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talent might exert, and which, consequently, they might be said to be bound to exert, in healing the wounds of a narrow and hostile policy between great and kindred nations; that it was a victory attainable, since Miss Edgeworth had done it for Ireland, and he himself for Scotland. He listened to the appeal respectfully, and gave it such answer as justified me, I thought, in afterwards bringing it before him by letter. Whether, had life been spared, he would have done it, is doubtful; but of our country, and the few he had known from it, he spoke with kindness--and of one, at least, with a warmth of expression which indicated the recognition on his part, of a kindred character-need I add the name of Washington Irving ?
If we enumerate the works of Sir W. Scott, we must rank him as the poet, novelist, biographer, and historian; but if we analyze his powers wherever displayed, we will call him novelist, in its highest, purest, and noblest sense; the moral novelist-the greatest of our own or any
Hundreds could have written his Napoleon, and thousands his biographies—who but he could have written Ivanhoe? Whence comes his inimitable power in fiction, is too ample a question to be here discussed. Thus much, however, may be said, that it arises mainly from his boundless sympathy with humanity at large. Hence comes that undoubting confidence in the simple feelings and language of our nature. He
forth into the wide world of joy or sorrow, and brings the scene, and him who feels it, home to the heart, with the same child-like simplicity, whether it be king or beggar—the high-born and gentle maiden, or her lowly true-hearted attendant. Nature to him was every thing, its trappings nothing. This is the basis of his power. His conceptions are those of the heart. His felicitous execution, again, is from the same source-simplicity-child-like simplicity. His language is that of the eve, not of reflection-there is nothing abstract, nothing undefined in his pictures--all is
imaged, colored, moving--and not only so, but the successioni of images in his narratives, is in the same order as that of events in the scene—they rise, move, and pass, as they do to a spectator's eyes. He tells a story, in short, just as an excited child would tell it--if his language answered to his conceptions. As an illustration of this principle, we may take the picture-like delineation of the siege of Front de Beuf's castle, in Ivanhoe, as reported by Rebecca to that wounded champion, where Ivanhoe is in the place of the reader, and Rebecca in that of the author; all whose narratives will be found conducted, though less obviously, upon this most graphic principle, of simply transferring the leading lines from the eye to the imagination—even as the plate or the stone, transfers the picture to the paper destined to receive it. In this criticism, Scott's poems and novels fall into the same class ; for his poems are but imperfect romances, borne up by rythmical melody, as many of his romances want but melody to make them noble heroic poems. To accumulate and arrange facts, was to Scott a heartless and barren task—to sit in the critic's chair was foreign to his very nature—but to range the boundless fields of moral existence, and gather thence the sweet flower, and the medicinal herb, and the choice fruit, as samples of what was in it most good and fair, and what he missed abroad, to cull from the garden of his own unsophisticated heart—this was his delight; here was he the genius unapproached and unapproachable, and for him is reserved in future times, a niche in the temple of fame, second only to Shakspeare, as the moral painter of man.
Such was Sir Walter Scott; and I esteem it a happy lot to have seen and known him, more especially at a period the most interesting of his interesting life; when, having lost neither greatnessn or brightness, he was yet struggling, like a setting sun, under the clouds of unmerited misfortune, but with as brave and unbroken a spirit as he ever depicted on his
pages of romance. Of the causes which led to that deso
lating blow which came near to break down the
very roof-tree of his noble mansion, I need not here speak—they are well known. The law construed him a partner, and honor bound him to payment. One hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterling, namely, more than half a million of dollars, seemed to him a lighter weight to bear, than the disgraceof insolvency. Three years after he had entered on this course of lofty daring, it was my good fortune to spend with my family some days an invited guest at Abbotsford; and setting aside all reverence of genius, on no one of its proud monuments could I look with such veneration, as on its noble master, then approaching to his sixtieth birth-day, with some few infirmities of body, but none of mind or spirit, gallantly bearing up under this load of debt, and paying it off year by year with the fabled profusion of some eastern sage, whose magic wand gave him access to hidden treasures. It was a high and ennobling picture, yet not without its strain of melancholy. To see one whose years demanded, and whose toils so well deserved repose, whom genius had crowned with unenvied laurels, whom nations contended to reverence and kings to honor ; to see such an one tasking his strength in an herculean labor, that through his imprudence no poor man should suffer, and no rich man complain ; and no man, whether rich or poor, touch with a blot the fair escutcheon of his fame: this was a sight as full of moral worth as it was of intellectual greatness, and could hardly be viewed then, as it can hardly be contemplated now, without tears. There was in it that proud disdain of wealth, that lofty integrity of purpose, and that jealous sense of honor, which showed from what inner fount he had drawn those living traits of nobleness which so charm us in his novels.
Remuneration from the sale of his works in this country he had received none, and I felt humbled as an American, from the knowledge of it, as I ventured to suggest to him the manner in which his future copyright might be guarded
from the treachery of the press, and the inadequacy of the law. He listened to me, methought, with the spirit of some belted knight; regarded the plan as a subterfuge, unworthy, and most probably inoperative, and concluded, with putting it upon the score of natural justice, reciprocal right, and becoming courtesy between nations using a common language. On this occasion alone, was there a touch in his manner of the ancient Bruce, which seemed as if when chafed it could easily have taken the tone and bearing of that haughty baron.
“Proud was his tone, but calm; his eye
Such, however, was far from his usual manner, which was all kindness, gentleness and courtesy. But I have already elsewhere given this picture.*
Where Scott has dwelt is classic ground. His earlier residence was at Ashiesteel, about six miles above Abbotsford, where the Ettrick forest borders upon the Tweed, and gave the scene of several of his romances. It is more picturesque than his later residence, but less strongly associated with a name which now gives an interest above beauty. Abbotsford was the spot of an early choice.
"Here have I thought [said he] 'twere sweet to dwell
In 1811 he became the purchaser of it. There was then, he
* This alludes to a letter addressed by the author, to the editor of the New-York American, November 19, 1832, on the news of Sir Walter's death.
told me, not a tree between the road and the river ; but “time and I against any two,” was ever his cheerful motto. And so it proved. In 1830, when I stopped at the outer gate, it was a forest of wood, out of which arose the turrets of his “ dreamlike mansion," like one of his own magic creations. To me, indeed, it was a magic scene; it was like the dark power of "gramarye;" for on the right arose the Eildon bills with their triple rent, and at their foot among the ruins of holy Melrose slept that wizard priest, to whose words of power “by art that none may name,” that rent was attributed. Beyond the house, and partially seen, rolled the Tweed with its dark waters; and beyond was Newark's birchen hill and riven tower, and all the associations of the minstrel's lay. If such was the influence of the scene, what was that of the mansion ? ""Twere long to tell," and not here the place. Within that noble mansion then all was joyous, now alas ! is its light quenched, and Abbotsford can be henceforth to the traveller but the scene of reverential musings; "sic transit.” And of that dreamlike mansion, how like a dream is now the recollection. Its stately towers and storied halls, seem to me but like some splendid vision of the night, when thoughts and forms not of mortal mould, fill the heart with feelings to which waking life is a stranger. « To meet and part, is mortals lot," such were Sir Walter Scott's farewell words to me. Alas! but too prophetic. One is gone,
then my companion; and he now is gone, then my honored host. Such is life, a watch in the night for its duration, a dream for its substance, and shadows for its actors; with nothing real in it, save the duties of life and the consolations of religion.
Such gentlemen, was one whom it requires an abler pen than mine rightly to delineate : but he is gone! milder skies were tried in vain; even soft Parthenope with its genial breezes failed to revive him, than whom it never received a