Letter from Mr. Carlyle referred to in vol. ii. p. 160.
EDINBURGH, 21 COMELY BANK, 13th April 1828.
SIR,--In February last I had the honour to receive a letter from Von Goethe, announcing the speedy departure, from Weimar, of a Packet for me, in which, among other valuables, should be found "two medals," to be delivered "_mit verbindlichsten Grüssen"_ to Sir Walter Scott. By a slow enough conveyance this _Kästchen_, with its medals in perfect safety, has at length yesterday come to hand, and now lays on me the enviable duty of addressing you.
Among its multifarious contents, the Weimar Box failed not to include a long letter--considerable portion of which, as it virtually belongs to yourself, you will now allow me to transcribe. Perhaps it were thriftier in me to reserve this for another occasion; but considering how seldom such a Writer obtains such a Critic, I cannot but reckon it pity that this friendly intercourse between them should be anywise delayed.
"Sehen Sie Herrn Walter Scott, so sagen Sie ihm auf das verbindlichste in meinem Namen Dank für den lieben heitern Brief, gerade in dem schönen Sinne geschrieben, dass der Mensch dem Menschen werth seyn müsse. So auch habe ich dessen Leben Napoleon's erhalten und solches in diesen Winterabenden und Nächten von Anfang bis zu Ende mit Aufmerksamkeit durchgelesen.
"Mir war höchst bedeutend zu sehen, wie sich der erste Erzähler des Jahrhunderts einem so ungemeinen Geschäft unterzieht und uns die überwichtigen Begebenheiten, deren Zeuge zu seyn wir gezwungen wurden, in fertigem Zuge vorüberführt. Die Abtheilung durch Capitel in grosse zusammengehörige Massen giebt den verschlungenen Ereignissen die reinste Fasslichkeit, und so wird dann auch der Vortrag des Einzelnen auf das unschätzbarste deutlich und anschaulich.
"Ich las es im Original, und da wirkte es ganz eigentlich seiner Natur nach. Es ist ein patriotischer Britte der spricht, der die Handlungen des Feindes nicht wohl mit günstigen Augen ansehen kann, der als ein rechtlicher Staatsbürger zugleich mit den Unternehmungen der Politik auch die Forderungen der Sittlichkeit befriedigt wünscht, der den Gegner, im frechen Laufe des Glücks, mit unseligen Folgen bedroht, und auch im bittersten Verfall ihn kaum bedauern kann.
"Und so war mir noch ausserdem das Werk von der grössten Bedeutung, indem es mich an das Miterlebte theils erinnerte, theils mir manches Uebersehene nun vorführte, mich auf einem unerwarteten Standpunkt versetzte, mir zu erwägen gab was ich für abgeschlossen hielt, und besonders auch mich befähigte die Gegner dieses wichtigen Werkes, an denen es nicht fehlen kann, zu beurtheilen und die Einwendungen, die sie von ihrer Seite vortragen, zu würdigen.
Sie sehen hieraus dass zu Ende des Jahres keine höhere Gabe hätte zu mir gelangen können. Es ist dieses Werk mir zu einem goldenen Netz geworden, womit ich die Schattenbilder meines vergangenen Lebens aus den Lethes-Fluthen mit reichem Zuge herauszuforschen mich beschäftige.
"Ungefähr dasselbige denke ich in dem nächsten Stücke von _Kunst und Alterthum_ zu sagen."
With regard to the medals, which are, as I expected, the two well-known likenesses of Goethe himself, it could be no hard matter to dispose of them safely here, or transmit them to you, if you required it, without delay: but being in this curious fashion appointed as it were Ambassador between two Kings of Poetry, I would willingly discharge my mission with the solemnity that beseems such a business, and naturally it must flatter my vanity and love of the marvellous, to think that, by means of a Foreigner whom I have never seen, I might now have access to my native Sovereign, whom I have so often seen in public and so often wished that I had claim to see and know in private and near at hand.--Till Whitsunday I continue to reside here; and shall hope that some time before that period I may have opportunity to wait on you, and, as my commission bore, to hand you these memorials in person.
Meanwhile I abide your further orders in this matter; and so, with all the regard which belongs to one to whom I in common with other millions owe so much,--I have the honour to be,
Sir, most respectfully your servant, THOMAS CARLYLE.
Besides the _two_ medals specially intended for you, there have come _four_ more, which I am requested generally to dispose of amongst "_Wohlwollenden_," Perhaps Mr. Lockhart, whose merits in respect of German Literature, and just appreciation of this its Patriarch and Guide, are no secret, will do me the honour to accept of one and direct me through your means how I am to have it conveyed?
Translation of the Letter from Goethe.
Should you see Sir Walter Scott, be so kind as return to him my most grateful thanks for his dear and cheerful letter,--a letter written in just that beautiful temper which makes one man feel himself to be worth something to another. Say, too, that I received his Life of Napoleon, and have read it this winter--in the evening and at night--with attention from beginning to end. To me it was full of meaning to observe how the first novelist of the century took upon himself a task and business, so apparently foreign to him, and passed under review with rapid stroke those important events of which it had been our fate to be eye-witnesses. The division into chapters, embracing masses of intimately connected events, gives a clearness to the historical sequence that otherwise might have been only too easily confused, while, at the same time, the individual events in each chapter are described with a clearness and a vividness quite invaluable.
I read the work in the original, and the impression it made upon me was thus free from the disturbing influence of a foreign medium. I found myself listening to the words of a patriotic Briton, who finds it impossible to regard the actions of the enemy with a favourable eye,--an honest citizen this, whose desire is, that while political considerations shall always receive due weight, the demands of morality shall never be overlooked; one who, while the enemy is borne along in his wanton course of good fortune, cannot forbear to point with warning finger to the inevitable consequences, and in his bitterest disaster can with difficulty find him worthy of a tear.
The book was in yet another respect of the greatest importance to me, in that it brought back to my remembrance events through which I had lived--now showing me much that I had overlooked, now transplanting me to some unexpected standpoint, thus forcing me to reconsider a question which I had looked upon as settled, and in a special manner putting me in a position to pass judgment upon the unfavourable critics of this book--for these cannot fail--and to estimate at their true value the objections which are sure to be made from their side. From all this you will understand how the end of last year could have brought with it no gift more welcome to me than this book. The work has become to me as it were a golden net, wherewith I can recover from out the waves of Lethe the shadowy pictures of my past life, and in that rich draught I am finding my present employment.
I intend making a few remarks to the same purpose in the next number of _Kunst und Alterthum_.
 It is much to be regretted that Scott and Carlyle never met. The probable explanation is that the admirable letter now printed _in extenso_, coming into a house where there was sickness, and amid the turmoil of London life, was carefully laid aside for reply at a more convenient season. This season, unfortunately, never came. Scott did not return to Scotland until June 3d, and by that time Carlyle had left Edinburgh and settled at Craigenputtock. He must, however, have seen Scott subsequently, as he depicts him in the memorable words, "Alas! his fine Scottish face, with its shaggy honesty and goodness, when we saw it latterly in the Edinburgh streets, was all worn with care--the joy all fled from it, and ploughed deep with labour and sorrow."
Mr. Lockhart once said to a friend that he regretted that they had never met, and gave as a reason the state of Scott's health.
 This purpose Goethe seems to have carried out, for in the "Chronologie" which is printed in the two-volume edition of his works, published at Stuttgart 1837 (vol. ii. page 663), the following entry is found:--"1827. Ueber neuere französische Literatur.--Ueber chinesische Gedichte.--_Ueber das Leben Napoleon's von Walter Scott_."
_Contents of the Volume of Irish Manuscript referred to_, vol. ii. p. 289.
1. The rudiments of an Irish Grammar and Prosody; the first leaf wanting.
2. The Book of _Rights_; giving an account of ye rents and subsidies of the kings and princes of Ireland. It is said to have (been) written by Beinin MacSescnen, the Psalmist of Saint Patrick. It is entirely in verse, except a few sentences of prose taken from ye booke of Glandelogh.
3. A short poem giving an account of ye disciples and favourites of St. Patrick.
4. A poem of Eochy O Flyn's; giving an account of the followers of Partholan, the first invader of Ireland after the flood.
5. A poem written by Macliag, Brian Boruay's poet Laureat. It gives an account of the twelve sons of Kennedy, son of Lorcan, Brian's father; and of ye Dalcassian race in general.
6. A book of annals from the year 976 to 1014, including a good account of the battle of Clontarf, etc.
7. A collection of Historical poems by different authors, such as O Dugan, etc., and some extracts, as they seem, from the psalter of Cashill, written by Cormac-mac-Cuilinan, Archbishop and King of Leath Mogha, towards the beginning or middle of the ninth century; Cobhach O Carmon and O Heagusa have their part in these poems. In them are interspersed many other miscellaneous tracts, among which is one called Sgeul-an-Erin, but deficient, wherein mention is made of Garbh mac Stairn, said to be slain by Cuchullin; a treatise explaining the Ogham manner of writing which is preserved in this book; the privileges of the several kings and princes of Ireland, in making their tours of the Kingdom, and taking their seats at the Feis of Tara; and an antient moral and political poem as an advice to princes and chieftains, other poems and prophecies, etc., chronological and religious, disposed in no certain order.
8. The last will and testament of Cormac-mac-Cuilinan in verse.
9. The various forms of the Ogham.
10. The death of Cuchullin, an antient story interspersed with poems, which, if collected, would contain the entire substance of the composition, which is very good (except in one instance) and founded on real fact.
11. The bloody revenge of Conall Cearnach for the death of Cuchullin. This may be considered as the sequel of the preceding story, and of equal authority and antiquity. It is written in the very same style, and contains a beautiful elegy on Cuchullin by his wife Eimhir.
12. The death of Cormac Con luings, written in the same style with the foregoing stories.
13. The genealogies of all ye principal Irish and Anglo-Norman families of Ireland to the end.
14. A very good copy of the Cath-Gabhra.
The above table of contents is in the handwriting of Dr. Matthew Young, late Bishop of Clonfert, a man possessing the highest talents and learning, and who had been acquainted with the Irish language from his infancy. J.B.
"_A Former Empress_."--P. 451.
The Church of Santa Maria del Carmine contains relics dear alike to the romance of democracy and empire. It was from this church that Masaniello harangued the fickle populace in vain; it was here that he was despatched by three bandits in the pay of the Duke of Maddaloni; and here he found an honourable interment during a rapid reflux of popular favour. In this church, too, lies Conradin the last prince of the great house of Suabia, with his companion in arms and in death, Frederic, son of the Margrave of Baden, with pretensions, through his mother, to the Dukedom of Austria. The features of the mediæval building have long since been obliterated by reconstructions of the 17th and 18th centuries, while round the tomb of Conradin a tissue of fictions has been woven by the piety and fondness of after times. The sceptics of modern research do not, however, forbid us to believe that there may be an element of truth in the beautiful legend of the visit and benefactions of Elizabeth Margaret of Bavaria, the widowed mother of Conradin, erroneously dignified with the title of Empress, to the resting-place of her son. Her statue in the convent, with a purse in her hand, seems to attest the tale, which was no doubt related to the Scottish Poet, and may well have stirred his fancy. What the epitaph was which he copied we cannot now determine. It is not pretended that the unhappy lady was buried here, but two inscriptions commemorate the ferocity of Charles of Anjou, and the vicissitudes of fortune which befell his victims. One, believed to be of great antiquity, is attached to a cross or pillar erected at the place of execution. It breathes the insolence of the conqueror mingled with a barbarous humour embodied in a play on words--for "Asturis" has a double reference to the kite and to the place "Astura," at which the fugitive Princes were captured:
"Asturis ungue Leo Pullum rapiens Aquilinum Hic deplumavit, acephalumque dedit."
The other lines, in the Church, of more modern date, are conceived in a humaner spirit, and may possibly be those which touched the heart of the old worshipper of chivalry.
Ossibvs et memoriæ Conradini de Stovffen, vltimi ex sva progenie Sveviæ dveis, Conradi Rom. Regis F. et Friderici II, imp. nepotis, qui cvm Siciliæ et Apvliæ regna exercitv valido, vti hereditaria vindicare proposvisset, a Carolo Andegavio I. hvivs nominis rege Franco cæperani in agro Palento victvs et debellatvs extitit, deniqve captvs cvm Frederico de Asbvrgh vltimo ex linea Avstriæ dvce, itineris, ac eivsdem fortvnæ sotio, hic cvm aliis (proh scelvs) a victore rege secvri percvssvs est.
Pivm Neap. coriariorvm collegivm, hvmanarvm miseriarvm memor, loco in ædicvlam redacto, illorvm memoriam ab interitv conservavit.
(For the details of the death of Conradin and the stories connected with his memory see Summonte, _Storia di Napoli_, vol. ii. Celano, _Notizie di Napoli Giornata Quarta_, and St. Priest, _Histoire de la Conquête de Naples_, vol. iii.)
"Mother Goose's Tales," p. 459. _The following note by a distinguished authority on Nursery Tales, will be read with interest._
"It is unfortunate that Sir Walter Scott did not record in his Diary the dates of the Neapolitan collection of 'Mother Goose's Tales,' and of the early French editions with which he was acquainted. He may possibly have meant Basile's _Lo Cunto de li cunti_ (Naples, 1637-44 and 1645), which contains some stories analogous to those which Scott mentions. There can be no doubt, however, that France, not Italy, can claim the shapes of _Blue Beard_, _The Sleeping Beauty_, _Puss in Boots_, and the other 'Tales of Mother Goose,' which are known best in England. Other forms of these nursery traditions exist, indeed, not only in Italian, but in most European and some Asiatic and African languages. But their classical shape in literature is that which Charles Perrault gave them, in his _Contes de ma Mère l'Oie_, of 1697. Among the 'early French editions' which Sir Walter knew, probably none were older than Dr. Douce's copy of 1707, now in the Bodleian. The British Museum has no early copy. There was an example of the First Edition sold in the Hamilton sale: another, or the same, in blue morocco, belonged to Charles Nodier, and is described in his _Mélanges_. The only specimen in the Public Libraries of Paris is in the Bibliothèque Victor Cousin. It is probable that the 'dumpy duodecimo' in the Neapolitan dialect, seen by Scott, was a translation of Perrault's famous little work. The stories in it, which are not in the early French editions, may be _L'Adroite Princesse_, by a lady friend of Perrault's, and _Peau d'Ane_ in prose, a tale which Perrault told only in verse. These found their way into French and Flemish editions after 1707. Our earliest English translation seems to be that of 1729, and the name of 'Mother Goose' does not appear to occur in English literature before that date. It is probably a translation of 'Ma Mère l'Oie,' who gave her name to such old wives' fables in France long before Perrault's time, as the spider, Ananzi, gives his name to the 'Nancy Stories' of the negroes in the West Indies. Among Scott's Century of Inventions, unfulfilled projects for literary work, few are more to be regretted than his intended study of the origin of Popular Tales, a topic no longer thought 'obnoxious to ridicule.'"--A.L.
DESCENDANTS OF SIR WALTER SCOTT.
SIR WALTER SCOTT, == CHARLOTTE CARPENTER, d. Sept. 21, 1832. d. May 14, 1826. | ____________________________________|______________________________________________ | | | | SOPHIA, == JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART, WALTER, = JANE JOBSON. ANNE, CHARLES, d. May 1837. | d. Nov. 25, 1854. d. Feb. 8, d. 1877. d. June 1833. d. Oct. 28, 1841, | 1847, _s.p._ | _s.p._ |____________________________________________ | | | JOHN HUGH, WALTER SCOTT, CHARLOTTE, == JAMES HOPE. d. Dec. 15, 1831. d. Jan. 1853, d. Oct. 26, | d. April 29, _s.p._ 1858. | 1873. ________________________________________________|________ | | | MARY MONICA,==HON. JOSEPH MAXWELL, WALTER MICHAEL, MARGARET ANNE, | d. 1858. d. 1858. | ____________________________|__________________________________________________________________________ | | | | | | | WALTER MARY WINIFRED MARY JOSEPH MICHAEL, ALICE MARY MALCOLM JOSEPH MARGARET MARY JOSEPH, JOSEPHINE, JOSEPHINE, b. May 25, JOSEPHINE, RAPHAEL, LUCY, b. April 10, b. June 5, b. March 7, 1878, 1880. b. Oct. 9, b. Oct. 22, b. Dee. 13, 1875. 1876. d. March 12, 1880. 1881. 1883. 1886.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Sorry, no summary available yet.