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pardoned the disproportion between clothed with purple robes or military my club-feet and spindle-shanks, and uniforms, and their heads attired with my general resemblance to a skeleton cocked hats or three-tailed periwigs. hung in chains, in consideration of I have not, in my own mind, the my
conversational talents as an excel- slightest doubt that she told the tale lent listener. In this way, my mind, to me in the precise terms in which from youth upwards, has become stor- she received it from the person prined with matter deep and perilous to cipally concerned.
Whether it was read or narrate, which, with due ef- to be believed in its full extent, as a fect, the hand of the clock should supernatural visitation, she did not point to twelve, and the candles be pretend to determine, but she strongly in the snuff.
averred her conviction, that the lady The time now approaches, Sir, that to whom the event happened was a I must expect, in the course of nature, woman not easily to be imposed upon · to fade away into that unknown and by her own imagination, however exobscure state in which, as there is no cited ; and that the whole tone of her light, there can of course be no sha- character, as well as the course of her dow. I am unwilling so much cur life, exempted her from the slightest rent and excellent information should suspicion of an attempt to impose on go with me to the darksome bourne, others. Without farther preface, and To your veiled and mysterious cha- without any effort at ornament or deracter, Sir, you are indebted, as I coration, I proceed to my narration, have already hinted, for the prefer- only premising, that though I supence which I give to your work as the press the name of the lady, out of remeans of recording these marvels. spect to surviving relations, yet it is You must not be apprehensive that I well known to me. will overwhelm you with too many A lady, wife to a gentleman of resmarvels at once, for I am aware, by pectable property on the borders of experience, of the indigestion which Argyleshire, was, about the middle of arises after having, like Macbeth, the last century, left a widow, with the “ supp'd full with horrors." Farther, management of an embarrassed estate you may place absolute reliance upon and the care of an only son. The young the statements which I may give gentleman approached that period of life concerning my authorities. Trust- when it was necessary that he should ing this offer may be acceptable, and be sent into the world in some active that at a time when you are mov- professional line. The natural incliing heaven and earth for furnishing nation of the youth, like most others instruction and amusement to your of that age and country, was to enter readers, you will not think the assist- into the army, a disposition which his ance of the inferior regions to be des- mother saw with anxiety, as all the pised, I send you the first article of perils of the military profession were my treatise, which, with your per- aggravated to her imagination by mamission, I entitle
ternal tenderness, and a sense of her Phantasmagoria.
own desolate situation. A circum
stance however occurred, which in“ Come like shadowsso depart." duced her to grant her consent to her No I.
son's embracing this course of life
with less reluctance than it would The incident which I am about to otherwise have been given. narrate, came to your present corres- A Highland gentleman, named pondent through the most appropriate Campbell (we suppress his designachannel for such information, by the tion), and nearly related to Mrs narration, namely, of an old woman. was about this time named to the I must however add, that though this command of one of the independent old lady literally wore the black silk companies, levied for protecting the gown, small haunch-hoop, and triple peace of the Highlands, and preventruffles, which form the apparel mosting the marauding parties in which proper to her denomination, yet in the youth of the wilder clans were sense, spirit, wit, and intelligence, she still occasionally exercised. These comgreatly exceeded various individuals of panies were called Sidier-dhu, i. e. her own class, who have been known black soldiers, to distinguish them to me, although their backs were from the Sidier-roy, or red soldiers, of the regular army; and hence, when shire, and driven away a considerable embodied into a marching regiment creugh, or spoil of cattle. Captain Camp(the well-known forty-second), the bell, with such of his independent comcorps long retained, and still retains, panyas he could assemble upon a sudden the title of the Black Watch. At the alarm, set off in pursuit of the depreperiod of the story the independent dators, and after a fatiguing march companies retained their original occu- came up with them. A slight skirpation, and were generally considered as mish took place, in course of which only liable to do duty in their native the cattle were recovered, but not becountry. Each of these corps con- fore Captain Campbell had received a sisted of about three hundred men, severe wound. It was not immediateusing the Highland garb and arms, ly, perhaps not necessarily, mortal, but and commanded by such gentlemen as was rendered so by want of shelter and the Brunswick government imagined surgical assistance, and the same acthey might repose confidence in. They count, which brought to Edinburgh were understood to engage only to an account of the skirmish, communiserve in the Highlands, and no where cated to Mrs the death of her else, and were looked upon rather as affectionate kinsman. To grief for his a kind of volunteers than as regular loss, she had now to add the painful soldiers.
recollection, that her son, if he pursuA service of this limited nature, ed the line which had been resolved which seemed to involve but little on, would be deprived of the aid, counrisk of actual danger, and which was tenance, and advice, of the person to to be exercised in his native country whose care, as to that of a father, she alone, was calculated to remove many had resolved to confide him. And the of the objections which a beloved mo- very event, which was otherwise so ther might be supposed to have against much attended with grief and perplexiher only son entering into the army. ty, served to shew that the service of She had also the highest reliance on the independent companies, however the kindness and affection of her kins- limited in extent, did not exempt
those man, Captain Campbell, who, while engaged in it from mortal peril. At he offered to receive the young gentle- the same time, there were many arguman as a cadet into his independent ments against retracting her consent, company, gave her his solemn assur
or altering a plan in which so much ance to watch over him in every res- progress had been already made; and pect as his own son, and to prevent she felt as if, on the one hand, she sahis being exposed to any unnecessary crificed her son's life, if she permitted hazard until he should have attained him to join the corps ; on the other, the age and experience necessary for that his honour or spirit might be callhis own guidance. Mrs greatly ed in question, by her obliging him to reconciled to parting with her son, in renounce the situation.
These conconsequence of these friendly assur- tending emotions threw herma widow, ances on the part of his future com- with no one to advise her, and the momander; it was arranged that the ther of an only son whose fate deyouth should join the company at a pended upon her resolving wiselyparticular time; and in the mean into an agony of mind, which many while, Mrs
who was then re- readers may suppose will account satissiding at Edinburgh, made the neces- factorily for the following extraordisary preparations for his proper equip- nary apparition. ment.
I need not remind my Edinburgh These had been nearly completed, friends, that in ancient times their when Mrs received a piece of forefathers lived, as they do still in melancholy intelligence, which again Paris, in flats, which have access by a unsettled her resolution ; and while it common stair. The apartments occufilled her with grief on account of her pied by Mrs – were immediately relation, awakened in the most cruel above those of a family with whom she manner all the doubts and apprehen- was intimate, and she was in the habit of sions which his promises had lulled to drinking tea with them every evening. sleep. A body of Katerns, or freeboot- It was duskish, and she began to think ers, belonging, if I mistake not, to the that her agitation of mind had detaincountry of Lochiel, had made a descented her beyond the hour at which she upon a neighbouring district of Argyle should have joined her friends, when,
opening the door of her little parlour name of Heaven to tell her wherefore to leave her own lodging, she saw he thus haunted her. The apparition standing directly opposite to her in the instantly answered, with a voice and passage, the exact resemblance of Cap- manner in no respect differing from tain Campbell, in his complete High- those proper to him while alive, land dress, with belted plaid, dirk, “ Cousin, why did you not speak pistols, pouch, and broad sword. Ap- sooner,-my visit is but for your good, palled at this vision, she started back, —your grief disturbs me in my grave, closed the door of the room, staggered and it is by permission of the Fabackwards to a chair, and endeavoured ther of the fatherless and Husband of to convince herself that the apparition the widow, that I come to tell you not she had seen was only the effect of a to be disheartened by my fate, but to heated imagination. In this, being a pursue the line which, by my advice, woman of a strong mind, she partly you adopted for your son. He will succeeded, yet could not prevail upon find a protector more efficient, and as herself again to open the door which kind as I would have been ; will rise seemed to divide her from the shade of high in the military profession, and her deceased relation, until she heard live to close your eyes. With these a tap on the floor beneath, which was words the figure, representing Captain the usual signal from her friendly Campbell, completely vanished. neighbours to summon her to tea. Upon the point of her being decidOn this she took courage, walked firm- edly awake and sensible, through her ly to the door of the apartment, flung eyes and ears, of the presence and words it open, and—again beheld the mili- of this apparition, Mrs
detary spectre of the deceased officer of clared herself perfectly convinced. the Black Watch. He seemed to stand She said, when minutely questioned within a yard of her, and held his by the lady who told me the story, hand stretched out, not in a menacing that his general appearance differed in manner, but as if to prevent her pass- no respect from that which he preing him. This was too much for hu- sented when in full life and health, man fortitude to endure, and she sunk but that in the last occasion, while she down in the floor, with a noise which fixed her eyes on the spectre in terror alarmed her friends below for her and anxiety, yet with a curiosity which safety.
argued her to be somewhat familiarOn their hastening up stairs, and en- ized with his presence, she observed a tering Mrs
's lodging, they saw speck or two of blood upon his breast, nothing extraordinary in the passage ; ruffle, and band, which he seemed to but in the parlour found the lady conceal with his hand when he obin strong hysterics. She was recalled served her looking at him. He changto herself with difficulty, but conceal- ed his attitude more than once, but ed the extraordinary cause of her in- slightly, and without altering his gedisposition. Her friends naturally im- neral position. puted it to the late unpleasant intelli- The fate of the young gentleman gence from Argyleshire, and remain- in future life seemed to correspond ed with her till a late hour, endea- with the prophecy. He entered the vouring to amuse and relieve her army, rose to considerable rank, and mind. The hour of rest however ar- died in peace and honour, long after rived, and there was a necessity, he had closed the eyes of the good old (which Mrs felt an alarming lady who had determined, or at least one,) that she should go to her solita- professed to have determined, his desry apartment. She had scarce set tination in life upon this marvellous down the light which she held in her suggestion. hand, and was in the act of composing It would have been easy for a skilher mind, ere addressing the Deity ful narrator to give this tale more effor protection during the perils of the fect, by a slight transference or trifling night, when, turning her head, the exaggeration of the circumstances. vision she had seen in the passage was But the author has determined in this standing in the apartment. On this and future communications to limit emergency she summoned up her cou- himself strictly to his authorities, and rage, and addressing him by his name rests your humble servant, and surname, conjured him in the
FOURTH CANTO OF CHILDE HAROLD.* has been seen to run a career of
and glory. He has brought forward It would be worse than idle to en- from the darkness of past times, no deavour to shadow out the lineaments shining spectres-no immortal ghosts. of that Mind, which, exhibiting itself One Figure alone is seen stalking in dark and perturbed grandeur, has through the city and through the soestablished a stronger and wider sway litude-over the earth and over the over the passions of men, than any sea: and that Figure, stern, melanother poetical Intellect of modern times. choly, and majestic, is still no other We feel as if there were a kind of ab- than Himself, on the same dark, surdity in criticising the power that mournful, solitary, and perplexing Pilhurries us along with it like a whirl- grimage. wind. When standing within the • The wondrous Childe” passes bemagic circle, and in the immediate fore our eyes, and before oar hearts, presence of the magician, we think and before our souls. And all love, not upon his art itself, but yield our- and pity, and condemn, and turn selves up to its wonder-working in- away in aversion, and return with fluence. We have no wish to specu- sympathy; and “ thoughts that do late on the causes which awoke and lie too deep for tears” alike agitate the stirred up all the profoundest feelings young and the old,—the guilty and and energies of our souls--the deep the sinless,--the pious and the propathos, the stormy passion, has been fane,—when they think on the feaenjoyed or suffered,-and, in the ex- tures of his troubled countenance,altation or prostration of our nature, when they hear the voice of his lofty we own the power of the poet to be mournings,—when they meditate on divine,-and, with a satisfied and un- all the « disastrous chances that his questioning delight, deliver ourselves youth has suffered.” There is round up to his gentle fascination, or his ir- him a more awful interest than the resistible dominion.
mere halo round the brow of a poet. We do not say that Byron stands And in his feelings, his passions, his above criticism—but that criticism musings, his aspirings, his troubled seems to be altogether foreign to the scepticism, and his high longings after nature and to the purposes of his ge- immortality, his eagle-winged rapnius. It is impossible to speak of his tures, his cold, dull, leaden fears, his poetry without also speaking of him- agonies, his exultation, and his deself, morally, as a man; and this, who spair,-we tremble to think unto what shall dare to do, who has had even a a mysterious nature we belong, and feeble glimpse into the haunted dark- hear in his strains, as it were, the awa ness of the human soul ? In his poe- ful music of a revelation. try, more than any other man's, there We have no hesitation in saying, that is felt a continual presence of himself Byron's creations are not so much po-there is everlasting self-representa- ems, as they are glorious manifestations tion or self-reference; and perhaps of a poet's mind, all irresistibly tendthat, which to cold and unimpassioned ing towards poetry. Having in himjudgment might seem the essential self deep sense of beauty_deepers pasfault of his poetry, constitutes its real sions than probably any other great excellence, and gives it power, sove- poet ever had and aspiring concepreign and despotical.
tions of power, the poetry in which Strictly speaking, and according to the he expresses himself must be full of rules by which great poems have been vivid portraiture of beauty, deep spirit builded, it cannot besaid that Byron has of passion, and daring suggestions of ever created a great Poem. He has
It is obvious that he has celebrated no mighty exploit, or event, never yet soared to his utmost pitch. or revolution in the destinies of man- He is the poet of the age from whom kind; nor brought before us one ma- most is to be expected. For there jestic portion of the history of our are things in his poetry-strong and species, in which, as in a course per- irregular bursts of power, beyond the fect and complete, the mind of man strength of the strongest. At times
he seems possessed and over-mastered * Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto the by an inspiration. A spirit is then in Fourth ; by Lord Byron, 8vo. pp. 258. him that works at will, and it is a London, Murray. 1818.
spirit that in its perfect grandeur
seems to have visited none other of scribe the sphere of its dominion thať the children of men.
its power may be more despotical ? The popular belief, that his heroes Or if it be not a free agent, is there are himself, is a true belief; and the not something degrading to the soul world has at last convinced the poet of man in the idea, that inward disof that which he had at first but in- ease or outward affliction can subjudistinctly understood, and imperfectly gate under its yoke him, who, neverbelieved. His heroes are himself theless, would seem to despise subjuthat is, either what he is, or has been, gation, and who vainly imagines that or what he would wish or fear to be. he can display the spirit of freedom in Whatever
may have been his intention, the majestic air with which he drags there is in his mind predominant his chains ? consciousness of himself, which deter- We must all feel that Byron, with all mines the character he draws. This his mighty faculties, is at times only appears most in the first two Cantos of shielded from contempt, by the convicChilde Harold, where his mind seems tion that many of his miseries are selfso enslaved to itself, that it can- inflicted. They are often imaginary; not escape even from a direct jour- and therefore is it that our imagination nal of his own travels. But much redeems him who awakens it. He more than his characters are drawn exasperates his soul into agony. He from himself. Almost every feeling, sinks it down into despair. But gepassion, thought, or image, or repre- nius breathes forth the profoundest sented object in his poetry, has magni- sighs that disturb us, and often converts tude and interest assigned to it, not in them, in an instant, into an exulting proportion to its plan in the poem, but hymn. And often the long majestic to its direct interest to his own mind, - sweep of sorrow, that winds up a suband not to his imagination, but to his duing stanza, is suddenly succeeded passions, and his life of passion. He by airy music, as if in derision of the thus seems seldom to go back to the melancholy close ; and Byron's soul early periods even of his own mind, bounds exultingly forward, escaping and then but by fits and starts—but to from the dim cell into which it had be continually living in the last, al- retired in voluntary imprisonment. most the present years of his life. Many awful lessons may certainly His is indeed a mind under the do- be learned from the poetry of Lord minion of its passions, and which can- Byron. Yet, undoubtedly, there are not escape from them even in imagina- many things there barren and unation. This may, indeed must, make a vailing. The good, the happy, and sameness in his writings. But in pro- the innocent, can draw no instruction portion to their sameness is their varie- from what they cannot imagine even riety. It is almost incredible, that a man in dreams; while the erring or pas
; producing continually the same passions sion-stricken spirit contemplates, too and the same feelings, should produce often, the ruins as it were of its own them, as he has done, in such continual nature, without hope of the temple change of shape, that we never complain being rebuilt, or if so, ever again being of repetition. This can only be owi to animated with the spirit that is fled. the unequalled intenseness of passion, Of the danger resulting from such which, like the power of life, is end- poetry to souls of fine aspirations, but lessly unfolding itself in new forms. unsteadfast wills,—to souls where pasIt can only be the simple, natural, hu- sion is the only or chief impulse, and man force of the vivid utterance of in- where there is a tendency to hold tense passion, that produces in minds cheap, and in derision, the dull duties of every description so strong a sym- of ordinary life, and at the same time pathy with Byron in all his different not strength sufficient to grasp and moods, and too often, in spite of re- master the objects of a more ambitious luctance and repugnance, of moral and existence,—to such souls (and they intellectual condemnation.
are numerous among the youth of BriBut does not the question naturally tain,) that poetry is most fatal which arise, Is this the best, the noblest flings aside the antiquated bonds conpoetry? Is it fitting, is it truly great, secrated by mere every-day associathat a highly-gifted spirit, potent by tions,—which renders reason itself nature, and enriched by the highest subservient to the senses (ennobled as studies, should voluntarily circum- they are by the imagination), and ad