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independent fortune. He succeeded to considerable say that you are my negro, but do not call yourself plantations in the West Indies, besides a large sum my slave.” of money; and in order to ascertain personally the Lewis returned to England in 1816, but went back condition of the slaves on his estate, he sailed for to Jamaica the following year. He found that his the West Indies in 1815. Of this voyage he wrote attorney had grossly mismanaged his property, being a narrative, and kept journals, forming the most generally absent on business of his own, and intrustinteresting and valuable production of his pen. The ing the whole to an overseer, who was of a tyrannical manner in which the negroes received him on his disposition. Having adjusted his affairs, the Monk' arrival amongst them he thus describes :
embarked on his return home. The climate, how*As soon as the carriage entered my gates, the ever, had impaired his health, and he died of fever uproar and confusion which ensued sets all descrip- while the ship was passing through the Gulf of tion at defiance. The works were instantly all Florida, in July 1818. Lewis may thus be said to abandoned ; everything that had life came flocking have fallen a martyr to his love of justice and huto the house from all quarters; and not only the manity, and the circumstance sheds a lustre on his men, and the women, and the children, but, by a memory far surpassing mere literary fame.
His bland assimilation,” the hogs, and the dogs, and the poetical merits are thus fairly summed up: Pretty geese, and the fowls, and the turkeys, all came conceits airily tricked out in what are called songs; hurrying along by instinct, to see what could pos- in his more elaborate efforts melodious, skilfully. sibly be the matter, and seemed to be afraid of varied versification, and here and there a line of arriving too late. Whether the pleasure of the such happy ease in construction, that it is sure to negroes was sincere, may be doubted; but, certainly, linger on the ear; but a slender command either of it was the loudest that I ever witnessed: they all imagery or of passion. As a poet, Lewis is to a talked together, sang, danced, shouted, and, in the Byron what a scene-painter is to a Hobbima. He violence of their gesticulations, tumbled over each produces a startling grotesque of outline, and some other, and rolled about upon the ground. Twenty grand massy contrasts of light and shade; but he voices at once inquired after uncles, and aunts, and has no notion of working in detail-no atmosphere, grandfathers, and great-grandmothers of mine, who no middle tints to satisfy a daylight spectator. The had been buried long before I was in existence, and subject of the Isle of Devils (a poem of more than whom, I verily believe, most of them only knew by a thousand lines, which Lewis wrote in the course tradition. One woman held up her little naked of his homeward voyage in 1816) would, in Lord black child to me, grinning from ear to ear—“Look, Byron's hands, have at least rivalled the effect of massa, look here! him nice lilly neger for massa !" Manfred; from Lewis it comes only in the shape of a Another complained—“So long since none come see sketchy extravaganza, in which no feeling is seriously we, massa; good massa come at last.” As for the grappled with, and a score of magnificent situations old people, they were all in one and the same story: are, to all intents and purposes, except that of filling now they had lived once to see massa, they were the ear with a succession of delicious sounds, thrown ready for dying to-morrow—“them no care. away. The truth is, that though Sir Walter Scott
The shouts, the gaiety, the wild laughter, their talks of the “high imagination" of Lewis, it was only strange and sudden bursts of singing and dancing, in his very first flights that he ever was able to mainand several old women, wrapped up in large cloaks, tain a really enthusiastic elevation; and he did so their heads bound round with different-coloured more successfully in the prose of the ‘Monk' than in handkerchiefs, leaning on a staff, and standing mo- the best of his early verses. Had he lived, in all liketionless in the middle of the hubbub, with their eyes lihood he would have turned in earnest to prose comfixed upon the portico which I occupied, formed an position; and we think no reader of his West India exact counterpart of the festivity of the witches in Journals can doubt that, if he had undertaken a Macbeth. Nothing could be more odd or more novel of manners in mature age, he would have cast novel than the whole scene; and yet there was immeasurably into the shade even the happiest something in it by which I could not help being efforts of his boyish romance.' affected. Perhaps it was the consciousness that all these human beings were my slaves. To be sure, I
Durandarte and Belerma. never saw people look more happy in my life, and I believe their condition to be much more comfortable Sad and fearful is the story than that of the labourers of Great Britain; and, Of the Roncevalles fight: after all, slavery in their case is but another name On those fatal plains of glory for servitude, now that no more negroes can be for- Perished many a gallant knight. cibly carried away from Africa, and subjected to the horrors of the voyage, and of the seasoning after
There fell Durandarte; never their arrival. But still I had already experienced,
Verse a nobler chieftain named ; in the morning, that Juliet was wrong in saying
He, before his lips for ever " What's in a name?” for, soon after my reaching
Closed in silence, thus exclaimed: the lodging-house at Savannah la Mar, a remarkably Oh, Belerma! oh, my dear one, clean-looking negro lad presented himself with some
For my pain and pleasure born; water and a towel. I concluded him to belong to
Seven long years I served thee, fair one, the inn; and on my returning the towel, as he found
Seven long years my fee was scorn. that I took no notice of him, he at length ventured to introduce himself, by saying, “Massa not know
And when now thy heart, replying me-me your slave!” and really the sound made me To my wishes, burns like mine, feel a pang at the heart. The lad appeared all
Cruel fate, my bliss denying, gaiety and good humour, and his whole countenance Bids me every hope resign. expressed anxiety to recommend himself to my
Ah! though young I fall, believe me, notice; but the word "slave" seemed to imply that,
Death would never claim a sigh; although he did feel pleasure then in serving me, if
'Tis to lose thee, 'tis to leave thee, he had detested me he must have served me still.
Makes me think it hard to die ! I really felt quite humiliated at the moment, and was tempted to tell him—“Do not say that again ;
* Quarterly Review for 1834.
Oh! my cousin, Montesinos, By that friendship firm and dear, Which from youth has lived between us, Now my last petition hear. When my soul, these limbs forsaking, Eager seeks a purer air, From my breast the cold heart taking, Give it to Belerma's care. Say, I of my lands possessor Named her with my dying breath; Say, my lips I oped to bless her, Ere they closed for aye in death : Twice a-week, too, how sincerely I adored her, cousin, say; Twice a-week, for one who dearly Loved her, cousin, bid her pray. Montesinos, now the hour Marked by fate is near at hand; Lo! my arm has lost its power; Lo! drop my trusty brand, Eyes, which forth beheld me going, Homewards ne'er shall see me hie; Cousin, stop those tears o'erflowing, Let me on thy bosom die. Thy kind hand my eyelids closing, Yet one favour I implore Pray thou for my soul's reposing, When my heart shall throb no more. So shall Jesus, still attending, Gracious to a Christian's vow, Pleased accept my ghost ascending, And a seat in heaven allow.' Thus spoke gallant Durandarte; Soon his brave heart broke in twain. Greatly joyed the Moorish party That the gallant knight was slain. Bitter weeping, Montesinos Took from him his helm and glaive; Bitter weeping, Montesinos Dug his gallant cousin's grave. To perform his promise made, he Cut the heart from out the breast, That Belerma, wretched lady! Might receive the last bequest. Sad was Montesinos' heart, he Felt distress his bosom rend. ‘Oh! my cousin, Durandarte, Wo is me to view thy end ! Sweet in manners, fair in favour, Mild in temper, fierce in fight, Warrior nobler, gentler, braver, Never shall behold the light. Cousin, lo! my tears bedew thee; How shall I thy loss survive? Durandarte, he who slew thee, Wherefore left he me alive?'
• Oh! hush these suspicions,' Fair Imogine said,
• Offensive to love and to me;
Shall husband of Imogine be.
Forget my Alonzo the Brave,
And bear me away to the grave!
His love she lamented him sore;
Arrived at Fair Imogine's door.
Soon made her untrue to her vows;
And carried her home as his spouse.
The revelry now was begun; The tables they groaned with the weight of the feast, Nor yet had the laughter and merriment ceased,
When the bell at the castle tolled-one. Then first with amazement Fair Imogine found
A stranger was placed by her side:
But earnestly gazed on the bride.
His armour was sable to view;
The lights in the chamber burned blue! His presence all bosoms appeared to dismay;
The guests sat in silence and fear; At length spake the bride-while she trembled—I
And deign to partake of our cheer.'
His vizor he slowly unclosed ;
When a skeleton's head was exposed !
All turned with disgust from the scene;
While the spectre addressed Iniogine :
Remember Alonzo the Brave !
And bear thee away to the grave !'
While loudly she shrieked in dismay ;
ground, Nor ever again was Fair Imogine found,
Or the spectre that bore her away.
To inhabit the castle presume;
Alonzo the Brave and the Fair Imogine. A warrior so bold, and a virgin so bright,
Conversed as they sat on the green ; They gazed on each other with tender delight: Alonzo the Brave was the name of the knight
The maiden's, the Fair Imogine. 'And, oh!' said the youth, 'since to-morrow I go
To fight in a far distant land, Your tears for my absence soon ceasing to flow, Some other will court you, and you will bestow
On a wealthier suitor your hand !'
At midnight, four times in each year, does her sprite, chiefly from lameness, led to his being placed under When mortals in slumber are bound,
the charge of some relations in the country; and Arrayed in her bridal apparel of white,
when a mere child, yet old enough to receive imAppear in the hall with the skeleton knight,
pressions from country life and border stories, he And shriek as he whirls her around !
resided with his grandfather at Sandy-Knowe, a While they drink out of skulls newly torn from the romantic situation a few miles from Kelso. The
ruined tower of Smailholm (the scene of Scott's grave, Dancing round them the spectres are seen ;
ballad, the Eve of St John) was close to the farm, Their liquor is blood, and this horrible stave
and beside it were the Eildon Hills, the river Tweed, They howl: 'To the health of Alonzo the Brave,
Dryburgh Abbey, and other poetical and historical And his consort, the Fair Imogine !
objects, all enshrined in the lonely contemplative boy's fancy and recollection. He afterwards resided
with another relation at Kelso, and here, at the age The Helmsman.
of thirteen, he first read Percy's Reliques, in an anHark, the bell! it sounds midnight! all hail, thou new
tique garden, under the shade of a huge platanus, or
oriental plane-tree. This work had as great an heaven!
effect in making him a poet as Spenser had on How soft sleep the stars on their bosom of night;
Cowley, but with Scott the seeds were long in gerWhile o'er the full moon, as they gently are driven, Slowly floating, the clouds bathe their fleeces in light. hand ať verse. The following, among other lines,
minating. Previous to this he had indeed tried his The warm feeble breeze scarcely ripples the ocean, were discovered wrapped up in a cover inscribed by
And all seem so hushed, all so happy to feel ; Dr Adam of the High School, Walter Scott, July So smooth glides the bark, I perceive not her motion, 1783.' While low sings the sailor who watches the wheel.
On the Setting Sun. 'Tis so sad, 'tis so sweet, and some tones come so swelling,
Those evening clouds, that setting ray, So right from the heart, and so pure to the ear,
And beauteous tints, serve to display That sure at this moment his thoughts must be dwelling
Their great Creator's praise ; On one who is absent, most kind and most dear.
Then let the short-lived thing called man,
Whose life's comprised within a span,
To him his homage raise.
And tints so gay and bold,
But seldom think upon our God,
Who tinged these clouds with gold.
The religious education of Scott may be seen in More sweets, than when in Tempe's shades
this effusion : his father was a rigid Presbyterian. They waved the lilies, where reposing,
The youthful poet passed through the High School Sat four-and-twenty lovely maids.
and university of Edinburgh, and made some profi
ciency in Latin, and in the classes of ethics, moral Those lovely maids were called 'the Hours,'
philosophy, and history. He had an aversion to The charge of Virtue's flock they kept; And each in turn employed her powers
Greek, and we may perhaps regret, with Bulwer,
that he refused “to enter into that chamber in the To guard it while her sisters slept.
magic palace of literature in which the sublimest False Love, how simple souls thou cheatest! relics of antiquity are stored.' He knew generally, In myrtle bower that traitor near
but not critically, the German, French, Italian, and Long watched an Hour—the softest, sweetest- Spanish languages. He was an insatiable reader, The evening Hour, to shepherds dear.
and during a long illness in his youth, stored his In tones so bland he praised her beauty ;
mind with a vast variety of miscellaneous knowledge. Such melting airs his pipe could play,
Romances were among his chief favourites, and he The thoughtless Hour forgot her duty,
had great facility in inventing and telling stories. And fled in Love's enabrace away.
He also collected ballads from his earliest years.
Scott was apprenticed to his father as a writer, after Meanwhile the fold was left unguarded ;
which he studied for the bar, and put on his gown The wolf broke in, the lambs were slain ;
in his twenty-first year. His health was now viAnd now from Virtue's train discarded,
gorous and robust, and he made frequent excursions With tears her sisters speak their pain.
into the country, which he pleasantly denominated Time flies, and still they weep; for nerer
raids. The knowledge of rural life, character, traThe fugitive can time restore ;
ditions, and anecdotes, which he picked up in these An Hour once fled, has fled for ever,
rambles, formed afterwards a valuable mine to him, And all the rest shall smile no more !
both as a poet and novelist. His manners were easy and agreeable, and he was always a welcome guest. Scott joined the Tory party; and when the
dread of an invasion agitated the country, he became WALTER Scott was born in the city of Edinburgh one of a band of volunteers, ' brothers true,' in which (“mine own romantic town') on the 15th of August he held the rank of quarter-master. His exercises 1771. His father was a respectable writer to the as a cavalry officer, and the jovialties of the messsignet: his mother, Anne Rutherford, was daughter room, occupied much of his time; but he still purof a physician in extensive practice, and professor sued, though irregularly, his literary studies, and of medicine in the university of Edinburgh. By an attachment to a Perthshire lady (though ultiboth parents the poet was remotely connected with mately unfortunate) tended still more strongly to some respectable ancient Scottish families--a cir- prevent his sinking into idle frivolity or dissipation. cumstance gratifying to his feelings of nationality, Henry Mackenzie, the 'Man of Feeling,' had introand to his imagination. Delicate health, arising | duced a taste for German literature into the intellec
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
tual classes of his native city, and Scott was one of printer in Edinburgh. The copartnery was kept a its most eager and ardent votaries. In 1796 he secret, and few things in business that require secrecy published translations of Burger's Lenore and the are prosperous or beneficial. The establishment, Wild Huntsman, ballads of singular wildness and upon which was afterwards engrafted a publishing power. Next year, while fresh from his first-love business, demanded large advances of money, and disappointment, he was prepared, like Romeo, to Scott's name became mixed up with pecuniary "take some new infection to his eye,' and, meeting at transactions and losses to a great amount. In 1806, Gilsland, a watering-place in Cumberland, with a the powerful friends of the poet procured him the young lady of French parentage, Charlotte Margaret appointment of one of the principal clerkships of the Carpenter, he paid his addresses to her, was accepted, Court of Session, worth about £1300 per annum ; and married on the 24th of December. Miss Car- but the emoluments were not received by Scott penter had some fortune, and the young couple until six years after the date of his appointment, retired to a cottage at Lasswade, where they seem when his predecessor died. In his share of the to have enjoyed sincere and unalloyed happiness. printing business, and the certainty of his clerkship, The ambition of Scott was now fairly wakened-his the poet seemed, however, to have laid up (in addilighter vanities all blown away. His life hencefortion to his literary gains and his sheriffdom) an ward was one of severe but cheerful study and ap- honourable and even opulent provision for his family. plication. In 1799 appeared his translation of In 1808 appeared his great poem of Marmion, the Goëthe's tragedy, Goetz von Berlichingen, and the most magnificent of his chivalrous tales, and the same year he obtained the appointment of sheriff of same year he published his edition of Dryden. In Selkirkshire, worth £300 per annum. Scott now 1810 appeared the Lady of the Lake, which was still paid a series of visits to Liddisdale, for the purpose more popular than either of its predecessors; in of collecting the ballad poetry of the Border, an 1811, The Vision of Don Roderick; in 1813, Rukeby, object in which he was eminently successful. In and The Bridal of Triermain ; in 1814, The Lord of 1802, the result appeared in his Minstrelsy of the the Isles ; in 1815, The Field of Waterloo ; and in Scottish Border, which contained upwards of forty 1817, Harold the Dauntless. Some dramatic pieces, pieces never before published, and a large quantity scarcely worthy of his genius, were also written of prose illustration, in which might have been during this busy period. It could not be concealed, seen the germ of that power which he subse- that the later works of the great minstrel were inquently developed in his novels. A third volume ferior to his early ones. His style was now familiar, was added next year, containing some imitations of and the world had become tired of it. Byron had the old minstrels by the poetical editor and his friends. made his appearance, and the readers of poetry were It required little sagacity to foresee that Walter bent on the new worship. Scott, however, was too Scott was now to be a great name in Scotland. His dauntless and intrepid, and possessed of too great next task was editing the metrical romance of Sir resources, to despond under this reverse. • As the Tristrem, supposed to be written by Thomas the old mine gave symptoms of exhaustion,' says BulRhymer, or Thomas of Ercildoune, who flourished wer, “the new mine, ten times more affluent, at least about the year 1280. The antiquarian knowledge in the precious metals, was discovered ; and just as of Scott, and his poetical taste, were exhibited in the in “Rokeby” and “Triermain" the Genius of the dissertations which accompanied this work, and the Ring seemed to flag in its powers, came the more imitation of the original which was added to com- potent Genius of the Lamp in the shape of Waverley.' plete the romance. At length, in January 1805, The long and magnificent series of his prose fictions appeared the Lay of the Last Minstrel
, which in- we shall afterwards advert to. They were poured stantly stamped him as one of the greatest of the forth even more prodigally than his verse, and for living poets. His legendary lore, his love of the seventeen years—from 1814 to 1831—the world chivalrous and supernatural, and his descriptive hung with delight on the varied creations of the powers, were fully brought into play; and though potent enchanter. Scott had now removed from his he afterwards improved in versatility and freedom, pleasant cottage at Ashestiel : the territorial dream he achieved nothing which might not have been was about to be realised. In 1811 he purchased a predicted from this first performance. His concep- hundred acres of moorland on tủie banks of the tion of the minstrel was inimitable, and won all Tweed, near Melrose. The neighbourhood was full hearts-even those who were indifferent to the of historical associations, but the spot itself was supernatural part of the tale, and opposed to the bleak and bare. Four thousand pounds were exirregularity of the ballad style. The unprecedented pended on this purchase; and the interesting and success of the poem inclined Scott to relax any now immortal name of Abbotsford was substituted exertions he had ever made to advance at the bar, for the very ordinary one of Cartley Hole. Other puralthough his cautious disposition made him at all chases of land followed, generally at prices considertimes fear to depend over much upon literature. ably above their value-Kaeside, £4100; Outfield He had altogether a clear income of about £1000 of Toftfield, £6000 ; Toftfield, and parks, £10,000; per annum; but his views stretched beyond this easy Abbotslea, £3000; field at Langside, £500; Shearing competence; he was ambitious of founding a family Flat, £3500 ; Broomilees, £4200; Short Acres and that might vie with the ancient Border names he Scrabtree Park, £700 ; &c. From these farms and venerated, and to attain this, it was necessary to pendicles was formed the estate of Abbotsford. In beconie a landed proprietor, and to practise a liberal | planting and draining, about £5000 were expended; and graceful hospitality. Well was he fitted to adorn and in erecting the mansion-house (that romance and dignify the character! But his ambition, though of stone and mortar,' as it has been termed), and confree from any tinge of sordid acquisition, proved a structing the garden, &c., a sum not less than snare for his strong good sense and penetration. £20,000 was spent. In bis baronial residence the poet Scott and his family had gone to reside at Ashestiel, received innumerable visitors-princes, peers, and a beautiful residence on the banks of the Tweed, poets-men of all ranks and grades. His mornings as it was necessary for him, in his capacity of sheriff, were devoted to composition (for he had long practo live part of the year the county of Selkirk. tised the invaluable habit early rising), and the Shortly after the publication of the Lay, he entered rest of the day to riding among his plantations, and into partnership with his old schoolfellow, James entertaining his guests and family. The honour of Ballantyne, then rising into extensive business as a the baronetcy was conferred upon him in 1820 by George IV., who had taste enough to appreciate cumulating, the princely hospitalities of Abbotsford cordially his genius. Never, certainly, had literature knew no check or pause. Heavy was the day of done more for any of its countless votaries, ancient reckoning-terrible the reverse ; for when the spell or modern. Shakspeare had retired early on an broke in January 1826, it was found that, including easy competency, and also become a rural squire ; the Constable engagements, Scott, under the combut his gains must have been chiefly those of the mercial denomination of James Ballantyne and Co., theatrical manager, not of the poet. Scott's splen- owed £117,000. If this was a blot in the poet's dour was purely the result of his pen : to this he scutcheon, never, it might be said, did man make owed his acres, his castle, and his means of hospi- nobler efforts to redeem the honour of his name. tality. His official income was but as a feather in He would listen to no overtures of composition with the balance. Who does not wish that the dream his creditors—his only demand was for time. He had continued to the end of his life? It was sud- ceased doing the honours for all Scotland,' sold off denly and painfully dissolved. The commercial his Edinburgh house, and taking lodgings there, distresses of 1825–6 fell upon publishers as on other laboured incessantly at his literary tasks. "The classes, and the bankruptcy of Constable involved fountain was awakened from its inmost recesses, the poet in losses and engagements to the amount as if the spirit of affliction had troubled it in his of about £60,000. His wealth, indeed, had been passage.' In four years he had realised for his almost wholly illusory; for he had been paid for his creditors no less than £70,000. works chiefly by bills, and these ultimately proved English literature presents two memorable and valueless. In the management of his publish- striking events which have never been paralleled in ing house, Scott's sagacity seems to have for any other nation. The first is, Milton advanced in saken him: unsaleable works were printed in years, blind, and in misfortune, entering upon the thousands; and while these losses were yearly ac- l composition of a great epic that was to determine
Abbotsford. his future fame, and hazard the glory of his country | bad liberally rewarded their illustrious favourite. in competition with what had been achieved in the The ultimate prize was within view, and the world classic ages of antiquity. The counterpart to this cheered him on, eagerly anticipating his triumph ; noble picture is Walter Scott, at nearly the same but the victor sank exhausted on the course. He age, his private affairs in ruin, undertaking to liqui- had spent his life in the struggle. The strong man date, by intellectual labours alone, a debt of £117,000. was bowed down, and his living honour, genius, and Both tasks may be classed with the moral sublime integrity, were extinguished by delirium and death. of life. Glory, pure and unsullied, was the ruling In February 1830 Scott had an attack of paralysis. aim and motive of Milton; honour and integrity He continued, however, to write several hours every formed the incentives to Scott. Neither shrunk day. In April 1831 he suffered a still more severe from the steady prosecution of his gigantic self-im- attack; and he was prevailed upon, as a means of posed labour. But years rolled on, seasons returned withdrawing him from mental labour, to undertake and passed away, amidst public cares and private a foreign tour. The admiralty furnished a ship of calamity, and the pressure of increasing infirmities, war, and the poet sailed for Malta and Naples. At ere the seed sown amidst clouds and storms was the latter place he resided from the 17th of Decemwhite in the field. In six years Milton had realised ber 1831 to the 16th of April following. He still the object of his hopes and prayers by the comple- laboured at unfinished romances, but his mind was tion of Paradise Lost. His task was done; the in ruins. From Naples the poet went to Rome. field of glory was gained; he held in his hand his On the 11th of May he began his return homewards, passport to immortality. In six years Scott had and reached London on the 13th of June. Another nearly reached the goal of his ambition. He had attack of apoplexy, combined with paralysis, had ranged the wide fields of romance, and the public I laid prostrate his powers, and he was conveyed to