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virtue, is true of him generally and lemnly protest is no invention of mine, absolutely. But genius comes and but a ghost-story of natural growth, goes.
possesses the mind and leaves which I heard in conversation. If it. Hence, the life of the man is by you can find room for it, it will prono means conformed to the highest bably afford more amusement than the law of genius. In his highest acts of Welsh superstitions you published power he is lifted out of passion, to some time ago, which were rather which he returns when the act is over. heavy. I am, yours, &c. A. B. Thus the love of fame may be a strong passion of his life, though it cannot About the fall of the leaf, in the enter into his acts of power. It will year 1737, Colonel D. went to visit his be a strong passion of his life, for the friend Mr N. at his country seat in same elements of his nature which the north of England. As this counconstitute (in part at least) the power try seat was the scene of a very singuof his genius, demand and produce, lar adventure, it may be proper to as we have seen, the love of fame. mention its antiquity and solemnity, They demand it not in the first place which were fitted to keep in counte-but afterwards-after the genius is nance the most sombre events. The formed, and the power exerted. The following circumstances well love of fame, therefore, is a passion of known in the family, and are said to secondary formation--it is the sequel have been related by one of its memto genius-and woe to him in whom bers to a lady much celebrated in the it precedes genius, or bears an undue literary world, but now deceased. proportion to its power. The pure Upon arriving at the house of his idea of good, like a good angel slight- friend, Colonel D. found there many ed, forsakes him. His sun, light, guests, who had already got possession guardian, guide, is gone. He is a of almost all the apartments.
The slave driven by blind and erring for. chillness of an October evening, and
His human hopes, passions, and the somewhat mournful aspect of nafears, come up into his acts of genius, ture, at that season, collected them, at bewildering and defeating them. He an early hour, round the blazing hearth, is subjected to the race whom he ought where they thought no better amusein his power to have uplifted. It is ment could be found than the ancient possible that, having begun life well and well approved one of story-telling; and purely, he may come to this, if for which all mankind seem to have a the sense of fame becoming an anxious, relish. I do not mean the practice of uneasy, fearful, painful passion, or if circulating abominable slanders against self-admiration, growing up, a monster, one's friends, but the harmless, drowsy, in his heart-oppress, disturb, and and good-natured recreation of retailoverpower genius, and bring up among ing wonderful narratives, in which, if its creations feelings that once had no any ill is spoken, it is generally against place there.
such as are well able to bear it, nameLet me conclude with a suggestion, ly, the enemy of mankind, and perthat in different ages, according to the sons who, having committed atrocious different manners and characters of crimes, are supposed, after death, to society, there will be a tendency to haunt the same spots to which their produce a difference upon genius-one deeds have attached dismal recollecage, namely, the simple and powerful tions. favouring the sublime character of the While these tales went round, the love of fame, and another, namely, the evening darkened apace, and the winmore artificial and complex irritating dows ceased any longer to contrast the it into uneasy, anxious, bitter, perni- small glimmerings of external twilight cious action.
N. with the bright blaze of the hearth.
The rustling of withered leaves, casual
ly stirred by the wind, is always a meSTORY OF AN APPARITION. lancholy sound, and, on this occasion,
lent its aid to the superstitious imMR ÉDITOR,
pressions which were gaining force by OBSERVING that you have frequently each successive recital of prodigies: introduced into your Miscellany popular One member of the family began to fables collected from various quarters, relate a certain tradition, but he was I send you the following, which I soa suddenly stopped by their host, who exhibited signs of displeasure, and the fire still flickering upon the broad whispered something to him, at the hearth, and gleaming now and then same time turning his eyes upon upon the door as it stood half open. Colonel D. The story was according- After the Colonel had lain for a ly broken off, and the company went long while, ruminating half asleep,
to supper with their hair standing on and when the ashes were now near· end; but so transitory are human im- ly extinguished, he saw the figure
pressions, that in a few minutes they of a woman glide in. No noise had all recovered their gayety, except accompanied her steps.
She advanthe Colonel, who was unable to com- ced to the fire-place, and stood beprehend why any tradition should be tween him and the light, with her concealed from him in particular. back towards him, so that he could
When they separated to go to sleep, not see her features. Upon observing he was led by Mr N. (as the reader her dress, he found that it exactly corwill probably anticipate), to a cham- responded in appearance with the anber at a great distance from the other cient silk robes represented in the picbed-rooms, and which bore evident tures of English ladies of rank, paintmarks of having been newly opened ed three centuries ago. This circumup, after remaining long unoccupied. stance filled him with a degree of terIn order to dissipate the confined airror which he had never experienced of the place, a large wooden fire had before. The stately garniture of times been lighted, and the gloomy bed-cur- long past had a frightful meaning, tains were tucked stiffy up in festoons. when appearing, as it now did, not I have not heard whether there was
upon a canvass, but upon a moving tapestry in the room or not; but one shape, at midnight. Still endeavourthing is certain, that the room looked ing to shake off those impressions as dreary as any tapestry could have which benumbed him, he raised himmade it, even if it had been worked self upon his arm, and faintly asked on purpose by Mrs Ann Radcliffe her- - who was there?” The phantom self. Romance writers generally deco- turned round-approached the bed rate their imaginary walls with all the and fixed her eyes upon him ; so that wisdom of Solomon; but, as I am he now beheld a countenance where unable to vouch for the truth of every some of the worst passions of the livparticular mentioned in this story, I ing were blended with the cadaverous mean to relate the circumstances faith- appearance of the dead. In the midst fully as they were told me, without of traits which indicated noble birth calling in so wise a man to lend his and station, was seen a look of cruelty countenance to them.
and perfidy, accompanied with a cerMr N. made apologies to Colonel D. tain smile which betrayed even baser for putting him into an apartment feelings. The approach of such a face which was somewhat uncomfortable, near his own, was more than Colonel and which was now opened only be- D- could support; and when he cause all the rest were already filled. rose next morning from a feverish and With these excuses, and other suitable troubled sleep, he could not recollect compliments, he bade his guest good how or when the accursed spectre had night, and went away with a good departed. When summoned to breakdeal of seriousness in his countenance, fast, he was asked how he had spent leaving the door a-jar behind him. the night, and he endeavoured to con
Colonel D- observing that the ceal his agitation by a general answer, apartment was large and cold, and but took the first opportunity to inthat but a small part of the floor was form his friend Mr N-, that, have covered with carpet, endeavoured to ing recollected a certain piece of busshut the door, but found he could on- iness which waited him at London, ly close it half way: Some obstacle he found it impossible to protract his in the hinges, or the weight of the visit a single night. Mr N- seemdoor pressing upon the floor, opposed ed surprised, and anxiously sought to his efforts. Nevertheless, being seized discover whether any thing, occurred with some absurd fancies, he took the to render him displeased with his recandle, and looked out. When he saw, ception; but finding that his guest nothing, except the long passage and was impenetrable, and that his remonthe vacant apartments beyond, he strances against his departure were in went to bed, leaving the remains of vain, he insisted upon shewing Colonel
D- the beauties of his country re- by our human sympathy, it is far more sidence, after which he would reluc- important towards constituting that tantly bid him farewell. In walking peculiar power which a people hold round the mansion, Colonel D- over our imagination, or over our mind was shewn the outside of the tower altogether. Every one who has appliwhere he had slept, and vowed, men- ed himself with interest to the theory tally, never to enter it again. He was of a nation's literature, will, on looknext led to a gallery of pictures, where ing back to the impressions with which Mr N- took much delight in dis- he engaged in it, and to the feelings playing a complete series of family by which he was led on, recognise in portraits, reaching back to a very re- himself the effect of such a persuasion. mote era. Among the oldest, there He will most probably remember, that was one of a lady. Colonel D- in the works he then read, there seemhad no sooner got a glimpse of it, than ed opening up to him, not the mind he cried out, “5 May I never leave this of a new author, but the mind of anspot, if that is not she.” Mr N
other nation; that he seemed to make asked whom he meant ? “ The de- himself acquainted with a people of testable phantom that stared me out whom he had heard, but whom he had of my senses last night;" and he re- not known; that his pleasure was more lated every particular that had occur- than belonged to the beauty,red.
could discern it,-of the works; that Mr N-, overwhelmed with as- their interest and importance were far tonishment, confessed that, to the beyond what their intrinsic character room where his guest had slept, there and kind would justify. He will rewas attached a certain tradition, point- collect, that besides the thoughts which ing it out as having been, at a remote were unfolded to his intelligence
and period, the scene of murder and in- the appeal of feeling and passion to his cest. It had long obtained the repute sensibilitiesbesides the hold on his of being haunted by the spirit of the imagination which belonged to the lady, whose picture was before him ; events which he had read, and to the but there were some circumstances in genius under which perhaps he was her history so atrocious, that her name held captive-that beyond and above was seldom mentioned in his family, all these, there was a charm thrown and his ancestors had always endea- over him-a new and strange feeling of voured as much as possible to draw a visiting an unknown land, and of veil over her memory.
standing for the first time among an unknown people. What he then felt resembled that wild and delightful impression with which a traveller finds himself on a foreign shore, where all that he sees is alike strange-with one
entire power subverts his previous asIt would appear, that the pleasure sociations, and violently, as it were, we receive from making ourselves ac- throws open his mind to a sense of new quainted with the literature of a people, existence, and to the apprehension of a and more especially with their literature new world. In such a situation, there of imagination, is intimately connect- is something that so calls the imaginaed with an impression, that in their tive faculty out of the mind into the literature we see the picture of their midst of open realities, that even the minds. Every people has, to our con- ordinary life of men seems a scene of ception, its own individual character; enchantment,—and thought, feeling, and in virtue of that character, is the purpose, and desire, are all suspended interest inspired by their fortunes. in mere wondering sight. Something, Even that strong sympathy which faint indeed in comparison, yet assurwaits upon the events of life, is not edly of the same kind, accompanies the sufficient in itself entirely to attract mind on its intellectual voyage, visitus; and our interest in their history is ing and exploring a new people. imperfect, except when the distinct in- It is not the dignity-the beautydividual conception of their character the importance of what it sees, that as a people accompanies the relation. alone demands the interest and admiWhatever the nature of that interest ration of the delighted mind. That may be which is thus demanded even which is unimportant and common,
OF A NATIONAL CHARACTER IN
invested with an indescribable charm, the mind -inapplicable perhaps to while that which is inherently great intellect, and scarcely to be retraced, and beautiful, appears in a still more even by imagination returning upon gorgeous light flung over it by our itself-yet, these most faint, light, deown imagination. It is the sense of licate arts of mind answering to mind, treading in another region-of behold- are all deeply impregnated with this ing and knowing another mighty race great feeling of communion with anoof mankind-that possesses the spirit, ther race. Let the thoughtful and and throws into all their life, and over feeling scholar tell—for he only knows all its appearances, the same power with how curiously minute these impreswhich nature has endowed the people, sions are in their blending with lana and the land which she has given to guage. He knows, indeed, beyond be their seat. That spell which holds what he can tell, how language has the traveller-by which he walks in discovered to his thought its wonderhigh imagination through the paths of ful being ; how intimately he has becommon life, is granted to the still and held its minute intricate structure,solitary student when his mind goes how, to intuitive and unconscious anaforth on its adventurous speculation, lysis, to apprehension that seemed alranging the records of men. To him most fanciful in its exceeding subtlety, new scenes are disclosed- -a new people the properties, relations, and powers of arise. He owns the power of their language, its intense, complex, infinitespirit--the very voice of their speech ly divided, and yet comprehensive sige is in his ears—and his imagination fills nificance of mind have been disclosed. itself from their life, from the emotions He knows this far beyond what he can of their bosoms, from their whole tell : he knows it in degrees, which, if world of existence. These feelings, in he were to attempt to speak of them, more or less force, according to the would appear quite illusory and fancharacter of the mind, attend upon the tastical. He knows, too, that with communication and intercourse which, this extreme metaphysical division of through their language, is opened up the acts of mind in language, there to us with another people. They are exists the feeling, strong and entire, an essential part of the interest with that this language is the language of which we pursue such studies, though the mind of another people. frequently they are not so fully unfold- If it be true, that even in these ed or developed, and almost rest in the extreme abstractions of intellectual mere strong general impression of com- thought, there is no separation effecmunication held with another people. ted of this peculiar feeling from the
In whatever way, however, such im- perception of language, far less can it pression is made, it is very powerful. be separated from those stronger, fullIt is one independent altogether of er, more embodied acts of the mind, literature, and belongs to the feelings into which imagination enters in its with which, as men, we look upon own dimensions, into which sentiment
In literature, it assumes a mo- and passion infuse their living blood, dification especial to the faculties that -those acts of the aroused, kindling, are there in play. It enters with deep agitated intellect, those workings of power into the imagination, and blends the moved soul which attend upon the itself in subtle combination with the creations of the highest arts, and upon subtlest workings of intelligence. The all the imaginative literature of a language itself-the instrument the people, upon their eloquence, and their express work and the mirror of the poetry. mind, invests itself, especially to the The strong interest of this feeling intellectual thought, with this charac- of knowing and discerning the mind ter, and takes the interest of these of another people, arises not merely feelings. It is so directly the voice of out of a precedent knowledge of the the mind-it so shapes its subtle be- greatness of that people it is not the ing, and receives its colours from the offspring of former associations—but very breath that gives it forth, that it it springs up at the moment, instinct cannot but speak to the mind of the with life of its own, from present dismind from which it springs. Fine, cernment of their character. The shadowy, and evanescent, as the mo- mind is not merely satisfying itself in tions of apprehension are which ac- acquiring new evidence of what it becompany the flow of language through lieved before: it is making discovery
THE LETTER FROM MR J. R. TO SIR
of what it did not know-it is creating as in that which, from the dawning of its knowledge by its own momentary life, has been blended with all the acts-it apprehends, discerns, reads thoughts and feelings of our own. the mind which it had never appre- If there be this power in native lanhended, contemplated, studied before. guage and native literature, two quesWhat is this feeling—this interest ? tions seem to arise, which we may
afWhat is the strong power by which, terwards discuss at some length, as human beings, we are held in the first, What is it that gives such force contemplation of individual character ? to the principle in our nature now alWhy are those qualities of the mind, luded to, our delight in our indivi. which are sibly its own,-those vir- dual character ? And, secondly, How tues, powers, which seem to have their are we to estimate the benefit to the birth within itself, and to be the live literature of a people from the influx ing inherent tendencies of its own na- upon them of the literature of another, ture,-why are these so peculiarly even though that other have far surpassbeautiful? What is that charm of a ed them in all intellectual cultivation? native grace that is felt in them all? Why, in short, is every manifestation of the unforced, uncontrolled self-developement of the soul so strangely in- REMARKS, BY THE EDITOR OF THE teresting? We all know, at least, that HISTORY OF RENFREWSHIRE, ON it is so. And we see, therefore, a principle in our nature sufficiently o
OF ALLANTON, perative and powerful to explain (if the fact be so) the strong interest that is felt in discerning and considering MR EDITOR, the native character of a people in their By a letter in your Magazine for July native literature.
last, addressed to Sir Henry Steuart, If what has now been advanced be Bart. and subscribed J. R., I find that true, in any thing like the extent to that gentleman is much “ surprised” which we believe it to be true, we that I should presume to publish have a reason why no access can ever (without first asking his permission, I be obtained to the wealth of a people's suppose), in my account of the house literature in any language but their of Steuart, a genealogical deduction of own. All argument for or against the the Steuarts of Allanton, Coltness, cultivation of classical literature is vain Goodtrees, Allanbank, and others, à and idle. If it be of importance that subject, it seems, which he has thought we should know who and what the fit to interdict to all writers except Greeks and Romans were, and what himself. This no doubt is abundantly they did, it is of importance that we dictatorial. But I, on the other hand, know their language. Without that am surprised that he should not have knowledge, all else that is worth being written directly to myself, who am known is to us dark as night.
alone responsible for my publication, A reason also springs out of this instead of addressing a gentleman who speculation, much more essential than has nothing to do with it, although he the mere difficulties of language, why undoubtedly assisted, along with others, the early study of language is often so in furnishing me with the materials repulsive to minds of imagination and from which the article is drawn up. sensibility? It is because they have Moreover, I am surprised, that, when not yet enough of acquired intelli- Mr J. R. did write, he did not do it gence to discern in that language its with greater accuracy, considering the characters of life. They afterwards lofty pretensions which he makes to come to possess that intelligence, and that necessary qualification in a genethen the study of language changes to alogist. them its nature.
On inquiring of the Honourable BaWe also perceive a reason much ronet, to whom the letter is addressed, deeper than lies in our clearer intelli- whether he meant to reply to it, he gence merely, why no language can said, “ Certainly not--that about ever exert over us the power of our twenty years ago he had a genealogical own. In none can there be to us such dispute with a gentleman now deceasdeep consciousness and such subtle ap- ed-that he had then resolved never prehension of the acts of another mind, to have another, and having ever since