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Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c.
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SATURDAY, MAY 15, 1830.
REVIEW OF NEW BOOKS.
a situation to be embarrassed by the res angusta young men to approach this newly discovered
domi, which might have otherwise interrupted spring of literature, a class was formed, of six The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott. In my progress in a profession in which progress or seven intimate friends, who proposed to
Il vols. ; Vol. XI. Part I. Essays on Bal. is proverbially slow. I enjoyed a moderate make themselves acquainted with the German lad Poetry, and Introductions. Edinburgh, degree of business for my standing, and the language. They were in the habit of living 1830, Cadell and Co.: London, Simpkin and friendship of more than one person of consi- much together, and the time they spent in this Marshall.
deration efficiently disposed to aid my views in new study was felt as a period of great amuseAn animated literary auto-biography, and by life. The private fortune, also, which I might ment. One source of this diversion was the Sir Walter Scott. What a mass of interest expect, and finally inherited, from my family, laziness of one of their number, the present lies in those few words! from the country book. did not, indeed, amount to affluence, but placed author, who, averse to the necessary toil of club, that hurries its bookseller with orders for me considerably beyond all apprehension of grammar and its rules, was in the practice of the last volume of Memoirs, to the London want. I mention these particulars merely be- fighting his way to the knowledge of the drawing-room, crowding to gaze on the lion cause they are true. Many better men than German by his acquaintance with the Scottish of the night, the same passion of individual. myself have owed their rise from indigence and and Anglo-Saxon dialects, and, of course, freising our previous idea of a great man predo- obscurity to their own talents, which were, quently committed blunders, which were not minates. Whether it is that curiosity inherent doubtless, much more adequate to the task of lost on his more accurate and more studious in our nature, or, to subtilise a little, that level. raising them than any which I possess. Al companions. A more general source of amuseling spirit which would fain believe that a dis- though it would be absurd and ungracious in ment, was the despair of the teacher, on finding play of the same weaknesses, passions, hopes, me to deny that I owe to literature many it impossible to extract from his Scottish stuand fears, makes our idol one with ourselves, marks of distinction to which I could not other- dents the degree of sensibility necessary, as he we have not time to analyse; but certain it is, wise have aspired, and particularly that of se- thought, to enjoy the beauties of the author to that the diorama which brings before us actual curing the acquaintance, and even the friend whom he considered it proper first to introduce scenes of the author's life, is one of our most ship, of many remarkable persons of the age, them. We were desirous to penetrate at once popular exhibitions. Denon's talents for tell- to whom I might not otherwise have made my into the recesses of the Teutonic literature, ing a story are said to have been such, that way; it would, on the other hand, be ridiculous and were ambitious of perusing Goethé and Napoleon was wont to interrupt an unhappy to affect gratitude to the public favour, either Schiller, and others whose fame had been narrator with, " Ah, Denon, contez nous cela!' for my position in society, or the means of sup- sounded by MacKenzie. Dr. Willich, (a meThis peculiar talent--this natural honey-drop- porting it with decency,-matters which had dical gentleman), who was our teacher, was ping from the lip_Scott possesses in perfec- been otherwise secured under the usual chances judiciously disposed to commence our studies tion; and the history of his poetical career, as of human affairs. Thus much I have thought with the more simple diction of Gesner, and developed in a series of introductions to his it necessary to say upon a subject which is, prescribed to us The Death of Abel, as the various works, makes this a truly delightful after all, of very little consequence to any one production from which our German tasks were volume. But' his own account confirms what but myself. I proceed to detail the circum- to be drawn. The pietistic style of this author was always our opinion,--that he only (like stances which engaged me in literary pursuits. was ill adapted to attract young persons of our Wordsworth) wanted some strong passion to During the last ten years of the eighteenth age and disposition. We could no more sym. have given his pages the last touch of poetical century, the art of poetry was at a remarkably pathise with the overstrained sentimentality of perfection : he has been the Lucullus of litera- low ebb'in Britain." Hayley, to whom fashion Adam and his family, than we could have had ture_he conquered, and then enjoyed; he has had some years before ascribed a higher degree a fellow-feeling with the jolly Faun of the led a life of pleasant study and social inter- of reputation than posterity has confirmed, had same author, who broke his beautiful jug, and course ; and if his heroes are scarcely ever ter- now lost his reputation for talent, though he then made a song on it which might have rible in the conflict of passionate feelings, it is still lived admired and respected as an amiable affected all Staffordshire. To sum up the disbecause these feelings found no original cause, and accomplished man. The Bard of Memory tresses of Dr. Willich, we, with one consent, no answering tone, in his own mind. But in slumbered on his laurels, and he of Hope had voted Abel an insufferable bore, and gave the all other qualities, how large is his portion ! scarce begun to attract his share of public at pre-eminence, in point of masculine character, His descriptions are fairy wands, that call up tention. Cowper, a poet of deep feeling and to his brother Cain, or even to Lucifer himself. the scene before you; his narrative is dramatic bright genius, was dead; and, even while alive, When these jests, which arose out of the in its power, and—but who ever took up a the hypochondria, which was his mental ma- sickly monotony and affected ecstasies of the volume of his without reading, or read without lady, impeded his popularity. Burns, whose poet, failed to amuse us, we had for our enter, remembering? Like Prospero, we bury our genius our southern neighbours could hardly tainment the unutterable sounds manufactured book, and break our rod of criticism, in his yet comprehend, had long confined himself to by a Frenchman, our fellow-student, who, favour: let him speak for himself.
song-writing. Names which are now known with the economical purpose of learning two “ My birth, without giving the least preten- and distinguished wherever the English lan languages at once, was endeavouring to acquire sion to distinction, was that of a gentleman, guage is spoken, were then only beginning to German, of which he knew nothing, by means and connected me with several respectable fa- be mentioned ; and, unless among the small of English, concerning which he was nearly as milies and accomplished persons. My educa- number of persons who habitually devote a ignorant. Heaven only knows the notes which tion had been a good one, although I'was de- part of their leisure to literature, those of he uttered, in attempting, with unpractised prived of its full benefit by indifferent health, Southey, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, were but organs, to imitate the gutturals of these two just at the period when I ought to have been little known. The realms of Parnassus, like intractable languages. At length, in the midst most sedulous in improving it. The young many a kingdom at the period, seemed to lie of much laughing and little study, most of us men with whom I was brought up, and lived open to the first bold invader, whether he acquired some knowledge, more or less extenmost familiarly, were those who, from oppor-should be a daring usurper, or could shew a sive, of the German language, and selected for tunities, birth, and talents, might be expected legitimate title of sovereignty.”
ourselves, some in the philosophy of Kant, to make the greatest advances in the profession An interesting view of German literature some in the more animated works of the Gerto which we were all destined; and I have the follows, and he proceeds to its influence on man dramatists, specimens more to our taste pleasure still to preserve my youthful intimacy himself.
than · The Death of Abel.'” with no inconsiderable number of them, whom “ In Edinburgh, where the remarkable His friendship with Lewis is another link in their merit has carried forward to the highest coincidence between the German language and his progress : we cannot omit the following honours of their profession. Neither was I in) that of the Lowland Scottish encouraged l extract,
“ I had, indeed, tried the metrical transla- thinking seriously on the subject, I wrote out has been, by the general consent of his brethren, tions which were occasionally recommended to a fair copy (of Glenfinlas, I think), and marked recently elected to be their Dean of Faculty, or us at the High School. I got credit for at all the various corrections which had been pro- President, being the highest acknowledgment tempting to do what was enjoined, but very little posed. On the whole, I found that I had been of his professional talents which they had it in for the mode in which the task was performed; required to alter every verse, almost every their power to offer. But this is an incident and I used to feel not a little mortified when line; and the only stanzas of the whole ballad much beyond the ideas of a period of thirty my versions were placed in contrast with others which escaped criticism were such as neither years' distance, when a barrister who really of admitted merit. At one period of my could be termed good nor bad, speaking of them possessed any turn for lighter literature, was at schoolboy days I was so far left to my own as poetry, but were of a mere commonplace as much pains to conceal it, as if it had in desires as to become guilty of verses on a character, absolutely necessary for conducting reality been something to be ashamed of; and thunder-storm, which were much approved of, the business of the tale. This unexpected re- I could mention more than one instance in until a malevolent critic sprung up, in the sult, after about a fortnight's anxiety, led me which literature and society have suffered loss, shape of an apothecary's blue-buskined wife, to adopt a rule from which I have seldom de- that jurisprudence might be enriched. Such, who affirmed that my most sweet poetry was parted during more than thirty years of literary however, was not my case ; for the reader will stolen from an old magazine. I never forgave life. When a friend, whose judgment I re- not wonder that my open interference with the imputation, and even now I acknowledge spect, has decided, and upon good advisement matters of light literature diminished my emsome resentment against the poor woman's told me, that a manuscript was worth nothing, ployment in the weightier matters of the law. memory She indeed accused me unjustly, or at least possessed no redeeming qualities Nor did the solicitors, upon whose choice the when she said I had stolen my brooms ready suficient to atone for its defects, I have gene- counsel takes rank in his profession, do me less made; but as I had, like most premature poets, rally cast it aside; but I am little in the cus- than justice by regarding others among my copied all the words and ideas of which my tom of paying attention to minute criticisms, contemporaries as fitter to discharge the duty verses consisted, she was so far right, that there or of offering such to any friend who may do due to their clients, than a young man who was not an original word or thought in the whole me the honour to consult me. I am convinced was taken up with running after ballads, whesix lines. I made one or two faint attempts at that, in general, in removing even errors of a ther Teutonic or national. My profession and verse, after I had undergone this sort of daw- trivial or venial kind, the character of origi. I, therefore, came to stand nearly upon the plucking at the hands of the apothecary's wife; nality is lost, which, upon the whole, may be footing on which honest Slender consoled him. but some friend or other always advised me to that which is most valuable in the production. self with having established with Mistress Anne put my verses in the fire, and, like Dorax in About the time that I shook hands with criti. Page: “There was no great love between us the play, I submitted, though with a swell. cism, and reduced my ballads back to their at the beginning, and it pleased Heaven to deing heart.' In short, excepting the usual original form, stripping them without remorse crease it on farther acquaintance.' I became tribute to a mistress's eyebrow, which is the of those lendings' which I had adopted at sensible that the time was come when I must language of passion rather than poetry, I had the suggestion of friends, an opportunity un- either buckle myself resolutely to the toil by not for ten years indulged the wish to couple expectedly offered of introducing to the world day, the lamp by night,' renouncing all the so much as love and dove, when, finding Lewis what had hitherto been confined to a circle of Delilahs of my imagination, or bid adieu to the in possession of so much reputation, and con- friends. Lewis bad announced a collection, profession of the law, and hold another course. ceiving that, if I fell behind him in poetical first intended to bear the title of · Tales of I confess my own inclination revolted from the powers, I considerably exceeded him in general Terror,' and afterwards • Tales of Wonder,' more severe choice, which might have been information, I suddenly took it into my head which last was finally adopted.”
deemed by many the wiser alternative. As my to attempt the style by which he had raised The following is the account of how he finally transgressions had been numerous, my repent. himself to fame."
decided on pursuing the career of literature. ance must have been signalised by unusual Glen finlas and the Eve of St. John were “ It may be readily supposed that the at- sacrifices. I onght to have mentioned, that, written about this time.
tempts which I had 'made in literature had since my fourteenth or fifteenth year, my health, “Thus I was set up for a poet, like a pedlar been unfavourable to my success at the bar. originally delicate, had become extremely rowho has got two ballads to begin the world The goddess Themis is, 'at Edinburgh, and I bust. From infancy I had laboured under the upon; and I hastened to make the round of all suppose every where else, of a peculiarly jealous infirmity of a severe lameness, but, as I believe my acquaintances, shewing my precious wares disposition. She will not readily consent to is usually the case with men of spirit who suffer and requesting criticism-a boon which no au. share her authority, and sternly demands from under personal inconveniencies of this nature, thor asks in vain. For it may be observed, her votaries not only that real duty be carefully I had, since the improvement of my health, in that, in the fine arts, those who are in no re- attended to and discharged, but that a certain defiance of this incapacitating circumstance, dis. spect able to produce any specimens themselves, air of business shall be observed even in the tinguished myself by the endurance of toil on hold themselves not the less entitled to decide midst of total idleness. It is prudent, if not foot or horseback, having often walked thirty upon the works of authors; and justly, no doubt, absolutely necessary, in a young barrister, to miles a-day, and rode upwards of a hundred, to a certain degree ; for the merits of composi. appear completely engrossed by his profession ; without stopping. In this manner I made many tion produced for the express purpose of pleasing however destitute of employment he may be, pleasant journeys through parts of the country the world at large, can only be judged of by be ought to preserve, if possible, the appearance then not very accessible, gaining more amusethe opinion of individuals ; and perhaps, as in of full occupation. He should at least seem ment and instruction than I have been able to the case of Molière's old woman, the less sophis. perpetually engaged among his law-papers, dust- acquire since I have travelled in a more commoticated the person consulted, so much the better. ing them, as it were ; and, as Ovid advises the dious manner. I practised most sylvan sports, But I was ignorant, at the time I speak of, that fair,
also, with some success, and with great delight. though the applause of the many may justly Si nullus erit pulvis, tamen excute nullum. But these pleasures must have been all resigned, appreciate the general merits of a piece, it is Perhaps such extremity of attention is more or used with great moderation, had I deternot so safe to submit such a performance to the especially required, considering the great num-mined to regain my station at the bar. It was more minute criticism of the same individuals, ber of counsellors who are called to the bar, and even doubtful whether I could, with perfect when each, in turn, having seated himself in how very small a proportion of them are finally character as a jurisconsult, retain a situation in the censor's chair, has placed his mind in a cri- disposed, or find encouragement, to follow the a volunteer corps of cavalry, which I then held. tical attitude, and delivered his opinion senten- law as a profession. Hence the number of de- The threats of invasion were at this time instant tiously and ex cathedra. General applause was serters is so great, that the least lingering look and menacing; the call by Britain on her chil. in almost every case freely tendered; but the behind occasions a young novice to be set down dren was universal, and was answered by many, abatements in the way of proposed alterations as one of the intending fugitives. Certain it is, who, like myself
, consulted rather their will and corrections were cruelly puzzling. It was that the Scottish Themis was at this time pecu- than their ability to bear arms. My services, in vain the young author, listening with becom- liarly jealous of any flirtation with the Muses however, were found useful in assisting to maining modesty, and with a natural wish to please, on the part of those who had ranged themselves tain the discipline of the corps, being the point cut and carved, tinkered and coopered, upon under her banners. This was probably owing on which their constitution rendered them his unfortunate ballads it was in vain that to her consciousness of the superior attractions most amenable to military criticism. In other he placed, displaced, replaced, and misplaced ; of her rivals. Of late, however, she has relaxed respects the squadron was a fine one, consisting every one of his advisers was displeased with in some instances in this particular; an eminent of handsome men, well mounted and armed at the concessions made to his co-assessors, and example of which has been shewn in the case their own expense. My attention to the corps the author was blamed by some one, in almost of my friend, Mr. Jeffrey, who, after long con- took up a good deal of time ; and while it occuevery case, for having made two holes in at- ducting one of the most influential literary pe pied many of the bappiest hours of my life, it tempting to patch up one. At last, after riodicals of the age, with unquestionable ability, furnished an additional reason for my reluct
ance again to encounter the severe course of with the triple brass of Horace, against all have been totally ruined by being permitted to study indispensable to success in the juridical the roving warfare of satire, parody, and take the water after such a severe chase. I profession. On the other hand, my father, sarcasm ; to laugh if the jest was a good own I was much encouraged by the species of whose feelings might have been hurt by my one; or, if otherwise, to let it hum and buzz reverie which had possessed só zealous a fol. quitting the bar, had been for two or three itself to sleep. It is to the observance of these lower of the sports of the ancient Nimrod, who years dead; so that I had no control to thwart rules (according to my best belief), that, after had been completely surprised out of all doubts my own inclination ; and my income being a life of thirty years engaged in literary la- of the reality of the tale." equal to all the comforts, and some of the bours of various kinds, I attribute my never We shall conclude by collecting in a paraelegancies, of life, I was not pressed to an having been entangled in any literary quarrel graph the various receipts of his poems :irksome labour by necessity, that most power- or controversy ; and, which is a more pleasing “The work brought out on the usual terms ful of motives ; consequently, I was the more result, that I have been distinguished by the of division of profits between the author and easily seduced to choose the employment which personal friendship of my most approved con- publishers, was not long after purchased by was most agreeable. This was yet the easier, temporaries of all parties. I adopted, at the them for 5001., to which Messrs. Longman and that in 1800 I had obtained the preferment of same time, another resolution, on which it Co. afterwards added 1001. in their own unso. Sheriff of Selkirkshire, about 3001. a-year in may doubtless be remarked, that it was well licited kindness, in consequence of the uncom. value, and which was the more agreeable to for me that I had it in my power to do so, mon success of the work. It was handsomely me, as in that county I had several friends and that, therefore, it is a line of conduct given to supply the loss of a fine horse, which and relations. But I did not abandon the which can be less generally applicable in other broke down suddenly while the author was profession to which I had been educated, cases. Yet I fail not to record this part of my riding with one of the worthy publishers. without certain prudential resolutions, which, plan, convinced that, though it may not be in The publishers of the Lay of the Last Minstrel, at the risk of some egotism, I will here men- every one's power to adopt exactly the same emboldened by the success of that poem, will. tion; not without the hope that they may be resolution, he may nevertheless, by his own ingly offered a thousand pounds for Marmion. useful to young persons who may stand in exertions, in some shape or other, attain the The transaction being no secret, afforded Lord circumstances similar to those in which I then object on which it was founded ; namely, to Byron, who was then at general war with all stood. In the first place, upon considering the secure the means of subsistence, without rely- who blacked paper, an opportunity to include lives and fortunes of persons who had given ing exclusively on literary talents. In this me in his satire, entitled English Bards and themselves up to literature, or to the task of respect, I determined that literature should be Scotch Reviewers. I never could conceive how pleasing the public, it seemed to me that the my staff, but not my crutch ; and that the an arrangement between an author and his circumstances which chiefly affected their nap- profits of my labour, however convenient publishers, if satisfactory to the persons conpiness and character were those from which otherwise, should not become necessary to cerned, could afford matter of censure to any Horace has bestowed upon authors the epithet my ordinary expenses. With this purpose 1 third party. I had taken no unusual or ungeof the irritable race. It requires no depth of resolved, if the interest of my friends could nerous means of enhancing the value of my philosophic reflection to perceive, that the so far favour me, to retire upon any of the merchandise, - I had never higgled a moment petty warfare of Pope with the dunces of respectable offices of the law, in which persons about the bargain, but accepted at once what his period could not have been carried on of that profession are glad to take refuge when I considered the handsome offer of my pubwithout his suffering the most acute torture, they feel themselves, or are judged by others, lishers. These gentlemen, at least, were not such as a man must endure from musquitoes, incompetent to aspire to its higher offices and of opinion that they had been taken advantage by whose stings he suffers agony, although he honours. Upon such an office an author might of in the transaction, which indeed was one can crush them in his grasp by myriads. Nor hope to retreat, without any perceptible alte of their own framing ; on the contrary, the is it necessary to call to memory the many ration of circumstances, whenever the time sale of the poem was so far beyond their humiliating instances in which men of the should arrive that the public grew weary of expectation, as to induce them to supply the greatest genius have, to avenge some pitiful his endeavours to please, or he himself should author's cellars with what is always an acceptquarrel, made themselves ridiculous during tire of the occupation of authorship. At this able present to a young Scottish housekeeper, their lives, to become the still more degraded period of my life I possessed so many friends namely, a hogshead of excellent claret.” objects of pity to future times. Upon the capable of assisting me in this object of ambi We find, in spite of our columns, we must whole, as I had no pretension to the genius tion, that I could hardly overrate my own extract the account of his own change from of the distinguished persons who had fallen prospects of obtaining the moderate prefer- poetry to prose~Rokeby.. into such errors, I concluded there could be no ment to which I limited my wishes ; and, in “ The cause of my failure had, however, a occasion for imitating them in these mistakes, fact, I obtained, in no long period, the re- far deeper root. The manner, or style, which, or what I considered as such ; and, in adopting version of a situation which completely met by its novelty, attracted the public in an un. literary pursuits as the principal occupation of them.”
usual degree, had now, after having been three my future life, I resolved, if possible, to avoid Speaking of the Lady of the Lake: “I re- times before them, exhausted the patience of those weaknesses of temper which seemed to member that about the same time a friend the reader, and began in the fourth to lose its have most easily beset my more celebrated started in to “ heeze up my hope,' like the charms. The reviewers may be said to have predecessors. With this view, it was my first minstrel in the old song. He was bred a apostrophised the author in the language of resolution to keep, as far as was in my power, farmer, but a man of powerful understanding, Parnel's Edwin: abreast of society; continuing to maintain my natural good taste, and warm poetical feeling, * And here reverse the charm, he cries, place in general company, without yielding to perfectly competent to supply the wants of an And let it fairly now suffice, the very natural temptation of narrowing my-imperfect or irregular education. He was a
The gambol has been shewn.' self to what is called literary society. By doing passionate admirer of field sports, which we The licentious combination of rhymes, in a so, I imagined I should escape the besetting often pursued together. As this friend hap- manner not perhaps very congenial to our lansin of listening to language which, from one pened to dine with me at Ashiesteel one day, guage, had not been confined to the author. motive or other, ascribes a very undue degree I took the opportunity of reading to him the Indeed, in most similar cases, the inventors of of consequence to literary pursuits; as if they first canto of the Lady of the Lake, in order to such novelties have their reputation destroyed were, indeed, the business, rather than the ascertain the effect the poem was likely to pro- by their own imitators, as Actron fell under amusement of life. The opposite course can duce upon a person who was but too favourable his own dogs. The present author, like Bobaonly be compared to the injudicious conduct of a representative of readers at large. It is, of dil, had taught his trick of fence to a hundred one who pampers himself with cordial and course, to be supposed, that I determined ra- gentlemen (and ladies) who could fence very luscious draughts, until he is unable to endure ther to guide my opinion by what my friend nearly, or quite, as well as himself. For this wholesome bitters. Like Gil Blas, therefore, might appear to feel, than by what he might there was no iemedy; the harmony became I resolved to stick by the society of my commis, think fit to say. His reception of my recita- tiresome and ordinary, and both the original instead of seeking that of a more literary cast; tion, or prelection, was rather singular. He inventor and his invention must have fallen and to maintain my general interest in what placed his hand across his brow, and listened into contempt, if he had not found out another was going on around me, reserving the man of with great attention through the whole account road to public favour. What has been said of letters for the desk and the library. My second of the stag-hunt, till the dogs threw themselves the metre only, must be considered to apply resolution was a corollary from the first. I into the lake to follow their master, who em- equally to the structure of the poem and of the determined that, without shutting my ears to barks with Ellen Douglas. He then started style.' The very best passages of any popular the voice of true criticism, I would pay no up with a sudden exclamation, struck his hand style are not, perhaps, susceptible of imitation, regard to that which assumes the form of on the table, and declared, in a voice of censure but they may be approached by men of talent ; safire. I therefore resolved to arm myself calculated for the occasion, that the dogs must and those who are less able to copy them, at
least lay hold of their peculiar features, so as do something of more importance. My inmost the summit. Does the Member of the Uni. to produce a burlesque instead of a serious copy. thoughts were those of the Trojan Captain in versity know that no such rock is found near In either way, the effect of it is rendered cheap the galley race,
the Viso, and that the crest of the pass is so and common; and, in the latter case, ridiculous Non jam prima peto Mnestheus, neque vincere certo: mere a ridge, that fifty men could not be stato boot. The evil consequences to an author's
Quanquam 0,--Sed superent, quibus hoc, Neptune, tioned there at the same time, and that no site
dedisti: reputation are at least as fatal as those which
Extremos pudeat rediisse: hoc vincite, cives,
for an encampment exists on or near it? Po. befall a composer, when his melody falls into Et prohibete nefas."
lybius says, that the army encamped on the the hands the street ballad-singer. Of the Perhaps the most curious and marked traits summit of the pass for two days. How does unfavourable species of imitation, the author's in these memoirs of Sir Walter Scott are the our “ learned Theban” try to get over this style gave room to a very large number, owing total want of enthusiasm in his character, and difficulty ?-by doing the very thing of which to an appearance of facility to which some of the strong sense, the clear, worldly spirit of he accuses the authors of the Dissertationthose who used the measure unquestionably calculation displayed : he was the very man to adapting the text of Polybius to his theory, leaned too far. The effect of the more favour. get on in life. Our copious extracts will be and stating that the Carthaginians encamped able imitations, composed by persons of talent, their own excuse; and we can only say, amid about the summit of the pass of Monte Visowas almost equally unfortunate to the original our author's many delightful works, this is one 'Errataies di Svevúous sis mes útigonas autoū rasiminstrel, by shewing that they could overshoot of his most delightful. Who is there but will cogatorioevos, xai dúo nuipas teoríusivs," and on him with his own bow. In short, the popularity be happy in this admission behind the inner the ninth day, having completed his ascent to the which once attended the school, as it was called, veil of his private life?
summit of the pass, he encamped there, and was now fast decaying. Besides all this, to
remained two days;" not about it, as our author have kept his ground at the crisis when Rokeby Hannibal's Passage of the Alps. By a Mem. has rendered it, to serve his own purposes, but appeared, its author ought to have put forth
ber of the University of Cambridge. Lon- upon it: and it is worthy of remark, that the his utmost strength, and to have possessed at don, 1830. Whittaker and Co.
word úzsponds, used by Polybius for the summit least all his original advantages, for a mighty We thought that the question of Hannibal's of the pass, does not apply to the summit of the and unexpected rival was advancing on the passage had been settled_at least, we know mountain; it is merely the highest part of the stage-a rival not in poetical powers only, but that some persons who are considered as wise way over. But even the preposition about, thus in that of attracting popularity, in which the and learned have committed themselves by say- falsely pressed into the new military service, will present writer had preceded better men than ing that De Luc, and Wickham and Cramer, not assist the “ Member” on the pass of the himself. The reader will easily see that Byron by their investigations, and Brockedon by his Viso; for there is no place on it, or near it, or is here meant, who, after a little velitation of illustrations of the Passes of the Alps, had about it, where the army of Hannibal could have no great promise, now appeared as a serious convinced them that it had been set at rest, encamped. The pass is over a narrow ridge, candidate, in the First Canto of Childe Harold. and that the honour of the passage had re- stretching like a wall between two mountains ; I was astonished at the power evinced by that mained with the Little St. Bernard. A new and in order to attain it, the traveller must work, which neither the Hours of Idleness, nor combatant, however, appears against all these, climb over some beds of perpetual snow, by a the English Bards and Scotch Revicwers, had armed with a little Greek, and nothing else, path impracticable for mules. The passage of prepared me to expect from its author. There to support his pretensions.' His extreme igno- the Viso can only be made on foot; and from was a depth in his thought, an eager abundance rance of the regions upon which he writes time immemorial until the end of the fifteenth in his diction, which argued full confidence in has betrayed him into the error of believing, century, it was only thus attainable. About the inexhaustible resources of which he felt that because he has drawn a red line over a the year 1480, however, a Marquess of Saluces, himself possessed ; and there was some appear- map, and called it Hannibal's route, it was just in whose territory the valley of the Po (which ance of that labour of the file, which indicates as easy for the army of Hannibal to have tra- descends from the Monte Viso) lay, caused a that the author is conscious of the necessity of versed the country which he fancies his map to road to be made to facilitate the commercial doing every justice to his work, that it may represent; and, as he says, “ that the question intercourse of his subjects with Dauphiny by pass warrant.
Lord Byron was also a travel to be discussed is not, what was the best or the mules across the Viso; and to avoid the ridge ler, a man whose ideas were fired by having worst, the longest or the shortest road,” he of the pass, he directed a road to be cut through seen, in distant scenes of difficulty and danger, has amused us by adding another variety-an the mountain, about 300 feet below it, and car, the places whose very names are recorded in impracticable one.
ried a gallery 230 feet long and 8 feet high our bosoms as the shrines of ancient poetry.
The author seems at once to have jumped to and wide, from the side of Piedmont to the For bis own misfortune, perhaps, but certainly the conclusion, that every thing in Messrs. side of Dauphiny. Twenty years were spent to the high increase of his poetical character, Wickham and Cramer's Dissertation upon the in the formation of this mule-path, which has nature had mixed in Lord Byron's system those Passage of Hannibal,
must be wrong, because now been long destroyed; and the
trou de trapassions which agitate the human heart with some rendering by them of the Greek text of versette, the name by which the passage was most violence, and which may be said to have Polybius into English does not agree with his known, has been for many years so completely hurried his bright career to an early close. notions. He might have had modesty enough closed up on both sides by the débris which There would have been little wisdom in mea. to have entertained some doubt of his own. have fallen from the mountain, that even its suring my force with so formidable an antago. Those authors are distinguished as scholars, situation cannot now be traced : and this is the nist; and I was as likely to tire of playing the and, what is of more importance to the inquiry, pass by which, in its primitive state, our author second fiddle in the concert, as my audience of they have actually examined and investigated, would have us believe that Hannibal, with his hearing me. Age also was advancing. I was in repeated journeys, the various routes in the elephants, and horses, and beasts of burden, growing insensible to those subjects of excita- Alps, by which different authors have conjec- traversed, and upon which he encamped !. Our tion by which youth is agitated. I had around tured that Hannibal passed these mountains; Member of the University of Cambridge is evi. me the most pleasant but least exciting of all they have believed the account of Polybius to dently unacquainted with the country which he society, that of kind friends and an affectionate be true; and they have found upon the Little describes, and seems to rely upon the Marquess family My circle of employments was a nar. St. Bernard only' such localities as agree with of St. Simon's authority for the practicability row one; it occupied me constantly, and it be the events related by Polybius. But our au- of the route of the Viso to Hannibal. But of came daily more difficult for me to interest my- thor, who has brought to the inquiry something this the marquess appears to be as ignorant as self in poetical composition :
like the geography of a schoolboy, and not himself. • How happily the days of Thalaba went by ! more than his Greek, has sought to destroy Though St. Simon,t in his Histoire de la Yet, though conscious that I must be, in the all the evidence of Wickham and Cramer by opinion of good judges, inferior to the place I verbal criticisms alone, except upon the fact of Queyras à Grisoles dans la vallée du Pô en Piedmont."
• “ Le Col de Viso, bon à pied, allant de vallée de had for four or five years held in letters, and the view of the plains of Italy from the Col Topographie des Grandes Alpes, par le Marquis de Pesay: feeling alike that the latter was one to which I de Viso, the pass which he advocates ; but he Gen. Bourcet, in his Mémoires Autilitaires sur les Frontière de had only a temporary right, I could not brook seems to have forgotten that there were other the Viso, before the gallery was made, and since its de the idea of relinquishing literary occupation, and more important, because less equivocal, struction. General Bourcet surveyed the entire frontier which had been so long my chief employment. proofs to establish, than the view of Italy best ever published.
of France towards Piedmont; and his authority is the Neither was I disposed to choose the alterna- from the summit of the pass : a space must † St. Simon's authority in history is no better than in tive of sinking into a mere editor and com- be discovered there large enough to encamp an geography: for he speaks of the passage by Francis Dr mentator, though that was a species of labour army such as Hannibal's, and a white rock passed the Viso, if contemporary historians and the autowhich I had practised, and to which I was must be found at the foot of the pass, where biographical memoirs of his companions are any authoattached. But I could not endure to think Hannibal could have protected the passage when he has a theory to establish, in his passage of Hannithat I might not, whether known or concealed, I of his army the night before they attained bal, with the efforts which he makes in the same work,
Guerre des Alpes, writes of the “courses que ley of the Ubaye, one of the most sterile intrations are equally excellent - witness the j'ai faites entre Barcelonette et Briançon,” yet that country, where an army which had to following: this no more proves his acquaintance with the procure supplies on its march must have been “ Idolatry and paganism constituted the re. pass of the Viso, than our author's book proves starved : having reached Barcelonette, how- ligion professed by the Danes or Normans. that he ever wandered from the banks of the ever, the passage of the Alps by the Argentière Against Christianity they were as inveterate Cam. In the war of 1744, when St. Simon was then of easy accomplishment, and in two as the Saracens, but treated in a friendly manwas engaged in the siege of Coni, he became days the army might have been in the plains ner those Christians who embraced their wor. aoquainted with the pass of the Argentière, by of Italy; but then it could not have enjoyed ship, as many did. Most of the places which which the army of Don Philip and the Prince a view from the summit of the Viso, upon the Saracens had attacked and plundered, or of Conti passed into Piedmont: he had occa- which our author was fixed; and the distances with which the Moslem name was connected, sion in his marches to pass by the Col de Vars would not have suited this pretty theory. He as having been the scenes of their exploits, and by the valleys of the Durance and the writes of the Carthaginians being “ conducted were visited also by the Normans. Bordeaux Ubaye_but not by the Viso, which we feel from the valley of the Ubaye up the deep and Tours were at one time devastated by convinced that he never saw, not only from his gorges of the river Guil”-as if these were them. The latter of these towns had been incomprehensible statements in page 32 of his in connexion ; and his only excuse can be, saved from the fury of the Saracens in 732 preface, but from his doubt or denial of that he was not aware of the intervention by the victory of Charles Martel over them; the only fact upon which the theory of the of an enormous range of mountains. The but under Charles the Bald both places were passage of the Viso by Hannibal rests—the view red line, therefore, is carried on over moun- plundered, and the city afterwards burnt by thence of the plains of Italy. Our author tains and through defiles, regardless of the the Normans in 853. Provence had been states this fact upon the authority of Brocke- impossibility of an army following its course, infested by Normans in the time of Charles don's Passes of the Alps, but, with a disin. and taking it for granted that this trifling Martel, and was ravaged both by Saracens genuousness of purpose which deserves repro- objection would not be made : if, however, and Normans, during eight years of the bation, he quotes only a part of a sentence in this route had been passable to such an army, reign of another Charles, sovereign of that which the impracticability of the pass of the Viso it would only have led them to the same spot country, nephew of Charles the Bald, who is shewn, though the plains can be seen from in four days, which they might have reached died in 863. Between the end of the ninth the Col, as if Brockedon advocated also the by the valley of the Durance, from Le Breoule, and the beginning of the tenth centuries, pass of the Viso to be the route of Hannibal; in one. Nor is it the work of Wickham and the Saracens, as well as the Normans, togewhereas all the proofs which that author has Cramer alone that our author opposes : Polybius ther with the Hungarians, attacked the kingcollected tend directly to establish the passage is quite as intractable to his hypothesis—for in dom of Burgundy on different sides. It is of the Carthaginians by the Little St. Bernard page 35 he says, that “the distances are so not, therefore, surprising, that ancient hisBut this is not the only misquotation which inaccurate and inconsistent in Polybius, that torians should have asserted Ogier le Dannoys betrays either an intention to deceive, or an they cannot be safely followed.” More learn- to be a Saracen from Africa ; for, amongst unpardonable ignorance of the subject : in ed authorities than he is, have followed them these plunderers, resembling each other in page 97 our Cantab describes the appearance without difficulty—but not by his impossible cruelty, rapacity, and hatred of the Christian of the Alps and Monte Viso from Le Breoule route. Is it not intolerable, that the testimony religion, it was difficult to distinguish the in the valley of the Durance in Dauphiny, as of Polybius, who travelled over the line of Mahometan from the Pagan. This theory, if Monte Viso could be seen from this place ; Hannibal's march within forty years of the founded on the state of affairs at the period and again quotes from Brockedon a description event, expressly to verify his narrative, should in question, is supported by what has been of the appearance of the Monte Viso from a be disputed by one thus pretending to inform hitherto supposed the ignorance of the old place in the plains of Piedmont, four days us, who, if he was ever out of Cambridge, cer- romancers in continually confounding Mahodistance from La Breoule - in point of fact, tainly never visited the countries upon which metans and Pagans together, till at length it is not possible from any spot within the dis- he presumes to write, and of which he is so they made a god of Mahomet, and supposed tance of two days' journey from Le Breoule to ignorant ?
the Moslems to be idolaters. When, in the see the Viso. Does this Member of the Uni.
twelfth century, paganism had almost wholly versity of Cambridge think that his numerous Orlando Innamorato di Bojardo ; Orlando disappeared, and the Saracens were the nation misrepresentations can be overlooked in the Furioso di Ariosto: with an Essay on the against which all Christendom joined in mak. world's admiration of his Greek criticisms ? Romantic Narrative Poetry of the Italians ; ing war, the persons who from the popular such as his accounts of plains lying between Memoirs and Notes. By Antonio Panizzi. lays formed those narratives now called Ro. Tallard and the Ubaye ;-that Hannibal's army
Vol. I. London, 1830. W. Pickering. mances, could not possibly have had either was without baggage ;-that the Allobroges, A COMMENTATOR must be made up (as some the means or inclination for discriminating who could supply the army of Hannibal, were old French author says of his mistress) of all between Pagans and Mahometans. Not the " an unsettled tribe of warlike barbarians, and opposite qualities : he must have the industry means, because it required more learning than their metropolis a village;"—and that olives of the antiquary, the imagination of the poet': they possessed ; nor the inclination, because do not grow north of Barcelonette (when it without the first he will never be able to col- the descendants of the Normans were then happens that they are not found there, but lect his materials — without the second he Christians, and settled in France, England, grow as far north as the lake of Como):-does will never make good use of them. Of both and Italy ; they could have no wish to perhe imagine that such matters as these at all these qualities is Mr. Panizzi possessed : a de. petuate the memory of events so little honour. affect the real question at issue?
vout admirer of his national literature, his able to their ancestors. Nor would the clergy The complacency with which he has drawn enthusiasm has made him patient; and the waste the popular passions by exciting an idle a red line over his map and called it Han- interest he evidently takes in his researches, hatred against enemies no longer in existence. nibal's route, is very amusing; from La prevents a shade of tedium from approaching But all interests were joined in obliterating all Breoule this line leads —not to Embrun and either him or his reader. We would instance distinction between the old enemies of Christ. the valley of the Guil, which lay directly his analysis of the history of Palamon and ianity, by fixing on the Saracens both their before him—but, out of the way, up the val- Arcite, as one of the most perfect pieces of own crimes and those of the Normans. How
criticism and comparison we know. We do could the writers of that period suspect that a Guerre des Alpes, to shew the dangers encountered by him not agree with him in tracing Charlemagne, Charles, who was represented as fighting against in the pass of Le Breoule: he says “ the ditficulties are &c. to a British origin, in preference to the the enemies of Christianity in Provence about so great, that nothing but habit prevents the people of Gaulic: “let each divide the palm.” These the same epoch (if an epoch was mentioned at present; that a man cannot remain on horseback in hypotheses, that go so far into remote ages, all), which enemies were sometimes designated passing; because the pass, which has been cut out of the are like the early discoverers' accounts of Pagans and sometimes Moslems ; how should side of the rocks, is not high enough; and he describes America, - one story held good till another such writers doubt that he was combating the the walls of narrow roads by the ends of the axles of car: was told. But we do give our author the very same party all the wbile ? In those days it riages :" he says that conductors are obliged to remove greatest credit for the industrious ingenuity is probable that every enemy of Christianity the ornaments from the heads and pack-saddles of the with which he collects passages, draws in- was fancied to be a Saracen, and therefore the rocks above them; and that if the loads extend too far ferences, and thus deduces facts which throw Normans, adoring A pollino and Trivigante, ing the rocks at the side, where a slight shock might great light on that romantic but fable-hidden were supposed to be Mahometans, and to destroy the equilibrium of the beasts, and they would period. His idea that Charlemagne is rather worship Mahomet
. This will also serve to fall over into frightful abysses :"--and this is one of the a cento of the bad qualities of his succes- explain why, according to the old romances, would have us believe that the elephants of Hannibal sors, than that great monarch himself, is as there were Mahometans or Saracens in places passed before even such a road was made!
curious as it is original ; and his other illus- / where the name of the prophet had perhaps