Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


288 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. In prompting this compliment to the American General, vanity had probably no inconsiderable influence ; for, perhaps, there never lived an individual who thought so much of himself, or one who, in what he said or did, had his own glorification more in view. Some amusing anecdotes respecting him have recently appear& in Fraser’s Magmine ; and in the Town Eclogue the reverend author has thus satirised the foibles of the Earl :l- “ His brain with ill-assorted fancies stor’d, Like shreds and patches on a tailor’s board ; Women, and Whigs, and poetry, and pelf, And ev’ry corner stuff‘d with mighty self- With scraps and puffs, and comments without end, On prince and patriot, parasite and friend ; Vaunting his worth-how all the great caress’d ; How Hamilton dined, and how the Duchess dress’d ; And Ariosto sang the BUCHANcr est.” After all, vain as his lordship undoubtedly was, and mean as many of his actions may be characterised, still, as the Editor of the Percy Letters remarks, “he is entitled to more credit than is usually allowed him. By his laudable economy he retrieved the fortunes of the ancient family he represented -an exampIe which it would not be unwise for many of our noblemen to follow; he paid off every farthing of debt left by his predecessor-a step equally worthy of imitation ; he begrudged no labour which might advance the interests of science and literature, and he spared no pains to promote the success of tlose whom he deemed worthy of his patronage. With these merits, his personal vanity may be overlooked, and even his parsimony be forgiven, for we all know how difficult it is to eradicate early habits-habits, too, engendered at a period when these acquisitions were a merit rather than a demerit ; for, never let it be forgotten that, besides gradually paying off debts for which he was not legally responsible, he for years submitted to the severest privation, to enable him suitably to maintain and bring up his brothers, Henry and Thomas.” Lord Buchan contributed largely to the periodical works of his timeparticularly to the <G‘ entleman’s Magazine,”, the “ Scots Magazine,” and still more particularly to the “ Bee.” In 1812 he collected the stray productions, of which he published one volume at Edinburgh, entitled <T‘ he Anonymous and Fugitive Pieces of the Earl of Buchan.” The preface announced the succession of other volumes, but no more ever appeared. To Grose’s “Antiquities of Scotland,” his lordship furnished the “ Description of Dryburgh.” Amongst other extraordinary exhibitions got up by his lordship, was a sort of assembly, upon Mount Parnassus, of Apollo and the nine Muses. The scene of action was his lordship’s drawingroom, where he presided over the smoking tea-urn, crowned with a garland of bays-nine young ladies of the first rank in Edinburgh enacted the Muses. To complete the tableaux, the noble Lord thought that the presence of Cupid was indispensable ; and the astonishment of the Muses and the company present may be conceived, when the door opened, and a blooming boy of ten or twelve years of age entered as the god of love, with his bow and quiver-but in purk nuturdibuo I I Letters from Bishop Percy to George Paton, dbc.
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