Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF

tronize Mrs. Jameson's work, when she must e aware that he had been specially appointed her mother's biographer. As the . in question was perhaps the most extraordinary ever addressed by a gentleman to a lady, I entreated him to throw it into the fire; but he positively refused. Whether it was eventually sent or not, I never learned: if it was, Mrs Combe cannot have forgotten it. He had af. terwards some communication with Mrs. Jameson, in consequence of which she abandoned her design.”

I have heard Campbell say that a little girl of eleven would write better letters of their kind than any half dozen addressed by Mrs. Siddons to Mrs. Fitz-Hughes. The poet was introduced to the actress by Charles Moore, the brother of Sir John Moore. With the money which the publication of a bad book brought him, Mr. Campbell set off for Algiers. He told on his return more stories than Tom Coryatt, and began a series of papers upon his travels, for his old magazine, the New Monthly. These papers have since been collected into two volumes, entitled, “Letters from the South.” His subsequent publications were a “Life of Shakspeare,” a poem called “The Pilgrim of Glencoe,” the very dregs and sediment of his dotage; “The Life and Times of Petrarch,” concocted from Archdeacon Coxe's papers (a sorry performance); and Frederick the Great and his Court and Times,” a publication far below any thing which Smollett's necessities compelled him to put his name to, and only to be equalled by the last exigencies of Elkanah Settle. In 1837, he published his poems, in one handsome octavo volume, with numerous vignettes, engraved on steel, from designs by Turner; but Campbell had no innate love for art, and his illustrated volume, when compared with the companion volume of Mr. Rogers, is but a distant imitation. Mr. Rogers, it is true, had a bank at his back, and Campbell had little more than .Telford's legacy of 500l. to draw upon; but this will not account for the difference which we are to attribute altogether to an imperfect understanding of the beauties and resources of art. When Mr. Campbell accepted the editorship of the New Monthly Magazine, he

* Literary Gazette, 22d June, 1844. Mr. Dyce's letter is dated the 18th, three days after Campbell's death. After ten years of possessing his soul in peace—he might have waited a little longer.

forsook his favorite Sydenham, and leased the house No. 10, Upper Seymour-street West. It was in this house that Mrs. Campbell died. His next remove was to Middle Scotland Yard. Here he gave a large evening party, and then grew tired of his house. Milton's biographers pursue their favorite poet through all his gardenhouses, and tenements in London : I am afraid it would be no easy task to follow Campbell through the long catalogue of his London lodgings, for the last fifteen years of his life. I recollect him lodging at No. 42 Eaton-street; in Stockbridgeterrace, Pimlico; in Sussex Chambers, Duke-street, St. James; at 18 Old Cavendish-street; in York Chambers, St. Jamesstreet; and at 61 Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields. In November, 1840, he again set up house, for the sake of a young niece, to whom be has bequeathed the whole of his little property. The house he chose was No. 8 Victoria-square, and here he made his will.

The last time I saw Mr. Campbell was in Regent-street, on the 26th of September 1843. He was dressed in a light blue tail coat, with gilt buttons, an umbrella tucked under his arm, his boots and trowsers all dust and dirt, a perfect picture of mental and bodily imbecility. I never saw a look in the street more estranged and vacant; not the vacancy of the man described by Dr. Young, “whose thoughts were not of this world,” but the listless gaze of one who had ceased to think at all. I could not help contrasting to myself the poet's present with his past appearance, as described by Byron in his Journal. “Campbell looks well, seems pleased, and dressed to sprucery. A blue coat becomes him, so does his new wig. He really looks as if Apollo had sent him a birth-day suit, or a wedding garment, and was witty and lively.” This was in 1813, in Holland House. He has drawn a picture of himself in the streets of Edinburgh, when the “Pleasures of Hope was a new poem; “I have repeated these lines so often,” he says, “on the North Bridge, that the whole fraternity of coachmen know me by tongue as I pass. To be sure, to a mind in sober, serious, street-walking humor, it must bear an appearance of lunacy, when one stamps with the hurried pace and fervent shake of the head, which strong, pithy poetry excites.” "

Mr. Campbell died at Boulogne on the

* Lockhart's Life of Scott, i. 342.

15th of June, 1844, and on the 3rd of July, was buried at Poets' Corner, about one foot above the ground, and over against the monument to Shakspeare. I have heard that he had a wish to be buried in the Abbey—a wish which he expressed about a year before he died, at a time when a deputation of the Glasgow Cemetery Company waited on the poor enfeebled poet to beg the favor of his body for their new cemetery. Who will say that Campbell lived unhonored in his native city? Mr. Campbell was in stature small but well made. His eyes were very fine, and just such eyes as Lawrence took delight in painting, when he drew that fine picture of the poet which will preserve his looks to the latest posterity. His lips were thin, and on a constant twitter—thin lips are bad in marble, and Chantrey refused to do his bust because his lips would never look well. He was bald, I have heard him say, when only twenty-four, and since that age had almost always worn a wig. There was a sprucery about almost every thing he did. He would rule pencil lines to write on, and complete a MS. more in the manner of Davies of Hereford than Tom Campbell. His wigs, in his palmy days, were true to the last curl of studious perfection. He told a story with a great deal of humor, and had much wit and art in setting off an anecdote that in other telling had gone for nothing. The story of the mercantile traveller from Glasgow, was one of his very best, and his proposing Napoleon's health at a meeting of authors because he had murdered a bookseller (Palm), was rich in the extreme. Campbell was very fond of forming clubs —he started a poets' club at his own table at Sydenham, when Crabbe, Moore, and Rogers were of the party. “We talked of forming a poets' club,” writes Campbell, “ and even set about electing the members, not by ballot, but viva voce. The scheme failed, I scarcely know how; but this I know, that, a week or so afterwards, I met with Perry, of the Morning Chronicle, who asked me how our poets' club was going on. I said, “I don't know—we have some difficulty in giving it a name; we thought of calling ourselves The Bees. “Ah,” said Perry, “that's a little different from the common report, for they say you are to be called The Wasps.” I was so stung with this waspish report, that I thought no more of the Poets' Club.” Whatever

merit is due to the foundation of the London University, I believe belongs by right to Campbell: he was the founder, moreover, of the Literary Union, an ill-regulated club which expired in the spring of the present season,

“ Unwilling to outlive the good that did it,”

like the Ipswich of Wolsey, as described by Shakspeare. It is well known that Campbell's own favorite poem of all his composition was his Gertrude. “I never like to see my name before The Pleasures of Hope ; why, I cannot tell you, unless it was that when young I was always greeted among my friends as ‘Mr. Campbell, author of The Pleasures of Hope.’ you Mr. Campbell, author of The Pleasures of Hope.' When I got married, I was married as the author of The Pleasures of Hope; and when I became a father... my son was the son of the author of the Pleasures of Hope.” A kind of grim smile, illsubdued, we are afraid, stole over our features, when standing beside the poet's grave, we read the inscription on his coffin :

“Thomas CAMPBELL, LL.D. Author of the ‘PLEASUREs of Hope,” Died JUNE 15, 1844. AGED 67.”

The poet's dislike occurred to our memory —there ws no getting the better of the thought. There is a vigor and swing of versification in The Pleasures of Hope unlike any other . of Campbell's compositions, the Lochiel excepted: yet it, carries with it as Sir Walter Scott justly observes, many marks of juvenile composition. The Lochiel has all the faults and all the defects of his former effort, and, as if aware of a want, he sat down, when busy with Gertrude of Wyoming, to amend the poem. The four last lines originally ran:— “Shall victor exult or in death be laid low With his back to the field and his feet to the foe! And leaving in battle no blot on his name,

Look proudly to Heav'n from the death-bed of fame.”

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

* Good morning to .

[blocks in formation]

“Yes,” he said, “I tell you where I got it —I found it in a poem called The Sentimental Sailor published about the time of Sterne's Sentimental Journey.” I have never been able to meet with this poem. Campbell deserves a good biography and a good monument. His own works want no recommendations, but his friends may do much to perpetuate the memory of the man. Surely his letters deserve collection, and his correspondence should not be suffered to perish from neglect. There is a subscription on foot to erect a monument to his memory in Poets' Corner. This is as it should be—but let it be something good. We have more than enough of bad and indifferent in the Abbey already.

South Ey's Monum ENT.-The Committee for erecting the Monument to the memory of Mr. Southey, have altered their original plan. Instead of a Tablet with a Medallion, they now propose a Shrine, with a recumbent figure of the poet upon it, from a design by Mr. P. G. Lough, of which a lithographed copy will be sent to each subscriber; among whom are already to be found the late Earl of Lonsdale, Lord Kenyon, Lord Ashley, Lord Mahon, the Earl of Leven, Wiscount Melville, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Gloucester, the Bishop of Carlisle, Mr. Justice Coleridge, Mr. Justice Patteson, Mr. W. Wordsworth, Poet Laureate, Mr. S. Rogers, the late Mr. T. Campell, Professor Sedgwick, &c. —Athenaeum.

Lord Byron.—Among the objects intrusted to the care of the banker Caccia, who was declared a bankrupt last month (May), was a box containing the MSS. of Lord Byron. The box, belonging to the Countess Guiccioli, to whom the great poet bequeathed his most precious sourenirs, was claimed on the 19th from the Syndic of the bankruptcy by M. Micard, the attorney for the countess Besides the MSS. of all the printed works of Lord Byron, there are a few unpublished poems and critical notes written by himself in his own publications.—Revue de Paris.

REMINISCENCES OF THE LATE KING OF SWEDEN.

BY A German of FICER in The Swedish SERVIce.

From the New Monthly Magazine.

When I saw King Charles John for the first time, he was in his sixty-fourth year; but, from his glossy black hair, his fine figure, retaining all the vigor of his prime, and the vivacity and agility of his movements, he might have passed for a hale man of fifty. His angular, marked, but extremely pleasing features, his beautifully formed mouth, and his large, brilliant eyes, composed a whole, the highly intellectual and, at the same time, amiable expression of which was extremely fascinating. The gaze of his eagle eye, #. fixed upon and enetrated any one who was conversing with o had such a spell, that I think it would have been very difficult to tell the king to his face an untruth, without confusion or trepidation. I have seen courtiers and placemen, whose consciences might not be perfectly clear, stand abashed and confounded, as if thunderstruck, by that piercing look, which seemed to read the inmost recesses of the heart. Bernadotte appeared to be aware of this effect of his looks, and he is said to have formed beforehand an unfavorable opinion of those who could not bear their scrutiny. The expression of that searching eye changed with inconceivable rapidity. On my return to Stockholm, after a long journey, which I had performed, as the bearer of despatches on matters of great importance, with such expedition that it was noticed as an extraordina circumstance both in the German and Frenc newspapers, I waited immediately upon the king, and, being admitted to his presence, had occasion to observe the expression of the kindliest benevolence in his face suddenly changed into the flashing look of indignation. He had laid upon the table the despatches which I had brought, and, while he carelessly sprinkled me from a bottle of eau de Cologne, as he frequently did, to take off the smell of tobacco to which #. had a strong aversion, he put various questions, to which I gave satisfactory answers. At last, he inquired in what time I had performed the !...; When I mentioned the precise number of days and hours, his eyes, till then all kindness, all at once darted at me an annihilating look. “Monsieur,” he thundered forth, “ souvenez vous que c’est à moi que vous parlez, et que je ne souffre pas les mauvaises plaisanteries.” I assured him most respectfully that nothing was further from m intention than to take such a liberty; but it was not till he opened the letters, and found the truth of my statement confirmed by the date of them, that his good-humor returned. For the rest, there was nothing whatever in his manner that tended to intimidate; on the contrary, he possessed in the highest degree the talent so useful to a sovereign, of saying to

every one what was most likely to be most

agreeable to him, and osso prepossessing by his conversation all who approached him that they went away delighted. Of his extraordinary

o: of persuasion, and the great effect of l

s personal appearance, I will give a remarkable instance. When on one occasion (I forget in what year) the Norwegian Storthing, which, as every body knows, is always in opposition to the government, had again rejected all the propositions of the latter, and a formal breach was anticipated, the king, on receiving this intelligence, attended by a single aide-decamp, hastened to Christiana, where he arrived quite unexpectedly. He spoke the same evening with some of the leading members, went the following day to the assembly, harangued it, and in a short time produced such a change of sentiments that the ferment subsided, order and tranquillity were restored, and the measures proposed by the government, which were in reality fit and moderate, were adopted.

This faculty of rendering himself beloved, not by words alone, but by real kindness and beneficence, contributed not a little to raise him to the throne of Sweden. Other French marshals had acquired as high military reputation as Bernadotte, but by his longer residence at Anspach, and subsequently in Hanover, he had gained the character of a good, just, and clement governor, and, by his humane treatment of the Swedes taken prisoners by him near Lübeck, in the campaign of 1806, that of a noble and generous enemy. In this Swedish corps were several officers belonging to the most influential families in Sweden, who, fascinated by the amiable disposition of the marshal, and by the lively interest with which he inquired concerning the state of their country, carried home with them a high idea of his acute, comprehensive mind, and profound gratitude for his favors. The influence of these officers and their families contributed not a little to the election of the marshal as CrownPrince of Sweden at the diet of Oerebro, in 1810.

The opinion which has prevailed that the object of the Swedes in electing a French marshal was to flatter Napoleon, who was then all-powerful, is erroneous. The Swedes knew, as well as every one who was at all acquainted with the state of things at the French court, that for a long time past the emperor could not endure Bernadotte, and that he was even in some respects afraid of him. Napoleon neither wished nor favored the election of the Prince of Ponte Corvo as Crown-Prince of Sweden. He knew the character of this man, who had on several occasions openly and boldly opposed him, and was but too well aware that Bernadotte would never stoop to the subordinate and degrading part of a French prefect, to which the emperor doomed his brothers and relatives whom he invested with European sovereignties. Experience showed that he was not mistaken, for he soon received the strongest proofs that his former marshal had

become in heart and soul a Swede, and that, as might be expected of such a man, he preferred the interest of the country which had adopted him to that of the country in which he happened to be born. The continental system, that fixed idea of the emperor, to which he sacrificed so much, and by which he plunged into misery and estranged whole nations, who might otherwise have been and remained devoted to him—the continental system was the rock upon which the good understanding hitherto kept up, apparently at least, between these two extraordinary men, suffered shipwreck. The introduction of the continental system required unconditionally by Napoleon, would have been a death-blow to the commerce of Sweden: the Crown-Prince wrote to this effect to the emperor; and when the latter persisted in his unreasonable demand, flatly refused to comply. I have myself had occasion to peruse great part of this correspondence, which is stamped, on the part of Napoleon, with the character of despotism and irritability; and on the part of the Crown-Prince, with that of a firm, dignified resistance, osa bold, noble independence, and a perfect consciousness of the duties which he owed to his new country. The emperor, in his letters, calls the Crown-Prince a traitor, a rebel; and the latter replies that he should deserve those names, is unmindful of his oath and his engagements, he should sacrifice the interests of Sweden to those of France. The conduct of Bernadotte on this occasion was as prudent as that of Napoleon was impolitic. I have frequently heard it alleged as a ground of reproach against the Crown-Prince of Sweden, by Prussian officers more especially, but also by Swedish, that his conduct during the campaign of 1813 was not frank and straightforward—that he was not to be trusted —that he let slip several opportunities of beating the French, and, on the other hand, seized every occasion to spare them, and that, on this account, he led his own troops, the Swedes, into action as little as possible. This imputation is not quite just. The Crown-Prince of Sweden could not have a real interest in sparing the French, or, to speak more correctly, Napoleon: on the contrary, it was decidedly to his interest to annihilate him, for he knew his former commander too well not to be thoroughly convinced, that if he should come off conqueror from the conflict for life and death, he would never forgive the conduct of Bernadotte, nor forego his revenge. If he took the field against his countrymen without ardor, nay, with a certain lukewarmness, or even repugnance, this, in my opinion, rather redounds to his honor, and the more so as, from the very first, he communicated his views to his allies, the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia, and not only advised them to drive the French out of Germany, but insisted that there could be no uestion of peace with Napoleon while a single Trench soldier remained on German ground. It is true that he strove also to persuade the two sovereigns not to enter France, frankly declaring that, though he was ready to cooperate in the first-mentioned object with all his might, he would not contribute in any way to the occupation of France. About this period, he wrote several times, with the knowledge of the monarchs of Russia and Prussia, to Napoleon, earnestly exhorting him to peace, strongly and clearly representing to him the impossibility of any long resistance in his situation, and accurately predicting what must befall him if he would not lend a hand to peace. As this advice proved fruitless, Bernadotte cheerfully and honestly assisted in clearing the German territory of the French. If, in so doing, he manifested no hatred, no personal enmity to them, this is as natural as the animosity of the Prussians, who had great outrages to revenge; and I will take leave to add that these latter, perhaps, conceived themselves authorized to censure with the more severity this coolness of the commander-in-chief, because they could not help recollecting that this was the same general who, in 1806, had proved to them near Halle that he was not deficient in energy. The rather remarkable supineness of the Crown-Prince at Grossbeeren, where he placed his whole Swedish corps, with the exception of the artillery, which, under General Cardell, contributed materially to the victory, in the reserve, and would not suffer it to take part in the engagement, proceeded from the motive already touched upon—his reluctance, unseasonably indulged, it is true, to permit his own troops to act against the French. “The point,” said he, “was to save Berlin. It was but just that the Prussians should fight in first line for their capital, and that the Swedes should be there to afford assistance only in case of defeat. Thanks to my dispositions, to the ability with which they were executed by the Prussian generals, and to the enthusiasm and valor of their troops, that assistance was not necessary.” These sentiments I have heard Charles John himself express more than once, if not in the same words, yet in others of precisely the same signification. After the battle of Leipzig, the Crown-Prince separated from the allies, operated with his army against the Danes, and subsequently against the French in Belgium; and, adhering to his principle, baited his Swedish corps on the French frontier, which he would not allow it to cross. Bernadotte's way of living was extremely simple. To his established habit of temperance, he owed the astonishing conservation of his person and his robust health. Very often. indeed generally, he passed great part of the forenoon in bed, where, however, from eight o'clock, he gave audience and transacted business. About two, he generally rode out in fine weather, and frequently repaired to his favorite retreat the elegant little palace of Rosendal. built by himself, in the park, and tastefully fitted up and surdished, where he souetinues

dined. He rarely visited the table of the queen, who regularly dined with the gentlemen and ladies in attendance on her. In general, the king dined in company with only two or three men, courtiers of distinction, high officers of state, scholars, foreigners, or other interesting persons, with whom he wished to converse. He seldom went to the theatre, chiefly because he was not sufficiently conversant with the Swedish language. The last hours of the da he spent either in writing, or in the family circle. With pleasure and with just pride, the thoughts of Charles John dwelt upon his earlier career, and he frequently spoke with fondness of the time when he held the very lowest military ranks. “Lorsaue j'étais sergeant,” or, “A cette époque Je venais d'étre nommé officier,”—were expressions which I have often heard him use. He had an astonishing memory for old comrades and acquaintance, and when I was first introduced to him, l had to give him all the information I could concerning a great number of his old companions in arms. On many of them, who fell into distress, he conferred substantial savors, but he adopted the prudent resolution not to permit any of them to come to Sweden. On this point he has been so consistent that he had about him but a single Frenchman, his foster-brother, General Camps, and that, as far as I know, none of his relations, who are people of good property, ever came to Sweden. Had not the king adhered so firmly to this principle, a great number of Frenchmen, dissatisfied with the government of the elder branch of the house of Bourbon, would gradually have found their way to Sweden to importune their former general with applications for appointments, the granting of which would have been mortifying to the Swedes. Though the king, as I have already observed, generally lay long abed, he was attentive to his health, rarely rode on horseback. scarcely ever went a-hunting, and in general exposed himself to as little fatigue as possible, still he could upon occasion, in spite of his age, endure more than even the younger of his at: tendants liked to encounter. In great manoeuvres, I have seen the king for several successive days, passing eight or ten hours on horseback, and distinguished by his noble military bear. ing, and the great simplicity of his dress, among the brilliant uniforms of his numerous stafi. His frequent journeys to Norway were often performed with the utmost celerity, in winter, in the most intense cold, and on roads which in that season are not always the best. I shall here introduce one trait from Bernadotte's life. which does him great honor, and attests as well hus integrity as his powers of persuasion, and the influence which he always exercised upon those around him. At the breaking out of the Revolution in 1789, Bernadotte had recently been appointed sergeant by his captain. This captain, a native of the same province as himself, and who wished him well, had often reproved him for his soudness

« VorigeDoorgaan »