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silvan sports also, with some success, and with great cessary to call to memory the many humiliating delight. But these pleasures must have been all instances in which men of the greatest genius have, resigned, or used with great moderation, had I de- to avenge some pitiful quarrel, made themselves termined to regain my station at the bar. It was ridiculous during their lives, to become the still even doubtful whether I could, with perfect char- more degraded objects of pity to future times. acter as a jurisconsult, retain a situation in a vol- Upon the whole, as I had no pretension to the unteer corps of cavalry, which I then held. The genius of the distinguished persons who had fallen threats of invasion were at this time instant and into such errors, I concluded there could be no ocmenacing; the call by Britain on her children was casion for imitating them in their mistakes, or what universal, and was answered by some, who, like I considered as such ; and in adopting literary purmyself, consulted rather their desire than their suits as the principal occupation of my future life, ability to bear arms. My services, however, were I resolved, if possible, to avoid those weaknesses found useful in assisting to maintain the discipline of temper which seemed to have most easily beset of the corps, being the point on which their consti- my more celebrated predecessors. tution rendered them most amenable to military With this view, it was my first resolution to criticism. In other respects, the squadron was a keep as far as was in my power abreast of society, fine one, consisting chiefly of handsome men, well continuing to maintain my place in general commounted, and armed at their own expense. My pany, without yielding to the very natural tempattention to the corps took up a good deal of time; tation of narrowing myself to what is called literand while it occupied many of the happiest hours ary society. By doing so, I imagined I should esof my life, it furnished an additional reason for my cape the besetting sin of listening to language, reluctance again to encounter the severe course of which, from one motive or other, is apt to ascribe study indispensable to success in the juridical pro- a very undue degree of consequence to literary fession

pursuits, as if they were, indeed, the business, On the other hand, my father, whose feelings rather than the amusement, of life. The opposite might have been hurt by my quitting the bar, had course can only be compared to the injudicious conbeen for two or three years dead, so that I had no duct of one who pampers himself with cordial and control to thwart my own inclination ; and my in- luscious draughts, until he is unable to endure tome being equal to all the comforts, and some of wholesome bitters. Like Gil Blas, therefore, I rethe elegancies, of life, I was not pressed to an irk- solved to stick by the society of my commis, insome labor by necessity, that most powerful of mo

stead seeking that of a more literary cast, and tives; consequently, I was the more easily seduced to maintain my general interest in what was going to choose the employment which was most agree- on around me, reserving the man of letters for the able to me. This was yet the easier, that in 1800 desk and the library. I had obtained the preferment of Sheriff of Sel- My second resolution was a corollary from the kirkshire, about £300 a year in value, and which first. I determined that, without shutting iny was the more agreeable to me, as in that county ears to the voice of true criticism, I would pay no I had several friends and relations. But I did regard to that which assumes the form of satiro. not abandon the profession to which I had been I therefore resolved to arm myself with that triple educated, without certain prudential resolutions, brass of Horace, of which those of my profession which, at the risk of some egotism, I will here are seldom held deficient, against all the roving mention; not without the hope that they may be warfare of satire, parody, and sarcasm; to laugh useful to young persons who may stand in circuin- if the jest was a good one, or, if otherwise, to let stances similar to those in which I then stood. it hum and buzz itself to sleep.

In the first place, upon considering the lives and It is to the observance of these rules (according fortunes of persons who had given themselves up to my best belief), that, after a life of thirty years to literature, or to the task of pleasing the public, engaged in literary labors of various kinds, I atit seemed to me that the circumstances which tribute my never having been entangled in any chiefly affected their happiness and character, were literary quarrel or controversy; and, which is a those from which Horace has bestowed upon au- still more pleasing result, that I have been distinthors the epithet of the Irritable Race. It re- guished by the personal friendship of my most apquires no depth of philosophic reflection to per- proved contemporaries of all parties. ceive, that the petty warfare of Pope with the I adopted, at the same time, another resolution, Dunces of his period could not have been carried on which it may doubtless be remarked, that it on without his suffering the most acute torture, was well for me that I had it in my power to do such as a man must endure from musquitoes, by so, and that, therefore, it is a line of conduct which, whose stings he suffers agony, although he can depending upon accident, can be less generally apcrush them in his grasp by myriads. Nor is it ne- plicable in other cases. Yet I fail not to record

verse,

this part of my plan, convinced that, though it besides, a long work in quatrains, whether those may not be in every one's power to adopt exactly of the common ballad, or such as are termed elethe same resolution, he may nevertheless, by his giac, has an effect upon the mind like that of the own exertions, in some shape or other, attain the bed of Procrustes upon the human body; for, as it object on which it was founded, namely, to secure must be both awkward and difficult to carry on a the means of subsistence, without relying exclu- long sentence from one stanza to another, it folsively on literary talents. In this respect, I de- lows, that the meaning of each period must be termined that literature should be my staff, but comprehended within four lines, and equally so not my crutch, and that the profits of my literary that it must be extended so as to fill that space. labor, however convenient otherwise, should not, The alternate dilation and contraction thus renif I could help it, become necessary to my ordi- dered necessary is singularly unfavorable to narnary expenses. With this purpose I resolved, if rative composition ; and the “Gondibert” of Sir the interest of my friends could so far favor me, William D'Avenant, though containing many strikto retire upon any of the respectable offices of the ing passages, has never become popular, owing law, in which persons of that profession are glad chiefly to its being told in this species of elegiac to take refuge, when they feel themselves, or are judged by others, incompetent to aspire to its In the dilemma occasioned by this objection, the higher honors. Upon such a post an author might idea occurred to the Author of using the measured hope to retreat, without any perceptible alteration short line, which forms the structure of so much of circumstances, whenever the time should arrive minstrel poetry, that it may be properly termed that the public grew weary of his endeavors to the Romantic stanza, by way of distinction; and please, or he himself should tire of the pen. At which appears so natural to our language, that the this period of my life, I possessed so many friends very best of our poets have not been able to procapable of assisting me in this object of ambition, tract it into the verse properly called Heroic, withthat I could hardly overrate my own prospects out the use of epithets which are, to say the least, of obtaining the preferment to which I limited my unnecessary. But, on the other hand, the extreme wishes; and, in fact, I obtained in no long period facility of the short couplet, which seems congethe reversion of a situation which completely met nial to our language, and was, doubtless for that them.

reason, so popular with our old minstrels, is, for Thus far all was well, and the Author had been the same reason, apt to prove a snare to the comguilty, perhaps, of no great imprudence, when he poser who uses it in more modern days, by enrelinquished his forensic practice with the hope of couraging him in a habit of slovenly composition making some figure in the field of literature. But The necessity of occasional pauses often forces the an established character with the public, in my new young poet to pay more attention to sense, as the capacity, still remained to be acquired. I have boy's kite rises highest when the train is loaded by noticed, that the translations from Bürger had been a due counterpoise. The Author was therefore unsuccessful, nor had the original poetry which ap- intimidated by what Byron calls the “fatal facilpeared under the auspices of Mr. Lewis, in the ity” of the octosyllabic verse, which was otherwise * Tales of Wonder," in any great degree raised better adapted to his purpose of imitating the more my reputation. It is true, I had private friends ancient poetry. disposed to second me in my efforts to obtain pop- I was not less at a loss for a subject which might ularity. But I was sportsman enough to know, admit of being treated with the simplieity and that if the greyhound does not run well, the hal- wildness of the ancient ballad. But accident dicloos of his patrons will not obtain the prize for him. tated both a theme and measure, which decided

Neither was I ignorant that the practice of bal- the subject, as well as the structure of the poem. lad-writing was for the present out of fashion, and The lovely young Countess of Dalkeith, afterthat any attempt to revive it, or to found a poeti- wards Harriet Duchess of Buccleuch, had come to cal character upon it, would certainly fail of suc- the land of her husband with the desire of making cess. The ballad measure itself, which was once herself acquainted with its traditions and customs, listened to as to an enchanting melody, had be- as well as its manners and history. All who recome hackneyed and sickening, from its being the member this lady will agree, that the intellectual accompaniment of every grinding hand-organ; and character of her extreme beauty, the amenity and

1 Thus it has been often remarked, that, in the opening couplets of Pope's translation of the Iliad, there are two syllables forming a superfluous word in each line, as may be observed by attending to such words as are printed in Italics.

“ Achilles' wrath to Greece the direful spring of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing ;

That wrath which sent to Pluto's gloomy reign,
The souls of mighty chiefs in battle slain,
Whose bones, unburied on the desert shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore."

courtesy of her manners, the soundness of her un- to repeat to me many long specimens of their poetderstanding, and her unbounded benevolence, gave ry, which had not yet appeared in print. Amongst more the idea of an angelic visitant, than of a be- others, was the striking fragment called Christabel, ing belonging to this nether world; and such a by Mr. Coleridge, which, from the singularly irregthought was but too consistent with the short space ular structure of the stanzas, and the liberty which she was permitted to tarry among us. Of course, it allowed the author, to adapt the sound to the where all made it a pride and pleasure to gratify sense, seemed to be exactly suited to such an exher wishes, she soon heard enough of Border lore; travaganza as I meditated on the subject of Gilpin among others, an aged gentleman of property, Horner. As applied to comic and humorous poDear Langholm, communicated to her ladyship the etry, this mescolanza of measures had been already story of Gilpin Horner, a tradition in which the used by Anthony Hall, Anstey, Dr. Wolcott, and narrator, and many more of that country, were others; but it was in Christabel that I first found firm believers. The young Countess, much de- it used in serious poetry, and it is to Mr. Coleridge lighted with the legend, and the gravity and full that I am bound to make the acknowledgment due confidence Fith which it was told, enjoined on me from the pupil to his master. I observe that Lord as a task to compose a ballad on the subject. Of Byron, in noticing my obligations to Mr. Coleridge, course, to hear was to obey; and thus the goblin which I have been always most ready to acknowlstory, objected to by several critics as an excres- edge, expressed, or was understood to express, a cence upon the poem, was, in fact, the occasion of hope, that I did not write an unfriendly review on its being written.

Mr. Coleridge's productions. On this subject I A chance similar to that which dictated the sub- have only to say, that I do not even know the rejeet, gave me also the hint of a new mode of treat- view which is alluded to; and were I ever to take ing it. We had at that time the lease of a pleas- the unbecoming freedom of censuring a man of Mr. ant cottage, near Lasswade, on the romantic banks Coleridge's extraordinary talents, it would be on of the Esk, to which we escaped when the vaca- account of the caprice and indolence with which he tions of the Court permitted me so much leisure. has thrown from him, as if in mere wantonness, Here I had the pleasure to receive a visit from those unfinished scraps of poetry, which, like the Mr. Stoddart (now Sir John Stoddart, Judge-Ad- Torso of antiquity, defy the skill of his poetical vocate at Malta), who was at that time collecting brethren to complete them. The charming fragthe particulars which he afterwards embodied in ments which the author abandons to their fate, his Remarks on Local Scenery in Scotland." I was are surely too valuable to be treated like the of some use to him in procuring the information proofs of careless engravers, the sweepings of which he desired, and guiding him to the scenes whose studios often make the fortune of some which he wished to see. In return, he made me painstaking collector. better acquainted than I had hitherto been with I did not immediately proceed upon my prothe poetic effusions which have since made the jected labor, though I was now furnished with a Lakes of Westmoreland, and the authors by whom subject, and with a structure of verse which might they have been sung, so famous wherever the En- have the effect of novelty to the public ear, and glish tongue is spoken.

afford the author an opportunity of varying his I was already acquainted with the “ Joan of measure with the variations of a romantic theme. Are," the “Thalaba,” and the “Metrical Ballads” | On the contrary, it was, to the best of my recolof Mr. Southey, which had found their way to lection, more than a year after Mr. Stoddart's visit, Scotland, and were generally admired. But Mr. that, by way of experiment, I composed the first Stoddart, who had the advantage of personal two or three stanzas of “The Lay of the Last friendship with the authors, and who possessed a Minstrel.” I was shortly afterwards visited by strong memory with an excellent taste, was able two intimate friends, one of whom still survives.

1 The Duchess died in August, 1814. Sir Walter Scott's earthly importance ; but were you, reverend sir, to repeat your lines on her death will be found in a subsequent page of this best sermon in this drawing-room, I could not tell you half an collection.-ED.

hour afterwards what you had been speaking about." - This was Mr. Beattie of Mickledale, a man then consider- 9 Two volumes, royal octavo. 1801. ably apsards of eighty, of a shrewd and sarcastic temper, 4 Medwin's Conversations of Lord Byron, p. 309. which he did not at all times suppress, as the following anec- 6 Sir Walter, elsewhere, in allusion to “Coleridge's beautidate will show :-A worthy clergyman, now deceased, with ful and tantalizing fragment of Christabel," says, “Has not better good-will than tact, was endeavoring to push the senior our own imaginative poet cause to fear that future ages will forward in his recollection of Border ballads and legends, by desire to summon him from his place of rest, as Milton longed epassing reiterated surprise at his wonderful memory. “No, sig," said old Mickledale ; “my memory is good for little, for

* To call up him who left half told I cannot retain what ought to be preserved. I can remember

The story of Cambuscan bold ?!all these stories about the auld riding days, which are of no

Notes to the Abbot.--ED.

verse.

this part of my plan, convinced that, though it besides, a long work in quatrains, whether those may not be in every one's power to adopt exactly of the common ballad, or such as are termed elethe same resolution, he may nevertheless, by his giac, has an effect upon the mind like that of the own exertions, in some shape or other, attain the bed of Procrustes upon the human body; for, as it object on which it was founded, namely, to secure must be both awkward and difficult to carry on a the means of subsistence, without relying exclu- long sentence from one stanza to another, it folsively on literary talents. In this respect, I de- lows, that the meaning of each period must be termined that literature should be my staff, but comprehended within four lines, and equally so not my crutch, and that the profits of my literary that it must be extended so as to fill that space. labor, however convenient otherwise, should not, | The alternate dilation and contraction thus renif I could help it, become necessary to my ordi- dered necessary is singularly unfavorable to narnary expenses. With this purpose I resolved, if rative composition ; and the “Gondibert” of Sir the interest of my friends could so far favor me, William D'Avenant, though containing many strikto retire upon any of the respectable offices of the ing passages, has never become popular, owing law, in which persons of that profession are glad chiefly to its being told in this species of elegiac to take refuge, when they feel themselves, or are judged by others, incompetent to aspire to its In the dilemma occasioned by this objection, the higher honors. Upon such a post an author might idea occurred to the Author of using the measured hope to retreat, without any perceptible alteration short line, which forms the structure of so much of circumstances, whenever the time should arrive minstrel poetry, that it may be properly termed that the public grew weary of his endeavors to the Romantic stanza, by way of distinction; and please, or he himself should tire of the pen. At which appears so natural to our language, that the this period of my life, I possessed so many friends very best of our poets have not been able to procapable of assisting me in this object of ambition, tract it into the verse properly called Heroic, withthat I could hardly overrate my own prospects out the use of epithets which are, to say the least, of obtaining the preferment to which I limited my unnecessary.' But, on the other hand, the extreme wishes; and, in fact, I obtained in no long period facility of the short couplet, which seems congethe reversion of a situation which completely met nial to our language, and was, doubtless for that them.

reason, so popular with our old minstrels, is, for Thus far all was well, and the Author had been the same reason, apt to prove a snare to the comguilty, perhaps, of no great imprudence, when he poser who uses it in more modern days, by enrelinquished his forensic practice with the hope of couraging him in a habit of slovenly composition making some figure in the field of literature. But The necessity of occasional pauses often forces the an established character with the public, in my new young poet to pay more attention to sense, as the capacity, still remained to be acquired. I have boy's kite rises highest when the train is loaded by noticed, that the translations from Bürger had been a due counterpoise. The Author was therefore unsuccessful, nor had the original poetry which ap- intimidated by what Byron calls the “fatal facilpeared under the auspices of Mr. Lewis, in the ity" of the octosyllabic verse, which was otherwise " Tales of Wonder,” in any great degree raised better adapted to his purpose of imitating the more my reputation. It is true, I had private friends ancient poetry. disposed to second me in my efforts to obtain pop- I was not less at a loss for a subject which might ularity. But I was sportsman enough to know, admit of being treated with the simplieity and that if the greyhound does not run well, the hal- wildness of the ancient ballad. But accident dicloos of his patrons will not obtain the prize for him. tated both a theme and measure, which decided

Neither was I ignorant that the practice of bal. the subject, as well as the structure of the poem. lad-writing was for the present out of fashion, and The lovely young Countess of Dalkeith, afterthat any attempt to revive it, or to found a poeti- wards Harriet Duchess of Buccleuch, had come to cal character upon it, would certainly fail of suc- the land of her husband with the desire of making cess. The ballad measure itself, which was once herself acquainted with its traditions and customs, listened to as to an enchanting melody, had be as well as its manners and history. All who recome hackneyed and sickening, from its being the member this lady will agree, that the intellectual accompaniment of every grinding hand-organ; and character of her extreme beauty, the amenity and

1 Thus it has been often remarked, that, in the opening couplets of Pope's translation of the Niad, there are two syllables forming a superfluous word in each line, as may be observed by attending to such words as are printed in Italics.

" Achilles' wrath to Greece the direful spring of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing ;

That wrath which sent to Pluto's gloomy reign,
The souls of mighty chiefs in battle slain,
Whose bones, unburied on the desert shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore."

courtesy of her manners, the soundness of her un- to repeat to me many long specimens of their poetderstanding, and her unbounded benevolence, gave ry, which had not yet appeared in print. Amongst more the idea of an angelic visitant, than of a be others, was the striking fragment called Christabel, ing belonging to this nether world; and such a by Mr. Coleridge, which, from the singularly irregthought was but too consistent with the short space ular structure of the stanzas, and the liberty which she was permitted to tarry among us.' Of course, it allowed the author, to adapt the sound to the where all made it a pride and pleasure to gratify sense, seemed to be exactly suited to such an exher wishes, she soon heard enough of Border lore; travaganza as I meditated on the subject of Gilpin among others, an aged gentleman of property, Horner. As applied to comic and humorous ponear Langholm, communicated to her ladyship the etry, this mescolanza of measures had been already story of Gilpin Horner, a tradition in which the used by Anthony Hall, Anstey, Dr. Wolcott, and

narrator, and many more of that country, were others; but it was in Christabel that I first found i firm believers. The young Countess, much de- it used in serious poetry, and it is to Mr. Coleridge

lighted with the legend, and the gravity and full that I am bound to make the acknowledgment due confidence Vith which it was told, enjoined on me from the pupil to his master. I observe that Lord as a task to compose a ballad on the subject. Of Byron, in noticing my obligations to Mr. Coleridge, course, to hear was to obey; and thus the goblin which I have been always most ready to acknowlstory, objected to by several critics as an excres- edge, expressed, or was understood to express, a cence upon the poem, was, in fact, the occasion of hope, that I did not write an unfriendly review on its being written.

Mr. Coleridge's productions. On this subject I A chance similar to that which dictated the sub- have only to say, that I do not even know the reject, gave me also the hint of a new mode of treat- view which is alluded to; and were I ever to take ing it. We had at that time the lease of a pleas- the unbecoming freedom of censuring a man of Mr. ant cottage, near Lasswade, on the romantic banks Coleridge's extraordinary talents, it would be on of the Esk, to which we escaped when the vaca- account of the caprice and indolence with which he tions of the Court permitted me so much leisure. has thrown from him, as if in mere wantonness, Here I had the pleasure to receive a visit from those unfinished scraps of poetry, which, like the Mr. Stoddart (now Sir John Stoddart, Judge-Ad- Torso of antiquity, defy the skill of his poetical vocate at Malta), who was at that time collecting brethren to complete them. The charming fragthe particulars which he afterwards embodied in ments which the author abandons to their fate, his Remarks on Local Scenery in Scotland." I was are surely too valuable to be treated like the of some use to him in procuring the information proofs of careless engravers, the sweepings of which he desired, and guiding him to the scenes whose studios often make the fortune of some which he wished to see. In return, he made me painstaking collector. better acquainted than I had hitherto been with I did not immediately proceed upon my prothe poetic effusions which have since made the jected labor, though I was now furnished with a Lakes of Westmoreland, and the authors by whom subject, and with a structure of verse which might they have been sung, so famous wherever the En- have the effect of novelty to the public ear, and glish tongue is spoken.

afford the author an opportunity of varying his I was already acquainted with the “ Joan of measure with the variations of a romantic theme. Are," the “ Thalaba,” and the “Metrical Ballads” On the contrary, it was, to the best of my recolof Mr. Southey, which had found their way to lection, more than a year after Mr. Stoddart's visit, Scotland, and were generally admired. But Mr. that, by way of experiment, I composed the first Stoddart, who had the advantage of personal two or three stanzas of “The Lay of the Last friendship with the authors, and who possessed a Minstrel.” I was shortly afterwards visited by strong memory with an excellent taste, was able two intimate friends, one of whom still survives.

1 The Duchess died in August, 1814. Sir Walter Scott's earthly importance ; but were you, reve sir, to repeat your lines on her death will be found in a subsequent page of this best sermon in this drawing-room, I could not tell you half an collection.-ED.

hour afterwards what you had been speaking about.” * This was Mr. Beattie of Mickledale, a man then consider 3 Two volumes, royal octavo. 1801. ably opwards of eighty, of a shrewd and sarcastic temper, 4 Medwin's Conversations of Lord Byron, p. 309. which he did not at all times suppress, as the following anec- 5 Sir Walter, elsewhere, in allusion to “Coleridge's beantidote will show :-A worthy clergyman, now deceased, with ful and tantalizing fragment of Christabel,” says, “Has not better good-will than tact, was endeavoring to push the senior our own imaginative poet cause to fear that future ages will forward in his recollection of Border ballads and legends, by desire to summon him from his place of rest, as Milton longed expressing reiterated surprise at his wonderful memory. “No, sir," said old Mickledale ; "my memory is good for little, for

"To call up him who left half told it cannot retain what ought to be preserved. I can remember

The story of Cambuscan bold ?!” all these stories about the auld riding days, which are of no

Notes to the Abbot.-ED.

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