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subject I reserve my remarks until I mercial pursuits afterwards compelled have completed my review of your per- you to employ. Any books that you sonal history
might pick up on the stalls of Pitlochrie • Among the hills of Atholl you were or Moulinearn, the nearest town to born. Just so: I know the place per- your abode, would not make very fectly - nearly half-way between Dal- handsome library; and Mr. Words 'nacardoch and Dalwhinnie, the bleak- worth's assertion that, “ among the est, barrenest, stoniest, and stupidest hills, you gazed upon that mighty orb of portion of the Perthshire Highlands.- song, the divine Milton," seems to be. Your father, Dugald Macglashan, was der on the incredible. Equally startling a very decent carle, though fond occa- is the idea that you became an adept in * sionally of the mountain dcw. He the purer elements of truth involved in
tented a little croft, which Mr. Words- lines and numbers—that your triangles worth has correctly described as were the stars of heaven—and that you unproductive slip of rugged ground, often took delight “ to measure the aland must with his large family have titude of some tall crag that is the been in abject poverty. Nothing is eagle's birthplace.” Had you ever said in the poem as to your costume in a quadrant or theodolite for this last early life ; but it is certain that till operation? I doubt it, and as to your twelve
years old, you had neither hat knowledge of figues or numbere, I can to your head, shoes to your feet, nor only say, that old Jack Jones, of Grifbreeches to your pelvis. In this condi- fiths and Co., who knew you well, used tion you might have sat for the picture, to tell us in the Commercial Room, that drawn in another part of the Excursion, you were as ignorant of the Italian of that
method of book-keeping as a babe at
the breast, and never could tell for your “. Ragged offspring with their own life whether cash should be debtor to blanched hair,
sundries, or sundries debtor to cash. I Crowned like the image of fantastic fear; may afterwards say something as to the Or wearing we might say, in that white lkelihood of your acquiring the moral, growth
metaphysical, and poetical feelings, An ill-adjusted turban for defence which are said to have animated you in Or fierceness, wreathed around their
your mountain solitudes. My own belief sur-burnt brows. "By savage nature's unassisted care.
is, that the only strong emotions of which Naked and coloured like the soil, the feet of hunger and thirst or at least of hun
you were then susceptible were those On which they stand, as if thereby they drew
which you must often have experiSome nourishment, as trees do by their enced on the hill-side in ravenous intenroots,
sity. Jones used to say that he had From earth the common mother of us seen you sometimes when a lad gnawall."
ing at a raw turnip on a cold day with
the same relish as if it had been a pine You certainly realized one side of the apple in summer. But my own imFrenchman's observation as to the dif- pression is, that your acquaintance with ferences of custom— Par example, on turnip husbandry was derived from a lave les mains tous les jours—les pied district of country much more to the jamais.”
southward than your own. I suspect strongly too, that another Thus reared and accomplished, you feature of Mr. Wordsworth's portrait commenced that itinerant career, on already noticed, might also apply, and the dignity of which I have already that when any travellers passed by the commented. Whether from your naHighland road, you were to be seen tive hills you wandered far' is matter - among other imps, running in your blue of opinion, but I rather believe that kilt alongside of the chaise and whin- Kinross and Kendal were to you as the ning for a bawbee, the only English tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. word you could then pronounce, That in your long wanderings among
Your attainments in literature must in the rural villages and farme, you saw a boyhood have been somewhat limited, good many persons, and had observ. if I may judge from probabilities, Gael. ed the history of several families, is um. ic unquestionably was your inother questionably true. From the national tongue, and would be with dif- faculty of second sight, or a keen obficulty exchanged for the very singu- servation of suspicious appearances lar lingua franca which your com- you had always a sure anticipation o
marriages and christenings, and with of your history, I leave you for the a vulture's scent or sight. I decline present, in order to speak of myself; entering into the Waterton Contro- but you will take notice, that I am versy, your presence at the burial was not done with you, as I intend to come infallible. Here indeed your conduct back on the subject, and consider in was often far from praiseworthy : for detail the whole points in your character on such melancholy occasions it was and career that bear upon the poetical observed that the price of your ribbons part that you have been made to play. and gown-pieces always rose in pro I shall not here anticipate, more than portion to the affliction of the sufferers is necessary, the interesting particulars and your own sympathy with their loss. of my life, or the origin and progress Indeed, you were ever a knowing fel- of my own powers. « Anch' io son low, and looked constantly to the main pittore.” Tomkins too perhaps has chance. I ask no better proof of this composed a long philosophical poem, than a passage in which your friend Mr. “ containing views of Man, Nature, Wordsworth has unwittingly let the cat and Society, and to be entitled, the out of the bag. He makes you say, after Commercial Traveller, as having for detailing the very heart-rending story its principal subject the sensations of that poor woman Margaret, that at and opinions of a Poet, living on the the mere sight of some springing plants road, and engaged in business. Wheabout the place, “those weeds, and the ther and when I shall publish the high spear-grass on that wall,” you were whole of this poem, or any portion of so reconciled to the idea of her sorrows a part of it, needs not now be explainand death, that you turned away, “and ed. But if I am advised to commuwalked along your road in happiness.” nicate to the public a prospectus or It is before said that you could afford sample of it, with Christopher's perto suffer, though we never hear of mission, you shall have an oppor. your affording to give Margaret five tunity of perusing it in the pages of shillings; and here even your sympathy Maga. For my present purpose, it disappears at a moment's warning: is enough that I reveal thus much of Was this the part of a friendly and my life: I was born and bred in a sympathetic man who had received civilized country : I spoke English such touching acts of kindness from from the moment when I could speak that bereaved and afflicted creature ? at all : as soon as I could walk I wore I suspect not. But in truth, you were stockings and shoes: and I was early then occupied with thoughts which put into breeches, which I have never you were too cunning to let Mr. discontinued, except now and then Wordsworth know. You were making when Mrs. Tomkins put them on by a professional application of Virgil's mistake ; and except further on that phrase, “primo avulso non deficit al- memorable morning which Christopher ter," though in a different way from has so facetiously recorded as exhibitwhat the dentist did. Your noti ing my femoral muscles in a defence. was this : “ Well, Margaret is away,
less condition. I received a good but Martha succeeds. I lose one cus- education in reading and counting tomer, but there soon comes another !” at school, acquiring at the same Even in your strongest perceptions of time a knowledge of some Latin human grief, you did the thing in the words and some Greek letters. I afterway of business. You observed it, wards served for some months as clerk that you might tell it again. Like the in a coach-office, and was allowed penny-a-liners of the newspapers, you occasionally to drive a few stages out collected in your rounds the full par. of town, to give me a strong whipticulars, and something more of sad hand. I was finally rounded off with afflictions and moving accidents, that a session of academical study in the you might repeat them to your next metropolis of your own country, where customers, and thereby enhance the I also distinguished myself greatly as price of your wares. Have we forgot a member of the Spouter's Union. Shakspeare's Autolycus ? Accordingly, Fully prepared by this curriculum of it is admitted, that you pretty well instruction, wide awake and up to feathered your nest, and are now en- every thing, with an eye like an arjoying a better competency than belongs row, and a tongue like a tavern bell, to many a better man.
I entered on that honourable profesHaving given this general sketch sion for which I was all along design
ed, and have now for about forty years I proci ed to compare in detail the carried the bag in various grades and principal points in our respective condepartments, with some emolument to ditions that affect the question of fitmyself, and great satisfaction to the ness for a poetical character. public.
Now Christopher, for here 1. Early Life and Education. apostrophe to you breaks involuntarily from my pen—look on this picture, If there had been nothing else to deter and on that, and repent in sackcloth Mr. Wordsworth from the choice which and ashes the grievous wrong you he made in your favour, he might, I have done to me, and your own judg- think, have been moved by the cons. ment. In your September Number, deration that he must thereby forego you thus write as to the exclusive fit- the praise of originality. This is not ness of the Pedlar for the poetical the first time that the development of hero of a work like the Excursion. intellect and imagination in a hum.
“ What would you rather have had ble mountain-boy has been made the the Sage in the Excursion to have subject of poetry, and of good poetry been ? The Senior fellow of a Col- too. We have most of us read Beat. lege? A Head ? A retired Judge ? tie's Minstrel, and some of us may reAn ex-Lord Chancellor ? A Nabob? turn to that poem even after reading A banker? A Millionaire ? or, at the Excursion, without feeling much once to condescend on Individuals, disenchantment of the old charth Natus Consumere Fruges, Esquire ? or which it exerted over us. Nay, the the Honourable Custos Rotulorum ?” Minstrel may give us greater plea
Where, Christopher, were you lo- sure than ever from our considering cated when you thus wrote ? You it as the original of so admirable an seem to have turned over the Oxford imitation. So closely has the idea of Calendar, the Red Book, and the Edin. Edwin been followed by Mr. Wordsburgh Directory. But was Pigott worth in your own history, that I not at hand? Was he not as usual think at least some acknowledgment in the Sanctum, or were you really was due to the source from which the writing among the mountains at the conception must have been derived. The moment ? It must have been so : for two stories coincide in almost every a glance at his portly volumes in your particular. The country, Scotland philosophical soul, would have been the locality, a mountainous district, followed by a flash-like perception of the youth's profession, pastoral—the the truth. But oh! even in absence forms of nature represented as the of Pigott, could Christopher forget means of exciting and spiritualizing his Isaac-North, his Tomkins,—the his mind—and the aim of it all to Master of Maga, his own son, The illustrate the pursuit of knowledge BAGMAN.
under difficulties. Let any one closeYes, Christopher, and you Mac- ly compare the passages that follow, glashan, to whom I once more return, and ask whether the balance of praise the question propounded as to the may not be held pretty equally beappropriate hero of the Excursion tween them, considering at least that should have been thus answered. The the one last quoted was the first writPedlar should have been discarded ten. They are both admirable, and the Bagman should have been install- certainly your friend's is the more ed in his place. How much more subtle and ethereal ; but I suspect the fitti gly, how much more gracefully, general feeling would back the dead would he have filled it!
poet against the living one.
Such was the Boy - but for the growing youth
Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth,
Lo ! where the stripling wrapt in wonder roves
And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb,
A sigh, a tear so sweet, he wished not to control. In these two quotations we cannot serve, that while the Doctor has the help seeing a resemblance both in the merit of having led the way, he is in general purpose and in the individual some points also the more accurate of pictures, particularly in that of the the two. Edwin's country was either rising sun ;' but I may further ob- Aberdeenshire, or any other place VOL. XLIV.
real or imaginary that might suit the French Revolution had occurred to poet or the reader. You, Murdoch, frighten him into them, I think it are tied down to the district of Atholl, would have been as well is, in the --for this took place before you be choice of his leading character, Mr. came a pedlar,-and I request to know Wordsworth had avoided this addifrom what bold headland in that neigh- tional point of resemblance. If he borhood you ever beheld the sun rise wished to escape as much as possible while “Ocean's liquid mass beneath the censure of imitation, he should you lay ?” I am not aware of any have let alone the herd-boy and tas en point in the Perthshire Highlands up the einbryo Bagman. Here was from which the sea is at all visible; scope for a truly creative mind-here and there can be none where Ocean is was a fresh and virgin sward untrod seen lying in a liquid mass beneath before by the Muse's foot--here Words the spectator's eye.
worth might have boasted with his When I further consider that the mighty master of attunting his harp to Excursion, in its general plan, is a things unattempted yet in prose and vindication of those very principles of rhyme-here he might have sung with hope and faith which Beattie so well Lucretius inculcated in his Minstrel, before a
" Avia Pieridum perago loca, nullius ante
But independently, Murdoch, of head of cattle may be reared on the the want of originality in your sup- hill in summer or winter. But to the posed story, I beg leave to demur to townsman, visiting the lofty mountain the philosophical correctness of the or the blooming valley, amid his inter. principles advanced in it. It is quite vals of toil and care, they appear en. clear that individuals reared in the tirely in a poetical point of view. country are not the most distinguished They are not in his eyes combined for quickness or experience, and it with the prosaic thoughts of usefulness seems to me a very questionable pro- or money-making : they are wholly position whether they are ever the beautiful or sublime. They are not best and warmest admirers of natural stained by every-day associations; but beauty. Certain I am, that among rise or expand before him in all the persons of better station, those who sacredness and purity of an ideal have been bred in towns, and have picture. What associations they do made them their chief residence, are bring are in the highest degree pleagenerally much more enthusiastic and surable and endearing. They tell enlightened lovers of rural scenery him of freedom newly gained of than those to whom the country is health and cheerfulness about to be their constant domicil : and I don't restored—of misery and weariness left see why it should not be so likewise behind. All the elasticity of lightened with those of humbler condition. By spirits-all the enchantment of romanthe mere countryman, the country tic illusion—combine to make him is regarded too much in a profes- drink in the forms and hues of natural sional point of view. It is his place imagery with an avidity and joy unof business—his shop—the scene of known to those who are for ever in his daily drudgery—the source of his the midst of them, and who for the animal subsistence and commercial most part of their time must regard profit : and its different appearances them with callous indifference while must therefore strike him more ac- occupied in the tame or vulgar avocording to their utility than according cations of a work-day world. Hear to their picturesque or imaginative accordingly what the poets say on this character. A farmer or shepherd looks theme. Hear Horace. at the features of nature with reference quando ego te aspiciam !” Such is to questions of crops and stocking the aspiration of the man surrounded and speculates how many returns of by the vexations of urban life. Hear wheat the dale may yield-how many Milton