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Brother John, placed here by mere chance, is apprised of the approach of the giants in time to run home and give the alarm. Amidst the preparations for defence, to which he exhorts his brethren, the abbot dies, and John is elected to succeed him. A stout resistance is made by the monks, whom their new superior takes care to feed well by way of keeping them in heart, and the giants at length withdraw from the scene of action
And now the gates are opened, and the throng
Then to the traces of gigantic feet,
Huge, wide apart, with half a dozen toes;
To their own pious founder's intercession,
To beads and psalms, and feats of arms-in short,
It finally appears that the pagans have retired in order to make the attack upon the ladies, which had formerly been described-no bad burlesque of the endless episodes of the Italian romantic poets.
It was soon discovered that the author of this clever jeu d'esprit was the Right Honourable John Hookham Frere, a person of high political consequence, who had been employed a few years before by the British government to take charge of diplomatic transactions in Spain in connexion with the army under General Sir John Moore. The Whistlecraft poetry was carried no further; but the peculiar stanza (the ottava rima of Italy), and the sarcastic pleasantry, formed the immediate exemplar which guided Byron when he wrote his Beppo and Don Juan; and one couplet―
Adown thy slope, romantic Ashbourn, glides The Derby dilly, carrying six insides
became at a subsequent period the basis of an allusion almost historical in importance, with reference to a small party in the House of Commons. Thus the national poem has actually attained a place of some consequence in our modern literature. It is only to be regretted that the poet, captivated by indolence or the elegances of a luxurious taste, has given no further specimen of his talents to the world.
For many years Mr Frere has resided in Malta. In the Life of Sir Walter Scott, there are some particulars respecting the meeting of the declining novelist with his friend, the author of Whistlecraft. We there learn from Scott, that the remarkable war song upon the victory at Brunnenburg, which appears in Mr Ellis's Specimens of Ancient English Poetry, and might pass in a court of critics as a genuine composition of the fourteenth century, was written by Mr Frere while an Eton schoolboy, as an illustration on one side of the celebrated Rowley controversy. We are also informed by Mrs John
Davy, in her diary, quoted by Mr Lockhart, that Sir Walter on this occasion repeated a pretty long passage from his version of one of the romances of the Cid (published in the appendix to Southey's quarto), and seemed to enjoy a spirited charge of the knights therein described as much as he could have done in his best days, placing his walkingstick in rest like a lance, "to suit the action to the word." It will not, we hope, be deemed improper that we redeem from comparative obscurity a piece of poetry so much admired by Scott:
Horsemen and footmen mixt,
a countless troop and vast. The Moors are moving forward, the battle soon must join, 'My men stand here in order, ranged upon a line! Let not a man move from his rank before I give the sign.' Pero Bermuez heard the word,
but he could not refrain, He held the banner in his hand, he gave his horse the rein; 'You see yon foremost squadron there, the thickest of the foes, Noble Cid, God be your aid,
for there your banner goes! Let him that serves and honours it,
show the duty that he owes.'
Earnestly the Cid called out,
'For heaven's sake be still!' Bermuez cried, 'I cannot hold,' so eager was his will.
He spurred his horse, and drove him on amid the Moorish rout: They strove to win the banner,
and compassed him about. Had not his armour been so true,
he had lost either life or limb; The Cid called out again,
'For heaven's sake succour him! Their shields before their breasts, forth at once they go, Their lances in the rest
levelled fair and low; Their banners and their crests waving in a row, Their heads all stooping down
towards the saddle bow. The Cid was in the midst,
his shout was heard afar,
'I am Rui Diaz,
A favourite rock or crag, the scene of his musings, is pointed out in the Island of Mull as the Poet's Seat.' While living in the Highlands, Mr Campbell wrote his poem entitled Love and Madness (an elegy on the unfortunate Miss Broderick), and several other poems now neglected by their author. The local celebrity arising from these early fruits of his poetical genius, induced Mr Campbell to lay aside the study of the law, which he seriously contemplated, and he repaired to Edinburgh. There he became acquainted with James Grahame, author of the Sabbath,' with Professor Dugald Stewart, Jeffrey, Brougham, &c. In April 1799 he published the Pleasures of Hope, dedicated to Dr Anderson, the steady and generous friend of literature. The volume went through four editions in a twelvemonth. At the same age Pope had published his Essay on Criticism,' also a marvellous work for a youth; but the production of Campbell is more essentially poetical, and not less correct or harmonious in its numbers. It captivated all readers by its varying and exquisite melody, its polished diction, and the vein of generous and lofty sentiment which seemed to embalm and sanctify the entire poem. The touching and beautiful episodes with which it abounds constituted also a source of deep interest; and in picturing the horrors of war, and the infamous partition of Poland, the poet kindled up into a strain of noble indignant zeal and prophet-like inspiration.
The sun went down, nor ceased the carnage there; Tumultuous murder shook the midnight airOn Prague's proud arch the fires of ruin glow, His blood-dyed waters murmuring far below. The storm prevails, the rampart yields a way, Bursts the wild cry of horror and dismay! latter was the Benjamin of the family, the youngest Hark! as the smouldering piles with thunder fall, of ten children, and was educated with great care. A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call! At the age of thirteen he was placed at the univer- Earth shook, red meteors flashed along the sky, sity of Glasgow, where he remained six years. In And conscious nature shuddered at the cry! the first session of his college life he gained a bur- These energetic apostrophes are contrasted with sary for his proficiency in Latin. He afterwards sketches of domestic tenderness and beauty, finished received a prize for the best translation of the Clouds with the most perfect taste in picturesque delineaof Aristophanes, and in awarding it, Professor Young tion, and with highly musical expression. Traces pronounced the poet's translation to be the best of juvenility may no doubt be found in the 'Pleaexercise which had ever been given in by any student sures of Hope'-a want of connection between the of the university. His knowledge of Greek litera- different parts of the poem, some florid lines and imture was further extended by several months' close perfect metaphors; but such a series of beautiful study in Germany under Professor Heyne; but this and dazzling pictures, so pure and elevated a tone was not till the poet's twenty-second year. On of moral feeling, and such terse, vigorous, and leaving the university, Campbell resided a twelve- polished versification, were never perhaps before month in Argyleshire. His father was the youngest found united in a poem written at the age of twentyson of a Highland laird-Campbell of Kernan-and one. Shortly after its publication Mr Campbell the wild magnificent scenery of the West Highlands visited the continent. He went to Bavaria, then the was thus associated in his imagination with recol- seat of war, and from the monastery of St Jacob lections of his feudal ancestors. His poem on visit-witnessed the battle of Hohenlinden, in which (Deing a scene in Argyleshire will occur to our readers: cember 3, 1800) the French under Moreau gained a it opens as follows: victory over the Austrians. In a letter written at
Oh, bloodiest picture in the book of time!
The poet intended to pass into Italy-a pilgrim at the shrine of classic genius; but owing to the existing hostilities, he could not proceed, and was stopped both on his way to Vienna, and by the route of the Tyrol. He returned to Hamburg in 1801, and resided there some weeks, composing his Exile of Erin, and Ye Mariners of England. The former was suggested by an incident like that which befell Smollett at Boulogne, namely, meeting with a party of exiles who retained a strong love of their native country, and a mournful remembrance of its wrongs and sufferings. So jealous was the British government of that day, that the poet was suspected of being a spy; and on his arrival in Edinburgh, was subjected to an examination by the authorities! He lived in Edinburgh, enjoying its literary society for upwards of a year, and there wrote his Lochiel's Warning.
*The Pleasures of Hope were written in this
↑ A similar amount was bequeathed to Mr Southey, and, with a good luck which one would wish to see always attend
Mr Campbell wrote several papers for the Edinburgh Encyclopædia (of which Telford had some share), including poetical biographies, an account of the drama, and an elaborate historical notice of Great Britain. He also compiled Annals of Great Bri tain, from the Accession of George III. to the Peace of Amiens, in three volumes. Such compilations can only be considered in the light of mental drudgery; but Campbell, like Goldsmith, could impart grace and interest to task-work. In 1806, through the influence of Mr Fox, the government granted a pension to the poet-a well-merited tribute to the author of those national strains, Ye Mariners of England, and the Battle of the Baltic. In 1809 was published his second great poem, Gertrude of Wyoning, a Pennsylvanian Tale. The subsequent literary labours of Mr Campbell have only, as regards his poetical fame, been subordinate efforts. The best of them were contributed to the New Monthly Maga zine, which he edited for ten years (from 1820 to 1830); and one of these minor poems, the Last Man, may be ranked among his greatest conceptions: it is like a sketch by Michael Angelo or Rembrandt. Previous to this time the poet had visited Paris in company with Mrs Siddons and John Kemble, and enjoyed the sculptured forms and other works of art in the Louvre with such intensity, that they seemed to give his mind a new sense of the harmony of art a new visual power of enjoying beauty. Every step of approach,' he says, to the presence of the Apollo Belvidere, added to my sensations, and all recollections of his name in classic poetry swarmed on my mind as spontaneously as the associations that are conjured up by the sweetest music.' In 1818 he again visited Germany, and on his return the following year, he published his Specimens of the British Poets, with biographical and critical notices, in seven volumes. The justness and beauty of his critical dissertations have been universally admitted; some of them are perfect models of chaste yet animated criticism. In 1820 Mr Campbell delivered a course of lectures on poetry at the Surrey institution; in 1824 he published Theodric, and other Poems; and, though busy in establishing the London university, he was, in 1827, honoured with the graceful compliment of being elected lord rector of the university of his native city. This distinction was
poets' legacies, the sums were nearly doubled in consequence of the testator's effects far exceeding what he believed to be their value. Thomas Telford (1755-1834) was himself a rhymester in his youth. He was born on poetic ground, amidst the scenes of old Scottish song, green hills, and the other adjuncts of a landscape of great sylvan and pastoral beauty. Eskdale, his native district (where he lived till nearly twenty, first as a shepherd, and afterwards as a stone-mason), was also the birthplace of Armstrong and Mickle. Telford wrote poem descriptive of this classic dale, but it is only a feeble paraphrase of Goldsmith. He addressed an epistle to Burns, part of which is published by Currie. These boyish studies and predilections contrast strangely with the severer pursuits of his after years as a mathematician and engineer. In his otonin (in which he excelled), we can fancy him cheering the original occupation of a stone-mason, cutting names on tomb solitary labours with visions of literary eminence, rivalling the fame of Milton or Shakspeare; but it is difficult to conceive him at the same time dreaming of works like the Menai Bridge or the Pont-cy-sylte aqueduct in Wales. We should n
Alison Square, Edinburgh.* This poem being read in manuscript to Sir Walter Scott, he requested a perusal of it himself, and then repeated the whole from memory-a striking instance of the great minstrel's powers of recollection. In 1803 Mr Campbell repaired to London, and devoted himself to literature as a profession. He re-soon expect to see the gnarled and unwedgeable oak' spring sided for some time in the house of his friend, Mr from a graft on a myrtle. He had, however, received an early Telford, the celebrated engineer. Telford continued architectural or engineering bias by poring over the plates and his regard for the poet throughout a long life, and descriptions in Rollin's history, which he read by his mother's remembered him in his will by a legacy of £500.† fireside, or in the open air while herding sheep. Telford was a
liberal-minded and benevolent man.
* A second edition of this work was published in 1841, in one large volume, edited, with care and taste, by Mr Peter Cum ningham.
continued and heightened by his re-election the two following years. He afterwards (with a revival of his early love of wandering) made a voyage to Algiers, of which he published an account in the New Monthly Magazine, since collected and printed in two volumes. In 1842 he published the Pilgrim of Glencoe, and other Poems. He has issued various editions of his poetical works, some of them illustrated by Turner and Harvey; and they continue to delight new generations of readers, by whom the poet is regarded with the veneration due to an established and popular English classic.
Many can date their first love of poetry from their perusal of Campbell. In youth, the 'Pleasures of Hope' is generally preferred. Like its elder brother, the Pleasures of Imagination,' the poem is full of visions of romantic beauty and unchecked enthusiasm
The bloom of young Desire, and purple light of Love. In riper years, when the taste becomes matured, 'Gertrude of Wyoming' rises in estimation. Its beautiful home-scenes go more closely to the heart, and its delineation of character and passion evinces a more luxuriant and perfect genius. The portrait of
the savage chief Outalissi is finished with inimitable skill and truth :
Far differently the mute Oneyda took
The genius and taste of Campbell resemble those of Gray. He displays the same delicacy and purity of sentiment, the same vivid perception of beauty and ideal loveliness, equal picturesqueness and elevation of imagery, and the same lyrical and concentrated power of expression. The diction of both is elaborately choice and select. Campbell has greater sweetness and gentleness of pathos, springing from deep moral feeling, and a refined sensitiveness of nature. Neither can be termed boldly original or inventive, but they both possess sublimity-Gray in his two magnificent odes, and Campbell in various passages of the 'Pleasures of Hope,' and especially in his war-songs or lyrics, which form the richest offering ever made by poetry at the shrine of patriotism. The general tone of his verse is calm, uniform, and mellifluous-a stream of mild harmony and delicious fancy flowing through the bosomscenes of life, with images scattered separately, like flowers, on its surface, and beauties of expression interwoven with it-certain words and phrases of magical power-which never quit the memory. His style rises and falls gracefully with his subject, but without any appearance of imitative harmony or direct resemblance. In his highest pulse of excitement, the cadence of his verse becomes deep and strong, without losing its liquid smoothness; the stream expands to a flood, but never overflows the limits prescribed by a correct taste and regulated magnificence. The Pindaric flights of Gray justified bolder and more rapid transitions. Description is not predominant in either poet, but is adopted as an auxiliary to some deeper emotion or sentiment. Campbell seems, however, to have sympathised more extensively with nature, and to have studied her phenomena more attentively than Gray. His residence in the Highlands, in view of the sea and wild Hebrides, had given expansiveness as well as intensity to his solitary contemplations. His sym-O'er all his heart shall Taste and Beauty sway; pathies are also more widely diversified with respect Free on the sunny slope or winding shore, to the condition of humanity, and the hopes and With hermit-steps to wander and adore! prospects of society. With all his classic predilec- There shall he love, when genial morn appears, tions, he is not as he has himself remarked of Like pensive Beauty smiling in her tears, Crabbe-a laudator temporis acti, but a decided lover To watch the brightening roses of the sky, of later times. Age has not quenched his zeal for And muse on nature with a poet's eye! public freedom or the unchained exercise of the And when the sun's last splendour lights the deep, human intellect; and, with equal consistency in The woods and waves, and murmuring winds asleep, tastes as in opinions, he is now meditating a work When fairy harps the Hesperian planet hail, on Greek literature, by which, fifty years since, he And the lone cuckoo sighs along the vale, first achieved distinction. His path shall be where streamy mountains swell Their shadowy grandeur o'er the narrow dell; Where mouldering piles and forests intervene, Mingling with darker tints the living green; No circling hills his ravished eye to bound, Heaven, earth, and ocean blazing all around!
[Picture of Domestic Love.]
Thy pencil traces on the lover's thought
The loves of Gertrude and Waldegrave, the patriarchal Albert, and the sketches of rich sequestered Pennsylvanian scenery, also show the finished art of the poet. The concluding description of the battle, and the death of the heroine, are superior to anything in the Pleasures of Hope;' and though the plot is simple, and occasionally obscure (as if the fastidiousness of the poet had made him reject the ordinary materials of a story), the poem has altogether so much of the dramatic spirit, that its characters are distinctly and vividly impressed on the mind of the reader, and the valley of Wyoming, with its green declivities, lake, and forest, instantly takes its place among the imperishable treasures of the memory. The poem of O'Connor's Child is another exquisitely finished and pathetic tale. The rugged and ferocious features of ancient feudal manners and family pride are there displayed in connection with female suffering, love, and beauty, and with the romantic and warlike colouring suited to the country and the times. It is full of antique grace and passionate energy-the mingled light and gloom of the wild Celtic character and imagination. Recollecting the dramatic effect of these tales, and the power evinced in Lochiel and the naval odes, we cannot but regret that Campbell did not, in his days of passion, venture into the circle of the tragic drama, a field so well adapted to his genius, and essayed by nearly all his great poetical contemporaries.
The moon is up-the watch-tower dimly burns-
Though boundless snows the withered heath deform,
Trim the gay taper in his rustic dome,
To freeze the blood, in one discordant jar,
Then looked they to the hills, where fire o'erhung
Then came of every race the mingled swarm,
[Battle of Wyoming, and Death of Gertrude.]
A scene of death! where fires beneath the sun,
On Waldegrave's shoulder, half within his arm Enclosed, that felt her heart, and hushed its wild alarm !
Calm, opposite the Christian father rose,
And in the buskined hunters of the deer
And one the uncovered crowd to silence sways;
Short time is now for gratulating speech:
Thy country's flight yon distant towers to reach,
Past was the flight, and welcome seemed the tower,
But short that contemplation-sad and short
Where friendly swords were drawn, and banners flew;
And tranced in giddy horror, Gertrude swooned;
Weep not, O love!' she cries, to see me bleed; Thee, Gertrude's sad survivor, thee alone
Heaven's peace commiserate; for scarce I heed
Clasp me a little longer on the brink
Of fate! while I can feel thy dear caress;
thistle And when this heart hath ceased to beat-oh! think, And let it mitigate thy wo's excess,
That thou hast been to me all tenderness,
And friend to more than human friendship just.
God shall assuage thy pangs-when I am laid in dust!
Go, Henry, go not back, when I depart,
The scene thy bursting tears too deep will move,
In heaven; for ours was not like earthly love.
No! I shall love thee still, when death itself is past.