LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Literary Reminiscences and Memoirs of Thomas Campbell
Chapter 5

Vol. I. Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
‣ Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Vol. II. Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
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Specimens of the British Poets undertaken.—The Essay on Poetry.—Censure of Bowles.—Discussions it provoked.—Parties involved in the contest.—Analysis of the “Invariable Principles.”—Joke on the term by the Poet.—He revisits Germany and the Schlegels.—Engages to become Editor of the New Monthly Magazine.—History of that publication.—Campbell’s Editorship.—Takes London lodgings.—Commencement of his Editorial duties.—His first contributions.

THE next literary undertaking of Campbell was the “Specimens of the British Poets,” published in 1819, in seven volumes. Under this engagement Mr. Murray the publisher engaged to pay him five hundred pounds, which sum he doubled upon the completion of the undertaking, under one of those generous impulses to which he was no stranger. This, it must be acknowledged, was honourable conduct in one of Mr. Murray’s profession, and forms an appro-
priate sequel to that of Messrs.
Mundell already recorded.

The “Essay on English Poetry,” which constitutes part of the foregoing work, might be denominated the poet’s master-piece in prose composition, did it not here and there exhibit in the style touches of affectation. Yet it is difficult to say which should have the preference, the opening lectures on poetry, or this essay, for both combine the excellences and peculiarities of the poet’s prose style. The lectures are, perhaps, the best example, referring particularly to the first and second. They are more profound, and are remarkable for their engaging simplicity. Much learned research is exhibited in both, but the lectures are the more elaborate, while the essay is fresher, and displays more of the graces of fancy. There is a genial feeling about the essay, a spirit of kindness and cordiality, wholly untinctured with that enviousness of which the poet has been in a solitary instance so groundlessly accused by Lord Brougham. He was blamed for confining his selections to productions which had been passed over by others, but he did this because he thought the best things had been too frequently taken, and were in consequence become familiar and hacknied. His judgments are given, as has been already noticed, even when he censures,
without asperity, and with impartiality, his remarks on
Churchill, perhaps, excepted, whose merits he has not fully acknowledged.

Campbell began his essay with the Saxon origin of the English language and its displacement, except in the elements, by the introduction of the Norman, through which the germs of romantic poetry were first introduced into the island, and to which the English language was indebted for its copiousness of terms and compass of expression. In this beautiful essay, in citing one of our older pieces of poetry, he misquotes “Blow, blow, thou northern wind,” in place of “Blow, blow, thou winter’s wind.” Errors of the commonest kind were numerous throughout the seven volumes, some relating to biographical incidents, others to dates, and books, which the author overlooked, not, indeed, other than any pen might correct by reference to the book-shelf, and wholly unconnected with criticism or taste, but such as ought not to have been suffered to pass uncorrected. On the appearance of the second edition, so great was Campbell’s horror of revision that he declined the task—a task very slight, and absolutely necessary. It was placed in the hands of another, for the purpose of revision and superintending the printing, which being done with attention, the poet thanked the
corrector for the mode in which he had performed his task. Here was another characteristic example of Campbell’s dislike of labour, almost insurmountable, even during his better days, as indeed may be inferred from its overcoming the affection every author is supposed to feel for the completeness of his own performances. “Read Campbell’s
Poets,” said Byron in his journal; “marked the errors of Tom for correction.” Again, “Came home—read. Corrected Tom Campbell’s slips of the pen.” Farther, “His defence of Pope is glorious; to be sure it is his own cause too—but no matter, it is very good, and does him much credit.”

In that part of this essay in which its author speaks of the non-establishment of the literary character of England before the close of the sixteenth century, the poet is particularly striking and elegant. His critical remarks on Spenser are sound, and in good taste, while those on Shakspeare are worthy of his reputation. Alluding to Shakspeare, he notices the opinions of Augustus William Schlegel, whose knowledge of the great dramatic poet was so profound. The whole of the Elizabethan age, in its poetical character, is finely discriminated. The third part of the essay begins with the reign of James I., and the influence of that reign upon poetry.
The classical and metaphysical poets are examined after the fine old dramatists, of whom
Campbell felt the full merit. He ascribes their extinction to the civil wars. On Milton he expatiates with a full sense of the loftiness of his theme; perhaps it is the happiest part of his essay, lucid, discriminating, redolent with the feeling of his majestic subject. He censures Dryden’s Virgil, and alludes to the fact of the oet having produced so many fine things in his old age, “renewed in his youth like the eagle.” He then proceeds to Pope, and in touching upon his different editors, says, “The last of these is the Rev. Mr. Bowles, in speaking of whom I beg leave most distinctly to disclaim the slightest intention of undervaluing his merit as a poet, however freely and fully I may dissent from his critical estimate of the genius of Pope. Mr. Bowles, in forming this estimate, lays great stress upon the argument that Pope’s images are drawn more from art than nature.”

From this passage arose the celebrated discussion. Campbell seemed here inclined to wander from his immediate subject into an elaborate defence of Pope, disputing the justice of Bowles’s argument at considerable length, in proportion to the entire essay, in the same way as he wandered in his lecture on poetry into an arraignment of
Mitford’s opinions regarding Sparta. With this justification of Pope he concluded. It would seem as if between Pope and the actual termination of the eighteenth century there had been few other poets worthy of introduction into his dissertation. As he approached the end of his task, and deviated into a justification of Pope against a living writer, it is possible he finished with a sort of abruptness, because he thought in discussions that might possibly arise out of his previous remarks, he should have enough on his hands, without provoking more. Perhaps, as was his way, he felt tired of his labour, and was glad to terminate it, though he had no valid reason for not rendering his work more complete, by noticing the variations in style between Pope and the different poets to the end of the eighteenth century.

The specimens begin with Chaucer, and terminate with Anstey, who died in 1805, a period intervening of four hundred and five years. In the specimens, which included each a too brief memoir of a single poet, Campbell made some further observations upon Bowles for his severity upon the moral character of the bard of Twickenham.

The same year (1819) was, in consequence, signalised by the publication of a letter from the
Rev. Lisle Bowles to Campbell, in justification o his opinions on what were called his “invariable principles of poetry,” arising out of some remarks in defence of Pope in his “Essay,” already noticed. Byron, Campbell, Roscoe, Gilchrist, and the Quarterly Review, were all mixed up in the question, and even Moore. The last remarks, in his “Life of Byron” “It may be sufficient to say of the use to which both Lord Byron and Mr. Bowles thought it worth while to apply my name in this controversy, that as far as my own knowledge of the subject extended, I was disposed to agree with neither of the extreme opinions into which, as it appeared to me, my distinguished friends had diverged, &c.”

Everybody must remember Lord Byron’s lines on Bowles and Campbell, to the tune of “How now, Madame Flirt!”—
Bowles.—Why how now, saucy Tom,
If thus you must ramble,
I will publish some
“Remarks on Mr. Campbell.”
Campbell.—Why how now, Billy Bowles,
&c. &c. &c.

The discussion was kept open from 1819 to 1822, in consequence of Roscoe having agreed to be editor of the new edition of the works of
Pope. This duty had been undertaken for the booksellers by Bowles on a previous occasion, in which he had spoken of Pope in so slighting a manner, and had thus provoked the remarks of Campbell.

This was a singular dispute;* Campbell may be said to have began the contest by his dissent from Bowles’s theory of criticism. Bowles addressed him a letter in consequence, but Campbell was too idle to go further into the contest. He got rid of it by a note which he attached to his third lecture, a perfect exemplification of his mode of shifting off a task. He says, referring to Bowles’s “invariable principles”—“When the book”

* A character of this controversy was given in a northern periodical thus:—

Mr. Bowles wrote a book upon Pope.

Mr. Campbell abused Mr. Bowles’s book on Pope.

“Mr. Bowles wrote an answer to Mr. Campbell’s abuse of Mr. Bowles’s book on Pope.

Lord Byron wrote a letter to certain stars in Albemarle-street, in answer to Mr. Bowles’s answer to Mr. Campbell’s abuse of Mr. Bowles’s book on Pope.

Jeremy Bentham, Esq., wrote a letter to Lord Byron about Lord Byron’s letter to certain stars in Albemarle-street, in answer to Mr. Bowles’s answer to Mr. Campbell’s abuse of Mr. Bowles’s book on Pope.

“Mr. Bowles wrote an answer, not to Jeremy Bentham, but to Lord Byron’s letter to certain stars in Albemarle-street, in answer to Mr. Bowles’s answer to Mr. Campbell’s abuse of Mr. Bowles’s book on Pope.”

(meaning his “
Specimens”) “in which I dissented from Mr. Bowles’s theory of criticism comes to a second edition, I shall have a good deal to say to my reverend friend. I have not misrepresented him, as he imagines, but I have no leisure to write pamphlets about him.” No writer of his day ever had so much leisure as the poet for such a purpose. He was not idle in the common sense of the term; it is true he read and studied—but he did nothing,—his reading and study producing no fruit beyond his own gratification. The “Specimens” did not come to a second edition until twenty years afterwards (1841), when the poet was past all ability for writing. It is true he expected a second edition long before. Dr. Wolcot (Peter Pindar) died in 1819: Campbell being aware that I had known the satirist, begged me to put together a memoir of the doctor, as he intended to place him in the next edition of his “Specimens,” Wolcot being, in his opinion, one of the most original poets England had ever produced, and one having the most perfect knowledge of human nature—but to return. Campbell thus left others to fight out the battle he had commenced himself, overlooking the contest between others like an unconcerned spectator. Warm at first in behalf of Pope, he felt that to prolong the controversy would be irksome, and the original
burst of feeling cooled, he could not screw himself to the sticking point again. This affair, which made so much noise in the literary world, it may be proper to recall in the outline, as many may have forgotten that celebrated discussion.

With the question of the “invariable principles of poetry,” as laid down by Bowles, was involved the reputation of Pope. If the notions of Bowles were once admitted and established, their effect would be to degrade Pope from the eminence on which for so long a period he had stood, by the general consent of the world, our first poet after Milton’s time, as Johnson truly remarks. The importance and interest excited by the question were increased by the high reputation of most of those who were engaged in it. Some said that Bowles had the ambition of founding a new poetical creed. This was not exactly the fact; the “principle,” or the “principles,” as they were denominated, of that commentator had been the subject of long and animated discussion in Germany and Italy several years before, as Campbell well knew, and in this country bore a manifest ascendency with a particular class of critics and poets, those called “the Lakers,” in particular, and their supporters. The “principles” of Bowles were but the reiteration of opinions which had been elsewhere
more emphatically expressed and exhibited in practice. But the “canons” of Bowles were in any case laid down in his criticism on Pope in a manner far too unqualified. His argument was, that images drawn from the sublime and beautiful in nature are more poetical than any drawn from art; and that those passions of the human heart which belong to nature in general, are of themselves more adapted to the higher species of poetry than those which are derived from incidental and transient manners. With the exceptions and qualifications belonging to all critical opinions, this position might be admitted by the party of which Campbell may be considered to have taken the lead. But Bowles went further, and said in effect, that the mere presence of such images was to determine the merits of a poet with little or no consideration of the skill and power displayed in working up the materials.

This could not be agreed to by the author of the “Pleasures of Hope,” and he accordingly showed himself an absolute dissenter from so imperfect and unfair a mode of estimating poetical excellence. Campbell was of opinion that this theory entirely destroyed the distinctions between capacities of the loftiest and meanest order, and took away its very essence from the character of the poet. No doubt from subjects sublime or
beautiful in themselves, genius will produce more beautiful creations than from such as are apparently low, barren, and insignificant; but even to these last it is the attribute of genius to lend some of its splendour, and to invest them with the exquisite associations of poetry. Some natural objects which, owing to the associations connected with them, may have a less degree of adaptation, poetical skill may still render universally interesting; many in art on which nothing but the highest ability can bestow an interest, having received it from the poet’s genius, may become as fully endowed with the spirit of poetry as any natural objects can be. The sublime in nature possesses associations and interests of its own, which are more or less present to all observers, in all times and places, unchangeable and universal. But artificial objects, capable of awakening intense interest, must have more dependence on the contrivances of human aid, and arbitrary and conventional circumstances, for their power of excitement. Here, then, appears the province of the true poet, the sphere “within whose circle none durst walk but he.” To draw from himself, and to create, by virtue of his magic power, all such associations as most deeply influence and affect the heart of man—to employ all the resources of passion and imagination with the
qualities of his own genius—so to shape and clothe his subjects as to make them appear its inseparable relations, and thus to subdue, by the mere exertions of his wit, those sensibilities and sympathies which without such art would have remained indifferent and unmoved—all this was not, according to Campbell, to be accounted a vain and unprofitable labour. Was the enchanter who called up at his own will those beautiful visions, and peopled with his own creations the “mighty void,” to be reduced to the level of him whose only merit consisted in the selection of a happier theme? No system of exclusion could be true. Whoever set about to maintain one alone must be convicted of much incongruous reasoning and inconsistent opinion. Campbell withdrew early from the contest, as already observed.
Bowles continued to support his opinions against fresh controversialists, who could not regard all the mighty names time has spared from Greece and Rome, and all belonging to our own country up to a certain period, with rare exceptions, as second-rate poets after the “lake poets” appeared, because those poets had faith in the “invariable principles” of Bowles. Under his principles the Venus de Medicis could not be natural, because that statue is composed of perfect portions of the
female form, too perfect for existing nature, therefore, too, it could not be poetical.

Such seems to have been the sense of the question in the plainest form in which I can put it from recollection, at the time Campbell entered upon the discussion. Long years have passed since, and I might not be excused for the foregoing analysis upon what is now nearly forgotten, except by a few literary men, but as being so celebrated, and one in which the part taken by Campbell at the outset was so decided. His junction of the classic and romantic schools of poetry in his own verse, sufficiently proves that he was not exclusive in the matter, and deemed Nature and Art equal resources for poetical use, one excelling the other in advantage, according to the skill exhibited in their management. In this respect Moore was decidedly correct in agreeing with neither of the disputants, if they held exclusive opinions, for so his observation, must be understood.

That repugnance which Campbell continually displayed to revert to anything he once had in hand, either of his own for the purpose of correction and revision, or of any matter likely to involve discussion as in the present case, was remarkably displayed on his finding a dispute he may be said to have begun, continued for two or three years,
and yet refraining from interfering further. So far did he carry this peculiar feeling, that he requested any subsequent notices of works to be kept from the magazine, that touched upon the question of the “invariable principles,” evidently lest they should revive the contest in his own person, by being supposed his opinions, because he was editor of the work in which they would appear.

He never talked of the contest, and scarcely ever alluded to it, to my remembrance, except once to the historian of Leo X., who happened to be then in town. A joke of the poet’s upon the contest, however, I remember, occurred. A man and his wife were quarrelling under the window of his lodgings in Margaret Street: going from his chair, and looking out to discover the cause, he came back saying, “O, it is nothing, but the ‘invariable principles’ of matrimony!”

The contest about the invariable principles of poetry began in 1819, and in the following year Campbell received an offer of the Editorship of the “New Monthly Magazine,” through Mr. Upcot, on behalf of Mr. Colburn, the proprietor. He then paid a visit to Germany, proceeding as far as Vienna, where he saw for the last time, after an interval of many years, his friend Frederick Schlegel, who was settled there, having married
the daughter of
Moses Mendelssohn, the Jewish philosopher. They had first met at Gottingen. Schlegel had resided for the twelve preceding years in the Austrian States, having been, part of the time, Aulic secretary to the Arch-duke Charles. He had published his lectures “On the History of Ancient and Modern Literature” five years before, and was now Councillor of Legation at the Germanic Diet: another proof of the honours paid to intellect by the more civilised nations of the continent, furnishing an honourable contrast to the slight with which it is treated in England. Campbell remained a brief time in the Austrian capital, but long enough to note the changes which years had effected in many things, and to be struck with the different aspect and the different impressions they produced on his mind from those which they had done formerly. He returned by way of Bonn, where Augustus William Schlegel resided, and where for a time he left his son.

It was twenty-one years since he had published the “Pleasures of Hope,” and he was forty-three. Upon glancing at what he had produced in the intervening term, we find only his noble “Odes,” and “Gertrude of Wyoming.” These did not occupy any great portion of his time during an interval so prolonged. “Gertrude of Wyoming”
was composed in about a year, and this must not be understood of continued labour. Several of his shorter pieces he had kept by him some time for correction and revision, though in composition they had cost him only one or two sittings each. He composed many of his poems while we were in habits of close intimacy. Some of these went to press on the second proofs, some after the first, but then he had altered them frequently in manuscript. The “lectures” he delivered, and the “
specimens” could have occupied but a small part of the years which had elapsed. How then did he employ his time, may naturally be inquired, since he was not an idle man? The reply must be found in his attachment to abstract researches already alluded to in reading the classics, in solving difficulties, in desultory translation, and in exploring the numerous side-paths which branched from the immediate track of study in which he happened to be engaged, but could be turned to no purpose.

He was deliberating at the moment upon a work in relation to some of the German speculations upon ancient literature. He intended to lay the basis upon the views of the subject afforded by the better knowledge of the antiquities and localities of the scenes of ancient enterprise or celebrity which modern times afford. This task he would
never have completed, from the demand it necessarily implied upon a patience of investigation foreign to his nature. It was while contemplating such a work, he received the offer of the editorship of the
Magazine. Upon the acceptance of the duty he had deliberated. He had as yet no experience whatever in active periodical literature. All he had undertaken had been executed at his own leisure, in the retirement of his study, unconnected with other individuals. The continual contact with strangers, the necessity of saying “No,” where he could wish to give an affirmative answer; the punctuality required in handing over to the printer the last copy for the requisite number on the appointed day, and the annoyance of a correspondence, were matters of serious consideration to one who was by nature apt to “make mountains of mole-hills.” Sensitive as the poet was to the slightest annoyance, he felt that it was a duty he owed to himself, notwithstanding he was unacquainted with periodical literature, and had conflicting doubts about the trouble his task would cost him—he felt it was a duty, in his pecuniary circumstances, to accept the office.

The “New Monthly Magazine” had been modelled very much after the “Gentleman’s,” or more correctly, after the “Monthly Magazine,” owned by Sir Richard Phillips, and begun by
that bibliopolist many years before. At this time arbitrary principles were the fashion of the day. A whig was a nuisance in politics, and a radical was a monster. High state and church principles alone were in favour among such as bought books, but read scarcely any ranking above the circulating library sublimities of those days. Phillips it was averred, in the new publication, had been bred in the school of Jacobinism, as everyone was then said to be who dissented from the doctrines, good, bad, or indifferent, of the domineering party in the state, and he was charged with commencing his career as a criminal promulgator of that disloyal book the “
Rights of Man.” The new magazine was to put Phillips, the “Rights of Man,” and all Jacobinism to the rout, by means of its own Jacobitism. The poison of the “Old Monthly” was to be, happily for society, rendered harmless by the “New,” at least in perspective. This last made its appearance on the first of February, 1814. The address to the public was worthy of being treasured for its modesty, self-laudation, and hard words. A useful register of incidents in town and country, deaths, marriages, and similar matter was appended at the end of the number. The original articles in Phillips’s were bold, uncompromising in resistance to an arrogant ministry, and many
of them ingenious speculations. The new work was so far from an equal to the antagonist it assailed, that it was spring-water to alcohol in comparison; but if it was weak in reason, it was on the side of physical strength, in behalf of which it did not fail to show its sting.

In the foregoing mode the periodical had continued, with none of the promised benefits to the cause it espoused, until 1820, when an improvement began to appear in its double columns, which, towards the end of that year, took a decided tendency for the better. In December fourteen volumes in double columns had appeared. The sagacity of the proprietor just then had shown him that “old things were passing away,” and that the salvation of England from the clutches of Sir Richard Phillips had either been wrought out, or was become past all hope of performance. The political tone became less decided; politics were less frequently touched upon, and literary articles of merit and of a renovated cast made their appearance, though still “a saint in crape was twice a saint in lawn.” Towards the close of the year, the pen of Talfourd began to be observable in articles of a theatrical and literary nature. It is presumed the success of the change convinced the proprietor that his interest lay in an entire alteration in the nature of his
publication. This determined upon, no one knew better than he how to attain his purpose. He was not sparing of expense, or of the means of making his plan extensively known, and of having secured
Campbell for editor. There was soon, in consequence, within his reach a mass of talent such as had never before been connected at starting with any similar undertaking. The publisher paid well for contributions, and his house led, in its connection with literary ability at that time, all the others in the metropolis.

Campbell engaged to commence the first number of the new series of the magazine on the first of January, 1821. He was to perform the usual duty of an editor, and to receive a salary of 500l. per annum. He was also to contribute such articles to the pages of the work himself, as he might think suitable. He was an utter stranger, as before observed, to the details of his new duties, and had kept no communion with literary men associated for a common purpose. When not employed in literary composition, he had continually followed up studies, the subjects of which had been generally abstruse, and were, consequently, of small moment in aid of his new labour, which rather required a knowledge of present things and the topics of the passing hour. He had read deeply upon what caught his attention in lan-
guages, metaphysics, and political economy. He knew much of what few could reciprocate with him, and less upon subjects about which numbers were well informed. From habit he demanded retirement, even for the perusal of a book. A trifle threw his mind out of its equilibrium, and distracted him from his immediate pursuit. The result of long habit is the impossibility of change, when change is imperiously required. The habit of the student that becomes the means to his absorbing subject, is unalterable. The racer might as well part with his legs as the solitary man of letters separate himself from what has become necessary to the more facile pursuit of his studies, even if it have no advantage in the sight of others.

The poet was not one who secured confidence from strangers on a slight acquaintance, or communicated it; not from want of heart or coldness of feeling, but from a retiring sensitiveness that never put itself forward, and had to be overcome before confidence was formed. It was easy to perceive, coming to the poet in those days if not as a stranger, still with only a slight acquaintance, how reserved he was in talking upon the commonest literary subjects where they involved giving an opinion. No more of his peculiarities had then been known to the present writer
than anyone might gather from a few casual interviews.
Campbell’s manner at this time was affable, but somewhat formal to strangers; he was extremely careful not to be guilty of saying anything to hurt the feelings of those whom he met on literary business; even when he thought meanly of them, bearing towards them a uniform urbanity, though his temper had been often tried in this way by persons who intruded on his privacy at Sydenham.

Returning from Germany, he was overturned in the coach, and hurt his arm. This accident retarded, in some measure, the preparations for the commencement of his new duties. He took lodgings in town, at 62, Margaret Street, Cavendish Square, at the close of 1820, retaining his house at Sydenham. At that house in Margaret Street the first interviews took place, for the purpose of making arrangements to commence the new series of a work destined to be altered in every respect but the name. The poet, before any actual business commenced, showed a nervous sort of apprehension of what was to come. The whole universe might have been supposed to rest on his shoulders. He looked deeply thoughtful towards the future. It was true that few or no contributions had been provided, and the time was short. He was in fear, and that increased
his confusion; he had thought little about the contributions that would be required—where could they come from? The first week in December had commenced, and he was such a novice as to his approaching task, that he imagined he should find them, and have no more to do than approve or disapprove. In this respect his simplicity, or rather lack of correct perception in regard to the nature of his task, was so great as to be almost insurmountable. Then he began to think how he should submit himself to the trouble of perusing all the manuscripts sent in the course of carrying on such a work. He tried, but declared it would be impossible for him to bear the labour; and very soon exhibited his impatience, by further declaring positively that he could not get through the task almost as soon as he made the attempt Those who were acquainted with his habits might have foreseen this, but none who were connected with the publication knew his peculiarities.

The poet wished the articles tendered to be read cursorily, or to be described to him in such a way as to put him in full possession of their nature. Everything in their arrangement, correction, and abridgment, this last labour including that of reviews in the large print, was to be done by somebody else. He declared he could not undertake so heavy a task—that such a
variety of labour confused and bewildered him. There was nothing erroneous in this, for the poet was too sensitive and fastidious to fulfil such a duty effectually; when he tried it, he began by endeavouring to reconcile the expressions and opinions of others to his own mode of thinking. At such a rate the day of the monthly publication would never have seen a number ready.

The work was to make three annual volumes. The two first were to consist of original articles, to the extent of six sheets per month. The plan was new; in fact, it commenced an era in magazine publishing, and changed the aspect of those publications altogether. Thus, exclusive of his own articles, Campbell had only to select about five sheets and a half, from the papers of his contributors, some of which were bespoke of writers regarding whom he could have no need to exercise his critical judgment, as they were to be depended upon. Despite that knowledge, he was fearful at first that people would suppose all the sentiments expressed in the work were his own, and thus at starting he was as anxious about that point as he afterwards became careless. The third volume, printed in double columns of three sheets per month, was in very small type, and therefore in quantity of matter, original and selected, nearly equalled in the mass the other six. It included political events, colonial and foreign news, critical
notices of books, the drama, music, the fine arts, varieties, home and foreign; rural economy, useful arts, patents, biography, incidents, provincial occurrences, and similar matters for the month, printed so as to bind in a volume at the end of the year. It is more than twenty years since this periodical, as it was under the poet’s editorship, has been changed. Therefore, in referring to it under Campbell, the subsequent abandonment of the plan under which it so signally flourished, must be borne in mind. The poet was to have an assistant, whose duty, of course, was confined, as first understood, to the management of the third volume, and its original and compiled contents, and that third volume only it was the duty of the present narrator to compile and bring out.
Mr. Colburn, supposing the poet, in duty bound as editor, would do the first part.

As Campbell declared he could not undertake the task which properly belonged to him as editor, and also declared he could not, and would not, even read the proofs, Mr. Colburn was compelled to procure him an assistant. Mr. H. Roscoe was mentioned, and then Mr. Dubois, and in breathless haste the latter, an old acquaintance of the poet, well versed in periodical literature, and an excellent classical scholar, was engaged—an expense unforeseen by the proprietor. Edward
Dubois had published, early in life, several translations from the lesser Greek poets, and comparisons between some of the Latin writers. To the public he was best known as the author of “
My Pocket Book,” a satire upon that shallow-witted traveller, Sir John Carr, who had been knighted in Ireland for his travels in that island, whence he got the name of the “Jaunting Car.” A bookseller refused to buy one of his tours in consequence of Dubois’ ridicule, and Carr indicted the publishers, Vernor and Hood, for a libel. The affair made much fuss in the world, for Lord Ellenborough treated the case as an unworthy one, and Sir John Carr got no verdict. Thus the ridicule of Dubois, full of keen satire, put an end to the nonsense of Carr for ever. Dubois was president of the Court of Requests, in Westminster, and used to make one of Thomas Hill’s Sydenham guests, where he became intimate with Campbell.

Seeing the inexperience of the poet in periodical literature, and on the strength of great previous experience and an intimacy of some standing, Dubois ventured to advise the poet on one or two points, seeing him a perfect novice under the circumstances in which he was placed. The poet’s pride took the alarm; for though he felt his inexperience and showed it by his acts, he could
never admit it without wounding his amour propre. He sought out
Colburn, and told him it was utterly impossible they could harmonize. Sadly perplexed, Colburn asked the present writer if he would undertake the task in addition to his existing engagement. With no great hope of success, he consented, profited by what he observed had occurred, and succeeded not merely in the duties he undertook, but in consolidating what was before a slight acquaintance into a friendship which, for a long term of years in human life, remained unchanged. The primary success of his attempt was mainly owing to the giving due consideration to one or two of the poet’s peculiarities upon literary topics, and, it must be said, taking much more of the task upon himself than in strictness he ought to have taken. On the other hand, the success of the publication was unprecedented, and success levels all other considerations. The public was pleased with what it obtained. Except the editor’s own, the articles were for the most part published anonymously, their way being made by their own merit.

Among the poet’s peculiarities to others, was his carelessness about their letters or articles which chanced to fall into his hands. Sheridan was not more careless, if indeed he were careless
at all, because when he got a letter, he feared it was from a dun, and therefore would not open it.
Campbell read the notes he received, but if requiring an answer, he set about the task unwillingly, and dismissed it with a brief reply at one time and at another, with exceeding formality. He was continually losing letters or papers, and then fretting about their recovery. He would read a letter and put it into his coat-pocket, intending to reply to it, and forget all about the matter. Often wholly engrossed by any chance literary subject that occupied his attention at the instant, he could scarcely be prevailed upon to divert it to another for ever so short a time. Hence, whatever article came to him he would put it by, as he intended, for future inspection, and not think of it again. He had no method, no arrangement, his papers lay about in confusion, and if he wanted for a moment to put them aside, he would jumble them into a heap, or cram them into a drawer. Subsequently, when he desired to return to them, he incurred labour and lost time in hunting what he wanted. A fragment would be missed altogether, or whole leaves misplaced. From this habit it happened that when he received letters or papers at his residence, although everything for the work it was requested might be directed to the publisher, he got con-
fused about them, had mislaid, and often declared he had never received them, till, pressed by fresh applications, sometimes they were traced to his own door. This greatly annoyed him. I have found letters, or an article, placed over his books on the shelves, unopened, sometimes slipped down behind them. He would close a volume upon one, and restore the book to its place, where a month or two afterwards it would come to view by accident, on his wanting to consult the work again.
Mrs. Campbell, who used to smile at these things in her good-natured way, said at last, “How should he take care of the papers, when he cannot take care of himself—I am obliged to look after him—he had better not have them in the study at all.” She was as good as her word, and kept back all belonging to the publication that happened to go straight to the poet’s house, and order was at last established. As many communications were from writers of merit, and from persons who had a just claim to the conventional courtesies of society, there could be no slovenly avoidance of restoring any except poetical contributions. Of these it was no labour for the writers to keep copies. Of those who thus tendered contributions, seldom any but recognised writers were of value to the work.

The first number of the publication appeared,
however, on the 1st of January, 1821, under the editorship of the poet, assisted by
Mr. Dubois. The celebrity of Campbell’s name would have produced contributions enough, had a requisite time elapsed; but things were hurried forward, and it became necessary to forage for articles. Campbell had met Ugo Foscolo a day or two before, at Lord Holland’s, when the magazine was spoken of as forthcoming, and Foscolo asked Campbell for a subject, but the poet could not tell of what he stood in need. Foscolo went to work upon “An Account of the Revolution in Naples;” he also proposed some memoirs of the less-known Italian poets, which he afterwards executed. One of the most gifted and amiable writers of that time, a great favourite of Campbell, Henry Roscoe, afterwards prematurely cut off by death, contributed; Talfourd, Horace Smith, Gray, the political economist, young Munden, whose knowledge of Spanish literature was opportune, were also contributors. Mr. Bowring sent a translation of some verses from the German. Several names at that time well-known in literary circles sent articles, and filled up the number. The first was not indeed a pattern number, it is seldom the case that a first number is ever truly so, even when time has been taken to obtain every appliance for ensuring superior excellence; but such a
number as, conjoined with an entire new modelling of the typographical part, and the name of a celebrated and favourite poet as its editor, did not fail to be received by the public with a kindness far beyond its literary merits.

Perry, of the “Morning Chronicle,” would not aid the new work, on account of the stolen title. “He is more nice than wise,” I observed. “I do not see how he could do anything for us. He fears the name of the magazine will be a mischievous example, but that must depend upon what we make of it.” He objected to the word “New,” while the “Old” Monthly existed. “He feels it was unhandsome to borrow the title of Phillips in order to lead off the dance against him—there was something ungracious in it.”

“What is that to me?” replied the poet; “it was the act of Colburn; if it was once a publication directed against my political party, I shall do good by putting an end to it as an instrument of annoyance to my friends. My acceptance of it was good policy, though I never had a thought upon the subject, for I did not know anything of its character; I never saw a number of it until Colburn put it into my hand. The bitterer it was against my political friends, the more useful it must be to neutralize it.”

To this I assented, remarking to the poet that
the world very well knew the small value of publications set up in the mode the “
New Monthly” was originally established, and that its change of form and its new political tendencies would do the rest. Still there was some soreness among Campbell’s Whig friends; Sidney Smith and one or two others exhibited their shyness. Moore kept aloof, for he was too much alive to what this or that great man of his own side might say if he appeared in a garb that led the Whig nobility to believe he was coquetting with their opponents, the mere idea making him shrink even from the mere suspicion of contact with the party in power.

A few weeks only had elapsed before Campbell and Dubois separated. Campbell was very reserved upon the subject, of which Mr. Colburn had duly informed me. The poet had now to re-compose his lectures, having, I imagine, destroyed the manuscript of those he had once delivered. He seemed pleased at perceiving there was some lessening of his labour, as a number of articles were so much below par it was idle to make any allusion to him regarding them. Dubois had tired him by arguing upon the merits of each article. It was difficult to keep Campbell long together at business of any kind. He would break away with a story, or fly off in a joke, and abandon the business on the tapis, with “Well, that is enough for this time; don’t you think so? can we keep the printer going?”

As we advanced, the poet became less fastidious. Scott wondered he did not maintain a better figure in the world than at this period, and thought he wanted audacity, and feared “the shadow of his own reputation.” The truth is, that Campbell was an idle man—an abstracted man; he was not capable of leading long in anything; he had won a reputation, with which he was content; unless he could increase it without hazard to what he possessed, and without protracted effort, this must be again repeated.