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the work before us, the agent is in the first instance, of a very touching complexion--a Swiss maiden, blooming as a rose, active as a fawn, and bold as a lion, who is endowed with a convenient ubiquity, and appears as the guardian angel of the high spirited Arthur, to protect him from the storm of calamities by which he is beset. She rescues him from his perilous perch among the crags of Geierstein-saves bim from the two-handed cleaver of Donnerhugel-extricates him from the dungeon prisons of La Ferette-warns him of the machinations of the false priest, and draws him into an ambuscade at Arnheim, in order to afford him an opportunity of explanation. Her motives, and the secret of her opportune appearance being concealed from the reader, he is sometimes almost tenupted to doubt whether she is not of the race of those elemental beings, with which popular superstition had peopled the mountains of Switzerland as well as those of Scotland. Considering, however, the flesh and blood, the palpable mortality, if we may so speak, which she had shewn in the dance, and at the social board, we think that Arthur suffers the Arnheim legend to take too strong a hold on his imagination. So bewildered and possessed is he by this legend, that in the night watch at the bridge, when he meets his mistress alone and by moonlight, he cannot speak, but gazes on her in momentary expectation of seeing her dissolve into kindred air. We cannot commend the promptitude of our young gallant, on this memorable occasion, and are reminded against our wills, of Master Slender, making his approaches to Mistress Ann Page, and we wish for bis sake and the lady's, that he had had some uncle Shallow at his elbow, to back him, and push him on to exploit! But we grieve to say, that the presence of the fair Swiss maiden, seerns almost as embarrassing to the author himself, as it had but just proved to Arthur: for he no has sooner effected an explanation, then he dismisses her unceremoniously in the streets of Strasburg, to the enjoyment of German hospitality, and the courtesy of Ital Schneckenwald! Nor does the reader see ber in the sequel, or hear of her, except that the last page, like the chorus of the ancient tragedy, gives a glimpse of her future happiness and prosperity! Our author has no sooner laid his hand on the black priest of St. Paul's, than the Swiss maiden, her agency being no longer needed, is cast aside and forgotten! Priest, count, carmelite, chief of the secret tribunal! What fitter agent could be desired? He adopts him without scruple, and we behold him regularly installed as scoundrel of all work!
One prominent defect there is in Sir Walter's novels; and it is one which time, we fear, will never mend. It is his insensiVOL. IV.NO.8.
bility to the nice shades and changeable hues of female character. In this branch of his art, he is inferior to Richardson and Fielding. If his females interest us, it is seldom by traits that are simply and peculiarly feminine,-but rather from historical association, from the dangers to which they are exposed, from the fortitude which they display under calamity, from the virtues in short which they exhibit, and which we must admire, independently of sex! Our fancy may be touched, our admiration kindled, but our hearts are seldom strongly moved ! He presents them to us in state, in their gala dresses, we see little beyond exterior, we enter not with them in their boudoirs, commune not with them in their hours of secrecy, read not their hidden thoughts, their trembling hopes, their anxious fears, witness not the torments, or the delicious agitations of love, look not, in short, on that tempestuous ocean of passionate and tumultuous feeling, the unveiled female heart. Man has been the study of our author-man in all his phases, of every station and condition from the beggar to the king, and in each creation of his pencil, there is an individuality, a distinct personality, that distinguishes it from every one beside. We think that in spite of his assumed importance, we should detect Gilbert Glossin, by his tbievish air; and that we could distinguish Dugald Dalgetty in a croud, as readily as Jack Falstaff. We shall not assert that his characters of men are as true to nature as Shakspeare's, but we do maintain, that they are as true to themselves, as thoroughly consistent. Davus never speaks, what belongs to Pythias or Silenus.
In his talent for dramatizing, he is far beyond every living author his dialogue is fraught with energy, variety and power. He enters (as by metempsychosis) into a thousand bodies, and infuses his own spirit into each, but his license does not extend to the softer sex. Whatever is bold, stern and masculine in the characters of women, he can seize and pourtray, the softer traits elude him ; he might paint Margaret, indeed, as forcibly as Shakspeare, he might body forth the dark ambitious aspirations of Lady Macbeth, but could he paint the gentle-lovelorn Juliet ? Hence it is, that these Waverly Novels, have higher attraction for the student, the statesman, the man of the world, than for those who are the chief patrons and consumers of this species of literature-we mean the ladies. The Novels of Scott, are in truth, historical romances, mere vehicles for illustrating the manners, superstitions, and antiquities of various lands and periods: and not, what the name originally purported—tales of love! For such tales, if we must speak the sober truth-we fear Sir Walter is not peculiarly fitted-we fear he is by nature, cold-ofa temperament, the reverse of erotic. We detect in him none of those ungovernable bursts of animal passion, nothing of that warmth of colouring which glows in the descriptions of Smollet, and nothing of that mingled expression of sentiment and sensuality, which gives piquancy to the pages of Richardson and Fielding It is admitting too much to suppose, that such a temperament could be restrained throughout one hundred and ninety volumes! (for such is the wonderful extent of one author's labours.) It must infallibly have peeped forth at some unguarded moment, some flash of the pent up fire must have betrayed its existence, instead of which we find a settled decorum, invaded at most by some sly jest, so faintly seasoned withal, as scarcely to summon the blood into the cheek of Prudery herself.
Shakspeare is unquestionably indebted for many of his highest excellencies, to the ardent temperament he recived from nature. He was endowed with a most exquisite sensibility to female loveliness. His imagination threw a halo of unearthly glory over the lineaments of beauty! He was capable of feeling the passion of love in all its tenderness—in all its intensity—in all its inadness! It was by painting truly, what he so strongly felt, tempering the feeling, and adapting it to the characters he drew; that he has succeeded in furnishing such varied and exquisite portraitures of the tender passion! It is surprising to notice, how many of his most brilliant efforts, have been inspired by what we may term, the animal propensities of his character. But from this exuberance, have sprung weeds as well as flowers, for hence it is, that his works are polluted by so many gross and obscene images-images that had doubtless been softened or purified, if our author had lived in an age so severely chaste as the present. But though these gross images, and wanton descriptions, which delighted, we are told, both maid and matron, in the days of the Virgin Queen, would scarcely be tolerated now either in England or in this country, (where with pride we speak it, the standard of female purity has ever been exalted,) the reason is to be found not in any fundamental change in human nature, but simply in the change of manoers.
Women we apprehend, will never object to what is ardent in passion, provided it be modest in expression. So long as they are found to prize beauty, (and when will they not) so long will they appreciate, and be indulgent to that feeling in man's nature, which constitutes that beauty, the wand of empire! We cannot more aptly illustrate our meaning, than by alluding to a well authenticated incident in the life of Richardson. Our readers, of course, are familiar with the character of Lovelace in “Clarissa."
Libertine as he had been painted, the deliberate, unscrupulous betrayer of female innocence, yet were the gentle hearts of the ladies, to whom the author imparted the outlines of his yet unfinished plan, so moved in behalf of one, whose crimes sprung from too great a devotion to their charms, that they besought him to reform Lovelace, instead of killing him: and on his refusal to depart from the noble plan which he had devised, they importuned him in the excess of their tenderness—"at least to save his soul !" The story is familiar to Sir Walter, but he has carefully avoided all embarrassments of this nature. Certainly we know of no author of distinction, in his class, whose works contain so little that he should regret or desire to erase-whose page, rich as it is in generous and noble sentiments, and fraught with lessons of wisdom, is at the same time so conspicuous for purity. But we think he has failed, as we have already remarked, in the delineation of female character, in the expression of the softer emotions, and especially, of that of love, let him write an impassioned tale of love-impassioned, not licentious-(Dryden or Goethe were not cold at bis age,) let him achieve this last triumph, and the world will believe that he has forborne, not from inaptitude for such efforts, not from frigidity of temperament, but from a consciousness, how narrow were the boundaries that separate the impassioned from the seductive, and from the hallowed feeling, rather to leave his triumph incomplete, than secure it at the expense, or even at the imminent risk of morality !!
The success of Richardson in striking out a new style of novel, awakened the emulation of other men of genius, whose powers, without suchimpulse, had, probably, received a different direction; and Pamela may, in some sense, he styled the mother of Tom Jones and Roderick Random, though, as in other cases, but little family resemblance may exist to bespeak the relationship. The splendid success of the Waverly Novels, has given a like impulse to the public mind—and the historical novel, the novel illustrative of character and manner, has become the fashion of the day, and attracted to its service the powers of more than one man of decided talent. Among the most conspicuous of these, is our countryman Cooper, and the author of "Pelham," the "Disowned," and "Devereux." Imitators they undoubtedly are, yet not servile copyists. But talented as they are, we think the friends of these new candidates for popular favour, give no indication of superior sagacity, when they attempt to exalt them to the elevation of Scott. If they have their niche in the temple, they will figure there but as ordinary statues, compared with the “ Jupiter Olympus” of novelists ! It may
minister to the diseased and unappeaseable appetite of literary vanity-it may comport with the craft of booksellers, who would hazard bolder comparisons were they needed, to puff off a lingering edition ; but it can never serve the true interests of these talented writers, to draw them into a comparison wherein they must inevitably be sufferers. Cooper enjoys the adrantage of a field almost untrodden. The manners and habits of the aboriginal tribes and of those wbites—the pioneers of civilization who, presing forward as the others recede, plant their feet in the yet warm foot-prints of the retreating Indian ; the striking, grand or picturesque features of unexplored and upritled scenery, are so many mines of literary treasure, to which he has enjoyed peculiar access, and which he has wrought with the skill of a master. The ocean too, he has appropriated with a power and felicity equal to Smollet. In framing his story from such materials, he seems to us, in the invention of incident, to be fully equal to Scott. At the same time, it is but candour to admit that character, not incident, has been the chief aim of Scott. Be that as it may, he who will follow Cooper through one of his Indian adventures, will find himself constantly gratified by new and unexpected turns of the story. The personages in whose behalf the sympathy of the reader is enlisted, are no sooner rescued from one difficulty than they encounter another-danger presses on danger, and relief follows relief so unexpectedly, yet so naturally, that we soon yield to the conviction, that the resources of the author are, in respect to incident, inexhaustible. If we follow him to the field of battle, we find him animated, graphic, full of resources, and abounding in wellimagined and characteristic incident. If we follow him to the council-fires of his warriors, we feel that he is eloquent, and knows the rare art to make them talk like chiefs and heroes, after having painted them such in action. We know of no such noble pictures of Indian nature, as those which he has sketched; and we shall briefly add, that in describing the stirring incidents of nautical life-the storm--the calm the battle and the peculiarities of the sea-faring character--the same high praise is due to him. Within this circle lie his powers of dramatising, his efforts to pass it, have been mere abortions. In scenes of ordinary polite life, his ladies are but tame, spiritless and uninteresting creations; and his gentlemen altogether worthy to be the companions of such mistresses. The good opinion which the author may have bespoken for them, can scarcely survive the shock of the first dialogue. There is nothing easy and natural in their thoughts, and the writer wants the power which, in Scott, extends throughout the whole circle-at least