1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

Anonymous, "Anticipations of Public Opinion in the Year 2300, on the English Poets: Walter Scott" The Minerva [New York] 1 (22 February 1823) 364.



SIR WALTER SCOTT — An eminent poet and would-be novelist of the 19th century. He published 2000 volumes in prose, and died at length of a broken heart, from the circumstance of having been outbid at a sale in the purchase of a black-letter piece of antiquity, afterwards proved to be spurious. His avowed aim was to rival Lopez de Vega, and treble the tax on paper, in which he ultimately succeeded, and was rewarded by a liberal government with a baronetcy. It was his usual boast, that he had written more in a few years than the world would be able to read in as many centuries. In his last moments, he raved about Ballantyne and Winkin de Worde; declared that publication was his deity; and he thought of no devil but the printer's devil, and regretted no errors but those of the press. His remains were shrouded in sheets of the "Battle of Waterloo," and "Halidon Hill," and followed to the grave by Constable and Company, then celebrated book-sellers, and by all the printers in England and Holland. The superstitious of that dark and barbarous age have not failed to inform us, that even after his death his spirit paid nocturnal visits to the press, and delighted to disarrange, with its unsubstantial fingers, the types it could no longer employ.