Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

of charitable bam-of amiable huma sion did he marry any of the girls ;

bug; and Mr Jeffrey is a great deal too and Mr Hogg ought not thus to de w kind, in my opinion, in bepraising the fend morality at the expence of his=small fry of poetasters, while he sends torical truth. A poet, above all men, si his harpoon into the backs of the lar- should always stick to facts; and this

ger poets, and laughs at beholding young woman, who, he says, carried 9 them floundering about with a mile of her husband, is altogether an imagi

rope coiled round them. I never could nary Jacobite relic.

see any more wickedness in Frank The Poetic Mirror is now lying be* Jeffrey than in Christopher North; fore me, and two of the imitations of

and I believe you both to be a couple Wordsworth are admirable. But Hogg 5 of admirable fellows,-no men's ene never wrote one syllable of them. They

mies but your own,-a little defie were written by Lord Byron, with an cient in prudence and worldly wisdom; immense stack of bread and butter but gradually improving by age and before him, and a basin of weak tea. infirmity, and likely to turn out, after Mr Pringle's little poem is pretty all, useful and respectable members of enough, but all the rest of the volume

society. I could not let this favourable is most inhuman and merciless trash. Band opportunity pass without paying you Does Hogg believe, that if he were to Ho both a well deserved compliment. Pray, steal Lord Byron's breeches and coat, it where lay“ the horrible blunder," in and so forth, and walk along the Rialto, DOH classing Mr Tennant, the author of that the Venetian ladies would misa

Anster Fair, with Mr Hogg. Mr Jeffrey take him for his lordship? It is easier with had never heard of Mr Tennant when to play the fool than the lord, and,

he reviewed his poem. He did not therefore, in one or two of his imitaa speak of him as an ignorant, but a self- tions, the swine-herd is more lucky. educated man. And though this was That of himself, for example, is a true not altogether the case, there was no specimen of the stye-school of poetry. horrible blunder in saying so. Mr I request you, Christopher, to look Hogg is simply a fool, when he talks again at page 65. Risum teneatis, of Mr Tennant being a better educa- amice ?” Read it aloud, and believe ted man than Mr Jeffrey. Mr Jeffrey's your ears. education was complete, and he is a “ I know not what wicked genius put

most accomplished scholar, though not it into my head, but it was then, in an Eli yet a professor at Dollar Academy. evil hour, when I had determined on the

Mr Hogg goes on to narrate to the side I was to espouse, that I wrote the world the circumstances under which Chaldee Manuscript, and transmitted it to he composed his Mador of the Moor, Mr Blackwood from Yarrow. On first Poetic Mirror, Dramatic Tales, and reading it, he never thought of publishing other volumes.

it; but some of the rascals to whom he Of Mador of the Moor, it is not in showed it, after laughing at it, by their own

accounts till they were sick, persuaded him, my power at present to speak in terms nay, almost forced him to insert it; for of adequate contempt. The story is some of them went so far as to tell him, this :-King James assumes the cha- that if he did not admit that inimitable arracter of an itinerant fiddler, and ticle, they would never speak to him again seduces a farmer's daughter, some so long as they lived.” where about the extremity of Perth There is a bouncer !—The Chaldee shire. She absconds, and, after a safe manuscript !--Why, no more did he delivery of a thumping boy, at which write the Chaldee Manuscript than it does not appear that any howdy offi- the five books of Moses.- Prove he ciated, madam takes her foot in her wrote it, and I undertake to prove the hand, and fathers the child upon his moon green cheese, and eat a slice of Majesty, in his court at Stirling Castle. it every morning before breakfast. I The king marries the trull, and with presume that Mr Hogg is also the the wedding (rather a stale concern) author of Waverley.--He may say so the poem concludes. This may be a if he chooses, without contradiction, common enough way of settling the and he may also assert that he, and business about Ettrick and Yarrow, not Lord Wellington, fought the but the kings of Scotland, I am per- battle of Waterloo,--that he commusuaded, never did wive after such a nicated thesteam-engine to MrWatt,fashion. King Jamie played a good and was the original inventor of Day many pranks during the long nights and Martin's patent blacking. It must unquestionably, but on no single occa- be a delightful thing to have such fan

VOL. X.

D

cies as these in one's noddle ;-but, on for a mere jeu-d'esprit--for my friend the subject of the Chaldee manuscript, was a humourist, and was in the habit let me now speak the truth. You your of saying good things. The Chaldee self, Kit, were learned respecting that was the last work, of the kind of which article; and myself, Blackwood, and a I have been speaking, that he lived to reverend gentleman of this city, alone finish. He confessed it and the mur. know the perpetrator. The unfortu- der, the day before he died, to the nate man is now dead, but delicacy to gentleman specified, and was sufficienthis friends makes me withhold his ly penitent; yet, with that inconsistname from the public. It was the ency not unusual with dying men, alsame person who murdered Begbie! most his last words were, (indistinctly Like Mr Bowles and Ali Pacha, he mumbled to himself,) “ It ought not was a mild man, of unassuming man to have been left out of the other edi. ners, -a scholar and a gentleman. It tions." is quite a vulgar error to suppose him After this plain statement, Hogg a ruffian. He was sensibility itself, must look extremely foolish. We shali and would not hurt a fly. But it was next have him claiming the murder a disease with him “to excite public likewise, I suppose; but he is totally emotion.” Though he had an amiable incapable of either. wife, and a vast family, he never was Now for another confounded boun. happy, unless he saw the world gaping cer! like a stuck pig. With respect to his " From the time I gave up. The Spy,' murdering Begbie, as it is called, he I had been planning with my friends to knew the poor man well, and had fre commence the publication of a Magaquently given him hoth small sums of zine on a new plan; but for several years, money, and articles of wearing appa

we only conversed about the utility of such rel. But all at once it entered his a work, without doing any thing farther. brain, that, by putting him to death mention it to Mr Thomas Pringle ; when

At length, among others. I chanced to in a sharp, and clever, and mysterious I found that he and his friends had a plan manner, and seeming also to rob him in contemplation of the same kind. We of an immense number of bank notes, agreed to join our efforts, and try to set it the city of Edinburgh would be thrown a-going; but, as I declined the editorship into a ferment of consternation, and on account of residing mostly on my farm there would be no end of the “public at a distance from town, it became a puzemotion,” to use his own constant ling question who was the best qualified phrase on occasions of this nature. among our friends for that undertaking. The scheme succeeded to a miracle. We at length fixed on Mr Gray as the He stabbed Begbie to the heart, rob- and I went and mentioned the plan to Mr

fittest person for a principal department, bed the dead body in a moment, and Blackwood, who, to my astonishment, I escaped. But he never used a single found, had likewise long been cherishing a stiver of the money, and was always plan of the same kind. He said he knew, kind to the widow of the poor man, nothing about Pringle, and always had his who was rather a gainer by her hus- eye on me as a principal assistant; but he band's death. I have reason to believe would not begin the undertaking, until he that he ultimately regretted the act; saw he could do it with effect. Finding but there can be no doubt that his him, however, disposed to encourage such enjoyment was great for many years, a work, Pringle, at my suggestion, made hearing the murder canvassed in his out a plan in writing, with a list of his own presence, and the many absurd supporters, and sent it in a letter to me. theories broached on the subject,

which Lenclosed it in another, and sent it to Me he could have overthrown by a single Pringle and he came to an arrangement

Blackwood ; and not long after that period, word. Mr wrote the Chaldee Manu. in the country. Thus I had the honour

about commencing the work, while I was script precisely on the same principle of being the beginner, and almost sole in. on which he murdered Begbie ; and stigator of that celebrated work, BLACKhe used frequently to be tickled at wood's MAGAZINE.” hearing the author termed an assassin. Hogg here says, he declined the

Very true, very true,” he used to say editorship of Blackwood's Magazine. on such occasions, shrugging his shoul- This happened the same year that he ders with delight, “ he is an assassin, declined the offer of the governor-gesir; he murdered Begbie:”-and this neralship of India, and a seat in the sober truth would pass, at the time, cabinet. These refusals on his part

tion ;

i prevented his being requested to bem Adam Smith has perhaps been more 1 come leader in the House of Commons, fortunate on the whole than the Scots

to overawe Brougham and Macintosh. man; and while you yourself, ChrisIn short, Blackwood tells me, that all topher, haye, by the merest accident

this story is a mere muddled misre- in the world, become the best of all * presentation. Ebony is no blockhead; imaginable editors, only think what

and who but a supreme blockhead must be the feelings of Taylor and would make Hogg an editor! Hessey, as they look on that luckless

This long letter will cost you dou- ass with the lion's head! It is the a ble postage, my dear friend.-Look at me in the fine arts. What a lucky page 66.

dog was Raphael in his Transfigura“ That same year, I published the

and who does not weep for the

accident that befel Mr Geddes in hand.. BROWNIE OF 'BODSBECK, and other Tales, in two volumes. I got injustice in ling the Scottish regalia ? In philosothe eyes of the world, with regard to that phy, by some casualty never to be sa

tale, which was looked on as an imitation tisfactorily explained, the fame of he' of the tale of Old Mortality, and a coun. Lord Bacon has eclipsed that of the

terpart to that; whereas it was written long latest of his commentators. We inere the tale of Old Mortality was heard of, deed live in a strange world ; but these and I well remember

my chagrin on finds things will be all rectified at last in a ing the ground that I thought clear pre higher state of existence. There, Black

occupied, before I would appear publicly more very possibly may get Milton to 13

on it, and that by such a redoubted cham clean his shoes ; Virgil may stand bepion. It was wholly owing to Mr Black. hind the chair of Dr Trapp; and Lonwood, that the tale was not published a year sooner, which would effectually have ginus gaze with admiration on William freed me from the stigma of being an imi- Hazlitt. tator, and brought in the author of the But I bridle in my struggling muse in vain, Tales of My Landlord as an imitator of That longs to launch into a nobler stain. me. That was the only ill turn that ever Mr Blackwood did me; and it ought to be In page 75, you will observe a list a warning to authors never to intrust book of Hogg's works. sellers with their manuscripts."

Vols: “ I was unlucky in the publication of The Queen's Wake my first novel, and what impeded me știll Pilgrims of the Sun. farther, was the publication of Old Mor

Hunting of Badlewe tality; for, havmg made the redoubted Mador of the Moor

1
Burly the hero of my tale, I was obliged Poetic Mirror
to go over it again, and after all the traits Dramatic Tales
in the character of the principal personage, Brownie of Bodsbeck
substituting John Brown of Caldwell for

Winter Evening Tales .
John Balfour of Burly, greatly to the de Sacred Melodies

triment of my story. I tried also to take Border Garland, No. I. 1

out Clavers, but į found this impossible. Jacobite Relics of Scotland
A better instance could not be given, of
the good luck attached to one person, and

15
the bad luck which attended the efforts of
another."

Now, if the man had absolutely

written fifteen volumes in seven years, The Brownie of Bodsbeck shall, death would be infinitely too good for God willing, never be read by me; him; but his enormities, though nubut I have been forced to see bits of merous and great, do not amount nearit in corners of the periodical works, ly to fifteen volumes. The Hunting, and they are, indeed, cruelly ill-writ- of Badlewe is reprinted in the Dramatën. There are various other instances tic Tales,-therefore, strike off one of “ good and ill luck," as Mr Hogg volume for that. The Pilgrims of the calls it, in literary history, besides this Sun, and Mador of the Moor, may one of Old Mortality and the Brownie. sleep in one bed very easily, and the Milton, for example, has been some Sacred Melodies and the Border Gara how or other a much luckier writer land may be thrown in to them. This than Sir Richard Blackmore. Homer most fortunately cuts off threevolumes. made two choice hits in the Iliad and The Poetic Mirror must, I fear, be Odyssey, that have raised his name allowed to stand very nearly as a sort above that of Professor Wilkie, the of volume in its way. But, pray, did unlucky author of the Epigoniad. Mr Hogg write all the Jacobite relics :

1

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.

[ocr errors]

cies as these in one's noddle ;-but, on for a mere jeu-d'esprit,--for my friend the subject of the Chaldee manuscript, was a humourist, and was in the habit let me now speak the truth. You your of saying good things. The Chaldee self, Kit, were learned respecting that was the last work, of the kind of which article; and myself, Blackwood, and a I have been speaking, that he lived to reverend gentleman of this city, alone finish. He confessed it and the murknow the perpetrator. The unfortu- der, the day before he died, to the nate man is now dead, but delicacy to gentleman specified, and was sufficienthis friends makes me withhold his ly penitent; yet, with that inconsistname from the public. It was the ency not unusual with dying men, alsame person who murdered Begbie! most his last words were, (indistinctly Like Mr Bowles and Ali Pacha, he mumbled to himself,) “ It ought not was a mild man, of unassuming man to have been left out of the other edi. ners, -a scholar and a gentleman. It tions.” is quite a vulgar error to suppose him After this plain statement, Hogg a ruffian. He was sensibility itself, must look extremely foolish. We shall and would not hurt a fly. But it was next have him claiming the murder a disease with him “to excite public likewise, I suppose; but he is totally emotion.” Though he had an amiable incapable of either. wife, and a vast family, he never was Now for another confounded boun. happy, unless he saw the world gaping cer! like a stuck

pig. With respect to his “ From the time I gave up. The Spy,' murdering Begbie, as it is called, he I had been planning with my friends to knew the poor man well, and had fre commence the publication of a Magaquently given him hoth small sums of zine on a new plan; but for several years

, money, and articles of wearing appa

we only conversed about the utility of such i rel. But all at once it entered his a work, without doing any thing farther. brain, that, by putting him to death mention it to Mr Thomas Pringle ; when

At length, among others. I chanced to in a sharp, and clever, and mysterious I found that he and his friends had a plan manner, and seeming also to rob him in contemplation of the same kind. We of an immense number of bank notes, agreed to join our efforts, and try to set it the city of Edinburgh would be thrown a-going ; but, as I declined the editorship into a ferment of consternation, and on account of residing mostly on my farm there would be no end of the “public at a distance from town, it became a puzemotion,” to use his own constant ling question who was the best qualified phrase on occasions of this nature. among our friends for that undertaking

. The scheme succeeded to a miracle. We at length fixed on Mr Gray as the He stabbed Begbie to the heart, rob, and I went and mentioned the plan to Mr

fittest person for a principal department, bed the dead body in a moment, and Blackwood, who, to my astonishment

, I escaped. But he never used a single found, had likewise long been cherishing a stiver of the money, and was always plan of the same kind. He said he knew kind to the widow of the poor man, nothing about Pringle, and always had his who was rather a gainer by her hus- eye on me as a principal assistant; but he band's death. I have reason to believe would not begin the undertaking, until he that he ultimately regretted the act ; saw he could do it with effect. Finding but there can be no doubt that his him, however, disposed to encourage such enjoyment was great for many years, a work, Pringle, at my suggestion, made hearing the murder canvassed in his out a plan in writing, with a list of his own presence, and the many absurd supporters, and sent it in a letter to me. theories broached on the subject, which Lenclosed it in another, and sent it to Me he could have overthrown by a single Pringle and he came to an arrangement

Blackwood ; and not long after that period, word. Mr

about commencing the work, while I was wrote the Chaldee Manu. in the country. Orhus I had the honour script precisely on the same principle of being the beginner, and almost sole inon which he murdered Begbie ; and stigator of that celebrated work, BLACKhe used frequently to be tickled at wood's MAGAZINE." hearing the author termed an assassin. Hogg here sàys, he declined the Very true, very true,” he used to say editorship of Blackwood's Magazine. on such

occasions, shrugging his shoul. This happened the same year that he ders with delight, “ he is an assassin, declined the offer of the governor-gesir; he murdered Begbie:”—and this neralship of India, and a seat in the sober truth would pass, at the time, cabinet. These refusals on his part

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

Epistles..

$1 Adam Smith has perhaps been more fortunate on the whole than the Scotsman; and while you yourself, Christopher, haye, by the merest accident in the world, become the best of all imaginable editors, only think what must be the feelings of Taylor and Hessey, as they look on that luckless ass with the lion's head! It is the same in the fine art

What a lucky dog was Raphael in his Transfiguration; and who does not weep for the accident that befel Mr Geddes in hand.. ling the Scottish regalia ? In philosophy, by some casualty never to be satisfactorily explained, the fame of Lord Bacon has eclipsed that of the latest of his commentators. We in-: deed live in a strange world; but these things will be all rectified at last in a higher state of existence. There, Blackmore very possibly may get Milton to clean his shoes ; Virgil may stand behind the chair of Dr Trapp; and Longinus gaze with admiration on William Hazlitt. But I bridle in my struggling muse in vain, That longs to launch into a nobler stain.

In page 75, you will observe a list of Hogg's works.

Vols
The Queen's Wake
Pilgrims of the Sun.
Hunting of Badlewe
Mador of the Moor
Poetic Mirror.
Dramatic Tales

2
Brownie of Bodsbeck
Winter Evening Tales
Sacred Melodies

1 Border Garland, No. I.

1 Jacobite Relics of Scotland

n

|СМ, 10

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

15 Now, if the man had absolutely written fifteen volumes in seven years, death would be infinitely too good for him; but his enormities, though numerous and great, do not amount nearly to fifteen volumes. The Hunting of Badlewe is reprinted in the Dramatic Tales,-therefore, strike off one volume for that. The Pilgrims of the Sun, and Mador of the Moor, may sleep in one bed very easily, and the Sacred Melodies and the Border Gara

thrown in to them. This most fortunately cuts off threevolumes. The Poetic Mirror must, I fear, be allowed to stand very nearly as a sort of volume in its way. But, pray, did Mr Hogg write all the Jacobite relics ;

4

3

land may

I

1

« VorigeDoorgaan »