« ForrigeFortsett »
Elett veloped in a coarse plaid impregnated or manders than a child. I was a sort of
with tobacco, with a prodigious mouth natural songster, without another advan, na fal of immeasurable tusks, and a di- tage on earth. Fain would I have done Ek alect that set all conjecture at defiance, something ; but, on finding myself shunNa lumbering suddenly in upon the eles ned by every one, I determined to push my retirement of Mr Miller's back
own fortune independent of booksellers, gant
shop, or the dim seclusion of Mr John whom I now began to view as beings ob. Thaise Ogle! Were these worthies to be begin a literary weekly paper, a work for
noxious to all genius. My plan was, to Elk ki blamed if they fainted upon the spot, which I certainly was rarely qualified, when le or run out yelling into the street past the above facts are considered. I tried Finest the monster, or, in desperation, flung Walker and Greig, and several printers, it do themselves into safety from a back oftering them security to print it for me. vidt window over ten stories ? Mr Hogg No; not one of them would print it with
speaks of his visits to booksellers' shops out a bookseller's name at it as publisher. i at this period with the utmost non
• Dn them,' said I to myself, as I was arlie chalance. What would he himself running from one to another, the folks
have thought, if a large surly brown here are all combined in a body,' Mr Es bear , or a huge baboon, had burst open finally told me he wished me too well to
Constable laughed at me exceedingly, and -30 bis door when he was at breakfast, and helped himself to a chair and a mouth
encourage such a thing. Mr Ballantyne
was rather more civil, and got off by subtil ful of parritch? would not his hair scribing for so many copies, and giving me ito have touched the ceiling, and his un- credit for £10 worth of paper. . David
der jaw fallen down upon the floor? So Brown would have nothing to do with it, was it with those and other bibliopoles. unless some gentlemen, whom he named, It was no imputation on their taste should contribute. At length, I found an that they, like other men, were sub- honest man, James Robertson, a bookseller ject to the natural infirmity of fear. in Nicolson Street, whom I had never beNo man likes to be devoured sudden- fore seen or heard of, who undertook it at ly in the forenoon--and the question,
once on my own terms; and on the 1st of in such a case, was not respecting the September, 1810, my first number made principles of poetical composition, but its appearance on a quarto demy sheet, price
four-pence. Cette the preservation of human life. be
“A great number were sold, and many Baulked in his attempt at publica- hundred delivered gratis ; but one of Rotion of poetry, Hogg determines to bertson's boys, a great rascal, had demandset the town on fire. Te effect this ed the price in full for all that he delivered purpose, he commences a periodical gratis. They shewed him the imprint, that work called tbe Spy, in which he pro- they were to be delivered gratis ; so they poses to treat of Life, Manners and are,' said he ; • I take nothing for the deMiller. This , I humbly presume to livery; but i must have the price
of the think, was gross impertinence. I have a paper, if you please." copy of the Spy, and it is truly a sicken
This money, that the boy brought me, ning concern. The author makes love consisting of a few shillings and an imlike a drunken servant, who has been and only money I had pocketed, of my
mense number of halfpence, was the first turned out of place for taking indecent own making, since my arrival in Edinburgh liberties in the kitchen with the cook- in February last. On the publication of wench. The Edinburgh young ladies the two first numbers, I deemed I had as did not relish this kind of thing,-it many subscribers as, at all events, would was thought coarse even by the Blue secure the work from being dropped ; but, Stockings
of the Old Town, after warm on the publication of my third or fourth whisky toddy
and oysters; so the Spy number, I have forgot which, it was so inwas executed, the dead body given up subscribers gave up. This was a sad blow
decorous, that no fewer than seventy-three to his friends-where buried, remains a secret until this day.
for me ; but,
as usual, I despised the fasHogg looks back on this enterprize continued my work. It proved a fatal over
tidity and affectation of the people, and with feelings of evident exultation, ill sight for the paper, for all those who had disguised under mock humility. Just given in set themseves against it with the take notice how he glories in his utmost inveteracy. The literary ladies, in
particular, agreed, in full divan, that I “And all this time I had never been would never write a sentence which deserdace in any polished society-had read ved to be read. A reverend friend of mine next to none-was now in the 38th year of has often repeated my remark on being told any age, and knew no more of human life of this...Gaping deevils ! wha cares what
they say! If I leeve ony time, I'll let them the smallest departure from good taste, or see the contrair o' that.
from the question, was sure to draw down “ My publisher, James Robertson, was disapproval, and where no good saying ever a kind-hearted, confused body, who loved missed observation and applause. If this a joke and a dram. He sent for me every do not assist in improving the taste, I know day about one o'clock, to consult about the not what will. Of this I am certain, that publication; and then we uniformly went I was greatly the better of it, and I may down to a dark house in the Cowgate, where safely say I never was in a school before. we drank whisky and ate rolls with a num- I might and would have written the Queen's ber of printers, the dirtiest and leanest- Wake had the Forum never existed, but looking men I had ever seen. My youthful without the weekly lessons that I got there, habits having been so regular, I could not I would not have succeeded as I did." stand this ; and though I took care, as I thought, to drink very little, yet, when I in St Cæcilia's Hall, Niddry Street,
Now, you and I have been together went out, I was at times so dizzy, I could scarcely walk; and the worst thing of all at meetings of this Society, called the was, I felt that I was beginning to relish Forum, and am I wrong in saying, it.”
that it was a weekly congregation of
the most intrepid idiots that ever brayI write now, Christopher, to direct ed in public? ' Hogg tells us, " it was your attention to the next grand
æra established by a few young, men, of in the life of this extraordinary man, whom I was one of the first!” This is and let us have it first in his own
a gross anachronism. He was at this words.
time an old man, of two score and up“ The next thing in which I became wards. Here he says,
“ he felt the deeply interested, in a literary way, was the pulse of the public,” and gauged "preForum, a debating society, established by cisely what they would swallow and a few young men, of whom I was one of what they would not !” Suppose, my the first. We opened our house to the pub- dear Christopher, that you, or any lic, making each individual pay a sixpence, other medical man, (you seem to have and the crowds that attended, for three years dropped the M. D.) by way of feeling running, were beyond all bounds. I was
the pulse of christian patients, should appointed secretary, with a salary of £20 -year, which never was paid, though I gave practice on the left legs of a gang of charity. We were ex
jack-asses at Leadburn-hills ! or judge ceedingly improvident; but I never was
of the swallow of a convalescent young so much the better of any thing as that so- lady, by amusing yourself with feeding ciety ; for it let me feel, as it were, the a tamecormorant? or prescribe to a dowpulse of the public, and precisely what they ager, fat, fair, and forty, as if you were would swallow, and what they would not. James Stuart flinging oil cakes to the All my friends were averse to my coming Dunearn ox? The Public unquestionforward in the Forum as a public speaker, ably has a large and a wide swallow, and tried to reason me out of it, by repre- and a pretty strong bouncing pulse of senting my incapacity to harangue a thou, her own. But the Public would have sand people in a speech of half an hour. I had, however, given my word to my asso
retched, scunnered,* vomited, swarfciates, and my confidence in myself being edgt fallen into successive convulsions, unbounded, I began, and came off with become comatose, and died under one flying colours. We met once a-week : I tenth part of the perilous stuff that spoke every night, and sometimes twice the was both meat and drink to the same night ; and, though I sometimes in. Forum. The Forum got fat and pursy, curred pointed disapprobation, was in gene- red in the face, with a round belly, ral a prodigious favourite. The characters under circumstances that would have of all my brother members are given in the reduced the Public to a walking skelelarger work, but here they import not. I ton. The pulse of the Forum was have scarcely known any society of young heard like the tick of an eight-day men who have all got so well on. Their pro- clock, 60 in the minute, slow but sure, gress has been singular ; and, I am certain, when thatof the poor Public
would have people may say as they will, that they were greatly improved by their weekly appear
been 150. The Forum heard unmoved, ances in the Forum Private societies sig. what would have driven the Public for nify nothing ; but a discerning public is a
ever into the deepest retirement, the severe test, especially in a multitude, where cell, or the cloister. Why, in com
See Dr Jamieson once more.
+ Once more.
Tom good taste
sure to draw the
parison with the Forum, the Public the Forum, where Hogg learned to feel 170 good saying at
has all the sensitive delicacy of a pri- the pulse, and gauge the swallow of applause. His vate person.
the Edinburgh public. “Here it was,' g the taste lb But lest I should be suspected of ex- quoth the swineherd, “ that the smallI am certain te aggeration—who composed the select est departure from good taste was sure of it, and Iv society of the Niddry Street Forum ? to draw down disapproval !!!!!!!!! n a school he Young grocers, redolent of cheese, !!!!!” No doubt, even in the Forum, æritten the use comfits
, and tallow-candles, who dealt it was possible to go too far, and Hogg never existel is out their small, greasy, fetid sentences, was, I know, often hissed. It is said, ms that I gender as if they were serving a pennycustomer that even' among apes and monkeys, ded as I."
across the counter with something odi- there are rules of good breeding, and ve been tea oas in brown paper,-precocious ap- that the better bred ones are often exNidory for prentices, --one of whom, in all proba- cessively irritated at the mews and ciety , calelo bility
, had made or mended the presi- chattering of their less decorous brerong in sya dent's unpaid breeches,-occasional thren of Ape kind. congregatim young men obviously of little or no pro- But the truth is, that Hogg never s that everte fession
, who rose, looked wildly round could speak at all in the Forum. He ells us, “in them, muttered, sunk, and were seen no used to read ribald rhymes about maryoung ma, more,--nowand then a blunt bluff but- riage and other absurdities, off whityfirst!” Ti cher-likeblock-head, routing like a bull brown paper, stuck up on a niche, He was er ona market-day in the Grass Market, with a farthing candle on each side of to score and stray students of medicine from the sis- him, which he used to snuff in great " he fel o ter-island, booming like bitterns in the trepidation, with his finger and thumb d gaugeday bog of Allen, -long-faced lads from instantly applied to his cooling mouth, ad swalor i Professor Paxton, dissenters from every in the midst of the most pathetic pasSuppse
, I thing intelligible among men,-laymen sages, cheered by shouts of derisive you,
are from Leeds, and Birmingham, Hull, applause that startled Dugald M‘Glaju seem ol and Halifax, inspired with their red port shan and
his cadies beneath the shadow way of tes wines
, and all stinking like foxes of the of the Tròn-Kirk. He has no more atients
, she strong Henglish-accent,-pert, prim, command of language than a Highes of a gune prating personages, who are seen going lander had of breeches before the 45; hills ! or fit in
, and coming out of the Parliament and his chief figure of speech consis alescent yra House
, nobody knows why, or where. ed in a twist of his mouth, which If with fires fore , - mealy-mouthed middle-aged might certainly
at times be called eloscribe toada men, of miscellaneous information, mas- quent. He had recourse to this view
as if you e tersof their matter, all cut and dry, dis- of the subject, whenever he found himil cakes ut tinguished as private pedagogues, great self fairly
planted, so that a deaf specie unquests as grinders, and powerful in extempo- tator of the debate would have supwide spalx raneous prayer,—now and then a shri- posed him stuck up in a hole in the micing puki velled mummy, apparently of the wall to make ugly faces, and would ie wolwe reign of George the II. with dry dusty have called for a horse-collar. Was
palate, seen joining in the de- that a situation in which “the smalle compris bete---stickit ministers who have set- est deviation from good taste would ed under ded down into book-binders, composi- have drawn down disapproval ?" us stuf der fors
, or amanuenses to some gentlemen On the decline and fall of the Fo
literarily disposed, -apothecaries deep rum, James Hogg looked once more eat and pur in dog-latin, and tenderly attached to abroad over the world, and, his brilround te words of sixoreightsyllables, such asla- liant career of oratory being closed,
, alking ser members from mason-lodges, drop- receive his embrace. He wrote the
ping in when the discussion is about Queen's Wake; and wishing to astoeight-i Half-seas-over, ---and finally, for there 'nish some of his friends with a rehear-. ow but ses no end to this, a few players and sal, the following scene is described as -d unmare Wheatre is shut,) assiduous in their noc would be seene-shifters, (for on Friday night the taking place.
“ Having some ballads or metrical tales Te Pubilien ble endeavours to revive the study of Shakespeare, and making the Forum planned the Queen's Wake, in order
past me, which I did not like to lose, }; in mi csound with screeds of blank verse, that I might take these all in, and had
out of mouths as unmerciful as leader it ready in a few months after it was first spouts on a rainy day.
proposed. I was very anxious to read it to Such is a most imperfect enumera- some person of taste, but no one would tion of a few of the component parts of either read it, or listen to me reading it,
save Grieve, who assured me it would do. or censure in his own Magazine. But As I lived at Deanhaugh then, I invited this I will say, that if he had offered, Mr and Mrs Gray to drink tea, and to read
or will yet offer, to pay me as well as a part of it with me before offering it for he has paid Hogg, I will become one publication. Unluckily, however, before I of the best periodical writers in this had read half a page, Mrs Gray objected to a word, which Grieve approved of and country: defended, and some high disputes arose ;
But let us hear what he says further other authors were appealed to, and notwith with regard to the Queen's Wake. standing my giving severalvery broad hints, “ This address gave me a little confiI could not procure a hearing for another dence, and I faced my acquaintances one line of my new poem. Indeed, I was sore by one; and every thing that I heard was ly disappointed, and told my friends so on laudatory. The first report of any work going away ; on which another day was that goes abroad, be it good or bad, spreads appointed, and I brought my manuscript like fire set to a hill of heather in a warm to Buccleuch Place. Mr Gray had not got spring day, and no one knows where it will through the third page, when he was told stop. From that day forward every one that an itinerant bard was come into the has spoken well of the work; and 'every lobby, and repeating his poetry to the review praised its general features, save the boarders. Mr Gray went out and joined Electic, which, in the number for 1813. them, leaving me alone wish a young lady, tried to hold it up to ridicule and contempt to read, or not, as we liked. In about half Mr Jeffrey ventured not a word about it an hour, he sent a request for me likewise either good or bad, himself, until the yea to come: on which I went, and heard a after, when it had fairly got into a secon poor crazy beggar repeating such miserable and third edition. He then gave a very judi stuff as I had never heard before. I was cious and sensible review of it; but he com terribly affronted ; and putting my manu- mitted a most horrible blunder, in classin script in my pocket, jogged my way home MrTemnant, the author of Anster Fair, an in very bad humour. Gray has sometimes me together, as two self-taught geniuses tried to deny the truth of this anecdote, and whereas there is not one point of resen to face me out of it, but it would not do blance-- Tennant being a better educate I never estimated him the less as a friend; man than the reviewer himself, was not but I did not forget it, in one point of little affronted at being classsed with m view ; for I never read any more new
From that day to this Mr Jeffrey has take poems to him."
no notice of any thing that I have publis! Some of the ballads in the Queen's ed, which I think can hardly be expect Wake are tolerable imitations of Scott,
to do him any honour at the long run. and the old traditionary poetry of Scot- should like the worst poem that I ha land. But who the devil cares a jot with some that he has strained himself
since published, to stand a fair comparis for Mr Hogg's negociation about it bring forward. It is a pity that any lit with Constable, and Miller, and Mur, rary connexion, which with the one par ray, and Goldie, and Blackwood ? All might be unavoidable, should ever prej the world knows that booksellers are dice one valued friend and acquaintan the most selfish and crafty of their against another. In the heart-burnings sex; and that poor poets are the most party-spirit, the failings of great minds : ignorant, absurd, and unreasonable of more exposed than in all other things theirs. Poetry is a drug; even good- the world put together." ish decent poetry wont sell; and there- Now, Christopher, you, and two fore I blame no publisher for behaving three other men in Scotland are e as ill as possible to any poet. Of the titled to cut up Mr Jeffrey. He i publishers aforesaid, Constable seems man of real wit and cleverness, and to have been amused with the match- serves to be cut up. But he ought i less stupidity and vanity of Hogg, - to be haggled with a blunt jocteleg but to have behaved to him, on the the hands of a clown. There is sor whole, with much good nature and due thing most laughable in a vul liberality. Miller seems to have in- rhymster accusing Mr Jeffrey of tended to publish the Pilgrims of the lay in reviewing his worthless tra Sun, but got frightened at Hogg's un- -All the world saw that the cr couth appearance, and the universal wished to do a good-natured th rumours of his incapacity. Murray to the swine-herd, and to give } seems to have awoke out of a dream, a lift above the sneers of the to and on recovering his senses, to have " He then gave a very sensible cut the Shepherd in his easiest man- judicious review of it!" It was i ner. Of Blackwood, it would be unbe- ther sensible nor judicious, nor coming me to speak with either praise it meant to be so. It was a mere p
of charitable bam-of amlable hum- sion did he marry any of the girls; bug; and Mr Jeffrey is a great deal too and Mr Hogg ought not thus to dekind, in my opinion, in bepraising the fend morality at the expence of hissmall fry of poetasters, while he sends torical truth. A. poet, above all men, his harpoon into the backs of the lar- should always stick to facts; and this ger poets, and laughs at beholding young woman, who, he says, carried them floundering about with a mile of her husband, is altogether an imagirope coiled round them. I never could nary Jacobite relic. see any more wickedness in Frank The Poetic Mirror is now lying beJeffrey than in Christopher North; fore me, and two of the imitations of and I believe you both to be a couple Wordsworth are admirable. But Hogg of admirable fellows,-no men's ene- never wrote one syllable of them. They
mies but your own,-a little defié were written by Lord Byron, with an Dicient in prudence and worldly wisdom; immense stack of bread and butter
but gradually improving by age and before him, and a basin of weak tea. infirmity, and likely to turn out, after Mr Pringle's little poem is pretty
all, useful and respectable members of enough, but all the rest of the volume 15 society. I could not let this favourable is most inhuman and inerciless trash.
opportunity pass without paying you Does Hogg believe, that if he were to both a well deserved compliment. Pray, steal Lord Byron's breeches and coat, where lay "the horrible blunder," in and so forth, and walk along the Rialto, classing Mr Tennant, the author of that the Venetian ladies would misa: Anster Fair, with Mr Hogg. Mr Jeffrey take him for his lordship? It is easier had never heard of Mr Tennant when to play the fool than the lord, and, he reviewed his poem. He did not therefore, in one or two of his imitaspeak of him as an ignorant, but a self- tions, the swine-herd is more lucky. educated man. And though this was
That of himself, for example, is a true pot altogether the case, there was no specimen of the stye-school of poetry. horrible blunder in saying so.
Mr I request you, Christopher, to look Hogg is simply a fool, when he talks again at page 65. “ Risum teneatis,
of Mr Tennant being a better educa- umice ?” * Read it aloud, and believe it. ted man than Mr Jeffrey. Mr Jeffrey's your ears.
education was complete, and he is a " I know not what wicked genius put most accomplished scholar, though not it into my head, but it was then, in an yet a professor at Dollar Academy.
evil hour, when I had determined on the Mr Hogg goes on to narrate to the side I was to espouse, that I wrote the world the circumstances under which Chaldee Manuscript, and transmitted it to he composed his Mador of the Moor, Mr Blackwood from Yarrow. On first Poetic Mirror, Dramatic Tales, and reading it, he never thought of publishing other volumes.
it ; but some of the rascals to whom he Of Mador of the Moor, it is not in
showed it, after laughing at it, by their own
accounts till they were sick, persuaded him, my power at present to speak in terms
nay, almost forced him to insert it; for of adequate contempt. The story is some of them went so far as to tell him, this :- King James assumes the cha- that if he did not admit that inimitable arracter of an itinerant fiddler, and ticle, they would never speak to him again seduces a farmer's daughter, some
so long as they lived." where about the extremity of Perth- There is a bouncer !—The Chaldee shire
. She absconds, and, after a safe manuscript !-Why, no more did he delivery of a thumping boy, at which write the Chaldee Manuscript than it does not appear that any howdy offi- the five books of Moses.—Prove he ciated, madam takes her foot in her wrote it, and I undertake to prove the hand, and fathers the child upon his moon green cheese, and eat a slice of Majesty, in his court at Stirling Castle. it every morning before breakfast. I The king marries the trull, and with presume that Mr Hogg is also the the wedding (rather a stale concern) author of Waverley.--He may say so the poem concludes. This may be a if he chooses, without contradiction, common enough way of settling the and he may also assert that he, and business about Ettrick and Yarrow, not Lord Wellington, fought the but the kings of Scotland, I am per- battle of Waterloo,--that he commusuaded, never did wive after such a' nicated the steam-engine to MrWatt, fashion. King Jamie played a good and was the original inventor of Day many pranks during the long nights and Martin's patent blacking. It must unquestionably, but on no single occa- be a delightful thing to have such fanVol. X.