Imágenes de página

Hope! thy glowing charm suspended
Dangers, shipwreck, death impend;
Midnight glooms with horrors blended
O'er a faded form we bend:
Morning dawns in azure glory,
Hope! thy radiant torch relume:
Helen lives to tell the story,
Rich in health and bright in bloom.

New-York, 1810.


DIsraeli, with the enthusiasm of an author, thus records the honours and rewards which have been bestowed on learning and genius.

The inhabitants of Languedoc established floral games at which they be. stowed golden flowers to fortunate poets. Rome crowned Petrarch with a laurel, Ravenna erected a marble monument to the memory of Dantè, and Cortaldo a statue to Boccace. Delighted princesses have touched with their fragrant lips the cheeks of bards. The Venetians paid Sannazarius six hundred pistoles for six verses. Baif received a silver image of Minerva from his native city, and Ronsard had apartments reserved for him in the palace of Charles IX, and the honour of receiving poetical epistles from that monarch. Even the phlegmatic Hollander has raised a superb figure to the memory of Erasmus, the great restorer of the Latin tongue.

In novel writing, descriptions of the landscape are too often trite and tame, the following is an honourable exception.

I gained the eastern extremity of the mountain that I might more amply enjoy the beams of the setting sun as he sunk beneath the waves of the Irish sea. It was the finest evening my eyes ever beheld. The resplendent colours of the clouds, the rich purple and burnished gold in various streaks fantastically formed were beyond any imagination to conceive. The woods were vocal. This lovely moment combined in one impression the freshness of the finest morning with all the rich and gorgeous effects peculiar to the close of a sum. mer's day

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

A real, and not a mere poetical sufferer thus pathetically apostrophises Consumption, subtlest enemy of life.

Oh! thou most fatal of Pandora's train,

Consumption! silent cheater of the eye;
Thou com'st not rob'd in agonizing Pain,

Nor mark'st thy course with Death's delusive dye.
But silent and unnoticed thou dost lie;

O’er life's soft springs thy venom dost diffuse,
And, whilst thou giv'st new lustre to the eye,

While o'er the cheek are spread Health's ruddy hues,
E’en then Life's little rest thy cruel power subdues.
Oft I've beheld thee, in the glow of youth,

Hid 'neath the blushing roses, which there bloom'd
And dropt a tear, for then thy cankering tooth

I knew would never stay, till all consumed,
In the cold vault of Death he were entombed;

But oh! what sorrow did I feel, as, slow,
Insidious ravager, I saw thee fly

Through fair Lucina's breast of whitest snow,
Preparing swift her passage to the sky.

Though still intelligence beamed in the glance,
The liquid lustre of her fine blue eye,

Yet soon did languid Listlessness advance,
And soon she calmly sunk in Death's repugnant trance
Even when her end was swiftly drawing near,

And Dissolution hovered o'er her head,
Even then so beauteous did her form appear,

That none who saw her but admiring said,
Sure so much beauty never could be dead.

In his fancisul “Fleetwood,” Godwin is often nearly as eloquent as Rousseau. If the reader will pardon an exuberance of words the strain of the following extract is highly animated.

At Oxford, the whole tone of my mind became changed. The situation was new. The effects were striking. In Merionethshire, I had been a solitary sa vage. I had no companions, and I desired none. The commerce of my boat: and of my thoughts was enough for me. I lived in an ideal world of my ost creation. The actual world beneath me I intuitively shunned. I felt that every man I should meet would be either too ignorant or too coarse to afford x pleasure. The strings of my mind were tuned to too delicate and sensitis

a pitch: it was an Eolian harp upon which the winds of beaven might “ dis course excellent music ;" but the touch of a human hand could draw from it nothing but discord and dissonance.

Formed, as my mind had been, almost from infancy, to delight itself with the grand, the romantic, the stupendous, and the surprising, it is inconceivable with what contempt, with what loathing I looked upon the face of nature as it shows itself in Oxfordshire. All was flat, and tame, and tedious. Wales was Nature, in the vigour and animation of youth: she sported in a thousand wild and admirable freaks; she displayed a master hand; every stroke of her majestic pencil was clear, and bold, and free. But, in the country to which I had now removed, Nature, to my eyes, seemed to be in her dotage. If she attempted any thing, it was the attempt of a driveller; she appeared like a toothless and palsied beldame, who calls upon her visitors to attend, who mumbles slowly a set of inarticulate and unintelligible sounds, and to whom it exceeds the force of human resolution to keep up the forms of civility.

The following curious dialogue respecting the savage state may be found in a book, which, with all its absurdities, deserves to be attentively read.

There are men who have preferred living among sarages. Now what a wretch must he be, who is content with such conversation as can be had among barbarians. You may remember an officer at Fort Augustus, who had served in America, told us of a woman whom they were obliged to bind, in order to get her back from savage life. Boswell. She must have been an ani. mal, a beast. Johnson. Sir, she was a speaking cat.

The following commendation of courage, though roughly expressed, is unquestionably irrefragable. The splendour of military or naval actions would certainly outshine the glory of Socrates or Mansfield. The one is the sun in his fiercest radiance. The other is the moon with her paly lamp.

We talked of war. Johnson. Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier or not having been at sea. Boswell. Lord Mansfield docs not. Johnson. Sir, if lord Mansfield were in a company of general officers or admirals, who have been in service, he would shrink; he'd wish to creep un. der the table. Boswell. No; he'd ihink he could try them all. Johnson. Yes, if he could catch them; but they'd try him much sooner. No, sir; were Socrates and Charles the twelfth of Sweden both present in any company, and Socrates to say, follow me and hear a lecture in philosophy; and Charles, laying his hand

on his sword, to say follow me and dethrone the czar, a man would be ashamed to follow Socrates. Sir, the profession of soldiers and sailors has the dignity of danger. Mankind reverence those who have got over fear, which is so general a weakness.' .

The Edinburgh Reviewers, who as they are unquestionably men of brilliant genius themselves are perfectly well qualified to estimate the mental power of others, thus nobly assert the claims and vindicate the calumniated character of Chatterton.

A more vehement chapter of criticism is scarcely to be found than Mr. Stockdale's remarks on CHATTERTON, whose genius he idolizes, and whose • memory he defends with a fervour beyond all other worshippers, and defend

ers. What that wonderFVI. BOY would have been is a question which we shall not decide so emphatically as Mr. S.; what he was is undeniable, THE GREATEST POET THAT EVER APPEARED IN IMMATURE YEARS. The moral character of Chatterton has been basely insulted by bigots and fools. The pretended antiquity of his poems has been denounced as a crime against truth, with all the solemnity with which Ananias's lie is quoted from scripture. The word forgery does not apply to such an innocent deception.

· LITERARY INTELLIGENCE-FOR THE PORT FOLIO. We are happy to announce the flattering distinction recently paid to our countryman Dr. Benjamin S. Barton, professor of Materia Medica, Natural History and Botany in the University of Pennsylvania. A copy of his elegant and valuable work the Elements of Botany was presented by L. Harris, Esq. the American consul at St. Petersburgh, to the Empress Dowager of Russia, who caused some parts of it to be translated for hier use. From these she had derived so much satisfaction that a translation of the whole work into French has been ordered by her Majesty. This compliment we mention with the more pleasure because it proves that no elevation can exclude the amiable studies of nature, and because we deem it equally honourable to the illustrious personage who offered, as to the distinguished scholar who received it.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »