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To him the Bear: “ Who better plays his part
The previous sarcasm on the Bear's unfitness
The Bull was next expos’d to nomination,
the Ass ’mid laughing, scraping, fleering,
My Ass, console thyself; the time is coming,
And thou be held best bulwark of the throne.' His allusions to the foibles of individuals are poignant without being ill-tempered. In complaining of the frivolousness of society, and the ennui of a town life, he makes us smile at the vacant indolence of a lounging man of letters. If the cap fits any one of our friends in particular, they must take their share without being angry at the Poet, for we may be quite sure that he has not spared himself.
• Or if foul fiends and phantoms will intrude
With reason, or upon perverse pretences,
But this I see is clear, and glad return
Blest spot! within thy walls I never hear
VOL. XXI. NO. LXII.
No common jokes I heed, or friends who bring 'em,
i shun whatever causes bile or vapours,
“ But what is mooncalf?” a strange voice may cry.
Berni illustrates it in choicest measure;
While these their time in feasts and fooling fleeted,
Nor lack'd they matter for their waking dreams :
Then, when they had for somewhile slept and eat,
D'ye hear those fools above? they're needs well met;
* Administered in sandwiches with a small bonus of beef, it produces a slight galvanic effect.
+ Those who desire to see what use Mr. Rose has made of the autographic portrait of Berni may consult the Orlando Innamorato (lib. 3. cant. 7. st. 35, &c.) and the Life of Leo X. (vol. iii.) where it has been quoted by Mr. Roscoe, whose observations are extremely judicious.
But other mooncalf's mine. By Chewton's dingle,
More picturesquely rapt, I sometimes range
See Solent* tossing in distemper'd sleep,
Last, from the south forth sallying, sweeps along
Then seek my cell and books, and trim my hearth,
But give my fountain vent, and set it spouting,
And so'mid nothings fleet away my time.' Mr. Rose has infused a new life into his model, but he is endowed with such a happy vein of originality, that we sincerely regret that he has chosen rather to be an imitator than an inventor, particularly as the species of composition which he has copied, however ably executed, can only be considered as marring the beauty, and destroying the utility, of the fictions of Æsop. Somewhat similar is the Hind and the Panther. Nothing can surpass the admirable versification of that poem, yet Dryden has denaturalized the character of the apologue and of the animals which appear in it; and his talents have not protected bim
* The Solent, or Solent-sea, is the channel between the Isle of Wight and mainland. II 2
against the criticisms which he deserves. Voltaire has justly censured La Fontaine himself, whose later fables are expanded to a greater length than bis earlier ones. Besides, the poet must write without shewing himself on the stage, and without any tincture of ridicule or sarcasm. Æsop is neither laborious, nor witty, nor impassioned: he observes the scenes which nature has presented to him, and he reports them with the impartiality of nature.
It will appear from our observations on the Animali Parlanti, that, according to the Italian classification, the satirical poem neither seeks to surprize us by varied incident, nor to move us by exalted sentiments. It is a poem in which the action and the personages are only subservient instruments employed to lead us to despise the opinions which we venerate, and to laugh at events in which we sympathise. Therefore the persons speak more than they act. On the contrary, it is the end and object of romantic poetry, that, through its medium, this rude world may appear more interesting than it actually is. The romantic poet seeks to astonish his readers by marvellous adventures, by human characters which range above mortality, by chivalrous exploits, by excessive tenderness and heroism, sometimes exaggerated even into absurdity. Poets of this class profit by any theme which presents itself : they are capable of bestowing animation upon any object, therefore they do not reject the ludicrous scenes which happen to fall in their way; but they never go a step out of it to search for them. Such are the on Charlemaine and his Peers by Pulci, Boiardo, Berni, and Ariosto. The Prospectus and Specimen of the National Work by William and Robert Whistlecraft' has undoubtedly been suggested by these poems, and most particularly by the Morgante Maggiore, of which we shall speak anon; but there is one important difference between them. The English author las filled his poem with sprightly humour, whilst the Italian romantic poets only laugh now and then. In examining the four cantos which have been published of the Specimen,' we shall discover whether this alteration has succeeded.
The poem opens, like the Morgante Maggiore, and the Orlando Innamorato, with a scene of holy-tide festivity at the court of the king of chivalry.
• The great King Arthur made a sumptuous feast,
And held his royal Christmas at Carlisle.' To those who do not understand Italian, the following stanzas will afford an accurate idea of the interest which Pulci's vivacity gives to the most trivial scenes, and of the easy grace which Berni contrives to bestow upon them.
· The noise and uproar of the scullery tribe, All pilfering and scrambling in their calling,
Was past all powers of language to describe
Beggars and vagabonds, blind, lame, and sturdy,
And Jews and foreigners with foreign features.'
• They look'd a manly, generous generation ;
The ladies look'd of an heroic race,-
Their dresses partly silk, and partly woollen.'
The author traces the characters of his personages with consummate art.
"Sir Tristram was prepared to sing and play,
From realm to realm he ran—and never staid;