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whose riders had been slain.
At the silence of twilight's contemplative hour,
On the wind-shaken weeds that embosom the bower
latter was the Benjamin of the family, the youngest of ten children, and was educated with great care. At the age of thirteen he was placed at the university of Glasgow, where he remained six years. In the first session of his college life he gained a bursary for his proficiency in Latin. He afterwards received a prize for the best translation of the Clouds of Aristophanes, and in awarding it, Professor Young pronounced the poet's translation to be the best exercise which had ever been given in by any student of the university. His knowledge of Greek literature was further extended by several months' close study in Germany under Professor Heyne; but this was not till the poet's twenty-second year. On leaving the university, Campbell resided a twelvemonth in Argyleshire. His father was the youngest son of a Highland laird-Campbell of Kernan-and the wild magnificent scenery of the West Highlands was thus associated in his imagination with recollections of his feudal ancestors. His poem on visiting a scene in Argyleshire will occur to our readers: it opens as follows:I
And lonely the dark raven's sheltering tree; And travelled by few is the grass-covered road, Where the hunter of deer and the warrior trode
To his hills that encircle the sea.
A favourite rock or crag, the scene of his musings,
And freedom shrieked as Kosciusko fell!
The sun went down, nor ceased the carnage there;
this time, he says, 'The sight of Ingoldstat in ruins, and Hohenlinden covered with fire, seven miles in circumference, were spectacles never to be forgotten.' He has made the memory of Hohenlinden immortal, for his stanzas on that conflict form one of the grandest battle-pieces that ever was drawn. In a few verses, flowing like a choral melody, the poet brings before us the silent midnight scene of engagement wrapt in the snows of winter, the sudden arming for the battle, the press and shout of charging squadrons, the flashing of artillery, and the too certain and dreadful death which falls upon the crowded ranks of the combatants.
Few, few shall part where many meet! The snow shall be their winding-sheet; And every turf beneath their feet
Shall be a soldier's sepulchre ! The poet intended to pass into Italy-a pilgrim at the shrine of classic genius; but owing to the existing hostilities, he could not proceed, and was stopped both on his way to Vienna, and by the route of the Tyrol. He returned to Hamburg in 1801, and resided there some weeks, composing his Exile of Erin, and Ye Mariners of England. The former was suggested by an incident like that which befell Smollett at Boulogne, namely, meeting with a party of exiles who retained a strong love of their native country, and a mournful remembrance of its wrongs and sufferings. So jealous was the British government of that day, that the poet was suspected of being a spy; and on his arrival in Edinburgh, was subjected to an examination by the authorities! He lived in Edinburgh, enjoying its literary society for upwards of a year, and there wrote his Lochiel's Warning.
Alison Square, Edinburgh.* This poem being read in manuscript to Sir Walter Scott, he requested a perusal of it himself, and then repeated the whole from memory-a striking instance of the great minstrel's powers of recollection. In 1803 Mr Campbell repaired to London, and devoted himself to literature as a profession. He resided for some time in the house of his friend, Mr Telford, the celebrated engineer. Telford continued his regard for the poet throughout a long life, and remembered him in his will by a legacy of £500.†
*The Pleasures of Hope were written in this square.
A similar amount was bequeathed to Mr Southey, and, with a good luck which one would wish to see always attend
Mr Campbell wrote several papers for the Edinburgh Encyclopædia (of which Telford had some share), including poetical biographies, an account of the drama, and an elaborate historical notice of Great Britain. He also compiled Annals of Great Britain, from the Accession of George III. to the Peace of Amiens, in three volumes. Such compilations can only be considered in the light of mental drudgery; but Campbell, like Goldsmith, could impart grace and interest to task-work. In 1806, through the influence of Mr Fox, the government granted a pension to the poet-a well-merited tribute to the author of those national strains, Ye Mariners of England, and the Battle of the Baltic. In 1809 was published his second great poem, Gertrude of Wyoming, a Pennsylvanian Tale. The subsequent literary labours of Mr Campbell have only, as regards his poetical fame, been subordinate efforts. The best of them were contributed to the New Monthly Magazine, which he edited for ten years (from 1820 to 1830); and one of these minor poems, the Last Man, may be ranked among his greatest conceptions: it is like a sketch by Michael Angelo or Rembrandt. Previous to this time the poet had visited Paris in company with Mrs Siddons and John Kemble, and enjoyed the sculptured forms and other works of art in the Louvre with such intensity, that they seemed to give his mind a new sense of the harmony of art a new visual power of enjoying beauty.. Every step of approach,' he says, to the presence of the Apollo Belvidere, added to my sensations, and all recollections of his name in classic poetry swarmed on my mind as spontaneously as the associations that are conjured up by the sweetest music.' In 1818 he again visited Germany, and on his return the following year, he published his Specimens of the British Poets, with biographical and critical notices, in seven volumes.* The justness and beauty of his critical dissertations have been universally admitted; some of them are perfect models of chaste yet animated criticism. In 1820 Mr Campbell delivered a course of lectures on poetry at the Surrey institution; in 1824 he published Theodric, and other Poems; and, though busy in establishing the London university, he was, in 1827, honoured with the graceful compliment of being elected lord rector of the university of his native city. This distinction was
poets' legacies, the sums were nearly doubled in consequence of the testator's effects far exceeding what he believed to be their value. Thomas Telford (1755-1834) was himself a rhymester in his youth. He was born on poetic ground, amidst the scenes of old Scottish song, green hills, and the other adjuncts of a landscape of great sylvan and pastoral beauty. Eskdale, his native district (where he lived till nearly twenty, first as a shepherd, and afterwards as a stone-mason), was also the birthplace of Armstrong and Mickle. Telford wrote a poem descriptive of this classic dale, but it is only a feeble paraphrase of Goldsmith. He addressed an epistle to Burns, part of which is published by Currie. These boyish studies and predilections contrast strangely with the severer pursuits of his after years as a mathematician and engineer. In his
original occupation of a stone-mason, cutting names on tombsolitary labours with visions of literary eminence, rivalling the stones (in which he excelled), we can fancy him cheering his fame of Milton or Shakspeare; but it is difficult to conceive him at the same time dreaming of works like the Menai Bridge or the Pont-cy-sylte aqueduct in Wales. We should as soon expect to see the gnarled and unwedgeable oak' spring from a graft on a myrtle. He had, however, received an early architectural or engineering bias by poring over the plates and descriptions in Rollin's history, which he read by his mother's fireside, or in the open air while herding sheep. Telford was a
liberal-minded and benevolent man.
*A second edition of this work was published in 1841, in one large volume, edited, with care and taste, by Mr Peter Cunningham.
continued and heightened by his re-election the two following years. He afterwards (with a revival of his early love of wandering) made a voyage to Algiers, of which he published an account in the New Monthly Magazine, since collected and printed in two volumes. In 1842 he published the Pilgrim of Glencoe, and other Poems. He has issued various editions of his poetical works, some of them illustrated by Turner and Harvey; and they continue to delight new generations of readers, by whom the poet is regarded with the veneration due to an established and popular English classic.
The genius and taste of Campbell resemble those of Gray. He displays the same delicacy and purity of sentiment, the same vivid perception of beauty and ideal loveliness, equal picturesqueness and elevation of imagery, and the same lyrical and concentrated power of expression. The diction of both is elaborately choice and select. Campbell has greater sweetness and gentleness of pathos, springing from deep moral feeling, and a refined sensitiveness of nature. Neither can be termed boldly original or inventive, but they both possess sublimity-Gray in his two magnificent odes, and Campbell in various passages of the 'Pleasures of Hope,' and especially in his war-songs or lyrics, which form the richest offering ever made by poetry at the shrine of patriotism. The general tone of his verse is calm, uniform, and mellifluous-a stream of mild harmony and delicious fancy flowing through the bosomscenes of life, with images scattered separately, like flowers, on its surface, and beauties of expression interwoven with it-certain words and phrases of magical power-which never quit the memory. His style rises and falls gracefully with his subject, but without any appearance of imitative harmony or direct resemblance. In his highest pulse of excitement, the cadence of his verse becomes deep and strong, without losing its liquid smoothness; the stream expands to a flood, but never overflows the limits prescribed by a correct taste and regulated magnificence. The Pindaric flights of Gray justified bolder and more rapid transitions. Description is not predominant in either poet, but is adopted as an auxiliary to some deeper emotion or sentiment. Campbell seems, however, to have sympathised more extensively with nature, and to have studied her phenomena more attentively than Gray. His residence in the Highlands, in view of the sea and wild Hebrides, had given expansiveness as well as intensity to his solitary contemplations. His sympathies are also more widely diversified with respect to the condition of humanity, and the hopes and prospects of society. With all his classic predilections, he is not as he has himself remarked of Crabbe-a laudator temporis acti, but a decided lover of later times. Age has not quenched his zeal for public freedom or the unchained exercise of the human intellect; and, with equal consistency in tastes as in opinions, he is now meditating a work on Greek literature, by which, fifty years since, he first achieved distinction.
Many can date their first love of poetry from their perusal of Campbell. In youth, the 'Pleasures of Hope' is generally preferred. Like its elder brother, the Pleasures of Imagination,' the poem is full of visions of romantic beauty and unchecked enthusiasm
The bloom of young Desire, and purple light of Love. In riper years, when the taste becomes matured, 'Gertrude of Wyoming' rises in estimation. Its beautiful home-scenes go more closely to the heart, and its delineation of character and passion evinces a more luxuriant and perfect genius. The portrait of
the savage chief Outalissi is finished with inimitable skill and truth:
Far differently the mute Oneyda took His calumet of peace and cup of joy; As monumental bronze unchanged his look; A soul that pity touched, but never shook; Trained from his tree-rocked cradle to his bier The fierce extreme of good and ill to brook Impassive-fearing but the shame of fearA stoic of the woods-a man without a tear. The loves of Gertrude and Waldegrave, the patriarchal Albert, and the sketches of rich sequestered Pennsylvanian scenery, also show the finished art of the poet. The concluding description of the battle, and the death of the heroine, are superior to anything in the Pleasures of Hope;' and though the plot is simple, and occasionally obscure (as if the fastidiousness of the poet had made him reject the ordinary materials of a story), the poem has altogether so much of the dramatic spirit, that its characters are distinctly and vividly impressed on the mind of the reader, and the valley of Wyoming, with its green declivities, lake, and forest, instantly takes its place among the imperishable treasures of the memory. The poem of O'Connor's Child is another exquisitely finished and pathetic tale. The rugged and ferocious features of ancient feudal manners and family pride are there displayed in connection with female suffering, love, and beauty, and with the romantic and warlike colouring suited to the country and the times. It is full of antique grace and passionate energy-the mingled light and gloom of the wild Celtic character and imagination. Recollecting the dramatic effect of these tales, and the power evinced in Lochiel and the naval odes, we cannot but regret that Campbell did not, in his days of passion, venture into the circle of the tragic drama, a field so well adapted to his genius, and essayed by nearly all his great poetical contemporaries.
[Picture of Domestic Love.]
[From the Pleasures of Hope.']
Thy pencil traces on the lover's thought
The moon is up-the watch-tower dimly burnsAnd down the vale his sober step returns; But pauses oft as winding rocks convey The still sweet fall of music far away; And oft he lingers from his home awhile, To watch the dying notes, and start, and smile! Let winter come! let polar spirits sweep The darkening world, and tempest-troubled deep;
Though boundless snows the withered heath deform,
Trim the gay taper in his rustic dome,
Safe from the storm, the meteor, and the shower,
To freeze the blood, in one discordant jar,
Then looked they to the hills, where fire o'erhung
[Battle of Wyoming, and Death of Gertrude.]
A scene of death! where fires beneath the sun,
On Waldegrave's shoulder, half within his arm Enclosed, that felt her heart, and hushed its wild alarm!
And in the buskined hunters of the deer
To Albert's home with shout and cymbal throng:
Calm, opposite the Christian father rose,
And one the uncovered crowd to silence sways;
Short time is now for gratulating speech;
Thy country's flight yon distant towers to reach,
Past was the flight, and welcome seemed the tower,
But short that contemplation-sad and short
Then came of every race the mingled swarm,
Clasp me a little longer on the brink
Of fate! while I can feel thy dear caress;
And Scotia's sword beneath the Highland thistle And when this heart hath ceased to beat-oh! think,
And let it mitigate thy wo's excess,
That thou hast been to me all tenderness,
Where friendly swords were drawn, and banners flew ;
And friend to more than human friendship just.
God shall assuage thy pangs-when I am laid in dust!
Go, Henry, go not back, when I depart,
In heaven; for ours was not like earthly love.
No! I shall love thee still, when death itself is past.
Half could I bear, methinks, to leave this earth, And thee, more loved than aught beneath the sun, If I had lived to smile but on the birth
Of one dear pledge. But shall there then be none, In future times-no gentle little one
To clasp thy neck, and look, resembling me?
Of them that stood encircling his despair
He heard some friendly words; but knew not what
Ye Mariners of England.
Ye mariners of England!
Whose flag has braved a thousand years,
Your glorious standard launch again To match another foe!
And sweep through the deep
The spirits of your father Shall start from every wave!
For the deck it was their field of fame,
Britannia needs no bulwark,
Her march is o'er the mountain-waves,
The meteor flag of England
Till danger's troubled night depart,
When the storm has ceased to blow;
On Linden, when the sun was low,
But Linden saw another sight,