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the time of my visit he inclined to the comic rather than the grave, in his anecdotes and stories; and such, I was told, was his general inclination. He relished a joke, or a trait of humour in social intercourse, and laughed with right good will. He talked not for effect, nor display, but from the flow of his spirits, the stores of his memory, and the vigour of his imagination. He had a natural turn for narration, and his narratives and descriptions were without effort, yet wonderfully graphic. He placed the scene before you like a picture; he gave the dialogue with the appropriate dialect or peculiarities, and described the appearance and characters of his personages with that spirit and felicity evinced in his writings. Indeed, his conversation reminded me continually of his novels; and it seemed to me, that during the whole time I was with him, he talked enough to fill volumes, and that they could not have been filled more delightfully. He was as good a listener as talker, appreciating every thing that others said, however humble might be their rank or pretensions, and was quick to testify his perception of any point in their discourse. He arrogated nothing to himself, but was perfectly unassuming and unpretending, entering with heart and soul into the business, or pleasure, or, I had almost said, folly of the hour and the company. No one's concerns, no one's thoughts, no one's opinions, no one's tastes and pleasures seemed beneath him. He made himself so thoroughly the companion of those with whom he happened to be, that they forgot for a time his vast superiority, and only recollected and wondered, when all was over, that it was Scott with whom they had been on such familiar terms, and in whose society they had felt so perfectly at their ease.
It was delightful to observe the generous spirit in which he spoke of all his literary contemporaries, quoting the beauties of their works, and this, too, with respect to persons with whom he might have been supposed to be at variance in literature or politics. Jef frey, it was thought, had ruffled his plumes in one of his reviews, yet Scott spoke of him in terms of high and warm eulogy, both as an author and as a man.
Ilis humour in conversation, as in his works, was genial and free from all causticity. He had a quick perception of faults and foibles, but he looked upon poor human nature with an indulgent eye, relishing what was good and pleasant, tolerating what was frail, and pitying what was evil. It is this beneficent spirit which gives such an air of bonhommie to Scott's humour throughout all his works. He played with the foibles and errors of his fellow-beings,
and presented them in a thousand whimsical and characteristic lights, but the kindness and generosity of his nature would not allow him to be a satirist. I do not recollect a sneer throughout his conversation any more than there is throughout his works.
Such is a rough sketch of Scott as I saw him in private life, not merely at the time of the visit here narrated, but in the casual intercourse of subsequent years. Of his public character and merits all the world can judge. His works have incorporated themselves with the thoughts and concerns of the whole civilized world for a quarter of a century, and have had a controlling influence over the age in which he lived. But when did a human being ever exercise an influence more salutary and benignant? Who is there that, on looking back over a great portion of his life, does not find the genius of Scott administering to his pleasures, beguiling his cares, and soothing his lonely sorrows? Who does not still regard his works as a treasury of pure enjoyment, an armoury to which to resort in time of need, to find weapons with which to fight off the evils and the griefs of life? For my own part, in periods of dejection I have hailed the announcement of a new work from his pen as an earnest of certain pleasure in store for me, and have looked forward to it as a traveller in a waste looks to a green spot at a distance, where he feels assured of solace and refreshment. When I consider how much he has thus contributed to the better hours of my past existence, and how independent his works still make me, at times, of all the world for my enjoyment, I bless my stars that cast my lot in his days, to be thus cheered and gladdened by the outpourings of his genius. I consider it one of the greatest advantages that I have derived from my literary career, that it has elevated me into genial communion with such a spirit; and as a tribute of gratitude for his friendship, and veneration for his memory, I cast this humble stone upon his cairn, which will soon, I trust, be piled aloft with the contributions of abler hands.
The Crayon Miscellany.
IRVING'S LAST INTERVIEW WITH SCOIT.
It was at Sunnyside, on a glorious afternoon in June, 1855, that surrounded by scenery which Irving has best described, he narrated to me (S. Austin Allibone) the following account of his last interview with Scott:
"I was in London when Scott arrived after his attack of paralysis, on his way to the continent in search of health. I received a note from Lockhart, begging me to come and take dinner with Scott and himself the
next day. When I entered the room, Scott grasped my hand, and looked me steadfastly in the face. Time has dealt gently with you, my friend, since we parted,' he exclaimed:-he referred to the difference in himself since we had met. At dinner, I could see that Scott's mind was failing. He was painfully conscious of it himself. He would talk with much animation, and we would listen with the most respectful attention; but there was an effort and an embarrassment in his manner: he knew all was not right. It was very distressing, and we [Irving, Lockhart, and Anne Scott] tried to keep up the conversation between ourselves, that Sir Walter might talk as little as possible. After dinner he took my arm to walk up-stairs, which he did with difficulty. He turned and looked in my face, and said, They need not tell a man his mind is not affected when his body is as much impaired as mine.' This was my last interview with Scott. I heard afterwards that he was better; but I never saw him again."
Two years later (in 1857), in narrating the same event, Irving told me that as Scott passed up the stairs with him after dinner, he remarked, "Times are sadly changed since we walked up the Eildon hills together." Allibone's Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors, ii. 1970: Scott, Sir Walter.
JAMES HENRY LEIGH HUNT, the son of the Rev. Isaac Hunt and Miss Mary Shewell, the daughter of Stephen Shewell, a merchant of Philadelphia, was born 1784, and after a life of great literary activity, accompanied with pecuniary troubles, died at Putney, England, 1859. See (London) Gentleman's Magazine, Oct. 1859, 425 (Obituary), his Autobiography and Reminiscences, 1850, 3 vols. post 8vo, and The Correspondence of Leigh Hunt, Edited by his Eldest Son [Thornton Hunt], Lond., 1862, 2 vols. 12mo. Works: Juvenilla, or, A Collection of Poems Written between the Ages of Twelve and Sixteen, 1801, 12mo, 2d edit., 1802; Critical Essays on the Performers of the London Theatres, etc., Lond., 1807, 12mo, 2d edit., 1808, 12mo; Methodism, 1809, 8vo; Reformist's Reply to the Edinburgh Review, 1810, 8vo; The Reflector, Nos. 1-4, 1810; Reply on the AttorneyGeneral's Information, 1812; Classic Tales, 1813, 5 vols. 12mo; The Feast of the Poets, etc., 1814, cr. 8vo, 2d edit., 1815; Descent of Liberty, a Mask, 1815, 12mo; The Story of Rimini, a Poem, 1816, fp. 8vo, 3d edit.,
1819, 12mo; Foliage: Poems, 1818, 12mo; The Indicator, 100 numbers, 1819-21, 2 vols. med. 8vo; Amyntas, a Tale of the Woods, from the Italian of Tasso, 1820, 12mo; Indicator and Companion, 1822, 2 vols. post 8vo, 1834, 2 vols. post 8vo, 1840, roy. 8vo, with The Seer, 1842, roy. 8vo, 1848, roy. 8vo; The Liberal [with Byron, Hazlitt, and Shelley], 1822, 4 pts., 8vo; The Literary Examiner, 26 numbers, 1823, med. 8vo; Blue Stocking Revels, n. d., 12mo; Literary Pocket-Book, n. d., 12mo; Hero and Leander, n. d.; Bacchus in Tuscany, translated from the Italian, n. d., 12mo; Months Descriptive of the Year, n. d., 12mo; Ultra-Crepidarius: a Satire on William Gifford; Recollections of Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries, etc., 1828, 4to, 2d edit., 1828, 2 vols. 8vo; The Tatler, 1831-32: Poetical Works, 1832, 8vo, 1833, 8vo, 1844, 32mo; Sir Ralph Esher, a Romance, 1832, 3 vols. post 8vo, 1836, 12mo, 1850, post 8vo; London Journal, 1834-35, 2 vols. fol. ; Captain Sword and Captain Penn, a Poem, 1839, fp. 8vo. 3d edit., 1849, 12mo; A Legend of Florence, a Play, 1840, 8vo; The Seer, or Common Places Refreshed, 1840-41, 2 pts., 8vo, 1848, med. 8vo, with The Indicator and Companion, 1842, roy. 8vo, 1848, roy. 8vo; The Palfrey, a Love Story of Old Times, a Poem, 1842, 8vo; One Hundred Romances of Real Life, a Selection, 1843, roy. 8vo; Imagination and Fancy, or Selections from the English Poets, Illustrative of these First Requisites of their Art, 1844, 8vo, 2d edit., 1845, post 8vo. 3d edit., 1852, cr. Svo; Christianism , 12mo: A Manual of Domestic Devotions: Printed only for private circulation: Stories from the Italian Poets, with Lives of the Writers, 1846, 2 vols. post 8vo, 1854, 2 vols. post 8vo; Wit and Humour, Selected from the English Poets, etc., 1846, post 8vo. 1852. post 8vo; A Jar of Honey from Mount Hybla, 1847, post 8vo, 1852, 12mo; Men, Women, and Books: Sketches, Essays, and Critical Memoirs [from his uncollected prose writings], 1847, 2 vols. post 8vo, 1852, 2 vols. post 8vo; The Town, its Character and Events, 1848, 2 vols. post 8vo; A Book for a Corner: Selections in Prose and Verse, 1849, 2 vols. 12mo, 2d edit., 1851, post 8vo, 3d edit., 1858, post 8vo; Autobiography and Reminiscences, 1850, 3 vols. post 8vo, 1852, 3 vols. post 8vo; Reading for Railways, 1850, 12mo; Table-Talk, Imaginary Conver sations of Pope and Swift, 1850, post 8vo, 1852, post 8vo; Religion of the Heart: A Manual of Faith and Duty, 1853, fp. 8vo; The Old Court Suburb, 1855, 2 vols. cr. 8vo; Stories in Verse, 1855, 12mo; The Finest Scenes, Lyrics, and other Beauties, selected from Beaumont and Fletcher, etc., with Preface, 1855, post 8vo.
Many of his works have been republished in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. Hunt's Complete Poetical Works, Collected and Arranged by Himself, Boston, Ticknor & Fields, 1857, 2 vols. 32mo; Hunt's Works, New York, Derby & Jackson, 1857, 4 vols. 12mo; A Day by the Fire, and other Papers, Hitherto Uncollected, by Leigh Hunt, Boston, Roberts Brothers, 1870, I vol. In 1808 he founded The Examiner, and edited it for many years; he also edited The Monthly Repository; contributed to The News, The Round Table, The True Sun, Edinburgh Review, and Westminster Review; edited The Dramatic Works of Wycherly, Congreve, and Farquhar, with Biographical and Critical Notices, Lond., 1840, roy. 8vo (reviewed by Lord Macaulay in Edin. Review, Jan. 1841, and in his Essays); and made an admirable translation of the Lutrin of Boileau. See Selections from the Correspondence of the Late Macvey Napier, Esq., Lond., 1879, 8vo. Index, 547.
"To my taste, the Author of Rimini and Editor of the Examiner is among the best and least corrupted of our poetical prose-writers. In his light but well-supported columns we find the raciness, the sharpness, and the sparkling effect of poetry, with little that is extravagant or far-fetched, and no turgidity or pompous pretension."-HAZLITT: Table-Talk: On the Prose Style of Poets.
"His prose is gossiping, graceful, and searching, and charms many readers."-ALLAN CUNNINGHAM: Biog, and Crit. Hist. of the Lit. of the Last Fifty Years, 1833.
WHAT IS POETRY?
If a young reader should ask, after all, What is the best way of knowing bad poets from good, the best poets from the next best, and so on? the answer is, the only and twofold way: first, the perusal of the best poets with the greatest attention; and second, the cultivation of that love of truth and beauty which made them what they are. Every true reader of poetry partakes a more than ordinary portion of the poetic nature; and no one can be completely such who does not love, or take an interest in, everything that interests the poet, from the firmament to the daisy, from the highest heart of man to the most pitiable of the low. It is a good practice to read with pen in hand, marking what is liked or doubted. It rivets the attention, realizes the greatest amount of enjoyment, and facilitates reference. It enables the reader also, from time to time, to see what progress he makes with his own mind, and how it grows up to the stature of its exalter.
If the same person should ask, What class of poetry is the highest? I should say undoubtedly, The Epic; for it includes the drama, with narration besides; or the speak
ing and action of the characters, with the speaking of the poet himself, whose utmost address is taxed to relate all well for so long a time, particularly in the passages least sustained by enthusiasm. Whether this class has included the greatest poet, is another question still under trial; for Shakspeare perplexes all such verdicts, even when the claimant is Homer: though if a judgment may be drawn from his early narratives ("Venus and Adonis," and "The Rape of Lucrece"), it is to be doubted whether even Shakspeare could have told a story like Homer, owing to that incessant activity and superfotation of thought, a little less of which may be occasionally desired even in his plays;-if it were possible, once possessing anything of his, to wish it away. to Homer and Shakspeare come such narrators as the less universal but intenser Dante; Milton, with his dignified imagination; the universal profoundly simple Chaucer; and luxuriant remote Spenser,-immortal child in poetry's most poetic solitudes: then the great second-rate dramatists; unless those who are better acquainted with Greek tragedy than I am demand a place for them before Chaucer: then the airy yet robust universality of Ariosto; the hearty out-of-door nature of Theocritus, also a universalist; the finest lyrical poets (who only take short flights, compared with the narrators); the purely contemplative poets who have more thought than feeling; the descriptive, satirical, didactic, epigrammatic. It is to be borne in mind, however, that the first poet of an inferior class may be superior to followers in the train of a higher one, though the superiority is by no means to be taken for granted: otherwise Pope would be superior to Fletcher, and Butler to Pope. Imagination, teeming with action and character, makes the greatest poets; feeling and thought the next; fancy (by itself) the next; wit the last. Thought by itself makes no poet at all: for the mere conclusions of the understanding can at best be only so many intellectual matters of fact. Feeling, even destitute of conscious thought, stands a far better poetical chance; feeling being a sort of thought without the process of thinking, a grasper of the truth without seeing it. And what is very remarkable, feeling seldom makes the blunders that thought does. An idle distinction has been made between taste and judgment. Taste is the very maker of judgment. Put an artificial fruit in your mouth, or only handle it, and you will soon perceive the difference between judging from taste or tact, and judging from the abstract figment called judgment. The latter does but throw you into guesses and doubts. Hence the conceits that astonish us
in the gravest and even subtlest thinkers,
Truth, of any kind whatsoever, makes great writing. This is the reason why such poets as Ariosto, though not writing with a constant detail of thought and feeling like Dante, are justly considered great as well as delightful. Their greatness proves itself by the same truth of nature, and sustained power, though in a different way. Their action is not so crowded and weighty; their sphere has more territories less fertile; but it has enchantments of its own which excess of thought would spoil,-luxuries, laughing graces, animal spirits; and not to recognize the beauty and greatness of these, treated as they treat them, is simply to be defective in sympathy. Every planet is not Mars or Saturn. There is also Venus and Mercury. There is one genius of the south, and another of the north, and others uniting both. The reader who is too thoughtless or too sensitive to like intensity of any sort, and he who is too thoughtful or too dull to like anything but the greatest possible stimulus of reflection or passion, are equally wanting complexional fitness for a thorough enjoyment of books. Ariosto occasionally says as fine things as Dante, and Spenser as Shakspeare; but the business of both is to enjoy; and in order to partake their enjoyment to its full extent, you must feel what poetry is in the general as well as the particular, must be aware that there are different songs of the spheres, some fuller of notes, and others of a sustained delight; and as the former keep you perpetually alive to thought or passion, so from the latter you receive a constant harmonious sense of truth and beauty, more agreeable perhaps on the whole, though less exciting. Ariosto, for instance, does not tell a story with the brevity and concentrated passion of Dante; every sentence is not so full of matter, nor the style so removed from the indifference of prose; yet you are charmed with a truth of another sort, equally char
acteristic of the writer, equally drawn from nature, and substituting a healthy sense of enjoyment for intenser emotion. Exclusiveness of liking for this or that mode of truth, only shows, either that the reader's perceptions are limited, or that he would sacrifice truth itself to his favourite form of it. Sir Walter Raleigh, who was as trenchant with his pen as his sword, hailed the "Faerie Queene" of his friend Spenser in verses in which he said that "Petrarch" was henceforth to be no more heard of; and that in all English poetry there was nothing he counted any price" but the effusions of the new author. Yet Petrarch is still living; Chaucer was not abolished by Sir Walter; and Shakspeare is thought somewhat valuable. A botanist might as well have said that myrtles and oaks were to disappear because acacias had come up. It is with the poet's creations as with Nature's, great or small. Wherever truth and beauty, whatever their amount, can be shaped into verse, and answer to some demand for it in our hearts, there poetry is to be found; whether in produc tions grand and beautiful as some great event, or some mighty, leafy solitude, or no bigger and more pretending than a sweet face or a bunch of violets; whether in Homer's epic or Gray's "Elegy," in the enchanted gardens of Ariosto and Spenser, or the very pot-herbs of the "Schoolmistress" of Shenstone, the balms of the simplicity of a cottage. Not to know and feel this, is to be deficient in the universality of Nature herself, who is a poetess on the smallest as well as the largest scale, and who calls upon us to admire all her productions; not indeed with the same degree of admiration, but with no refusal of it except to defect.
I cannot draw this essay towards its coninclusion better than with three memorable words of Milton, who has said that poetry, in comparison with science, is "simple, sensuous, and passionate." By simple, he means imperplexed and self-evident; by sensuous, genial and full of imagery; by passionate, excited and enthusiastic. I am aware that different constructions have been put on some of these words; but the context seems to me to necessitate those before us. I quote, however, not from the original, but from an extract in the "Remarks on Paradise Lost," by Richardson.
What the poet has to cultivate above all things is love and truth; what he has to avoid, like poison, is the fleeting and the false. He will get no good by proposing to be "in earnest at the moment." His earnestness must be innate and habitual; born with him, and felt to be his most precious inheritance. "I expect neither profit_nor general fame by my writings," says Cole
ridge, in the Preface to his Poems; "and I consider myself as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its own exceeding great reward; it has soothed afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me."-Pickering's edition, p. 10.
"Poetry," says Shelley, "lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar. It reproduces all that it represents; and the impersonations clothed in its Elysian light stand thenceforward in the minds of those who have once contemplated them, as memorials of that gentle and exalted content which extends itself over all thoughts and actions with which it co-exists. The great secret of morals is love, or a going out of our own nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person not our own. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely 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 of moral good is imagination; and poetry administers to the effect by acting upon the cause."-Essays and Letters, vol. i. p. 16.
magic horse; of the affections that are carrying, perhaps, half the passengers on their journey, nay, of those of the great two-idea'd man; and, beyond this, he discerns the incalculable amount of good, and knowledge, and refinement, and mutual consideration which this wonderful invention is fitted to circulate over the globe, perhaps to the displacement of war itself, and certainly to the diffusion of millions of enjoyments.
"And a button-maker, after all, invented it!" cries our friend. Pardon me, it was a nobleman. A button-maker may be a very excellent, and a very poetical man too, and yet not have been the first man visited by a sense of the gigantic powers of the combination of water and fire. It was a nobleman who first thought of it, a captain who first tried it, and a button-maker who perfected it. And he who put the nobleman on such thoughts was the great philosopher Bacon, who said that poetry had" something divine in it," and was necessary to the satisfaction of the human mind. Imagination and Fancy.
JOHN WILSON ("CHRIS
born at Paisley, Scotland, 1785, and edu cated at the University of Glasgow and Magdalene College, Oxford, became a contributor to Blackwood's Magazine, with No. 7, October, 1817, and continued his connection with this periodical (acting as literary editor, whilst Blackwood himself managed the business department), writing with more or less frequency, until September, 1852, No. 443, in which appeared his last paper, Dies Boreales, No. x., Christopher under Canvas; Professor of Moral Philosophy in the Uni
I would not willingly say anything after perorations like these; but as treatises on poetry may chance to have auditors who think themselves called upon to vindicate the superiority of what is termed useful knowledge, it may be as well to add, that, if the poet may be allowed to pique himself on any one thing more than other, compared with those who undervalue him, it is on that power of undervaluing nobody, and no attainments different from his own, which is given him by the very faculty of imagina-versity of Edinburgh. 1820-1852; died 1854. tion which they despise. The greater includes the less. They do not see that their inability to comprehend him argues the smaller capacity. No man recognizes the worth of utility more than the poet: he only desires that the meaning of the term may not come short of its greatness, and exclude the noblest necessities of his fellowcreatures. He is quite as much pleased, for instance, with the facilities for rapid conveyance afforded him by the railroad, as the dullest confiner of its advantages to that single idea, or as the greatest two-idea'd man who varies that single idea with hugging himself on his "buttons" or his good dinner. But he sees also the beauty of the country through which he passes, of the towns, of the heavens, of the steam-engine itself, thundering and foaming along like a
Works: The Isle of Palms, and other Poems, Edin., 1812, 8vo; The City of the Plague, and other Poems, Edin., 1816, 8vo, 2d edit., 1820, 8vo; Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life, Edin., 1822, p. 8vo, 1839, fp. 8vo, 1844, fp. 8vo, 1866, fp. 8vo; The Trials of Margaret Lindsay, Edin., 1823, p. 8vo, 1825, fp. Svo, 1844, fp. 8vo, 1845, fp. 8vo, 1850, fp. 8vo, 1854, fp. 8vo, 1866, fp. 8vo; The Foresters, Edin., 1825, p. 8vo, 1839, fp. 8vo, 1845, fp. 8vo, 1852, fp. 8vo, 1867, fp. 8vo; Poetical and Dramatic Works, Edin., 1825, 2 vols. post 8vo; Essay on the Life and Writings of Robert Burns, Glasgow, 1841, 4to; The Critical and Miscellaneous Articles of Christopher North, Phila., 1842, 3 vols. 12mo (from Blackwood's Magazine-incomplete); Recreations of Christopher North, Edin., 1842, 3 vols. post 8vo (from Blackwood's