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fect real one. Some kind of remorse must be fore his eyes, and no other fear whatever known to the oyster; certain hatreds, certain Censure the biographer's prudence; dissent pusillanimities. But as for man, his conflict from the computation he made, or agree with is continual with the spirit of contradiction, it; be all malice of his, be all falsehood, nay, that is without and within; with the evil spirit, be all offensive avoidable inaccuracy, con(or call it with the weak, most necessitous, demned and consumed; but know that by this pitiable spirit,) that is in others and in him- plan only, executed as was possible, could the self. His walk, like all walking, (say the me- biographer hope to make a biography: and chanicians,) is a series of falls. To paint blame him not that he did what it had been man's life is to represent these things. Let the worst fault not to do. them be represented, fitly, with dignity and measure; but above all, let them be represented. No tragedy of Hamlet, with the part of Hamlet omitted by particular desire! No ghost of a Biography, let the Damocles' sword of Respectability (which after all is but a pasteboard one) threaten as it will! One hopes that the public taste is much mended in this matter! that vacuum-biographies, with a good many other vacuities related to them, are withdrawn or withdrawing into vacuum. Probably it was Mr. Lockhart's feeling of what the great public would approve that led him, open-eyed, into this offence against the small criticising public; we joyfully accept the
As to the accuracy or error of these statements about the Ballantynes and other persons aggrieved, which are questions much mooted at present in some places, we know nothing at all. If they are inaccurate, let them be corrected; if the inaccuracy was avoidable, let the author bear rebuke and punishment for it. We can only say, these things carry no look of inaccuracy on the face of them; neither is anywhere the smallest trace of illwill or unjust feeling discernible. Decidedly the probabilities are, and till better evidence arise, the fair conclusion is, that the matter stands very much as it ought to do. Let the clatter of censure, therefore, propagate itself as far as it can. For Mr. Lockhart it virtually amounts to this very considerable praise, that, standing full in the face of the public, he has set at naught, and been among the first to do it, a public piece of cant; one of the commonest we have, and closely allied to many others of the fellest sort, as smooth as it looks.
Perhaps then, of all the praises copiously bestowed on his work, there is none in reality so creditable to him as this same censure, which has also been pretty copious. It is a censure better than a good many praises. He is found guilty of having said this and that, calculated not to be entirely pleasant to this man and that; in other words, calculated to give him the thing he worked in a living set of features, not leave him vague, in the white beatified ghost condition. Several men, as we hear, cry out, “See, there is something written not entirely pleasant to me! Good friend, it is pity: but who can help it? They that will crowd about bonfires may, sometimes very fairly, get their beards singed; it is the price they pay for such illumination; natural twilight is safe and free to all. For our part, we hope all manner of biographies that are written in England will henceforth be written so. If it is fit that they be written otherwise, then it is still fitter that they be not written at all: to produce not things, but ghosts of things, can never be the duty of man. The biographer has this problem set before him to delineate a likeness of the earthly pilgrimage of a man. He will compute well what profit is in it, and what disprofit; under which latter head this of offending any of his fellow-creatures will surely not be forgotten. Nay, this may so swell the disprofit side of his account, that many an enterprise of biography, otherwise promising, shall require to be renounced. But once taken up, the rule above all rules is to do it, not to do the ghost of it. In speaking of the man and men he has to deal with, he will of course keep all his charities about him, but also all his eyes open. Far be it from him to set down aught untrue; nay, not to abstain from, and leave in oblivion, much mat is true. But having found a thing or things essential for his subject, and well computed the for and against, he will in very deed set down such thing or things, nothing doubt-swer. ing, having, we may say, the fear of God be
The other censure, of Scott being made unheroic, springs from the same stem; and is, perhaps, a still more wonderful flower of it. Your true hero must have no features, but be white, stainless, an impersonal ghost-hero! But connected with this, there is a hypothesis now current, due probably to some man of name, for its own force would not carry it far; That Mr. Lockhart at heart has a dislike to Scott, and has done his best in an underhand treacherous manner to dishero him! Such hypothesis is actually current: he that has ears may hear it now and then. On which astonishing hypothesis, if a word must be said, it can only be an apology for silence, "that there are things at which one stands struck silent, as at first sight of the Infinite." For if Mr. Lockhart is fairly chargeable with any radical defect, if on any side his insight entirely fails him, it seems even to be in this, that Scott is altogether lovely to him; that Scott's greatness spreads out for him on all hands beyond reach of eye; that his very faults become beautiful, his vulgar worldli nesses are solid prudences, proprieties; and of his worth there is no measure. Does not the patient biographer dwell on his Abbots, Pirates, and hasty theatrical scene-paintings: affectionately analyzing them, as if they were Raphael pictures, time-defying Hamlets, Othellos? The novel-manufactory, with his £15,000 a year, is sacred to him as creation of a genius, which carries the noble victor up to heaven. Scott is to Lockhart the unparalleled of the time; an object spreading out before him like a sea without shore. Of that astonishing hypothesis, let expressive silence be the only an
And so in sum, with regard to "Lockhart's
time, all dark and poor, a maimed soldier; writing his Don Quixote in prison. And Lope's fate withal was sad, his popularity perhaps a curse to him; for in this man there was something ethereal too, a divine particle traceable in few other popular men; and such far shining diffusion of himself, though all the world swore by it, would do nothing for the true life of him even while he lived he had to creep into a convent, into a monk's cowl, and learn, with infinite sorrow, that his blessedness had lain elsewhere; that when a man's life feels itself to be sick and an error, no voting of by-standers can make it well and a Into the question whether Scott was a great truth again. Or coming down to our own man or not, we do not propose to enter deeply. times, was not August Kotzebue popular? It is, as too usual, a question about words. Kotzebue, not so many years since, saw himThere can be no doubt but many men have self, if rumour and hand-clapping could be been named and printed great who were vastly credited, the greatest man going; saw visibly smaller than he: as little doubt moreover that his Thoughts, dressed out in plush and pasteof the specially good a very large portion, ac- board, permeating and perambulating civilized cording to any genuine standard of man's Europe; the most iron visages weeping with worth, were worthless in comparison to him. him, in all theatres from Cadiz to KamschatHe for whom Scott is great may most inno-ka; his own "astonishing genius," meancently name him so; may with advantage ad- while, producing two tragedies or so per mire his great qualities, and ought with sin- month: he on the whole blazed high enough: cere heart to emulate them. At the same he too has gone out into Night and Orcus, and time, it is good that there be a certain degree already is not. We will omit this of populariof precision in our epithets. It is good to un- ty altogether, and account it as making simply derstand, for one thing, that no popularity, and nothing towards Scott's greatness or nonopen-mouthed wonder of all the world, con- greatness, as an accident, not a quality. tinued even for a long series of years, can Shorn of this falsifying nimbus, and reduced make a man great. Such popularity is a re- to his own natural dimensions, there remains markable fortune; indicates a great adaptation the reality, Walter Scott, and what we can find of the man to his element of circumstances; in him: to be accounted great, or not great, but may or may not indicate any thing great in according to the dialects of men. Friends to the man. To our imagination, as above precision of epithet will probably deny his title hinted, there is a certain apotheosis in it; but to the name "great." It seems to us there in the reality no apotheosis at all. Popularity goes other stuff to the making of great men is as a blaze of illumination, or alas, of con- than can be detected here. One knows not flagration kindled round a man; showing what | what idea worthy of the name of great, what is in him; not putting the smallest item more purpose, instinct, or tendency, that could be into him; often abstracting much from him; called great, Scott ever was inspired with. conflagrating the poor man himself into ashes His life was worldly; his ambitions were and caput mortuum! And then, by the nature worldly. There is nothing spiritual in him; of it, such popularity is transient; your "series all is economical, material, of the earth earthy. of years," quite unexpectedly, sometimes al- A love of picturesque, of beautiful, vigorous, most all on a sudden, terminates! For the and graceful things; a genuine love, yet not stupidity of men, especially of men congre- more genuine than has dwelt in hundreds of gated in masses round any object, is extreme. men named minor poets: this is the highest What illuminations and conflagrations have quality to be discerned in him. His power kindled themselves, as if new heavenly suns of representing these things too, his poetic had risen, which proved only to be tar-barrels, power, like his moral power, was a genius in and terrestrial locks of straw! Profane extenso, as we may say, not in intenso. In acprincesses cried out, One God, one Fari- tion, in speculation, broad as he was, he rose nelli!"—and whither now have they and Fari- nowhere high; productive without measure as nelli danced? In literature, too, there have to quantity, in quality he for the most part been seen popularities greater even than transcended but a little way the region of Scott's, and nothing perennial in the interior commonplace. It has been said, "no man has of them. Lope de Vega, whom all the world written as many volumes with so few senswore by, and made a proverb of; who could tences that can be quoted." Winged words make an acceptable five-act tragedy in almost were not his vocation; nothing urged him 'hat as many hours; the greatest of all popularities way: the great mystery of existence was not past or present, and perhaps one of the great-great to him; did not drive him into rocky est men that ever ranked among popularities: solitudes to wrestle with it for an answer, to Lope himself, so radiant, far-shining, has not be answered or to perish. He had nothing of proved to be a sun or star of the firmament; the martyr; into no "dark region to slay but is as good as lost and gone out, or plays at monsters for us," did he, either led or driven, best, in the eyes of some few, as a vague venture down: his conquests were for his owu aurora-borealis, and brilliant ineffectuality. behoof mainly, conquests over common mar The great man of Spain sat obscure at the ket labour, and reckonable in good metallie
Life of Scott," readers that believe in us shall read it with the feeling that a man of talent, decision, and insight wrote it; wrote it in seven volumes, not in one, because the public would pay for it better in that state; but wrote it with courage, with frankness, sincerity; on the whole, in a very readable, recommendable manner, as things go. Whosoever needs it can purchase it, or the loan of it, with assurance more than usual that he has ware for his money. And now enough of the written life; we will glance a little at the man and his acted life.
coin of the realm. The thing he had faith in, | to burn up the miseries of men. Conscious or except power, power of what sort soever, and unconscious, latent or unfolded, there is small even of the rudest sort, would be difficult to vestige of any such fire being extant in the point out. One sees not that he believed in inner-man of Scott. any thing; nay, he did not even disbelieve; but quietly acquiesced, and made himself at home in a world of conventionalities: the false, the semi-false, and the true were alike true in this, that they were there, and had power in their hands more or less. It was well to feel so; and yet not well! We find it written, Wo to them that are at ease in Zion;" but surely it is a double wo to them that are at ease in Babel, in Domdaniei. On the other hand he wrote many volumes, amusing many thousands of men. Shall we call this great? It seems to us there dwells and struggles another sort of spirit in the inward parts of great men!
Yet on the other hand, the surliest critic must allow that Scott was a genuine man, which itself is a great matter. No affectation, fantasticality, or distortion, dwelt in him; no shadow of cant. Nay, withal, was he not a right brave and strong man, according to his kind? What a load of toil, what a measure of felicity, he quietly bore along with him; with what quiet strength he both worked on this earth, and enjoyed in it; invincible to evil fortune and to good! A most composed invincible man; in difficulty and distress, knowing no discouragement, Samson-like, carrying off on his strong Samson-shoulders the gates that would imprison him; in danger and Brother Ringletub, the missionary, inquired menace, laughing at the whisper of fear. And of Ram-Dass, a Hindoo man-god, who had set then, with such a sunny current of true humour up for godhood lately, What he meant to do, and humanity, a free joyful sympathy with so then, with the sins of mankind? To which many things; what of fire he had, all lying Ram-Dass at once answered, he had fire enough so beautifully latent, as radical latent heat, as in his belly to burn up all the sins in the world. fruitful internal warmth of life; a most robust, Ram-Dass was right so far, and had a spice healthy man! The truth is, our best definiof sense in him; for surely it is the test of tion of Scott were perhaps even this, that he every divine man this same, and without it he was, if no great man, then something much pleais not divine or great,-that he have fire in him santer to be, a robust, thoroughly healthy, and to burn up somewhat of the sins of the world, withal, very prosperous and victorious man. of the miseries and errors of the world: why An eminently well-conditioned man, healthy else is he there? Far be it from us to say in body, healthy in soul; we will call him one that a great man must needs, with benevolence of the healthics of men. Neither is this a small prepense, become a "friend of humanity;" matter: health is a great matter, both to the nay, that such professional self-conscious possessor of it and to others. On the whole, friends of humanity are not the fatalest kind that humourist in the Moral Essay was not so of persons to be met with in our day. All far out, who determined on honouring health greatness is unconscious, or it is little and only; and so instead of humbling himself to naught. And yet a great man without such the highborn, to the rich and well-dressed, infire in him, burning dim or developed as a di- sisted on doffing hat to the healthy: coronetted vine behest in his heart of hearts, never rest- carriages with pale faces in them passed by as ing till it be fulfilled, were a solecism in na- failures miserable and lamentable; trucks with ture. A great man is ever, as the Transcen- ruddy-cheeked strength dragging at them were dentalists speak, possessed with an idea. Na- greeted as successful and venerable. For does poleon himself, not the superfinest of great not health mean harmony, the synonym of all men, and ballasted sufficiently with prudences that is true, justly-ordered, good; is it not, in and egoisms, had nevertheless, as is clear some sense, the net-total, as shown by experienough, an idea to start with: the idea that ment, of whatever worth is in us? The healthy Democracy was the Cause of Man, the right man is a most meritorious product of nature, and infinite Cause. Accordingly he made so far as he goes. A healthy body is good; himself "the armed soldier of Democracy;" but a soul in right health,-it is the thing beand did vindicate it in a rather great manner. yond all others to be prayed for; the blessedNay, to the very last, he had a kind of idea, est thing this earth receives of Heaven. Withthat, namely, of "la carriére ouverte aux talens, out artificial medicament of philosophy, or the tools to him that can handle them;" really tight-lacing of creeds, (always very questionone of the best ideas yet promulgated on that able,) the healthy soul discerns what is good, matter, or rather the one true central idea, to- and adheres to it, and retains it; discerns what wards which all the others, if they tend any- is bad, and spontaneously casts it off. An inwhither, must tend. Unhappily it was in the stinct from nature herself, like that which military province only that Napoleon could guides the wild animals of the forest to their realize this idea of his, being forced to fight food, shows him what he shall do, what for himself the while: before he got it tried to he shall abstain from. The false and foreign any extent in the civil province of things, his will not adhere to him; cant and all fantashead by much victory grew light, (no head can tic, diseased incrustations are impossiblestand more than its quantity;) and he lost as Walker the Original, in such eminence head, as they say, and became a selfish ambi- of health was he for his part, could not by tionist and quack, and was hurled out, leaving much abstinence from soap and water, at his idea to be realized, in the civil province of tain to a dirty face! This thing thou canst things, by others! Thus was Napoleon; thus work with and profit by, this thing is subare all great men: children of the idea; or, instantial and worthy; that other thing thou Ram-Dass's phraseology, furnished with fire canst not work with, it is trivial and inapt: so
speaks unerringly the inward monition of the man's whole nature. No need of logic to prove the most argumentative absurdity absurd; as Goethe says of himself, "all this ran down from me like water from a man in wax-cloth dress." Blessed is the healthy nature; it is the coherent, sweetly co-operative, not incoherent, self-distracting, self-destructive one! In the harmonious adjustment and play of all the faculties, the just balance of oneself gives a just feeling towards all men and all things. Glad light from within radiates outwards, and enlightens and embellishes.
Had the Edial Boarding-school turned out well, we had never heard of Samuel Johnson; Samuel Johnson had been a fat schoolmaster and dogmatic gerundgrinder, and never know that he was more. Nature is rich: those two eggs thou art eating carelessly to breakfast, could they not have been hatched into a pair of fowls, and have covered the whole world with poultry?
But it was not harrying of cattle in Tynedale, or cracking of crowns at Reds wire, that this stout Border chief was appointed to perform. Far other work. To be the songsinger and pleasant tale-teller to Britain and Europe, in the beginning of the artificial nine
whereat we are now to glance for a little! It is a thing remarkable; a thing substantial; of joyful, victorious sort; not unworthy to be glanced at. Withal, however, a glance here and there will suffice. Our limits are narrow; the thing, were it never so victorious, is net of the sublime sort, nor extremely edifying, there is nothing in it to censure vehemently, nor love vehemently: there is more to wonder at than admire; and the whole secret is not an abstruse one.
Now all this can be predicated of Walter Scott, and of no British literary man that we remember in these days, to any such extent,-teenth century; here, and not there, lay his if it be not perhaps of one, the most opposite business. Beardie of Harden would have imaginable to Scott, but his equal in this quality found it very amazing. How he shapes himand what holds of it: William Cobbett! Nay, self to this new element; how he helps himself there are other similarities, widely different as along in it, makes it too do for him, lives they two look; nor be the comparison dis- sound and victorious in it, and leads over the paraging to Scott: for Cobbett also, as the marches such a spoil as all the cattle-droves pattern John Bull of his century, strong as the the Hardens ever took were poor in comrhinoceros, and with singular humanities and parison to: this is the history of the life and genialities shining through his thick skin, is a achievements of our Sir Walter Scott, Baronet; most brave phenomenon. So bounteous was Nature to us; in the sickliest of recorded ages, when British literature lay all puking and sprawling in Werterism, Byronism, and other sentimentalism, tearful or spasmodic, (fruit of internal wind,) Nature was kind enough to send us two healthy Men, of whom she might still say, not without pride, "These also were made in England; such limbs I still make there!" It is one of the cheerfullest sights, let the question of its greatness be settled as you will. A healthy nature may or may not be great; but there is no great nature that is not healthy. Or, on the whole, might we not say, Scott, in the new vesture of the nineteenth century, was intrinsically very much the old fighting Borderer of prior centuries; the kind of man Nature did of old make in that birthland of his? In the saddle, with the forayspear, he would have acquitted himself as he did at the desk with his pen. One fancies how in stout Beardie of Harden's time, he could have played Beardie's part; and been the stal-perversions of aristocracy: nothing eminent wart buff-belted terræ filius he in this late time in place, in faculty, or culture, yet nothing could only delight to draw. The same stout deficient; all around is methodic regulation, self-help was in him; the same oak and triple prudence, prosperity, kind-heartedness; an brass round his heart. He too could have element of warmth and light of affection, infought at Redswire, cracking crowns with the dustry, and burgherly comfort, heightened into fiercest, if that had been the task; could have elegance; in which the young heart can harried cattle in Tynedale, repaying injury wholesomely grow. A vigorous health seems with compound interest; a right sufficient to have been given by Nature; yet, as if Nacaptain of men. A man without qualms or ture had said withal, "Let it be a health to fantasticalities; a hard-headed, sound-hearted express itself by mind, not by body," a lameman, of joyous robust temper, looking to the ness is added in childhood; the brave little main chance, and fighting direct thitherward: bəy, instead of romping and bickering, must valde stalwartus homo!-How much in that case learn to think; or at lowest, what is a great had slumbered in him, and passed away with-matter, to sit still. No rackets and trundlingout sign. But indeed, who knows how much hoops for this young Walter; but ballads, slumbers in many men. Perhaps our greatest history-books, and a world of ́egendary stuff, poets are the mute Miltons; the vocal are those which his mother and those near him are whom by happy accident we lay hold of, one copiously able to furnish. Disease, which 18 here, one there, as it chances, and make vocal. but superficial, and issues in outward lameIt is even a question, whether, had not want, ness, does not cloud the young existence, discomfort, and distress-warrants been busy rather forwards it towards the expansion it is at Stratford-on-Avon Shakspeare himself had fitted for. The miserable disease had been not lived killing calves or combing wool! one of the internal nobler parts, marring the
Till towards the age of thirty, Scott's lif has nothing in it decisively pointing towards literature, or indeed towards distinction of any kind; he is wedded, settled, and has gone through all his preliminary steps, without symptoms of renown as yet. It is the life of every other Edinburgh youth of his station and time. Fortunate we must name it, in many ways. Parents in easy or wealthy circumstances, yet unencumbered with the cares and
general organization; under which no Walter | as the inspired melody of a Burns: in a word, Scott could have been forwarded, or with all it is and continues in the voice and the work his other endowments could have been pro- of a nation of hardy, endeavouring, considerducible or possible. "Nature gives healthy ing men, with whatever that may bear in it, or children much: how much! Wise education unfold from it. The Scotch national character is a wise unfolding of this; often it unfolds originates in many circumstances; first of all, itself better of its own accord." in the Saxon stuff there was to work on; but next, and beyond all else except that, in the Presbyterian Gospel of John Knox. It seems a good national character; and, on some sides. not so good. Let Scott thank John Knox, for he owed him much, little as he dreamed of debt in that quarter! No Scotchman of his time was more entirely Scotch than Walter Scott: the good and the not so good, which all Scotchmen inherit, ran through every fibre of him.
Add one other circumstance: the place where; namely, Presbyterian Scotland. The influences of this are felt incessantly, they stream in at every pore. "There is a country accent," says La Rochefoucault, "not in speech only, but in thought, conduct, character, and manner of existing, which never forsakes a man." Scott, we believe, was all his days an Episcopalean Dissenter in Scotland; but that makes little to the matter. Nobody who knows Scotland and Scott can doubt but Presbyterianism, too, had a vast share in the forming of him. A country where the entire people is, or even once has been, laid hold of, filled to the heart with an infinite religious idea, has “made a step from which it cannot retrograde." Thought, conscience, the sense that man is denizen of a universe, creature of an eternity, has penetrated to the remotest cottage, to the simplest heart. Beautiful and awful, the feeling of a heavenly behest, of duty god-commanded, overcanopies all life. There is an inspiration in such a people: one may say in a more special sense," the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." Honour to all the brave and true; everlasting honour to brave old Knox, one of the truest of the true! That, in the moment while he and his cause, amid civil broils, in convulsion and confusion, were still but struggling for life, he "An odd incident is worth recording. It sent the schoolmaster forth to all corners, and seems my mother had sent a maid to take said, "Let the people be taught:" this is but charge of me, at this farm of Sandy-Knowe, one, and indeed an inevitable and compara- that I might be no inconvenience to the family. tively inconsiderable item in his great mes-But the damsel sent on that important mission sage to men. His message, in its true com- had left her heart behind her, in the keeping pass, was, "Let men know that they are men; of some wild fellow, it is likely, who had done created by God, responsible to God; who work and said more to her than he was like to make in any meanest moment of time what will last good. She became extremely desirous to rethrough eternity." It is verily a great mes-turn to Edinburgh; and, as my mother made sage. Not ploughing and hammering ma- a point of her remaining where she was, she chines, not patent digesters (never so orna- contracted a sort of hatred at poor me, as the mental) to digest the produce of these: no, in cause of her being detained at Sandy-Knowe. no wise; born slaves neither of their fellow-This rose, I suppose, to a sort of delirious afmen, nor of their own appetites; but men! | fection, for she confessed to old Alison Wilson, This great message Knox did deliver, with a the housekeeper, that she had carried me up man's voice and strength; and found a people to the craigs under a strong temptation of the to believe him. Devil to cut my throat with her scissors, and bury me in the moss. Alison instantly took possession of my person, and took care that her confidant should not be subject to any further temptation, at least so far as I was concerned. She was dismissed, of course, and I have heard afterwards became a lunatic. "It is here, at Sandy-Knowe, in the residence
Scott's childhood, school-days, college-days, are pleasant to read of, though they differ not from those of others in his place and time. The memory of him may probably enough last till this record of them become far more curious than it now is. "So lived an Edinburgh Writer to the Signet's son in the end of the eighteenth century," may some future Scotch novelist say to himself in the end of the twenty-first! The following little fragment of infancy is all we can extract. It is from an autobiography which he had begun, which one cannot but regret he did not finish. Scott's best qualities never shone out more freely than when he went upon anecdote and remi niscence. Such a master of narrative and of himself could have done personal narrative well. Here, if any where, his knowledge was complete, and all his humour and good-humour had free scope:
Of such an achievement, we say, were it to be made once only, the results are immense. Thought, in such a country, may change its form, but cannot go out; the country has attained majority; thought, and a certain spiritual manhood, ready for all work that man can do, endures there. It may take many forms: the form of hard-fisted, money-getting of my paternal grandfather, already mentionindustry, as in the vulgar Scotchman, in the ed, that I have the first consciousness of existvulgar New Englander; but as compact de-ence; and I recollect distinctly that my situa veloped force and alertness of faculty, it is tion and appearance were a little whimsical. still there; it may utter itself, one day, as the Among the odd remedies recurred to, to aid colossal skepticism of a Hume, (beneficent my lameness, some one had recommended this too, though painful, wrestling, Titan-like, that so often as a sheep was killed for the use through doubt and inquiry towards new belief;) of the family, I should be stripped, and swathed and again, some better day, it may utter itself up in the skin warm as it was flayed from the