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• Vipont.

As the strong castle and the ancient blazon,-
Where private vengeance holds the scales of justice,
Weighing each drop of blood as scrupulously,
As Jews or Lombards balance silver pence,
Not in this land, 'twixt Solway and Saint Abb's,
Rages a bitterer feud than mine and theirs,
The Swinton and the Gordon,'

The conflict of feelings in young Gordon's breast, after the first burst of passion had subsided, is finely imagined. What band is yonder;

Arranged as closely as the English discipline
Had marshalled their best files?

Know'st thou not the pennon
One day, perhaps, thou'lt see it all too closely.
It is Sir Alan Swinton's.

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• Gordon. These, then, are his, the relics of his power;
Yet worth an host of ordinary men.
And I must slay my country's sagest leader,
And crush by numbers that determined handful,
When most my country needs their practised aid,
Or men will say, "There goes degenerate Gordon;
"His father's blood is on the Swinton's sword,
"And his is in the scabbard !” ›

We confess we do not much admire the undignified talk put into the mouths of King Edward, Chandos, and the Abbot of Walthamstow. We should have thought that the Author could have drawn from Froissart materials for a far more spirited and illustrative scene: it has the grossness without the point of humour, and is far too sketchy and unfinished.

In the next scene, Swinton, Gordon, and de Vipont enter, as victorious over the English vanguard.

Swinton. De Vipont, thou look'st sad.

Vipont. It is because I hold a Templar's sword
Wet to the crossed hilt with Christian blood.
'Swinton. The blood of English archers--what can gild
A Scottish blade more bravely?

Vipont. E'en therefore grieve I for those gallant yeomen,
England's peculiar and appropriate sons,

Known in no other land. Each boasts his hearth:
And field as free as the best lord his barony,
Owing subjection to no human vassalage

Save to their king and law. Hence are they resolute,
Leading the van on every day of battle,
As men who know the blessings they defend.
Hence are they frank and generous in peace,
As men who have their portion in its plenty.


No other kingdom shews such worth and happiness,
Veil'd in such low estate-therefore I mourn them.
Swinton. I'll keep my sorrow for our native Scots,

Who, spite of hardship, poverty, oppression,
Still follow to the field their Chieftain's banner,
And die in the defence on't.

• Gordon. And if I live to see my halls again,

They shall have portion in the good they fight for.
Each hardy follower shall have his field,

His household hearth and sod-built home, as free
As ever Southron had. They shall be happy !-
And my Elizabeth shall smile to see it!

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Overpowered by the main body of the English, the aged chief and the young hero re-enter, both mortally wounded. Swinton. All are cut down-the reapers have pass'd o'er us, And hie to distant harvest. My toil's over;


There lies my sickle. (dropping his sword) Hand of mine again

Shall never, never wield it!

: Gordon. O valiant leader, is thy light extinguished! That only beacon-flame which promised safety In this day's deadly wrack!

Swinton. My lamp hath long been dim. But thine, young Gordon,
Just kindled, to be quenched so suddenly,
Ere Scotland saw its splendour!

Gordon. Five thousand horse hung idly on yon hill,

Saw us o'erpowered, and no one stirred to aid us!
Swinton. It was the Regent's envy-Out! Alas!

Why blame I him?-It was our civil discord,
Our selfish vanity, our jealous hatred,

Which framed this day of dole for our poor country.
Had thy brave father held yon leading staff,
As well his rank and valour might have claimed it,
We had not fallen unaided. How, O how
Is he to answer for it whose deed prevented?
Gordon. Alas! alas! the author of the death-feud,
He has his reckoning too! for had your sons
And numerous vassals lived, we had lacked no aid.
'Swinton. May God assoil the dead, and him who follows!
We've drank the poisoned beverage which we brewed;
Have sown the wind, and reaped the tenfold whirlwind !-
But thou, brave youth, whose nobleness of heart
Poured oil upon the wounds our hate inflicted,-
Thou, who hast done no wrong, need'st no forgiveness,
Why should'st thou share our punishment!

• Gordon. All need forgiveness.-Hark! in yonder shout Did the main battles counter!


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Swinton. Look on the field, brave Gordon, if thou can'st, And tell me how the day goes. But I guess, Too surely do I guess.

'Gordon. All's lost! All's lost! Of the main Scottish host,
Some wildly fly, and some rush wildly forward;
And some there are, who seem to turn their spears
Against their countrymen,

Swinton. Rashness, and cowardice, and secret treason
Combine to ruin us; and our hot valour,
Devoid of discipline, is madmen's strength,
More fatal unto friends than enemies!

I'm glad that these dim eyes shall see no more on't.-
Let thy hand close them, Gordon-I will think
My fair-hair'd William renders me that office! [dies.

This is a sketch,' but it is from the hand of a master; and there is a chasteness and simplicity in the poetry, such as are displayed in our ancient ballads, which might have suffered from elaboration. The marks of rapidity and carelessness are obvious. Simon de Vipont is christened Adam in the dramatis persona. The first line of the poem is disfigured by a jingle of words almost as bad as a pun- No farther, Father;'-and • Baron's banner' offends the ear in the next line but two. But we cannot open a work of the Author's, without detecting simi-' lar instances of utter disinclination to the irksome and humiliating process of revision. There is, perhaps, some pride in this indolence: he presumes on his opulence in going slovenly. But we can easily conceive that much of the spirit of the composition arises from its being struck off while the mind is yet warm with its own conceptions. Shakspeare, doubtless, wrote rapidly. The great difference between him and our Author, is, that he thought more deeply, and drew' more from the profound and astonishing stores of his own mind-a mind not more observant than contemplative, and possessed of a native grandeur which found in the sublimest regions of thought its element. But, to compare Sir Walter with his peers, what living poet could have written Halidon Hill? Not the Author of Sardanapalus, with all his pomp of diction and all his splendour of declamation. Long before his " Lordship had tried his hand at dramas and mysteries, we ventured the opinion* that he had not that creative faculty which can give to airy nothings a personality abstract and distinct,

Eclectic Review, N. S. Vol. VII. p. 297.

as it were, from himself. All his characters are the children of his feelings, and we may trace them by their family like ness to himself. The Giaour, Conrad, Manfred, Harold, Ma zeppa, the Doge, Cain, Satan,-compare their portraitsamid all these transformations, it is Matthews still. He has not been able to go out of himself in a single instance. He can describe most exquisitely, declaim most eloquently; he can throw himself into any attitude, any imaginable situation. But, till he produces something wholly different in kind from what he has yet done, we still say, with deference to the Edinburgh Reviewers, that he has not the dramatic faculty,-the power of imbodying distinct conceptions of individual character, the spell by which the mighty masters of the art conjure up phantoms who take their place in the ranks of historic realities, seeming to think and speak from themselves, as if they had a being independent of the charm which raised them. When we hear Lear, or Richard, or Wolsey speak in Shakspeare, who thinks of the poet-who doubts that they did so talk and act? And so, in this poem of Scott's, the Swinton and the Gordon-they are living, tangible men, with voices and characters of their own, and they go to swell the ideal population of the mind. This is the test of the poet, epic or dramatic, who aspires to the palm of invention, who would become the historian, the biographer of persons and things which never were till he gave them being; and it is this wonderful talent which raises the Author of Waverley to the emi-nence he occupies, as either the first poet of his age or something greater.

Mr. Cunningham will now understand what we meant by expressing the opinion, that his forte is the lyrical, rather than the dramatic; an opinion not meant in disparagement of the high abilities which he undoubtedly possesses, and for which, with the Author of Waverley on his side, he will not, probably much concern himself. From that high authority, however, we must venture to dissent, when he says, that he might himself have written Sir Marmaduke Maxwell. What he would have written, might have been not less faulty, not less improbable, might even have been less poetic, less beautiful in parts; but it would have been a thing wholly different in kind. We should not know either Sir Marmaduke or Halbert Comyne again, were we to meet them. But Meg Merrilies, or her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Dalgetty or Tony Forster, Jeanie Deans or Catherine Seaton, Moniplies or King James-we should recognise them any where. Achilles and Hector, the pious Eneas and Godfrey de Bouillon, Falstaff and King Richard, have not a more veritable existence than they. Mr.

Canningham has a romantic mind, a poet's eye and a poet's heart. His productions are replete with taste and feeling. He has written a beautiful poem, but it wants the higher qualities of the drama. Yet, there are bursts of talent and passion in it, which promise still better things.

One word of advice, however, to our young Bard, if he will listen to us as his friend, There are passages in his poetry which we should not choose to transcribe into our pages. He may think us fastidious, but it is a fastidious age, and he will find it his best policy to conform to it. We do not accuse him of writing with impure feelings, nor do we charge on his poem an immoral tendency. He is from the North, where the chaste blood is kept from running riot by the mountain breeze. But his language is sometimes too warm for Southron readers. Let him look to Sir Walter Scott, not to Leigh Hunt, as his model in this respect. Scott and the Author of Waverley sometimes descend to what is gross and even disgusting in the delineation of character and in language ; but we do not recollect a passage in the poems of the one or the novels of the other, which is adapted to minister excitement to the passion which least of all needs excitement, or to leave a stain on a virgin mind. They seem the productions of a man who feels as a husband and a father, --relations which supply an argument for purity of language and high-toned delicacy of feeling, far more effective and powerful than any abstract reasonings, bụt fully intelligible only to him who sustains them. Grossness may offend ;--and we do not mean to justify the disgusting grossness which, on the pretence of being true to nature, or for the sake of the humour with which it is blended, has found its way into the pages of the great Novelist; for instance, in the Pirate and in other works. But grossness is a dirt which leaves no stain that will not wash out. The grosser meaning which hints itself in well-bred or elegant words, is a thousand times more dangerous : it is a viewless taint, but it changes the colour of the thoughts on which it is cast. There are but a line or two in Sir Marmaduķe Maxwell, it is true, to which we can strongly object; but these few lines may be spared. There is also an occasional making free with words of solemn import, from which Mr. Cunningham must also learn to refrain, although at the risk of being thought prudish by some of his fellow writers in the London Magazine, if he wishes to secure an honourable and permanent popularity.

But we must fulfil our promise of giving some specimens of his songs. The following will make our readers forget all that we have been şaying.

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