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swan-like symphonies ! But it may be asked, how does all this affect my favourite art of painting ? I leave somebody else to answer that question. It will be a good exercise for their ingenuity, if not for their ingenuousness.

I proceed to the more immediate object of this Essay, which was to distinguish between the talents of Sir Walter Scott, Racine, and Shakespear. The subject occurred to me from some conversation with a French lady, who entertains a project of introducing Shakespear in France. As I demurred to the probability of this alteration in the national taste, she endeavoured to overcome my despondency by several lively arguments, and among other things, urged the instantaneous and universal success of the Scotch Novels' among all ranks and conditions of the French people. As Shakespear had been performing quarantine among them for a century and a half to no purpose, I thought this circumstance rather proved the difference in the genius of the two writers than a change in the taste of the nation. Madame B. stoutly maintained the contrary opinion : and when an Englishman argues with a Frenchwoman, he has very considerable odds against him. The only advantage you have in this case is that you can plead inability to ex

press yourself properly, and may be supposed to have a meaning where you have none. An eager manner will supply the place of distinct ideas, and you have only not to surrender in form, to appear to come off with flying colours. The not being able to make others understand me, however, prevents me from understanding myself, and I was by no means satisfied with the reasons I alleged in the present instance. I tried to mend them the next day, and the following is the result.-It was supposed at one time that the genius of the Author of Waverley was confined to Scotland ; that his Novels and Tales were a bundle of national prejudices and local traditions, and that his superiority would desert him, the instant he attempted to cross the Border. He made the attempt, however, and contrary to these unfavourable prognostics, succeeded. Ivanhoe, if not equal to the very best of the Scotch Novels, is very nearly so; and the scenery and manners are truly English. In Quentin Durward, again, he made a descent upon France, and gained new laurels, instead of losing his former ones. This seemed to bespeak a versatility of talent and a plastic power, which in the first instance had been called in question. A Scotch mist had been suspected to hang its mystery over the page; his imagination was


borne up on Highland superstitions and obsolete traditions, " sailing with supreme dominion” through the murky regions of ignorance and barbarism ; and if ever at a loss, his invention was eked out and got a cast by means of ancient documents and the records of criminal jurisprudence or fanatic rage. The Black Dwarf was a paraphrase of the current anecdotes of David Ritchie, without any additional point or interest, and the story of Effie Deans had slept for a century in the law reports and depositions relative to the Heart of Mid-Lothian. To be sure, nothing could be finer or truer to nature ; for the human heart, whenever or however it is wakened, has a stirring power in it, and as to the truth of nature, nothing can be more like nature than facts, if you know where to find them. But as to sheer invention, there appeared to be about as much as there is in the getting up the melo-dramatic representation of the Maid and the Magpye from the Causes Celebres. The invention is much greater and the effect is not less in Mrs. Inchbald's NATURE AND ART, where there is nothing that can have been given in evidence but the Trial-Scene near the end, and even that is not a legal anecdote, but a pure dramatic fiction. Before I proceed, I may as well dwell on this point a little. The heroine ;. , of the story, the once innocent and beautiful Hannah, is brought by a series of misfortunes and crimes (the effect of a misplaced attachment) to be tried for her life at the Old Bailey, and as her Judge, her former lover and seducer, is about to pronounce sentence upon her, she calls out in an agony—“Oh! not from you!" and as the Hon. Mr. Norwynne proceeds to finish his solemn address, falls in a swoon, and is taken senseless from the bar. I know nothing in the world so affecting as this. Now if Mrs. Inchbald had merely found this story in the Newgate-Calendar, and transplanted it into a novel, I conceive that her merit in point of genius (not to say feeling) would be less than if having all the other circumstances given, and the apparatus ready, and this exclamation alone left blank, she had filled it up from her own heart, that is, from an intense conception of the situation of the parties, so that from the harrowing recollections passing through the mind of the poor girl so circumstanced, this uncontrolable gush of feeling would burst from her lips. Just such I apprehend, generally speaking, is the amount of the difference between the genius of Shakespear and that of Sir Walter Scott. It is the difference between originality and the want of it, between writing and transcribing. Al

most all the finest scenes and touches, the great master-strokes in Shakespear are such as must have belonged to the class of invention, where the secret lay between him and his own heart, and the power exerted is in adding to the given materials and working something out of them: in the Author of Waverley, not all, but the principal and characteristic beauties are such as may and do belong to the class of compilation, that is, consist in bringing the materials together and leaving them to produce their own effect. Sir Walter Scott is much such a writer as the Duke of Wellington is a General (1 am prophaning a number of great names in this article by unequal comparisons). The one gets a hundred thousand men together, and wisely leaves it to them to fight out the battle, for if he meddled with it, he might spoil sport: the other gets an innumerable quantity of facts together, and lets them tell their own story, as best they may. The facts are stubborn in the last instance as the men are in the first, and in neither case is the broth spoiled by the cook. This abstinence from interfering with their resources, lest they should defeat their own success, shews great modesty and self-knowledge in the compiler of romances and the leader of armies, but little boldness or inventiveness of

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