Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

7ak. 1905.

THIRD

GALLERY OF PORTRAITS.

BY

GEORGE GILFILLAN.

LONDON: R. GROOMBRIDGE & SONS.

MDCCCLIV.

82092 G473 vo)

371829

Jewel

EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY J. HOGG.

ADVERTISEMENT.

In issuing a THIRD GALLERY OF PORTRAITS, the Author has a few preliminary statements and explanations to make.

Ist, He is aware that some of his friends have of late begrudged the time he has been devoting to periodical writinga time which they think might be better employed in inde. pendent works. To them he would reply, that he is employed, slowly, but regularly, in constructing a work on our present

an entirely different kind from any of his preceding, and which aim, at least, at paullo majora than many of his writings in the Magazines and Reviews; and that so many are the demands made upon his pen, by the editors and proprietors of journals, that without a greater faculty of saying “No” than he possesses, he could not altogether avoid compliance with their importunities. The day of a dignified withdrawal from that arena, and of an entire devotion to weightier and more congenial matters, may arrive.

2d, He is induced to send forth the following volume for

his hands, to an amount which renders a selection from them

and as many of his friends have only the opportunity of meeting with him in one or two of the five or six periodicals where he writes, it has occurred to him, and the idea has been confirmed by others, that a book containing the cream—if he may so call it—of his diversified lucubrations, might not be unacceptable to them.

3d, His aim in this volume has been to secure the two elements of variety, and of patness to the moment. The sketches here collected are many of them short—they include notices of the most diverse varieties of mind: from a Shakspere to a Spalding—from an Æschylus to a Neale—from a Chalmers to a Marat; they invite special attention to some of those rising poets, whom the Author is proud to say he has been able somewhat to aid in their generous aspirations; and they seek to cast a frail garland on the graves of such illustrious men, and so recently removed, as Delta and Wilson. Should the charges of shortness and slightness be urged against some of these essays, he can only point, on the other hand, to the papers on “Napoleon,” “Macaulay,” “Burke,” “Bulwer,” “Henry Rogers,” “Prometheus,” “Shakspere," and two or three others, as not certainly exposed to the latter of these accusations—if to either. He has reprinted one paper-on “Smibert and the Highlands ”—which is more descriptive than critical, partly from a feeling of sympathy with the author, who is, alas! no more, and partly from a personal interest in the subject, which, besides, tends somewhat more to diversify the book.

4th, The careful reader will notice in this new volume, a striking diversity from its companion Galleries in one important particular-he means, a certain change in his spirit, tone, and language toward the celebrated men who at present lead the armies of Modern Scepticism. This change has repeatedly been charged against him, and ascribed to motives of a personal and unworthy kind. Such motives he distinctly and strongly disclaims. With these men he was never intimate; their opinions he never held; of their present estimate of, or feelings toward himself he knows and cares nothing; but he is willing to grant that the longer he has read their works, and watched the tendency of their opinions, the more profoundly has he been im

light or good from such sources, and of the extremely pernicious influences which they, wittingly or not, have exerted, and are still exerting, upon the mind of this country. Those who will take the trouble of reading his papers on “ Carlyle's Sterling” and “Emerson ” will understand what he means. He has not, in the new edition of his preceding works, suppressed his former expressions of admiration for these men—let them stand—because they were sincere at the time—because they may serve hereafter as landmarks in his own progress-because they never commend the sentiments, but only laud too much the spirit, the intentions, and perhaps the genius of these writers and because the very energy and earnestness of these laudations will prove, that nothing but a very strong cause, and a very profound conviction, could have made him recoil from them! To absolute consistency he does not pretend; to honesty—to progress—and to fidelity in his words to his thoughts, he does, and ever did. This will, and must account, too, for his altered tone in reference to the literary merits of some writers whom he had sketched before. His mind no

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »