Imagens das páginas

lancholy, and philosophic; fervid and impassioned in the republican Wolfe; desperate and despairing in the villain Crauford; and by turns bitter and enthusiastic in the painter Warner.* This is an imposing but not very difficult kind of writing, and the real talent employed in it generally passes for more than it is worth. This author's is of the best description, and though certainly the "passion sleeps," it cannot be added that the "declamation roars ;" it often softens down into moralizing reflection, in which the similes and images employed are frequently beautiful, and the language in which they are clothed flowing and melodious, and, when occasion demands, nervous and vigorous; but it is not all this-no, nor judiciously introduced classical allusions and quotations-nor ingenious refutations of common-place maxims and opinions-nor brilliant and antithetical aphorisms, that is to elevate a man to an equality with the author of the Scotch novels, to say nothing of the English ones. But it in no way detracts from Mr. Bulwer's reputation as a fine writer, to say that Walter Scott is immensely superior to him; after that wonderful man he is

*The feelings and sufferings of Warner have a striking resemblance to those of the Italian painter Correggio, as depicted in a tragedy of that name, a review of which is to be found in one of the early numbers of Blackwood's Magazine.

undoubtedly the most popular novelist of the day. He may, in the novelty and excitement attending his debut be both over and under-rated, but

"Time at last sets all things even,"

and he will doubtless find his proper level, which we think will be far above the mass of his contemporaries a little higher than the writer of the O'Hara tales, and some degrees below the author of Anastasius.


But for thee, good Sir Walter! the time is yet to come when thou wilt receive the fulness of thy fame. The present generation admire and applaud thee, the future will feel a deeper and holier reverence for thee; and the language in which thou hast immortalized thyself is one that is fast spreading in every quarter of this habitable globe. Over the illimitable regions of this continent wilt thou be read and worshipped; in distant India and the yet untrodden wildernesses of Australasia will thy name be known; and the time may come when the British Isles will be but as specks of earth to the boundless countries that will speak their language and treasure up their glorious literature. Then will the halls of Abbotsford become "pilgrim shrines," and every decayed memorial that speaks of thee a relic. And when the tide of population shall have poured over the

mountain barrier, filling every highland glen with cotton factories-and "weavers, spinners and such mechanical persons" erect their looms in the very country of Rob Roy, the wild warriors and plaided chieftains that once trod those rugged glens and heathery hills will still live in thy undying page, and thou wilt be the connecting link between a present and a past age-the chronicler of the "tales of the times of old, and deeds of the days of other years." What strange and savage customswhat deadly feuds what wild legends-what furious passions and fierce fidelity lay concealed behind those mountains that gird the highlands, and which, but for thee, would have passed unrecorded to oblivion; but as the prophet of old smote the rock and the waters gushed forth, so didst thou, with thy magic wand, touch those highland hills, and the whole billowy scene lay disclosed to view ! Then the bloody lowland and English wars, what an historian would they have missed; and though upon the border side,

"The glaring bale-fires blaze no more,"

and the "gallant Gordons" and thieving Armstrongs and Elliotts keep honest snuff and tobacconist shops in Kelso and Jedburgh, yet shall not the bitter feuds and midnight forays of their law

less, fearless ancestors be forgotten. And when time shall have made a brick and mortar land of England -when some future Manchester or Birmingham perchance stands reeking and smoking where the merry forest of Sherwood stood, still will its verdant glades once" clad in England's fadeless green," and its strong and towering oaks look fresh and unwithered in thy pages. How will the future dwell upon the courtly pageantries of Kenilworth and the knightly chivalry of Ivanhoe-and the ridings and onslaughts of the border barons-and the gatherings of the clans in the seventy-six; and thy native humor will brighten many an eye, and thy touches of homely natural feeling thrill in many a bosom yet unborn. Thousands will laugh and weep with thee in thy works when the kind heart and capacious head that conceived them are clods of the valley; and

"As long as the thistle and heather shall wave"

will thy memory be worshipped and thy name treasured up in the hearts of posterity.


READER! gentle or ungentle ! if thou for a moment supposest that I, in placing this or any other forthcoming paper under the same title as the essays of Samuel Johnson, have the slightest intention of being as grave, as learned, as wise and as eloquent as the worthy doctor, be not alarmed: read but to the end of this lucubration, and thou wilt be convinced that no such outrage against the prevailing taste of the times is intended. I do not say but that I could be all this, if it so pleased me; but I hope I have too much discretion, as well as too. strong a desire to be read, to harbor the smallest thought of gravity or wisdom in an age when startling paradoxes have such a decided advantage over sober truths. Antiquated authors like Steele, Ad-dison, Goldsmith, or Johnson, who are now, indeed, fast falling into deserved oblivion, but whose names

*This essay was No. 1 of a series published under the title of the Rambler.

« AnteriorContinuar »