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ways a salutary disciplinarian. From the stormy clouds of Caledonia she scowls on vegetation, and looks with a stern reluctant eye on the beauty of the flowret. As though she profitted by her own experience, she contrasts her hardy children who inhabit these barren mountains with the luxuriancy of Italian manners, where, under the influence of softer skies, the natives seem dwindled to vegetables, and to outrival even them in the delicacy of their texture. From a climate so thrifty and parsimonious, a Scotchman learns economy. From keen and biting blasts, he is taught enterprize, and labour; nature affords no « soft recumbency of outstretched limbs;" simple diet and hardy effort, lend a ruddier blush to their cheeks, and a noble lustre to the eyes. There, in despite of climate, we find the words of Shakspeare verified:
« And on old Hyem's chin and icy beard,
The amiable Goldsmith somewhere remarks, that in all countries the learned and intelligent respect each other, and that those little national animosities are to be found only amongst the blockheads and dunces. This author, whose page possesses a curious necror
romancy'that charms and delights, whether he understands the subject on which he writes or not, in this passage is guilty of a libel on his friend and companion Dr. Johnson.Dr. Johnson was neither a blockhead nor a dunce, and yet he was the slave of such illiberal prejudice. In the present day the reverse of Goldsmith's opinion is realized, the learned and intelligent are the first to foment these antipathies. Scotland has at other times been the victim of this species of English persecution. At the present day the critics of that country, are able to turn the tables on their old and inveterate enemies. The Edinburgh Review partial and unjust as it has undoubtedly been, has been conducted with so much genius and ability, that even those who detest the former, have become involuntary admirers of the latter. Their panegyric of that Review is often as blighting as the censure. For instance, there was, not many years ago, an acrimonious English critique on an American poet. The
Edinburgh Reviewers took up the cudgels in this controversy, and their main object was to mortify their English rivals. They represented this unlucky performance as beneath the dignity of critical notice. After having given to the bard unmerciful chastisement, they proceeded next to quarrel with the London Review. Here one would suppose was a dilemma from which it would be difficult even for Caledonian ingenuity to escape.Harsh as the censures of the London Review were, they were tender kindness and loving mercy in comparison with the Edinburgh. The ground taken by the Scottish critics was, that notwithstanding the poetry was so despicably bad; it was still better than the criticism. Thus was the bard introduced for no other purpose than to be made the stalking horse of abuse against English critics. How far the Scottish Reviewers are right morally considered, in inflaming the resentments of the two nations at a time when the crisis of England demands a combination of their energies, is a point which we shall not undertake to investigate. Thus far is certain, that they may plead English precedent for whatever literary enormities they commit, and it is perhaps too much to ask of poor human nature under such provocation to make a magnanimous sacrifice of resentment. What ought to be done, and what we have a right to expect that men will do, are questions totally distinct and separate. This is the present state of the literary animosity which those two sister nations entertain towards each other. English writers for a long time succumbed beneath the lashes of Caledonian criticism without even a show of resistance. Although this Delphic Oracle was known to be partial and unjust, still its responses were consulted with unabated reverence. At length resistance was warranted on the principle of self defence, and hence originated the Quarterly Review, of which Gifford is known to be a supporter. It is not proper to give any opinion on the respective merits of these Reviews; we merely state the hostility between England and Scotland in the region of letters. The Quarterly Review is now feeling its way; it has already flounced and pouted and dealt several hard side-blows, but has not proceeded to an open rupture. It wears the
appearance of our present political state of things, neither war nor peace; but in a state of amphibious existence between both. Jeffreys and Gifford are looked up to by their respective adherents to give the word for battle. Lord Byron, one of Gifford's retainers, some time since published a volume of juvenile poems dedicated to lord Carlisle, of whom Peter Pindar thus speaks in his address to the Reviewers:
“ Furious I've answered lo my lord Carlisle!
than a pen.
This volume of juvenile poems from the pen of lord Byron, drew down the indignation of the Edinburgh Review. His lordship being in parliamentary phrascology “sorely touched and grieved" did not feel inclined to wait from his master Gifford the watch word of battle any longer. He therefore lets off his recriminating vengeance in a small octavo volume consisting of eighty-six pages. The gauntlet of defiance is thrown down to Jeffreys, and a contest solicited with an instrument more fatal
What, on the return of his lordship from his travels, will be the issue of a challenge so unequivocally invited; whether the Caledonian critic will deem himself in honour bound to accept it, or not, is a question with which we have no right to intermeddle. A strain of extreme bitterness pervades the poem that sufficiently evinces that patriotism though made the ostensible, was not the only motive. Reflections on private lives of writers (such for instance, as that Jeffreys was born in a garret) and totally unconnected with the reputation of men as authors, are lavished with a bounteous hand. It savours of common place to remark, but it is nevertheless true, that it is not an act of criminality to be born, and the place where, and the time when, is surely no choice of the infant. If wishes in the present age, were not the most idle of all idle things, we could with much sincerity wish, that writers of unquestionable genius would, with a magnanimity becoming it, disdain this species of warfare. It consecrates that vulgar malignity so often exemplified in our daily prints; and “visits literally the sins of the parents upon the children to the third and fourth generation." The author himself in his postscript, seems reluctantly to yield to this opinion;
and conveys a sort of apology under the guise of a justification. “ I have added facts says he already well known, and of Jeffreys mind I have stated my free opinions, NOR HAS HE THENCE.
ANY INJURY; what scavenger was ever soiled by being pelted with mud?” True; but if Jeffreys is this scavenger his
opponent represents him, does it become one of the. proud nobility of England when thus assailed, to retort with the same weapons, and to pollute his coronet in the contest? His lordship not only persists in this mode of attack with regard to Jeffreys, his more immediate opponent; but also as respects other writers, whose fame once floated, apparently staunch and well built, but is now laid up in ordinary; or condemned as unseaworthy. Poor little Bobby Bloomfield, for instance, is condemned, not so much for being a poet, as a shoe-maker, a very honest and reputable occupation; nor have we ever heard any complaints on the part of his customers on that score. Here the bard has brought himself into an awkard dilemma; Gifford whom he professes to reverence on this side of idolatry, was once guilty of the self same offence he so severely reprehends; for he was once in good sooth a shoemaker, until the united voice of the nine muses commanded him to throw aside his last. As Gifford acquires no honour, so neither does Bloomfield incur disgrace, by the occupation he followed. As to Capel Lofft, whom the poet stigmatises in a note as the “ Mæcenas of shoemakers," this sally was surely unnecessary. The bare mention of the name excites laughter, and has been so familiar to contempt that the time occupied in any attempt to make him more an object of ridicule is completely thrown away. In short, had the pen of Byron meddled only with the Haleys, the Southeys, and the Coleridges of the day, however needless it might have been, the commonwealth of letters would have received no detriment. Some have censured the bard's attack upon Walter Scott; but they have forgot, or neglected to notice, that this attack has been confined merely 'ro THE SUBJECT ON WHICH THE BARD WRITES, AND THE DEFECTIVENESS OF HIS PLANS. With regard to the latter of these charges, the warmest admirers of the Scottish bard, we believe, have admitted, that here, he was blameably deficient. The supernatural machinery does not as
sist the main design of the poet in his Lay of the Last Minstrel, except in a very awkard and ungracious manner. The interposition of this machinery seems more calculated to retard than to accelerate the nuptials of Henry and Margaret, nor is that event of sufficient dignity in itself to require the exercise of such agency; besides, it throws an air of incredibility on a tale in itself very probable. With regard to the charge, that the subject is improper for the muse, we beg leave to enter a protest against this opinion. Although Scotland was then infested with hordes of marauders; yet their manners were altogether peculiar, and calculated to excite wonder and astonishment. They had manners whose novelty entitled them to preservation, in a form not so offensive as historical, and highly susceptible of poetic embellishment. Scott therefore arrayed these marauders in the habiliments of knighthood, and gave them a character of chivalry. And was it ever urged as a sober objection, that poetry transcended fact-in other words, that these men celebrated by Scott as so many knights, were actually marauders? If history was honest and impartial we much fear that the most valorous knights of antiquity, would not deserve a better name than Scott's heroes. While the poet censures Scott with much asperity in one part of his book, he does ample justice to his genius in another.
• But thou with powers that mock the aid of praise
And save her glory though his country jall.” But we must not think that the censure so prodigally distributed within the compass of these leaves, is done by any ordinary hand. In the youthful countenance of the poet we discover the large temporal vein of genius. His sarcasms are ter.