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boundary. The painful remembrances of the matchless in their kind. Never was so much former interferes with our interest for the of the terrific alleviated by so much of the latter, and the present difficulties of the last pitiful. The incidents are most tragic; yet deprive us of those emotions of fond retro- over them is diffused a breath of sweetness, spection, which the fate of the first would which softens away half their anguish, and otherwise awaken. Still there are in this tale reconciles us to that which remains. Our scenes of pathos delicious as any which even minds are prepared, long before, for the early the author himself has drawn. The tender nipping of that delicate blossom, for which pleasure which the Man of Feeling excites is this world was too bleak. Julia's last interwholly without alloy. Its hero is the most view with Savillon mitigates her doom, partly beautiful personification of gentleness, pa- by the joy her heart has tasted, and which tience, and meek sufferings, which the heart nothing afterwards in life could equal, and can conceive. Julia de Roubigné, however, is, partly by the certainty that she must either on the whole, the most delightful of the au- become guilty or continue wretched. Nothing thor's works. There is, in this tale, enough of can be at once sweeter and more affecting plot to keep alive curiosity, and sharpen the than her ecstatic dream after she has taken interest which the sentiment awakens, without the fatal mixture, her seraphical playing on any of those strange turns and perplexing the organ, to which the waiting angels seem incidents which break the current of sympa- to listen, and her tranquil recalling the scenes thy. The diction is in perfect harmony with of peaceful happiness with her friend, as she the subject—“most musical, most melan- imagines her arms about her neck, and fancies choly”—with "golden cadences” responsive that her Maria's tears are falling on her boto the thoughts. There is a plaintive charm som. Then comes Montaubon's description in the image presented to us of the heroine, of her as she drank the poison :-"She took too fair almost to dwell on. How exquisite is it from me smiling, and her look seemed to the description given of her by her maid, in a lose its confusion. She drank my health ! letter to her friend, relating to her fatal mar. She was dressed in her white silk bed-gown, riage :-“ She was dressed in a white muslin ornamented with pale, pink ribands. Her night-gown, with striped lilac and white cheek was gently flushed from their reflection; ribands; her hair was kept in the loose way her blue eyes were turned upwards as she you used to make me dress it for her at Bel drank, and a dark-brown ringlet lay on her ville, with two waving curls down one side shoulder.” We do not think even the fate of of her neck, and a braid of little pearls. And “the gentle lady married to the Moor" calls to be sure, with her dark, brown locks resting forth tears so sweet as those which fall for the upon it, her bosom looked as pure white as Julia of Mackenzie ! the driven snow. And then her eyes, when We rejoice to know and feel that these she gave her hand to the count! they were delicious tales cannot perish. Since they cast down, and you might see her eyelashes, were written, indeed, the national imagination like strokes of a pencil, over the white of her has been, in a great degree, perverted by skin-the modest gentleness, with a sort of strong excitements, and “ fed on poisons till sadness 100, as it were, and a gentle heave of they have become a kind of nutriment.” But her bosom at the same time.” And yet, such the quiet and unpresuming beauties of these is the feeling communicated to us by the works depend not on the fashion of the world. whole work, that we are ready to believe even They cannot be out of date till the dreams of this artless picture an inadequate representa young imagination shall vanish, and the tion of that beauty which we never cease to deepest sympathies of love and hope shall be feel. How natural and tear-moving is the chilled for ever. While other works are exletter of Savillon to his friend, describing the tolled, admired, and reviewed, these will be scenes of his early love, and recalling, with loved and wept over. Their author, in the intense vividness, all the little circumstances evening of his days, may truly feel that he which aided its progress! What an idea, in has not lived in vain. Gentle hearts shall a single expression, does Julia give of the ever blend their thought of him among their depth and the tenderness of her affection, remembrances of the benefactors of their when describing herself as taking lessons in youth. And when the fever of the world drawing from her lover, she says that she felt “shall hang upon the beatings of their hearts," something from the touch of his hand “not how often will their spirits turn to him, who, the less delightful from carrying a sort of fear as he cast a soft seriousness over the morning along with that delight: it was like a pulse in of life, shall assist in tranquillizing its noonthe soul !" The last scenes of this novel are tide sorrows !
"THE AUTHOR OF WAVERLEY.”
Here are we in a bright and breathing world. — Wordsworth.
(New MONTHLY MAGAZINE.]
W: esteem the productions which the great the spirit of gladness. There is little of a medinovelist of Scotland has poured forth with tative or retrospective cast in his works. startling speed from his rich treasury, not Whatever age he chooses for his story, lives only as multiplying the sources of delight to before us: we become contemporaries of all thousands, but as shedding the most genial his persons, and sharers in all their fortunes. influences on the taste and feeling of the peo- Of all men who have ever written, excepting ple. These, with their fresh spirit of health, Shakspeare, he has perhaps the least of exhave counteracted the workings of that blast- clusiveness, the least of those feelings which ing spell by which the genius of Lord Byron keep men apart from their kind. He has his once threatened strangely to fascinate and de- own predilections—and we love him the better base the vast multitude of English readers. for them, even when they are not ours—but Men, seduced by their noble poet, had begun they never prevent him from grasping with to pay homage to mere energy, to regard vir- cordial spirit all that is human. His tolerance tue as low and mean compared with lofty is the most complete, for it extends to adverse crime, and to think that high passion carried bigotries; his love of enjoyment does not in itself a justification for its most fearful ex- exclude the ascetic from his respect, nor does cesses. He inspired them with a feeling of his fondness for hereditary rights and timediseased curiosity to know the secrets of dark honoured institutions prevent his admiration bosoms, while he opened his own perturbed of the fiery zeal of a sectary. His genius spirit to their gaze. His works, and those im- shines with an equal light on all-illuminating ported from Germany, tended to give to our the vast hills of purple heath, the calm breast imagination an introspective cast, to perplex of the quiet water, and the rich masses of the it with metaphysical subtleties, and to render grove-now gleaming with a sacred light on our poetry "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of the distant towers of some old monastery, thought." The genius of our country was now softening the green-wood shade, now thus in danger of being perverted from its piercing the gloom of the rude cave where parest uses to become the minister of vain the old Covenanter lies—free and universal, philosophy, and the anatomist of polluted and bounteous as the sun-and pouring its natures.
radiance with a like impartiality“ upon a liv"The author of Waverley” (as he delights ing and rejoicing world." to be styled) has weaned it from its idols, and We shall not attempt
, in this slight sketch, restored to it its warm, youthful blood, and to follow our author regularly through all his human affections. Nothing can be more op- rich and varied creations; but shall rather posed to the gloom, the inward revolvings, consider his powers in general of natural deand morbid speculations, which the world scription_of skill in the delineation of chaonce seemed inclined to esteem as the sole racter-and of exciting high and poetical inprerogatives of the bard, than his exquisite terest, by the gleams of his fancy, the tragic creations. His persons are no shadowy ab- elevation of his scenes, and the fearful touches stractions-no personifications of a dogma- which he delights to borrow from the world of no portraits of the author varied in costume, spirits. but similar in features. With all their rich In the vivid description of natural scenery varieties of character, whether their heroical our author is wholly without a rival, unless spirit touches on the godlike, or their wild Sir Walter Scott will dispute the pre-eminence eccentricities border on the farcical, they are with him; and, even then, we think the novelmen fashioned of human earth, and warm ist would be found to surpass the bard. The with human sympathies. He does not seek free grace of nature has, of late, contributed for the sublime in the mere intensity of burn- little to the charm of our highest poetry. Lord ing passion, or for sources of enjoyment in Byron has always, in his reference to the mathose feverish gratifications which some would jestic scenery of the universe, dealt rather in teach us to believe the only felicities worthy grand generalities than minute pictures, has of high and impassioned souls. He writes used the turbulence of the elements as symeverywhere with a keen and healthful relish bols of inward tempests, and sought the vast for all the good things of life-constantly re- solitudes and deep tranquillity of nature, but freshes us where we least expected it, with a to assuage the fevers of the soul. Wordsworth sense of that pleasure which is spread through -who, amidst the contempt of the ignorant the earth “ to be caught in stray gifts by who- and of the worldly wise, has been gradually ever will find,” and brightens all things with and silently moulding all the leading spirits
of the age has sought communion with na- the fond delight with which he dwells on their ture, for other purposes than to describe her redeeming features. We seem to know every external forms. He has shed on all creation a little plot of green, every thicket of copse-wood, sweet and consecrating radiance, far other than and every turn and cascade of the stream in “the light of common day.” In his poetry the the vale of Glendearg, and to remember each hills and streams appear, not as they are seen low bush in the barren scene of her skirmish by vulgar eyes, but as the poet himself, in the between the Covenanters and Claverhouse, as holiness of his imagination, has arrayed them. though we had been familiar with it in childThey are peopled not with the shapes of old hood. The descriptions of this author are superstition, but with the shadows of the poet's manifestly rendered more vivid by the intense thought, the dreams of a glory that shall be. love which he bears to his country—not only They are resonant-not with the voice of birds, to her luxuriant and sublime scenery, but “her or the soft whisperings of the breeze, but with bare earth, and mountains bare, and grass in the echoes from beyond the tomb. Their lowliest green field.” He will scarcely leave a brook, a objects—a dwarf bush, an old stone, a daisy, mountain ash, or a lichen on the rocks of her or a small celandine-affect us with thoughts shore, without due honour. He may fitly be reas deep, and inspire meditations as profound, garded as the genius of Scotland, who has given as the loveliest scene of reposing beauty, or her a poetical interest, a vast place in the imathe wildest region of the mountains-because gination, which may almost compensate for the the heart of the poet is all in all—and the visi- loss of that political independence, the last ble objects of his love are not dear to us for struggling love for which he so nobly celebrates. their own colours or forms, but for the senti “The author of Waverley” is, however, chiefment which he has linked to them, and which ly distinguished by the number, the spirit, and they bring back upon our souls. We would the individuality of his characters. We know not have this otherwise for all the romances in not, indeed, where to begin or to end with the the world. But it gladdens us to see the in- vast crowd of their genial and noble shapes trinsic claims of nature on our hearts asserted, which come thronging on our memory. His and to feel that she is, for her own sake, worthy ludicrous characters are dear to us, because of deep love. It is not as the richest index they are seldom merely quairt or strange, the of divine philosophy alone that she has a right dry oddities of fancy, but have as genuine a to our affections; and, therefore, we rejoice kindred with humanity as the most gifted and that in our author she has found a votary to enthusiastic of their fellows. The laughter whom her works are in themselves “ an appe- which they excite is full of social sympathy, tite, a feeling, and a love," and who finds, in and we love them and our nature the better their contemplation, "no need of a remoter while we indulge it. Whose heart does not charm, by thought supplied, or any interest claim kindred with Baillie Nichol Jarvie, unborrowed from the eye." Every gentle while the Glasgow weaver, without losing one swelling of the ground-every gleam of the of his nice peculiarities, kindles into honest water-every curve and rock of the shore-all warmth with his ledger in hand, and in spite varieties of the earth, from the vastest crag to of broad-cloth grows almost romantic? In the soft grass of the woodland walk, and all whom does a perception of the ludicrous for a changes of the heaven from “morn to noon, moment injure the veneration which the brave, from noon to latest eve,”—are placed before us, stout-hearted and chivalrous Baron of Bradin his works, with a distinctness beyond that wardine inspires? Who shares not in the which the painter's art can attain, while we fond enthusiasm of Oldbuck for black letter, in seem to breathe the mountain air, or drink in bis eager and tremulous joy at grasping rare the freshness of the valleys. We perceive the books at low prices, and in his discoveries of change in the landscape at every step of the Roman camps and monuments which we can delightful journey through which he guides hardly forgive Edie Ochiltree for disproving?
Our recollection never confounds any one compared with these genial persons, the porscene with another, although so many are laid traits of mere singularity—however inimitably in the same region, and are alike in general finished—are harsh and cold; of these, indeed, character. The lake among the hills, on which the works of our author afford scarcely more the cave of Donald Bean bordered—that near than one signal example-Captain Dalgetty, which the clan of the M Gregors combated, and who is a mere piece of ingenious mechanism, which closed in blue calmness over the body like the automaton chess-player, and with all his of Maurice--and that which encircled the cleverness, gives us little pleasure, for he excites castle of Julian Avenel-are distinct from as little sympathy. Almost all the persons of each other in the imagination, as the loveliest these novels, diversified as they are, are really scenes which we have corporally visited. endowed with some deep and elevating enthuWhat in softest beauty can exceed the descrip- siasm, which, whether breaking through ection of the ruins of St. Ruth; in the lovelily centricities of manner, perverted by error, or romantic, the approach to the pass of Aberfoil; mingled with crime, ever asserts the majesty in varied lustre, the winding shores of Ellan- of our nature, its deep affections, and undying gowan bay; in rude and dreary majesty, the powers. This is true, not only of the divine Highland scenes, where Ronald of the Mist enthusiasm of Flora Mac Ivor-of the sweet lay hidden; and in terrific sublimity, the rising heroism of Jeannie Deans of the angelic of the sea on Fairport Sands, and the perils tenderness and fortitude of Rebecca, but of the of Sir Arthur Wardour and his daughter ? Our puritanic severities and awful zeal of Balfour author's scenes of comparative barrenness are of Burley, and the yet more frightful energy enchanting by the vividness of his details, and of Macbriar, equally ready to sacrifice a blame
less youth, and to bear without shrinking the the most part, of a far deeper cast;—Aowing keenest of mortal agonies. In the fierce and from his intense consciousness of the mysteries hunted child of the mist-in the daring and of our nature, and constantly impressing on reckless libertine Staunton-in the fearful our minds the high sanctities and the mortal Elspeth—in the vengeful wife of M'Gregor-destiny of our being. No one has ever made. are traits of wild and irregular greatness, frag- so impressive a use of the solemnities of life ments of might and grandeur, which show and death-of the awfulness which rests over how noble and sacred a thing the heart of man the dying, and renders all their words and acis, in spite of its strangest debasements and tions sacred-or of the fond retrospection, and perversions. How does the inimitable portrait the intense present enjoyment, snatched fearof Claverhouse at first excite our hatred for fully as if to secure it from fate, which are the that carelessness of human misery, that con- peculiar blessings of a short and uncertain extempt for the life of his fellows, that cold hau- istence. Was ever the robustness of life-the teur and finished indifference which are so mantling of the strong current of joyous blood vividly depicted ;-and yet how does his mere -the high animation of health, spirits, and a soldierly enthusiasm redeem him at last, and stout heart, more vividly broughi before the almost persuade us that the honour and fame mind than in the description of Frank Kenof such a man were cheaply purchased by a nedy's demeanour as he rides lustily forth, thousand lives! We can scarcely class Rob never to return ?-or the fearful change from Roy among these mingled characters. He has this hearty enjoyment of life to the chillness nothing but the name and the fortune of an of mortality, more deeply impressed on the outlaw and a robber. He is, in truth, one of | imagination than in all the minute examinathe noblest of heroes—a Prince of the hether tions of the scene of his murder, the traces of and the rock-whose very thirst for vengeance the deadly contest, the last marks of the strugis tempered and harmonized by his fondness gling footsteps, and the description of the for the wild and lovely scenes of his home. corpse at the foot of the crag? Can a scene Indeed the influences of majestic scenery are of mortality be conceived more fearful than to be perceived tinging the rudest minds which that where Bertram, in the glen of Dernclugh, the author has made to expatiate amidst its witnesses the last agonies of one over whom solitudes. The passions even of Burley and of Meg Merrilies is chanting her wild ditties to Macbriar borrow a grace from the steep crags, soothe the passage of the spirit? What a stuthe deep masses of shade, and the silent caves, pendous scene is that of the young fisher's among which they were nurtured, as the most funeral—the wretched father writhing in the rapid and perturbed stream which rushes contortions of agony-the mother silent in tenthrough a wild and romantic region bears der sorrow—the motley crowd assembled to parsome reflection of noble imagery on its im- take of strange festivity--and the old grandpetuous surface. To some of his less stern mother fearfully linking the living to the dead, but unlettered personages, nature seems to now turning her wheel in apathy and unconhave been a kindly instructor, nurturing high sciousness, now drinking with frightful mirth thoughts within them, and well supplying to to many “such merry meetings,” now, to the them all the lack of written wisdom. The wild astonishment of the beholders, rising to comfort sublimity of Meg Merrilies is derived from her son, and intimating with horrid solemnity her long converse with the glories of creation; that there was more reason to mourn for her the floating clouds have lent to her something than for the departed! Equal in terrific power, of their grace; she has contemplated the rocks is the view given us of the last confession and till her soul is firm as they, and gazed intently death of that “awful woman"—her intense on the face of nature until she has become perception of her long past guilt, with her half acquainted with its mysteries. The old deadness to all else-her yet quenchless hate king's beadman has not journeyed for years to the object of her youthful vengeance, aniin vain among the hills and woods; their mating her frame with unearthly fire-her beauty has sunk into his soul; and his days dying fancies that she is about to follow her seem bound each to each by “natural piety,” mistress, and the broken images of old granwhich he has learned among them.
deur which flit before her as she perishes. That we think there is much of true poeti- These things are conceived in the highest cal genius-much of that which softens, re- spirit of tragedy, which makes life and death fines, and elevates humanity in the works of meet together, which exhibits humanity stripthis author-may be inferred from our remarks ped of its accidents in all its depth and height, on his power of imbodying human character. which impresses us at once with the victory The gleams of a soft and delicate fancy are of death, and of the eternity of those energies tenderly cast over many of their scenes, which it appears to subdue. There are also heightening that which is already lovely, re- in these works, situations of human interest lieving the gloomy, and making even the thin as strong as ever were invented-attended too blades of barren regions shine refreshingly on with all that high apparel of the imagination, the eyes. We occasionally meet with a pure which renders the images of fear and anguish and pensive beauty, as in Pattieson's descrip- majestical. Such is that scene in the lone tion of his sensations in his evening walks house after the defeat of the Covenanters, after the feverish drudgery of his school where Morton finds himself in the midst of a with wild yet graceful fantasies, as in the band of zealots, who regard him as given by songs of Davie Gellatly or with visionary God into their hands as a victim—where he is and aërial shapes, like the spirit of the House placed before the clock to gaze on the advances of Avenel. Bu he poetry of this author is, for of the hand to the hour when he is to be slain,
amidst the horrible devotion of his foes. The ness—to present it to us in the noblest masses; whole scene is, we think, without an equal in yet to make us spectators of each individual the conceptions which dramatic power has circumstance of interest in the field, may exbeen able to imbody. Its startling unexpected- cite the envy of a painter. We know of noness, yet its perfect probability to the imagina- thing resembling those delineations in history lion-the high tone and wild enthusiasm of or romance, except the descriptions given by character in the murderers--the sacrificial Thucydides of the blockade of Platæa, of the cast of their intended deed in their own raised Corcyræan massacres, of the attempt to retake and perverted thoughts—the fearful view given Epipolæ in the night, of the great naval action to the bodily senses of their prisoner of his re- before Syracuse, of all the romantic events of maining moments by the segment of the circle the Sicilian war, and the varied miseries of yet to be traversed by the finger of the clock the Athenian army in their retreat under Nibefore him, enable us to participate in the cias. In the life and spirit, and minuteness of workings of his own dizzy soul, as he stands the details--in the intermingling of allusions “awaiting till the sword destined to slay him to the scenery of the contests-and in the gecrept out of its scabbard gradually, and, as it neral fervour breathed over the whole, there is were by straw-breadths," and condemned to a remarkable resemblance between these pas- : drink the bitterness of death “drop by drop," sages of the Greek historian, and the narrawhile his destined executioners seem to alter tives of Scottish contests by the author of their forms and features like the spectres in a Waverley. There is, too, the same patriotic zeal feverish dream ; their features become larger in both; though the feeling in the former is of and their faces more disturbed ;” until the a more awful and melancholy cast, and that beings around him appear actually demons, of the latter more light and cheerful. The the walls seem to drop with blood, and “the Scottish novelist may, like the noblest histolight tick of the clock thrills on his ear with rians, boast that he has given to his country such loud, painful distinctness, as if each “Ktnud es auss”-a possession for ever! sound were the prick of a bodkin inflicted on It remains that we should say a word on the naked nerve of the organ." The effect is the use made of the supernatural in these roeven retrospectively heightened by the heroic mances. There is, in the mode of its employdeaths of the Covenanters immediately suc- ment, more of gusto--more that approaches to ceeding, which give a dignity and a consecra- an actual belief in its wonders, than in the tion to their late terrific design. The trial and works of any other author of these incredulous execution of Fergus Mac Ivor are also, in the times. Even Shakspeare himself, in his remost exalted sense of the term, tragical. They mote age, does not appear to have drank in are not only of breathless interest from the ex- so deeply the spirit of superstition as our ternal circumstances, nor of moral grandeur novelist of the nineteenth century. He treats, from the heroism of Fergus and his follower, indeed, all the fantasies of his countrymen but of poetic dignity from that power of ima- with that spirit of allowance and fond regard gination which renders for a time the rules of with which he always touches on human law sublime as well as fearful, and gives to emotions. But he does not seem to have all the formalities of a trial more than a judi- heartily partaken in them as awful realities. cial majesty. It is seldom, indeed, that the His witches have power to excite wonder, but terrors of our author offend or shock us, be- little to chill men's bloods. Ariel, the visions cause they are accompanied by that reconcil. of Prospero's enchanted isle, the “quaint ing power which softens without breaking the fairies and the dapper elves” of the Midsumcurrent of our sympathies. But there are some mer Night's Dream glitter on the fancy, in a few instances of unrelieved horror-or of an- thousand shapes of dainty loveliness, but guish, which overmasters fantasy-as the never affect us otherwise than as creations of strangling of Glossin by Dirk Haiteraich, the the poet's brain. Even the ghost in Hamlet administering of the torture to Macbriar, and does not appal us half so fearfully as many a the bloody bridal of Lammermuir. If we com- homely tale which has nothing to recommend pare these with the terrors of Burley in his it but the earnest belief of its tremulous recave—where with his naked sword in one citer. There is little magic in the web of life, hand and his Bible in the other, he wrestles notwithstanding all the variety of its shades, with his own remorse, believing it, in the as Shakspeare has drawn it. Not so is it spirit of his faith, a fiend of Satan—and with with our author; his spells have manifest the sinking of Ravenswood in the sands; we hold on himself, and, therefore, they are very shall feel how the grandeur of religious thought potent with the spirits of his readers. No in the first instance, and the stately scenery of prophetic intimation in his works is ever nature and the air of the supernatural in the suffered to fail. The spirit which appears to last, ennoble agony, and render horrors grate- Fergus—the astronomical predictions of Guy ful to the soul.
Mannering—the eloquent curses, and more We must not pass over, without due ac- eloquent blessings, of Meg Merrilies—the dying knowledgment, the power of our author in the denunciation of Mucklewrath-the old prodescription of battles, as exhibited in his pic- phecy in the Bride of Lammermuir-all are tures of the engagement at Preston Pans, of fulfilled to the very letter. The high and the first skirmish with the Covenanters, in joyous spirits of Kennedy are observed by one which they overcome Claverhouse, and of the of the bystanders as intimations of his speedy battle in which they were, in turn, defeated. fate. We are far from disapproving of these The art by which he contrives at once to give touches of the super-buman, for they are the mortal contest in all its breadth and vast- made to blend harmoniously with the freshest