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North. In these few words is pointed out, says Mr. Moore, “ the sole path that leads genius to greatness. On such terms alone are the high places of fame to be won-nothing less than the sacrifice of the entire man can achieve them !”.
Shepherd. Sae to be a great poet, a man maun forget-bonny feedy forget-mind, no in the Scriptural sense, for o' that neither Pop nor Muir seem to hae had ony recollection, or aiblins they would hae qualified the observe, or omitted it-father and mother, sisters and brothers, freens and sweethearts, wife and weans, and then, after havin' obleeterated their verra names frae the tablets o' his memory, he is to set down and write a poem worthy an immortal crown. Oh the sinner! the puir, paltry, pitifu', contemptible, weak, worthless, shamefu', shameless, sowleless, heartless, unprincipled, and impious atheist o' a sinner, for to pretend, for the length o' time necessar to the mendin' the slit in the neb o' his pen, to forget a' that-and be a-Poet.
North. James-James-James-be moderate
Shepherd. I'll no be moderate, sir. A' sorts o'moderation hae lang been ma abborrence. I hate the verra word-and, for the year being, I aye dislike the menister that's the Moderator o' the General Assembly.
North. But be merciful.on Mr. Moore, James. Do not extinguish altogether the author of Lalla Rookh.
Shepherd. I wadna extinguish, sir, the maist minute cretur in the shape o' a poet, that ever twinkled, like a wee bit tiny inseck, in the summer sun. I wad rather put ma haun'intil the fire, sir, than to claught a single ane o' the creturs in ma neeve, as ane might a butterfly wi' its beautiful wings expanded, wavering or steadfast in the air or on a flower, and crush his mealy mottledness intil annihilation. Na-na-let the bit variegated ephemeral dance his day—his hourshining in his ain colours sae multifarious and so bonny blent, as if he had dropped doon wi' the laverock frae the rainbow.
North. What! Thomas Moore !
Shepherd. I'm no speakin' the noo O Tammas Muir-except by anither kind o’implication. Sin I wudna harm a hair on the gaudy wings o' an ephemeral, surely I wudna pu' a feather frae them o’ane o' the Immortals.
Shepherd. Mr. Muir’s a true poet, sir. But true poet though he be, he maunna be alloo'd to publish pernicious nonsense in prose about poets and poetry, without gittin't across the knuckles till baith his twa hauns be as numb as lead. Let you and me convict him o' nonsense by the Socratic method. Begin the Sorites, sir.
Norih. The Sorites, James! A good Poet must be a good man-a great Poet must be a great man.
Shepherd. Is the law universal in nature ?
North. It is, and without exception. But sin steals or stornis its way into all human hearts—and then farewell to the grander achievements either of genius or virtue.
Shepherd. A man canna imagine a' the highest and holiest affections o' the beart, without having felt them in the core-can he, sir?
Shepherd. A man, therefore, maun hae felt a' that man ought to feel, afore he
“Phæbo digna locuti!”
Shepherd. But can a man who has ance enjoyed the holiest affections o natur, in his ain heart, ever cease to cherish them in its inmost recesses ?
Shepherd. But is it possible to cherish them far apart, and aloof frae their natural objects ?
Shepherd. But can they be cherished, even amang their natural objects, without being brocht into active movement towards them, without cleaving to them, as you may see bees cleaving to the flowers as they keep sook, sookin intil their verra hearts?
North. They cannot.
Shepherd. Then Mr. Muir's dished. For colleck a' thae premises, inferences, conclusions, admissions, axioms, propositions, corollaries, maxims, and apogthegms intil ae GREAT Truth, and in it, besides a tbousan' ithers, will be found this ane
North. “The sacrifice o' the entire man is the sacrifice o' the entire poet."
Shepherd. Or, in other words, the man withouten a human heart, humanely warmed by the human affections, may as weel think o' becoming a poet, as a docken a sun-flower. Mr. Muir’s dished. North. Mr. Moore forgets, that without the practice of virtue, virtus
“Languishes, grows dim, and dies ;" and that, without the indulgence of action, so do the highest and holiest feelings; so that the Poet who neglects, disregards, shuns, or violates the duties of life, is forsaken of inspiration, and dies a suicide.
Shepherd. Ony mair nonsense of Mr. Muir's ?
Shepherd. But what's that paper-ba’ that you're are keepin' rowin' atween your forefinger and your thoom?
North. Let me unroll it, and see-why, it's something quizzical. Shepherd. Fling't owre. Let's receet it.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL, IN HONOR OF MAGA.
Sung by the Contributors. N00—harken till me—and I'll beat Matthews or Yates a' to sticks wi' my impersonations.
the consequences She must go to bed,
of North's death And like him die too, sir!
Chorus, in which
the whole compaHere's success to Magal.
North. Admirable impersonations ! The faculty of imitation always belongs, in excess, to original minds.
Shepherd. Does't ?
North. Mimicry is the farthest thing in the wide world from imitalion.
Shepherd. Na. No the farthest thing in the wide warld, sir; but I cheerfully grant that a man may be a mere mime and nae imitawtor. I'm baith.
North. And besides, an original.
North. “The very habits of abstraction and self-study, to which the occupations of men of genius lead, are in themselves necessarily of
an unsocial and detaching tendency, and require a large portion of allowance and tolerance not to be set down as unamiable.” So argueth Mr. Moore, and that is another reason why men of genius are not “fitted for the calm affections and comforts that form the cement of domestic life.”
Shepherd. I houp, sir, there's no muckle truth in that, although it souns like a sort o' vague pheelosophy. Demolish't.
North. The habits of abstraction and self-study, of which Mr. Moore here speaks, are those of the poet. Now, so far from being, in themselves, necessarily of an unsocial and detaching tendency, they are pervaded with sympathy with all that breathes, and were that sympathy to die, so would the abstraction and self-study of the poet. True, that they seek and need seclusion from cark and care; and sometimes -say often-even from the common ongoings, of domestic life. But what then? Do not all professions and pursuits in this life do the same ?
Shepherd. Aye, ye may weel ask that! A lawyer routin' hours every day at the bar, and then dictatin' papers or opinions a' afternoon, evenin' and nicht, on to past his natural bed-time-are his habits, pray, « better fitted for the cawm affections and comforts that form the cement of domestic life," than them that's natural to the poet?
North. I should think not, James. They are very different from those of the poet—but much more disagreeable, and requiring, again to use Mr. Moore's words, a large “ portion of allowance and tolerance not to be set down as unamiable."
Shepherd. Yet, amaist a' the lawyers I ken in the Parliament House are excellent domestic characters,—that is to say, far frae being the dour deevils you wad suppose aforehaun' frae hearin' them gullorin' at the bar, and flitin' on ane anither, like sae mony randies. Gin they can fling aff the growl wi' the goun, and frae lawyers become men, mayna poets far mair easily and successfully do the same?
North. Undoubtedly, James. You might instance, in like manner, physicians and clergymen
Shepherd. Aye, the classes that profess to tak especial care o' our twa pairts, the body and the sowle. Hoo profoun', sir, oucht to be their self-study, and their study o'ither folk! Physicians, ane micht think, seein' folk dyin' nicht and day, in a'manner o'agonies, and being accustomed to pocket fees by the deathbed-side, would become, in the core o' their hearts, as callous as custocks; and I shall na say that some o' them do not
North. Most eminent physicians are good men; and, what is better, pleasant men
Shepherd. What? Is’t better to be pleasant than good ?
North. Yes, James, for our present argument. According to Mr. Moore, they, too, ought "to require a larger portion of allowance and tolerance, not to be set down as unamiable."