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in this country than literary men have yet observed. People talk of the rise of "The Edinburgh' as a new era in Criticism. The first numbers of that Review are certainly exceedingly clever; they contain good squibs, excellent pamphlets, much wit, some philosophy, and not a particle of proper Criticism. They did not introduce, but they consolidated and adorned the pitiful system of reviewing a book by sneering at it. Criticism is analysis—with the Edinburgh Reviewers it was irony. The writers of that day, too, were miserably deficient in true taste-they had not the smallest susceptibility to genius -they were Gallicized to the core-they were critical Hayleys-on a great scale I allow, but Hayleys still-they ridiculed Coleridge, and despised Wordsworth; and though they rarely praised any thing largely, or predicted immortality to any work but the Oration of Sir J. Macintosh (a co-contributor) on the Trial of Peltier, they yet seriously bent themselves to examine and confess the beauties to be found" in the splendid pages" of Dr. Darwin. They originated that vicious habit, now interwoven with our critical habits, of debasing the lofty guardianship of Literature into the truckling defence of a Party -they cut and squared their literary opinions to political purposesthey Whigged every thing they touched-they guaged and docketed all the objects of Poetry-sun, moon, and stars-with the little excise notions of a faction that mistook snarling for philosophy; they were unutterably smart, clever, and small! They dwindled down all the genius they criticised-they would have dwarfed Goliah himself. You never find them expanding with the lofty thought-aspiring with the sublime image, that they copied into their pages; they caught the Gulliver, and then played little tricks round him.

As their blame, so their praise minioned to their politics; their heroes were borrowed from themselves; and they reminded you of the Pigmies, who boasted (see Barnes's account of them) that Jove himself was a Pigmy. Yet these small critics became great writers when they left Criticism; their political articles, though not large in spirit, were yet worthy of their present fame-they could not meet Poesy in her high and starred haunts, but they were excellent in attacking a game law or quarrelling with a ministry; they breathed not the odours of Parnassus, but they smelt most professionally of the Bar. They discovered, they brought forward, no new genius in our literature, but they were splendidly sarcastic upon some half a dozen old abuses in our Constitution.

Some seven years after the birth of "The Edinburgh," up started "The Quarterly;" and one might have hoped that, seeing the faults of the precursor, the new aspirant might have aimed at a loftier ambition, and caught something of the spirit of True Criticism. Not a bit of it!-the battledore of "The Quarterly" was merely set up to play at shuttlecock with the battledore of "The Edinburgh." Rat! goes "The Edinburgh," hitting hard at some Tory book; rat-tat! goes The Quarterly," with a mighty stroke at a Whig one! The same wonderful lack of penetration into genius-the same astonishing poverty of the faculties that admire-reign in both. At its very birth, "The Quarterly" began to prattle. of Burns, like a fine gentleman praising the clever exciseman; and it thought "Waverley," on the whole, a very respectable work-for the class of literature to which

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it belongs. It must be confessed that "The Quarterly" has, however, committed itself to praise a little more indiscreetly than "The Edinburgh;" it has predicted all sorts of immortality to Robert Southey and John Croker-it has spoken most handsomely of Mary Collings, a maid-servant, and John Somebody, a butler. In fact, there is something inherently servile in the admiration of "The Quarterly!" -when it praises a poor person's poetry-the poor person must be a footman or a chambermaid; the magnificent genius-the bold aspirings-the stern strength of the Author of the "Corn-Law Rhymes" might have slept uncelebrated for ever! but had he been a lacquey!-Oh Apollo!

From Mr. Lockhart-himself a man of genius, and who seems, by his Life of Burns, to have sympathies with genius-a little of the mens divinior in reviewing might have been expected; but in no book should we look so vainly for any thing resembling the true principles of Criticism as in the present "Quarterly." Of a surety, its last state is worse than its first! If a Foreigner, unacquainted with our literature, were to open the pages of "The Quarterly," he would seek in vain for a single one of those names which now are in every one's mouth; he would know nothing whatsoever of one of those authors whose words are now deeply sinking into the heart of the age; he would open upon "Croker's Boswell" as the Great Book of the Times; and the shrinking Muses of England would seem absorbed in the recent performance of Miss Fanny Kemble. One of the grossest pieces of critical ignorance ever committed, occurred some three numbers since in the review of Moore's "Life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald," is this passage:-"Johnson said that he delighted in that intellectual chemistry which can separate good qualities from evil in the same person." Johnson never said any such thing; it was Boswell who made the remark. Now a mere misquotation is no offence, but a misquotation which proves the most thorough ignorance of the character of one of the most canvassed personages in history, shows the writer as a man wanting in all the fine susceptibilities that make the critic. It is not because Johnson did not utter the above sentence that I blame the Reviewer, I blame him because Johnson could not have uttered it. A mistake is nothing, but to mistake Boswell for Johnson, is Pelion upon Ossa! In fact, the caliginous air of Albemarle-street begins now to wrap "The Quarterly" as with a shade; it smells of jobs; the noble spirit (for it ought to be a noble spirit that produced Adam Blair) is invisible; and while the Politics smack of the Placeman, the Literature is graveolent of the Bookseller.

While beneath party spirit, and party puffing, and party sneering, in the two Quarterlies, the genius of True Criticism was slowly evaporating, "Blackwood's Magazine" seized the languid spectre, and very nearly cudgelled it at once out of bodily existence. The idea of the new adventurers doubtless was to set up a Magazine that should sell, and in order to obtain a sale, those bad passions in human nature which adore malice and garbage on personalities, were to be addressed. Accordingly Criticism put on the bully and stalked forth akimbo, like the Captain Fierce of a brothel; it called names, blustered, and blackguarded: when it talked of an author, it informed you that he was "pimpled," and never ridiculed his writings without abusing his face.

These miserable Bobadilia imposed on the popular taste; and thus the generous, the pure, the beautiful susceptibilities to merit-the deep and passionate science, which masters Human Nature before it dictates what is natural, gave way to a conventional Billingsgate in language, and in matter a moral pandering to the basest vulgarities of the herd. Of late, however, "Blackwood's Magazine" has cast off these impurities; and among the finest criticisms of modern times, we may mention the review of Coleridge's "Wallenstein" and Sotheby's "Homer."

For my part, I please myself sometimes with drawing the ideal picture of a good critic, as Bolingbroke drew that of a patriot King. What a crowd of accomplishments, not easily seen by the superficial, belong to that character! Literature and morality are so entwined, that you rarely find the real critic unless he is also the moralist. The union is almost necessary. In Quinctilian how beautifully the deduction closes the dogma! and even in Johnson the habit of moralizing gives dignity to his criticism. In both sciences the study of mankind, of the metaphysical nature within us, alone ensures a sound judgment: in both, without a delicate yet profound perception of the harmonious, the beautiful, the august, no commanding excellency is obtained. The goodness of a man and the goodness of a book are not such different qualities as people suppose. A person, however, may be, though he is not often, a good moralist without being a good man: to preach and practise are faculties not inseparable. But I doubt if a man can be a great critic who has not, at least, the elementary qualities of a good man. I consider that he must keep the intellectual sight clear from envy, and malice, and personal dislikes. He must examine the work above and remote from, all the petty considerations that attach to the man. He must be on the alert for genius, ready to encourage even a rival to himself. Where this largeness of mind is not visible, there is always something petty and crippled in the mind of the professional critic. He may make one great criticism, but he cannot criticise with greatness habitually. Perhaps he reviews some dead author-for the dead interfere not with the living; or he wastes a world of generosity, like Southey, in praising some rhymester of the pantry, who is little enough while he attracts honour to the praiser to plunge into forgetfulness the praise. The good critic-that rare ideal, must have in him courage to blame boldly, magnanimity to eschew envy, benevolence to search for obscure merit. He must have genius to appreciate, and learning to compare : he must have an eye for beauty, an ear for music, a heart for feeling, a mind for reason. "We are conscious of excellence," says some author, "in proportion to the excellence within ourselves." No man less than Goethe could have penetrated, as Goethe has done in the "Wilhelm Meister," into the divine mystery of "Hamlet." To learn the nature, whether of the herb beneath us, or the stars above, a man can be no ordinary genius: he is a Linnæus or a Newton.

A.

WHAT EVERYBODY SAYS MUST BE True. A TALE.

So thought Mrs. St. Leger; but so thought not her son Leslie. Mrs. St. Leger had long been a rich widow, and consequently had long been what a woman seldom is-her own mistress. She had learned with her catechism to have a due reverence for all those "in authority over her." The only person in authority over her for years had been herself; therefore, for her own judgment and opinions upon all subjects, she entertained the greatest deference. Her parents had been of the stern school of the last age; she had sacrificed her best affections to obey their wishes, and formed a worldly marriage, which had made her miserable. Yet, while she exulted in her own exemplary conduct, she never, even in thought, murmured at the tyranny of those who had obtained for her the thorny diadem that recompensed her filial martyrdom; on the contrary, they were her parents, and therefore their conduct was a model for all parental proceedings. It is true, that in her own proper person she eschewed tyranny; for, from the time he could lisp "mamma," to the (in him very precocious) epoch when he could distinctly and emphatically pronounce the words "I will" and "I won't," she had never thwarted the slightest wish of her only son, who was at the same time her only idol; for which reason she concluded herself to be the most devoted of mothers, and conceived herself justly entitled to a double, and more implicit share of obedience from her son, whenever he should arrive at that epoch of human life, at which, of all others, people have the best right to judge for themselves. But she had married against her inclination to obey her parents: how much more then ought he to do so to gratify the kindest and most indulgent of mothers! Yet if one had hinted to Mrs. St. Leger that she was unreasonable in any thing, she would have stared in unfeigned astonishment; for she would instantly have recollected how much more reasonable and less exigeante she was than her parents had been. Moreover, like all persons who live totally out of it, she piqued herself on great knowledge of the world. A love of solitude was the idiosyncrasy of her whole family; and the worst of indulging in solitude is, that we are apt to get a trick of wearing our very virtues wrong side out; and where caution would be quite a sufficient defence against that great monster, the world, (whom, as we rarely see, but live quite near enough for neighbourly feuds, must naturally be our enemy,) we are not content without arming ourselves with its extremity-suspicion. We may seclude ourselves with economy, but the odds are, we emerge with avarice. Solitude is a soil in which few feelings grow; but errorsthose spring up into excess. All who indulge it grow a little mad. But to our story. Mrs. St. Leger, notwithstanding her solitary faults, was an excellent woman, kind at heart, and faultless in intention, and often would have been the very first to have appreciated and admired certain qualities had she happened to find them in any other individuals than those she especially disliked. Of her son she had, perhaps, more reason to be proud than fond. Not that he lacked any of the virtues that beget esteem, or the good qualities which can alone create or retain genuine affection: nor did he want those thousand

little, nameless failings which rescue very gifted persons from the chilling heights on which they would otherwise be placed above their fellows-failings which, in those we love, give us additional cause to love them, because they give us something to forgive; and there is a pertinacity in human affection which clings more closely to all for which it has in any degree suffered. But Nature is a niggard; and while she lavishes with one hand, is sure to hold back something with the other. She had given to Leslie St. Leger a handsome person, a keen wit, and a strong, penetrative, and generous mind; but she, or Education, or both combined, had bestowed upon him a rash, selfwilled, and obstinate disposition.

"Every: body says so, therefore it must be true," said Mrs. St. Leger to Mrs. Brambleton, (a toady in every thing but salary and suavity,) as her son Leslie entered the breakfast-room.

"And what is it that is so true because everybody says so ?" inquired he, with a smile.

"Why, my dear, that that house which Mr. Manningfield has just bought in Whitehall smokes most abominably, or else he would not have got it so cheap."

"I only know," said Leslie, "that all the time Lord Leitrem lived in it, which has been for the last thirty years, he declares he has never known a single room in it to smoke once."

"Of course he would say so," snapped Mrs. Brambleton," when he wanted to sell it. Some chicken, Mr. St. Leger? Really you eat nothing. I should think you were in love, only Mrs. St. Leger tells me she cannot get you to go into society at all since you returned from abroad."

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"My dear mother, I don't know what you call going out, but Heaven and myself only know what I have endured in the way of dancing and dinnering since my arrival here; or, as the newspapers would phrase it, how largely I have tasted of British hospitality,' a hospitality, forsooth, which marvellously resembles that fountain at Smyrna, of which no man can partake without its being expected that he should take away a wife from the place; for hospitality, in this country, is chiefly confined to fathers of families labouring under an accumulation of daughters, all and each ready to fall to the lot of the first man who can give them 'a local habitation and a

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name.'

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"My dear Leslie, young men get up such strange notions on the Continent, and learn so soon to undervalue the true and solid blessings of an English fire-side: it is really quite shocking. Where abroad will you meet with such a family as the Jernynghams?"

"Where, indeed, thank God!" cried Leslie.

"Emmeline Jernyngham-such a sweet, retiring, ladylike, unobtrusive girl, and so pretty!"

"Sweet, retiring, and unobtrusive!

C'est à dire gauche comme une vache Espagnolle, et bornée comme une bosquet à l'opera; and as for beauty, that of Ætna,-ice for the bases, and fire for the summit; her hair is positively couleur feu d'enfer."

Poor Mrs. St. Leger lifted up her hands and eyes in astonishment at her graceless son's cavalier treatment of her panegyric. She had known the well-regulated times when a parent's opinion was indis

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