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the time of my visit he inclined to the comic and presented them in a thousand whimrather than the grave, in his anecdotes and sical and characteristic lights, but the kindstories; and such, I was told, was his gen-ness and generosity of his nature would not eral inclination. He relished a joke, or a allow him to be a satirist. I do not recollect trait of humour in social intercourse, and a sneer throughout his conversation any laughed with right good will. He talked more than there is throughout his works. not for effect, nor display, but from the flow Such is a rough sketch of Scott as I saw of his spirits, the stores of his memory, and him in private life, not merely at the time the vigour of his imagination. Ile had a of the visit here narrated, but in the casual natural turn for narration, and his narra- intercourse of subsequent years. Of his tives and descriptions were without effort, public character and merits all the world can yet wonderfully graphic. He placed the judge. His works have incorporated themscene before you like a picture; he gave the selves with the thoughts and concerns of dialogue with the appropriate dialect or the whole civilized world for a quarter of a peculiarities, and described the appearance century, and have had a controlling influence and characters of his personages with that over the age in which he lived. But when spirit and felicity evinced in his writings. did a human being ever exercise an influIndeed, his conversation reminded me con- ence more salutary and benignant? Who tinually of his novels; and it seemed to me, is there that, on looking back over a great that during the whole time I was with him, he portion of his life, does not find the genius talked enough to fill volumes, and that they of Scott administering to his pleasures, becould not have been filled more delightfully. guiling his cares, and soothing his lonely
He was as good a listener as talker, ap- sorrows ? Who does not still regard his preciating every thing that others said, how- works as a treasury of pure enjoyment, an ever humble might be their rank or preten- armoury to which to resort in time of need, sions, and was quick to testify his perception to find weapons with which to fight off the of any point in their discourse. ` lle arro- evils and the griefs of life? For my own gated nothing to himself, but was perfectly part, in periods of dejection I have hailed unassuming and unpretending, entering the announcement of a new work from his with heart and soul into the business, or pen as an earnest of certain pleasure in store pleasure, or, I had alınost said, folly of the for me, and have looked forward to it as a hour and the company. No one's concerns, traveller in a waste looks to a green spot at no one's thoughts, no one's opinions, no a distance, where he feels assured of solace one's tastes and pleasures seemed beneath and refreshment. When I consider how him. He made himself so thoroughly the much he has thus contributed to the better companion of those with whom he happened hours of my past existence, and how indeto be, that they forgot for a time his vast pendent his works still make me, at times, superiority, and only recollected and won of all the world for my enjoyment, I bless dered, when all was over, that it was Scott my stars that cast my lot in his days, to be with whom they had been on such familiar thus cheered and gladdened by the outpourterms, and in whose society they had felt so ings of his genius. I consider it one of the perfectly at their ease.
greatest advantages that I have derived from It was delightful to observe the generous my literary career, that it has elevated me spirit in which he spoke of all his literary into genial communion with such a spirit; contemporaries, quoting the beauties of their and as a tribute of gratitude for his friendworks, and this, too, with respect to persons ship, and veneration for his memory, I cast with whom he might have been supposed to this humble stone upon his cairn, which will be at variance in literature or politics. Jef- soon, I trust, be piled aloft with the contrifrey. it was thought, had ruffled his plumes butions of abler hands. in one of his reviews, yet Scott spoke of The Crayon Miscellany. bim in terms of high and warm eulogy, both as an author and as a man.
Irving's Last INTERVIEW WITI Scort. Ilis humour in conversation, as in his works, was genial and free from all caus- It was at Sunnyside, on a glorious afternoon ticity. He had a quick perception of faults in June, 1855, that surrounded by scenery and foibles, but he looked upon poor human which Irving has best described, he narrated nature with an indulgent' eye, relishing to me (S. Austin Allibone) the following what was good and pleasant, tolerating account of his last interview with Scott: what was frail, and pitying what was evil. “I was in London when Scott arrived after It is this beneficent spirit which gives such his attack of paralysis, on his way to the an air of bonhommie to Scott's humour continent in search of health. I received a throughout all his works. He played with note from Lockhart, begging me to come the foibles and errors of his fellow-beings, and take dinner with Scott and himself the
next day. When I entered the room, Scott 1819, 12mo; Foliage: Poems, 1818, 12mo; grasped my hand, and looked me steadfastly The Indicator, 100 numbers, 1819–21, 2 in the face. • Time has dealt gently with vols. med. 8vo; Amyntas, a Tale of the you, my friend, since we parted,' he ex- Woods, from the Italian of Tasso, 1820, claimed :-he referred to the difference in 12mo; Indicator and Companion, 1822, 2 himself since we bad met. At dinner, I vols. post 8vo, 1834, 2 vols, post 8vo, 1810, could see that Scott's mind was failing. Ile roy. 8vo, with The Seer, 1842, roy. 8vo, 1848, was painfully conscious of it himself. He roy. 8vo; The Liberal (with Byron, Hazlitt, would talk with much animation, and we and Shelley), 1822, 4 pts., 8vo; The Litwould listen with the most respectful atten- erary Examiner, 26 numbers, 1823, med. 8vo; tion ; but there was an effort and an em- Blue Stocking Revels, n. d., 12.no; Literary barrassment in his manner: he knew all Pocket-Book, n. d., 12mo; Ilero and Leander, was not right. It was very distressing, and n. d. ; Bacchus in Tuscany, translated from we [Irving, Lockhart, and Anne Scott] tried the Italian, n. d., 12mo; Months Descriptive to keep up the conversation between our of the Year, n. d., 12mo; Ultra-Crepidarius: selves, that Sir Walter might talk as little a Satire on William Gifford ; Recollections as possible. After dinner he took my arm of Lord Byron and some of his Contemto walk up-stairs, which he did with diffi- poraries, etc., 1828, 4to, 2d edit., 1828, 2 culty. He turned and looked in my face, vols. 8vo; The Tatler, 1831–32Poetical and said, " They need not tell a man his Works, 1832, 8vo, 1833, 8vo, 1844, 3:2mo; mind is not affected when his body is as Sir Ralph Esher, a Romance, 1832, 3 vols. much impaired as mine.' This was my post 8vo, 1836, 12mo, 1850, post 8vo; London last interview with Scott. I heard after- Journal, 1834-35, 2 vols. fol. ; Captain Sword wards that he was better; but I never saw and Captain Penn, a Poem, 1839, fp. 8vo, him again.”
3d edit., 1849, 12mo; A Legend of Florence, Two years later (in 1857), in narrating a Play, 1840, 8vo; The Seer, or Common the same event, Irving told me that as Scott Places Refreshed, 1840-41, 2 pts., 8vo, 1848, passed up the stairs with him after dinner, he med. 8vo, with The Indicator and Companion, remarked, “ Times are sadly changed since 1842, roy. 8vo, 1848, roy. 8vo; The Palfrey, we walked up the Eildon hills together." a Love Story of Old Times, a Poem, 1842, Allibone's Critical Dictionary of English 8vo; One Hundred Romances of Real Life,
Literature and British and American a Selection, 1843, roy. 8vo; Imagination and
Illustrative of these First Requisites of their
edit., 1852, cr. Svo: Christianism [18-16), JAMES HENRY LEIGH HUNT, 12mo: A Manual of Domestic Devotions:
Printed only for private circulation : Stories the son of the Rev. Isaac IIunt and Miss from the Italian Poets, with Lives of the Mary Shewell, the daughter of Stephen Writers, 1846, 2 vols. post 8vo, 1854, 2 vols. Shewell, a merchant of Philadelphia, was post 8vo; Wit and Humour, Selected from born 1784, and after a life of great literary ac- the English Poets, etc., 1846, post 8vo. 1852. tivity, accompanied with pecuniary troubles, post 8vo; A Jar of Iloney from Mount IIybla, died at Putney, England, 1859. See (Lon- | 1847, post 8vo, 1852, 12mo; Men, Women, don) Gentleman's Magazine, Oct. 1859, 425 and Books: Sketches, Essays, and Critical (Obituary), bis Autobiography and Remi- Memoirs (from his uncollected prose wriniscences, 1850, 3 vols. post 8vo, and The tings], 1847, 2 vols. post 8vo, 1852, 2 vols. Correspondence of Leigh Hunt, Edited by post 8vo; The Town, its Character and his Eldest Son [Thornton Ilunt], Lond., Events, 1848, 2 vols. post 8vo; A Book for 1862, 2 vols. 12mo. Works: Juvenilla, or, a Corner: Selections in Prose and Verse, A Collection of Poems Written between the 1849, 2 vols. 12mo, 2d edit., 1851, post 8vo, Ages of Twelve and Sixteen, 1801, 12.0, 3d edit., 1858, post 8vo; Autobiography and 2d edit., 1802 ; Critical Essays on the Per- Reminiscences, 1850, 3 vols. post 8vo, 1852, formers of the London Theatres, etc., Lond., 3 vols. post 8vo; Reading for Railways, 1807, 12mo, 21 edit., 1808, 12mo; Methodism, 1850, 12mo; Table-Talk, Imaginary Conver1809, 8vo; Reformist's Reply to the Edin- sations of Pope and Swift, 1850, post sro, burgh Review, 1810, 8vo; The Reflector, 1852, post 8vo; Religion of the Ileart: A Nos. 1-4, 1810; Reply on the Attorney- Manual of Faith and Duty, 1853, fp. &ro; Generalis' Information, 1812; Classic Tales, The Old Court Suburb, 1855, 2 vols. er. 8vo; 1813, 5 vols. 12mno ; The Feast of the Poets, Stories in Verse, 1855, 12mo; The Finest etc., 1814, cr. Svo, 2d edit., 1815 : Descent Scenes, Lyrics, and other Beauties, selected of Liberty, a Mask, 1815, 12mo; The Story from Beaumont and Fletcher, etc., with of Rimini, a Poem, 1816, fp. 8vo, 3d edit., | Preface, 1855, post 8vo.
Many of his works have been republished ing and action of the characters, with the in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. speaking of the poet himself, whose utmost Hunt's Complete Poetical Works, Collected address is tased to relate all well for so long and Arranged by Himself, Boston, Ticknor a time, particularly in the passages least & Fields, 1857, 2 vols. 32mo; llunt's Works, sustained by enthusiasm. Whether this New York, Derby & Jackson, 1857, 4 vols. class has included the greatest poet, is 12mo; A Day by the Fire, and other Papers, another question still under trial; for ShakHitherto Uncollected, by Leigh Hunt, Bos- speare perplexes all such verdicts, even ton, Roberts Brothers, 1870, I vol. In 1808 when the claimant is IIomer: though if a he founded The Examiner, and edited it for judgment may be drawn from his early narmany years; he also edited The Monthly ratives (" Venus and Adonis," and " The Repository ; contributed to The News, The Rape of Lucrece"), it is to be doubted Round Table, The True Sun, Edinburgh whether even Shakspeare could have told a Review, and Westminster Review ; edited story like Homer, owing to that incessant The Dramatic Works of Wycherly, Con- activity and superfeetation of thought, a little greve, and Farquhar, with Biographical and less of which may be occasionally desired even Critical Notices, Lond., 1810, roj. 8vo (re- in his plays;-if it were possible, once possessviewed by Lord Macaulay in Edin. Review, ing anything of his, to wish it away. Next Jan. 1841, and in his Essays); and made to Homer and Shakspeare come such narraan admirable translation of the Lutrin of tors as the less universal but intenser Dante; Boileau. See Selections from the Corre- Milton, with his dignified imagination ; the spondence of the Late Macvey Napier, Esq., universal profoundly simple Chaucer; and Lond., 1879, 8vo. Index, 547.
luxuriant remote Spenser,-immortal child “To my taste, the Author of Rimini and Editor
in poetry's most poetic solitudes : then the of the Examiner is among the best and least cor
great second-rate dramatists; unless those rupted of our poetical prose-writers. In his light who are better acquainted with Greek tragedy but well-supported coluinns we find the raciness, the than I am demand a place for them before sharpness, and the sparkling effect of poetry, with Chaucer : then the airy yet robust univerlittle that is extravagant or far-fetched, and no sality of Ariosto; the hearty out-of-door naturgidity or pompous pretension.”—I LITT: Ta
ture of Theocritus, also a universalist; the ble-Talk: On the Prose Style of Poets. “ His prose is gossiping, graceful, and searching,
finest lyrical poets (who only take short and charms many readers.' ALLAN Cunningham? | flights, compared with the narrators); the Bing. and Crit. Hist. of the Lit. of the Last Fifty purely contemplative poets who have more Years, 1833.
thought than feeling; the descriptive, satiriWHAT is Poetry?
cal, didactic, epigrammatic. It is to be
borne in mind, however, that the first poet If a young reader should ask, after all, of an inferior class may be superior to folWhat is the best way of knowing bad poets lowers in the train of a higher one, though from good, the best poets from the next best, the superiority is by no means to be taken and so on ? the answer is, the only and two- for granted: otherwise Pope would be sufold way: first, the perusal of the best poets perior to Fletcher, and Butler to Pope. Imwith the greatest attention ; and second, the agination, teeming with action and character, cultivation of that love of truth and beauty makes the greatest poets ; feeling and thought which made them what they are. Every the next; fancy (by itself) the next; wit the true reader of poetry partakes a more than last. Thought by itself makes no poet at all: ordinary portion of the poetic nature; and for the mere conclusions of the understandno one can be completely such who does not ing can at best be only so many intellectual love, or take an interest in, everything that matters of fact. Feeling, even destitute of interests the poet, from the firmament to the conscious thought, stands a far better poetdaisy,—from the highest heart of man to ical chance; feeling being a sort of thought the most pitiable of the low. It is a good without the process of thinking,-a grasper practice to read with pen in hand, marking of the truth without seeing it. And what what is liked or doubted. It rivets the is very remarkable, feeling seldom makes attention, realizes the greatest amount of the blunders that thought does. An idle enjoyment, and facilitates reference. It en- distinction has been made between tasto ables the reader also, from time to time, to and judgment. Taste is the very maker of see what progress he makes with his own judgment. Put an artificial fruit in your mind, and how it grows up to the stature of mouth, or only handle it, and you will its exalter.
soon perceive the difference between judging If the same person should ask, What class from taste or tact, and judging from the of poetry is the highest? I should say un abstract figment called judgment. The latdoubtedly, The Epic; for it includes the ter does but throw you into guesses and drama, with narration besides ; or the speak- doubts. Hence the conceits that astonish us in the gravest and even subtlest thinkers, acteristic of the writer, equally drawn from whose taste is not proportionate to their nature, and substituting a healthy sense of mental perceptions; men like Donne, for enjoyment for intenser emotion. Exclusiveinstance; who, apart from accidental per- ness of liking for this or that mode of truth, sonal impressions, seem to look at nothing only shows, either that the reader's percepas it really is, but only as to what may be tions are limited, or that he would sacrifice thought of it. Hence, on the other hand, truth itself to his favourite form of it. Sir the delightfulness of those poets who never Walter Raleigh, who was as trenchant with violate truth of feeling, whether in things his pen as his sword, hailed the “Faerie real or imaginary ; who are always consistent Queene" of his friend Spenser in verses in with their object and its requirements; and which he said that “ Petrarch" was hencewho run the great round of nature, not to forth to be no more heard of; and that in all perplex and be perplexed, but to make them- English poetry there was nothing he counted selves and us happy. And, luckily, delight of any price” but the effusions of the new fulness is not incompatible with greatness, author. Yet Petrarch is still living ; Chauwilling soever as men may be in their pres- cer was not abolished by Sir Walter; and ent imperfect state to set the power to sub- Shakspeare is thought somewhat valuable. jugate above the power to please.
A botanist might as well have said that myrTruth, of any kind whatsoever, makes tles and oaks were to disappear because great writing. This is the reason why such acacias had come up. It is with the poet's poets as Ariosto, though not writing with a creations as with Nature's, great or small. constant detail of thought and feeling like Wherever truth and beauty, whatever their Dante, are justly considered great as well amount, can be shaped into verse, and answer as delightful. Their greatness proves itself to some demand for it in our hearts, there by the same truth of nature, and sustained poetry is to be found; whether in producpower, though in a different way. Their tions grand and beautiful as some great action is not so crowded and weighty; their event, or some mighty, leafy solitude, or no sphere has more territories less fertile; but | bigger and more pretending than a sweet it has enchantments of its own which excess face or a bunch of violets; whether in lloof thought would spoil, --luxuries, laughing mer's epic or Gray's “ Elegy, in the en. graces, animal spirits; and not to recognize chanted gardens of Ariosto and Spenser, or the beauty and greatness of these, treated as the very pot-herbs of the " Schoolmistress'' they treat them, is simply to be defective in of Shenstone, the balms of the simplicity sympathy. Every planet is not Mars or of a cottage. Not to know and feel this, is Saturn. There is also Venus and Mercury. to be deficient in the universality of Nature There is one genius of the south, and an- herself, who is a poetess on the smallest as other of the north, and others uniting both. well as the largest scale, and who calls upon The reader who is too thoughtless or too sen- us to admire all her productions ; not insitive to like intensity of any sort, and he deed with the same degree of admiration, who is too thoughtful or too dull to like any but with no refusal of it except to defect. thing but the greatest possible stimulus of I cannot draw this essay towards its conreflection or passion, are equally wanting in clusion better than with three memorable complexional fitness for a thorough enjoy- words of Milton, who has said that poetry, ment of books. Ariosto occasionally says in comparison with science, is "simple, senas fine things as Dante, and Spenser as suous, and passionate." By simple, he Shakspeare; but the business of both is to means imperplexed and self-evident; by enjoy ; and in order to partake their enjoy- sensuous, genial and full of imagery; by ment to its full extent, you must feel what passionate, excited and enthusiastic. I am poetry is in the general as well as the par- | aware that different constructions have been ticular, must be aware that there are differ- put on some of these words ; but the context ent songs of the spheres, some fuller of seems to me to necessitate those before us. notes, and others of a sustained delight; I quote, however, not from the original, but and as the former keep you perpetually from an extract in the “Remarks on Paraalive to thought or passion, so from the dise Lost," by Richardson. latter you receive a constant harmonious What the poet has to cultivate above all sense of truth and beauty, more agreeable things is love and truth ; what he has to perhaps on the whole, though less exciting. avoid, like poison, is the fleeting and the Ariosto, for instance, does not tell a story false. He will get no good by proposing to with the brevity and concentrated passion be “in earnest at the moment." Ilis earnof Dante; every sentence is not so full of estness must be innate and habitual; born matter, nor the style so removed from the with him, and felt to be his most precious indifference of prose; yet you are charmed inheritance. "I expect neither profit nor with a truth of another sort, equally char- general fame by my writings," says Cole
ridge, in the Preface to his Poems; "and I magic horse; of the affections that are carryconsider myself as having been amply re- ing, perhaps, half the passengers on their paid without either. Pvetry has been to me journey, nay, of those of the great two-idea'd its own exceeding great reward; it has soothed man; and, beyond this, he discerns the inmy afflictions ; it has multiplied and refined calculable amount of good, and knowledge, my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; and refinement, and mutual consideration and it has given me the habit of wishing to which this wonderful invention is fitted to discover the good and the beautiful in all circulate over the globe, perhaps to the disthat meets and surrounds me.”—Pickering's placement of war itself, and certainly to the edition, p. 10.
diffusion of millions of enjoyments. Poetry," says Shelley,"lifts the veil from " And a button-maker, after all, invented the hidden beauty of the world, and makes it !" cries our friend. Pardon me, it was a familiar objects be as if they were not famils nobleman. A button-maker may be a very iar. It reproduces all that it represents; excellent, and a very poetical man too, and and the impersonations clothed in its Elysian yet not have been the first man visited by a light stand thenceforward in the minds of sense of the gigantic powers of the combinathose who have once contemplated them, as tion of water and fire. It was a nobleman memorials of that gentle and exalted content who first thought of it, a captain who first which extends itself over all thoughts and tried it, and a button-maker who perfected actions with which it co-exists. The great | it. And he who put the nobleman on such secret of morals is love, or a going out of thoughts was the great philosopher Bacon, our own nature, and an identification of who said that poetry had "something divine ourselves with the beautiful which exists in in it," and was necessary to the satisfaction thought, action, or person not our own. A of the human mind. man, to be greatly good, must imagine in- Imagination and Fancy. tensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another, and of many others; the pains and pleasures of his species become his own. The great instrument
JOHN WILSON (“CHRISof inoral good is imagination; and poetry TOPHER NORTH”), adıninisters to the effect by acting upon the cause.': -- Essays and Letters, vol. i. p. 16. born at Paisley, Scotland, 1785, and edu.
I would not willingly say anything after cated at the University of Glasgow and perorations like these ; but as treatises on Magdalene College, Oxford, became a conpoetry may chance to have auditors who tributor to Blackwood's Magazine, with No. think themselves called upon to vindicate 7, October, 1817, and continued his connection the superiority of what is termed useful with this periodical (acting as literary ediknowledge, it may be as well to add, that, tor, whilst Blackwood himself managed the if the poet may be allowed to pique himself business department), writing with more or on any one thing more than other, compared less frequency, until September, 1852, No. with those who undervalue him, it is on that 443, in which appeared his last paper, Dies power of undervaluing nobody, and no at- Boreales, No. x., Christopher under Canvas; tainments different from his own, which is Professor of Moral Philosophy in the Unigiven him by the very faculty of imagina- versity of Edinburgh, 18:20–1852; died 1854. tion which they despise. The greater in- Works: The Isle of Palms, and other Poems, cludes the less. They do not see that their Edin., 1812, 8vo; The City of the Plague, inability to comprehend him argues the and other Poems, Edin., 1816, 8vo, 2d edit., smaller capacity. No man recognizes the 1820, 8vo; Lights and Shadows of Scottish worth of utility more than the poet: he Life, Edin., 1822, p. 8vo, 1839, fp. 8vo, 1814, only desires that the meaning of the term fp. 8vo, 1866, fp. 8vo; The Trials of Margamay not come short of its greatness, and ex- ret Lindsay, Edin., 1823, p. 8vo, 1825, fp. Svo, clude the noblest necessities of his fellow- 1844, fp. 8vo, 1845, fp. 8vo, 1850, fp. Svo, creatures. IIe is quite as much pleased, for 1854, fp. 8vo, 1866, fp. 8vo; The Foresters, instance, with the facilities for rapid convey. Edin., 1825, p. 8vo, 1839, fp. 8vo, 1845, fp. ance afforded him by the railroad, as the 8vo, 1852, fp. 8vo, 1867, fp. 8vo; Poetical dullest confiner of its advantages to that and Dramatic Works, Edin., 1825, 2 vols. single idea, or as the greatest two-idea'd post 8vo; Essay on the Life and Writings man who varies that single idea with hug- of Robert Burns, Glasgow, 1841, 4to ; The ging himself on his “buttons” or his good Critical and Miscellaneous Articles of Chrisdinner. But he sees also the beauty of the topher North, Phila., 1842, 3 vols. 12mo country through which he passes, of the (from Blackwood's Magazine-incoinplete); towns, of the heavens, of the steam-engine Recreations of Christopher North, Edin., itself, thundering and foaming along like a 1842, 3 vols. post Svo (from Blackwood's