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his clear good sense, his quick penetrating tish patriotism only which has made us give sarcasm, embodied with classic neatness of Professor Aytoun the first place. Aytoun expression, and his fine practical contempt for came of a good old Scottish family, now reall extravagances of taste and speculation, presented by Mr. Roger Sinclair Aytoun of When we come to Prout, we find his genius Inchdairnie, the respected Member for the not less characteristic of his nation. His fun Kirkcaldy Burghs. The family took its is full of all kinds of playfulness, and fancy, name at a very remote period from the lands and paradox,-real larky fun, to use a fa- of Aytoun in Berwickshire, and was first esmiliar expression,--such as the English kind tablished in Fife in the sixteenth century by rarely is, and the Scotch almost never. In a gentleman who was Governor of Stirling pure epigram, the Englishman has the best of Castle. Their arms were an engrailed cross it. The Irishman's epigram is most fanciful; with roses; and the founders of the Fife his precious stones are coloured. The Scot branch adopted a beautiful motto by way of does not excel in epigram at all; nor much difference on settling in their new home. in that drollery, the drollery of abandon, of “ Et decerptos dabunt odorem," they said, which downright noisy laughter is the natu- / and the transplanted roses justified the ral result. The Englishman's joke is like a modest boast. Sir Robert Aytoun, the poet, smile--a smile in which his intellectual eyes on whose tomb in Westminster Abbey the take a part; the Irishman's is a .poke in motto may still be read, was one of the Fife your ribs, accompanied with a laugh, shrill stock, of the house of Kinneden. The rather than hearty; the Scot's is a deep branches in the “East Neuk” of Fife seem chuckle, an inward laugh, which does not to have dwindled away; but Inchdairnie, setdisturb the lines of a mouth full of a sagacious tled some seven miles to the north of Kirkknowingness, and a conscious sense of the caldy, held on, and has survived to our time, pregnant meaning of which the best Scotch in spite of an interest in politics during great pleasantry is full. While thus distinctly historical crises, which has been fatal to gifted according to their distinct races, our many a landed line. They produced Coventhree celebrated specially each his fínu anters in the seventeenth century, and JacoTatpida yalav. The author of the “ Lays of bites in the eighteenth; and one of the the Scottish Cavaliers" wrote with obvious Jacobites, who seems from the books which delight of the "Thundering Spey." The he left behind him to have been a man of author of " Headlong Hall” not only devoted science and letters, passed some time in exa special poem to the “Genius of the Thames," ile in Holland. Of this family, and sprung, but loved the noble river, and haunted it all we believe, from their marriage with the his life. His favourite amusement in old age daughter of a once well-known judge, Lord was to take his family out on it for a row, and Harcarse, William Edmondstoune Aytoun his bones lie in the churchyard of Shepper was a cadet; a fact which helps to explain ton, not far from its wave. The author of his tinge of feudal sentiment and romance, the “ Reliques of Father Prout" devoted that old Scottish quality found in Scotsmen perhaps his best lyric to the “ Bells of Shan- unlike each other in everything else-in don, that sound so grand on the pleasant wa Knox and Sir Walter, in Smollet and in ters of the river Lee;" and he, too, lies near Hume. He was born in Abercromby Place, the Lee, as Peacock does near the Thames, Edinburgh, on the 21st June 1813, and was and Aytoun near the Forth-each amidst the son of Mr. Roger Aytoun, Writer to the the scenery first loved and last forgotten of Signet. He went to the Edinburgh Acad. his ancestral land. Any one of them might emy at eleven years of age, and in 1827 or have addressed a friend in the tenderest of 1828 to the College, where he remained till all the odes of their common literary ances- 1832. The head-master of the Academy at tor, the beloved Venusian lyrist :
that time was Archdeacon Williams, a man
of learning and wit, and author of several re- Ille te mecum locus et beatæ
markable books, especially of a Life of CæPostulant arces; ibi tu calentem
sar, which is far too little known. The Debitâ sparges lacrimâ favillam Vatis amici.”.
classical professors of the College were Pil.
lans and Dunbar, the first a Latin scholar of Having thus indicated in a broad rapid some elegance, the second a good teacher, as way the general elements of comparison be far as his range of teaching went. Aytoun tween our writers, we shall follow the Plu- / benefited at least as much as his best fellowtarchian plan by giving a sketch of each of students by this classical training; but the them separately, before attempting to make ancient literature had no special attractions the comparison complete. The order in for him, and he never knew it so well as which they died happens also to be the al- | either Peacock or Father Prout. On the phabetical order, so that it is not our Scot- other hand, he learned German in Germany,
and we have heard contemporaries of his handiwork, but a few of the best are known describe his youthful enthusiasm for Macau- to have been exclusively Aytoun's, among lay's “Ivry” and “Armada,” which, together which we may mention “ The Massacre of with the influence of Scott, then the first in the Macpherson," “ The Queen in France," tellectual influence felt by every young Scots-“The Rhyme of Sir Launcelot Bogle," and man, prepared him for the Lays of the “Little John.” We quote the first of these, Scottish Cavaliers ” by and bye. Nature in spite of its being so well known on this had formed Aytoun for the Tory school of side Tweed, because there is a dryness of Scottish literature, but his father, who had sarcasm about it, which we have already debeen agent to the Duke of Hamilton, was a clared to be essentially Scotch, as distinct Whig, and the future Jacobite of Blackwood from the satire either of England or Irewas for some time devoted to "the Bill, the land :whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill.” The natural development of Aytoun's mind, how- “THE MASSACRE OF THE MACPHERSON. ever, brought him gradually into more congenial associations, and he became a Tory of
(From the Gaelic.) the special Scottish type then in fashion, and now extinct. We have nothing to do with
Fhairshon swore a feud politics on this occasion, but nobody, we think, will quarrel with us if we say as a
Against the clan M‘Tavish;
Marched into their land mere matter of history, that this extinct type To murder and to rafish; of Scottish Toryism—the Toryism of Scott For he did resolve and John Wilson--appealed not unnaturally To extirpate the vipers, to the hearts and imaginations of the young.
With four-and-twenty men It was a picturesque and patriotic Toryism
And five-and-thirty pipers. for one thing, basing itself on the past, and especially on the past of Scotland. It was a jolly Toryism, in the next place, glorying in But when he had gone convivial riot, and delighting to express itself Half-way down Strath Canaan, with unbounded freedom of humour and sar Of his fighting tail casm. There is a fearful legend in Edin
Just three were remainin',
They were all he had, burgh that a song was sung at the Tory sup
To back him in ta battle ;
Off, to drive ta cattle.
*Fery coot!' cried Fhairshon, This was probably a Whig joke, but we
"So my clan disgraced is; need only to turn to the Noctes Ambrosi. Lads, we'll need to fight anæ to see with what license of savage, yet Pefore we touch the peasties. somehow not essentially bitter jocosity, the Here's Mhic-Mac-Methusaleh great Christopher thought himself entitled Coming wi' his fassals,
Gillies seventy-three, to treat opponents; and with what a daring
And sixty Dhuinéwassails ! hand he claimed for himself and his friends the fiercest pleasures of the social board. An enemy was a “ gander,” a “stot,” a mean eunuch ;" while a friend, besides the
Coot tay to you, sir;
Are you not ta Fhairshon? possession of every serious virtue, enjoyed a
Was you coming here stomach to which no amount of supper and To fisit any person ? no long succession of tumblers could do the
You are a plackguard, sir ! least mischief. There was something in all It is now six hundred this fun which tickled the fancy of young.
Coot long years, and more, sters; and the effect of it is very visible in Since my glen was plundered.' Aytoun's contribåtions to the Bon Gaultier Ballads, the chief effusions of his humour in verse. Mr. Theodore Martin had been
"Fat is tat you say? writing for some time under the nom de
Dare you cock your peaver ? plume of Bon Gaultier before he became
I will teach you, sir, acquainted with Aytoun, and the title was
Fat is coot pehaviour!
Yon shall not exist retained as a common designation when they For another day more; began to work together in Tait's Magazine I will shoot you, sir, and Fraser. Most of the ballads were joint Or stap you with my claymore!'
Sangaree'd with bearded Tartars in the MounI am fery glad
tains of the Moon; To learn what you mention,
In beer-swilling Copenhagen I have drunk Since I can prevent
your Danesman blind, Any such intention.'
I have kept my feet in Jena, when each bursch So Mhic-Mac-Methusaleh
to earth declined ; Gave some warlike howls,
Glass for glass, in fierce Jamaica, I have shared Trew his skbian-dhu,
the planter's rum, An' stuck it in his powels.
Drank with Highland dhuiné-wassails, till each
gibbering Gael grew dumb;
But a stouter, bolder drinker-one that loved In this fery way
his liquor more
Never yet did I encounter than our friend upon
Yet the best of us are mortal, we to weakness
all are heir, Fhairshon had a son,
He has fallen, who rarely staggered-let the Who married Noah's daughter,
rest of us beware! And nearly spoiled ta Flood,
We shall leave him as we found him,-lying By trinking up ta water:
where his manhood fell, 'Mong the trophies of the revel, for he took his
tipple well. Which he would have done,
Better 'twere we loosed his neckcloth, laid his I at least believe it,
of the gas,
throat and bosom bare, Had ta mixture peen
Pulled his Hobies off, and turned his toes to Only half Glenlivet.
taste the breezy air. This is all my tale:
Throw the sofa-cover o'er him, dim the flaring Sirs, I hope 'tis new tye! Here's your fery good healths,
Calmly, calmly let him slumber, and, as by the And tamn ta whusky duty!"
bar we pass, We shall bid that thoughtful waiter place be
side him, near and handy, Aytoun's hand is very visible, we think, Large supplies of soda-water, tumblers bottomin "The Dirge of the Drinker," a parody of ed well with brandy, his own Lays, and a very spirited specimen So, when waking, he shall drain them, with that of the rather extravagant comedy of his
deathless thirst of his,school :
Clinging to the hand that smote him, like a
good 'un as he is !" " THE DIRGE OF THE DRINKER.
These pieces, and the “Queen in France," Brothers, spare awhile your liquor, lay your Gaultier Ballads.
are on the whole the best things in the Bon final tumbler down;
The parody of Mrs. He has dropped- that star of honour -on the Browning, too, is good; but most of the field of his renown!
parodies are ordinary enough,—not to be Raise the wail, but raise it softly, lowly bend- compared for a moment to the “Rejected ing on your knees,
Addresses," or to the “ Prize Novelists” of If you find it more convenient, you may hic- Thackeray,
cup if you please. Sons of Pantagruel , gently let your hip-hurra- and the public, he did not neglect to place
While Aytoun was thus amusing himself ing sink,
his interests in life on a solider basis than Be your manly accents clouded, half with sorrow, half with drink!
comic ballads can supply. He became a Lightly to the sofa pillow lift his head from off Writer to the Signet in 1838, and an Advothe floor;
cate in 1840. Afterwards he was appointed See, how calm he sleeps, unconscious as the to the Sheriffship of the Orkneys, and to deadest nail in door!
the Professorship of Rhetoric and BellesWidely o'er the earth I've wandered; where Lettres in the University of Edinburgh.
the drink most freely flowed, I have ever reeled the foremost, foremost to He was successful in both occupations, esthe beaker strode.
pecially in the latter. But he owed his chief Deep in shady Cider Cellars I have dreamed distinction all along to what he did in litero'er heavy wet,
ature; and popular as his “Bon Gaultier By the fountains of Damascus I have quaffed Ballads,” and his “Lays of the Scottish the rich sherbet,
Cavaliers” were, they were neither of them Regal Montepulciano drained beneath its native
more relished than some of his
articles rock, On Johannis' sunny mountain frequent hiccup- Glenmutchkin Railway,” and “ How I stood
in Blackwood, such as "How we got up th ed o'er my hock; I have bathed in butts of Xeres deeper than for the Dreepdailie Burghs." These are did e'er Monsoon,
fair representatives of his comic talent, and
comic talent, we repeat, was his forte. It | in these matters were sound; indeed, if they was a talent quite inferior to Thackeray's in erred at all, they erred from a certain nar. insight, delicacy, and edge; and to Wilson's rowness on the sound side. So he did what in general power and swing. But it was a his talents exactly suited him for-wrote an genuine gift of his own,-depending for its elaborate squib on the juvenile offenders. effect, not on style, in which he was never Fermilian is a poetaster with a taste for strong, but on its intrinsic force of humorous sensuality, and à morbid hankering after character. His humour was broad, we may crime, and his rant, in verses like the followadd, and required plenty of elbow-room. ing, is an admirable imitation of the kind of What is further worth notice, it was almost stuff that was produced in all seriousness never poetic humour, a strong sign that his by our younger poets in 1853–4:poetry was not very real or deep, but much
" Let the hoarse thunder rend the vault of more artificial than either. In Hood, for
heaven, example, the poetry and humour blend with Yea, shake the stars by myriads from their each other; it is not easy to say where one boughs, ends and the other begins. But Ay.toun's As autumn tempest shakes the fruitage down :humour and poetry stand quite apart. Be- Let the red lightning shoot athwart the sky, tween the broad fun of “How I became a Entangling comets by their spooming hair, Yeoman”-another of his best Blackwood Piercing the zodiac belt, and carrying dread papers—and the fife and kettledrum liveli- But let the glory of this deed be mine!”
To old Orion, and his whimpering hound:ness of the “ Lays,” there is no moral connexion visible. In short, all we ever read or The bard's taste in love was as eccentric saw of Aytoun induces us to think of him as as in poetry: a shrewd, able Scot, with a strong vein of the national humour, but whose poetry was
“ He had a soul beyond the vulgar reach, mere cleverness exercised on the tradition. To pluck the feeble lily from its shade,
Sun-ripened, swarthy. He was not the fool ary material of his political school. His When the black hyacinth stood in fragrance by. white rose was not waxen-we do not say The lady of his love was dark as Ind, that. But we do say that it had a very faint Her lips as plenteous as the Sphinx's are, smell; that though his poetic Jacobite ro And her short hair crisp with Numidian curl: manticism was real as far as it went, it did She was a negress ! not go very far. The complete failure of his more ambitious attempts, his Lectures on
But while justice is thus done to the pePoetry in London, his “Bothwell," and his culiar genius of Fermilian the poet, that of “ Norman Sinclair," seems to us strongly to Apollodorus the critic is not defrauded of corroborate this view. And his mind, though ing in this fashion :
He enters on the scene soliloquizof good quality, was not fertile. It producing in this fashion :ed a few fruits of very pleasant flavour, and “Why do men call me a presumptuous cur, much that was insipid and commonplace; A vapouring blockhead, and a turgid fool, whereas Peacock was as fresh in “Gryll A common nuisance, and a charlatan ? Grange” as he had been half-a-century be- I'vo dashed into the sea of metaphor, fore; and Father Prout continued to write With as strong paddles as the sturdiest ship
That churns Medusæ into liquid light, daily with sense and wit
, to be always read. And hashed at every object in my way. able, never weak, till his death, at more than sixty years of age.
I have reviewed myself incessantly." The latest of Aytoun's jeux d'esprit which made any considerable hit was perhaps the Firmilian no doubt helped to explode the best of them all, “Firmilian; or the Student now almost forgotten nonsense at which it of Badajoz. A Spasmodic Tragedy. By was levelled. The “spasmodic school” no T. Percy Jones." About a dozen years ago, longer exists as a school; and any single there existed a bad school of poetry, encour member of it who has reached any position aged by an absurd school of criticism, and in letters has done so by emancipating him. owing its origin ultimately to the Festus of self from the absurdities of his youth. UnMr. Bailey No doubt there were men luckily, in some cases in which the extravaamong them whose natural poetic power was gance was thought to be a mere excess of greater than Aytoun's own. But the power power, it has turned out that the power was absurdly used; was employed on ex- resided only in the extravagance. When travagant conceptions clothed in extrava- the spasmodic poet has begun to write like gant expression; and the result was some other people, he has written worse. thing offensive to all who had formed their Aytoun enjoyed no little convivial renown taste on the great models whether of anti- in his youth, for the same humour which quity or of England. Aytoun's sympathies belongs to his writing belonged to his con
versation. So late as at the time of Thack- early; and his mother removed to Chertsey, eray's last visit to Edinburgh he made a from whence he was sent to a boarding. capital mot. He told Thackeray that he school at Englefield Green, kept by a Mr. did not like his “Georges” nearly so well Dix, who was very proud of him. The lad as his “Jeameses.” But in his later years loved books from the beginning, and even a kind of mysterious languor came over in his holidays delighted to read by the him. He had suffered the most dreadful river-side, or in Windsor Forest-scenes pain inflicted on mortals by any weapon in which he continued to haunt all his life. the armoury of doom- the untimely loss of When he was sixteen his mother settled in a beloved wife, Jane Emily Wilson, the London, and Peacock received no further youngest daughter of Professor Wilson, education. But Mr. Dix had evidently whom he married in 1849. His health grounded his pupil well, for he went on failed, not abruptly, but gradually; and he closely studying the ancient writers at the seemed to lose his relish for society, and his British Museum; and it is certain that he interest in human pursuits. His character- was one of the men best read in the classics, istic face, with its yellowish beard, and the of his generation. Though aŭtodidaktos he deep-seated twinkle of fun in its eyes, re was not óvqualńs, and therefore not obnoxtained its interest; but he looked thin and ious to the remark of Cicero that the feeble about the legs, and walked without ouabeis are “insolentes.” But he took a : vigour or decision of stride. He rallied, waggish pleasure always in having a hit at however, and entered into a second mar- the universities, which he said did nothing riage. But the amendment was not perma- for the classics but "print German editions nent; and he died at a house he was renting of them on better paper." His youth was in Morayshire in the August of last year. studious throughout. When his day had As a son and brother, Aytoun was at all been spent at the noble library in Bloomsperiods of life beyond praise; he was much bury, he would devote his evening to readliked by his old intimates, and those who ing aloud to his mother, a woman of supeknew him in his best years; and if nothing rior understanding. He loved her as Gray worthy of his memory or of his, Scottish and Thomas Brown loved their mothers, popularity has yet been written about him with a love beyond that of common natures. in Edinburgh, it is some satisfaction to know He consulted her judgment on all that he that his surviving friend Mr. Theodore Mar- wrote; and some time after her death, he tin intends to supply the deficiency.* remarked to a friend that he had never
We now turn to the English member of written with any zeal since. our triad of humorists, Thomas Love Pea Peacock began his literary career with cock, author of " Headlong Hall,” “Crotchet poetry. He published a poem called “PalCastle," and other pleasant and clever books myra," as early as 1806, and another, " The -all bearing that cachet of a distinctive Genius of the Thames,” in 1812. When character and intellect in the writer, which Shelley saw them both in the last-mentioned is the unfailing accompaniment of really su- year, he took care to protest against the perior parts. In these days, when so many doctrine that “commerce is prosperity," or "twaddling essays " are written, and when that “the glory of the British flag is the the pleasantry of our younger wags is too happiness of the British people," which he often mere Cockney garbage, we recur with had found in the “Genius of the Thames." delight to the vivid satire, manly sense, and But he praised their "genius, information, brilliant scholarship of this distinguished, and power," and went so far as to say that but not sufficiently known author. Mr. he thought the "conclusion of Palmyra” Peacock survived Aytoun; but he was the “finest piece of poetry he had ever already before the world when Aytoun first read.” A personal acquaintance followed, entered into it. He was born at Weymouth and in 1813 Peacock was Shelley's guest. on the 13th October 1785, being the only "He is a very mild agreeable man," writes child of Mr. Samuel Peacock, à London Shelley to Hogg* in the November of that merchant, by Sarah, daughter of Mr. Thom- year, and a good scholar. His enthusiasm as Love, who lost a leg as Master of H. is not very ardent, nor his views very comM.S. “Prothee,” in Rodney's action in prehensive: but he is neither superstitious, 1782. The father of Mr. Peacock died
Peacock. We are also indebted to the distinMr. Martin's Memoir of Professor Aytoun is to guished painter Mr. Wallis, for the loan of an be prefixed to a collection of his best prose writings. excellent portrait of him; and Mr. George Mer
† We must express our thanks here to Mr. edith has likewise favoured us with some reminisHowes of the Adjutant General's Office, for obtaining us some particulars of the life of his friend Mr. * Hogg's Shelley, ii. 482.