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was owner of the gigantic helmet which lay unclaimed in the court yard.
As concealment would be difficult under these circumstances, the desire of it, too, seems unaccountable. In an author, whose name has become familiar to the public, it may be excellent policy to present himself under a mask, or like Mirabel's mistress, assail the heart of the fastidious Inconstant by stratagems and disguises. He who fearfully commits his first performance to the discretion of critics, has intelligible motives for suppressing his name; but it is difficult to believe that a writer who has been repeatedly crowned with public applause, who has acquired a reputa: tion far more solid and more exalted than belongs in ordinary cases to a successful novelist, and who has never sullied it by a single page which the most religious and virtuous man would be ashamed to own, should deny him, self the pleasure of receiving the popular homage in his own name, unless he had enjoyed other opportunities of rendering that name illustrious, and had already tasted, perhaps to satiety, the sweets of literary distinction. An author cloyed with success and secure of fame, may dally with his honours, and content himself with the refined and fanciful gratification of overhearing, as it were, the praise of his unacknowledged labours; but this coyness would be unnatural and incomprehensible in a young or hitherto unknown adventurer. I apply to our novelist the observation which very naturally suggested itself to Dryden's contemporaries on his anonymous publication of Absalom and Achitophel,
Sure thou already art secure of fame,
Recommendatory verses, signed R.D.
It is not with fine writings as with virtuous actions, whichi of themselves reward the doer, although his merits should remain a secret to the world: a work of genius has mankind alone for its judges, and its only full and appropriate recompense is the approbation of mankind bestowed upon the author. It is true that the internal consciousness of having excelled may often supply the place of celebrity unjustly withheld or delayed; but where is the philosopher who, when he might, by a single word, secure to himself that dazzling prize, can patiently sit down in obscurity, and content himself with private self-congratulation? Is such a cynic the author of Waverley? I cannot think so.
This reasoning, however, is merely drawn from the ordinary tenor of worldly transactions, and the common principles of human conduct; and no man, of course, can pronounce it absolutely impossible that the mysterious novelist may have unguessed and peculiar motives for desiring concealment. I pretend only to point out probabilities; and if I knew of a single argument wholly incontrovertible, that argument should at once begin and close the present discussion:
It was just now mentioned, as a matter of supposition, that an author who had been long before the public might from policy, or even caprice, abandon his character of an established favourite, and pursue his fortune in disguise. But have we not seen this very stratagem put in practice and recently acknowledged, and by whom? I need not remind you, Sir, of the distinguished name which has at length been affixed to the Bridal of Triermain and Harold the Dauntless, for you, I remember, undoubtingly ascribed the first of these poems to its real author, when its parentage was as much a secret as that of Waverley. I might also mention the anonymous publication of Paul's Letters; but I will not urge this point so confidently, as I do not know that there has ever been, on the one hand, any positive avowal, or on the other, any studious concealment with respect to this work. It is enough, however, to have shown by one conspicuous instance, that the mental organization of the poet, as well as of the novelist, is characterized (to speak craniologically) by an extraordinary developement of the passion for delitescency.
An observation of some force, when combined with those already stated, is, that the author of Marmion has neglected his poetical vein, in proportion as the author of Waverley has cultivated his talent for prose narration. It certainly is not to be expected that a writer should continue through life to produce metrical romances in six cantos; but there are other walks of poetry to invite his genius; and it seldom happens that an author, who has dedicated a great part of his riper years to that fascinating art, pursuing it with equal enthusiasm and success, becomes at once a truant to his muse, or at best a sparing and unfrequent votary. Again, it is scarcely less remarkable that the author of Waverley, who appears to enjoy, in a high degree, the gifts that constitute a poet, and who does not want either ambition or activity, should never (as far as we know) have made any signal exertion to distinguish himself among the “tuneful •quire.' This twofold mystery is simply and consistently explained by supposing that the bard has transmigrated into the writer of novels; and that the talent so unaccountably withdrawn from the department of lyrical composition, is now pouring out its exuberance in another region of literature, as the fountain Arethusa sank under the earth in Greece and re-appeared in Sicily.
Ede quid illum
Ad summam, non Maurus erat, neque Sarmata, nec Thrax.
Juv. Sat. III. 74, &c.
The internal evidence, Sir, which I have thought deserving of your notice, may be arranged in two classes. I will first solicit your attention to those parts of the anonymous works which afford glimpses of the personal character, the habits, studies, and occupations of their author, and shall invite you to remark with me, how singularly they correspond with those of our great romantic poet, as illustrated by his avowed publications. I will then point out, in the writings of these two authors, such resemblances in sentiment, language, incident, conception of character, and general dramatic arrangement, as in my opinion most satisfactorily prove the fraternal relation of Marmion and his compeers to that mysterious unacknowledged family, which, in their present circumstances, may be denominated “The • Children of the Mist.'
With respect to the unknown author, I suppose it would be superfluous to insist that he is a native of Scotland. He has himself informed us in the postscript, or l'envoy, to Waverley) that he was not born a Highlander, and I think it may be gathered from his novels that, whatever spot may boast of having given him birth, a great part of his life has been passed in the city or neighbourhood of Edinburgh. The familiarity with which he speaks of that metropolis and its environs, and of manners and customs formerly prevailing among its inhabitants, but now obsolete, fully justifies the conjecture; and his description of the walk under Salisbury Crags, which (as he says, speaking in the person of Peter Pattiesón) used to be his favourite evening and morning ! resort,' and a scene of delicious musing, when life was 'young and promised to be happy *,' can hardly have been written by any other than the truant boy,' who sought • the nest on Blackford Hill, and has expatiated so feelingly and beautifully on the prospect of Edinburgh from that side, in the fourth canto of Marmiont.
It has been already observed, that the author of Waverley possesses, in a high degree, the qualifications of a poet. His mind seems, in fact, to be habitually, as well as naturally, given to the Muse of Song. I do not now speak of detached thoughts, single expressions, or insulated passages ; the very conception and main structure of his stories is in some instances purely poetical. Take as an example the Bride of Lammermoor. Through the whole progress of that deeply affecting tale, from the gloomy and agitating scene of Lord Ravenswood's funeral to the final agony and appalling death of his ill-fated heir, we experience that fervour and exaltation of mind, that keen susceptibility of emotion, and that towering and perturbed state of the imagination, which poetry alone can produce. Thus while the events are comparatively few, and the whole plan and conduct of the tale unusually simple, our passions are fully exercised, and our expectation even painfully excited, by occurrences in themselves unimportant, conversations with
* Heart of Mid-Lothian, vol. i. ch. 7.
+ Stanza 24.