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ADVICE TO A POET.
DEAR Poet, never rhyme at all:
But if you must, don't tell your neighbors; Or five in six, who cannot scrawl,
Then let them bray with leathern lungs,
Of honors, or humiliations; So look for sympathy- but do
Not look to find it from relations.
When strangers first approved my books,
My kindred marveled what the praise meant, They now wear more respectful looks,
But can't get over their amazement. Indeed, they've power to wound, beyond
That wielded by the fiercest hater; For all the time they are so fond —
Which makes the aggravation greater.
Most warblers now but half express
The threadbare thoughts they feebly utter: If they attempted naught or less!
They would not sink, and gasp, and flutter. Fly low, my friend; then mount, and win
The niche for which the town's contesting: And never mind your kith and kin
But never give them cause for jesting.
A bard on entering the lists
Should form his plan; and having conned it, Should know wherein his strength consists, And never, never go beyond it. Great Dryden all pretense discards ;
Does Cowper ever strain his tether? And Praed (Watteau of English Bards) How well he keeps his team together!
Hold Pegasus in hand-control
Of all that Time deems worth the sparing. Long lays are not a lively sport;
Reduce your own to half a quarter: Unless your public thinks them short, Posterity will cut them shorter.
I look on bards who whine for praise
And swear one's spiteful when one's witty. The critic's lot is passing hard:
Between ourselves, I think reviewers, When called to truss a crowing bard,
Should not be sparing of the skewers.
JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART.
JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART, a Scottish biographer, born at Cambusnethan, July 14, 1794; died at Abbotsford, Nov. 25, 1854. He studied at the University of Edinburgh and at Balliol College, Oxford, and in 1816 was called to the bar of Edinburgh. In 1820 he married a daughter of Sir Walter Scott. In 1826 he became editor of the London Quarterly Review, which he conducted until 1853. As early as 1817 he became a contributor to Blackwood's Magazine, his most notable contribution to which was "Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk," some of which, however, were the production of Wilson, while Lockhart wrote portions of Wilson's "Christopher in his Tent," and "Noctes Ambrosianæ." Lockhart wrote several novels, the best of which are, "Adam Blair," and "Reginald Dalton." His spirited translations of the "Ancient Spanish Ballads," most of which had previously appeared in Blackwood, were collected into a volume in 1823. The principal of his other works are: "Life of Robert Burns" (1828); "Life of Napoleon Bonaparte" (1829); "Life of Sir Walter Scott" (7 vols., 1836-1838).
LAST DAYS OF SIR WALTER SCOTT.
(From the "Life of Scott.")
On this his last journey Sir Walter was attended by his two daughters, Mr. Cadell, and myself; and also by Dr. James Watson, who (it being impossible for Dr. Ferguson to leave town at that moment) kindly undertook to see him safe at Abbotsford. We embarked in the James Watt steamboat, the master of which (Captain John Jamieson), as well as the agent of the proprietors, made every arrangement in their power for the convenience of the invalid. The Captain gave up for Sir Walter's use his own private cabin, which was a separate erection, a sort of cottage on the deck: and he seemed unconscious, after being laid in bed there, that any new removal had occurred. On arriving at Newhaven, late on the 9th, we found careful preparations made for his landing by the manager of the Shipping Company (Mr. Hamilton); and Sir Walter, prostrate in h
carriage, was slung on shore, and conveyed from thence to Douglas's Hotel in St. Andrew's Square, in the same complete apparent unconsciousness. Mrs. Douglas had in former days. been the Duke of Buccleuch's housekeeper at Bowhill, and she and her husband had also made the most suitable provision. At a very early hour on the morning of Wednesday the 11th, we again placed him in his carriage; and he lay in the same torpid state during the first two stages on the road to Tweedside. But as we descended the vale of the Gala he began to gaze about him, and by degrees it was obvious that he was recognizing the features of that familiar landscape. Presently he murmured a name or two: "Gala Water, surely - Buckholm - Torwoodlee." As we rounded the hill at Ladhope, and the outline of the Eildons burst on him, he became greatly excited; and when, turning himself on the couch, his eye caught at length his own towers at the distance of a mile, he sprang up with a cry of delight. The river being in flood, we had to go round a few miles by Melrose bridge; and during the time this occupied, his woods and house being within prospect, it required occasionally both Dr. Watson's strength and mine, in addition to Nicolson's, to keep him in the carriage. After passing the bridge, the road for a couple of miles loses sight of Abbotsford, and he relapsed into his stupor; but on gaining the bank immediately above it, his excitement became again ungovernable.
Mr. Laidlaw was waiting at the porch, and assisted us in, lifting him into the dining-room, where his bed had been prepared. He sat bewildered for a few moments, and then resting his eye on Laidlaw, said, “Ha! Willie Laidlaw! O man, how often have I thought of you!" By this time his dogs had assembled about his chair; they began to fawn upon him and lick his hands; and he alternately sobbed and smiled over them until sleep oppressed him.
Dr. Watson, having consulted on all things with Mr. Clarkson and his father, resigned the patient to them and returned to London. None of them could have any hope but that of soothing irritation. Recovery was no longer to be thought of; but there might be euthanasia.
And yet something like a ray of hope did break in upon us next morning. Sir Walter awoke perfectly conscious where he was, and expressed an ardent wish to be carried out into his garden. We procured a Bath-chair from Huntly-Burn; and Laidlaw and I wheeled him out before his door, and up and down