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the interest excited by their works. Hazlitt himself has somewhere called Leigh Hunt an agreeable coxcomb, and Lord Byron a sublime one. He has also admitted (I forget where or when) that Sir Philip Sidney, Vandyke, and Raffaelle were “coxcombs.” Cæsar was a fop. Perhaps men of true and great genius are very rarely absolute slovens. Milton, Shakespeare, Bacon, and Bounaparte, were neither. They hit the happy medium between the two extremes of coxcombry and slovenliness.
But I am departing from my subject :-Campbell betrays a leaning to that school of poetry to which Wordsworth is so hostile; and nothing can be more opposite than the styles of these two contemporaries. Campbell has written little, but that little will live; the world would not willingly let it die. Wordsworth, though a more philosophical poet, and of a far higher rank, cannot possibly travel through the rough road of futurity without leaving behind him a considerable mass of lumber. If Campbell is too timid and precise, Wordsworth is too egotistical and ver. bose. The former is too cautious, and the latter too careless. Campbell is a more equal, but a less ambitious poet. He performs all that he attempts, but does not attempt so much. Campbell has pursued the safest, but not the most glorious route to posterity. Wordsworth is a bolder traveller, and has aimed at nobler acquisitions with the chance of greater failures, and at the risk of being encumbered with much unwieldy wealth.
Campbell with all his fame is still a timid author, and is as much frightened at his own reputation as a child at its own shadow. He is always afraid that his new productions will not come up to the expectations of the public. It is said that he was deeply hurt at the comparatively indifferent success of his Theodric, notwithstanding the kind and generous notice which it received from his friend Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review. Lord Byron, in speaking of Campbell's probable vexation at Coleridge's having attacked the “ Pleasures of Hope," in a public lecture on Poetry, observed that Campbell was the most sensitive man in such matters that he had ever met with. “And yet what," added his Lordship,“ has he to fear from criticism?" Some one, to please Campbell, was questioning, with an air of indignation, the force or justice of Hazlitt's strictures upon his poetry; but Campbell replied with a faint smile and an uneasy look, that there was often but too much truth in them. He perhaps never entirely forgave
the critic; and when he inserted in the New Monthly Magazine an eloquent memoir of that writer after his death, he appended an ungracious note to the article, protesting against the high opinion expressed by his contributor of Mr. Hazlitt's critical subtlety and fine taste. This was unworthy of Campbell, who is generally distinguished for his candour and generosity*. He has his faults; but still he is noble-minded, and is no doubt the first to discover his errors and to feel how much they are beneath him. He once quoted in the course of conversation a couplet from his own Theodric which might be applied to himself.
“ How oft the wisest on misfortune's shelves
Are wrecked by errors most unlike themselves."
Though Hazlitt has written some of the severest, he has also written some of the most favorable criticisms that have erer appeared upon the poetry of Campbell. He pronounced his “ Bat. tle of Hohenlinden” the most lyrical in sound and spirit of any ode in the language. I suppose, when he said this, he did not think of Dryden's Alexander's Feast, to which it is certainly inferior in variety and power. Indeed it is not equal to the odes of Collins. Fine as it unquestionably is, I do not think it the best of Campbell's Lyrics. I prefer his “ Ye Mariners of England” and “ The Battle of the Baltic." His songs of a more quiet tone have a blended vigour and pathos of sentiment, and a spirit and harmony of versification, that make them quite unrivalled by any other Lyrics in the English language. They are perhaps superior to Thomas Moore's; for though less ingenious, they are not less elegant or finished, and have far more truth and nature. “ The Soldier's Dream,” for instance, is beyond all praise. The melody of the verse and the touching tenderness of the images are irresistibly enchanting. How exquisite is the description at the close !
* The Westminster Review for April, in an extremely clever but rather illnatured article on Martin's Illustrations of the Bible, pays Hazlitt a handsome compliment. “ Hazlitt," says the Reviewer, “ was the only great critic of paintings in the recent period. He understood them both theoretically and practically. He brought to bear upon the subject a mind stored with knowledge, a fine taste, an acute intellect, and an enthusiastic love of the art. He described and analysed a fine picture with glowing eloquence. It has been beauti. fully said of his writings, that they threw a light upon the subject, like that of a painted window.'”
“ My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fulness of heart.
Stay, stay with us,-rest, thou art weary and worn ;
In Gertrude of Wyoming there are, as Hazlitt truly says, some peerless descriptions. That for instance of Gertrude's childhood.
“ Till now in Gertrude's eyes their ninth blue summer shone." Mr. Campbell talks modestly of his hopes of immortality ; but he does not affect to be wholly unconscious of his real claims. He greatly admires Goldsmith, whose works have still a wide and steady popularity, though not a noisy one; he would be well content with a fame like that of the author of “ The Deserted Village.” The disciples of the Lake School would lift up their eyes at such an instance of humility, for they class Goldsmith with the followers of the degraded French School, at the head of which, by the way, they place Dryden, the most English of English Poets.
Mr. Campbell now seldom writes poetry, and has taken a fancy to study languages, particularly the German.
NO. IV.-THE REVEREND EDWARD IRVING.
Mr. Irving may fairly occupy a station amongst “The Spirits of the age.” I do not mean that his individual character illustrates the tone and temper of the time, but that he is one of those who stand forth prominently from the crowd, and obtain by force or favour the especial notice of their contemporaries. So far froin his presenting in his own person an illustration of the moral or in. tellectual character of the present period, or exhibiting a sympathy with the prevailing manners and opinions, he seems to have been born an age too late, and to form a singular contrast to the generation with whom a capricious fate has associated him. He is not in keeping with his own times, and reminds us of some wild yet stately figure of the antique world, introduced into a modern picture in strange juxta-position with the latest fashions and refinements. We could fancy such an enthusiast, with his picturesque figure, his wild gestures and his wilder words, preaching amidst romantic hills beneath a troubled sky. Had he been one of the old covenanters or puritans, Sir Walter Scott would have seized upon his character, and have worked it up into something as striking and impressive as any of those portraits of religious enthusiasts which abound in his inimitable historical romances. The preacher would have had a fine imposing aspect, lifting up his solemn voice, amidst his native mountains. But the Cale. donian Chapel in London was too like a fashionable theatre. The gay costumes of the ladies and the fopperies of the beaux were fatally opposed to all unity or solemnity of effect. The associations excited by the preacher's voice and manner, were destroyed by a single glance at the mixed and uncongenial congregation. Nevertheless, people of all ranks and ages were fascinated; and the very difficulty of gaining admittance increased the crowd at the doors and the popularity of the pulpit orator. The extension of notoriety, after the first impulse, is easy and rapid. It increases like a school-boy's rolling snowball. This plaything, however, is sometimes dissolved by an unexpected thaw, and then the game is over. This has already been Mr. Irving's fate. His spell has vanished. Though he is not entirely deserted, his followers are of a very different class from those who honored him with their applause in his happier days. On his first appearance in London he created an extraordinary and unprecedented sensation. Men of genius and Ministers of State flocked to see and hear him. All great excitements, however, are of short duration, and the charm of novelty is so subtle and evanescent that it is no sooner recognized than it evaporates. Those qualities which most startle and amaze us at first sight are the least calculated to sustain a continued interest. They soon become flat as a thrice-told tale.
Yet Mr. Irving, after all, is no ordinary man, though it is his misfortune to have been so extravagantly overrated. The subsequent re-action has been proportionably severe. Many with whom he was a nine days' wonder, are now content to sneer at his pretensions and to treat him as a charlatan. If he had not been so courted and eulogized at first, and if, instead of trusting as he did to something like stage-trick and the mere force of external eccentricities, he had gradually worked his way into notice in a legitimate manner ; his fame would have been far less brilliant but more enduring. Praise is said to be a cheap commodity ; but still mankind are generally very economical in the distribution of it, and when they are particularly lavish, it is by fits and starts. They seem invariably to revenge themselves on their former idols, as soon as they discover in their moments of cool reflection that they have been too profuse in their tributes of admiration. They then run into an opposite extreme, take back more than they are entitled to, and think by a cruel injustice to atone for a generous error.
It is impossible to meet Mr. Irving for the first time without being struck with the singularity of his appearance.
As he per