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which lead the reader along from page to page unconsciously, and lend to truth all the charm of fiction.
Mr. Prescott was a man of most amiable character and engaging manners, and greatly beloved by all who knew him.
The following extract is from an article in the “North American Review.”
Take it for all and all, it is not too much to say that the character of Sir Walter Scott is probably the most remarkable on record. There is no man of historica..
celebrity that we now recall, who combined, in so eminent 5 a degree, the highest qualities of the moral, the intellect
ual, and the physical. He united in his own character what hitherto had been found incompatible. Though a poet, and living in an ideal world, he was an exact, me
thodical man of business ; though achieving with the most 10 wonderful facility of genius, he was patient and laborious;
a mousing antiquarian, yet with the most active interest in the present and whatever was going on around him; with a strong turn for a roving life and military adventure,
he was yet chained to his desk more hours, at some periods 15 of his life, than a monkish recluse; a man with a heart
as capacious as his head; a Tory, brimful of Jacobitism, yet full of sympathy and unaffected familiarity with all classes, even the humblest; a successful author, without
pedantry and without conceit; one, indeed, at the head of 20 the republic of letters, and yet with a lower estimate of
letters, as compared with other intellectual pursuits, than was ever hazarded before.
The first quality of his character, or, rather, that which forms the basis of it, as of all great characters, was his 25 energy. We see it, in his early youth, triumphing over
the impediments of nature, and, in spite of lameness, making him conspicuous in every sort of athletic exercise - clambering up dizzy precipices, wading through trcach
erous fords, and performing feats of pedestrianism that 20 make one's joints ache to read of. As he advanced in life, we see the same force of purpose turned to higher objects.
We see the same powerful energies triumphing over
disease at a later period, when nothing but a resolution to get the better of it enabled him to do so. “Be assured,” he remarked to Mr. Gillies, “ that if pain could have
prevented my application to literary labor, not a page of 5 Ivanhoe would have been written. Now if I had given
way to mere feelings, and had ceased to work, it is a question whether the disorder might not have taken a deeper root, and become incurable.”
Another quality, which, like the last, seems to have 10 given the tone to his character, was his social or benevolent
feelings. His heart was an unfailing fountain, which not merely the distresses, but the joys of his fellow-creatures made to flow like water.
Rarely indeed is this precious quality found united with 15 the most exalted intellect. Whether it be that Nature,
chary of her gifts, does not care to shower too many of them on one head; or that the public admiration has led the man of intellect to set too high a value on himself, or
at least his own pursuits, to take an interest in the infc20 rior concerns of others; or that the fear of compromising
his dignity puts him “on points” with those who approach him; or whether, in truth, the very magnitude of his own reputation throws a freezing shadow over us little people
in his neighborhood — whatever be the cause, it is too 25 true that the highest powers of mind are very often de
ficient in the only one which can make the rest of much worth in society — the power of pleasing.
Scott was not one of these little great. His was not one of those dark-lantern visages which concentrate all 30 their light on their own path, and are black as midnight
to all about them. He had a ready sympathy, a word of contagious kindness or cordial greeting for all. His manners, too, were of a kind to dispel the icy reserve and awe
which his great name was calculated to inspire. 35 He relished a good joke; from whatever quarter it came,
and was not over-dainty in his manner of testifying his
satisfaction. “In the full tide of anirth, he did indeed laugh the heart's laugh,” says Vir. Adolphus. “Give me an honest laugher,” said Scott himself on another occa
sion, when a buckram man of fashion had been paying 5 him a visit at Abbotsford.
His manners, free from affectation or artifice of any sort, exbibited the spontaneous movements of a kind disposition, subject to those rules of good breeding which Nature
herself might have dictated. In this way he answered his 10 own purpose admirably as a painter of character, by put
ting every man in good humor with himself, in the same manner as a cunning portrait-painter amuses his sitters with such store of fun and anecdote as may throw them
off their guard, and call out the happiest expressions of 15 their countenances.
The place where his benevolent impulses found their proper theatre for expansion was his own home; surrounded by a happy family, and dispensing all the hospi
talities of a great feudal proprietor. “There are many 20 good things in life,” he says, in one of his letters, “what
ever satirists and misanthropes may say to the contrary; but probably the best of all, next to a conscience void of offence, (without which, by-the-by, they can hardly exist,)
are the quiet exercise and enjoyment of the social feelings, 25 in which we are at once happy ourselves, and the cause of happiness to them who are dearest to us.”
Every page of the work, almost, shows us how intimately he blended himself with the pleasures and the pursuits of
his own family, watched over the education of his chil30 dren, shared in their rides, their rambles, and sports,
losing no opportunity of kindling in their young minds a love of virtue, and honorable principles of action.
But Scott's sympathies were not confined to his species, and if he treated them like blood relations, he treated his 35 brute followers like personal friends. Every one remem
bers old Maida and faithful Camp, the “ dear old friend,”
whose loss cost him a dinner. Mr. Gillies tells us that he went into his study on one occasion, when he was winding off his “ Vision of Don Roderick.” “. Look here,' said the
poet, “I have just begun to copy over the rhymes that you 5 heard to-day and applauded so much. Return to supper
if you can; only don't be late, as you perceive we keep early hours, and Wallace will not suffer me to rest after six in the morning. Come, good dog, and help the poet.'
“At this hint, Wallace seated himself upright on a 10 chair next his master, who offered him a newspaper, which
he directly seized, looking very wise, and holding it firmly and contently in his mouth. Scott looked at him with great satisfaction, for he was excessively fond of dogs.
• Very well,' said he; now we shall get on.' And so I 15 left them abruptly, knowing that my absence would be
the best company.'"
XX. — THE BATTLE OF FLODDEN FIELD.
SIR WALTER SCOTT. The following extract from “Marmion” describes the battle of Flodden Field, or Flodden, ir, which the English, under the Earl of Surrey, defeated, with great slaughter, the Scotch, under their king, James IV., September 9, 1513. Flodden Hill, an offshoot of the Cheviot range, is in the county of Northumberland, in England, a few miles from the town of Coldstream. Marmion, an imaginary personage, is an English nobleman of bad character. Blount and Fitz Eustace are his squires. Lady Clare is an English heiress, for whose hand Marmion had been an unsuccessful suitor, and whose lover, Wilton, now fighting on the English side, he had attempted to ruin, but failed. Jeffrey, in his review of “Marmion,” in the “ Edinburgh Review,” says:--01 all the poetical battles which have been fought, from the days of Homer to those of Mr. Southey, there is none, in our opinion, at all comparable, for interest and animation, for breadth of drawing, and magnificence of effect, with this.”]
BLOUNT and Fitz Eustace rested still
* Pronounced Blönt or Blúnt.
The cry they heard, its meaning knew,
“ Unworthy office here to stay ! 5 No hope of gilded spurs to-day. —
But see! look up-on Flodden bent
And sudden, as he spoke, From the sharp ridges of the hill, 10 All downward to the banks of Till,
Was wreathed in sable smoke.
As down the hill they broke ; 15 Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone,
Announced their march ; their tread alone,
At times a stifled hum, Told England, from his mountain-throne 20 King James did rushing come. —
Scarce could they hear or see their foes,
With sword-sway, and with lance's thrust; 25 And such a yell was there,
Of sudden and portentous birth,
And fiends in upper air ;
And triumph and despair.
*That is, no hope of being advanced to the dignity of knighthood, of which Uded spurs were the badge,