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published by Mr. Perry, with this title: "Alteration of the Old Ballad Ye Gentlemen of England, composed on the Prospect of a Russian War," and was signed "Amator Patriæ."
This Ode was followed by Lines written on seeing the unclaimed Corpse of a Suicide exposed on the Banks of a River; and the Name Unknown, imitated from Klopstock. These poems, as they are now published, do not differ materially from the original manuscript.
Of his minor pieces, and the larger poem in contemplation, he thus writes to Richardson: "Look westward from Charlotte-street and tell me what are the principal scenes, or if connected with anything describable. Do see the same from the west. Is Benledi or What can be said of that view? Look from What is there
the castle, and see what views it can possibly afford. remarkable about the Abbey? and where is the place of 'refuge'? Roslin Castle,try, my dear friend, what can be done with that.
"The subject, I think seriously, is capital. I have got an episode to the college, which pleases me. As to my labors this summer, they have been but ineffectual. God knows what a state of spirits I have enjoyed. But there is one piece, on the Valley of Eldurn, which I think well-polished and classical. Wallace is bold and irregu
The Exile of Erin pleases
lar, — of its merit I am more doubtful. Tony MacCann and his brethren. I would send Perry my Latin verses on the Deer, but you will see the subject is taken into the Valley of Eldurn.
"I request your caution most earnestly about what I have said about the Queen of the North. Keep up the public mind. We shall do it this summer in our halting-place. I expect you to be the bearer of the materials."
The Valley of Eldurn we suppose to be the first sketch of his beautiful poem on leaving a scene in Bavaria, and the incident which suggested the allusion to the wounded deer is related in one of those descriptive passages which make some of his letters exquisite prose poems. "I have explored," he writes, "new and wonderful regions of romantic scenery on the Danube, and its tributary streams. Formerly I talked of scenery from pictures and imagination. But now I feel elevated to an enthusiasm which only wants your society to be
boundless, when I scour the woods of gigantic oak, the bold and beautiful hills, the shores and the rocks upon the Danube.
"Some days of this harvest have been truly fine. The verdure has revived from the heat of summer, which before had entirely parched it. What think you of valleys scoured by wild deer, lined with woods of rich and sublime growth, and scented with wild plums and Indian beans? The myrtle and vine, that would starve in our bleak climate, grow wild upon the rocks, and twine most beautifully round the caves, where the wild deer hide themselves, inaccessible to the dogs and the hunter. I saw an instance of this myself: a poor animal flew up the heights, close to my path, dived into the rocks, and neither search nor scrutiny, nor crying nor shouting, could dislodge her. The huntsman and his pack returned from this place, which I have christened the 'rock of mercy,' rupes misericordia. I have written some Latin lines upon it, which I may show you some day in my portfolio."
It was in March, 1801, that the English squadron under Nelson sailed for the coast of Denmark. Rumors of this naval armament had preceded it, and Campbell came to the conclusion that no man in his senses would remain on the continent who was not independent of any connection with Great Britain. He embarked for Leith, but the vessel in which he sailed, on parting with her convoy, was spied by a Danish privateer, and chased into Yarmouth Roads, where Campbell quitted her, and took coach for London. There he arrived with few shillings in his pocket; but found Perry, and met with a most warm and cordial reception. "I will be your friend," said Perry. "I will be all that you could wish me to be." All the "fears and blue devils" of the young poet were dissipated by these few words of earnest and hearty encouragement. "Come, my dear Richardson," he wrote to his friend, "and enhance all the good fortune I enjoy by your precious society! You will be acquainted with Perry also, and must, like me, admire him. His wife is an angel, and his niece a goddess. I am over head and ears in love with the latter. Leap into your boots like Lefleur, and be in London to-morrow."
In the notes of his first visit to London, he says: "Calling on Perry one day, he showed me a letter from Lord Holland, asking about me, and expressing a wish to have me to dine at the King of Clubs. Thither with his lordship I accordingly repaired, and it was
an era in my life. There I met, in all their glory and feather, Mackintosh, Rogers, the Smiths, Sydney, and others. In the retrospect of a long life, I know no man whose acuteness of intellect gave me a higher idea of human nature than Mackintosh; and, without disparaging his benevolence, for he had an excellent heart, I may say that I never saw a man who so reconciled me to hereditary aristocracy like the benignant Lord Holland."
While intoxicated with this social and literary success, he learned, suddenly, the death of his father, at the patriarchal age of ninety
He immediately left London by sea for Edinburgh. On the voyage a lady passenger startled him with news of the arrest of Campbell the poet, for high treason. Not only was he arrested, but he was confined in the Tower, and likely to be executed. He laughed at this, and had forgotten it, when, as he was at dinner a week or two afterwards, he had a summons to attend the Sheriff of Edinburgh. The officer carried a search-warrant, and he and his papers were conveyed to the sheriff. That magistrate received him with solemnity. One of his fellow-voyagers from the Elbe to Yarmouth had been a certain Donovan, who had commanded a regiment of rebels at Vinegar Hill. Government had been warned of this man's return by some Hamburg spy, who thought fit to add that he had for his companion the author of The Exile of Erin and other dangerous songs, a travelling agent of the Morning Chronicle, notorious when in Germany for haunting rebel society, and vehemently suspected of having conspired with Moreau in Austria, and with the Irish at Hamburg, to get a French army landed in Ireland. Donovan was now in the Tower, and it might be necessary to confront his associate with him. Campbell answered that he had never seen Donovan except on board the Hamburg ship, and was wholly ignorant of his subsequent adventures. The sheriff opened the trunk, and began to examine the MSS. Innocent letters and diaries appeared, fragments of poems, and, by and by, the original draft of Ye Mariners, which this loyal functionary had not before heard of, and now read with equal surprise and delight. "Mr. Campbell," said he, "this is a cold, wet evening-what do you say to our having a bottle of wine during the examination of your treasonable papers? The sheriff, of course, dismissed him in good humor.
On his return to Edinburgh, he found his family affairs dismal
enough. The small pension paid, during his father's lifetime, by the Merchants' Society at Glasgow, was discontinued. This, Campbell, with his usual generous feelings, undertook to make good. He also proposed that two of his sisters, who were then employed as governesses in private families, should get rid of their engagements, join their mother, and set up a boarding-school of their own in Edinburgh. The plan was adopted it insured comfort otherwise unattainable for the destitute family, and for a time promised well. The poet, before quitting London, had been “liberally considered" by Perry, and he looked forward to a subscription edition of The Pleasures of Hope, which his publisher permitted him to issue for his exclusive benefit. He was released from his obligations in regard to The Queen of the North, and agreed to execute for Mundell a compendium of English History, from the accession of George III. to the commencement of the present century, in three volumes octavo, at one hundred pounds each. This work is said to be a very useful abridgment, unambitiously written, and of convenient reference.
In the autumn of this year (1801), Lord Minto, who had then recently returned from the court of Vienna, where he had resided as British Envoy Extraordinary, invited him on a visit to Minto Castle. The invitation was accepted, and the result of the visit was so agreeable to both parties that Campbell consented to take up his quarters for the ensuing season at his lordship's mansion in Hanover-square, where a poet's room" was prepared for his reception.
His lordship availed himself occasionally of his services as secretary; but Campbell was now master of his time, and had the best opportunities of introduction to London society. At Mr. Perry's table he met the same distinguished men who had bid him welcome on his arrival from Germany; and at the King of Clubs, to which he was taken by Lord Holland and Mackintosh, he mingled with the first literary and political men of the metropolis. His happiest moments at this period seem to have been passed with Mrs. Siddons, the Kembles and his friend Telford, the distinguished engineer, whom he describes as a "fellow of infinite humor," and a most useful cicerone in London, from his universal acquaintance and popular manners. Telford, on the other hand, always manifested an affectionate attachment for Campbell, as well as a high admiration for his genius.
At the close of the parliamentary session, Lord Minto started for Scotland, taking the poet with him as his travelling companion. Campbell remained a while in Edinburgh, and did not reach Castle Minto till late in August, when he found there, among other visitors, one whom he mentions as "our Tyrtæus of the Edinburgh volunteers Walter Scott." It was while under his lordship's roof that Lochiel and Hohenlinden were composed, revised, and finally prepared for the press. It was intended that they should first appear in the subscription quarto copy of his poems; but they were published anonymously by themselves, and dedicated to the Rev. Mr. Alison. When he read his manuscript of Lochiel to Mrs. Dugald Stewart, the good lady rose very gravely from her chair, walked across the room, and, laying her hand gently upon his head, said, "This will bear another wreath of laurel yet!" This little compliment made a strong impression on the mind of Campbell, and he alludes to it as one of the principal incidents in his life which gave him confidence in his own powers.
It was long before Lochiel could be put into a shape that satisfied the poet. The first sketch of it was completed over a cup of tea, at two o'clock in the morning, at Castle Minto. The idea that" coming events cast their shadow before" had struck him between sleeping and waking at that seasonable hour, and, with that wrought out, he finished the poem on the spot. Some passages which he afterwards struck out he restored at the suggestion of Scott, with whom the poem was a great favorite. But Campbell had infinite trouble with it, and he wrote Lord Minto that he had made so many attempts to remodel it, and found it incorrigible, that he was tempted to throw it away in vexation. Washington Irving, in his biographical sketch of Campbell, speaks of this poem and Hohenlinden "as exquisite gems, sufficient of themselves to establish his title to the sacred name of poet." But the poet himself did not seem to think much of Hohenlinden, and considered some of the verses "dd drum-and-trumpet lines." This we have from Sir Walter Scott, who relates an amusing anecdote in regard to it. "John Leyden," says Scott, "introduced me to Campbell. wards quarrelled. When I repeated Hohenlinden to said, 'Dash it, man! tell the fellow that I hate him. But, dash him, he has written the finest verses that have been published these