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ing in parts, but like the generality of contain some really fine passages. The books, with shepherds and shepherdesses Numantia " celebrates the noble senfor heroes and heroines, it is tedious as timent of patriotism. It is founded a whole. This work contains six books, upon the story of the siege of that city, and was left unfinished.
when the inhabitants rather than surThe “Persiles y Sisigmunda,” a story render to the Romans, perished amid of the North, the latest production of the flames of their desolated homes. Cervantes, and the one which of all he “Life in Algiers" contains a vivid loved the best, is a most wild and im- picture of the sufferings of the Christian probable romance,exceeding even in fan-captives in Moorish slavery, and was intastic extravagance the tales of chivalry tended by the author as an excitement he had satirised so successfully in the to the Spanish government to undertake “Don Quixote.” Nevertheless, it is a active measures for the redemption of model of elegance and perfect purity of all such captives. We shall not attempt style, and rich in flashes of genius, amid any analysis of these two dramas, that all its eccentricities, and, therefore, de- having been already so admirably done serving well a place among the Spanish by M. Sismondi in his excellent work classics.
on the “ Literature of the South of It remains to contemplate Cervantes Europe.” as a dramatist and a poet. His fame And here we close our sketch of the as such rests entirely, we think, upon his life and writings of Miguel de Cervantes two plays, the “ Numantia,” and “El Saavedra; the brightest ornament that Trato de Argel ;" for they both contain shines out amid Spanish literary rehigher flights of poetry than the “ Viaje cords; a man of heroic soul, of fair and al Parneso," or any other of his poeti- broad humanity, and of highest genius, cal attempts. He who has once read of whom his country has, indeed, truest the “ Journey to Parnassus,” will not reason for pride and self-gratulation. often revert to it again; but the dramas
M. J E.
DR. DAVID MACBETH MOIR.
(DELTA) Dr. David MACBETH Moir was born | Latin, Greek and French languages, at Musselburgh, a sea-port town of Scot- besides making some progress in geoland, situated about six miles east of metry and algebra. His boyhood was Edinburgh, on the 5th of January, of a healthy sort, marked by no very 1798. His parents were respectable striking features, yet full of that boncitizens. He was the second of four hommie which the juvenile man invachildren, two of whom, Hugh Moir and riably indulges in, when his elastic spirit Charles Moir, are still living. The is not broken by premature troubles, father of this family died in 1817, the He was fond of innocent sports, and mother in 1842. The father of Dr. took a hearty share in the out-door Moir was a man of high worth and es- games of boyhood. A warm, enthusitablished respectability; the mother was astic nature of a highly imaginative a woman of refined feeling and exalted cast, always evinces itself in boyhood, intellect, who gave every encourage in a love of green fields and athletic ment to the mental growth of her chil- sports; and the remembrance, in after dren, and afforded them every possible life, of these exciting scenes of pleasure, facility for the acquisition of a know- is a constant source of refreshment to ledge of literature.
the soul of a high-toned man. In his Young Moir received the first rudi- full manhood, Moir found it a peculiar ments of his education at a small school pleasure to call to mind the old lurkin Musselburgh, from which he was ing-places of hunt-the-hare;" and the removed to the grammar-school, and “old fantastic beech-tree," from the placed under the training of Mr. Taylor. boughs of which he and his compaHere he acquired a knowledge of the nions suspended their swings. The
green bank where they played at leap- During the week he lodged in a small frog, or gathered dandelions for their room in Shakspere-square. His days tame rabbits; and the worm-eaten, wea- were spent in hard work at the theatre ther-worn deal seat where they assem- of the college, or in the various classes ; bled on autumn evenings to tell the his evenings at Carfrae's sale-rooms, round of stories, wonderful traditions, where he staked his last shilling against household memories, and recitals of all comers in a fierce bidding for a chivalric enterprise, were all to be noted, choice book. On Saturday night he years afterwards, when the heart was exhibited his purchases to his friends, capable of a new thrill, and could revert and indulged in a few harmless speculato the past with a tenderness, which tions as to how many volumes it recalled forth tears. It is just in this quires to form a library, and how many sympathy with the simple and the true years to purchase it at an expenditure --this gush of feeling under the touch of five shillings a week. Now and then of memory's magic-wand—that we re- he indulged himself with a visit to the cognise the poet by nature, who is none theatre, to see the performances of Mrs. the less a poet, though he never writes Siddons, Miss O'Neill, John Kemble, a line, because his very constitution is or Edmund Kean. poetic.
His apprenticeship concluded, he got At the age of thirteen, Moir was ap: his diploma as a surgeon in the spring prenticed to Dr. Stewart, a medical of 1816, when he was only eighteen practitioner in Musselburgh, a man of years of age. A long-cherished notion considerable talent, who took his pupil with him had been to enter the army ; under the influence of a love for him, but the battle of Waterloo had so altered rather than as a trick of business. He the state of military affairs, that this entered upon life thus early, and com- purpose was abandoned. He accordmenced his duties with a cheerful zeal; ingly returned home from Edinburgh, and, in a short time, so gained upon the and spent the summer in literary purconfidence of his master, as to be re- suits, contributing to the “ Scot's Magagarded as a personal friend.
zine,” and taking an active part in a " Business first, literary recreation debating-club, called the “Musselburgh next, and poetry the prince of it; such Forum." Of this society he was secrewas the key-note on which Moir pitched tary, and so respected was he for his his life and kept it to the end." His zeal in serving the society, that the first poetical attempt bears the date of members, at the close of their session, 1812, when he was in his fifteenth year. voted him a silver medal, suitably inLike most juvenile attempts, this was scribed. It is a suggestive fact, that the only “good considering” certainly not greater part of our men of letters have worthy of preservation. Soon after this, gained their earliest experiences in conhe contrived to get two short prose nection with debating-clubs. Towards essays into the “Cheap Magazine," a the end of this same year, he ventured smail Haddington publication. The on the publication of a volume, entianxieties connected with this his “ first tled, “ The. Bombardment of Algiers, appearance in print,” recalls to the mind and Other Poems,” the edition of which the anecdote told by Dickens, of his was wholly consumed by his friends. mysterious dropping of a sealed packet Mr. Aird speaks of this as a "performinto a dark letter-box in Fleet-street, ance not without promise;" an expresand then hovering near the office, on sion to be accepted as the most gentle publishing day, to catch the tidings of mode of describing a failure; and of all its fate. Moir used to relate how, burnt dull books this is a dull one indeed. up with eager impatience, he shot out In 1817, young Moir—then only nineinto the streets of Musselburgh to await teen years of age--entered into partnerthe coach which brought the magazine ship with Dr. Brown, of Musselburgh, from Haddington, and then and there who had an extensive and lucrative found himself a veritable published practice, in the town and suburbs. Moir's author. As his apprenticeship wore father was just dead, and his mother was out, he began his attendance at Edin-left dependent on her son. The duties burgh College. Every Monday he of this new position found him pre. walked up to his classes, and returned pared to meet them, and filial love home on Saturday night, to spend the usurped the mastery of his large heart. Sabbath in the family circle.
Many a time,” says his brother
Charles, “have I heard my mother, open school; very prone to common who was a woman of a strong mind, sense, and quite conscious that he had record with a tearful eye the struggles a body. “I am far from delicate," he of that period, and the noble bearing of says in a letter to Dr. Macnish, in 1828, her son David, who carried her success- " I have not been confined fourteen days fully through all her difficulties." to bed, for the last twenty years—a
But now he began to cultivate his pretty good sign that my constitution is literary talents with an assiduity which not naturally a very tender one. So far matched well with his steadfastness of from it. I am much more known in the aim and character. He read diligently town of Musselburgh, among the proin the brief intervals which his hard fanum vulgus, for my gymnastic proprofessional tasks afforded him; and ficiency than for anynental capabilities, with a wonderful facility of expres- and many could give evidence to my sion, he wrote off with great ease any prowess in leaping, running, swimidea which had occurred to him during ming, and skating; whoever dreamt the prosecution of his duties. He made that I penned a sonnet when I should the acquaintance of Mr. Thomas Pringle, engross?” author of the “ Autumnal Excursions," Yet in spite of this vigour of frame and one of the editors of " Constable's he possessed å nervous system tremEdinburgh Magazine,” to which journal blingly delicate, and most strictly in Moir became a frequent contributor. harmony with the sensitiveness of his This mixture of business and literature polished mind. His adolescence was taxed his powers to the utmost, and for marked by bashfulness, arising from the small pinch of attic salt he had to nervous excitement, which it required pay some heavy penalties. “When the many years' rough battling with the duties of the day were over,” says his world to eradicate, and for which, indeed, brother Charles, "and it was always there is no other remedy. It was under nine or ten o'clock in the evening before the influence of this strange feelinghe could count on that-after supper certainly under a morbid influence of the candle was lighted in his bed-room, some kind or other, the consequence, and the work of the desk began. Having doubtless, of over-excitement of the shared the same room with him for brain—that he wrote those early pieces many years in my early life, the routine of verse, in which the prevailing sentiof those nights is as fresh in my mind ment is melancholy, and regret for the as if it had been but yesterday. With past. These breathings of melodious that loving-kindness of heart, and that sadness were, however, by no means tender care for others, which was the peculiar to his youth, for all through, distinguishing feature of his character, his poetry is tinged with the same exhe used to persuade me to retire to rest; pression, and in such a way as to prove and many a time have I awoke, when that had he given himself up to meditathe night was far spent, and wondered | tions in the closet, he would have beto find him still at his books and pen.” come a confirmed victim of hypochon
Under these circumstances did Moir driasis, instead of, as he was, one of the pass his youth, and enter
heartiest of men, and healthiest of of manhood. No pale student was he, writers. 'wasting his soul in thin ballads,” but The series of poems originally puba right hearty Scot, robust in constitu- lished, under the general appellative of tion, and with a strong tendency to Moods of the Mind,” indicate by their athletic sports and amusements. Most general particular titles the peculiar of our youths are sentimental from a sensibility from which they sprang ; deficiency of manly feeling, or, alas ! each poem being the representative of a a deficiency of brains; but your true “Mood,” and that mood usually of the man, who is to do something in his life- gloomy sort. Of these “ Despondency, time, and “ leave the print of his heel a Reverie,” “The Isle of Despair,” “The on the earth,” affects no paleness of the Cypress Tree,” “Midnight Wanderings,”. countenance, no paradoxical mysticism and “Reflections on a Ruined Abbey," in conversation, and if he sighs or sheds are suggestive enough on their bare a tear, it is not advertised like the enumeration, and strikingly illustrate prayer of the Pharisee, but endured in how a character of the most practical secret like the sincere emotions of the turn may grow out of a purely conpublican. Moir was just of this frank, I templative and melancholy nature,
under the stern schooling which con- of which is taken from the picture retact with the world affords.
presenting the temptations of St. AnIt is at this point that we get into the thony, and adapted to the situation and pith and marrow of Moir's life, which clothed in the images supplied by Scotwas one of hard work from this hour tish Puritanism. This poem was pubforward. From 1817 to 1828, he never lished in 1819, when Delta was twentyslept a night out of Musselburgh, but one, and is a performance rich in from day to day, and from night to promise. The poems just referred to, night, discharged the heavy duties of 5 Moods of the Mind,” follow this, and, his medical practice, with a manful simultaneous with these, a series of assiduity, and a Christian kindness, Biblical sketches, comprising, “ Elijah," such as form the chief elements in our "The Casting forth of Jordan,” and beau ideal of a medical man. Yet, “ The Vision of Zechariah.” Following between the laborious morning and these were some miscellaneous pieces, evening visits, and the frequent jingling Emma, a Tale,” in sound blank verse of the night-bell”—that brass-tongued --setting forth how a maiden," all ogre of the doctor's pillow—he stole a forlorn,” dreams of her lover, who has few intervals of rest for the cultivation gone to join the "holy wars in Palesof his literary powers, and now he steps tine,” and how, in her dream, she has a into the bold arena of “ Blackwood's vision of the battle-field, where nightMagazine," a sufficient honour in itself broods, and bird, and beastfor the most enthusiastic ambition.
Have come to gorge A manuscript magazine, projected by
On the unburied dead. Rider and horse,
The lofty and the low, commingled lie, Moir, and mainly kept up by himself,
Unbreathing; and the balmy evening gale had brought him a little fame in Mus- Fitfully lifts the feathers on the crest selburgh, and, what is more, had af
Of one who slumbers with his visor up. forded him a field for practice, and em- The "one” is her absent lover, whose boldened by the success of his contribu- return she pines for; and when “raditions to this very local serial, he sent ant morn appears," and upon the “ivy in some pieces to Maga, then plethoric wreath” the robin sings," with sound with young blood, and pulsing with of trumpet, drum, and tramp of men life and jollity. Mr. Blackwood was a and steed, that“ one,' * Young Ethel man of rare sagacity, and he appre-rid,” returns, and like a faithful knight ciated and encouraged the new con- of those old steel-clad times, tributor,
Kneels at her feet in ecstacy, The pieces contributed were often of
And lifts her snowy fingers to his lips. the most opposite kind, drab colour “The Vision,"
“ Reflections on a to-day, harlequin's spangles to-morrow, Brumal Scene," "The Silent Eve," and anon, the painted drollery of the "To Margaret,” “ Afar, Oh Ladye Fair, red-lipped clown, shaking you from away!" " Elegy composed on the Field head to foot with laughter at his drol- of Pinkie,” “Stanzas on the Re-Interlery. “ The Eve of St. Jerry," " The ment of King Robert Bruce," Ancient Waggoner,” and others of the Snowy Eve," The Wild Rose,” togesame rollicking cast, were let off in ther with “Sonnets on the Chief Localicompany with sweet, tender strains, ties of Interest in Scotland," Sir filled with plaintive melody, like touches Harold,” and Hymn to the Night of flute music, or the cooing of ring-Wind,” are the chief of these early doves. It is strange, though true, that pieces. although these various contributions We are thus particular in enumerating were sent anonymously—the touches of the early productions of Delta, in order humour being attributed by the public that the reader, curious in such matters, to Maginn-yet Mr. Blackwood scented may note how the development of genius out their identity, and saw in the queer needs time as a primary element; and song and the “plaintive pleading of not time only, but hard work, under the regret,” the diverse efforts of the same impulse of a set purpose, and with ex. hand.
perience to cool the crude ardour of The first of his pieces to which the youthful enthusiasm. In the case of renowned a was attached, and to which Delta the growth of a mind is most he owed his popular cognomen of Delta, beautifully marked in the steady imwas “ The Covenanter's Heather Bed,” provement of a power which lurks under a poem of considerable merit, the ideal these early effusions, showing that they
spring from a rich and virgin soil, yet They became united as brothers, and need the pruning of experience and art so great was the confidence reposed in to reduce them to symmetrical propor- Moir by Galt, that when hurried off to tions.
America before he could get his novel, But these early pieces, however im- the “ Last of the Lairds,” finished, he perfect in themselves, compared with left his friend to write the concluding the latest productions of his pen, were chapters, involving, of course, the windin the right vein, and soon became ing up—that all-important part of a exceedingly popular. Hence a, the novel —and this task was completed in shadow, of which Moir was the sub- a manner so ingenious as to furnish the stance, was soon looked for in the friends, when they met again, with a monthly issue of the Tory thunderer, source of mirth almost inexhaustible. and with young people especially, the It is often said the more a man does, contributions soon became especial fa- the more he is able to do; and it is vourites. While popularity was growing truly surprising what an amount of out of doors, Delta was slowly, but energy Delta displayed in literature at surely, gaining admission to the select this time, when we consider that at the literary circles of Edinburgh, and, same time the harassing tasks of his through Mr. Blackwood, became per- professional life were never once negsonally acquainted with several of the lected, but pursued with an increasing leading writers of the magazine, and, and increasing ardour. His medical among others, Professor Wilson. What practice extended, his friends increased Wilson thought of the young poet, on in number, and the demands on his talent his first acquaintance with him, we are became more and more frequent. From not told, but the way in which the large- the night journey in the hail or snow, or hearted wizard gains a mastery over the long watch beside the bed of some hundreds of fine youths, is thus hit off poor recipient of his medical skill and by Mr. Aird. An essay is submitted to tender heartedness, he would retire to him as professor, editor or friend, by his study and pen delicate ballads, some worthy young man.
Mr. Wilson familiar epistles, essays, sonnets, and does not like it, and says so in general hic hymns. Into Blackwood he terms. The youth is not satisfied, and, poured all sorts of contributions, from in the tone of one rather injured, begs grave verse down to mock-heroics, imito know specific faults. The generous tations, cockney love songs, puns, paroAristarch, never dealing haughtily with dies, freaks, fantasies, and all other a young worth, instantly sits down, and sorts of queer, quizzical and funny begins by conveying, in the most fear-things; yet with no vulgarity, no wilful less terms of praise, his sense of that distortion of kindly feelings, but, ever worth ; but, this done, woe be to the true to nature and humanity, and with luckless piece of prose, or
numerous a clever sparkle which had no gall Down goes the scalpel with the in it. most minute savagery of dissection,
At the close of 1824, Delta published and the whole tissues and ramifications a selection of his contributions to the of fault are laid naked and bare. The magazines, together with a few new young man is astonished; but his pieces, in a volume, entitled, “A Legend pature is of the right sort; he never of Genevieve, with other Tales and forgets the lesson; and with bands of Poems.” It was a misfortune or misfilial affection stronger than hooks of take at starting to give “ The Legend of steel, he is knit for life to the man who Genevieve” so much predominance in has dealt with him thus. The severe the title, for it is by no means one of service was once done to Delta; he was his best productions, and much inferior the
young man to profit by it, and his to many other pieces in the book. “The acquaintanceship with the professor Hymn to the Morn” and “Hymn to
gradually ripened into a friendship, the Night Wind," are, perhaps, the finest not to be dissolved but at the grave's in the book-gems in their way, both mouth."
for lyrical sweetness and felicity of Soon afterwards a friendship of a sin- thought. The book did not sell, such cere and lasting sort sprang up between books never do: in ninety-nine cases out Delta and Mr. Galt, the novelist, who of every hundred they are either sent came to live at Eskgrove, in the imme- after dark to some friendly cheesemonger diate neighbourhood of Musselburgh. who is so burnt up with a passion for