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else about himself, to the mercy of God:-'I believe, when I am gone, justice will be done to me in this way-that I was a pure writer. It is an inexpressible comfort, at my time of life, to be able to look back and feel that I have not written one line against religion or virtue.'
"Another time, speaking of the insignificance which, in one sense, posthumous fame must have, he said- When I think of the existence which shall commence when the stone is laid above my head-when I think of the momentous realities of that time, and of the awfulness of the account I shall have to give of myself-how can literary fame appear to me but as-nothing! Who will think of it then? If, at death, we enter on a new state for eternity, of what interest, beyond this present life, can a man's literary fame be to him? Of none-when he thinks most solemnly about it.'
REMINISCENCES OF THE POET.
"He said all this with simple, earnest feeling-looking thoughtful and even solemn: none of it was said, as it were, with intention: rather, it seemed to fall from him, as if he were thinking aloud, in his most serious and unreserved moments. But, one day, he reverted to what he had said of his indifference to posthumous fame, which, he said, would probably not be believed; but that he had said it, and said it again, in all the truth and sincerity of his heart. He added-'I wish you would put it down.'
"When we asked it, he read some of his poems to us, and spoke of the agitation and excitement he had been in, when writing Lochiel's Warning. One could easily believe it, for he grew deadly pale on reading it. When we led him to speak of his poems, he made no affectation of trying to shun the subject, though he never brought it forward: he spoke simply and modestly of them. He said, he used to submit many of them to the criticisms of a friend, in whose judgment and taste he had great confidence; but that he had once been so bold as to say to her, that if he had shown her Ye Mariners of England,' he doubted if she could have improved it. He seemed surprised, as well as amused, at his self-confidence.
He was much gratified by a critique on his works, which appeared in the Spectator;' he said it was the highest praise his works had ever received; and that it was the more valuable because the whole article was discriminating and critical. He added, earnestly,-'I wish I could truly feel that I deserved one half of it, for it is great praise indeed.' But he did not dwell on it; he turned away the conversation, only saying- Well, the world has been very indulgent to me all along. The admiration of the writer in the 'Spectator,' for the Valedictory Stanzas to John Kemble,' pleased him much-because he thought the world had undervalued them. He spoke with delight of Mr. Kemble's having thought highly of them.
"We always liked to hear him speak of other poets and of authors; because he did so with natural candor-never affecting anything about them which he did not feel. He spoke much of Lockhart's Life of Scott,'especially of the way in which Mr. Lockhart had done his duty as a biographer: Omitting nothing-glossing over nothing-he has done his duty nobly and fearlessly, and deserves praise for it. I do not say that everything in that Life elevates your opinion of Sir Walter Scott; but the object was-not to make him a demigod, or a faultless man, but to tell the truth; and this Lockhart has done.'
"Speaking of Southey and Wordsworth, he ranked Wordsworth 'as
* Miss F. Wynell Mayow, of Sydenham.
much above Southey, as a true poet, as he considered some other poets to be above Wordsworth.' His admiration of Burns's poetry and genius was enthusiastic; he called him the Scottish Shakspeare; for, though the bulk of the gem was not as great, the diamond was as pure.' 'Tam o' Shanter' he thought 'perfect-a masterpiece;' and dwelt on the effect which Burns's poems had in endearing to the people of Scotland the places immortalized in them, and in elevating the ideas of the peasantry throughout the land.' He alluded with genuine simplicity to his own feelings, on receiving praise and honor as a poet:- You did not do all this to Burns; you neglected him-a real genius-a wonder!--and you bestow all this on me, who am nothing, compared to him.'
"He said, he believed many things that ought to have been gems in poetry had been lost, or—one might perhaps say-never created; because poets in general were not sufficiently alive to the many beautiful opportunities around them; that those who were fitted to describe such scenes, had generally, early in their career, determined on some one poem, which was to be the great effort; and their minds were so absorbed by this one idea, that, in the course of every-day life, numbers of beautiful imagesimages, too, which might have been made subservient to the perfection of the great design, passed by them unheeded, and were lost for ever.'
"Mr. Campbell spoke one day of the misery it was to have differences with our friends; and said that if he had to live life over again, that was one of the things he would be most anxious to avoid. He said: 'In almost every instance, where I have had a difference with a friend, I think I can say, that the fault was certainly on my side. But my temper is better now than it was.' He said his temper had been very irascible when young; and expressed great thankfulness that, in spite of it, he had been kept from personal quarrels; and, above all, from duels, though he confessed he had been several times nearly sending challenges.
"Speaking of Moore, he said, 'Yes, Moore is a man of very fine genius —of great brilliancy, and great wit.' The conversation then turning on his early Edinburgh friends, he said, 'Mr. Alison's gentle kindness overawed me more than all the authority or severity I ever met with. To many I have been irritable, petulant, and overbearing, but to him never. No thought or word ever escaped me but those of reverential love and deference to him. If there is anything good in me, I owe it to him. His words and advice have never passed from my mind. I sat at the feet of Gamaliel,' and endeavored to learn wisdom.
Speaking of Sir Walter Scott's leniency of criticism, he said, 'I never heard Sir Walter Scott utter a harsh word of criticism on any poetry but his own. This might be construed into an anxiety, in his elevated situation, not to say anything which might injure the fame of any writer, however humble; but I am convinced that it proceeded from the goodness and kindness of his own heart, which led him to see merit which others passed over.'
"Speaking of a lady to whom he was unalterably attached, and who was now a confirmed invalid, he said: 'It may seem strange, but I love to think she is growing old: I love to see her hair becoming white, and her
REMINISCENCES OF THE POET.
form more helpless and even deformed. It makes her more my own! She is becoming useless, valueless to others (to all but private friends,) and more precious to me.'
"He told us a dream of his own, which made a great impression on his mind. Many years ago, a sister of Mrs. Campbell was very ill of consumption, and there was very little hope of her recovery, which accounted for the dream. He said-I thought I was in a city of the dead; and my guide was a dead girl, from whom I could not part. She led me through the deserted streets and the silent halls-where the sound of my footstep alone awakened a hollow sound-till I was compelled to accompany her to a window, that looked out into a large long street. There I heard the distant sound of a drum, and presently saw a figure clothed in its shroud, which approached gradually to the window where I stood. It then threw aside the shroud and discovered the features of my sister-in-law !—The shock instantly awoke me. She died two days afterwards. This,' he added, I have often thought of turning into verse. But it is too fine-it is finer than poetry !'"
* See account of this sister's death, p. 209.
LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
FROM his short residence in Edinburgh, Campbell returned to London with improved health; but the reflection that another link had been torn from the chain of his earliest and happiest associations, caused an impression of sadness in his mind, which he found it impossible to shake off. His first effort, after the event, was a tribute to the virtues of his lamented friend, in which he says:-"This slight tribute of affectionate respect for her memory is not thus made without a deep feeling of the sacredness of private life-and of such a life as Mrs. Stewart's. It has been prompted by a strong desire that one so rare-one so remarkable for every feminine grace-should not pass away from among us, without a word to tell the rising generation of what her influence was in the very remarkable society of which, at one time, Edinburgh could so justly boast." During the last few years, however, events of this painful nature had fallen thick and heavy; and another was too clearly predicted by the fast failing strength of the last and most venerated of his early friends.
His return to his "library and chambers in Lincoln's Inn Fields," is thus noticed, in a letter to Mr. Gray :-
"Aug. 16th. . . I travelled hither by land, by short stages, and arrived on Sunday. I thought I should have died at Birmingham; but half-way from thence to London I was surprised to find myself hungry.
"The wind that rushed against me in the railway carriages made me feel as if it fanned and revived in me the fire of life. For these three days past I have been recovering strength. I cannot as yet resume my regular studies; but I am reading Lord Bacon with more delight than I ever felt from many former perusals. The glorious man! Oh, where was his guardian angel, when he fell from his integrity, and flattered JAMES! Yet the truth of his pages will remain, as well as their poetry—for he
was a great poet as well as the greatest of philosophers. At his adulatory passages, addressed to JAMES, I have absolutely wept with vexation. But let this weakness of mine, my dear cousin, be between ourselves. How can we blame tyrants for being misled, when a Bacon can flatter them? T. C."*
ITALIAN TRANSLATIONS-DR. BEATTIE.
With De Sade before his eyes, but his thoughts wandering back to the family circle at Woodville, he writes:—
"Aug. 18th.-The quiet of my poor, lonely, but favorite chambers, soothes me. But I dread to lose a pin with Mr. A—'s white hair, given me by M. in my late sickness in Edinburgh; and I dare not wear it every day, but only on particular occasions."
Aug. 26th. I now work literally as hard as any mechanic from six to twelve; and, even after that hour, I cannot sleep without penning some drowsy epistle to be a dormitory drug for you or the Alisons. But I have no right to your pity for all this-the prospect of finishing my waking hours with some words to you or them, sweetens the preceding hours of labor. In the next place, this tread-mill labor is the result of sheer avarice! miserly niggardliness! I am principally employed in translating from Italian authors, and could get the whole done by an assistant, I believe, for £30. But the money -the money! Oh, my dear M.! the thought of parting with it is unthinkable! and pounds sterling are to me-'dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart!' "
66 Aug. 26th.-Is it not a wonderful mark of my constitution that it is supporting so well the load of three-score, that I can actually work fourteen hours a-day-love-letters' includedand yet continue to be as cheerful as a child? Yet it is even So. . . . The only medical man who has taken my case seriously into consideration is Dr. Beattie. He says, that from sixty to sixty-four a man passes through his grand climacteric. had always imagined that this term, climacteric, meant a hard struggle (λiparne) of the constitution; but he says no; that about that age the body-by some mysterious and invisible change-most frequently, to be sure, adopts new infirmities, but in some instances gets rid of old ones. I am fain to hope that
* Addressed to his cousin, W. Gray, Esq., and apologising for his quitting Scotland without making him the promised visit; "but," he concludes, "when you look on the lovely prospect of Blairbeth, think me enjoying it with you in imagination!"