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518 LADY OF THE LAKE — ITS FAULTS VERY VENIAL,
We would object, too, to such an accumulation of strange words as occurs in these three lines:
" Fleet foot on the correi ;
Sage counsel in Cumber ;
Red hand in the foray, &c. Nor can we relish such babyish verses as
66. He will return : dear lady, trust :
With joy, return. He will — he must.'
“• Nay, lovely Ellen! Dearest ! nay.” These, however, and several others that might be mentioned, are blemishes which may well be excused in a poem of more than five thousand lines, produced so soon after another still longer: and though they are blemishes which it is proper to notice, because they are evidently of a kind that may be corrected, it would be absurd, as well as unfair, to give them any considerable weight in our general estimate of the work, or of the powers of the author. Of these, we have already spoken at sufficient length ; and must now take an abrupt leave of Mr. Scott, by expressing our hope, and tolerably confident expectation, of soon meeting with him again. That he may injure his popularity by the mere profusion of his publications, is no doubt possible; though many of the most celebrated poets have been among the most voluminous : but, that the public must gain by this liberality, does not seem to admit of any question. If our poetical treasures were increased by the publication of Marmion and the Lady of the Lake, notwithstanding the existence of great faults in both those works, it is evident that we should be still richer if we possessed fifty poems of the same merit ; and, therefore, it is for our interest, whatever it may be as to his, that their author's muse should continue as prolific as she has hitherto been. If Mr. Scott will only vary his subjects a little more, indeed, we think we might engage to insure his own reputation against any material injury from their rapid parturition; and, as we entertain very great doubts whether much greater pains would enable hiin
AND PROBABLY NOT WORTH CORRECTING.
to write much better poetry, we would rather have two beautiful
poems, with the present quantum of faults than one, with only one tenth part less alloy. He will always be a poet, we fear, to whom the fastidious will make great objections; but he may easily find, in his popularity, a compensation for their scruples. He has the jury hollow in his favour; and though the court may think that its directions have not been sufficiently attended to, it will not quarrel with the verdict.
END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.