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who found him in bed at midday, why he was not up, GENIUS.
coolly replied, “Young man, I have no motive.' Dr JohnITS ALLEGED TENDENCIES, DUTIES, AND
son, too, was indolent, and yet both these indolent men RESPONSIBILITIES.
have left behind them several noble, and elaborate, and In a former paper we endeavoured to describe the nature immortal productions. Alfieri, the Italian, galloped over and influence of genius; we may now advert shortly to the the greater part of Europe, besides writing tragedies and supposed aberrations and abuses of this strange power. histories by the score. Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and A great deal of nonsense has been written on this subject. Weber, were never done with their labours. WordsGenius has been often spoken of as allied to indolence, worth, the present poet-laureate, has been accused of invanity, irritability, melancholy, and insanity. The elder dolence, and yet he published a huge quarto, called the D’Israeli has countenanced some of those charges by Excursion, as a small part of a larger poem, the Recluse, writing a large book called the Calamities of Authors, which is still in manuscript, but which, if printed, we supalthough he could have made just as large a book on the pose, would fill folios. Or need we name, in disproof of Calamities of Cadgers. The truth is, that men of genius the vulgar charge, the names of Scott and Brougham, the are very much like their neighbours in the qualities and former of whom wrote sometimes a novel in a fortnight; circumstances referred to. With regard to the charge the latter of whom, as Romilly once said of him, “has time of indolence, what are the facts ? Homer seems to have for every thing,' and as a very bitter enemy once conbeen as active as most ballad-singers, and their trade fessed, when he was Chancellor, 'If the fellow did only verily is no sinecure. Eschylus was an actor, a leader of know a little more law, he would have a smattering of armies, and had written ninety tragedies before the eagle every thing.' So much for the reproach of indolence. We dropped a stone on his bald head, mistaking it for a rock, might as easily, in the same way, dispose of the common and crushed out the loftiest intellect of Greece. Demos- charges of vanity and irritability, and show that men of thenes talked perpetually, and to talk at his pitch for a genius have not been, on the whole, much vainer, or more lifetime was much. Virgil polished away all his life, and touchy, than others. Nay, it could be proved that, in point the labour of the file is no trifle. On what subject has of happiness, too, this class have ranked as high, or higher, Cicero not written, and an Encyclopædist is not thought than their fellows. Of Homer's private life we know nothing, the most indolent of animals. Michael Angelo, and Raf- but judging of him from the spirit of his works, he apfaelle, and all the great painters of Italy, wrought with pears to have been a serene and sociable spirit. Virgil out ceasing. Dante was far too fierce and restless a had much quiet and tranquil happiness; no miserable spirit to be an indolent man. We bought the other day man could bave counterfeited that serene grandeur and a medallion of the head of Dante, and, certainly, when cheerful majesty which distinguish his poetry. Horace, we look at its stern, withered, yet majestic outlines, we again, is all careless hilarity; he runs over his subject cannot wonder though, after the publication of his poem, with an ease and a grace quite peculiar to himself, and he was saluted by the boys in the streets as the man that denoting anything but, unhappiness. How cheerful was had been in Pandemonium. Proudest and most sorrowful Shakspere, who was generally saluted by the title of the of human faces, it is not the face of an indolent though it Gentle Willy.' Milton's great injured soul remained is that of an unhappy man.
Erasmus wrote his · Praise serene even under that deep cloud of poverty, and neglect, of Folly,' while on a journey. Shakspere wrote thirty plays, and blindness, which fell on his later years, and beneath and such plays! before he was fifty. Milton felt himself those darkened eyeballs there dwelt within a light which fever in his great taskmaster's eye;' need it be added that never was on sea or shore,' the light of the peace and the he laboured ? Dryden was one of the most voluminous of joy which are unspeakable and pass understanding. Gay writers. Pope wrote much and polished more. Daniel | did not belie his name, nor did Tickell. Addison said to De Foe was one of the most active men of the age, as the youth who was sent for by him to his deathbed, 'I active as he describes his own Robinson Crusoe in the have sent for you to show you in what peace a Christian care; we never hear of him resting, not even in jail — can die.' Swift, indeed, was often very unhappy, but never except when he stood in the pillory for one of his who can read his life, particularly his heartless conhonest and outspeaking publications. Goldsmith had too duct to the unfortunate females who came in connexion much writhing vanity to permit him to be idle. Thomson with him, without feeling that he had cause to be so ? was indeed an indolent man, so indolent that he was once The son of Young, author of the Night Thoughts,' seen eating peaches off a wall with his mouth, and both told Johnson that his father was gloomy when alone; hands in his pockets; and when asked by a visiter, it might be so, but much of the gloom of his great
poem is assumed; a man all his life hunting for prefer- ferred upon them. Still we are slow to believe that ment had scarcely time to accumulate such a load of genius is merely, as it has been called, a beautiful disease, darkness: though he could hardly be abler than he was, which, like a certain species of shell-fish, bleeds pearis
, he was evidently much happier than he pretended to be. or that its structure always stands toppling above the Dr Johnson's misery was the result of bodily disease : quicksands of frenzy. No; and looking back on the hisBurns' and Byron's of an irregular life. Scott was a tory of the past, we find that many of the very greatest happy man; on the whole so was Cobbett, as real a genius of minds have remained clear and cloudless in the whole as any we have named; we never saw a fresher, heartier, course of their development. Such were those of Plato, healthier, happier, more farmer-like old fellow, than Dante, Shakspere, Milton, Cervantes, Bacon, Scott, Wordswhen he came down to Edinburgh in the year 1832. worth, Schiller, and Goëthe, nanies which form the first Wordsworth is eminently cheerful. Moore is the light row in the great general gallery of ages, and yet were all and life of every party he enters, gay and brilliant as a as free from the obscuration or eclipse of madness as are butterfly, or, in his own words, playful as Peris let the brilliant stars which compose the constellation of the loose from their cages.' Robert Hall said on one occasion, planets from the fogs and foul exhalations which bedin 'I enjoy every thing,' though suffering often the most the lamps of the street. intense agony, from a large pebble which lay in his spine, We shall close this paper with a few remarks in referlike a literal thorn in the flesh: we are told that happi- ence to the duties and responsibilities of genius. Let ness was the law of his existence. And what a nice, \ it not be imagined that genius and solid knowledge are kindly, warmhearted being, by all accounts, is Charles incompatible. The more knowledge we acquire the Dickens. Small almost as his own • Tiny Tim' dressed more fuel we lay in for the blaze of imagination to inin almost as dandyfied a style as his own • Lord Frederick spirit and enkindle. There is a tendency in many minds Verisoft,' he is yet as full of the milk of human kindness to attempt to compose rather prematurely, especially in as his own Brothers Cheryble, and that large heart of the department of poetry. In the words of Thon as his, which loves all it ever looked upon, which can find i Campbell-words which we well remember hearing him something to respect even in a Bob Sawyers, and some address to the students of Glasgow College- A young thing to pity even in a Ralph Nickleby, and can own even inind plunging into the depths of metaphysical research, Newman Noggs as a brother, is faithfully mirrored in the before it has stored itself with a knowledge of useful facts, good-humoured and mild penetration of his countenance. may be compared to one explaining the wheels of a watch The spirit of the age is heartily sick of Byron, with all before he has learned to read the hours upon the dial-plate. his selfish misery and moody complainings, but it Precocious attempts, too, at fine writing, and at colouring thoroughly appreciates, and will long as well as deeply language, before we have learned to give shape to our love, the gentle genius, the unrivalled humour, and the thoughts, have their disadvantage. Yet still,' he added, all-embracing charity of Boz.
'I tremble at the idea of damping the fire of youthful The reader has often heard the couplet quoted- ambition; for in the young student, as in the youll * Great wit to madness is so near allied,
soldier, the dashing and daring spirit is preferable to the That thin partitions do their cells divide.'
listless. To the early aspirant at original composition,
to the boy poet, I should therefore only say, go on and And we are not prepared altogether to deny the truth of prosper, but never forget that, in spite of random excepthe principle involved in it. Often we fear, though not tions, Buchanan is right in the general principle, when always, the diamond of genius must be taken with this in awarding immortality to nighty poets he designates fatal flaw along with it. Frenzy seems to lurk in the them by the epithet learned.' neighbourhood of this fine faculty, like a tiger waiting Let no one dream that literature is itself an enviable the moment for its terrible spring. Sometimes the poet profession. Its profits are very scanty and very precarious. is “blasted with poetic fire. Sometimes, before the Not one literary adventurer in a thousand succeeds. glorious vision, he falls down as a dead man. Thus Lu- Literature is a genuine lottery, its prizes are very precicretius, the greatest of the Roman poets, was mysteriously ous, but they are very few, whereas its blanks are numerafflicted. Thus poor Cowper lived and died in darkness, ous, and many there be that find them. Young men in and was saved from suicide by the breaking of a garter. multitudes, of high promise, who in the path of a regular Thus was it with Chatterton, 'the marvellous boy, the profession would have risen to eminence and distinction, sleepless soul, that perished in his pride. Thus, too, the have, from adopting literature as a profession, dwindled man that walked in glory and in joy behind his plough into booksellers' backs or penny-a-liners, faithfully picupon the mountain side,' describes himself as blasted ab tured in the words of Burns, when he describes himself origine 'with an incurable taint of hypochondria.' Thus as “half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit.' It is told of Hazlitt, Hall, like an angel whose glorious powers had been un- himself a man of talents perfectly first-rate, that a little hinged by gazing too closely at the Shekinah, had twice, before his death he met Hone, author of the Every Day in the language of Scripture, his heart changed from Book, and said to him, 'I have carried a volcano in my that of man,' twice wandered into the wild land of breast down Pall-Mall for the last two hours; I have madness, and yet 'the light that led astray was a light striven mortally to quench, to quell it, but it will outfrom heaven. Perhaps such things, after all, are only can you lend me a shilling? I have not tasted food for in unison with the general plan, with the austere and two days.' awful compensations of the universe. We find a strict We would say, moreover, to every reader, cherish with economy always exercised in doling out the precious gifts the utmost ardour a literary taste. It will become to of the Creator. Thus the thorn and the rose growing on you its own exceeding great reward.' It will mingle one stem; poison and beauty meeting in the serpent; sweetly with your daily toils. It will shed an interest fidelity, sagacity, and madness, equally characterizing the over, and impart a beauty and a grace to, your evening canine species; sense, mildness, power, and clumsiness, recreations. It will cement your early friendships.lt united in the huge form of the elephant; the peacock, will deepen the pleasure of your solitary or your social with his splendid plumage and hideous scream; the walks. It will preserve the tone of your morals, and faa nightingale, with his sober livery and matchless song; the flame of your religion. the tropical clime, with its magnificent vegetation, its Let it ever be borne in mind, in fine, that all talents are fell diseases, and its loathsome reptiles—these apparent a trust from God, and involve serious responsibilities. To anomalies, as well as that of genius, so often suspended whom much is given, of him also much shall be required.' by its single tremulous hair over the gulph of madness, “The servant that knows his Lord's will and does it Dot are probably fragments of one wide law, portions of one shall be beaten with many stripes. Many stripes! it is Fise, benevolent, but mysterious arrangement. Nothing an expression of dreary strength and terrible significanc. is given, all things are sold. Willingly or unwillingly, It represents the fate of a great guilty being who has premen must pay for whatever good or great quality is con- Istituted noble powers to the worst of purposes; who, frum the vantage-ground of a universal reputation, has mouthed at all congenial to his tastes and former habits. He left blasphemies against the highest, or hurled firebrands, his service, in short, and finished his apprenticeship with a arrows, and death, into the midst of the crowds of his fel- Mr Page, surgeon, at Woodbridge. The society he obtained lowmen whom his genius had gathered around him, and here was more to his mind. One of his acquaintances, who, when too late, feels, as in a burst of thunder, the Levett by name, introduced him to a Miss Sarah Elmy, immensity of the guilt he has contracted, the immensity with whom he fell violently in love, and to whom, at a of the mischief he has done, and the immensity of the subsequent period of his life, he was married. Mathemisery he has laid up in store. Let us, from the very matics, botany, poctry, and, we may add, Miss Elmy, conception of such a case-a case, alas! not hypothetical, were now his favourite studies. but which has occurred, is occurring, and may again occur In the year 1775, when his apprenticeship was at an -learn this lesson, that whether intrusted by our muni end, Crabbe returned home, but with the view of repairficent Creator with ten talents, or two, or even one, it is ing to the metropolis to complete his medical education. our duty so to cultivate, so to guard, so to consecrate His father's worldly circumstances, however, were scarcely those precious powers, that when the Master comes we such that he could satisfy this inclination ; but at last he may be able to say, 'Lord here is thine own, and with made an effort to send him to London to walk the hospiusury.'
tals. On his return he engaged himself as assistant to a Dr Maskill; but soon after this gentleman's removal from
Aldborough, he set up for himself. It is, in most cases, BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. difficult for a young surgeon to work himself into a
respectable practice. Crabbe's professional education REV. GEORGE CRABBE, LL.B.
was but indifferent, owing to the circumstances of his
family. He was poor, a lover, a botanist, and a poet: "Nature's sternest painter, yet the best.'
Miss Elmy had gained upon him more than the cure of GEORGE CRABBE, the Hogarth of poets, was born at Ald- bodies; his desk was filled with verses, and at last, vibratborough, Suffolk, on the Christmas eve of 1751. Some ing betwixt hope and fear, but manfully and religiously, kinds of scenery are clearly better fitted than others for he embarked on board a sloop for the Great City; his nursing the poetic temperament. The wild grandeur of fortune, a box of clothes, a small case of surgical instruthe scenes among which Byron spent a portion of his ments, and three pounds in money.' childhood had no small influence, we know, in moulding Many were the difficulties he had to contend with in his own character, and that bis poetry. We detect in the metropolis before he got his foot fairly on the ladder most of his poems, and in the whole complexion of his of fame ; but, like the bee that sucks honey from the mind, a spirit of gloom which carries the imagination hemlock-weed, his genius converted them to the improveback to the time when heroved a young Highlander o'er ment of his character and mind. His three pounds were the dark heath.' The same remark holds true of Crabbe. soon exhausted ; but he rhymed and read away, strolling There is the health and freshness of the sea-breeze about into the country occasionally with Horace, Ovid, or Catulthe man and his poetry. The gales from the German lus in his pocket, and once he had to pass the night on a ocean, that braced his youthful nerves, seem also to have rick of hay, having wandered too far, and being unable to imparted a clearness and vigour to his mind and verse. pay either for lodgings or refreshment. He transcribed The staple ingredients of his poetry, moreover, were de- his poems for the booksellers, and submitted them to rived from the materials that lay around him in his boy- their judgment; but it takes a fine eye to perceive the hood. He is pre-eminently the poet of the poor. The beautiful butterfly before it has got its wings. He wrote obscure villager; the amphibious fisherman ; the tarry- to Lord North, Lord Shelburne, and other eminent indivi. fisted, generous, superstitious sailor; the simple-minded, duals, but in these quarters he was not more successful. He honourable peasant; the smuggler and the wrecker; the kept up his spirits by writing a journal for bis Sarah, translowly inmate of the workhouse--these, and such as these, mitting her an account of his daily life. At last, in desperawere the characters he most loved to delineate; they tion, and with the horrors of a jail before him, he addressed were, in truth, his favourite heroes.
a letter, accompanied with some of his verses, to Edmund Our poet's grandfather had been a burgess of Ald- Burke, who, with the sagacity of a prophet, detected the borough, and, in his latter days, collector of the customs in genius of the man, and with the kindness of a parent took that seaport. His father filled the same office, though, the poem of the Library' to Mr Dodsley, and gave it in earlier life, he had been schoolmaster and parish clerk. the benefit of his own elocution and comments. Mr The young poet got his first lessons at the school of an Dodsley had previously declined publishing Mr Crabbe's old dame, and very early discovered those tastes and pre- poems, and did so still, but with a gentler grace. Neverdilections which characterized his after-life. He eagerly theless, the Library' was published under the patronage devoured whaterer books he could lay his hands on; but of Burke, and formed the turning point of the Aldborough romances, old ballads, tales of ghosts, witches, and fairies, dreamer's life. From that day he was famous—from that were his special favourites. His father had penetration day fortune smiled upon him. It was no imaginary spirit enough to perceive the native bent of his mind; and it is that he heard addressing him, as related at the close of to his honour to add, that he spent more money on his the poem :education than could have been expected from a person in his circumstances. He was sent to a school at Bungay, on
. Go on, then, Son of Vision! still pursue
Thy airy dreams; the world is dreaming too. the borders of Norfolk, and afterwards, when he was about Ambition's lofty views, the pomp of state, twelve years of age, to one where higher branches were The pride of wealth, the splendour of the great, taught, at Stowmarket. The medical profession was, at this
Stripp'd of their mask, their cares and troubles known,
Are visions far less happy than thy own; period, his destination; and having noticed an advertise- Go on! and while the sons of care complain, ment in the newspapers for a surgeon's apprentice, he ap- Be wisely gay, and innocently vain ; plied for and obtained the situation. His master was a
While serious souls are by their fears undone,
blow sportive bladders in the beamy sun, practitioner at Wickham Brooke, a small village near
And call them worlds! and bid the greatest Show Bury St Edmunds. His engagement, however, with his More radiant colours in their worlds below; first master was soon dissolved. Indeed, he never relished
Then, as they break, the slaves of care reprove, this situation. Poets, as a class, are peculiarly sensitive;
And tell them-Such are all the toys they love. and the remark, perhaps we should call it the taunt of While Crabbe was residing at the hospitable mansion of his master's daughters, when they first saw him cross their the famous Edmund Burke, the orator had drawn from father's threshold, uttered amidst a peal of laughter, the poet that with regard to a settled profession, his views "La, here's our new 'prentice,' stung him to the quick. were strongly in favour of the church. Crabbe bad got While here, too (for his master was farmer as well as a little Latin at his second school ; his character was irsurgeon), he was frequently called to perform tasks not reproachable; and having passed a very decent examina
tion, he was admitted to deacon's orders in London, on the laid aside for ever.' The poetic temperament and the 21st of December, 1781, by the Bishop of Norwich ; who rough sports of the field do not exactly harmonize. The ordained him a priest in the August of the following year. reader will recall the lines of Scotland's favourite poet, Being licensed as curate to the rector of Aldborough, he when he saw the wounded bare limping past him. took leave of his patron and London friends, and set off Two years after his marriage, Crabbe published the once more for his native place. To himself, and to those Newspaper,' a poem akin in character, and, by competent who knew him, his return to Aldborough must have been judges, thought equally meritorious with the Library.' an interesting event. His previous life had been ramb- His career as a poet had been eminently successful : it ling, unsettled, and unsatisfactory-half poet half surgeon was so indeed far beyond his hopes. Critics of the highest --piling up butter casks for his father on the quay at name, and friends well able to judge, encouraged him Slaughden, or sauntering half-crazed, with an unsatisfied to persevere, and devote himself with still more ardour heart, by the river or shore at Aldborough. The tide of to the service of the Muses. From the publication of the fortune had turned in his favour now, and for this he was poem we have just mentioned, in 1785, however, he gare chiefly indebted to his own perseverance. He was a young nothing of consequence to the world till twenty-two years poet, a young clergyman, smiled on by the great, fresh from afterwards, when his ó Parish Register' appeared. During the friendly grasp of the first orators of that or perhaps this interval he had lost his friend and kind patron the of any other age, Burke and Fox; and who shall blame Duke of Rutland, who died while yet in the vigour of him if he carried his head a little high, or if he planted manhood, leaving behind him a young and beautiful his foot on his native sands with a freer and firmer tread. widow and six children. To the influence of the widowed The proverb, “ The prophet is not without honour save in duchess with Lord Thurlow, Crabbe owed his promotion to his own country,' was partially realized in the experience the rectorship of Muston, in Leicestershire, and the adjoinof the subject of this sketch. ‘Old stories and old failures ing parish of Allington, in the county of Lincoln. This were raked up; and whether they had been so or not, it appointment allowed him the choice of several residences, takes a larger measure of moral greatness than falls to of which he did not fail to avail himself, which leads us the lot of most men to feel quite easy and happy in cir- to infer that he rather liked a change of place and scene. I cumstances such as those of the curate of Aldborough. It was while residing at Muston, in 1807, that. The Parish Burke, whose generosity was not a thing of fits and starts, Register,' and other minor poems appeared. This volume obtained for him the appointment of domestic chaplain at once elevated him to a place beside the first poets of to the Duke of Rutland, and to Belvoir Castle he went in his age and nation. Congratulations from persons of the this character. While residing here, he completed and highest distinction, and of the highest authority in the published his poem of “The Village, which placed him, world of letters, poured in upon him from all quarters. in the estimation of those who could judge, on a level Among these it may be enough to mention Earl Grey, with Goldsmith and his · Deserted Village. If the one Lord Holland, Mr Canning, and Sir Walter Scott. The poem be inferior to the other in the fineness of the ima- most influential reviews were warm in its praises, and gination which created it, and in the delicacy of ear very soon after its publication the whole of the first ediwhich tuned its wonderful melody, the other is fully a tion was sold off. The next poem he gave to the public match for it in originality and moral power, and truth- was that entitled “The Borough,' which has perhaps fulness to nature, to
higher excellencies and deeper blemishes than any other ' Village life, and every care that reigns 3327
of his productions. In 1812, his Tales in verse appeared; O'er youthful peasants, and declining swains ;
they were dedicated to the Duchess-Dowager of Rutland, What labour yields, and what, that labour past,
and they added in no small degree to his poetical celeAge, in its hour of languor, finds at last ? What form the real picture of the poor,' &o.
Crabbe was not without his domestic sorrows. He In the month of December, 1783, Crabbe was married had already laid in the grave more than one of his houseto Miss Elmy, to whom he had been long and devotedly hold. And in the autumn of the year following that when attached. They began their married life at Belvoir Castle, his tales were published, his wife, whose health had long apartments having been allotted for their use by its noble been in a drooping state, and whose bodily, infirmities had and cnerous owner. Here they remained for about a at times impaired her mental vigour, was taken from year and a half, when Crabbe accepted the curacy of him. Soon after this bereavement, which he bore with Stathern, and went to live in the parsonage attached to that dignified composure which became a great and that office. While at Belvoir Castle, one child was born Christian spirit, he was presented by the Duke of Rutto him, who survived its birth only a few hours. In his land to the rectorship of Trowbridge, in Wiltshire, of new abode his namesake and biographer was born, also which his Grace had the alternate presentation. This his second son John, and a daughter who died in infancy. change contributed in many ways to his comfort and The four years he spent at Stathern the poet always happiness. Though he had now seen threescore summers spoke of as among the happiest of his life. Rambling in soon after he came to Trowbridge his health so much the woods of Belvoir, cultivating the garden attached to revived that he felt as if he had got a new lease of existthe parsonage, studying natural history, visiting the ence, or as if, to quote the sacred phrase, he had · renewed dwellings of the poor in the village and neighbourhood, his youth. His partiality for the society of females, a and making himself useful to them both as pastor and characteristic of every great poet we can remember, vas physician, we can easily understand that, with tastes always strong. He loved,' says his son, the very fail- ! such as those he possessed, he felt far happier here than ings of the female mind. Men in general appeared to when mingling with the great and the gay. An incident him too stern, reserved, unyielding, and worldly; and he which occurred about this time is told us by his son, and ever found relief in the gentleness, the tenderness, the it is one which testifies to the kindness and gentleness of unselfishness of woman. With these feelings, we are not his disposition. 'I may also add,' says his son, when de- surprised to be told that Crabbe, though now advancing scribing his mode of life at Stathern, “that in accordance to the threescore and ten, once more felt the power of the with the usual habits of the clergy then resident in the softer passion, and even entertained the idea of marrying vale of Belvoir, he made some efforts to become a sports- a second time. One of his sons, however, about this time man; but he wanted precision of eye and hand to use the took to himself a wife, became his curate at Trowbridge, gun with success. As to coursing, the cry of the first and lived beneath the same roof with him. This was for hare he saw killed struck him as so like the wail of an the good old man, we may believe, a most fortunate arinfant, that he turned heart-sick from the spot: and, in rangement. It released him in a great reasure from a word, although Mr Crabbe did, for a season, make his his professional cares and duties; it dispelled the dreari. appearance in a garb which none that knew him in his ness of his home, and prevented the realization of an latter days could ever have suspected him of assuming, idea, which, had it been realized, could scarely (to say the velveteen jacket and all its appurtenances were soon the least of it) have increased his happi seness. No mai
knew better than himself, and in his 'Parish Register' | look and manners struck one more than it might have he has vividly pourtrayed, the perils of being 'unequally done under different circumstances; but all three haryoked. Still, the ardour of the passion which he monized admirably together—Mr Crabbe's avowed ignocherished about this time for some fair friend is a curious rance about Gaels, and clans, and tartans, and every thing and not unpleasing trait in the history of his mind. that was at the moment uppermost in Sir Walter's It was beautifully said of Rowland Hill, that he had a thoughts, furnishing him with a welcome apology for
head of snow and a heart of fire.' When Robert Hall dilating on such topics with enthusiastic minutenesswas told by a friend that his animation increased with while your father's countenance spoke the quiet delight his years, he replied, 'Indeed, then I am like touchwood: he felt in opening his imagination to what was really a the more decayed, the easier fired.' On some such prin- new world—and the venerable. Man of Feeling,' though ciples, we suppose, are we to account for Crabbe's sus- a fiery Highlander himself at bottom, had the satisfaction ceptibility of the softer passion. In the year succeeding of lying by and listening until some opportunity offered that to which this part of the narrative refers, he had itself of hooking in, between the links, perhaps, of some the satisfaction of seeing his eldest son married and grand chain of poetical imagery, some small comic or sarsettled at Pucklechurch, which was only about twenty castic trait, which Sir Walter caught up, played with, miles distant from Trowbridge. At Pucklechurch, the and, with that art so peculiarly his own, forced into the venerable poet was a frequent guest, and, we need not service of the very impression it seemed meant to disturb. add, a welcome one.
One evening, at Mr Mackenzie's own house, I particularly We pass over his visits to the Great Metropolis,' of remember, among the noctes cænæque Deúm. which he kept a diary. Here he was admitted into the Mr Crabbe had, I presume, read very little about highest and most polished circles. Statesmen of all shades Scotland before that excursion. It appeared to me that of politics, poets of the first celebrity, literary men of he confounded the Inchcolm of the Frith of Forth with every class, some of the first nobility in the land, felt they the Icolmkill of the Hebrides; but John Kemble, I have were honouring themselves in doing honour to him, who, heard, did the same. I believe he really never had when he first set foot in the metropolis, was but a poor known, until then, that a language radically distinct from and needy adventurer. It was during one of his visits to the English, was still actually spoken within the island. London, and three years after he had published his • Tales And this recalls a scene of high merriment which occurred of the Hall,' that he met for the first time with Sir Walter the very morning after his arrival. When he came down Scott. The latter would not part with him till he had into the breakfast parlour, Sir Walter had not yet appromised to visit him the next autumn in Scotland. This peared there; and Mr Crabbe had before him two or promise Crabbe fulfilled, but it was for both poets a rather three portly personages all in the full Highland garb. unfortunate coincidence, that George the Fourth came to These gentlemen, arrayed in a costume so novel, were Scotland exactly at the same time. Our readers are talking in a language which he did not understand ; so he aware of the keen and active interest which Sir Walter never doubted that they were foreigners. The Celts, on took in all the arrangements connected with the re- their part, conceived Mr Crabbe, dressed as he was in ception and entertainment of his Majesty. This not rather an old-fashioned style clerical propriety, with only prevented Crabbe from seeing Sir Walter at Ab- buckles in his shoes for instance, to be some learned abbé, botsford, where he was always seen to the best advantage, who had come on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Waverley; but it allowed the two poets little of each other's unre- and the result was, that when, a little afterwards, Sir stricted society. Mr Lockhart, however, kindly acted as Walter and his family entered the room, they found your our poet's cicerone among the sights and scenes of Edin- father and these worthy lairds, hammering away, with burgh, and in a letter addressed to his biographer, which pain and labour, to make themselves mutually understood, we take leave to transfer to our columns, he has recorded in most execrable French. Great was the relief, and the impressions which the subject of the present sketch potent the laughter, when the host interrupted their colmade on his own mind and those of others with whom he loquy with his plain English Good-morning.' was brought into contact. The letter is as follows:- It surprised me, on taking Mr Crabbe to see the
London, Dec. 26th, 1833. house of Allan Ramsay, on the Castle Hill, to find that he 'Dear Sir,--I am sorry to tell you that Sir Walter had never heard of Allan's name; or, at all events, was Scott kept no diary during the time of your father's visit unacquainted with his works. The same evening, howto Scotland, otherwise it would have given me pleasure to ever, he perused • The Gentle Shepherd,' and he told me make extracts for the use of your memoirs. For myself, next morning, that he had been pleased with it, but although it is true that, in consequence of Sir Walter's added, there is a long step between Ramsay and Burns.' being constantly consulted about the details of every pro- He then made Sir Walter read and interpret some of old cession and festival of that busy fortnight, the pleasing Dunbar to him; and said, ' I see that the Ayrshire bard task of showing to Mr Crabbe the usual lions of Edin- had one giant before him.' burgh fell principally to my share, I regret to say that * Mr Crabbe seemed to admire, like other people, the my memory does not supply me with many traces of his grand natural scenery about Edinburgh; but when I conversation. The general impression, however, that he walked with him to the Salisbury Crags, where the left on my mind was strong, and, I think, indelible: while superb view had then a lively foreground of tents and all the mummeries and carousals of an interval, in which batteries, he appeared to be more interested with the straEdinburgh looked very unlike herself, have faded into a tification of the rocks about us, than with any other feature vague and dreamlike indistinctness, the image of your in the landscape. As to the city itself, he said he soon father, then first seen, but long before admired and re- got wearied of the New Town, but could amuse himself Fered in his works, remains as fresh as if the years that for ever in the old one. He was more than once dehave now passed were but so many days—his noble fore- tected rambling after nightfall by himself, among some of head, his bright beaming eye, without anything of old age the obscurest wynds and closes; and Sir Walter, fearing about it—though he was then, I presume, above seventy that, at a time of such confusion, he might get into some - his sweet, and, I would say, innocent smile, and the scene of trouble, took the precaution of desiring a friendly calm mellow tones of his voice-all are reproduced the caddie (see Humphrey Clinker), from the corner of Castle moment I open any page of his poetry : and how much Street, to follow him the next time he went out alone in better have I understood and enjoyed his poetry, since I the evening. was able thus to connect with it the living presence of the • Mr Crabbe repeated his visits several times to the man!
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and expressed great admiThe literary persons in company with whom I saw ration of the manner in which the patients were treated. him the most frequently were Sir Walter and Henry He also examined pretty minutely the interior of the Mackenzie ; and between two such thorough men of the Bedlam. I went with him both to the Castle and Queen world as they were, perhaps his apparent simplicity of Mary's apartment in Holyrood House; but he did not ap