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influence on the poet's character is another question. Certainly his second visit to the hospitable metropolis of the North does not form a particularly edifying episode in his life, and we are not sure he would not have done better to keep away from the social and convivial attractions of Edinburgh altogether. The taverns where he scribbled his verses have mostly disappeared now, but the attic window of a house where he lodged in St. James's Square in the new town is still pointed out. There he wrote the letters to the object of his affections, Clorinda, whom he addresses in these impassioned strains from his garret :
'I am certain I saw you, Clorinda, but you don't look to the proper story for a poet's lodging, where speculation roosted near the sky. could almost have thrown myself over for very vexation. Why didn't you look higher? It has spoiled my peace for the day. To be so near my charming Clorinda, and to miss her look when it was searching for me!'
The said Clorinda was a Mrs. Maclehose, who had been deserted by her husband, and who lived to boast when she was an old woman that Bobbie Burns had loved her. The flirtation was a vulgar one, but it had at least the merit of inspiring one of the most beautiful love songs that exists in any language.
'Had we never loved sae kindly,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.'
But perhaps the most interesting memorial of Burns's presence in Edinburgh is the house where he met the lame boy Walter Scott, at dinner at Professor Adam Ferguson's, in 1786. That house, formerly an imposing mansion known as Sciennes House, from the convent of St. Katherine of Siena close by, is still standing, and retains its stone balustrade, and festoons of fruit and flowers carved in stone, although it now looks out on the paved yard of a back alley. We do not know what Burns thought of the strange boy who had read everything and must know everything, but Sir Walter never forgot that meeting with the Ayrshire poet.
Many are the memories of Scott himself which crowd upon us in Edinburgh. The house where he was born indeed is gone, but a tablet records its site, and 25 George Square, where he spent the greater part of his youth, near the Meadows, is almost unchanged. Still more memorable is 39 Castle Street, the house where he settled soon after his marriage, and where he
spent more than twenty-six years of his life-' dear old 39,' as Lockhart calls it, where so many illustrious guests met and so many famous works were written. This was the beloved home which it cost Scott such a pang to give up in those last sad years when trouble fell so heavily upon him. With all his love for Abbotsford he never forgot that he was an Edinburgh man. Every corner of her streets, every view from her terraces still speaks to us of him. The hills which he climbed as a boy, the scenes which he has sung in so many poems and described in so many passages of his novels are all full of him. To him the old town and the new alike were living with recollections of great men and historic events. Not a queer tottering gable,' says Lockhart, 'but recalled to him some long-buried memory of splendour or bloodshed, which by a few words he set before the hearer in the reality of life.' And he has peopled them for us with a whole world of men and women, with names and faces that are as dear and as familiar to us as any who have lived and died there. Jeanie Deans and Flora MacIvor, the Baron, and Guy Mannering!-we cannot walk the streets of Edinburgh, or look up at the Castle Rock, without remembering them. And yet, after all, the man himself who made Scotland and the world so rich was, in Mrs. Oliphant's words, 'himself the finest revelation of all' (p. 476). The journal of those last six years of his life, which has lately been published, has strengthened and confirmed the impression which Lockhart's biography of his father-in-law had already given. There we see the great novelist with a courage and nobleness beyond all praise quietly setting to work to stem the flood of ruin which had overtaken his publishers, and in which he found himself so heavily involved. We know how bravely he accomplished that tremendous task, and how steadfastly he worked on, conscious of failing powers and declining health, simply because he was determined that no one who had trusted him should suffer on his account. The heroism of his self-sacrifice, the terrible strain which brought his days to an untimely end, has crowned that marvellously successful career with singular pathos, and endeared Sir Walter to us in a way that nothing else could have done.
Mrs. Oliphant alludes to Carlyle as the one great Scotchman who failed to appreciate Sir Walter, and suggests that it may have been the universal consent of applause which awoke the germ of perversity in his rugged peasant nature. But there is more than this in Carlyle's estimate of Scott. The author of Sartor Resartus and Past and Present had in his heart a supreme contempt for romance, and the great magician was
in his eyes a mere story-teller, 'a strong, healthy man,' but one who had no great message for his times, no balm for weary souls, no word of hope for failing hearts. And it is curious to notice how in this Carlyle was but the forerunner of the new age. The young critics of the present day are just as impatient, just as scornful of mere story-telling, and despise Scott as ignorant and antiquated, because he is content to tell his tale and does not trouble himself to solve any of the problems that vex the modern mind. But if Carlyle will not allow Scott to be a great writer his sympathy for the man gets the better of his critical judgment in the end. No words which he ever wrote are more touching than the final passage in his well-known review of Lockhart's Life of Scott :-
'It can be said of him when he departed he took a man's life along with him. No sounder piece of manhood was put together in that eighteenth century of time. Alas! his fine Scotch face '-that face which speaks to us so powerfully in Raeburn's noble portrait with its shaggy honesty, sagacity, and goodness, when we saw it latterly on the Edinburgh streets, was all worn with care, the joy all fled from it, ploughed deep with labour and sorrow. We shall never forget it. We shall never see it again. Adieu, Sir Walter, pride of all Scotchmen; take our proud and sad farewell.'
With the name of this great Scotchman, who has done more than any other to spread the knowledge of Scottish history and of the Scottish character into all parts of the civilized world, Mrs. Oliphant fitly ends her record of Royal Edinburgh, royal alike in the bygone age of her native kings and in the brilliant reign of modern literature and poetry.
'Seated on the rocks which are more old than any history, though those precipices are now veiled with verdure and softness, and the iron way of triumphant modern science runs at their feet; with their crown of sacred architecture hanging over her among the mists, and the little primeval shrine mounted upon her highest ridge; with her palace, all too small for the requirements of an enlarged and splendid royalty, and the great crouched and dormant sentinel of nature watching over her through all the centuries; with her partner, sober and ample, like a comely matron, attended by all the modern arts and comforts, seated at the old mother's feet-Edinburgh can never be less than royal, one of the crowned and queenly cities of the world. It does not need for this distinction that there should be millions of inhabitants within her walls, or all the great threads of industry and wealth gathered in her hands. The pathos of much that is past and over for ever, the awe of many tragedies, a recollection, almost more true than any reality of the present, of ages and glories gone-add a charm which the wealthiest and greatest interests of to-day cannot give, to the city, always living, always stirring, where
she stands amid traditionary smoke and mist, the grey metropolis of the north, the Edinburgh of a thousand fond associations,
'Our Own Romantic Town' (p. 486).
ART. IV.-SCARTAZZINI'S PROLEGOMENI ON
Prolegomeni della Divina Commedia.
Studio di Dante Alighieri e delle sue Opere. Per G. A.
THIS volume completes the author's celebrated edition of the Divina Commedia. It has been long expected. As he reminds us in the preface, he had in 1875, when publishing the Purgatorio, expressed the hope that the whole work would be completed within the next three years. But the three became fifteen, to the great advantage, we venture to think, of the reader. We must own to a feeling of relief and satisfaction when, instead of the expected bulky life of Dante, plus a lengthy history of his age with special reference to events alluded to in the Poema Sacro, and plus a voluminous series of dissertations on different important passages in the Divina Commedia, modelled on those concerning the Matilda' and the 'Veltro' in the volume containing the Purgatorio, we found a book of reasonable compass, limited to its proper office as an introduction to the study of the poet and his works, though also fraught with matter-the quintessence, as the author says, of more than a quarter of a century's indefatigable labours-which cannot but redound to the profit of students who have long been versed in both. The courage with which Dr. Scartazzini has put aside much of the material which he tells us that he had in the first instance prepared for this book, and his discernment in recognizing that it will find a fitter place in his contemplated second edition of the volumes containing the commentary, will, we are convinced, greatly increase the number of those who will read the present volume from cover to cover instead of dipping into it as the mere book of reference which it would have become if written on the lines originally intended. Any one who has essayed the continuous perusal of the former volumes, especially those devoted to the Purgatorio and the Paradiso respectively, will know what we mean. They are encyclopædias rather than text-books,
marvellous in their store of vast and polyglot erudition astounding as being the work of one man. But though we think them an inestimable boon, we do not often disturb their repose upon our shelves without pressing occasion for so doing.
To return to the Prolegomeni, the first-the historical-part treats (a) of the external vicissitudes of Dante's life (1) in his country, and (2) in exile; (b) of his inner life. Stress is laid throughout this upon the little that we know historically of any of the facts about him which have been handed down to us. The reader will be struck by the resolute agnosticism of Dr. Scartazzini as to everything that cannot be vouched for out of the poet's own writings. He rejects the early biographies, and all which have followed their assertions-his own youthful work in German included-as so many untrustworthy romances. He denies that Dante's ancestors were noble, and even finds cause for doubt as to the poet's having been born at Florence, in his own suspiciously-repeated assertions to that effect. He reminds us that nothing is known, and that Dante tells us nothing, of his father, mother, or brothers; his childhood or his home education; his own family, wife, and children. The same holds true of his studies. Boccaccio's rhetorical account of them is utterly false. The truth, to be gathered from hints dropped by Dante himself, is that he can hardly have studied as a boy the arts of the trivium and quadrivium; that nothing said by him to Brunetto Latini in Inf. xv. 82 &c. warrants the assertion that the latter was his instructor, in the usual sense of the word; nor could Brunetto have had any time for so teaching him; that as a youth he can hardly have been at school, still less at a university; and that his accomplishments were limited at twenty-five to a smattering of Latin, some knowledge in composing rhymes, and some proficiency in drawing. Of philosophy, theology, and other sciences he was then wholly as ignorant as he always was of Greek. His so-called scientific journeys must be referred to a date later than his exile. With musicians he may have been acquainted, but not with music. Passing to his deeds of arms, Dr. Scartazzini on the whole does believe the biographer Leonardo Bruni's assertion that he was at the battle of Campaldino on June 11, 1289, and thinks the letter from Dante on the matter, quoted by Leonardo, authentic. He also believes that the poet was at the siege of Caprona in August of the same year (Inf. xxi. 94-96).
As to his family life, it is historical fact that he married Gemma Donati, and had by her two sons, Pietro and Jacopo,