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-a recluse philosopher, or a reluctant Lecture Eighth.-On the Living Puets.
the voice of popularity.-The love of Mr Hazlitt now proceeded to re fame differs from vanity in this, that mark on some of Burn's poems. He the one is immediate and personal, the pointed out the “ Twa Dogs” as a other ideal and abstracted. The lover very spirited piece of description, and of true fame does not delight in that as giving a very vivid idea of the man- gross homage which is paid to himDers both of high and low life. He self, but in that pure homage which is described the Brigs of Ayr, the Ad- paid to the eternal forms of truth and dress to a Haggis, Scotch Drink, and beauty, as they are reflected in his many others, as being full of the best mind. He waits patiently and calmly kind of characteristic and comic paint- for the award of posterity, without ening; but Tam o' Shanter as the mas- deavouring to forestall his immortalia ter-piece in this way. In Tam o' ty, or mortgage it for a newspaper Shanter, and in the Cottar's Saturday puff. The love of fame should be, in Night, Burns has given the two ex- reality, only another name for the love tremes of licentious eccentricity and of excellence.
Those who are the convivial indulgence, and of patriarchal most entitled to fame, are always the simplicity and gravity. The latter of most content to wait for it ; for they these poems is a noble and pathetic pic- know that, if they have deserved it, ture of human manners, mingled with it will not be withheld from them. a fine religious awe: it comes over the It is the award of successive generamind like a slow and solemn strain of tions that they value and desire; for music. But of all Burns's produc- the brightest living reputation cannot tions, Mr Hazlitt described his pathe- be equally imposing to the imaginatic and serious love-songs as leaving tion with that which is covered and the deepest and most lasting impres- rendered venerable by the hoar of insion on the memory. He instanced, numerable ages. After further rein particular, the lines entitled Jessie, marks to this effect, and a few words and those to Mary Morrison; and on the female writers of the day, Mr concluded the lecture by a few re Hazlitt proceeded to speak of the livmarks on the old Scottish and Eng- ing poets. He began with Mr Rogers, lish ballads, which he described as whom he described as a very lady-like possessing a still more original cast of poet—as an elegant but feeble writer, thought, and more romantic imagery who wraps up obvious thoughts in a -a closer intimacy with nature-a cover of fine words-who is full of firmer reliance on that as the only enigmas with no meaning to them. stock of wealth to which the mind has His poetry is a more minute and inofto resort—a more infantine simplicity fensive species of the Della Cruscan. of mannersma greater strength of af- There is nothing like truth of nature, fection-hopes longer cherished, and or simplicity of expression. You canlonger deferred-sighs that the heart not see the thought for the ambiguity dare not leave—and “ thoughts that of the expression—the figure for the do often lie too deep for tears.” finery—the picture for the varnish.
As an example of this, Mr H. referred as indefatigable, and as humane a spirit. to the description of a friend's ice- His fancy is ever on the wing; it fluthouse, in which Mr Rogers has carried ters in the gale, glitters in the sun. the principle of elegant evasion and Every thing lives, moves, and sparkles delicate insinuation of his meaning so in his poetry; and over all love waves far, that the Monthly Reviewers mis. his purple wings. His thoughts are took his friend's ice-house for a dog- as many, as restless, and as bright, as kennel, and the monster which was the insects that people the sun's beam. emphatically said to be chained up in The fault of Moore is an exuberance it for a large mastiff dog.
of involuntary power. His levity beCampbell's Pleasures of Hope, the comes oppressive. He exhausts attenlecturer described as of the same class tion by being inexhaustible. His vawith the poetry of the foregoing au- riety cloys ; his rapidity dazzles and thor. There is a painful attention distracts the sight. The graceful ease paid to the expression, in proportion with which he lends himself to all the as there is little to express, and the different parts of his subject, prevents decomposition of prose is mistaken for him from connecting them together as the composition of poetry. The sense a whole. He wants intensity, strength, and keeping in the ideas is sacrificed and grandeur. His mind does not to a jingle of words and an epigram- brood over the great and permanent, matic form of expression. The verses but glances over the surfaces of things. on the Battle of Hohenlinden, Mr H. His gay laughing style, which relates described as possessing considerable to the immediate pleasures of love and spirit and animation ; but he spoke of wine, is better than his sentimental the Gertrude of Wyoming as exhibits and romantic view ; for this pathos ing little power, or power suppressed sometimes melts into a mawkish senby extreme fastidiousness. The au- sibility, or crystallizes into all the pretthor seems so afraid of doing wrong, tinesses of allegorical language, or that he does little or nothing. Lest hardness of external imagery. He has he should wander from the right path, wit at will, and of the best quality. he stands still. He is like a man His satirical and burlesque poetry is whose heart fails him just as he is his best. Mr Moore ought not to have going up in a balloon, and who breaks written Lalla Rookh, even for three his neck by flinging himself out when thousand guineas, said Mr Hazlitt, it is too late. He mangles and maims His fame was worth more than that. his ideas before they are full-formed, He should have minded the advice of in order to fit them to the Procrustes Fadladeen. It is not, however, a fail. bed of criticism ; or strangles his in- ure, so much as an evasion of public tellectual offspring in the birth, lest opinion, and a consequent disappointe they should come to an untimely end ment. in the Edinburgh Review. No writ. If Moore seems to have been too er, said Mr Hazlitt, who thinks ha happy, continued Mr Hazlitt, LORD bitually of the critics, either to fear BYRON, from the tone of his writings, or contemn them, can ever write well. seems to have been too unhappy to be a It is the business of Reviewers to truly great poet. He shuts himself up watch poets, not poets to watch re. too much in the impenetrable gloom viewers. Mr H. concluded his re of his own thoughts. The Giaour, the marks on Campbell by censuring the Corsair, Childe Harolde, &c. are all plot of Gertrude of Wyoming, on ac- the same person, and they are appacount of the mechanical nature of its rently all himself. This everlasting structure, and from the most striking repetition of one subject, this accumuincidents all occurring in the shape of lation of horror upon horror, steels the antitheses. They happen just in the mind against the sense of pain as much nick of time, but without any known as the unceasing sweetness and luxus cause, except the convenience of the rious monotony of Moore's poetry author.
makes it indifferent to pleasure. There MOORE was described as a poet of is nothing less poetical than the unquite a different stamp,-as heedless, bending selfishness which the poetry gay, and prodigal of his poetical wealth, of Lord Byron displays. There is noas the other is careful, reserved, and thing more repulsive than this ideal parsimonious. Mr Moore's muse was absorption of all the good and ill of life compared to Ariel-as light, as tricksy, in the ruling passion and moody abe
straction of a single mind,
, -as if it the spirit is effeminate and fashionable. would make itself the centre of the This, however, has been no obstacle universe, and there was nothing worth to the success of his poetry-for he cherishing but its intellectual diseases. has just hit the town between the roIt is like a cancer eating into the heart mantic and the modern, and between of poetry. But still there is power, the two, has secured all classes of readand power rivets attention and forces ers on his side. In a word, said Mr admiration. “ His genius hath a de- Hazlitt, I conceive that he is to the mon,” and that is the next thing to great poet what an excellent mimic is being full of the God. The range of to a great actor. There is no deterLord Byron's imagination is contract- minate impression left on the mind ed, but within that range he has great by reading his poetry. The reader unity and truth of keeping. He rises from the perusal with new imchooses elements and agents congenial ages and associations, but he remains to his mind—the dark and glittering the same man that he was before. The ocean—the frail bark hurrying before notes to his poems are just as enterthe storm. He gives all the tumultu, taining as the poems themselves, and ous eagerness of action, and the fixed his poems are nothing but entertaindespair of thought. In vigour of style, ing. and force of conception, he surpasses Mr H. now proceeded to speak of every writer of the present day. His WORDSWORTH, whom he described as indignant apothegms are like oracles of the most original poet now living, and misanthropy. Yet he has beauty al- the reverse of Walter Scott in every lied to his strength, tenderness some particular, having nearly all that the times blended with his despair. But other wants, and wanting all that the the flowers that adorn his poetry bloom other possesses. His poetry is not exover the grave.
ternal, but internal; he is the poet of Mr Hazlitt next spoke of Walter mere sentiment. Great praise was Scott; whose popularity he seemed to given to many of the Lyrical Ballads, attribute to the comparative mediocri- as opening a finer and deeper vein of ty of his talents—to his describing that thought and feeling than any poet in which is most easily understood in a modern times has done or attempted ; style the most easy and intelligible, but it was observed, that Mr Words.and to the nature of the story which worth's powers had been mistaken, he selects. Walter Scott, said the both by the age and by himself. He lecturer, has great intuitive power of cannot form a whole, said Mr H.-he fancy, great vividness of pencil in plac- wants the constructive faculty. He ing external objects before the eye. can give the fine tones of thought The force of his mind is picturesque drawn from his mind by accident or rather than moral. He conveys the nature, like the sounds of the Æolian distinet outlines and visible changes harp ; but he is totally deficient in all in outward objects, rather than their the machinery of poetry. “ mortal consequences.” He is very Mr Hazlitt here entered at some inferior to Lord Byron in intense pas- length into the origin of what has been sion, to Moore in delightful fancy, and called the Lake School of Poetry, and to Wordsworth in profound sentiment; endeavoured to trace it to the convulbut he has more picturesque power sion which was caused in the moral v than any of them. After referring to world by the events of the French reexamples of this, Mr H. observed, that volution. This, and his concluding it is remarkable that Mr Westalss il- remarks on Southey and Coleridge, we lustrations of Scott's poems always omit, partly for want of room, but give one the idea of their being fac chiefly on account of the indefinite and similes of the persons represented, with personal nature of those remarks. ancient costume, and a theatrical air. The truth is, continued he, there is a When we undertook to give the foremodern air in the midst of the anti- going abstract of Mr Hazlitt's Lecquarian research of Mr Scott's poetry. tures, it was not our intention to have It is history in masquerade. Not only accompanied it by a single abservathe crust of old words and images is tion in the shape of judgment, as to worn off, but the substance is become their merits or defects; but we find, comparatively light and worthless. that our own opinions have been The forms are old and uncouth, but strangely supposed to be identifier
LETTERS OF TIMOTHY TICKLER TO
VARIOUS LITERARY CHARACTERS.
with those we have done nothing more man's person, he cannot intend the tham detail. We choose, therefore, to epithet to apply to that; and how say a few words on the impression we “ pimpled” may be interpreted with have received from these, and from reference to mind, we are not able to Mr Hazlitt's previous writings on si- divine.
A. Z. milar subjects.
We are not apt to imbibe half opinions, or to express them by halves; we shall therefore say at once, that when Mr Hazlitt's taste and judgment are left to themselves, we think him among the best, if not the very best, Letter III.-To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. living critic on our national literature. His sincere and healthful perceptions MY DEAR JEFFREY, of truth and beauty, of falsehood and I Dare say, that when you receive this deformity, have a clearness, a depth, letter, you will wonder what the deuce and a comprehensiveness, that have Timothy Tickler has got to say to you; rarely been equalled. They appear to and, no doubt, that slavish herd of come to him by intuition ; and he con- boy-admirers that dog your heels, will veys the impression of them to others, think it excessively impertinent that with a vividness and precision that an obscure person like me should of cannot be surpassed. But his genius fer admonition to so exalted a personis one that will not be “ constrained nge as the Editor of the Edinburgh by mastery." When, in spite of him- Review. But the truth is, that I adself, his prejudices or habits of pere mire you as much as they do, though sonal feeling interfere, and attempt to I have not been able to bring myself, shackle or bias its movements, it de- like them, to think you an oracle, serts him at once. It is like a proud whose inspiration, it is blasphemy to steed that has been but half broke to doubt, and whose very name ought to the bitt; when at liberty, it bounds be kept in reverential and inviolable along, tossing its head to the free air, silence. For nearly twenty years you and seeming to delight and glory in have made pretty free with the names, the beauty that surrounds it. But the lents, and acquirements, of all the moment it feels constraint, it curvets, literary men in Britain ; and have den and kicks, and bites, and foams at the cided upon their pretension to glory, mouth, and does nothing but mis- if not with dogmatical, at least with chief.
authoritative assurance. Something As we have not scrupled to declare, of this has been owing to the constituthat we think Mr Hazlitt is sometimes tion of your mind, which has made the very best living critic, we shall you, on the whole, greatly to overrate venture one step farther, and add, your own talents, and greatly to underthat we think he is sometimes the very rate the talents of others; and I am worst. One would suppose he had a willing to believe, that still more of it personal quarrel with all living writ- has been owing to the influence of ers, good, bad, or indifferent. In your assumed character as Critic of fact, he seems to know little about the age ; fully to support which, it them, and to care less. With him, to was necessary that you should subdue be alive is not only a fault in itself, within yourself all misgivings arising but it includes all other possible faults. from the occasional consciousness of He seems to consider life as a disease, inferiority, and at all times show a and death as your only doctor. He bold and defying front to the enemy. reverses the proverb, and thinks a Yet I am much mistaken if you, afdead ass is better than a living lion. ter all, have succeeded in deceiving In his eyes, death, like charity, either yourself or others into the be“ covereth a multitude of sins." in lief that you are the leading Spirit of short, if you want his praise, you the Age. With all your cleverness, inmust die for it; and when such praise genuity, and wit, there is a melanchois deserved, and given really con amore, ly want about all your writings. You it is almost worth dying for.
can expose what is little, but when have By the bye, what can our Editor's you created what is great? You can facetious friend mean by “ pimpled follow with nimble steps the route of Hazlitt?" If he knows that gentlee other men, but into what recesses of
knowledge have you ever conducted dear friend, you ought to have given, them as a guide ? It is a truth which that in future times pilgrims might will not be concealed, that you are not repair to the spot, and worship the a great man. There is something mea chair on which you took your evening teorous about you—and it is pleasant nap, haply beneath the wings of the to see that brilliant light glancing “ Spread Eagle,” or the mane of the through the lower regions of the sky " Red Lion," or the bushy locks of the -but we fix our eyes at last on the " Queen's Head.” What is the use large bright stars of heaven, and the of a bulletin at all, unless it be comtrack of the kindled vapour is forgote prehensive and complete? The imten.
portance of the subject would have jusI beg your pardon, my dear Jeffrey, tified the most lengthened detail, for for this inflated manner of writing, so what was the meeting of Kings and ill-suited to epistolary correspondence, Emperors on " that famous Raft," " to and formning so very awkward an in- the celestial colloquy sublime," of Retroduction to the very trifling and ludi- viewer and Bard, in the back parlour crous subject on which I am about to of an Inn at Keswick? put a few questions. You have your How you passed the night-how self such an exquisite perception of the many blankets you slept under-and absurd-you are so alive to the follies whether the hair mattrass was beand whimsies of others—that I am neath or above the feather-bed, you sure you will pardon me for laughing have, with that forgetfulness so chavery heartily at yourself, when you racteristic of genius, omitted to inform chance to make yourself ridiculous. the world. But next day
you walk And surely, if ever man did niake ed into the fields with Mr Coleridge,” himself ridiculous, you have done so, he clad, I presume, in “ russet weeds," by your note on page 509, &c. of the and you in a natty surtout and hes56th Number of your Review, which, sians. 66 His whole conversation was by some accident, I saw yesterday for poetry;" and when that light fare was the first time. Perhaps it may not be digested," he did you the honour to quite fair to allude to what is now for- dine with you at the Inn.” Next gotten-for I have regularly observed, morning, you parted to meet no more that each Number of your Work is or, in your own simple words, “I so much better than that which pre left Keswick, and have not seen him ceded it, that the existence of the one since." destroys all remembrance of the other; I cannot well understand, my dear so that, in reality, there is but one Jeffrey, the nature of those feelings Number of the Edinburgh Review ex- which induced you to publish this isting in the world ; and of all that bulletin. They seem to have been mighty family of pamphlets we see strangely compounded of excessive egobefore us, only the last-born, Benja- tism and shrinking timidity. Mr Colemin the Ruler.
ridge, it appears, had brought forward Who ever thought they would live some vague and indefinite charges to see the day, when the Editor of the against you, the head and front of Edinburgh Review would publish in which was, that you had handled sethat work a bulletin of his tea-drink- verely the poems of a certain bard, afing at Keswick? I forget-it was not ter you had eaten his beef and drunk tea, but coffee. What an image! The his wine; whereas, the truth is, you stern destroyer of systems, political, had only sipp'd his coffee, and perhaps poetical, metaphysical-having" coffee munch’d his muffins. Even if it had handed to him” by Robert Southey's been as the “ Ancient Mariner” asservant-lass! He sips it--while the serted, the world, who seldom take a destined Laureate stands aloof “ with deep interest in affairs of that kind, cold civility," and the “ Ancient Mari- would not have thought a whit the ner” “holds him with his glittering worse of you. But you began to think eye,” so that he can with the utmost that the fifteen million inhabitants of difficulty snatch a moment's intermis- these kingdoms had their eyes all fixed sion for a mouthful of buttered toast! upon you—and in the silence of night In this sublimated state of happiness, you heard voices calling on you to " an hour or two” passes away,—and vindicate yourself against the Feast of then Mr Francis Jeffrey returns to the Poets. The public, who you im" the Inn," the name of which, myagined were thinking only upon you,