brilliant fancy, every image of which was formerly worth gold and
capable of being coined. Yet Cunningham, who has lately seen him,
assures me that there is now and then a touch of the genius,--a
striking combination of incident, or a picturesque trait of
character, such as no other man alive could have bit off,--a glimmer
from that ruined mind, as if the sun had suddenly flashed on a half-
rusted helmet in the gloom of an ancient ball. But the plots of
these romances become inextricably confused; the characters melt
into one another; and the tale loses itself like the course of a
stream flowing through muddy and marshy ground.
For my part, I can hardly regret that Sir Walter Scott had lost his
consciousness of outward things before his works went out of vogue.
It was good that he should forget his fame rather than that fame
should first have forgotten him. Were he still a writer, and as
brilliant a one as ever, he could no longer maintain anything like
the same position in literature. The world, now