Shepherd. I’ve read thae twa, and they’re baith gude. But the mair I think on’t, the profounder is my conviction that the strength o’ human nature lies either in the highest or lowest estate of life. Characters in books should either be kings, and princes, and nobles, and on a level with them, like heroes; or peasants, shepherds, farmers, and the like, includin’ a’ orders amaist o’ our ain working population. The intermediate class—that is, leddies and gentlemen in general—are no worth the Muse’s while; for their life is made up chiefly o’ mainners,— mainners,—mainners;—you canna see the human creters for their claes; and should ane o’ them commit suicide in despair, in lookin’ on the dead body, you are mair taen up wi’ its dress than its decease.—March, 1829.
Shepherd. What sort o’ vols., sir, are the Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry [W. Carleton], published by Curry in Dublin.
North. Admirable. Truly, intensely Irish. The whole book has the brogue—never were the outrageous whimsicalities of that strange, wild, imaginative people so characteristically displayed; nor, in the midst of all the fun, frolic, and folly, is there any dearth of poetry, pathos, and passion. The author’s a jewel, and he will be reviewed next number. —May, 1830.
Shepherd. I shanna say ony o’ mine’s [songs] are as gude as some sax or aucht o’ Burns’s—for about that number o’ Robbie’s are o’ inimitable perfection. It was heaven’s wull that in them he should transcend a’ the minnesingers o’ this warld. But they’re too perfeckly beautifu’ to be envied by mortal man—therefore let his memory in them be hallowed for evermair.—August, 1834.
Shepherd. I was wrang in ever hintin ae word in disparagement o’ Burn’s Cottar’s Saturday Night. But the truth is, you see, that the subjeck’s sae heeped up wi’ happiness, and sae charged wi’ a’ sort o’ sanctity—sae national and sae Scottish—that beautifu’ as the poem is— and really, after a’, naething can be mair beautifu’—there’s nae satisfying either paesant or shepherd by ony delineation o’t, though drawn in lines o’ licht, and shinin’ equally w’ genius and wi’ piety.— Nov., 1834.
Shepherd. Leigh Hunt truly loved Shelley.
North. And Shelley truly loved Leigh Hunt. Their friendship was honourable to them both, for it was as disinterested as sincere; and I hope Gurney will let a certain person in the City understand that I treat his offer of a reviewal of Mr. Hunt’s London Journal with disdain. If he has anything to say against us or against that gentleman, either conjunctly or severally, let him out with it in some other channel, and I promise him a touch and