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& nominal partner in fame. This appears very clearly at an early period of the first canto, where he abruptly forsakes Lord Ronald, and all interested in his fate, to attend the storm-tossed King. Two stories are thus commenced which seem to have so little connexion with each other, that the mind is awkwardly divided in its attention; and though they are afterwards moulded into one, yet the union is not effected in a manner so satisfactory as entirely to overcome the first feeling of disappointment. To the adventures of Edith, as the dumb page, we do not object: perhaps they are not more extraordinary than those of many women in low life, who, completely concealing their sex, have braved the dangers of the field, that they might be in the same ranks with their lovers; but were they much more improbable than we deem them really to be, we are disposed to pardon them, for the pathos they produce. The historical part supports itself throughout by an internal spirit of vigour which never fails; the incidents, though not numerous, if not always skilfully arranged, regularly conducing to the end designed, and that end most important. But the interruptions to the stream of narration are so frequent, that it is obvious the mere story was only a secondary object; and the whole poem is too much like the exhibition of a national gallery, containing old historical paintings, characteristic portraits, heroic landscapes, and sea-pieces in great variety. Of the merit of some of these pieces we will now enable the reader to determine for himself.
We will begin with the first notice of the vessel in which Bruce is embarked.
“ Since peep of morn, my vacant eyes
(Canto. I. p. 19 and 20 of the 8vo edition.)
« Al day with fruitless strife they toila,
More fierce from strait and lake;
And high their mingled billows jet,
Spring upward as they break.
On rocks of Inninmore;
And gave the conflict o'er.” (P. 25.) Finding all hope was gone of stemming the tides and facing the wind, Bruce resolves to rely on the sacred character of a guest, and to steer for Artornish Castle.
# The helm, to his strong arm consignd,
And on her alter'd way,
To seize his flying prey.
Those lightnings of the wave;
With elvish lustre lave,
A gloomy splendour gave.
In envious pageantry,
Grim Hecla's midnight sky.” (P. 28, 29.) In lightness of touch, and freedom of hand, the commence ment of the voyage through the Hebridean Archipelago is admirable.
“ Merrily, merrily bounds the bark,
She bounds before the gale,
Is joyous in her sail !
The cords and canvass strain,
As if they laugh'd again.
Her course upon that favouring wind,
And Slapin's cavern'd shore.
Impatient for the fight. Hoc
On a breeze from the northward free,
Or the swan through the summer sea.
That guard famed Staffa round.
The cormorant had found,
(P. 140, 141, 142.) As a companion to the preceding pieces, we will give the approach to the isle of Arran, which excels in brilliancy of colour, ing and softness of finishing.
« Thither their destined course they drew;
The ocean so serene;
With azure strove and green.
The beach was silver sheen,
With breathless pause between.
Of such enchanting scene !"" (P. 145, 146.) Among the landscapes we will only select one, which possesses all the horrific grandeur and aweful sublimity of which inanimate nature is capable. When the king first sees the barren ridge of Coolin and the black lake of Corriskin, he exclaims,
“ A scene so rude, so wild as this,
Where'er I happ'd to roam."".
-here,-above, around, below,
The weary eye may ken,
As if were here denied
The bleakest mountain-side.
For from the mountain hoar,
When yell'd the wolf and fled the deer,
Loose crags had toppled o'er;
A mass no host could raise,
On its precarious base.esVom
Now left their foreheads bare,
Dispersed in middle air.
Pours like a torrent down,
Leap from the mountain's crown." (P.98—101.) The scenes in which the habits and manners of the chivalrous age are pourtrayed are so extensive, and are só peculiarly adapted to the respective places which have been appropriated to them, that they scarcely admit of removal without injury. Nearly the whole of the 2d Canto is full of them. The feast, the introduction of the king, the fray, and the inspiration of the abbot, possess very considerable merit.
It has been a very prevalent opinion that Mr. Scott has evinced less ability in drawing and developing character, than in any other part of his art ; but this opinion we cannot think well founded, though we must acknowledge he sometimes appears to suppose that the charge of having "no character at all," which has been calumniously advanced against the generality of one sex, might be extended to a few of the other, who bear no inconsiderable rank in his own poems. What his powers are in this department, when he chooses to exert them, we hope will be shown by the extracts which immediately follow. What constitutes the more obvious part of Bruce's portrait?.
“ It is the form, the eye, the word,