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the Æneas was four years of age !)—where he saw the usual sights, which stamped themselves with uncommon vividness on his memory. At Bath he lived a year, but derived little advantage from the waters. He attended, however, a dame's school for three months; met John Home, author of "Douglas, then residing there; went to the theatre, where, at the sight of Orlando and Oliver, in “As You Like It," quarrelling, he screamed out, “Arn't they brothers ?”—(a story reminding us of young Byron in the Aberdeen theatre, when Petruchio was trying to force down on Kate the paradox of the moon being the sun, roaring out, “But I say it is the meen, sir”)—and enjoyed the beauties of the pleasant place, which, in all but the neighbourhood of the Grampians, may be called the Perth or “Fair City" of England.
This visit to the theatre probably first excited in Scott's mind a desire to peruse the works of Shakspeare. On his return to Scotland, he spent some time in Ediuburgh, went afterwards to Sandyknowe, and in his eighth year was a few weeks at Prestonpans, where he encountered an old military veteran called Dalgetty (a significant name, as the readers of “ The Legend of Montrose” know full well), who became gracious with Scott, and, like the soldier in Goldsmith,
“ Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields were won.” It is interesting to notice how not a few of the familiar names, known to him in his youth, have become classical on his
Thus Meg Dodds was the real name of a woman in Howgate “who brewed good ale for gentlemen." In the records of a Galloway trial, in which Scott was counsel, occurs the name “ MacGuffog," afterwards that of the famous turnkey in “Guy Mannering;" besides one or two other names of the minor characters in the same novel. The name ward” may still be seen on the signs of Arbroath and Forfar, and Scott had doubtless met it there, as well as that of “ Prudfute" in or near Perth, and “Morton” in the lists of Westland Whigs. Nothing, in fact, that ever flashed on the eye or vibrated on the ear of this wonderful man, but was in some form or other reproduced in his writings. It was pro
bably the same with Shakspeare, although all data on the subject are lost; and Mrs Quickly, Master Barnardine, Claudio, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Faulconbridge, seem all old acquaintances of the poet.
In 1778, after spending some time of private study under one Leechman and one French, he was sent to the High School under the charge of Luke Frazer, whom he describes as a good scholar and a very worthy man. Thence he passed to the Rector's class, taught by the celebrated Dr Adam, whose works on classical subjects, such as his “Roman Antiquities,” “Grammar of Ancient Geography,” &c., used to be very popular schoolbooks, and are not yet entirely superseded. Adam was a profound scholar, an amiable man, as enthusiastic as he was simple-minded and sincere, although his passionate attachment to Greek and Roman ideas of liberty led him to use expressions which, in these slavish times, were prejudicial to his interests. Many will remember his last words, “It is getting dark; you may go home, boys.” He is said to have appreciated Scott's amazing memory, and frequently called him up to answer questions about dates; and, although neither he nor his other teachers had any suspicion of his genius, Adam pronounced him better acquainted than any of his contemporaries with the meaning, if not with the words, of the classical authors. He encouraged him also to make translations from Horace and Virgil. One or two trifling original pieces of verse by him, connected with this date, have been discovered. But, on the whole, although not a dunce, Scott was, as he says, an “incorrigibly idle imp," "constantly glancing like a meteor from the bottom to the top of the form,” and vice versa, and shone more in the yards, or High School play-grounds, than in the class. Notwithstanding his infirmity, he was the bravest of foot-ball players, the swiftest of racers, the strongest of pugilists, the most persevering in snow-ball bickers, the most daring climber of the “kittle nine steps” (a pass of peril leading along the dark brow of the Castle Rock), and the most dexterous commander in the mimic battles fought in the Crosscauseway between the children of the mob and those of the higher citizens. Many poets, such as Cowper and Shelley, have been overborne and become broken-hearted amidst the rough play of a public school; but the Scott, the Byron, and the Wilson find it their native element, and their early superiority in sports and pastimes is an augury of their future greatness, and of the manhood and all-sidedness of their genius.
From Adam's tuition Sir Walter would have instantly passed to college, had it not been that his health became delicate, and his father was induced to send him to Kelso. There, being once more under the kind care of his aunt Janet, he added to the stores of his reading, which in Edinburgh had been very extensive and miscellaneous; he became acquainted with Percy's “Reliques of Ancient Poetry," which left a deep and permanent impression on his mind; and at the school of one Lancelot Whale, which he attended for some months, he increased considerably his classical knowledge, besides making the acquaintance of James Ballantyne,-a man whose fortunes were afterwards so closely linked with his own, and in whose company, now in the school, and now in wandering along the banks of the Tweed, he began to exercise his unrivalled gift of story-telling. At Kelso, too—a spot distinguished by its combination of beauties, the Tweed and Teviot beside it melting in music into each other's arms, and near it noble mansions and ancient abbeys, leading away the imagination grandly to the mountains in the background-his eyes were first fully opened, never more to be shut, to the beauties of that Scottish nature of which he became the most ideal, yet minute, the most lingering and loving depicter.
He was soon recalled to Edinburgh, where he went instantly to Hill's Humanity (or Latin) and to Dalziell's Greek class, at neither of which did he profit much, and at the latter sa little that he earned from his fellow-students the title of the Greek block bead.” Glorying in his shame, he wrote an essay in which he preferred Ariosto to Homer, and threw contempt on the fine old language of the latter. The professor, whose sole claim to distinction lay in a collection of Greek extracts, was indignant, and said to Scott that a dunce he was and a dunce he would remain,—words which he lived to reroke, while the poet, too, in later years, keenly regretted his early neglect of his Grecian studies. We cannot say that we share much in this regret. Scott was naturally Gothic in his tastes; the only writer in Greek with whom his genius could ever have had much sympathy was Homer, and he was in many points a Homer himself; only had he known more Greek, he might in his ballad rhyme (as we hinted in our essay on Dryden) have written the best conceivable translation of the “ Iliad."
He attended also the Mathematical, the Ethical (Logic), the Moral Philosophy, and the Historical classes, as well as those of the Civil and Municipal Law. From Dugald Stewart's accomplished tuition he derived considerable benefit, as well as delight. But his real university was that library of strangest selection and most miscellaneous variety which he was piling up partly on his shelves, and partly in the roomy' chambers of his brain; and like many other great men, even those who have attended school and college, he was in reality a selftaught genius. He made himself an excellent French and Italian scholar; he read the romances and poetry of the south; he ransacked the dusty shelves of old circulating libraries; in these repositories of forgotten lore he enjoyed occasional glimpses of the literary characters who frequented them; and he spent his leisure hours in wandering with his friend Jolin Irving, W.S., around Arthur Seat and Salisbury Crags, where he followed his former practice of recounting imaginary narratives—a practice which, he says, had no small effect in directing the turn of his imagination to the chivalrous and romantic in prose and poetry.”
On the 15th of May 1786, he was bound apprentice to his father as W.S., and from that day bade farewell to his academical studies. He wrote about this time a poem of 1600 lines, entitled “The Conquest of Granada,” which, so soon as it was finished, he committed to the flames. This, and two or three love trifles, were, up to 1796, his only poetical productions. It was in 1786 that the memorable meeting took place between Burns and Scott. Such momentary intersections of the orbits of literary stars, while the one is rising and the other beginning to set, are as uncommon as they are interest
ing. Thus met Ovid with Virgil, Milton with Galileo, as well as Burns with Scott. The eyes of the hapless Bard of Coila, glowing with pity, passion, and enthusiasm, as he read the line of Langhorne
“The child of misery baptised with tears"
haunted the memory of Scott to the last. Nor did he ever forget the word of Burns to him, “ You'll be a man yet," although he calls it an expression of mere civility. He pitied Burns' unhappy career, but his own in the long run was not much more fortunate. He too, as well as Burns, was ruined, though in a different way. It is melancholy to remember that this is true of so many besides poets. How often do we hear it said, " It is such and such a person's ruin," almost every life being in some point or other a failure, and each vessel on the sad sea of time being more or less a wreck! Indeed, in all Burns' dark career, there was nothing so dismal as the disastrous reversal of the fortunes, and the premature eclipse of the glorious mind of Sir Walter Scott.
In the first year of his apprenticeship, Scott became intimate with kind old Blacklock, and confirmed his acquaintance -begun at Bath—with Home the author of “ Douglas." He commenced also those yearly visits to the Highlands which were destined to exert such power on the development of his genius. He saw, from a point to the south of Perth, that superb view of the winding Tay and its rich valley, the bold adjacent hills of Kinnoul, Kinfauns, and Moncrieff; the “Fair City" and the distant Grampians, including Benvoirlich on the west, Schiehallion in the north, and Mounts Battock and Blair in the east, which struck his early fancy, and which he has described in one of his most eloquent pages of his “ St Valentine's Day." A client of his father's, Stewart of Invernahyle, an old Jacobite who had measured swords with Rob Roy, and been "out" with Mar, and with "Charlie," invited the young writer to his Highland home, where his experiences somewhat resembled those of Waverley with Fergus MacIvor, and of Francis Osbaldistone in the Macgregor's country. Ever afterwards his heart and imagination