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rounded hin; and it is certainly very comes unnecessary.
Such being the fame of Buchanan, it is certainly rather surprising that no biographer should have hitherto been found for him, or at least no work exclusively devoted to the illustration of his life and writings. It appears, indeed, to have been planned by several distinguished writers, particularly Dr Gilbert Stuart, and Dr Dunbar; but, from some cause or other, it was exe. cuted by neither. The task was thus reserved for Mr Irving, who, we think, has executed it in a manner which is very creditable to him. It is, indeed, one of the most learned works which we have recently met with, and displays an intimate acquaintance with the state of literature at that time, not only in Scotland, but on the continent, to which he is led by Buchanan's residences in France and Portugal.
Mr Irving seems to have been animated in his task by the most profound veneration for the subject of it. He seems completely to follow the Homeric rule of friendship, making not only the friends, but also the enemies of Buchanan, his own. We object particularly to his treatment of Mr Chalmers, whose distinguished merits towards Scots literature ought certainly to have exempted him from so rude an attack, even though a political bias may have led him to form too low an estimate of the merits of Buchanan
The leading incidents in the life of this extraordinary person being probably familiar to most of our readers, an analysis of the present work be
satisfactory to them to receive, as a specimen, the following view of Buch
the vicissitudes of human life, and, in Buchanan had experienced many of every situation, had adhered to those maxims of conduct which he deemed honourable. His integrity was stern and inflexible: what has been regarded as the least immaculate part of his character, naturally resulted from
the prominent qualities of a mind which
could not sufficiently accommodate itself to the frailties of mankind. The misdeeds of the ill-fated queen were, in his opinion, such as dissolved every tie by which he might once be bound her conduct, he supposed, had not only des troyed her hereditary claims of allegiance, but had even reflected disgrace and infamy on human nature. This sentiment, whatever may be the legitimacy of its origin, was certainly entertained by Buchanan; who has accordingly vented his unbounded indigna. tion in terms which cannot otherwise be justified. But the age in which he lived was rude and boisterous; nor did
the exquisite cultivation of his mind entirely defend him from the general contagion. He was subject to the nice and irritable feelings which frequently attend exalted genius; enthusiastic in his attachment, and violent in his resentment; equally sincere in his love and in his hatred. His friends, among whom
he numbered some of the most distin
guished characters of that æra, regarded him with a warmth of affection which intellectual eminence cannot alone secure. Of an open and generous disposition, he displayed the enviabie qualities which render domestic intercourse profitable and interesting. The general voice had awarded him a pre eminence in literature that seemed to preclude all hopes of rivalship: but his estimate of his own attainments was uniformly consistent with perfect modesty; and no man could evince himself more willing to acknowledge genuine merit in other candidates for fame. This affability, united to the charms of a brilliant con versation, rendered his society "highly acceptable to persons of the most opposite denominations. His countenance was stern and austere, but his heart soft and
and humane. In his writings, he inculcates the principles of patriotism and benevolence; and in his commerce with the world, he did not depart from his solitary speculations. His patriotism was of that unadulterated species which flows from general philanthropy: his large soul embraced the common family of mankind, but his affections taught him, that his first regards were due to the barren land from which he derived his birth. Notwithstanding his long habituation to an academical life, his manners betrayed none of the peculiarities of a mere pedagogue. During his latter years; when his constitution was broken by complicated diseases, and his mind sick of terrestrial objects, he became negligent in his dress, and perhaps somewhat inattentive to the ceremonials of private intercourse; but his general character was that of a man conspicuous for the urbanity of his wit*. His conversation was alternately facetious and instructive. George Buchan. an's wit is still proverbial among his countrymen; and a motley collection of his supposed repartees and adventures is one of the most common books in the libraries of the Scottish peasantry. His humour was however of a more dignified denomination than it is there represented; nature seemed to
"Albeit, in his person, behaviour, and fashion, hee was rough-hewen, slovenly, and rude, seldome caring for a better outside than a rugge gowne girt close about him; yet his inside and conceit in poesie was most riche, and his sweetnesse and facilitie in a verse unimitably excellent," (Peacham's Compleat Gentleman, p. 91. edit. Lond. 1634, 4to.) "Erat austero supercilio," says David Buchanan, et toto corporis ha
bitu (imo moribus hic noster) subagrestis; sed stylo et sermone perurbanus, quum sæpissime, vel in seriis, multo cum sale jocaretur. Denique vir quem mirari facilius, quam digne prædicare possis." (De Scriptoribus Scotis lustri bus. MS. in Bib. Jurid.) Both these writers seem to have expressed themselves in too unqualified terms; and their observations, as must appear in the course of these pages, could hardly ap. ply to Buchanan in his better days.
have intended him for the ornament and reformation of a court. The native elegance of his mind, and the splendour of his reputation, secured him the utmost respect and deference from such of his countrymen as were not separated from him by the rancour of political zeal: and although he even assumed considerable latitude in censuring the errors of exalted station, yet the dignified simplicity of his manners prevented his liberties from exciting resentment. Conscious of personal worth and of intrinsic greatness, he did not fail to assert his own privileges: mere superiority of rank was not capable of alluring him to a servile and degrading attachment; but it was equally incapable of provoking his envy or malice. In the course of his chequered life, he found himself not unfrequently exposed to the miseries of poverty; but his philosophical mind never learned to stoop to the suggestions of sordid prudence.Although he at length enjoyed one of the great offices of the crown, and possessed other sources of emolument, yet his liberality seems to have encreased in proportion to his opulence: he purchased no estates, and had no hoards of treasure to bequeath. Of his prodigality or ostentation no evidence occurs; it is not therefore unreasonable to conclude that the principal charms of his wealth arose from its application to benevolent purposes. Of the truth of the Christian religion, and consequently of its eternal moment, his conviction seems to have been complete and uniform.Sir James Meivil, although his political enemy, has candidly represented him as a man of piety. P. 303.
Some readers may, perhaps, complain, that Mr Irving has attended more to the collection of important information, than of amusing anecdote. This department, however, is not altogether neglected. Our limits admit only of the following instance, which includes also the account of his death.
In the month of September, (1582,) some of his learned friends, namely Andrew Melvin, James Melvin,and his own cousin Tho. Buchanan, provost of the collegiate church of Kirkhaugh, having heard that his history was in the press. and
and the author indisposed, hastened to Edinburgh to pay him a final visit. James, who was the nephew of Andrew Melvin, and professor of divinity at St Andrews, has in simple terms recorded the principal circumstances which occurred during their interview. Upon entering his apartment, they found the greatest genius of the age employed in the humble though benevolent task of teaching the horn book to a young man in his service. After the usual salutations, "I perceive, Sir," said Andrew Melvin, you are not idle." "Better this," replied Buchanan," than stealing sheep, or sitting idle, which is as
bad." He afterwards shewed them his dedication to the young king; and Melvin having perused it, remarked that it seemed in some passages obscure, and required certain words to complete the sense. "I can do nothing more," said Buchanan," for thinking of another matter.' ""What is that? rejoined Melvin.-"To die. But I leave that and many other things to your care." Melvin likewise alluded to the publication of Blackwood's answer to his treatise De Jure Regni apud Scotos. These visitors afterwards proceeded to Arburthnot's printing office, to inspect a work which had excited such high expectation. They found the impression had proceeded as far as the passage relative to the interment of David Rizzio: and being alarmed at the unguarded boldness with which the historian had there expressed himself, they requested the printer to desist. Having returned to Buchanan's house, they found him in bed. In answer to their friendly enquiries, he informed them even going the way of
Scottish Literary Intelligence.
he was 66
welfare." His kinsman then proceeded M will appear in a few days.
R SCOTT's Poem of Marmion
to state their apprehensions respecting
object, we understand, is not to give any particular description of the Battle of Flodden, but to delineate the adventures of Marmion, an imaginary character, as connected with that event. The aim of the Author is to connect, with an interesting Romantic Tale, a view of the manners of the feudal times.
A new edition in 8vo. is now printing of the Memoirs of Captain Geo. Carleton
The style of Mr Irving is, we think, rather too pompous and elevated for his subject. and ease which is often requisite in his subject. It wants that pliancy biography, and seems better adapted for a more dignified subject, that of history, for example, for which he is also well qualified, by his powers of research.
New Works published in Edinburgh.
AN Etymological Dictionary of
the Scottish Language; illustrating the words in their different significations, by examples from ancient and modern writers; shewing their affinity to those of other languages, especially the Northern rites, customs, and institutions, in their a nalogy to those of other nations: to which is prefixed, a Dissertation on the Origin of the Scottish language. By John Jamieson, D. D. F. R. 3. and F. A. S, 2 vols. 4to. 41. 4s.
The Edinburgh Review, No. XXII,
Scottish, Historical, and Romantic Ballads, chiefly ancient, with explanatory Notes, and a Glossary. By John Finlay. 2 vols. small 8vo. 14s,
Carleton, an English officer who served in the wars against France and Spain, containing an account of the Earl of Peterborough and other general Officers, Admirals, &c. This
and are now, for the first time, collected in a uniform edition.
book was recommended to Dr John- Literary Intelligence, ENGLISH and
son, by Lord Elliot of Port Elliot, in the following words:" The best account of Lord Peterborough, that I have happened to meet
Captain Carleton's Memoirs. Carle ton was descended of an officer, who had distinguished himself at the siege of Derry. He was an officer, and what was rare at that time, had some knowledge in engineering. Johnson said he had never heard of the book. Lord Elliot had a copy at Port El liot; but, after a good deal of enquiry, procured a copy in London, and sent it to Johnson, who told Sir Joshua Reynolds that he was going to bed when it came, but was so much plea sed with it, that he sat up till he read it through, and found in it such an air of truth, that he could not doubt its authenticity; adding, with a smile, in allusion to Lord Elliot's having been recently raised to the Peerage, " I did not think a young Lord could have mentioned to me a book, in the English history, that was not known to me."Boswell's Life of Johnson.
Mr Henry Weber is preparing an edition of "The Battle of FloddonField," a Poem of the Sixteenth Century, with historical Notes, and an Appendix, containing other ancient poems relating to that event.
The same gentleman will give an edition in two volumes 8vo. of the Dramatic Works of John Ford, with an Introduction and Explanatory Notes. This author was coeval with Fletcher and Massinger, and others, who succeeded Shakespeare. He imitated the latter with a success sufficient to provoke the envy of Ben Johnson, and to excite great admiration from his contemporaries. Notwithstanding their great merit, his plays have never, with the exception of two, been reprinted,
THE great national work of the Agricultural Surveys of the is proceeding under the direction of the Board of Agriculture, with all the dispatch that is consonant with accuracy. has recently appeared, and the same able Mr Vancouver's Survey of Devonshire observer is now engaged in the Survey of Hampshire. Dr Robertson's Survey of Inverness-shire, the Rev. Arthur Young's Survey of Sussex, and Mr Holland's Survey of Cheshire, are just finished at press, and will appear in January, completing twenty-five counties, commercial, economical and statistical and containing a body of agricultural, information relative to the United Kingdom, which is no where else to be met with.
Mr G. Dyer, is preparing for the press, a poem in four books, entitled Poetics, accompanied with Notes.
Cambridge, and now of Hackney school, Mr Pitman, late of Pembroke-hall, has in the press a volume of Selections from the rarer Latin Classics, for the Use of the upper Forms in Schools.The object of the work is to supersede the use of Martial, whose best epigrams it will include, and to introduce boys to other authors, who, on account of their the beauties of Lucretius, Catullus, and occasional indecencies, have been wholly banished from scholastic reading. Á selection of the best notes, and biographical and critical remarks on each author, will conclude the volume.
An impartial and authentic History la Plata is preparing for the press, by of the British Campaigns on the Rio de Captain Roche, of the 17th light dragoons, and major of brigade to the forces, This work will not be strictly confined to military events, but will comprize an account of the country in every point of view, and is to be accompanied with maps, plans, &c.
Mr Bingley has nearly ready for pub lication two small volumes, consisting of maxims and rules of religious and
Mr Jones, author of a Grammar of the Greek Language, has lately devoted considerable time and attention towards compiling a Greek and English Lexicon. Having employed himself in studying the Oriental languages, he has explored the Greek roots, and his object is to trace them from their primary to their secondary senses, and by this method reduce the explanation of terms the most complicated to a comparatively short compass. He will in the course of the winter publish a Dissertation on the Origin and Properties of the Greek Tongue, with Specimens of the plan pursued in the Construction of his Lexicon.
Mr Middleton's Work on the Doc. trine of the Greek Article, as applied to the Criticism and the Illustration of the New Testament, will shortly be published in one volume octavo.
Mr Francis Lee proposes to publish, in a regular series, Translations in Poe ery and Prose of the Greek Authors on