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system, yet deeply impressed upon my mind, readily assorted by my power of connection and memory, and gilded, if I may be permitted to say so, by a vivid and active imagination.”

His perusal of histories, voyages, and travels, fairy tales, romances, and English poetry, was continued, with increasing avidity, during a long visit which, in his twelfth year, he paid to his father's sister, at the village of Kelso, where the young student read for the first time, with entranced enthusiasm, Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry. This work, besides the delight imparted by its poems, gave new dignity, in his eyes, to his favourite Scottish ballads, which he had already begun to collect from recitation, and to copy in little volumes, several of which are still preserved. “ To this period, also,” he tells us, “ I can trace distinctly the awaking of that delightful feeling for the beauties of natural objects, which has never since deserted me. The romantic feelings which I have described as predominating in my mind, naturally rested upon and associated themselves with the grand features of the landscape around me; and the historical incidents or traditional legends connected with many of them gave to my admiration a sort of intense impression of reverence, which at times made my heart feel too big for its bosom. From this time the love of natural beauty, more especially when combined with ancient ruins, or remains of our father's piety or splendour, became with me an insatiable passion, which, if circumstances had permitted, I would willingly have gratified by travelling over half the globe.”

In November, 1783, Scott became a student in the university of Edinburgh, where he seems to have attended the classes of Greek, Latin, and logic, during one session, with those of ethics and universal history at a later period, while preparing for the bar. ' At college, the scholastic part of his education proceeded even more unprosperously than it had previously done. For science, mental, physical, or mathematical, he displayed no inclination ; and in the acquisition of languages, for which he possessed considerable aptitude, he was but partially industrious or successful. Of Greek, as his son-in-law and biographer admits, he had in later life forgotten the very alphabet. He had, indeed, entered on the study with disadvantages similar to those which had formerly impeded his progress in Latin. Inferior to his competitors, he petulantly resolved to despise the study ; and by his carelessness, and by an essay maintaining Ariosto to be a better poet than Homer, he provoked Dr. Dalziel to pronounce of him “that dunce he was, and dunce he would remain.” His knowledge of Latin, also, does not appear to have been more than superficial, although we are informed that for some writers in that tongue, especially Lucan, Claudian, and Buchanan, he had in after life a decided predilection. About the time now under review, he also acquired French, Italian, and Spanish, all of which he afterwards read with sufficient ease; and the German language was learned a few years later, but never critically understood.

During a severe illness, between his twelfth and sixteenth year, his stores of romantic and poetical reading received a vast increase, and one of his schoolfellows has given an interesting account of excursions in the neighbourhood of the city, during this period, when the two youths read poems and romances of knight-errantry, and exercised their invention in composing and relating to each other interminable tales modelled on their favourite books. The vocation of the romancewriter and poet of chivalry was thus already fixed. His health likewise became permanently robust, and the lameness in one leg, which was the sole remnant of his early complaints, was through life no obstacle to his habits of active bodily exertion, or to his love for out-of-door sports and exercise.

The next step in his life did not seem directed towards the goal to which all his favourite studies pointed. His father, a formal, though high-spirited and high-principled man, designed him for the legal profession; and, although he was desirous that his son should embrace the highest department of it, considered it advisable, according to a practice not uncommon in Scotland, that he should be prepared for the bar by an education as an attorney. Accordingly, in May, 1786, Scott, then nearly fifteen years old, was articled for five years as an apprentice to his father, in whose chambers he continued to discharge the humble duties of a clerk, until, about the year 1790, he had, with his father's approbation, finally resolved on coming to the bar. Of the amount of the young poet's professional industry during those years of servitude, we possess conflicting representations; but many circumstances in his habits, many peculiarities in the knowledge he exhibits incidently in his works, and perhaps even much of his resolute literary industry, may be safely referred to the period of his apprenticeship, and be admitted as evidence that at all events he was not systematically negligent of his duties. Historical and imaginative reading, however, continued to be prosecuted with undiminished ardour; summer excursions into the Highlands introduced him to the scenes and to more than one of the characters, which afterwards figured in his most successful works ; while in the law-classes of the university, as well as in the juvenile debating societies he formed, or renewed from his school-days, acquaintance with several who became in manhood his cherished friends and his literary advisers. In 1791, the Speculative Society made him acquainted with Mr. Jeffrey and those other young men whose subsequent celebrity has reflected lustre on the arena of their early training.

Scott's attempts in poetry had now become more ambitious; for, about the completion of his fifteenth


he is said to have composed a poem in four books on the Conquest of Granada, which, however, he almost immediately burned, and no trace of it has been preserved. During some years after this time, we hear of no other literary compositions than essays for the debating societies.

In July, 1792, he was called to the bar. Immediately after his first circuit, he commenced that series of “ raids,” as he playfully called them, or excursions into the secluded border-districts, which, in a few years, enabled him to amass the materials for his first considerable work. His walks on the boards of the Parliament House, the Westminster Hall of Scotland, if they gained him for a time few professional fees, speedily procured him renown among his fellow-lawyers as a storyteller of high excellence; his father's connections and his own friendships opened for him a ready admission into the best society of the city, in which his cheerful temper and his rich store of anecdotes made him universally popular; and his German studies produced, in 1796, his earliest poetical efforts that were published, namely, the translations of Burger's ballads, Lenora, and the Wild Huntsman. The same year witnessed the disappointment of a long and fondly-cherished hope, by the marriage of a young lady, whose image, notwithstanding, clung to his memory through life,

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