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Huge mountains of immeasurable height
A rock was in the centre, like a cone,
A wild tumultuous torrent raged around,
The giants having attacked and carried off some ladies on their journey to court, the knights deem it their duty to set out in pursuit; and in due time they overcome these grim personages, and relieve the captives from the castle in which they had been immured:
The ladies?—They were tolerably well,
This closes the second canto. The third opens in the following playful strain:
I’ve a proposal here from Mr Murray.
A :* and front-parlour for next week.
Tell me, my dear Thalia, what you think;
And here in town we’ll breakfast on hot rolls,
Near the valley of the giants was an abbey, containing fifty friars, ‘fat and good, who keep for a long time on good terms with their neighbours. Being fond of music, the giants would sometimes approach the sacred pile, attracted by the sweet sounds that issued from it; and here occurs a beautiful piece of description:
Oft that wild untutored race would draw,
But chiefly, when the shadowy moon had shed
Each was ashamed to mention to the others
Unfortunately, this happy state of things is broken up by the introduction of a ring of bells into the abbey, a kind of music to which the giants had an insurmountable aversion:
The solemn mountains that surrounded
Yet—Cader-Gibbrish from his cloudy throne
These giant mountains inwardly were moved,
Hearing a clatter which they disapproved,
This is evidently meant as a good-humoured satire against violent personifications in poetry. Meanwhile a monk, Brother John by name, who had opposed the introduction of the bells, has gone in a fit of disgust with his brethren to amuse himself with the rod at a neighbouring stream. Here occurs another beautiful descriptive passage:
A mighty current, unconfined and free,
The painted kingfisher, the branch above her,
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,
To their own pious founder's intercession,
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 connection 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 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, gave no further specimen of his talents to the world. For many years Mr Frere resided in Malta, in the enjoyment of a handsome pension, conferred for diplomatic services, of £1516 per annum, and at Malta he died on the 7th January 1846, aged seventy-seven. In the Life of Sir Walter Scott, there are some particulars respecting the meeting of the declining novelist with his friend, the author of 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 school-boy, 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 walking-stick 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: The gates were then thrown open, and forth at once they rushed, The outposts of the Moorish hosts back to the camp were pushed; The camp was all in tumult, and there was such a thunder Of cymbals and of drums, as if earth would cleave in sunder. There you might see the Moors arming themselves in haste, And the two main battles how they were forming fast; 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, shew 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, the champion of Bivar; Strike amongst them, gentlemen, for sweet mercies' sake!' There where Bermuez fought amidst the foe they brake; Three hundred bannered knights, it was a gallant show; Three hundred Moors they killed, a man at every blow: When they wheeled and turned, as many more lay slain, You might see them raise their lances, and level them again. There you might see the breastplates, how they were cleft in twain, And many a Moorish shield lie scattered on the plain. The pennons that were white marked with a crimson stain, The horses running wild whose riders had been slain.
THOMAS CAMP BEL L.
THOMAS CAMPBELL was born in the city of Glasgow, July 27, 1777. He was of a good Highland family, the Campbells of Kirman, in Argyleshire, who traced their origin from the first Norman lord of Lochawe. The property, however, had passed from the ancient race, and the poet's father carried on business in Glasgow as a merchant or trader with Virginia. He was unsuccessful, and in his latter days subsisted on some small income derived from a merchants' society and provident institution, aided by his industrious wife, who received into their house as boarders young men attending college. Thomas received a good education, and was distinguished at the university, particularly for his translations from the Greek. The Greek professor, John Young, pronounced his translation of part of the Clouds of Aristophanes the best version that had ever been given in by any student. He had previously received a prize for an English poem, an Essay on the Origin of Evil, modelled on the style of Pope. Other poetical pieces, written between his fourteenth and sixteenth year, evince Campbell's peculiar delicacy of taste and select poetical diction. He became tutor in a family resident in the island of Mull, and about this time met with his ‘Caroline of the West, the daughter of a minister of Inverary. The winter of 1795 saw him again in Glasgow, attending 'ge. and supporting himself by private tuition.
Next year he was some time tutor in the family of Mr Downie of Appin, also in the Highlands; and this engagement completed, he repaired to Edinburgh, hesitated between the church and the law as a profession, but soon abandoning all hopes of either, he employed himself in private teaching and in literary work for the booksellers. Poetry was
not neglected, and in April 1799 appeared his Pleasures of Hope. The copyright was sold for £60; but for some years the publishers gave the poet £50 on every new edition of two thousand copies, and allowed him, in 1803, to publish a quarto subscription-copy, by which he realised about £1000. It was in a ‘dusky lodging in Alison Square, Edinburgh, that the Pleasures of Hope was composed; and the fine opening simile was suggested by the scenery of the Firth of Forth as seen from the Calton Hill. The poem was instantly successful. The volume went through four editions in a twelvemonth. 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.
Oh, bloodiest picture in the book of time !
The sun went down, nor ceased the carnage there; Tumultuous murder shook the midnight air
On Prague's proud arch the fires of ruin glow, Mr Telford, the celebrated engineer. Telford conHis blood-dyed waters murmuring far below. tinued his regard for the poet throughout a long life, The storm prevails, the rampart yields a way, and remembered him in his will by a legacy of £500.* Bursts the wild cry of horror and dismay ! Mr Campbell wrote several papers for the Edinburgh Hark! as the smouldering piles with thunder fall, Encyclopaedia—of which Telford had some share— A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call ! including poetical biographies, an account of the
Earth shook, red meteors flashed along the sky,
Traces of juvenility may be found in the Pleasures of Hope—a want of connection between the different parts of the poem, some florid lines and imperfect metaphors; but such a series of beautiful and dazzling pictures, so pure and elevated a tone of moral feeling, and such terse, vigorous, and polished versification, were never perhaps before found united in a poem written at the age of twentyone. Shortly after its publication, Mr Campbell visited the continent. He sailed from Leith for Hamburg on the 1st of June 1800; and proceeding from thence to Ratisbon, witnessed the decisive action which gave Ratisbon to the French. The poet stood with the monks of the Scottish college of St James, on the ramparts near the monastery, while a charge of Klenau's cavalry was made upon the French. He saw no other scenes of actual warfare, but made various excursions into the interior, and was well received by General Moreau and the other French officers. It has been generally supposed that Campbell was present at the battle of Hohenlinden, but it was not fought until some weeks after he had left Bavaria. During his residence on the Danube and the Elbe, the poet wrote some of his exquisite minor poems, which were published in the Morning Chronicle newspaper. The first of these was the Exile of Erin, which was suggested by an incident like that which befell Smollett at Boulogne—namely, meeting with a drama, &c. He also compiled Annals of Great Britain party of political exiles who retained a strong love from the Accession of George III. to the Peace of of their native country. Campbell's ‘Exile’ was a Amiens, in three volumes. Such compilations can person named Anthony M'Cann, who, with Hamilton only be considered in the light of mental drudgery; Rowan and others, had been concerned in the Irish |but Campbell, like Goldsmith, could sometimes rebellion. So jealous was the British government |impart grace and interest to task-work. In 1806, of that day, that the poet was suspected of being a through the influence of Mr Fox, the government spy, and on his arrival in Edinburgh, was subjected granted a pension to the poet—a well-merited to an examination by the sheriff, but which ended tribute to the author of those national strains, Ye in a scene of mirth and good-humour. Shortly Mariners of England, and the Battle of the Baltic. afterwards, Campbell was received by Lord Minto In 1809 was published his second great poem, as a sort of secretary and literary companion—a Gertrude of Wyoming, a Pennsylvanian Tale. The situation which his temper and somewhat demo£ ''. ": • A similar amount was bequeathed to Mr Southey, and,
- - - with a good-luck which one would wish to see always attend he composed Lochiel's Warning and Hohenlinden— poets' legacies, the sums were more than doubled in conse
the - latter one of the grandest battle-pieces in quence of the testator's effects far exceeding what he believed miniature that ever was drawn. In a few VerSCS, to be their value. Thomas Telford (1755–1834) was himself a flowing like a choral melody, the poet brings before | rhymster in his youth. He was born on poetic ground, us the silent midnight scene of engagement wrapt amidst the scenes of old Scottish song, green hills, and the in the snows of winter, the sudden arming for the other adjuncts of a landscape of great sylvan and pastoral battle, the press and shout of charging squadrons, beauty. Eskdale, his native district—where he lived till nearly the flashing of artillery, and the final scene of twenty, first as 'he herd, and afterward'.
Alison Square, Edinburgh.
death: : was also the birthplace of Armstrong and Mickle. Telford wrote a poem descriptive of this classic dale, but it is only a
Few, few shall part where many meet! feeble paraphrase of Goldsmith. He addressed an epistle to , The snow shall be their winding-sheet; Burns, part of which is published by Currie. These boyish And every turf beneath their feet studies and predilections contrast strangely with the severer Shall be a soldier's sepulchre ! pursuits of his after-years as a mathematician and engineer.
In his original occupation of a stone-mason, cutting names on Lochiel's Warning being read in manuscript to Sir tombstones in which he excelled, as did also Hugh Miller), Walter, then Mr Scott, he requested a perusal of it we can fancy him "s." £ : £ himself and then repeated the whole from memory ' "...'" ' £ at -a striking instance of the great minstrel's powers |''' dreaming of ' : e i. £ :'' of recollection, which was related to us by Mr the Pont-cy-sylte aqueduct in wales. He had, however, - - received an early architectural or engineering bias by poring Campbell himself. In 1803 the poet repaired to over the plates and descriptions in Rollin's history, which he London, and devoted himself to literature as a pro- read by his mother's fireside, or in the open air while herding fession. He resided for some time with his friend, sheep. Telford was a liberal-minded and benevolent #".
subsequent literary labours of Mr Campbell were only, as regards his poetical fame, subordinate efforts. The best of them were contributed to the New Monthly Magazine, 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 continued and heightened by his re-election the two following years. He afterwards made a voyage to Algiers, of which he published an account; and in 1842 he appeared again as a poet. This work was a slight narrative poem, unworthy of his fame, entitled The Pilgrim of Glencoe. Among the literary engagements of his latter years, was a Life of Mrs Siddons, and a Life of Petrarch. In the summer of 1843, he fixed his residence at Boulogne, but his health was by this time much impaired, and he died the following summer, June 15, 1844. He was interred in Westminster Abbey, his funeral being attended by some of the most eminent noblemen and statesmen of the day, with a numerous body of private friends. In 1849 a selection from his correspondence, with a candid and an able life of the poet, was published by his affectionate friend and literary executor, Dr Beattie, himself the author of various works, and of some pleasing and picturesque poetry. 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 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:" 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 sympathies are also more widely diversified with respect to the condition of humanity, and the hopes and prospects of society. With all his classic predilections, he was not—as he has himself remarked of Crabbe—a laudator temporis acti, but a decided lover of later times. Age never quenched his zeal for public freedom or for the unchained exercise of the human intellect; and, with equal consistency in tastes as in opinions, he was to the last meditating a work on Greek literature, by which, fifty years before, he first achieved distinction.
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 His calumet of peace and cup of joy; As monumental bronze unchanged his look; A soul that pity touched, but never shook; Trained from his tree-rocked cradle to his bier The fierce extreme of good and ill to brook Impassive—fearing but the shame of fear— A stoic of the woods—a man without a tear.
The loves of Gertrude and Waldegrave, the patriarchal Albert, and the sketches of rich sequestered Pennsylvanian scenery, also shew 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