Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

-though, with all Wach's finish and labor, one misses the sport and grace of Lawrence. Yet, excepting Lawrence, I think he matches any of our artists. You have not heard of the sculptor Rauch, I dare say; and, in revenge, the Berlin people are profoundly ignorant of Chantrey. I went yesterday to see his chef-d'ouvre—the full-length image of the late queen, in a sleeping attitude. Away with comparisons—I have pattei Chantrey's little cherubs so often, and with such delight, that i cannot bear to say anything comes near them. But certainly, this sleeping-beauty is a very touching work-I could not help kissing it.”

Among the noted characters of the place, he says:

“ A famous linguist appears so like a barber, that he was called off the street one day by an officer who wore a long queue, and ordered--after a sharp reprimand for stopping so long—to come in and cut the gentleman's hair instantly! The Professor --to humor the joke-said he had forgot his scissors. He was furnished with a pair, and, before the officer was aware, cropped his head close to the skull. He then retired from the forlorn

croppy,' advising him never again, while he lived, to trust his head in the hands of a Greek Professor !"

“I trust to being in London by the 20th, which will be just in time for me to see some of the sheets of the 'New Monthly,' before they go to press. If this reaches you in time enough to admit of a letter reaching me, you may address to the care of Anthony MacCann, Esq., (Exile of Erin), Altona, near Hamburgh.'' I shall be there on the eleventh.

T. C.” The two Englishmen* alluded to in this letter, are both ornaments of the profession which they were then studying at Berlin; and through their kindness I am enabled to insert the following particulars--a" recital of the general impression left in the writer's mind :"

“I was introduced to Mr. Campbell,” says Mr. Spry," at the Royal Library, by Dr. Spiker, and was very much struck by his enfeebled appearance. I could not help feeling surprise, that a person, in his delicate health, should have undertaken so long and wearisome a journey, without some strong motive, or urgent necessity-neither of which, in his case, appeared

* WILLIAM COULSON, Esq., London, Editor of Blumenbach's Comparative Anatomy, &c., &c.; and E. J. SPRY, Esq., of Truro.

ÆT. 48.]

REMINISCENCES OF THE POET.

175

to exist. He was very glad to obtain the assistance of an English medical student; and, during his stay at Berlin, we spent several hours daily in each other's company. His spirits were, at times, very buoyant; and he endeavored to persuade himself that he was young enough to live over again the student life he once enjoyed in the South of Germany, and of which he delighted to narrate various anecdotes. But his physical powers were unequal to the task. He found the labor of sauntering about the Libraries and Museum, sufficiently fatiguing; and did not attend any of the levees of the leading professors. As far as I could learn, he wished to refresh his recollections of the German system of teaching, in reference to its adoption in the London University. ..."

“My friend Coulson and I had arranged a visit to Göttingen, before the commencement of the regular classes, in the winter semestre; and as Mr. Campbell had accepted an invitation to an entertainment, from the English residents at Hamburgh, we thought it would be an act of kindness to accompany him, and render him that medical aid, which we much feared he would require. . . . He supported the fatigues of the journey* much better than could have been expected, and was warmly welcomed on his arrival.

. Mr. Canning, our Consul, presided at the feast. ..."

“I left him at the Schulter Blatt at Altona, much recruited in mind and body; but I parted from him, with sincere regret at the too certain approach of premature decay. . . . For any little attention shown him, he was exceedingly grateful, and I should say that the impression he left on the minds of those with whom he came into familiar intercourse was, that he possessed a benevolent disposition and a warm heart. When I called with him to take leave of Dr. Spiker, he inscribed in the Doctor's album these lines

To live in hearts we leave behind

Is ne'er to die.'t “ The literati of Berlin evinced considerable curiosity to see, and to be introduced to, the author of the · Pleasures of Hope,' in which character he was best known to them; but they all appeared to share the surprise experienced by myself at his decrepid appearance.

“ E. J. SPRY." “Truro, August 26th, 1847."

With respect to the public dinner given him at Hamburgh, I find but a very brief notice in one of his letters :-“ Oct. 14th.-I have been invited to a public dinner by the English residents of Hamburgh, to the number of above eighty. The managers of the entertainment tell me they could make it a much more numerous meeting, but are anxious to have it select. ... The day is to be Thursday next; and on Friday I shall embark for

* In pleasing confirmation of this, Campbell, writing from Hamburgh, October 14, says, “Except a rap on the knee by a fall on the iron steps, I may say it was a pleasuint journey. The carriage, on this occasion, was remarkably well hung ana stuffed ; and I had my amusing young doctorsCoulson and Spy-for my feilow travellers.”

+ See Poems. Ode, “Hallowed Ground,” page 225.

England. . . In the meantime I am at two entertainments every day, and have to study every morning the extempore verses which I am to insert in the Ladies' Albums. Not one of them lets me escape without inscribing my name; and, of course, I must add something loving and complimentary. . . This idle life, however, tires me; and in the midst of gaiety, I am filled with uneasiness. . . My fears conjure up what I trust will turn out to be phantoms.*

T. C. “ Oct. 28th. I have just reached town from Harwich, after a stormy passage, but a short one. Though I have been travelling nine hours in a post-chaise, I still feel the motion of the ship, as if I were balancing on the slack-rope. In one and the same morning, I have ascertained the joyous news that Thomas is tolerably well, and that my Sydenham friends are so likewise.

. . At present I write with all my heart, but none of my head; yet the journey has certainly done me good.—T. C.”.

At a public meeting, held at Freemasons' Tavern on the 10th of November, Campbell appeared among the strenuous supporters of the Western Literary and Scientific Institution; and, in a speech that called forth repeated bursts of applause, thus alluded to the grand object of his late efforts in the cause of literature :

"... Since I first heard of the proposed Institution, I have never ceased for one moment to consider it at once commendable in its motives, and practicable in its objects; and I am much deceived if I am wrong in hailing it as a prognostic of advantages that will outlive our own generation, It is a fresh mark that the desire of knowledge is germinating fast, and widely, in the field of public opinion. It is one of the vernal promises of an intellectual harvest, that will ultimately cover the whole domain of society. ... I am loth to intermix a single remark, personally regarding myself, with the opinions I express on a subject of so much public importance. But my motive for doing so, is my anxiety to show, that my ardent good wishes, for the success of this establishment, are perfectly consistent with opinions which I uttered, before I knew that your institution was contemplated; and I throw myself on your momentary indulgence for making this explanation. In urging the plan of a London University-and if it succeeds, I shall ask for no better epitaph on my grave, than to have been one of its successful instigators—I declared my belief that institutions, of the kind now proposed, could never constitute the sufficient means of public education for youth. No: the truth only amounts to this chat such institutions cannot answer the purposes of universities, not "eing in their nature intended to be available for such purposes. The edrcation of an university ought to be adapted to the management of yorun, who cannot manage themselves. It implies authority, and responsi'oility, and the power of ex

* In allusion to apprehensions respecting his son's recovery.

[ocr errors]

ÆT. 48.]
PUBLIC DINNER-GREEK DRAMA.

177 amination on the part of the teachers; and it involves many particulars that could not enter into your scheme. It is no inconsistency, therefore, on the part of the most strenuous advocate for a London University, to wish that institutions, like this, may increase and prosper. Welcome be your success !-it will expand, and corroborate the desire for mental improvement. Most welcome be your chairs—to be filled by able and eloquent teachers. They will be wholesome rivals to those of our University; for who knows not that competition is the parent of all excellence ? No_the literary institutions of London will be no impediment to her University; on the contrary, they will be so many redoubts, and flanking towers, around the great fortress of public instruction."*

On his return from Germany, Campbell found that he had a considerable lee-way to make up in his editorial duties; and on these, with harassing cares from another quarter, his improved health was too soon exhausted.

Nov. 25th, he writes—"I passed last night in the most dismal conjectures. It is now, however, unnecessary for me to talk thus. I ought to tell you how I am employed in the little world in which I move. .... I am immersed in the obscure points of the history of the Greek drama; and some of them I am in hopes of settling, at least, to my own satisfaction. I patronize, you know, the Attic dialect and the Athenians ; but the Doric dialect has put in most impudent claims on my attention to priority in the drama; and I have found Theban inscriptions of very hard digestion. . . . But never mind. Attic salt and a stout stomach will digest them all. Our glorious old English Bentley, and the most modern German scholars, present views and proofs of the subject, beyond what I had dared to hope for, analagous to my own involuntarily formed opinions. : "Do not think I am becoming a speechifier, or a peoplehunter, if you hear of my attending, or presiding at, public meetings for new institutions. . . . I am only complying with the earnest solicitations of bodies of men, whose intentions I consider praiseworthy and virtuous; and I firmly believe that popular sobriety will be the result of this popular love of literary institutions.

T. C.”

* This speech, of which the preceding is but a short extract, was followed by others in the same spirit from Mr. Brougham, Mr. Hobhouse, Mr. D. Kinnaird, and various gentlemen less known, and less eloquent, but not less zealous in their endeavors to promote the good cause.

+ In the spring of this year, Campbell entered into correspondence with President JEFFERSON, of Virginia, with the view of serving his friend, Mr. R- , who purposed to emigrate and establish public schools in that State, upon the Scottish principle. The enterprise was warmly espoused by Jef

On the 30th of January, a letter, full of characteristic sympathy, was drawn from him by the death of Mrs. Gray :-"My dear Gray, I hasten to offer you and all your family my deepest condolence on this sad event. It excites feelings beyond the reach of expression. A being so dear to you as your departed mother, I am convinced, was never taken from you. I can enter into your sorrow with no ordinary sympathy: for, as you know, and as I have often told you, I never knew her superior in gentleness—in principle, and in pure conduct. My heart loved her as a child, and I shall always venerate her memory. What woman ever left a more beautiful memory to the love of her surviving kindred-among whom I am proud to rank myself? Only the actions of the just smell sweet, and blossom in the dust! Commend me with a full heart to all your family. Mrs. C. joins me in best regards to you—nothing was necessary to increase my regard for you, dear Gray: but this event makes me feel to the utmost extent, how much I am your sincerely attached cousin.

T. C."* As a contrast to the preceding, and one of numerous instances where he seeks relief from pressing cares, by forcing his thoughts into new channels, I subjoin a lively paragraph regarding the decorative process in his new house :-Feb. 12th.-Yesterday I was greeted all day long with the glad notes of preparation ; namely, the hammering down of the partitions which are to throw the whole domicile into one spacious study, eighteen feet by fifteen! I have bargained with the mason to finish it for a reasonable sum,t considering that the iron door alone, which is enjoined by Act of Parliament where partitions are entered between separate houses, will cost ten guineas. I have also carried a great domestic point, which is, that the drawing-room is to be stript of every book; and I propose to treat myself with a handsome new carpet, as well as to some elegant leathern chairs. I have moreover bargained with myself that I shall ferson; and, in a long letter to Campbell, full of kindness to himself and anxiety to serve his friend, he gave a minute account of the educational system adopted in his own State, where a University had just been opened; and adds—“Should Mr. R- pursue this chance, I should cordially give him any aid in my power, and be very happy to receive him at Monticello.—T. J.”

* To William Gray, Esq., on the death of his mother, the Poet's “favorite cousin." See page 288.

+ This and other reasonable sums, as will appear, turned out to be three times the amount calculated upon.

† Most of this furniture Campbell retained until his death at Boulogne.

« ZurückWeiter »