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were Samuel Johnson living he would almost forgive the anti-monarchical and democratic notions of Laing for the sake of his opposition to Macpherson. The
critique on Ossian* is unanswerable, and
We think that we have now extracted from this volume the parts of the
Pleasures of Memory! oh! supremely blest,
By me how envied! for to me
VARIATIONS.-V. 3. If the pure regent. v. 4. Confirm the flattering title of thy lays.-v. 5. Pleasures of Memory! why to me. -v. 7. She makes her full existence known.-v. 11. Me she reminds of blessings idly lost. v. 14. Yet bids me, loathing light, delay to die.-v. 15. For what, except an inborn fear.- -v. 16. Lest she in worlds unknown.-V. 20. And realize the hell that priests and poets feign.
* See a good review of the Ossianic controversy in Monthly Rev. Dec. 1810, p. 337-360. See also Encyclop. Britan. Suppl. vol. i. p. 111; and Lockhart's Life of Scott, vol. ii. p. 57.
DIARY OF A LOVER OF LITERATURE.
(Continued from Vol. XI. p. 579.)
1806. April 22. IS it possible to believe, that King William stipu lated, by a private article at the peace of Ryswick, that James's eldest son should succeed him on the throne ? See Life of James the Second, edited by S. Clarke. Dalrymple confirms the fact; with the important addition, however, that he should be educated in England, and be a Protestant. It is deplorable to see James's misfortunes preying on his morbid superstition, till he renders thanks to God for banishing him his Kingdom; prays for the Prince of Orange as the instrument of this blessing; and even glories that his reputation was the last sacrifice suffered in the cause of religion. But for his bigotry, there appears to have been an honorable feeling about him, which might have rendered him a good monarch even for this Country.
April 24. Read James's Advice to his Son; exemplifying his lofty notions of the royal prerogative. He abhors the Habeas Corpus Act, applauds the plan of the Lords of Articles in Scotland, as it prevents a Parliament doing great harm; recommends that some ingenious young lawyers should be pensioned for the purpose of studying the prerogative, that they may be qualified for the offices of Attorney and Solicitor General; who are to have good salaries, and plead only for the King. He advises that the Lord Chancellor should be no lawyer, but a nobleman, or a bishop! I am afraid, after all, that he was radically and incurably bad.
April 29. Daniell, in his Voyage round Great Britain, observes that the northern coast of Cornwall exhibits the consummation of savage grandeur; that of north Devon, he states to be loftier and more picturesque, but far less terrific; the opposite coast of Wales he truly observes is comparatively feeble; it is only in the interior that the country swells into mountains, producing little effect from the shore. The fertility and felicity of Daniell's wit, or rather his coadjutor Mr. Ayton, which teased me at first as unseasonable, at length ludit circum præcordia: it is really excellent. Ayton's description of the first impression of mountain scenery on the Merionethshire coast, like another world in the Heavens, is just and fine.
May 10. Looked over a good deal of George Tooke's (of Popes) poetry and prose; both equally preposterous and ludicrous, beyond any thing I ever met; with a mere tissue of quaint conceits and pedantic allusions, involved in bombastic rhodomontade, without coherence or drift; and yet his countenance indicates the very opposite quality of calm good sense. He must certainly have been mad. Such monstrosity of conception and delivery is otherwise unaccountable.*
June 11. Drove by a winding sequestered road to Kimbolton. Grand effect of the Duke of Manchester's mansion,-square and castellated,—
* Mr. Green alludes to the Poems of George Tooke: a volume of extremely rare occurrence, which sold in Mr. Malone's sale for sixteen pounds. The original portrait of G. Tooke, by Marmion, was in Mr. Green's possession. The copy of Tooke's Poems which Mr. Green had, was borrowed for him, by the Editor of this Magazine, from the late Mr. Bindley. As these Poems are very scarce, probably printed only for private distribution, we shall give a specimen in our Retrospective Review of this month. Gilpin mentions that G. Marmion etched a few heads after the manner of Vandyck, but only put his name to one of them: if so, this must be to the head of G. Tooke only.-Ed.
entering the town; it is of light stone, built round a quadrangle, with towered corners, and grand portico. Spacious saloon, and suite of lofty apartments, indicating neglect and decay; paintings in all, principally portraits, some respectable. Sweet half-length of Charles the First by Vandyck; and a family piece of his children, with a dog, clear and brilliant, and fresh; beside a whole-length figure by Sir Joshua Reynolds, broken to pieces by partially flying. The Grand Duke of Alva with his secretary Machiavel, by Titian, but not corresponding to his general excellence. Prometheus torn by a Vulture, very fine, something between Jordaens and Rubens but without quite the force of the former, or the splendour of the latter. Two singular pieces of the Marriage at Cana, and its companion, with a multitude of figures, and light silvery background, dated, I think, 1571, failing from a deficiency of chiaro-oscuro; a very large Canaletti, damaged and flat, and feeble in its effect; a Doge of Venice, in gorgeous costume; Henry the Eighth; Edward the Sixth by Holbein, very highly finished; and a head of Cromwell, Earl of Essex, clear, fresh and smooth, and true to nature, without borrowing from art. Many of Sir Peter Lely's portraits, in a falsetto style; fine portrait of a dark man (unknown) in black, with piercing eyes; a landscape by Mola, with figures in the style of Poussin, but dim and heavy, and without any of the dewy freshness ascribed to him. The chapel handsome, the altar-piece painted by Peters. The staircase gorgeously decorated by Pellegrine, rich woods on the acclivities round the house, producing, however, but a heavy effect.
June 12. Viewed Warwick Castle. Exquisite approach from the outer to the inner portal, hewn through the rock, and overshadowed with trees; viewed the paintings with fresh interest,-a profusion of Vandycks, true to nature, but with a pictorial effect, the finest of the painter, most animated and striking. Exquisite portrait of a Queen of Naples by Raffaele, combining, in a wonderful degree, sweetness, grace, and dignity. In the gorgeous figure of Ignatius Loyola by Rubens, in the form of Moses holding the tablets, the drapery, by its splendour, overpowering the head, though surrounded with a glory. Another, opposite, of the Earl of Arundel, by the same, rich and spirited, but yielding, I think, to the unaffected truth and character of Machiavel by Titian. The two monks' heads in the bowered dressing-room, a study by Rubens, surpassingly fine, and characteristic of his style, trusting more to the splendour of his lights than the depth of his shadows. Two Poussins, heavy and dingy, and surely with little truth of nature. Charles the First on horseback,* copied, I think, by Sir G. Kneller, from Vandyck; the King's head much too set, but the horse admirably foreshortened, and the attendant excellent. A clear and sweet Teniers in the bowered dressing-room. The views from the windows exquisitely beautiful; the interior of the Castle strikingly grand and picturesque. Returned to the inn, and saw Dr. Parr dismount from his charger, pale and infirm, with grey bushy eyebrows and prelatical air.
Aug. 11. Mr. Aikin came in after dinner. Bonnycastle told him that he and Crabbe came up to London as adventurers; that Burke accidentally fell in with the latter, when working for the booksellers, and delighted with what he had done, and charmed with his conversation, dissuaded him from medicine, advised him to enter the Church, and procured him a living from
* The original picture is at Windsor. Another at Hampton-Court, supposed to be a copy, but finely painted.-Ed.
the Rutland family. Burke's eager patronage of merit, of all kinds, whenever he detected it, was a noble quality in him.* Resumed the pianoforte as a dulce levamen to melancholy.
Sept. 6. Read Scott's Antiquary. The whimsical character of the Antiquary is exquisitely and admirably wrought out, and finely opposed to that of Sir Arthur Wardour: but Lovell's passion for Miss Wardour is abruptly introduced, and awkwardly conducted. The descriptive survey in the seventh chapter, is transcendently fine. The narrative loiters and languishes greatly at the outset, and is only redeemed in interest by the duel. The scene at St. Ruth's Abbey is confused and extravagant, and the description of Glenallan House and its lands is overcharged. The author will act warily if he adheres to his promise of writing no more novels. He is evidently at the end of his tether!!
Sept. 13. Mr. Rench, of Parson's Green, who died in 1783, aged 100, who had 35 children, by two wives, was the first person who introduced the moss-rose into England, supposed from Holland.
Sept. 29. Read Galt's Life and Studies of Benjamin West the painter, drawn, apparently, from his own memoranda. They are tinctured, probably on this account, with a singular species of enthusiasm; and past events are manifestly magnified in retrospect beyond their due importance; but the whole is interesting, as developing the incitements and progress of a self-instructed mind; the effects upon such a mind of being suddenly transported from the rude beginnings of the New World in Pennsylvania to the decaying glories in Italy of the old, are above measure captivating. The Apollo Belvidere, when suddenly unfolded to his view, appeared a breathing Mohawk; but the refinements of Raffaele were at first ineffective; as natural scenery, it is observed, however magnificent, does not seem in itself calculated to excite poetical enthusiasm; it must be connected, for this purpose, with fit associations in the mind of the observer. Poetry is defined, the art of connecting ideas of sensible objects with moral sentiments. Mercantile men, it is observed, are habituated, by the nature of their transactions, to overlook the intrinsic qualities of the very commodities in which they deal. Of Plutarch, he affirms, that, like the sculptors of old, he selected only the great and elegant traits of cha
Oct. 8. The Ebony Cabinet, painted by Polemberg and B. van Russan, from the Arundel Collection, was purchased by Lord Oxford, for £310. The Wilton collection, it is now ascertained, contains few antique or genuine busts. The Faun at Holkham is decidedly esteemed to be the finest male statue in England. The Diana in the same collection cost 15007. The reason assigned by the Empress Catharine for declining to purchase an exquisite bust of M. J. Brutus is excellent,-" That it was a piece unsuitable to the genius of her Empire." What a compliment to the shade of the patriot: yet there was some degree of magnanimity in giving her true reasons. A first-rate statue seems worth from £1500 to £2000. See Dallaway on Sculpture.
*The above account agrees in its outline with the interesting and authentic narrative of the poet's Life, written by his son.-Edit.
+ This was written before the Elgin Marbles were introduced into this country. Some of the Marquess of Lansdowne's statues are of high excellence. On the Holk. ham statues, consult Dr. Waagen's Arts in England.-Edit.
GENT. MAG. VOL. XII.
Oct. 23. Began the Culloden Papers. The Editor observes in the Introduction that those who possess real genius always feel, at the age of puberty, poetical associations; a kind of soaring of the soul, as if emulous to keep pace with the grosser passions :- -a new and just remark! He who passes over as nothing the injustice of others, he likewise remarks, will not be scrupulously rigid in regulating himself. Duncan Forbes' letter to the Duke of Argyle, dated Inverness, Sept. 21, 1723, is uncommonly manly, feeling, and spirited. "The study of my life," he finely observes," since ever I had the honour to be known to your Grace, was to merit your good will by honest actions: I was fond enough to believe that I had gained some share of it: and I do assure your Grace, that nothing in nature can affect me more than the loss of it, excepting only the deserving to lose it." Lord Lovat's letters display a most remarkable mixture of suppleness, shrewdness, and profligacy, conveyed in the gambols of a mischievous, baboonish playfulness.
Oct. 24. Pursued the Culloden Papers. Lord Lovat's letters very amusing. The fawning fondness with which he addresses those whom he intends to win; the savage ferocity which occasionally breaks out against his enemies and the enemies of his clan; and the air of French vivacity, and seeming frankness, in which the whole is couched, are highly curious; he must have been, altogether, an extraordinary character. Deep drinking seems to have been the great vice of the times. Duncan Forbes breaks out occasionally and accidentally as the jolly bottle-companion, and one is surprised to hear the Lord Advocate and President talk to General Wade of being damnably tired of the Highlands. The candour and gentleness, in resentment, which he evinces to a Mr. Sleigh in the 172d Letter, do infinite credit to his judgment and his heart. It appears that the KELT was not introduced into the Highlands till 1720, and then, by an Englishman.
Oct. 29. It appears from various letters that Duncan Forbes, with all his means of information, was utterly deceived, nearly up to the time of invasion in 1745, with respect to the Jacobinical spirit prevalent in the Highlands: and that, for a considerable time after it, he was seriously the dupe of Lord Lovat's artifices. The confusion on this invasion was manifestly extreme; and had the Pretender been powerfully assisted from France, there is every probability that he would have succeeded.
Dec. 18. Called and chatted with C. D. He mentioned the brilliant but eccentric letters of Gainsborough to Mr. Kilderbee: too licentious to be published.
Dec. 22. Mr. T. A. called by appointment after breakfast. Had, as usual, much chat and discussion,-moral, legal, political, and metaphysical. Horner, the author of the series of politico-economical Essays in the Ed. Review, now dying: the greatest personal loss, he thought, which the country could at this moment sustain. Brougham, more vigorous in eloquence Romilly he regarded as a giant in intellect; in the midst of his pressing, professional avocations, maintains a philosophical correspondence throughout Europe. More than ever abhorrent of the democratical reformers. Admired the moral sublime of Lord Byron's poetry, but confessed little relish for physical grandeur. Regarded Shakspere as the divinity of man; just uttering, by his wonderful powers of versatile transmutation, what the occasion naturally suggests to the character exhibited, and nothing more. A glorious example, he observed, of the possibility of the highest excellence in composition, without the aid of learning. The utter unconsciousness, apparently,