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crash of worlds,”—the pressure of rocks--the insinua. atmospheric phenomena, at the outset, which cursory tions of moisture, -and the ravages of fame ; but that readers would think out of place, are made to tell with fragile leaves, and buds, and blossoms, should find an prodigious and condensed effect; as also in what follows: embalıning sepulture amidst convulsions that upheaved “ Many persons have ascribed to the descent of rain the solid earth, is almost beyond astonishment. Yet from some super-aerial ocean, a great part, if not the such is the fact, and so perfectly are they preserved, that whole, of the waters which then inundated the earth. treatises on their botanical classification have appeared. The atmosphere, however, is merely the circulating me. The latest and best of these are by a very young, but dium through which aqueous particles are transferred already justly distinguished Frencluman, di. Adolphe from moist to dry places. Supposing it universally saBrongniart, son of the coadjutor of Cuvier, and worthy turated at a temperature of 80° Fahrenheit, round an of such a sire.* His researches are at once curious and aqueous sphere, it could receive vapour merely equiva. profound, and the world and science are already his lent to its dew point, amounting at the utmost to a press. debtors, while he has scarcely numbered the years that ure of only one inch of mercury, or 13.6 inches of would entitle him to sit on the first form at Eton Col. water. This is all that could fall from it in its transi. lege.
tion from moisture to absolute dryness ; a quantity inHaving endeavoured to solve one enigma of the pri- capable of producing a general deluge. The formation meval world--the fervid temperature of even its circum- and desceni of rain constitute merely a process of distilpolar zones, the Doctor next offers some remarks illus- lation, when a direct circulation of vapour is established trative of another geological difficulty--the transfer of through the air above, and a retrograde circulation of the ocean from its ancient to its present bed. Perhaps water on the surface below. But this circulation can the most striking example diluvian ey's have ever wit- never raise the ordinary level of our seas in the slightest nessed, of the force of the uprearing power of the agi. degree." tated inferior strata, in reversing sea and land, so often From the absence of rain, and consequently those referred to, was that narrated by Maria Graham, as oc- currents of air and wind occasioned by evaporation and curring in Chili in 1822. “On the morning of the 20th deposition, it is ingeniously inferred, that all animal November, it appeared that the rehole line of coast, from and vegetable produets now found, must there have been north to south, to the distance of above 100 miles, had originally located" for they would find their sepulture been raised above its former level. The alteration of at home.” level at Valparaiso was about three feet, and some rocks We before adverted to Mr Penn's idea, that the ratio were thus newly exposed, on which the fishermen col- of land to water was inverted by the deluge ; for he as. lected the scallop shell-fish, which was not known to sumes that our actual seas correspond in surface to the exist there before the earthquake.”
antediluvian lands, and our actual lands to the antedi. Incidentally, with respect to the coral reefs which rise luvian seas. But the researches of Professor Buckland in the southern Indian ocean, it is remarked, that what on the Kirkland and Franconia caves, as well as those has formerly been published about the immense erec. of Baron Cuvier on the grotto of Oiselles, concur to tions which the saxigenous polypi are capable of execu- prove that these were dens inhabited by antediluvian ting, is erroneous, and greatly exaggerated.
quadrupeds, and therefore must have formed a portion We now approach a portion of the work of singular of its dry land. daring and power. It is boldly lieaded at the outset, With Mr Penn's proportion of land and water, our “ Tie DELUGE DESCRIBED,” and is necessarily more author conceives the terraqueous globe would not have speculative and hypothetical than any of the preceding been habitable by man, and his companion animals. It portions ; but it is still much in the spirit of the fol- would have possessed nearly three parts of earthy surlowing admirably condensed paragraphs :
face (o one of aqueous, whereas there is now fully three “: The period of the deluge is fixed, by the best chro- of' aqueous surface to one of earthy. Or, since dry nologists, in the year 1656 from the creation, correspond-ground is the heating surface, and water is the cooling, ing to the year 2:3 48 of the Christian era. According the heating faculty of that ancient globe would have 10 Blair, “On the 10th day of ihe second month, which been three times greater than the present, and its cool. was on Sunday, Nov. 30th, 2347, God commanded ing faculty three times less ; making a ninefold differNoah to enter into the ark with his family, and the ence in calorific constitution between the two, without next Sunday, Dec. 7th, it began to rain, and rained 40 taking into account the proper beat of the antediluvian days, and the deluge continued 159 days. On Wednes. seas. The proportion, however, of the former writer, day, May 6th, 2318, the ark rested on Mount Ararat though inaccurate, is so far correct as showing that there The tops of the mountains became visible on Sunday, was more land than now; and thence our diminished tom. July 19th, and on Friday, Nov. 18th, Noah came fortli perature is clearly indicated. But if the primeval seas out of the ark, with all that were with him.'
were of less extent, they were decper, as we have said, “ When the barriers of the ocean began to give way and hence in greater proximity with the fixed and ex. before the explosive forces, the waters would invade the plosive metals, and would, after the deluge, soak down shores, and spread over the sunken land, augmenting and cause, by consequent volcanic eruptions, those vast prodigiously the evaporating surface, and thus bringing accumulations of lava which every pari of the world ex. the atmosphere to the dew point, a state of saturation to hibits. which, previously, it could seldom, and in few places, We now draw near the end of this masterly work, attain, on account of the area of the dry ground being which, before concluding, contemplates the Animal regreat relative to that of the sea. From this cause, as mains or Ruins of the Deluge,ếin referenec merely to well as from the immense quantity of vapours wlrich are their living characteristics, as contrasted with their types known to rise from craters into ihe higher and cooler in the present time, and the era of the emergence of the regions of the air at the period of eruptions, an immense present carth. It is from this survey, as eloquent as it formation of cloud and deposition of rain would ensue. is novel, ingenious, comprehensive, and profound, yet It will here be observed, how the bases laid down on simple and Scriptural, that we glean.
• The theologian may probably recognize, in the pic. When in Paris, we visited the Institute of France, and in the hall of the Academy of Sciences, when the menbers had as- Psalm, allusions which favour the idea of the postdilu
ture of the deluge so sublimely sketched in the 104th sembiod, we felt ourselves amid the most august and illustrious congregation in the world. A young gentleman-so young as to vian earth having been peopled with animals by a new appear yet loyish-showed us the inost marked attention in creative fiat ; while through Noah, mankind are all the suming the most distinguished individuals among sisty, who are children of Adam. “The waters stood above the moun.
We sat in a recess of the window together, and ex. changed cards. His bore the name-Adolphe Brongniart. tains; at thy rebuke they fied; at the voice of thy
thunder' (volcanic explosion ?). they hasted away. The It were easy to allay such lofty praise with hesitated mountains ascend, the valleys descend* unto the place hints, and to assume sagacity in discovering faults; but which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a where general and sustained eloquence abounds, we canbound that they may not pass over; that they turn not not condescend to dwell on a few inflated and sound. again to cover the earth. Thou hidest thy face, they'ing phrases. These are too trivial to be blemishes, (beasts both small and great) are troubled; thou takest and will be unseen in the second and succeeding editions,
6 away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. to which the book must hasten. A brief Glossary of Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created ; and technical terms will be a proper addition to these. The thou renewest the face of the earth.' The language of typography of the work is a credit to even the city of the last sentence must surely mean something more than the Foulises and Uries; and the liberal spirit of the the generation of animals, and the propagation of plants, publishers has enriched the work with a series of illusin the ordinary way. Can it be so applied without pro- irations in copper and wood, numerous and costly, much fanation ?
beyond the general rule of the trade.
PAINTING. known, is evidenced from the constitution of antedilu: History of Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture. vian earth and atmosphere; and our author makes it By J. Š. Memes, LL.D. Constable's Miscellany. obvious, not only from the emphatic words in which the Vol. XXXIX. Edinburgh. 1829. meteoric ensign of Heaven's favour is announced, as well as from the holy purpose which it was ordained to serve, In a strict point of view, Painting owes little or nothing but from the change that had taken place in these in rela- to the Ancients. The only merit possessed by the Egypt. tion to each other, that it must have been equally strange, ian painters is a certain correctness of linear profile, which as it was glorious, in their sight ; for antediluvians, oc. may have been first acquired by the tracing of shadows. cupying possibly on their devoted lands, a portion of a Many of their works still remain, with the colouring al. great continent now covered by the Pacific, might never most as fresh and vivid as when it was first laid on. have witnessed a sunshine shower. A canopy of clouds These have been principally found on the walls of indeed might often be stretched in the cooler upper re- temples, tombs, or hypogeums. Like their sculptures, gions of their skies, but the aqueous vesicles, in descend- they are allegorical, grutesque, and graceless,--though ing through the warmer aerial strata below, would re- not without interest, from considerations unconnected turn again to invisible vapour.
with taste. As to Greek paintings, we are acquainted with With a refutation of the absurd pretensions to an an- them only by description ; gh, were we implici tiquity inconsistent with Divine Writ, of the pretended to believe all that has been written concerning them, tables of Hindoo astronomy, given to the world by they were no less entitled to rank as models, than the Bailly, as triumphant as the confutation of the Canon wonderful existing creations in the sister art of sculpture. of Ricuperos' notion of the carth's age, deduced “ from | But though we cannot fail fully to appreciate the judgcoats of Sicilian lava, which is furnished at the outset,- inent of authors, which is shown to such advantage a work of rare, vast, and varied lore, and destined to in their minute accuracy of criticism when applied to become as popular as the Natural Theology of Paley, sculpture, yet, as Dr Niemes justiy observes, “ taste concludes itself a full, noble, and, we should think, being necessarily formed upon the very mo iels on which well-nigh immortal, commentary on the passage from it passes sentence, cannot be admitted as evidence beSchlegel quoted by us before.
yond its experience." For this reason, and for others The result of equal proportions of genius, labour, and which he has stated, and in which we entirely coincide, skill, and bringing down information on all it treats of
we are disposed to think the alleged proficiency of the till the close of the last year, it will make Geology still ancients in this branch of art rather problematical. more a popular study, by showing it to be a delightful, The history of Greek painting, given us by Pliny and and rendering it an easy one; and he who, even at his others, is too unnatural to be strictly true. If the fireside, has armed himself with a knowledge of the lead Greeks had arrived at such eminence as is pretended, ing principles of that science, like the student of Bo.
we should certainly find a greater number of names tany, need not dread the solitude of the dreariest wilder- enrolled as professors of the art; only fifteen are ness, nor the silence of the loneliest desert. Hence- mentioned by Pausanias, whereas one hundred and forth, to such an one, a voice will speak from every bar. sixty-nine are recorded by the same author as devoted ren rock, and wisdom will unfold itself in every herb that to sculpture. The Greeks would certainly not have rears its stunted head. No spot in Nature's domain can been contented with cold, though divine, beauty, had be wearisome to him; while even the most favoured of they been acquainted, to a great extent, with the magic the sites of earth will, in the terms of “ Paris Basin,” | force of which the pencil is capable. But, however “ 0.xford Clay," &c. acquire an associated and eleva- the case may have been, as next to no relics of Greek ted interest.
painting now exist, it can have had no influence in formTo aid in directing the attention of manhood and ing the Italian school, wonderful and unrivalled as it is, youth to such pure, ennobling pursuits, has been our and whose pre-eminence must ever be considered one of aim. To diffuse those consolatory conclusions, which the very few family traits which serve to prove that the science, rightly
interrogated, brings to the bosom of inhabitants of modern Italy are the descendants of the the ingenuous, but perhaps nervously excited, lover of ancient Romans. So far, therefore, as mechanical exe. truth--that are here, in the true spirit of Philosophy cution, design, colour, and all that relates to painting united to Religion, skilfully concatenated_has been as a practical art, is concerned, the moderns owe noour aim. If we shall, however humbly, have assisted thing to the ancients. It is only when we come to conthis work in doing either-by making its merits early, sider the mighty influence their sculpture has always and, in so far as our voice extends, widely known--we had in the formation of taste, that we are forced to conshall not speak of our labour, for that has been one of cede to them the praise of having probably given the love, and of delight but of our pride :--We are more first impulse to the minds of all great painters. than rewarded.
The gap which occurs in the history of painting from These descriptive words in Italics are the Hebrew text, as
the time that the Romans abandoned it as an art, only printed in the margin of our Bibles.
worthy of being practised by thcir Greek slaves, is tremendous. During those ages of ignorance, a faint trace the other pourtrays the capacities, energies, and ideali. of its existence occasionally appears, but is again quick. ties of form. Raphael excels in resemblance ; he walks ly lost in gloom. At Florence, early in the 13th cen- the earth, but with dignity, and is seen to most advan. tury, a decided forward motion is first perceptible, tage in relations of human fellowship. Michael Angelo though not till the middle of the 15th century did oil can be viewed only in his own world ; with ours he painting find its way across the Alps, being first iniro. holds no farther communion than is necessary to obtain duced into Italy by Van Eyck of Bruges. To Leo- a common medium of intelligence. In the grand, the nardo da Vinci, undoubtedly, belongs the appellation venerable, the touching realities of life, the first is un. of Father of the Italian school. His was exactly one of rivalled ; his fair, and seeming true, creations cause us those bright spirits which we rejoice to find hovering on to reverence humanity and ourselves. Over the awful the confines of darkness, and pointing the way to excel and the sublime of fiction, the second extends a terrible lence and perfection. Contrasting the state of art when sway; he calls spirits from their shadowy realms, and he first appeared, and when he left it, we may well as they come at his bidding, in giant shapes, to frown sign him a seat beside Michael Angelo and Raphael ; as upon the impotency of man. a genius, we must probably place him higher than either. “ To contend here for superiority is futile_each has Not contented with the multitudinous pursuits of art, his own independent sphere. The style of Raphael has he plunged with avidity into the more intricate paths of justly been characterised as the dramatic, that of Mi. science. Descended from a noble and wealthy family, chael Angelo as the epic, of painting. The distinction is he is a rare and striking instance of a mind paralysed, accurate, in as far as the former has made to pass be. neither by pride of birth, nor means of worldly ostenta. fore us character in conflict with passion in all its intion. In speaking of him, Fuseli thus expresses him. dividualities of mode; while the latter represented and self: “ He broke forth with a splendour which eclipsed generalized both character and passion. The first leads all his predecessors. Made up of all the elements of us from natural beauty to divine-the second elevates genius,-favoured by form, education, and circumstances, us at once into regions which his own lofty imaginings -all ear, all eye, all grasp ; painter, poet, sculptor, ana- have peopled. Hence, than Michael Angelo's prophets, tomist; architect, engineer, chemist, machinist, musi- and other beings that just hover on the confines of hucian, philosopher; and sometimes empiric, he laid hold man and spiritual existence, the whole range of art and of every beauty in the enchanted circle, but, without ex. poetry never has, and never will, produce more magni. clusive attachment to one, dismissed, in her turn, each. ficent and adventurous creations. This is his true Fitter to scatter hints than teach by example, he wasted power_here he reigns alone, investing art with a mightlife insatiate in experiment. To a capacity which at iness unapproachable by any other pencil. But when once penetrated the principle and real aim of the art, he the interest is to be derived from known forms, and na. joined an inequality of fancy, that at one moment lent | tural combinations, he fails almost utterly; nerer can him wings for the pursuit of beauty, and the next flung his line want grandeur but grandeur so frequently subhim on the ground to crawl after deforinity. We owe stituted for feeling, and when the subject cannot susto him chiaroscuro, with all its magic; but character tain it, presents only gorgeous caricature. Human af. was his favourite study_character he has often raised fection mingles in every touch of Raphael, and he car. from an “ individual to a species, and as often depress-ries our nature to its highest moral, if not physical, eleed to a monster from an individual.'”
vation. Hence, his supernatural forms may want abNext to Da Vinci appeared the “ mighty Floren- stract majesty and overawing expression ; but they distine;" and though Tintoretto has been called “ the play a community in this world's feelings, without its lightning of the pencil," from his rapidity of execu. weaknesses or imperfections, by which the heart is pertion, yet the appellation more particularly characterizes haps even more subdued. the illustrious Buonarotti. His mind, fervid and rest. * If this be a true estimate of the powers of these great less in the extreme, seems to animate every touch of his men, and we have drawn our inferences from impres. pencil, and gives a sort of hurrying grandeur to his com- sions often felt, and long studied, no comparison can be positions, looked for in vain in the productions of other morc unjust, nor less apt, than the one so frequently re
. masters. The adage,
peated, that Michael Angelo is the Homer, Raphael the " By tedious toil no passions are express'd;
Virgil, of modern painting. The Florentine may justly His hand, who feels them strongest, paints them best," take his place by the side of the Greek. Not so the
Roman and the Nantuan. The copyist of Homer, nay, seems never to have been absent from his memory. On frequently his translator, whose nature is taken at se. viewing his works, our feelings are akin to those of cond-hand,whose characters, in the mass, have about Cain, when led by Lucifer through regions of unknown as much individuality as the soldiers of a platoon, and beings, and forms of dim, uncertain magnificence. The little more intellectual discrimination than brave, braver, power and originality of conception displayed by Mi. and bravest, must occupy a lower seat at the banquet of chael Angelo carries captive all attempt at criticism, genius than the original, the ever-varied, and graphic and judgment itself is prostrated at the foot of genius. artist. The great error in estimating the merits of these Contemporary with this fiery spirit appeared the sweet, masters appears to have arisen from not considering the inimitable Raphael; but, as in the comparison insti- them separately, and as independent minds. Michael tuted between them by Dr Memes, the distinctive pro- Angelo, indeed, created, while Raphael may be said to perties of both are admirably given, we extract the fol- have composed; but he discovered and collected he did lowing passage, which is both energetic and eloquent: not derive bis materials. Michael Angelo found the COMPARISON BETWEEN MICHAEL ANGELO AND
art poor in means, undignified and powerless in compo
sition ; he assumed it in feebleness, and bore it at once RAPHAEL
to maturity of strength."-Pp. 166-68. “ It is only in the individuality and profoundness of Circumscribed as we are, it were vain to attempt, even expression, that Raphael reaches the sublimities of art. excursively, to follow the history of painting from its In the abstract conception of form he is inferior ; hence, golden age, down to the present day. We must be conin the representations of mythological existences, he be- tented with merely naming the bright stars which here comes feeble in proportion as he generalizes. It is this and there shine pre-eminently forth, even among the that discriminates between the Roman and the Floren- rich galaxy that surrounds them. The founders of the tine. The former is the painter of men as they live, Florentine and Roman schools have already been consiand feel, and act; the laiter delineates man in the ab- dered ; that of Venice next claims attention. Here stract. The one embodies sentiment-feeling-passion; colour was carried to its utmost power, and the “ nimi.
um ne crede colori" of Virgil (Ec. ii.) entirely for painting is inferior, but that it is so nearly equal, to that gotten. Titian decidedly claims supremacy ;-and of London. But there needs not an appeal merely to though he may too implicitly have yielded to the fasci. relative excellence; the absolute merits of some of the nation of colour, yet he has shown a genius entirely in. masters now in Edinburgh, or belonging to Scotland, dependent of all meritricious effect. He is remarkable are not surpassed in their respective departments. It is for his exquisite finish ; and if we agree with the opi- far from the intention, in these remarks, to institute any nion expressed by Du Fresnoy,
invidious distinctions, but to state fairly the claims of “ Maxima deinde erit ars, nihil artis inesse videri," Edinburgh, and that the talents of her artists, and the we must give Titian the full benefit of this praise. zeal of her people, place her, not among the secondary Of Corregio, another artist for whom we have always cities, but among the capitals of Europe. It ought also entertained a peculiar affection, we would willingly quote to be remembered, that in no instance are the arts of any some of the able remarks of Dr Memes, but our space kingdom more indebted, than those of the British Emforbids. We reluctantly, also, pass over notices of many pire to Scotsmen. Not to mention the exertions of Gaother artists of great celebrity in the Italian school, espe- vin Hamilton, himself an artist, whose discoveries and cially Daniel di Volterra and Domenichino, who, with knowledge of antique art materially assisted the general Raphael, in the opinion of Poussin, produced the three restoration of taste and we do know that, in this light, masterpieces of art. The Caracci, Guido, Albani, Sal. Canova both regarded and ever spoke of him with gravator Rosa, and many others, could only be done justice titude-there are two cases more immediate to the preto in separate treatises, as they cach possess merits of a purpose. Sir William Hamilton, at his own risk peculiar and distinctive kind.' Plutarch ascribes to Sia and expense, though afterwards, as was only proper, in monides the following saying, which appears applica- part repaid, made the most splendid collection of ancient ble to the school of Italy alone, and with which we must
vases now in the world, excepting that of Naples. These conclude our hasty remarks on it :-Σωγραφιαν ειναι
are in the British Museum, and have not merely refined φθεγγομενην την ποιησιν, ποιησιν δε σιγωσαν την ζωγραφιαν. | taste, but have most materially improved the useful arts
The Transalpine schools of painting, as long as they of the country. The Earl of Elgin's inestimable trearetain their indigenous features, have always appeared
sures of ancient sculpture have enriched Britain with to us to rank immeasurably below those of Italy; when, examples of unrivalled excellence, and which have al. on the other hand, they have united the peculiarities of ready mainly contributed to the present superiority of the Dutch and Flemish schools to the severer graces of her genius in art. These precious remains, with indethe Romans, as was the case especially with Teniers and fatigable assiduity, at a ruinous and hopeless expendi. Vandyke, they become worthy of the closest study. In ture, collected an enterprise in which 'kings had for. its theory, painting is only interesting as long as it merly failed-he gave to his country on repayment of reaches the mind. "The Dutch school has ever address, pot nearly his own outlay, though we have reason to ed the eye, with a precision and minutiæ truly admi. know, through the late venerable Denon, that the forrable, but left the heart and head unemployed. The mer government of France offered to the possessor his famous picture, for example, by Quentin Matsys, of the
own terms. The meritorious act of removal indeed has, Misers, we admire only for the accuracy of its detail, been deplored as a despoiling of a classic monument
with schoolboy enthusiasm, and maudlin sentimentality, there is no breadth of effect,. One great auxiliary in How utterly absurd is this, to lament that the time-hopainting the Dutch have peculiarly made their own,we noured labours of ancient Greece did not sink for ever mean chiaroscuro, which, though perhaps more appro: beneath the violence of the despot and the ignorance of priately applied to inanimate objects, Rembrandt has the slave, instead of being, as now, in the midst of an extended to portrait and history.
Of the French school of painting Dr Memes has admiring and enlightened people, shedding abroad their spoken at some length, and with much discrimination ; beauty and their intelligence, again to revive in our liand, after paying not unmerited praise to the present ving arts !”—Pp. 247-49. English school, he ends with a short notice of the rise We know of no treatise on Painting, within a similar and progress of the art in Scotland. We have already compass, which we can so sincerely recommend to our transgressed our limits, and must confine ourselves to readers, as that of Dr Memes. one extract, which gives a short account of our own na. tional school :
MISCELLANEOUS LITERATURE. THE SCOTTISH SCHOOL OF PAINTING. “We may now turn our attention for a little to the past
MORAL & MISCELLANEOUS ESSAYS. state of painting in Scotland. During the eighteenth century, though there can hardly be said to have existed
No. 5. any separate style, so as to merit the distinction of a
THE CHARACTER OF ROBERT BURNS. school apart from that of the empire generally, yet se.
“ Non quivis videt immodulata poemata judex; veral very respectable Scottish artists are found to have
Et data Romanis venia est indigna poetis." practised both in London and Edinburgh. In the lat. ter capital, towards the close of that period, a school gradually arose, which, considering the resources of the Robert Burns as a man of genius : they are universally
There is no difficulty in deciding on the claims of country, the opportunities of improvement, the means of acknowledged ; and the Scottish bard is now placed in patronage, and latterly, the merits of its individual mas- the first rank of poets. Both Mr Lockhart, and his ters, especially of its head, the late Sir Henry Raeburn; able reviewer, Mr Carlyle, have done ample justice to displays an inferiority certainly not greater than might the character of Burns, considered in this point of view.t. reasonably be expected. Or we will go farther : when But there is another aspect in which it is the duty of the invigorating influence of royal countenance and pro- the biographer impartially to view him. While we adtection upon the fine arts, the superior wealth and in- mire the genius of the poet, we must not forget the relatelligence congregated in the seat of legislature, are viewed_all concurring to foster and advance art in the capital ; and when, on the other hand, we reflect, not
• The above able paper on the character of Burns, presents one
view of the picture, to which, as Editor of an independent Litemerely on the absence of these advantages, but on the rary Journal, we do not hesitate to give admission, leaving our positive detriment of a non-resident nobility, whose pre- readers to form their own opinion as to its justice.-Ed. Lit. sence might in some measure supply other deficiencies,
+ See Lockhart's Life of Burns, and Edinburgh Review, No. it must be matter of astonishment, not that Scottish XCVI. Art. I.
tions and duties, the dispositions and actions, of the melancholy story of Robert Burns. It is by no means man: and in this last point of view, the labours both our intention to represent Burns's character as devoid of of Mr Lockhart and his reviewer have, in our judg. all moral excellence. He was naturally endowed, in Do ment, been but very partially successful.
common degree, with some of the finest susceptibilities There are two prominent features of Mr Lockharts of our nature ; nor were all the excesses of which he was work, to which we request the attention of our readers. guilty sufficient to destroy the virtuous sympathies of The first is, that in the course of his narrative he relates his heart. He was moreover a thoroughly honest man ; a series of facts in the Life of Burns, which exhibit him and, although we cannot but consider his excessive disas a man enslaved to the most base and sordid lusts ; like at being under any kind of pecuniary obligation as not as an occasional transgressor of the rules of a high in no small degree the result of his characteristic pride, and uncompromising morality, but as habitually a vio- and by no means worthy of that admiration which has lator of some of the plainest and most sacred dictates of been bestowed upon it, yet his hatred of falsehood, and conscience throughout the latter half of his life. The contempt of what was mean and ungenerous, are traits second point to which we allude is this that the im- of character worthy of sincere approbation. We have pression which the narrative, as a whole, was evidently thus endeavoured impartially to sketch what appear to intended, and is calculated, to leave on the reader's mind, be the most remarkable features of Burns's character, is, that if Burns was not a positively virtuous man, and shall only express it as our decided opinion on the yet, with all his failings, he was, on the whole, by no whole that by no laying of the good over against the means worthy of severe blame. Such is the impression, bad, is it possible fairly to come to any other conclusion in regard to Burns, which the Edinburgh Reviewer also than this, that the character of the man, even in the aims at producing. To us it appears, that the man who sight of his fellow-men, is the just object of severe recan admit the facts in Burns's history which have been probation. alluded to, and yet deliberately come to such a conclu. The article in the Edinburgh Review to which resion respecting liis character, must be labouring, if not ference has been made, is written almost throughout in under a culpable obtuseness of moral perception, at a strain of apology foi Burns, not the less imposing, least under serious misapprehension and prejudice. We perhaps, that its able author refrains from entering into are aware that it is, as in general it ought to be, an in any formal or laboured defence. Of this general strain vidious task to speak evil of the dead; but, when men of apology, the following loose and most fallacious statewhose talents give to their opinions weigh: in general ments will afford a specimen. 6. The influences of that society, presume to claim the sympathy, and all but age,” says he, speaking of the age in which Burns lived, positive approbation, of mankind, for the character of one “his open, kind, and susceptible nature, to say nothing who, with great talents and some moral virtues, was yet of his highly untoward situation, made it more than a notorious profligate an open despiser of the laws of usually difficult for him to repel or resist; the better God and of all virtuous society, it is time to lay deli. spirit that was within him ever sternly demanded its cacy aside, and it is not unbecoming to expose that false rights, its supremacy; he spent his life in endeavour. charity which “ calls evil good, and good evil-puts ing to reconcile these two; and lost it, as he must have darkness for light, and light for darkness."
lost it, without reconciling them here." And again : With the view of presenting the moral character of “ We question whether the world has since witnessed Burns as a whole, in what appears to us to be its truc 80 utterly sad a scene ; whether Napoleon bimself, left light, let us attempt, in the first place, briefly to sketch to brawl with Sir Hudson Lowe, and perish on his rock a few of its most prominent features. That Burns was ' amid the melancholy main,' presented to the reflecting a nian of excessive pride, will scarcely be denied by any mind such a • spectacle of pity and fear,' as did this inone who knows his history. Even his biographer, Nir trinsically noblcr, gentler, and perhaps greater soul, Lockhart, who yields to none in admiration of the poet, wasting itself away in a hopeless struggle with base enadmits (we quote from his work, p. 148,) that "jeatanglements, which coiled closer and closer round him, lous pride formed the groundwork of his character." vill only Death opened him an outlet.” Now we ask, A groundwork of pride, laid in such a mind as his, could what is the impression which these passages are calcu. hardly want a superstructure of impiety; and that Burns lated to make on the reader's mind? Unquestionably was, in fact, a profane and irreligicus man, appears this that Burns in his heart hated those evil propensi. but too evidently from his life and writings. It is true, ties and vices by which his character was stained ;-that that through the moral darkne's which broods over he was through life engaged in an active and unceasing these, there here and there glimmers the light of a purer warfare against them ;-and that his ultimate defcat in spirit ; occasionally we find a poem or a letter, the pro- the struggle was altogether the effect of a resistless force duction of some happier moment, breathing the spirit of of circumstances acting in direct opposition to his own religion-a spirit, however, which soon gives place to will. We must confess, that in the whole history of that impious disregard of things sacred, which was the Burns we can find no marks of any such warfare. We prevailing tone of his mind. Of the other vices with deny that he spent his life in carrying on a struggle with which furns was chargeable, his pride and want of all vice that he offered any real, voluntary, habitual repractical religion were, in our judgment, very much the sistance to “ base entanglements.” It is true, that he
Hed his mind been imbued, as it ought to often felt_bitterly felt the sting of remorse and disaphave been, with the spirit of Christian humility, he pointment; and these effects of his vices he certainly did might, and undoubtedly would have, borne up under hate, and would gladly have parted with. But, that he all the difficulties of his untoward situation. But, hated his pride, or his profanity, or those sins into which pressed as he was from wi:hout by the hardships inci- his profligacy led him,this is a statement altogether dent to the lower ranks of life, and from within by a unsupported by proof. haughty and ambitious pride, which disdained to be We cannot lucip remarking, that there is a something fettered by any laws, and could with difficulty brook the in the style in which this reviewer is pleased, for the thought of a superior, it ought not to be greatly won. most part, 10 speak of the defects of Burns's character, dered at that he gave the reins to the basest appétites of completely adapted to shut out from the reader's mind our fallen nature, and became at length, through perse the thought of what common men know by the names verance in vicious habits, what his history must con- of sin and guilt,-a certain beautiful, though somewhat vince every man of impartial judgment and proper feel mystic and transcendental dress, in which, for the most ing that he was,-a confirmed profligate. On this pain. part, he clothes lijs account of Burns's aberrations, by tul subject we refrain from entering into details already means of which you are almost irresistibly led to think sufficiently known to all who are acquainted with the of them, not with those feelings of reprobation which