Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

not harmonize with the general contour of their faces or persons.

Poetry often ill criticized. To bring poetry or any work of fancy to the bar of reason, and there to try its merits, seems as unjust as to arraign a man at the Old Bailey for keeping a toy-shop, or stopping the mouth of a pretty prattling and amusing girl, by compelling her to prove her assertions.

Sir Charles Grandison.

This highly-finished character of a fine gentleman excites the censure, and perhaps the envy, of some persons, who think it too exquisitely wrought, and not in nature, and so condemn the author. Surely a writer of character may with as much propriety draw a very fino model for imita. tion, as well as

a statuary a model of ideal beauty. Sir Charles Grandison is the moral

Apollo Belvidere;" inasmuch as this statue was considered by the ancients as the best representation of dignified and male beauty, free from the effeminate character of Bacchus, and the familiar archness of Mercury --See Spence's Polymetis.

[ocr errors]

Naturalists.

Some of these 'philosophers are very bold in recommending their experiments to others. Dr. HM, writing on the strong digestive powers of eagles, by means of attrition, of very hard substances, says, that you may hear the noise of this operation of thegizzard of those large birds by laying your ear close to their stomachs when they are empty!

Wide Prospects. It seems singular that many persons are very fond of very extensive prospects, without any one object large enough to fix the attention. A friend, who had been carried to one of those ocean scenes, said that they reminded him of a long story, without any point; and that he then was conscious only of a very great opportunity of seeing nothing.

Whigs and Tories. It may seem strange that men of great abilities and high rank will submit to rest their political opinions on nicknames, as schoolboys would call these appellations, when “ins and outs” are so much more intelligible. On stating this to a friend, more conversant with the world than myself, he assured me that, as ignorance is apt to beget wonder and admiration, he supposed that great men did not wish to be intelligible.

Rogue-Fanciers. We have some singular expressions, but very common, which signify particular tastes,-tulipfanciers, bird-fanciers, &c. When I am perusing Milton and Lord Byron's poems, I think both those poets to be rogue-fanciers. Lord Byron's heroes are all Newgate birds, and Milton's favourite hero is the Devil himself. Milton, perhaps, as a very great proet, may defend himself in his attachment to the Father of all Lies.

Rhetoric and Logic. There seenis

an analogy in these two arts to those of design and colouring in that of the painter's art. Modern rhetoric partakes of the high colouring of the Venetian school; and the logic of the schools exhibits the severe and rigid, yet exact, outline of the Roman artists. Gibbon colours like a Venetian; and Dr. P-daubs like a Dutchman, and employs his talents, like him, on the commonest utensils, and the most trivial subjects and materials.

Analogies. Comparisons more often darken than illustrate the subject. London bas been described by some writers as a capital or head, too large for the rest of England's body. Why it is called the head

might puzzle the writer himself to explain. Had the author of this analogy ever been a guest at the Lord Mayor's feast, perhaps he would have called the city the belly of England, which by its enormous voracity starves the rest of the country.

Great Quoters. These borrowings from the wit and learning of other men are entertaining to a company, if the quoters do not too much presume on their memories ; or else their scraps proclaim them mere parrots in literature, and instead of men rich in learned ore, shew themselves to be mendicants. The line which Dr. Young so wittily applied to proud and degenerate nobles, may be applied to these usurpers of learning, who are not scholars in their own right, and who

Bring in their bills, instead of their discharge.

Wordsworth, the Poet. This eminent poetical favourite of babes and sucklings has, in a very long preface to his “ Lyrical Ballads," tried to prove that sentiment, independent of poetical expression, is sufficient to captivate the fancy, and has overset his own theory by writing neither poetry nor prose, but metrical lullabies. Indeed a long preface was necessary to set forth the truth of his doctrine, for, as the lawyers say, it does not appear on the face of it.

Love in Old Age. It has been facetiously observed by some French writer that love in old age bears a strong resemblance to the attack of the small-pox on an aged subject, viz. that the disorder coming late comes with double force. It may also be compared to a flame catching hold of old materials, so that the devastation becomes the more rapid.

a

Miseries of Authors. Sume call the labours of an author a trade, and others deem it a profession. But whatever title it may assume or accept, an author finds neither the world nor the “ world's law” his friend. A critic may be an offender in any way be chooses against a poor author. He may abuse him as man who has taken a trade he neither understands nor practises fairly, and ought not on any account to hope or even wish for success. No damages will be given in any court to the relief of the wretched plaintiff, as no law has given any security from from such attacks. They have sinned against the world and the world's law." Let us hear what a great Poet says of his own line of business

« AnteriorContinuar »