of brilliant and diverse powers combining to form a marvellous and harmonious whole. The character of the " Shepherd" is a glorious conception; and it is as he is made to speak, and look, and do, in the Ambrosian symposia, that James Hogg will go down to posterity. O'Doherty had laid down the principle that a journalist should never deny a thing that he had not written, nor acknowledge one that he had. Hogg found that his literary associates acted on this axiom, and determined that he would sign his name to every thing he published, that, as he says, he might be answerable to the world only for his own offences. But, says he, "as soon as the rascals perceived this, they signed my name as fast as I did. They then contrived the incomparable ' Noctes Ambrosianas,' for the sole purpose of putting into the mouth of the Shepherd all the sentiments which they durst not avowedly say themselves, and those too often applying to my best friends."
Wilson's portrait for the "Gallery" was not taken ad vivum, but from the statue at Edinburgh, by Macdonald. Sic sedebat. The pugilistic encounter, and the cocks dimicantes gratis, of which we catch a glimpse without, remind us of the predilections of his ardent youth; but the poet-philosopher is in his latter days, and his gaze is not upon the shows of the outer world, as he sits, rapt in sublime and solitary meditation,—as it were, "waiting and wondering on vaster shores than lie by the seas of time." It is a fine conception, though it, perhaps, hardly recalls the Christopher North of our thoughts; and we would fain have the intellectual as well as the physical Titan in his earlier years,—"a cross between the man, the eagle and the lion," as George Gilfillan described him; or in the guise in which rumour spoke of him to Hogg, as "a man from the mountains in Wales, or the West of England, with hair like eagles' feathers, and nails like birds' claws."
Wilson never entirely recovered from the shock produced by the death of his wife, a beautiful and most amiable woman, in 1837; and his writings, subsequent to this bereavement, betray more of effort with less of power than his earlier productions. An attack of paralysis compelled him to abandon his chair in 1853, when a pension of £200 was conferred upon him by Lord John Russell. This he did not enjoy long, dying at Edinburgh, in the following year, in the 69th year of his age.
The eldest daughter of Wilson married her cousin, J. Ferrier, nephew of the authoress of the novels, Marriage, The Inheritance (Ferrier, etc., so highly praised by Sir Walter Scott. The second was the wife of the late John Thomson' Gordon, Sheriff of Midlothian, and died in March, 1874. In 1862, impelled rather by filial devotion than a recognition of the Horatian precept—
"———versate diu quid ferre recusent,
- 'Athenæum, No. 1827, p. 555.
- Thomas Aird.