« السابقةمتابعة »
Such is the accredited tradition of the scope for the enacting of those wild pranks, Pale Lady, as I received it from the in which she ever found too much gratifiold servants of the family, and as it had cation. As to her lute and song,
there was been handed down to them from father to indeed a magic in them, but it was the son through many generations. I must natural magic belonging to matchless skill, not, however, conceal the fact of there and a voice of such extraordinary sweetness having been another version of the story, as rarely to have been equalled. Hermonthly less allied to the marvellous, yet, perhaps, visits to the cromlech were, if this version not a whit more real. According to this might be believed, the result of a previous gloss, Sir Robert Lonsdale was the mid- compact with her father, who, when he night visitor, who, being compelled to fly had taken the requisite order abroad for from England by the tyranny of Queen her commodious abode there, was to signify Mary, could find no better way of dis- his return by depositing a branch of misletoe posing of his daughter than by entrusting on the Druid stone. The circumstance her to the care of his young friend, Sir of the black horse plunging into the Severn, Hugh Trevor. That this gentleman pro- in which both steed and riders were lost, fessed the Roman Catholic faith was rather might be sufficiently accounted for by supan advantage than otherwise, inasmuch as posing that the sudden fury of the storm it ensured the sanctity of the asylum, had startled the animal from his course, while his well-known spirit of toleration and urged hiin towards the Severn, which gave promise of his being a warm and was at the time rendered as wild as any efficient protector. The little damsel, thus sea by a sudden hygre, or eagre, a name unceremoniously introduced into Ivy Hall, given in that county to designate the was of a lively, if not a wayward, temper, meeting of the sea-tide with the freshand from the habits of a spoiled childhood, water current. as well as from natural inclination, apt to Those, who like this explanation, may indulge in whatever might happen to be adopt it. For my part I stick to my old the caprice of the moment. With such a nurse's legend, and am ready to die upon disposition, the general belief of the house-' it, that the Pale Lady was either a sylph hold in her supernatural qualities delighted or a fairy. her beyond measure, as affording ample
In a former article we surveyed the pre- believed that a battery was opened upon sent state of contemporary criticism in its him when the soldiers fired blank cartridge application to the department of literature on a rejoicing day, the smuggler who now most sedulously cultivated; we gladly thought that Rowland Hill personally inturn from the subject to search for "fair sulted him by preaching against breaches fields and pastures new," leaving others to of the revenue law, the voter in a small cultivate their own lands according to their borough who runs away when the words pleasure or convenience. Indeed there is “bribery” and “corruption" are mentioned, nothing so unpleasant or so hazardous as to scarcely exceed in this diseased state of criticise criticism; the surgeon fears the apprehensiveness those who have wielded dissecting knife, the inquisitor dreads the the literary knout or applied the cautery. rack, the hangman shudders at the rope, This is the monomania of criticism, and we but the fears of all put together faintly gladly turn away from topics that may exemplify the repugnance with which a excite manifestations of the insanity. critic regards the possibility of his becom We have more than once called attention ing the subject of his own art. This ner to the aphorism that “the perfection of vous apprehension leads him to discover fiction is truth.” In other words, “fiction inuendos where none were designed, per- is the general, and fact the individual, truth." sonal satire in the widest generalities, and When a statistician tells us that three and a secret purpose where all the intentions one fourth marriages take place annually are on the surface. The madman who in a particular district, he speaks a fiction,
because no fractional marriages take place would be more ridiculed than his illustrious there, or any where else ; but he at the prototype when he ranged man with the same time announces an abstract truth, ape, the macoco, and the bat. Again, is because the fraction disappears when the Mrs. Gore a fit companion for Harriet law is applied to the mass of the population. Martineau, or Salathiel any relation to Now, in a less exclusive sense, all fictions Rory O'More ? The mere juxtaposition are subject to statistical laws; there are of the names precludes the necessity of very wide limits of error, but still there argument; it is manifest that there are are limits; the calculus of probabilities is several distinct species of romance, and that applied to the measure and effects of action, the laws of one are wholly unsuited to the of feeling, and even of emotion, as well as to other. Fielding, who had a higher sense of the duration of life. The forms of fiction his vocation than any of his successors, inseem to vary in a fixed succession, but its sisted that the novel should adhere strictly order has never been investigated. Ballads, to epic laws, for that it was the legitimate odes, epics, the drama, imaginative fictions, successor of heroic poetry. His romance and fictions of real life follow each other in "has, what we rarely find in works of the the same order in almost every country. kind, a beginning, a middle, and an end, This seems to have been strongly felt by linked together by a logical deduction of Jules Janin, whose article on French lite- adventure, and so far it adheres to an epic rature is a specimen of the kind of criticism law. But Tom Jones is infinitely more a we should gladly see naturalized in this philosophic than a poetic romance, it is the country*. It is not merely a report of condensation and summary of long personal progress, but a guide to advancement, and experience; it is the logical statement of this result has followed from the critic's reflections made in years of passion and directing his attention to species rather than vicissitude. Doctor Blair and Monsieur individuals, and establishing principles by & Laharpe have attempted to deduce the laws judicious and copious induction.
of the novel from Tom Jones, as Aristotle The historical romance has scarcely yet did those of the epic from the Iliad, but been brought fairly within the grasp of cri- they were assuming one of the rarest speciticism ; we know the laws of the epic, of mens as a type of the class, and their rules, the drama, of the ode, and even the sonnet; if observed, would confine fiction to limits all parties in these instances can appeal to which would soon have been exhausted. the law and to the testimony-hath not Don Quixote, Gil Blas, and Tom Jones, Aristotle written the law of such tenures belong not to the historical but to the phion Parnassus ? Is not Longinus the poet's losophical class of fictions; they are repreBlackstone ? Have not both been followed sentations of manners at once in the shape by compilers of commentaries and reports of an apology and a satire, and when Sir that would more than rival a lawyer's Walter Scott referred to Fielding as his library? But where are we to search for prototype, he assuredly erred most egrethe code of novel-writing? In what ex- giously. chequer, save that of a publisher, is the There is no philosophic purpose in any standard preserved for the measurement of of the Waverley Novels, and little of romance? Nay, have we yet determined logical sequence in the stories. Scott whether there should be one standard or looked at his chronicle as the prophet many? Is it quite sure that Attila and viewed the skeletons in the valley of JehoJack Brag should appear in the same cate- shaphat, asking himself,
“ Can these dry gory, and that Lady Morgan's Princess bones live ?" He resuscitated them that should bear company with the Adventures they should repeat the exploits of their of a Donkey? To be sure a whimsical lives, he brought them before us in goranalogy may be found between the Hun
geous pageants; but we were invited to gaze, aspiring to rule the Roman empire, and the not to imitate. Janin (Athenæum, No. Goth to lead the world of fashion, and the 497) says, “ Romance erects itself into a exuberant fancy of James may be matched legislator-into a politician-into an hisby the rich fun of Hook; but the classifi- torian—sways men and rebukes themcation of the Princess with the Donkey instructs them--moralizes to them--corwould excite shouts of laughter from Caith- rupts them.” In this goodly array of deness to Cornwall, and the literary Linnæus partments, Scott can only claim the part of * See Athenæum, 495 and 497.
the historian; but this is by no means one VOL. X.--NO. VI.-_JUND, 1837.
of the least influence and importance—the to this school that the following description picturesque history must precede the philo- of romance, by Janin, is most justly applisophic, just as perception goes before reflec- cable : “ where are the subjects that rotion. When we survey a gallery of portraits, mance has not handled ? The Middle Age, we often feel that one painting is a poetic the Sixteenth century, Louis XIV., Louis likeness and another philosophic, though XV., philanthropy and philosophy too, we inay find it very difficult to point out have been introduced into the romance, where are the peculiar traits that deter- and domestic economy, and the gospel, and mine either character. In comparing politics, and heaven and earth, the sea, and Scott's characters with those depicted by the infernal regions." The passionatelyMiss Edgeworth, the writer whom he most imaginative school has done all this and nearly resembles, we have just the difficulty more; Maturin in Ireland, D'Israeli in that would occur in the picture gallery ; England, and Victor Hugo in France, have Scott fixes our attention to the facts of the tried to fathom every abyss in the dark portrait, Miss Edgeworth suggests the in ocean of human feeling, and, at the same ferences. It is only by the comparison of time, to soar up to every celestial influence writers nearly approaching to each other that regulates its ebb and its flow. The that we can definitely fix upon the pecu- mighty question of Destiny, the mysterious liarities of each, especially as the domain bearing of Fate upon Free Will, is as preof romance is so extensive, and as those sent to their eyes as it was to those of the who cultivate it do not restrict themselves early Greek dramatists, but they have comto the limits of schools. Janin justly plicated the problem by the disturbing says, “ Romance meddles at once with the forces of impulse and emotion. Melmoth past, present, and future; busies itself is now rarely read; some critic, fonder of about all things, lawful and unlawful; the jingle of words than of common sense, marches by land and voyages by sea, and called it “ à mastery and a mystery,” and explores every tract beaten and unbeaten.” as nobody could understand the criticism, This renders the task of classification one it was inferred that nobody could underof no ordinary difficulty, and, as in some stand the book. To this was added all the of the botanical and zoological systems, we feeling of sentimental criticism, raising its run the risk of putting forward mere ac petty outcry against intermixing the Humcidents as essential differences.
ble with the Beautiful, and the Ludicrous Fielding, Cervantes, and Le Sage, founded with the Terrific, as since has been done the personally-philosophic romance ; we by the reviewers of Hoffman's Devil's shall subsequently see that in all that con Elixir, and Victor Hugo's Notre Dame. stitutes his strength, Bulwer essentially But in that very mysterious agency which belongs to their school. Scott is the head we all feel, in the appearance of unbidden of the chronicle romance, which bears spirits “from the vasty deep" of the soul, about the same relation to the former that the passions and their objects come thus Froissart does to Tacitus. James, Grattan, perpetually blended, and the fairest phanFraser, and many others, belong also to the tom aroused by the spell of Destiny, when chronicle-school, they give us the poetry embraced, turns to a skeleton in our arms. and not the philosophy of history, and rivet If there be minds in which the deeply conour attention to action rather than thought. templative is united with the highly imagiNow it would be a very useless waste of native character, the problem of Fate and time to determine the relative merits of Free Will, either as it affects the individual these two departments, because that ques or as it affects the mass, is present to them tion will ever be decided by the taste, or, if as a chaos of incongruities and inconsistenyou please, the caprice of the reader ; all cies. There are brute Strength and Force, that we mean to contend for is, that the nailing à suffering Deity to the Caucasus, rules of one should not be made a standard and indomitable will rising superior to suffor the other.
fering; there are the daughters of ocean, A strangė, anomalous form of romance the most lovely creations that ever poetry has long hovered between admiration and called into life, and the vulture eternally dislike ; critics have surveyed it as the preying on the vitals. There are, as in prophet Balaam did the camp of Israel, and Notre Dame, the tyrant indulging the just as they were about to pronounce a rabid cruelties of freakish despotism, and
rse, "have blessed it altogether.” It is the burgher looking forward to a glorious
futurity for humanity. Even that most IV. have described as the consummation harrowing scene in Melmoth, the struggle of human enjoyment; between Love and the last agonies of Hun
Not to admire is all the art I know; ger, has nothing revolting; like the Pro,
To make men happy, and to keep them so. metheus of Æschylus, or the Ugolino of Dante, it overwhelms, but it does not Such readers have condemned the episode disgust.
of Sir Reginald Glanville as an impertinence, Maturin and Victor Hugo have been and, sooth to say, the adventures with reviled unceasingly for their portraitures of which he is connected seem to us inconphysical suffering; we should like to ask sistent with the proper object of the work. those critics in what other way does Fate Its design was to show the means by which exercise its mastery over the will ? Was “exclusive elegance” might be attained, mental agony, the chief torture of Ugolino with a philosophic appreciation of the worth in his dungeon, or was it the means of his of such a state. When first the work was horrible revenge ? Was the Promethean projected, it was on the cards that Pelham vulture a less gross and palpable engine of should have been to dandyism what Don torture than the brodequin applied to Es- Quixote is to chivalry—but the author meralda, or the convent vault in which changed his hand and checked his pride," Maturin's lovers were enclosed. But to be and has left to Mrs. Gore the office of Cersure these worshipful critics could find no yantes to the aristocracy. parallel for such passages in Sir Walter There are those who regard Pelham as a Scott; it never occurred to them that the national rather than a fashionable
porgreat Scottish novelist had a far different traiture; but England has no national school object from Maturin or Hugo; he was of romance, such as is possessed by the limited to the outward and the visible; Scotch, but more especially by the Irish. they grappled with the inward and the It is usual to attribute this to the more spiritual; they showed that though mind poetic temperament of our brethren in the exercises a supremacy over matter, there land of the west,” but it arises from extrinare conditions of the problem under which sic circumstances. There is in Ireland a matter becomes the inaster of mind.
perfect separation of parties and castes, The evening before the publication of which permits the peculiarities of each to Pelham, Bulwer was known only as a be developed ; feudalism is not yet extinct, clever man of fashion; before another sun the serf and the suzerain may still be seen had set he was the founder of a new school in broad contrast ; the very best of the vasof romance. In his first essay, Falkland, sals display some portion of the cunning he had shewn a desire to unite the passion- that belongs to slavery, and the very worst ate imaginative style with the personal phi- retains some of the lightsome gaiety ever losophic, more after the fashion of Godwin manifested by those who have nothing to than of Fielding. In Pelham he discovered lose ; among the lords, too, there is none that his true vocation was an analysis of the so good as not to let the pride of ascendphilosophy of aristocratic life. Like Field- ancy peep out at some time in an offensive ing, he brought to his task the experience shape, and none so bad as to forget that it of feeling and of thought, in addition to a is occasionally necessary to mollify the keenness and closeness of observation, such haughtiness of caste. as Molière shews in his satiric comedies. Rory O'More is as faithful a delineation The last quality procured for the novel the as any portrait that Mr. Lover has ever designation of the manual of dandyism ; it painted; and Somerset House contains was quoted by a herd as Mussulmans quote striking proofs of his fidelity, not only to the Koran, or Popes the decrees of the the outward forms of life, but “to the mind Council of Trent. What was rather more and music breathing from a face.” Under provoking was, that the great bulk of the humorous features of Rory there lurks readers resolved to regard this picture of the a mass of good sense and sound philosophy aristocracy, not as such a portraiture as worthy the attention of the philanthropist Juvenal or Molière would have drawn, but and the legislator. There is a lurking as a very serious code of laws for obtaining wisdom in the blunders of the hero, there that state of exclusiveness and indifference is a deep meaning in his wildest jests. The which court poets and philosophers from Spectator judiciously observes that the the days of Augustus to those of William novel has a political tendency, but this
arises simply from its perfect truth and tial justice better than the Irish. It is only strict adherence to nature. We need not because the law does not fulfil its duties, quote from a book now in every body's that a nation devises a wild law of its own. hands, but we shall try to shew how far This portion of Rory's history is eminently this publication has enlarged the sphere of suggestive; it is applicable to more counfiction and what suggestions it affords for tries than Ireland, to more eras than 1798; further progress.
Cade's mob hanged the clerk of Chatham The first reflection naturally suggested for the same reason that Rockites card a by the perusal of Rory O'More, is that process-server; learning in one case and “the annals of the poor" are neither so law in the other became instruments of short nor so simple as Gray imagined. oppression. Passion finds its way into the cottage as These views may be regarded as political, well as the palace ; faction distracts the but they have no connection with party; village not less than the metropolis ; cir- they belong to that class of truths which cumstances—and what are circumstances only need to be stated to meet ready assent, but destiny ?-circumstances control the and which, perhaps, for that very reason actions of the peasant with the same force are the most neglected. that Fate bound Prometheus to submit to In a more literary point of view Lover the will of Jupiter. It may be observed has given a new form to humorous delineaas a shrewd instance of Lover's skill in tion; he has shown that even in the moral analysis, that he detects family- broadest farce philosophic truth may be pride in the elements that constitute the insinuated, and, like Hood, he puts a strong noblest part of his hero's character; the argument in the shape of a merry jest: peasant toiling for his daily bread does not even the extravaganza of the two gridirons forget that he is sprung from ancestors while it tests the strength of the sides furover whose tombs monsters have been nishes matter for reflection; the mistakes builded. And this trait, resting if you of Rory are made subservient to exhibiting please on a prejudice, works out a phi- the national character of the Irish peasant, losophic truth, not the less forcible for and the moral circumstances by which it is being indistinctly stated, that to increase formed. You feel that it is the portraiture self-respect is the best means of raising of generous impulse, capable of being sucthe character of an individual, a class, cessfully directed to the noblest objects; or a nation. Throughout the entire work, and every sentence, however comic, directly Rory's chief claim to our sympathy is his suggests one of the moral causes by which constant exhibition of respect for himself. Rory's noble propensities are nurtured,
A second important lesson is, that re- restrained, or perverted. spect for the law, and respect for law, are We envy not those whose hearts remain things of a very different nature; Lord untouched by the domestic pictures of Redesdale used to say that in Ireland there More's humble cottage and Kathleen's were two laws, one for the rich and one quiet hearth. The scene in which the for the
poor, both equally bad in their na widow Regan extracts from her daughter ture and worse in their administration; the secret of her love for Rory, is one of Rory adds to his lordship’s account the the most beautiful pictures of purity of more important fact, that under such cir- affection that has ever been drawn. It cumstances the peasants formed a code for lingers in the mind like a reminiscence of themselves, and submitted to it with an early innocence, “a light of other days;" implicit obedience, such as could scarcely there is a delicate softness in
touch be found in any other quarter of the that whispers to the soul in those low but globe. It is this law of opinion that arms distinct tones which breathe from the the priest with his cudgel and sends him Æolian harp, when the almost imperceptto disperse faction-fights; it is this law of ible breeze sweeps its strings. opinion that has made the Catholic clergy Lover has added the purely natural to an efficient police force ; but it is also this the national school of Irish romance, and law of opinion that renders the law an has thus enlarged the domain of fiction; inoperative mockery. In every page of this his peasants are simply peasants; they work, there is a distinct exhibition of the neither think nor speak above their stafact, which Sir John Davies published two tion. centuries ago, that no nation loved impar There is some difficulty in assigning