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What voice recal the vanish'd dream will be, my vocation; but it has been,
Of hope, that slumbers in the grave ? and I hope will continue to be, one Farewell thou guide of other days,
of my most delightful amusements. Whose heart was mine by sacred spell ;
I must likewise tell you, that my opiBest patron of my heart,--my lays,
nions of Scottish poetry are very difThou landmark of my life,farewell ! ferent from yours. It seems you
E. B. would have us Scottish youths re
nounce for ever the profane and un
profitable art of poem-making, as it DEFENCE OF SCOTTISH POETRY. stands denominated, highly to his cre
dit, no doubt, in the session-book of (We had no intention to stir the indig, some respectable minister. The idea nation of our Scottish poet, by the remarks of profit might have some influence with which we prefaced his verses in our last number ; but we cannot regret that we
on such as ran the risk of losing a bave done so, since we have roused him, fortune, or of being excommunicated like the great Sir Philip Sydney, to write for paying their adoration to the a “ defence of poesie. What he has Muses. But do you imagine that written is too interesting to be onitted, one who is indebted to the world for even if we were not called in justice to in- nothing else but his existence, who, sert it; and we hope he will accept this no- at the expence of many a toilsome tice as an amende honorable, and favour us day and sleepless night, has indepenwith more of his communications, in prose dently fought his way through ten or verse, as he likes best. Let him pursue thousand difficulties to the dearest in either, or in both, the fine theme of the object of his wishes, his education, superstitions, and the still finer one of the
do genuine piety of his country. He is quite the harp that he found in the
think that he would part with right in saying, that Burns has missed a noble occasion for the exercise of his great
breckan glen," which had been the powers and pathos. The blank has of late companion of his joys, and the soother been partly supplied in prose, and in a tone of his sorrows, when unnoticed and of much true feeling, by the lad we friendless he followed his flocks darena naine."]
through the parching drought of sum
mer, and the whirling drifts of the MR EDITOR,
winter? Would he part with the In your Magazines for October and faithful companion of his early days December last, where some poetical for all the profits the world could trifles of mine were introduced to the hold out to him? By Heavens, the public, my friend and you have made very thought would be sacrilege. It some remarks on me and them, at would be selling his birth-right for a which I am rather hurt. The one of mess of pottage. you would encourage me in the study You seem to think, that the sphere of poetry, the other would have me of our Scottish poetry must now be fors wear it. I don't much like to very contracted. I beg leave to differ stand still in this awkward passive from you there also. Had you spent posture, the object of public contem- as many Sabbath-days among the plation, and be almost shuffled out of Scottish peasantry as have done, I countenance between ye; I hope I dare say you would join with me in shall, therefore, be excused for step- thinking, that there is yet an extenping forward and speaking for my. sive field for the cultivation of a highself; and I trust you will be so good er order of poetry than much that has as to insert this, or something like it, ever yet appeared in our language. in a corner of your next Magazine. The popular superstitions, too, that
You seem to have affixed a great are still current among the peasantry deal more importance to my poetical of Nithsdale and Ayrshire would, of existence than is at all necessary. themselves, furnish an abundant supAnd out of the abundance of your ply of awful materials for the fancy kindness you have been under no of a skilful poet. Who that has ever small alarm, lest, from the encourage- heard of the fairies of Pal-veach or ment you have given me, I should Glenmuir,--the dead-lights carried be induced to make poetry my voca- by dead men, that have been seen ation. Now, I would have you keep mong the haunted woods of Garpal or yourself perfectly easy on that score. Craw-wick,--the fiery coach that apPoetry never was, and I daresay never peared at midnight at the grave of the
murdered Cameron in Ayrs-moss, the tent in the church-yard. The the spectre that vanished in blood near first table was just filled, and at the the Wellwood, in the parish of Muir. head of it, beside the consecrated elekirk, and hundreds more of the ments, stood the venerable servant of same kind that might be enumerat- God. He had just finished reading ed ;-who, I say, that has heard of the appropriated verses in the 116th these, and has been familiar with the Psalın, to be sung, after the example characters and feelings of the people of our Saviour on the night of instiamong whom they are cherished, will tution, when suddenly the breathless deny that such dreadful familiarity silence of the congregation was browith the beings of another world has keu by a terrible clap of thunder. communicated to them an elevation As soon as it was hushed, impressed and sublimity of mind highly poeti- with an awful sense of a present God, cal,- perhaps not unfavourable to the he addressed his audience to the fol cultivation of religion, as more awful lowing effect :-“ My friends, how conceptions must thus be produced of dreadful is this place! This is none that Being “ who maketh his angels other but the house of God, and the spirits, and his ministers a flame of gate of Heaven. He before whom we fire?"
must appear in judgment, from his But, even allowing that the fields of pavilion of dark waters, and thick Scottish poetry are mostly cultivated, clouds of the skies, in a voice of thunthey are not impoverished; and it der is now addressing us who are asmight, perhaps, be advisable, in imi- sembled round his table. And I have tation of our farmers, to try what no doubt, that, if the thin veil by kind of poetical harvest might be pro- which we are separated from the inviduced by a change of crop. It is very sible world were drawn aside, we certain that the subjects of some of might discover among those dark our most admired Scottish poems are clouds where the thunder is rolling, far from being exhaustel. They may the throne of Him from before whose be viewed in a great variety of lights, face the earth and the heavens shall according to the humour of the poet's flee away. We might behold on the feelings. To mention one particular mountains around us the bright arinstance, how different a poem would mies of Heaven drawn up in their Burns have produced, harl he carried shining ranks under the banners of the spirit of the Cottar's Saturday the King of Righteousness. We Night into the morning of his sacra- might behold those who have joined mental Sabbath? The poem would with us at this table, whose graves are certainly have appeared to as much now rising green beneath our feet, but advantage, and the respectability of whose spirits are in glory; I say, we the Scottish character and religion might behold them looking upon us might, perhaps, have been more in- with heavenly joy and satisfaction, debted to him. As it is, however, he while we join ourselves unto the Lord has left abundant room for the dis- in an everlasting covenant never to be play of future talent; and I think it forgotten.” After such an address, is to be wished that some mighty gee how awfully sublime was the devonius equal to the task would step for- tion, when the assembled multitudes ward, and mingle at once the social were singing, to the wild and simand religious feelings of the Scottish ple melody that awakens all the sacrapeasantry, in the poetry of our native mental associations of departed years, land.
as the elements were about to be disIt is not easy to conceive any thing tributed, more solemn than the manner in
I'll of salvation take the cup, &c. which a sacrament is conducted in the upland parishes of Ayrshire and Dum This is only a rude imperfect sketch fries-shire, or than the wild and com- of some of the awful and sublime senmanding eloquence of some of our sations that are familiar to the inhabimost distinguished preachers. I shall tants of my native mountains on the never forget the alarming address that yearly return of a communion Sabone of them gave to his congregation bath, and, while such subjects remain at the commencement of the more unsung, shall it ever be said, that the immediate service of the day. It was poetry of Scotland is susceptible of no in the sultry heat of summer, and the farther improvement ? Our bosoms congregation were assembled around have often trembled with delight at
IX ITALY AND GREECE.
the soft and melting music of the with so much fidelity these charming Scottish harp, when struck by the scenes,--to be guided by the taste hands of a powerful muster; bilt we which could seize with so hippy a seshall never be sensible of the highest lection the objects and the moments powers of its heart-thrillin m:loly fit for imitation,-is, next to the actill its wild notes be sounded in con tuul visiting of these countries, the cert and unison with the songs of most delightful occupation in which a Zion. I am, &c.
man of taste can be engig d. То Greenock, Sth Jan. 1820.
those who have not hail this gool fortune, we can only say, that no artist
has ever brought to this country so BEMARKS ON WILLIAMS'S TRAVELS rich and varied collection of views
on the shores of the VI viterranean;
and that these classical scenes, more The increasing taste of the age in interesting even from their historical which we live, from our growing in- associations than from their unequalled tercourse with the more polished re- beauty, have inspired him wi:h highgions of the South, where Art his er conceptions of art than even the des long fixed its abode, is matter of uni- licacy and beauty of his pencil could versal observation. Of a change so have led us to anticipate. To all who desirable, and whose consequences are interested in the beauty of Napromise to be so important upon the ture or the remains of Art, his obserfuture progress of the fine arts in this vations on the countries he has visited country, it is our pleasing cluty to take must possess a peculiar and almost occasional notice, -and we know not singular interest. on what occasion it can be more im- . With equal modesty and judgment periously called for, than by the pub. he has, in a great ile free, liiniter his lication of Mr Williams's Travels in observations to subjects which fell in Italy and Greece.
with his previous habits of thought. This distinguished gentleman has Qualified, indeed, in the most amrle been long known to the lovers of the way, for discussing all the subjects fine arts by the delicacy of his taste in which can fall under the observition landscape painting; and those who of a traveller, he seems to have felt, were acquainted with the beauty of his that his peculiar powers in the fine imitations of Scotch scenery regretted arts enabled him to give a degree of that abilities so transcendent should interest to his work on these subjects, not have had an opportunity of ex- which could not be created by enterpanding amongst the classical remains ing on a wider and more varied field of Italian scenery, or of being matur of discussion. Leaving, therefore, to ed by the works of Italian genius. the antiquarian an:/ the political ecoSuch an opportunity at length pre- nomist to examine, with the minutesented itself, when the return of peace ness of scientific researches, the vaopened the Continent to English tra- rious subjects comccted with their vellers; and he has availed himself of departments of knowledge, he has conit with a spirit of enterprise worthy of fined himself, for the most part, to the celebrity which his name had ac- the delineation of those impressions quired.
which arise from the attentive examiTo those who have had the good nation of the beautics, whither of Nafortune of seeing Mr Williams's ture or of Art, which lay in the counmatchless sketches of the ruins of A- tries through which he travelled. By thens and Rome, it will be needless doing so, he has not only given a nuch to observe, how interesting a subject greater unity to his travels than could of study his Travels must afford. To possibly have been attained by any follow the eye which could delineate other arrangement, but he has made
a work incomparably more useful and Travels in Italy, Greece, and the delightful than if he had embraced a lonian Islands, in a Series of Letters, de.
more extended circle of inquiries. striptive of Manners, Scenery, and the His book is not only so roplete with Fine Arts. By H. W. Williams, Esq. vluable information as to the objects With Engravings from Original Drawings. most worthy of admirition in all the la Two Volumes
. Edinburgh, Constable cities of Greece and Italy, but it aand Co. 1820.
bounds with those views of Nature
and of society which are best calcu. ciation of works of art; which shall lated to impress them permanently point out to the traveller the excelon the mind, and to fill the student lencies of painting and sculpture, with that preparatory knowledge, and without requiring him to dedicate his those previous feelings, which are, life to a matter of arrangement; perhaps, of more permanent value which shall draw his attention to obé ihan the actual information which jects of historical interest, without travelling afforis.
supposing that he is a professed antiMany serious objections have been quarian ; which shall select the oburged against all the travels which jects most worthy of observation, have been written in these interesting without requiring an examination, countries. The work of Mr Eustace, which it would require a lifetime to replete with classical taste and amiable conclude. Such a work is presented feeling, and admirably calculated, as in Mr Williams's Travels. Whoever it undoubtedly is, for exciting those adopts him for his guide in the difardent expectations which enhance so ferent cities which he visited, will much both the advantages and the find that he omits nothing really delight of travelling, is yet too incor- worth sceing, while he escapes the rect in many particulars to be admite labour of toiling through multitudes ted as a faithtul companion of an ac- of ohjects unworthy of notice. He tual journey. There are few, we are will find all the finest paintings and sure, who have visited Italy with this statues noticed, and characterized by charming'work in their hand, whohave a few emphatic expressions, while the not found, that, trusting to his guid- endless multitudes of ordinary and ance, they have done those things which inferior productions are consigned to they ought not to have done, and left the oblivion they deserve. He will undone those things which they ought find the most eminent scenes and to have done. Experience soon shows, buildings dwelt on, with an eloquence that his classical prejudlices throw a as rare as it is faithful, and go presplendid colouring over many objects pared not only to select for attention in themselves little interesting, and those most worthy of admiration, but led him to overlook many others pos. to discover the qualities in them from sessing the bighest attractions both which their magical beauty has arisen. from natural beauty or modern asso He begins with Brussels and the ciations. The sketches of Mr For- field of Waterloo ; ascends rapidly syth, more skilful and masterly than the romantic banks of the Rhine, those of Mr Eustace, are both too through the vine-clad hills and feudal short and too prejudiced to be of great towers of that sequestered region, and service in guiding the traveller, and crossing by Basle and Lausanne, arhe finds, to his cost, that this able rives on the delightful shores of the writer not only has viewed the differ- Lake of Geneva. From thence he ent cities of Italy with an eye some- ascends the sublime pass to Salenche times feverish and sometimes jaun- and Chamouni, and describes in a few diced, but that he often sicrifices words the gloomy scenery of the celetruth and just feeling to ironical brated defile of the Tetenoire. thought or sarcastic expression. The elaborate and laborious work of Mr through the valley of Vallosen and the Te.
56 On leaving Chamouni we travelled La Lande, admirable for its minute- tenoire, crossed the Fourcloy, and left the ness, accuracy, and universal know- Col de Balme upon our right. Nature ledge, is far too extended and particu- seems to have indulged herself in every lar for most travellers; and he who fancy in those extraordinary regions. The sets out with this author for his guide black banners of the lofty pine, 150 and will speedily find himself bewildered '180 feet in height, waved upon the mounin a labyrinth of details, destructive tains, as if death and destruction had here of his time, exhausting to his patience, fixed their abode! and soon we found and almost fatal to his enjoyment.
acres of fallen trunks, mixed with ice There is no book of Italian travels
and snow, some with their roots upper. more wanteil, therefore, than one
most, howling in the storm, and seeming which shall combine just and enlight- while we stood upon the torn sides of a
to complain of avalanches and ruin ! Here, ened views of mankind, with a love of precipice, and heard the waters roaring, natural beauty, and a skilful appre- ihough unseen below, we felt an emotion
of awe, of which all the ravines and cata. might conduct to discovery and to importracts in your own country can impart no ant results." Vol. I. p. 66. idea. « We slept at Trient, a small village taken occasion to introduce a very
In treating of Florence, he has about 4000 feet high among the moun- valuable note on the elegance which tains ; a wild and singular scene! Every cottage is supported on posts, to prevent
may be displayed in the construction the rats and the other vermin from enter of chimneys, and he has added a sketch ing them. In the morning we departed of different chimneys in various parts for Martigny, crossing various mountains, of Italy and Greece. Considering the which, though sublime, were not to be universal necessity of having these compared to those which we left the pre- structures in all the edifices in this ceding evening. The pine was exchanged country, it is a matter well worthy of for ancient larches of prodigious size. the attention of our architects, wheMost of them, near the path, were burnt ther something to embellish them half way up by the almost frozen shep may not be done ; and whether, in herds of these inclement regions. As we descended towards Martigny, the rich and place of being a deformity, they might fertile plain of the Valais appeared below
not be converted into a constituent of bounded by lofty mountains, -and never
beauty. In the different forms of did I behold a sight more beautiful. The chimneys which our author's valuaclouds were playing among the hills, and ble sketch has preserved, the variety the sun seemed to enjoy their sport; he as well as the richness of Italian ima.. gilded their fair sides with gold, and the gination is perceptible. mists threw their grey mantle over wood His account of Florence, with and vale, while the pinnacles and the as- its cathedral, galleries, palaces, and piring rocks alone caught the yellow ra- bridges, is equally faithful and codiance of heaven. The noble chesnut trees; pious. To the traveller who visits just above Martigny, were such as would that interesting city, his observations have been admired and pourtrayed by SalFator Rosa, or Nicolas Poussip.
on the principal pictures in the galThe
lery and Palazzo Pitti are peculiarly scenery, as we approached Sion, and a. round Sion itself, surpasses all that paint valuable, as marking the great works er's fancy ever conceived. Nature, when of art on which the attention should she pleases, far surpasses art !”
be rivetted, in place of permitting itself Vol. I. pp. 44-46. to wander at large through the scattered From Sion Mr Williams travelled beauties of these magnificent collecby the Simplon to Milan, of which tions. In the justice of his observations be gives a very interesting account;
on these glorious remains we entirely and thence by Lodi, Placentia, and concur; and we cannot resist the Parma, to Bologna. The character satisfaction of owning, that the whole of the Bolognese school of painting, as pictures which he has noticed in the in general of the Italian, is well cha- Palazzo Pitti were precisely those racterized in the following observa- whose excellence had attracted our tions :
own observation,-a proof that works " The gallery of the academy contains a
of real merit are equally charmregular series of ancient pictures from ing in the eyes of the most skilful arts Giotto up to Domenichino; they are not
ist as of the most ordinary and suthe best specimens of the various masters,
periicial observer. yet the series is extremely curious, and dis
He speaks in high terms, but not tinctly shows the slow but regular progress higher than they deserve, of the chatowards perfection. From these pictures, ritable disposition of the people in it is very evident, that individual nature Florence, a virtue which is everyhad not been adopted for their study, as where warmly cherished by the Cain the Dutch and Flemish school. Even tholic religion, and has long and hofrom its commencement, and in their ear. nourably distinguished their characliest attempts, the Bolognese school, and, in
ter. It has been justly observed by deed, all the Italian painters, have had a Sismondi, that the benevolence and notion of general nature, and abstract ideas heroic patriotism with which the of dignity and beauty. The ray was feeble, but it has guided these celebrated masters
higher orders in Florence behaved toto all their greatness.,
Would it not be wards the poor in the dreadful plague instructing to trace the progress of that of 1352, have never since been exceerischool, which is founded on simple nature ed, and certainly then had never been only, and to contrast it with the higher equalled in the world; and on commade of study ? Such an investigation puring it with the conduct of the As