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Of a character in the latter, he says,
“ Sir Anthony Moore is the least original, and the least poetical piece of the whole, and I trust it shall never be acted while I live; but if, at any after period, it should be brought forward, and one able performer appear in the character of Old Cecil, and another in that of Caroline, I might venture my credit and judgment, as an author, that it will prove successful.” (p. Ixi.]
Mr. Hogg likewise informs us, that he was the first who set Blackwood's Magazine agoing, and, moreover, that he was the author of the famous Chaldee MS., which excited so much rancour and party spirit in Edinburgh, and so much disgust at its profanity every where else. However, he says in his usual delicate manner,
“ Some of the rascals to whom he (Mr. Blackwood) shewed it, after laughing at it, by their own accounts, till they were sick, persuaded him, nay almost forced him, to insert it; for some of them went so far as to tell him, that if he did not admit that inimitable article, they would never speak to him again so long as they lived. Needless, however, is it now to deny, that they interlarded it with a good deal of deevilry of their own, which I had never thought of; and one who had a principal hand in these alterations has never yet been named as an aggressor."
We did not expect to find that the Shepherd was the source whence emanated the olio of Blackwood, or that villanous combination of materials of which the beforementioned article is composed; however, it may pass for a good joke, and, with a little straining, may probably be swallowed: but when we find not only that Blackwood's Magazine, and the Chaldee MS. took their rise from our hero, but that, if it had not been for a bookseller, Mr. Hogg would have been the first contriver of the Tales of my Landlord ! it is really too much to be taken in with safety. He does, however, inform us, that be was the original projector of this inimitable series of novels; but by an ill turn which Mr. Blackwood did him, he is unfortunately looked upon, in the eyes of the world, as an imitator of the “ mighty unknown,” when the latter might, but for this unfortunate occurrence, have been proved to be but a servile copyist of the Ettrick Shepherd: Prodigious! We fancy the pęxt thing to which Mr. Hogg will lay claim, as being the original projector, will be the Pekin Gazette, or the Emperor of China's Prayer Book ; and we ourselves are not without apprehensions, that the Investigator may have been anticipated by him. He next enters into great and manifold vituperations against Mr. Blackwood for rejecting the Bridal of Polmood, acknowledged,” he says, " by all
who have read it, as the most finished, and best written tale, that ever I produced. Mr. Blackwood himself must be sensible of this fact, and also, that in preventing its being published along with the Brownie of Bodsbeck, he did an injury both to himself and me. As a farther proof how little booksellers are to be trusted, he likewise wished to prevent the insertion of the Wool-Gatherer, which has been an universal favourite ; but I know the source from whence it proceeded.” (p. lxvii.] This Wool-Gatherer we happen to have read, and about the same time wondered how it happened to come there; for scathless we could challenge, without the aid of a deputy champion, the whole phalanx of our literary host, (always excepting the puissant Arthur of Blackmore, and the suffusions of the cockney school), to point out, or compose any thing more tedious or uninteresting. Mr. Hogg says, that the reason he has not got into the foremost rank of the poets, and risen higher on the mount of Apollo, is, that he has been thought an intruder.
“ The walks of learning are oecupied,” he tells us, “ by a powerful aristocracy, who deem that province their own peculiar right, else, what would avail all their dear-bought collegiate honours and degrees? No wonder that they should view an intruder, from the humble and despised ranks of the community, with a jealous and indignant eye, and impede his progress by every means in their power,” (p. Ixviii.)
A most fearful detail then follows of the proceedings of a society, called the “ Right and Wrong Club:” the chief principle of which was, that whatever any of its members should assert, the whole were bound to support the same, whether right or wrong.” [p. lxix.] They met daily, and Mr. Hogg owns that no constitution on earth could stand it, The result was, that several members drunk themselves deranged, and he fell into an inflammatory fever. However, “the madness of the members proved no bar to the hilarity of the society; on the contrary, it seemed to add a great deal of zest to it, as a thing quite in character.” And quite in character do we fear it was with the habits of this miserable man, elevated by genius above the lowest walks of life, in which his lot originally was cast; but to add another name to the melancholy list of those whoşe talents have been equalled and obscured, not only by their follies, but their
His next literary undertaking was the “ Jacobite Relics," and “ Winter Evening Tales ;" making in all fifteen volumes in seven years, besides many articles in periodical works,
Thus ends this strange, if not very eventful history, which we have perused with a good deal of interest, as furnishing another illustration of mind in its various modifications; and as giving a developement of character, under some rather singular combinations. Of the poetical part of this volume, our limits forbid minute examination; a circumstance which we the less regret, in that it presents very little, save a strange mass of coarse and indelicate materials, jumbled together in a most unpleasant and uninviting manner. The Lairde of Kirkmabreeke, which occupies a large portion of the volume, is one of the most dull and revolting stories that has lately come under our observation. In truth, we wonder that no friend of the author had the good fortune to see it before publication; for no other man besides Mr. Hogg could surely have read the tale, without expressing a wish that it had been suppressed. Mr. H. may say that it is a display of nature under a different aspect to that which is commonly selected. To borrow a quotation from him, we would“ venture our credit and judgment as authors,” that it is not a display of human nature, and that there is not a single grain of genuine humanity in its composition. But even if we were to grant this position, what utility or pleasure can be derived from narrating the “ knevelling” exploits of a silly, drunken, and indecent fool, who has neither wit to redeem his obscenity, nor sense to make amends (if amends could so be made) for the vulgarity of his behaviour?
Some thousand lines, many degrees worse than the followjug, are the sum and substance of this tale. “ And the noorice sho screamit, and yellit outrichte,
But aye he throoshe, and mockit her dynne,
He walde dadd the bonis out of her skynne.” [p. 218.] “Then to his ladye modir he wente,
And faste he seizit her nothyng lothe,
Faythe! I shalle haife a strum at bothe!'
That made the bloode sterte to her ee,
Arounde his knucklis ytwynit he.
• But I shalle haif ane mendis of you,
Untylle you be alle bothe black and blewe.
. ;! Haife mercye on me, myne deire sonne, And ceisse
strokkis before I die!'
He walde not ceisse quhile sho could crye." (p. 219.)
Quhat powerfolle diversioune it shall be;
Above alle sportis I euir did se.?" [p. 221.)
To gette them bastit bone and skynne:
And seizit his kente for to begynne.
And buskit stayis, and beltis so braw;
And I longe to se the reide bloode fa''” (p. 222.] We shall not pollute our pages with what follows. In the end, however, “ He gaif her ane smashe upon
It wals raire sporte for Kirkmabreeke.” [p. 227.]
Quhen in the trobil not ouir sycke,
It wals goodè reliefe for Kirkmabreeke.” (p. 230.]
that the Laird “ knevellit" (i. e. thumped) “ seuin or aught of the maydis,
Quhilke did his herte grit goode indeed.” (p. 246.]
And gaif her ane knap upon the heide,
Neiste mornyng sho wals gyrnyng deide." (p. 263.]
When mankind are satisfied with such stuff, we make no doubt but that there may be found critics to laud and bepraise it; but as the golden age of Byron and Shelley has not yet arrived, Mr. Hogg has to complain that the poetry he has hitherto written never excited proper and corresponding feeling from the public;“ or if it did," he observes, * the success would hinge upon some casualty, on which it did not behove me to rely." We do not wonder that Mr.
Hogg has cause for complaint, and are proud to own; that we feel thankful for it. The public taste is not yet quite vitiạted enough to relish such morsels as we have had under our examination; and if, after fourteen years experience, he has acquired no purer habits, no more correctness of feeling, than to publish another edition of the Mountain Bard,-polluted as it is by what our old-fashioned notions will not allow us to extenuate, but, on the contrary, prompt us to expose,-we wonder not that during the interval, whatever may have escaped from his pen, should have displayed a coarseness of taste, and a mind so constituted, as to put to flight every thought that was a-kin to the tenderest affections of the soul, and to the dearest principles of our nature, which, whoever does not seek to foster and unfold, mistakes the very aim and essence of true poetry, and loses the only hold to which he can ever cling for his hopes of immortality. We are the more free to censure this writer, because we know he can do better things; indeed, our remarks have partaken of more severity than we should have thought it worth while to inflict on one who had been indifferent to us, or in whose welfare we had not been, in some degree, interested. We would intreat him, then, to direct his thoughts to a purer stream - to bend his footsteps to an unsullied fountain, where, refreshed and invigorated, his soul may rise purified from her stains; and, with a mightier burst of inspiration, breathe her song to heaven,
A Series of Addresses to Young People. By J. Hooper, A.M.
12mo. London, 1821. Burton and Smith. pp. 317. We must confess that we have been not a littļe disgusted with the affectation of fine writing, so prevalent amongst the young authors of the present day. Thoughts that have no claim to admiration, on account of their originality or sublimity, may yet secure respect and esteem, from their acknowledged usefulness, and practical importance. But such things as these must needs appear ridiculous enough, when dressed up
in the trappings of a gaudy, or the buckram of a stately and majestic style — evidently intimating that their authors, with true parental partiality, deem their productions worthy of better company than the common paths of literature will furnish - fit, at least, to follow in the train, if not to travel to posthumous honours, side by side, with a Chalmers or a Hall. It is almost impossible, in the present day,