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misery in my determination, and I durst not trifle refined and accomplished Woman was a being al. with so important a deposite. Nor have I any most new to him, and of which he had formed but cause to repent it. If I have not got polite tatile, a very inadequate idea."-Vol. v. pp. 68, 69. modish manners, and fashionable dress, I am not sickened and disgusted with the multiform curse
He adds also, in another place, that "the of boarding school affectation; and I have got the poet, when questioned about bis habits of handsomest figure, the sweetest temper, the sound.composition, replied,-'All my poetry is the est constitution, and the kindest heart in the county: effect of easy composition, but of laborious Mrs. Burns believes, as firmly as her creed, that I
correction.' am le plus bel esprit, et le plus honnête homme in
It is pleasing to know those the universe ; although she scarcely ever in her life, things—even if they were really as trifling as except the Scriptures of the
old and New Testato a superficial observer they may probably ment, and the Psalms of David in metre, spent five appear. There is a very amiable letter from minutes together on either prose or verse.--I must Mr. Murdoch, the poet's early preceptor, at except also from this last, a certain late publication p. 111; and a very splendid one from Mr. voutly, and all the ballads in the country, as she has Bloomfield, at p. 135. As nothing is more (O the partial lover! you will cry) the finest wood rare, among the minor poets, than a candid note wild " I ever heard. I am the more particular acknowledgment of their own inferiority, we in this lady's character, as I know she will henceforıh think Mr. Bloomfield well entitled to have his have the honour of a share in your best wishes. magnanimity recorded. She is súll at Mauchline, as I am building my house: for this hovel that I shelter in while occa.
“ The illustrious soul that has left amongst us the sionally here, is pervious to every blast that blows, name of Burns, has often been lowered down 10 a and every shower that falls; and I am only pre comparison with me; but the comparison exists served from being chilled to death, by being suffo- more in circumstances than in essentials. That cated with smoke. I do not find my farm that man stood up with the stamp of superior intellect pennyworth I was taught to expect; but I believe, on his brow; a visible greatness : and great and in time, it may be a saving bargain. You will be patriotic subjects would only have called into action pleased to hear that I have laid aside idle éclat. the powers of his mind, which lay inactive while he and bind every day after my reapers.
played calmly and exquisitely the pastoral pipe. “To save me from that horrid situation of at any
• The letters to which I have alluded in my pretime going down, in a losing bargain of a farm, to face to the Rural Tales,' were friendly warnings, misery, I have taken my excise instructions, and pointed with immediate reference 10 ihe fate of have my commission in my pocket for any emerg.
ihat extraordinary man. Remember Burns,' has ency of fortune! If I could set all before your been the watchword of my friends. I do remember view, whatever disrespect you, in common with the Burns; but I am not Burns! I have neither his world, have for this business, I know you would fire to fan, or to quench; nor his passions to control! approve of my idea."'-Vol. v. pp. 74, 75.
Where then is my merit, if I make a peaceful
voyage on a smooth sea, and with no mutiny on We may add the following for the sake of board ?"-Vol. v. pp. 135, 136. connection.
The observations on Scottish songs, which "I know not how the word exciseman, or still fill nearly one hundred and fifty pages, are, more opprobrious, gouger, will sound in your ears. on the whole, minute and trifling; though the I too have seen the day when my auditory nerves exquisite justness of the poet's taste, and his would have felt very delicately on this subject ; but fine relish of simplicity in this species of coma wife and children are things which have a wonderful power in blunting these kind of sensations position, is no less remarkable here than in Fifty pounds a year for life, and a provision for his correspondence with Mr. Thomson. Of widows and orphans, you will allow, is no bad sel- all other kinds of poetry, he was so indulgent dlernent for a poet. For the ignominy of the pro- a judge, that he may almost be termed an infession, I have the encouragement which I once discriminate admirer. We find, too, from heard a recruiting serjeant give to a numerous, if these observations, that several songs and nock- Gentlemen, for your further and better en pieces of songs, which he printed as genuine couragement, I can assure you that our regiment is antiques, were really of his own composition. the most blackguard corps under the crown, and The commonplace book, from which Dr. consequently with is an honest fellow has the surest Currie had formerly selected all that he chance of preferment.'"-Vol. v. pp. 99, 100. thought worth publication, is next given entire
It would have been as well if Mr. Cromek by Mr. Cromek. We were quite as well, we had left out the history of Mr. Hamilton's dis- think, with the extracts;—at all events, there sensions with his parish minister,--Burns was no need for reprinting what had been apology to a gentleman with whom he had a given by Dr. Currie; a remark which is equally drunken squabble,-and the anecdote of his applicable to the letters of which we had for. being used to ask for more liquor, when visit- merly extracts. ing in the country, under the pretext of forti
Of the additional poems which form the fying himself against the terrors of a little concluding part of the volume, we have but wood he had to pass through in going home. little to say. We have little doubt of their auThe most interesting passages, indeed, in this thenticity; for, though the editor has omitted, part of the volume, are those for which we are in almost every instance, to specify the source indebted to Mr. Cromek himself. He informs from which they were derived, they certainly us, for instance, in a note,
bear the stamp of the author's manner and
genius. They are not, however, of his purest One of Burns' remarks, when he first came to metal, nor marked with his finest die: several Edinburghi
, was, that between the Men of rustic of them have appeared in print already; and life, and the police world, he observed little differ; the songs are, as usual, the best
. This little fashion, and unenlightened by science, he had found lamentation of a desolate damsel, is tender much observation and much intelligence ;--but a land pretty.
"My father put me frae his door,
and the benefits of those generous and huMy friends they hae disown'd me a';
manising pursuits, are by no means confined But I hae ane will tak my part,
to those whom leisure and affluence have The bonnie lad that's far awa.
courted to their enjoyment. That much of “ A pair o'gloves he gave to me,
this is peculiar to Scotland, and may be proAnd silken snoods he gave me twa; perly referred to ourexcellent institutions for And I will wear them for his sake,
parochial education, and to the natural sobriety The bonnie lad that's far awa.
and prudence of our nation, may certainly be “ The weary winter soon will pass,
allowed: but we have no doubt that there is And spring will cleed the birken-shaw; a good deal of the same principle in England, And my sweet babie will be born,
and that the actual intelligence of the lower And he'll come hame that's far awa." Vol. v. pp. 432, 433.
orders will be found, there also, very far to
exceed the ordinary estimates of their supeWe now reluctantly dismiss this subject.- riors. It is pleasing to know, that the sources We scarcely hoped, when we began our critic of rational enjoyment are so widely dissemial labours, that an opportunity would ever nated; and in a free country, it is comfortable occur of speaking of Burns as we wished to to think, that so great a proportion of the speak of him; and therefore, we feel grate- people is able to appreciate the advantages ful to Mr. Cromek for giving us this opportu- of iis condition, and fit to be relied on, in all nity. As we have no means of knowing, emergencies where steadiness and intelliwith precision, to what extent his writings are gence may be required. known and admired in the southern part of Our other remark is of a more limited apthe kingdom, we have perhaps fallen into the plication; and is addressed chiefly to the error of quoting passages that are familiar to followers and patrons of that new school of most of our readers, and dealing out praise poetry, against which we have thought it our which every one of them had previously duty to neglect no opportunity of testifying. awarded. We felt it impossible, however, to Those gentlemen are outrageous for simplicresist the temptation of transcribing a few of ity; and we beg leave to recommend to them the passages which struck us the most, on the simplicity of Bums. He has copied the turning over the volumes; and reckon with spoken language of passion and affection, with confidence on the gratitude of those to whom infinitely more fidelity than they have ever they are new,-while we are not without done, on all occasions which properly admitted hopes of being forgiven by those who have of such adaptation : But he has not rejected been used to admire them.
the helps of elevated language and habitual We shall conclude with two general re-associations; nor debased his composition by marks—the one national, the other critical.- an affectation of babyish interjections, and The first is, that it is impossible to read the all the puling expletives of an old nurseryproductions of Burns, along with his history, maid's vocabulary. They may look long without forming a higher idea of the intelli- enough among his nervous and 'manly lines, gence, taste, and accomplishments of our before they find any “Good lacks !"_" Dear peasantry, than most of those in the higher hearts!"—or “As a body may says,” in them; ranks are disposed to entertain. Without or any stuff about dancing daffodils and sister meaning to deny that he himself was endow- Emmelines. Let them ihink, with what ined with rare and extraordinary gifts of genius finite contempt the powerful mind of Burns and fancy, it is evident, from the whole details would have perused the story of Alice Fell of his history, as well as from the letters of and her duffle cloak,-of Andrew Jones and his brother, and the testimony of Mr. Murdoch the half-crown,-or of Little Dan without and others, to the character of his father, that breeches, and his thievish grandfather. Let the whole family, and many of their asso- them contrast their own fantastical personages ciates, who never emerged from the native of hysterical school-masters and sententious obscurity of their condition, possessed talents, leechgatherers, with the authentic rustics of and taste, and intelligence, which are little Burns's Cotters Saturday Night, and his insuspected to lurk in those humble retreats.- imitable songs; and reflect on the different His epistles to brother poets, in the rank reception which those personifications have of small farmers and shopkeepers in the ad- met with from the public. Though they will joining villages,—the existence of a book- not be reclaimed from their puny affectations society and debating-club among persons of by the example of their learned predecessors, that description, and many other incidental they may, perhaps, submit to be admonished traits in his sketches of his youthful compan- by a self-taught and illiterate poet, who drew ions, all contribute to show, that not only from Nature far more directly than they can good sense, and enlightened morality, but do, and produced something so much liker literature, and talents for speculation, are far the admired copies of the masters whom they more generally diffused in society than is have abjured. commonly imagined ; and that the delights
(April, 1809.) Gertrude of Wyoming, a Pennsylvanian Tale; and other Poems. By THOMAS CAMPBELL, author
of " The Pleasures of Hope," doc. 410. pp. 136. London: Longman & Co.: 1809. We rejoice once more to see a polished and admiration of tittering parties, and of which pathetic poem-in the old style of English even the busy must turn aside to catch a pathos and poetry. This is of the pitch of transient glance: But “the haunted stream" the Castle of Indolence, and the finer parts of steals through a still and a solitary landscape; Spenser ; with more feeling, in many places, and its beauties are never revealed, but tó than the first, and more condensation and him who strays, in calm contemplation, by its diligent finishing than the latter. If the true course, and follows its wanderings with untone of nature be not everywhere maintained, distracted and unimpatient admiration. There it gives place, at least, to art only, and not to is a reason, too, for all this, which may be affectation—and, least of all, to affectation of made more plain than by metaphors. singularity or rudeness.
The highest delight which poetry produces, Beautiful as the greater part of this volume does not arise from the mere passive percepis
, the public taste, we are afraid, has of late tion of the images or sentiments which it prebeen too much accustomed to beauties of a sents to the mind; but from the excitement more obtrusive and glaring kind, to be fully which is given to its own internal activity, sensible of its merit. Without supposing that and the character which is impressed on the this taste has been in any great degree vitiated, train of its spontaneous conceptions. Even or even imposed upon, by the babyism or the the dullest reader generally sees more than antiquarianism which have lately been versi- is directly presented to him by the poet; but fied for its improvement, we may be allowed a lover of poetry always sees infinitely more; to suspect, that it has been somewhat dazzled and is often indebted to his author for little by the splendour, and bustle and variety of more than an impulse, or the key-note of a the most popular of our recent poems; and melody which his fancy makes out for itself. that the more modest colouring of truth and Thus, the effect of poetry, depends more on nature may, at this moment, seem somewhat the fruitfulness of the impressions to which it cold and feeble. We have endeavoured, on gives rise, than on their own individual force former occasions, to do justice to the force or novelty; and the writers who possess the and originality of some of those brilliant pro- greatest powers of fascination, are not those ductions, as well as to the genius (fitted for who present us with the greatest number of mach higher things) of their authors—and lively images or lofty sentiments, but who have little doubt of being soon called upon most successfully impart their own impulse for a renewed tribute of applause. But we to the current of our thoughts and feelings, cannot help saying, in the mean time, that and give the colour of their brighter concepthe work before us belongs to a class which tions to those which they excite in their comes nearer to our conception of pure and readers. Now, upon a little consideration, it perfect poetry. Such productions do not, will probably appear, that the dazzling, and indeed, strike so strong a blow as the vehe- the busy and marvellous scenes which conment effusions of our modern Trouveurs ; stitute the whole charm of some poems, are but they are calculated, we think, to please not so well calculated to produce this effect, more deeply, and to call out more perma- as those more intelligible delineations which nently, those trains of emotion, in which the are borrowed from ordinary life, and coloured delight of poetry will probably be found to from familiar affections. The object is, to consist. They may not be so loudly nor so awaken in our minds a train of kindred emouniversally applauded; but their fame will tions, and to excite our imaginations to work probably endure longer, and they will be out for themselves a tissue of pleasing or imoftener recalled to mingle with the reveries pressive conceptions. But it seems obvious, of solitary leisure, or the consolations of real that this is more likely to be accomplished
by surrounding us gradually with those obThere is a sort of poetry, no doubt, as there jects, and involving us in those situations is a sort of flowers, which can bear the broad with which we have long been accustomed sun and the ruffling winds of the world, — to associate the feelings of the poet,—than by which thrive under the hands and eyes of in- startling us with some tale of wonder, or atdiscriminating multitudes, and please as much tempting to engage our affections for perin hot and crowded saloons, as in their own sonages, of whose character and condition sheltered repositories; but the finer and the we are unable to form any distinct concepparer sorts blossom only in the shade; and tion. These, indeed, are more sure than the never give out their sweets but to those who other to produce a momentary sensation, by seek them amid the quiet and seclusion of the novelty and exaggeration with which they the scenes which gave them birth. There are commonly attended; but their power is are torrents and cascades which attract the spent at the first impulse : they do not strike root and germinate in the mind, like the seeds, less encouragement than it deserves. If the of its native feelings; nor propagate through- volume before us were the work of an unout the imagination that long series of delight- known writer, indeed, we should feel no litful movements, which is only excited when tle apprehension about its success; but Mr. the song of the poet is the echo of our familiar Campbell's name has power, we are perfeelings.
suaded, to insure a very partial and a very It appears to us, therefore, that by far the general attention to whaiever it accompanies, most powerful and enchanting poetry is that and, we would fain hope, influence enough to whichi depends for its effect upon the just reclaim the public taste to a juster standard representation of common feelings and com- of excellence. The success of his former mon situations; and not on the strangeness work, indeed, goes far to remove our anxiety of its incidents, or the novelty or exotic splen- for the fortune of this. It contained, perhaps, dour of its scenes and characters. The diffi- more brilliant and bold passages than are to culty is, no doubt, to give the requisite force, be found in the poem before us: But it was elegance and dignity to these ordinary sub- inferior, we think, in softness and beauty; jects, and to win a way for them to the heart, and, being necessarily of a more desultory by that true and concise expression of natural and didactic character, had far less pathos emotion, which is among the rarest gifts of and interest than this very simple tale. Those inspiration. To accomplish this, the poet who admired the pleasures of Hope for the must do much; and the reader something. passages about Brama and Kosciusko, may The one must practise enchantment, and the perhaps be somewhat disappointed with the other submit to it. The one must purify his gentler tone of Gertrude; but those who lov conceptions from all that is low or artificial; that charming work for its pictures of infancy and the other must lend himself gently to the and of maternal and connubial love, may read impression, and refrain from disturbing it by on here with the assurance of a still higher any movement of worldly vanity, derision or gratification. hard heartedness. In an advanced state of The story is of very little consequence in a society, the expression of simple emotion is poem of this description; and it is here, as so obstructed by ceremony, or so distorted by we have just hinted, extremely short and affectation, that though the sentiment itself simple. Albert, an English gentleman of be still familiar to the greater part of man- high character and accomplishment, had emikind, the verbal representation of it is a task grated to Pennsylvania about the year 1740, of the utmost difficulty. One set of writers, ac- and occupied himself
, after his wife's death, cordingly, finding the whole language of men in doing good to his neighbours, and in eduand women too sophisticated for this purpose, cating his infant and only child, Gertrude. have been obliged to go to the nursery for He had fixed himself in the pleasant township a more suitable phraseology; another has of Wyoming, on the banks of the Susquehanna, adopted the style of courtly Arcadians; and a situation which at that time might have a third, that of mere Bedlamites. So much passed for an earthly paradise, with very little more difficult is it to express natural feelings, aid from poetical embellishment. The beauty than to narrate battles, or describe prodigies! and fertility of the country,—the simple and
But even when the poet has done his part, unlaborious plenty which reigned among the there are many causes which may obstruct scattered inhabitants,—but, above all, the his immediate popularity. In the first place, singular purity and innocence of their manit requires a certain degree of sensibility to ners, and the tranquil and unenvious equality perceive his merit. There are thousands of in which they passed their days, form altopeople who can admire a florid description, gether a scene, on which the eye of philanor be amused with a wonderful story, to thropy is never wearied with gazing, and to whom a pathetic poem is quite unintelligible. which, perhaps, no parallel can be found in In the second place, it requires a certain de- the annals of the fallen world. The heart gree of leisure and tranquillity in the reader. turns with delight from the feverish scenes A picturesque stanza may be well enough of European history, to the sweet repose of relished while the reader is getting his hair this true Atlantis ; but sinks to reflect, that combed; but a scene of tenderness or emo- though its reality may still be attested by tion will not do, even for the corner of a surviving witnesses, no such spot is now left, crowded drawing-room. Finally, it requires on the whole face of the earth, as a refuge a certain degree of courage to proclaim the from corruption and misery! merits of such a writer. Those who feel the The poem opens with a fine description of most deeply, are most given to disguise their this enchanting retirement. One calm sumfeelings; and derision is never so agonising mer morn, a friendly Indian arrives in his caas when it pounces on the wanderings of noe, bringing with him a fair boy, who, with misguided sensibility. Considering the habits his mother, were the sole survivors of an of the age in which we live, therefore, and English garrison which had been stormed by the fashion, which, though not immutable, a hostile tribe. The dying mother had comhas for some time run steadily in an opposite mended her boy to the care of her wild dedirection, we should not be much surprised liverers; and their chief, in obedience to her if a poem, whose chief merit consisted in its solemn bequest, now delivers him into the pathos, and in the softness and exquisite ten- hands of the most respected of the adjoining derness of its representations of domestic life settlers. Albert recognises the unhappy orund romantic seclusion, should meet with phan as the son of a beloved friend; and
rears young Henry Waldegrave as the happy though in some places a little obscure and playmate of Gertrude, and sharer with her in overlaboured, are, to our taste, very soft and the joys of their romantic solitude, and the beautiful. lessons of their venerable instructor. When he is scarcely entered upon manhood, Henry on Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming! is sent for by his friends in England, and Although the wild-Power on thy ruin'd wall
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring roams over Europe in search of improvement of what thy gentle people did befall, for eight or nine years, -while the quiet hours Yet thou weri once ihe loveliest land of all are sliding over the father and daughter in That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore. the unbroken tranquillity of their Pennsylva- | Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall, nian retreat. At last, Henry, whose heart and paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore, had found no resting place in all the world | Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's
shore ! besides, returns in all the mature graces of manhood, and marries his beloved Gertrude.
“ It was beneath thy skies that, but to prune Then there is bliss beyond all that is blissful His autumn fruits, or skim the light canoe, on earth, and more feelingly described than the happy shepherd swain had nough to do,
Perchance, along thy river calm, at noon, mere genius can ever hope to describe any From morn till evening's sweeter pastime grew; thing. But the war of emancipation begins; Their timbrel, in the dance of forests brown and the dream of love and enjoyment is
When lovely maidens pranke in flowreis new; broken by alarms and dismal forebodings. And aye, those sunny mountains half way down While they are sitting one evening enjoying Would echo flagelet from some romantic town. those tranquil delights, now more endeared " Then, where of Indian hills the daylight takes by the fears which gaiher around them, an His leave, how might you the flarningo see aged Indian rushes into their habitation, and, Disporting like a meteor on the lakesafter disclosing himself for Henry's ancient And playlul squirrel on his nut-grown tree: guide and preserver, informs them, that a From merry mock-bird's song, or hum of men; hostile tribe which had exterminated his while heark’ning, fearing nought their revelry, whole family, is on its march towards their The wild deer arch'd his neck from glades-and, devoted dwellings. With considerable diffi
then culty they effect their escape to a fort at some Unhunted, sought his woods and wilderness again. distance in the woods; and at sunrise, Ger- And scarce had Wyoming of war or crime trude, and her father and husband, look from Heard but in transatlantic story rung," &c. its battlements over the scene of desolation which the murderous Indians had already spread over the pleasant groves and gardens tish, and English settlers, and of the patri
The account of the German, Spanish, Scotof Wyoming. While they are standing
wrap! archal harmony in which they were all united, man fires a mortal shot from his ambush at is likewise given with great spirit and brevity; Albert; and as Gertrude clasps him in agony their own elected judge and adviser. A sud
as well as the portrait of the venerable Albert, to her heart, another discharge lays her bleeding by his side! She then takes farewell of den transition is then made to Gertrude. her husband, in a speech more sweetly pa- * Young, innocent! on whose sweet forehead mild thetic than any thing ever written in rhyme. The parted ringlet shone in simplest guise, Henry, prostrates himself on her grave in An inmate in the home of Albert smil'd, convulsed and speechless agony; and his Or blest his noonday-walk-she was his only child ! Indian deliverer, throwing his mantle over “The rose of England bloom'd on Gertrude's him, watches by him a while in gloomy si
cheeklence; and at last addresses him in a sort of What though these shades had seen her birth,”' &c. wild and energetic descant, exciting him, by his example, to be revenged, and to die! The poem closes with this vehement and impas-child of her mother, the author goes on in
After mentioning that she was left the only sioned exhortation.
these sweet verses. * Before proceeding to lay any part of the poem itself before our readers, we should try "A lov'd bequest! and I may half impart, to give them some idea of that delighful har- To them that feel the strong paternal tie, mony of colouring and of expression, which How like a new existence to his heart serves to unite every part of it for the pro- Dear as she was, from cherub infancy,
Uprose that living flower beneath his eye! duction of one effect; and to make the de- From hours when she would round his garden play, scription, narrative, and reflections, conspire To time when, as the rip’ning years went by, to breathe over the whole a certain air of Her lovely mind could culture well repay, pure and tender enchantment, which is not And more engaging grew from pleasing day to day. once dispelled, through the whole length of " I may not paint those thousand infant charms; the poem, by the intrusion of any discordant (Unconscious fascination, undesign'd!) impression. All that we can now do, how- The orison repeated in his arms, ever, is to tell them that this was its effect For God to bless her sire and all mankind ! upon our feelings; and to give them their The book, the bosom on his knee reclin'd, chance of partaking in it, by a pretty copious (The playmate ere the teacher of her mind);
Or how sweet fairy-lore he heard her con, selection of extracts.
All uncompanion'd else her years had gone The descriptive stanzas in the beginning, Till now in Gertrude's eyes their ninth blue sumwhich set out with an invocation to Wyoming,