صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Though it should bid me stiile
The yearning in my throat for my sweet child,

And taunt its mother till my brain went wild-.. 15. “ All-I would do it all

Sooner than die, like a dull worm, to rot-
Thrust foully into earth to be forgot!

O heavens l_but I appall
Your heart, old man! forgive-hal on your lives

Let him not faint-rack him till he revives ! 16. “ Vain-vain-give o'er! His eye

Glazes apace. He does not feel you now-
Stand back! I'll paint the death-dew on his brow!

Gods I if he do not die
But for one moment-one-till I eclipse

Conception with the scorn of those calm lips! 17. “Shivering! Hark! he mutters

Brokenly now—that was a difficult breath-
Another? Wilt thou never come, O Death!

Look! how his temple flutters!
Is his heart still ? Aha! lift up his head !

He shudders—gasps—Jove help him!—50—he's dead." 18. How like a mounting devil in the heart Rules the unreined ambition !

Let it once
But play the monarch, and its haughty brow
Glows with a beauty that bewilders thought
And unthrones peace forever. Putting on
The věry pomp of Lucifer, it turns
The heart to ashes, and with not a spring
Left in the bosom for the spirit's lip,
We look upon our splendor and forget
The thirst of which we perish! Yět hath life
Many a falser idol. There are hopes
Promising well ; and love-touched dreams for some;
And passions, many a wild one; and fair schemes
For gold and pleasure-yet will only this
Balk not the soul—AMBITION only, gives,

Even of bitterness, a bēaker full!
19. Friendship is but a slow-awaking dream,
Troubled at best-Love is a lamp unseen,

Burning to waste, or, if its light is found,
Nursed for an idle hour, then idly broken-
Gain is a groveling care, and Folly tires,
And Quiet is a hunger never fed-
And from Love's věry bosom, and from Gain,
Or Folly, or a Friend, or from Repose-
From all but keen AMBITION—will the soul
Snatch the first moment of forgětfulness

To wander like a restless child away.
20. Oh, if there were not better hopes than these

Were there no palm beyond a feverish fame
If the proud wealth flung back upon the heart
Must canker in its coffers—if the links
Falsehood hath broken will unite no more-
If the deep-yearning love, that hath not found
Its like in the cold world, must waste in tears
If truth, and fervor, and devotedness,
Finding no worthy altar, must return
And die of their own fullness—if beyond
The grave there is no heaven in whose wide air
The spirit may find room, and in the love
Of whose bright habitants the lavish heart
May spend itself-WHAT THRICE-MÖCKED FOOLS ARE WE!

N. P. WILLIS.

SECTION XXII.

I.
119. CHARACTER OF SCOTT.

NAKE it for all and all, it is not too much to say that the char

on record. There is no man of historical celebrity that we now recall, who combined, in so eminent a degree, the highèst qualities of the moral, the intellectual, and the physical. He united in his own character what hitherto had been found incompatible.

2. Though a poët, and living in an ideal world, he was an exact, methodical man of business; though achieving with the most wonderful facility of genius, he was patient and laborious ; a mousing antiquarian, yệt with the most active interest in the present and whatever was going on around him ; with a strong turn for a roving life and military adventure, he was yệt chained to his desk more hours, at some periods of his life, than a monkish recluse; a man with a heart as capācious as his head ; a Tóry, brimful of Jăc'obitism,' yet full of sympathy and unaffected familiarity with all classes, even the hůmblèst; a successful author, without pedantry and without conceit; one, indeed, at the head of the republic of letters, and yet with a lower estimate of letters, as compared with other intellectual pursuits, than was ever hazarded before.

3. The first quality of his character, or, rather, that which forms the basis of it, as of all great characters, was his energy. We see it in his early youth, triumphing over the impediments of nature, and in spite of lameness, making him conspicuous in évèry sort of athletic exercise—clambering up dizzy precipices, wading through treacherous fords, and performing feats of pedestrianism that make one's joints ache to read of. As he advanced in life, we see the same force of purpose turned to higher objects.

4. We see the same powerful energies triumphing over disease at a later period, when nothing but a resolution to get the better of it enabled him to do so. “Be assured,” he remarked to Mr. Gillies, “ that if pain could have prevented my application to literary labor, not a page of Ivanhoe would have been written. Now if I had given way to mere feelings, and had ceased to work, it is a question whether the disorder might not have taken a deeper root, and become incurable."

5. Another quality, which, like the last, seems to have given tone to his character, was his social or benevolent feelings. His heart was an unfailing fountain, which not merely the distresses, but the joys of his fellow-creatures made to flow like water

6. Rarely indeed is this precious quality found united with the most exalted intellect. Whether it be that nature, chary of her gifts, does not care to shower too many of them on one head ; or that the public admiration has led the man of intellect to set too high a value on himself, or at least his own pursuits, to take an interèst in the inferior concerns of others; or that the fear of compromising his dignity puts him “on points" with those who approach him ; or whether, in truth, the very magnitude of his own reputation throws a freezing shadow over us little people in his neighborhood—whatever be the cause, it is too true that the highest powers of the mind are věry often deficient in the only one which can make the rest of much worth in society -the power of pleasing.

1 Jăc' o bit Ism, the principles of the adherents of James the Second, of England

7. Scott was not one of these little great. His was not one of those dark-lantern visages which concentrate all their light on their own path, and are black as midnight to all about them. He had a ready sympathy, a word of contagious kindness or cordial greeting for all. His manners, too, were of a kind to dispel the icy reserve and awe which his great name was calculated to inspire.

8. He relished a good joke, from whatever quarter it came, and was not over-dainty in his manner of testifying his satisfaction. “In the full tide of mirth, he did indeed laugh the heart's laugh,” says Mr. Adolphus. “Give me an honest laugher," said Scott himself on another occasion, when a buckram man of fashion had been paying him a visit at Abbotsford.

9. His manners, free from affectation or artifice of any sort, exhibited the spontaneous movements of a kind disposition, subject to those rules of good breeding which Nature herself might have dictated. In this way he answered his own purpose admirably as a painter of character, by putting every man in good humor with himself, in the same manner as a cunning portrait-painter ămūses his sitters with such störe of fun and anecdote as may throw them off their guard, and call out the happiëst expressions of their countenances.

10. The place where his benevolent impulses found their proper theater for expansion was his own home ; surrounded by a happy family, and dispensing all the hospitălities of a great feudal proprietor. “Ther

“There are many good things in life," he says, in one of his letters, “whatever sătirists'and mis'anthropes may say to the contrary; but probably the best of all, next to a

Săt' ir ist, one who writes com posure of what in public or private positions, generally poetical, that hold morals deserves rebuke. up vice or folly to severe disapproval ; Mys' an thrope, a hater of man. one who makes a keen or severe ex. kind.

conscience void of offence, (without which, by-the-by, they can hardly exist,) are the quiet exercise and enjoyment of the social feelings, in which we are at once happy ourselves, and the cause of happiness to them who are dearest to us.”

11. Every page of the work, almost, shows us how intimately he blended himself with the plěasures and the pursuits of his own family, watched over the education of his children, shared in their rides, their rambles, and sports, losing no opportunity of kindling in their young minds a love of virtue, and honorable principles of action.

12. But Scott's sympathies were not confined to his species, and if he treated them like blood relations, he treated his brute followers like personal friends. Every one remembers old Maida and faithful Camp, the “dear old friend,” whose loss cost him a dinner. Mr. Gillies tells us that he went into his study on one occasion, when he was winding off his “Vision of Don Roderick." “Look here,' said the poet, “I have just begun to copy over the rhymes that you heard to-day and applauded so much. Return to supper if you can; only don't be late, as you perceive we keep early hours, and Wallace will not suffer me to rest after six in the morning. Come, good dog, and help the poet.'

13. “At this hint, Wallace seated himself upright on a chair next his master, who offered him a newspaper, which he directly seized, looking very wise, and holding it firmly and contentedly in his mouth. Scott looked at him with great satisfaction, for he was excessively fond of dogs. Very well,' said he ; ‘now we shall get on.' And so I left them abruptly, knowing that my 'absence would be the best company.'” W. H. PRESCOTT.

II.

120. SCENE FROM IVANHOE."

[ocr errors]

TOLLOWING with wonderful promptitude the directions

of Ivanhoe, and availing herself of the protection of the large ancient shield, which she placed against the lower part of

[ocr errors]

This scene is laid in England, in Rebecca. the young Jewess, while the twelfth century. Wounded and the castle is undergoing an assault a captive in the castle of Front-de- from a party of outlawed forest Boeuf, a Norman knight, Ivanhoe, rangers, led on by Richard, king of earries on this conversation with England, the unknown knight.

« السابقةمتابعة »