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Balfour, in Fifeshire, a gentleman of considerable fortune and most agreeable talents. He had retired from the army on succeeding to his patrimony, and now divided his time between Paris, London, Bath, Cheltenham, and his estate ; and a most delightful life he had of it. The moment my engagement was concluded, he insisted upon my giving him a month at Balfour. He was a bachelor on the wrong side,' as it is termed, of fifty' Two old maiden aunts, of the most primitive character, lived with him. Neither of them had ever visited Edinburgh more than once, and had never crossed the border. They were extremely formal and extremely kind. On my arrival at the mansion, about five o'clock, I found I had only time to prepare my toilet and be presented before dinner. I entered the drawing-room and was introduced to the ladies, who had, it appears, previously been made acquainted with my profession; when to my friend's horror, and my own great amusement, one of them, in a formal set manner, requested I would favor them with a speech! I immediately commenced, to their infinite satisfaction, with, ' Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,' etc. This became a regular joke, at least with the Colonel ; and upon our dining at Wemys Castle, and other mansions in that most hospitable country, I was regularly asked, in the presence of the ladies, to make a speech.

I will not describe the effect produced upon me on this my first visit to Edinburgh by its singularly romantic appearance. The blending of the modern and the antique, the Grecian and the Gothic, gives to the first glance of the stranger an absorbing interest. I had a letter to WALTER Scott, the great magician, but he was absent, and of course I did not take the liberty of hunting the lion in his den. I had the honor, some time after, of passing three days with him at Abbotsford, through a letter of introduction from one of his earliest friends, WILLIAM ERSKINE, a man of most refined taste, and distinguished as one of the Scottish Judges. I shall have reason to refer to this visit, without need. lessly dwelling upon it now.

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THE STAR-SYSTEM; GUY MANNERING IN LONDON, ETC.

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OUR London season commenced with a great variety of attraction; and let me remark, that the Drama would never have been in so melancholy a position as it now is, had the same tone of management continued. The first severe blow was given by Elliston, who with all his talent and eccentricity was a great charlatan, and was very honestly entitled to the distinguished appellation of King Humbug, which he appeared so desirous to obtain. Under his management commenced that ruinous and pernicious system of stars,' which served to annihi. late the ambition of each tyro in the profession, and place all hopes of his advancement in a dim and miserable perspective. A great effort was made to vitiate the public taste ; and unhappily, to a certain extent it succeeded. An audience is no longer induced to visit the theatre for the

purpose of enjoying a dramatic festival; but flaming letters and exaggerated pretensions are thrust forward to usurp the undivided favor of the public. The reigning characteristic of taste is fickleness; and I regret to say

that managers, instead of opposing it by all the means in their

power, have endeavored to encourage it. We have, for instance, Mr. W. Farren, an admirable actor doubtless, usurping the highest position in an establishment, and exacting from the management such terms as can only be met by placing the other branches of the profession in the humiliating situation of comparative penury and distress ; while the unbounded vanity and pretensions of the one, operate to the ruin of all the rest. Will that excellent actor, Mr. FARREN, recollect that there was an artist of the name of Munden, whose talent was of the highest order, although bordering occasionally on caricature, and who was contented to mingle his versatile powers with those of the celebrated names which surrounded him ? He never ventured to dictate to authors, that if such and such a part were written to show off the abilities of another performer, he would not perform in the play! What then becomes of the spirit of emulation, without which no artist can be truly great ? The system is, in fact, to recommend one species of excellence, and destroy the sense of all other merit. The genius of the author is necessarily cramped, for he is compelled to write under stipulations and restrictions, that dam up the current of his natural feelings, in the fear that his hoped. for production may be thrown aside, if the leading actor declines the performance of a character, simply because it does not occupy the sole and undivided attraction of the play. Another objection may be very rationally urged, namely: that from the want of that stimulus which can only be excited by surrounding talent, the exclusive actor degenerates into mannerism, and loses all the force and beauty of variety. He of necessity becomes toujours perdrix ; and Sir Peter Teazle and old

; Cockletop are to be distinguished by the difference of dress, but not by any marked definition of character.

The muse of the Great Unknown had taken at this period a deep root in England, France and Germany. His charming poetry had yielded to the powerful and daring genius of Byron, and he lost not a moment in striking out a new path, unapproachable to any other steps. The magic influence of his pen gave life and being to persons and events hitherto scarcely known by the intervening generations to exist; and all the beautiful fiction of romance interwoven as it was with great historical research, interested the public mind in a manner almost unprecedented. Scissors and paste were put in requisition by the half-dramatists of the day, and with the aid of those powerful auxiliaries, many a tolerable operatic and melo-dramatic play was dished up from the · Heart of Mid Lothian,' Guy Mannering,' • Rob Roy,' etc. What would these dramas have been, if their success had depended upon the genius or great talent of an individual actor ? They would not have been tolerated for a single night. A host of dramatic intellect then lent its support.

Let as take, for example, the play of Guy Mannering :' Liston, too well known to require a comment : EMERY, one of the greatest actors the stage ever knew ; with what delight look back to the recollection of the latter, and of his wonderful powers! His Tyke, in the play of · The School of Reform,' was a master-piece of high tragedy, and the broadest humor; a combination of excellence rarely to be met with.

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His appearance and roughness of manner off the stage were almost clownish, and yet he had many of the accomplishments of a finished gentleman. He was an excellent marine artist, an admirable musician, and possessed a natural taste for poetry. One leading passion of his life was the turf, and this involved him a round of society detrimental to his health and fatal to his career. He died in the very prime of life; and so great was his popularity among all classes, that a public subscription was made for his widow, amounting to upward of three thousand pounds. SINCLAIR was also at that time in full possession of public favor, and warbled most delightfully; BLANCHARD, who had the • happy talent of rendering secondary characters most prominent without disturbing the harmony of the whole ; and then came that round, fat, vulgar, humorous, rosy countenance of TOKELY; a man scarcely conscious of the talent he possessed; a fine portrait of Bacchus bestriding the wine barrel, the great error of whose life was in draining too freely the juice of the grape.

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Could'st thou look forth amid the noise and smoke
Of the great mart upon the aged woods,
From whose steep bluffs of pine thou oft hast caught
Full many a glimpse of misty meadow-land,
And hollows filled with sunshine, thou would'st think
Less of the world and its vain mockeries,
And love that more from which thou hast received
That blissful quietude and perfect peace
Which taketh" off from life the weary weight
Of misery and bondage. Here thy ear
Was never filled with tumult, nor thy thoughts
Made wretched by a life of vanity :
But in that purity and holiness
Which seemed to sanctify each mossy nook
And hollow of the forest, thou did'st see
Some cause for joy, some reason why thy heart
Should grow as peaceful as the quiet woods
And glens around thee. Nor can I believe
That these intelligible forms have grown
Less worthy of thy love, although thine eye
Hath long since lost them amid piles of brick,
And crowded thoroughfares. That blessed mood
Which steals upon us when we least expect
Its holy influence, and so imbues
The spirit with a sense of loveliness
That we seem one with nature; that serene
And perfect joy which dwells amid the deep
Religious gloom of venerable woods,
And wheresoe'er the sweet wind blows from coves
Roofed o'er with emerald ; these, if I err not,
Have left upon thy life a blessedness
And a diviner beauty which hath grown
Inseparable from thy purest thoughts,
And brightens o’er thy face whose rose-like bloom
Foretells love's reddening morning.

If this be The secret of thy happiness, how oft Amid the city's tumult hast thou sighed For these wide fields of bloomy mountain-land, Amid whose sweet seclusion thy young heart Drew forth from nature all ennobling aims, All generous impulses, and whatsoe'er Hath given thy life its merry moods of thought, And happy romance. Nor when thou art come Once more amid these aisles of evergreen, Shalt thou be less the laughter-loving girl That I knew long ago, when through these groves, With rosy cheeks and bonnet backward thrown, Thy small feet twinkled in the thick soft grass, And sprouting wintergreen.

This nook of pine, Beneath whose rustling screen the winter-drift Lies white as ivory, still shows its banks Of creeping myrtle, and the sapphire sky Of changeful March that shines between this huge Gray ceiling overhead, is still as pure And prodigal of sunshine. Yellow leaves Are here amid the knolls, and here are tracks Of little snow-birds ’neath the leafless beech, And prints of squirrels leading amid bark And scattered pine cones, o'er yon long white logs That bridge the silent hollow. From the clefts Of yonder hemlock, whose huge body lies Capp'd with a ridge of silver, glossy tufts Of brightening wood-moss twinkle, and his sides Wet with the melting snow that drips aloof, Gleam in the blaze of noontide. How the wind Moans in this sturdy cedar, through whose roof Of venerable boughs the golden light Is scarce let in! Now from its deep rich gloom Of sea-green foliage the broad-winged crow Floats through the sunshine upward, to his perch Upon the crooked pine-top, o'er whose cone of dark red limbs and plumes of emerald

The wood-hawk, whiter than the drifting cloud, Sails like a spot of silver. Noiselessly The brook wells in the loose black earth below, Upon whose barky mould, 'mid withered tufts Of forest-grass and prints of cattle, springs The blue-eyed violet.

All is happiness And perfect quietude, yet all shall change Into a softer mood of loveliness Ere summer shades the silver of the brook With fern and leaning roses, or thy feet, Peeping from under thy loose dress, are seen Bounding like spots of snow across the soft Thick moss of these cool hollows. Then beneath These daisy-covered coves, thy hand once more Shall part the rustling boughs that sweep the grass, And from their lifted screen of twinkling leaves, Thy face made ruddy by the heat, shall smile Amid the rich green twilight. Nor shalt thou Come back with withered feelings, or as if Thou had'st found something holier than the love Which thou hast borne for nature! She, amid This venerable pomp of waving wood And hilly forest-land, shall fill thy cheek With rose-tints born of the sweet summer wind And blessed sunshine, nor shall she be less The giver of all sweet and happy thoughts, All peaceful influences, and whatsoe'er Can add a beauty to thy moral being.

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MY GRAND-FATH E R’S PORT-FOLIO.

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MY DEAR KNICKERBOCKER : At your request I have reopened my Grand-father's Port-folio, and submit another of his yellow Mss. to your inspection. Perhaps you will consider that the piece I have selected is of too serious a cast for your lively Magazine; or it may be you will find other objections to it. If so, you will have the kindness to return me the sheets, with your usual care, as the paper is somewhat decayed and worn, and like every relic of the good old gentleman, is very pre. cious to myself and his other dutiful descendants.

You will hardly need, I think, a key to interpret his allegorical repre. sentation of what I suppose to be three important stages of his own experience and that of many others. The lives of most persons have their spiritual dawn and night. Would that all might find the new, the everlasting morning! The contrast he has drawn between the single. ness of heart and innocence of the little boy at home, and the darker thoughts and embittered feelings of the young man who has been contaminated and injured by mingling with the world, is not, I imagine, much stronger than the latter sometimes feels it to be.

I remain, yours, with constant friendship, Boston, Dec. 5, 1844.

C. R

I. THE DAWN.

In the smooth paths of a pleasant garden, a little boy is at play alone; yet no — for all Nature is with him; companioning; intimate ; making sweet music for him to dance to; strewing out before him its inexhaustible museum of play-things and curiosities; kissing him; painting his cheeks; infusing ethereal and lively essence into his whole frame; talking with him and listening; and through her regal minister, the golden sceptered sun, bestowing her warm maternal blessing on his beautiful head. Glossy and elastic ringlets hang in thick natural clusters from his crown, shining in the sunlight like spiral threads of finest spun glass; fit coronet for the brow of innocence.

The low shrubbery that hedges his way on either side is higher than his head; and the tall tiger-lilies stoop to dispense to him their sweet odors, while his face is painted with their yellow dust. Now he gives chase to the butterfly ; not that he would destroy, but because it is on the move and seems to beckon him to a race. Anon he flings his little cap at the humming bird, swift and gay of wing, and glistening with all beautiful hues, as his own impulsive fancies. And again, with eager curiosity, he throws himself down upon the sandy path, and digs up the subterraneous cities and granaries of the ants with his tiny wooden sword.

All the whilę, involuntarily, his impulses sing out in a low and fitful song, that with all its music has no meaning to human ear; for it is not VOL. XXV.

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