« AnteriorContinuar »
mld Northumbrians, indeed, went beyond the ferocity of be now given in a more authentic form. The chief place of their ancestors. They were not content with a duel : each his retreat was not Lord's Island, in Derwentwater, but Curcontending party used to muster what adherents he could, and wen's Island, in the Lake of Windermere :commence a kind of petty war. so that a private grudge “ This island formerly belonged to the Philipsons, a family would often occasion much bloodshed.
of note in Westmoreland. During the Civil Wars, two of " It happened that a quarrel of this kind was on foot when them, an elder and a younger brother served the King. The Mr. Gilpin was at Rothbury, in those parts. During the two former, who was the proprietor of it, commanded a regiment; or three first days of his preaching, the contending parties ob- the latter was a major. served some decoruni, and never appeared at church toge- " The major, whose name was Robert, was a man of great ther. At length, however, they met. One party had been spirit and enterprise ; and for his many feats of personal braearly at church, and just as Mr Gilpin began his sermon, the very had obtained, among the Oliverians of those parts, the other entered. They stood not long silent. Inflamed at the appellation of Robin the Devil. sight of each other, they began to clash their weapons, for “ After the war had subsided, and the direful effects of pubthey were all armed with javelins and swords, and mutually lic opposition had ceased, revenge and malice long kept alive approached. A wed, however, by the sacredness of the place, the animosity of individuals. Colonel Briggs, a steady friend the tumult some degree ceased. Mr Gilpin proceeded : to usurpation, resided at this time at Kendal, and, under the when again the combatants began to brandish their weapons, double character of a leading magistrate (for he was a Justiceand draw towards each other. As a fray seemed near, Mr. of Peace) and an active commander, held the country in awe. Gilpin stepped from the pulpit, went between them, and ad- This person having heard that Major Philipson was at his dressed the leaders, put an end to the quarrel, for the present, brother's house on the island in Windermere, resolved, if posbut could not effect an entire reconciliation. They promised sible, to seize and punish a man who had made himself so him, however, that till the sermon was over they would make particularly obnoxious. How it was conducted, my autho. no more disturbance. He then went again into the pulpit, rity, does not inform us—whether he got together the navi. and spent the rest of the time in endeavouring to make them gation of the lake, and blockaded the place by sea, or wheashamed of what they had done. Ilis behaviour and dis- ther he landed and carried on his approaches in form. Neicourse affected them so much, that, at his farther entreaty, ther do we learn the strength of the garrison within, nor of they promised to forbear all acts of hostility while he conti- the works without. All we learn is, that Major Philipson nued in the country. And so much respected was he among endured a siege of eight months with great gallantry, till his them, that whoever was in fear of his enemy used to resort brother, the Colonel, raised a party and relieved him. where Mr. Gilpin was, esteeming his presence the best pro- “It was now the Major's turn to make reprisals. He put tection.
himself, therefore, at the head of a little troop of horse, and “One Sunday morning, coming to a church in those parts, rode to Kendal. Here, being informed that Colonel Briggs before the people were assembled, he observed a glove bang.was at prayers, (for it was on a Sunday morning,) he staing up, and was informed by the sexton, that it was meant as tion his men properly in the avenues, and himself armed, a challenge to any one who should take it down. Mr. Gilpin rode directly into the church. It probably was not a regular ordered the sexton to reach it to him; but upon his utterly church, but some large place of meeting. It is said be inrefusing to touch it, he took it down himself, and put it into tended to seize the Colonel and carry him off; but as this his breast. When the people were assembled, he went into seems to have been totally impracticable, it is rather pro the pulpit, and, before he concluded his sermon took occa- bable that his intention was to kill him on the spot, and in sion to rebuke them severely for these inhuman challenges. the midst of the confusion to escape. Whatever his inten*I hear,' saith he, 'that one among you hath hauged up a tion was, it was frustrated, for Briggs happened to be elseglove, even in this sacred place, threatening to fight any one where. who taketh it down : see, I have taken it down ;'and, pulling “ The congregation, as might be expected, was thrown into out the glove, he held it up to the congregation, and then great confusion on seeing an armed inan on horseback inako showed them how unsuitable such savage practices were to his appearance among them; and the Major, taking advanthe profession of Christianity, using such persuasives to mu- tage of their astonishment, turned his horse round, and rode tual love as he thought would most affect them."-Life of quietly out. But having given an aları, he was presently Barnard Gilpin. Lond. 1753, 8vo, p. 177.
assaulted as he left the assembly, and being seized, his girths were cut, and he was unhorsed.
“ At this instant bis party made a furious attack on the assailants, and the Major killed with his own hand the man
who had seized him, clapped the saddle ungirched as it was, NOTE 3 K.
upon liis horse, and, vaulting into it, rode full speed through
the streets of Kendal, calling his men to follow him; and, A Horseman arm'd, at headlong speed.-P. 345. with his whole party, made a safe retreat to his asylum in
the lake. The action marked the man. Many knew hiin : This, and what follows, is taken from a real achievement and they who did not, knew as well from the exploit that it of Major Robert Philipson, called from his desperate and could be nobody but Robin the Devil.” adventurous courage, Robin the Devil; which, as being very inaccurately noticed in this note upon the first edition, shall
Dr Burn's llistory of Westmoreland.
Che bridal of Triermain:
The Vale of St. John.
A LOVER'S TALE.
| bably derived their chief value from their supposed PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.1 historical authenticity. The same may be generally
said of the poetry of all early ages. The marvels In the EDINBURGH Annual Register for the year and miracles which the poet blends with his song, 1809, Three Fragments were inserted, written in do not exceed in number or extravagance the figimitation of Living Poets. It must have been ap-ments of the historians of the same period of society ; parent, that by these prolusions, nothing burlesque, and, indeed, the difference betwixt poetry and prose, or disrespectful to the authors, was intended, but as the vehicles of historical truth, is always of late that they were offered to the public as serious, though introduction. Poets, under various denominations certainly very imperfect, imitations of that style of of Bards, Scalds, Chroniclers, and so forth, are the composition, by which each of the writers is sup- first historians of all nations. Their intention is posed to be distinguished. As these exercises at- to relate the events they have witnessed, or the tracted a greater degree of attention than the author traditions that have reached them; and they clothe anticipated, he has been induced to complete one the relation in rhyme, merely as the means of of them, and present it as a separate publication.2 rendering it more solemn in the narrative or more
It is not in this place that an examination of the easily committed to memory. But as the poetical works of the master whom he has here adopted as historian improves in the art of conveying informahis model, can, with propriety, be introduced ; since tion, the authenticity of his narrative unavoidably his general acquiescence in the favourable suffrage declines. He is tempted to dilate and dwell upon of the public must necessarily be inferred from the the events that are interesting to his imagination, attempt he has now made. He is induced, by the and, conscious how indifferent his audience is to nature of his subject, to offer a few remarks on the naked truth of his poem, his history gradually what has been called ROMANTIC POETRY ;—the popu- becomes a romance. larity of which has been revived in the present It is in this situation that those epics are found, day, under the auspices, and by the unparalleled which have been generally regarded the standards success, of one individual.
of poetry ; and it has happened somewhat strangely, The original purpose of poetry is either religious that the moderns have pointed out as the character. or historical, or, as must frequently happen, a mix-istics and peculiar excellencies of narrative poetry, ture of both. To modern readers, the poems of the very circumstances which the authors them. Homer have many of the features of pure romance ; selves adopted, only because their art involved the but in the estimation of his contemporaries, they pro- duties of the historian as well as the poet. It can
1 Published in March 1813, by John Ballantyne and Co. As he was more than suspected of a taste for poetry, and 12mo, 7s. 60.
as I took care, in several places, to mix something which 2 Sir Walter Scott, in his Introduction to the Lord of the might resemble (as far as was in my power) my friend's feelIsles says~" Being much urged by my intimate friend, now ing and manner, the train easily caught, and two large editions unhappily no more, William Erskine, I agreed to write the were sold. A third being called for, Lord Kinedder became little romantic tale called the “ Bridal of Triermain ;' but it unwilling to aid any longer a deception which was going far. was on the condition, that he should make no serious effort ther than he expected or desired, and the real author's name to disown the composition, is report should lay it at his door. was given."
Est be believed, for example, that Homer selected | xaà istopiwo i uvee vsado sirds si
ήν και μνημόσυνα the siege of Troy as the most appropriate subject TÚYTWv ypá pooleo.2 Instead of recommending the for poetry ; his purpose was to write the early history choice of a subject similar to that of Homer, it of his country ; the event he has chosen, though not was to be expected that critics should have exhorted very fruitful in varied incident, nor perfectly well the poets of these latter days to adopt or invent a adapted for poetry, was nevertheless combined with narrative in itself more susceptible of poetical ornatraditionary and genealogical anecdotes extremely ment, and to avail themselves of that advantage in interesting to those who were to listen to him ; and order to compensate, in some degree, the inferiority this he has adorned by the exertions of a genius, of genius. The contrary course has been inculcated which, if it has been equalled, las certainly been by almost all the writers upon the Epopæia ; with never surpassed. It was not till comparatively a what success, the fate of Homer's numerous imilate period that the general accuracy of his narra- tators may best show. The ultimum supplicium of tive, or his purpose in composing it was brought criticism was inflicted on the author if he did not into question. Δοκει πρώτος [ο Αναξαγόρας) (καθά | choose a subject which at once deprived him of all φησι Φαβορίνος εν παντοδαπή “Ιστορία) την “Ομήρε | claim to originality, and placed him, if not in actual ποίησιν απoφήνασθαι είναι περί αρετής και δικαιοσύνης.! contest, at least in fatal comparison, with those But whatever theories might be framed by specu- giants in the land whom it was most his interest Jative men, his work was of an historical, not of an to avoid. The celebrated receipt for writing an allegorical nature. Evauriaasto ustà tô Máxtsw xai epic poem, which appeared in The Guardian,3 όσα εκάστοτε αφίκοιτο, πάντα τα επιχώρια διερωτάτο, was the first instance in which common sense
FOR THE PABLE.
· Diogenes Laertius, lib. ii. Anaxag. Segm. II.
sibly subsist without them, the wisest way is to reserve them 2 Ilomeri Vita, in Herod. Henr. Steph. 1570, p. 356. for your greatest necessities. When you cannot extricate
your hero by any human means, or yourself by your own wits, a A RPCEIPT TO MAKE AN EPIC POEM.
seek relief from Heaven, and the gods will do your business
very readily. This is according to the direct prescription of " Take out of any old poem, history book, romance, or le Horace in his Art of Poetry: gend, (for iustance, Geoffry of Monmouth, or Don Belianis of Greece,) those parts of story which afford most scope for long
* Nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus descriptions. Put these pieces together, and throw all the
Inciderit.'- Verse 191. adventures you fancy into one tale. Then take a hero whom you may choose for the sound of his name, and put hiin into • Never presume to make a god appear the midst of these adventures. There let hiun work for twelve
But for a business worthy of a god.”—Roscommox. books; at the end of which you may take him out ready prepared to conquer or marry, it being necessary that the con. That is to say, a poet should never call upon the gods for their clusion of an epic poem be fortunate."
assistance, but when he is in great perplexity." To make an Episode. —" Take any remaining adventure of your former collection, in which you could no way involve
FOR THE DESCRIPTIONS. your hero, or any unfortunate accident that was too good to For a Tempest.-" Take Eurus, Zephyr, Auster, and Boreas, be thrown away, and it will be of use, applied to any other and cast them together into one verse. Add to these of rain, person, who may be lost and evaporate in the course of the lightning, and of thunder (the loudest you can), Quantum su fiwork, without the least damage to the composition."
cit. Mix your clouds and billows well together until they For the Moral and Allegor y. --" These you may extract out foam, and thicken your description here and there with a of the fable afterwards at your leisure. Be sure you strain quicksand. Brew your tempest well in your head before you them sufficiently."
set it a-blowing.""
For a Battle.-" Pick a large quantity of images and de
scriptions from Homer's Iliad, with a spice or two of Virgil; “For those of the hero, take all the best qualities you can and if there remain any overplus, you may lay them by for a find in all the celebrated heroes of antiquity; if they will not skirmish. Season it well with similes, and it will make an be reduced to a consistency, lay them all on a heap upon him. excellent batile.” Be sure they are qualities which your patron would be thought For a Burning Town." If such a description be neces. to have; and, to prevent any mistake which the world may sary, because it is certain there is one in Virgil, Old Troy be subject to, select from the alphabet those capital letters is ready burnt to your hands. But if you fear that would be that compose his name, and set them at the head of a dedica- ; thought borrowed, a chapter or two of the Theory of Conflagcation before your poem. However, do not absolutely observe ration, well circumstanced, and done into verse, will be the exact quantity of these virtues, it not being determined good succcedaneum." whether or not it be necessary for the hero of a poem to be an As for similes and metaphors, “ they may be found all over honest man. For the under characters, gather them from the creation. The most ignorant may gather them, but the Hom:r and Virgil, and change the names as occasion serves." danger is in applying them. For this, advise with your book
seller." FOR THE MACHINES. “ Take of deities, male and female, as many as you can use.
FOR THE LANGUAOB Separate them into equal paris, and keep Jupiter in the (I mean the diction.) " Here it will do well to be an imimiddle. Let Juno put him in a ferment, and Venus mollify tator of Milton ; for you will find it easier to imitate bim in him. Remember on all occasions to make use of volatile Mercury. If you have need of devils, draw them out of Mil- 1 From Lib. iii. De Conflagratione Mundi, or Telluris Theoria ton's Paradise, and extract your spirits from Tasso. The use Sacra, published in 4to, 1089. By Dr Thomas Buruet, masof these machines is evident, for since an epic poem can pos- ter of the Charter-House.
FOR THE MANNERS.