At Home And Abroad eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 587 pages of information about At Home And Abroad.
was a poet of the past only, and in his inmost heart wedded to the habits of a feudal aristocracy, while Burns is the poet of the present and the future, the man of the people, and throughout a genuine man.  This is true enough; but for my part I cannot endure a comparison which by a breath of coolness depreciates either.  Both were wanted; each acted the important part assigned him by destiny with a wonderful thoroughness and completeness.  Scott breathed the breath just fleeting from the forms of ancient Scottish heroism and poesy into new,—­he made for us the bridge by which we have gone into the old Ossianic hall and caught the meaning just as it was about to pass from us for ever.  Burns is full of the noble, genuine democracy which seeks not to destroy royalty, but to make all men kings, as he himself was, in nature and in action.  They belong to the same world; they are pillars of the same church, though they uphold its starry roof from opposite sides.  Burns was much the rarer man; precisely because he had most of common nature on a grand scale; his humor, his passion, his sweetness, are all his own; they need no picturesque or romantic accessories to give them due relief:  looked at by all lights they are the same.  Since Adam, there has been none that approached nearer fitness to stand up before God and angels in the naked majesty of manhood than Robert Burns;—­but there was a serpent in his field also!  Yet but for his fault we could never have seen brought out the brave and patriotic modesty with which he owned it.  Shame on him who could bear to think of fault in this rich jewel, unless reminded by such confession.

We passed Abbotsford without stopping, intending to go there on our return.  Last year five hundred Americans inscribed their names in its porter’s book.  A raw-boned Scotsman, who gathered his weary length into our coach on his return from a pilgrimage thither, did us the favor to inform us that “Sir Walter was a vara intelligent mon,” and the guide-book mentions “the American Washington” as “a worthy old patriot.”  Lord safe us, cummers, what news be there!

This letter, meant to go by the Great Britain, many interruptions force me to close, unflavored by one whiff from the smoke of Auld Reekie.  More and better matter shall my next contain, for here and in the Highlands I have passed three not unproductive weeks, of which more anon.

LETTER IV.

EDINBURGH, OLD AND NEW.—­SCOTT AND BURNS.—­DR. ANDREW COMBE.—­AMERICAN RE-PUBLISHING.—­THE BOOKSELLING TRADE.—­THE MESSRS.  CHAMBERS.—­DE QUINCEY THE OPIUM-EATER.—­DR. CHALMERS.

Edinburgh, September 22d, 1846.

The beautiful and stately aspect of this city has been the theme of admiration so general that I can only echo it.  We have seen it to the greatest advantage both from Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat, and our lodgings in Princess Street allow us a fine view of the Castle, always impressive, but peculiarly so in the moonlit evenings of our first week here, when a veil of mist added to its apparent size, and at the same time gave it the air with which Martin, in his illustrations of “Paradise Lost,” has invested the palace which “rose like an exhalation.”

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
At Home And Abroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook