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The scenery of the Frith of Forth was in full view from the house ; the time was summer, and the weather peculiarly balmy and beautiful. I was a young, shrinking, bashful creature : my poems were out but a few days; and it was neck or nothing with me, whether I should
go down to the gulf of utter neglect or not; although, with all my bashfulness, I had then a much better opinion of myself and my powers than I have at this moment. Your dear father praised my work, and quoted the lines –
• 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,' &c.,
looking at the very hills that had suggested the thought! Well, I
The original manuscript of The Pleasures of Hope is in existence, in good preservation, in the autograph of the poet. It formerly belonged to the late Dr. Murray, Professor of Oriental Languages, and was at the time of Campbell's death in the possession of Mr. Patrick Maxwell, a literary gentleman of Edinburgh. The MS. consists of about forty or fifty paragraphs, extending over some twenty pages, and containing above four hundred lines. At the end of the poem is The Irish Harper's Lament for his Dog, word for word as it is now printed under the title of The Harper.
From this manuscript the following extract, shortly after the poet's death, was inserted in the Edinburgh Advertiser, with Mr. Maxwell's permission, as a literary curiosity :
ORIGINAL INTRODUCTION TO THE “ PLEASURES OF HOPE."
Seven lingering moons have crossed the starry line
The charm dissolves! What Genius bade me go
The wrongs of man to man, of clime to clime,
The charm dissolves ! My kindling fancy dreams
So when the Northern in the lonely gloom,
So when Cimmerian darkness wakes the dead,
If then some wandering huntsman of the morn
Many of the passages in the original draft are the same as they stand in the printed poem ; others have been retouched, and others entirely suppressed. The whole poem, indeed, was much amplified and altered ; and the poet was aided in the process of revision by the severe and judicious criticism of Dr. Anderson, to whom he was indebted for many kind offices, which he recognized by dedicating to him the first volume of his poems.
“ The rapture of April, 1799," says a writer in the Quarterly Rericw, " on the first appearance of The Pleasures of Hope, was very natural. Burns had lately died. Cowper was sunk in hopeless insanity, soon to be released. Their vivid examples had not sufficed to abolish the drowsy prestige of Hayley. Of the great constellation that has since illuminated us, but few of the more potent stars had ascended above the horizon. Crabbe, under a domestic sorrow of which Campbell was destined to participate, had fallen into a dejected inactivity, and was all but forgotten. Rogers had some years earlier published The Pleasures of Memory, to which The Pleasures of lIope owed more than the suggestion of a title ; but that genial effusion only promised the consummate graces since displayed, though too parsimoniously, by its now venerable author. Wordsworth and Coleridge had sent forth Lyrical Ballads, some of them exquisitely beautiful, and in the aggregate most deeply influential; but these were as yet, and for a long while after, appreciated only within a narrow circle; no one misunderstood and undervalued them more than did Campbell himself. Southey had produced nothing that survives in much vitality. Moore was at college, or at Anacreon. Byron had not yet lain dreaming under the elm of Harrow, nor Wilson listened 'the sweet bells of Magdalen tower.' The moment was fortunate, and the applause more creditable to the public than advantageous (in the upshot) to the new poet.”
The sale of his poem had improved Campbell's finances; and with a little money in his pocket he was always buoyant and sanguine. He determined to travel, Goldsmith fashion, on the continent. His career had been decided. It was to be that of a man of letters; and in this view it was important for him to become acquainted with the literature and literary men of Germany. On his route he was to be joined by his friend Richardson, and together they were to produce a volume of travels, that was to go far towards paying their expenses. Then he was engaged on a poem styled The Queen of the North, in which he was to celebrate the glories and independence of Scotland. of this poem he had already composed several fragments, and had contracted for its illustration with Mr. Williams, whom he describes as an artist of first-rate genius in his profession of a landscape painter. Fortunately, too, he had formed a connection, through some of bis whig friends, with Perry, the liberal and gentlemanly editor of the Morning Chronicle, of London, for whose columns he was employed as a correspondent. The projected poem and the volume of travels both failed, and his only substantial resources in Germany proved to be Perry and The Pleasures of Hope.
In June, 1800, in company with his brother Daniel, who intended to establish himself on the continent as a manufacturer, the young poet embarked at Leith for Hamburg. His prudence had overcome his anxiety to visit London and its celebrities; and he consoled himself for losing the sight of Godwin, Mackintosh, Mrs. Siddons and his friend Thomson, by the reflection that he should see Schiller and Göethe, the banks of the Rhine and the mistress of Werter.
“ Besides, upon reflection,” as he records himself, in a letter of that period, “ I see the propriety of making my first appearance in London to the best advantage. At present I am a raw Scotch lad, and, in a London company of wits and geniuses, would make but a dull figure with my northern brogue and · braw Scotch boos.' I am not satisfied with my quantum of literature, but intend to write a few more books before I make my débât in London. In reality, my fixed intention, on returning from Germany, is to set up a course of lectures upon the Belles Lettres. I had some thoughts of lecturing in Edinburgh, but cannot think of remaining any longer in one place.
“ If London should not offer encouragement, I mean to try Dublin. I think this a respectable profession, as the showman of the bear and monkey said, when he gave his name to the commissioners of the income tax, as an itinerant lecturer on Natural History." Campbell met a kind reception among the British residents at Hamburg, where he resided nine or ten weeks to acquire some knowledge of the language and country, before proceeding to the interior. “ I have seen the great Klopstock,” he wrote, soon after his arrival, to John Richardson," and given him a copy of the third edition ;” and the “ mild, civil old man "returned the compliment by letters of introduction to his friends in other parts of Germany. With Klopstock he conversed only in Latin, a language which enabled him to make his way very well with the French and Germans, and still better when he fell in with the Hungarians.
From Hamburg he proceeded to Ratisbon, on the Danube, – the ancient capital of Bavaria, — where he arrived three days before it was taken by the French. The scenery of his route he describes in a letter to Dr. Anderson, in prose, which even his best poetry hardly surpasses. The incidents of war, which he witnessed, he paints with equal brilliancy and effect; and if any one of his contemporaries has achieved anything better in the same style, it was surely not at the age of two and twenty, or in a sketch designed only for the eye of private friendship. He writes, on the 10th of August, 1800, from Ratisbon :
“What are the expectations of politicians now with regard to peace? Everything here is whisper, surmise, and suspense. If war breaks out, the bridge over the Danube is expected to be blown up! You may guess what a devil of a splutter twenty-four large arches will make,- flying miles high in the air, and coming down like falling planets to crush the town! Joking apart, - and indeed the event will be no joke, - Ratisbon will be shivered to atoms; and, as no premonition is expected, the inhabitants may be buried under the ruins. But, in spite of all conjectures to the contrary, I think peace is not far off.
“My journey to Ratisbon was tedious, but not unpleasant. The general constituents of German scenery are corn-fields, - many leagues in extent, - and dark tracts of forest equally extensive. Of this the eye soon becomes tired; but in a few favored spots there is such an union of wildness, variety, richness and beauty, as cannot be looked upon without lively emotions of pleasure and surprise. We entered the valley of Heitsch, on the frontier of Bavaria, late in the evening, after the sun had set behind the hills of Saxony. A winding road through a long woody plain leads to this retreat. It