout piece of cheese; and, as there was plenty of
lettuces in the garden, with all these comforts we calculated on doing
very well.

"Our fond hopes, however, were somewhat damped, by finding that our
stout piece of cheese had vanished! A sturdy _rat_ of a beggar,
whom we had relieved on the road, with his olfactories all alive, no
doubt, _smelled_ our cheese; and, while we were gazing at the
magnificent clouds, contrived to abstract our treasure! Cruel tramp!
an ill return for our pence! We both wished that the rind might not
choke him. The mournful fact was ascertained a little before we drove
into the court-yard of the house. Mr. Coleridge bore the loss with
great fortitude, observing that we should never starve with a loaf of
bread and a bottle of brandy. He now, with the dexterity of an adept,
admired by his friends around, unbuckled the horse, and putting down
the shafts with a jerk, as a triumphant conclusion of his work,--lo!
the bottle of brandy that had been placed most carefully behind us on
the seat, from the inevitable law of gravity, suddenly rolled down,
and before we could arrest the spirituous avalanche, pitching right on
the stones, was dashed to pieces! We all beheld the spectacle, silent
and petrified! We might have collected the broken fragments of the
glass; but the brandy, that was gone! clean gone!

"One little untoward thing often follows another, and while the rest
stood musing, chained to the place, regaling themselves with the
Cognac effluvium, and all miserably chagrined, I led the horse to the
stable, where a fresh perplexity arose. I removed the harness without
difficulty, but after many strenuous attempts I could not get off the
collar. In despair, I called for assistance, when aid soon drew near.
Mr. Wordsworth first brought his ingenuity into exercise, but, after
several unsuccessful efforts, he relinquished the achievement as
altogether impracticable. Mr. Coleridge now tried his hand, but showed
no more grooming skill than his predecessors; for after twisting the
poor horse's neck, almost to strangulation, and to the great danger of
his eyes, he gave up the useless task, pronouncing that the horse's
head must have grown--gout or dropsy! since the collar was put on!
'For,' said he, 'it is a downright impossibility for such a huge os
frontis to pass through so narrow a collar!' Just at this instant, the
servant girl came near, and understanding the cause of our
consternation, 'La, master,' said she, 'you do not go about the work
in the right way. You should do like this;' when, turning the collar
completely upside down, she slipped it off in a moment, to our great
humiliation and wonderment; each satisfied, afresh, that there were
heights of knowledge in the world, to which he had not attained.

"We were now summoned to dinner; and a dinner it was, such as every
blind and starving man in the three kingdoms would have rejoiced to
behold. At the top of the table stood a superb brown loaf. The center
dish presented a pile of the true cos lettuces, and at the bottom
appeared an empty plate, where the stout piece of cheese ought to have
stood!--cruel mendicant! and though the brandy was clean gone, yet its
place was well, if not _better_ supplied by a superabundance of
fine sparkling Castalian champagne! A happy thought at this time
started into one of our minds, that some sauce would render the
lettuces a little more acceptable, when an individual in the company
recollected a question once propounded by the most patient of
men--'How can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt?' and asked
for a little of that valuable culinary article. 'Indeed, sir,' said
Betty, 'I quite forgot to buy salt.' A general laugh followed the
announcement, in which our host heartily joined. This was nothing. We
had plenty of other good things, and while crunching our succulents,
and munching our crusts, we pitied the far worse condition of those,
perchance as hungry as ourselves, who were forced to dine alone, off
ether. For our next meal, the mile-off village furnished all that
could be desired, and these trifling incidents present the sum and the
result of half the little passing disasters of life."

The Lyrical Ballads having been brought out about midsummer, 1798; in
September of that year Wordsworth and Coleridge set out for Germany.
On his return to England he settled at Grasmere, about the beginning
of this century. At Grasmere, he resided in two or three different
houses; one was Town-end, where his friends, the Cooksons, now reside;
another at Allen-bank, at a white house on the hillside, conspicuous
in our vignette. He continued to live at Grasmere fifteen years, and
has since resided at his present abode, Rydal Mount, about thirty
years.

Mr. Wordsworth, after finishing his education, seems to have made
choice of no profession but that of poetry. His patrimony could not
have been large, as I have heard Mrs. Wordsworth say, that, at the
time of their marriage, they had in joint income about £100 a-year.
This, however, would go a good way with a young couple, of simple
habits, in a place like Grasmere at that time of day. Mrs. Wordsworth
was a Miss Hutchinson of Cockermouth. Poetry was Wordsworth's real
business from the first, as it has been the great and continued
business of his life. His sister Dorothy, also gifted with
considerable poetic power, as may be seen in the Address to a Child
during a boisterous winter evening, and The Mother's Return, at pp. 9
and 12 of the first volume of his poems, as well as in the Journal of
their Wanderings together, was his great and congenial companion. She
had a passion for nature, not less ardent than his own; and went on at
his side, fearless of rain, or cold, or tempest, nor shrinking from
heat. She was ready to climb the mountain, to cross the torrent, or
slide down the slippery steep with equal boldness and skill, derived
from long practice. With him she traversed a great part of Scotland,
Wales, and parts of England. He describes their thus setting out from
Grasmere:--

    "To cull contentment upon wildest shores,
    And luxuries extract from bleakest moors;
    With prompt embrace all beauty to infold,
    And having rights in all that we behold."

To this ramble, chiefly on foot, we are indebted for some of the most
vigorous and characteristic lyrics that Wordsworth ever wrote. He was
young, ardent, and overflowing with enthusiasm; and the soil of
Scotland, on which so many deeds of martial fame had been done, or
where Ossian had sung in the misty years of far-off times, or other
bards whose names had for centuries been embalmed in the strains which
the spirit of the people had perpetuated, kindled in him a fervent
sympathy. We can imagine the delighted brother and sister marching on,
over the beautiful hills, the dark heaths, and down the enchanting
vales of the Highlands, conversing eagerly of the scenes they had
seen, and the incidents they had heard, till the glowing thoughts had
formed themselves, in the poet's mind, into almost instant song. These
poems have all the character of having been cast, hot from the furnace
of inspiration, into their present mold. There is a life, an original
freshness, and a native music about them. Such are Ellen Irvine, or
the Braes of Kirtle; To a Highland Girl; Glen Almain, or the Solitary
Glen; Stepping Westwood; The Solitary Reaper; Rob Roy's Grave; Yarrow
Revisited; In the Pass of Killicranky; The Jolly Matron of Jedburgh
and her Husband; The Blind Highland Boy; The Brownie's Cell; Cora
Linn, etc.

It was to this beloved companion of his wanderings that he, the
year afterward, addressed these beautiful verses, on revisiting
Tintern.--Vol. ii. p. 179.

            ----"Thou art with me, here, upon the banks
    Of this fair river; thou, my dearest friend,
    My dear, dear friend, and in thy voice I catch
    The language of my former heart, and read
    My former pleasures in the shooting lights
    Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
    May I behold in thee what I was once,
    My dear, dear sister! and this prayer I make,
    Knowing that nature never did betray
    The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
    Through all the years of this our life, to lead
    From joy to joy: for she can so inform
    The mind that is within us, so impress
    With quietness and beauty, and so feed
    With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
    Rash judgments, or the sneers of selfish men,
    Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
    The dreary intercourse of daily life,
    Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
    Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
    Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
    Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
    And let the misty mountain winds be free
    To blow against thee; and, in after-years,
    When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
    Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind
    Shall be a mansion of all lovely forms,
    Thy memory be a dwelling-place
    For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
    If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief
    Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
    Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
    And these my exhortations. Nor, perchance,
    If I should be where I no more can hear
    Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes those gleams
    Of past existence, wilt thou then forget
    That on the banks of this delightful stream
    We stood together; and that I, so long
    A worshiper of nature, hither came,
    Unwearied in that service; rather say
    With warmer love, oh! with far deeper zeal
    Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
    That after many wanderings, many years
    Of absence, these steep woods, and lofty cliffs,
    And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
    More dear both for themselves and for thy sake!"

Was there something in "the shooting gleams of those wild eyes," which
foretold that, like the lights of a fitful sky, they should flash and
quickly disappear? The mind of that beloved sister has for many years
gone, as it were, before her, and she lives on in a second infancy,
carefully cherished in the poet's home.

Wordsworth, as I have observed, devoted himself to no profession but
that of poetry. He followed the stream of life as it led him down the
retired vale of poetic meditation, but not without, at times, being
visited by fears of what the end might be. Of this he gives a graphic
description in his poem of Resolution and Independence, the hero of
which is the old leech gatherer.

    "I heard the skylark warbling in the sky;
    And I bethought me of the playful hare:
    Even such a happy child of earth am I;
    Even as these blissful creatures do I fare:
    Far from the world I walk and from all care,
    But there may come another day to me--
    Solitude, pain of heart, distress and poverty.

    "My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought.
    As if life's business were a summer mood;
    As if all needful things would come unsought
    To genial faith, still rich in genial good.
    But how can he expect that others should
    Build for him, sow for him, and at his call
    Love him, who for himself will take no care at all?

    "I thought of Chatterton, the marvelous boy.
    The sleepless soul that perished in his pride;
    Of him who walked in glory and in joy,
    Following his plough along the mountain side.
    By our own spirits are we deified:
    We poets in our youth begin in gladness,
    But thereof comes in the end despondency and madness."

But this sad and common fate of poets, was not to visit Wordsworth.
The devotion he had vowed to nature was to remain hallowed, happy, and
unbroken to the end. His lot was to be the very _ideal_ of the
poetic lot. He was to live amid his native mountains, guarantied
against care and poverty; at liberty to roam at will amid beauty and
solitude; to work out his deepest thoughts in stately verse, and in
his old age to receive there the reverence of his countrymen. He had
the interest of the Lowther family. By that he was appointed
distributor of stamps for the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland;
in his case a mere sinecure, for the business of the office is easily
executed by one or more experienced clerks. Since then, two out of his
three children have married well. His son, a clergyman, to a daughter
of Mr. Curwen, formerly M.P., and his daughter, to Mr. Quillinan. His
second son has succeeded him in his stamp-distributorship. He has
succeeded Southey in the laureateship, and has had, superadded, a
pension of three or four hundred a-year. Perhaps none of the purely
poetic tribe have labored less for fortune, and few have been more
fortunate. The early experience of himself and his poetic
cotemporaries is very instructive to all who seek to realize a
reputation; it is, to have faith, to persevere, and believe nature and
not critics. Never was a fiercer onslaught made than by the Edinburgh
Review, on the whole race of poets who then arose. With the same
fatality which has since led that journal to declare that no steamer
would be able to cross the Atlantic, and that Grey, the author of the
railway system, was a madman, and ought to be put into Bedlam, it
denounced the whole class of young poets, who were destined to revive
real poetry in the land, as it afterward did Lord Byron, as drivelers,
and fools. Scotland, having stoned to death its own Burns, made a
determined attempt to annihilate all the rising poetry of England. It
commenced the review of Wordsworth's Excursion with the ludicrous
words,--"This will never do!" and declared that there was not a line
of poetry, or scarcely of common sense, in it, "from the hour that the
driveler squatted himself down in the sun, to the end of his
preaching." Let every youthful aspirant remember this history; and
that if criticism could prevail over genius, we should not at this
moment have one great established poet on our list of fame.

Wordsworth's poetical philosophy is now thought to be too well known
to need much explanation. He has indeed expounded it himself in almost
every page.

Yet, after all the brilliant and profound criticism which has been
expended upon it, by almost every review in these kingdoms, and by
every writer on poetry and poets, the simple truth remains to be told.
The fact lay too much on the surface for very deep and metaphysical
divers to perceive. It was too obvious to be seen by those who profess
to see farther into a millstone than any body else. And what, then, is
the fundamental philosophy of Wordsworth?

It is, what he, perhaps, would himself start to hear, simply a poetic
Quakerism. The Quaker's religious faith is in immediate inspiration.
He believes that if he "centers down," as he calls it, into his own
mind, and puts to rest all his natural faculties and thoughts, he will
receive the impulses and intimations of the Divine Spirit. He is not
to seek, to strive, to inquire, but to be passive, and receive. This
is precisely the great doctrine of Wordsworth, as it regards poetry.
He believes the Divine Spirit which fills the universe, to have so
molded all the forms of visible nature, as to make them to us
perpetual monitors and instructors:--

                      "To inform
    The mind that is within us; to impress
    With quietness and beauty, and to feed
    With lofty thoughts."

Thus, in Expostulation and Reply, this doctrine is most distinctly
pronounced:--

    "'Why, William, on that old gray stone
    Thus for the length of half-a-day,
    Why, William, sit you thus alone,
    And dream your time away?

    "'Where are your books? that light bequeathed
    To beings else forlorn and blind!
    Up! up! and drink the spirit breathed
    From dead men to their kind.

    "'You look round on your mother earth,
    As if she for no purpose bore you;
    As if you were her first-born birth,
    And none had lived before you!'

    "One morning thus by Esthwaite Lake,
    When life was sweet, I knew not why,
    To me my good friend Mathew spake,
    And thus I made reply:--

    "'The eye it can not choose but see;
    We can not bid the ear be still;
    Our bodies feel, where'er they be,
    Against or with our will.

    "'Nor less I deem that there are powers
    Which of themselves our minds impress;
    That we can feel, this mind of ours
    In a wise passiveness.

    "'Think you, mid all this mighty sum
    Of things forever speaking,
    That nothing of itself will come,
    But we must still be seeking?

    "'Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,
    Conversing as I may,
    I sit upon this old gray stone,
    And dream my time away.'"

The same doctrine is inculcated in the very next poem, The Tables
Turned. Here the poet calls his friend from his books, as full of toil
and trouble, adding:--

    "And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
    He, too, is no mean preacher:
    Come forth into the light of things,
    Let nature be your teacher.

    "She has a world of ready wealth
    Our minds and hearts to bless--
    Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
    Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

    "One impulse from a vernal wood
    May teach you more of man,
    Of moral evil and of good,
    Than all the sages can.

    "Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
    Our meddling intellect
    Misshapes the beauteous forms of things;
    We murder to dissect.

    "Enough of science and of art;
    Close up their barren leaves;
    Come forth, and bring with you a heart
    That watches and receives."

Now, if George Fox had written poetry, that is exactly what he would
have written. So completely does it embody the grand Quaker doctrine,
that Clarkson, in his Portraiture of Quakerism, has quoted it, without
however perceiving that the grand and complete fabric of Wordsworth's
poetry is built on this foundation; that this dogma of quitting men,
books, and theories, and sitting down quietly to receive the unerring
intimations and influences of the spirit of the universe, is identical
in Fox and Wordsworth; is the very same in the poetry of the one as in
the religion of the other. The two reformers acquired their faith by
the same process, and in the same manner. They went out into solitude,
into night, and into woods, to seek the oracle of truth. Fox retired
to a hollow oak, as he tells us, and with prayers and tears sought
after the truth, and came at length to see that it lay not in schools,
colleges, and pulpits, but in the teaching in a passive spirit of the
great Father of Spirits. Wordsworth retired to the

                    "Mountains, to the sides
    Of the deep rivers, and the lovely streams,
    Wherever nature led."

And he tells us that to this practice he owed

                                  "A gift
    Of aspect most sublime; that blessed mood
    In which the burden of the mystery,
    In which the heavy and the weary weight
    Of all this unintelligible world
    Is lightened: that serene and blessed mood
    In which the affections gently lead us on,
    Until the breath of this corporeal frame,
    And even the motion of our human blood,
    Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
    In body, and become a living soul.
    While with an eye made quiet by the power
    Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
    We see into the life of things."--Vol. ii. p. 181.

This is perfect Quakerism; the grand demand of which is, that you
shall put down "this meddling intellect, which misshapes the beauteous
forms of things;" shall lay at rest the actions and motions of your
own minds, and subdue the impatience of the body, till, as Wordsworth
has most clearly stated it,

              "The breath of this corporeal frame,
    And even the motion of our human blood.
    Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
    In body, and become a living soul."

It was this very doctrine of the non-necessity of human interference
between us and all knowledge, of the all-sufficiency of this invisible
and "great teacher," as Wordsworth calls him, which led George Fox and
the Quakers to abandon all forms of worship, to strip divine service
of all music, singing, formal prayers, written sermons, and to sit
down in a perfectly passive state of silence, to gather some of

                  "All this mighty sum
    Of things forever speaking,"

into

                  "A heart
    That watches and receives."

Whoever sees a Friends' meeting, sees a body of men and women sitting
in the full and abstract practice of this very doctrine, by which
Wordsworth, in the very words of George Fox, says we come to

    "See into the life of things."

"Come out," says Fox, "from all your vain learning and philosophy,
from your schools and colleges, from all your teachings and preachings
of human instruction, from all your will-worship and your man-made
ministers, and sit down in the presence of Him who made all things,
and lives through all things; who made the ear, the eye, and the heart
of man, and lives in and through them, and can and will inform them.
Put down every high and airy imagination, every carnal willing and
doing; cease to strive in your own strength, and learn to depend on
the teaching and strength of the Holy Spirit that filleth heaven and
earth; and the light given to enlighten every man that cometh into the
world will soon shine in upon you, and the truth in all its fullness
will be made known to you far beyond the teaching of all bishops,
archbishops, professors, or other swelling men, puffed with the vain
wind of human learning. Come out from among them; be not of them;
leave the dead to bury the dead. He that sits at the king's table
needeth not the dry crumbs and the waste offal of hireling servitors;
he that hath the sun itself shining on his head, needeth no lesser,
much less artificial lights."

In this state he regards man as restored to the original privilege of
his nature, and admitted to communion with the spirit of the Creator,
and into contact with all knowledge. "He sees into the life of
things." So duly did Fox consider that he saw into the life of things,
that he believed that the knowledge of the quality of all plants,
minerals, and physical substances was imparted to him, and that had he
not had a still higher vocation assigned him, as a discerner and
comforter of spirits, he could have practiced most successfully as a
physician. He believed and taught, and Barclay, his great disciple, in
his famous Apology, teaches the same thing, that in this state of
communion with the Spirit of all knowledge, a man needs no interpreter
of the Scriptures; that without any knowledge of the original
languages, he can instinctively tell where they are erroneously
rendered, and what is the true meaning. He has penetrated to the
fountain of truth, and not only of truth, but, to use Wordsworth's
words again, of "the deep power of joy." He is raised above all
earthly evil and anxiety, and breathes in the invisible presence, the
pure air of heaven. He is in a kind restored to the unity of his
nature, of power, intelligence, and felicity. How exactly is this the
language of our poet!

                            "I have felt
    A presence that disturbs me with the joy
    Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
    Of something far more deeply interfused,
    Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
    And the round ocean, and the living air,
    And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
    A motion and a spirit, that impels
    All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
    And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
    A lover of the meadows, and the woods
    And mountains; and of all that we behold
    From this green earth; of all the mighty world
    Of eye and ear, both what they half create,
    And what perceive: well pleased to recognize,
    In nature and the language of the sense,
    The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
    The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
    Of all my moral being."--Vol. ii. pp. 183, 184.

But this great Quaker doctrine is not the casual doctrine of one or
two casual or isolated poems; it is the foundation and fabric of the
whole. It is the great theme everywhere pursued. Of his principal and
noblest production, The Excursion, it is the brain, the very backbone,
the vitals, and the moving sinews. Take away that, and you take all.
Take that, and you reduce the poet to a level with a hundred others.
His hero, the wanderer, is a shepherd boy grown into a pedler, or
pack-merchant, who has been educated and baptized into this sublime
knowledge of God speaking through nature. In his sixth year he tended
cattle on the hills.

    "He, many an evening, to his distant home
    In solitude returning, saw the hills
    Grow larger in the darkness, all alone
    Beheld the stars come out above his head,
    And traveled through the wood, with no one near
    To whom he might confess the things he saw.
    So the foundations of his mind were laid.
    In such communion, not from terror free,
    While yet a child, and long before his time,
    He had perceived the presence and the power
    Of greatness."

"He had received a precious gift," the poet tells us, that gift of
spiritual perception which the poet himself tells he also has
received.

                "Thus informed,
    He had small need of books:
    In the fixed lineaments of nature, rocks and caves,
    Even in their fixed and steady lineaments,
    He traced an ebbing and a flowing mind,
    Expression ever varied."

There "was wanting yet the pure delight of love" in his inspiration,
but that came also, and--

    "Such was the boy; but for the growing youth
    What soul was his, when, from the naked top
    Of some bold headland, he beheld the sun
    Rise up, and bathe the world in light! He looked--
    Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth
    And ocean's liquid mass, beneath him lay
    In gladness and deep joy. The clouds were touched,
    And in their silent faces did he read
    Unutterable love. Sound needed none,
    Nor any voice of joy; his spirit drank
    The spectacle: sensation, soul, and form
    All melted into him: they swallowed up
    His animal being; in them did he live,
    And by them did he live: they were his life.
    _In such access of mind, in such high hour
    Of visitation from the living God,
    Thought was not: in enjoyment it expired._
    No thanks he breathed, he proffered no request,
    _Rapt into still communion that transcends
    The imperfect offices of prayer and praise,
    His mind was a thanksgiving to the Power
    That made him; it was blessedness and love_!"

That is one of the finest pieces of Quakerism that ever was written;
there is nothing in George Fox himself more perfect. It is a
description of that state to which every true Quaker aspires; which he
believes attainable without the mediation of any priest, or the
presence of any church; which Fox and the early Friends so often
describe as having been accorded to them in the midst of their public
meetings, or in the solitude of the closet, or the journey. It is that
state of exaltation, the very flower and glorious moment of a
religious life, which is the privilege of him who draws near to and
walks with God. That

                        "Access of mind,
    Of visitation from the living God,"

when

    "Thought is not; in enjoyment it expires."

It is an eloquent exposition of the genuine worship to which,
according to the Friends, every sincere seeker may and will be
admitted, when

    "Rapt into still communion that transcends
    The imperfect offices of prayer and praise,
    His mind is a thanksgiving to the Power
    That made him; it is blessedness and love."

But to show how completely Wordsworth's system is a system of poetical
Quakerism, I should be obliged to take his Excursion, and collate the
whole with passages from the writings of the early Friends, Fox, Penn,
Barclay, Pennington, and others. The Excursion is a very bible of
Quakerism. Every page abounds with it. It is, in fact, wholly and
fervently permeated by the soul of Quaker theology. The Friends teach
that the great guide of life is "the light which enlighteneth every
man that cometh into the world;" hence they were originally termed
"children of light," till the nickname of Quakers superseded it. They
declare this light to be "the infallible guide" of all men who will
follow it. What says Wordsworth?

              "Early he perceives
    Within himself a measure and a rule,
    Which to the Sun of Truth he can apply,
    That shines for him, and shines for all mankind.
          *      *      *      he refers
    His notions to this standard; on this rock
    Rest his desires; and hence in after-life,
    Soul-strengthening patience, and sublime content."

The whole of the fourth Book, from which this extract is made, is no
other than a luminous and vivid exposition of pure Quakerism. The
Wanderer is its apostle. He shows how in all ages and countries men
have been influenced by this voice of God in nature; and, not
comprehending it fully, have mixed it up with the forms and phenomena
of nature itself, and shaped religions out of it. Hence the Chaldean
faith; hence the Grecian mythology.

                          "They felt
    A spiritual Presence, ofttimes misconceived,
    But still a high dependence, a divine
    Beauty and government, that filled their hearts
    With joy and gratitude, and fear and love;
    And from their fervent lips drew hymns of praise,
    That through the desert rung. Though favored less,
    Far less than these, yet rich in their degree,
    Were those bewildered pagans of old time."--P. 169.

So say the Friends; and to such a pitch do they carry their belief in
their "universal and saving light," that they contend, that to the
most savage nations, "having not law, it becomes a law," and that
through it the spirit, if not the history of the Savior is revealed
and made operative, and that thus the voice of salvation is preached
in the heart where never outward gospel has been heard. The Friends
contend that science and mere human wisdom most commonly tend to
darken and weigh down this divine principle, to cloud this eternal
luster in the soul. So says the eloquent Wanderer, the preacher of the
Quakerism of poetry. He asks, Shall our great discoverers obtain less
from sense and reason than these obtained?

                "Shall men for whom our age
    Unbaffled powers of vision hath prepared,
    To explore the world without, and world within,
    Be joyless as the blind? Ambitious souls,
    Whom earth, at this late season, hath produced
    To regulate the moving spheres, and weigh
    The planets in the hollow of their hand;
    And they who rather dive than soar, whose pains
    Have solved the elements, or analyzed
    The thinking principle;--shall they in fact
    Prove a degraded race? And what avails
    Renown, if their presumption makes them such?
    O! there is laughter at their work in heaven!
    Inquire of ancient wisdom; go, demand
    Of mighty nature, if 'twas ever meant
    That we should pray far off, yet be unraised;
    That we should pore, and dwindle as we pore.

        *      *      *      *      *

    That this magnificent effect of power,
    The earth we tread, the sky that we behold
    By day, and all the pomp which night reveals--
    That these, and that superior mystery,
    Our vital frame, so fearfully devised,
    And the dread soul within it, should exist
    Only to be examined, pondered, searched,
    Probed, vexed, and criticised?--Accuse me not
    Of arrogance, unknown Wanderer as I am,
    If, having walked with nature three score years,
    And offered, far as frailty would allow,
    My heart a daily sacrifice to Truth,
    I now affirm of Nature and of Truth,
    Whom I have served, that their DIVINITY
    Revolts, offended at the ways of men,
    Swayed by such motives, to such ends employed."--Pp. 170-1.

This divine principle, which can thus outsoar and put to shame the
vanity and conceit of science, can also baffle and repulse all the
sophistries of metaphysics.

    "Within the soul a faculty abides,
    That with interpositions which would hide
    And darken, so can deal, that they become
    Contingencies of pomp, and serve to exalt
    Her native brightness."--P. 174.

There, too, Wordsworth and the Friends are entirely agreed, and yet
further. This faculty exists in and operates for all; and whoever
trusts in it shall, like the Friends, pursue their way careless of all
the changes of fashions or opinions.

                          "Access for you
    Is yet preserved to principles of truth,
    Which the imaginative Will upholds
    In seats of wisdom, not to be approached
    By the inferior faculty that molds,
    With her minute and speculative pains,
    Opinion, ever changing."

He illustrates the operation of this inward and primeval faculty by
the simile of the child listening to a shell, and hearing, as it were,
the murmurs of its native sea. Such a shell, he says, is

            "The universe itself
    Unto the ear of faith;"

and in this you have a sanctuary to retire to at will, where you will
become victorious over every delusive power and principle. The Friends
consider this the glory of our mortal state, and Wordsworth says,--

    "Yes, you have felt, and may not cease to feel,
    The estate of man would be indeed forlorn,
    If false conclusions of the reasoning power
    Made the eye blind, and closed the passages
    Through which the ear converses with the heart."--P. 178.

But the poet and the Friends agree that there is a power seated in the
human soul, superior to the understanding, superior to the reasoning
faculty, the sure test of truth, to which every man may confidently
appeal in all cases, for it is the voice of God himself. With the poet
and the Friends the result of this divine philosophy is the same;--the
most perfect patience, the most holy confidence in the ever present
divinity; connected with no forms, no creeds, no particular conditions
of men; not confined by, not approachable only in, temples and
churches, but free as his own winds, boundless as his own seas,
universal as his own sunshine over all his varied lands and people;
whispering peace in the lonely forest, courage on the seas, adoration
on the mountain tops, hope under the burning tropics and the
blistering lash of the savage white man, joy in the dungeon, and glory
on the death-bed.

    "Religion tells of amity sublime,
    Which no condition can preclude: of One
    Who sees all suffering, comprehends all wants,
    All weakness fathoms, can supply all needs."--P. 175.

Perhaps this perfected spirit, this divine patience, this God-pervaded
soul of man, gentle, loving, yet stronger than death or evil, never
were more beautifully expressed than by the repentant and dying
Quaker, James Naylor.

"There is a spirit which I feel, that delights to do no evil, nor to
revenge any wrong; but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy
its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention,
to weary out all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature
contrary to itself. It sees to the end of all temptations. As it bears
no evil in itself, so it conceives none in thought to any other; if it
be betrayed, it bears it, for its ground and spring are the mercies
and forgiveness of God. Its course is meekness; its life is
everlasting love unfeigned; it takes its kingdom with entreaty, and
not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind. In God alone
it can rejoice, though none else regard it, or can own its life. It is
conceived in sorrow, and brought forth without any to pity it; nor
doth it murmur at grief and oppression. It rejoiceth, but through
sufferings, for with the world's joy it is murdered. I found it alone,
being forsaken. I have fellowship therein with those who live in dens
and desolate places of the earth, who through death obtained this
resurrection, and eternal holy life."

There is an illumination for the critics! For these thirty years have
they been astounding themselves at the originality of Wordsworth's
philosophy, and expounding it by all imaginable aids of metaphysics.
We have heard endless lectures on the ideality, the psychological
profundity, the abstract doctrines of the poet; his new views, his
spiritual communion with and exposition of the mysteries of nature,
and of the soul in harmony with nature, etc., etc. That is the simple
solution; it is Quakerism in poetry, neither more nor less. The
question is, how Wordsworth stumbled on this doctrine; a doctrine on
which his great poetical reputation is, in fact, built. Possibly, like
George Fox, he found it in his solitary wanderings, and cogitations;
but more probably he drew it direct from his Journal itself. It is a
curious, but a well known fact, that all that knot of young and
enthusiastic writers at Bristol, and afterward at Stowey and
Allfoxden, Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge, were deeply read and
imbued with the old Quaker worthies. Probably they were made
acquainted with them by their two Quaker friends Lovell and Lloyd.
Coleridge was so impressed with their principles that, though he
preached, he did it in a blue coat and white waistcoat, that, as he
said, "he might not have a rag of the woman of Babylon on him." He
imbibed and proclaimed all the Quaker hatred of slavery and war. He
declares in his Biographia Literaria his admiration of Fox. "One
assertion I will venture to make, as suggested by my own experience,
that there exist folios on the human understanding, and the nature of
man, which would have a far juster claim to their high rank and
celebrity, if, in the whole huge volume, there could be found as much
fullness of heart and intellect, as bursts forth in many a simple page
of George Fox." Southey always cherished the idea of writing the life
of George Fox, but never accomplished it. Charles Lamb, another
visitor of Stowey, at the time of this youthful effervescence, has
recorded his visit to a Friends' meeting, and says, that in it he soon
began to ask himself far more questions than he could quickly answer.
He declares Sewell's History of the Quakers worth all ecclesiastical
history put together. Wordsworth was not only as deeply read in these
books as any of them, but is still, to my knowledge, remarkably well
acquainted with the history and opinions of Friends; he has
immortalized the very spade of one of them, Thomas Wilkinson,
and--_Ecce signum_--has perfected the development of this great
poetical system.

Whence Wordsworth, however, gathered his philosophy, whether from the
books of the Friends, or from his own meditations, it is,
nevertheless, a great truth. Jacob Behmen, Emanuel Swedenborg, Kant,
Justinus Kerner, and many another philosopher and poet, proclaim and
maintain the same. That the Spirit of God lives throughout the
universe and in the soul of man; that the more we commune with his
Spirit, the more our ears and eyes, or, in better phrase, our
spiritual sense, becomes open to perceive it. The closer we draw
to it, and live in it, the more we become strengthened, purified,
and enriched by it; the more we are able to walk amid all the
fascinations, glories, and deceptions of the world, as the men of God
walked in the midst of the fiery furnace, so scathless that the very
smell of fire passed not on their garments. It is called by the
Friends THE TRUTH, as superior to, and including all other truths.
Wordsworth gives it the same magnificent title. Standing by this
central light of the universe, man learns to see how far all other
offered lights, whether of books or spoken doctrines, are lights, or
are actually darkness--are great or small. Holding fast by this true
substance, he learns to feel how far all other things are substance or
shadow; and, if he hold on, at length walks the highway of life free,
invincible, and rejoicing; all nature yielding him aliment and peace.

                        "As the ample moon,
    In the deep stillness of a summer even
    Rising behind a thick and lofty grove,
    Burns, like an unconsuming fire of light,
    In the green trees; and kindling on all sides
    Their leafy umbrage, turns the dusky veil
    Into a substance glorious as her own,
    Yea, with her own incorporate, by power
    Capacious and serene: like power abides
    In man's celestial spirit: virtue thus
    Sets forth and magnifies herself; thus feeds
    A calm, a beautiful, and silent fire,
    From the incumbrances of mortal life,
    From even disappointment--nay, from guilt:
    And sometimes, so relenting justice wills,
    From palpable oppressions of despair."--P. 174, 175.

As this is a curious subject, and particularly curious, as it has
escaped the research of those who have thought themselves the most
profound, I have gone the more fully into it. But to compare all such
passages in Wordsworth and the writings of the early Friends, as would
amply prove the fact here introduced, would make a very large volume.
The writings of these old worthies are one mass of Wordsworthisms. In
some particulars, he has not reached the sublime moral elevation of
his masters, as in regard to war; he is martial, and thinks Slaughter,
God's daughter. They very sensibly set Slaughter down as the daughter
of a very opposite personage. In fact, had not the Friends
overshadowed their great doctrines by broad brims, and disguised them
in collarless coats; had they not put forward as the outward signs of
their community, formality and singularity, the great doctrines which
they hold of the great and immutable truth, more than any other
people, would have made them far greater than any other people; the
high and universally acknowledged instructors of the world in the
principles of freedom, moral greatness, and social happiness. As it
is, they have made them the most sturdy and efficient agents of peace,
right notions of church government, and liberty to the enslaved; and,
not the less certainly, the greatest of modern reformers in poetical
philosophy. As Fox and his disciples were fiercely attacked as
innovators in religion, so Wordsworth was as fiercely attacked as an
innovator in literature. Little did the cold and material spirit of
Scotch skeptical criticism dream that it was running its head against
the old sturdy spirit of Quakerism, in the new heresy, of what they
were pleased to term the Lake school.

There is, perhaps, no residence in England better known than that of
William Wordsworth. Rydal Mount, where he has now lived for more than
thirty years, is as perfectly poetical in its location as any poet
could possibly conceive in his brightest moment of inspiration. As you
advance a mile or more on the road from Ambleside toward Grasmere, a
lane overhung with trees turns up to the right, and there, at some few
hundred yards from the highway, stands the modest cottage of the poet,
elevated on Rydal Mount, so as to look out over the surrounding sea of
foliage, and to take in a glorious view. Before it, at some distance
across the valley, stretches a high screen of bold and picturesque
mountains; behind, it is overtowered by a precipitous hill, called
Nab-scar; but to the left, you look down over the broad waters of
Windermere, and to the right over the still and more embosomed flood
of Grasmere. Whichever way the poet pleases to advance from his house,
it must be into scenery of that beauty for mountain, stream, wood, and
lake, which has made Cumberland so famous over all England. He may
steal away up backward from his gate, and ascend into the solitary
hills, or diverging into the grounds of Lady Mary Fleming, his near
neighbor, may traverse the deep shades of the woodland, wander along
the banks of the rocky rivulet, and finally stand before the well
known water-fall there. If he descend into the highway, objects of
beauty still present themselves. Cottages and quiet houses here and
there glance from their little spots of Paradise, through the richest
boughs of trees; Windermere, with its wide expanse of waters, its
fairy islands, its noble hills, allures his steps in one direction;
while the sweet little lake of Rydal, with its heronry and its fine
background of rocks, invites him in another. In this direction the
vale of Grasmere, the scene of his early married life, opens before
him, and Dunmail-raise and Langdale-pikes lift their naked corky
summits, as hailing him to the pleasures of old companionship. Into no
quarter of this region of lakes, and mountains, and vales of primitive
life, can he penetrate without coming upon ground celebrated by his
muse. He is truly "sole king of rocky Cumberland."

The immediate grounds in which his house stands are worthy of the
country and the man. It is, as its name implies, a mount. Before the
house opens a considerable platform, and around and beneath lie
various terraces and descend various walks, winding on amid a
profusion of trees and luxuriant evergreens. Beyond the house, you
ascend various terraces, planted with trees now completely
overshadowing them; and these terraces conduct you to a level above
the house-top, and extend your view of the enchanting scenery on all
sides. Above you tower the rocks and precipitous slopes of Nab-scar;
and below you, embosomed in its trees, lies the richly ornate villa of
Mr. William Ball, a Friend, whose family and the poet's are on such
social terms, that a little gate between their premises opens them
both to each family alike. This cottage and grounds were formerly the
property of Charles Lloyd, also a Friend, and one of the Bristol and
Stowey coterie. Both he and Lovell have long been dead; Lovell,
indeed, was drowned, on a voyage to Ireland, in the very heyday of the
dreams of Pantisocracy, in which he was an eager participant.

The poet's house, itself, is a proper poet's abode. It is at once
modest, plain, yet tasteful and elegant. An ordinary dining-room, a
breakfast-room in the center, and a library beyond, form the chief
apartments. There are a few pictures and bust, especially those of
Scott and himself, a good engraving of Burns, and the like, with a
good collection of books, few of them very modern. In the dining-room
there stands an old cabinet, which is a sort of genealogical piece of
furniture, bearing this inscription:--

    Hoc op' fiebat Aº D ni MºCCCCCºXXVº ex suptu Will'mi Wordsworsh,
    filii W. fil. Joh. fil. W. fil. Nich. viri Elizabeth filia et
    hered W. P'ctor de Pengsto qoru aneabus p' picietur De'!

A great part of the labor of laying out the garden, raising the
terraces at Rydal, and planting the trees, has been that of the poet
himself. The property belongs to Lady Fleming, but Wordsworth has
bought a piece of land lying just below, with the fatherly intent,
that should his daughter at any time incline to live there, she may,
if she choose, erect a house for herself in the old and endeared
situation.

The trees display a prodigality of growth, that make what are meant
for walks almost a wilderness. On observing to the poet that he really
should have his laurels pruned a little, the old man smiled, paused,
and said, with a pardonable self-complacency,--"Ay, I will tell you an
anecdote about that. A certain general was going round the place,
attended by the gardener, when he suddenly remarked, as you do, the
flourishing growth of the trees, especially of the evergreens, and
said, 'Which of all your trees do you think flourishes most here?"

"'I don't know, sir,' said James; "but I think the laurel.'

"'Well, that is as it should be, you know,' added the general.

"'Why it should be so, James could not tell, and made the remark.

"'Don't you know,' continued the general, 'that the laurel is the
symbol of distinction for some achievement, and especially in that art
of which Mr. Wordsworth is so eminent a master? therefore it is quite
right that it should flourish so conspicuously here.'

"By this," continued the poet, "James acquired two new pieces of
intelligence; first, that the laurel was a symbol of eminence, and,
that his master was an eminent man, of both which facts he had been
before very innocently ignorant."

It may be supposed that, during the summer, Wordsworth being in the
very center of a region swarming with tourists and hunters of the
picturesque, and in the very highway of their route is regularly beset
by them. Day after day brings up whole troops of them from every
quarter of these kingdoms, and no few from America. The worthy old man
professes a good deal of annoyance at being thus lionized, but it is
an annoyance which obviously has its agreeable side. No one can doubt
that it would be a far greater annoyance, if, after a life devoted to
poetry, people, all in quest of "the sublime and beautiful," hurried
past, scoured over all the hills and dales, and passed unnoticed the
poet's gate. As it is, he has an ever swinging censer of the flattery
of public curiosity tossing at his door. Note after note is sent in,
the long levee continues from day to day--the aged minstrel votes it a
bore, and quietly enjoys it. If not, how easy it would be, just,
during the laking season, to vanish from the spot to another equally
pleasant, and yet more retired. Yet why should he? It is not as if the
visitor interrupted the progress of a life's great labor. That labor
is done; competence and fame are acquired; the laurel and the larder
have equally flourished at Rydal Mount: and what is more agreeable
than to receive the respect of his fellow-men, and diffuse the
pleasure of having seen and conversed with one of the lights of the
age?

Some years ago, spending a few days there with Mrs. Howitt, we
witnessed a curious scene. The servant came in, announcing that a
gentleman and a large party of ladies wished to see the place. "Very
well, they can see it," said Mr. Wordsworth.

"But the gentleman wished to see you, sir."

"Who is it?--Did he give his name?"

"No, sir."

"Then ask him for it."

The servant went, and returned, saying, "The gentleman said that he
knew Mr. Wordsworth's name very well, as every body did, but that Mr.
Wordsworth would not know his if he sent him his card."

"Then say, I am sorry, but I can not see him."

The servant once more disappeared, and the poet broke forth into a
declamation on the bore of these continual and importunate, not to say
impudent, visits. In the midst of it the servant entered.

"Well, what did the man say?"

"That he had had the honor to shake hands with the Duke of Wellington,
and that his last remaining wish in life was to shake hands with Mr.
Wordsworth."

This was too good. A universal scream of merriment burst from us. The
poet rose, laughing heartily. Mrs. and Miss Dora Wordsworth, laughing
as heartily, gently seized him, each by an arm, and thus merrily
pushed him out of the room. In another minute, we beheld the worthy
host bowing to the man who possessed such irresistible rhetoric, and
to his large accompaniment of ladies, and doing the amiable, by
pointing out to them the prominent beauties of the view. The cunning
fellow was a Manchester manufacturer.

It is well known that the dread of a railroad into the lake country
has alarmed Wordsworth into the firing off a sonnet against it, and
that his annoyance has been increased by the lanch of a steamboat on
Windermere. There is some mitigation of our surprise, that the poet
who knows and has so well described the nuisances of cities and
manufacturing towns, should thus see with disgust the beautiful and
breezy region of the lakes laid open to them, when we know that this
railroad is proposed to be carried close under his beloved retirement;
but still it is befitting the generosity of the man, who has, in so
many forms, given us an interest in the toil-worn and the lowly, to be
prepared to make some sacrifice of that quiet which he has so long and
so richly enjoyed, to the spread of truth and rational pleasure among
the humble workers of the mill; remembering his own impressive words:--

                    "Turn to private life
    And social neighborhood: look we to ourselves;
    A light of duty shines on every day
    For all, and yet how few are warmed or cheered!"


[Illustration: Fulneck Moravian Settlement]



JAMES MONTGOMERY.


Sheffield has been poetically fortunate. It has had the honor, not to
give birth to two eminent poets--a mere accident--but to produce them.
Neither Montgomery nor Elliott was born in Sheffield; but they were
drawn to it as the trading capital of the district in which they
_were_ born; and there their minds, tastes, and reputations grew.
In both poets are strongly recognizable the intellectual features of a
manufacturing town. They are both of a popular and liberal tendency of
mind. They, or rather their spirits and characters, grew amid the
physical sufferings and the political struggles of a busy and
high-spirited population, and by these circumstances all the elements
of freedom and patriotism were strengthened to full growth in their
bosoms. Montgomery came upon the public stage, both as a poet and a
political writer, long before Elliott, though the difference of their
ages is not so vast as might be supposed from this fact, being as near
as possible ten years only.

It is not my object in this article to compare or to contrast the
intellectual characters of these two genuine poets. They are widely
different. In both the spirit of freedom, of progress, of sympathy
with the multitude, and of steady antagonism to oppression, manifest
themselves, but with much difference of manner. Both possess great
vigor and fervor of feeling; but in James Montgomery the decorums of
style are more strictly preserved. We feel that he received his
education in a very different school to that of Ebenezer Elliott. In
the still halls and gardens of the Moravian brethren, Montgomery
imbibed the softness of bearing, and that peculiarly religious tone
which distinguish him. Amid the roughest and often most hostile crowd
of struggling life, Elliott acquired a more fiery and battling aspect,
and he learned involuntarily to thunder against evils, where
Montgomery would reason and lament. Yet it would be difficult to say
in which all that characterizes real patriotism, and real religion,
most truly resides. In very different walks they have both done
gloriously and well, and we will leave to others to decide which is
the greater poet of the two. Elliott, by both circumstance and
temperament, has been led to make his poetry bear more directly and at
once upon the actual condition of the working-classes; Montgomery has
displayed more uniform grace, and in lyrical beauty has far surpassed
his townsman, though not in the exquisite harmony of many portions of
his versification. But, they are not now to be compared, but to be
admired; and nothing is more beautiful than to hear in what tone and
manner they speak of each other. Montgomery gives Ebenezer Elliot the
highest praise for his genius, and says, that for years in the Iris he
was the only one who could or would see the merit of the great but
unacknowledged bard; while Elliott modestly dedicates his poem of
Spirits and Men to the author of The World before the Flood, "as an
evidence of his presumption and his despair."

Mr. Montgomery had a strictly religious education; he was the son of
religious parents, and belonged to a pre-eminently religious body, the
Moravian brethren; and the spirit of that parentage, education, and
association, is deeply diffused through all that he has written. He is
essentially a religious poet. It is what of all things upon earth we
can well believe he most would desire to be; and that he is in the
truest sense of the word. In all his poems the spirit of a piety,
profound, and beautifully benevolent, is instantly felt. Perhaps there
are no lyrics in the language which are so truly Christian; that is,
which breathe the same glowing love to God and man, without one tinge
of the bigotry that too commonly eats into zeal as rust into the
finest steel. We have no dogmas, but a pure and heavenly atmosphere of
holy faith, filial and fraternal affection, and reverence of the great
Architect of the universe, and of the destinies of man. There is often
a tone of melancholy, but it is never that of doubt. It is the sighing
of a feeling and sensitive heart over the evils of life; but ever and
anon this tone rises into the more animated one of conscious strength
and well placed confidence; and terminates in that pæan of happy
triumph which the Christian only can ascend to. There is no "dealing
damnation round the land" in the religious poetry of James Montgomery;
we feel that he has peculiarly caught the genuine spirit of Christ;
and a sense of beauty and goodness, and of the glorious blessedness of
an immortal nature, accompanies us through all his works. That is the
spirit which, more than all other, distinguishes his lyrical
compositions; and how many and how beautiful are they! as, The Grave,
The Joy of Grief, Verses on the Death of Joseph Browne, a prisoner for
conscience' sake in York Castle, commencing, "Spirit, leave thine
house of clay;" The Common Lot, The Harp of Sorrow, The Dial, The
Molehill, The Peak Mountains, A Mother's Love, those noble Stanzas to
the Memory of the Rev. Thomas Spencer, The Alps, Friends, Night, and
the many in the same volume with the Pelican Island, perhaps some of
them the most beautiful and spiritual things he ever wrote. The poetry
of Montgomery is too familiar to most readers, and especially
religiously intellectual readers, to need much quotation here; but a
few stanzas may be ventured upon, and will of themselves more forcibly
indicate the peculiar features of his poetical character, than much
prose description.

The opening stanzas on the death of Thomas Spencer embody his very
creed and doctrine as a poet.

    "I will not sing a mortal's praise,
    To thee I consecrate my lays,
      To whom my powers belong;
    Those gifts upon thine altar thrown,
    O GOD! accept;--accept thine own:
    My gifts are Thine,--be Thine alone
      The glory of my song.

    "In earth and ocean, sky and air,
    All that is excellent and fair,
      Seen, felt, or understood,
    From one eternal cause descends,
    To one eternal center tends,
    With GOD begins, continues, ends,
      The source and stream of good.

    "I worship not the Sun at noon,
    The wandering Stars, the changing Moon,
      The Wind, the Flood, the Flame;
    I will not bow the votive knee
    To Wisdom, Virtue, Liberty;
    'There _is_ no GOD but GOD,' for me:
      Jehovah is his name.

    "Him through all nature I explore,
    Him in his creatures I adore,
      Around, beneath, above;
    But clearest in the human mind,
    His bright resemblance when I find,
    Grandeur with purity combined,
      I must admire and love."

I can not resist transcribing one more specimen. It is one in which
the quaint but adoring spirit of Quarll, Withers, or Herrick, seems to
speak; nor shall I ever forget the thrilling tone in which I have
heard it repeated by a sainted friend, in whom the love of her Savior
was the very life-blood of her heart, and who resembled him in his
beneficent walk on earth as much, perhaps, as it is possible for
mortal to do.


    THE STRANGER AND HIS FRIEND.

    "Ye have done it unto me."--_Matt._, xxv. 40.

    "A poor wayfaring man of grief
    Hath often crossed me on my way,
    Who sued so humbly for relief,
    That I could never answer, 'Nay:'
    I had not power to ask his name,
    Whither he went, or whence he came;
    Yet there was something in his eye
    That won my love, I knew not why.

    "Once when my scanty meal was spread,
    He entered;--not a word he spake;--
    Just perishing for want of bread,
    I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
    And ate,--but gave me part again:
    Mine was an angel's portion then,
    For while I fed with eager haste,
    That crust was manna to my taste.

    "I spied him where a fountain burst
    Clear from the rock; his strength was gone;
    The heedless waters mocked his thirst,
    He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
    I ran to raise the sufferer up;
    Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
    Dipped, and returned it running o'er;
    I drank, and never thirsted more.

    "'Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
    A winter hurricane aloof;
    I heard his voice abroad, and flew
    To bid him welcome to my roof;
    I warmed, I clothed, I cheered my guest,
    Laid him on my own couch to rest;
    Then made the hearth my bed, and seemed
    In Eden's garden while I dreamed.

    "Stripped, wounded, beaten, nigh to death,
    I found him by the highway side;
    I raised his pulse, brought back his breath,
    Revived his spirit, and supplied
    Wine, oil, refreshment; he was healed:
    I had myself a wound concealed;
    But from that hour forgot the smart,
    And peace bound up my broken heart.

    "In prison I saw him next, condemned
    To meet a traitor's doom at morn;
    The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
    And honored him 'mid shame and scorn:
    My friendship's utmost zeal to try,
    He asked if I for him would die;
    The flesh was weak, my blood ran chill,
    But the free spirit cried, 'I will.'

    "Then in a moment to my view,
    The stranger darted from disguise;
    The tokens in his hands I knew,
    My Savior stood before mine eyes:
    He spake; and my poor name He named:
    Of me thou hast not been ashamed:
    Those deeds shall thy memorial be:
    Fear not, thou didst them unto Me.'"

But it is not merely in the lyrical productions of his muse that
Montgomery has indicated the deep feeling of piety that lives as a
higher life in him; in every one of those larger and very beautiful
poems, in which we might have rather supposed him bent on indulging
his literary ambition, and sitting down to a long and systematic piece
of labor, which should remain a monument of the more continuous, if
not higher flights of his genius, we perceive the same still higher
object of a sacred duty toward God and man. In no instance has he been
content merely to develop his poetical powers, merely to aim at
amusing and delighting. Song has been to him a holy vocation, an art
practiced to make men wiser and better, a gift held like that of the
preacher and the prophet, for the purposes of heaven and eternity. In
every one of those productions are still recognized the zealous and
devoted spirit of one of that indefatigable and self-renouncing
people, who from the earliest ages of the Christian Church have trod
the path of persecution, and won the burning crown of martyrdom; and
in the present age continue to send out from their still retreats in
Europe an increasing and untiring succession of laborers, male and
female, to the frozen regions of the north, and to the southern wilds
of Africa, to civilize and Christianize those rude tribes, which
others, bearing the Christian name, have visited only to enslave or
extirpate. The Wanderer of Switzerland, the poem which first won him a
reputation, was a glowing lyric of liberty, and denunciation of the
diabolical war-spirit of the revolutionary French. It was animated by
the most sacred love of country, and of the hallowed ground and
hallowed feelings of the domestic hearth. The West Indies was a heroic
poem, on one of the most heroic acts which ever did honor to the
decrees of a great nation--the abolition of the slave-trade. But it
was a work not merely of triumph over what was done, but of incentive
to what yet remained to do--to the abolition of slavery itself. Time
has shown what a stupendous mustering of national powers that
achievement has demanded. What a combination of all the eloquence, and
wisdom, and exertions, of all the wisest, noblest, and best men of,
perhaps, the most glorious period of our history, was needed! Time has
shown that the very slave-trade was only abolished on paper. That like
a giant monster, that hideous traffic laughed at our enactments, and
laughs at them still, having nearly quadrupled the number of its
annual victims since the great contest against it was begun. But among
those whose voice and spirit have been in fixed and perpetual
operation against this vile cannibal commerce, none have more
effectually exercised their influence than James Montgomery. His poem,
arrayed in all the charms and graces of his noble art, has been read
by every genuine lover of genuine poetry. It has sunk into the
generous heart of youth; and who shall say in how many it has been in
after-years the unconscious yet actual spring of that manly demand for
the extinction of the wrongs of the African, which all good men in
England, and wherever the English language is read, still make, and
will make till it be finally accomplished. What fame of genius can be
put in competition with the profound satisfaction of a mind conscious
of the godlike privilege of aiding in the happiness of man in all ages
and regions of the earth, and feeling that it has done that by giving
to its thoughts the power and privileges of a spirit, able to enter
all houses at all hours, and stimulate brave souls to the bravest
deeds of the heroism of humanity?

There are great charms of verse displayed in the poem of The West
Indies. One would scarcely have believed the subject of the
slave-trade capable of them. But the genial, glowing descriptions of
the West-Indian islands, of the torrid magnificence of the interior of
Africa--

    "Regions immense, unsearchable, unknown--
    Amid the splendors of the solar zone;
    A world of wonders,--where creation seems
    No more the work of Nature, but her dreams,--
    Great, wild, and wonderful."

The white villains of Europe, desecrating the name of
Christian--Spaniards, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Dutchmen, Danes, and
Portuguese, all engaged in the brutal traffic, are all sketched with
the same vigorous pencil; but the portraiture of the Creole is a
master-piece, and I quote it because it still is not a mere picture,
but a dreadful reality in the shape of Brazilian and North American,
on which the humane can not too fully reflect. If any one would see
all that is here described, he has only now to make a ten days'
voyage, and he will see it on an enormous scale in the southern states
of the _Free_ Republic of North America, as well as on the plains
of the more torrid south.

    "Lives there a reptile baser than the slave?
    --Lothsome as death, corrupted as the grave;
    See the dull Creole, at his pompous board,
    Attendant vassals cringing round their lord;
    Satiate with food, his heavy eyelids close,
    Voluptuous minions fan him to repose;
    Prone on the noonday couch he lolls in vain,
    Delirious slumbers mock his maudlin brain;
    He starts in horror from bewildering dreams;
    His bloodshot eye with fire and frenzy gleams;
    He stalks abroad; through all his wonted rounds,
    The negro trembles, and the lash resounds,
    And cries of anguish, thrilling through the air,
    To distant fields his dread approach declare.
    Mark, as he passes, every head reclined;
    Then slowly raised--to curse him from behind.
    This is the veriest wretch on nature's face,
    Owned by no country, spurned by every race;
    The tethered tyrant of one narrow span;
    The bloated vampire of a living man:
    His frame,--a fungus form of dunghill birth,
    That taints the air, and rots above the earth;
    His soul;--has _he_ a soul, whose sensual breast
    Of selfish passions is a serpent's nest?
    Who follows headlong, ignorant and blind,
    The vague, brute instincts of an idiot mind;
    Whose heart 'mid scenes of suffering senseless grown,
    Even from his mother's lap was chilled to stone;
    Whose torpid pulse no social feelings move;
    A stranger to the tenderness of love;
    His motley harem charms his gloating eye,
    Where ebon, brown, and olive beauties vie:
    His children, sprung alike from sloth and vice,
    Are born his slaves, and loved at market price:
    Has _he_ a soul?--With his departing breath
    A form shall hail him at the gates of death,
    The specter Conscience,--shrieking through the gloom,
    'Man, we shall meet again beyond the tomb!'"

There are few more pathetic passages in the English language than
these, describing the labors and the extinctions of the Charib
tribes:--

    "The conflict o'er, the valiant in their graves,
    The wretched remnant dwindled into slaves:
    --Condemned in pestilential cells to pine,
    Delving for gold amid the gloomy mine.
    The sufferer, sick of life-protracting breath,
    Inhaled with joy the fire-damp blast of death;
    --Condemned to fell the mountain palm on high,
    That cast its shadow from the evening sky,
    Ere the tree trembled to his feeble stroke,
    The woodman languished, and his heart-strings broke;
    --Condemned in torrid noon, with palsied hand,
    To urge the slow plough o'er the obdurate land,
    The laborer, smitten by the sun's fierce ray,
    A corpse along the unfinished furrow lay.
    O'erwhelmed at length with ignominious toil,
    Mingling their barren ashes with the soil,
    Down to the dust the Charib people passed,
    Like autumn foliage, withering in the blast;
    The whole race sunk beneath the oppressor's rod,
    And left a blank among the works of GOD."

When we bear in mind that these beautiful passages of poetry are not
the mere ornamental descriptions of things gone by and done with;
but that, though races are extinguished, and millions of negroes,
kidnapped to supply their loss, have perished in their misery, the
horrors and outrages of slavery remain, spite of all we have done to
put an end to them,--we can not too highly estimate the productions of
the muse which are devoted to the cause of these children of misery
and sorrow, nor too often return to their perusal. According to the
calculations of the Anti-slavery Society, there were, half-a-century
ago, when the anti-slavery operations began, _from two to three
millions of slaves in the world_; there are now said to be FROM SIX
TO SEVEN MILLIONS! There were then calculated to be _one hundred
thousand slaves annually ravished from Africa_; there are now
calculated to be FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND ANNUALLY! With these awful
facts before us, I fear it will be long before the eloquent appeals of
such writers as Montgomery and Cowper will cease to possess a living
interest.

In the World before the Flood, and Greenland, the same great purpose
of serving the cause of virtue is equally conspicuous. The one relates
the contests and triumphs of the good over the vicious in the
antediluvian ages, and is full of the evidences of a fine imagination
and a lofty piety. Many think this the greatest of Mr. Montgomery's
productions. It abounds with beauties which we must not allow
ourselves to particularize here. In Greenland he celebrates the
missionary labors of the body to which his parents and his brother
belonged. In the Pelican Island he quitted his favorite versification,
the heroic, in which he displays so much force and harmony, and
employed blank verse. There is less human interest in this poem, but
it is, perhaps, the most philosophical of his writings, and gives
great scope to his imaginative and descriptive powers. He imagines
himself as a sort of spiritual existence, watching the progress of the
population of the world, from its inanimate state till it was thronged
with men, and the savage began to think, and to be prepared for the
visitation of the Gospel messengers of peace and knowledge. It may be
imagined that vast opportunity is given for the recital of the
wonders, awful and beautiful, of the various realms of nature--the
growth of coral islands and continents in the sea, and the varied
developments of life on the land. The last scene, with a noble savage
and his grandchild, in which the old man is smitten with a sense of
his immortality, and of the presence of God, and praying, is followed
in his act of devotion by the child, is very fine. But I must only
allow myself to quote, as a specimen of the style of this poem, so
different to all others by the same author, one of its opening
passages already referred to.

    "I was a Spirit in the midst of these,
    All eye, ear, thought; existence was enjoyment;
    Light was an element of life, and air
    The clothing of my incorporeal form,--
    A form impalpable to mortal touch,
    And volatile as fragrance from the flower,
    Or music in the woodlands. What the soul
    Can make itself at pleasure, that I was
    A child in feeling and imagination;
    Learning new lessons still, as Nature wrought
    Her wonders in my presence. All I saw,
    Like Adam, when he walked in Paradise,
    I knew and named by surest intuition.
    Actor, spectator, sufferer, each in turn,
    I ranged, explored, reflected. Now I sailed,
    And now I soared; anon, expanding, seemed
    Diffused into immensity, yet bound
    Within a space too narrow for desire.
    The mind, the mind, perpetual themes must task,
    Perpetual power impel, and hope allure.
    I and the silent sun were here alone,
    But not companions: high and bright he held
    His course: I gazed with admiration on him--
    There all communion ended; and I sighed
    To feel myself a wanderer without aim,
    An exile amid splendid desolation,
    A prisoner with infinitude surrounded."

James Montgomery was born November 4th, 1771, in the little town of
Irvine, in Ayrshire; a place which has also had the honor of giving
birth to John Galt, and of being for about six months the abode of
Robert Burns, when a youth, who was sent there to learn the art and
mystery of flax-dressing, but his master's shop being burned, he
quitted Irvine and that profession at the same time. The house in
which Burns resided does not seem to be now very positively known, but
it was in the Glasgow Vennel. The house where Montgomery was born is
well known. It is in Halfway-street, and was pointed out to me by the
zealous admirer and chronicler of all that belongs to genius, Mr.
Maxwell Dick, of Irvine, in whose possession are some of the most
interesting of the autograph copies of Burns's Poems, especially the
Cotter's Saturday Night.

The house of Montgomery, at the time of his birth and till his fifth
year, was a very humble one. His father was the Moravian minister
there, and probably had not a large congregation. We know how the
ministers of this pious people will labor on in the most physically or
morally desolate scene, if they can hope but to win one soul. The
cottage is now inhabited by a common weaver, and consists of two rooms
only, on the ground-floor, one of which is occupied by the loom. The
chapel, which used to stand opposite, is now pulled down. This cottage
stands in a narrow alley, back from the street. Mr. Dick said he
accompanied Mr. Montgomery, some years ago, to this lowly cottage of
his birth, and that no sooner had he entered the first room, which
used to be, as it is still, the sitting-room, than the memory of his
childhood came strongly back upon him, and he sat down and recounted
various things which he recollected of the apartment, and of what had
taken place in it.

Yet, as we have said, he was sent thence in his fifth year to Grace
hill, a settlement still of the Moravian Brethren, near Ballymony, in
the county of Antrim, in Ireland; and in which the poet, I believe,
has at present a niece residing. In the following year he was again
removed to the seminary of the Brethren at Fulneck, in Yorkshire. Soon
after this his parents were sent out as missionaries to the West
Indies, to preach to the poor slave the consoling doctrine of another
and a better world, "where the wretched hear not the voice of the
oppressor," and "where the servant is free from his master." There
they both died. One lies in the island of Barbadoes, the other in
Tobago.

        "Beneath the lion-star they sleep,
        Beyond the western deep,
    And when the sun's noon-glory crests the waves,
    He shines without a shadow on their graves."

In the Fulneck academy, among a people remarkable for their ardor in
religion, and their industry in the pursuit of useful learning, James
Montgomery received his education. He was intended for the ministry,
and his preceptors were every way competent to the task of preparing
him for the important office for which he was designed. His studies
were various: the French, German, Latin, and Greek languages; history,
geography, and music: but a desire to distinguish himself as a poet
among his school-fellows, soon interfered with the plan laid out for
him. When ten years old he began to write verses, and continued to do
it with unabated ardor till the period when he quitted Fulneck in
1787; they were chiefly on religious subjects.

This early devotion to poetry, irresistible as it was, he was wont
himself to regard as the source of many troubles. That it retarded his
improvement at school, and finally altered his destination in life,
seducing him to exchange an almost monastic seclusion from society,
for the hurry and bustle of a world, which, for a time, seemed
disposed to repay him but ill for the sacrifice. We can not think that
his opinions of this change remain the same now. In whatever character
James Montgomery had performed his allotted work in this world, I am
persuaded that he would have performed it with the same conscientious
steadfastness. In his heart, the spirit of his pious parents, and of
that society in which he was educated, would have made him a faithful
servant of that Master whom he has so sincerely served. Whether he had
occupied a pulpit here, or had gone out to preach Christianity in some
far-off and savage land, he would have been the same man, faithful and
devout. But it may well be questioned whether in any other vocation he
could have been a tenth part as successfully useful as he has been.
There was need of him in the world, and he was sent thither, spite of
parentage, education, and himself There was a talent committed to him
that is not committed to all. He was to be a minister of God, but it
was to be from the hallowed chair of poetry, and not from the pulpit.
There was a voice to be raised against slavery and vice, and that
voice was to perpetuate itself on the rhythmical page, and to kindle
thousands of hearts with the fire of religion and liberty long after
his own was cold. There was a niche reserved for him in the temple of
poetry, which no other could occupy. It was that of a bard who,
freeing his most religious lays from dogmas, should diffuse the love
of religion by the religion of love. He himself has shown how well he
knew his appointed business, and how sacredly he had resolved to
discharge it, when, in A Theme for a Poet, he asks,--

              "What monument of mind
    Shall I bequeath to deathless fame,
    That after-times may love my name?"

And after detailing the characteristics of the principal poets of the
age, he adds:--

    "Transcendent masters of the lyre!
    Not to your honors I aspire;
      Humbler, yet higher views
    Have touched my spirit into flame;
    The pomp of fiction I disclaim:
      Fair Truth! be thou my muse:
    Reveal in splendor deeds obscure--
    Abase the proud, exalt the poor.

    "I sing the men who left their home,
    Amid barbarian tribes to roam,
      Who land and ocean crossed,--
    Led by a loadstar, marked on high
    By Faith's unseen, all-seeing eye,--
      To seek and save the lost;
    Where'er the curse on Adam spread.
    To call his offspring from the dead.

    "Strong in the great Redeemer's name,
    They bore the cross, despised the shame;
      And, like their Master here,
    Wrestled with danger, pain, distress,
    Hunger, and cold, and nakedness,
      And every form of fear;
    To feel his love their only joy.
    To tell that love their sole employ."

The highest ambition of James Montgomery was, then, to do that by his
pen which his brethren did by word of mouth. He had not abandoned that
great object to which he had as an orphan been, as it were, dedicated
by those good men in whose hands he had been left; he had only changed
the mode of attaining it. At the very time that he quitted their
tranquil asylum and broke forth into the world, he was, unknown to
himself and them, following the unseen hand of Heaven. His lot was
determined, and it was not to go forth into the wilderness of the
north or south, of Labrador or South Africa, but of the active world
of England. There wanted a bold voice, of earnest principle, to be
raised against great oppressions; a spirit of earnest duty, to be
infused into the heart of poetic literature; and a tone of heavenly
faith and confidence given to the popular harp, for which thousands of
hearts were listening in vain; and he was the man. That was the work
of life assigned to him. He was to be still of the UNITAS
FRATRUM--still a missionary;--and how well has he fulfilled his
mission!

Fulneck, the chief settlement of the Moravian Brethren in England, at
which we have seen that Montgomery continued till his sixteenth year,
is about eight miles from Leeds. It was built about 1760, which was
near the time of the death of Count Zinzendorf. It was then in a fine
and little inhabited country. It is now in a country as populous as a
town, full of tall chimneys vomiting out enormous masses of soot,
rather than smoke, and covering the landscape as with an eternal veil
of black mist. The villages are like towns, for extent. Stone and
smoke are equally abundant. Stone houses, door-posts, window-frames,
stone floors, and stone stairs, nay, the very roofs are covered with
stone slabs, and when they are new, are the most complete drab
buildings. The factories are the same. Where windows are stopped up,
it is with stone slabs. The fences to the fields are stone walls, and
the gate-posts are stone, and the stiles are stones, reared so close
to one another, that it is tight work getting through them. Not a bit
of wood is to be seen, except the doors, water-spouts, and huge
water-butts, which are often hoisted in front of the house, on the
level of the second floor, on strong stone rests. The walls, as well
as wooden frames in the fields, are clothed with long pieces of cloth,
like horses, and women stand mending holes or smoothing off knots in
them, as they hang. Troops of boys and girls come out of the factories
at meal-times, as blue as so many little blue devils--hands, faces,
clothes, all blue, from weaving the fresh-dyed yarn. The older
mill-girls go cleaner and smarter, all with colored handkerchiefs tied
over their heads, chiefly bright red ones, and look very continental.
Dirty rows of children sit on dirty stone door-sills, and there are
strong scents of oat-cake and Genoa oil, and oily yarn. There is a
general smut of blackness over all, even in the very soil and dust.
And Methodist chapels--Salems and Ebenezers--are seen on all hands.
Who, that has ever been into a cloth-weaving district, does not see
the place and people?

Well, up to the very back of Fulneck, throng these crowds and
attributes of cloth manufacturing. Leaving the coach and the
high-road, I walked on three miles to the left, through this busy
smoke-land, and a large village, and then over some fields. Everywhere
were the features of a fine country, but like the features o the
people, full of soot, and with volumes of vapor rolling over it.
Coming, at length, to the back of a hill, I saw emerging, close under
my feet, a long row of stately roofs, with a belfry or cupola, crowned
with a vane in the center. These were the roofs of the Moravian
settlement of Fulneck, the back of which was toward me, and the front
toward a fine valley, on the opposite slope of which were fine woods,
and a fine old brick mansion. That is the house, and that the estate
of a Mr. Tempest, who will have no manufactory on his land. This is
the luckiest tempest that ever was heard of; for it keeps a good open
space in front of Fulneck clear, though it is elbowed up at each end,
and backed up behind with factories, and work-people's houses; and
even beyond Mr. Tempest's estate, you see other tall, soot-vomiting
chimneys rearing themselves on other ridges; and the eternal veil of
Cimmerian smoke-mist floats over the fair, ample, and beautifully
wooded valley, lying between the settlement and these swarthy
apparitions of the manufacturing system, which seem to long to step
forward and claim all--ay, and finally to turn Fulneck into a
weaving-mill, as they probably will, one day.

The situation, were it not for these circumstances, is fine. It has
something monastic about it. The establishment consists of one range
of buildings, though built at various times. There are the school,
chapel, master's house, etc., in the center, of stone, and a sister's
and brother's house, of brick, at each end, with various cottages
behind. A fine broad terrace-walk extends along the front, a furlong
in length, being the length of the buildings, from which you may form
a conception of the stately scale of the place, which is one-eighth of
a mile long. From this descend the gardens, playgrounds, etc., down
the hill for a great way, and private walks are thence continued as
far again, to the bottom of the valley, where they are further
continued along the brook-side, among the deep woodlands. The valley
is called the Tong Valley; the brook, the Tong; and Mr. Tempest's
house, on the opposite slope, Tonghall.

At the left hand, and as you stand in front of the building, looking
over the valley, lies the burial-ground, or, as they would call it in
Germany, the "Friedhof," or court of peace. It reminded me much of
that of Herrnhut, except that it descends from you, instead of
ascending. It is covered with a rich green turf, is planted round and
down the middle with sycamore-trees, and has a cross-walk, not two or
three, like Herrnhut. I asked Mr. Wilson, the director, who walked
with me, whether this arrangement had not, originally, a
meaning--these walks forming a cross. He said he believed it had, and
that the children were buried in a line, extending each way from the
center perpendicular walk, along the cross-walk, from a sentimental
feeling that they were thus laid peculiarly in the arms of Jesus, and
in the protection of his cross. The grave-stones are laid flat, just
as at Herrnhut, and of the same size and fashion. Here, however, we
miss that central row of venerable tombs, of the Zinzendorf family,
and those simple memorial stones lying around them, every one of which
bears a name of patriarchal renown in the annals of this society of
devoted Christians. Yet, even here, we can not avoid feeling that we
walk amid the ashes of the faithful descendants of one of the most
remarkable and most ancient branches of God's church, whose history
Montgomery has so impressively sketched in a few lines:--

    "When Europe languished in barbarian gloom,
    Beneath the ghostly tyranny of Rome,
    Whose second empire, cowled and mitred, burst
    A phoenix from the ashes of the first;
    From persecution's piles, by bigots fired,
    Among Bohemian mountains Truth retired.
    There, mid rude rocks, in lonely glens obscure,
    She found a people, scattered, scorned, and poor;
    A little flock through quiet valleys led,
    A Christian Israel in the desert fed;
    While roaming wolves that scorned the shepherd's hand,
    Laid waste God's heritage through every land.
    With those the lonely exile sojourned long;
    Soothed by her presence, solaced by her song,
    They toiled through danger, trials, and distress,
    A band of virgins in the wilderness,
    With burning lamps amid their secret bowers,
    Counting the watches of the weary hours,
    In patient hope the Bridegroom's voice to hear,
    And see his banner in the clouds appear.
    But when the morn returning chased the night,
    These stars that shone in darkness, sunk in light.
    Luther, like Phosphor, led the conquering day,
    His meek forerunners waned, and passed away.

    "Ages rolled by; the turf perennial bloomed
    O'er the lorn relics of those saints entombed:
    No miracle proclaimed their power divine,
    No kings adorned, no pilgrims kissed their shrine;
    Cold, and forgotten, in their grave they slept:
    But God remembered them:--their Father kept
    A faithful remnant; o'er their native clime
    His Spirit moved in his appointed time;
    The race revived at his almighty breath,
    A seed to serve him from the dust of death.
    'Go forth, my sons, through heathen realms proclaim
    Mercy to sinners in a Savior's name.'
    Thus spoke the Lord; they heard and they obeyed.
    --Greenland lay wrapped in nature's heaviest shade;
    Thither the ensign of the cross they bore;
    The gaunt barbarians met them on the shore
    With joy and wonder, hailing from afar,
    Through polar storms, the light of Jacob's star."

The internal arrangements of the establishment are just the same as at
all their settlements. The chapel, very much like a Friends' meeting,
only having an organ; and the bedrooms of the children as large,
ventilated from the roof, and furnished with the same rows of single,
curtainless beds, with white coverlets, reminding you of the
sleeping-rooms of a nunnery.

My reception, though I took no introduction, was most kind and
cordial. The brethren and sisters were well acquainted with the
writings of both Mrs. Howitt and myself, and, of course, with our
visit to Herrnhut. They have here about seventy boys and fifty girls,
as pupils, who had just returned from the midsummer holydays, and
were, many of them, very busy in their gardens. As I heard their merry
voices, and caught the glance of their bright, eager eyes among the
trees, I wondered how many would look back hereafter to this quiet,
sweet place, and exclaim, with the poet who first met the muse here--

    "Days of my childhood, hail!
    Whose gentle spirits wandering here,
    Down in the visionary vale
    Before mine eyes appear,
    Benignly pensive, beautifully pale:
    O days forever fled, forever dear,
    Days of my childhood, hail!"

When Montgomery removed from Fulneck, says a memoir, to which the poet
has directed my attention as accurate in its facts, the views of his
friends were so far changed, that we find him placed by them in a
retail shop, at Mirfield, near Wakefield. Here, though he was treated
with great kindness, and had only too little business, and too much
leisure to attend to his favorite pursuit, he became exceedingly
disconsolate, and after remaining in his new situation about a year
and a half, he privately absconded, and with less than five shillings
in his pocket, and the wide world before him, began his career in
pursuit of fame and fortune. His ignorance of mankind, the result of
his retired and religious education; the consequent simplicity of his
manners, and his forlorn appearance, exposed him to the contempt of
some, and to the compassion of others to whom he applied. The
brilliant bubble of patronage, wealth, and celebrity, which floated
before his imagination, soon burst, and on the fifth day of his
travels, he found a situation similar to the one he had left, at the
village of Wath, near Rotherham. A residence in London was the object
of his ambition; but wanting the means to carry him thither, he
resolved to remain in the country till he could procure them.
Accordingly, he wrote to his friends among the Moravian Brethren, whom
he had forsaken, requesting them to recommend him to his new master,
conscious that they had nothing to allege against him, excepting the
imprudent step of separating himself from them; and not being under
articles at Mirfield, he besought them not to compel him to return. He
received from them the most generous propositions of forgiveness, and
an establishment more congenial to his wishes. This he declined,
frankly explaining the causes of his late melancholy, but concealing
the ambitious motives which had secretly prompted him to withdraw from
their benevolent protection. Finding him unwilling to yield, they
supplied his immediate necessities, and warmly recommended him to the
kindness of the master he had chosen. It was this master, with whom he
remained only twelve months, that, many years afterward, in the most
calamitous period of Montgomery's life, sought him out amid his
misfortunes, not for the purpose of offering consolation only, but of
serving him substantially by every means in his power. The interview
which took place between the old man and his former servant, the
evening previous to his trial at Doncaster, will ever live in the
remembrance of him who could forget an injury, but not a kindness. No
father could have evinced a greater affection for a darling son; the
tears he shed were honorable to his feelings, and were the best
testimony to the conduct and integrity of James Montgomery.

From Wath he removed to London, having prepared his way by sending a
volume of his manuscript poems to Mr. Harrison, then a bookseller in
Paternoster-row. Mr. Harrison, who was a man of correct taste and
liberal disposition, received him into his house, and gave him the
greatest encouragement to cultivate his talents, but none to publish
his poems; seeing, as he observed, no probability that the author
would acquire either fame or fortune by appearing at that time before
the public. The remark was just; but it conveyed the most unexpected
and afflicting information to our youthful poet, who yet knew little
of the world, except from books, and who had permitted his imagination
to be dazzled with the accounts which he had read of the splendid
success and magnificent patronage which poets had formerly
experienced. He was so disheartened by this circumstance, that, on
occasion of a misunderstanding with Mr. Harrison, he, at the end of
eight months, quitted the metropolis, and returned to Wath, where he
was received with a hearty welcome by his former employer. While in
London, having been advised to turn his attention to prose, as more
profitable than verse, he composed an Eastern story, which he took one
evening to a publisher in the east end of the town. Being directed
through the shop, to the private room of the great man, he presented
his manuscript in form. The prudent bookseller read the title, marked
the number of pages, counted the lines in a page, and made a
calculation of the whole; then, turning to the author, who stood in
astonishment at this summary mode of deciding on the merit of a work
of imagination, he very civilly returned the copy, saying, "Sir, your
manuscript is too small--it won't do for me--take it to K----, he
publishes those kind of things." Montgomery retreated with so much
confusion from the presence of the bookseller, that in passing through
the shop, he dashed his unfortunate head against a patent lamp, broke
the glass, spilled the oil, and making an awkward apology to the
shopmen, who stood tittering behind the counter, to the no small
mortification of the poor author, he rushed into the street, equally
unable to restrain his vexation or his laughter, and retired to his
home, filled with chagrin at this ludicrous and untoward misfortune.

From Wath, where Montgomery had sought only a temporary residence, he
removed in 1792, and engaged himself with Mr. Gales of Sheffield, who
then printed a newspaper, in which popular politics were advocated
with great zeal and ability. To this paper he contributed essays and
verses occasionally; but though politics sometimes engaged the service
of his hand, the muses had his whole heart, and he sedulously
cultivated their favor; though no longer with those false, yet
animating hopes, which formerly stimulated his exertions. In 1794,
when Mr. Gales left England, a gentleman, to whom Montgomery was an
almost entire stranger, enabled him to undertake the publication of
the paper on his own account: but it was a perilous situation on which
he entered; the vengeance which was ready to burst upon his
predecessor, soon fell upon him.

At the present day it would scarcely be believed, were it not to be
found in the records of a court of justice, that in 1795, Montgomery
was convicted of a libel on the war then carrying on between Great
Britain and France, by publishing, at the request of a stranger whom
he had never seen before, a song written by a clergyman of Belfast,
_nine months before the war began_. This fact was admitted in the
court; and though the name of this country did not occur in the libel,
nor was there a single note or comment of any kind whatever affixed to
the original words, which were composed at the time and in censure of
the Duke of Brunswick's proclamation and march to Paris, he was
pronounced _guilty_, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment,
and a fine of £20. Mr. M. A. Taylor presided on this occasion. The
first verdict delivered by the jury, after an hour's deliberation, was
"_Guilty of publishing_." This verdict, tantamount to an
acquittal, they were directed to reconsider, and to deduce the
malicious intention, not from the circumstances attending the
publication, but from the words of the song. Another hour's
deliberation produced the general verdict of "_Guilty_." This
transaction requires no comment.

Scarcely had Montgomery returned to his home, when he was again called
upon to answer for another offense. A riot took place in the streets
of Sheffield, in which, unfortunately, two men were shot by the
military. In the warmth of his feelings he detailed the dreadful
occurrence in his paper. The details were deemed a libel, and he was
again sentenced to six months' imprisonment, and a fine of thirty
pounds. The magistrate who prosecuted him on this occasion is now
dead, and Montgomery would be the last man in the world who could
permit any thing to be said here, in justification of himself, which
might seem to cast a reflection on the memory of one, who afterward
treated him with the most friendly attention, and promoted his
interest by every means in his power.

The active imagination of Montgomery had induced him to suppose that
the deprivation of liberty was the loss of every earthly good; in
confinement he learned another lesson, and he bore it with fortitude
and cheerfulness. In York Castle he had opportunities of amusement, as
well as leisure for study; and he found kindness, consolation, and
friendship within the walls of a prison. During confinement he wrote,
and prepared for the press, a volume of poems, which he published, in
1797, under the title of Prison Amusements; but his spirits and hopes
were now so broken that he made no exertion to recommend this work to
the public.

I went in August, 1845, to visit York Castle, with the particular
object of seeing the room which Montgomery occupied during his last
imprisonment, and where he wrote the Prison Amusements, and by his own
description of it corrected a curious mistake which the keepers had
made. "The room which I occupied," said Mr. Montgomery to me, "is up
stairs, and is distinguished by a round window between two Ionic
pillars, at the end of the building nearest to the city and Clifford's
Tower, and facing the courthouse." On requesting the turnkey to show
me that as the room where Montgomery had been confined, he assured me
that it was not the room, but the true place was the corresponding
room at the opposite end of the building. It was not easy to persuade
him. He went to the gatekeeper, who supported his view of the case,
assuring me that his father was turnkey at the time, and that it was
well known, and had been always shown as Montgomery's room. There
could be no mistake. I asked them if they thought it possible that a
man could be shut up six months in a prison, and after fifty years
could give so exact a description of the spot as Montgomery had given
me--showing the above identification in my note-book, as written down
from Montgomery's statement at the moment--and be mistaken? But men in
authority are not readily convinced. What! could all the clever
turnkeys of York Castle, for fifty years almost to a day, have been
showing a wrong room to thousands of visitors? Impossible! I was
therefore obliged to bring another impossibility to render their
impossibility more impossible, and that was the impossibility of
seeing through, not merely a stone wall, but a stone house. I told
them that Montgomery said that he could see the meadows along the Ouse
from his window; and that such intense longings for liberty did the
sight of people taking their walks there daily give him, that the
moment he was liberated he hurried out of the court, descended to the
Ouse, and perambulated its banks just where he had seen the people so
often walking. This was a poser. It was only from the window described
by Montgomery that any such view could be obtained. Facing it, was
merely the court wall, over which the river could be seen; but facing
the other window stood the court-house--that was a terribly stout
impossibility; and so the lords of locks and bolts gave up the point,
and said, "Well, it was very odd that every body should have been
wrong for fifty years, and that the room should be wrong--how
_could_ it have got wrong?" That is an interesting question,
which, perhaps, in the course of the next half-century their united
wisdom may contrive to set right.

The castle is a spacious affair. It consists of buildings of different
dates and styles, and an ample court. No part of it is old, except a
large round tower, called Clifford's Tower, which stands on a mount
just within the walls. The rest consists of four buildings. One is the
court-house, in which the county assizes are held, parallel with the
river Ouse, from which it is but a few hundred yards distant. Opposite
to this is what was once the felons' and crown-prisoners' prison; a
building with several Ionic columns in the center, and two at each
end. This is now chiefly occupied by a turnkey's family, and the
female prisoners. The large area between these buildings is closed at
one end by the debtors' prison, and at the other by Clifford's Tower.
Between the tower and the turnkey's house just mentioned, stands the
new felons' prison. This, as well as the outer court walls and
entrance-gate, is built of solid stone in castellated style. The room
occupied by Montgomery is now in the turnkey's house, and is the
bedroom of the servant.

The felons' prison is much in the shape of a fan, forming alternate
ranges of cells and court-yards, where the prisoners walk in the
daytime. The assizes being just over, there were scarcely any
prisoners in the jail except those convicted and awaiting their
punishments, of which none were capital, but most of them
transportation. These men were all clothed in the convict's dress, a
jacket and trowsers of coarse cloth, of broad green and yellow check.
They were mostly basking in the sun in groups, on the pavement of
their respective court-yards, and appeared any thing but sad. The
whole prison seemed as if hewed out of solid stone; and everywhere
were gates of iron, closing with a clang and a twank of the lock
behind you, which must sound any thing but cheering to a prisoner just
conducted in. The openings into the different court-yards were filled
with massy iron railing; and the pavements, walls, every thing else,
was one mass of solid stone. Many of the stones in the wall were nine
feet long, and of proportionate quadrature. The chapel presented a
range of partitions with strong bars, as for a wild beast's den, in
front, and doors behind, so that the prisoners from separate cells are
let in there, and can not get sight of each other. The partition for
the women is boarded up in front, so that they are quite unseen,
except to the preacher. The windows were everywhere, as it were, a
complete network of knotted iron bars; and the dining-rooms of the
prisoners were those long winding passages of massy stone, along which
we went to their cells. In these, with the iron gates locked behind
them, they stand at a long, narrow board fixed to the wall, about the
width of a plate, and take their meals. No place surely was at once so
clean, and so hopelessly ponderous and strong. The very idea of it
seemed to weigh on one like a nightmare, and make one stretch ourself,
as for a sense of freedom.

The few women who were in prison, were, of course, convicts. They all
rose at our entrance into their room, where they were all together,
and courtesied very respectfully, and if one were to judge from their
countenances, we could not think them very criminal. The men seemed
hardy, reckless, and inclined to be insolent, for every word uttered
in passing along these courts of solid stone was flung back from wall
to wall, and was heard in the remotest corners; and more than once, we
heard the convicts take up our words, imitate them in a burlesque
style, and then join in laughter at their own audacity. There were
numbers of them that we should not be glad to meet in a solitary wood.
But the women, had I not known that they were convicts, I should have
regarded as a set of as decent, modest, and honest women of the
working class as one usually sees. There was no expression of hardened
guilt or gross depravity about them. A thoroughly debased woman is one
of the most revolting objects in creation; but how rarely is woman's
nature so thoroughly degraded! How long do the feminine qualities of
gentleness and amiability outlive in them the temptations and
incentives to crime! How often are they the tools and victims of men,
and how often and readily might they be called back from error to the
purest and most devoted virtue!

The beds of all the prisoners were laid on iron frames, supported on
solid stones, so that they could cut no wood from them for any
purposes of escape. Everywhere, above and below, all was stone, stone,
solid stone, and bars of massy iron; and yet out of even this place
there have been escapes.

But the most extraordinary scene in the whole place is an iron cage in
the lobby of the keeper's house, containing the irons of the most
signal malefactors, and the weapons with which they committed their
murders. There are Dick Turpin's shackles, with a massy bar of iron,
about two feet long, and more than twenty-eight pounds' weight, which
were put on his legs when he had twice escaped out of the castle; and
a girdle of iron to put round his waist, with chains and iron
handcuffs for his hands. There is the most horrid collection of
hedge-stakes, huge and knotted pieces of rails, of pokers, and
hammers, of guns, and knives, and razors, with which murders have been
perpetrated, each of which the jailer relates. There is a huge piece
of a spar and a heavy stone with which one murderer destroyed his
victim. The stakes with which three men knocked out the brains of
another in a wood. There is a stone, I suppose ten pounds' weight, at
least, hanging by the cord which a mother put round the neck of her
infant, and sunk it to the bottom of a pond. There is a piece of the
skull of Daniel Clarke, murdered, as it is said, by Eugene Aram; and
hats battered in, or shot through by the assassin. There are iron
bludgeons terminated with knobs of lead, to conceal under coats; and
crowbars bent at the end, to force open doors. These, with the casts
of the heads of some of the most noted murderers, form a sufficiently
horrible spectacle. It is a history of human ferocity and guilt,
actually written in iron and in blood, which still dyes the dreadful
instruments of its perpetration with its dismal rust of death.
Escaping from this exhibition, I did not do as one of the visitors
said he must go and do--get a stout glass of brandy to rid him of his
queerness,--but I did as Montgomery did on escaping from the
prison,--went and walked along the footpath by the Ouse, under the
noble elms which he had so often seen waving in their greenness from
his cell.

From the period of his imprisonment in this place, Mr. Montgomery has
continued to reside in Sheffield. For the long period of
half-a-century he has been essentially bound up with the literary and
social progress of the place. Editing, for the greater part of that
period, the Iris newspaper, on which his name and writings conferred a
popular celebrity; and from time to time sending forth one of his
volumes of poetry, there is no question that the influence of his
taste and liberal opinions has been greatly instrumental in the growth
of that spirit of intelligence and moral culture which highly
distinguish Sheffield. With the religious world, as was to be
expected, James Montgomery has always stood in high esteem, and in the
most friendly relation. The names of Montgomery and Sheffield will
always mutually present each other to the mind of the man of taste.
Through his own exertions, the proceeds of his pen, and a small
pension of £150 a-year, in testimony of his poetic merit, the poor
orphan who set out from the little shop at Mirfield to seek fame and
fortune with less than five shillings in his pocket, has now for some
years retired to an enjoyment of both; and no man ever reached the
calm sunshine of life's evening with a purer reputation, or a larger
share of the grateful affection of his townsmen, or of the honor of
his countrymen in general. One of his oldest friends, from whose
written statements I have been enabled to draw some of the facts here
given, has sketched the following well merited character of James
Montgomery: "It may be said, that nature never infused into a human
composition a greater portion of kindness and general philanthropy. A
heart more sensibly alive to every better, as well as every finer
feeling, never beat in a human breast. Perhaps no two individuals, in
manners, pursuits, character, and composition, ever more exactly
corresponded with each other, than Montgomery and Cowper. The same
benevolence of heart, the same modesty of deportment, the same purity
of life, the same attachment to literary pursuits, the same fondness
for solitude and retirement from the public haunts of men; and to
complete the picture, the same ardent feeling in the cause of
religion, and the same disposition to gloom and melancholy. His
person, which is rather below the middle stature, is neatly formed;
his features have the general expression of simplicity and
benevolence, rendered more interesting by a hue of melancholy that
pervades them. When animated by conversation, his eye is uncommonly
brilliant, and his whole countenance is full of intelligence. He
possesses great command of language; his observations are those of an
acute and penetrating mind, and his expressions are frequently
strikingly metaphorical and eloquent. By all who see and converse with
him he is esteemed; by all who know him, he is beloved."

Strangers visiting Sheffield will have a natural curiosity to see
where Montgomery so many years resided, and whence he sent forth his
poems and his politics. That spot is in the Hartshead; one of the most
singular situations for such a man and purpose often to be met with.
Luckily, it is in the center of the town, and not far to seek. Going
up the High-street, various passages under the houses lead to one
common center--the Hartshead, a sort of _cul de sac_, having no
carriage-road through, but only one into it, and that not from the
main street. The shop, which used to be the Iris office, is of an odd
ogee shape, at the end of a row of buildings. It has huge ogee-shaped
windows, with great, dark-green shutters. The door is at the corner,
making it a three-cornered shop. It is now a pawnbroker's shop, the
door and all round hung with old garments. The shelves are piled with
bundles of pawned clothes, ticketed. The houses round this strange,
hidden court, in which it stands, are nearly all public houses, as the
Dove, and Rainbow, and the like, with low eating-houses, and dens of
pettifogging lawyers. From what funny corners do poetic lucubrations,
to say nothing of political ones, sometimes issue! The Hartshead seems
just one of that sort of places in which the singular orgies of the
working children of Sheffield, traced out by the Commissioners of
Inquiry into the condition of children and young persons in the
manufacturing districts, are held. "There are beer-houses," says the
Rev. Mr. Farish, "attended by youths exclusively, for the men will not
have them in the same houses with themselves. In those beer-houses the
youths of both sexes are encouraged to meet, and scenes destructive of
every vestige of virtue or morality ensue."

The sub-commissioner visited several of these places, attended by a
policeman. He says: "We commenced our visits at about half-past nine
at night. In the first place we entered, there were two rows of
visitors along each side of the room, amounting to forty or fifty.
They were almost entirely boys and girls under seventeen years old.
They were sitting together, every boy having apparently his companion
by his side. A tall woman, with one or two attendants, was serving
them with drink, and three or four men were playing on wind
instruments in a corner. Several boys were questioned as to their ages
and occupations. Some were grinders, some hafters, and a few had no
calling which it was convenient to name to the police. Some were as
young as fourteen, but mostly about fifteen or sixteen years old. The
younger children do not usually remain so late at these places. We
visited several others. In some they were singing, in others dancing,
in all drinking. In three successively they were playing at cards,
which the police seized. On one occasion we went into a long and
brilliantly lighted room, of which the ceiling was painted like a
bower. Benches and tables were ranged along the side of each wall.
This place was up a dark and narrow lane, and was crowded with young
people and men and women of notorious character. There must have been
a hundred persons there."

But from a glance at the orgies, which, spite of all that education
and the philanthropist have so long been doing, still are to be found
in the dark purlieus of the manufacturing town, we must hasten to bid
adieu to the poet of religion and refinement. James Montgomery resides
at the Mount, on the Glossop road, the WEST END of Sheffield.
It is, I suppose, at least a mile and a half from the old Iris office,
and is one regular ascent all the way. The situation is lovely, lying
high; and there are many pleasant villas built on the sides of the
hill in their ample pleasure-grounds, the abodes of the wealthy
manufacturers. The Mount, _par excellence_, is the house, or
rather terrace, where Montgomery lives. It is a large building, with a
noble portico of six fine Ionic columns, so that it looks a residence
fit for a prince. It stands in ample pleasure grounds, and looks over
a splendid scene of hills and valleys. The rooms enjoy this fine
prospect over the valleys of the Sheaf and Porter, which, however, was
obscured while I was there with the smoke blowing from the town.

In the drawing-room hangs the portrait of the Incognita, on whom the
beautiful lyric under that title was written, and which may be found
in the same volume as Greenland. As is there stated, he saw the
picture at Leamington; it hung, in fact, in his lodgings, and
completely fascinated his fancy--and no wonder. One may imagine the
poet, continually met on returning from his walks by that "vision of
delight," addressing it in the words of that charming poem.

It is evidently a family portrait, and is no doubt by Lely or Kneller,
probably by the latter; at all events by a master. It is of the size
of life, three-quarters figure; a slender young lady in a pale silk
dress. She is very beautiful, and the expression of her countenance is
extremely amiable. All that Mr. Montgomery could learn from his
landlady was, that it had belonged to Sir Charles Knightly of
Warwickshire; and there can, therefore, be little doubt that this
fascinating creature, fit to inspire any poet, was one of his family.
The landlady, no great judge of either beauty or art, said she was
willing to sell it for _two guineas_, and Montgomery, in a joyful
astonishment, at once paid her the money, and secured the prize.

Below Mr. Montgomery's house, on the other side of the road, lie the
botanic gardens. These stretching down the hillside, lie charmingly.
They are extensive and delightful. The kind and active poet, though in
his seventy-fifth year, would accompany me to see them. You enter by a
sort of Grecian portico, and to the right hand along the top of the
gardens, see a fine long conservatory, in which the palms,
parasitical, and other tropical plants are in the most healthy state.
The curator, a very sensible Scotchman, seemed to have a particular
pleasure in pointing out his plants to us. What struck me most was,
however, not so much the tropical plants, as the size to which he has
cultivated certain plants which we commonly see small. The common,
sweet-scented heliotrope, in a pot, was at least five feet high, and
had a stem quite woody, and at least an inch in diameter. It formed,
in fact, a tree, and being in full bloom, filled all the conservatory
with its odor. The fuchsias were the same, though this is not so
unusual. They were tied up to rods, and reaching to the very roof,
formed archways hung with their crimson blossoms. The scarlet
geraniums were the same; had stems nearly as thick as one's wrist, and
were not, I suppose, less than twelve feet high. How much superior to
the dwarf state in which we usually keep this magnificent plant! The
curator said that they cut all the side branches from these plants
quite close, in the autumn or early spring, and that they shoot out
afresh and flower.

The gardens themselves are extensive, beautifully varied, richly
stocked, and sloped with fine turf. In one place you come to secluded
waters and thickets; in another to an open wide lawn, all filled with
beds of every imaginable kind of roses in glowing masses; in another,
to the remains of the original forest, with its old trees and heathery
sward; and with fine views over the neighboring valleys in different
directions. It is a most delightful place for walking in, and is
naturally a great resort and luxury of the poet. We traversed it, I
suppose, for a couple of hours in all directions, and talked over a
multitude of poets and poetry. I was glad to find Montgomery as ardent
an admirer of Tennyson and of Moile's State Trials as myself, my
review of the latter poet in the Eclectic having first brought them
under his notice. At the gate of these pleasant gardens I take my
present adieu of James Montgomery, the most genuinely religious poet
of the age. With a wisdom, founded not on calculation, but on a sacred
sense of duty, he had made even his ambition subservient to his
aspirations as a Christian, and he has thus reared for himself a
pedestal in the poetic Walhalla of England peculiarly his own. The
longer his fame endures, and the wider it spreads, the better it will
be for virtue and for man.


[Illustration: Residence near Fiesole]



WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.


Walter Savage Landor is one of the class of fortunate authors. He was
born with the silver spoon in his mouth; and he was far more fortunate
than the host of those who are born thus; he cared little for the
silver spoon of indulgence, and has always been ready to help himself
to his share of the enjoyment of life with the wooden ladle of
exertion. His fortune has given him all those substantial advantages
which fortune can give, and he has despised its corrupting and
effeminating influence. It gave him a first-rate education; a power of
going over the surface of the earth at his pleasure, of seeing all
that is worth seeing at home and abroad, of indulging the real and
true pleasure of surveying the varieties and the sublimities of
scenery, and studying the varieties and genuine condition of man.
Hence his original talents, which were strong, have been strengthened;
his mind, which was naturally broad, has been expanded; his classical
tastes have been perfected by the scenery of classic countries, while
he read the ancient works of those countries, not twisted into
pedantic one-sidedness in monkish institutions of barren learning. To
him classical literature was but the literature of one, though of a
fine portion of the human race. He imbibed it with a feeling of
freshness where it grew, but at the same time he did not avert his
eyes from the world of to-day. It was humanity in its totality which
interested him. Hence the universality of his genius; the healthiness
of his tastes; the soundness of his opinions. In stretching his
inquiries into all corners of the world he loosened himself from the
restrictions of sects, parties, and coteries. Born an aristocrat, he
has nevertheless remained fully conscious of the evils of aristocracy;
educated at the schools and in the bosom of the Established Church, he
is as vividly sensible of the pride and worldliness of the hierarchy
as any dissenter, without the peculiar bigotry and narrowness of
dissent. Born a gentleman, he has felt with and for the poor; being
interested, if men of landed estate are interested, in things
remaining as they are, he has announced himself, in no timid terms,
for advance, liberty, and law for the many.

These are the characteristics of the man and of his works. His prose
and his poetry, his life and his conversation, alike display them. The
man is a man of large and powerful physical frame, of a passionate,
impulsive, yet reflective mind. There is no disguise about him. He
lives, he writes, he talks, from the vigorous strength of this great
and equally developed nature, and you can not be a day in his society
without hearing him enunciate every principle of his action, and much
of its history. His sentiments and doctrines seem continually to
radiate on all around him, from the living central fire of a heart
which feels, as a sacred duty, every great truth, which the mind has
received into its settled conviction. It is therefore astonishing,
after a few hours' conversation with him, to find on opening his works
how much of his philosophy you are acquainted with. But though you
soon learn, through the noble transparency of Landor's nature, what
are his principles of action, you do not soon reach the extent of his
thoughts. Those which play about his great principles, which
illustrate and demonstrate them, are endless in their variety, and
astonish you not the less by their originality than by their
correctness. His extensive range of observation through nature,
through men and things, has stored his mind with an inexhaustible
accumulation of imagery, equally beautiful and effective. Whenever you
meet with similes drawn from life or from nature in Landor's writings,
you may rely upon their accuracy.

The same accuracy marks his conclusions regarding man and society. He
is one of the few who, with the inherited means to distinguish himself
in politics, to ascend in the scale of artificial life, to acquire
fame and wealth by the ordinary means of promotion, has reserved
himself for a higher ambition, that of directing the future rather
than the present, and of living as a philosophical reformer when the
bulk of his cotemporaries are dead forever to this world. For this
purpose he has stood aloof from the movements of the hour; he has
refused to sit in Parliament; he has gone and spent years abroad, when
shallower thinkers would presume the only patriotic position was at
home; and by these means he has qualified himself, in various
countries and various society, but chiefly through the steady use of
his faculties in poring through men and books, and viewing them on all
sides, unfettered by interest and uninfluenced by hope, except that of
arriving at a true knowledge of things, to speak with authority. From
these causes it is that there have been and there are few men who will
so permanently and so beneficially act on the progress of society as
Walter Savage Landor. The independence of his position and of his
nature, his thoroughly high and honorable disposition, seeking truth
and hating meanness, thus aided by the wide sphere of his observation,
stamp upon his experience the characters of indisputable truth and
genuine wisdom. He has no petty bias to any party, any school, any
religious sect--all his aspirations are for the benefit of man as man,
and whatever comes in the way of the growth of what is intrinsically
true, beautiful, and beneficent, he attacks with the most caustic
sarcasm; strikes at it with the most ponderous or trenchant weapons
that he can lay hands upon, and, careless of persons or consequences,
calls on all within hearing to help him to annihilate it. In this
respect his fortune has enabled him to do much with impunity.

He promulgates doctrines, and attacks selfish interests, in a manner
which would, on the other hand, bring down destruction on an author
who had to live by his labors. There are critics, and those calling
themselves liberal, too, who have crushed others for the very deeds
for which they have applauded and still continue to applaud Savage
Landor. Why? Because they know that Landor is invulnerable through his
property. If they raised the hue and cry against him of democrat,
republican, of violent or revolutionary, he would still eat and drink
independent of them; his book would remain, and his position and
influence would enable it at length to testify against them. There is,
moreover, a large class of critics who see principles, when they see
them at all, through the medium of a man's condition in the world, and
that which is audacious in a poor man, becomes only a generous
boldness in a rich. If I were to select the opinions of Savage Landor
on half-a-dozen great questions from his works, and quote him in all
his undisguised strength upon them, I could show half-a-score men of
less fortune who have been immolated by Landor's own admirers for the
proclamation of these identical opinions, or whose works have been
left unnoticed because they could not very consistently condemn in
them what they had eulogized in him! How few men in this country can
afford to be honest!

But not the less do I recognize, nor the less estimate, the sacrifices
of Landor to immortal truth. Though he could not be deprived of his
daily bread for his sins of plain speaking, yet he has had his share
of the malevolence of the low and selfish. The reptiles have bitten,
and no doubt have stung, at times, deeply, when he has trodden them
beneath his feet, or flung among them his clinging and scalding Greek
fire. But he knows that the fruit of his life will not be lost.
Already he has lived long enough to see that the tide of opinion and
reform is setting in strongly in the direction which he has indicated.
It is amazing what progress the truth has made within the last twenty
years; and a man like Landor knows that at every future step it must
derive fresh strength from his writings. He has pandered to no
corruption, he has flattered no fashion; his efforts are all directed
to the uprooting of error and the spread of sound reason; and,
therefore, the more the latter prevails the more his writings will
grow into the spirit of the age. There are those who say that Landor's
writings never can be popular. They are greatly mistaken. There is a
large reading class, every day becoming larger, in which, were they
made cheap enough, they would find the most lively acceptation. It is
the class of the uncorrupted people itself. His opinions, and his
manly, uncompromising spirit, are just what fall on the popular spirit
like showers in summer. They are drank in with a thirsty avidity, and
give at once life and solace. In this respect I do not hesitate to
place them among the very first of the age.

The poetry of Savage Landor has not been so much read as his prose.
His Imaginary Conversations have eclipsed his verse. Yet there is
great vigor, much satire, and much tender feeling in his poems, which
should render them acceptable to all lovers of manly writing. His
Gebir was written early. The scene lies chiefly in Egypt, and
introduces sorcerers, water nymphs, and the like characters, which
might charm a youthful imagination, but are too far removed from
reality to make them general favorites. Yet there is much fine,
imaginative, and passionate poetry in this composition. His Hellenics
transport you at once to the ordinary life of ancient Greece, and are
written with great force, clearness, and succinct effect. His dramas
of Count Julian, Andrea of Hungary, Giovanna of Naples, Fra Rupert,
The Siege of Ancona, etc., are reading dramas, very fine of their
kind. They abound with splendid writing and the noblest sentiments.
Giovanna of Naples is one of the finest and most beautiful characters
conceivable; and Fra Rupert has furnished Landor with a vehicle for
expressing his indignant contempt of a proud, arbitrary, and
hypocritical priest. There are many occasional verses, in which the
poet has expressed the feelings of the moment, arising out of the
connections and incidents of his life; and these are equally
remarkable for their tenderness and their very opposite quality of
caustic satire. I must not allow myself to do more than quote a few
passages from his poetical writings, which are characteristic of the
man. This fine one occurs in the last of his Hellenics, p. 486, vol.
ii. of his uniform edition:--

    "We are what suns, and winds, and waters make us;
    The mountains are our sponsors, and the rills
    Fashion and win their nurslings with their smiles.
    But where the land is dim from tyranny,
    There tiny pleasures occupy the place
    Of glories and of duties; as the feet
    Of fabled fairies, when the sun goes down,
    Trip o'er the grass where wrestlers strove by day.
    Then justice, called the Eternal One above,
    Is more inconstant than the buoyant form
    That burst into existence from the froth
    Of ever varying ocean; what is best
    Then becomes worst; what loveliest, most deformed.
    The heart is hardest in the softest climes,
    The passions flourish, the affections die."

This true sentiment is put into the mouth of Count Julian--page 506,
vol. ii.

    "All men with human feelings love their country.
    Not the high-born or wealthy man alone,
    Who looks upon his children, each one led
    By its gay handmaid from the high alcove,
    And hears them once a-day; not only he
    Who hath forgotten, when his guest inquires
    The name of some far village all his own;
    Whose rivers bound the province, and whose hills
    Touch the lost clouds upon the level sky:
    No; better men still better love their country.
    'Tis the old mansion of their earliest friends,
    The chapel of their first and best devotions.
    When violence or perfidy invades,
    Or when unworthy lords hold wassail there,
    And wiser heads are drooping round its moats,
    At last they fix their steady and stiff eye,
    There, there alone, stand while the trumpet blows,
    And view the hostile flames above its towers
    Spire, with a bitter and severe delight."

There is not less truth than satire in this:--

    "In all law-courts that I have ever entered
    The least effrontery, the least dishonesty,
    Has lain among the prosecuted thieves."--P. 557.

I shall have occasion to quote a few more verses when speaking of Mr.
Landor's life. His Imaginary Conversations is the work on which his
fame, a worthy and well earned fame, will rest. From his great
experience of men of various nations, and his familiar acquaintance
with both ancient and modern literature, he has been enabled to
introduce the greatest variety of characters and topics, and to make
the dialogues a perfect treasury of the broadest and most elevated
axioms of practical wisdom. As I have observed, his station and
personal interests have not been able to blind him to the claims
of universal justice. He attacks all follies and all selfish
conventionalisms with an unsparing scorn, which, in a poor man, would
have been attributed to envy; but in his case, can not be otherwise
regarded than as the honest convictions of a clear-seeing and just
mind. In all his writings he insensibly slides into the dramatic form;
even in his Pentameron, not less than in his Citation and Examination
of William Shakspeare. His Pericles and Aspasia is in the form of
letters, a form but one remove from conversation; in fact,
conversation on paper. He must raise up the prominent characters of
all ages, and, bringing the most antagonistic together, set them to
argue some great or curious topic suited to their minds and pursuits.
Through all these the author's own sentiments diffuse themselves, and
become the soul of the book. Whoever converse, we are made to feel
that virtue, generosity, self-sacrifice, and a warm sense of the wants
and the true claims of the multitude, animate the soul of the author,
and maintain a perpetual warfare against their opposite qualities, and
the world's acquiescence in them. Mr. Landor, no doubt, like his
fellows, does not despise the advantages which fortune has conferred
on him; but he prides himself far more obviously on the power which
resides in his pen. In his conversation with the Marchese Pallavicini,
that nobleman relates the atrocious conduct of an English general at
Albaro, and says, "Your Houses of Parliament, Mr. Landor, for their
own honor, for the honor of the service, and the nation, should have
animadverted on such an outrage; he should answer for it." To which
Landor replies:--"These two fingers have more power, marchese, than
those two houses. A pen! he shall live for it. What, with their
animadversions, can they do like this?"

In his conversation between Southey and Porson, he puts into the mouth
of Southey a sentence which all people would do well to ground firmly
into their minds, and remember when they are reading reviews:--"We
have about a million of critics in Great Britain; not a soul of which
critics entertains the least doubt of his own infallibility. You, with
all your learning, and all your canons of criticisms, will never make
them waver." Into Porson's mouth he puts also a great fact, which, had
he been a poor man, would have been hurled back on his head, and have
crushed him to death. "Racy wine comes from the high vineyard. There
is a spice of the scoundrel in most of our literary men; an itch to
filch and detract in the midst of fair-speaking and festivity. This is
the reason why I have never much associated with them. There is also
another. We have nothing in common but the alphabet. The most popular
of our critics have no heart for poetry: it is morbidly sensitive on
one side, and utterly callous on the other. They dandle some little
poet, and never will let you take him off their knees; him they feed
to bursting, with their curds and whey. Another they warn off the
premises, and will give him neither a crust nor a crumb, until they
hear that he has succeeded to a large estate in popularity, with
plenty of dependents; then they sue and supplicate to be admitted
among the number; and, lastly, when they hear of his death, they put
on mourning, and advertise to raise a monument or a club-room to his
memory."

In the same conversation he has a striking illustration of the nature
of metaphysics. "What a blessing are metaphysics to our generation! A
poet or any other who can make nothing clear, can stir up enough
sediment to render the bottom of a basin as invisible as the deepest
gulf of the Atlantic. The shallowest pond, if turbid, has depth enough
for a goose to hide its head in." He has a remark, not the less happy,
on the folly of our reading ill-natured critiques on ourselves, and on
the light in which those who inform you of them ought to be regarded.
"The whole world might write against me, and leave me ignorant of it
to the day of my death. A friend who announces to me such things, has
performed the last act of his friendship. It is no more pardonable
than to lift up the gnat net over my bed, on pretext of showing me
there are gnats in the room. If I owed a man a grudge, I would get him
to write against me; but if any one owed me one, he would come and
tell me of it."

Here are two opinions worthy of the deepest reflection. "In our days,
only men who have some unsoundness of conscience and some latent fear,
reason against religion; and those only scoff at it, who are pushed
back and hurt by it."--Vol. i. p. 372. "More are made insurgents by
firing on them than by feeding them; and men are more dangerous in the
field than in the kitchen."--P. 379. Mr. Landor's opinion of gambling,
even ordinary, everyday play in private houses for money stakes, is
expressed with a virtuous force which proves the depth of the feeling
against it. "You played! Do you call it playing, to plunder your
guests and overreach your friends? Do you call it playing, to be
unhappy if you can not be a robber, happy if you can be one? The
fingers of a gamester reach farther than a robber's, or a murderer's,
and do more mischief. Against the robber or murderer, the country's up
in arms at once; to the gamester every bosom is open, that he may
contaminate or stab it."-Vol. ii. p. 76. Stern to faults which are
tolerated, nay, are cherished by society, Savage Landor would be
lenient where the wide-spreading misery and degradation of women in
the present day calls loudly for a change in our social philosophy.

"_Marvel._--Men who have been unsparing of their wisdom, like
ladies who have been unfrugal of their favors, are abandoned by those
who owe most to them, and hated or slighted by the rest. I wish beauty
in her lost estate had consolations like genius.

"_Parker._--Fie, fie! Mr. Marvel! consolations for frailty!

"_Marvel._--What wants them more? The reed is cut down, and
seldom does the sickle wound the hand that cuts it. There it lies;
trampled on, withered, and soon to be blown away."

Perhaps there is no one conversation in which so many popular
fallacies and customs are so ruthlessly dealt with, as in that between
the Emperor of China and his servant Tsing-Zi, who has been in
England. His description of the Quakers is most characteristic.
Tsing-Zi is astonished at the anti-Christian pugnacity of those
calling themselves Christians. They make wars to make their children's
fortune, and the preachers of the peaceful gospel are ready, if they
disagree in a doctrine, to fight like a pair of cockerels across a
staff on a market-man's shoulder. One scanty sect is different. "These
never work in the fields or manufactories; but buy up corn when it is
cheap, sell it again when it is dear, and are more thankful to God for
a famine than others are for plenteousness. Painting and sculpture
they condemn; they never dance, they never sing; music is as hateful
to them as discord. They always look cool in hot weather, and warm in
cold. Few of them are ugly, fewer handsome, none graceful. I do not
remember to have seen a person of dark complexion, or hair quite
black, or very curly, in their confraternity. None of them are
singularly pale, none red, none of diminutive stature, none remarkably
tall. They have no priests among them, and constantly refuse to make
oblations to the priests royal."--Vol. ii. p. 119.

But there is, in fact, scarcely any great question of religion,
morals, government, or the social condition, on which in these
conversations the boldest opinions are not expressed in the most
unshrinking style. Landor strips away all the finery in which follies,
vices, and imposture are disguised for selfish ends, with a strong and
unceremonious hand. He lifts up the veil of worldly policy, and
showing us the hideous objects behind, says, "Behold your gods, O
Israel!" His doctrines are such as would, less than ages ago, have
consigned him to a pitiless persecution; they are such as, perhaps, in
less than half another century, through the means of popular
education, will be the common property of the common mind. The works
of Savage Landor, both prose and poetry, place him among the very
first men of his age. They are masterly, discriminating, and full of a
genuine, English robustness. "They are energy and imagination that
make the great poet," he has said in conversation. If he does not
equal some of our poets in intensity of imagination, there are few of
them who can compete with him in energy; and what is peculiarly
fortunate, the instinct by which he cleaves to the real, and spurns
the meretricious with contempt, makes him eminently safe for a
teacher. You can find no glittering, plausible, destructive
monstrosity, whether in the shape of man or notion, which Landor, like
too many of our writers, has taken the perverse fancy to deify. His
opinion of Bonaparte is a striking example of this. Hazlitt, acute and
discriminating as he often was, placed this selfish and brutal butcher
on a pedestal for adoration. Landor, in his conversation between
"Landor, English visitor, and Florentine visitor," has given us an
analysis of his character. He commences this with this remark.
"Bonaparte seems to me the most extraordinary of mortals, because I am
persuaded that so much power never was acquired by another, with so
small an exertion of genius, and so little of any thing that
captivates the affections; or maintained so long unbroken in a
succession of enormous faults, such scandalous disgraces, such
disastrous failures and defeats." He shows that he lost seven great
armies in succession, which in every case of defeat he abandoned to
destruction. If he has not said it in his works he has in
conversation, that the true mark of a great man is, that he has
accomplished great achievements with small means. Bonaparte never did
this. He overwhelmed all obstacles by enormous masses of soldiery. He
was as notorious for his recklessness of human life, for no possible
end but his own notoriety, for his private cruelties and murders, as
for his insolence and undignified anger; scolding those who offended
him like a fishwoman, boxing their ears, kicking them, etc. Landor's
words have always been my own--"It has always been wonderful to me,
what sympathy any well educated Englishman can have with an
ungenerous, ungentlemanly, unmanly Corsican."

Such is Walter Savage Landor as a writer, let us now look at him as a
man. Landor's physical development is correspondent to that of his
mind. He is a tall, large man; broadly and muscularly built, yet with
an air of great activity about him. His ample chest, the erect bearing
of his head, the fire and quick motion of his eye, all impress you
with the feeling of a powerful, ardent, and decided man. The general
character of his head is fine; massy, phrenologically amply developed,
and set upon the bust with a bearing full of strength and character.
His features are well formed and full of the same character. In his
youth, Landor must have been pronounced handsome; in his present age,
with gray hair and considerable baldness, he presents a fine, manly,
and impressive presence. There is instantaneous evidence of the utter
absence of disguise about him. You have no occasion to look deep, and
ponder cautiously to discover his character. It is there written
broadly on his front. All is open, frank, and self-determined. The
lower part of his face displays much thought and firmness; there is a
quick and hawk-like expression about the upper, which the somewhat
retreating yet broad forehead increases. His eyebrows, arched
singularly high on his forehead, diminish the apparent height of the
head; but on looking at his profile, you soon perceive the great
elevation of the skull above the line running from the ear to the eye.
The structure, the air of the whole man, his action, voice, and mode
of talking, all denote an extraordinary personage. His character is
most unequivocally passionate, impulsive, yet intellectual and
reflective; capable of excitement and of becoming impetuous, and
perhaps headlong, for the fire and strength in him are of no common
intensity. One can see that the quick instincts of his nature, that
electric principle by which such natures leap to their conclusions,
would render him excessively impatient of the slower processes or more
sordid biases of more common minds. That he must be liable to great
outbursts of indignation, and capable of becoming arbitrary and
overbearing; yet you soon find, on conversing with him, that no man is
so ready to be convinced of the right, or so free to rectify the
errors of a hasty judgment. He has, in short, an essentially fine,
high, vigorous nature; one which speaks forth in every page of his
writings, and yet is so different to the stereotype of the world as to
incur its dictum of eccentric.

Walter Savage Landor was born at Warwick, on the 30th of January,
1775, consequently he is in his seventy-first year. The house in which
he was born is near the chapel, and has a fine old spacious garden,
well kept up by its present inhabitant, his only surviving sister. It
is the best house in the town, and had a beautiful front before the
improvement of the street required that four or five feet of the
basement should be erased. Savage Landor's mother used to spend nearly
half the year there, as his sister does now; for the garden has great
charms, swarming with blackbirds, thrushes, and even wood-pigeons,
which haunt several lofty elms and horse-chestnuts. His family had
considerable estates both in Staffordshire and Warwickshire many
centuries ago. His mother was eldest daughter and coheiress of Charles
Savage, Esq., of Tachbrook, whose family were lords of that manor and
of the neighboring manor of Whitmarsh, in the reign of Henry II. and
much earlier. One of this family, according to Rapin, played a
conspicuous part in demanding a charter from the weak king, Edward
II., and in bringing his minion, Piers Gaveston, to his end. This was
Sir Arnold Savage, whom Landor has commemorated by a conversation
between him and Henry IV., and by a note at the end of it, viz.--"Sir
Arnold Savage, according to Elsyne, was the first Speaker of the House
of Commons who appeared _upon any record_, to have been appointed
to the dignity as now constituted. He was elected a second time, four
years afterward, a rare honor in earlier days; and during this
presidency he headed the Commons, and delivered their resolutions in
the plain words recorded by Hakewell." One of these was that the king
should receive no subsidy till he had removed every cause of public
grievance. Landor has come of good patriot blood. The Savages have
also figured in Ireland; and Landor has introduced one of them, Philip
Savage, Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer in Swift's time, in his
Conversation with Archbishop Boulter, also connected by marriage with
the Savage family. "Boulter," says Landor, "Primate of Ireland, and
president of the council, saved that kingdom from pestilence and
famine in the year 1279, by supplying the poor with bread, medicines,
attendance, and every possible comfort and accommodation. Again, in
1740 and 1741, two hundred and fifty thousand were fed twice a-day,
principally at his expense, as we find in _La Biographie Universelle_;
an authority the least liable to suspicion. He built hospitals at
Drogheda and Armagh, and endowed them richly. No private man, in any
age or country, has contributed so largely to relieve the sufferings
of his fellow-creatures; to which object he and his wife devoted their
ample fortunes, both during their lives and after their decease.
Boulter was certainly the most disinterested, the most humane, the
most beneficent man that ever guided the councils of Ireland." Philip
Savage, the chancellor, was so irreproachable, that even Swift, the
reviler of Somers, could find in him no motive for satire and no room
for discontent. Such was the ancestry of Walter Savage Landor.

Mr. Landor spent the first days of his youth at Ipsley-court, near
Redditch, in Warwickshire, which manor belongs to him. You may trace
his life and his residence by glimpses in his works; and of his old
family mansion he speaks in his Conversation with the Marchese
Pallavicini.

"_Pallavicini._--We Genoese are proud of our door-ways.

"_Landor._--They are magnificent; so are many in Rome, and some
in Milan. We have none in London, and few in the country; where,
however, the stair-cases are better. They are usually oak. I inherit
an old, ruinous house, containing one, up which the tenant rode his
horse to stable him."

In his poems, too, occurs this:--

    WRITTEN IN WALES.

    "Ipsley! when hurried by malignant fate
    I passed thy court, and heard thy closing gate,
    I sighed, but sighing to myself I said,
    Now for the quiet cot and mountain shade.
    Oh! what resistless madness made me roam
    From cheerful friends and hospitable home!
    Whether in Arrow's vale, or Tachbrook's grove,
    My lyre resounded liberty and love.
    Here never love hath fanned his purple flame,
    And fear and anger start at Freedom's name.
    Yet high exploits the churlish nation boasts
    Against the Norman and the Roman hosts.
    'Tis false; where conquest had but reaped disgrace
    Contemptuous valor spurned the reptile race.
    Let me once more my native land regain,
    Bounding with steady pride and high disdain;
    Then will I pardon all the faults of fate,
    And hang fresh garlands, Ipsley, on thy gate."

Landor laughingly calls this old house a barracks. It is nearly a
hundred feet in front, if not quite, but this portion formed only the
offices of the old March-house, which the steward of the Savages, the
clergyman, pulled down, and built his own with!

He received his education at Rugby, and at Trinity College, Oxford. At
Rugby, as we are told by Mr. Horne in his New Spirit of the Age, he
was famous for riding out of bounds, boxing, leaping, net-casting,
stone-throwing, and making Greek and Latin verses. A droll anecdote is
related of his throwing his casting-net suddenly over the head of a
farmer who found him fishing in his ponds, and keeping him there till
the fellow was tame enough to beg to be allowed to go away, instead of
seizing Landor's net, as he had threatened. He was conspicuous there
for his resistance to every species of tyranny, either of the masters
and their rules, or the boys and their system of making fags, which he
violently opposed against all odds; and he was considered arrogant and
overbearing in his own conduct. All this, I have no doubt, is quite
correct--it is most characteristic of the man and his writings; as
well as that he was a leader of the boys in all things, and yet did
not associate with them. This trait sticks by him to the present hour.
He declares that he never can bear to walk with men; with ladies he
can, but not with men, and that to walk in the streets of London
drives him mad. To this peculiarity he alludes in the opening of the
conversation between Southey and Landor; where also Southey mentions
another, which no one can be long in Landor's society without
noticing--his hearty peals of laughter at some merry story or other,
often of his own.

"_Landor._--The last time I ever walked hither in company (which,
unless with ladies, I rarely have done anywhere), was with a just, a
valiant, and a memorable man, Admiral Nichols.

"_Southey._--I never had the same dislike to company in my walks
and rambles as you profess to have, but of which I perceived no sign
whatever when I visited you, first at Lantony Abbey, and afterward on
the Lake Como. Well do I remember four long conversations in the
silent and solitary church of Sant' Abondio (surely the coolest spot
in Italy), and how often I turned back my head toward the open door,
fearing lest some pious passer-by, or some more distant one in the
wood above, pursuing the pathway which leads toward the tower of
Luitprand, should hear the roof echo with your laughter, at the
stories you had collected about the brotherhood and sisterhood of the
place."

At Oxford, Mr. Horne informs us, Landor was rusticated for firing off
a gun in the quadrangle, and, as he never intended to take a degree,
he never returned. On quitting the university, he published, in 1793,
a small volume of poems. After spending some time in London studying
Italian, he went to reside at Swansea, where he wrote "Gebir."

Having been pressed in vain by his friends to enter the army, or to
study the law, he was moved by his old spirit of resistance to
oppression, by the French invasion of Spain. He embarked for that
country, raised a number of troops at his own expense, and--being the
first Englishman who landed in Spain for the purpose of aiding
it--marched with his men from Corunna to Aguila, the head-quarters of
General Blake. For this, he received the thanks of the supreme junta,
in the Madrid Gazette, together with an acknowledgment of the donation
of twenty thousand reals from Mr. Landor. On the subversion of the
constitution by Ferdinand, he returned the letters and documents, with
his commission, to Don Pedro Cevallos, telling Don Pedro that he was
willing to aid a people in the assertion of its liberties against the
antagonist of Europe, but he could have nothing to do with a perjurer
and traitor.

I suppose it was before he left Spain that a circumstance occurred
which led to his being robbed by George III., of which he often talks.
Expressing to a Spanish nobleman a desire to have a ram and a couple
of ewes of his celebrated Merino breed, the nobleman replied, "Oh, I
will give you a score." Mr. Landor thanked him, but replied, that he
did not wish to tax his generosity to that extent. "Oh," said he, "I
kill them for mutton; you shall have a score. The King of England is
to have a cargo of them, and I will send yours in the same ship." The
ship arrived; a letter from the Spanish nobleman also arrived to say,
that, according to promise, there they were, and that on applying to
the king's steward, he would have them. Away went Landor to the
steward, showed his letter, and demanded his sheep. The steward said
he had no commands on the subject. "But his majesty," suggested
Landor, "has undoubtedly information of the fact." "That," replied the
steward, "is in his own breast." "But on seeing this letter,"
continued Landor, "his majesty will certainly give commands for the
sheep to be delivered to me. Be so good as to see that it is laid
before his majesty." The steward declined, declaring that it would be
at the risk of his place.

On this, Landor applied to a nobleman in high favor with the king, and
who was well known to himself. On announcing that he wanted him to do
him a service, the nobleman replied, "With all the pleasure in the
world: any thing that is in my power." Landor then explained the case,
showed his letter from the Spanish nobleman, and begged that his noble
friend would lay the matter before the king. The nobleman seemed
struck dumb. After a while, recovering his speech, he exclaimed--"Lay
the case before his majesty! Advise his majesty to have a score of
Merinos of this quality delivered up to you! Why, Landor, you must be
mad. There is not a man in the kingdom who dare do any such thing. It
would be his ruin." All similar efforts were in vain, and so the royal
farmer kept Landor's sheep. They were at that time worth £1,000. He
has the subject in his mind when he makes Sheridan say to Wyndham, "I
do believe in my conscience he would rather lose the affection of half
his subjects than the carcass of one fat sheep. I am informed that all
his possessions in Ireland never yielded him five thousand a-year.
Give him ten, and he will chuckle at overreaching you; and not you
only, but his own heirs forever, as he chuckled when he cheated his
eldest son of what he pocketed in twenty years from Cornwall,
Lancashire, and Wales."--Vol. ii. p. 179. Landor never relates one of
these facts without the other, adding, "When George was asked to
account for the revenues of the duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, and
the Principality, during the prince's minority, he said he had spent
the money in the prince's education! What an education George IV., the
prince, must have had!"

If the life of Savage Landor was written, it would be one of the most
remarkable on record. He has lived much abroad, in the most eventful
times in the history of the world. He witnessed the progress of the
French Revolution; saw Bonaparte made First Consul; saw him and his
armies go out to victory; saw and conversed with the greatest of his
generals, and the most remarkable men of those times and scenes. His
conversation, therefore, abounds with facts and personages from his
own actual knowledge, of which most other men have only read, and many
of which no one has read. On the fall of Napoleon, he saw him ride,
followed by one servant, into Tours, whose inhabitants hated him, and
would have rejoiced to give him up to his enemies. He was disguised,
but Landor recognized him in a moment. Hating and despising the man as
he did, yet he never for a moment dreamed of betraying him. He,
however, went close to the fallen emperor, and touching his arm, said,
"You are not safe here. I have penetrated your disguise, and others
may." "Sir," replied Bonaparte, "you are, I perceive, an Englishman.
My secret is in good keeping." He mounted and rode away, wholly
undiscovered by the townsmen.

Before this time, however, he had done what gave him infinite
annoyance. I quote the account from Mr. Horne: "In 1806, Mr. Landor
sold several estates in Warwickshire, which had been in his family
nearly seven hundred years, and purchased Lantony and Comjoy in
Monmouthshire, where he laid out nearly £70,000. Here he made
extensive improvements, giving employment daily, for many years, to
between twenty and thirty laborers in building and planting. He made a
road at his own expense, of eight miles long, and planted and fenced
half-a-million of trees. The infamous behavior of some tenants caused
him to leave the country. At this time he had a million more trees
ready to plant, which, as he observed, 'were lost to the country, by
driving me from it. I may speak of _their_ utility if I must not
of my own.' The two chief offenders were brothers, who rented farms of
Mr. Landor to the amount of £1500 per annum, and were to introduce an
improved system of Suffolk husbandry. Mr. Landor got no rent from
them, but all manner of atrocious annoyances. They even rooted up his
trees, and destroyed whole plantations. They paid nobody. When
neighbors and work-people applied for money, Mr. Landor says, 'they
were referred to the devil, with their wives and families, while these
brothers had their two bottles of wine upon the table. As for the
Suffolk system of agriculture, wheat was sown upon the last of May,
and cabbage, for winter food, was planted in August or September.' Mr.
Landor eventually remained master of the field, and drove his
tormentors across the seas; but so great was his disgust at these
circumstances that he resolved to leave England. Before his departure
he caused his house, which had cost him some £8000, to be taken down,
that his son might never have the chance of similar vexations in that
place."

To this there wants a few additional facts. It was not only the
Suffolk farmers, but the general spirit and brutality of the people of
the country which wearied and disgusted him beyond endurance. In the
verses we have recently quoted he vents unmitigated hatred of the
Welsh, as a "churlish nation," and a "reptile race." He seems to have
been subjected to a system of universal plunder and imposition. None
but they who have lived among such a rude, thievish, and unattractive
crew can conceive the astonishment and exasperation of it to an
intelligent and generous mind. He used to have twenty watchers on his
moorland hills night and day to protect his grouse. He had twelve
thousand acres of land, and never used to see a grouse upon his table.
He says the protection of game that he never eat or benefited by, cost
him more than he now lives at. Disgusted by all these circumstances,
he left the place and resolved never to return to it. But it was not
yet that he ordered the destruction of his new and splendid house, in
which he only resided six months. He ordered his steward to let it.
Five years went on, and it still remained unlet. He then chanced to
meet with a nobleman in Italy who had once applied to him for its
occupation, "How was it," he asked, "that you did not take my house at
Lantony?" "How, why it was not to be let." "It has been to let this
five years." "You amaze me. I was most anxious to take it, but your
steward assured me it was not to be let on any account."

Landor immediately wrote to England to make particular inquiries, and
found that the steward was keeping the house to accommodate his own
friends, who came down there in parties to shoot his master's grouse.
With characteristic indignation, Mr. Landor at once ordered the
steward to quit his service and estate, and that the house should be
leveled to the ground.

In 1811, Mr. Landor married Julia, the daughter of J. Thuillier de
Malaperte, descendant and representative of the Baron de Neuve-ville,
first gentleman of the bedchamber to Charles VIII. He went to reside
in Italy, and, during several years, occupied the Palazzo Medici, in
Florence. The proprietor dying, and the palace being to be sold, he
looked out for a fresh residence, and found that the villa
Gherardesca, at Fiesole, with its gardens and farms, about three
thousand acres, was to be sold; and he purchased it. The villa
Gherardesca lies only two miles from Florence, on the banks of the
Affrico. It was built by Michael Angelo, and is one of the most
delightful residences in the world. Here Landor resided many years,
and here his family still resides. In both poetry and prose, he
frequently refers to this beloved spot with deep feeling and regret,
as in the verses commencing--

    "Let me sit here and muse by thee
    Awhile, aerial Fiesole!
    Thy sheltered walks and cooler grots,
    Villas, and vines, and olive plots,
    Catch me, entangle me, detain me,
    And laugh to hear that aught can pain me."--Vol. ii. p. 625.

And the


    FAREWELL TO ITALY.

    "I leave thee, beauteous Italy; no more
    From thy high terraces at even-tide
    To look supine into thy depths of sky,
    Thy golden moon between the cliff and me,
    On thy dark spires of fretted cypresses,
    Bordering the channel of the milky-way.
    Fiesole and Valdarno must be dreams
    Hereafter, and my own lost Affrico
    Murmur to me but in the poet's song.
    I did believe,--what have I not believed?--
    Weary with age, but unoppressed by pain,
    To close in thy soft clime my quiet day,
    And rest my bones in the Mimosa shade.
    Hope! hope! few ever cherished thee so little;
    Few are the heads thou hast so rarely raised;
    But thou didst promise this, and all was well.
    For we are fond of thinking where to lie
    When every pulse hath ceased, when the lone heart
    Can lift no aspiration ... reasoning
    As if the sight were unimpaired by death,
    Were unobstructed by the coffin lid,
    And the sun cheered corruption. Over all
    The smiles of nature shed a potent charm,
    And light us to our chamber at the grave."--Vol. ii. p. 647.

Let us conclude our quotations with one from his Conversations,
equally redolent of Italy. It is in his conversation between himself
and the Marchese Pallavicini. The scene is on the lake of Como, and a
more beautiful tribute was never paid to trees, especially to that
soft, graceful, and fragrant tree, the linden.

"Grumello! Let me enjoy the sight while I can. He appears instinct
with life, nodding the network of vines upon his head, and beckoning,
and inviting us, while the fig-trees, and mulberries, and chestnuts,
and walnuts, and these lofty and eternal cypresses, stand motionless
around. His joyous mates, all different in form and features, push
forward; and, if there is not something in the air, or something in my
eyesight, illusory, they are running a race along the borders. Stop a
moment; how shall we climb over these two enormous pines? Ah, Don
Pepino! old trees in their living state are the only things that money
can not command. Rivers leave their beds, run into cities, and
traverse mountains for it; obelisks and arches, palaces and temples,
amphitheaters and pyramids, rise up like exhalations at its bidding;
even the free spirit of man, the only great thing on earth, crouches
and cowers in its presence. It passes away and vanishes before
venerable trees. What a sweet odor is here! Whence comes it? Sweeter
it appears to me, and stronger than the pine itself."

"I imagine," said he, "from the linden; yes, certainly."

"Is that a linden? It is the largest, and, I should imagine, the
oldest upon earth, if I could perceive that it had lost any of its
branches."

"Pity that it hides half the row of yon houses from the palace! It
will be carried off with the two pines in the autumn."

"O, Don Pepino!" cried I, "the French, who abhor whatever is old, and
whatever is great, have spared it; the Austrians, who sell their
fortresses and their armies, nay, sometimes their daughters, have not
sold it; must it fall? Shall the cypress of Soma be without a rival? I
hope to have left Lombardy before it happens; for events, which you
will tell me ought never to interest me at all, not only do interest
me, but make me--I confess it--sorrowful."

"Who in the world could ever cut down a linden, or dare, in his
senses, to break a twig off one? To a linden was fastened the son of
William Tell, when the apple was cloven on his head. Years afterward,
often did the father look higher and lower, and search laboriously, to
descry if any mark were remaining of the cord upon its bark! Often
must he have inhaled this very odor! What a refreshment was it to a
father's heart! The flowers of the linden should be the only incense
offered up in the churches of God. Happy the man whose aspirations are
pure enough to mingle with it!

"How many fond, and how many lively thoughts have been nurtured under
this very tree! How many kind hearts have beaten here! Its branches
are not so numerous as the couples they have invited to sit beside it,
nor its blossoms and leaves as the expressions of tenderness it has
witnessed! What appeals to the pure all-seeing heavens! What
similitudes to the everlasting mountains! What protestations of
eternal truth and constancy! from those who are now earth, they, and
their shrouds, and their coffins! The caper and fig-tree have split
the monument. Emblems of past loves and future hopes, severed names
which the holiest rites united, broken letters of brief happiness,
bestrew the road, and speak to the passers by in vain. To see this
linden was worth a journey of five hundred miles!"

Walter Savage Landor now resides at Bath. In his modest house in St.
James's-square, he has surrounded himself with one of the most
exquisite miniature collection of paintings in the world. Every thing
is select, from the highest masters, Raphael, Titian, Corregio, and
older and more quaint hands, and every thing perfect of its kind.
These, including some by our own Wilson, he collected in Italy. His
larger collection of larger pictures he gave to his son, on leaving
Italy, and brought these only as more adapted to the house he proposed
to inhabit. Peace, meditation, and the gradual resumption of simple
tasks and habits, seem the leading objects of his present hale old
age. "I have a pleasure," said he, "in renouncing one indulgence after
another; in learning to live without so many wants. Why should I
require so many more comforts than the bulk of my fellow-creatures can
get? We should set an example against the selfish self-indulgence of
the age. We should discountenance its extravagant follies. The pride
and pomp of funerals is monstrous. When I die, I will spend but six
pounds on mine. I have left orders for the very commonest coffin that
is made for the commonest man; and six of the stoutest and very
poorest men to carry me to the grave, for which each shall receive one
sovereign."

"But don't you pine for your beautiful Fiesole and its beautiful
climate; don't you want your children; especially that daughter whose
bust there opposite reminds one so of Queen Victoria?"

"I could wish it, but it is better as it is. _I_ can not live
there. They can, and are happy. I have their society in their letters;
they are well off, and therefore--I am contented."

With this he diverted the conversation to the decease of a mutual
friend. "Ah! what a good, warm-hearted creature that was! There never
was a woman so self-forgetting and full of affection. She lies in the
church-yard just by here. We used to joke merrily on what is now
half-fulfilled. 'I shall be buried in ---- church-yard,' she once
said. 'Why, _I_ mean to be buried there myself. My dear Mrs.
Price, we'll visit! Being such near neighbors, we'll have a chair, and
make calls on one another!'" And at this idea he burst forth into one
of those hearty, resounding laughs, that show in Landor how strangely
fun and feeling can live side by side in the human mind.

Walter Savage Landor is one of those men who are sent into the world
strong to teach. Strong in mind and body, strong in the clear sense of
the right and the true, they walk unencumbered by prejudices,
unshackled by force. They tread over the trim borders of artificial
life, often oversetting its training glasses, and kicking over its
tenderest nurslings. They break down the hedge of selfish monopoly,
and carry along with them a stake from the gap, to have a blow at the
first bull or _bully_ they meet in the field. They stop to gaze
at the idol of the day when they reach the city, and pronounce it but
the scarecrow of last summer new dressed. They enter churches, and are
oftener disgusted with the dreadful religion made for God, than
delighted with the preaching of that divine benevolence sent down by
God for man. They weep at some recollected sorrow, but remembering
that this is but a contagious weakness, they laugh, to make their
neighbors awake from sad thoughts, and are pronounced unfeeling. They
attack old and bloody prejudices, and are asked if they are wiser than
any one else? They know it: the divine instinct, the teaching faculty
within them, replies--"Yes." They go on strong and unmoved, though
fewer perceive their great mission than feel them poking them in the
delicate sides of their interests; fewer sympathize with their
tenderest and purest feelings than are shocked by their ridicule of
old and profitable humbugs. Misunderstood, misrepresented, and
calumniated, they go on--nothing can alter them--for their burden and
command are from above; yet every day the world is selecting some
truth from the truths they have collected, admiring some flower in the
bouquet of beauties they have gathered as they have gone through the
wilderness, picking up some gem that they have let fall for the first
comer after them, till eventually comparing, and placing all side by
side, the world, with a sudden flash of recognition, perceives that
all these truths, beauties, and precious things, belonged to the
strange, rude man, who _was_ actually wiser than any body else.
Long may Savage Landor live to see the fruit of his undaunted mind
gradually absorbed into the substance of society!


[Illustration: Birthplace at Southgate]



LEIGH HUNT.


Some thirty years ago, three youths went forth, one fine summer's day,
from the quiet town of Mansfield, to enjoy a long, luxurious ramble in
Sherwood forest. Their limbs were full of youth--their hearts of the
ardor of life--their heads of dreams of beauty. The future lay before
them, full of brilliant, but undefined achievements in the land of
poetry and romance. The world lay around them, fair and musical as a
new paradise. They traversed long dales, dark with heather--gazed from
hill-tops over still and immense landscapes--tracked the margins of
the shining waters that hurry over the clear gravel of that ancient
ground, and drank in the freshness of the air, the odors of the
forest, the distant cry of the curlew, and the music of a whole choir
of larks high above their heads. Beneath the hanging boughs of a
wood-side they threw themselves down to lunch, and from their pockets
came forth, with other good things, a book. It was a new book. A hasty
peep into it had led them to believe that it would blend well in the
perusal with the spirit of the region of Robin Hood and Maid Marian,
and with the more tragical tale of that Scottish queen, the gray and
distant towers of one whose prison-houses could be descried from their
resting-place, clad as with the solemn spirit of a sad antiquity. The
book was _The Story of Rimini_. The author's name was to them little
known; but they were not of a temperament that needed names--their
souls were athirst for poetry, and there they found it. The reading of
that day was an epoch in their lives. There was a life, a freshness, a
buoyant charm of subject and of style, that carried them away from the
somber heaths and wastes around them to the sunshine of Italy--to gay
cavalcades and sad palaces. Hours went on, the sun declined, the book
and the story closed, and up rose the three friends drunk with beauty,
and with the sentiment of a great sorrow, and strode homeward with the
proud and happy feeling that England was enriched with a new poet. Two
of these three friends have for more than five-and-twenty years been
in their graves; the third survives to write this article.

For thirty years and more from that time the author of Rimini has gone
on adding to the wealth of English literature, and to the claims on
his countrymen to gratitude and affection. The bold politician, when
it required moral bravery to be honest; the charming essayist; the
poet, seeming to grow with every new effort only more young in fancy
and vigorous in style--he has enriched his country's fame, but his
country has not enriched him. It is still time to think of it, and it
might save many future regrets, if a government becoming daily more
liberal, were to show that it knows the wishes of the public, and is
glad to fulfill them.

We have the authority of Mr. Leigh Hunt himself, in a memoir written
six-and-thirty years ago, for the fact that he was born in 1784, at
Southgate. His parents were the Rev. J. Hunt, at that time tutor in
the family of the Duke of Chandos, and Mary, daughter of Stephen
Shewell, merchant of Philadelphia, whose sister was the lady of Mr.
President West. Thus the poet was by his mother's marriage nearly
related to the great American painter; and here, he says, he could
enlarge seriously and proudly; but this boasting, it turns out very
characteristically, is not of any adventitious alliance with
celebrated names, but of a truer and more happy cause of
gratulation:--"If any one circumstance of my life could give me cause
for boasting, it would be that of having had such a mother. She was,
indeed, a mother in every exalted sense of the word--in piety, in
sound teaching, in patient care, in spotless example. Married at an
early age, and commencing from that time a life of sorrow, the world
afflicted, but it could not change her: no rigid economy could hide
the native generosity of her heart, no sophistical skulking injure her
fine sense, or her contempt of worldly-mindedness, no unmerited sorrow
convert her resignation into bitterness. But let me not hurt the noble
simplicity of her character by a declamation, however involuntary. At
the time when she died, the recollection of her sufferings and virtues
tended to imbitter her loss; but knowing what she was, and believing
where she is, I now feel her memory as a serene and inspiring
influence, that comes over my social moments only to temper
cheerfulness, and over my reflecting ones to animate me in the love of
truth."

That is a fine filial eulogy; but still finer and more eloquent has
been the practical one of the life and writings of the son. Whoever
knows any thing of these, perceives how the qualities of the mother
have lived on, not only in the grateful admiration of the poet, but in
his character and works. This is another proud testimony added to the
numerous ones revealed in the biographies of illustrious men, of the
vital and all-prevailing influence of mothers. What does not the world
owe to noble-minded women in this respect? and what do not women owe
to the world and themselves in the consciousness of the possession of
this authority? To stamp, to mold, to animate to good the generation
that succeeds them, is their delegated office. They are admitted to
the co-workmanship with God; his actors in the after-age are placed in
their hands at the outset of their career, when they are plastic as
wax, and pliant as the green withe. It is they who can shape and bend
as they please. It is they--as the young beings advance into the world
of life, as passions kindle, as eager desires seize them one after
another, as they are alive with ardor, and a thirst for knowledge and
experience of the great scene of existence into which they are
thrown--it is they who can guide, warn, inspire with the upward or the
downward tendency, and cast through them on the future ages the
blessings or the curses of good or evil. They are the gods and
prophets of childhood. It is in them that confiding children hear the
Divinity speak; it is on them that they depend in fullest faith; and
the maternal nature, ingrafted on the original, grows in them stronger
than all other powers of life. The mother in the child lives and acts
anew; and numberless generations feel unconsciously the pressure of
her hand. Happy are they who make that enduring pressure a beneficent
one; and, though themselves unknown to the world, send forth from the
heaven of their hearts poets and benefactors to all future time.

It is what we could hardly have expected, that Leigh Hunt is descended
of a high Church and Tory stock. On his father's side his ancestors
were Tories and Cavaliers who fled from the tyranny of Cromwell and
settled in Barbadoes. For several generations they were clergymen. His
grandfather was rector of St. Michael's, in Bridgetown, Barbadoes. His
father was intended for the same profession, but, being sent to
college at Philadelphia, he there commenced, on the completion of his
studies, as a lawyer, and married. It was, again, curious that, the
Revolution breaking out, the conservative propensities of the family
broke out so strong in him as to cause him to flee for safety to
England, as his ancestors had formerly fled from it. He had been
carted through Philadelphia by the infuriated mob, only escaped
tarring and feathering by a friend taking the opportunity of
overturning the tar-barrel set ready in the street, and, being
consigned to the prison, he escaped in the night by a bribe to the
keeper. On the arrival of his wife in England, some time afterward,
she found him who had left America a lawyer, now a clergyman,
preaching from the pulpit, tranquillity. Mr. Hunt seems to have been
one of those who are not made to succeed in the world. He did not
obtain preferment, and fell into much distress. At one time he was a
very popular preacher, and was invited by the Duke of Chandos, who had
a seat near Southgate, to become tutor to his nephew, Mr. Leigh. Here
he occupied a house at Southgate, called Eagle-hall; and here his son,
the poet, was born, and was named after Mr. Leigh, his father's pupil.

Mr. Hunt, in his autobiography, describes his mother as feeling the
distresses into which they afterward fell very keenly, yet bearing
them patiently. She is represented as a tall, lady-like person, a
brunette, with fine eyes, and hair blacker than is seen of English
growth. Her sons much resembled her.

At seven, Leigh Hunt was admitted into the grammar-school of Christ's
hospital, where he remained till he was fifteen, and received a good
foundation in the Greek and Latin languages. Mr. Hunt describes very
charmingly the two houses where, as a boy, he used to visit with his
mother; one of these being that of West, the painter, who had married
his mother's aunt; the aunt, however, being much of the same age as
herself: the other was that of Mr. Godfrey Thornton, of the great
mercantile house of that name. "How I loved," says Leigh Hunt, "the
graces in the one, and every thing in the other! Mr. West had bought
his house not long, I believe, after he came to England; and he had
added a gallery at the back of it, terminating in a couple of lofty
rooms. The gallery was a continuation of the hall passage, and,
together with the rooms, formed three sides of a garden, very small,
but elegant, with a grass-plot in the middle, and busts upon stands
under an arcade. In the interior, the gallery made an angle at a
little distance as you went up it; then a shorter one, and then took a
longer stretch into the two rooms; and it was hung with his sketches
and pictures all the way. In a corner between the two angles, and
looking down the lower part of the gallery, was a study, with casts of
Venus and Apollo on each side of the door. The two rooms contained the
largest of the pictures; and in the farther one, after stepping softly
down the gallery, as if respecting the dumb life on the walls, you
generally found the mild and quiet artist at his work; happy, for he
thought himself immortal." West, it is well known, was brought up a
Quaker, and had been so poorly educated that he could hardly read.
Leigh Hunt states his belief that West did a great deal of work for
George III. for very little profit; then, as since, the honor was
thought of itself nearly enough.

"As Mr. West," continues Leigh Hunt, "was almost sure to be found at
work in the farthest room, habited in his white woolen gown, so you
might have predicated, with equal certainty, that Mrs. West was
sitting in the parlor reading. I used to think that if I had such a
parlor to sit in, I should do just as she did. It was a good-sized
room, with two windows looking out on the little garden I spoke of,
and opening into it from one of them by a flight of steps. The garden,
with its busts in it, and the pictures which you knew were on the
other side of its wall, had an Italian look. The room was hung with
engravings and colored prints. Among them was the Lion's Hunt, by
Rubens; the Hierarchy, with the Godhead, by Raphael, which I hardly
thought it right to look at; and two screens by the fireside,
containing prints from Angelica Kauffman, of the Loves of Angelica and
Medoro, which I could have looked at from morning till night."

Here Mrs. West and Mrs. Hunt used to sit talking of old times and
Philadelphia. West never made his appearance, except at dinner and
tea-time, retiring again to his painting-room directly afterward; but
used to contrive to mystify the embryo poet with some such question
as, "Who was the father of Zebedee's children?" "The talk," he says,
"was quiet; the neighborhood quiet; the servants quiet; I thought the
very squirrel in the cage would have made a greater noise anywhere
else. James the porter, a fine athletic fellow, who figured in his
master's pictures as an apostle, was as quiet as he was strong. Even
the butler, with his little twinkling eyes, full of pleasant conceit,
vented his notions of himself in half-tones and whispers."

The house of the Thorntons was a different one, and a more socially
attractive place. "There was quiet in the one; there were beautiful
statues and pictures; and there was my Angelica for me, with her
intent eyes at the fireside. But, beside quiet in the other, there was
cordiality, and there was music, and a family brimful of hospitality
and good-nature; and dear Almeria T., now Mrs. P----e, who in vain
pretends that she is growing old. These were indeed holydays on which
I used to go to Austin Friars. The house, according to my boyish
recollections, was of the description I have been ever fondest of;
large, rambling, old-fashioned, solidly built; resembling the mansions
about Highgate and other old villages. It was furnished as became the
house of a rich merchant and a sensible man, the comfort predominating
over the costliness. At the back was a garden with a lawn; and a
private door opened into another garden, belonging to the Company of
Drapers; so that, what with the secluded nature of the street itself,
and these verdant places behind it, it was truly _rus in urbe_,
and a retreat. When I turned down the archway, I held my mother's hand
tighter with pleasure, and was full of expectation, and joy, and
respect. My first delight was in mounting the stair-case to the rooms
of the young ladies, setting my eyes on the comely and sparkling face
of my fair friend, with her romantic name, and turning over, for the
hundredth time, the books in her library."

The whole description of this charming and cordial family, is one of
those beautiful and sunny scenes in human life, to which the heart
never wearies of turning. It makes the rememberer exclaim:--"Blessed
house! May a blessing be upon your rooms, and your lawn, and your
neighboring garden, and the quiet, old monastic name of your street;
and may it never be a thoroughfare; and may all your inmates be happy!
Would to God one could renew, at a moment's notice, the happy hours we
have enjoyed in past times, with the same circles, in the same
houses!"

But a wealthy aunt, with handsome daughters, came from the West
Indies, and Great Ormond-street, and afterward Merton, in Surrey,
where this aunt went to live, became a new and happy resort for him.

After Leigh Hunt quitted Christchurch, of which, and of the life
there, he gives a very interesting description, at the age of sixteen
was published a volume of his school-boy verses. He then spent some
time in what he calls "that gloomiest of all '_darkness
palpable_'"--a lawyer's office; he became theatrical critic in a
newly established paper, the News; and his zeal, integrity, and talent
formed a striking contrast to the dishonest criticism and insufferable
dramatic nonsense then in public favor. In 1805, an amiable nobleman,
high in office, procured him a humble post under government; but this
was as little calculated for the public spirit of honest advocacy
which lived in him as the lawyer's office. He soon threw it up, having
engaged with his brother in the establishment of the well known
newspaper, the Examiner. The integrity of principle which
distinguished this paper, was as ill suited to the views of government
at that dark and despotic period, as such integrity and boldness for
constitutional reform were eminently needed by the public interests.
He was soon visited with the attentions of the attorney-general; who,
twice prosecuting him for libel, branded him "_a malicious and ill
disposed person_." It is now matter of astonishment for what causes
such epithets and prosecutions were bestowed by government at that
day. On one occasion, in quoting an account of some birthday or levee,
to the fulsome statement of the hireling court scribe, that the prince
regent "looked like an Adonis," he added the words "of fifty"--making
it stand "the prince looked like an Adonis of fifty!" This was cause
enough for prosecution, and an imprisonment of two years in
Horsemonger-lane jail. It was here, in 1813, that Lord Byron and Moore
dined with him. They found him just as gay, happy, and poetical, as if
his prison was a shepherd's cot in Arcadia, and there was no such
thing as "an Adonis of fifty" in the world. The "wit in the dungeon,"
as Lord Byron styled him in some verses of the moment, had his
trellised flower-garden without, and his books, busts, pictures, and
piano-forte within. Byron has recorded his opinion at that time of Mr.
Hunt, in his journal, thus:--"Hunt is an extraordinary character, and
not exactly of the present age. He reminds me more of the Pym and
Hampden times: much talent, great independence of spirit, and an
austere, yet not repulsive aspect. If he goes on _qualis ab
incepto_, I know few men who will deserve more praise, or obtain
it. He has been unshaken, and will continue so. I don't think him
deeply versed in life: he is the bigot of virtue (not religion), and
enamored of the beauty of that 'empty name,' as the last breath of
Brutus pronounced, and every day proves it."

What a different portrait is this to that of the affected, finicking,
artificial cockney, which the critics of that day would fain have made
the world accept for Leigh Hunt. Lord Byron was a man of the world as
well as a poet; he could see into character as well as any body when
there were no good-natured souls at his elbow to alarm his
aristocratic pride. He was right. Mr. Hunt has gone on _qualis ab
incepto_; and deserved and done great things. The critic-wolves
have long ceased to howl; the world knows and loves the man.

In process of time the Examiner was made over to other parties, and
Mr. Hunt devoted his pen more exclusively to literary subjects. His
connection with Byron and Shelley led him to Italy, where the Liberal,
a journal, the joint product of the pens of those three celebrated
writers, was started, but soon discontinued; and Leigh Hunt, before
his return, saw the cordiality of Lord Byron toward him shaken, and
witnessed one of the most singular and solemn spectacles of modern
times--the burning of the body of his friend Shelley on the sea-shore,
where he had been thrown up by the waves.

The occasion of Leigh Hunt's visit to Italy, and its results, have
been placed before the public, in consequence of their singular
nature, and of the high standing of the parties concerned, in a more
prominent position than any other portion of his life. There has been
much blame and recrimination thrown about on all sides. Mr. Hunt has
stated his own case, in his work on Lord Byron and his Cotemporaries.
The case of Lord Byron has been elaborately stated by Mr. Moore, in
his Life and Letters of the noble poet. It is not the place here to
discuss the question; but posterity will very easily settle it. My
simple opinion is, that Mr. Hunt had much seriously to complain of,
and, under the circumstances, has made his statement with great
candor. The great misfortune for him, as for the world, was, that
almost immediately on his arrival in Italy with his family, his true
and zealous friend, Mr. Shelley, perished. From that moment, any
indifferent spectator might have foreseen the end of the connection
with Lord Byron. He had numerous aristocratic friends, who would, and
who did spare no pains to alarm his pride at the union with men of the
determined character of Hunt and Hazlitt for progress and free
opinion. None worked more earnestly for this purpose, by his own
confession, than Moore. From that hour there could be nothing for Mr.
Hunt but disappointment and mortification. They came fast and fully.
With all the splendid qualities of Lord Byron, whether of disposition
or intellect, no man of sensibility would willingly have been placed
in any degree of dependence upon him; no man of genius could be so
without undergoing the deepest possible baptism of suffering. Through
that Leigh Hunt went, and every generous mind must sympathize with
him. Had Shelley lived, how different would have been the whole of
that affair, and the whole of his future life. He died--and all we
have to do is now simply to notice the residences of Leigh Hunt in
Italy, without further reference to these matters.

The chief places of Mr. Hunt's Italian sojourn were Pisa, Genoa, and
Florence. At Leghorn he and his family landed, and almost immediately
went on with Shelley to Pisa, where Byron joined them; but at Monte
Nero, near Leghorn, was at once introduced to a curious scene of mixed
English and Italian life. "In a day or two, I went to see Lord Byron,
who was in what the Italians call _villeggiatura_, at Monte Nero;
that is to say, enjoying a country house for the season. I there met
with a singular adventure, which seemed to make me free of Italy and
stilettos, before I had well set foot in the country. The day was very
hot; the road to Monte Nero was very hot, through dusty suburbs; and
when I got there, I found the hottest-looking house I ever saw. Not
content with having a red wash over it, the red was the most
unseasonable of all reds, a salmon color. Think of this flaming over
the country in a hot Italian sun.

"But the greatest of all the heats was within. Upon seeing Lord Byron,
I hardly knew him, he was grown so fat; and he was longer in
recognizing me, I was grown so thin. He was dressed in a loose nankeen
jacket and white trowsers, his neckcloth open, and his hair in thin
ringlets about his throat; altogether presenting a very different
aspect from the compact, energetic, and curly-headed person whom I had
known in England.

"He took me into an inner room, and introduced me to a young lady in a
state of great agitation. Her face was flushed, her eyes lit up, and
her hair, which she wore in that fashion, looked as if it streamed in
disorder. This was the Countess Guiccioli. The Conte Pietro, her
brother, came in presently, also in a state of agitation, and having
his arm in a sling. I then learned, that a quarrel having taken place
among the servants, the young count had interfered, and been stabbed.
He was very angry; Madame Guiccioli was more so, and would not hear of
the charitable comments of Lord Byron, who was for making light of the
matter. Indeed, there was a look in the business a little formidable;
for though the stab was not much, the inflictor of it threatened more,
and was at that minute keeping watch under the portico, with the
avowed intention of assaulting the first person that issued forth. I
looked out of the window, and met his eye glaring upward like a tiger.
The fellow had a red cap on like a _sans culotte_, and a most
sinister aspect, dreary and meager, a proper caitiff. Thus, it
appeared, the house was in a state of blockade; the nobility and
gentry of the interior all kept in a state of impassibility by a
rascally footman.

"How long things had continued in this state I can not say: but the
hour was come when Lord Byron and his friends took their evening ride,
and the thing was to be put an end to somehow. Fletcher, the valet,
had been dispatched for the police, and was not returned.... At length
we set out, Madame Guiccioli earnestly entreating 'Bairon' to keep
back, and all of us uniting to keep in advance of Conte Pietro, who
was exasperated. It was a curious moment for a stranger from England.
I fancied myself pitched into one of the scenes in the Mysteries of
Udolpho, with Montoni and his tumultuous companions. Every thing was
new, foreign, and violent. There was the lady, flushed and disheveled,
exclaiming against the '_scelerato_;' the young count, wounded
and threatening; the assassin waiting for us with his knife; and last,
not least in the novelty, my English friend metamorphosed,
round-looking, and jacketed, trying to damp all this fire with his
cool tones, and an air of voluptuous indolence. He had now, however,
put on his loose riding-coat of mazarine blue, and his velvet cap,
looking more lordly then, but hardly less foreign. It was an awkward
moment for him, not knowing what might happen; but he put a good face
on the matter; and as to myself, I was so occupied with the novelty of
the scene, that I had not time to be frightened. Forth we issued at
the door, all squeezing to have the honor of being the boldest, when a
termination is put to the tragedy by the vagabond throwing himself on
a bench, extending his arms, and bursting into tears. His cap was half
over his eyes; his face gaunt, ugly, and unshaven; his appearance
altogether more squalid and miserable than an Englishman could
conceive it possible to find in such an establishment. This blessed
figure reclined weeping and wailing, and asking pardon for his
offense, and to crown all, he requested Lord Byron to kiss him."

This was a curious introduction to Italian life. Leghorn, Mr. Hunt
says, is a polite Wapping, with a square and a theater. The country
around, though delightful to a first view, from its vines hanging from
the trees, and the sight of the Apennines, is uninteresting when you
become acquainted with it. They left here and proceeded to Pisa. There
they occupied the ground-floor of the Casa Lanfranchi, on the Lung'
Arno. The house is said to have been built by Michael Angelo, and is
worthy of him. It is, says Mr. Hunt, in a bold and broad style
throughout, with those harmonious graces of proportion which are sure
to be found in an Italian mansion. The outside is of rough marble.

Here poor Shelley saw his friends settled in their apartments, and
took his leave forever! Here they spent their time in the manner which
has been made so well known by the Life and Letters of Lord
Byron,--talking or reading till afternoon in the house; then riding
out to a wood or a vineyard, and firing pistols, after which they
would occasionally alight at a peasant's cottage, and eat figs in the
shade--returning to dinner. "In the evening," observes Mr. Hunt, "I
seldom saw Byron. He recreated himself in the balcony, or with a book;
and at night when I went to bed, he was just thinking of setting to
work with Don Juan."

In the autumn, they left Pisa for Genoa; and in their way visited the
deserted house of Shelley. Wild as the place is, it now seemed
additionally so. It was melancholy, its rooms empty, and its garden
neglected. "The sea fawned upon the shore, as though it could do no
harm."

Genoa now became, as it would appear, the residence of Leigh Hunt for
the greater part of the time that he continued in Italy, for he
describes himself as quitting it for Florence, three years afterward.
Mrs. Shelley had preceded them thither, and had furnished houses both
for herself and Lord Byron, in the village of Albaro. With her they
took up their residence in the Casa Negroto. There were forty rooms in
it, some of them such as would be considered splendid in England, and
all neat and new, with borders and arabesques. The balcony and
stair-case were of marble; and there was a little flower-garden. The
rent was twenty pounds a-year. Byron paid for his twenty-four pounds.
It was called the Casa Saluzzi, was older and more imposing, with
rooms in still greater plenty, and a good piece of ground. Mr. Hunt
describes himself as passing a melancholy time at Albaro, walking
about the stony alleys, and thinking of Shelley. Here the first number
of that unfortunate publication, The Liberal, reached them; here they
prepared the few numbers which succeeded it, and here the coldness
between Byron and Hunt grew to its height, and they parted.

We next, and lastly, find Mr. Hunt at Florence. "I hailed it," he
says, "as a good omen in Florence, that the two first words that
caught my ears were flowers and woman--_fiori_ and _donne_.
The night of our arrival, we put up at an hotel in a very public
street, and were kept awake by songs and guitars. It was one of the
pleasantest pieces of the south we had experienced; and for the
moment, we lived in the Italy of books. One performer to a jovial
accompaniment, sung a song about somebody's fair wife--_bianca
moglie_--which set the street in roars of laughter. From the hotel,
we went into a lodging in the street of beautiful women--Via delle
Belle Donne--a name which is a sort of tune to pronounce. We there
heard one night a concert in the street, and looking out, saw
music-stands, books, etc., in regular order, and amateurs performing
as in a room. Opposite our lodging was an inscription on a house,
purporting that it was the Hospital of the Monks of Vallombrosa.
Wherever you turned was music or a graceful memory. From the Via delle
Belle Donne, we went to live in the Piazza Santa Croce, next to the
church of that name, containing the ashes of Michael Angelo. On the
other side of it was the monastery in which Pope Sixtus V. went
stooping as if in decrepitude; 'looking,' as he said afterward, 'for
the keys of St. Peter.' We lodged in the house of a Greek, who came
from the island of Andros, and was called Dionysius; a name which has
existed there, perhaps, ever since the god who bore it."

"The church of Santa Croce," says Mr. Hunt, "would disappoint you as
much inside as out, if the presence of great men did not always cast a
mingled shadow of the awful and beautiful over our thoughts." He then
adds, "Agreeably to our old rustic propensities, we did not stop long
in the city. We left Santa Croce to live at Maiano, a village on the
slope of one of the Fiesolan hills, about two miles off. I passed
there a very disconsolate time; yet the greatest comfort I experienced
in Italy was from being in that neighborhood, and thinking, as I went
about, of Boccaccio. Boccaccio's father had a house at Maiano,
supposed to have been situate at the Fiesolan extremity of the hamlet.
That divine writer, whose sensibility outweighed his levity a
hundredfold--as a divine face is oftener serious than it is merry--was
so fond of the place, that he not only laid the two scenes of the
Decamerone on each side of it, with the valley his company resorted to
in the middle, but has made the two little streams that embrace
Maiano, the Affrico and the Mensola, the hero and heroine of his
Nimphale Fiesolano. A lover and his vestal mistress are changed into
them, after the fashion of Ovid. The scene of another of his works is
on the banks of the Mugnone, a river a little distant; and the
Decamerone is full of the neighboring villages. Out of the windows of
one side of our house, we saw the turret of the Villa Gherardi, to
which his 'joyous company' resorted in the first instance; a house
belonging to the Machiavelli was nearer, a little on the left; and
farther to the left, among the blue hills, was the white village of
Settignano, where Michael Angelo was born. The house is still
remaining in the possession of the family. From our windows on the
other side, we saw, close to us, the Fiesole of antiquity and of
Milton, the site of the Boccaccio house before mentioned still closer,
the valley of Ladies at our feet; and we looked toward the quarter of
the Mugnone, and of a house of Dante, and in the distance beheld the
mountains of Pistoia. Lastly, from the terrace in front, Florence lay
clear and cathedraled before us, with the scene of Redi's Bacchus
rising on the other side of it, and the villa of Arcetri, illustrious
for Galileo.

"But I stuck to my Boccaccio haunts, as to an old home. I lived with
the divine human being, with his friends of the Falcon and the Basil,
and my own not unworthy melancholy; and went about the flowery hills
and lanes, solitary, indeed, and sick to the heart, but not
unsustained. * * * My almost daily walk was to Fiesole, through a path
skirted with wild myrtle and cyclamen; and I stopped at the cloister
of the Doccia, and sat on the pretty melancholy platform behind it,
reading, or looking through the pines down to Florence. In the valley
of Ladies, I found some English trees,--trees not vine and olive,--and
even a bit of meadow; and these, while I made them furnish me with a
bit of my old home in the north, did no injury to the memory of
Boccaccio, who is of all countries, and finds his home wherever we do
ourselves, in love, in the grave, in a desert island."

In the twenty-third article of the Wishing Cap, Mr. Hunt gives us this
further description of Fiesole and the valley of Ladies:--

"Milton and Galileo give a glory to Fiesole beyond even its starry
antiquity; nor perhaps is there a name eminent in the best annals of
Florence, to which some connections can not be traced with this
favored spot. When it was full of wood, it must have been eminently
beautiful. It is at present, indeed, full of vines and olives, but
this is not wood _woody_: not arboraceous, and properly sylvan. A
few poplars and forest trees mark out the course of the Affrico; and
the convent ground contrived to retain a good slice of evergreens,
which make a handsome contrast on the hillside with its white
cloister. But agriculture, quarries, and wood-fires have destroyed the
rest. Nevertheless, I now found the whole valley beautiful. It is
sprinkled with white cottages; the cornfields presented agreeable
paths, leading among vines and fig-trees; and I discovered even a
meadow; a positive English meadow, with the hay cut, and adorned with
English trees. In a grassy lane, betwixt the corn, sat a fair rustic,
receiving the homage of three young fellows of her acquaintance. In
the time of Boccaccio, the Affrico formed a little crystal lake, in
which (the said lake behaving itself, and being properly sequestered)
the ladies of his company, one day, bathe themselves. The gentlemen,
being informed of it, follow their example in the afternoon; and the
next day the whole party dine, take their _siesta_ under the
trees, and recount their novels. This lake has now disappeared before
the husbandman, as if it were a fairy thing, of which a money-getting
age was unworthy. Part of the Affrico is also closed up from the
passenger by private grounds; but the rest of it runs as clearly as it
did; and under the convent, a remnant of the woodier part of the
valley, a delicious remnant, is still existing. The stream jumps into
it, as if with delight, and goes slipping down little banks. It is
embowered with olives and young chestnut-trees, and looks up to the
long, white cloister, which is a conspicuous object over the country.

"A white convent, a woody valley, chestnut-trees intensely green, a
sky intensely blue, a stream at which it is a pleasure to stop and
drink,--behold a subject fit for a day in August.

"This then is the 'Valle delle Donne.' If Boccaccio's spirit ever
visits his native country, here must it repose. It is a place for a
knight in romance to take his rest in, his head on his elbow, and the
sound of the water in his ear.

"I whisk to England in my Wishing Cap, and fetch the reader to enjoy
the place with me.

"How do you like it? Is it not a glen most glen-icular? a confronting
of two leafy banks, with a rivulet between? Shouldn't you like to live
in the house over the way, where the doves are? If you walk a little
way to the left, through the chestnut-trees, you see Florence. The
convent up above us on the right is the one I spoke of. There is
nobody in it now, but a peasant for housekeeper. Look at this lad
coming down the path with his olive complexion and black eyes. He is
bringing goats. I see them emerging from the trees; huge creatures,
that when they rise on their hind legs to nibble the boughs, almost
look formidable. There is Theocritus for you. And here is Theocritus
or Longus, which you will; for a peasant-girl is with him, one of the
pleasantest countenances in the world, with a forehead and eyes fit
for a poetess; as they all have. I wish the fellow were as neat as his
companion, but somehow these goatherds look of a piece with their
goats. They love a ragged picturesque."

From this charming and celebrated spot of earth, Leigh Hunt turned
northward and homeward through Switzerland and France. Every lover of
true poetry and of an excellent and high-hearted man, must regret that
his visit to Italy was dashed by such melancholy circumstances, for no
man was ever made more thoroughly to enjoy that fine climate and
classical land. Yet as the friend of Shelley, Keats, Charles Lamb, and
others of the first spirits of the age, Mr. Hunt must be allowed, in
this respect, to have been one of the happiest of men. It were no mean
boon of providence to have been permitted to live in the intimacy of
men like these; but, beside this, he had the honor to suffer, with
those beautiful and immortal spirits, calumny and persecution. They
have achieved justice through death--he has lived injustice down. As a
politician, there is a great debt of gratitude due to him from the
people, for he was their firm champion when reformers certainly did
not walk about in silken slippers. He fell on evil days, and he was
one of the first and foremost to mend them. In literature he has
distinguished himself in various walks; and in all he has manifested
the same genial, buoyant, hopeful, and happy spirit. His Sir Ralph
Esher, a novel of Charles II.'s time, is a work which is full of
thought and fine painting of men and nature. His Indicator and his
London Journal abound with papers which make us in love at once with
the writer and ourselves. There is a charm cast over everyday life,
that makes us congratulate ourselves that we live. All that is
beautiful and graceful in nature, and love-inspiring in our
fellow-men, is brought out and made part of our daily walk and
pleasure. His Months, a calendar of nature, bears testimony to his
intense love of nature, which breathes equally in every page of his
poetry. In these prose works, however, as well as in some of his
earlier poetry, we find certain artificialities of phrase, fanciful
expressions, and what are often termed conceits, which the critics
treated as cockneyisms, and led them to style him the head of the
Cockney school. There are certainly many indications, particularly in
The Months, of his regarding the country rather as a visitor than an
inhabitant. His _Standpunct_, as the Germans call it, his point
of standing, or in our phraseology, his point of view from which he
contemplates nature, is the town. He thus produces to a countryman a
curious inversion of illustration. For instance, he compares April to
a lady watering her flowers at a balcony; and we almost expect him, in
praising real flowers, to say that they are nearly equal to artificial
ones. But these are but the specks on a sun-disk, all glowing with the
most genuine love of nature. In no writer does the love of the
beautiful and the good more abound. And, after all, the fanciful
epithets in which he endeavors to clothe as fanciful notions, are, as
he himself has explained, nothing whatever belonging to London, or the
land of Cockayne, but to his having imbued his mind long and deeply
with the poetry, and, as a matter of course, with the poetic language
of our older writers. In a wider acquaintance with nature, the world,
and literature, these have vanished from his style; and I know of no
more manly, English, and chastely vigorous style than that of his
poems in general. In conformity with the strictures of various
critics, he has, moreover, rewritten his fine poem Rimini. It was
objected that the story was not very moral, and he has now, in the
smaller edition published by Moxon, altered the story so as to
palliate this objection as much as possible, and, as he says, to bring
it, in fact, nearer to the truth of the case. For my part, I know not
what moral the critics would have, if wretchedness and death, as the
consequences of sin, be not a solemn moral. If the selfish old father,
who deceives his daughter into a marriage by presenting to her the
proxy as the proposed spouse, is punished by finding his daughter and
this proxy prince, who went out from him with pomp and joy, soon come
back to him in a herse, and with all his ambitious projects thus
dashed to the ground, is not held as a solemn warning, where shall
such be found? However, the poet has shown his earnest desire to set
himself right with the public, and the public has now the poem in its
two shapes, and can accommodate its delicate self at its pleasure. I
regret that the space allowed for this notice does not permit me to
point out a number of those delightful passages which abound in his
beautiful and graceful poems. The graphic as well as dramatic power of
Rimini, the landscape and scene-painting of that poem, are only
exceeded by the force with which the progress of passion and evil is
delineated. The scene in the gardens and the pavilion, where the
lovers are reading Lancelot du Lac, is not surpassed by any thing of
the kind in the language. The sculptured scenes on the walls of this
pavilion are all pictures living in every line:--

                      "The sacrifice
    By girls and shepherds brought, with reverend eyes,
    Of sylvan drinks and foods, simple and sweet,
    And goats with struggling horns and planted feet."

The opening of the poem, beginning--

    "The sun is up, and 'tis a morn of May
    Round old Ravenna's clear-shown towers and bay,"--

all life, elasticity, and sunshine;--and the melancholy ending--

    "The days were then at close of autumn--still,
    A little rainy, and toward nightfall chill:
    There was a fitful moaning all abroad;
    And ever and anon over the road,
    The last few leaves came fluttering from the trees," etc.,

are passages of exquisite beauty, marking the change from joy to
sorrow in one of the loveliest poems in the language. We have in it
the genuine spirit of Chaucer, the rich nervous cadences of Dryden,
with all the grace and life of modern English. But it is in vain here
to attempt to speak of the poetic merits of Leigh Hunt. A host of fine
compositions comes crowding on our consciousness. The Legend of
Florence, a noble tragedy; The Palfrey; Hero and Leander; The Feast of
the Poets; and The Violets; numbers of delightful translations from
the Italian, a literature in which Leigh Hunt has always reveled; and
above all, Captain Sword and Captain Pen. We would recommend every
body, just now that the war-spirit is rising among us, to read that
poem, and learn what horrors they are rejoicing over, and what the
Christian spirit of this age demands of us. But we must praise the
lyrics of the volume:--the pathos of the verses "To T. L. H., six
years old, during a sickness," and the playful humor of those "To J.
H., four years old," call on us for notice; and then the fine blank
verse poems, Our Cottage, and Reflections of a Dead Body, are equally
importunate. If any one does not yet know what Leigh Hunt has done for
the people and the age, let him get the pocket edition of his poems,
and he will soon find himself growing in love with life, with his
fellow-men, and with himself. The philosophy of Leigh Hunt is loving,
cheerful, and confiding in the goodness that governs us all. And when
we look back to what was the state of things when he began to write,
and then look round and see what it is now, we must admit that he has
a good foundation for so genial a faith.

It remains only to take a glance or two at his English homes. To
several of these we can trace him. Soon after his quitting
Horsemonger-lane prison, he was living at Paddington, having a study
looking over the fields toward Westbourne-green. In this he had a
narrow escape one morning of being burned, owing his escape to some
"fair cousin" not named. There he was visited by Lord Byron and
Wordsworth. At one time he was living at 8, York-buildings, New-road,
Marylebone. In the London Journal of January 7, 1835, Mr. Hunt gives a
very charming account of a very happy Twelfth Night spent there, and
in commemoration of it planted some young plane-trees within the rails
by the garden gate. Under these trees, but a year or two ago, he had
the pleasure of seeing people sheltering from the rain; but they are
now cut down. Here he first had the pleasure of seeing John Keats, and
here he was visited by Foscolo. At other times he lived in
Lisson-grove; at Hampstead, in the Vale of Health, where, as already
observed, Keats wrote Sleep and Poetry; at Highgate, near Coleridge;
and at Woodcote-green, near Ashstead-park, in Surrey, where he laid
the scene, and, I believe, wrote the romance, of Sir Ralph Esher.

Since his return to England he has lived chiefly in the suburbs of
London, in what Milton called "garden houses;" for some years in
Chelsea, near Thomas Carlyle; and now in Edwardes-square, Kensington,
a square of small, neat houses, built by a Frenchman, it is said in
expectation of the conquest of England by Bonaparte, and with a desire
to be ready settled, and with homes for his countrymen of more limited
means against that event. The speculation failing with the mightier
speculation of Napoleon, the poor Frenchman was ruined.

Such is a hasty sketch of the many wanderings and sojourns of Leigh
Hunt. May his age be rewarded for the services of his youth. In
closing this article I would, also with this wish, express another,
and that is, that he would sometime publish that small, but most
beautiful manual of domestic devotion, called by him Christianism, and
printed only for private circulation, some years ago. The object of
this little work seems to be, to give to such as had not full faith in
Christianity an idea of what is excellent in it, and by which they
might be benefited and comforted, even though they could not attain
full belief in its authenticity. The spirit and style of it are
equally beautiful.


[Illustration: House in St. James's Place]



SAMUEL ROGERS.


One of the greatest pleasures that an author can have, is to record
the delight which he has derived from other authors; after a long
career of intellectual enjoyment, to pay the due tribute of gratitude
to those writers of an antecedent period who have laid the foundations
of his taste, and stimulated him in that career which has made his
happiness. This is always an act of love, an act of reverence and
regard, which is full of its own peculiar pleasure. But how much is
this pleasure augmented, when this tribute can be paid to the living;
to one who preceded us, and yet is still among us; to the teacher of
the past, to the patriarch of the present! Of the writers, and
especially the poets, who charmed our young and inexperienced spirits,
how few are those whose works will bear the test of time; how few to
whom we can turn, at a mature age, and find them all that we ever
believed them to be! Mr. Rogers is one of this rare class. Among the
very earliest literary pleasures which I can remember, was that of
reading--and that time after time--his Pleasures of Memory: and the
reading of this poem is now, after nearly half-a-century, not only one
of my pleasures of memory, but, on reperusal, is equally fresh,
equally true to nature, and equally attractive, by the soundness and
the beauty of its sentiments. Mr. Rogers stands among us, if not the
very oldest living literary man, yet by far the oldest of our poets;
and it is a welcome testimony to the good sense and feeling of the
age, that he stands among us with all the affectionate respect and the
honor which he has so well won. Mr. Rogers, I believe, has never met
with that species of Mohawk criticism, that scalping and scarifying
literary assault and battery, which so many of his cotemporaries have
had to undergo. There was a gentleness and a calm suavity about his
writings which disarmed the most eager assailant of merit. There was
in him an absence of that militant and antagonistic spirit which
provokes the like animus. There was felt only the purity of taste, the
deep love of beauty in art and nature, the vivid yet tender sympathy
with humanity, which put every one dreadfully in the wrong who should
attempt to strike down their possessor. The very first line of
criticism applied to the writings of Mr. Rogers, was in the Monthly
Review, on his Ode to Superstition, with some other Poems, published
by Cadell, in 1786, and was this--"In these pieces we perceive the
hand of a master."

The master thus discovered in the first essay of his power, has never
ceased since to be acknowledged. In 1792, or six years afterward, he
published the Pleasures of Memory, which was received with universal
and delighted acclamation. It took hold, at once, of the English
heart; and became, and remains, and is likely to remain, one of the
classic beauties of our national poetry. From that day, to so late a
period as 1830, Mr. Rogers, at leisurely but tolerably regular
intervals, has gone on adding to the riches of our hoards of taste and
genius. In 1798, or in another six years, he published his Epistle,
with other Poems; in 1812, or fourteen years afterward, The Voyage of
Columbus; two years after that, Jacqueline, _i.e._, in 1814; five
years later, or in 1819, Human Life; and, finally, in 1830, or when he
was sixty-seven years of age, his Italy.

These works have steadily extended his fame; and amid the truest
enjoyment of that fame, Mr. Rogers has lived a long and honored, and,
singularly for a poet, fortunate life. His wealth and position in
society, not less than his wealth and position in the world of mind,
have drawn around him all the distinguished characters of his time;
and his house, filled from top to bottom with evidences of his taste,
and of his means of indulging it, has been the resort of most of those
who have given its intellectual stamp to the age. Amid the great
struggles and events of that period, the wars, the revolutions, and
the social contests which have communicated their fiery elements to
the spirit of genius, and produced works of a like extreme character,
the mind of Rogers, calm and self-balanced, has pursued its course,
apparently uninfluenced by all that moved around him. With human
nature, and human life in general, he sympathized; but the love of the
true and beautiful in it has prevailed over the contagion of the vast
and violent: he has dealt rather with the pure and touching incidents
of existence, than with the passionate and the tragic. Many, on this
account, have been disposed to attribute to him a want of power and
greatness, forgetting that the predominating character of his taste
has inevitably decided the character of his subjects, and that to
these subjects he has given all the power and beauty which they were
capable of. Mr. Rogers is a great master in his own department. In him
taste lives as strongly as genius. He is a poetic artist. The
beautiful and the refined mingle themselves with the structure as
inseparably as with the material of his compositions. He knows that
there is greatness in the broad champagne, with its woods and towns,
as well as in the huge and splendid mountain; in the lofty but pure
and placid sky, as well as in the stormy ocean. It is not the creator
only of the Laocoon in all his agonies, that is a great artist--the
Apollo Belvedere, and the Venus de Medicis, and the Mourning Psyche,
calm in most perfect repose, or depressed with grief, equally
demonstrate the hand of a master. There is often the most consummate
display of genius in the stillest statue. Poussin or Claude are not
the less admirable because they do not affect the robust horrors of
Rubens, or the wildness of Salvator. In Rogers, the true, the
pathetic, all those feelings, and sentiments, and associations, that
are dear to us as life itself, are evolved with a skill that is
unrivaled; and the language is elaborated to a perfection that
resembles the finish of a beautiful picture, or the music to
inimitable words. If we need the excitement of impetuous emotions, we
would turn to Byron; if the influence of calm, and soothing, and
harmonizing ones, we would sit down to Rogers. Each is eminent in his
own department, each will exercise the supremacy of his genius upon
us.

In the Pleasures of Memory we are forcibly reminded of Goldsmith and
the Deserted Village. We feel how deeply the genius of that exquisite
writer had affected the mind of Rogers in his youth. There is a
striking similarity of style, of imagery, and of subject. It is not a
deserted village, but a deserted mansion, which is described, and
where we are led to sympathize with all that is picturesque in nature,
and dear to the heart in domestic life.

    "Mark yon old mansion peering through the trees,
    Whose hollow turret woos the whistling breeze.
    That casement, arched with ivy's brownest shade,
    First to these eyes the light of heaven conveyed.
    The moldering gateway shows the grass-grown court,
    Once the calm scene of many a simple sport;
    When nature pleased, for life itself was new,
    And the heart promised what the fancy drew.

      See, through the fractured pediment revealed,
    Where moss inlays the rudely sculptured shield,
    The martin's old hereditary nest--
    Long may the ruin spare its hallowed guest!

      As jars the hinge, what sullen echoes call!
    Oh haste, unfold the hospitable hall!
    That hall, where once in antiquated state,
    The chair of justice held the grave debate.

      Now stained with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung,
    Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung;
    When round yon ample board in due degree,
    We sweetened every meal with social glee.
    The heart's light laugh pursued the exciting jest;
    And all was sunshine in each little breast.
    'Twas here we traced the slipper by the sound.
    And turned the blindfold hero round and round.
    'Twas here, at eve, we formed our fairy ring;
    And Fancy fluttered on her wildest wing.
    Giants and genii chained each wondering ear;
    And orphan sorrows drew the ready tear.
    Oft with the babes we wandered in the wood,
    Or viewed the forest feats of Robin Hood.
    Oft, fancy-led, at midnight's fearful hour,
    With startling step we scaled the lonely tower,
    O'er infant innocence to hang and weep,
    Murdered by ruffian hands, when smiling in its sleep.

      Ye household deities! whose guardian eye
    Marked each pure thought we registered on high;
    Still, still ye walk the consecrated ground,
    And breathe the soul of inspiration round.

      As o'er the dusky furniture I bend,
    Each chair awakes the feelings of a friend.
    The storied arras, source of fond delight,
    With old achievement charms the wildered sight;
    And still with heraldry's red hues impressed,
    On the dim window glows the pictured crest;
    The screen unfolds its many colored chart;
    The clock still points its moral to the heart--
    That faithful monitor 'twas heaven to hear,
    When soft it spoke a promised pleasure near;
    And has its sober hand, its simple chime,
    Forgot to trace the feathered feet of Time?
    That massive beam with curious carvings wrought,
    Whence the caged linnet soothed my pensive thought;
    Those muskets cased with venerable rust.
    Those once-loved forms still breathing through their dust,
    Still from the frame in mold gigantic cast,
    Starting to life--all whisper of the past!"

This is so exquisite and old-English that it will continue to charm as
long as there are hearts and memories. The whole of the first part of
the poem is of the like tone and feature; the old garden, the old
school and its porch, the Gipsy group, the old beggar, the village
church and church-yard--

    "On whose gray stone, that fronts the chancel door,
    Worn smooth by tiny feet now seen no more,
    Each eve we shot the marble through the ring,
    When the heart danced, and life was in the spring."

As it advances, however, it takes a wider range, and gradually
embraces higher topics and more extensive regions. History, and death,
and eternity, all swell into its theme.

A new element of style also marks the progress of this poem. There are
more animated invocations, and a greater pomp of versification. It
looks as if the muse of Darwin had infused its more ambitious tone,
without leading the poet away from his purely legitimate subjects. By
whatever passing influences, or what processes of thought, this change
was produced, there it is. This poem, and this peculiar style of
versification, soon caught the ear and fascinated the mind of
Campbell, when a very young man, and out of the Pleasures of Memory
sprung the Pleasures of Hope. The direct imitation of both style,
manner, subject, and cast of subject, by Campbell, is one of the most
striking things in the language; the peculiarities of the style and
phraseology only, as was natural by an enthusiastic youth, much
exaggerated. In Campbell, that which in Rogers is somewhat sounding
and high-toned, becomes, with all its beauty, turgid, and often
bordering on bombast. The very epithets are the same. "The wild bee's
wing"--"the war-worn courser," and "pensive twilight in her dusky
car," continually in the Pleasures of Hope remind you of the Pleasures
of Memory.

    "Hark, the bee winds her small but mellow horn,
    Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn.
    O'er thymy downs she bends her busy course,
    And many a stream allures her to its source.
    'Tis noon, 'tis night. That eye so finely wrought,
    Beyond the reach of sense, the soar of thought,
    Nor vainly asks the scenes she left behind:
    Its orb so full, its vision so confined!
    Who guides the patient pilgrim to her cell?
    Who bids her soul with conscious triumph swell?
    With conscious truth retrace the mazy clew
    Of summer scents, that charmed her as she flew?
    Hail, Memory, hail! thy universal reign
    Guards the least link of being's glorious chain."--_Rogers._

In the disciple the manner is reproduced, and yet modified as in these
lines:--

    "Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden grow
    Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe;
    Won by their sweets, in Nature's languid hour.
    The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower;
    There as the wild bee murmurs on the wing,
    What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring!
    What viewless forms th' Æolian organ play,
    And sweep the furrowed lines of conscious thought away."

How the master and the scholar may be again recognized in the
following passages:--

    "So, when the mild TUPIA dared explore
    Arts yet untaught, and worlds unknown before;
    And with the sons of science wooed the gale,
    That rising, swelled their strange expanse of sail;
    So when he breathed his firm, yet fond adieu,
    Borne from his leafy hut, his carved canoe,
    And all his soul best loved, such tears he shed
    While each soft scene of summer beauty fled.
    Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast,
    Long watched the streaming signal from the mast;
    Till twilight's dewy tints deceived his eye,
    And fairy forests fringed the evening sky."--_Rogers_.

    "And such thy strength-inspiring aid, that bore
    The hardy Byron to his native shore,--
    In horrid climes where Chiloe's tempests sweep
    Tumultuous murmurs o'er the troubled deep,
    'Twas his to mourn misfortune's rudest shock,
    Scourged by the winds, and cradled on the rock,
    To wake each joyless morn and search again
    The famished haunts of solitary men;
    Whose race, unyielding as their native storm,
    Know not a trace of nature but the form;
    Yet at thy call the hardy tar pursued,
    Pale, but intrepid, sad, but unsubdued;
    Pierced the deep woods, and hailing from afar
    The moon's pale planet, and the northern star;
    Paused at each dreary cry unheard before,
    Hyenas in the wild, and mermaids on the shore;
    Till led by thee o'er many a cliff sublime,
    He found a warmer world, a milder clime,
    A home to rest, or shelter to defend,
    Peace and repose, a Briton and a friend!"--_Campbell_.

Into every form of expression the scholar follows his master:--

    "When Diocletian's self-corrected mind
    The imperial fasces of a world resigned,
    Say, why we trace the labors of his spade
    In calm Salona's philosophic shade?
    Say, when contentious Charles renounced a throne,
    To muse with monks unlettered and unknown,
    What from his soul the parting tribute drew,
    What claimed the sorrows of a last adieu?"--_Rogers_.

    "And say, when summoned from the world and thee,
    I lay my head beneath the willow-tree,
    Wilt thou, sweet mourner! at my stone appear,
    And soothe my parting spirit lingering near?"--_Campbell_.

But the likeness is found everywhere--in phrase, in imagery, in
topics, and in tone. When, after a lapse of twenty-seven years, Mr.
Rogers produced his poem of Human Life, what a change of manner, what
a transformation of style had taken place in him! No longer the
grandiloquent invocations were found; no longer the sounding style, no
longer the easy recurrence of the cadence, pausing on the cæsura and
falling at the close of the line. Here the whole rhythm and
construction were of a new school and a new generation. The style was
more simple and more vigorous. The sentences marched on with a rare
recurrence of the cæsura, the cadence did not fall with the end of the
line, but oftener far in the middle of it, and the verse abounded with
triplets.

    "He reads thanksgiving in the eyes of all--
    All met as at a holy festival!
    --On the day destined for his funeral!
    Lo! there the friend, who, entering where he lay,
    Breathed in his drowsy ear--'Away, away!
    Take thou my cloak--Nay, start not, but obey!
    Take it, and leave me.'"

What a total revolution is here! The old chime is gone, the old melody
is exchanged for a new. All depends on entirely new principles, and
seeks to give pleasure through an utterly fresh medium. But the poem
itself is one of the most beautiful things in any language. It is
human life from the cradle to the tomb, with all its pleasures,
aspirations, trials, and triumphs. Every thing which clings round the
spirit of man as precious, every thing which wins us onward, and
sustains us in sorrow, and soothes us under the infliction of
wrong--the glory of public good, and the hallowed charm of domestic
affection, is thrown into this poem, with the art of a master and the
great soul of a sanctified experience. Never either were the varied
scenes of English life more sweetly described. The wedding and the
burial, the village wake and the field sports, the battle and the
victory, all are blended inimitably into the great picture of
existence, and at times the aged minstrel rises into a strain of power
and animation, such as rebuke the doubters of those attributes in him.

    "Then is the age of admiration--Then
    Gods walk the earth, or beings more than men;
    Who breathe the soul of inspiration round,
    Whose very shadows consecrate the ground!
    Ah! then comes thronging many a wild desire,
    And high imagining, and thought of fire!
    Then from within, a voice exclaims--'Aspire!'
    Phantoms, that upward point, before him pass,
    As in the cave athwart the wizard's glass;
    They, that on youth a grace, a luster shed,
    Of every age, the living and the dead!"

Still this poem of Human Life is but the life of one section of our
fellow-men--that of the gentry. It is curious, that it does not
descend into the midst of the multitude, and give us any of those deep
and somber shades which abound so much in Crabbe. The reason is
obvious. Crabbe had seen it and felt it. He had been born among it,
and had himself to struggle. Rogers has gone on that easy path of life
that is paved with gold, and "the huts where poor men lie," therefore,
probably never for a moment protruded themselves through the charmed
circle of his poetic inspiration. Happily for him his are fully the
Pleasures of Memory. Yet it is not the less true, or less honorable,
that in actual life, there is no man who has remembered the struggling
more sympathetically, nor has held out so generous a hand to the aid
of unfriended merit.

From the Voyage of Columbus the following extract will afford an
example of the beautiful description and rich imaginative power which
abound in that poem:--

    THE NEW WORLD.

    "Long on the deep the mists of morning lay,
    Then rose, revealing, as they rolled away,
    Half-circling hills, whose everlasting woods
    Sweep with their sable skirts the shadowy floods:
    And say,--when all to holy transport given,
    Embraced and wept as at the gate of Heaven,
    When one and all of us, repentant, ran,
    And on our faces, blessed the wondrous man,--
    Say, was I thus deceived, or from the skies
    Burst on my ear seraphic harmonies?
    'Glory to God!' unnumbered voices sung,
    'Glory to God!' the vales and mountains rung--
    Voices that hailed creation's primal morn,
    And to the shepherds sung a Savior born.

    Slowly, bareheaded, through the surf we bore
    The sacred cross, and kneeling, kissed the shore.
    But what a scene was there? Nymphs of romance!
    Youths graceful as the fawn, with eager glance
    Spring from the glades, and down the alleys peep;
    Some headlong rush, bounding from steep to steep,
    And clap their hands, exclaiming as they run,
    'Come and behold the children of the sun!'
    When hark, a signal-shot! The voice it came
    Over the sea, in darkness and in flame!
    They saw, they heard; and up the highest hill,
    As in a picture, all at once were still!
    Creatures so fair, in garments strangely wrought,
    From citadels, with Heaven's own thunder fraught,
    Checked their light footsteps--statue-like they stood,
    As worshiped forms, the Genii of the Wood!

    At length the spell dissolves! the warrior's lance
    Rings on the tortoise with wild dissonance!
    And see, the regal plumes, the coach of state!
    Still, where it moves, the wise in council wait!
    See now borne forth the monstrous masks of gold,
    And ebon chair of many a serpent fold;
    These now exchanged for gifts that thrice surpass
    The wondrous ring, and lamp, and horse of brass.
    What long-drawn tube transports the gazer home,
    Kindling with stars at noon the ethereal dome?
    'Tis here: and here circles of solid light
    Charm with another self the cheated sight;
    As man to man another self disclose,
    And now with terror starts, with triumph glows!"

Italy, Mr. Rogers's last published poem of any length, is a fine
production, full of that glorious land, and abounding with the finest
subjects for the painter and the sculptor; but we must not be tempted
to speak further of it here.

The changes of Mr. Rogers's life, or of his abodes, have not been
many. He was born at Newington-green, in 1763, and is, consequently,
eighty-three years of age. Newington-green, his birthplace, has all
the marks of an old locality. In this neighborhood the Tudor princes
used to live a good deal. Canonbury, between this green and Islington,
was a favorite hunting-seat of Elizabeth, and no doubt the woods and
wastes extended all round this neighborhood. There is Kingsland, now
all built on, there is Henry VIII.'s walk, and Queen Elizabeth's walk,
all in the vicinity; and this old, quiet green seems to retain a
feeling and an aspect of those times. It is built round with houses,
evidently of a considerable age. There are trees and quietness about
it still. In the center of the south side is an old house standing
back, which is said to have been inhabited by Henry VIII. At the end
next to Stoke Newington stands an old Presbyterian chapel, at which
the celebrated Dr. Price preached, and of which, afterward, the
husband of Mrs. Barbauld was the minister. Near this chapel De Foe was
educated, and the house still remains. In this green lived, too, Mary
Wollstoncraft, being engaged with another lady in keeping a school.
Samuel Rogers was born in the stuccoed house at the southwest corner,
which is much older than it seems. Adjoining it is a large, old
garden. Here his father, and his mother's father, lived before him. By
the mother's side he was descended from the celebrated Philip Henry,
the father of Matthew Henry, and was therefore of an old
Non-conformist family. Mr. Rogers's grandfather was a gentleman,
pursuing no profession, but his father engaged in banking. Mr. Rogers
continued to reside in this house till after his father's death, and
wrote and published here his Pleasures of Memory, which appeared a
short time before his father's decease.

On quitting Newington-green, Mr. Rogers took chambers in the Temple,
where he continued to reside five years, or till about 1800, when he
removed to his present house; so that he has occupied his present
abode the greater part of half-a-century. In this house, 22, St.
James's-place, he has not only written every one of his chief poems,
except the Pleasures of Memory, but he has been visited in it by a
vast number of the most celebrated men of his time, among them Byron,
Scott, Moore, Crabbe, Fox, Campbell, Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge,
etc.

At an early period of his life he was anxious to purchase an estate in
the country, not too far from London, where he could build a house
after his own taste. He pitched on Fredley farm, in Norbury-park, near
Mickleham, in Surrey, which was to be disposed of. By some means it
escaped him, and disappointed in his object, he seems to have given up
the search for another situation, and contented himself with building
his house on paper. The result was the abode described in his Epistle
to a Friend, published in 1798. His villa is placed in a rustic
hamlet, has few apartments, but is not without its library and cold
bath, and is furnished with prints after the best painters, and casts
from the antique. The whole of this poem breathes the love of the
country, of simplicity of life, and condemns the pomp and the follies
of London fashionable life. Its accompaniments, its exterior and
interior, are all of the same unostentatious character--it is an abode
that any man of taste might possess without any great wealth.

    "Still must my partial pencil love to dwell
    On the home prospects of my hermit-cell:
    The mossy pales that skirt the orchard green
    Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses seen;
    And the brown pathway that with careless flow
    Sinks, and is lost among the trees below.
    Still must it trace, the flattering tints forgive,--
    Each fleeting charm that bids the landscape live.
    Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance pass,
    Browsing the hedge by fits, the panniered ass;
    The idling shepherd-boy with rude delight,
    Whistling his dog to mark the pebble's flight;
    And, in her kerchief blue, the cottage maid,
    With brimming pitcher from the shadowy glade
    Far to the south a mountain vale retires,
    Rich in its groves, and glens, and village spires;
    Its upland lawns, and cliffs with foliage hung,
    Its wizard stream, nor nameless, nor unsung.
    And through the various year, the various day,
    What scenes of glory burst and melt away!"

His interior embellishment shall be my last extract:--

    "Here no state chambers in long line unfold,
    Bright with broad mirrors, rough with fretted gold:
    Yet modest ornament, with use combined,
    Attracts the eye to exercise the mind.
    Small change of scene, small space his home requires,
    Who leads a life of satisfied desires.
    What though no marble breathes, no canvas glows,
    From every point a ray of genius flows!
    Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill,
    That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will;
    And cheaply circulates through distant climes
    The fairest relics of the purest times.
    Here from the mold to conscious being start
    Those finer forms, the miracles of art;
    Here chosen gems, impressed on sulphur shine,
    That slept for ages in the secret mine;
    And here the faithful graver dares to trace
    A Michael's grandeur and a Raphael's grace!
    Thy gallery, Florence, gilds my humble walls,
    And my low roof the Vatican recalls."

But Mr. Rogers had the power to procure the originals; and therefore
the same taste put him in possession of them. He was destined to spend
his life in London, and only premising that the front of his house
overlooks the Green-park, and possesses a gateway into it, I shall
present the account of its interior, or rather of its treasures of
art, from the pen of the well known Professor Waagen of Berlin,
knowing from the poet himself that it is accurate.

"By the kindness of Mr. Solly, who continues to embrace every
opportunity of doing me service, I have been introduced to Mr. Rogers
the poet, a very distinguished and amiable man. He is one of the few
happy mortals to whom it has been granted to be able to gratify, in a
worthy manner, the most lively sensibility to every thing noble and
beautiful. He has accordingly found means, in the course of his long
life, to impress this sentiment on every thing about him. In his house
you are everywhere surrounded and excited with the higher productions
of art. In truth one knows not whether more to admire the diversity or
the purity of his taste. Pictures of the most different schools,
ancient and modern sculptures, Greek vases, alternately attract the
eye, and are so arranged, with a judicious regard to their size, in
proportion to the place assigned them, that every room is richly and
picturesquely ornamented, without having the appearance of a magazine
from being overfilled, as we frequently find. Among all these objects
none is insignificant; several cabinets and portfolios contain, beside
the choicest collections of antique ornaments in gold that I have
hitherto seen, valuable miniatures of the middle ages, fine drawings
by the old masters, and the most agreeable prints of the greatest of
the old engravers, Marcantonio, Durer, etc., in the finest
impressions. The enjoyment of all these treasures was heightened to
the owner by the confidential intercourse with the most eminent, now
deceased, English artists, Flaxman and Stothard; both have left him a
memorial of their friendship. In two little marble statues of Cupid
and Psyche, and a mantle-piece, with a bas-relief representing a muse
with a lyre and Mnemosyne by Flaxman, there is the same noble and
graceful feeling which has so greatly attracted me from my childhood
in his celebrated compositions after Homer and Æschylus. The hair and
draperies are treated with great, almost too picturesque softness.
Among all the English painters, none, perhaps, has so much power of
invention as Stothard. His versatile talent has successfully made
essays in the domains of history, or fancy and poetry, of humor, and
lastly, even in domestic scenes, in the style of Watteau. To this may
be added much feeling for graceful movements, and cheerful, bright
coloring. In his pictures, which adorn a chimney-piece, principal
characters from Shakspeare's plays are represented with great spirit
and humor; among them Falstaff makes a very distinguished and comical
figure. There is also a merry company, in the style of Watteau; the
least attractive is an allegorical representation of Peace returning
to the earth, for the brilliant coloring approaching to Rubens can not
make up for the poorness of the heads and the weakness of the drawing.

"As there are among the pictures some of the best works of Sir Joshua
Reynolds, fine specimens of the works of three of the most eminent
British artists of an earlier date are here united.

"Beside portraits, properly so called, Sir Joshua Reynolds was the
happiest in the representation of children, where he was able, in the
main, to remain faithful to nature, and in general an indifferent but
naïve action or occupation alone was necessary. In such pictures, he
admirably succeeded in representing the youthful bloom and artless
manners of the fine English children. This it is which makes his
celebrated strawberry girl, which is in this collection, so
attractive. With her hands simply folded, a basket under her arm, she
stands in her white frock, and looks full at the spectator, with her
fine, large eyes. The admirable impasto, the bright, golden tone,
clear as Rembrandt, and the dark landscape background, have a striking
effect. Sir Joshua himself looked upon this as one of his best
pictures. A sleeping girl is also uncommonly charming, the coloring
very glowing; many cracks in the painting, both in the background and
the drapery, show the uncertainty of the artist in the mechanical
processes of the art. Another girl with a bird does not give me so
much pleasure. The rather affected laugh is, in this instance, not
stolen from nature, but from the not happy invention of the painter;
in the glowing color there is something specky and false. Puck, the
merry elf in Shakspeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, called by the
English Robin Goodfellow, represented as a child, with an arch look,
sitting on a mushroom, and full of wantonness, stretching out arms and
legs, is another much admired work of Sir Joshua. But though this
picture is painted with much warmth and clearness, the conception does
not at all please me. I find it too childish, and not fantastic
enough. In the background, Titania is seen with the ass-headed weaver.
Psyche with the lamp, looking at Cupid, figures as large as life, is
of the most brilliant effect, and, in the tender, greenish half-tints,
also of great delicacy. In the regard for beautiful leading lines,
there is an affinity to the rather exaggerated grace of Parmeggiano.
In such pictures by Sir Joshua, the incorrect drawing always injures
the effect. I was much interested at meeting with a landscape by this
master. It is in the style of Rembrandt, and of very strong effect.

"Of older English painters, there are here two pretty pictures by
Gainsborough, one by Wilson; of the more recent, I found only one by
the rare and spirited Bonington, of a Turk fallen asleep over his
pipe, admirably executed in a deep, harmonious chiaro-oscuro. Mr.
Rogers's taste and knowledge of the art are too general for him not to
feel the profound intellectual value of works of art in which the
management of the materials was in some degree restricted. He has
therefore not disdained to place in his collection the half-figures of
St. Paul and St. John, and fragments of a fresco painting from the
Carmelite Church at Florence, by Giotto; Salome dancing before Herod,
and the beheading of St. John, by Fiesole; a coronation of the Virgin,
by Lorenzo de Condi, the fellow-scholar and friend of Leonardo da
Vinci, whose productions and personal character were so estimable.
Next to these pictures is a Christ on the Mount of Olives, by Raphael,
at the time when he had not abandoned the manner of Perugio. This
little picture was once a part of the predella to the altar-piece
which Raphael painted in the year 1505 for the nuns of St. Anthony, at
Perugio. It came with the Orleans gallery to England, and was last in
the possession of Lord Eldin, in Edinburgh. Unhappily it has been much
injured by cleaning and repairing, but in many parts, particularly in
the arms of the angel, there are defects in the drawing, such as we do
not find in Raphael even at this period. So that, most probably, the
composition alone should be ascribed to him, and the execution to one
of the assistants, who painted the two saints belonging to the same
predella now in Dulwich College.

"From the Orleans gallery, Mr. Rogers has Raphael's Madonna, well
known by Flipart's engraving, with the eyes rather cast down, on whom
the child standing by her fondly leans. The expression of joyousness
in the child is very pleasing. The gray color of the under-dress of
the virgin, with red sleeves, forms an agreeable harmony with the blue
mantle. To judge by the character and drawing, the composition may be
of the early period of Raphael's residence at Rome. In other respects,
this picture admits of no judgment, because many parts have become
quite flat by cleaning, and others are painted over. The landscape is
in a blue-greenish tone, differing from Raphael's manner.

"Of the Roman school I will mention only one more. Christ bearing his
cross, by Andrea Sacchi, a moderate-sized picture from the Orleans
gallery, is one of the capital pictures of this master, in
composition, depth of coloring, and harmony.

"The crown, however, of the whole collection, is Christ appearing to
Mary Magdalene, by Titian. It was formerly in the possession of the
family of Muselli at Verona, and afterward adorned the Orleans
gallery. In the clear, bright, golden tone of the flesh, the careful
execution, the refined feeling, in the impassioned desire of the
kneeling Magdalene to touch the Lord, and the calm, dignified refusal
of the Savior, we recognize the earlier time of this master. The
beautiful landscape, with the reflection of the glowing horizon upon
the blue sea, which is of great importance here, in proportion to the
figures, proves how early Titian obtained extraordinary mastery in
this point, and confirms that he was the first who carried this branch
to a higher degree of perfection. This poetic picture is, on the
whole, in very good preservation; the crimson drapery of the Magdalene
is of unusual depth and fullness. The lower part of the legs of Christ
have, however, suffered a little. The figures are about a third the
size of life.

"The finished sketch for the celebrated picture, known by the name of
La Gloria di Tiziano, which he afterward, by the command of Philip
II., King of Spain, painted for the church of the convent where the
Emperor Charles V. died, is also very remarkable. It is a rich, but
not very pleasing composition. The idea of having the coffin of the
emperor carried up to heaven, where God the Father and Son are
enthroned, is certainly not a happy one. The painting is throughout
excellent, and of a rich, deep tone in the flesh. Unfortunately, it is
not wanting in re-touches. The large picture is now in the Escurial.

"As the genuine pictures of Giorgione are so very rare, I will briefly
mention a young knight, small, full-length, noble and powerful in face
and figure; the head is masterly, treated in his glowing tone; the
armor with great force and clearness in the chiaro-oscuro.

"The original sketch of Tintoretto, for his celebrated picture of St.
Mark coming to the assistance of a martyr, is as spirited as it is
full and deep in the tone.

"The rich man and Lazarus, by Giacomo Bassano, is, in execution and
glow of coloring, approaching to Rembrandt, one of the best pictures
of the master.

"There are some fine cabinet pictures of the school of Carracci: a
Virgin and Child, worshiped by six saints, by Lodovico Carracci, is
one of his most pleasing pictures in imitation of Corregio. Among four
pictures by Domenichino, two landscapes, with the punishment of
Marsyas, and Tobit with the fish, are very attractive, from the poetry
of the composition and the delicacy of the finish. Another likewise
very fine one of Bird-catching, from the Borghese Palace, has
unfortunately turned quite dark. A Christ, by Guido, is broadly and
spiritedly touched in his finest silver tone.

"There is an exquisite little gem by Claude Lorraine. In a soft
evening light, a lonely shepherd, with his peaceful flocks, is playing
the pipe. Of the master's earlier time; admirable in the impasto,
careful and delicate, decided and soft, all in a warm golden tone. In
the Liber Veritatis, marked No. 11. Few pictures inspire like this a
feeling for the delicious stillness of a summer's evening.

"A landscape by Nicolas Poussin, rather large, of a very poetic
composition and careful execution, inspires, on the other hand, in the
brownish silver tone, the sensation of the freshness of morning. There
is quite a reviving coolness in the dark water and under the trees of
the foreground.

"Two smaller historical pictures by Poussin, of his earlier time,
class among his careful and good works.

"Of the Flemish school there are a few, but very good, specimens.

"There is a highly interesting picture by Rubens. During his residence
in Mantua, he was so pleased with the triumph of Julius Cæsar, by
Mantegna, that he made a fine copy of one of the nine pictures. His
love for the fantastic and pompous led him to choose that with the
elephants carrying the candelabra; but his ardent imagination, ever
directed to the dramatic, could not be content with this. Instead of a
harmless sheep, which in Mantegna is walking by the side of the
foremost elephant, Rubens made a lion and a lioness, which growl
angrily at the elephant. The latter, on his part, is not idle, but,
looking furiously round, is on the point of striking the lion a blow
with his trunk. The severe pattern which he had before him in Mantegna
has moderated Rubens in his usually very full forms, so that they are
more noble and slender than they generally are. The coloring, as in
all his earlier pictures, is more subdued than in the later, and yet
powerful. Rubens himself seems to have set much value on this study;
for it was among the effects at his death. During the revolution, Mr.
Champernowne brought it from the Balbi Palace, at Genoa. It is three
feet high, and five feet five inches wide.

"The study for the celebrated picture, the Terrors of War, in the
Pitti Palace at Florence, and respecting which we have a letter in
Rubens's own hand, is likewise well worth notice. Rubens painted this
picture for the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Venus endeavors, in vain, to
keep Mars, the insatiable warrior, as Homer calls him, from war; he
hurries away to prepare indescribable destruction. This picture, one
foot eight inches high, and two feet six and a half inches wide, which
I have seen in the exhibition of the British Institution, is, by the
warmth and power of the coloring, and the spirited and careful
execution, one of the most eminent of Rubens's small pictures of this
period.

"Lastly, there is a Moonlight by him. The clear reflection of the moon
in the water, its effect in the low distance, the contrast of the dark
mass of trees in the foreground, are a proof of the deep feeling for
striking incidents in nature, which was peculiar to Rubens. As in
another picture the flakes of snow were represented, he has here
marked the stars.

"I have now become acquainted with Rembrandt in a new department; he
has painted in brown and white a rather obscure allegory on the
deliverance of the United Provinces from the union of such great
powers as Spain and Austria. It is a rich composition, with many
horsemen. One of the most prominent figures is a lion chained at the
foot of a rock, on which the tree of liberty is growing. Over the rock
are the words, '_Solo Deo gloria_.' The whole is executed with
consummate skill, and the principal effect striking.

"His own portrait, at an advanced age, with very dark ground and
shadows, and, for him, a cool tone of the lights, is to be classed,
among the great number of them, with that in the Bridgewater Gallery;
only it is treated in his broadest manner, which borders on looseness.

"A landscape, with a few trees upon a hill, in the foreground, with a
horseman and a pedestrian in the background, a plain with a bright
horizon, is clearer in the shadows than other landscapes by Rembrandt,
and therefore, with the most powerful effect, the more harmonious.

"Among the drawings I must at least mention some of the finest.

"RAPHAEL. The celebrated Entombment, drawn with the utmost spirit with
the pen. From the Crozat collection. Mr. Rogers gave £120 for it.

"ANDREA DEL SARTO. Some studies in black chalks, for his fresco
paintings in the Chapel del Scalzo. That for the young man who carries
the baggage in the visitation of the Virgin is remarkably animated.

"LUCAS VAN LEYDEN. A pen drawing, executed in the most perfect and
masterly manner, for his celebrated and excessively rare engraving of
the portrait of the Emperor Maximilian I. This wonderful drawing has
hitherto been erroneously ascribed to Albert Durer.

"ALBERT DURER. A child weeping. In chalk, on colored paper, brightened
with white; almost unpleasantly true to reality.

"Among the admirable engravings, I mention only a single female
figure, very delicately treated, which is so entirely pervaded with
the spirit of Francisco Francia, that I do not hesitate to ascribe it
to him. Francia, originally a goldsmith, is well known to have been
peculiarly skilled in executing larger compositions in niello. How
easily, therefore, might it have occurred to him, instead of working
as hitherto in silver, to work with his graver in copper, especially
as in his time the engraving on copper had been brought into more
general use in Italy, by A. Mantegna and others; and Francia had such
energy and diversity of talents that, in his mature age, he
successfully made himself master of the art of painting, which was so
much more remote from his own original profession. Beside this, the
fine delicate lines in which the engraving is executed indicate an
artist who had been previously accustomed to work for niello-plates,
in which this manner is usually practiced. The circumstance, too, that
Marcantonio was educated in the workshop of Francia, is favorable to
the presumption that he himself had practiced engraving.

"Among the old miniatures, that which is framed and glazed and hung
up, representing, in a landscape, a knight in golden armor, kneeling
down, to whom God the Father, surrounded by cherubim and seraphim,
appears in the air, while the damned are tormented by devils in the
abyss, is by far the most important. As has been already observed by
Passavant, it belongs to a series of forty miniatures, in the
possession of Mr. George Brentano, at Frankfort-on-Maine, which were
executed for Maître Etienne Chevalier, treasurer of France under King
Charles VII., and may probably have adorned his prayer-book. They are
by the greatest French miniature painter of the fifteenth century,
Johan Fouquet de Tours, painter to King Louis XI. In regard to the
admirable, spirited invention, which betrays a great master, as well
as the finished execution, they rank uncommonly high.

"An antique bust of a youth, in Carrara marble, which, in form and
expression, resembles the eldest son of Laocoon, is in a very noble
style, uncommonly animated, and of admirable workmanship. In
particular, the antique piece of the neck and the treatment of the
hair are very delicate. The nose and ears are new; a small part of the
chin, too, and the upper lip, are completed in a masterly manner in
wax.

"A candelabrum in bronze, about ten inches high, is of the most
beautiful kind. The lower part is formed by a sitting female figure
holding a wreath. This fine and graceful design belongs to the period
when art was in its perfection. This exquisite relic, which was
purchased for Mr. Rogers, in Italy, by the able connoisseur, Mr.
Millingen, is, unfortunately, much damaged in the epidermis.

"Among the elegant articles of antique ornament in gold, the earrings
and clasps, by which so many descriptions of the ancient poets are
called to mind, there are likewise whole figures beat out in thin gold
leaves. The principal article is a golden circlet, about two and a
half inches in diameter, the workmanship of which is as rich and
skillful as could be made in our times.

"Of the many Greek vases in terra cotta, there are five, some of them
large, in the antique taste, with black figures on a yellow ground,
which are of considerable importance. A flat dish, on the outer side
of which five young men are rubbing themselves with the strigil, and
five washing themselves, yellow on a black ground, is to be classed
with vases of the first rank, for the gracefulness of the invention,
and the beauty and elegance of the execution. In this collection, it
is excelled only by a vase, rounded below, so that it must be placed
in a peculiar stand. The combat of Achilles with Penthesilia is
represented upon it, likewise, in red figures. This composition,
consisting of thirteen figures, is by far the most distinguished, not
only of all representations of the subject, but, in general, of all
representations of combats which I have hitherto seen on vases, in the
beauty and variety of the attitudes, in masterly drawing, as well as
in the spirit and delicacy of the execution. It is in the happy medium
between the severe and the quite free style, so that in the faces
there are some traces of the antique manner."

It remains only to add, that Mr. Rogers has embellished his works with
the same exquisite taste as his house. They are splendid specimens of
typography, and are rich in the most beautiful designs by Stothard and
Turner, from the most celebrated burins of the day. I believe more
than fifty thousand copies of them have been circulated.


[Illustration: Cottage at Sloperton]



THOMAS MOORE.


The author of Lalla Rookh, like most of the race of genius, is one
whom his own genius has ennobled. The man who has not to thank his
ancestors for what he enjoys of wealth, station, or reputation, has
all the more to thank himself for. The heralds, says Savage Landor,
will give you a grandfather if you want one, but a genuine poet has no
need of a grandfather; he is his own grandfather, his own
shield-bearer, and stands forth to the world in the proud attitude of
debtor to none but God and himself, the shield-bearer and the
grandfather of others. Thomas Moore was born in a humble house in
Dublin, the son of humble but respectable parents. He has made his own
way in the world, and given to those parents the honor of having
produced a distinguished son. That is as it should be. People should
honor their parents, it is rarely that parents can honor their
children. They can not bequeath their genius to them; it is not always
that they can succeed in engrafting on them their virtues; and if
parents be glorious in reputation and in goodness, if the children do
not walk worthy of that glory, the glory itself is only a blaze that
exposes them to the world; lights up and aggravates every blemish to
the general eye. How truly is honor, true honor, in nine cases out of
ten, a self-acquisition. Wealth you may entail, station you may
entail; but well won honor is a thing which, like salvation, every man
must achieve for himself. Poets in general know no ancestry. In their
poetic character they are as truly and newly created as Adam himself.
Who cares a button for the ancestors of Byron, of Milton, of
Shakspeare, of Goëthe, or of Schiller? These men start out to our eyes
in the blaze of their own genius, which darkens all around them. They
are creations of God, and not of man. They are sent forth into the
world, and not born into it. Their ancestors are not the ancestors of
their genius. They are the progenitors of the earthy caterpillar,--the
butterfly, the Psyche of genius, is born of itself. With the splendid
spirit which breaks forth sometimes from an old line, that line
commonly has nothing more to do than the earth on which we tread, the
common mother of us all, has to do with our soul and its celestial
powers. These come out of the hand of God, gifts to us and the world;
luminaries burning in a divine isolation; priests after the order of
Melchisedec, whose ancestry and whose posterity are not known. God has
vindicated to himself the origination of Genius and Christianity. They
both came into the world independent of governments and princes; they
spring out of the habitations of the poor, and walk among the poor:
they disdain to confer on worldly pride the honor of their alliance,
but they do their mission in the strength of their sender, and mount
to heaven.

These are great truths that every man of genius should see,
acknowledge, and act upon. His birth is higher than that of any
prince, even be it more lowly than that of the Son of God, in a stable
and a manger, with a stalled ox instead of the Archbishop of
Canterbury, and an ass instead of a prime minister, attending as
witnesses. Nobles can confer no nobility on him: he bears his patent
of honor in his own bosom; the escutcheon of genius in his broad and
exalted brow. He should remember this; and the world will not then
forget it. He should think of himself as sent forth by God, doing
God's work in the earth, and having to render up to God the account of
his embassy. With this idea within him and before him, his work will
be done the more nobly; and the public which is made what it is by
him,--effeminate through his effeminacy, corrupt through his
corruption, wise through his wisdom, will soon place him in his true
rank, above all heaps of metal and spadefuls of earth, and honor him
as the only true noble, the only man who has no need of heraldic lies
and fictitious grandfathers. These are great truths that the children
of men of genius too should bear in mind. They should feel that they
can not inherit genius, but they may possess it in some new shape, an
equal gift of heaven. This will keep alive in them the spirit of
honorable action; and they may come to live, not in the moonshine of
their ancestral lights, but in a genuine warm sunshine of their own.
The honor of a distinguished parent is not our honor but our foil, if
we do not seek to establish an alliance with it by our own exertion,
and above all, by goodness.

For want of poets and poets' children entertaining these rational
ideas, what miseries have from age to age awaited them! In the course
of my peregrinations to the birthplaces and the tombs of poets, how
often have these reflections been forced upon me. Humble, indeed, are
frequently their birthplaces; but what is far worse, how wretched are
often the places of their deaths! How many of them have died in the
squalid haunts of destitution, and even by their own hand. How many of
them have left their families to utter poverty; how many of those
caressed in their lives, lie without a stone or a word of remembrance
in their graves! Scott, with all his glory and his monuments in other
places, has not even a slab bearing his name laid upon his breast.
Chatterton's very bones have been dispersed to make a market.
Motherwell, amid all the proud cenotaphs in the Necropolis at Glasgow,
such men as Major Monteith having whole funeral palaces to themselves,
has not even a cubic foot of stone, or a mere post with his initials,
to mark his resting-place. But still more melancholy is the
contemplation of the beginning and the end of Robert Tannahill, the
popular song-writer of Paisley. Tannahill was no doubt stimulated by
the fame of Burns. True, he had not the genius of Burns, but genius he
had, and that is conspicuous in many of those songs which during his
lifetime were sung with enthusiasm by his countrymen. Tannahill was a
poor weaver at Paisley. The cottage where he lived is still to be
seen, a very ordinary weaver's cottage in an ordinary street; and the
place where he drowned himself may be seen too at the outside of the
town. This is one of the most dismal places in which a poet ever
terminated his career. Tannahill, like Burns, was fond of a jovial
hour amid his comrades in a public-house. But weaving of verse and
weaving of calico did not agree. The world applauded, but did not
patronize; poverty came like an armed man; and Tannahill in the frenzy
of despair resolved to terminate his existence. Outside of Paisley
there is a place where a small stream passes under a canal. To
facilitate this passage, a deep pit is sunk, and a channel for the
waters is made under the bottom of the canal. This pit is, I believe,
eighteen feet deep. It is built round with stone, which is rounded off
at its mouth, so that any one falling in can not by any possibility
get out, for there is nothing to lay hold of. Any one once in there
might grasp and grasp in vain for an edge to seize upon. He would sink
back and back till he was exhausted and sunk forever. No doubt
Tannahill in moments of gloomy observation had noted this. And at
midnight he came, stripped off his coat, laid down his hat, and took
the fatal plunge. No cry could reach human ear from that horrible
abyss; no effort of the strongest swimmer could avail to sustain him:
soon worn out he must go down, and amid the black, boiling torrent be
borne through the subterranean channel onward with the stream. Thus
died Robert Tannahill, and a more fearful termination was never put to
a poetical career. This place is called Tannahill's hole, and cats and
dogs drowned in it, from its peculiar fitness for inevitable drowning,
float about on the surface, and add to the revolting shudder which the
sight of it creates.

Such are some of the dominant tendencies of poetic fate which made
Wordsworth exclaim,

    "We poets in our youth begin in gladness,
    But thereof come in the end despondency and madness;"

and such must there be till genius respect itself, and cause the
public to respect it; till it reflect that it is a heavenly endowment,
and not a trade stock.

Among the more fortunate men of genius,--among those who by strength
of pinion, and by various resources of prose, poetry, and music, have
soared above the poet's ordinary path, beset with ropes, poison,
throat-cutting, razors, pistols, and drowning holes,--is the gay and
genial Thomas Moore. Moore was born, as I have said, in Dublin. His
father kept a shop in Aungier-street, and was a respectable grocer and
spirit dealer. The shop continues exactly as it was to the present
day, is employed for the same trade, and over it is the little
drawing-room in which Mr. Moore himself tells us, that he used to
compose his songs, and with his sister and some young friends, act
plays as a boy.

He was first educated by Mr. Samuel Whyte, to whom in his fourteenth
year he addressed a sonnet, which was published in a Dublin magazine,
called the Anthologia. This Mr. Whyte was fond of dramatic
representation, and is mentioned by Moore as having superintended
private theatricals at different gentlemen's and noblemen's houses, as
at the Duke of Leinster's, at Marly, the seat of the Latouches, etc.,
where he supplied prologues. Sheridan had been a pupil of Whyte's, and
it is further stated by Mr. Moore, that many parents were alarmed at
the danger of his instilling a love for these things into his
scholars. Can there be a doubt that he did so with Sheridan and Moore?

He was sent to the university in Dublin, where the unfortunate Robert
Emmet was at the time. Moore soon formed an acquaintance with him, and
became a member of a debating society, at which Emmet and other young
patriots assembled to prepare themselves for public life. On the
approach of the frightful explosion of 1798, the university was
visited by Lord Clare, its vice-chancellor, with a rigorous
examination, government having become aware of the students being
deeply engaged in the organization of the Irish union. Among those
found to be thus implicated, were Emmet, John Brown, and others. They
became marked men. Moore himself underwent examination, but came clear
off. From these connections and early impressions, however, we may
date his steady adherence to liberal and patriotic sentiments.

At the university his poetic genius early displaying itself, he soon
found his way over to England, where his wit, his songs, and his
conversational brilliancy, introduced him to the first circles of
fashionable life, and to government patronage. He was appointed to the
situation of Registrar to the Admiralty Court at the Bermudas. This
appointment turned out unfortunately for him, but it enabled him to
extend his knowledge of the world. He published on his return a
collection of odes, epistles, and fugitive poems, illustrative of the
scenery and life of that island; and he made a tour in the United
States, from which he indited a series of most caustic and satirical
epistles. From the hour that he settled down again in England,
notwithstanding the time which he must have devoted to society, into
which his peculiar powers of pleasing have continually drawn him, he
has displayed an extraordinary industry. The catalogue of his writings
from first to last is enormous. The Odes of Anacreon translated. A
Candid Appeal to Public Confidence, or Considerations on the dangers
of the Present Crisis, 1803. Corruption and Intolerance, two poems.
Epistles, Odes, and other Poems, 1806. Little's Poems, 1808. A Letter
to the Roman Catholics of Dublin, 1810. M.P., or the Blue Stocking; a
comic opera, in three acts, performed at the Lyceum, 1811. Intercepted
Letters, or the Twopenny Post Bag, by Thomas Browne the younger, 1812:
this has gone through upward of fourteen editions. Irish Melodies.
Arthur Murphy's Translation of Sallust completed. The Skeptic, a
philosophical Satire. Lalla Rookh, 1817. The Fudge Family in Paris,
1818. Ballads, Songs, etc. Tom Crib's Memorial to Congress, in verse.
Trifles Reprinted, in verse. Loves of the Angels. Rhymes on the Road.
Miscellaneous Poems by Members of the Procurante Society. Fables for
the Holy Alliance. Ballads, Songs, Miscellaneous Poems, etc. Memoirs
of Captain Rock. Life of Sheridan. The Epicurean. Odes on Cash, Corn,
Catholics, etc. Evenings in Greece. Life and Letters of Lord Byron, in
17 vols. History of Ireland, etc., etc., etc.

If Mr. Moore has been a gay man, it can not be said that he has been
an indolent one. He was born in May, 1780, and is, consequently, now
only sixty-six. It would appear that, on coming to England, he
destined himself for the bar, as he entered himself of the Middle
Temple, in 1799. But instead of legal studies, poetical ones seem to
have occupied him in his chambers; for in the course of 1800, and
before he had completed his twentieth year, he published his
translation of the Odes of Anacreon. This seems to have decided his
fate for literature. In 1801 out came Little's Poems, many of which, I
am persuaded, the author would give a great portion of his fame to be
able to cancel forever; and, indeed, in his late edition, in one
volume, I am glad to see that the most exceptionable are excluded. In
1803 he set sail to take possession of his office in the West Indies;
on which occasion he was absent something more than a year. To pursue
a rapid outline of his life;--on his return to England he married a
Miss Dyke, said to be a lady of great personal beauty, most amiable
disposition, and accomplished manners. I believe she has always shown
herself a woman of much energy of character and tact of judgment, and
that the poet has found great cause to rely on her opinion in matters
of daily life. His great poem, Lalla Rookh, appeared in 1817; and in
the summer of that year Moore visited Paris, where he collected the
materials for that humorous production, The Fudge Family in Paris. In
the following year he made a visit to Ireland, where he was received
with the highest enthusiasm and public honor. In 1822 he again visited
Paris, where great respect was shown him by the French literati, and a
public dinner was given to him by the English nobility and gentry
resident there. In one of his prefaces to his different volumes,
which, in fact, contain his literary life, we learn, that he was
compelled to live in France at this time, in consequence of the
responsibilities under which he had fallen from the conduct of his
deputy in the Bermudas. He was, indeed, liable to demands of at least
six thousand pounds, and it was not safe for him to remain in England
till this matter was arranged; which was at length done by his
friends, and the sum reduced to one thousand; of which the deputy's
uncle paid three hundred. Two summers Moore states himself and family
to have lived in a cottage of some Spanish friends, near their seat.
La Butte Coaslin. He says that it conjured up an apparition of
Sloperton, which by a happy quotation from Pope he defines--

    "A little cot with trees a row.
    And, like his master, very low."

Here he used to wander in the noble park of St. Cloud, with his
pocket-book and pencil, composing verses, and pondering on the
Epicurean; and closing the evening by practicing duets with the lady
of his Spanish friend, or listening to her guitar. King, the dramatic
writer, lived near them, and Washington Irving visited him there. In
1823 he published The Loves of the Angels; and since then, beside the
Life of Sheridan, and various other productions, the Life and Letters
of Lord Byron.

Perhaps the most important event connected with his later life was the
destruction of the Memoirs of Lord Byron, which had been intrusted to
him for publication after his death. These Memoirs had been given to
Mr. Moore, and Mr. Moore had sold the copyright of them to Mr. Murray,
for two thousand guineas. Lord Byron being dead, and the time for
publication come, the relatives of Lord Byron took alarm, and implored
Mr. Moore to allow them to be destroyed. To this Mr. Moore was weak
enough to consent. That he did so from a sense of the most delicate
honor, there could be no question; even had he not proved that by the
sacrifice of two thousand guineas and interest, which he repaid to Mr.
Murray, though he had to borrow it of Messrs. Longman. But if honor to
Lord Byron's relatives was preserved, it was neither so to Lord Byron
nor the public. It was a sacred trust of the one for the gratification
of the other, and had Mr. Moore had any scruples on the subject of
publication, he should have returned the MS. to Lord Byron while
living. When dead, there was no such way out; there was no
alternative, without a betrayal of the most sacred trust that could be
reposed in man, but to allow the noble donor's intention to be
faithfully carried out. There has been much controversy on this topic,
but this still continues, and will continue to be, the result of
public opinion.

One of the secrets of Mr. Moore's successful industry, perhaps, may be
found in the fact of his having, spite of his social disposition, and
of all the fascinations of society for a man of his fame, wit, and
accomplishments, lived the greater part of his life since his marriage
in the country. Among the various places of his abode, two only have
been residences of much duration. These are Mayfield cottage, near
Ashbourne, in Derbyshire, and Sloperton cottage, near Devizes, in
Wiltshire.

At Mayfield he lived several years, and here he wrote Lalla Rookh.
This village is not particularly picturesque, nor is the immediate
neighborhood striking; but it lies in a fine country, and within a
short distance of it are Dovedale, and other beautiful scenes in
Derbyshire and Staffordshire. The recommendations of Mayfield have
been thus enumerated by a cotemporary writer in a periodical. "Moore's
cottage is in a secluded part of Mayfield, a village on the
Staffordshire side of the river Dove, about two miles from Ashbourne.
It is a spot not often alluded to in literature, though the
neighborhood has been peculiarly honored by literary men. Three miles
from Mayfield is Wootton-hall, where Rousseau lived several years;
where he botanized, and where he wrote his Confessions. One mile from
Mayfield, on the other side of the Dove, lived a great, and perhaps, a
much better man than Rousseau, but who will not attain an equal
renown--Michael Thomas Sadler. At Oakover, one mile from Mayfield, is
the residence of the late Mr. Ward, author of Tremaine. Two miles
farther up the river, in the loveliest of all villages, a grotto is
still preserved in which Congreve wrote his first drama. A ten
minutes' walk affords a view of the grand entrance to Dovedale,
immortalized by old Izaak Walton. At Tissington, another most
exquisite village, like the former without work-house or ale-house,
lived Greaves, the author of the Spiritual Quixote. Dr. Taylor, one of
Dr. Johnson's most esteemed friends, was an inhabitant of Ashbourne.
The great lexicographer was a visitor of this neighborhood, and some
of his most amusing conversations and peculiarities are recorded by
Boswell while staying in this quiet town. Mayfield cottage bears now
some claim to the notice of the lovers of literature, from its being
the residence of Mr. Alfred Butler, the clever author of the novels of
Elphinstone and The Herberts."

It was not, however, the attractions enumerated in the above passage
which determined the settlement of Moore there. His wife and himself
were traveling along from a scene of great aristocratic splendor, of
which they had become so weary, that they sighed for the utmost
simplicity, retirement, and repose, and vowed that they would take the
very first place of such a character that they found vacant. Mayfield
cottage was the one. "It was a poor place," said Moore to myself,
"little better than a barn, but we at once took it, and set about
making it habitable."

It is no doubt from some such remark on the part of the poet that a
paragraph originated which I have lately seen going the round of the
newspapers, that he wrote Lalla Rookh in a barn. That barn was, in
fact, Mayfield cottage. The right-hand front window is pointed out as
belonging to Moore's little parlor; the window at the side belonged to
his not very extensive library, and the trees visible above the roof
are part of the orchard, his favorite study, in which some of his
choicest lyrics were composed.

The warm-hearted poet, though it is many years since he quitted
Mayfield, speaks with pleasure of the enjoyment he experienced there.
The country around, both in Derbyshire and Staffordshire, has many
charms for a poetic eye. There are, too, many persons of taste and
intelligence living in it, from whom he and his family received every
cordial attention. He was zealously engaged in working out what he
deemed was to be the crowning work of his fame, Lalla Rookh, and he
regarded the cottage at Mayfield, and the scene immediately
surrounding it, peculiarly favorable for this purpose. "It was
indeed," he observes, in the preface to his eighth volume, "to the
secluded life I led during the years 1813-1816, in a lone cottage in
the fields of Derbyshire, that I owed the inspiration, whatever may
have been its value, of some of the best and most popular portions of
Lalla Rookh. It was amid the snows of two or three Derbyshire winters
that I found myself enabled, by that concentration of thought which
retirement alone gives, to call up around me some of the sunniest of
those Eastern scenes which have since been welcomed in India itself as
almost native to its clime." It is, he says, a peculiarity of his
imagination that it is easily broken in upon and diverted by striking
external objects. "I am," said he to me, "at once very imaginative,
and very matter-of-fact. The matter-of-fact can at any moment put to
flight all the operations of the imagination. It was, therefore,
necessary for me to exclude matter-of-fact, and all very striking or
attractive objects, and to concenter all my imagination on the objects
I wished to portray. My story lay in the East, and I must imbue and
saturate my imagination entirely with Eastern ideas, and Eastern
imagery. I must create, and place, and keep before me a peculiar
world, with all its people and characteristics. No place could be more
favorable for this than Mayfield, because it had nothing prominent or
seducing enough to rush through and force itself into the world which
I had evoked, created, and was walking and working in. The result was
most complete. Never having been into the East myself, yet every one
who _has_ been there declares that nothing can be more perfect
than my representations of it, its people, and life, in Lalla Rookh."

But though living in the country, Moore was always in the pretty
regular habit of visiting town during the season. Here he was the
charm of the circles of the Whig nobility, especially at Lansdowne and
Holland houses. At these places, and especially the latter, he met all
the distinguished men of the time. Byron, Jeffrey, Sidney Smith,
Campbell, Brougham, and the like. Even in the country he has lived
much at times in the houses of his great friends. In particular he
records his visit at Chatsworth, and at Donnington-park, the seat of
Lord Moira, where he describes himself as passing whole weeks in the
library there, even when the family was absent, "indulging in all the
freest airy castle-building of authorship." Here he met, oddly enough,
with the rival princes of France, poor Charles X. and his brother, the
Duc de Montpensier, and the Comte Beaujolais, at the same time with
the Duke of Orleans, the present Louis Philippe, who in the library at
the same house would be deep in a volume of Clarendon, "unconsciously
preparing himself by such studies for the high and arduous destiny
which not only the good genius of France, but his own sagacious and
intrepid spirit had early marked out for him." Rogers and Moore have
been for many years very intimate friends, and of course Moore has for
years been much at home in the classic abode of the latter poet.
During Byron's residence in Italy, Moore visited him there, and
received the unlucky gift of the Memoirs, out of which, and his two
thousand guineas, he was so shamefully wheedled by those who could so
very well afford to pay the price of that burnt offering, to him a
serious sacrifice.

But Lord Lansdowne was anxious to get the wit and poet down into his
own neighborhood, and pressed him to come and live near Bowood.
"Tommy, who dearly loves a lord," was the designation given to Moore
by his _dear_ friend, LORD Byron. As he obliged the relatives of
Byron by burning the horror-creating Memoirs, so he was willing to
oblige Lord Lansdowne by living near him. His lordship sent him word
that there was a house just the thing for him, at Bromham, not far
from Bowood. Moore went to it, but found it far too large and
expensive for a poet's income. He, however, told Mrs. Moore on his
return that he had seen a cottage on the road that was every thing
that _he_ desired, with a most delicious garden, and in a sweet
situation. With her usual energy, Mrs. Moore at once took coach,
hastened to the cottage, liked it as well as her husband did, and took
it at once. This was Sloperton cottage, and here they have resided
nearly thirty years.

It is Sloperton cottage which hereafter will be regarded with the
chief interest as the residence of the poet. It stands in the midst of
a delightful country, and though itself buried, as it were, in an
ordinary thickly wooded lane, branching off to the left from the
high-road, about two miles from Devizes, on the way to Chippenham, yet
from its upper windows, as well as from its garden, enjoys peeps
through the trees into lovely scenes. Down southward from the far end
of the house opens the broad and noble vale toward Trowbridge; in
front to the right, across a little valley, stands on a fine mount,
amid nobly grown trees, the village of Bromham, with a gentleman's
house standing, boldly backed and flanked by the masses of wood, and
the church spire peering above it. More to the left, in front, you
look across some miles of country, and see the historical foreland of
Roundaway hill, the termination of the chalk-hills of the
White-house-vale, proudly overlooking Devizes. This hill, my driver
gravely assured me, was Roundaway hill, _where King John signed the
charter_! Behind the cottage, across some rich fields, are the
wooded slopes of Spy-park, once the property of Sir Andrew Baynton.

At a few hundred yards' distance, on the left-hand side of the lane as
you advance from the Devizes road, there stands the old manor-house of
Nonsuch, which has gone through many hands, and has, I believe, lately
been sold, and is now refitting for a modern mansion. A narrow
foot-lane descends past its grounds down through the valley, between
tall hedges and embowering alders, to the village of Bromham, which
gives you a view of the ancient knolls of the parklike environs of
Nonsuch. Old sturdy oaks are standing here and there on these knolls,
and every thing presents an air of great antiquity. A footpath runs
through these grounds, by which you are admitted to loiter at your
leisure amid the retired slopes and woodland hollows of this old
English scenery. The footway which, I have said, leads also down past
it, to Bromham, is peculiarly rural. It is paved, as the bottom
abounds in water, where a beautiful spring gushes up from the foot of
the ascent toward the village; and in passing along it, you feel
yourself to be shrouded amid a luxuriant growth of water-loving trees,
and surrounded by the quietness of woodland banks, and rustic farm
lands. The village is purely agricultural, and has a fine church, with
a singularly richly ornamented battlement.

Such is the immediate situation of Moore's cottage. Views of it every
one has seen; but it is only when you stand actually before it, see it
covered with clematis, its two porches hung with roses, and the lawn
and garden which surround it kept in the most exquisite order, and
fragrant with every flower of the season, that you are fully sensible
of what a genuine poet's nest it is.

The house was originally quite a common cottage. This part forms still
the end next to the Devizes road, which road, however, is three
quarters of a mile distant; but fresh erections have been added, so
that now it is not a very large, but a very goodly and commodious
dwelling. The old entrance has been left, as well as a new one made in
the new part, so that no unnecessary interruption may be occasioned to
the family by visitors. The old entrance leads to the little
drawing-room, the newer one to the family sitting-room. The poet's
study is up stairs. In the garden there is a raised walk running its
whole length, bounded by a hedge of laurel. This gives you the view
over the fields of Spy-park, and its finely wooded slopes. This is a
favorite walk of the poet; and it was, indeed, the fascination of this
garden which originally took his fancy, and occasioned him to think of
securing it.

At present Thomas Moore is suffering one of the afflictions to which
all men are liable, but which press, perhaps, most sensibly on the
poetic temperament--the loss of a son, an officer in foreign service.
What is worthy of remark, and is an evidence of his independent and
unselfish disposition, is that, I believe, with the exception of his
Bermuda appointment, which turned out a loss, through the dishonesty
of an agent, he has never received any other appointment, or any
pension, though he has been so thoroughly identified with, and
caressed by the Whigs. He can say, and does say, with a just
pride,--What I am, I have made myself--what I have, I have won by my
own hand. He has been careful to tell us himself, in his preface to
his third volume, the actual amount of _royal_ patronage which he
had been said to have received, and unworthily repaid, by quizzing the
modern Heliogabalus. It is this, and is worth reading: "Luckily, the
list of benefits showered upon me from that high quarter may be
dispatched in a few sentences. At the request of the Earl of Moira,
one of my earliest and best friends, his royal highness graciously
permitted me to dedicate to him my Translation of the Odes of
Anacreon. I was twice, I think, admitted to the honor of dining at
Carlton-house; and when the prince, on his being made regent, in 1811,
gave his memorable fête, I was one of the envied--about fifteen
hundred, I believe, in number--who enjoyed the privilege of being his
guests on the occasion." The obligation was certainly not
overpowering, especially when the country had to pay for it. Moore
adds, that history has now pretty well settled the character of this
royal patron. The obligation to nobility is not much more onerous.
This, to the poet himself, is highly honorable; but to the party, and
the noblemen of that party--the Lansdownes, Hollands, and
Russells--what is it? The cause of these men the warm and patriotic
pen of the Irish poet has essentially served. His wit, in songs and
squibs in the morning papers, and through various vehicles, has been
to them a sharp and glittering cimiter, lopping off the heads of whole
hosts of heavy arguments and accusations. Around their tables he has
cast a radiance and a merriment that would else have been sought for
in vain. To them he has been a genuine and a daily benefactor. They
have had the honor of his countenance, while they probably thought
that they were gracing him with theirs. How posterity laughs at all
such aristocratic self-delusions! How it reduces things to their real
dimensions! What may be the ideas of Thomas Moore, on this subject, I
do not know. I speak merely according to the impressions which the
contemplation of his peculiar career leaves upon me; and these are,
that his aristocratic friends have had a very good friend in him, and
he a very indifferent one in them. While, on all occasions, they have
been filling their families and ordinary hangers-on with wealth, the
ablest man of their party has been rewarded with a shake of the hand
and invitations to dinners, because he was too proud to ask for any
thing better. If he has dearly loved a lord, it must be confessed that
it has been with a very disinterested affection. Lord Byron was the
most generous to him of his class; but Lord Byron's friends robbed him
of that solitary benefit. And so, at the age of sixty-six, the
champion of the Whigs, the poet of the loves, the merry wit, and the
pungent satirist, the friend of the richest men in England, still sits
at his desk, and works for honest bread. Long may he enjoy it!


[Illustration: The "Ranter" Preaching]



EBENEZER ELLIOTT.


The manufacturing town, as well as the country, has found its Burns.
As Burns grew and lived amid the open fields, inhaling their free
winds, catching views of the majestic mountains as he trod the
furrowed field, and making acquaintance with the lowliest flower and
the lowliest creatures of the earth, as he toiled on in solitude; so
Elliott grew and lived amid the noisy wilderness of dingy houses,
inhaling smoke from a thousand furnaces, forges, and engine chimneys,
and making acquaintance with misery in its humblest shapes, as he
toiled on in the solitude of neglect. The local circumstances were
diametrically different, to show that the spirit in both was the same.
They were men of the same stamp, and destined for the same great work;
and, therefore, however different were their immediate environments,
the same operating causes penetrated through them, and stirred within
them the spirit of the prophet. They were both of that chosen class
who are disciplined in pain, that they may learn that it is a
prevailing evil, and are stimulated to free not only themselves, but
their whole cotemporary kindred. Of poets, says Shelley:

    "They learn in suffering what they teach in song;"

and the names of Milton, Chatterton, Byron, and of Shelley himself,
remind us how true as well as melancholy is the assertion. Burns and
Elliott were to be great teachers, and they both had their appointed
baptisms. The same quick and ardent passions; the same quivering
sensibility; the same fiery indignation against tyranny and
oppression; the same lofty spirit of independence, and power of
flinging their feelings into song, strong, piercing, and yet most
melodious, belong to them. They are both of the people--their sworn
brethren and champions. For their sakes they defy all favor of the
great; they make war to the death on the humbug of aristocratic
imposition; to them humanity is alone great, and by that they stand
unmoved by menace, unabashed by scorn, unseduced by flatterers. As
messengers of God, they honor God in man; and if they show a
preference, it is for man in his misery. They are drawn by a divine
sympathy to the injured and afflicted. The world knows its own, and
they know it, and leave the world to worship according to its worldly
instinct. For them the gaudy revel goes on, the chariot of swelling
property rolls by, the palace and the castle receive or pour out their
glittering throngs, unmarked save by a passing glance of contempt; for
they are on their way to the cabins of wretchedness, where they have
their Father's work to do. In their eyes, "the whole need not a
physician, but those that are sick." They leave the dead to bury their
dead, and have enough to do to soothe the agonies of the living; of
those who live only to suffer, the martyr mass of mankind who groan in
rags, and filth, and destitution, under the second great curse--not
that of earning their bread by the sweat of their brow, but of not
being able to do it.

England owes a debt of thanks to a good Providence, who, affluent in
his gifts of honor and beneficence, has raised up great men in every
class and every location on her bosom, where they were most needed. In
that magnificent work which England has assuredly to do in the
earth--that of spreading freedom, knowledge, arts, and Christianity
over every distant land and age, gross errors have been committed, and
malignant powers have been developed, like pestilential diseases in
her constitution; but these have not been suffered to stop, though
they may have retarded her career. New infusions of health have been
made, new strength has been manifested; out of the pressure of
wretchedness new comfort has sprung; and when hope seemed almost
extinct, new voices have been heard above the wailing crowd, that have
startled the despairing into courage, and shed dismay into the soul of
tyranny. As the population has assumed new forms and acquired new
interests, out of the bosom of the multitude have arisen the poets who
have borne those forms, and have been made familiar with those
interests from their birth. Byron and Shelley, from the regions of
aristocracy, denounced, in unsparing terms, its arrogant assumptions;
Burns, beholding the progressing work of monopoly and selfishness,
uttered his contempt of the spirit that was thrusting down the
multitude to the condition of serfs, and haughtily returning glance
for glance with pride of rank and pride of purse, exclaimed--

"A man's a man for a' that!"

But the work of evil went on. While war scourged the earth in the
defense of the doting despotism of kingship, and monopoly shut out the
food of this nation in defense of the domestic despotism of
aristocracy, millions and millions of men were born to insufferable
misery, to hunger, nakedness, and crime, the result of maddened
ignorance; and that in a land teeming with corn and cattle, and the
wealth that could purchase them; and in a land, too, that sent out
clothing for a world. The work of selfishness had proceeded, but had
not prospered; wealth had been accumulated, but poverty had been
accumulated too, a thousandfold; rents had been maintained, but ruin
looked over the wall; there was universal activity, but its wages were
famine; there was a thunder of machinery, and a din of never ceasing
hammers; but amid the chaos of sounds there were heard--not songs, but
groans. It was then that Elliott was born, and there that he grew, in
the very thick of this swarming, busy, laborious, yet miserable
generation. He saw with astonishment that all that prodigious industry
produced no happiness; there was pomp and pauperism; toil and
starvation; Christianity preached to unbelieving ears, because there
were no evidences of its operation on hearts that had the power to
bless; and thus famine, ignorance, and irritation were converting the
crowd into a mass of ravenous and dehumanized monsters. There needed a
new orator of the patriot spirit. There needed a Burns of the
manufacturing district, and he was there in the shape of Elliott. Had
Burns been born again there, and under those circumstances, he would
have manifested himself exactly as Elliott has done. He would have
attacked manfully this monstrous bread-tax, which had thus
disorganized society, disputing the passage of God's blessings to the
many, and stamping a horrible character on the few. He would have
vindicated the rights of man and his labors, and have sung down with
fiery numbers all the crowding bugbears that armed monopoly had
gathered round the people to scare them into quiet. Elliott has done
that exactly; done that and no less. In the unpresuming character of
"A Corn-Law Rhymer," of "The Poet of the Rabble," he sent out, right
and left, songs, sarcasms, curses, and battle-cries, among the people.
His words, never ceasing, fell like serpents among the multitude
deadened by long slavery, and stung them into life. His voice once
raised, never faltered, never paused; wherever the multitude met they
heard it; wherever they turned they saw it embodied in largest
handwriting on the wall. "Up! bread-taxed slave! Up! our bread is
taxed--arise!" It was Elliott who sounded from day to day, and month
to month, these ominous words in the nation's ears. He took the very
form of Burns's patriot song, and instead of "Scots, wha ha' wi'
Wallace bled," exclaimed--

    "Hands, and hearts, and minds are ours;
    Shall we bow to bestial powers?
    Tyrants, vaunt your swords and towers!
                Reason is our citadel.

    "With what arms will ye surprise
    Knowledge of the million eyes?
    What is mightier than the wise?
                Not the might of wickedness.

    "Trust in force!--So tyrants trust!
    Words shall crush ye into dust;
    Yet we _fight_, if fight we must--
                Thou didst, Man of Huntingdon![5]

    "Heirs of Pym! can ye be base?
    Locke! shall Frenchmen scorn a race
    Born in Hampden's dwelling-place?
                Blush to write it, Infamy

    "What we are our fathers were;
    What they dared their sons can dare:
    Vulgar tyrants! hush! beware!
                Bring not down the avalanche.

    "By the death which Hampden died
    By oppression mind-defied!
    Despots, we will tame your pride--
                Stormily, or tranquilly!"

          [5] One Oliver Cromwell, a brewer.

These brave words were not uttered in vain. The Burns of Sheffield did
not speak to the dead. The fire which he scattered was electric. It
spread rapidly, it kindled in millions of hearts, it became the soul
of the sinking multitude. It was slower to seize on the moist and
comfortable spirits of the middle classes and master-manufacturers;
but the progress of foreign competition soon drove even them into
action against the landlord's monopoly. The League arose. The
prose-men took up the cry of the poet, and with material and ground
prepared by him, went on from year to year advancing, by force of
arguments and force of money, the great cause, till at this moment it
may be said to be won. The prime minister of England pronounced the
doom of the Corn-Law, and fixed the date of its extinction. All honor
to every man who fought in the good fight, but what honor should be
shown to him who began it? To the man who blew, on the fiery trumpet
of a contagious zeal, defiance to the hostile power in the pride of
its strength, and called the people together to the great contest? In
that contest the very name of Ebenezer Elliott has of late ceased to
be heard. Others have prolonged the war-cry, and the voice of him who
first raised it seems to be forgotten; but not the less did he raise
it. Not the less does that cause owe to him its earliest and amplest
thanks. Not the less is it he who dared to clear the field, to defy
the enemy, to array the host, to animate them to the combat, and
proclaim to them a certain and glorious victory. And when the clamor
of triumph shall have ceased, and a grateful people sit down to think,
in their hours of evening or of holyday ease, of the past, they will
remember the thrilling songs of their poet, and pay him a long and
grateful homage.

In comparing Ebenezer Elliott to Robert Burns, I do not mean to say
that their poetry is at all points to be compared. On the contrary, in
many particulars they are very different, but the great spirit and
principles of them are the same. In the felicitous power of throwing a
popular sentiment into a popular song, Elliott can not come near
Burns; nay, in the lyrical portion of his composition, we do not find
the full stature and strength of Elliott; it is in his larger poems
that he more completely presents himself, and no one can read them
without feeling that he is not only a true but a great poet.

There are many people who have read only his corn-law effusions in
newspapers and periodicals, who are at a loss to find the warrant for
the high character assigned by others to his writings. These give them
an idea of a fierce, savage, and often coarse demagogue. And when they
add to the expression of these compositions that of the only portraits
hitherto published of him, they are perfectly confirmed in the idea
that he is a stern, hard-souled, impetuous, and terrible man of iron.
Such are the false judgments derived from a one-sided knowledge, and
the cruel calumnies of bad artists! Ebenezer Elliott is one of the
gentlest, most tender-hearted of men; and, however strange it may
seem, it is this very character, this compassion for the unhappy, this
lively and soft sympathy for human suffering, that has roused him to
his loftiest pitch of anger, and put into his mouth his most terrible
words. It is the noble and feeling soul, which creates the patriot,
the savior, and champion of men. It was Christ, who died for the
world, and prayed for his enemies, and taught us to pray for ours,
that uttered those awful and scarifying denunciations--"Woe unto you,
Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" It is impossible that it should be
otherwise. It is impossible that a feeling soul, endowed with power as
well as feeling, should not rise into the battle attitude at the sight
of oppression, and with the sledge-hammer of a great indignation
demolish the gates of cruelty, when the poor are crying within. But it
must never be forgotten, that it is out of the excess of love that
springs this excess of zeal. It is this that marks the great
distinction between the tyrant and the savior; the one is inspired by
cruelty, the other by mercy.

Whoever sees Ebenezer Elliott, having first only seen the portrait
prefixed to some of his works--a vile caricature--and having read only
his Corn-law Rhymes, will see with wonder a man of gentle manners, and
in all his tones, the expression of a tender and compassionate
feeling. But those who have read the whole of his poetry, will
_not_ be surprised at this. It is what they will expect. Elliott,
though born in a manufacturing town, and having lived there most of
his life, displays, like Burns, the most passionate attachment to
nature, and what is more, a most intimate acquaintance with her. He
possesses a singular power of landscape painting; and what he paints,
possesses all the beauty of Claude, and the wild magnificence of a
Salvator Rosa, with the finest and most subtile touches of a Dutch
artist. In his landscapes you are not the more amazed by the sublimity
of the tempest on the dark and crag-strewn moorland mountains of the
Peak, than you are by the perfect accuracy of his most minute details.
In the woodland, on the vernal bank, and in the cottage garden, you
find nothing which should not be there; nothing out of place, or out
of season; and the simplest plant or flower is exactly what you will
find; not nicknamed as the poor children of nature so often are by our
writers. There is one instance of Ebenezer Elliott's taste that meets
you everywhere, and marks most expressively the peculiar, delicate,
and poetic affection of his feelings. It is his preeminent love for
spring, and its flowers and imagery. The primrose, the snow-drop, "the
woe-marked cowslips," the blossom of the hawthorn and the elm, how
constantly do they recur. In what favorite scene has he not introduced
the wind-flower? Thus, in this admirable picture of a mechanic's
garden--

    "Still nature, still he loves thy uplands brown--
    The rock that o'er his father's freehold towers!
    And strangers hurrying through the dingy town
    May know his workshop by its sweet wild flowers.
    Cropped on the Sabbath from the hedge-row bowers,
    The hawthorn blossom in his window droops;
    Far from the headlong stream and lucid air,
    The pallid alpine rose to meet him stoops,
    As if to soothe a brother in despair,
    Exiled from nature, and her pictures fair.
    Even winter sends a posy to his jail,
    Wreathed of the sunny celandine; the brief,
    Courageous wind-flower, loveliest of the frail;
    The hazel's crimson star, the woodbine's leaf,
    The daisy with its half-closed eye of grief;
    Prophets of fragrance, beauty, joy, and song."--P. 63.

Or in this passage, as remarkable for the sweet music of its
versification as for its suggestive power, winging the imagination
into the far-off woodland with the plover's cry--

    "When daisies blush, and wind-flowers wet with dew;
    When shady lanes with hyacinths are blue;
    When the elm blossoms o'er the brooding bird,
    And wild and wide the plover's wail is heard
    When melt the mists on mountains far away,
    Till morn is kindled into brightest day,
    No more the shouting youngsters shall convene
    To play at leap-frog on the village green," etc.--P. 87.

These are beautiful; but Elliott can be strong as beautiful, and
sublime as strong; and the great charm of all his poetry is, that he
makes his description subservient to the display of human life and
passion, human joys, and sorrows, and struggles, and wrongs. He deals,
as the poet of the people, with the life of the people. The thronged
manufacturing town,--thronged with men, and misery, and crime, but not
destitute of domestic virtues, nor precious domestic
affections,--lives nowhere as it does in Elliott's pages. The village
and the cottage, with its gardens, and their inhabitants, all come
before us with their beloved characteristics, and also with their
tales of trial and death.

Elliott has been said to have copied from Crabbe and Wordsworth, and
heaven knows who. Every page of his tells that he has read and loved
them, and been deeply impressed with their compositions; but he is no
copyist. Like a fine landscape, he is tinted by the colors and
harmonies of the sky, the sun, the season, and the hour; but like
that, his features and lasting beauties are his own. In his earlier
poems, he often reminds you, by the tone and rhythm of his verse, of
Campbell and Rogers; but anon, and he has molded his own style into
its peculiar and native beauty, and like a river for a while
obstructed by rocks and mounds, he at length finds his way into the
open plain, and in his full growth and strength goes on his way
vigorous, majestic, and with a character all his own. He delights in
the heroic measure, varying and alternating the rhymes at his
pleasure; and in this versification he exhibits a singular breadth of
scope, and pours forth a harmony grand, melancholy, and thrilling.
Beautifully as he clothes his themes with the pathos and the hues of
poetry, they are yet the stern themes of real and of unhappy life.
They are, as he tells us, and as we feel and know from our own
experience, all drawn from actual knowledge. He finds his fellow-men
oppressed by the false growth of society, and he boldly and vehemently
lays bare their calamities. He draws things as they are, and with the
pencil of a giant. The misery that springs out of the corn-laws, and
other measures of monopoly and unjust legislation, he denounces and
deplores with unceasing zeal. He assaults and wrestles with the
monster growth of injustice with undying and unappeasable hatred. He
limns England as it was, and as it is; and asks the aristocratic and
the millocrat if they are not ashamed of their deeds? If they do not
blush at their philosophy; if they do not recoil from these scenes of
woe, and crime, and ferocity, that they have created?

In every form and disguise, injustice and inhumanity--

    "Man's inhumanity to man"

that

    "Makes countless thousands mourn,"

are the monster serpents that he seeks to crush beneath his relentless
heel, and to fling forth from the dwellings of men. In delineating the
consequences of crime, Ebenezer Elliott has few equals for masterly
command of language. Byron never recorded the agonies of sin and
passion with more awful vigor, nor the woes of parting spirits with
more absorbing pathos. In the Exile, where two lovers meet in
America--in the days when our settlements there were called the
plantations, and they were penal colonies,--the woman as a convict,
and that through her lover's errors and desertion, nothing can be more
vividly sketched than the mental sufferings of both parties, or finer
than the scene where the unhappy woman dies in her lover's arms on a
night of awful tempest.

    "Then with clasped hands, and fervent hearts dismayed,
    That she might live for him, both mutely prayed.
    But o'er their silence burst the heavy blast;
    And, wrapped in darkness, the sky-torrent passed,
    And down the giants of the forest dashed;
    And pale as day the night with lightning flashed;
    And through awed heaven, a peal that might have been
    The funeral dirge of suns and systems crashed.
    More dread, more near, the bright-blue blaze was seen,
    Peal following peal, with direr pause between.
    On the wild light she turned her wilder eye,
    And grasped his hands in dying agony,
    Fast and still faster as the flash rushed by.
    'Spare me!' she cried, 'oh, thou destroying rod!
    Hark! 'tis the voice of unforgiving God!
    A mother murdered, and a sire in woe!
    Alfred, the deed was mine! for thee, for thee,
    I broke her heart, and turned his locks to snow.
    Hark! 'tis the roaring of the mighty sea!
    Lo! how the mountain billows fall and rise!
    And while their rage, beneath the howling night,
    Lifts my boy's tresses to the wild moonlight,
    Yet doth the wretch, the unwedded mother live,
    Who for those poor unvalued locks would give
    All save her hope to kiss them in the skies!
    But see! he rises from his watery bed,
    And at his guilty mother shakes his head!
    There, dost thou see him, blue and shivering, stand,
    And lift at thee his little, threatening hand?
    Oh, dreadful!--Hold me!--Catch me!--Die with me!--
    Alas! that must not, and it should not be.
    No--pray that both our sins may be forgiven;
    Then come--and heaven will, will, indeed be heaven!'"

Among the largest and best poems of Ebenezer Elliott, perhaps the
Village Patriarch, the Splendid Village, and the Ranter, will always
be the greatest favorites; not because they possess more passion or
poetry than the vigorous drama, of Bothwell and Kerhonah, but because
they depict England as it has become in our day, and awaken our love
for both country and people, while they make us weep for the
desolation which aristocratic legislation has everywhere diffused. The
Splendid Village, unlike the Deserted Village of Goldsmith, has not
become released of its inhabitants by the change of times, but has
become the scene of heartless wealth, of fine houses, where humble
cottages stood, and of purse-proud cits and lawyers, who leave the
work-house, or the jail, as the only refuges of the once happy poor.
The surly "Constable, publican and warrener," "Broad Jim the poacher,"
and in the Village Patriarch, the poor old Hannah Wray, whose cottage
is unroofed by Mr. Ezra White, the farmer, and who is hanged for
killing the savage with a stone, in the act, though it was really done
by her half-sharp daughter, are sketches too sadly full of that
lamentable life which has, of late years, distorted the fair rural
face of England. They are things which can not be too well pondered on
by every man who desires the return of better days to this country.
But we turn for the present to the more attractive society of blind
Enoch Wray.

In Enoch Wray, blind, and one hundred years old, Elliott has drawn one
of those venerable village patriarchs, that every one can remember
something of in his younger days. Men of hale and well developed
powers, who, in a calm life, not devoid of its cares, yet leaving
leisure for thought, have cherished the love of nature and the spirit
of a pure wisdom in them, worthy of man's highest estate. Such men,
who that has spent his youth in the country, has not known, and has
not loved? Enoch Wray is one of these, old and blind, yet with a heart
full as that of a child of the tenderness for nature, and the spirit
of heaven. The author describes his strolls with him into the hills;
and we will take our last extracts from these, because they are fine
specimens of landscape painting, and show what a fresh charm the poet
confers on his compositions, by the very names of the places he
introduces. In this there is a striking difference between him and
James Montgomery, Sheffield's other eminent poet, whose writings,
beautiful as they are, and full as they are of the love of nature,
might have been written anywhere. They do not localize themselves.

    "Come, father of the hamlet! grasp again
    Thy stern ash plant, cut when the woods were young;
    Come, let us leave the plough-subjected plain,
    And rise with freshened hearts and nerves restrung,
    Into the azure dome, that proudly hung
    O'er thoughtful power, ere suffering had begun.

    "Flowers peep, trees bud, boughs tremble, rivers run:
    The redwing saith it is a glorious morn.
    Blue are thy heavens, thou Highest! And thy sun
    Shines without cloud, all fire. How sweetly borne
    On wings of morning, o'er the leafless thorn,
    The tiny wren's small twitter warbles near!
    How swiftly flashes in the stream the trout!
    Woodbine! our father's ever watchful ear
    Knows by thy rustle that thy leaves are out.
    The trailing bramble hath not yet a sprout;
    Yet harshly to the wind the wanton prates,
    Not with thy smooth lips, woodbine of the fields!
    Thou future treasure of the bee that waits
    Gladly on thee, spring's harbinger! when yields
    All bounteous earth her odorous flowers, and builds
    The nightingale in beauty's fairest land."

The poet then enumerates the "five rivers, like the fingers of a
hand," which so remarkably convene at Sheffield, and then gives one of
the most characteristic features of Sheffield scenery, and a graphic
notice of that extraordinary body of men, the Sheffield grinders, who
perish early from the effects of their trade, yet pursue it with the
most hardy indifference.

    "Beautiful rivers of the desert! ye
    Bring food for labor from the fordless waste.
    Pleased stops the wanderer on his way to see
    The frequent weir oppose your heedless haste,
    Where toils the mill by ancient woods embraced.
    Hark, how the cold steel screams in hissing fire!
    But Enoch sees the grinder's wheel no more.
    Couched beneath rocks and forests, that admire
    Their beauty in the waters, ere they roar
    Dashed in white foam, the swift circumference o'er,
    There draws the grinder his laborious breath;
    There, coughing, at his deadly trade he bends;
    Born to die young, he fears nor man nor death;
    Scorning the future, what he earns he spends:
    Debauch and riot are his bosom friends.
    He plays the Tory sultan-like and well:
    Woe to the traitor that dares disobey
    The Dey of Straps! as ratanned tools shall tell.
    Full many a lawless freak by night, by day,
    Illustrates gloriously his lawless sway.
    Behold his failings! hath he virtues too?
    He is no pauper, blackguard though he be.
    Full well he knows what minds combined can do,
    Full well maintains his birthright--he is free!
    And, power for power, outstares monopoly!
    Yet Abraham and Elliott, both in vain,
    Bid science on his cheek prolong the bloom;
    He _will_ not live! he seems in haste to gain
    The undisturbed asylum of the tomb,
    And old at two-and-thirty, meets his doom!
    Man of a hundred years, how unlike thee!"

The Abraham and Elliott mentioned here were inventors of the Grinder's
Preservative, which the grinders will not use! But of these strange
men more anon.

    "The moors--all hail! ye changeless, ye sublime,
    That seldom hear a voice save that of Heaven!
    Scorners of chance, and fate, and death, and time,
    But not of Him, whose viewless hand hath riven
    The chasm through which the mountain stream is driven!
    How like a prostrate giant--not in sleep,
    But listening to his beating heart--ye lie!
    With winds and clouds dread harmony ye keep,
    Ye seem alone beneath the boundless sky:
    Ye speak, are mute, and there is no reply.
    Here all is sapphire light, and gloomy land,
    Blue, brilliant sky, above a sable sea
    Of hills like chaos, ere the first command,
    'Let there be light!' bade light and beauty be.

    *      *      *      *      *      *      *

    Father! we stand upon the mountain stern,
    That can not feel our lightness, and disdains
    Reptiles that sting and perish in their turn,
    That hiss and die--and lo! no trace remains
    Of all their joys, their triumphs, and their pains!
    Yet to stand here might well exalt the mind;
    These are not common moments nor is this
    A common scene. Hark, how the coming wind
    Booms like the funeral dirge of woe, and bliss,
    And life, and form, and mind, and all that is!
    How like the wafture of a world-wide wing
    It sounds and sinks, and all is hushed again!
    But are our spirits humbled? No; we string
    The lyre of death with mystery and pain,
    And proudly hear the dreadful notes complain
    That man is not the whirlwind, but the leaf,
    Torn from the tree, to soar and disappear.
    Grand is our weakness, and sublime our grief.
    Lo! on this rock I shake off hope and fear,
    And stand released from clay!--yet am I here,
    And at my side are blindness, age, and woe."

Would any one imagine, after reading the poetry of Ebenezer Elliott,
that that poetry could ever have found difficulty in struggling to the
light of day? With our host of acute and infallible critics, would one
think it possible that this noble poetry should not have been
immediately discovered, and made universal in its acceptation? But
what was the fact? For twenty years the poet went on writing and
publishing, but in vain. Volume after volume, his productions fell
dead from the press, or were treated with a passing sneer, or were
"damned with faint praise." But living consciousness of genius was not
to be extinguished, the undaunted spirit of Elliott was not to be
frozen out by neglect. He wrote, he appealed to sense and justice--it
was in vain. He became furious, and hurled a flaming satire at Lord
Byron in the height of his popularity, in the hope that the noble poet
would give him a returning blow, and thus draw attention upon him. It
was in vain, neither lord nor public would deign him a look, and the
case seemed desperate. But it was not so. Chance did what merit itself
could not do. Chance led Dr. Bowring to Sheffield, and there some one
put into his hands The Corn-Law Rhymes, and The Ranter. At once
Bowring, a poet himself, recognized the singular merit of the
compositions, printed as they were in four pamphlet sheets, on very
ordinary paper. With his usual zeal, he began to talk everywhere of
the wonderful poet of Sheffield, not Montgomery, but a new name. He
talked thus at my house, and I instantly procured them. Wordsworth
happened to be my guest at the time. He was as much struck with the
wonderful power of these compositions as ourselves, and I begged him
to convey them at once to Southey. He did so, and the laureate
immediately gave a notice of them in the Quarterly, in an article on
what he called Uneducated Poets. But, in the mean time, Dr. Bowring
went on to London, and there continued talking of the Corn-Law Rhymer,
till, falling in with Bulwer at a party, he showed those long
neglected poems to him, and the thing was done. Bulwer wrote an
out-speaking article in the New Monthly Magazine, which told like the
match put to the long laid train. Wordsworth, on his way home, had
made the poems known to Miss Jewsbury, at Manchester, and she gave a
nearly simultaneous notice in the Athenæum. At such decided and
generous verdicts in such quarters, the scales fell from the eyes of
the whole critic tribe--all cuckoo-land was loud with one note; and
the poet, who had been thundering at every critical door in the
kingdom in vain, now saw the gates of the land of glory at once
expand, and was led in by a hundred officious hands, as if he were a
new-born bard, and not of twenty years' growth.

Such a history awakes involuntarily some curious reflections. If
Elliott had chanced to die before Bowring had chanced to visit
Sheffield--what then? Where would now be the fame of the Corn-Law
Rhymer? I know that there is a very favorite doctrine in many mouths,
that true genius is sure, sooner or later, to find its way--that it
can not be destroyed, and is never lost. This may be very consolatory
doctrine for those who have wielded a merciless pen, and are visited
by compunctions of remorse; but it is just as true as that untimely
frosts never cut down buds and flowers, or that swords and cannons
will not kill honest men, or that a really beautiful scene may not be
ravaged and laid waste by bears or swine. If there be one thing that
murders early genius, it is the bludgeon of critical unkindness; if
there be one thing that gives life and spirit, it is encouragement.
Kindness! encouragement! they are the sunshine of the mind, as
necessary as the sunshine of Heaven for the unfolding of earth's
flowers and the ripening of earth's fruits. How many a bright soul has
sunk in the frosty valleys of neglect; how many have shrunk hopelessly
from the vile sneer of scorn; how many that have survived have reached
only a partial development of their strength and beauty; being
crippled in their youth by the blows of private malice, or enfeebled
by the want of the cordial aliment of acknowledged merit. Honor, then,
to the few sturdy souls that contempt has not been able to subdue! To
those who have returned kick for kick to the insolent opposers of
their progress; who have been able to keep alive self-respect in their
souls, through a long, dark career of frowns, and jeers, and cuffs, as
the due award of a spiritual pauperism. Honor to those brave
souls--they are the few victorious survivors in the great battle of
fame, where thousands have fallen by butcher hands. The endurance of
harsh treatment is no proof of genius--it is only a proof of a certain
amount of power of resistance; but it is a lucky thing for the world
that genius and endurance sometimes lodge in the same bosom. Byron
knocked down his deriders on the spot; Elliott, like Wellington at
Waterloo, stood out a whole long day of pitiless contest, and
triumphed at the last.

And it was not a single fight only that he had to maintain. He waged a
double contest against fortune--for life as well as for fame; and in
both, with desperate odds against him, he came off victorious.
Ebenezer Elliott is certainly one of the greatest "Curiosities of
Literature." He has not only proved himself a poet, in spite of twenty
years of most dogged deafness to his claims, but a poet that has set
fortune as well as the critics at defiance, and has at once won fame
and wealth. I believe that on his settling in Sheffield he possessed
nothing but a wife and three or four children, but he has managed to
retire from trade with some eight or ten children, and a good round
sum of thousands of pounds. He has bravely scorned all

              "The perils that environ
    The man who meddles with cold iron;"

and has set a glorious example to future genius--to rely on its own
intimations, and not on reviews; to assert the rights of mind, and yet
not to neglect business. In him stands a living proof that poetry and
worldly prosperity can go hand in hand.

By his own statement to me, it appears that he was born the 17th of
March, 1781, being one of eight children. His father was a commercial
clerk in the iron-works at Masborough, near Rotherham, with a salary
of £70 a-year, "and consequently," says he, "a rich man in those
days."

There is no complete biography of Mr. Elliott published, nor ever
written. There is one in manuscript, written by himself, but only up
to a certain period. Beyond that he has not been able to proceed, and
has expressed doubts whether he ever shall. It no doubt relates to
some crisis in his life, that from his desperate conflict with
circumstances is recollected only with a horror that disables his pen;
the bottom of that Jordan of affliction through which he passed, that
he might become the interpreter of the sons of suffering. At the very
memory of this stern baptism, that Herculean resolution which bore him
through it falters; it is to be hoped, for the sake of posterity, one
day, however, to collect itself again into a great effort, and to add
another autobiography full of life's great lessons to those of
Franklin and William Hutton. From a notice in a periodical some years
ago, and which I believe, from good authority, to be correct, I
extract the few particulars that are related of his early life.

"Ebenezer Elliott, in childhood, boyhood, and youth, was remarkable
for good-nature, as it is called, and a sensitiveness, exceeded only
by his extreme dullness and inability to learn any thing that required
the least application or intellect. His good-nature made him rather a
favorite in his childhood with servant girls, nurses, and old women.
One of the latter was a particular favorite with him--Nanny Farr, who
kept the York Keelman public-house, near the foundry at Masborough,
where he was born. She was a walking magazine of old English
prejudices and superstitions;--to her he owes his fondness for ghost
stories. When he was about ten years old, he fell in love with a young
girl, now Mrs. Woodcock of Munsber, near Greasborough, to whom he
never to this day spoke one word. She then lived with her father, Mr.
Ridgeway, a butcher and publican, close to the bridge on the
Masborough side of the river Don. Such was his sensitiveness, that if
he happened to see her as she passed, and especially if she happened
to look at him--which he now believes she never did,--he was suddenly
deprived almost of the power of moving.

"His unconquerable dullness was improved into absolute stupidity by
the help he received from an uncommonly clever boy, called John Ross,
who did him his sums. He got into the rule-of-three without having
learned numeration, addition, subtraction, and division. Old Joseph
Ramsbotham seemed quite convinced, gave him up in despair, and at
rule-of-three the bard jumped all at once to decimals, where he stuck.
At this time he was examined by his father, who discovered that the
boy scarcely knew that two and one are three. He was then put to work
in the foundry on trial, whether hard labor would not induce him to
learn his 'counting,' as arithmetic is called in Yorkshire. Now it
happened that nature, in her vagaries, had given him a brother called
Giles, of whom it will be said by any person who knew him, that never
was there a young person of quicker or brighter talents; there was
nothing that he could not learn, but the praise he received ruined him
in the end. His superiority produced no envy in Ebenezer, who almost
worshiped him. The only effect it produced on him was, a sad sense of
humiliation, and confirmed conviction that himself was an incurable
dunce. The sense of his deficiencies oppressed him, and in private he
wept bitterly. When he saw Giles seated in the counting-house, writing
invoices, or posting the ledger; or when he came dirty out of the
foundry, and saw him showing his drawings, or reading aloud to the
circle, whose plaudits seemed to have no end, his resource was
solitude, of which from his infancy he was fond. He would go and fly
his kite, always alone, and he was the best kite-maker of the place;
or he would saunter along the canal bank, swimming his ships, or
anchoring them before his fortresses--and he was a good ship-builder.

"His sadness increased;--he could not post books--he could not write
invoices--he could not learn to do what almost every body could learn,
namely, to do a single sum in single division; yet by this time he had
discovered that he could do 'men's work,' for he could make a
frying-pan. It ought to be observed here, that the assistance he
received from John Ross accompanied him, like his double, to every
school to which his parents, in their despair, had sent him; and they
sent him to two, beside Mr. Ramsbotham's. When it was found that he
could not do decimals, he was put back to the rule-of-three, and then
pronounced incurable. Labor, however, and the honor paid to his
brother, at length made him try one effort more. He had an aunt at
Masborough, one of whose sons was studying botany. He was buying, in
monthly numbers, a book called Sowerby's English Botany, with
beautifully colored plates. They filled him with delight; and she
showed him that by holding the plates before a pane of glass, he might
take exact sketches of them. Dunce though he was, he found he could
draw, and with such ease, that he almost thought he was a magician. He
became a botanist, or rather a hunter of flowers; but, like his cousin
Ben, though not Greek-learned like him, he too had his Hortus Siccus.
He does not remember having ever read, or liked, or thought of poetry
until he heard his brother recite that passage in Thomson's Spring,
which describes the polyanthus and auricula. His first attempt at
poetry was an imitation in rhyme of Thomson's Thunder Storm, in which
he described a certain flock of sheep running away after they were
killed by lightning. Now this came to pass because the rhyme would
have it so. His critic, cousin Ben the learned, though the bard most
imploringly told him how the miracle happened, nevertheless exercised
the critic's privilege, and ridiculed him without mercy. Never will he
forget that infliction. His second favorite author was Shenstone,
whose translations of passages from the classics, prefixed to his
elegies, produced an effect on his mind and heart which death only can
obliterate. His next favorite was Milton, who slowly gave way to
Shakspeare. He can trace all his literary propensities to physical
causes. His mind, he says, is altogether the mind of his own eyes. A
primrose is to him a primrose, and nothing more; for Solomon in his
glory was not more delicately arrayed. There is not a good passage in
his writings, which he can not trace to some real occurrence, or to
some object actually before his eyes, or to some passage in some other
author. He has the power, he says, of making the thoughts of other men
breed; and he is fond of pointing out four or five passages in his
poems, all stolen from one passage in Cowper's Homer. We will give the
original, and one of the imitations. He made the thought his own, he
says, by substituting the word 'hymn' for the word 'trumpet;' and the
imitation will show his power of making other men's thoughts breed;
they describe poetically and philosophically the reflection of light
from the heavenly bodies:

    'The earth beneath them trembled, and the heavens
    Sung them together with a trumpet's voice.'

    _Cowper's Iliad._

Thus imitated--

    'Oh, Light, that cheer'st all worlds, from sky to sky,
    As with a hymn to which the stars reply.'

"When he became a poet, he became also more and more ashamed of his
deficiencies. He actually tried to learn French, and could with ease
get his lesson, but could never remember it an hour. Nor could he ever
write correctly till he met with Murray's Grammar, which he learned at
the wrong end, namely, the Key,--and never reached the beginning. To
this day he does not thoroughly know a single rule of grammar; yet, by
thinking, he can detect any grammatical errors. If he errs, it is in
the application of words derived from the Latin or Greek, which,
although he has a strong propensity to use them, he now avoids, unless
they are very melodious, or harmonize with his Saxon, and seldom
without consulting his dictionary, that he may guess at their meaning.
He has more than once shown his fondness for learned words by begging
Latin and Greek quotations, for his prefaces and notes, of the writer
of this article. But his propensity to use fine words will be still
better elucidated by the following anecdote, of the truth of which the
reader may be assured. Having written a sonorous poem in blank verse,
on the American Revolution, he wished for a learned title. He wished
to call it 'Liberty,' so his learned cousin baptized it in Greek
by the name of 'Eleutheria;' but the bard having found out that
Eleutheria also signifies fire, humbled himself to Latin, expunged
the Greek, and wrote in place of it, 'Jus Triumphans.' He then
read Johnson's Dictionary through, and selected several dozen
words--fifty-three, we believe--of six or seven syllables, which he
wrote on slips of paper, and pasted over his verses where they would
occur and read grammatically! In this state the manuscript was sent to
Whitbread, the brewer, who returned it with a flourishing compliment;
and, if it be in existence, certainly it is a curiosity that a
bibliographer would place in his cabinet.

"One of Mr. Elliott's early companions was a youth of cultivated mind,
with whom he read much and conversed more, Joseph Ramsbotham, the son
of his schoolmaster, who was educated for the ministry. This excellent
young man, who died too soon, used to recite Greek to him; and the
poet, without knowing any thing of that language, was so delighted
with the music of Homer, that he committed to memory the introductory
lines of the Iliad, and could repeat them when the writer of this
article first became acquainted with him. In the opening of his poem.
Withered Wild Flowers, Elliott pays a tribute to these two excellent
men, father and son.

"Mr. Elliott's memory is very retentive, and he does not easily forget
what he has once learned. Translations have made him familiar with the
classic poets of Greece and Rome. Among the tragedians, Æschylus is
his favorite; whom he admires as the most original and sublime of the
Athenian dramatic writers. His reading is extensive, and it has not
been confined to poetry. History and political economy seem to have
been his favorite studies; the latter has inspired some of his most
admired productions. He writes prose as well as verse, and the style
of some of his Letters on the Corn-Laws has the condensed fire and
energy of Junius; less polished, indeed, but equally pointed and
severe. In conversation he is rapid and short; his sentences, when he
is animated by the subject on which he is speaking, have all the force
and brevity of Spartan oratory; they are words of flame; and in his
predictions of calamity and woe--as, in his opinion, a necessary
consequence of adhering to the present system of politics--it may be
truly said, in his own language, 'his gloom is fire.' In argument
every muscle of his countenance is eloquent; and when his cold blue
eye is fired with indignation, it resembles a wintry sky flashing with
lightning; his dark, bushy brows writhing above it, like the
thunder-cloud torn by the tempest. You see at once, in his strongly
marked features, how much he has suffered; like Dante, he looks as if
he had gone through his own hell! His voice, when reading his own
verses--and no man can give them so much effect--is the most
melancholy music that ever was heard; and his whole manner,
expression, and appearance irresistibly impress you with the
conviction that he has dwelt with disappointment, and too long
experienced the sickness of the heart which arises from 'hope
deferred.' This is the fact. In his mercantile pursuits he has not
always been fortunate; and his literary career, till lately, was
unattended with one cheering circumstance. He has endured cold neglect
for years, and had to struggle with difficulties of every kind. The
firm and proud spirit which he manifested in contending with these,
hurling back unmerited censure with scorn, and relying fully on his
own powers for final success, is, next to his works, the strongest
proof of his possessing intellectual superiority, however much it may
indicate a want of the milder graces of the Christian character. His
was not the weak spirit that sinks under misfortunes; his strong and
powerful genius rose above them. He boldly grasped and eventually
strangled the serpents that have stung so many others to death. Timid
in his youth, as the modest flower that hides its beauty from all the
world in some rural retirement, he was no sooner trampled upon than he
became bold; and when storms roared around his head, he stood in the
midst of them like the gnarled oak, battling with tempests, and
laughing at their impotent rage. To whomsoever else adversity has been
fatal, to him it was of essential service: it called forth his powers,
it roused him to the contest, it strengthened him for victory. Where
thousands would have despaired, he held up with undaunted resolution;
and he has, at length, surmounted every obstacle that opposed his
rising. His triumph is a glorious proof of what mind can effect, and
we hail and exhibit it as a great moral lesson to the world."

Little as is the amount of biography contained in these passages I
have quoted, I presume that it is all that we are to expect during the
poet's life. It will be sufficient to add that, having thus triumphed
over all resistance, both literary and mercantile, Mr. Elliott has now
retired from business, to enjoy the calm evening of his days in the
country. We will anon follow him to his retreat; but first we must pay
a visit to his haunts in and around Sheffield, where the greater
portion of his life has been spent, and where his poetry has left its
stamp on a thousand objects.

They who class Ebenezer Elliott with poets of the working class, or
look upon him as a poor man, are amazingly mistaken. It is true that
he commenced life as a working-man. That he came to Sheffield, under
the circumstances already related, and, as I have heard, some hundred
and fifty pounds worse than nothing; and, after suffering and enduring
much like a man of iron, he struck into the right track; and, such was
the prosperity of the town and trade of Sheffield, that he says he
used to sit in his chair, and make his £20 a-day, without even seeing
the goods that he sold; for they came to the wharf, and were sold
again thence, without ever coming into his warehouse or under his eye.
The Corn-Laws, he says, altered all this, and made him glad to get out
of business with part of what he had got, the great panic and
revulsion of 1837 sweeping away some three or four thousands at once.
The trade in which Ebenezer Elliott made his money at Sheffield, was
that of a bar-iron merchant. He first began this business in
Burgess-street. The house is pointed out at the right-hand corner, at
the top as you go up. Here prosperity first visited him, and the place
becoming too small for his growing concerns, he removed his warehouse
to Gibraltar-street, Shalesmoor; and took or built quite a handsome
villa, in a garden of an acre in extent, inclosed with a high stone
wall. This pleasant retirement was in the pleasant suburb of Upper
Thorpe; whence, by a footpath over the hills at the back of the house,
he could soon mount and see all Sheffield smoking at his feet, and
then dive down at the back of the hills, into his favorite haunt, the
valley of the Rivelin.

Before, however, following the poet into these haunts, we will make a
call at his place of business. Gibraltar-street, Shalesmoor, I found
in the lower part of the town, almost every place thereabout bearing
the old name of moor, although no trace of a moor could there be seen,
but, on the contrary, crowded houses, reeking chimneys, and the
swarming of human beings. Here I soon caught sight of a lowish,
humblish sort of building, with "ELLIOTT AND CO.'S IRON AND STEEL
WAREHOUSE," painted in large letters along the front. This was
the place where the Corn-Law Rhymer had at once pursued trade and
poetry, with equal success. The business is now in the hands of two of
his sons. On entering the front door, which, however, you are
prevented doing, till a little iron gate in the doorway is first
opened for you, you find yourself in a dingy place, full of bars of
steel and iron, of all sorts and sizes, from slenderest rods to good,
massy bars, reared on almost every inch of space, so that there is but
just room to get among them; and, in the midst of all, stands aloft a
large cast of Shakspeare, with the Sir Walter Raleigh ruff round his
neck, and mustaches. Your eye, glancing forward, penetrates a large
warehouse behind, of the like iron gloom and occupation. On the left
hand is a smallish room, into which you directly look, for the door is
open, if door there be, and which is, properly, the counting-house,
but is nearly as crowded with iron bars all round as the rest.

The son of Mr. Elliott, whom I found there, showed me the place with
great good-nature, and seeing me look into this room, he said, "Walk
in, sir; that is the Corn-Law Rhymer's study; that is where my father
wrote most of his poetry." We may safely assert that there is no other
such poetical study in England, if there be in the world.

The center of the room is occupied by a considerable office-desk,
which, to judge from its appearance, has for many a year known no
occupation but that of being piled with the most miscellaneous chaos
of account-books, invoices, bills, memorandum-books, and the like, all
buried in the dust of the iron age through which they have
accumulated. To be used as a desk appears to have ceased long ago; it
is the supporter of old chaos come again; and a couple of portable
desks, set on the counter under the window, though elbowed up by lots
of dusty iron, and looked down upon by Achilles and Ajax in wonder,
seem to serve the real purposes of desks.

But Achilles and Ajax, says some one, what do they here? All round the
room stand piles of bars of iron, and amid these stand, oddly enough,
three great plaster casts of Achilles, Ajax, and Napoleon. The two
Grecian heroes are in the front, on each side of the window, and
Napoleon occupies an elevated post in the center of the side of the
room, facing the door. Such was at once the study and the warehouse of
Ebenezer Elliott!

Surely, never were poetry and pence united together in such a scene
before! You may imagine Robert Bloomfield stitching away at ladies'
shoes, and tagging rhymes at the same time, in great peace and bodily
comfort; being a journeyman for a long time, and when he had got his
work from his master, being liable to very little interruption. You
may imagine him thumping away on his last in poetic ardor, and in the
midst of his enthusiasm hammering out a superior piece of soling
leather and triumphant verse at the same instant; but imagine Ebenezer
Elliott, in the midst of all this iron wilderness, in the midst of
bustling and clanging Sheffield, and the constant demands of little
cutlers and the like--for constant they must have been for him to
accumulate a fair fortune out of nothing,--imagine him in the midst of
all this confusion of dusty materials, and the demands of customers,
and the din and jar of iron rods and bars, as they were dragged out of
their stations for examination and sale, and were flung into the
scales to be weighed; imagine this, and that the man achieved a
fortune and a fame at the same time--weighed out iron and ideas--took
in gold and glory--cursed corn-laws, and blessed God, and man, and
nature; established a large family, two sons as clergymen of the
Church of England--three in trade--two of them his successors in
steel, though not in stanzas--in iron, though not in irony; and then
retired to his own purchased land, built his house on a hill-top, and
looked down on the world in philosophical ease, at little more than
sixty years of age; and you may look a good while for a similar man in
history.

Quitting this singular retreat of the Muses, under the guidance of my
worthy friend Mr. John Fowler, an old friend of the poet, I proceeded
to visit the Rhymer's haunts in the country round. And first we
ascended the hills to the east of the town, above Pittsmoor and
Shirecliffe-hall, to the place where Elliott makes his most
interesting field-preacher, Miles Gordon, the Ranter, go to his last
Sabbath service of the open air. As we went, all the beautiful imagery
of that exquisitely pathetic poem came before me. The opening of the
poem breathing such a feeling of Sabbath rest to the weary, such a
feeling of the actual life of the pious poor in the manufacturing
towns.

    "Miles Gordon sleeps; his six days' labor done,
    He dreams of Sunday, verdant fields, and prayer.
    Arise, blest morn, unclouded! Let thy sun
    Shine on the artisan, thy purest air
    Breathe on the bread-taxed laborer's deep despair!
    Poor sons of toil! I grudge them not the breeze
    That plays with Sabbath flowers, the clouds that play
    With Sabbath winds, the hum of Sabbath bees,
    The Sabbath walk, the skylark's Sabbath lay,
    The silent sunshine of the Sabbath day.

    "The stars wax pale, the morn is cold and dim;
    Miles Gordon wakes, and gray dawn tints the skies:
    The many-childed widow, who to him
    Is as a mother, hears her lodger rise.
    And listens to his prayer with swimming eyes.
    For her and for her orphan poor he prays.
    For all who earn the bread they daily eat;--
    Bless them, O God, with useful, happy days,
    With hearts that scorn all meanness and deceit:
    And round their lowly hearths let freemen meet!
    This morn betimes she hastes to leave her bed.
    For he must preach beneath the autumnal tree:
    She lights her fire, and soon the board is spread
    With Sabbath coffee, toast, and cups for three.
    Pale he descends; again she starts to see
    His hollow cheek, and feels they soon must part--
    But they shall meet again--that hope is sure;
    And oh! she venerates his mind and heart,
    For he is pure, if mortal ere was pure!
    His words, his silence, teach her to endure.
    And then he helps to feed her orphans five!
    O God! thy judgments cruel seem to be!
    While bad men linger long, and cursing thrive.
    The good, like wintry sunbeams, fade and flee--
    That we may follow them, and come to thee."

That lovely passage, where the widow wakes her eldest son, who wishes
to accompany the preacher, one of the most beautiful things in poetry,
recurred with fresh vividness:--

    "Like sculpture, or like death, serene he lies;
    But no, that tear is not a marble tear!
    He names in sleep his father's injuries;
    And now in silence wears a smile severe.
    How like his sire he looks, when drawing near
    His journey's close, and that fair form bent o'er
    His darkening cheek, still faintly tinged with red,
    And fondly gazed,--too soon to gaze no more!--
    While the long tresses o'er the seeming dead
    Streamed in their black profusion from the head
    Of matron loveliness--more touchingly.
    More sadly beautiful, and pale, and still--
    A shape of half-divine humanity,
    Worthy of Chantry's steel, or Milton's quill.
    Or heaven-taught Raphael's soul-expressing skill!
      And must she wake that poor o'erlabored youth?
    Oh yes, or Edmund will his mother chide;
    For he this morn would hear the words of truth
    From lips inspired on Shirecliffe's lofty side.
    Gazing o'er tree and tower on Hallam wide."

I seemed then to hear the trumpet-voice of the poet exclaiming:--

    "Up, sluggards, up! the mountains, one by one,
    Ascend in light, and slow the mists retire
    From vale and plain. The cloud on Stannington
    Beholds a rocket--no! 'tis Morthen spire!
    The sun is risen! cries Stanedge, tipped with fire:
    On Norwood's flowers the dew-drops shine and shake;
    Up, sluggards, up! and drink the morning breeze.
    The buds on cloud-left Osgathorpe awake;
    And Wincobank is waving all his trees
    O'er subject towns, and farms, and villages.
    And gleaming streams, and woods, and water-falls.
    Up! climb the oak-crowned summit! Hoober Stand
    And Keppel's Pillar gaze on Wentworth's halls,
    And misty lakes, that brighten and expand.
    And distant hills that watch the western strand.
    Up! trace God's footprints where they paint the mold
    With heavenly green, and hues that blush and glow
    Like angel's wings; while skies of blue and gold
    Stoop to Miles Gordon on the mountain's brow.
    Behold the Great Unpaid! the prophet lo!
    Sublime he stands beneath the Gospel-tree,
    And Edmund stands on Shirecliffe at his side."

This striking scene is on the ridge of the hill, about the highest
point, and the Gospel-tree is an ash-tree standing there. From this
point, the view all round the country is most extensive. The poet has
finely described it:--

    "Behind him sinks, and swells, and spreads a sea
    Of hills, and vales, and groves: before him glide
    Don, Rivelin, Loxley, wandering in their pride,
    From heights that mix their azure with the cloud;
    Beneath his spire and grove are glittering;
    And round him press his flock, a woe-worn crowd.
    To other words, while forest echoes ring--
    'Ye banks and braes of bonny Doon,' they sing;
    And far below, the drover, with a start
    Awakening, listens to the well-known strain
    Which brings Shihallian's shadow to his heart,
    And Scotia's loneliest vales; then sleeps again,
    And dreams on Lockley's banks of Dunsinane.
    The hymn they sing is to their preacher dear:
    It breathes of hopes and glories grand and vast:
    While on his face they look with grief and fear;
    Full well they know his sands are ebbing fast:
    But hark! he speaks, and feels he speaks his last!"

Such was the view to the eye of the poet; to that of the stranger,
there are features in it that give it a peculiar picturesqueness.
Below you, the town of Sheffield on one hand, partly stretching along
the valley of the Don, partly stretching upward toward the Mount; its
various churches, and its multitude of tall engine-chimneys, rearing
themselves above the mass of houses, as poplars ascend above the rest
of the wood; and from these chimneys, and from innumerable shops and
forges, volumes of smoke and steam poured forth in clouds over the
whole wilderness of brick, and with the distant sound of forge
hammers, and roar of the forge-bellows and fires, give you a lively
feeling of the stir of industry. In the other direction, you look into
far-off plains, over many a distant ridge, and upon fine and broad
masses of wood dotting the bold hills. Wincobank and Keppel's column
in the more remote woods of Wentworth, and church spires at vast
distances, attest the truth of the poet's lines; and in a third
direction, you look down into the converging valleys of the Don, the
Loxley, and the Rivelin, running between high, wide-lying, and round
hills, on which the whole country is mapped out as in many parts of
Lancashire or the Peak. With their very green fields, scattered,
thinly scattered with clumps of copse, or a long range of black fir
wood here and there; their gray, flag-roofed houses, and good portion
of stone walls, the similarity is striking. From the valleys, full of
woods, shine out winding waters, and peep forth tall chimneys, and
roll up volumes of smoke, betraying the busy life of industry where
all looks, from the distance, wooded silence; while some
manufacturer's great stone house stands amid its flourishing woods,
and fronting open lawns, in stately solemnity of cutler-aristocracy.

On the topmost center of this unique scene, has Elliott fixed his
Ranter on the Sunday morning; and on the piece of table-land fenced in
with woods, over whose heads you still for the most part look, has
congregated his flock, gathered from the cottages of the neighboring
hamlets, and the smoky wilderness of the great city of knives and
hammers below. The tree stands now in the line of a stone wall, and
upon a little precipice of sandstone, four or five feet high, so that
it would really be as it no doubt has been, for Elliott, as he tells
us, draws from the life a capital position for a preacher. Into the
tree Elliott has driven a nail, about four feet from the ground, so
that any of his friends who visit the spot can at once identify it. He
advises you to climb to the top of the tree, on account of the
splendid, uninterrupted view, an exploit not likely to be very often
performed, and which yet _has_ been done more than once, and was
done by poor Charles Pemberton, the Miles Gordon of social
improvement.

Close by, on the hill, two or three men were working in a stone
_quarrel_, as they called it, where huge blocks of freestone
seemed to have been dug for many and many a year. I asked them why
people visited this tree. They said they could not conceive, except
"it was for th' view." I asked them if they never heard that _Thomas
à Becket_ preached under it in _Henry VIII.'s time_; at which
they set up a perfect shriek of delight at the joke. A Sheffield
_quarrel_ man is not to be mystified like a Jerry Chopstick.

Our next visit was to the valley of the Rivelin, so often named in
Elliott's poetry. The Rivelin is one of the five rivers that run from
the moorland hills and join near Sheffield; and the scenery is very
peculiar, from the singular features which art and trade have added to
those of nature. The river is one of those streams that show their
mountain origin by their rapid flow over their rugged beds, scattered
with masses of stone. It has a tinge of the peat-moss, and is overhung
by woods and alternate steep banks of sandstone rock, clothed with the
bilberry-plant. But what gives to a stranger the most striking
character, are the forges and grinding-wheels, as they call them,
scattered along them. Formerly these stood chiefly out among the
neighboring hills, being turned by the streams that descend from them,
and you still find them in all the neighboring valleys, the rivulets
and rivers which run along them being dammed up into a chain of ponds,
which give a peculiar character to the scene. These ponds look
dark-brown, as from the rust of iron, which is ground off with the
water, and are generally flanked by dark alders, or are overhung by
the woods which clothe the side of the valleys: and you now come to a
forge where the blast roars, and the flame glances out from the sooty
chimney-tops, and the hammers resound and tinkle in various cadences
from within; and now to low, mill-like buildings, with huge wheels
revolving between two of them, or beside one of them; and these are
the grinding-mills, or wheels, as they are termed. Formerly, they were
all turned by those streams, which are conveyed in channels cut for
them, and spouts, and let fall on those great wheels; but now, steam
is applied, as to every thing else; and large grinding-wheels, as they
are still called, that is, mills, meet you along all the lower parts
of the town, as they still require a good supply of water for their
engines and for their wet-grinding, that is, to keep their grindstones
wet for some particular articles. Owing to this introduction of steam,
as you advance farther up among the moorland hills and streamlets, you
find the old and picturesque grinding-wheels falling to decay. Such is
the scenery of Rivelin. Far up, solitude and falling wheels give a
pleasing melancholy to the scene; but as you return nearer to
Sheffield, you see the huge hammers of forges put in motion by stream
or steam, thumping away at the heated bars of iron, while water is
kept trickling upon their great handles to keep them cool.

The external appearance of the great steam grinding-wheels in the town
is very singular. Amid the other swarthy buildings these look tawny
with sand, which has flown out through the numerous windows, and
coated the whole of the walls, and even roof; and the windows, which
are often, I believe, of paper, are broken in, just as if the mills
had been stormed by a mob.

No person who has read Elliott's description of the reckless race of
grinders, or the account of them in the Report of the Commissioners to
inquire, in 1841, into the condition of the people in mines and
factories, can see these places without a lively interest. At this
deadly trade, the workmen sit at work astride of rounded blocks of
wood, which they call grinding-horses, in front of their grindstones,
which are fixed on axles or spindles turned by the steam or water; and
fixing the knife, or other steel article, in a sort of case which
covers the upper side of it, and enables them to grind it more
regularly, as it can not give way unequally,--they make the most
brilliant posies of sparks stream from them at every pressure on the
stone. Others polish the articles ground, by holding them to the edges
of small wooden wheels covered with leather.

Grinders never live long; but the _dry_-grinders perish soonest,
because the particles of sandstone are driven in whole clouds from the
grindstones, and fill the whole air and the grinder's lungs. Five
minutes in a dry-grinding room is quite sufficient to satisfy you of
its nature and effects. We have seen Ebenezer Elliott's character of
the grinder:--

    "There draws the grinder his laborious breath,
    There coughing, at his deadly trade he bends;
    Born to die young, he fears nor man nor death;
    Scorning the future, what he earns he spends;
    Debauch and riot are his bosom friends."

The Commissioners state, on the authority of Dr. Knight of Sheffield,
that a dozen years ago the number of grinders was two thousand five
hundred; the life of a wet-grinder seldom reached forty-five years;
that of a dry-grinder not more than thirty-five. The number is now
larger, and the average of life, according to other evidence, is
shorter. Table-knife grinders work on wet stones, and are the longer
lived; the fork-grinders work on dry stones, and are the short-lived
ones. Children are put to this fatal trade at fourteen years old
usually, but to some lighter branches as early as eight or nine years
of age. They who have good constitutions seldom experience much
inconvenience till they are about twenty years old, when the symptoms
of their peculiar complaint begin to show themselves. They are
affected with a terrible species of asthma, followed by a train of
physical sufferings, which drag them piecemeal to the grave. Flues to
carry off the dust have been introduced into the wheels, but the men
refuse to use them, and often kick them down and tread upon them. They
get high wages, and think that if the trade were made innoxious, there
would be more to enter it, and prices would fall. They are for a short
life and a merry one. Those who drink most are often the longest
lived, owing to their more frequent absence from their work. The
doctors often say to those who come to consult them, "Now, if you go
back to this trade you go back to die;" but this never had the effect
of deterring them from going back, nor from apprenticing their
children to the same fatal trade.

Inquiring in Sheffield where Ebenezer Elliott now resided, I was told,
by five different persons, five different places. One said it was near
Rotherham, another near Barnsley, another near Tickhill, another near
Wakefield, and another near Pontefract. It turned out to be near
Darfield, on the railroad between Rotherham and Wakefield. Getting out
at the Darfield station, I found that I had a pleasant walk of three
miles to his house, at some distance beyond the village of Great
Houghton. The country is very different to that about Sheffield, in
which Elliott seems to have taken such great delight. It is a fine
farming country. The lanes have all a foot causeway of one row of
stones, like those of Derbyshire; and, like it, the fields are rich
with grass, and corn, and hedge-row trees. The village of Houghton,
the only one that I saw, is a regular old farming village, with one
large, old stone hall standing, about a hundred yards from the road,
and falling evidently to decay, while the great stone wall which
separates its grounds from the road, massy as it is, is equally
dilapidated. Elliott's house, which he has built, is a good stone
house in the style of the country, with a flag roof, and is fit for
gentleman or farmer. It occupies the top of a hill on the edge of a
common. It has a good garden lying round it; the views from it are
fine and very extensive, including distant towns and villages, and
here and there a great mass of wood. There is a fine airiness about
the situation; but the prospect of suitable society is not so easy to
be perceived. One naturally connects the idea of Ebenezer Elliott and
the brisk movements of a populous town; but he complains that the
constant political excitements of a town had wearied him, and gave too
much interruption to his literary enjoyments. Here certainly he has
withdrawn to complete leisure for books and the country; and yet, if
he need the intercourse with towns, the various railroads put
half-a-dozen within the speediest access. He says that time, instead
of hanging heavily, never went so fast with him.

I found Ebenezer Elliott standing at his porch, with his huge
Newfoundland dog beside him. I merely introduced myself as an admirer
of his poetry, who had a desire in passing to pay my respects to him.
He gave me a very cordial welcome. We entered his room, and were soon
deep in conversation. And we were soon, too, high in conversation; for
our talk, among other things, turning on a certain class of society, I
happened to say that, "spite of all their faults as a class, many of
them, as individuals, were very amiable people." This was a little too
much for him. The latent fire of the Corn-Law Rhymer blazed up; he
started from his chair, and pacing to and fro with his hands at his
back, exclaimed, "Amiable men! amiable robbers! thieves! and
murderers! Sir! I do not like to hear thieves, robbers, and murderers,
called amiable men! Amiable men indeed! Who are they that have ruined
trade, made bread dear, made murder wholesale, put poverty into
prison, and made crimes of ignorance and misery? Sir! I do not like to
hear such terms used for such men!"

I laughed, and said, "Well, Mr. Elliott, you and I shall certainly not
quarrel about any such people; and I ought not to sit talking thus as
a perfect stranger--it creates a false position and false
conclusions." I then mentioned my name. He sprung across the room,
caught hold of my offered hand with both his, gave it a great shake,
and then hastened out to call Mrs. Elliott. Very soon Mrs. Elliott and
a daughter appeared, and we were speedily afloat on an ocean of talk.
When people of the same tastes meet for the first time, and especially
on a rainy day in the country, what a multitude of themes present
themselves! Books, people, poetry, mesmerism, and heaven knows what,
leave not room for silence to show his little finger in. Mrs. Elliott,
a tall, good-looking woman, I soon found as lady-like, sensible, and
well informed as any poet could desire for his companion. Miss
Elliott, a fine-grown and comely, but very modest young lady, was the
only one who did not act the part rather of talker than listener. For
six hours, the time I stayed, it was one long, uninterrupted talk. The
hearty host declared that I should not leave for a week; but England,
Scotland, and Ireland lay before me, and only a limited time to
traverse a good deal of them in. Yet what greater pleasure, could one
command it, than a week with such a man--far from the tone and spirit
of coteries, in the heart of fresh and pure nature, with books, and
woods, and flowery fields fanned by the purest breezes, to wander
through, and compare the impressions of men and things, of great
thoughts, great deeds, and great projects for the good of society, as
they come before you unbiased and uncolored by the world as it shows
its protean shapes in cities--in the refined sneer, the jealous
thought, the weary indifference of overstimulated tastes? Were I at
liberty to pen down the dialogue of that one afternoon, in all its
freedom of remark, it would make the brightest but most startling
chapter of these volumes. But that can not be, and I must add nothing
more to this article than simply to say, that in a strange place I
should never have recognized Ebenezer Elliott by his portrait. There
is no good one of him. He is somewhat above the middle height. He is
sixty-five, but not old-looking for his years. His hair is white, and
his manner and tone, except when excited by those topics that rouse
his indignation against cruelty and oppression, mild, soft, and full
of feeling. Perhaps no man's spirit and presence are so entirely the
spirit and presence of his poetry. Unlike many who could be named,
who, drilled from youth into the spirit and tone of the gay circles
that they frequent, present that spirit and tone there, and reserve
the spirit and tone of the poet for the closet--men of two worlds, in
the world of the world, in the closet of the world of mind--Ebenezer
Elliott has conversed too much with nature, and with men in their
rough, unsophisticated nature, to have merged one jot of his
earnestness into conventionalism of tone or manner. In society or out
of it he is one and the same--the poet and the man.



JOHN WILSON.

The progress of my work warns me to be brief where I would fain be
most voluminous. To John Wilson, of the Isle of Palms, the City of the
Plague, and of volumes of other beautiful poetry, it would be a
delightful task to devote a volume. The biography of Professor Wilson,
whenever given to the world, if written as it should be, would be one
of the most curious and intensely interesting books in the world. The
poet and the periodical writer, Christopher North at the Noctes and in
his shooting-jacket, and John Wilson, the free, open-hearted, yet
eccentric man, could, combined, furnish forth, with glimpses of his
cotemporaries and social doings, a most fascinating work. As it is we
must take but a glimpse, and a hasty glimpse, at his residences.

John Wilson was born at Paisley. His father was a wealthy
manufacturer, and the house which he inhabited, and where the
professor first saw the light, is perhaps the best and largest house
in the town, standing in High-street. It is a large, white house,
standing somewhat back, with a little shrubbery before it. Wilson was
educated at Oxford, and in the London Magazine of 1820 we find an
account of his indulging himself in a pedestrian journey from the
university to Edinburgh, in all manner of country life. Now joining a
strolling company of players; now camping with a gang of Gipsys; then
acting the beggar; and ever and anon falling in with a village wake,
and entering into all the contests of flinging at will-pegs, jumping
in sacks, leaping and racing. On these occasions he would astonish the
natives with his wonderful talk over their beer, or equally amaze the
village damsels by his grace and activity in the dance. Any one who
has seen John Wilson may imagine with what gusto and success he would
go through all these parts, while hoarding up knowledge of the
people's life, that would tell in future.

It is also said, that, quite as a youth, he made an excursion of this
kind, nobody knowing whither he had vanished, till a Paisley man,
happening to enter an inn at Conway, to his amazement saw him acting
as a waiter there. Information was immediately sent to his father, it
is said, who hastened into Wales, and surprised John by his presence,
requesting him to return forthwith home. But here the boniface
interfered, declaring that he could not part on any terms with his
waiter, for such a waiter he had never had in his house in his life.
So active, so expert, so full of wit and good-humor, that every one of
his guests was charmed with him. In short, he was the making of the
house, and go he should not. It was only when mine host was convinced
who and what the youth was, and that it was only a lark, that he gave
way and consented to his loss.

His life in Edinburgh, his contest for the chair of Moral Philosophy
there, which he has so long and honorably occupied, his splendid
writings in Blackwood, and his association with all the distinguished
men of that literary corps and of the Scottish metropolis, are too
familiar matters to dwell upon. The haunts of Wilson in town are the
gathering places of genius and conviviality. In the country they are
the mountains, the moors, and the streams. His tall and athletic form,
and active and ardent character, mark him out for a deep enjoyment of
all the loveliness of nature, and the sports of the wild. He has been
a great wrestler, a great angler, a great shooter, and a great walker.
In life, or in the pages of Blackwood, the angle and the gun have been
his companions, amid the most splendid and solitary scenery of the
kingdom. At one time he has been traversing the piny mountains and the
lonely lochs of the Highlands, at another strolling through the
defiles of Patterdale, or scaling the heights of Skiddaw. Once taking
refuge in a farmhouse in the Highlands of Scotland, I was told that
Professor Wilson and his wife had done the same thing just before, on
their way toward the western coast, on foot, with a view to visit
Staffa and Iona. With a happy family around him, John Wilson seemed
for years to breathe nothing but the spirit of happiness and the full
enjoyment of life. Laboring away at his lectures and his magazine
articles, and partaking the society of Edinburgh during the college
terms, he was ever ready to fly off, on their close, to his beloved
hills and streams. In Edinburgh, his house has long been in
Gloucester-place of the new town. In the country, his favorite abode
at Elleray, near Windermere, in Westmoreland.

Many anecdotes of his manly humor, kindliness, and exploits of
physical vigor, are related of him in this neighborhood: among others,
that he was once balloted for the local militia there, and declined
finding a substitute, but chose to serve. Here, then, might be seen
the poet and philosopher passing his drill, and manoeuvering rank
and file. He would attend for his ration and his tommy, and, sticking
them on the point of his bayonet, march down the town where the
regiment lay, and present them to the first old woman he met. For
these vagaries he was called up before the officers, to be
reprimanded; but the affair was sure to change very speedily from a
grave to a merry one, and to end by the officers inviting him to
partake of their mess. How long he continued to indulge his whim does
not appear.

Hogg gives, somewhere, a very amusing account of a week that he spent
with him at Elleray, where, he says, they had curious doings among the
gentlemen and the poets of the lakes. According to his account, they
used to ramble far and wide among the lakes and mountains, fishing,
and climbing, and talking, and would give each other a challenge to
write a poem on some given subject, in the evening, after dinner.
Hogg's relation of these poetical contests is most laughable. They
seated themselves in separate rooms; but, according to a custom very
common, and perhaps universal among poets, of chanting their verses
aloud as they form them, Hogg could always hear how the matter was
progressing with his antagonist. If the verse did not flow well, there
was a dead silence; if it began to flow and expand, there was heard a
pleasant murmur, as of a mountain stream. As the inspiration grew, and
the work sped, the sound rose and swelled, like the breeze in the
sonorous forest of northern pines; and when there was a passage of
supposed preëminence of beauty and strength struck out, then it rose
into a grand and triumphal tide of song, like the wind pealing through
the mountain passes, or the ocean pouring in riotous joy on the shore.
When it reached so grand a climax, Hogg says he used to
exclaim,--"There, it's all over with me; I'm done for!" and with that
he gave up the contest for the day, knowing that the case was
hopeless.

This humming habit of poets is a singular characteristic. A certain
one of my acquaintance, riding one day on the highway, and seeing no
one near, broke out into a loud and continuous chant, when a fellow
put his head suddenly over the hedge, and shouted out--"What is all
that about!" At which the startled bard was first struck into a sudden
silence, and then into as sudden a burst of laughter at the oddity of
the circumstance. Wordsworth, among the woods, and rocks, and solitary
crags of Cumberland, may be heard murmuring to himself a music of his
own; so that a stranger, seeing the grave and ancient man strolling
along, often with a little bundle of sticks under his arm, that he has
unconsciously gathered, and humming out some dimly intelligible
stanzas in a breeze-like and Æolian harp-like wildness of cadence,
might take him for a very innocent old man, not overburdened with
business or other matters. Among the great luxuriant laurels that
flourish round his house, you may trace his retired perambulations by
his top-like humming, and say,--

    "Over its own sweet voice the stock-dove broods."

Southey's garden, and that of his only neighbor, were merely divided
by a hedge. In the garden of the neighbor was sitting once with the
neighbor a visitor from a distance, when a deep and mysterious
booming, somewhat near, startled the stranger, and caused him to
listen. Recollecting that they were near the lakes, the sound, which
at first seemed most novel and unaccountable, appeared to receive a
solution; and the visitor exclaimed,--"What! have you bitterns here?"
"Bitterns!" replied the host; "oh no; it is only Southey, humming his
verses in the garden-walk on the other side of the hedge!"

The cottage of Wilson at Elleray is a simple, but elegant little
villa, standing on high ground overlooking Windermere, but at the
distance of some miles. As you approach Ambleside from Kendal, you
pass, as you begin to descend the hill toward Lowood, a gate leading
into a gentleman's grounds. The gateway is, on either side, hung with
masses of the Ayrshire rose. There is a poetical look about the place;
and that place is the country retreat of John Wilson. A carriage-road,
winding almost in a perfect circle, soon introduces you to a fine
lawn, surrounded by plantations, and before you, on a swelling knoll,
you discern the cottage. It is hung with ivy and Ayrshire roses; and
commands a splendid view over the lake, and all the mountains round.
At the back a plantation of larches ascends the hill, screening it
from the north. At the foot of these plantations, and sheltered in
their friendly bosom, lie the gardens, with bees, and pleasant nooks
for reading or talk. Walks extend all through these woodlands, and one
of them conducts you through the larch copse, up the hill, and from
its summit beyond the house, gives you a most magnificent panoramic
view of the whole country, with its mountains, and lakes, and plains,
and the very ocean. In one direction, you have Morecomb Bay and
Ulverstone sands, with the crags of Cartmell; in another, Coniston and
other fells; then Eskdale fells, Dunmail raise; Bow fell, far beyond,
and Langdale pikes. In another, you catch the summit of Skiddaw, and
the lofty ridges in the neighborhood of Patterdale, with Shap fell.
Below you is all the breadth and the scenery of Windermere.

Such a view is a perpetual enjoyment. The constant changes of cloud
and sun cast over it a constant change of aspect. Now all is shining
out airy, and clear, and brilliant; and now dark and solemn lie the
shadows, black often as night, and wild from passing tempests, in the
mysterious hollows of the hills. When you descend to the house, the
scene around is made all the more soft and attractive to the senses by
the change from such immense range of vision, and stern character of
many of the objects presented. Here all is beauty and repose. The
knoll on which the house stands is particularly round, and is well
laid out in lawn and flower-beds. The house itself is simple, and
consists principally of one long room, which, by folding doors, can be
formed into two with a hall between them. Behind this lie the kitchen
and offices. At the end next to the Windermere, is a large bay window,
overlooking the upper part of the lake, toward Langdale and Coniston
fell. The window is provided with seats, for the full enjoyment of
this splendid view. A pleasantly swelling slope descends to the
meadows which lie between its feet, and the house of the late Bishop
Watson. The front door is in a bay window, lined with stands of
plants, and having in direct view Ray Castle on the far side of the
lake.

Such is the poet's cottage at Elleray, in itself unostentatious, but
surrounded by the magnificence of nature in the distance, and by its
quiet sweetness at hand. Years ago, when Mrs. Wilson was living, and
the children were young and about them, we can conceive no happier
spot of earth. No man was more formed to enjoy all that life had to
offer, both at home and abroad, in such scenery; his wife was a most
charming woman, and his children full of spirit and promise. The
affectionate tenderness which diffused itself through the whole of
Wilson's being, and the depth of that happiness which he enjoyed here,
are manifested in such poems as the Children's Dance, and the Angler's
Tent. When his tent was pitched in a Sabbath valley far off, he thus
referred to the homes of both himself and his companion, the poet of
Rydal:--

    "Yet think not in this wild and fairy spot,
    This mingled happiness of earth and heaven,
    Which to our hearts this Sabbath-day was given,
    Think not that far-off friends were quite forgot.
    Helm-crag arose before our half-closed eyes,
    With colors brighter than the brightening dove;
    Beneath that guardian mount a cottage lies;
    Encircled by a halo breathed from love!
    And sweet that dwelling rests upon the brow,
    Beneath that sycamore, of Orest hill,
    As if it smiled on Windermere below,
    Her green recesses and her islands still!
    Thus gently blended many a human thought
    With those that peace and solitude supplied,
    Till in our hearts the musing kindness wrought
    With gradual influence like a flowing tide,
    And for the lovely sound of human voice we sighed."

But the great charm and ornament of that house has vanished; the young
steps have wandered forth, and found other homes; and it must now be a
somewhat solitary spot to him who formerly found collected into it all
that made life beautiful. Nay, steam, as little as time, has respected
the sanctity of the poet's home, but has drawn up its roaring iron
steeds opposite to its gate, and has menaced to rush through it, and
lay waste its charmed solitude. In plain words, I saw the stakes of a
projected railway running in an ominous line across the very lawn, and
before the very windows of Elleray.



WALLER BRYAN PROCTER.


As the most beautiful flowers are found in the most arid deserts, so
out of the dry study of law comes forth now and then the most genial
and tender spirit of poetry. Such has been the case with Mr. Procter,
or Barry Cornwall, for we delight in that old favorite _nom de
guerre_; and although I have been able to obtain but little
knowledge of his homes and haunts, still these volumes would be
incomplete without some notice of a man whose writings hold so firm a
place in the public heart.

About seven-and-twenty years ago, Mr. Procter, then a young man, just
called to the bar, and in very delicate health, published his first
volume of poetry. Byron, Shelley, Keats, Campbell, and Leigh Hunt,
were then pouring out volume after volume; and Scott, who was crowned
with the laurels of his metrical romances, was riveting the attention
of the whole world by his earlier romances; while Crabbe, as if woke
up out of his slumber of twenty-two years by this great constellation
of genius, had just put forth his new work, the Tales of the Hall. It
was not a moment when a poet of ordinary power had any chance of
sustaining his existence; but the young aspirant stood among those
gigantic men, as one who, if not equal to them in all points at that
moment, was yet kindred with them; and, although the Sicilian story,
Diego de Montilla, Mirandola, and the Flood of Thessaly, have rather
become pleasant memories than the actualities of the present day, the
poet has established a lasting reputation by his volume of "English
Songs, and other small Poems"--a volume, in which there are gems of as
noble and perfect poetry as any in the language, and which abounds
with the most healthy, manly sentiment, and the broadest sympathies
with suffering and struggling humanity. It is now the fashion to
sympathize with the people--and a noble fashion it is--the only fear
being of this otherwise holy Christian sentiment becoming, in some
minds, morbid, if not mawkish. In Barry Cornwall, it is as genuine as
any other part of his nature; feigning and falsehood are as impossible
to it as darkness to the sun. He has the clearest understanding of
moral truth, and a detestation of the cold, sordid spirit of the
world. According to his faith--

    "Song should spur the mind to duty,
      Nerve the weak and stir the strong;
    Every deed of truth and beauty
      Should be crowned by starry song;"

and like a true man, who proclaims no more than he himself practices,
his song becomes a watchword in the cause of man. In confirmation of
this, let me select one little poem, A Lyric of London, which contains
a deeper moral than most sermons.

    WITHIN AND WITHOUT.

    "WITHOUT.

    "The winds are bitter; the skies are wild;
      From the roof comes plunging the drowning rain,
    Without--in tatters, the world's poor child
      Sobbeth aloud her grief, her pain!
    No one heareth her, no one heedeth her:
      But Hunger, her friend, with his bony hand
    Grasps her throat, whispering huskily--
      'What dost _thou_ in a Christian land?'

    "WITHIN.

    "The skies are wild, and the blast is cold,
      Yet riot and luxury brawl within;
    Slaves are waiting in crimson and gold,
      Waiting the nod of a child of sin.
    The fire is crackling, wine is bubbling
      Up in each glass to its beaded brim:
    The jesters are laughing, the parasites quaffing,
      'Happiness,'--'honor,'--and all for _him_!

    "WITHOUT.

    "She who is slain in the winter weather,
      Ah! she once had a village fame;
    Listened to love on the moonlit heather;
      Had gentleness, vanity, maiden shame:
    _Now_ her allies are the tempest howling;
      Prodigal's curses; self-disdain;
    Poverty, misery: Well, no matter;
      There is an end unto every pain.

    "The harlot's fame was her doom to-day,
      Disdain, despair; by to-morrow's light
    The ragged boards and the pauper's pall;
      And so she'll be given to dusky night!
    Without a tear or a human sigh
      She's gone,--poor life and its fever o'er!
    So let her in calm oblivion lie;
      While the world runs merry as heretofore?

    "WITHIN.

    "He who yon lordly feast enjoyeth,
      He who doth rest on his couch of down,
    He it was who threw the forsaken
      Under the feet of the trampling town.
    Liar--betrayer--false as cruel,
      What is the doom for his dastard sin?
    His peers, they scorn?--high dames, they shun him?
      --Unbar your palace, and gaze within!

    "There,--yet his deeds are all trumpet-sounded,
      There upon silken seats recline
    Maidens as fair as the summer morning,
      Watching him rise from the sparkling wine.
    Mothers all proffer their stainless daughters;
      Men of high honor salute him 'friend;'
    Skies! oh where are your cleansing waters!
      World! oh where do thy wonders end?"

Again, here is another poem, worthy to take its place beside Burns's A
Man's a Man for a' that.

    RIND AND FRUIT.

    "You may boast of jewels, coronets,--
      Ermine, purple, all you can--
    There is that within them nobler;--
      Something that we call--a man!

    Something all the rest surpassing;
      As the flower is to the sod;
    As to man is high archangel;
      As is to archangel--God!

    "Running o'er with tears and weakness;
      Flaming like a mountain fire;
    Racked by hate and hateful passions;
      Tossed about by wild desire;
    There is still within him mingled
      With each fault that dims or mars,
    Truth, and pity, virtue, courage,--
      Thoughts that fly beyond the stars!

    "You, who prize the book's fair paper
      Above its thoughts of joy and pain;
    You, who love the cloud's bright vapor
      More than its soul,--the blessing, rain;
    Take the gems, the crowns, the ermine;
      Use them nobly, if you can;
    But give _us_--in rags or purple--
      The true, warm, strong heart of man!"

Mr. Procter was born and spent his youth at Finchley, in a house which
we understand is now pulled down. He was educated for the bar. He was
some years at school at Harrow, where he was the cotemporary of the
present Duke of Devonshire, Lord Byron, and Sir Robert Peel. On
leaving Harrow, it had been the intention of his father to send him to
one of the universities; but from this he was deterred, in consequence
of the son of some friend or acquaintance having run a wild and
ruinous career at one of these seminaries of extravagance and
dissipation. From Harrow he, therefore, went to Calne, in Wiltshire,
where he remained for some time under the care of an excellent man of
the name of Atherton, who lived, it was said, in the house which at
one time had been the residence of Coleridge, and opposite to another
called the "Doctor's house," because it had once been occupied by Dr.
Priestley. Two miles from Calne was Bremhill, the rector of which
place, William Lisle Bowles, was on friendly terms with young Procter.

With a head and heart much more fitted for the noble business of
poetry than law, Mr. Procter devoted himself for twenty years to his
profession, until a few years ago he was appointed one of the
Government Commissioners of Lunacy, with a good income, but with less
leisure than ever for his favorite studies. He has resided altogether
in London, for some time, in Gray's-inn; and after his marriage, with
the step-daughter of Mr. Basil Montague, in what was in those days a
very pretty cottage and suitable poet's home, at No. 5,
Grove-end-place, St. John's-wood; and latterly in Upper Harley-place,
Cavendish-square; where we sincerely hope he may yet find leisure, if
not to write some noble drama, for which we consider him eminently
qualified, at least to enrich the lyrical poetry of his country with
fresh lays that will add honor to his reputation, at the same time
that they assist struggling humanity in its great contest with the
cruelty and selfishness of the world.

There is a healthy, active vigor about all the latter writings of
Barry Cornwall, that show that he has never yet fairly and fully
developed his whole power. His reputation is of the first class, but
every one feels, in reading one of his lyrics, that he would not
surprise us now to come forth with some high and stirring drama of
real life, that would stamp him as a true tragic poet. The elements of
this lie everywhere in his poems. There is a clear and decided
dramatic tact and cast of thought. Pathos and indignation against
wrong live equally and vividly in him. His thoughts and feelings are
put forth with a genuineness and a perspicuous life, that tell at once
on the reader, making him feel how real and how earnest is his spirit.
Spite of the long and continuous labors of his daily life, we shall
still trust to some future outburst of his powers and impulses in a
fitting form. In the mean time, the prompt and quick spirit of his
lyrics is doing great service to the cause of progress far and wide.


[Illustration: Birthplace at Somersby]



ALFRED TENNYSON.


Alfred Tennyson moves on his way through life heard, but by the public
unseen. We might put to him a question similar to that which
Wordsworth put to the cuckoo:--

    "O blithe new-comer! I have heard,
    I hear thee, and rejoice.
    O Tennyson! art thou a man,
    Or but a wandering voice?"

And our question would have like answer. That is, we should get just
as much from the man as Wordsworth got from the cuckoo. We should have
to look wise, and add--

    "Even yet thou art to me
    No man; but an invisible thing,
    A voice, a mystery."

Many an admiring reader may have said with Solomon of old--"I sought
him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he answered me not."
If you want a popular poet, you generally know pretty well where to
look for him. In the first place, you may make certain that London
contains him. You may trace him to a coterie, probably a very
_recherché_ and exclusive one; you may look for him at midnight
in some hot and crowded drawing-room, surrounded by the fairest of
incense burners, and breathing volumes of ambrosial essences with a
very complacent air; you may find him as the great gun of a popular
periodical; you may meet him at Rogers's at breakfast; you may follow
him from one great dinner table to another, and at last to that of the
lord mayor. But in few or none of these places will you find Alfred
Tennyson. "He has gone down into his garden, to his beds of spices, to
feed in his garden and gather lilies." You may hear his voice, but
where is the man? He is wandering in some dream-land, beneath the
shade of old and charmed forests, by far-off shores, where

                            "All night
    The plunging seas draw backward from the land
    Their moon-led waters white:"

by the old milldam, thinking of the merry miller and his pretty
daughter; or is wandering over the open wolds, where

    "Norland whirlwinds blow."

From all these places--from the silent corridor of an ancient convent;
from some shrine where a devoted knight recites his vows; from the
drear monotony of "the moated grange," or the ferny forest beneath the
"talking oak"--comes the voice of Tennyson, rich, dreamy, passionate,
yet not impatient; musical with the airs of chivalrous ages, yet
mingling in his song the theme and the spirit of those that are yet to
come.

The genius of Tennyson is essentially retiring, meditative, spiritual,
yet not metaphysical; ambitious only that itself, and not the man,
shall be seen, heard, and live. So that his song can steal forth;
catch by a faint but aerial prelude the ear quick to seize on the true
music of Olympus; and then, with growing and ever swelling symphonies,
still more ethereal, still fuller of wonder, love, and charmed woe,
can travel on amid the listening and spell-bound multitude, an
invisible spirit of melodious power, expanding, soaring aloft, sinking
deep, coming now as from the distant sea, and filling all the summer
air; so that it can thus triumph in its own celestial energy, the poet
himself would rather not be found. He seems to steal away under the
covert of friendly boughs; to be gone to caves and hiding crags, or to
follow the stream of the gray moorland, gathering

    "From old well-heads of haunted rills,
    And the heart of purple hills,
    And shadowed caves of a sunny shore,
    The choicest wealth of all the earth,
    Jewel, or shell, or starry ore."

The orator may climb heights of most imperial influence over the
public mind, the statesman of power over the public destiny, the
merchant may gather stupendous wealth from every zone, the patriot
produce and carry on to success the most dazzling schemes for human
good: these disturb not the equanimity of Tennyson--the spirit of
poetry that is conferred on him he accepts as his fortune, his duty,
and his glory. In short, he has all that he can conceive of, or
desire. He knows that through that, his applauses, though less riotous
than those of the orator, will endure the longer; that he has in it a
commission to work with or against the statesman, as that man may be
good or evil; that even into the ear of the princeliest wealth he can
whisper a startling word of human counsel, or can move to deeds of
mercy; and that there is no patriot who can be more patriotic than him
whose voice, from day to day and year to year, is heard in the
stillest and most teachable hours of the most amply endowed and
teachable natures. Over all the faculties, the ranks, the influences
of human life, poetry maintains a suggestive and immortal supremacy,
for it becomes the more aspiring spirit of the age in the school and
the closet ere it comes forth upon the world. It mingles itself with
whatever is generous, ambitious, perceptive of greatness and of
virtue, and often speaks in the man in power by a deed of glorious
beneficence that falls like a blessing from heaven on the heart of
afflicted genius.

Of this profound and blessed reliance on the all-sufficiency of his
art, perhaps no poet ever furnished a more complete example than
Alfred Tennyson. There is nothing stirring, nothing restless, nothing
ambitious, in its tone; it has no freaks and eccentricities by which
it seeks to strike the public notice. There are no evidences of any
secret yet palpable artifices at work to urge it on, and thrust it
before you in magazines and reviews. Quiet in itself, it comes quietly
under your eye, naturally as the grass grows or the bird sings, and
you see, hear, and love it. From this absence of all bustle and parade
of introduction, or of the violence of attack upon it from the display
of prominent antagonist principles, political or theological, as in
the cases of Byron and Shelley, we are often surprised to find
Tennyson still wholly unread in quarters where poetry is read with
much avidity, and to hear others lamenting that he does not put forth
a poem more commensurate with his purely poetic temperament. But the
very nature of Tennyson's genius is to be contented with what it is.
It is happy in itself as the bird upon the bough. It is rolled into
itself, living and rejoicing in its own being and blessedness. It has
no deadly thirst for draughts of spirits from other worlds, no
feverish wrestlings for mere notoriety, no ostentatious display of
gigantic agonies and writhings under a dark destiny, no pictures of
plunging down into depths of mystery and of woe beyond the diving
powers of ordinary mortals. It is healthy, clear, joyous, for the most
part, and musical as nature itself. In entering into the region of
Tennyson's poetry you enter one of sun and calm. The land of romance,
of dream, of fairy; the land of beauty, glory, and repose, stretching
on through all the regions of the earth, wherever genius has alighted
in any age, wherever mind has put forth its forms of divinest grace.
It belongs to what may be termed the romantic school, yet it is often
purely classical. You see in such poems as the Lotus Eaters, OEnone,
Ulysses, etc., that Tennyson loves to sit by the immortal wells of
Homer; to wander amid the godlike habitants of the Greek Elysium. But
whether there, or at the court of "great Haroun Alraschid," or in the
spell-bound castles of German Legend, or in our own middle ages, he
alike infuses into all his subjects the spirit of the romantic. That
spirit which at once invests every thing which it touches with the
vitality of beauty, of tenderness, and of purity heavenly, and yet--

                "Not too good
    For human nature's daily food."

Alfred Tennyson loves to individualize; to select some person or scene
from the multitude or the mass, and to throw himself wholly into it.
From the heart of this personage or group of personages he speaks for
the time, the unerring oracle of human nature. We are seized,
engrossed, charmed, entranced, for the space of this impersonation;
for it is human nature in all the power and beauty of its greatness,
of its passions and its sufferings, of its eternal yearnings and its
unquenchable love, its daring, its crime and desolation, that unfolds
to you its history and its inner life. There is no man, except
Shakspeare, who has more thoroughly and eminently possessed this
faculty of interpretation, of comprehending and giving voice to the
infinite laws and movements of universal humanity; and there is no
other who has been endowed for the purpose with a gift of speech so
rich, genial, and specially demonstrative. We have no misgivings, as
we read Tennyson, whether any thing be poetry or not; we have no
feeling of a want in the phraseology. Thought, language, imagery, all
flow together from one source; that of a genius creative in all the
attributes of life, or in the life itself--in color, taste, motion,
grace, and sentiment. Whatever is produced, lives. It is no dead form;
it is no half-sentient form; it is perfect in spirit, in beauty, and
in abode.

The poetry of Tennyson, like that of Shakspeare, seems to possess a
music of its own. It is evidently evolved amid the intense play of
melodies which are as much a part of the individual mind itself, as
the harmonies of nature are a part of nature. Like Shakspeare,
Tennyson is especially fond of, or rather haunted by musical refrains,
and airs that are not invented but struck out; that can not be
conceived by any labor of thought, but are inspired; and that once
communicated to the atmosphere, will go chiming on forever.

                      "Motions flow
    To one another, even as though
    They were modulated so
        To an unheard melody,
    Which lives about them, and a sweep
        Of richest pauses evermore
    Drawn from each other, mellow--deep."

Of these refrains, Oriana, and the Lady of Shalott, present striking
examples.

    "When Norland winds pipe down the sea,
                Oriana,
    I walk, I dare not think of thee,
                Oriana.
    Thou liest beneath the greenwood tree,
    I dare not die and come to thee,
                Oriana.
    I hear the roaring of the sea,
                Oriana."

Or you may take the very first little melody with which this volume
opens.

    CLARIBEL.

    "Where Claribel low-lieth
    The breezes pause and die,
      Letting the rose leaves fall:
    But the solemn oak tree sigheth,
      Thick-leaved ambrosial,
      With an ancient melody
      Of an inward agony,
    Where Claribel low-lieth.

    "At eve the beetle boometh
      Athwart the thicket lone,
    At noon the wild bee hummeth,
      About the mossed head-stone:
    At midnight the moon cometh
      And looketh down alone.
    Her song the lintwhite swelleth,
    The clear-voiced mavis dwelleth,
      The fledgling throstle lispeth,
    The slumberous wave outwelleth,
      The babbling runnel crispeth,
    The hollow gust replieth,
    Where Claribel low-lieth."

This little poem derives its charm, much easier to feel than to
describe, from the instinctive selection of the most exquisitely
beautiful imagery, and the most felicitous phraseology. Nature, with
her loveliest attributes, is made to express the regrets of affection.

But the progress of mind and purpose is very conspicuous in the poems
of Tennyson. The first volume of his present edition is rich to excess
with all the charms of genius; but it can bear no comparison with the
elevated character and human object of many poems in the second
volume. In the earlier stages of his career, the gay poet rather
luxuriates in the wealth of sentiment than the golden ore of virtue,
which he finds stored up by all-bountiful nature, for the use of his
genius. He chants many merry ditties, full of elastic grace, like that
to Airy, Fairy Lilien. He draws female characters glorious as
divinities, affluent in charms, warm with love, the Isabels, and
Eleanors, and Madelines of the volume. He works out another class of
lyrical poems, such as Mariana in the Moated Grange, The Miller's
Daughter, The Lady of Shalott, all most inimitable of their kind,
where every word is, as it were, a jewel of poetry too precious ever
to be lost again. Where the landscape is painted with the pencil of a
great master--a Claude or a Poussin of poetry--where we see the golden
cornfield, the evening sun gleaming on the old towers of enchanted
beauty, where the birds sing, and the river runs as in a glorified
dream; where every knight in his burnished greaves, or lady in her
tapestried chamber, is presented as in the glass of Agrippa, living,
moving, yet alone in the charmed scene of an unapproachable life!
Where every minute falls numbered and weighed from the hand of time,
and a great sentiment of weary existence and waiting is gradually let
down upon you with the pressure of a nightmare. Or again, where the
scenery and loves of rural life are, as in the Miller's Daughter,
sketched with the pleasing and buoyant heart of Nature herself, and we
are made to feel what brooks of love and happiness, bankful, flow
through many a lowly place. Beyond these advance the passionate sorrow
of Oriana, the drowsy richness of the Lotus Eaters, the splendid
painting of The Palace of Art, and the Dream of Fair Woman; but not
one of these is to be compared for a moment to Locksley Hall, or the
Two Voices, in breadth of human sympathy, in a development of the
great spirit of progress, in a union of all that those earlier poems
possess of vigorous and beautiful with that sense of duty which comes
on the true heart with advancing years, toward the world of actual
man. In the first volume there are indications that the poet, calm as
he is, and apart as he seems from the crowded path of human life, is
still one of the true spirits who live for and feel with all. The poem
of Lady Clara Vere de Vere, is a stern lesson to the heartlessness of
aristocratic pride, shrouded as it may be under the fairest of forms.

    "Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
      Of me you shall not win renown;
    You thought to break a country heart
      For pastime, ere you went to town
    At me you smiled, but unbeguiled
      I saw the snare, and I retired:
    The daughter of a hundred lords,
      You are not one to be desired.

    "Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
      I know you proud to bear your name;
    Your pride is yet no mate for mine,
      Too proud to care from whence I came.
    Nor would I break for your sweet sake
      A heart that doats on truer charms,
    A simple maiden in her flower
      Is worth a hundred coats-of-arms.

    "Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
      Some weaker pupil you must find,
    For were you queen of all that is,
      I could not stoop to such a mind.
    You sought to prove how I could love,
      And my disdain is my reply;
    The lion on your old stone gates
      Is not more cold to you than I.

    "Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
      You put strange memories in my head;
    Not thrice your branching limes have blown
      Since I beheld young Lawrence dead.
    O your sweet eyes, your low replies
      A great enchantress you may be;
    But there was that across his throat,
      Which you had hardly cared to see.

    "Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
      When thus he met his mother's view,
    She had the passions of her kind,
      She spake some certain truths of you.
    Indeed I heard one bitter word
      That scarce is fit for you to hear,
    Her manners had not that repose
      That stamps the caste of Vere de Vere.

    "Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
      There stands a specter in your hall:
    The guilt of blood is at your door,
      You changed a wholesome heart to gall.
    You held your course without remorse
      To make him trust his modest worth,
    And last, you fixed a vacant stare,
      And slew him with your noble birth.

    "Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
      From yon blue heavens above us bent,
    The grand old gardener and his wife
      Smile at the claims of long descent.
    Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
      'Tis only noble to be good.
    Kind hearts are more than coronets,
      And simple faith than Norman blood.

    "I know you, Clara Vere de Vere;
      You pine among your halls and towers:
    The languid light of your proud eyes
      Is wearied of the rolling hours.
    In glowing health, with boundless wealth,
      But sickening of a vague disease,
    You know so ill to deal with time,
      You needs must play such pranks as these.

    "Clara, Clara Vere de Vere,
      If time be heavy on your hands,
    Are there no beggars at your gate,
      Nor any poor about your lands?
    Oh! teach the orphan boy to read,
      Or teach the orphan girl to sew,
    Pray heaven for a human heart,
      And let the foolish yeoman go."

The poems which immediately follow this, The May Queen, and New-Year's
Eve, are practical examples of the truth just enunciated--

    "A simple maiden in her flower,
      Is worth a hundred coats-of-arms."

The natural beauty of The May Queen, and the exquisite pathos of the
New-Year's Eve, have made them universally known. In the second volume
the poet seems particularly to have endeavored to enforce his ideas of
the dignity of a virtuous nature, which stands in its own divine
worth, far above all artificial distinctions. His Gardener's Daughter,
the ballad of Lady Clara, and that most delightful one of The Lord of
Burleigh, all teach it. Lady Godiva is an example of that high
devotion to the public good, which is prepared to make the most entire
sacrifice of self; and of which history, here and there, amid its mass
of selfishness and crime, presents us with some glorious
examples--none more glorious than that of the beautiful Godiva. But
Locksley Hall and The Two Voices are the most brilliant of all
Tennyson's productions, and among the most perfect things in the
language.

We can scarcely conceive any thing more perfectly musical and
intrinsically poetical than Locksley Hall. It is the soliloquy of a
wronged, high, and passionate nature. The speaker, a young man capable
of great things, wars against the false maxims of the present time,
yet sees how it is advancing into something better and greater. He
perceives how mind is moving forward into its destined empire. He
feels and makes us feel how great is this age and this England in
which we live. Some of the thoughts and expressions stand prominent
even amid the superb beauty of the whole, and have never been
surpassed in their felicitous truth and pictorial power. The
description of his life at that country hall, and the love of himself
and his cousin Amy, are fine; but how much finer these stanzas, the
result of the fickle cousin marrying a mere clod with a title. The
certain consequence of the wife's mind, which would have soared and
strengthened in the association with his own, sinking to the level of
the brute she had allied herself to, is most admirably told. How
constantly do we see this effect in life, but where ever has it been,
and in so few words, so fully expressed?

    "Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
    And her whisper thronged my pulses with the feelings of the spring.

    Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
    And our spirits rushed together at the touching of the lips.

    O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, mine no more!
    O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore!

    Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,
    Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!

    Is it well to wish thee happy?--having known me--to decline
    On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine!

    Yet it shall be: thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
    What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay.

    As the husband is, the wife is; thou art mated with a clown,
    And the coarseness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.

    He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
    Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.

    What is this? his eyes are heavy: think not they are glazed with wine.
    Go to him: it is thy duty: kiss him; take his hand in thine.

    It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is overwrought;
    Soothe him with thy finer fancies, tend him with thy lighter thought.

    He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understand--
    Better wert thou dead before me, though I slew thee with my hand!

    Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart's disgrace,
    Rolled in one another's arms, and silent in a last embrace.

    Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth!
    Cursed be the social ties that warp us from the living truth!

    Cursed be the sickly forms that err from Nature's honest rule!
    Cursed be the gold that gilds the straitened forehead of the fool."

With a lover's fancy he would seek comfort in persuading himself that
his love was dead, but quickly spurns from him this idea. Every line
which follows this--the picture of the repentant wife, and the drunken
husband, "hunting in his dreams," the child that roots out regret, the
mother grown into the matron schooling this child, a daughter, into
the world's philosophy--all is masterly. Not less so the portraiture
of the age:--

    "What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
    Every door is barred with gold, and opens but with golden keys.

    Every gate is thronged with suitors, all the markets overflow,
    I have but an angry fancy,--what is that which I should do?

    I had been content to perish, falling on the foeman's ground,
    _When the ranks are rolled in vapor, and the winds are laid with sound_.

    But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that honor feels,
    And the nations do but murmur, snarling at each other's heels."

How finely, in the next stanzas, are portrayed the expectations of the
ardent youth, the light of London, and the imagined progress of scenic
and real life!

    "Can I but relive in sadness? I will turn that earlier page.
    Hide me from my deep emotion, O thou wondrous Mother-Age!

    Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife,
    When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life;

    Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
    Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father's field,

    And at night along the dusty highway near and nearer drawn,
    Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary dawn;

    And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then,
    Underneath the light he looks at, in among the throngs of men;

    Men, my brothers, men, the workers, ever reaping something new:
    That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do:

    For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
    Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that could be:

    Saw the heavens filled with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
    Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales:

    Heard the heavens filled with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
    From the nation's airy navies grappling in the central blue;

    Far along the world-wide whisper of the south wind rushing warm,
    With the standards of the people plunging through the thunder-storm;

    Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furled,
    In the parliament of man, the federation of the world.

    There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
    And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapped in universal law.

    So I triumphed, ere my passion sweeping through me left me dry,
    Left me with the palsied heart, and left me with the jaundiced eye;

    Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint,
    Science moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from point to point:

    Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping nigher,
    Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly dying fire.

    Yet I doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs,
    And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns."

Disappointed in love, and sickened in hope of civilized life, the
speaker dreams, for a moment, of flying to some savage land, and
leading the exciting life of a tropical hunter. In the reaction of his
thoughts how vividly is expressed the precious preëminence of European
existence, with all its attendant evils!

    "Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I _know_ my words are wild,
    But I count the gray barbarian lower than the Christian child.

    I to herd with narrow foreheads, vacant of our glorious gains,
    Like a beast with lower pleasures, like a beast with lower pains!

    Mated with a squalid savage--what to me were sun or clime?
    _I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time_--

    I that rather held it better men should perish one by one,
    Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's moon in Ajalon.

    Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward, let us range,
    Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change.

    Through the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day:
    _Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay_.

    Mother-Age! (for mine I knew not,) help me as when life begun:
    Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the lightnings, weigh the sun--

    O I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set;
    Ancient founts of inspiration well through all my fancy yet."

Who shall say, after this, that Alfred Tennyson wants power? There
speaks the man of this moving age. There speaks the spirit baptized
into the great spirit of progress. In the silence of his meditative
retreat the poet sees the world rolling before him, and is struck with
the majesty of its mind subduing its physical mass to its uses, and
trampling on time, space, and the far greater evils--prejudice, false
patriotism, and falser ideas of glory. Brotherhood, peace, and comfort
advance out of the school and the shop, and happiness sits securely
beneath the guardianship of

    "The parliament of man, the federation of the world."

Alfred Tennyson has given many a fatal blow to many an old and narrow
maxim in his poems; he has breathed into his latter ones the generous
and the victorious breath of noblest philanthropy, the offspring of
the great renovator--the Christian religion. This will give him access
to the bosoms of the multitude--

    "Men our brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new;"

and his vigorous song will cheer them at their toil, and nerve them to
more glorious efforts. Of the hold which his poetry has already taken
on the public heart, a striking instance was lately given. The
anonymous author of The New Timon stepped out of his way and his
subject to represent Tennyson's muse as a puling school-miss. The
universal outburst of indignation from the press scared the
opprobrious lines speedily out of the snarler's pages. A new edition
was quickly announced, from which they had wisely vanished.

Perhaps, however, the crown of all Tennyson's verse is The Two Voices.
I have said that he is not metaphysical. He is better. Leaving to
others to build and rebuild theories of the human mind, Tennyson deals
with its palpable movements like a genuine philosopher, and one of the
highest order, a Christian philosopher. The Two Voices are the voice
of an animated assurance in the heart, and the voice of skepticism. In
this poem there is no person who has passed through the searching,
withering ordeal of religious doubts and fears as to the spiritual
permanence of our existence--and who has not?--but will find in these
simple stanzas the map and history of their own experience. The
clearness, the graphic power, and logical force and acumen which
distinguish this poem are of the highest order. There is nothing in
the poems of Wordsworth which can surpass, if it can equal it. Let us
take, as our last quotation, the closing portion of this lyric, the
whole of which can not be read with too much attention. Here the
combat with Apollyon in the Valley of the Shadow of Death is most
simply and beautifully put an end to by the buoyant spirit of nature,
and man walking amid his human ties hand in hand with her and piety.

    "The still voice laughed. 'I talk,' said he,
    'Not with thy dreams. Suffice it thee
    Thy pain is a reality.'

    'Who sought'st to wreck my mortal ark?
    But thou,' said I, 'hast missed thy mark
    By making all the horizon dark.

    'Why not set forth if I should do
    This rashness,[6] that which might ensue
    With this old soul in organs new?

    'Whatever crazy sorrow saith,
    No life that breathes with human breath
    Has ever truly longed for death.

    ''Tis life whereof our nerves are scant,
    Oh life, not death for which we pant;
    More life, and fuller that I want.'

    I ceased, and sate as one forlorn.
    Then said the voice in quiet scorn,
    'Behold, it is the Sabbath morn.'

    And I arose, and I released
    The casement, and the light increased
    With freshness in the dawning east.

    Like softened airs that blowing steal,
    When meres begin to uncongeal,
    The sweet church-bells began to peal.

    On to God's house the people pressed,
    Passing the place where each must rest,
    Each entered like a welcome guest.

    One walked between his wife and child,
    With measured footfall firm and mild,
    And now and then he gravely smiled.

    The prudent partner of his blood
    Leaned on him, faithful, gentle, good,
    Wearing the rose of womanhood.

    And in this double love secure,
    The little maiden walked demure,
    Pacing with downward eyelids pure.

    These three made unity so sweet,
    My frozen heart began to beat
    Remembering its ancient heat.

    I blessed them, and they wandered on;
    I spoke, but answer came there none;
    The dull and bitter voice was gone.

    A second voice was at mine ear,
    A little whisper, silver-clear,
    A murmur, 'Be of better cheer.'

    As from some blissful neighborhood,
    A notice faintly understood,
    'I see the end and know the good.'

    A little hint to solace woe,
    A hint, a whisper breathing low,
    'I may not speak of what I know.'

    Like an Æolian harp that wakes
    No certain air, but overtakes
    Far thought with music that it makes.

    Such seemed the whisper at my side:
    'What is it thou knowest, sweet voice?' I cried.
    'A hidden hope,' the voice replied.

    So heavenly toned, that in that hour
    From out my sullen heart a power
    Broke, like the rainbow from the shower.

    To feel, although no tongue can prove,
    That every cloud, that spreads above
    And veileth love, itself is love.

    And forth into the fields I went,
    And nature's living motion lent
    The pulse of hope to discontent.

    I wondered at the bounteous hours,
    The slow result of winter showers;
    You scarce could see the grass for flowers.

    I wondered, while I passed along:
    The woods were filled so full with song,
    There seemed no room for sense of wrong.

    So variously seemed all things wrought
    I marveled how the mind was brought
    To anchor by one gloomy thought.

    And wherefore rather made I choice
    To commune with that barren voice,
    Than him that said, 'Rejoice! rejoice!'"

          [6] Suicide.

So much for the poetry, but still where is the poet? It may be
supposed by what has already been said, that he is not very readily to
be found. Next to nothing has yet been known of him or his haunts. It
has been said that his poetry showed from internal evidence that he
came somewhere out of the fens. In three fourths of his verses there
is something about "glooming flats," "the clustered marish-mosses," a
poplar, a water-loving tree, that

                        "Shook alway,
    All silver green with gnarled bark;
    For leagues no other tree did mark
    The level waste, the rounding gray."

Or a whole Lincolnshire landscape of--

              "A sand-built ridge
    Of heaped hills that mound the sea,
    Overblown with murmurs harsh,
    Crowned by a lowly cottage whence we see
    Stretched wide and wild the waste enormous marsh,
    Where from the frequent bridge,
    Like emblems of infinity,
    The trenched waters run from sky to sky."

There are

    "Long dim wolds ribbed with snow.
    Willows whiten, aspens shiver;"

thorough fen-land objects;

    "A still salt pool, locked in with bars of sand;
    Left on the shore."

These images show a familiarity with fen-lands, and flat sea-coast, to
a certainty; but Alfred Tennyson, after all, though a Lincolnshire
man, is not a native of the fens. He was born near enough to know them
well, but not in them. His native place is Somersby, a little village
lying about midway between the market-towns of Spilsby and Horncastle,
and containing less than a hundred inhabitants. His father, George
Clayton Tennyson, LL.D., was rector of that and the adjoining parish
of Enderby. He was a man of very various talents--something of a poet,
a painter, an architect, and a musician. He was also a considerable
linguist and mathematician. Dr. Tennyson was the elder brother of Mr.
Tennyson d'Encourt, M.P. Alfred Tennyson, one of several children, was
born at the parsonage at Somersby, of which a view stands at the head
of this chapter. From the age of seven till about nine or ten, he went
to the grammar-school of Louth, in the same county, and after that
returned home and was educated by his father, till he went to Trinity
College, Cambridge.

The native village of Tennyson is not situated in the fens, but in a
pretty, pastoral district of softly sloping hills and large ash-trees.
It is not based on bogs, but on a clean sandstone. There is a little
glen in the neighborhood called by the old monkish name of Holywell.
Over the gateway leading to it, some by-gone squire has put up an
inscription, a medley of Virgil and Horace.

    "Intus aquæ dulces, vivoque sedilia saxo
    Et paulum silvæ superest. His utere mecum;"

and within, a stream of clear water gushes out of a sand-rock, and
over it stands an old school-house, almost lost among the trees, and
of late years used as a wood-house, its former distinction only
signified by a scripture text on the walls--"Remember thy Creator in
the days of thy youth." There are also two brooks in this valley which
flow into one at the bottom of the glebe-field, and by these the young
poet used to wander and meditate. To this scenery we find him turning
back in his Ode to Memory.

    "Come from the woods that belt the gray hillside,
    The seven elms, the poplars four
    That stand beside my father's door,
    And chiefly from the brook that loves
    To purl o'er matted cress and ribbed sand,
    Or dimple in the dark of rushy coves,
    Drawing into his narrow earthen urn,
              In every elbow and turn,
    The filtered tribute of the rough woodlands.
              O! hither bend thy feet!
    Pour round mine eyes the livelong bleat
    Of the thick-fleeced sheep frem wattled folds,
              Upon the ridged wolds,
    When the first matin-song hath wakened loud
    Over the dark dewy earth forlorn,
    What time the amber morn
    Forth gushes from beneath a low-hung cloud."

In the church-yard stands a Norman cross almost single of its kind in
England.

Of the subsequent haunts of Alfred Tennyson we can give no very
distinct account. I believe he has spent some years in London, and he
may be traced to Hastings, Eastborne, Cheltenham, the Isle of Wight,
and the like places. It is very possible you may come across him in a
country inn, with a foot on each hob of the fireplace, a volume of
Greek in one hand, his meerschaum in the other, so far advanced toward
the seventh heaven that he would not thank you to call him back into
this nether world. Wherever he is, however, in some still nook of
enormous London, or the stiller one of some far-off sea-side hamlet,
he is pondering a lay for eternity:--

    "Losing his fire and active might
      In a silent meditation,
    Falling into a still delight
      And luxury of contemplation."

That luxury shall, one day, be mine and yours, transferred to us in
the shape of a third volume; so come away and don't disturb him.


[Illustration: Antique Cross]



CONCLUDING REMARKS.


Here, for the present, I suspend my labors. The poetical commonwealth
of England is so rich, that it is impossible to bring a tenth part of
its affluence within the scope of any ordinary work. This work is not
intended, by any means, for a biography, far less a biographical
dictionary, to which, by attempting to include all, it would at once
have been reduced. Detail would have been out of the question, and the
main interest therefore destroyed. It is a work on the residences of
eminent poets, including so much biographical and critical remark as
seemed necessary to the full elucidation of the subject, or of the
character of particular poets. Among both past and present poets,
there are some whose residences are little known; others whose
residences, when known, have little of picturesque about them, or
which are unattended by circumstances out of the ordinary routine. To
detail merely that such a man lived in such a street, and such a
house, would have answered no purpose, and could only weary. I
resolved, therefore, to dismiss the dramatic authors at once, as a
large body requiring separate treatment, and to add such poets in
general as my researches in the main might show had homes and haunts,
and circumstances associated with them, of such a nature as should
make them matters of public interest.

Among the past there are numbers of poets whose residences undoubtedly
will furnish further topics--as Herrick, Waller, Parnell, Drummond of
Hawthornden, Collins, Dyer, Young, Akenside, Allan Ramsay, Beattie,
Pollock, and others. Among our illustrious cotemporaries, how many yet
come crowding upon the mind, enow to create of themselves the fame of
a generation. The moment we name them, it will be seen that the
introduction into these volumes has been, in my mind, no evidence of
my opinion of their relative merits. The question only has been, have
these poets any thing connected with their residences which will stand
forth in its interest beyond the ordinary grade, and can that
information be procured in time? In these cases it has been thought
better to sacrifice some degree of chronological order, rather than to
delay these volumes longer. The subjects already included have
occupied me several years, and have led me to almost every extremity
of the United Kingdom. Unfortunately for the inquirer, poets do not
happen to have been born or to have lived just where it was most
convenient to reach them. They have not, by any means, lived all in
one place, nor in straight lines and rows, so that we might take them
in rapid and easy succession. On the contrary, they have compelled me
to traverse the kingdom from London to the North of Scotland; from the
Giant's Causeway to the West of Ireland: there is scarcely an English
county into which I have not had to follow them, and often into places
most obscure and difficult of access. So far, however, the labor is
accomplished: and when I turn to the names of those of our day, I see
that the harvest is yet far from reaped. Independent of the dramatic
poets, as Milman, Knowles, Bulwer, Talfourd, Bell, Miss Mitford,
Marston, Herraud, Taylor, the author of Philip van Artevelde, and
others, we have yet to include in our catalogue many a brilliant name
in the general walks of poetry--the venerable Bowles, Hood, Croly,
Monckton Milnes, Bowring, Mackay, Philip Bailey, author of Festus, one
of the most striking and original spirits of the age; Horne, the
author of the fine poem of Orion, and of ballads full of vigor,
originality, and a sound and healthy sentiment; Mrs. Norton; Browning,
dark but sterling and strong, with his gifted wife, late Elizabeth
Barrett, whose poems reflect in the clear depths of a profound and
brooding intellect the onward spirit of the age. Lockhart, with his
spirited Spanish Ballads; Macaulay, with his stirring Lays of Rome;
Alaric Watts, with his Lyrics, full of fine fancy, feeling, and
domestic affection; these, and Delta of Blackwood's Magazine, Tennant,
Motherwell, and many others, come rushing up in our recollection.
There are some to whom the world has not yet done justice, whom it
will, one day, be a high gratification to introduce--such as William
Scott, the author of that beautiful and very intellectual poem, The
Year of the World; and Moile, the author of State Trials, a work of
singular beauty, and which I rejoice to see advanced to a second
edition. And are there not, too, others, some of those who have risen,
like Burns, from the ranks of the laboring people, whose homes and
haunts might be most interesting to trace? There is Thomas Cooper, the
author of The Purgatory of Suicides, who could unfold, undoubtedly,
some singular scenes in his track of life; there are Bloomfield, and
Nicoll, and Clare, now the inmate of an asylum, and others, who could
furnish us with a scene or a passing glimpse, perhaps, of more
thrilling interest, like some of those in the histories of John Prince
and William Thom, than any that occur in more elevated walks. Many of
our younger and more brilliant cotemporaries, it must, at the same
time, be recollected, have yet their homes and haunts to make. These
will, in all probability, become the subjects of a later pen. Here,
then, for the present, I dismiss these volumes, and await, in hope and
confidence, the unfoldings of my future progress.


[Illustration: Scott's Tomb, in Dryburgh Abbey.]



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