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ET. 61.] MRS. JOHNSTON-EXTEMPORE LINES-ACCIDENT.
fascinating youth, who called on you when I was taking my leave, stand between us !-Remember that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven: and I pray you not to fall in love with Major B-rc-but leave him to trifle with the young and simple affections of Lady S- -y. I beg you to conceal from your beloved parents the contents of this letter, in the most profound secrecy-at the same time to offer them my profound respects. I am yours very truly, T. C."
In a short month, however, he was "off with the old love and on with the new ;" and in a note to his cousin, Mrs. Johnston, in whose family circle he spent many of his happy hours, he says:
"Jan. 20th,-Your son will have the goodness to read the enclosed letter before he presents it to Dr. B. I think the acquaintance may be of use to him.-At all events it will introduce him to one of the worthiest men in the world. Give my loving compliments to all your dear daughters, and tell Isabella* that the gossips say I composed the following song in her praise, or, if she dislikes it, she may possibly say in her disparage
'I gave my love a chain of gold
She keeps me in a faster hold,
Whilst 'neath her lovely chin
Am I not an old
gay Lothario? "T. C."
An accident, from which Campbell suffered much inconvenience, and which for some time restricted his movements literally to a Voyage autour de ma chambre," occurred as follows:
"Feb.-In getting out of the way of a carriage, that was about to run over me, I took a 'fast run' across the street, and
*Since married to Mr. J. W. Laws, of Springwell.
It is superfluous to add that the gold chain to which the extempore refers, is preserved with religious care. The lines were set to very sweet and appropriate music.
made a leap upon the pavement. Some of the smaller sinews of both my legs gave way, and I was carried home in great pain. The pain, however, has abated, and the weakness has so changed, that I can now walk a hundred yards; all further distance I have to perform on wheels."
During his partial confinement to the house, he still persevered in the study of Spanish and Italian-reading in the latter the Sonnets of Petrarch, and consulting, among his continental biographers, those who might serve as guides in the new Life of the Poet which he had undertaken. Another scheme also appears to have arrested his attention, to which he thus briefly adverts in a note to Mr. Moxon :
"March 27.-Allow me to recommend to your best acquaintance Mr. C-n. He is a great black-letter scholar, and has ideas in his mind about republishing some of our old Poets, which I think would be worth your listening to. Remember, however, my old advice to be cautious about doubtful speculations."
In reply to a letter from Woodville, he writes :
April 22d.-How much I ought to thank you for these invaluable communications respecting your venerated uncle, the friend whom I have loved for forty years with every fibre of my heart. A stranger, who called upon me lately at my chambers, looked up to your uncle's picture (which dear M. gave me with her own hand), and said, that must be your father!' Unaccustomed as I am to be flattered on the score of my looks, I felt flattered, and said, 'Yes-he has a great share in the paternity of my mind.' I have two likenesses of Mr. Alison in my study-one, the drawing I allude to, and another—a cast* by Tassie or Henning. What a pleasant thing it is to me to hear of so many marriages in your family-you are a race that well deserves to be continued.
"... I was drawn in, some time ago, to undertake the editing of a Life of Petrarch, by Archdeacon Coxe, left in MS. But after having rashly promised to be the editor, I found it so stupid, that I offered in its place to write a Life of Petrarch myself. But it was a bold undertaking. Out of two octavo volumes, of four hundred pages each, I have accomplished only one, and shall consume the summer in finishing the second
*See notice of this likeness, Vol. I.-Letters from Sydenham :—the other, a painting, was returned to the family after the Poet's death.
LIFE OF PETRARCH-LOSS OF FRIENDS.
volume. Meanwhile my eyes have been so affected by the smoke of my chambers, that I can work only by daylight, and so I get on but slowly."
Again-thinking of his own past bereavements:
"May 10th.-The biographers of Petrarch, and especially De Sade, make an exaggerated appeal to our sympathy, when they mention his loss from the death of friends, as if that misfortune had been peculiar to him out of the whole human race; but alas! no being of sensibility has ever existed without experiencing, in the progress of life, the severest affliction from that cause. Not long after the death of Laura, on the third of July in the same year, he lost Colonna, who, according to some authors, died of the plague; but De Sade thinks he sank under grief, brought on by the disasters of his family."
He was now preparing the smaller illustrated edition of his Poems, on the success of which he "placed his dependence for a regular income." To defray the expenses of this edition, he adopted, as on all similar occasions, a rigid economy. He expresses much anxiety respecting the result of his experiment, which in the end proved a very fortunate one.
"May 14th.-When that little edition comes out," he writes, "I shall have a regular income for the prop of my aged days; and then will terminate my starving and saving.' One part of my present starving is being obliged to pay constant court and attendance to the artist, who has taken the wood-drawings in hand. . Unhappily for me, the accomplishment of these 'designs' cannot be forced by scolding; but even if it could, there is such a simplicity and mildness about Harvey, that I should not have power to scold him. He has seriously promised, by the end of next week, to show me several finished drawings. After he has done his work, I shall still have to coax and implore the wood-engraver to finish his task; so I go every day to Harvey; for my only hope of conquering is by perseverance -like the constant dropping of water upon stone."
"May 15th.-I saw a shocking spectacle the other day, on my way to Harvey. Just as I passed the Regent's Canal, an elderly female got upon the bridge and took a Sappho's leap! But it was not for love, poor creature; but from despair and poverty! The servants of a gentleman's house, on
the bank, happily rushed out and saved her from perishingthough she must have leapt sixteen feet downwards. Among the crowd were two of her children-one of them, a beautiful girl, apparently about seventeen. Their grief was touching. The policeman with promptitude, got a cab, and conveyed her to the gentleman's house adjacent. I saw her into the cab, and have learnt that the family have since been very kind to her. On returning to the Club with melancholy, but uselessly excited feelings, I was rejoiced to meet with one of my oldest and most facetious friends. He chid me for being so dull, and told me some of his best anecdotes. One of them was, that a master chimney-sweeper had come to his house in one of the early days of May, on chimney business. At that moment the double drum was sounding the ivy pyramid was pirouetting-and a gentleman with a silver laced coat, and a lady with rouge over her sooty face, were waltzing under the windows. Are any of your apprentices out enjoying this holiday?' said my friend to the master sweep. No! sir:' he answered: 'I holds it disreputable for respectable people to go about dancing and begging of a May morning. That there fellow, in the laced coat, is no better nor a dustman; and neither he nor any of his gang have any title to rank as chimney-sweepers. They never clam'd a chimney in all their lives.'-So let us all try to be respectable in our vocation! T. C."
The event alluded to at the opening of this chapter had now arrived. His much valued friend, the Rev. Mr. Alison, was no more; and on the same day that brought him the sad intelligence, Campbell wrote as follows:
"LINCOLNS-INN-FIELDS, LONDON, May 20, 1839.
"MY DEAR MRS. A
"In this mournful, but inevitable dispensation, everything seems to be in keeping and harmony. Our revered saint died as he had lived-in gentleness. Blessed be Heaven that spared him a suffering struggle! His benignant spirit seems to have bequeathed its benediction of peace to his dearest survivors-for the tone of your letter betokens entire command of your feelings; and dearest M, you say, is gentle in her sorrow. Excellent, mild, and dutiful M! the tears fill my eyes at this moment, rather for her sake than for her father's. He has lived and died honored and beloved; and to me-for reasons which I need not recount to you-he is rather an ob
ject of envy. Yet still, from my own sensations, when I think of his darling qualities, I well appreciate what you all feel. I was engaged to dine out every day this week, but I have sent my excuses, and shall stay at home, figuring myself in imagination with you, and Dr. A——, and M- and D. Pray imagine me beside you in presence, as I am in spirit. I would not, for a great consideration, go into gay society at present, though generally I avoid solitude, and have more of my own company than I wish for. But I never felt solitude less irksome than to-day-I prefer it. Never has my mind had a fuller tide of recollections and meditations than within these four hourssince I got your letter. I have been living over every circumstance of my life for forty years, connected with the memory of my inestimable friend; and whatever is sad in the retrospect is sweetened by the amenity of his character. Tell M- -how, more than ever, I prize the dear Portrait of him, which she gave me. The fulness of my heart's love is with you all—God bless you, my friends! T. C."
DEATH OF THE REV. A. ALISON.
Of the character of Mr. Alison, it is here superfluous to speak; it has received homage from abler hands.-Living on terms of cordial intimacy with the great and good men of his day, he was admired for his taste, honored for his principles, and revered for his piety. His sound philosophy, edifying conversation, and warm friendship, made an early and lasting impression on the Poet, who loved him through life, and in death mourned him, with the affection of a son. During the long lapse of forty years, as the reader has observed, his letters breathe the same spirit of reverential attachment and regard-the best eulogy that genius could offer to virtue; and to that eulogy Campbell has left nothing to be added.
During the last few years, as we had remarked, the shafts of death had been flying thick amongst the Poet's kindred and friends; of whom, in Edinburgh alone, he had successively deplored the loss of his earliest and best;* and in London, too, many of his long cherished acquaintances had dropped off. To the narrowed circle of his friendships, he often adverted in private conversations; and one morning he said to me, mournfully, 'Ah, death! death is a fine thing-if well over!" To relieve
* Among these were his "two Alisons," two Stewarts, Dr. Gregory, Dr. Anderson, Dr. Brown, and others already mentioned in these pages; while, of his own ten brothers and sisters, only one sister, and she an aged, a helpless invalid, survived.