LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 20: 1826-52

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
‣ Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
LONDON, 1826-1852
Lockhart as a journalist.—Charges of Miss Martineau.—Interpolations.—Southey’s ideas.—Lord Stanhope.—His displeasure.—His account of Lockhart.—The marks of Croker.—Lockhart’s articles.—His variety.—Want of permanency.—The reasons for this.—His idea of his duties.—His copious extracts.—Essay on Colonel Mure’s “Greek Literature.”—Biblical Criticism.—Croker and Donaldson.—Letter to Mr. Murray.—Lockhart on Homeric Criticism.—On Biblical Criticism.—Satire of German vagaries.—Lockhart’s biographical essays.—Hook.—Wilkie.—Southey.—Campbell.—Wordsworth.—Letters to Wilson on the Life of Wordsworth.—Violent language of Wilson.—His contribution cannot be published.—General reflections on Lockhart as a critic—The policeman of letters.—This function exaggerated by him.

At a happy period in Lockhart’s early life, in the good days of Chiefswood, we interrupted the continuity of his biography, to comment on his skill as a verse-writer and a caricaturist. Now he has reached the age when he might say, in his own quotation from Merdinn Wyltt—
God hath provided bitter things for me:
Dead is Morgenen, dead is Mordag,
Dead is Morien, dead are those I love.

Here, then, before telling the story of his latest years, we may consider him in his capacity as a journalist.


After the completion of his “Life of Sir Walter Scott,” Lockhart did not attempt, and probably did not even contemplate, any book on a great scale. Indeed, though he thought of amplifying and extending his “Life of Burns,” there is no evidence that he intended to write any book at all, except, perhaps, a version of the “Iliad.” The spring of ambition, long weakened by sorrows and disappointment, broke at the death of his wife. He became occupied with the education of his children, the pleasures of friendship, the observation of society, and the daily duties of editorial routine. These included, as it seems, a vast deal of consultation, both by word of mouth and by written notes, with Mr. Murray, with Croker, with Milman (for whose counsel Lockhart was wont to apply); and possibly there were other advisers—indeed, too many.

This kind of occupation, though not laborious, is distracting and fretful, and adverse to serious and sedulous literary composition. No journalist, by the very nature of his duties, has the undisturbed leisure which literature demands, and Lockhart was a journalist. Mr. Carlyle, during these very years, was occupied with great works, and was building his own literary monument. Readers of Mr. Carlyle’s journals can readily imagine what sort of monument he would have erected, had he been obliged eternally to keep an eye on “the literary movement,” to watch the stream of new books, to criticise things in general “from Poetry to Dry-
rot,” to be abreast, or a few yards in advance, of novelties in politics, and in matters theological and ecclesiastical and social. Endless reading of contributions in manuscript, of books in manuscript, interminable consultations over articles, corrections of articles, interpolation of articles, correspondence with writers of articles, the reading of new books, and the accomplishing of new articles on the new books—often trash,—these things were the daily life of Lockhart, as of able editors in general. A man in his position is engaged in a kind of intellectual egg-dance among a score of sensitive interests. The authors reviewed not to their liking, the authors not reviewed at all, the rejected contributors, the sensitive small-fry of letters, were ready to say and believe anything evil of Lockhart.
Miss Martineau (whom, by the way, he never did review in the Quarterly) has given currency to the legends, myths, and fables of Lockhart’s sleepless “malevolence.” It is not now possible, at least for me, to analyse Miss Martineau’s anecdotes, and to prove or disprove her story of how Lockhart sped hastily by night to the printers, for the abominable purpose of cutting out some perilous passages in a criticism of the fair Economist!

Charges, which have some truth in them, represent Lockhart as making, or permitting to be made, unwelcome or sarcastic interpolations in the articles of contributors. The custom was traditional, and Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review, had interpolated
contributions as freely as Rhapsodists are supposed to have interpolated the “
Iliad.” Southey, if called to the helm of the Quarterly, anticipated spending his time “in correcting communications when there was anything erroneous, imprudent, or inconsistent with these coherent opinions which the journal should have maintained under my care.” Lockhart gleefully cites this remark from the letters of Southey, who was for ever groaning over editorial changes in his own sacred text.1

The Quarterly Reviews of old partook more than they now do of the nature of journalism. But writers in them were justly annoyed when interpolations into their work attacked, it may be, persons whom they admired. The most severe comments on Lockhart’s editorship which I have seen, occur in a private letter of a critic now dead. But opposite this gentleman’s name, in a diary of Lockhart’s, is written in Greek the quotation of that speech of Achilles: “Hateful to me, even as the gates of hell, is he that hideth one thing in his heart, and uttereth another.”

An explicit statement of a grievance in this kind occurs in a paper prepared by Lord Stanhope (Lord Mahon), the distinguished historian, for Mr. Gleig, a paper partly published in Mr. Gleig’s often-cited article on Lockhart in the Quarterly Review.2 Here follows the passage. It deals with Lockhart’s

1 Quarterly Review, vol. lxxxviii. p. 233.

2 The document is lent by the kindness of Colonel Gleig.

political as well as with his literary conduct as an editor. He did not himself write any political articles in the Quarterly: it has already been shown that he was, at most, the Premier of the administration. His leanings were more and more in the direction whither
Mr. Carlyle led the way.

“Being asked,” says Lord Stanhope, “to write my reminiscences of my much lamented friend Mr. Lockhart, I feel on this occasion, as I have on many others, that nothing can supply the place of notes taken at the time. Even the most brilliant conversations, and the most lively traits of character, seem dim and more than half obliterated when viewed through the retrospect of years.

“My first acquaintance with Mr. Lockhart was made about the year 1829, in dining with our common friend Robert William Hay, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Subsequently we often met at dinner-parties and sometimes in country-houses. Above all, we used then to meet at Hatfield. Both he and I were honoured with the friendship of the Marchioness of Salisbury, first wife of the present peer. Even thus, in passing, let me say how justly we learnt to appreciate the qualities of that highly gifted lady—her generous and lofty character, her disdain of everything that was false and mean, her manifold accomplishments of mind, and her most attractive conversation. When, in October 1839, she died after a long protracted illness, there were few beyond her family
circle who mourned for her more sincerely than did Mr. Lockhart and myself. His letter on that occasion is now before me. In it he expresses his sorrow at the great loss which our friendship had sustained, and he adds—not certainly without a pang at his own and similar domestic bereavement—‘But the world will on; and lamentations avail not.’

“It was not long ere my friendship with Mr. Lockhart engaged me—nothing loth—as a writer in the Quarterly Review. I contributed an article on the French Revolution, in reply to a new theory which Mr. Macaulay had just before in another review propounded. But when my article was finished, my friend in Sussex Place, without apprising me, placed it in Mr. Croker’s hands, and left him at liberty to add some further observations.1 Mr. Croker, as is well known, did not allow to lie dormant his great powers of caustic wit. No man knew better how to enliven a dry or difficult subject by the pungency of personal allusion; and no man was more fully aware of his own abilities in that respect. I remember, for example, a series of private notes from him to Sir Robert Peel in the autumn of 1841, when Mr. Croker was assiduously employed in the composition of a stinging article ‘against the Whigs.’ He declares himself so hard at work that he must for the present

1 The Revolution was Croker’s private province in the Review. He had to be consulted, otherwise trouble arose.

decline all dinner engagements; and he adds as a postscript, ‘I am as busy as a wasp!’

Mr. Croker, then being in full possession of my unfortunate proofs, proceeded to embody with them some comments by himself on a former publication by Lord John Russell. With the article so ‘amended’—if amended I must call it—the Quarterly came out in April 1833. But when on its appearance I saw how my handiwork had been dealt with, I was much annoyed and displeased. The disparaging remarks on Lord John Russell seemed to me open to objection in their tone and temper, and did not accord with my feeling of respect for that eminent man. I did not wish to be considered as their author, in case the entire article were ascribed to me. Accordingly, I published as a separate essay the article as it stood at first, declaring at the same time to Mr. Murray that I would never—no, never—write again for his Review.1

“It is worthy of note, I think, as showing how high the character of Mr. Lockhart stood among his friends, that although I chafed—possibly more than I ought—at the treatment of my bantling in the Quarterly, I did not, even at the outset, impute any want of kindness or consideration for me to the Editor. It was only, as I was convinced, that he had seen the matter in a different, perhaps, as the public might think, in a juster view. It was

1 A broken vow.

only that he could not find it in his heart to refuse the good things—for good they were undoubtedly—that
Mr. Croker tendered. It was only that in a survey of his writers he preferred the veteran to the débutant. Our personal friendship was not at all affected. We continued to meet and to confer as often, and with the same cordial feeling, as before.

“It was not, however, until eight years afterwards—in the spring of 1841—that I resumed my pen in the service of the Quarterly. The bait held out, and that hooked me, was an offer to review Mr. Fraser Tytler’sHistory of Scotland.’ It gave me the occasion to discuss, according to a via media which I had formed, the character of poor Queen Mary—a princess certainly quite as attractive to scribblers since her death as she can have been to gallants in her lifetime!

“In literature and politics, Mr. Lockhart has been very frequently censured as too bitter. So far as regards the literary field, he was convinced that, like other fields into which crowds are pressing, it requires a police—that a warning voice should keep it clear, so far as possible, of impudent pretence, as well as shallow ignorance. That duty had been discharged in a spirit of stern justice by Mr. Gifford and Lord Jeffrey. It was no less needful in Mr. Lockhart’s time; and the keen weapon of ridicule, which they knew so well how to wield, shone as bright in Mr. Lockhart’s hands.

“On the other point, and so far as politics are
concerned, I may observe that
Mr. Lockhart was warmly attached—by family tradition in the first place, and by settled conviction as he grew older—to the ancient institutions of his country in Church and State. It was his lot to live in days when, after a period of comparative tranquillity, these institutions were fiercely struck at and assailed. Perhaps the sentinels may have slumbered a little at their posts. Perhaps they had not always manifested the same energy and the same ability as the besiegers. It was under these circumstances that Mr. Lockhart threw himself into the breach. His courage rather rose as the dangers grew. Even at the worst of times—when, in 1831, the Duke of Wellington was mobbed through the streets of London on the very anniversary of Waterloo—when, in 1833, Sir Robert Peel, in the House of Commons, could scarcely muster around him the merest handful of his former followers,—even then the high spirit of the Quarterly writers never for an instant quailed.

“In these days we took comfort—and certainly we needed some—in the idea that we had often the better of the arguments, though always beaten to pieces at the hustings or the House. I remember raising a smile in Mr. Lockhart when I told him of an Irish friend of ours, who, with honest warmth, exclaimed to me that we had now a clear majority in everything except in numbers!

“But besides the distaste of Mr. Lockhart to rash
or ill-considered changes, as he conscientiously believed them, he had another strong ground of objection to the Whigs. He thought—and such is also, I confess, my own opinion—that although at intervals too democratic in their principles, they are always too aristocratic in their predilections.”

The Crokerian interpolations into the article of Lord Mahon may be recognised by a babe in criticism. Mr. Croker never abstained from three things—personal sneers; the use of copious italics and of capital letters; and the impassioned defence, in season and out of season, of his beloved religion. These marks of Mr. Croker will be found in Lord Mahon’s review of Lord John Russell. Mr. Croker was the literary Thangbrand of Christianity, ever “spoiling for a fight,” like the militant Apostle of Iceland; he was an Anglican Berserk. Lord Mahon need not have feared that these qualities, or Mr. Croker’s italics, would be attributed to him; still, he did well to be angry.

So much for Lockhart as a political Editor. In literary Editorship he inherited the tradition expressed in the motto of the Edinburgh Review: Judex damnatus quum nocens absolvitor. An author on this theory is, ex officio, nocens, or at least reus: an accused person on his trial. Tennyson, as we saw, was tried and condemned, humorously and unjustly, for the “Poems” of 1833—not for those of 1842, or for “The Princess.” Luckily, perhaps, for Lockhart, Mr. Browning did not appear
in his Court, and no other great poet was then in the dock. Aging men are most fallible judges of new poets.

As a contributor to the Quarterly Review, Lockhart was industrious. During his twenty-eight years of Editorship he wrote more than a hundred articles on subjects the most various. He reviewed the notable great literary works of the hour, such as Croker’sBoswell,” Scott’sLives of the Novelists,” Moore’sSheridan,” Leigh Hunt’sByron and his Contemporaries,” Tennyson’sPoems” of 1833, the histories of Lord Mahon, Southey’sDoctor,” Taylor’sPhilip Van Artevelde,” and Mure’sLiterature of Greece.” Biography interested him especially, and he once (as we have seen) thought of publishing an extra number, entirely consisting of biographies of great men recently dead, including Scott and Goethe. He did, as occasion arose, write on the lives of Crabbe, Theodore Hook, Edmund Kean, Southey (in part), Wilkie the Painter, Beattie’sLife of Campbell,” and, at the last, was part author of the article on the life of his old opponent, Jeffrey. He also frequently reviewed books of travel—especially, perhaps, books of travel in America, or by Americans in England. He wrote an interesting essay (No. 90), on Donn’s Gaelic Poems. He reviewed a number of novels now for the most part forgotten. He produced an essay, still lively and readable, on Dry-Rot in Timber (No. 97). That number also
contained his notice of Tennyson, and his
reviewal of Lady Dacre’sRecollections of a Chaperon.” Translations, as of Goethe’sFaust,” of Dante’sInferno,” and of Servian Minstrelsy, engaged his attention. Subjects partly antiquarian, such as “The Lives of the Lindsays,” came within his province. In brief, from deer-stalking to dry-rot, from poetry to Biblical criticism, he had a wide range of interests. He was not the author of the attack on the pretensions of the Sobieski Stuarts.

An essayist so various, so industrious, so spirited, and so learned, must have left, it might be thought, many pages worthy of rescue from the shelves devoted to old magazines. But Lockhart, in fact, left no such legacy. His essays, if collected and published, could not pretend to rival those of Macaulay. A volume of his biographical studies might, indeed, be worth contemplating, and the censure on Tennyson is a remarkable literary curiosity, while some few other literary articles perhaps deserve a permanent form. The rest was written for the current quarter, not for posterity.

This is a disappointing circumstance, which Lockhart himself may be said to explain. Late in his career he wrote (September 1850) a criticism of Colonel Mure of Caldwell’sHistory of the Language and Literature of Greece.” I venture to dwell at some length on this topic—first, because the criticism is so thoroughly characteristic of Lockhart; next, because the gallant and learned Colonel’s
admirable work appears to be left in most undeserved neglect; lastly, because Lockhart here explains his own theory of reviewing. In doing so, he also explains the want of permanent and enduring quality in his own essays.

He writes, and he is obviously thinking of Macaulay’s “Essays”: “On the present occasion we mean to confine ourselves within narrow limits, and to keep before us principally what critics nowadays are apt to regard as a humble and trivial function. For we adhere to our old-fashioned notion, that, when a man of rich endowments makes his first appearance, or offers the first specimen of what seems to be the main monument of his literary energy—but more especially when the book is of the graver class—it is the primary duty of reviewers to think not of themselves but of their author; to put the rein on indulgence in any sort of display except the display of his qualities; to aim, in short, at encouraging his zeal by awakening the curiosity and sympathy of his and their public . . . This excludes all chance of formal, original, or would-be original disquisition on the part of the journalist; and we suspect that even at present, when the case is really one of solid and serious claims, our friends are far from being displeased with a recurrence to the primitive notion of Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres.”

Here is Lockhart’s explicit avowal of his own theory of his own function. He is not the inde-
pendent essayist, who treats his author only as a starting-point for a tractate of his own: he is merely the journalist—merely the newsman of letters. His duties are of the day and the hour; his business is with his author, and with his author’s treatment of a topic, rather than with the topic itself. We may lament this conscious self-effacement; we may, and do, regret that Lockhart did not adopt the method of
Macaulay and of Carlyle. But he deliberately eschewed it; to do so was part of a character which, as a friend of his remarked, detested to “show off” or to be “shown off.”1 Lockhart was paid, as it were, to do one kind of duty; he would not seek another—a more tempting, though, no doubt, a more laborious course. His ideas and his method involved, to his mind, the use of copious extracts from his author, who thus had the advantage, greatly coveted by authors, of speaking for himself. But the bulk and volume of the extracts is injurious to the original character and to the permanence of Lockhart’s essays.

There are other drawbacks. Lockhart had ever in his mind the Conservative character of his organ, and would make temporary defences of its ideas, with reference to the questions of the hour, where perhaps no such excursions were necessary. Now they are superseded and otiose, if the essays be taken as works of pure literature. They become journalism, as Lockhart knew and intended, and nothing is less

1 Mr. James Traill, son of Lockhart’s friend, Mr. Traill.

permanent than journalism. It cannot be denied that, like
Croker, he had a vein of the Christian apologist out of season.

Not much out of season are his remarks in this kind on Colonel Mure’sHistory of Greek Literature.” The Colonel necessarily devoted much of his space to the Homeric question, the question of the unity and antiquity of the Homeric Epics. This unity had been assailed, as every one knows, by the learned Wolf, and ever since his day German criticism has been sedulously occupied with dissecting the poems, and tearing the poet into disjecta membra of all manner of diverse dates and authorships. Many, one might even say most, of these dissertations are marked by learning, indeed; but are also notable for perverse and wilful caprice of fancy, for utter insensibility to poetry, and for a blind indifference to the fact that most of the arguments against the unity of authorship in the Homeric poems are just as strong arguments against the unity of authorship of the Waverley Novels, of “Paradise Lost,” or of almost any other sustained work of imagination.

Lockhart made these reflections, and stated them with point and vivacity. But he also noticed, what in fact nobody of sense can overlook, the analogy between destructive Homeric and destructive Biblical criticism. The wilful and tasteless vagaries of pedantic ingenuity, the arbitrary, baseless, contradictory theories of the Homeric critics, are not
by any means absent from the labours of their Biblical brethren. But the Biblical critics are dealing with reports of actual events, which, to some extent, are capable of proof or disproof from external and internal evidence. The Homeric critics are dealing with poetry, or, if with facts, with facts of manners and customs. Thus there is a kind of check on Biblical criticism, which is not so powerful over the Homeric theorists.

Lockhart was interested in Biblical criticism. He did not wish to burke it: he did wish that it should be studied; should, if possible, be answered, as the following letter shows. It is quoted here, as it illustrates his attitude to the important subject which he introduced into his discussion of Colonel Mure’s remarks in defence of the unity of Homer

“June 16, 1846.

My dear M.,—I think you are entitled to expect that gentlemen who so very boldly denounce the conclusions of such a scholar as Mr. Donaldson, should show evidence of their capacity for grappling with lore so varied as his; and also, and at least, that Mr. Croker should convey his objections in some such shape as may admit of their being laid before Mr. Donaldson.

“I have not heard the name either of your or

1 The letter is, apparently, addressed to Mr. Murray. Perhaps it was never sent to him; I found it among amass of family letters from Milton Lockhart.

Mr. Croker’s clerical authority. Both, or either, may be sufficient. But it is not an everyday thing to meet with a clergyman qualified for criticising philological researches, embracing not merely Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, but Arabic, Coptic, Sanscrit, and the whole range of the Italo-German tongues. Mr. Croker makes no pretensions himself to learning of this sort—but it is a little odd to see him dismiss a page of Donaldson’s ‘Comparative Anatomy of Language’ by a marginal note consisting of the one word ‘Gibberish.’

“Although language has been my chief study all my days, and I have some practical knowledge in a good many of the languages in which Mr. Donaldson has acquired, as I believe, a really accurate skill—it never occurred to me that my editorial care could, in such a department, be of any use to him, save in suggesting a doubt or an illustration. So much I endeavoured to do by this as by all other papers; and I took the advice twice over, formally, by writing, of Milman—the only extensive scholar on the actual list of Quarterly Reviewers.

“The grand difficulty of Ewald’s explanation of the Patriarchs’ names, as being not personal names,1 but words describing periods of advance or descent in art and civility—this was stated by me to Mr. Croker orally, as well as I could make it clear. Mr. Croker said he could see no objection to such a

1 Attempts to “mythologise” the Patriarchs are many, wildly conflicting, and, perhaps, discredited.

view. So I understood him, certainly. I believe Ewald is, in the main, right—and that views like his are those of all who believe the Old Testament in any manly sense of the word believe. People who merely adopt and repeat the interpretations of men acknowledged not to have had a glimpse of what is now ascertained by the science of Philology, seem to me to be precisely on a footing with the honest Catholics who persecuted
Galileo, and with the present Dean of ——, who would, if he could, roast the Dean of Westminster to-morrow.

“In my humble opinion, the wise course for Donaldson would be to place the views or theories of Ewald and Bunsen, whenever apparently hard to be reconciled with our old canons of interpretation, clearly before the reader of the Quarterly Review; but not to compromise himself or the Review by any adoption of them. As yet, I think, knowledge of what is thought and written on such subjects by really profound scholars, is so rare that the communication of their ideas should be the humble task of an English journal.—Ever yours truly,

J. G. Lockhart.”1

These and similar ideas as to Biblical criticism

1 From this letter I have omitted many passages which elucidate, in a curious and interesting way, the internal management of the Quarterly Review. For reasons elsewhere stated, these matters are beyond my province; but it was necessary to publish as much as concerns Lockhart’s position with regard to a subject of high importance.

are introduced by
Lockhart into his review of the Homeric critics:—

“With the Germans, eccentricity has long been the standard substitute for genius. . . . The attacks” (on Homer and on the Bible) “were conducted upon the very same principles, and it would be curious enough to exhibit in detail the precise parallels between the methods of working out these principles, the results announced, the overawing effect produced for the moment, the subsequent reaction of a scepticism against the sceptics, and the ultimate success of awakened reflection, honest investigation, and candid judgment in disentangling the whole vast web of sophistry. . . .”

Taste, learning, humour, and sense concur in Lockhart’s article on Colonel Mure, an article more vivacious by far than we can expect from the grave quarterly serials of to-day. The Teutonic love of “anything odd and startling in the way of theory,” combined with the Teutonic total “want of taste,” is displayed as the inspiration of German efforts to lacerate the sacred body of Homer. Analogies are found in German dealings with our own literature. “We are proved to be wholly wrong about Doll Tearsheet, whose genuine affection for Sir John ought to cover a multitude of early indiscretions, and who was uttering the deepest emotions of a true heart when she declared that she would never dress herself handsome till her little tidy boar-pig
came back from the wars.” The German method is then illustrated in application to
Byron and Scott. “Were Hogg and Scott dialectical forms of the same name? Was shepherd Gaelic for sheriff?” The wars of the White Rose and Prince Charles are probably the same with those of the Two Roses, and so on. Lockhart, of course, admits that “Wolf was himself a man of splendid talents”; and Wolf’s keen appreciation of Homer, when he reads Homer “for human pleasure,” is contrasted with the distorted vision of the critic reading for the establishment of a pet theory. Admiring the Homeric poems as he did, how could Wolf persuade himself that an unknown multitude of men composed these poems?

Scott amused himself with an imitation of Crabbe: it is as clever as James Smith’s—but is that all? When Crabbe read it, the honest bard smiled and sighed. ‘Ah,’ said he, ‘this man has caught my trick; he can do all that I can do, but he can do something more.’” Is it very probable, Lockhart asks, that the presumed author of the nucleus of the “Iliad” would find plenty of poets, like those of Book ix. and Book xxiv., and of the “Odyssey,” who had “caught his trick, could do all that he could do, and something more”?

Lockhart then applies the pettifogging manner of the critics to Virgil and Milton, showing that they are as vulnerable as Homer. He next, more suo, makes long extracts from Colonel Mure: for
instance, as to the Helen of the “
Iliad” and the Helen of the “Odyssey.” “Our Colonel (nuper idoneus) is likely to understand such a development better than most meerschaumed professors.” But one cannot, however willing, follow Lockhart through an argument which is, perhaps, especially strong when he touches on the so-called Cyclic poets, and on the inconsistencies detected in the “Iliad.” These, in fact, are not more numerous and glaring than the inconsistencies in modern works of imagination, yet they are supposed to prove that each poem cannot have had one author. Lockhart rather regards them as a presumption that the author could write, than otherwise. For if he wrote he might never read his poem again, and, consequently, might never correct it. But if he was always reciting it in public, the errors could not escape his observation.

It may seem a pity that Lockhart did not try his method on the weaker points of Biblical criticism, which are full of entertaining opportunities. But orthodoxy is too apt to leave ridicule to its opponents, and to neglect the legitimate diversion of comparing the contradictory dogmas and mythological ingenuities of competing Biblical theorists.

Among Lockhart’s Quarterly articles, the most permanently valuable are his brief contributions to biography. Of these the essay on Theodore Hook (1843, No. 143) is the best known, having been published separately in Murray’s “Railway Reading,”
and is, perhaps, the best.1 Lockhart, after 1826, knew Hook well, and was at least as much in his company, “more fair than honest,” as
Sir Walter could approve of. He had, also, access to poor Hook’s pathetic diaries. The man had greatly amused him, and won his liking. He could make allowances for Hook’s untidy education, his brilliant youth in theatrical society, his temptations, his reckless indifference to accounts while an official in the Mauritius. Lockhart’s comments on Hook’s conduct of the John Bull (a paper which he calls “infamous” in a letter to Wilson) have been already cited. Maginn, about 1821, tried to engage Lockhart to write for John Bull; there is no record of his success or failure. That Lockhart, like Thackeray, should have tolerated and associated with Maginn, is perhaps no great feather in his cap. But, as has been shown, he worked hard on several occasions to set Maginn free from debt. As late as 1851, Mrs. Maginn writes to him in terms of touching gratitude; he had secured a shelter and support for her declining years. Her various addresses are usually entered in his diaries, indicating that he was always watchful over her and her interests. In the essay on Theodore Hook (1843), he expresses a wish to see Maginn’s “learned and witty essays in verse and prose” collected, both for the honour of the doctor’s name, and for the advantages that might accrue “to the doctor’s family—a

1 Theodore Hook. A Sketch. Fourth Edition. London, 1853.

most respectable gentlewoman, and three children—all utterly unprovided for.” Lockhart was no mere fair-weather friend. Though disinclined to preach, especially on the errors of a friend, Lockhart is constrained to mention Hook’s “two unhappy errors”—first, his negligence to repay his debt to the nation, and so to clear his name; next, his omission to make legal and binding his connection with “a young woman, until then of unblemished reputation, whose unwearied attention to his interests during his confinement and distress was exemplary, and to him invaluable.” He was thus cut off from marriage with a person of his own condition; yet he never had the courage “to atone to his partner, and in some sort to the children she had borne him, by making her his wife.”

Lockhart traces the black threads of these errors running through the brilliant warp and woof of Hook’s social and literary success. He follows Hook’s regret and remorse, through his diaries, and in the veiled confessions of his novels. This jester had the gloomiest of faces behind his merry mask. He filled—strange as it seems now—Hook filled the Athenæum Club with revel and glee. His favourite corner in the dining-room was called Temperance Corner. “Many grave and dignified persons being frequent guests, it would hardly have been seemly to be calling for repeated supplies of a certain description; but the waiters well understood what the oracle of the corner meant by ‘Another
glass of toast and water,’ or ‘A little more lemonade.’”

In Lockhart’s diaries I observed, before reading this remark, that he dined pretty often at the Athenæum, and I wondered why. Causa patet!

“It is said that at the Athenæum the number of dinners fell off by upwards of 300 per annum after Mr. Hook disappeared from his favourite corner, near the door of the coffee-room.”

As the little “Life of Hook” is not now very common on the railway bookstalls, I extract a story of Hook and Coleridge, already once referred to in this book. The “friend” who shared and describes the revel is, of course, Lockhart himself.

“The first time I ever witnessed Hook’s improvisations was at a gay young bachelor’s villa near Highgate,1 when the other lion was one of a very different breed, Mr. Coleridge. Much claret had been shed before the Ancient Mariner proclaimed that he could swallow no more of anything, unless it were punch. The materials were forthwith produced—the bowl was planted before the poet, and as he proceeded with the concoction, Hook, unbidden, took his place at the piano. He burst into a bacchanal of egregious luxury, every line of which had reference to the author of the ‘Lay Sermons’ and the ‘Aids to Reflection.’

1 The residence of the late Frederick Mansell Reynolds—then a gay character enough, though best known as author of the novel entitled “Miserrimus.” He was son to the popular dramatist.

The room was becoming excessively hot. The first specimen of the new compound was handed to
Hook, who paused to quaff it, and then, exclaiming that he was stifled, flung his glass through the window. Coleridge rose with the aspect of a benignant patriarch, and demolished another pane—the example was followed generally—the window was a sieve in an instant—the kind host was farthest from the mark, and his goblet made havoc of the chandelier. The roar of laughter was drowned in Theodore’s resumption of the song—and window and chandelier and the peculiar shot of each individual destroyer had apt, in many cases exquisitely witty, commemoration. In walking home with Mr. Coleridge, he entertained and me with a most excellent lecture on the distinction between talent and genius, and declared that Hook was as true a genius as Dantethat was his example.”

In Lockhart’s diaries he notes the death of Mr. Reynolds, and adds that at his table he saw Coleridge begin the breaking of the window panes. Lockhart’s recollections of Hook include examples of great and genuine kindness, as well as of frolic He had also met Hook at Hatfield House, where he composed “light and easy little melodramas” for the amusement of Lady Salisbury’s guests, dramas “staged” by “that grave Presbyterian, Sir David Wilkie.” The whole essay is full of pleasant anecdote, as well as of sympathy, clear observation, just appreciation, and incisive statement. Lockhart ends:
“We have not endeavoured to conceal, or even palliate, Hook’s errors. To do so, even in the slightest biographical sketch, seems to us most culpable. . . . We are not afraid that any of his real friends will suspect us of regarding his memory without tenderness, because we have discharged our duty by telling what we believed to be the truth.”
Lockhart’sHook,” in its hundred pages, is as excellently drawn to scale, and as masterly, as his “Life of Scott” or his “Life of Burns.” It is to be regretted that some of his other biographical articles are more of the nature of reviews than of substantial essays.

This remark does not apply to his essay on Sir David Wilkie, a criticism of Allan Cunningham’s biography of the painter. Poor Cunningham left the book unrevised, and Lockhart makes just allowances for its blemishes. He was much attached to Allan Cunningham: to him and to Hogg, as we saw, he had dedicated his “Life of Burns.”

“To-day died good Allan Cunningham,” he notes in his Diary, as, on another such sad occasion, he speaks of “good Mrs. Murray of Albemarle Street.” Cunningham was bred to the trade of a mason. He entered literature as Cromek’s assistant in collecting Galloway legends and ballads, many of which Allan is believed to have manufactured, in the spirit which made Surtees of Mainsforth palm off impostures on Scott. Lockhart is obliged to
notice divers faults in Allan’s work, in addition to the common biographical error of loading a life with heaps of crude and worthless raw material. Allan had also a grudge against “the aristocracy,” the Royal Academy, and even the King, as regarded their dealings with
Wilkie. Lockhart defends these august persons with success. Sir William Knighton, “The Invisible,” had told him the story of George IV., and his really delicate and generous behaviour to the painter when incapacitated by illness. His Majesty’s action and tone on this occasion were not unworthy of “The First Gentleman in Europe,” nor did Wilkie’s behaviour fall below the Royal example. This incident and others were distorted by Allan’s prejudice or by a failing memory.

Lockhart, as we learn from the “Memoir of Mr. Murray,” was rather unwilling to write this essay. He had conceived that he could not please Mr. Murray by his work—an example of the presence of “the black dog.” Again, he did not care for the coldness and want of geniality which he found in Wilkie—characteristics constantly censured in himself. None the less, “a manse bairn” himself, he enters with zest into the history of the early days of this illustrious child of the manse. Wilkie, as a boy, caricatured the minister in the pulpit, with a bit of soft charcoal, on the bald pate of the venerable and slumbering miller of Pitlessie! The freak was a Scævolæ studiis haud alienunt. It is a temp-
tation to linger over a crowd of anecdotes and amusing reflections.

The malignant Lockhart extracts in full the charming sketch of Hogg at Altrive, with his rural hospitality, and his noble compliment to Wilkie:—

“‘Laidlaw, this is no’ the great Mr. Wilkie?’

“‘It’s just the great Mr. Wilkie.’

“‘Mr. Wilkie—sir,’ exclaimed the Shepherd, seizing him by the hand, ‘I cannot tell you how proud I am to see you in my house, and how glad I am to see you so young a man.’

“When I told Scott of Hogg’s reception of Wilkie, ‘The fellow!’ said he; ‘it was the finest compliment ever paid to man.’”

In Wilkie’s painting of Scott with his Family, Lockhart did not find much merit, except in the portrait of Sir Adam Ferguson. We are glad to welcome his tribute to the Shepherd, as proving that Lockhart’s irritation caused by the unlucky “Domestic Manners of Sir Walter Scott” had passed away.

In commenting on Wilkie’s criticisms of the great Italian painters, Lockhart shows his usual keen but unobtrusive interest in and knowledge of their art. He had taste and skill enough and practice enough to know “how difficult it is,” but he never dealt in technical terminology and the special argot of the studio. The essay on Wilkie is a worthy pendant to that on Theodore Hook.


The study of Crabbe’s Life (No. 100) is briefer, more of a reviewal, yet marked by sympathy and personal knowledge. If ever it is reprinted it should be accompanied by Lockhart’s criticism of Crabbe’s poetry. Another interesting, though rather painful, essay is devoted to Dr. Beattie’sLife of Thomas Campbell.” The poet’s letters are not of much merit, and do not display, Lockhart says, “that ever-glowing necessity of the brain and blood to which we owe the correspondences of Cicero, Erasmus, Voltaire, Scott, Byron—of Goethe, whose signet bore a star with the words ohne hast, ohne rast; and, we may safely add by anticipation, the name of Southey” (1849). Had Lockhart’s correspondence with his friends been better preserved, his own name might well have been added to those of the great men of letters who shine in this field, with the names also of Cowper, Gray, Carlyle, Macaulay, and Thackeray. Campbell’s genius, however, he says, “seldom animates the page that was meant for a private eye.” “What he did with his eye set on immortality was first thrown out with vehement throes, half pain, half rapture, and then polished with anxious and timid toil; the happiest of the first suggestions not seldom suffering grievous mutilation, sometimes eclipse, in this cold process. Let us be thankful for what has escaped such risks. It is no wonder that an author so framed, and compelled to give a considerable space of every day to joyless, uncon-
genial tasks, should have found no stock of spirit and pleasantry for a copious and lively epilogue of correspondence.”

Lockhart was probably disappointed to some degree in his anticipations of Southey’s published correspondence. His own essay on Southey’s “Life,” though interesting, is more or less narquois. “His style of writing to third parties about those with whom he was content to co-operate, so much to his own pecuniary benefit, for more than a quarter of a century, does not seem to us very becoming.”1 He and Southey never “took to” each other. Of all faults Lockhart most detested vanity, a failing which has its amiable side in the comfort yielded by “a canty conceit o’ oursel’.” For this the Scotchman prayed!

With more of canty conceit, Lockhart would have been a happier, a more successful, and a more popular man. Mr. Christie has remarked on his contempt and intolerance of vanity. Now, the vanity of Southey, though most innocent, was very great: we have given an example in his remarks on his own book, “The Doctor,” and Lockhart collected a spicilegium of instances in his review of Southey’s “Life.”

The following letters to Professor Wilson, on Wilson’s notes for use in the Quarterly Review, after Wordsworth’s death, set forth Lockhart’s estimate of Wordsworth and Southey as men. They

1 Quarterly Review, vol. lxxxviii. (1851), p. 233.

also prove, in a surprising way, that as the malevolent
Lockhart protected the dead Byron from the assaults of Maginn, so, as Editor of the Quarterly, he defended the dead Wordsworth from the almost incredible spleen of Wilson. He was obliged to reject Wilson’s aid (notes apparently to be used in an article), and, after this, it will perhaps be impossible for any one to maintain that Lockhart, not Wilson, is responsible for all the cruelties of the early Blackwood’s Magazine.

In this letter Lockhart asks Wilson for reminiscences of Wordsworth:—

Sussex Place, Regent Park,
April 11, 1851.

My dear Wilson,—I was, I need not say, well pleased to hear of your restoration to health and all your usual duties, as soon as of your having been out of order. Pray assure me that all continues well with you.

Quillinan called here yesterday, and told me he understood you had declined to review the ‘Memoirs of William Wordsworth,’ by his nephew, the canon of Westminster. I have this day got the book and read two or three chapters. I fear it is clumsily executed—but these opening chapters contain some very striking specimens of Wordsworth’s early letters, and I see, on glancing through the book, more correspondence than I had expected; so that there must be abundant interest of some kind in this book.


“I have no notion what you think of the Prelude, but I confess it very much disappointed me. Coleridge, and you, and lesser men, had conspired to give me very lofty expectations. I found it, on the whole, heavy, and what there is of life in far greater proportion strong rhetorical declamation than poetry. But I am conscious that I may have outlived any degree of capacity for feeling poetry that I ever had—albeit not much—and would very gladly learn your impressions on now reading for yourself what you had in young days listened to ex ore magistri. Pray indulge me for once—and indeed if you have no view of criticising the ‘Memoirs,’ nor are in communication with any one who counts on your hints for an article thereon in Maga, anything that occurs to you on reading this book too would be very thankfully received by me. I wonder who writes the two articles in Ebony on the Life of Southey—if no secret, tell me. He has in various places contradicted what I had said in the Quarterly Review,1 but nowhere, I think, brought any argument to his side. He is, however, an able reviewer, and I should think has had suggestions from H. Taylor—though I can hardly doubt that Taylor will in the Edinburgh Review, or somewhere else, treat the ‘Life’ of his friend for himself. He wished to write on it in the Quarterly, but as he would insist that of all men Southey had the least vanity, I was reluctantly compelled to reject his always

1 No. clxvii.

vigorous assistance. How good was
Hogg’s communicating to Southey what Jeffrey said about his being ‘about as conceited a fellow as his neighbour Wordsworth.’ To be sure they were both magnificent peacocks! I wish for a good letter of the Professor’s.

Manning is, I fancy, on the whole, next if not equal to Newman for importance as a convert: his influence very great in society at large, as well as among the younger clergy. He is a very agreeable and polished gentleman—a fine ascetical coxcomb (and tuft-hunter)—the image of a Jesuit Cardinal of the sixteenth century, and I expect him to be followed by a long train of ladies, including probably the —— of ——, and Lady ——.1

“I am hopeful that Rutherford is really recovered, but even so think him wise in taking the Bench, especially under existing circumstances as to Whiggery.—Ever yours affectionately,

J. G. Lockhart.
Professor Wilson.”

The next letter is in answer to one of Wilson’s, apparently no longer extant:—

Sussex Place, April 15, 1851.

Dear Professor,—I am delighted with John Wilson’s letter about you and others—especially for its own excellence in all but the penmanship,

1 One lady followed, the other did not.

which, too, will soon come right, and after all is not much worse than I had seen thirty years ago on occasion.1 I went a week ago to see
Faed’s picture of Sir Walter Scott and his friends, and there met Home Drummond. We agreed that Adam Ferguson, T. Thomson, and you were so far like—you had all evidently sat to Faed, and as evidently no one else in the party had, nor could we see resemblance in any one of them. Then all ages are jumbled. Scott is a man of fifty. Ferguson and Thomson are eighty. I am twenty-five, and you are sixty or thereby. This will never do. I did not subscribe. I could do a better picture myself of those people even now, if I had three weeks’ free admission to Grant’s studio, and the free use of his materials. I think I will try. What an agreeable party that would have been! And this will perhaps be re-engraved in 1950. But then we shall be walking serene in some grove of Hades, with Landor, and Southey, and Hazlitt, and Jeremy Bentham; Dr. Parr and Gray of the High School, Johnnie Dow, Delta, &c &c. I was last night reading here and there in Delta’s new bookie,2 and found you, Aird, Pollock, and others glorified—nay ‘Captain Paton’s Lament’ dug up to justify the placing of the late Dr. Odontist Scotty among the great poets of the half century. This will do. De Quincey, I ob-

1 Professor Wilson’s hand, in letters to Lockhart, is a difficult, untidy scrawl.

2 Lectures, by Dr. Moir (Delta), on the Literature of the Age.

serve, is the greatest master of language—going or lately gone. This also will do!

“I yesterday read over calmly the Prelude, and am doubly in the dark as to its meaning—doubly dumfoundered by its heaviness and unharmony. The Canon’s book also I have re-read, and pronounce it raw and bald unbearably. There is nothing of his that helps you in the least to a conception of what the living man was. But it is not so with some of the letters by William Wordsworth, or with some of the reminiscences.

William Wordsworth’s arrogant chillness as to all the contemporary bards comes out well—Southey not excepted—indeed with no exception but Coleridge. This we expected—but still there is a manliness about William Wordsworth that separates him vastly from Robert Southey. What else can it be? Or is it that the one was really a great poet—the other not—the one’s ‘conceit,’ in short, based on a really grand something, though not on any one grand work—the other’s erected on no similar foundation? I cannot answer. What I know is that I liked William Wordsworth and never liked Robert Southey, and this though they both equally and completely differed from all my critical notions as to almost all their contemporaries, and as to all the best of them. I think, too, that William Wordsworth was a better man than Robert Southey—far better—even in the qualities for which Robert Southey deserves most praise, with the one exception of
pecuniary generosity, of which I fancy William Wordsworth had little or nothing—his early straits having hardened him effectually on that score, and no wonder.

“I have read fifty articles on Wordsworth’s philosophy. Hang me if I don’t suspect ’tis all an airy sham—beyond what lies on the very surface, that is to say, and might be expressed on this page in plain prose—as humble as any scrap of the Prelude is pompous. ‘Words, words.’

“It seems to be assumed that William Wordsworth made some wonderful discovery, which Homer, Dante, &c &c., lived and died without having had even a glimpse of. I beg to doubt. There is more exact observation of Nature implied in the epithets of the Second Iliad than declared in all William Wordsworth’s tomes, and bragged of by all his laudators, from Wilson down to Delta.

“I suspect there is more of artifice than of art in all that has been relied on for proof of this modern originality.

“Let me hear again either from John Wilson or the Professor. They are both far finer fellows than either William Wordsworth or Robert Southey, or even W. S. Landor.—Yours,

J. G. Lockhart.”

Wilson replied, and sent notes very hostile to Wordsworth. These, he said, must be published complete, or not at all. Lockhart answers:—

Sussex Place, May 9, 1851.

Dear Professor,—Yours of yesterday beats all cockfighting! But you have sickened me about William Wordsworth in toto. How or what can I now write on his Life—Prose or Prelude?

“You can’t have recollected the language of your former sheets, when you said in the penult that I must put in every word or none. Could one make the Quarterly Review talk of William Wordsworth as the fat ugly cur, for instance? It would cause old Gifford to snort in his grave. You were laughing! But in truth I am very unwell, and now despair of doing the job—at least now. Lord Lonsdale has surprised me by writing that on examination he finds the statement about his father’s payment in 1806 to be ‘near the mark’—that he believes the old peer had rebelled at the extravagance of his solicitor’s charges—but that he (Lord Lonsdale) would now like nothing to be said of the concern. Sir James, I fancy, was next door to mad. There is a picture of William Wordsworth in this Exhibition, by the younger Pickersgill, which would give you a good chuckle. The Stamp-master is at full length, reclining or leaning on a rock near a stream, and is smiling so sweetly. Evidently the foreground should have displayed the daffodils. ‘The Professor,’1 by Watson Gordon, was much noticed by the Queen, who, on hearing who it was, turned back again and

1 Wilson himself.

said, ‘Oh, a very distinguished man—I must look at it again.’ This I had from Gordon, who had it from
Roberts, who conducted the lady round that room as Keeper. But, I think, the best portrait in the place is Dr. Wardlaw, by M’Nee of Glasgow, of whom I had not heard before—never.

Lord Peter is here, guest of a rich City man, Peter Dixon, in this pack celebrated for his cookery. Peter R—— dined with me yesterday and seemed in high fig, though not at all riotous. It was the first time any one had dined with me for many months—for I am as much a recluse now as you can be.—Ever affectionately yours,

J. G. Lockhart.”

Wilson repeated that he was in earnest about his remarkable notes on Wordsworth. Lockhart answers:—

Sussex Place, May 13, 1851.

My dear Professor,—Since you are really serious, I must return your sheets, and I do so now (though most sorrowfully), in case you should possibly think of making some use of them in Maga.

“I certainly could never venture to produce such an article in the Quarterly Review. Were there no other obstacle, my kindness from the present William Wordsworth (who has always been a favourite with me) must be an insuperable one.

“Your story about Quillinan reminds me of a similar manœuvre in reference to the Quarterly
Review—but I can’t at once find the
Stamp-master’s letter on that affair—by far the longest I ever got from him in his own hand.1 I am, however, so accustomed to things of that sort, that even this made little impression. When any one is civil to me (I mean any one not habitually so) I always ask myself, for the first question, Is he or she big with book or big with article? Utrum horum?

“You see I send back everything. I have not mentioned, nor shall I mention, a word about your having communicated with me on the topic, to anybody. So all is and will be with yourself. Whatever report may reach me it must originate in No. 6 G. P.2—Ever affectionately yours,

J. G. Lockhart.”

These interesting letters, proving the continued kindness of the relations between Wilson and Lockhart, occurred in a mass of domestic correspondence with Mr. and Mrs. Hope Scott. They make us regret the loss of so many of Lockhart’s literary epistles. It is conceivable that Professor Wilson’s severe illness, alluded to in the first letter, may have affected his ideas about Wordsworth. As Lockhart returned all Wilson’s “sheets” of unfriendly Reminiscences, they are not, of course, to be found among the few letters of his at Abbotsford.

To return to Lockhart as a journalist: it may

1 This letter seems to be lost.

2 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh—Wilson’s house.

be remembered that
Southey succeeded in making Lockhart believe that he was not the author of “The Doctor”; Lockhart therefore reviewed his contributor in the Quarterly Review (No. cl.) with perfect freedom. Southey was thus in the position of those listeners who, proverbially, hear little good of themselves. Lockhart praised much of “The Doctor” very highly, and justly, but the author’s peculiar uproarious humour he regarded as hardly consistent with perfect sanity. That Southey was vain, that his humour (what he had of it) was noisy, that his tenacity of opinion bordered on the bigoted, must be admitted; but, in a work where he is mentioned, it is impossible to leave him without a tribute to his honourable and generous character, to his wide and multifarious learning, to all that makes his name one of the brightest and most stainless in the chronicles of British literature. He and Lockhart saw very little of each other personally, and circumstances blessed the beginning of their acquaintance with “a slight aversion.”

The mention of Southey has led us aside from Lockhart’s Essay on Campbell. It contains his reflections on the failing and the vice which almost make up one popular impression of his own character—shyness and arrogance. “In these,” he says, “we see merely different shapes of the same too indulgent self-esteem, or, if the phrenologists please, different developments of the same love of
approbation—the convex and concave sides of the same deformity. . . . What is called ‘shyness,’ by men speaking of themselves, is often neither less nor more than arrogance not screwed up.” This reflection, worthy of
La Rochefoucauld, is not meant to injure Campbell. “His bearing, as we remember him, was truly gentle; the only uneasiness that he occasioned was by his own manifest uneasiness.”

The mass of Lockhart’s Quarterly articles cannot possibly be criticised here in detail. Not many of the papers deserve our dislike; among these are the review of Moore’sSheridan,” which displeased Sir Walter, and the critique of Leigh Hunt’s unhappy “Lord Byron and his Contemporaries.” The book was une mauvaise action: perhaps it could not be passed over. But, despite Lockhart’s reputation for skill in satire, it must be said that, in satire (except in the “chaff” about Tennyson), he is always at his worst, and is always at his best when he is most sympathetic

Many fine and valuable extracts might be made from his critique of Croker’sBoswell.” His essay on Coleridge’sTable Talk” deals too much in extracts, too little in personal reminiscences. A just remark may be cited.

“The equanimity with which Mr. Coleridge looked back upon a life which any worldly person must have called eminently unfortunate will not surprise any one who had the honour and privilege
of his personal acquaintance. He was, in the first place, well aware that the main source of all his external mishaps was in himself. . . . Meanwhile, as Mr. Coleridge himself did not complain”—because no sinecure was found for him—“we may spare ourselves the pain of any further comments on the dark and melancholy circumstances in which this great light of his time and country, this beautiful poet, this exquisite metaphysician, this universal scholar and profound theologian, was permitted to pass so many of his years.” Coleridge’s negligence of his own genius is compared to
Shakespeare’s obvious indifference to fame. “Great as Shakespeare was, and knew himself to be, he had in his mind an ideal of art far above what he supposed himself ever to have approached in his own best dramas.1 How surely is modesty the twin grace with daring, in the structure and development of every truly great mind and character!” He is thinking of Scott, who, when Lockhart thought of true greatness, was never absent from his heart.

This summary does not pretend to exhaust the qualities of Lockhart as, in his own words, “a journalist.” His notes on travel, on contemporary fiction, on minor poetry (the age was unpoetical), and even his reviews of works of history, are passed over in silence. He could be vivacious, or sober: learned with gaiety, earnest and clear in discussion (witness his essay on Copyright); he was

1 Keats made exactly the same remark in a note on Shakespeare.

full of anecdote, and copious in varied illustration. As we see, he wisely distrusted his own judgment of new poetry as he grew older; in this he was an example to all elderly critics. That his taste leaned to severity; that, except by
Coleridge, his fancy was not lightly interested in romantic verse, is certain, and to the traditions of the Quarterly he was at least sufficiently loyal. I may permit myself to mention that Mr. Croker was gravely offended by the second review, favourable to Tennyson, when that poet came forth and broke silence in 1842. Lockhart was more apt to exercise the police of literature by stamping out affectation and eccentricity, than to be the foremost in the more amiable task of recognising originality. During his editorship of the Quarterly Review there was not much genuine originality to recognise. The Review was as kind to Mr. Carlyle as could be expected: to Tennyson it honeyed, at, and after, his second appearance: Mr. Ruskin contributed to its pages, and thanked Lockhart for his marginal notes on the proof-sheets as for lessons in composition.

These comments on Lockhart as a Reviewer may conclude with a note of his to an unsuccessful and tedious contributor unknown1:—

January 1, 1835.

Sir,—I cannot admit literary labour to be placed,

1 For this letter I have to thank Mr. George Dunlop, of Kilmarnock, who bought the original from a dealer.

as you seem to desire, on the same level with that of the bricklayer or plumber. I consider it as entitled to be thought of as at least as respectable a concern as that of the tailor or bootmaker, who never demand to be paid for articles of their manufacture that don’t fit.

“I never ordered a review from you, to be accepted by me whatever its merits or demerits: I only, at your own request, sanctioned your trying to make an article suitable for the Quarterly on the subject of the Byzantines, which subject you told me you had curiously and elaborately studied. It was this previous study that I relied on in listening to your proposal; but I well knew the difference between sketching an outline and finishing an essay, and was not surprised, though sorry, when I found your performance a very poor affair.—Your obedient servant,

J. G. Lockhart.”