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beauty, and great tenderness and fancy in the work — and I am sure it will be very popular. The latter part is exquisitely pathetic, and the whole touched with those soft and skyish tipts of purity and truth which fall like enchantment on all minds that can make anything of such matters. Many of your descriptions come nearer the tone of The Castle of Indolence' than any succeeding poetry, and the pathos is much more graceful and delicate. * * * But there are faults, too, for which you must be scolded. In the first place, it is too short, — not merely for the delight of the reader, but, in some degree, for the development of the story, and for giving full effect to the fine scenes that are delineated. It looks almost as if you had cut out large portions of it, and filled up the gaps very imperfectly. * * *
“ There is little or nothing said, I think, of the early love and of the childish plays of your pair, and nothing certainly of their parting, and the effects of separation on each — though you had a fino subject in his European tour, seeing everything with the eyes of a lover, a free man, and a man of the woods.
It ends rather abruptly, - not but there is great spirit in the description, but a spirit not quite suitable to the soft and soothing tenor of the poem. The most dangerous faults, however, are your faults of diction. There is still a good deal of obscurity in many passages, and in others a strained and unnatural expression — an appearance of labor and hardness ; you have hammered the metal in some places till it has lost all its ductility.
“ These are not great faults, but they are blemishes ; and, as dunces will find them out, noodles will see them when they are pointed to. I wish you had had courage to correct, or rather to avoid them ; for with you they are faults of over-finishing, and not of negligence. I have another fault to charge you with in private, for which I am more angry with you than for all the rest. Your timidity, or fastidiousness, or some other knavish quality, will not let you give your conceptions glowing, and bold, and powerful, as they present themselves ; but you must chasten and refine and soften them, forsooth, till half their naturo and grandeur is chiselled away from them. Believe me, my dear C., the world will never know how truly you are a great and original poet till you venture to cast before it some of the rough pearls of your fancy. Write one or two things without thinking of publication, or of what will be thought of them — and let me see them, at least, if you will not venture them any further. I am more mistaken in my prognostics than I ever was in my life, if they are not twioe as tall as any of your full-dressed children. * I write all this to you in a terriblo hurry, but tell me instantly when your volume is to be out.
By his friends in Edinburgh the new poem was hailed with a general acclamation of delight, to which the reading public of Great Britain gave a cordial response. In the following spring a second edition was called for. Meanwhile, with a facility somewhat remarkable for Campbell, he sketched the touching story of O'Connor's Child in the autumn, finished it in December, and published it in the same volume with Gertrude.
In 1811, Campbell was invited to deliver a course of lectures before the Royal Institution, for one hundred guineas — the terms proposed by himself. Two were to be delivered before and three after Easter, in the following year. To his brother Alexander the poet wrote that it was a “very honorable appointment.” “I hope,” said Sir Walter Scott, “ that Campbell's plan of lectures will succeed. I think the brogue may be got over, if he will not trouble himself by attempting to correct it, but read with fire and feeling. He is an animated reciter, but I never heard him read.”
In February of the year 1812, the poet's mother died at Edinburgh, at the age of seventy-six. She had been for several months a sufferer, and Campbell said that he felt more at the news of her first shock of paralysis than at her decease. “It is only,” said he, “when I imagine her alive in my dreams, that I feel deeply on the subject.”
Meanwhile, the time approached for the delivery of his lectures, of which we find, in a letter of the poet, the annexed synopsis. “I begin my first lecture with the Principles of Poetry ; I proceed, in my second, to Scripture, to Hebrew, and to Greek Poetry. In the fourth, I discuss the Poetry of the Troubadours and Romancers, the rise of Italian Poetry with Dante, and its progress with Ariosto and Tasso. In the fifth, I discuss the French theatre, and enter on English poetry - Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare. In the sixth, Milton, Dryden, Pope, Thomson, Cowper and Burns, are the yet unfinished subjects. It forms a sort of chronological, though necessarily imperfect, sketch of the whole history of Poetry. My endeavor is to give portraits of the succession of the truly great poets in the most poetical countries of Europe. I forgot to say that I have touched also on Oriental poetry.”
Of the poet's success in his new vocation we learn from one of his own letters to an old friend :
TO THE REV. ARCHIBALD ALISON.
“SYDENHAM, April 26, 1812. “ MY DEAREST Alison : The day before yesterday I gave my first lecture at the Royal Institution, with as much success as ever your heart could have wished, and with more than my most sanguine expectations anticipated. Indeed, I had occasionally pretty sanguine expectations of a very different sort of reception. I took, however, great pains with the first lecture, and, though I was flattered by some friends saying I had thrown away too many good things for the audience, yet I have a very different opinion. I felt the effect of every sentence and thought, which I had tried to condense. You will think me mad in asserting the audience to be enlightened ; but now I must think them so — wise, enlightened as gods, since they cheered me so ! and you will think me very vain in telling you all this. Pray burn this letter with fire in case it should rise up in judgment against my vanity! But really and truly, my dear old friend, I am not so vain as satisfied that all my labor has not been threshing on the water. I was told, of course, all the good things about my own sweet self, in the ante-chamber. Lord Byron, who has now come out so splendidly, told me he heard Bland, the poet, say (knowing neither his lordship nor me), “I have had more portable ideas given me in the last quarter of an hour than I ever imbibed in the same portion of time.' Archdeacon Nares fidgeted about, and said, • That's new ; at least, quite new to me.' I could not look in my friend's face ; and I threatened to divorce my wife if she came. All friends struck me blind, except my chieftain's lovely daughter, and now next-door neighbor on the Common, Lady Charlotte Campbell. I thought she had a feudal right to have the lecturer's looks to herself. But chiefly did I repose my awkward eyes on the face of a little yellow unknown man, with a face and a smile of approbation indescribably ludicrous. When I came to your name about ' association,' I felt the force of your doctrine, and my heart, having passed from fear to confidence, swelled so much that, for fear of crying, I stopt sooner than I ought, but I said you were an eloquent and venerable clergyman. I could not add my friend, for it sent another idea most terribly through my heart.
“I had taken no small pains with my voice and pronunciation, strengthening the one not under a pedantic teacher, but with some individuals who are good judges of reading, and getting rid of Caledonianisms in the utter
“My dear boy, Thomas, hoped, on my return, that nobody had made mo laugh during my lecture !' The little wee man with the yellow face certainly made me smile.
“Now this news, with the taking of Badajos, is quite sufficient for one week. I had forgot to remind you of my pension — no wonder. I shall be .
popular in London, for probably three weeks! and nothing less than a riot at the theatre, or a more than ordinary case of gallantry in high life, can pot me before that time out of date !
“But seriously, my dearest Alison, a greater cause of my good spirits is the recovery of Thomas from an illness and fever of six weeks, which has reduced him to a shadow. He is now fairly better. How are all your dear circle ? Remember me to them. “ Your ever affectionate
During the remainder of this year and a portion of 1813, the poet seems to have devoted more time than was usual with him to general society. Lady Charlotte Campbell had introduced him to the Princess of Wales, and he became an habitual visitor at the Court of Blackheath, where he was no doubt more at his ease than he would have been in any other court. He became quite a favorite of the princess, and danced Scotch reels with her “ more than once.” Here he met Mackintosh and Sir Thomas Lawrence ; and, on one occasion, Dr. Burney and his daughter, Madame D'Arblay. “Her features," he says, must have been once excellent; her manners are highly polished, and delicately courteous, -- just like Evelina grown old, - not bashful, but sensitively anxious to please those about her. I sat next to her, alternately pleased and tormented with the princess' naïveté and Madame D'Arblay's refinement. Her humility made me vow that I would abandon the paths of impudence forever! Yet I know not that anybody but herself could manage so much gentleness. I believe any other person would appear designing with it. But really you would love her for her communicativeness, and fine tact in conversation."
Campbell's first acquaintance with Theodore Hook was of this period. “ Yesterday an improvisatore — a wonderful creature of the name of Hook --- sang some extempore songs, not to my admiration, but to my astonishment. I prescribed a subject, -pepper and salt,'
- and he seasoned the impromptu with both very truly Attic salt. He is certainly the first improvisatore this country ever possessed — he is but twenty.”
In the same circles he met with another man of extraordinary social talent, and of no little note, towards the close of the last century, for his convivial songs. “I dined yesterday with Captain Morris, the old bard, who sang his own songs in his eighty-first year with the greatest glee, and obliged me to sing some Scotch songs and the Exile of Erin.
The party was at Lonsdale's, the painter's; and you may guess how social it was when worse, infinitely worse thrapples, as we Scotch say, volunteered songs after dinner, in the hearing of ladies. Poor old Morris was cut a little — but he is a wonderful spirit. His dotage seems to consist of boasting of the king's kindness to him. I was as sober as a judge when I came home, at one in the morning."
In the spring of 1813 Madame de Staël visited England. Campbell had previously corresponded with her, and had offered to superintend the translation of one of her works. She had written him, in January, from Stockholmn, thanking him for his offer, and telling him that during the ten years for which she had been absent from England the English poem which excited her most, and which she read again and again, was The Pleasures of Hope. During the visit Campbell saw her several times, and read her his lectures, ono of them against her own doctrines in poetry. Woman of genius as she was, Madame de Staël showed the tact and lavished the compliments of a French woman. Campbell tells us that “every now and then” she said to him, “ When you publish your lectures they will make a great impression over all Europe ; I know nothing in English but Burke's writings so striking.” Every now and then! The poet might have thought, with the queen in Hamlet, “ the lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
During this summer Campbell passed a few weeks at Brighton, where he met Herschel, whom he found a “ simple, great being." He spent a day with the astronomer by invitation. Herschel described his interview with Bona parte, and said that, though the emperor affected astronomical subjects, he did not understand them deeply. Of his great telescope Herschel said, with a greatness and simplicity of expression that struck the poet with wonder, “I have looked further into space than ever human being did before me. I have observed stars of which the light takes two millions of years to travel to this globe.”
At Holland House, also, as well as at St. James's Place, in the society of Lord Holland and Mr. Rogers, he now met familiarly the distinguished men of the time. “I have spent,” he writes to a friend, “ a pleasant day at Lord Holland's. We had the Marquis