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them, and often kick them down and tread upon them. They get high wages, and think that if the trade were made innoxious, there would be more to enter it, and prices would fall. They are for a short life and a merry one.
Those who drink most are often the longest lived, owing to their more frequent absence from their work. The doctors often say to those who come to consult them, “ Now, is you go back to this trade, you go back to die;" but this never had the effect of deterring them from going back, nor from apprenticing their children to the same fatal trade.
Inquiring in Sheffield where Ebenezer Elliott now resided, I was told by five different persons five different places. One said it was near Rotherham, another near Barnsley, another near Tichhill, another near Wakefield, and another near Pontefract. It turned out to be near Darfield, on the railroad between Rotherham and Wakefield. Getting out at the Darfield station, I found that I had a pleasant walk of three miles to his house, at some distance beyood the village of Great Houghton. The country is very different to that about Sheffield, in which Elliott seems to have taken such great delight. It is a fine farming country. The lanes have all a foot causeway of one row of stones, like those of Derbyshire; and, like it, the fields are rich with grass, and corn, and hedge-row trees. The village of Houghton, the only one that I saw, is a regular old farming village, with one large old stone hall, standing about a hundred yards from the road, and falling evidently to decay, while the great stone wall which separates its grounds from the road, massy as it is, is equally dilapidated. This old mansion was once the residence of Strafford, who married his third wife there. It is now the property of the father of Monckton Milnes. In the time of the Commonwealth it belonged to Sir William Rhodes, who is said to have fought a battle near the place for the Parliament. The country round has many historical and local reminiscences.
Elliott's house, which he built, is a good stone house in the style of the country, with a flag roof, and is fit for gentleman or farmer. It occupies the top of a hill, called Hargate Hill, on the edge of
It has a good garden lying round it; the views from it are fine and very extensive, including distant towns and villages, and here and there a great mass of wood. There is a fine airiness about the situation ; but the prospect of suitable society is not so easy to be perceived. One naturally connects the idea of Ebenezer Elliott with the brisk movements of a populous town; but he complained that the constant political excitements of a town had wearied him, and gave too much interruption to his literary enjoyments. Here, certainly, he had withdrawn to complete leisure for books and the country; and yet, if he needed the intercourse with towns, the various railroads put half-a-dozen within the specdiest access. He said that time, instead of hanging heavily, never went so fast with bim.
I found Ebenezer Elliott standing at his porch, with his huge Newfoundland dog beside him. I merely introduced myself as au admirer of his poetry, who had a desire in passing to pay my respects
to him. He gave me a very cordial welcome. We entered his room, and were soon deep in conversation. And we were soon, too, high in conversation; for our talk, amongst other things, turning on the aristocratic class of society, I happened to say that, “ spite of all their faults as a class, many of them, as individuals, were very amiable people.” This was a little too much for him. The latent fire of the Corn-law Rhymer blazed up; he started from his chair, and pacing to and fro with his hands at his back, exclaimed, “ Amiable men ! amiable robbers ! thieves! and murderers! Sir! I do not like to hear thieves, robbers, and murderers called amiable men! Amiable men indeed! Who are they that have ruined trade, made bread dear, made murder wholesale, put poverty into prison, and made crimes of ignorance and misery? Sir! I do not like to hear such terms used for such men !"
I laughed, and said, “Well, Mr. Elliott, you and I shall certainly not quarrel about any such people ; and I ought not to sit talking thus as a perfect stranger-it creates a false position and false con. clusions." I then mentioned my name. He sprang across the room, shouting out, “Oh! the devil !"-caught hold of my offered hand with both his, gave it a great shake, and then hastened out, crying loudly to Mrs. Elliott, “Here, mother! here! Here is William Howitt! here is Mary Howitt's husband !” Very soon Mrs. Elliott and a daughter appeared, and we were speedily afloat on an ocean of talk. When people of the same tastes meet for the first time, and especially on a rainy day in the country, what a multitude of themes present themselves ! Books, people, poetry, mesmerism, and heaven knows what, leave not room for silence to show his little finger in. Mrs. Elliott, a tall, good-looking woman, I soon found as lady-like, sensible, and well-informed as any poet could desire for his companion. Miss Elliott, a fine-grown and comely but very modest young lady, was the only one who did not act the part rather of talker than listener. For six hours, the time I stayed, it was one long uninterrupted talk. The hearty host declared that I should not leave for a week; but England, Scotland, and Ireland lay before me, and only a limited time to traverse a good deal of them in. Yet what greater pleasure, could one command it, than a week with such a man- -far from the tone and spirit of coteries, in the heart of fresh and pure nature, with books, and woods, and flowery fields fanned by the purest breezes, to wander through, and compare the impressions of men and things, of great thoughts, great deeds, and great projects for the good of society, as they come before you unbiased and uncoloured by the world as it shows its protean shapes in cities-in the refined sneer, the jealous thought, the weary indifference of over-stimulated tastes ? Were I at liberty to pen down the dialogue of that one afternoon, in all its freedom of remark, it would make the brightest but most startling chapter of this volume. But that cannot be, and I must add nothing more than simply to say, that in a strange place I should never have recognised Ebenezer Elliott by his portrait. There is no good one of him. He was somewhat above the middle height. He was sixty-five, but not old-looking
for his years. His hair was white, and his manner and tone, except when excited by those topics that roused his indignation against cruelty and oppression, mild, soft, and full of feeling. Perhaps Do man's spirit and presence were so entirely the spirit and presence of his poetry. Unlike many who could be named, who, drilled from youth into the spirit and tone of the gay circles that they frequent, present that spirit and tone there, and reserve the spirit and tone of the poet for the closet-men of two worlds : in the world, of the world ; in the closet, only of the world of mind-Ebenezer Elliott had conversed too much with nature, and with men in their rough unsophisticated nature, to have merged one jot of his earnestness into conventionalism of tone or manner. In society or out of it he was one and the same—the poet and the man.
Ebenezer Elliott, like so many other noble poets, has gone to his rest since the former edition of this work. He died on the lst of December, 1819, and was buried in the churchyard of the little rural village of Darfield. With that consciousness of the human soul that it requires infinity in which to unfold itself, one of his last observations was :“I die with my work undone with my faculties undeveloped.” On his death-bed he also dictated the following stanzas-his last :
" Thy notes, sweet Robin, soft as dew,
Heard soon or late, are dear to me;
But not to thee!
Return to me.' Ebenezer Elliott had thirteen children, of whom two daughters and six sons survived him. Two sons are clergymen: one was residing at Lothedale, near Skipton, Yorkshire, and one in the West Indies; both, I believe, are now in the West Indies. Another succeeded him in his business, but has quitted it, and retired to the house at Hargate, which his father built, and where he died ; two retired young from trade, on a moderate competency; and one is a druggist in Sheffield.
The progress of my work warns me to be brief where I would fain be most voluminous. To John Wilson, of the Isle of Palms, the City of the Plague, and other beautiful poetry, it would be a delightful task to devote a volume. The biography of Professor Wilson is not yet given to the world from an anthoritative source. When written, as I trust it will be, by his accomplished son-in-law, Professor Ferrier, it will be a most curious and intensely interesting book. The poet and the periodical writer-Christopher North at the Noctes and in his shooting jacket, and John Wilson, the free, open-hearted, yet eccentric man—would, combined, furnish forth, with glimpses of his cotemporaries and social doings, a most fascinating work. As it is, we must take but a glimpse, and a hasty glimpse, at his residences, and avail ourselves of the information furnished us by a very eloquent Memorial and Estimate by one of his students.
John Wilson was born at Paisley. His father was a wealthy manufacturer, and the house which he inhabited, and where the professor first saw the light, was perhaps the best and largest house in the town, standing in High-street. It was a large old house, standing in ample old gardens and shrubberies. The future poet, critic, and moral philosopher, is supposed to have first seen the light in that house in the year 1785 or 1786, and on the 19th of May ;
consequently,” says his enthusiastic scholar and admirer, “when Robert Burns was still bearing up against misfortune, and Mirabeau was yet the life of those turmoils which brought in the French revolution ; while Adam Smith, Boswell, Gibbon, Robertson, Burke, —men of a defunct era, -had not yet shuffled off the stage ; some few years later than most of the famous persons who have preceded him also in their departure... He was the eldest, we believe, of at least three brothers, each eventually occupying a high position in Edinburgh society : James Wilson being now long well known to scientific men as a naturalist ; Robert Wilson in business circles as the manager of the Royal Bank. Of the sisters, one became the mother of Professor Ferrier, of St. Andrews, who subsequently married his cousin, a daughter of Professor Wilson; the other, Lady
Macneill, wife of Sir John Macneill, formerly British Envoy to the Court of Persia (and recently, with Colonel Tulloch, commissioner of inquiry into the conduct of our officers in the Crimea), is thus sister-in-law to the Lord Justice-General. Adding to wbicn, that the Rev. Mr. Sym, of Free Greyfriars, is a nephew of the late professor, that Professor Aytoun and Sheriff Gordon are also his sons-in-law, we furnish a sufficiently extended circle of his connexions. Their mother was of a wealthy Glasgow family: her brother, Robert Sym, was well known to Sir Walter Scott at the time that young Wilson began to attract attention."
Though Paisley, as a great manufacturing town, does not appear a likely place to produce a poet, yet when we extend our observation into the country round, we soon perceive that we are in a land, both by its natural features and its associations, calculated to call fortb the powers and the sensibilities of a man like Christopher North. “Paisley," says our young authority, "lies embedded within that narrow little strip of country, by the western sea-coast, which has produced about one-half the number of Scottish poets; not to go back
upon the time when the same west country was the devoutest region of the Covenant, or, still earlier, sent forth such patriotism as that of Wallace, Bruce, and the Douglasses ... A district, too, presenting exactly the prime storehouse of genuine Scottish manner, character, oral idiom, and local scenery, as various circumstances have collected, developed, and animated them : a region where old ditties linger to older music, which nowhere else were ever lilted so blithely, so sweetly, as about the braes of dairy-feeding Kyle or Cart, by such pure specimens of the Scottish lassie, with that pale yellow hair which gets the name of golden, that quaint bright short gown, that old maiden-snood, or the plaid worn hood-wise, and the grey Scotch eye that looks out so quickly yet kindly, thereabouts often varying to the hazel or the blue. ... In a narrow strip, too, as small as the first, right over against it, in the pastoral Border-once predatorythe ballad had its origin, till Scott made it as distinctly unfold itself as the land of story; for the border-writers have been all romantic, legendary, narrative, descriptive,- from the author of the Seasons to Sir Waiter, the Shepherd, Allan Cunningham, Leyden, Pringle, or Thomas Aird."
Wilson seems to have spent one of the most happy of boyhoods. His family was wealthy; he had, therefore, every comfort and alvantage, and that greatest advantage of all to a lad who was to grow up into a poet, and a teacher of the beautiful and the true that of strolling at will over the moorlands and the wild sweet scenes which abound in the district called the Mearns. “There is a miniature of him when a boy of eight or nine, still preserved by his family, in which the artless, candid, rosy face, rounded and full, and with long, yellow curling hair, seems to express all that blest unconsciousness of the time when little Christopher knew nothing of poetry but its essence.” This essence he drank in at every pore, rambling with his boyish companions through that Scottish' AN cadia, to which he so often turns with undying enthusiasm in his