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RETURN TO ENGLAND.
A SOJOURN of nearly two months in the French capital furnished Campbell with a rich and varied fund of materials for reflection. The daily opportunities he enjoyed of seeing and conversing with the best society enlarged his views, matured his taste, and gave a healthy impetus to that spirit of inquiry which animated all his studies. With Cuvier and the elder Schlegel, he contracted a lasting intimacy: for, although strongly opposed to the German professor on certain questions, a difference in philosophy made no difference in their friendship. At the university of Bonn, where they met six years afterwards, the pleasure derived from their first intercourse in Paris was the subject of mutual congratulation. To Baron Cuvier and his accomplished daughter, Campbell had the pleasure of returning, at his own house in London, the kindness and hospitality they had shown him in Paris. In a circle which comprised so many illustrious names, now embalmed in history, he would have gladly lingered another month; but, his literary furlough having expired, and his finances becoming low, he took a parting glance at the wonders of the Louvre, and then started for Calais.
Alighting from the coupée of the "old grotesque diligence that brought him to Dessin's-Sterne's Dessin-he sauntered on towards the pier, where the Dover packet had just come in, and directed the mate to call for him in the evening. Any regret he might have felt on quitting Paris, and the new world it had thrown open to his inquisitive mind, was softened, if not obliterated, by the proud associations of home. The first glimpse of Britannia's bulwarks-" the flag that braved a thousand years, the battle and the breeze"-called forth all his patriotism; and never, perhaps, was the sentiment of his hero
Theodric* more present to his mind than when he stepped on board the crowded packet for England.
"Neptune, however, was not to be cajoled by poetry;" and a storm, then brewing in the east, burst upon them soon after leaving the harbor. This caused some confusion on board; and the alarm of the passengers was not diminished by any skill or activity in the captain. The result was a tardy and tempestuous passage, attended in the first instance with loss of life; and latterly with imminent danger to all on board. At last, the packet got safe into Dover; and, soon after his return home, Campbell thus adverts to the perils of the voyage, and his own personal share in it :
RETURN TO ENGLAND-STORM.
*. . . A glad enthusiast, he explored the land,
The gauntlet down to Senates, Courts and Kings;
Her works of Art, resembling Magic's powers;
Her mighty fleets; and Learning's beauteous bowers.-THEODRIC.
SYDENHAM, November 7, 1814. "I had been knocked about in the packet, and got such smashing falls on the slippery deck, in the desperate efforts of the passengers to help the poor exhausted seamen, that I am all over green and blue, and still stiff and sore, but wonderfully better.". Our escape was considerably more narrow than that of the Wellington packet. One unhappy passenger was washed overboard. An ignorant captain-who was neither captain nor seaman-ran us within a few hundred yards of the Shakspeare cliff. A Dutch skipper, a passenger on board, discovered our danger, gave the alarm, and took the command from the stupefied creature who had misguided us. For at least four terrible hours, it was quite a moot point whether we should get off or not. The shrieks of the women, the insane panic of several men, who stripped to swim-and, of course, to be dashed to pieces on the rocks, if they had persisted to do so-the whole scene, with the total darkness and roaring of the waves, that drowned our voices, and literally washed over us, was horrible beyond description. The men, a feeble crew, who had been exhausted by walking through Calais all day, were so overcome, that my own two arms, at one period, accomplished drawing in the main-sail, which otherwise they could not do. I lay down at four in the morning in blankets and salt-water, yet I have recovered wonderfully. T. C."
From this rather perilous adventure, we pass on to incidents of a homely, and less exciting interest in the Poet's history. To the letters of his numerous, but unknown correspondents, Campbell, in general, was very attentive. His good nature, however, was too often put to the test by "ardent admirers," with whose frequent and urgent requests for his autograph, his advice, or an interview with the author of "The Pleasures of Hope," it was not always expedient to comply. Among the letters that waited his return, was one from a member of this numerous body, which differed so widely from the rest, in its ingenious attempt to elicit an autograph, that Campbell was amused by its originality, and resolved to answer the petitioner in the terms proposed. The letter ran thus:
DUNBAR, Nov. 7, 1814.
Some invisible being whispers in my ear, "Write a letter to the Author of 'The Pleasures of Hope.'" "I am not acquainted with him, nor have I ever seen him; why, then, should I write?" Do as you are desired," whispers the voice again. "I cannot do it," I replied, "I have got nothing to say. Were I in possession of a good estate, beautiful and romantic, I would give him an invitation to spend a few months with me, ask him to partake of the sports of the field, and give him an opportunity of composing a poem on the beauties, the comforts, and the hospitality of Kirkwood-hall. But, alas! since that happiness is not mine, I have it not in my power to ask him. However, should I be so fortunate as ever to be in possession of such a place, I will then write and give him a kind invitation; and I hope that one day or other such a thing will be-how pleasing the thought! Thus hope keeps my spirits from falling; and is this not a pleasure derived from it ?" "Delay not a moment," speaks the voice again, "in writing to that admirable author; I command, and you must obey !" Now, sir, you see my writing to you is to fulfil the commands of-I do not know whom; pray can you tell me? Be who it may, I only ease my conscience by doing so. It would add much to my peace and comfort, would you take the trouble to acknowledge the receipt of this letter, and say that you are well! So farewell! May thy days be full of happiness, thy years many, and thy fame as an author handed down to the end of the world! I am, &c. JK-D, JR.
The author of this ingenious stratagem was rewarded by the following prompt and courteous reply:
SYDENHAM, November 15, 1814.
I received your letter the day before yesterday, in which, though we are personal strangers to each other, you send me your salve! and greet me with wishes of health and prosperity. I am surely bound to thank you for a salutation, which seems the more kind from your being a stranger; and which can only
come from disinterested motives. In return to your inquiries, I can only say that I am almost as well, and as happy, as it is possible for frail man to be; and I am not the less happy to think that a remote stranger wishes me to be so. I cannot, indeed, from my knowledge of spirits-gray, black, or white-precisely give you the name and address of the little eccentric one, which prompted you to write to me; but I suppose it might be Robin Goodfellow; or, dropping all allusions to things out of this world, I might say that it was the "frater-feeling," as Burns called it, of the human heart. Whoever you are, and whatever --for you cannot take it as a bad compliment that, as you do not describe yourself, I am addressing you as it were in the dark --whatever you are, receive my best wishes in return for yours; and, though you have no castles any more than myselfexcept those in the air, yet I am not less obliged to you for giving me a welcome, in imagination, to your villa and domain. Adieu! and believe me, &c. T. C.*
UNKNOWN CORRESPONDENT GODWIN.
Finding his literary concerns much in arrear at his return home, and confessing that his resolution "to make the pleasures of Paris subservient to study" had not been fully carried out, he now felt the necessity for redoubling his exertions; and, resuming the Specimens and Lectures, worked with so much industry that, in the course of a few weeks, he found a considerable balance in his favor, with some literary vantage-ground for the ensuing spring.
The year concluded with a dinner-party at Mr. Godwin's, to which he was invited in the following terms :
MY DEAR SIR,
In the familiar occasion of opening the new year on Saturday next, we expect a few friends whom you will not be displeased to meet, and among these a female stranger, who seems to me the very figure of a sylph walked out from the canvass of a capital master. Will you condescend, on that day, at four o'clock, to partake with us the philosophical fare of a boiled turkey with sylph-sauce ?-Faithfully yours,
*These two letters are only introduced as examples of the good-natured familiarity, with which Campbell so often accommodated himself to the harmless whims and eccentricities of his correspondents.
Among the verses of this and the preceding year, are a few short pieces-epitaphs-not found in any edition of his poems. The first was suggested by a deplorable calamity in a private family, where Campbell was intimate; and the second by the death of a clerical friend, whom he regarded as a model of a Christian pastor. The sentiment they breathe is so consonant with all the Poet's better feelings, that the reader may not be displeased to see them in their original, though unfinished
In deep submission to the will above,
Yet with no common cause for human tears;
And for his children lost, a mourner rears.
One fatal moment, one o'erwhelming doom,
Tore, threefold, from his heart the ties of earth:
And HER* who gave them life, and taught them worth.
Farewell, ye broken pillars of my fate!
My life's companion, and my two first-born;
To conjugal, paternal, love forlorn
Oh, may each passer-by the lesson learn,
He pointed out to others, and he trod
Their friend, their pastor, mourn for him; but most
The sacred precepts of thy life fulfill,
"We looked to her (Mrs. Shute) as truly elevated, in the scale of beings, for the perfect charity of her heart. The universal feeling of lamentation for her, accords with the benign and simple-minded beauty of her character."-Extract of a letter from Campbell.
These lines are engraved on a monument erected at Monkton Combe, Somerset, to the memory of Mrs. Shute, of Sydenham, and her two daughters, who were drowned at Chepstow, on Sunday, September 20. It is remarkable, that they had attended the Church on that day, and heard a sermon from Philippians, chap. i. verse 21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."-Note by T. C.