Obrazy na stronie

fore" one of the moods of my own good humour, and with a smile on mind." But Mr Wordsworth should our faces; but what follows is too reflect, that the life and character of deplorable to be laughed at; and if Burns had, long before Dr Currie's he will make a fool of himself, he edition, been the theme of universal cannot well blame us for recording discussion ; that he had lived in the his folly. The secret cause of all his eye of the world ; that innumerable intemperate zeal in the needless vindianecdotes of his conversation, habits, cation of Burns now betrays itself; propensities, and domestic economy, and, as if maddened by a sudden sense were floating through society; that of intolerable wrong, he falls foul of thousands existed who knew him and the Editor of the Edinburgh Review the general tenor of his life ; and that with a violence that must discompose therefore, had his biographer preserved the nervous system of that learned that strict silence regarding his per- and ingenious person. It seems that sonal character which Mr Wordsworth Mr Peterkin, in his very heavy and recommends, he would thereby have dry Essay, had made several quotations seemed to sanction the world's belief from the Edinburgh and Quarterly in all the false or exaggerated stories Reviews. The last of these articles is in circulation about that extraordinary far more severe on Burns' failings than man,-to have shrunk from the rela- the first. But Mr Wordsworth passes tion of facts which he could not justify, the Quarterly Review quietly over ; and to have drawn a veil over enor- and, with the voice and countenance mities which he could not but con- of a maniac, fixes his teeth in the blue demn.

cover of the Edinburgh. He growls But let us turn from this part of the over it-shakes it violently to and froLetter, which we are confident every and at last, wearied out with vain efliberal mind must peruse with disgust forts at mastication, leaves it covered and indignation, to the purely absurd over with the drivelling slaver of his and ludicrous matter contained in the impotent rage. concluding ten pages. Much has been But what will be thought of Mr written, and well written, on the ge- Wordsworth, when he tells us that he nius of Burns; but all other critics has never read the offensive criticism must hide their diminished heads on in the Edinburgh Review! He has the advance of Mr Wordsworth. He only seen the garbled extract of Mr has somewhere told us that he is a Peterkin. What right, then, has he water-drinker; and we believe him, to talk big of injustice done to the for surely there never was so strange dead, when he is himself so deplorably and awkward an eulogist of intoxica- deficient in justice to the living? But tion.

Mr Wordsworth must not be allowed “ His brother can set me right if I am to escape that castigation which his mistaken, when I express a belief that, at unparalleled insolence deserves. The the time when he wrote his story of Death world is not to be gulled by his hypoand Dr Hornbook,' he had very rarely been critical zeal in the defence of injured intoxicated, or perhaps even much exhilarated by liquor. Yet how happily does he merit. It is not Robert Burns for lead his reader into that track of sensations! whom he feels,-it is William Wordsand with what lively humour does he de worth. All the while that he is exscribe the disorder of his senses and the claiming against the Reviewer's injusconfusion of his understanding, put to test tice to Burns, he writhes under the by a deliberate attempt to count the horns lash which that consummate satirist of the moon !

has inflicted upon himself, and exhi• But whether she had three or four

bits a back yet sore with the wounds He couldna tell.'

which have been in vain kept open, Behold a sudden apparition that disperses this disorder, and in a moment chills him and which his restless and irritable into possession of himself! Coming upon no vanity will never allow to close. more important mission than the grisly phan

We shall not disgrace our pages tom was charged with, what mode of intro- with any portion of the low and vulduction could have been more efficient or gar abuse which the enraged poet appropriate ?"

heaps upon the Editor of the EdinReally Mr Wordsworth's poetry is burgh Review. It is Mr Wordsworth's less absurd than his criticism. serious opinion, that that gentleman

We had hoped, after all, to part is a person of the very weakest intelwith Mr Wordsworth intolerably lects that his malignity is neutralize.'

on the

by his vanity--that he does not possess

The reader will, from this quotation, one liberal accomplishment and that judge with what propriety Mr Wordshe is nearly as imbecile as Buonaparte! worth accuses the Edinburgh Reviewer Mr Wordsworth's friends should not of injustice to Burns. It appears that allow him to expose himself in this the Reviewer thinks much more highly way. He has unquestionably written of Burns than Mr Wordsworth does, some fine verses in his day; but, with for we see that he places him far above the exception of some poetical genius, the author of the Excursion. he is, in all respects, immeasurably In conclusion, one word to all hose inferior, as an intellectual being, to gentleinen who are now so idly bestirthe distinguished person whom he so ring themselves in the revival of an foolishly libels.

obsolete subject. The world are agreed We wish to have done with this about the character and genius of lyrical ballad-monger. But before Burns. None but the most narrow, taking our leave of him, we beg to minded bigots think of his errors and point out a passage in the very Cri- frailties but with sympathy and indule tique which he lias abused ;-* pas- gence; none but the blindest enthusuge which we cannot help thinking siasts can deny their existence. It is he may have seen, though he never very possible that his biographers and reads reviews, and of which we fear critics may have occasionally used epiwe may say,

Hinc illie lachrymæ.thets and expressions too peremptory “Our other remark is of a more limited and decisive, - for why should Jessrs application, and is addressed chiefly to the Wordsworth and Peterkin claiin a followers and patrons of that new school of monopoly of error ?-but, poetry, against which we have thought it whole, the character of the bard has our duty to neglect no opportunity of testi- had ample justice. There is no need fying. Those gentlemen are outrageous for for us to gay what Burns was,-or simplicity; and we beg leave to recommend what he was not: This he has himself to them the simplicity of Burns. He has told us in immortal language ; and the copied the spoken language of passion and affection, with infinitely more fidelity than following most pathetic and sublime they have ever done, on all occasions which stanza ought to silence both his friends properly admitted of such adaptation ; but and his enemies--if enemies there can he has not rejected the helps of elevated indeed be to a man so nobly endowed. language and habitual associations, nor de- For while, with all the proud conbased his composition by an affectation of sciousness of genius and virtue, he babyish interjections, and all the puling ex

there glories in the gifts which Goul pletives of an old nursery-maid's vocabulary. had bestowed on him, there too does They may look long enough among his nervous and manly lines, before they tind any

he, “ with compunctious visitings of • Good lacks !'_ Dear hearts !' -or. As a nature," own, in prestration of spirit, body may say,' in them; or any stuff about that the light which led him astray dancing daffodils and sister Emmelines. Let was not always “ light from heaven.” them think, with what infinite contempt the

“ The poor Inhabitant below powerful mind of Burns would have perused

Was quick to learn and wise to know, the story of Alice Fell and her duffle cloak, And aft had felt the kindly glow, of Andrew Jones and the half-crown,-

And safter flame ; or of Little Dan without breeches, and his

But thoughtless follies laid him low, thievish grandfather. Let them contrast

And stained his name." their own fantastical personages of hysterical schoolmasters and sententious leech-gatherers with the authentic rustics of Burns' Cotter's Saturday Night, and his inimitable songs ; and reflect on the different reception which these personifications have met with from the public. Though they will The city of Edinburgh, situated not be reclaimed from their puny affecta- upon an eminence consisting of three tions

by the example of their learned prede parallel ridges, about two miles discessors, they may perhaps submit to be admonished by a self-taught and illiterate

tant from the Frith of Forth, and poet, who drew from Nature far more di- about 250 feet above its level, boundrectly than they can do, and produced some

ed on the west by its venerable Castle thing so much liker the admired copies of built on a high and precipitous rock, the masters whom they have abjured."* and overhung on the east by Arthur

Seat and its crags, and by the Calton * Edin. Review, No 26, p. 276. Hill,-forms, from every part of the



neighbouring country, a grand and exposed to the same fluctuations in picturesque object in the landscape, their circumstances, nor to the freand atfords from its environs, and even quent extremes of poverty and misery, from every quarter of its interior, to which the latter are so liable. A views of surrounding scenery, which, mid the universal distress, however, in variety and beauty, are perhaps which has prevailed in all parts of the unequalled in any other situation in country during the last year, the poor the world.

of Edinburgh could not fail to suffer The principal streets in the ancient amongst others; but the extent and part of the town, with the exception degree of this suffering has been very of the Cowgate, which, placed in the materially diminished by the assishollow betwixt the middle and south- tance so seasonably afforded by their ern ridge, is narrow and confined, richer fellow citizens, by the sums are spacious; and the whole of the subscribed in order to give them emNew Town, occupying the northern ployment. The circumstances in the ridge, and the modem part of the Old state of the poor in this town, already Town, both chiefly built within the mentioned, made it much more possilast half century, and forming now the ble to render effectual service to those greater part of the city, are remarka- in want than in most other large towns; ble for the grandeur of their streets and there can be no doubt, that the and the uniform elegance and sub- money laid out has afforded the means stantialness of the houses. From the of employment and subsistence to elevated position of the town,--the ir many who must otherwise have pined regularity of the surface of the sur- in wretchedness and starvation; while, rounding country, and vicinity of the from the mode in which it has been apForth, it is exposed to currents of wind plied, in extending and repairing the even in the calmest weather ; and the walks in the neighbourhood, it must numerous lanes, very properly deno- add to the healthfulness and comforts minated closes, running

from the High of the city. Street and Canongate, down the sides There is nothing perhaps in which of the iniddle ridge of the town, be- luxury and comfort have so much intween rows high and irregular creased, within the last fifty years, as houses, though in appearance contined in the style of the houses occupied by and ill aired, have frequently a draught the different classes of the community. of air passing through them. This Since the period of the extension of complete and steady ventilation, and the town, which was begun about the the high situation and declivity of al- middle of the last century, it has inmost all the streets, in a great measure creased much more in extent than in prevent the possibility of dampness, population, and a great and progresand afford advantages for cleanliness sive improvement has taken place in seldom to be found in any other large the plans of the houses. The lower town.

classes of the community now occupy, The population of Edinburgh is cal- as habitations, the apartments on the culated to be above 80,000 souls; but Hats of the lofty-houses of the Old as it is not a place of trade, or of ex- Town, which have been deserted by tensive manufactures, the number of the richer for the more commodious and the labouring classes, and of the poor, splendid houses of the modern part of the is small in proportion to that of the town. From this circumstance, the armiddling classes, and of the rich ; tisans and labourers are provided with among the labouring classes, too, as more substantial and dry habitations they are chiefly mechanics employed than usually fall to the lot of this class; in supplying the wants of the in- but the heightof the stairs, and the numhabitants of the town and surround- ber of families residing under each roof, ing country--porters for the use of contribute in some degree to occasion the town, and labourers employed that want of cleanliness and neatness, in the operations of building, and which but too generally prevails. in agriculture in the vicinity, their The climate of Edinburgh being employinent is in general steady; very variable, cannot be said to be and though they do not obtain the pleasant, but it is temperate, and is high wages and luxuries sometimes not liable to any continued extremes enjoyed by manufacturers, they are not of heat, or cold, or moisture. The con

stant prevalence of wind frequently ument, at a considerable height above from the north, or from the east, ren- the surface of the earth, and not exders it, during the greater part of the posed to eddies of wind, the annual year, chill, and in the summer cool. The quantity of rain, averaged from the winter, which may be said to last four observations of the years 1814 and months, is, as might be expected from 1815, is indicated to be 15.29 inches; the neighbourhood of the sea, gene- and last year, an unusually wet season, rally open and variable, frosts or storms not less than 18.15 inches. By thegauges of snow seldom lasting longer than a in the immediate neighbourhood, but few days. The wetness and sudden placed near the ground, the quantities changes in the weather during spring indicated are much greater. The are proverbial ; and during the month country around Edinburgh is drained of May, which in more southern and highly cultivated, affording rich countries is so delightful, damp easter- crops of wheat, turnips, and potaly winds too generally prevail during toes. An abundant supply of coals, the day, with frosts in the night, des- for fuel, is brought at a reasonable troying the blossoms and prospects price from the neighbouring country. of fruit, which a continuance of fine The spring of this year has been weather in April not unfrequently remarkable for the steadiness and dryproduces. At this period of the year, ness of the weather, and most fathere is a striking difference in cli- vourable for the advancement of the mate between the north and south operations of husbandry. The month sides of the town, often of material of February was open and mild ; and consequence to invalids; the latter ly- during March, though there were freing exposed to the south, sheltered quent frosts and showers of snow, and from the east wind by Arthur Seat, of rain, there was much fine weather, and from the north by the high ridge In the latter end of the month, after of the town, is considerably warmer some days of warmth, an intense cold than the northern part; not only an suddenly came on, which continued evident difference in the sensation of for three days, the thermometer, durheat being felt in passing from the one ing the night, standing seven degrees to the other, but, during the day, a below the freezing point, and a sharp difference of two or three degrees in dry wind blowing from the north. the thermometer being frequently ob- During April a westerly wind prevailservable. The summer is usually ed, and the weather, though not warm, agreeable, as the heat is seldom op- was steady and remarkably dry, only pressive, or the drought continued ; a few slight showers of rain having faland the weather, in the months of len during the month. With May the September and October, is generally east winds set in, and have continued steady, fair, and temperate. The with little variation during the month, changes in the barometer and thermo- but they have been less chill and damp meter, particularly in the latter, are than usual, and the frost in the night less frequent, and often great and sud- severe. In the latter end of the month den. The average annual tempera- frequent seasonable falls of rain took ture of Edinburgh is about 471°, place, which had become desireable for and the thermometer seldom stands the advancement of vegetation. above 75° in summer, or falls below The markets of Edinburgh are well 20° in winter. Showers of rain are fre- and regularly supplied with the nequent at all times of the year, but wet cessaries of life; and abundance of weather is seldom long continued. In fish of various kinds, particularly of spring a drizzling mist from the east cod, haddocks, and at certain seasons frequently occurs. The observations of herrings, is to be procured at a very lately made at Edinburgh, from rain moderate price. All the luxuries and gauges, shew that the quantities of indulgences of the table are easily obrain which fall, indicated by that in- tained by the rich, but the diet of the strument, are much modified by its labouring classes, whose mode of live position; and therefore, that the correctness of the results which have hitherto been obtained from its use, is not the meteorological report of the Magazine,

• It will be observed, from examining much to be depended on. By the gauge that the average of the temperature of this belonging to the Astronomical Institu- spring has been about 5° higher than that. tion, placed on the top of Nelson's mone of the last..


ing is necessarily much limited by it is distributed to the older part of their circumstances, is chiefly com- the town by means of public wells in posed of oatmeal porridge, bread, po- the streets, -and to the more modern tatoes, and milk. Even among them by pipes to each house, or to their wheaten bread has now in a great mea- As of late years the population sure displaced that of oatmeal or barley- has greatly increased, and pipes have meal. Their means enable them but been furnished to the new houses, seldom to procure butcher meat; but which, from their size, require a large for dinner they frequently make a quantity of water, while no effectual broth, with barley and green vegeta- means have been taken to provide for bles, in which beef bones, or a portion this increased consumption, the supof butter, of which they consume a ply of this essential article is never considerable quantity, have been boil- abundant, and, in dry seasons, extremeed, if not with the effect of adding to ly deficient. In order, therefore, to its nutritive qualities, at least with that observe a due and proper economy in ot' rendering it more palatable. During its use, it is supplied to the public the season, the fresh herrings afford wells only at times, and it flows to them a cheap and excellent food; and the cisterns of the houses at considerthey at all times consume, with their able intervals. To all classes of the potatoes, a considerable quantity of salt community this deficiency occasions herrings and salted fish. Fresh white a very great privation ; but to the fish, though often cheap, they seem poor, when the time and labour which little in the habit of using in their fa- they expend, and the exposure they milies. The harmless and refreshing have to undergo in procuring their luxury of tea is very generally enjoyed; scanty supply are considered, it is oband the number of public houses, and vious that it must be an evil of serious the quantity of spirits consumed, but magnitude. To this scarcity of water too plainly prove the extent to which there can be little doubt that the ofthe more pernicious one of dram-drink- fensive state of the streets, particularing is indulged in. It were much to ly in summer, so long the opprobrium be wished, both on account of the mo- of Edinburgh, is in some degree to be rals and health of the people, that attributed ; and while it continues, it the money expended in this destruc- must oppose a serious obstacle to the tive use of ardent spirits, were laid out improvement in the cleanliness of on the more nutritive and wholesome their persons and their habitations, beverage of malt-liquor. Though, which is so desireable among the poor. along with whisky, a considerable The degree to which the scarcity of quantity of inferior ale is consumed in water was felt during the dry summer the public houses, it is but little used of 1815, and the threatening of it as a regular article of diet.

which has already been perceived this During the last winter, from the spring, has drawn the attention of the difficulty of procuring employment, Magistrates and of the public to it in and the low rate of wages, joined with a particular manner; and it is now to the high price and inferior quality of be hoped, that the town will ere long bread and corn, and particularly of enjoy the benefit of the advantages oatmeal and potatoes, the food of the which it possesses from its situation, poor must have been less nutritious, as of obtaining a supply of water even well as diminished in quantity; and to profusion, of which an abundance while we cannot but admire the pa- is so essential to the cleanliness of the tience with which they have sustained city, and to the comfort and health of them, it is melancholy to reflect on its inhabitants. the privations which the labouring There is no disease which is peculiar classes of the community must have to Edinburgh, neither can any of the borne in their fare, which is at all diseases of this country be said to be times plain and so little abundant. particularly prevalent or severe in this

With all the advantages which this town. On the whole, it is remarkably otherwise favoured town possesses, it healthful; and I believe that it may is deficient in the most indispensable be stated, that the mortality in it is necessary and luxury of life. It is small in proportion to the population, supplied with excellent water, convey, though I have not before me, indeed ed from springs near the Pentland I do not know if there exist, docuHills, to two reservoirs, from which ments on which an accurate opinion VOL. I.

2 M

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