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From the North British Review,

| Every generation has writers of this pecu1. The Book of Ballads. Edited by Bon liar type — writers often of higher powers

GAULTIER. Seventh Edition. 'Edin- and attainments than many who are better burgh, 1861.

known, — but who, somehow, never pass the 2. Firmilian. Edinburgh, 1854.

line which divides those who are dis3. Tales from Blackwood. Edinburgh.

tinguished from those who are famous. It 4. Headlong Hall, etc. Bentley's Stand- is curious to reflect that De Quincey never ard Novels, 1837.

had a tithe as many readers as Mr. Har5. Gryll Grange. By the Author of Head- rison Ainsworth, and that Mr. Tupper is long Hall. London, 1861.

some fifty times as well known as Henry 6. Reliques of Father. Prout. A New Taylor. But this is one of the eternal Edition, 1866.

phenomena of literature which never dis

courages real men of letters, while it ought SINCE the days of the prince of bi- to teach critics that perhaps their most imographers, the wise and warm-hearted Plu- portant duty is to help to make known tarch of Chæronea, very little has been those whom the world has not learned to done in literature for that parallelism know for itself. If we propose to glance which was so essential a part of his bio- now at what was done by the three gentlegraphical theory. To take men of eminence, men just mentioned, for their generation, and place them in juxtaposition ; to observe our object is partly to induce readers to betheir points of similarity, and of dissimilarity come better acquainted with them at firstin similarity, so that each should be sepa- hand. Professor Aytoun's works are, inrately more intelligible from the comparison deed, well known in Scotland, but might be of him with the other; — this, the Plu- better known in the South and in Ireland. tarchian idea, has been less fruitful than Peacock, in spite of the admirable wit and might have been expected, considering the cleverness of his tales, is, we suspect, little just popularity of Plutarch from the days appreciated out of London. Father Prout of Montaigne downwards. Bishop Hurd is loved and honoured by his own countrydeserves the praise of having advocated its men, and in the literary world of the me. study, and of having suggested some mate- tropolis his name is a household word ; but, rial for the purpose ; and Coleridge, in elsewhere, few know how much enjoyment what be called the : landing-places of his may be got from his pages. We should like Friend, so far followed it up, that he made to see the reputations of these brilliant men most ingenious and suggestive comparisons counter-changed, as the heralds say — the between Luther and Rousseau, and between Scotch and Irish reputations crossing into Erasmus and Voltaire. We are not going each other - and the English intermingling to deal just now with men of such magni- with both. We are no friends to excessive tude; but we must be allowed to congratu- centralization. Indeed, we cherish national late ourselves on having a good opportunity individualism as one of the conditions of of applying the doctrine in the case of a literary variety, raciness, and colour. But group of distinguished contemporaries re- nationality without intercommunion has a cently taken away. Within about a twelve- constant tendency to degenerate into promonth three humorists have been blotted vincialism; and provincialism prescrves from the roll of living British men of let- national traits not as living things, but as ters: Professor Aytoun, Mr. Thomas Love petrifactions. The intellectual life of every Peacock, and the Reverend Frank Mahony country ought to blow over into other lands

- better known as Father Prout. Each of like a wind. The north wind is necessary these men represented one of the three king- to keep the south cool, and the south wind doms : Aytoun, our own bonnie Northern necessary to keep the north from freezing. land; Peacock, England; and Mahony, Ire- Now, it so happens, as has been already briefly land. They were all humorists. They hinted, that each of our three humorists had a were all lyrists. They were all more or less strong flavour of his own country about Bohemian and eccentric in the exercise of him. In an age when so many Scotehmen their gifts. They were all men of classical emigrate, Aytoun devoted his life to Scoteducation. They were all men of strongly land. He formed himself on native models, marked national type. Finally, they had and attached himself to a native school of this, too, in common, that they never be- literature. His humour — and it is his hucame exactly popular, that is, universally mour with which we have to do in this papopular in the sense in which Thackeray or per was essentially Scotch; that is to say, Jerrold were so, but enjoyed their chief hearty or even vehement in expression reputation among the cultivated classes. I sometimes, but dry to the taste; shrewd and thoughtful at bottom; and based on odes of their common literary ancestor, the character rather than light and brilliant. beloved Venusian lyrist : He did not shine in epigram. His prose style wanted clearness, terseness, grace. *Ille te mecum locus et beatæ His strong point both as writer and talker Postulant arces; ibi tu calentum was humour proper, fun, a perception of Debitâu sparges lacrimâ favillam the ludicrous; but a perception of the

Vatis amici.' ludicrous from a Scot's point of view, in which the intellectual rather than the moral Having thus indicated in a broad rapid pleasure to be derived from it is the pre- way the general elements of comparison bedominant object sought. Peacock, again, tween our writers, we shall follow the Pluwas eminently English in his clear good tarchian plan by giving a sketch of each of sense, his quick penetrating sarcasm, em- them separately, before attempting to make bodied with classic neatness of expression, the comparison complete. The order in and his fine practical contempt for all ex- which they died bappens also to be the travagances of taste and speculation. When alphabetical order, so that it is not our we come to Prout, we find his genius not less Scottish patriotism only which has made characteristic of his nation. His fun is full of us give Professor Aytoun the first place. all kinds of playfulness, and fancy, and para- Aytoun came of a good old Scottish family, dox, — real larky fun, to use a familiar ex- now represented by Mr. Roger Sinclair pression, – such as the English kind rarely Aytoun of Inchdairnie, the respected Memis, and the Scotch almost never. In pure epi- ber for the Kirkcaldy Burghs. The family gram, the Englishman has the best of it. The took its name at a very remote period from Irishman's epigram is most fanciful ; his pre- the lands of Ayton in Berwickshire, and was cious stones are coloured. The Scot does not first established in Fife in the sixteenth cenexcel in epigram at all; nor much in that tury by a gentleman who was Governor of drollery, the drollery of abandon, of which Stirling Castle. Their arms were an endownright noisy laughter is the natural re- grailed cross with roses ; and the founders sult. The Englishman's joke is like a of the Fife branch adopted a beautiful smile - a smile in which his intellectual motto by way of difference on settling in eyes take a part; the Irishman's is a poke their new home. Et de ptoe dabunt odoin your ribs, accompanied with a laugh, rem,' they said, and the transplanted roses shrill rather than hearty; the Scot's is a justified the modest boast. Sir Robert Aydeep chuckle, an inward laugh, which does toun, the poet, on whose tomb in Westminnot disturb the lines of a mouth full of ster Abbey the motto may still be read, a sagacious knowingness, and a conscious was one of the Fife stock of the house of sense of the pregnant meaning of which the Kinneden. The branches in the East best Scotch pleasantry is full.

While thus Neuk' of Fife seem to have dwindled distinctly gifted according to their dis- away; but Inchdairnie, settled some seven tinctive races, our three celebrated specially miles to the North of Kirkcaldy, held on, each his oihnu tarpiða yażav. The author of and has survived to our time, in spite of an the · Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers' wrote interest in politics during great historical with obvious delight of the Thundering crises, which has been fatal to many a landSpey. The author of • Headlong Hall' not ed line. They produced Covenanters in only devoted a special poem to the Genius the seventeenth century, and Jacobites in of the Thames,' but loved the noble river, the eighteenth; and one of the Jacobites, and haunied it all his life. His favourite who seems from the books which he left beamusement in old age was to take his family bind him to have been a man of science out on it for a row, and his bones lie in the and letters, passed some time in exile in churchyard of Shepperton, not far from its Holland. Of this family, and sprung, we wave. The author of the - Reliques of believe, from their marriage with the daughFather Prout' devoted perhaps his best ter of a once well-known judge, Lord Harlyric to the • Bells of Shandon, that sound carse, William Edmondstoune Aytoun was a so grand on the pleasant waters of the river cadet; a fact which helps to explain his Lee;' and he, too, lies near the Lee, as tinge of feudal sentiment and romance, Peacock does near the Thames, and Aytoun that old Scottish quality found in Scotsmen near the Forth — each amidst the scenery unlike each other in everything else – in first loved and last forgotten of his ancestral Knox and Sir Walter, in Smollett and in land. Any one of them might have ad- Hume. He was born in Abercromby Place, dressed a friend in the tenderest of all the Edinburgh, on the 21st June 1813, and was the son of Mr. Roger Aytoun, Writer to I need only turn to the Nocles Ambrosianæ the Signet. He went to the Edinburgh to see with what license of savage, yet Academy at eleven years of age, and in somehow not essentially bitter jocosity, the 1827 or 1828 to the College, where he re- great Christopher thought himself entitled mained till 1832. The head-master of the to treat opponents; and with what a daring Academy at that time was Archdeacon hand he claimed for himself and his friends Williams, a man of learning and wit, and the fiercest pleasures of the social board. author of several remarkable books, espe- An enemy was a 'gander,' a 'stot,' a ' mean cially of a Life of Cæsar, which is far too eunuch;' while a friend, besides the poslittle known. The classical professors of session of every serious virtue, enjoyed a the College were Pillans and Dunbar, the stomach to which no amount of supper and first a Latin scholar of some elegance, the no long succession of tumblers could do the second a good teacher, as far as his range least mischief. There was something in all of teaching went. Aytoun benefited at this fun which tickled the fancy of youngleast as much as his best fellow-students by sters; and the effect of it is very visible in this classical training; but the ancient lite- Aytoun's contributions to the Bon Gaultier rature had no special attractions for him, Ballads, the chief effusions of his humour in and he never knew it so well as either Pea- verse. Mr. Theodore Martin had been cock or Father Prout. On the other hand, writing for sometime under the nom de plume he learned German in Germany, and we of Bon Gaultier before he became acquainthave heard contemporaries of his describe ed with Aytoun, and the title was retained his youthful enthusiasm for Macaulay's as a common designation when they began to

Ivry' and Armada,' which, together with work together in Taits Magazine and Frasthe influence of Scott, then the first intellec. er. Most of the ballads were joint handitual influence felt by every young Scotsman, work, but a few of the best are known to prepared him for the · Lays of the Scottish have been exclusively Aytoun's, among Cavaliers' by and bye. Nature had formed which we may mention • The Massacre of Aytoun for the Tory school of Scottish the Macpherson,'• The Queen in France,' literature, but his father, who had been • The Rhyme of Sir Launcelot Bogle,' and agent to the Duke of Hamilton, was a • Little John.' We quote the first of these, Whig, and the future Jacobite of Blackwood in spite of its being so well known on this was for some time devoted to the Bill, side Tweed, because there is a dryness of the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill.' sarcasm about it, which we have already The natural development of Aytoun's declared to be essentially Scotch, as distinct mind, however, brought him gradually from the satire either of England or Ireinto more_congenial associations, and he land: became a Tory of the special Scottish type then in fashion, and now extinct. We have THE MASSACRE OF THE MACPHERSON. nothing to do with politics on this occasion, but nobody, we think, will quarrel with us

(From the Gaelic.) if we say as a mere matter of history, that this extinct type of Scottish Toryism — the Toryism of Scott and John Wilson — appealed not unnaturally to the hearts and

Fhairshon swore a fend imagination of the young. It was a pic

Against the clan M‘Tavish; turesque and patriotic Toryism for one Marched into their land thing, basing itself on the past, and especial

To murder and to rafish;

For he did resolve ly on the past of Scotland. It was a jolly

To extirpate the vipers, Toryism, in the next place, glorying in con

With four-and-twenty men vivial riot, and delighting to express itself

And five-and-thirty pipers. with unbounded freedom of humour and sarcasm. There is a fearful legend in Edinburgh that a song was sung at the Tory suppers of that day, the chorus of which

But when he had gone

Half-way down Strath Canaan, Curse the people,

Of his fighting tail

Just three were remainin'.
Blast the people,
Dn the lower orders!'

They were all he had,

To back him in ta battle ;

All the rest had gone This was probably a Whig joke, but we

Off, to drive ta cattle.






on the



Aytoun's hand is very visible, we think,

in • The Dirge of the Drinker,' a parody of Fery coot !” cried Fhairshon, his own Lays, and a very spirited specimen "So my clan disgraced is;

of the rather extravagant comedy of his Lads, we'll need to fight

school :
Pefore we touch the peasties.
Here's Mhic-Mac-Methusaleh
Coming wi' his fassals,

"THE DIRGE OF THE DRINKER. Gillies seventy-three, And sixty Dhuinéwassails !”

Brothers, spare awhile your liquor, lay your

final tumbler down;
He has dropped — that star of honour -

field of his renown! “ Coot tay to you, sir ;

Raise the wail, but raise it softly, lowly bendAre you not ta Fhairshon?

ing on your knees, Was you coming here

If you find it more convenient, you may hiccup To fisit any person?

if you please. You are a plackguard, sir !

Sons of Pantagruel, gently let your hip-hurraIt is now six hundred

ing sink, Coot long years, and more,

Be your manly accents clouded, half with sorSince my glen was plundered.”

row, half with drink! Lightly to the sofa pillow lift his head from off

the floor; See, how calm he sleeps, unconscious as the

deadest nail in door! “Fat is tat you say?

Widely o’er the earth I've wandered; where the Dare you cock your peaver ?

drink most freely flowed, I will teach you, sir,

I have ever reeled the foremost, foremost to the Fat is coot pehaviour !

beaker strode. You shall not exist

Deep in shady Cider Cellars I have dreamed For another day more;

o'er heavy wet, I will shoot you, sir,

By the fountains of Damascus I have quaffed Or stap you with my claymore!”

the rich sherbet, Regal Montepulciano drained beneath its native


On Johannis'sunny mountain frequent hiccuped “I am fery glad

o'er my hock; To learn what you mention,

I have bathed in butts of Xeres deeper than did Since I can prevent

e'er Monsoon, Any such intention."

Sangaree'd with bearded Tartars in the MounSo Mhic-Mac-Methusaleb

tains of the Moon; Gave some warlike howls,

In beer-swilling Copenhagen I have drunk your Trew his skhian-dhu,

Danesman blind, An' stuck it in bis powels.

I have kept my feet in Jena, when each bursch

to earth declined ; Glass for glass, in fierce Jamaica, I have shared

the planter's rum,

Drank with Highland dhuiné-wassails, till each In this fery way

gibbering Gael grew dumb; Tied ia faliant Fhairshon,

But a stouter, bolder drinker - one that loved Who was always thought

his liquor more — A superior person.

Never yet did I encounter than our friend upon Fhairshon had a son,

the floor! Who married Noah's daughter, Yet the best of us are mortal, we to weakness Nearly spoiled ta Flood,

all are heir, By trinking up ta water :

He has fallen, who rarely staggered — let the

rest of us beware! We shall leave him as we found him, - lying

where his manhood tell, Which he would have done,

'Mong the trophies of the revel, for he took his I at least believe it,

tipple well. Had ta mixture peen

Better 'twere we loosed his neckcloth, laid his Only half Glenlivet

throat and bosom bare, This is all my tale :

Pulled his Hobies off, and turned his toes to Sirs, I hope 'tis new t’ye!

taste the breezy air. Here's your fery good healths, Throw the sofa-cover o'er him, dim the flaring

And tamn tá whusky duty!'




of the gas,

bar we pass,

Calmly, calmly let him slumber, and, as by the short, all we ever read or saw of Aytoun

induces us to think of him as a shrewd, able We shall bid that thoughtful waiter place be Scot, with a strong vein of the national

side him, near and handy, Large supplies of soda-water, tumblers bottomed ness exercised on the traditionary material

humour, but whose poetry was mere cleverwell with brandy, So, when waking, he shall drain them, with that of his political school. His white rose was deathless thirst of his,

not waxen we do not say that. But we Clinging to the hand that smote him, like a do say that it had a ery faint smell ;•that good ’un as he is !'

though his poetic Jacobite romanticism was

real as far as it went, it did not go very far. These pieces, and the Queen in France,' The complete failure of his more ambitious atare on the whole the best things in the Bon tempts, his Lectures on Poetry in London, his Gaultier Ballads. The parody of Mrs. “ Bothwell,' and his • Norman Sinclair,' seems Browning, too, is good; but most of the to us strongly to corroborate this view. And parodies are ordinary enough, not to his mind, though of good quality, was not be compared for a moment to the · Rejected fertile. It produced a few fruits of very Addresses,' or to the • Prize Novelists' of pleasant flavor, and much that was insipid Thackeray:

and commonplace; whereas Peacock was as While Aytoun was thus amusing himself fresh in Gryll Grange' as he had been and the public, he did not neglect to place half-a-century before ; and Father Prout his interests in life on a solider basis than continued to write daily with sense and wit, comic ballads can supply. He became a to be always readable, never weak, till his Writer to the Signet in 1838, and an Advo- death, at more than sixty years of age. cate in 1840. Afterwards he was appointed

The latest of Aytoun's jeux d'esprit which to the Sheriffship of the Orkneys, and to made any considerable hit was perhaps the the Professorship of Rhetoric and Belles- best of them all, • Firmilian; or the Student Lettres in the University of Edinburgh. of Badajoz. A spasmodic tragedy. By T. He was successful in both occupations, Percy Jones.' About a dozen years ago, there especially in the latter. But he owed his existed an absurd school of poetry, encourchief distinction all along to what he did in aged by a bad school of criticism, and owliterature ; and popular as his · Bon Gaul- ing its origin ultimately to the Festus of Mr. tier Ballads,' and his · Lays of the Scottish Bailey. No doubt there were men among Cavaliers' were, they were neither of them them whose natural poetic power was greater more relished than some of his prose articles than Aytoun's own. But the power was abin Blackwood, such as · How we got up the surdly used; was employed on extravagant Glenmutchkin Railway,' and · How I stood conceptions clothed in extravagant expresfor the Dreepdailie Burghs.' These are sion; and the result was something offensive fair representatives of his comic talent, and to all who had formed their taste on the comic talent, we repeat, was his forte. It great models whether of antiquity or of was a talent quite inferior to Thackeray's England. Aytoun's sympathies in these in insight, delicay, and edge; and to Wil- matters were sound ; indeed, if they erred son's in general power and swing. But it at all, they erred from a certain narrowness was a genuine gift of his own, - depending on the sound side. So he did what his talfor its effect, not on style, in which he was ents exactly suited him for — wrote an never strong, but on its intrinsic force of elaborate squib on the juvenile offenders. humorous character. His humour was broad, Firmilian is a poetaster with a taste for senwe may add, and required plenty of elbow- suality, and a morbid bankering after crime, room. What is further worth notice, it and his rant, in verses like the following, is was almost never poetic humour, a strong an admirable imitation of the kind of stuff sign that his poetry was not very real or that was produced in all seriousness by our deep, but much more artificial than either. younger poets in 1853–4:In Hood, for example, the poetry and humour blend with each other; it is not easy Let the hoarse thunder rend the vault of heaven, to say where one ends and the other begins. Yes, shake the stars by myriads from their But Aytoun's humour and poetry stand

boughs, quite apart. Between the broad fun of Let the red lightning shoot athwart the sky,

As Autumn tempest shakes the fruitage down;How I became a Yeoman '— another of Entangling comets by their spooming hair, bis best Blackwood papers — and the fife Piercing the zodiac helt, and carrying dread and kettledrum liveliness of the · Lays' To old Orion, and his whimpering hound:there is no moral connexion visible. In But let the glory of this deed be mine!'

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