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better known than himself, and a part as well as ours, I hope he may conof the undefined charm of his character sent." is, that while you feel the power of
Mr Vernon's arrival was expected the fascination that lies on its surface, early in the following week, and the you are conscious that much is be- interest that Sydney's description of yond, to which you have not yet been his friend had called forth, excited a admitted.”
general feeling of expectation during 6. Does not som
vhat of mystery the few days that intervened. hang over his early life,” enquired Mr The snow had fallen heavily during Bouverie. “I have never yet been the whole of the day on which Sydney able distinctly to trace his history.” expected his friend to arrive, and even
" He has confided to me much re- ing had closed in the midst of darkness garding himself,” replied Sydney; and mist ere the traveller appeared. “ but the sad events which marked his After lingering in the drawing-room early life, perhapsrender him unwilling till a later hour than usual, the party to dwell much upon its details. He is at length dispersed to dress for dinner. descended from the younger branch of
" I fear that I must abandon the a noble family in England, and was hope of seeing my friend to-day,” said left an orphan while very young.
He Sydney, as he held the door open for was then committed to the charge of a Constance to leave the room. distant relative who resided chiefly on
Oh, it is not yet too late to expect the continent, where, with the excep- him," replied Constance, “ I long so to tion of a few years spent at Oxford, see this friend of yours Sydney, that I Vernon has been entirely educated. shall be quite disappointed if he does He had lost this venerable friend not come.” about a year before I met him, and
She had just reached the landingthough in possession of an independent place of the stair that led to her fortune, was left without a single near
apartments, when a slight bustle in relative, and almost without a home.
the hall announced that the expected " He has studied, as I told you, at guest had arrived. She lingered for a Oxford, and is already in priests moment until she heard Sydney's joyorders, but he has not yet held any ful greeting responded to by a voice of charge."
rich and singular melody ; then enter“A sudden thought has struck me, ing her dressing-room she rapidly comSydney,” said Lord Delamere, whó pleted her toilet, and descended to the had been a silent but attentive listener drawing-room. The door stood half to this conversation. “I have long open, and as she approached she again thought that we ought to have a
heard the melodious tones of Mr Verchaplain here. We have paid too non's voice in conversation with her little attention to these matters, I uncle and Sydney. believe,” added he seriously; “but
He was standing near the fire as your friend, such as you describe him to she entered, and her first emotion was be, would prove I am sure a real ac
one of unqualified admiration, as her quisition, and it would be a pleasure to
eye rested upon his noble and comus to make him feel this as a home.” manding figure, his classic features, and
Sydney's countenance beamed with lofty brow, on which the lines of pleasure. “ Thank you, my dear thought and feeling were deeply traced. father,” exclaimed he warmly,
<< this But when his dark eye fell upon her, is indeed a delightful plan. I am
as Sydney eagerly advancing to meet sure, almost sure, that it will meet her, hastened to present her to his Vernon's wishes, and what happiness friend, she involuntarily shrunk from it will be to me to have him here." its penetrating gaze, and an undefined
“ We shall propose it then when he sensation that she afterwards vainly comes to visit us,” said Lord Delamere, tried to analyse, stole over her spirit, as he rose from the breakfast table, which the mild courtesy of his ad" and for your sake, my dear Sydney,
dress had not power to dispel.
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.
Of contemporary writers we can have forgotten one thing, viz., that think of no one more interesting to moral purpose which shall tip each the critic than Walter Savage Landor. shaft with a point of steel, and send He is a striking example of how use- the arrow home; that which shall give less great talents may become, when these talents coherence and dignity. I unsustained by great purposes. He have that to give, but I retain it. presents a problem worth solving. A That alone can sustain the mind in man unquestionably of splendid abili- rectitude and unswerving search after ties, yet exercising no more influence truth; and I retain it. Your boy will on his generation than an old curiosity be capricious, wilful; he will have no shop. However we may admire the sense of the vital importance of things; exquisite workmanship of certain de- he will sacrifice truth to prejudice or tails, it is impossible to feel any reve- caprice; he will write what he wills, rence for the whole. He has a certain not what he thinks ; and men will put name in literature; owing partly to no trust in him." personal connexions, and partly also Such has he grown up. Although to his talents. He was Byron's butt one loving to wander midst the groves and Southey's friend. He is the author of Academé, and to discuss with philoof the “ Imaginary Conversations," sophers the vexed problems of our and the “ Pentameron." But we may moral nature, he is anything but a seek in vain for the human being whom philosopher. Although a vehement he has influenced; to whom he has partizan, and taking a passionate inbeen a spiritual guide into any region terest in politics, he is a politician only however humble. His collected works, in the worst sense : his opinions are which now lie before us, in two goodly mere whims; in the place of principles double-columned volumes, will not, he has only prejudices ; and the defitherefore, carry him downwards on the ciency of largeness of view is made up stream of time, but leave him stranded by vehemence of party spirit, or rather upon some shallow, whence no one will let us say, of individual caprice. With care to move him. While he is yet him it is men, not measures. In every with us, therefore, let us learn, if we question he sees only some point upon can, some lesson from his failure; for which to fasten his sympathy or his to-morrow it will be too late.
hate. Too vain to accept the views of Certainly it is rare to see one so others and endeavour to support them gifted. All the fairies were invited to by his own illustrations, so that he attend his christening, and each vied might be an useful if humble worker with each in generous gifts ; so that in the common cause of mankind; and the rosy boy might grow up to be a too weak to originate views of his own, potent man. One gave him wealth, he has taken a purely personal view of that he might enjoy a learned leisure each question; and, generally, out of wherein to accumulate the stores of mere love of idle singularity, has fasancient and of modern literature. An. tened upon subjects which politicians other gave him fancy and feeling; a wisely regard as insignificant. Thus, third, wit; a fourth, eloquence; a fifth out of the mere wilfulness of paradox, bestowed on him one of the rarest of he, whose democratic declamation is alall things, style. Thus furnished, he ways excited by kings and potentates, was sure to become a ripe, elegant has chosen to laud the most execrated scholar, a cultivated and accomplished and execrable of living rulers, the emwriter. At this point a malicious fairy peror of Russia. In fact, all his polistepped forward and avenged the slight tical writing is at once turbulent and passed upon her in not being invited, childish. and addressed the company thus :- Landor has no ideas to put forth, and " Your boy is richly endowed, but you hènce his want of influence. Men are not to be moved by whims and caprices, passage, selected for vituperation of however they may be amused by them. Plato. Unhappily the same causes which pre- “ Chatham.-What do you think of vent his having any influence on phi. this jingle? II pôrov eúnaßnawuév losophy also prevent his influence on τι πάθος μη παθώμεν. . literature. Think of his varied know
“ Chesterfield.-I really thought that ledge and acquirements—his long fami- his language was harmonious to the last liarity with the great writers of ancient degree.” and of modern times-his powers of
Now, in the first place, nothing short illustration, and admirable style--and of presumptuous coxcombry could venthen consider how pre-eminently he ture to decide on such a delicate quesseems fitted for success as a critic on
tion as the harmony of a language, to taste, how worthy to guide the inquir- the pronunciation of which we have ing spirits of his day into the en
notoriously lost the clue; in the second chanted gardens of Armida, the solemn place, if our modern pronunciation be temples of Grecian art, or the wild adopted, the above passage, although it luxuriance of our early literature! And
may be read as a jingle, does not, we yet the puniest whipster that wields a
submit, naturally produce that effect. pen would be as safe a guide as Walter And grant all he says about Plato, Savage Landor; for, in spite of the what idle pedantry to select four weak acuteness and taste he often displays, sentences in a voluminous writer, and he nevertheless so repels the reader's hold them up to scorn! confidence by the insolent ostentation
Plato is uniformly treated by Landor of his will, or the childish extrava
as a personal enemy. Because he was gance of his caprice, that they quit the first to write Imaginary Conversahis guidance in disgust. We do not tions? We know not; we only know allude to such things as his teaching that Landor is wroth with him for, Virgil how to write Latin, or his
among other things, his insincerity. taking Plato to task for his Greek
Now, without here undertaking Plato's these are the insolent pedantries of a defence, we must say Landor has not Very
but they merely cause brought forward any proofs to back his the readers to smile. We allude to charge ; meanwhile he himself is guilty the mingled audacity and insignificance of what looks very like insincerity in of his frequent onslaughts upon names this example of Plato's quibbling : honoured by all the world-onslaughts unjustified by any purpose, unsup- “Let me open at any page whatever, and ported by any arguments of weight. I can supply
abundantly the most capricious We are for no blind reverence. Great
customer. Take for a specimen a pinch of
the Polity. Here be carries his quibbles to as these men were, they may have their such an extent as to demonstrate that justice reputations scrutinized in perfect liber- is a sort of thief. These are his very words ty; and although good taste would positive and express: no mere inference of
mine." suggest that this scrutiny should be untainted by polemical vehemence or It appears very extraordinary to us Alippant levity, literature would profit that, considering how many quibbles by any serious discussion of their claims there are in Plato, this passage should to renown. But Landor treats them have been selected, since it is no more as if they were his intimate enemies. “demonstration” used by Plato than Their writings are insults to him. He by Landor. If the reader will turn to speaks of them with swaggering con- the Republic, Book I. (p. 16 ed. Bektempt. The passages he brings ker)—and this is undoubtedly the passforward in justification are at the age alluded to by Landor-he will best extremely trivial, and, if wor
find indeed the very words κλεπτης thy of notice at all, certainly quite åpa tus ó Oikalos—but he will also unworthy of the importance he find that they are the reductio ad abchooses to affix to them. In turn- surdum to which Socrates brings the ing over his pages for an illustra- definition of Polemarchus, and not the tion of this, we met with the following meaning of Plato.
Landor's objections are often direct- (corruptions, if you will) that have ed against mere phantoms of his own taken place, have been so gradual, and creation; and when not against such have been adopted by our writers so uopuolúkela, but against unquestion- unhesitatingly, that to set one's face able errors, his argument has only against them, and pretend to reform force because it presents the brick as a that which is in the nature of things specimen of a house. “Exhibit singly incapable of it, is mere wilful pedanand broken off,” says a favourable try. Use and custom, which Horace critic, “the grinning heads and crush- tells us form the pattern of all speech ed backs, and the water-spouts, and the and writing, have sanctified the modern griffins of a cathedral, and then trium- orthography; and, however bad it may phantly ask for the sublimity of the be, still when it is once accepted, to whole : such is Mr Landor's method attempt its removal is to betray a want with the doctrines of Plato and the of proper sense of the relative importimagery of Dante." We believe the ance of things; it is to make the nieans quantity of such carping objections in superior to the aim. Landor's orthoLandor, directed against the greatest graphy is an affected singularity, and writers, to be quite unparalleled else- as such a constant offence to the reader where. He " has had his flirg” at not, only in its assumption of supeevery idol. A more resolute iconoclast riority, but also in the triviality of its we never met with. Perhaps nothing aim. in the shape of retaliation was ever His pettiness is also shewn in his more severe than Mr Quilinan's article love of paradox. In throwing out a in Blackwood, wherein he assembled startling paradox you may sometimes. together the various passages in which clear the moral atmosphere. But his Landor had vilified the idols of the paradoxes are the result of restless world. Yet Landor himself has said love of singularity, aided by weak judgwith striking truth, “He who exults ment, and consist in the simple opposiover light faults betrays a more not- tion of his dictum against the dictum able want of judgment than he cen
of the world. Indeed one may say sures.” We agree with him; and that if you know the sentence of manpoint to his own works as illustra- kind upon any work, you have only to tions.
reverse it, and be certain you have There is, in truth, a pettiness and Landor's sentence. Thus Dante being peevishness in Landor, which looks universally admitted to be perhaps of like the wantonness of a spoiled child; all poets the most sustained in exceland, connected with this, an overween- lence, Landor boldly declares that not a ing vanity displaying itself in trifles. "twentieth part of the Divina Comedia Perhaps nothing gives the measure of a is good,” and “ that at least sixteen man's mind better than his estimate of parts in twenty of the Inferno and Purtrifles; for greatoccasions he braces him- gatorio are detestable both in poetry self up, and unbends only in ordinary and principle.” How like him this is ! life. Now Landor magnifies trifles into He selects the two most favoured porthings of importance, because he throws tions of a great work, and says that by his will and passions into them, and in far the greater part of them is detestso doing gives us his measure. His able. But if a fifth only be excellent, innovations in orthography may be how came Dante by his reputation ? cited as one example. Doubtless our Again, Ovid, a charming poet, whom language is very defective, not only in Landor has chosen to take under his its structure but in its orthography. especial protection—being renowned As a strong example, take the word for his prodigal superfluity —for the stabile (stabilis) which is now always easy flow of commonplace verses minwritten stable in spite of the ambiguity gled with the rich current of his muse arising from their being another and -Ovid is said of all poets that ever altogether different word so spelled ; lived to have “written the most of in spite also of our writing stability good poetry, and in proportion to its and not stablety. Yet the changes quantity, the least of bad or indiffe
rent.” A mere wilful flat denial of atmosphere, he has not that respect for the world's judgment.
others which would restrain the extraSo Horace, in whom ancients vagancies of his caprice. Nothing has well as moderns have lauded the ever taught him respect for the public. curiosa felicitas, is said to be fuller of Too rich to be obliged to consider for “evidences to the contrary than any
an instant either the public's likings contemporary or preceding poet." or the public's wants, he has printed
These samples are sufficient, though what he has written, as he has written we might fill some pages with more,
it. He has had the field to himself, and after considering them, we quote and has used it to cut capers and throw with peculiar satisfaction his own ex
somersets. He writes like a spoiled cellent remark :-“Paradox is dear to child, accustomed to indulge its whims most people ; it bears the appearance irrespective of all consequences. of originality, but is usually the talent Such, deliberately considered, apof the superficial, the perverse, and the pear to us to be Landor's faults. We obstinate." Fiat applicatio !
shall, however, have been grossly misIt may perhaps be objected that understood if, from the foregoing rethese criticisms are supposed to pro- marks, it be concluded that we are inceed from the imaginary interlocutors, sensible to the great, we may say, not from the author. Indeed he has splendid qualities, exhibited in his in guise of preface, affixed this sen- writings. If we have laid some stress tence :-“ Avoid attributing to the on the faults, it was because the occawriter any opinions in this book, but sion demanded it. The collected what are spoken under his own name.' works were before us; made up in a But any one the least familar with his shape destined for posterity. We had, writings, will at once admit that this as critics, to enquire into the probawilfulness and love of contradiction, bility of their ever reaching their desare essentially qualities of the author; tination, and having pronounced a nethe more so, as the opinions are by no gative, we had to examine into the means correct representations of those reasons of the author's failure. really held by the speakers. No; we Nevertheless, put these volumes on cannot err in laying to his charge the your shelves; they deserve a place turbulent boastfulness and silly love of there. We can point to no living singularity, which so disagreeably af- writer, in our language, who in susfect every reader of the Imaginary tained stateliness and elegance of Conversations.
style, can be compared with him. Doubtless much of what we signal- Nor this stateliness, stiffness; it is ize in Landor, as destructive of the in- graceful and easy as calm and meafluence his abilities ought to command, sured writing can well be. It is clear, arises from his having lived an exile harmonious, and correct ; sometimes from his native land, shut out from all felicitously terse, sometimes sinuously the modifying influences which, in so- flowing, and sometimes exquisitely ciety, correct the asperities of nature. musical,—clothing by turns, in its Whoso lives apart from his country, appropriate garment, a moral aphorwants an essential portion of his edu- ism, a description of some bit of nacation, viz. : that restraining discip- ture, or a burst of enthusiasm. The line which results from the presence of command over language, idiomatic, exemplars, and the thousand minute without vulgarity, exhibited in these but powerful influences which form the works, would alone make them precisocial man.
Landor has lived in his ous to every man of letters. study; among books, not among men; We cannot do better than select in Italy, more than in England. The some examples; they will form quite consequence has been, that he is not a little Anthology.
Here is a lovely only a bookish man-a pedantic stu- description of two swans on a river:dent, but that having been removed
“The nobler one came sailing up from the from daily contact with his country- lake, as swiftly and steddily as if some wind men, and not having breathed their bad blown him, though there was not a