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One of these 1 Apostates' proves to be Constance de Beverley; whose sex being discovered, and her elopement from Fontevraud and attempt to poison Clara being detected, she is brought to answer for those crimes before the three judges above mentioned. The gloomy vault in which they are assembled to sentence rather than to try the criminals, the persons and characters of the judges themselves, and the demeanor of their miserable victims, are described with much poetical strength of feeling and imagery. The dreadful penalty pronounced is to be immured alive within a narrow niche in the wall, in a part of the convent unlcnown to any of the inhabitants except the superiors of the order. This horrible instance of monkish tyranny is not unexampled in the true annals of the church j for Mr. Scott relates, in his notes, that « among the ruins of the abbey of Coldingham, were, some years ago, discovered the remains of a female skeleton, which, from the shape of the niche and position of the figure, seemed to be that of an immured nun.' Mr. S. has judiciously combined the horrors of the punishment with a very beautiful picture of the offender, so as to heighten the interest which the situation Itself must necessarily excite; and the struggle of Constance to speak, before the fatal sentence, is finely painted:
* And now that blind old Abbot rose,
To speak the Chapter's doam,
Alive, within the tomb;
'Twixt each attempt all was so still,
You seemed to hear a distant rill—
For though this vault of sin and fear
Was to the sounding surge so near,
A tempest there you scarce could hear,
» At length, an effort sent apart
And light came to her eye,
By Autumn's stormy sky;
And arm'd herself to bear.
In form so soft and fair.'
Here our interest is most unexpectedly crushed all at once fey a long, unnatural, and dull recital of events which, though necessary to be known to the reader, Mr. Scott should have taken any other time to communicate rather than have put it into the mouth of Constance at so critical a moment. It confeludes with a prophecy of the Reformation, which ought to have been much more animated, and is followed by a picture of no common merit:
• Fixed was her look, and stern her air;
This fine passage is coupled with lines of almost infantine imbecility; some of which we deem it our duty to produce, since they will serve as one instance, among a thousand, of the miserable manner in which we are baulked in every page of the volume before us. Mr. Scott is a true Mezcntius. His most animated'descriptions are constantly tied to some lifeless lump of insensibility.
'From that dire dungeon, place of doom.
Paced forth the judges three;
The coarse expression * butcher-work,' is as unappropriate as it is disgusting. However horrible was the cruelty of immuring a nun and starving her to death, still it was not butchtry.
8 -' The The fearful " Vade in pacem," of monkish tyranny was devised on purpose to screen the ministers of peace from the imputation of shedding blood, and of thus butchering their fellow-creatures.
Meanwhile, Marmton and his train, journeying onward. Test themselves for the night at a ' Hostel' in the hamlet of Giffard; and here, as wherever else an inviting opportunity occurs, the author has placed his descriptive powers in a very favourable light. Bating some weak and shuffling lines, the subsequent passage is a fair specimen of his peculiar merits:
'Down from their seats the horsemen sprung, ZsPrans2
- For forage, food, and firing call,
'Soon by the chimney's merry blaze,
Bore wealth of winter cheer";
And savoury haunch of deer. .
Were tools for housewives' hand:
The buckler, lance, and brand.
- Whom with brown ale, in jolly tide,
With open hand, and brow as free,
Fitz-Eustace, Marmion's favourite squire, is made to entertain the company with a song, which is but a stiff and rather childish imitation of the truly pathetic simplicity of Burns: but the short character of the wild Scottish music, which introduces it, is full of truth and feeling:
'A deep and mellow voice he had,
To lequite the song, "mine host" now tells his tale of a su
Eerstition prevalent in the neighbourhood; which takes strong old of Marmion's imagination, before disturbed by the mysterious air of the Palmer, and by recollections (which the 6ong of Fitz-Eustace had revived) of the unhappy Constance. Unable to sleep, he mounts his horse in the dead of night, with the purpose of encountering the Daemon warrior; from whom, if subdued by his arm, he has been informed that he may obtain an insight into futurity. He meets the expected foe: but, overthrown by the Demon's superior force, he is, for the first time in hid life, humbled and vanquished. In this situation, he beholds in the imagined sprite the countenance of De Wilton; for, in fact, it was the Palmer himself who, guessing the intention of Marmion, had gone before him to the fatal ground and awaited his arrival. No event of any consequence, however, results from the conflict. De Wilton (in compliance with a vow) spares his antagonist; and Marmion, notwithstanding the discovery of his rival's features,
continues to believe that he has fought with a supernatural being, and returns overwhelmed with terror, shame, and remorse, to the hostel.—This adventure cannot be too strongly condemned. It is evidently a juggle from the beginning, is introduced for no purpose, and tends to no end.
Canto IV. brings Marmion and his company onwards in their journey j and they meet, on the road,
* Sir David Lindsay of the Mount,
We imagined that the introduction of this celebrated personage, so dear to every lover of Scottish poetry, would have awakened Mr. Scott to something like enthusiasm: but, after having told us that
'In the glances of his eye A penetrating, teen, and sly
Expression found its home,'
he leaves it entirely to the reader's imagination to fill up the picture and elicits from this ' penetrating, keen, and sly expression' not one flash of brilliancy, not one poetic or satirical remark, worthy of his name and character- Sir David accompanies Marmion, nevertheless, with all the courtesy which is suitable to his station, and entertains him nobly during two days at Chrichtoun Castle -, where he tells him, in exceedingly dull and prosaic language, a story which Mr. Scott has chosen to preface with the title of " Sir David Lindsay's Tale," but which is really a recital of an event said to have taken place at the Scottish court, and recorded by Pitscottie as a fact, of a messenger sent from Heaven to Linlithgow to warn king James of his approaching destiny. Like the story of "mine host," this episode answers no sort of purpose;—for, though the catasN trophe of the poem is the battle of Flodden, yet we are not previously interested for any one of the personages against whom the warning of the celestial messenger can be supposed to involve a denunciation.
The distant view of the camp from Blackford hill, and the more particular description of the various clans and nations of warriors who compose it, relieve us from the weary flat over which the canto mostly creeps, and remind us of better things. The effect produced on Marmion by the warlike prospect is very spirited:
• Lord Marmion viewed the landscape bright,—
As on the battle day j'