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of the British Poets, by the justly celebrated Campbell. But I do this in good will, and trust it will be so taken. If any thing could add to my opinion of the talents and true feeling of that gentleman, it would be his classical, honest, and triumphant defence of Pope, against the vulgar cant of the day, and its existing Grub-street.
The inadvertencies to which I allude are,
Firstly, in speaking of Anstey, whom he accuses of having taken “his leading characters from Smollett.” Anstey's Bath Guide was published in 1766. Smollett's Humphry Clinker (the only work of Smollett's from which Tabitha, &c. &c. could have been taken) was written during Smollett's last residence at Leghorn in 1770.-“ Argal,” if there has been any borrowing, Anstey must be the creditor, and not the debtor. I refer Mr. Campbell to his own data in his lives of Smollett and Anstey.
Secondly, Mr. Campbell says in the life of Cowper (note to page 358. vol. vii.) that he knows not to whom Cowper alludes in these lines :
“ Nor he who, for the bane of thousands born,
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn." The Calvinist meant Voltaire, and the church of Ferney, with its inscription “ Deo erexit Voltaire.” Thirdly, in the life of Burns, Mr. Campbell quotes Shakspeare thus:
“ To gild refined gold, to paint the rose,
Or add fresh perfume to the violet.” This version by no means improves the original, which is as follows:
“ To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,” &c. – KING JOHN. A great poet quoting another should be correct : he should also be accurate, when he accuses a Parnassian brother of that dangerous charge “ borrowing:" a poet had better borrow any thing (excepting money) than the thoughts of another — they are always sure to be reclaimed; but it is very hard, having been the lender, to be denounced as the debtor, as is the case of Anstey versus Smollett.
As there is “honour amongst thieves,” let there be some amongst poets, and give each his due, - none can afford to give it more than Mr. Campbell himself, who, with a high reputation for originality, and a fame which cannot be shaken, is the only poet of the times (except Rogers) who can be reproached (and in him it is indeed a reproach) with having written too little.
Ravenna, Jan. 5. 1821.
(1) [Cantos VI. VII. and VIII. were written at Pisa, in 1822, and published by Mr. John Hunt in July, 1823. The poet's resumption of Don Juan is explained in the following extract from his correspondence:
Pisa, July 8. 1822. — “ It is not impossible that I may have three or four cantos of Don Juan ready by autumn, or a little later, as I obtained a permission from my dictatress to continue it, - provided always it was to be more guarded and decorous and sentimental in the continuation than in the commencement. How far these conditions have been fulfilled may be seen, perhaps, by and by; but the embargo was only taken off upon these stipulations.” - E.]
TO CANTOS VI. VII. AND VIII.
The details of the siege of Ismail in two of the following cantos (i. e. the seventh and eighth) are taken from a French Work, entitled “ Histoire de la Nouvelle Russie.”(1) Some of the incidents attributed to Don Juan really occurred, particularly the circumstance of his saving the infant, which was the actual case of the late Duc de Richelieu, (2) then a young volunteer in the Russian service, and afterward the founder and benefactor of Odessa, (3) where his name
(1) [“ Essai sur l'Histoire ancienne et moderne de la Nouvelle Russie, par le Marquis Gabriel de Castelnau.” 3 tom. Paris, 1820.]
(2) C“ Au commencement de 1803, le Duc de Richelieu fut nommé gouver. neur d'Odessa. Quand le Duc vint en prendre l'administration, aucune rue n'y était formée, aucun établissement n'y était achevé. On y comptait à peine cinq mille habitans : onze ans plus tard, lorsqu'il s'en éloigna, on y en comptait trente-cinq milles. Les rues étaient tirées au cordeau, plantées d'une double rang d'arbres; et l'on y voyait tous les établissemens qu'exigent le culte, l'instruction, la commodité, et même les plaisirs des habitans. Un seul édifice public avait été négligé; le gouverneur, dans cet oubli de lui-même, et cette simplicité de mæurs qui distinguaient son caractère, n'avait rien voulu changer à la modeste habitation qu'il avait trouvé en arrivant. Le commerce, débarassé d'entraves, avait pris l'essor le plus rapide à Odessa, tandis que la sécu. rité et la liberté de conscience y avaient promptement attiré la popu. lation.” —
- Biog. Univ.] (3) [Odessa is a very interesting place; and being the seat of government, and the only quarantine allowed except Caffa and Taganrog, is, though of very recent erection, already wealthy and Aourishing. Too much praise cannot be given to the Duke of Richelieu, to whose admi. nistration, not to any natural advantages, this town owes its prosperity. Bishop Heber.]
and memory can never cease to be regarded with
In the course of these cantos, a stanza or two will be found relative to the late Marquis of Londonderry, but written some time before his decease. Had that person's oligarchy died with him, they would have been suppressed; as it is, I am aware of nothing in the manner of his death (4) or of
(1) [Robert, second Marquis of Londonderry, died, by his own hand, at his seat at North Cray, in Kent, in August, 1822. During the session of parliament which had just closed, his lordship appears to have sunk under the weight of his labours, and insanity was the consequence. The following tributes to his eminent qualities we take from the leading Tory and Whig newspapers of the day:
“ Of high honour, fearless, undaunted, and firm in his resolves, he combined, in a remarkable manner, with the fortiter in re the suaviter in modo. To his political adversaries (and he had no other) he was at once open, frank, unassuming, and consequently conciliatory. He was happy in his union with a most amiable consort; he was the pride of a venerated father; and towards a beloved brother it might truly be said he was notus animo fraterno.
“ With regard to his public character, all admit his talents to have been of a high order, and his industry in the discharge of his official duties to have been unremitting. Party animosity may question the wisdom of measures in which he was a principal actor, to save its own consistency, but it does not dare to breathe a doubt of his integrity and honour. His reputation as a minister is, however, above the reach of both friends and enemies. He was one of the leaders of that ministry which preserved the country from being subjugated by a power which subjugated all the rest of Europe - which fought the co against combined Europe, and triumphed - and which wrenched the sceptre of dominion from the desolating principles that the French revolution spread through the world, and restored it to religion and honesty. If to have preserved the faith and liberties of England from destruction - to have raised her to the most magnificent point of greatness — to have liberated a quarter of the globe from a despotism which bowed down both body and soul - and to have placed the world again under the control of national law and just principles, be transcendent fame - such fame belongs to this ministry; and, of all its members, to none more than to the Marquis of London. derry. During great part of the year, he toiled frequently for twelve or fourteen hours per day at the most exhausting of all kinds of labour, for a salary which, unaided by private fortune, would not have supported him. He laboured for thirty years in the service of the country. In this service