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Critical Sketches of living Poetical Different minds (says he,)
Incline to different objects. One pursues
The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild; * Knox thine own worth, and reverence Another sighs for Harmony and Grace, the Lyre."
BEATTIE. And gentlest Beauty, &c. NEVER was there an age in which
Poetry was cultivated with more Not to dwell any longer at pte. success, never was a period in which sent upon this prefatory disquisition, the corruscations of genius shone with we shall proceed to investigate the such renovated splendor. From the merits of those living characters who stately majestic march of the Epic diffuse a splendor and radiance round Duse, to the humbler walks of the our literary horizon, to add one troEpigrammatist and Sonneteer, we phy to the worth of exalted genius, have to boast of characters worthy and rescue, if possible, a few names of immortality : but amid all this from that unmerited oblivion to which brilliancy of intellect, this poetic they seem fast verging. radiance, still we may discover a As the first, in the first rank, we partial darkness, like the nebulae may mention Walter Soott, from no upon the dise of the sun; yet this partiality whatever, but that his darkness serves only to heighten the genius undoubtedly entitles him to brilliancy of those glories which no this venerablc distinction; as a depassing errors may for a moment ob. scriber of scenes, a discriminator of scure.
characters, his efforts stand unrivalled If there existed in nature such a in this arduous department. In the standard of discrimination, by which Lay of the Last Minstrel, the first of we might be enabled to judge the his poetical effusions, we meet with all different merits of different Poets; that simplicity of diction, that energy we might, with the greatest facility, of fancy, that fine spirit of romantic point out to our readers that standard, sublimity, which characterise those by which the true criterion of genius immortal strains of the Lyric Bards was to be estimated and ascertained. of antiquity. No species of writing, But, as no such standard does exist, with which we are acquainted, can every person is therefore left at liber possess such a potency of charm, such ty (like the painter in the fable) to a powerful appeal to the fancy, as mark those beauties more immediate- those metrical legends, tho' founded ly in unison with his own taste.- in fiction, which preserve to us the Hence it is, that one is struck with prominent features of feudal raid and the bold enthusiasm of romantic fic. foray. No doubt, there is much ex. tion, another with the grandeur and traneous matter to be found in these sublimity of nature; while a third, pages, much which the nice car of possessed perhaps of as sound a judge- criticism would turn from with disment as either of the former, is plea- gust; but as in a beautiful building sed to contemplate those minute, tho' the most magnificent materials are beautiful portraits of domestic ten- made subservient to the grandeur and derness, sensibility, and affection, or stability of the whole, so in Me pause with awe and admiration over Scott's most triffing passages, still wo the venerable picture of virtue de- recognize the hand of a master, Keading in ruins to the dust. Sucha sketching the outlines of that grand has been the opinion of men in all picturo of feudal manners and times. aces, such was the opinion of one, As an Editor, he will still hold an elewhose decision in a case of this kind vated rank among that class of gleanwe shall consider as conclusive. ers; the universal approbation bestowJan. 1813.
ed upon his Border Minstrelsy fully operate in union wih“ gambol and warrant this assertion, and its num with cheer,” to dispel the gloom of berless editions bear witness to its that solitary and uncomfortable season. merits.
Edinburgh, “ Marmion," his next production, Dec.Ilth, 1812.
, } possesses a more firm and decisive
(To be continued.) tone of poelry than that of the “ Lay of the Last Minstrel.” In the former, we are hurried irresistibly on from the Abstract of the Report of the Highdescription of one scene to another, LAND SOCiety, on the means of inwith such accuracy of judgment as
troducing an uniformity of WEIGHTS makes even insulated puerilities wear
AND MEASURES. the resemblance of finished declama. W& have great pleasure in bring. tion. In the latter, the action is often ing this Report under the notice suffered to stagnate for want of suffi- of our readers. The Highland Society cient incident in the plot. In Mar- has exerted itself with unremitting mion, we have scenes of the finest diligence, to promote every measure sensibility and affection contrasted which tended to national improvewith that gloomy superstitious hor- ment. Nothing, however, to which for, the natural attendant upon Monks they have directed their attention, and Cells. But the Battle Canto, in can equal in magnitude the subject of Marmion, would have insured celebri- the present Report. The varicty of ty for any poem ; and had Mr S. weights and measures, in different diswritten nothing else, still we should tricts of the same kingdom, and even have recognized his claims to immor- between the nearest bordering countality in that single effort.
ties, has long involved in confusion and “ The Lady of the Lake" is still a perplexity all commercial transactions. more finished production than either of Plans of equalization have been often the former. Remote alike from that proposed by ingenious men, but withwild enthusiasm of vaults and con- out leading to any result. Only a soclaves, and from that taedium and ciety, uniting the most eminent and relanguor of unmeaning, empty form, it spected characters in the kingdom, combines at once, all that is amiable can be expected to overcome that resisin love and life, with martial pomp tance to change which necessarily oband deeds of high emprize, its denou- structs so great an innovation. We ment is happy beyond that of any believe, however, that their attention poem in these our days. Still, how. has been drawn to it chiefly by the efever, Mr Scott has been severely re- forts of one individual,Jolin Tait, Esq. primanded from the bar of criticism, who has derived the highest honour for blending historical truth with mere from his meritorious exertions in this empty fantastical illusion.
department. His “Don Roderick” hath added lit The Report begins with exhibiting tle to his fame, tho' some of his finest a view of the weights and measures poetry is to be found in its pages. Let now made use of throughout the Brithe Don rest, the superstructure of his tish empire. Our limits will only fame is sufficiently broad to bear this admit of our copying those of Scotaccumulating honours of his age, with land, while for those of the Sister out resting any part of it upon his To- kingdom we must refer to the Report ledo Rock, or Giant's Mace. With itself. impatience, mingled high in hope, we “It was provided, by the 17th look forward to the publication of " clause of the articles of Union, That Rokeby, and hail the merry Christmas " from and after the Union, the same hour, when its enlivening flow will “ Weights and Measures shall be used
" throughout the United Kingdom as 7621.8 grains of the English Troy " are now established in England, pound, sent from the Exchequer in " and standards of Weights and Mea. London to Edinburgh in 1707, un“sures shall be kept by those burghs der the articles of Union; the Troy " in Scotland, to whom the keeping pound being held to contain 5760 " the standards of Weights and Mea- grains. This standard to be kept by
sures now in use there does of spe- the burgh of Lanark +. “cial right belong : all which stan“ dards shall be sent down to such
MEASURES OF EXTENT. respective burghs, from the stan- The Standard is the ell of 37 "dards kept in the Exchequer at inches. 3 barley corns make an inch; “ Westminster, subject, nevertheless, 12 inches a foot; 3 feet a yard; 37 " to such regulations as the Parlia- inches an ell, and 1760 yards a mile, “ment of Great Britain shall think as in England. All wrights, gla“ fit.” Standards were sent down ziers, masons, and other public work. under this clause, but nothing farther men, are directed to use this foot meawas done towards introducing them sure only. The yard and ell are into use, (except in the collection of kept by the burgh of Edinburgh I. the Revenue,) and the Scots dry mea- 5760
ells make an acre. sure has been subsequently acknowledged, not only by the three Su
MEASURES OF CAPACITY. preme Courts of Session, Justiciary,
Liquid Measuri. 2nd Teinds, but by the Legislature, The Standard is the Stirling pint in the act 24 Geo. II. c. 31., rela- jug, which is declared to contain 3 lb. tive to the sale of lintseed. The 7 oz. of the Troy weight already Avoirdupuis pound, indeed, which is mentioned, of clear running water of the customary weight of England, is the Water of Leith. It is kept by very much used in Scotland, as is also the burgh of Stirling ll. It is stated, the English measure of extent, and in Mackay's Excise Laws, to conthe English dry measure is a good tain 103.404 English cubic inches, deal used, particularly in some of the and it is there mentioned, that a pint soutbern counties; but the Scotch of 106 cubic inches has been estab, standards are still upon the same foot- lished by custom for ale and beer g. ing as before the Union. The legal
Dry standards, as fixed by an act passed by Parliamentary Commissioners in 1618, and confirmed by subsequent sold by weight, at 8 stones Troy, in place of
+ By 1696, c. 6. meal was directed to be Parliaments, are as follow:
the boll of Linlithgow measure. WEIGHT.
The Apothecaries compound their medi.
cines, both dry and liquid, by the Troy The Standard of weight is the weight of 5760 grains in the pound ; 20 French Troy stone, having 16 pounds grains in a scruple, 3 scruples in a drachm, in the stone, and 16 ounces in the & drachms in an ounce, and 12 ounces in a pound; the smaller weights are in pound. As druggists, they
. buy and sell proportion. From some reports by by the Avoirdupois weight, and measure Sir George Clerk Maxwell and Pro- The Goldsmiths use the Troy weight; fessor Robison, in a cause which de- 30 grains in a drop, and 16 drops in an pended in the Court of Session about So years ago, between William Mac
1618, 19th February ; 1621. c. 17. ;
1663, c. 18. ; 1685, c. 44. ; there is an ell kie and others, and the Magistrates of 39] inches, used for plaiding and other of Linlithgow and others, it appears coarse stuffs. that a pound of this standard contains || 1618, 19th February ; 1621, c. 17.
§ The Apothecaries, in selling liquiųs, 1618, 19th February ; 1621, c. 17. use the English wino gallon.
and 101, deep *. These dimensions “The standard is the Linlithgow fir- do not agree with the contents already lot, which, for wheat, &c., is direct- inentioned, and are not regarded in ed to contain 21 pints 1 mutchkin of practice. This standard to be kept the Stirling jug; and for bear, &c. by the burgh of Linlithgow t." 31 pints. A boll contains 4 firlots. The following table of the varying The first of these forlots is also direc- measures used in the different counted to be 19% inches wide, and 7 ties of Scotland presents also informadeep ; and the second the same width, tion, both curious and useful.
22.353 22.353 22.353 22.353 9.677) 9.677 9.677 Argyle. Inverary
16.25 16.25 7.2581 7.258 7.258 Campbeltown
34.072 34.072 34072 Ayr. Kyle and Carrick
11.844 11.844 11.844 11.844 12.985 12.985 12.985 Tiends and Stipends
25.784) 25.784 25.784 15.808 15.808 15.808| 15.808 Cunynghame
27.015| 27.015 27.015 14.367 14.367| 14.367) 14.367 Bant
5.411 5.411 5.411 5.411 5.103) 5.103 5.103 Berwick
52.491/ 52.941) 52.941) 52.941 4.8381 10.079 10.079 Bute and Arran
30.98 30.98 34.677 34.677| 34.677 Caithness
6.25 6.25 Dumbarton
16.63 16.63 6.597 6.597 6.597 Dumfries
202.184 202.184 202.184 168.339 168.339|168.339 Edinburgh
1.76-1 1.764 1.613 1.613 1.613 Elgin and Forres 6.7651 6.7651 6.765 6.765
5.256 31.57 Fife
3.529 3.529 3.225 3.225 3.225 Forfar
3.529 3.529 3.529 3.529 3.629 3.6291 3.629 Haddington
2.941) 2.941) 3.024 3.024 3.024 Inverness
14.455 14,455 14.455 14.455 9.786 9.786 37.232 Kincardine
6.451 6.451 Kinross
2.6471 2.6471 3.024 3.024 3.024 Kirkcudbriglit
62.401) 62.401 62.401 62.401 84.483 84.483 84.483 Lanark. Glasgow and Lower Ward 5.3181
4.176 4.176 Lanark and Upper Ward 0.
3.225 Linlithgow. The Measures
issued herte have in different instances exceeded the legal size. Nairne 21.976 21.976 21.976 21.976
11.483 39.354 Orkney and Zetland. A dif.
ferent species of Measures
7.14-8) 7.118 7.148 7.148 4.459) 4.459 4.459 Perth
2.986 2.986 4.164 4.164 4.164 Renfrew
6.25 6.25 Ross and Cromarty
12.941) 12.941 12.941 12.941 3.225 3.225 3.225 Roxburgh
29.412) 29.412 33.064 33.064 33.064 Selkirk
29.779 29.779 29.779 29.779 26.008| 26.008/ 26.008 Stirling and Clackmannan 8.235 8.235 8.2351 8.235 7.258) 7.258 7.258 Sutherland
17.647 17.647 17.647 10.644 10.644) 10.646 Wigton
95.729 95.729 101.254 101.254 101.254 The articles marked with a cypher are measured by the Linlithgow standard.
Those left blank are not noticed by Lord Swinton. * 1618, 19th February ; 1621, c. 17.
+ Measures different from these were appointed for coal and bark, but the standard for tre former is now lost ; and it is understood that Scotch coal and bark are now generally 201d by weight.
In devising a new system to reme. nearly as possible to a level with those dy the evils and inequalities above of England. This, however, must alluded to, the Committee very pro. necessarily be done under some modiperly requested the advice of Professor fications, and these are fully explained Playfair, whose high scientific charac. in the following statement : ter rendered him eminently qualified to give an opinion. He has accord.
WEIGHT. ingly drawn out the sketch of a plan, “ With regard to the Standard of the basis of which is the adoption of Weight, it appears that the Committhe decimal division, that is, the divi. tee of the House of Commons, in sion of weights and measures into 1758, finding that the Troy weight parts of 10, 100, 1000, and so on. of 24 grains to a pennyweight, 20 of The extraordinary facility of calcula- these to an ounce, and 12 of these to tion, which this system would pro- a pound, was sanctioned by the greatduce, gives it an evident preference est antiquity in use, and, by the enover every other. The Society, how- actment of the Legislature, resolved ever, after mature deliberation, have that it should be made the standard, decided against its adoption. Theis But when it is considered that the argument is derived from the total Avoirdupois weight, though not creachange which it would introduce in ted, has been in innumerable instanall the common transactions of life. ces recognised by statute ; that it is We must own, that, considering the in almost universal use both in Engsubject in a general view, we concur land and Scotland; and that the colwith Professor Playfair in thinking lection of the revenue is in almost that no temporary inconveniences every article regulated by it, the reainduced by the change, would out sons' for its adoption appear to be weigh the advantages of the decimal quite irresistible. system. But there is another view in The scale proposed by the Comwhich the subject must be considered. mittee is as follows: It must be an object of the utmost
16 Drams one ounce. convenience, that the Scotish weights 16 Ounces one pound. and measures should approximate as 14 Pounds one stone. nearly as possible to those of the sis 2 Stones one quarter of hundredter kingdom. Unless, therefore, the weight. decimal system were to become the 4 Quarters one hundred-weight. general regulation of the empire, its 20 Hundred-weight one ton. adoption in Scotland alone would in- Abolishing all other denominations duce a degree of discrepancy which of weight used in particular districts could scarcely be admitted of. In or sorts of traffic. this view only, it may perhaps be The Committee would have been most advisable to adhere for the pre- very desirous to bring the cwt. and sent to the old plan. If the Society quarter to the proper quantities of should succeed in persuading their 100 pounds, and 25 pounds, but the southern brethren to concur in this very general use of the stone, from useful measure, we are clearly of the duplication of which the quarter opinion, that the decimal division has been enlarged to 28 pounds, and cught to be the basis of the national the very inveterate use of the cwt. of arrangement.
112 pounds, appeared to oppose obThe Committee, however, acting stacles too great to be surmounted. upon the principles now stated, have There appears
to be reason for resoade it their object to bring the commending two exceptions. The Freights and measures of Scotland as Apothecaries, as has been mentioned,