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fall; nor is an attempt to chastise a malignant critic attended with less danger to the author. On this principle, I let parody, burlesque, and squibs, find their own level; and while the latter hissed most fiercely, I was cautious never to catch them up, as schoolboys do, to throw them back against the naughty boy who fired them off, wisely remembering that they are, in such cases, apt to explode in the handling. Let me add, that my reign (since Byron has so called it) was marked by some instances of good-nature as well as patience. I never refused a literary person of merit such services in smoothing his way to the public as were in my power; and I had the advantage — rather an uncommon one with our irritable race to enjoy general favor, without incurring permanent ill-will, so far as is known to me, among any of my contem

W. S. ABBOTSFORD, APRIL, 1830.

ARGUMENT.

THE Scene of the following Poem is laid chiefly in the vicinity of Loch-Katrine, in the Western Highlands of Perthshire. The time of Action includes Six Days, and the transactions of each Day occupy a Canto. 1

1 Never, we think, has the analogy between poetry and painting been more strikingly exemplified than in the writings of Mr. Scott. He sees everything with a painter's eye. Whatever he represents has a character of individuality, and is drawn with an accuracy and minuteness of discrimination, which we are not accustomed to expect from verbal description. Much of this, no doubt, is the result of genius; for there is a quick and comprehensive power of discernment, an intensity and keenness of observation, an almost intuitive glance, which nature alone can give, and by means of which her favorites are enabled to discover characteristic differences, where the eye of dulness sees nothing but uniformity; but something also must be referred to discipline and exercise. The liveliest fancy can only call forth those images which are already stored up in the memory; and all that invention can do is to unite these into new combinations, which must appear confused and ill-defined, if the impressions originally received by the senses were deficient in strength and distinctness. It is because Mr. Scott usually delineates those objects with which he is perfectly familiar, that his touch is so easy, correct, and animated. The rocks, linge ing SO ca invei

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nal

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moors,

the ravines, and the torrents, which he exhibits, are not the imperfect sketches of a hurried traveller, but the finished studies of a resident artist, deliberately drawn from different points of view; each has its true shape and position; it is a portrait; it has its name by which the spectator is invited to examine the exactness of the resemblance,

The figures which are combined with the landscape are painted with the same fidelity. Like those of Salvator Rosa, they are perfectly appropriate to the spot on which they stand. The boldness of feature, the lightness and compactness of form, the wildness of air, and the careless ease of attitude of these mountaineers, are as congenial to their native Highlands, as the birch and the pine which darken their glens, the sedge which fringes their lakes, or the heath which waves over their

Quarterly Review, May 1810. It is honorable to Mr. Scott's genius that he has been able to interest the public so deeply with this third presentment of the same chivalrous scenes; but we cannot help thinking, that both his glory and our gratification would have been greater, if he had changed his hand more completely, and actually given us a true Celtic story, with all its drapery and accompaniments in a corresponding style of decoration. Such a subject, we are persuaded, has very great capabilities, and only wants to be introduced to public notice by such a hand as Mr. Scott's to make a still more powerful impression than he has already effected by the resurrection of the tales of romance.

There are few persons, we believe, of any degree of poetical susceptibility, who have wandered among the secluded valleys of the Highlands, and contemplated the singular people by whom they are still tenanted — with their love of music and of song — their hardy and irregular life, so unlike the unvarying toils of the Saxon mechanic — their devotion to their chiefs — their wild and lofty traditions

their national enthusiasm — the melancholy grandeur of the scenes they inhabit - and the multiplied superstitions which still

linger among them — without feeling that there is no existing people so well adapted for the purposes of poetry, or so capable of furnishing the occasions of new and striking inventions.

We are persuaded, that if Mr. Scott's powerful and creative genius were to be turned in good earnest to such a subject, something miyht be produced still more impressive and original than even this age has yet witnessed. JEFFREY, Edinburgh Review, No. xvi. for 1810.

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