« AnteriorContinuar »
productive of great results; Dot so the fable must depend on the imaso much, it would seem, from the pre- gination and the judgment of the cepts enforced by the Stagyrite, as Poet, so those bounds of Epic profrom the great and astonishing effect priety might consistently emanate which the mind discovers to be exer- from the literary taste or discretion of cised over its powers and energies the writers who are to be entrusted through the instrumentality of these with the arrangemeut and execution delineations.
of what they had originally conceived. It was this, indeed, which first strik. These, however, are all subordiing the contemplative mind, gave rise pate in the general arrangement and to criticism, and elicited from the ma- laws of Epic narrative, and by no tured judgments of sages, who were means of the essentiality, as connected themselves wilnesses of these results, with the developemeot of its fable, as and marked their propriely, contin- the greatness of the action, which gency, and adaptatioo to the human forms a first principle of its being or sympathies and affections, those rules constitution, and without which no which they judged most calculated in buman art or exercise of judgment, their exercise to impress an imagina- however, felicitously combined and tion formed and corrected by classical applied, could throw sufficient dignity studies.
or interest into a succession of inci“ Homer, Sophocles, and Euri. dents, as to sustain the properemotiva pides," says Mr. Harris, “ formed or feeling in the breast of the reader. Aristolle ; not Aristotle, Homer, Sv. The greatness or elevated pature of phocles, and Euripides."
the activo or series of events upon It may bere, in passing, be further which an Epic Poem is founded, must, remarked, that although in the Epic, then, on all hands be admitted to as in other subjects of composition, stand immutably connected with its classical rules are of great and essen
very existence. tial imporlauce, to direct, and even Tbis in Homer, who as he was the to draw forth the rich and varied cor- first is likewise generally ranked as ruscations of genius, to curb and re- the greatest of epic poets, is transcendgulate the imagination, which would eolly conspicuous ; not so much on otherwise shoot forth into wild luxu- account of the grandeur of the enterriance, and occasionally into shapeless prize, and extent of the action, or sedeformity (for although it is clear ries of actions, or the vastuess of the that Homer exemplified these rules consequevces they involve, as of that Jong before the rise of criticism, he elevation of character and of sentiment was himself ils author, as it is need- which he uniformly sustains, and which Jess to repeat that all bis commenta. is generally productive of kindredemotors have agreed in placing the vigour tions in the mind of the reader. “This and soundness of his judgment on as poetical fire, or vividu vis unimi," says eminent a basis as his fire and impe- Pope," is to be found in a very few. tuosity of descriptivo); the scanty li- Even in works where exact disposimils which have been prescribed by tion, just thought, correct elocution, critics to the fable and the arrange- or polished numbers, are imperfect nient of this species of composition or neglected, this can overpower may be thought referable rather to criticism, and inake us admire even the laws of fancied, than of real pro• while we disapprove. Nay, where portion.
this appears, though altended with The unity of time, place, and seve- absurdities, it brightens all the rub. ral other ingenious modifications of bish about it till we see nothing but the Epic, which, originating in the its own splendour.” “ This fire,” he Peripatetic school, have been insisted proceeds, " is discerned in Virgil, but un as constitutiog imutable requi. discerned as through a glass reflected sites of Epic writing by the Scaligers, fronu Homer, more shining than fierce, the Bossus, and various others, may but every where equal and coostaol; be said, however, to be ideal land. io Lucan an Statius it burst out in marks, and to have in fact nothing to sudden, short, and interrupted flashes; do with the true proportions of native in Milton it glows like a furnace kept beauty, or of genuine excellence. It
up to an uncommon ardour by the may, indeed, ratber be thought, on force of art; in Shakspeare it strikes the other hand, tbat, as the moulding before we are aware, like an acciden
1819.) On the Subjects of Epic Poems. tal fire from Heaven ; but in Homer, greatness, povelty, or peculiar feliand in him alone, it burns every where city of incident, the two former boldly clearly, and every where irresistibly." ventured on a world unknown, at
It is then evident, from the com- least in the regions of song, where, mon consent of mankind, that Ho- although they attached to themselves mer, according to every thing which responsibilities on the score of inovcame within his ideas of greatness, vation from which the others were has accomplished bis desigo of render- free, they bad nevertheless great ading his epopée pre-eminently worthy vantages. of bearing this title, and that he bas In the disposition of the characabundantly supported this design, in ters, the manners, and ibe machi. rendering the excution of his plan at pery they have employed in the copleast equal to its first conception.
duct and decoration of their poems, But although Homer, and his im. these eminent poels had an universe mediate successors (who have in this of their own an unexplored mine, particular closely imitated their great from which they could dig inaterials archetype), have supposed the events peculiarly adapted to the features upon which they adventured their and exigences of their respective subgenius, as those which of all others jects. In these particulars all other were the most dignified; religion and epics, as Mickle, in his 'excellent Disscience bave in later ages uofolded sertation on the Lusiad, has observed, topics for the lofty flights of epic are mere copies of the Iliad. “ Every soog wholly without parallel through- one,” says he, “bas its Agamemnon, out the circle and range of acquire- its Achilles, its Ajax, and Ulysses, ments which distinguished the ancient its calm, furious, gross, and intellecworld. Imagination never svared so tual hero.” This, then, has at once high, and nipid never enlarged to afforded them great facilities in their so wide a grasp among the antients, subordinate agency, and imparted a as, from the natural developement of grandeur to their fable wholly unpresubsequent events, it was reserved to cedented. For, as the eloquent transdo among their more fortunate, if not Jator of Camoens has finally observed, their more vigorously-inspired poste. in speaking of the Lusiad, “a voyage rily. The discovery and enterprize esteemed too great for man to dare, which have distinguished the modern the adventures of this voyage through pationsof Europe, niay be said likewise unknown oceans deemed unnavigable, to have opened a field for the epopée the Eastern World happily discovered, at ouce elevated, extensive, and and for ever indissolubly joined and greal,-and, as it stands highly con- given to the Western, the grand Pornected with the advancement of hu- iuguese Empire in the East, the human knowledge and the civilization manization of mankind and universal of mankind, so, in the sole point of commerce the consequence! What individual greatness, these eolerprizes are Greece and Latiuni in arms for a furnish an action far removed from woman compared to this ? Trog is all former competition.
in ashes, and even the Roman Enspire Of this new light, which at length is no more. But the effects of the alipost suddenly broke in upon the voyage, adventures, and bravery of world, when the minds and under- the hero of the Lusiad, will be felt aud standings of men had been duly pre- be held, and perhaps increase in impared for its force, with all its vast portance, while the world shall readvantages, Milton and Camoens were main." The fables of Camoons and pot slow iu avaiting themselves, and Milton must therefore be acknowin ibeir success they justified what ledged to be founded on actions more might have been expected from thinktranscendently great than any of the ing of so extensive a range, and celebrated epics which have ever ap. powers of so vigorous a grasp. peared for the instruction and delight
While Tasso and Voltaire con- of their countrymen and mankind. structed their fable, and developed of this last illustrious Bard, it may their plot, from circumstances doubt. be sufficient here to remark, that the less (as in the case of Homer and conception of his plan, though the Virgil
) peculiarly interesting to their most daring, perhaps, that could enter countrymen, but not comprizing, the human miod, was not alone the ioaný remarkable degree, either source of his producing such new and
uncommon emotions in his readers been before intimated that they are the number and felicity of his proso. by no means always essential to the popæias are emioeotly successful in at. general beauty or elevation of the laining this end.
epopée ; Milton, it may be observed, The invention of Homer has ever was, from the extraordinary structure been justly a theme of panegyrick with of that which his genius selected, the critics; the creative power of wholly absolved from these arbitrary Milton stands, perhaps, upon a yet distinctions. Mankind measure time higher eminence. The very confined by the sun and moon, and place by limits which his subject, from its na- latitudes and meridians; but the range ture, prescribed to his introduction of Milton's ideas led him oftentimes of real characters, led bim to the far beyond the reach or the influence personification of allegorical beings, of either. The interesting and subunder various titles, such as Sin and lime nature of Milton's episodes, likeDeath, in which he has embodied wise, equally with the variety and altributes under real forms, and made beauty of his similes, may be thought them actors in the sublime machinery instrumental in preserving the great. with which he bas ornamented and ness and majesty of his fable; although enpobled his fable. The awfully it must, ou the other hand; be owned grand and mysterious attributes which that he occasionally sinks into a lanhe has thrown into these imaginary guor and insipidity quite incompatible personages, inay be said considerably with epic parrative. Hume, it is here to heighten the general effect of those observable, chiefly attributes this lanparts of his poem; as, in like man- guor to a want of sufficient leisure to Der, the apparition which in the night watch in himself the returns of genius, hovers athwart the fleet near the Cape or those happier moments when his of Good Hope, in the Lusiad, is thoughts, unfettered by the ordinary thought, with some reason, by its circumstances of life, were at liberty elegant Translator, to be the grandest to take their accustomed raoge. fiction found in human composition.
(To be continued.) Addison has pertinently remarked, “it shews a greater degree of genius
p. liban than bis Hotspur or Julius Cæ. sar; the one was to be supplied out in that most useful publication, Paterof his own imagioation, the other son's Road Book, is only 814 feet; might have been formed upon tradi- and this, having been taken by Col. tion, history, or observation." Mudge, may be depended on. Your
So was it with Milton; be had few Correspondent says, " it looks over originals in nature from wbich he the Wold (or, as it is provincially could borrow the general outlines of termed, the Wild), or low ground of his characters, or from the contem- Sussex." The Wild, or Weald, is the plation of which he might, with the proper devomination ; that district aid of fiction, embody in them so baving been for many ages a wild and much of interest as
uncultivated woodland. The Wolds tomed to feel in the contemplation of in Gloucestershire (and I believe in beings like ourselves; he had to Lincolnshire) are high grounds. He create and to frame for them appro- says—"Its faults are a want of dissipriate sentiments and language, a race milarity in its parts, and the lowness of terrible and sublime beings, under and disproportion of the hills to the the title of apostate angels, wholly extent of the foreground. In fact, it unlike any thing which has ever fallen should be more à la Brute." What is under human experience.
the meaning of à la Brute ? Bramber The horrific synod of fallen spirits (not Bramble) is distinct from Steyning. in Pandæmonium argues a far greater P. 512. J. P. J. begins with saying : stretch of human skill, and resource “ The late Mr. Thomas Hollis was, in of genius, than a deliberation of Gre- the fullest sense of the word, a pacian chiefs (however warlike and triot.” His disclaiming the Christian grand in its general features) con- Religion (which, by his direction as voked by Agamemnon.
to bis burial, must have been the With regard to unity in the fable case), is, I suppose, po blot in the and action of Milton, if it had not character of a true Patriot.
in 'Shakspeare to have drawn his Cal Classes, according to the Table
we are accus
1819.) Newcastle Topographical Society:
37 The namesake and adopted heir of stimulate the Society to re-print other this upright patriot (as your pages
scarce articles intimately connected with bave recorded) passed some months these parts. A further object, which in prison, having been convicted of the intended Society should not lose bribery and corruption at an election sight of, is that of securing, whenever of a Member of Parliament! This, practicable, the portraits of such celeto be sure, was a truly - patriotic residents in, the town and neighbour
brated characters, either natives of, or action. P.547. Are the two lines here given tinguished themselves by their learning,
hood, as have any way eminently dis& specimen of the poetry of “The
their talents, or their other acquireDays of Harold?”
ments. The recollection of the honour Ti is much to be hoped that E.m.. thereby conferred on us, it is hoped, p. 522, will give you a memoir of
may, in some measure, inspire the sucMr. Lysons; a gentleman whose loss ceeding generation with that generous will be deeply felt by his numerous love of fame which produced the celefriends, and, with respect to the Anti- brity and eminence of their illustriquities of this Country, we may al- ous predecessors. Of course, it would inust say will be irreparable. His pen
be desirable to accompany. these porwould do justice to the subject.
traits with the best biographical sketches Yours, &c.
A. that could be procured, which might,
from time to time, he printed for the Mr. URBAN,
use of the members. But above all, the
attention of the Society should be parti. To apology is necessary for trans
cularly directed towards the acquisition
of a complete local library. Such as a Plan recently suggested at New
are acquainted with the immense numcastle-upon-Tyne for a Literary Esta
ber of literary productions which issued blishment, to be denominated
from the printing-presses of Barker, Newcastle Typographical Society." Bulkeley, White, Saint, and Slack, to
“In furtherance of this Plan, with all say nothing of the printers of the present due deference to the opinion of others, day, will probably regard an attempt to it is submitted, that an association of collect them all as bold and presumptuthis kind might fairly embrace every
ous; but to those who have felt the species of local investigation connected pleasures of book.collecting; or, to be with the Literature or Typography, and more intelligible to the uninitiated, consequently with the History, of this when we reflect on and feel the delight great commercial town, from the earliest and instruction which the studies of period of time down to the present mo
Literature inculcate; when we have exment. No one disputes, that there are perienced the perpetual charm which feveral interesting transactions, relative they communicate to leisure 'hours, to our Border History, which bave never
otherwise too often lamentably dissibeen properly developed ; nor have we
pated in indolent and degrading puryet discovered the secret and real im- suits, it must be confessed to be a laupulse which led to, and directed, many
dable endeavour, even should it ulti. of the most remarkable events exhi. mately fail. There seems no occasion, bited upon the frontiers of the two con- however, to anticipate such an event; tending kingdoms of England and Scot- for, though the present association has land. These and other similar transac- hardly yet been mentioned, several litetions, of a civil and military nature, will rary gentlemen have already consented afford a wide field of enquiry ; and the to patronize the Institution, and to add publication of any elucidation of subjects
to its collections from their own stores. 60 highly interesting must necessarily There is, therefore, every reason to bebe advantageous to the future bistorian. lieve, that, when the future views of The Topography of the surrounding the Society become more generally country, in the enlarged sense of the known, the example will soon be foj. word, should also be a matter of con
lowed by 'others attached to similar tinual attention; and the publication of pursuits. antient manuscripts on that subject, as “As the Library of the Society will well as the printing of such of our local be always open to the inspection of the conventions and customs, as have not public, we are not, perhaps, assuming yet been published, with which many too much in looking forward to presenprivate and public collections in this tation copies, either from the authors part of the country abound, cannot be or from other quarters, of the greatest too strongly reconimended. The great part of the works that may hereafter be avidity with wbich every kind of know- published in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. ledge is now sought after, may likewise
" J. C. B."
Mr. URBAN, Bristol, July 3. fully made a memorandum of it, and A THOUG A coordial valore Paris,
was highly delighted when an opporthing be, according to the poet, tunity of passing within about twenty " as much money as it will bring,” miles of Stratford-upon-Avon, lately, there is an ideal or national value gave me, as I thought, a chance of affixed to inoumerable objects, not obtaining a sight of this gem,-for, in their nature of much worth or uti- without being an idolator of Shaklity, but merely because they have speare, such I considered it. Withbelonged to some particular person. out the least hesitation or reluctance, Thus, in addition to that most valu. 1 deviated from my road, and, in spite able and extensive class of relics of a heavy rain, crossed the country which devotees have preserved with from near Bromsgrove, and thought becoming reverence, as part of the lightly of the trouble when I arrived possessions of the noble army of safe at the White Lion Inn—that very Saints and Martyrsma loyal Virtuoso inn which Toldervy and others have in our own Country, even since the 80 handsomely mentioned, situated in establishment of Protestantism, di- that very street where “ Nature's rected by his last will, that some of Darling” first opened his eyes. Morethe hair and blood of King Charles I. over, I thought myself quite in luck which he had inclosed in a casket, to find therein assembled a large comand left in Southwich House, near pany of respectable inhabitants of the Portsdown Hill, should be carefully town, who politely received an uopreserved there till the end of the known traveller amongst them, and world! Much may be said in favour appeared pleased in gratifying his of what certain grave and phlegmatic curiosity respecting the Bard. But, philosophers have called whimsies, alas! when the ring was mentioned, and I have no inclination to ridicule not one amongst them seemed to either the disposition to collect rari- know any thing of the matter; only ties of any description, or to attach one of them had ever heard of it, and to whatever has once belonged to he accidentally met with the very antient worthies, and persons of re- account which I had also met with nown, a' certain degree of estimalion a hundred miles from the spot ;-but and'regard. Far be it from me to a good-looking, porlly old gentledo so; for, in common with many man, who sat a long time perfectly other men of leisure, I have devoted silent, seemed to listen wiib much many a long and tedious hour to the attention to the remarks of the rest investigation of Antiquities, and know of the company, took his pipe from how to feel for the disappointment his mouth, and drily observed, that which sometimes overwhelms the in- there must have been some mistake dustrious labourer in this department in the relation, and that, instead of of science, by what has occasionally such a ring being found at Stratford, occurred to myself. Every thing it must have been at Birmingham! which belonged to our immortal In short, Mr. Urban, one and all Shakspeare is deservedly esteemed assured me that I had been hoaxed; curious and valuable. If Addison and, as I was once hoaxed before, thought, that to know the stature in the affair of a supposed Queen and aspect of the great Duke of Anne's farthing, I have made a resoMarlborough would afford delight to lution never to ride twenty miles jo a posterity, surely it is not unreason- wet day again, such a wild-goose able to suppose that even the most chace : and ihis account of my adventrivial circumstance, connected with ture may be a warning to others, as the most extraordinary genius which well as it certainly will be to the world has ever produced, is wor. Yours, &c.
RAMBLER. thy of being recorded and preserved. With such impressions, I read, many
N months ago, an account of the disco. I linhecala inder list of Protestants, very of a ring which was conjectured, 1689, by Parliainent and almost proved, to have belonged in Dublin, appears the name of Capt. to the illustrious Bard. A seal-ring, John Ryder, of the county of Monatoo ; and with his own ioitials! Not ghan. Perhaps some of having constant access to the volume spondents may possess information as in whicb I read the account, I care- to the branch of the Ryder family