ance with the relations of business men, might have overwhelmed instead of chastening his spirit. But we anticipate.

In due time the boy began to put on the man. He fell in love, but prudently, as it happened, for the young lady afterwards married another. He became a member of literary societies. He was called to the bar in 1792. Every vacation he made expeditions into the Highlands, and over the most part of the southern counties of Scotland, and the north of England. In these excursions he was indefatigable in the examination of every object of antiquarian interest, and in storing up those memories of ancient days which enabled him to rove at will and with ease throughout the forgotten details of by-past times. In Edinburgh the Parliament House rang with the merriment which succeeded his anecdotes. So did many a supper party of the companions whom he chose to admit to his particular friendship. He studied German, which the author of “The Man of Feeling" introduced to the Edinburgh literati as possessing a rising literature. Goethe, Schiller, and Kant became the companions of the kindred lads. Hitherto we read little of versemaking amongst Scott's accomplishments. There was not any necessity for such expression of his thoughts. They never wanted a friend to whom they might pass in the fresh mood of kindly intercourse. Verse was not in his case either the liberty of a prisoued spirit, or the regulated pastime of a mind wearied with excess of liberty. It became the channel of communication between the poet and the wide world that lay beyond his personal intercourse. Towards that extended audience young Scott began to stretch his flight. A translation from Bürger, a German poet now little heard of, was read at some of the Edinburgh evening parties. Some weeks afterwards, Scott heard of the impression the poem created, sought out the original, and admiring it, resolved to present his friends with a version of his own. This was the origin of the piece entitled, “William and Helen.” The weird character of the German romance of that period, represented to the English mind in the type of Lewis's “Monk," and subsequently by his tales of wonder, powerfully impressed the readers of German literature. Scott reads one day his poem to a friend. At its conclusion they suffer its unearthly spirit to engross a few minutes' silence. “I wish to heaven," said the poet, “I could get a scull and two cross-bones.” His friend takes him immediately to a surgeon.

Scott carries home in a handkerchief the sensible images of the dismal feelings of the hour. Mounted on the top of his bookcase, they afterwards found a place amongst the relics of Abbotsford. Some copies of the ballad of William and Helen were printed for private distribution, and this was the poet's first appearance in type. Soon afterwards he completed another translation from the same author, which he entitled the “Chase.” The two pieces were published together in October 1796. Amongst the circle of the poet's friends the little volume was heartily welcomed. The public cared nothing about it.

At this time the country was agitated by the warlike movements of the French republic. The aggressions in Italy bad roused the spirit of the British youth, who everywhere formed themselves into corps of volunteers. Walter Scott keenly felt his disqualification for infantry drill. But his patriotism was not to be balked. He agitated the formation of a body of cavalry volunteers. He was a fearless rider himself. In the saddle the bold spirit of the Border moss-troopers, his own ances. tors, came over him in a better cause. A regiment was formed, of which he became the life and soul. He was appointed paymaster, quartermaster, and secretary. He was actually a great deal more. It was his to animate his comrades with the light spirit of the trooper. In the intervals of the tiresome repetitions of drill, Scott's eye and tongue fired up the flagging zeal which monotony had well-nigh dispelled. His own regimental duties contributed to bring to the budding poet's thoughts the living realities of the military life on horseback. Thus it was that fancy proceeded in him upon a solid basis of fact; and in his actual experience of peculiar situations, the ideal so far blended with the real as to work in him the marvellous faculty of rendering their antagonisms indistinguishable to others. The apparent engrossment of the young advocate's mind, with what were to his fellows only mock military amusements, furnished at this time many a joke at his expense to his less ardent companions. They little knew what was going on in his brain. Scott must have felt a powerful fascination in these cavalry movements. tinued so long as the public mind retained any interest at all in volunteering, as active and as ardent as he was at first.

In the vacation of 1797 Scott met with the lady who became his wife. She was the daughter of a French royalist, whose widow had taken refuge in England. During an excursion in the north of England, she attracted the attention of Scott and his companions at Gilsland Spa.

The poet's fate was quickly decided by her manifold charms. The young lady possessed some means, and he thought his own professional exertions might make up a sufficiency for both to live on. They were married at Carlisle on the 24th December 1797. They occupied a lodging in Edinburgh, for a short time, until the house in Castle Street was ready.

In the ensuing summer a cottage was taken at Lasswade, a

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delightful spot about six miles from Edinburgh, where the poet sought to realize a rural paradise, and where many a happy hour passed away. There he wrote the ballads for Monk Lewis's Tales of Wonder.

In 1800 appeared the translation of Goethe's Tragedy of Goetz von Berlichengen, which did not attract much notice. Scott, also about this time, wrote a play called the “ House of Aspen.” Neither have been acted. Then he was successively occupied with “Glenfinlas,” “The Eve of St. John,” “The Grey Brother," and the “ Fire King." He was also taken up during his vacation rambles, which were intermitted only by the calls of professional duty, in the collection of the materials for the minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. His repeated visits to that neighbourhood renewed his acquaintance with a former school-fellow, James Ballantyne, then conducting a newspaper at Kelso. Scott gave his press some trifling occupation, and the style of his friend's work originated the connection between them, which eventually brought on the reverses that oppressed his maturer years,

In December 1799 the poet received, through the interest of the Duke of Buccleuch, the appointment of Sheriff of Selkirkshire, an office of £300 a-year, with duties of the lightest. About this time it was that he became acquainted with some of the friends whose literary acquirements were of material service to him, and whose value is recorded in so many delightful allusions in his poems. Heber, Leyden, Ellis, and Miss Seward became his literary correspondents. The Ettrick Shepherd also appears roughly in the circle. In the beginning of 1802 appeared two volumes of the minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, and through this work the poet became generally known to English readers. A third volume afterwards appeared ; and the “Lay of the Last Minstrel " began to take hazy form amidst the shadows of his rising fame. His friends received the rehearsal of its opening cantos somewhat coldly. But the poet discovered that they could not forget the lines he read to them. He went on.

The publication of the “Minstrelsy” made Scott a reviewer. Jeffrey, the editor of the “ Edinburgh," was a brother advocate. Scott did not long remain amongst his staff. Opposing politics by-and-by drove these men asunder, and Scott afterwards was one of the projectors of the “Quarterly.”

In 1804 took place the publication of Scott's edition of “Sir Tristrem,” by Thomas of Ercildoun. He found it necessary at that time to comply with the law, which requires the residence of the sheriff during four months of the year within his jurisdiction. He, therefore, took a lease of the farm of Ashestiel, in Ettrick Forest, and relinquished his cottage at Lasswade.


After long and anxious waiting on the part of his friends, the “Lay" made its appearance in January 1805. Its popularity was not long doubtful. It received at once the highest commendations. It continued to rise in public favour. Edition after edition was called for, to meet the continued demand. The author's biographer declares that “in the history of British poetry nothing had ever equalled the demand for the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel.'”

The Minstrelsy had been appropriately printed at Kelso. Un the representations of Scott, Ballantyne had removed to Edinburgh. “The Lay" was printed in the latter place. But business requires capital, and Scott's friendship had stood the printer already in such good stead, that he must also find capital to carry on the increased operations he created. Ballantyne showed this to the poet, who conceived the idea of becoming his partner. He did so. 'Twas pity. Oh, had he been content to help his friend still further, without caring to help himself! But Scott was enterprising. He had a poet's prescience. He was a of business,” yet he was a poet. Imagination must have carried him off his feet. He must needs also afterwards set up his printer's brother as a publisher. 'Twas well done. The strong should help the weak, and Scott was rising on eagle's wings. But he should not have been partner. He had not yet put forth half his strength. “The Lay” is timid here and there. It almost falters now and then, not in the weakness of the minstrel, but in his doubt of the mind of his audience. What shall this man be when he puts forth all his strength ? This, however, was scarce to be, until the Philistines should be upon him. All went well for some time. At length the publisher smote the printer ; and the printer smote the poet. What though the blow resounded louder all the sweetness of the lyre? The buffet struck home to the soul of gentleness, and the wound was grievous.

Scott's profession was hanging in the wind along with his harp. But the one shrank whilst the other vibrated. Fees dwindled whilst profits rose. The prospect of increasing the latter drove this powerful man into projects,-editions of the poets, and what not. Yet his partnerships were secret. His attendance at the Scottish Westminster was constant. Still it was plain he was not to rise at the bar. In 1806 he made an arrangement with Mr. Home, one of the clerks of the Court of Session, for the reversion of his office, on condition of discharging its duties gratuitously during the life of the holder. He was associated with Mr. Home in the appointment on these terms, and did not receive any emolument from it until some years afterwards. He was thus withdrawn from the bar, and ceased to be a pretender to public

favour as a professional man. Every moment spared from his office was given to literature and literary friendship. It is a wonder to the minnows how this triton, like most other great men, found time for all his labours ; for Scott was a keen sportsman. Coursing was his favourite amusement. It drew forth his attachment to his horses and his dogs, and gave himself the hearty and exhilarating exercise he dearly loved. 'Tis something to a book-worm, jaded with his toil in the close atmosphere of paper catacombs, to feel the free air of native hills and dales distending his cramped lungs. And he who, on his own pinions, raises into ethereal regions the solid work-a-day world, may be allowed to feel enjoyment on the back of a noble, if inferior animal, springing forwards on buoyant sinews in the chase that gives the beast at least the keenest pleasure. Walter Scott, at any rate, thought so. His horses and his dogs knew how he enjoyed the sport, and these dumb friends loved him and sunned themselves in his keen eyes as if they, too, saw the work he did. At this time Miss Seward looked on his face at Lichfield. She thus describes him : “On Friday last the poetically great Walter Scott came like a sunbeam to my dwelling.' This proudest boast of the Caledonian muse is tall, and rather robust than slender, but lame. Neither the contour of his face, nor yet his features are elegant; his complexion healthy, and somewhat fair, without bloom. We find the singularity of brown hair and eyelashes with flaxen eyebrows; and a countenance open, ingenuous, and benevolent. When seriously conversing or earnestly attentive, though his eyes are rather of a lightish grey, deep thought is on their lids; he contracts his brow, and the rays of genius gleam aslant from the orbs beneath them. An upper lip too long prevents his mouth from being decidedly handsome, but the sweetest emanations of temper and heart play about it when he talks cheerfully or smiles—and in company he is much oftener gay than contemplative-his conversation an overflowing fountain of brilliant wit, apposite allusion, and playful archness,while on serious things it is nervous and eloquent; the accent is decidedly Scotch, but by no means broad."

Next came “Marmion,” published in February 1808; a dumpy quarto," the author calls it. Had any one but he applied the epithet even to the shadow of the material volume, the man should be consigned to Dante for everlasting punishment. But even the affectation of Scott is catching. So much does the man endear himself.

Along with his works of imagination, Scott was carrying on his studies by the studious criticism involved in editing Dryden and Swift. These, doubtless, contributed to preserve the power and

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