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very widely and deeply sown amongst the human race, some gaiety into his lighter pieces, after the manner is, nevertheless, a spring which is peculiarly apt to lose of the French writers, his attempts at what is called its elasticity by being too much pressed on, and a col- pleasantry in English wholly wanted the quality of lection of ghost stories is not more likely to be terri-humour, and were generally failures. But this he ble, than a collection of jests to be merry or entertain- would not allow; and the “ Tales of Wonder” were ing. But although the very title of the proposed work filled, in a sense, with attempts at comedy, which carried in it an obstruction to its effect, this was far might be generally accounted abortive. from being suspected at the time, for the popularity Another objection, which might have been more of the editor, and of bis compositions, seemed a war- easily foreseen, subjected the editor to a charge of rant for his success. The distinguished favour with which Mat Lewis was entirely incapable,--that of colwhich the “ Castle Spectre” was received upon the lusion with his publisher in an undue attack on the stage, seemed an additional pledge for the safety of pockets of the public. The “ Tales of Wonder” formed his new attempt. I readily agreed to contribute the a work in royal octavo, and were, by large printing, ballads of " Glenfinlas” and of “ The Eve of Saint driven out, as it is technically termed, to two volumes, John," with one or two others of less merit; and my which were sold at a high price. Purchasers murfriend Dr. Leyden became also a contributor. Mr. mured at finding that this size had been attained by Southey, a tower of strength, added “ The Old Wo- the insertion of some of the best known pieces of the man of Berkeley,” “ Lord William," and several other English language, such as Dryden's “ Theodore ard interesting ballads of the same class, to the proposed Honoria,” Parnell's “ Hermit,” Lisle’s “ Porsenna collection.

| King of Russia,” and many other popular poems of In the meantime, my friend Lewis found it no easy old date, and generally known, which ought not in matter to discipline his northern recruits. He was a conscience to have made part of a set of tales," written martinet, if I may so term him, in the accuracy of and collected” by a modern author. His bookseller rhymes and of numbers ; 1 may add, he had a right was also accused in the public prints, whether truly to be so, for few persons have exhibited more mastery or not I am uncertain, of having attempted to secure of rhyme, or greater command over the melody of to himself the entire profits of the large sale which verse. He was, therefore, rigid in exacting similar he expected, by refusing to his brethren the allowaccuracy from others, and as I was quite unaccus- ances usually, if not in all cases, made to the retail tomed to the mechanical part of poetry, and used trade. rhymes which were merely permissible, as readily as Lewis, one of the most liberal as well as benevolent those which were legitimate, contests often arose of mankind, had not the least participation in these amongst us, which were exasperated by the pertina- proceedings of his bibliopolist ; but his work sunk

my Mentor, who, as all who knew him can tes under the obloquy which was heaped on it by the tify, was no granter of propositions. As an instance offended parties. The book was termed “ Tales of of the obstinacy with which I had so lately adopted a Plunder," was censured by reviewers, and attacked in tone of defiance to criticism, the reader will find in newspapers and magazines. A very clever parody the Appendix a few specimens of the lectures wbich was made on the style and the person of the author, I underwent from my friend Lewis, and which did not and the world laughed as willingly if it had never at the time produce any effect on my inflexibility, applauded. though I did not forget them at a future period. Thus, owing to the failure of the vehicle I had cho

The proposed publication of the “ Tales of Wonder” sen, my efforts to present myself before the public as was, from one reason or another, postponed till the an original writer proved as vain as those by which I year 1801, a circumstance by which, of itself, the suc- had previously endeavoured to distinguislı myself as a cess of the work was considerably impeded; for pro- translator. Like Lord Home, however, at the battle tracted expectation always leads to disappointment. of Flodden, I did so far well, that I was able to stand But besides, there were circumstances of various kinds and save myself; and amidst the general depreciation which contributed to its depreciation, some of which of the “ Tales of Wonder,” my small share of the obwere imputable to the editor, or author, and some to noxious publication was dismissed without much centhe bookseller.

sure, and in some cases obtained praise from the critics. The former remained insensible of the passion for The consequence of my escape made me naturally ballads and ballad-mongers having been for some time more daring, and I attempted, in my own name, a on the wane, and that with such alteration in the pub- collection of ballads of various kinds, both ancient lic taste, the chance of success in that line was di- and modern, to be connected by the common tie of minislied. What had been at first received as simple | relation to the Border districts in which I had gathered and natural, was now sneered at as puerile and extra- the materials. The original preface explains my purvagant. Another objection was, that my friend Lewis pose, and the assistance of various kinds which I met had a high but mistaken opinion of his own powers of with. The edition was curious, as being the first humour. The truth was, that though he could throw work printed by my friend and school-fellow, Mr.

James Ballantyne, who, at that period, was editor of See Appendix, Note D.

a provincial newspaper, called “ The Kelso Mail.”

city of

When the book came out, in 1802, the imprint, Kelso, known firm of Messrs. Longman and Rees of Paterwas read with wonder by amateurs of typography, noster Row. My progress in the literary career, in who had never heard of such a place, and were asto- which I might now be considered as seriously ennished at the example of handsome printing wbich so gaged, the reader will find briefly traced in an Introobscure a town produced.

duction prefixed to the “ Lay of the Last Minstrel.” As for the editorial part of the task, my attempt to In the meantime, the Editor has accomplished his imitate the plan and style of Bishop Percy, observing proposed task of acquainting the reader with some only more strict fidelity concerning my originals, was particulars respecting the modern imitations of the favourably received by the public, and there was a de- Ancient Ballad, and the circumstances which gramand within a short space for a second edition, to dually, and almost insensibly, engaged himself in that which I proposed to add a third volume. Messrs. species of literary employment. Cadell and Davies, the first publishers of the work,

W. S. declined the publication of this second edition, which ABBOTSFORD, was undertaken, at a very liberal price, by the well

April, 1830.


Note A.

Monk;' but I have others, weaker, indeed, than the one men.

tioned, but still sufficiently strong. I perceive that I have put THE PRODUCTION OF MODERN AS ANCIENT BALLADS. too much confidence in the accuracy of my own judgment; -P. 557.

that, convinced of my object being unexceptionable, I did not

sufficiently examine whether the means by which I attained This failure applies to the repairs and rifacimentos of old that object were equally so; and that, upon many accounts, I ballads, as well as to complete imitations. In the beautiful have to accuse myself of high imprudence. Let me, however, and simple ballad of Gil Morris, some affected person has observe, that twenty is not the age at which prudence is most stuck in one or two factitious verses, which, like vulgar per- to be expected. Inexperience prevented my distinguishing sons in a drawing-room, betray themselves by their over what would give offence; but as soon as I found that offence finery. Thus, after the simple and affecting verse which pre- was given, I made the only reparation in my power-I carepares the readers for the coming tragedy,

fully revised the work, and expunged every syllable on

which could be grounded the slightest construction of im“ Gil Morrice sat in good green wood,

morality. This, indeed, was no difficult task; for the objecHe whistled and he sang;

tions rested entirely on expressions too strong, and words ‘0, what mean a' yon folk coming,

carelessly chosen, not on the sentiments, characters, or geneMy mother tarries lang?'"

ral tendency of the work ;--that the latter is undeserving cen

sure, Addison will vouch for me. The moral and outline of some such " vicious intromitter" as we have described, (to use my story are taken from an allegory inserted by him in the a barbarous phrase for a barbarous proceeding,) has inserted

Guardian,' and which he commends highly for ability of inthe following quintessence of affectation :

vention, and propriety of object.' Unluckily, in working it

up, I thought that the stronger my colours the more effect “ His locks were like the threads of gold

would my picture produce; and it never struck me, that the Drawn from Minerva's loom;

exhibition of vice in her temporary triumph, might possibly His lips like roses drapping dew, His breath was a' perfume.

do as much harm, as her final exposure and punishment could

do good. To do much good, indeed, was more than I expected “ His brow was like the mountain stow,

of my book; having always believed that our conduct depends Gilt by the morning beam;

on our own hearts and characters, not on the books we head, His cheeks like living roses blow,

or the sentiments we hear. But though I did not hope much His een like azure stream.

benefit to arise from the perusal of a trifling romance, written

by a youth of twenty, I was in my own mind convinced, that “ The boy was clad in robes of green,

no harm could be produced by a work whose subject was furSweet as the infant spring;

nished by one of our best moralists, and in the composition of And, like the mavis on the bush,

which, I did not introduce a sizgle incident, or a single chaHe gart the valleys ring."

racter, without meaning to illustrate some maxim universally
allowed. It was then with infinite surprise, that I heard the
outcry raised against the"
[I regret that the letter, though once perfect, now only ex-

ists in my possession as a fragment.]




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M. G. LEWIS.--P. 562.


In justice to a departed friend, I have subjoined his own

NOTE C. defence against an accusation so remorselessly persisted in. The following is an extract of a letter to his father :


Feb. 23, 1798. “ Though certain that the clamour raised against · The

Among the popular Ballads, or Volkslieder, of the celebraMonk' cannot have given you the smallest doubt of the recti- ted Herder, is (take one instance out of many) a version of tude of my intentions, or the purity of my principles, yet I the old Scottish song of “Sir Patrick Spence," in which, but am conscious that it must have grieved you to find any doubts for difference of orthography, the two languages can be scarce. on the subject existing in the minds of other people. To ex- ly distinguished from each other. For example, press my sorrow for having given you pain is my motive for now addressing you, and also to assure you, that you shall not “ The King sits in Dunfermling town, feel that pain a second time on my account. Having made

Drinking the blood-red wine; you feel it at all, would be a sufficient reason, had I no others,

Where will I get a good skipper to make me regret having published fir edition of The

To sad this ship of mine?''

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“Der Kænig sitzt in Dumfermling Schloss : pair of convincing you in time, that a bad rhyme is, in fact, Er trinkt blutrothen Wein;

no rhyme at all. You desired me to point out my objections, "Owo triff ich einen Segler gut

leaving you at liberty to make use of them or not; and so Dies Schiff zu seglen mein?'"

have at ‘Frederic and Alice.' Stanza Ist, hies' and joys'

are not rhymes; the 1st stanza ends with joys ;' the 2d beIn like manner, the opening stanza of “Child Waters," and gins with joying.' In the 4th, there is too sudden a change many other Scottish ballads, fall as naturally and easily of tenses, flous' and 'rose.' 6th, 7th, and 8th, I like much. into the German habits and forms of speech, as if they had 9th, Does not ‘ring his ears' sound ludicrous in yours? The originally been composed in that language :

first idea that presents itself is, that his ears were pulled; but

even the ringing of the ears does not please. 12th, 'Shouer About Yule, when the wind was cule,

and roar,' not rhymes. * Soil' and 'aisle,' in the 13th, are And the round tables began,

not much better; but 'head' and 'descried' are execrable. O there is come to our king's court

In the 14th, 'bar' and stair' are ditto ; and groping' is a Mony weel favour'd man.'

nasty word. Vide Johnson, 'He gropps his breeches trith a “In Christmessfest, in winter kalt,

monarch's air.' In the 15th, you change your metre, which Als Tafel rund began,

has always an unpleasant effect; and 'safe' and 'receive' Da kam zu König's Hoft and Hall

rhyme just about as well as Scott and Lewis would. 16th,

urithin' and 'strain' are not rhymes. 17th, hear' and Manch wackrer Ritter an."

'air,' not rhymes. 18th, Two metres are mixed, the same It requires only a smattering of both languages, to see at objection to the third line of the 19th. Observe that, in the what cheap expense, even of vocables and rhymes, the popu- Ballad, I do not always ohject to a variation of metre; but lar poetry of the one may be transferred to the other. Hardly then it ought to increase the melody, whereas, in my opinion, any thing is more flattering to a Scottish student of German ; in these instances it is diminished. It resembles the unexpected discovery of an old friend in a

“THE CHASE.-12th, The 2d line reads very harshly; and foreign land.

choir'and 'lore' are not rhymes. 13th, ‘Rides 'aud - side' are not rhymes. 30th, ' Pour' and ' obscure,' not rhymes. 40th, 'Spreads 'and 'inrades' are not rhymes. 46th, “Rends' and ascend' are not rhymes.

“WILLIAM AND Helex.-In order that I may bring it NOTE D.

nearer the original title, pray introduce, in the first stanza,

the name of Ellenora, instead of Ellen. · Crusade' and EXTRACTS FROM THE CORRESPONDENCE OF M, G. 'sped,' not rhymes in the 2d. 3d, 'Made' and 'shed' are not LEWIS.-P. 567.

rhymes; and if they were, come too close to the rhymes in the

2d. In the 4th, Joy' and 'rictory' are not rhymes. 7th, My attention was called to this subject, which is now of an The first line wants a verb, otherwise is not intelligible. 13th, old date, by reading the following passage in Medwin's "Ac- Grace' and 'Bliss' are not rhymes. 14th, · Bale' and helle count of Some Passages in Lord Byron's later Years." Lord are not rhymes. 18th, ‘Vain' and 'fruitless' is tautology; Byron is supposed to speak. “When Walter Scott began to and as a verb is wanted, the line will run better thus, “And write poetry, which was not at a very early age, Monk Lewis vain is every prayer.' 19th, Is not ' lo her' absolutely necescorrected his verse: he understood little then of the mechani-sary in the 4th line? 20th, ' Grace' and 'Bliss,' not rhymes. cal part of the art. The Fire King, in the Minstrelss of the 21st, ' Bale' and 'hell,' not rhymes. 22d, I do not like the Scottish Border,' was almost all Lewis's. One of the ballads word 'spent.' 23d, “ O'er’and • siar'are vile rhymes. 26th, in that work, and, except some of Leyden's, perhaps one of A verb is wanted in the 4th line ; better thus, ‘Then whispers the best, was made from a story picked up in a stage-coach; thus a voice.' 28th, Is not Is't thou, my love?' better than I mean, that of Will Jones.'

My love! my love!' 31st, If ‘wight' means, as I conjecture,

'enchanted,' does not this let the cat out of the bag ? Ought ‘They boild Will Jones within the pot,

not the spur to be sharp rather than bright? In the 4th line, And not much fat had Will."

'Stay' and 'day' jingle together: would it not be better, 'I “I hope Walter Scott did not write the review on Christa- must be gone e'er day?' 32d, 'Steed' and 'bed' are not bel;' for he certainly, in common with many of us, is indebted | rhymes. 34th, ' Bride' and 'bed,' not rhymes. 35th, Seat to Coleridge. But for him, perhaps, “The Lay of the Last and await,' not rhymes. 39th, “Keep hold' and 'sit fust' Minstrel' would never have been thought of. The line, seem to my ear vulgar and prosaic. 40th, The 4th line is de

fective in point of English, and, indeed, I do not quite underJesu Maria shield thee well!'

stand the meaning. 43d, ' Arose' and 'pursues' are not is word for word from Coleridge."

rhymes. 45th, I am not pleased with the epithet 'sarage ;' There are some parts of this passage extremely mistaken and the latter part of the stanza is, to me, unintelligible. and exaggerated, as generally attends any attempt to record 49th, Is it not closer to the original in line 3d to say, 'Swift what passes in casual conversation, which resembles, in diffi- ride the dead?' 50th, Does the rain 'whistle?' 55th, line culty, the experiments of the old chemists for fixing quick- 3d, Does it express, Is Helen afraid of them?' 59th, Door' silver.

and ' flower' do not rhyme together. 60th · Scared' and The following is a specimen of my poor friend Lewis's criti- 'heard' are not rhymes. 63d, Bone' and 'skcleton' not cism on my juvenile attempts at ballad poetry; severe enough, rhymes. 64th, The last line sounds ludicrous; one fancies perhaps, but for which I was much indebted to him, as forc- the heroine coming down with a plump, and sprawling upon ing upon the notice of a young and careless author bints which her bottom. I have now finished my severe examination, and the said author's vanity made him unwilling to attend to, but pointed out every objection which I think can be suggested." which were absolutely necessary to any hope of his ultimate

6th January, 1799.

“ WELLwYX,-99. Supposed 1799.

" DEAR SCOTT, « Thank you for your revised ‘Glenfinlas.' I grumble, but “ Your last Ballad reached me just as I was stepping into say no more on this subject, although I hope you will not be my chaise to go to Brocket Hall, (Lord Melbourne's, ) so I

I so inflexible on that of your other Ballads; for I do not des- took it with me, and exhibited both that and Glenfinlas with

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crant success.

I must not, however, conceal from you, that sitting at my side while I wrote it; nor did my occupation nobody understood the Lady Flora of Glengyle to be a dis- prevent the circulation of the bottle. guised demon till the catastrophe arrived; and that the opi- Leyden wrote a Ballad for the Cloud King, which is mennion was universal, that some previous stanzas ought to be in- tioned in the ensuing extract. But it did not answer Mat's troduced descriptive of the nature and office of the wayward ideas, either in the colour of the wings, or some point of cosLodies of the Wool. William Lambe, I too, (who writes good tume equally important; so Lewis, who was otherwise fond verses himself, and, therefore, may be allowed to judge those of the Ballad, converted it into the Elfin King, and wrote of other people,) was decidedly for the omission of the last a Cloud King himself, to finish the hierarchy in the way stanza but one. These were the only objections started. I desired. thought it as well that you should know them, whether you There is a leading mistake in the passage from Captain attend to them or not. With regard to St. John's Eve, I like Medwin. “ The Minstrelsy of the Border" is spoken of, but it much, and, instead of finding fault with its broken metre, what is meant is the “ Tales of Wonder." The former work I approve of it highly. I think, in this last Ballad, you bave contains none of the Ballads mentioned by Mr. Medwin-- the hit off the ancient manner better than in your former ones.

latter has them all. Indeed, the dynasty of Elemental Glenfinlas, for example, is more like a polished tale, than an Kings were written entirely for Mr Lewis's publication. old Ballad, But why, in verse 6th, is the Baron's helmet My intimate friend, William Clerk, Esq. was the person hacked and hewed, if (as we are given to understand, he had who heard the legend of Bill Jones told in a mail-coach by a assassinated his enemy? Ought not tore to be torn? Tore sea captain, who imagined himself to have seen the ghost to seems to me not English. In verse 16th, the last line is word which it relates. The tale was versified by Lewis himself. for word from Gil Morrice. 21st, ' Floor' and 'bower' are not I forget where it was published, but certainly in no miscellany rhymes," &c. &c. &c.

or publication of mine. The gentleman noticed in the following letter, as partaker I have only to add, in allusion to the passage I have quoted, in the author's heresies respecting rhyme, had the less occasion that I never wrote a word parodying either Mr. Coleridge or to justify such license, as his own have been singularly accu- any one else, which, in that distinguished instance, it would rate. Mr. Smythe is now Professor of Modern History at have been most ungracious in me to have donc, for which the Cambridge.

reader will see reasons in the Introduction to “ The Lay of

the Last Minstrel." “ LONDON, January 24, 1799.

“ LONDON, 31 February, 1800. “I must not omit telling you, for your own comfort, and

“ DEAR SCOTT, that of all such persons as are wicked enough to make bad “I return you many thanks for your Ballad, and the Exrhymes, that Mr. Smythe (a very clever man at Cambridge) tract, and I shall be very much obliged to your friend for the took great pains the other day to convince me, not merely that Cloud King.' I must, however, make one criticism upon a bad rhyme might pass, but that occasionally a bad rhyme the Stanzas which you sent me. The Spirit, being a wicked was better than a good one !!!!!! I need not tell you that he one, must not have such delicate wings as pale blue ones. He left me as great an infidel on this subject as he found me. has nothing to do with Heaven except to deface it with

storms; and therefore, in “ The Monk,'I have fitted him with “ M. G. Lewis." a pair of sable pinions, to which I must request your friend to

adapt his Stanza. With the others I am much pleased, as I The next letter respects the Ballad called the “ Fire King," am with your Fire King; but every budy makes the same stated by Captain Medwin to be almost all Lewis's. This is objection to it, and expresses a wish that you had conformed an entire misconception. Lewis, who was very fond of his your Spirit to the description given of him in • The Monk,' idea of four elementary kings, had prevailed on me to supply a

where his office is to play the Willo' the Wisp, and lead Fire King. After being repeatedly urged to the task, I sat travellers into bogs, &c. It is also objected to, his being redown one day after dinner, and wrote the “ Fire King," as it moved from his native land, Denmark, to Palestine; and that was published in the “Tales of Wonder.” The next extract the office assigned to him in your Ballad has nothing pecugives an account of the manner in which Lewis received it, liar to the · Fire King' but would have suited Arimanes, which was not very favourable ; but instead of writing the Beelzebub, or any other evil spirit, as well. However, the greater part, he did not write a single word of it. Dr. Leyden, Ballad itself I think very pretty. I suppose you have heard now no more, and another gentleman who still survives, were from Bell respecting the copies of the Ballads. I was too

much distressed at the time to write mysell," &c. &c. I Now Lord Melbourne.-ED.

“ M. G. L."

" Ever yours,

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