LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Literary Reminiscences and Memoirs of Thomas Campbell
Chapter 7

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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Conduct of the new work under Campbell.—Augustus William Schlegel.—Literary dinner.—Singular dispute, and Schlegel’s victory.—Anecdote of the East India Company.—The anonymous contributor.—The poetry of Johns.—Sotheby.—The preface.—The Queen’s case.—Shiel, Curran, Banim, Grattan, Sullivan, Emerson Tennant.—Song written at Sydenham.—The Poet’s alterations.—Campbell’s feelings in regard to Sir Walter Scott.

THE fault of the new work, unavoidable under an editorship that consisted in a negative, and not a positive, realization of the duty, was that it wanted an identification with, or a reflection from some strong mind. The change of form, and the name of Campbell, gave the work a valuable impetus, and much changed the condition of that kind of periodical literature. It must of necessity have furnished a striking contrast to the old magazines. It must have
shown a more refined literary taste, and displayed much more elegance in scholarship, as well as abounded more in matter of an amusing character, not neglecting information, portions relating to the drama, the arts and sciences, and biography, in the way of fact. But the rage for what was “fashionable,” a term ever antagonistic to all that is really tasteful, learned, energetic, and truth-telling, ran strong with the superficial public. Campbell was not the man to lead in anything bold or novel, either in literary or political writing. I have before observed, that his duty was negatively fulfilled. What he did was on compulsion, and a burden, however light in reality. His temperament and habits forbade his indulging the prospect patiently, much less meting out a hundredth part of the attention requisite to infuse a warmth of feeling through the work which should make it kindle the hearts and move the affections of its readers. I do not believe the poet ever read through a single number of the magazine during the whole ten years he was its editor. The work might have developed important views, and taken a much higher literary standing, but Campbell had no idea of following out such objects. When he wrote himself upon any subject that involved a question of public advantage or private utility, he was ever what the
man and the poet should be, eloquent, elevated, liberal, and earnest. But he had no idea of “wielding,” if I may so say, “the democracy” of the literature he might have swayed to excellent purpose, in order to press forward great points, or make deep impressions on the mind of the reader, through glowing associations produced by the strong unshackled efforts of his own, and the well-tempered pens of others who partook in his views.

Of this he had no notion, if some may think he had. He never attempted, wisely never attempted, what everyone who knew him well, knew he had not the enduring energy to sustain through half-a-dozen numbers. The poet all through avoided discussion, however slight. I doubt too, whether, in composing his beautiful verses, he ever felt pleasure after the period of youthful anticipation was past, and with it the enthusiastic hope of that period of life. Regarding poetical composition as a labour, it cannot be supposed he could ever have contemplated with aught but horror the heavy work of a magazine, in which, to produce an impression for high purposes, he should become an animating spirit. It was impossible he could follow up such an aim, or feel that enthusiasm in the task which is essential to every man so placed to balance the drudgery. It
is enough, however, that
Campbell had no such aspirations. The periodical, in its unparalleled success, must be judged, after all, as a work better suited to the mere reading public, than adapted to the ideal excellence and lofty desires of those who have thought deeply, acquired much knowledge, and would fain move the feelings of mankind to lofty ends. It is probable that somewhat of a stronger political bias might have prominently appeared, and Campbell, on conversing upon the subject, gave his full assent to such a course, but a phrase or two remarked upon as ultra-liberal were mentioned to the publisher by one of those persons who affect to disapprove what they do not understand, sometimes in order to recommend themselves to those who look at literature and the invention of printing in the sense, strictly modern, of a medium to money-making alone. This gossip gave an alarm, to which Campbell did not seem disposed to yield, while he really did yield to the influence. So that the range of the discussion in matters of state policy, as in those of utility, did not rise above the level of a qualified reasoning, though now and then it soared a little higher, but never to the elevation it should have done. No periodical work loses anything by decision. When it limits its tendency to be a bold supporter of a given principle, it displeases those
who are opposed to it in sentiment, and loses the advantage of rising to the summit of esteem among those holding the same opinions, by becoming the half-speaking advocate. Campbell might have served his friends, and greatly aided, if not led, in the promulgation of those great public truths which time had successively developed after the publication under his editorship appeared. But from such a demonstration the poet would have shrunk, not from the moral character of the task, and the prospect of public good it involved, but because it would have appeared to his optics in the prospective labour, second only to the erection of an Egyptian pyramid. Tact, too, would have been wanting. He was never able to compass the leading article for a newspaper; not that he did not possess a hundred times more information than was necessary for such a common-place affair, but that he could not clothe his thoughts in language with sufficient rapidity, under the idea of editorial responsibility. Thus, devoid of the celerity required, he had no chance, in any other mode, of attaining a dexterity with which even practice could hardly have endowed one of his peculiar habits.

The poet removed his lodgings in town from Margaret Street to No. 30, Foley Place, about the commencement of 1822, still keeping his house
at Sydenham. It was before this time, I am persuaded from recollection, that the introduction of the
elder Roscoe to Scott took place at Campbell’s residence. Scott was in town at the coronation, which occurred the year before. It was singular that these celebrated men had never met before. I do not remember the great novelist being at the poet’s lodgings at any other’time, and as he was seldom in London, I think if he had been I must remember it. Yet, against my recollection, Henry Roscoe, in his father’s life, speaks of the introduction as happening in the following year. A memory infallible as to a date after the lapse of thirty-four or five years would be a valuable faculty, but there is a sort of instinct that sometimes stamps a persuasion of correctness. The presence of Scott at Campbell’s first lodgings in Margaret Street I well remember. However this may be, the great novelist was in good spirits, and told an entertaining story about a horse going off and leaving a bridle on his arm, Mrs. Campbell not controlling her laughter. The particular points I cannot recall. Campbell was in good spirits. I took coffee there, and during our chat, Campbell said: “I have a mind to try an impromptu.” “I fancy that such things are not so much your forte as Theodore Hook’s,” I observed. “Well, I will try. Leave me alone for
a few minutes.” I took up a book. Campbell quickly repeated the following lines:—

Quoth the South to the North, “In your comfortless sky
Not a nightingale sings:”—“True,” the North made reply;
“But your nightingales’ warblings I envy you not,
When I think of the strains of my Burns and my Scott!”

“There is my impromptu, and you imagined I was not equal to making one? “Now then the lines should be put upon paper,” I rejoined, and he immediately wrote down the words with a title, “Impromptu by Thomas Campbell.” The original as thus written down I have had in my possession from that hour, nor was there ever a copy made of it. I carried it off, saying, “This is mine, which I shall keep as a curiosity, a memento of the meeting.” It affords a pleasing evidence of that kindly feeling which distinguished Campbell, although from his reserve it was too seldom ascribed to him, or was only perceived in exercise upon isolated occasions. With him the feeling was ever present, however latent, and appearing suddenly though not habitually observable, was the more striking. With his charitable feelings it was the same kind of impulsive action as in other cases. Thus of some picture of suffering related to him he would form an exaggerated idea, fancy it greater than the reality, draw from imagination
attributes of misery, painful enough to him at all times, judge of what he had not seen by what he had, and supposing positive consequence from gratuitous inference, he would give more than he need or ought to bestow.

Augustus William Schlegel visited England, and while here received an invitation to dine at Colburn’s, in Conduit Street. A few friends were-invited to meet him. Of the party, besides Campbell, were Felix Bodin, to whom Thiers owes so much of his good fortune; Edward Blaquiere, who perished in an untimely manner at sea, and I forget who more. Incidentally th subject led to verbal exclamations among the different nations of Europe. In the course of these remarks, Schlegel observed how much the language of England had received in the way of accession since the time of Queen Elizabeth, and that we continued to import new words from all parts of the globe as we imported merchandise. There was no foretelling where it would end. The English was now one of the most copious of modern languages. It was to be feared it would soon be corrupted. Journalism, too often in the hands of men not adequate by education to their duties, nor endowed with a single literary feeling, tended to increase the mischief, from such individuals having no preference as to words, adopting in the
Journals, and passing current, the slang of the vulgar. Such depreciating introductions were to be lamented, for the English would ere long be the language of a fourth of the world.* All low and vulgar clippings and phrases thus introduced were so many injuries to the pure dialect. Even the Cossack “hourra” had been naturalised in England.

“Stay, my friend,” said Campbell, “hurrah is an old English exclamation.”

“Not so very old,” replied Schlegel.

“Oh, yes,” said several voices at once.

“It is not as old as Shakspeare’s time,” said Schlegel; “it is not as old as Elizabeth.”

Blaquiere, in his thoughtless way, said he was certain it was older. Campbell declared the same. Bodin was silent.

“Might it not mean originally a noise, a storm, and be from the French houragan?”

“We never borrowed the word from the cutthroat Cossacks,” said Campbell; “we have only

* How truly this apprehension has been fulfilled there is but too much evidence. One of these innovations is now found in some writers of mark, picked up from the pennya-liners with whom it originated. A house now “is being built,” and to strike another is called “pitching into him!”

just heard of the existence of the savages—it is a word of long usage in this country.”

“Borrowed or not of the Cossacks,” rejoined Schlegel, “you will not find it in your old writers, neither in Shakspeare, nor in Shakspeare’s time. It must have been introduced since. I am better qualified than any one present to judge of such minutiæ in the poet. I know every word he has used. His translation into German cost me years of hard study.”

Some one remarked that the word “huzza” was in Shakspeare, and that “hurrah” was, perhaps, originally a provincial corruption of the word as old as Elizabeth.

“Huzza is not in Shakspeare either,” said Schlegel, with emphasis.

Campbell, rather stimulated by Schlegel’s positiveness, and without a wary consideration of the question, acting, too, as he always did, under the impulse of momentary bias rather than cool reflection, said to Schlegel:—

“My friend, you are wrong. I am quite clear the word is in Shakspeare. We never borrowed it of those Russians. We were never enough in their good company to steal it of them. Besides, I recollect the word in a number of old songs.”

“That may be,” replied Schlegel, with pertinacious confidence; “I do not believe the word was
in use as early as Shakspeare’s time, because he never used it, and he had every use for the familiar words of his native tongue.”

“It cannot be so,” said Campbell, supported in his opinion by the rest of the company.

“You are all wrong,” rejoined Schlegel, with renewed confidence; “I am a foreigner, and much more likely to have noticed such niceties in the language than you are, who are fellow natives with the poet.”

Campbell still insisted upon his opinion being correct, others offered the never-failing resource of their countrymen in such dilemmas, to settle the question, right or wrong, by a bet. Schlegel took it up, offering to wager a breakfast at Brunet’s hotel, where he was staying, that he was correct, and his offer was accepted.

It is needless to say, this distinguished critic was right, and all the rest of the party wrong. Neither “hurrah” nor “huzza” occur in Shakspeare; tolerable evidence the words came in after the era of Elizabeth.

Schlegel was grievously disappointed upon this journey to England, in the reception he met with on the part of the East India Company. His object was to obtain its patronage towards the publication of some valuable Sanscrit translations, very important as a key to Sanscrit literature, but
expensive to print. The Anglo-Indian satraps offered to subscribe for twelve copies! This was great patronage in the India House thirty years ago, on the part of those who judge of heaven and earth, the thrones and rights of princes, and of humanity, by pounds, shillings, and pence. Schlegel was told that he mistook many munificent acts of the different Governors-general of India for those of the party called “John Company,” and he was comforted by my relating to him the circumstance of
Warren Hastings having sent home to the East India directors an inestimable present, the produce of his plunder, of two hundred golden Darii. These they so little estimated at their value, as to transfer them to the melting-pot. Schlegel laughed heartily, and said,

“He should return with an altered idea of the honourable directors.”

“But remember,” said Campbell, “this occurred forty or fifty years ago! They are wiser now!”

“Yes,” said one of the party, “because it is known the coins would now be worth more than the gold if put up for sale.”

Schlegel was a most instructive and entertaining companion upon literary topics, of which the extent of his knowledge and his accuracy were surprising, and yet he showed nothing of the
pedant, but was in society much of the man of the world. Yet there was conceit, a little self-consequence, a taint of vanity, about
Madame de Stael’s idol. He was given to talk at times too much, for one of his superior mind, of German princes and people of rank. The Duke of Saxe Weimar, who, it is true, merited high laudation, was always on his lips when he spoke of society at home. In fact, he made too many observations about this and that high, well-born person in Germany, whose observations, when retailed, would not have been chronicled from middle life, having no more than the common aristocratic morgue to recommend them, however personally kind, amiable, and sleek might be the
Lord of fat E’sham or of Lincoln Fen.

Campbell was puzzled during his editorship by an anonymous contributor, who continued to send papers for several years, the subjects being generally light and agreeably treated. The first was entitled “Le Cavalier Seul,” the second upon “Epicurism.” Remittances were sent to an address on the Surrey side of the Thames, in the Borough. The incognito was maintained to the last, and during the correspondence, the unknown went by the cognomen of “Our friend over the water.” The hand-writing was clear, large, less
in size than that of
Hazlitt, but somewhat in the same style.

Many were the conjectures who “the friend over the water” could be. The part of Surrey so near the Thames gave in those days the idea of a cockney Bœotia. No signature was at first adopted to the articles, but after a time they were subscribed W. E. “Who can he be? some one in the King’s Bench, or the Rules, from the locality whence the articles come; perhaps an individual resident in Surrey or Kent, who gives a Borough address because he is far from town, merely out of convenience.” These queries of the curious were answered by observing that the party need not in that case conceal his name, nor require the remittances for his articles to be enclosed to another person. At length it was assumed, through a suspicious incident, that these last were the production of a learned, ingenious, liberal-minded scholar and gentleman, whose seat in Buckinghamshire, connected with a name revered in history, was that from whence the “distant spires and antique towers” of Eton were once so exciting to the genius of Gray.*

* It is not less extraordinary than true, that the papers here alluded to were written by a lady, who still kept her incognito, but related the circumstance, years afterwards, by letter to the present writer.


It was singular, that during ten years the magazine was under Campbell’s editorship, the universities never supplied, from the great numbers that must have lived within their precincts, one single contributor worthy of notice; a proof that the study of two dead languages, and hearing a few college lectures, did little for a writer until he had mingled with the world and studied men as well as books.

There was a clergyman in Devonshire, who contributed some very superior poetry to the early numbers. Few and far between, as all literary persons in town well know, are contributions of the slightest value received from the country. The poetry alluded to was beautiful; the writer was the Rev. Mr. Johns. One day that I had gone to take coffee with Campbell, Mrs. Campbell put into my hand a letter which her husband had that day received, and bade her keep for me, as it belonged to our joint labours. Handing it over, she remarked what a neat hand it was, and that it was poetry. “Read the verses,” said Campbell, “let us hear what they are about.” I read on until a stanza occurred, in which, after the allusion to a storm, the returned tranquillity of the ocean was beautifully described.

“Beautiful,” said the poet, “beautiful, indeed! Read it again—that is poetry!” He would hear
no more, though other stanzas followed. It was as if he feared they would obliterate the effect of the passage which so struck his fancy. He then read the stanza twice aloud, and repeated the two last lines twice or thrice, getting the stanza in a minute or two by heart. “That is fine, indeed; we won’t mind the rest. That is enough—I have not heard such lines for a long time.
Ah though it ne’er had man beguiled,
Or never would beguile him more.
Can anything be more faultlessly descriptive of such a calm?” said Campbell, turning to his wife, who, though proud of her husband’s fame, I never heard express any literary opinion, nor do I think she pretended to any judgment on such subjects. She thought the verses her husband’s affair, and that to be one of the best, kindest, and most considerate of wives, with as few foibles as any of her sex, for she had some, was the due limit of her province.

The stanzas were called “The Maid of Orkney.” Campbell was in general reserved in his opinions, and sparing in his praises in such cases, even when approving. Thus, of Byron’s poetry he said, “It is great—great—it makes him truly great; he has not so much greatness in himself.” It struck me at the time, that the two lines bear a
very close resemblance to that tranquil, faultless beauty which Campbell succeeded in realising in his “
Gertrude,” and that an involuntary consciousness of this was the ground of his high admiration of them.

Thus making allusion to poetry, Sotheby, in his translation of the “Danaæ of Simonides,” gave the work the best translation of this beautiful fragment ever made into English. Among the poetry, too, were Campbell’s own charming “Lines to the Rainbow,” which rank among his best things, as his attempt at humour in the “Friars of Dijon” must rank as one of his worst. It was in vain he attempted light or humorous articles, and not the less singular that the manner of his telling a light story was so good. A letter, entitled “Reflections on a Plum Pudding,” published anonymously, was Campbell’s own, another proof of his want of talent for that kind of literature. There was no point in the article, unless it lay in the joke that a cat of praiseworthy “humour” was called “laudable pus,” borrowing a term from the surgery. “The Lover to his Mistress,” the “Maid’s Remonstrance,” “Roland,” and “Absence,” were not up to par. In the “Lines of the Lover,” there occurs the pleasing simile of the “waves of time washing away the impressions of memory.” The opera in which the “Maid’s Re-
monstrance” was to appear he began and abandoned. It must be recollected that no man of genius can ensure equality of merit in his works. Where a writer has accustomed the world to a high tone in one or two of his earlier productions, those which, but for their predecessors, would have excited admiration, are deemed unworthy of the author’s name. Moreover, genius waits not for maturity in age, though in many cases it may have appeared late. The world is a harsh taskmaster, far worse than an Egyptian Pharaoh who demands bricks without straw. It expects a writer to continue publishing for its own amusement, in an ascending scale of excellence to the last, if the brain destroy itself by thought. It has no sensibility to the fact that it is generally given to the labour of a life to produce only one transcendent and enduring work. It imagines that the brighter coruscations of that extraordinary gift are at the command of him from whom they emanate, if he would but influence or invoke them. Thus, as it is, even that which is connected with the intellectual, is ever misjudged by vulgar opinion. It may be matter of doubt, whether beyond a minute fraction of discriminating admiration for the works of genius, the praise generally expressed be not of the nature of a contagion propagated insensibly and without a knowledge of
the true merit of what is said to be so admirable, and entirely destitute of a real discriminative feeling both for its beauties and defects.

The first year of the publication being completed, Campbell seemed at a loss what he should say to the public in a preface. He began by an indirect excuse for the avoidance of a stronger expression of political opinion in the work, evidently from the apprehension that the friends of the political party to which he belonged required something of the kind to account for the omission. It happened opportunely that Mr. Everitt, of the United States of America, had made some remarks upon an article inserted in the second number of the magazine, “On the complaints in America against the British Press,” written by Mr. W. H. Curran. This supplied matter for the larger part. The poet had no idea of looking over the published numbers for the preceding twelvemonth, summing up at the year’s end the merits and deficiencies of the past, as it would have occurred to one accustomed to similar publications to do, promising improvements in future, and palliating faults. He made the preface an answer to Everitt, and stated that “he inserted the article without reflection.” This he did as the shortest mode of getting rid of the matter, dreading far more than the inference that would be
drawn from the avowal against himself, the trouble it would cost him to vindicate the friend who had put the article into his hand. This, if he had really glanced at, he had done in a fit of abstraction, for it was not probable, just commencing the work, which he thought such a task, he would have omitted to look it over. He pleaded his own oversight, or want of reflection, and then began to neutralize the effect of what had appeared ten months before, and was now nearly forgotten. A very injudicious course, pursued upon the momentary impulse, and not likely to invalidate reasoning on the whole not unprovoked nor unjust. Such was the poet’s mode of proceeding. He had no tact, which was almost a virtue in the position in which he then stood, or, at least, a most important qualification. The preface was impolitic, too. Campbell had little foresight in the matter: because it fixed the editor to certain points difficult to be observed among a great number of contributors for a series of years. This was shown afterwards, in the fact of a
letter received from America, in consequence of some remarks in the “New Monthly,” by a British officer, upon our campaigns there. The following sets this in a clear light. The preface was thrown in the poet’s teeth—a preface written to temporize and avoid that discussion which it was most likely
to produce, that, too, which the poet dreaded of all things. “Although I do not consider the enclosed reply to certain letters published in the last number, on the ‘Canadian Campaign,’ as full and as indignant as it ought to be, yet as the only answer to the libellous assertions, I send it you. I feel as an American in relation to the conduct ascribed to the people of Kentucky in those letters; and, although I have never been in that State, I have a distinct recollection of the indignation expressed by all, when the reports of the barbarities inflicted upon our unfortunate but brave troops reached us. I will add, that I was surprized to see in a publication under your charge, the insertion of charges so directly in opposition to the sentiments expressed in the preface to your first volume.” This letter came from a Pennsylvanian, and the poet could not make any other reply than the acknowledgment of its receipt. In answering Everitt, he might, a few months after the magazine began, have pleaded “want of reflection” with more justice to the fact; but for the first or second month, while it was new to him, he was anxious and sensitive overmuch about it, and certainly did not omit to look at an article placed in his own hands by a particular friend.

The case of the unfortunate Queen Caroline happened about the time of the commencement
of the publication. He held the same opinion as everybody else who attended to the evidence and had travelled in foreign countries, that no guilt was proved against her majesty. She might be guilty, but the evidence established scarcely a suspicion to those who knew foreign manners and habits, which very few in England at that time did; the crown lawyers showed themselves palpable blockheads by letting this ignorance of theirs be seen. The conduct of the king made
Campbell indignant, particularly as if the queen’s guilt were proved, his manifold and notorious habits of profligacy would prevent him obtaining a divorce. But these sentiments Campbell confined to the circle of his friends. He had evidently no wish to offend openly the ruling powers. “Don’t place the magazine in jeopardy,” he said to me, “by entering into the merits of the case, it is better to pass it by, with an outline of the facts. We must not go head and ears into the conduct of the authorities, even about the queen’s funeral, disgraceful as the ministers have shown themselves. We cannot, as you know, make it a political work, and it is useless to go only a part of the way towards it. The turn of events is already decided.”

During the next year of the poet’s editorship fresh contributions from new writers filled its
pages. Among those who were thus numbered, was
Richard Shiel, whose writings, as various as they were forcible and eloquent, always arrayed on the side of those principles of which the time elapsed since has confirmed the solidity, were calculated to attract attention. One of Shiel’s papers was an account of the celebrated Talma, whose character he sketched with great discrimination and accuracy of portraiture. Of his numerous contributions, many were sketches of Irish character, most of the living originals of which are now no more. These were recognised at once, and caused a sensation among those who knew them by their verity, and among those who had no personal knowledge of them by strength of outline and the peculiarly rich tone of their colouring. There was scarcely a trait of the individual described that was not elaborated, hardly a forensic trick or habitual peculiarity that was not faithfully conveyed in these portraits, and frequently a sentence ironically worded carried to those who alone could understand it, a meaning which, if it did not act as a cure, at least administered a corrective to some prominent failing. Nor were politics forgotten. Irishmen, it is a virtue that must be conceded by the most niggardly spirit that has exhibited its animosity towards them, never rend asunder the tie of pa-
triotic affection. Shiel remembered its claims, and enforced them, in times far different from the present, when hope was well nigh hopeless. In this he was seconded by a countryman, whose family name has long told wherever the voice of patriotism has been heard, eloquence admired, or flashes of unequalled wit either excited pleasure or stung delinquency to the quick,
William Henry Curran, who died in 1857.* His powerful and graphic pen was as twin brother to that of Shiel. It is scarcely possible to look back without a feeling of more than melancholy upon the meetings that took place about this period between the poet and two or three friends, of whom Curran, when in London, was certain to be one. The

* With a letter in February, 1857, ended a friendly intercourse of thirty-four years between W. H. Curran and the present writer. In the character of the writing there was that unsteadiness which marks debility. A few months more, and he ceased to exist. He inherited, not the wit, but many more than the virtues of his eloquent and celebrated father, and lived and died more honoured by the good. His talents were of the highest order, and his disposition peculiarly amiable. Between 1820 and 1830, on a fine day, we used sometimes to walk to Chalk Farm, then a good house of entertainment, and take a steak and glass of wine, and much of the conversation on those occasions is still fresh in the writer’s memory. In his last communication he stated how well he remembered them.

poet, the liveliest of the party, always unreserved among friends, related anecdotes or discussed some topic of literary interest, and seemed to forget there was any world beyond the walls of the apartment in which he happened to be placed. All this was before the death of his wife. It was when in the prime of existence and fame that Campbell thus comported himself, the time in life that happens but once with all, when the cares of existence seem to pause a moment from their labours at human disquietude. Before, too, in consequence of that event, he vainly made two or three years of effort to continue something of the same kind of life he had before done, until the void so wide between himself and comfort, cast him out upon the world till his decease, to live as irregularly as if he had never known the enjoyment of a domestic hearth.

The song, beginning,
“Men of England who inherit
Rights that cost your sires their blood!”
will exemplify the mode in which the poet proceeded with his later compositions. He had been quite taken up with some new subject of research, having promised poetry for the magazine, and not commenced until the “eleventh hour.” In order to write with more facility, and be away from im-
mediate interruption, he went down to his house at Sydenham, leaving a message that the verses should be ready if I would come down and dine there the next day but one. Experience whispered that to secure the verses in time for the publication it was necessary to go. I started for Dulwich, intending to walk from thence, and did not get to the house until the dinner hour had nearly arrived. I met the poet at the door.

“Have you had no note from me putting off the verses until to-morrow?”


“I have written you; but no matter. How did you arrive so late?”

I explained every thing, and expressed a hope that my delay had insured the perfect completion of the verses.

“They are not quite completed,” said Campbell, “I am finishing the last stanza; but the dinner is ready, I will complete them afterwards.”

“No, no, before dinner, if you please.”

“My good friend, the dinner is ready.”

“Then I won’t eat a particle until I have the verses—that is positive.”

“You do not mean it?

“I do indeed; I fear we shall be late as it is.”

Away walked Campbell to his study, and in less
than a quarter of an hour returned with the spirited song, saying he had been puzzled all day about the last line of the last stanza, and thought it was better as he gave it, with the conclusion that it was the result of the first intention, rather than of any of several alterations which he had previously tried.

“Now,” said he, “I will read them.”

He read them accordingly with effect, and then gave them to me. When I had them in my pocket we sat down to dinner.

We chatted over the wine until the moon was high in the heaven, talking of Sydenham, the occasional social meeting of choice spirits there, the freaks of Hook, and the good sayings of the “Authors of the Rejected Addresses.” There was no conveyance back to town. Campbell wished me to remain the night, but I declined his invitation, set off late, and walked on towards the reservoir nearly in front of his house. Supposing I did not see it, he called out to me from his door to take care of my footsteps. It was the last time I ever heard the poet’s voice from the residence which to himself had been the source of so many pleasing recollections. I walked to town, and arrived on a brilliant summer morning, in the solitude of the metropolitan streets, with the verses safe in my possession.


On arriving I found the following note at my house, evidently written to gain another day:

“To-morrow you shall have the verses, some ten stanzas of four lines.”

The song comprised seven stanzas of four lines. I am persuaded that the poet had worked hard to finish them to his own mind in the time. He did not always change his language for the better. Thus in the lines now referred to, he wrote, and the fourth stanza was printed as follows, from the copy at Sydenham:

“What are monuments of bravery
Where no public virtue blooms?
What avail in lands of slavery,
Trophied temples, arches, tombs?”

This stanza he altered in his collected poems thus:

“What are monuments of bravery
Where no public virtues bloom?
What avail in lands of slavery,
Trophied temples, arch and tomb?”

Had “temples” been singular in place of plural the reading might have been better for the sake of having “public virtue” plural, but it is hard to discover the difference between “no public virtue,” that is, “no one public virtue,” and “no public virtues,” while the last line gives the
idea of many temples, but only a single arch and tomb. In all events the alteration, for the sake of the conjunction “and,” weakens the energy of the verse.

In his fine stanzas to Kemble he altered the line
“That where supernal light is given,”
“That when supernal light is given,”
an improvement.

In the “Lines on receiving a seal with the Campbell crest from K. M. before her Marriage,” the three first stanzas were printed,

“This wax returns not back more fair
An image of the gift you send,
Than graved in memory’s thoughts I bear
Your well-defined worth, my friend.
“We are not friends of yesterday,
I think you know me not a little,
But poets’ hearts are apt, they say,
To be impressible and brittle.
“Well, should fair faith my heart condemn
To lose your virtues’ fair impress,
Your type is still the sealing gem,
And mine the waxen brittleness.”

This was altered as follows:

“The wax returns not back more fair
The impression of the gift you send,
Than stamp’d upon my thoughts I bear
The image of your worth my friend.
“We are not friends of yesterday,
But poets’ fancies are a little
Disposed to heat and cool (they say),
By turns impressible and brittle.
“Well, should its frailty e’er condemn
My heart to prize or please you less,
Your type is still the leading gem,
And mine the waxen brittleness.”

In regard to the lines in the eighth stanza, in which the name “Maccallin More” had been written, Campbell, being absent from town, asked me to revise the proof during his absence, which I told him I would do. It was remarkable, as showing upon what he was doubtful, and how little attention he paid to some points, as when he made tropical productions grow on the shores of the Susquehanna in his “Gertrude.” He left the proof, and a note, which closed as follows:

“I am not sure about the orthography of ‘Maccallin More,’ but, by looking at Scott’s ballad, called ‘Lord Roland,’ it will be found, I dare say, exactly spelt. My own idea is, that it should be ‘Maccallin’—I don’t know!”


I found he was in error, and that the proper way of spelling the name was as it now stands in his works, “Macaillan Mor,” and so I caused it to be printed.

His opinion of Scott was, as with everybody besides, high indeed, although they differed greatly in politics. It was singular that both should have been, as much perhaps by hereditary feelings as natural inclination, politically opposed to each other. Scott was said to have imbibed his Jacobitish tendencies from having spent some time in his boyhood with the Stewarts of Appin, of whom his father was the confidential friend. The Campbells were, on the other hand, knit to the Argyle standard in political opinion, and opposed to the Jacobites, or the section of the Tories that were devoted to the Stuarts, so denominated in opposition to the “revolution Tories,” who supported William III. Those who are most gifted with talent are not always above the predilections of early life, and both Scott and Campbell were thus influenced. Sensible of this, and of his own predisposition, Campbell never expressed towards Scott any feeling but that of kindness and admiration, except upon one occasion, at a time when both were in the full flush of public regard. This feeling on the part of Campbell might have been fully justifiable by the treatment
the bold, honest, uncompromising Covenanters received at the hands of the great novelist. His mention of the Dukes of Argyle, towards whom, save on one occasion, Scott showed he had no friendly feeling, was not like himself, nor consistent with fact. It happened, in one case, that the only nobleman of that house he had spared and admitted to possess some amiable qualities, was the grandfather of his friend the
Duke of Buccleugh. This being observed, by Campbell, he passed it over without any remark; he probably thought every writer of fiction had a justifiable latitude to indulge his predilections. But when George IV. visited Scotland, Scott came to facts. He wrote two songs, before the king’s arrival, to an old Scotch air, “Carle, now the King’s come,” into which he introduced all the Scotch nobles except the Duke of Argyle. The thing was so palpable, that Scott could not avoid hearing of it, and then made an excuse for the omission by stating that he had heard the Duke of Argyle was not coming to Edinburgh. This did not mend the matter, because other noblemen had not arrived when the songs were written, and yet were introduced; among the absentees being the recent Duke of Hamilton. Such was the mode in which the affair was told to Campbell.


At these things the poet expressed his regret. Afterwards, when he heard that the king had shown peculiar attention to the Duke of Argyle, and that Scott was then observed to take marked notice of the duke also, and that it had been altogether a subject of notice in Scotland, he again spoke of the pity it was that Scott should have shown such a feeling. “Let Scott have a political bias,” said Campbell, “we all have it; but why carry the enmity towards a whole race? If an old Duke of Argyle were opposed to the Jacobites, why retort the feeling upon the present generation? When the Stuarts are extinct, why should their friends, on the strength of tradition, be inimical to the descendants of their opponents, who are guiltless of treason against those whose memory is only honoured upon the faith of others. Scotland owed a debt of gratitude to the Argyle family, and to the Covenanters too, worth all the Stuarts, for the freedom they were the means of working out by their uncompromising resistance to tyranny. However, Scott is too good and great a man to differ with on such a topic. History tells the truth, and every day that passes, proclaims, through the progress of knowledge, that the cause of the Stuarts gets weaker, and their name more detestable as we advance in political freedom.”


It was remarked to him that Scott called the chief of the Campbells “McCullum More,” in place of “Mac Macaillan Mor,” or “the son of Malcolm,” in the place of “the son of Colin,” which was not accidental. In “Waverley” the name was used correctly, as well as in the “Lady of the Lake.” “No matter, let Scott call us what he likes,” said Campbell, “only let him not paint historical facts partially; but, in exchange for the pleasure his wonderful imagination gives to the world, let him not visit the sins of the fathers upon the children.”