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flow, which it is not remarkable they should possess, since almost all the popular songs of Greece, constitute musical auxiliaries to dancing, with the various measures of which their numbers are intended to harmonise.
It is somewhat singular, and we believe it to be peculiar to Greece, that one of the constituents of her national poetry should be justly described by the title of "Brigand Songs." These very characteristic compositions derive their name from a self-outlawed Romaic race, called Kleftis, who, from the enduring example which they afforded of successful resistance to the Turkish yoke, deserve to be remembered by some more respectable denomination, than that which confounds them with the mercenary followers of a life of plunder. But the songs themselves are distinguished by a spirit of wild daring, impatience of restraint, directness and energy of resolution, mingled with a frank, careless, defying tone, which are quite in unison with the habits of brigand existence.
A considerable portion of this volume is devoted, and we think with a very proper exercise of discretion, to specimens of the patriotic songs of the Greeks. These effusions owe their origin, without exception, to the political spirit of the time—the greater part being cotemporaneous with, or rather having been the offspring of, the first revolutionary struggle in Greece. From the very nature of such compositions, it would be in vain to expect that they should possess novelty, either in the thought or even in the expression. Hatred of tyranny, thirst for freedom and independence, and love of country and kindred, are feelings, happily co-extensive with the human race, from all time. These universal sentiments may, however, be enforced on occasions, by the existence of particular circumstances — And what spirit and strength do they not receive from the native vehemence of the Greek character, the energy of their language, the splendid recollections of illustrious ancestors, and the appeals to a solemn, overawing religion! The measure of these songs occasionally varies, but they are all distinguished by a rapidity of movement which precipitates, as it were, thought after thought upon the mind, until it can no longer resist the current of enthusiasm.
The translations, though in general executed with spirit, are infinitely inferior to the original compositions.—We must, however, present the reader with a single specimen.
'How long, friends and countrymen,
'Hark! the thunder rolls on high,
'Raise your conquering voices all,
'Hellas, radiant was thy light;
'Think but on thy country's sighs,
'In the fame where nations shone,
'Now erased from human thought,
'Hail ye all the rolling year!
'May our fellest foemen bleed,
'Brightening with refulgent ray,
'Speed all to the gory fane,
'" Take thy shield, be sure to come
We shall add the expression of our wish, that Mr. Joss may be induced to publish some of the specimens of Greek music in his possession.—We are satisfied that the expense of printing them, the only obstacle which he pleads to this publicity, would prove but a temporary disbursement.
Art. XVII. Constable's Miscellany. Vols. VI. and VII., containing Converts from Infidelity. 3s. 6d. each volume. Edinburgh. 1827. London: Thomas Hurst & Co.
We do not mean to intimate the slightest disparagement of the general utility of the matter of these two volumes, when we say that, inasmuch as they are but reprints of works, some of them familiarly known to the public, they have received a place in the order of publication, which might, with great propriety, and still greater advantage to the undertaking, have been assigned to original compositions. We should have thought that, in pursuance of the plainest dictates of policy, some specimens at least of the talents and strength which the publishers can command, would have been anxiously manifested in the early stages of the series. The continued preference, which they are now acting on, for works, which, if not in many instances actually standard, are at least very popular, suggests something like a suspicion of the quality of those resources, from which the original part of the Miscellany is expected to be derived.
As to the merits of the volumes themselves, it is impossible that a second opinion can be entertained. The authority of example is proverbial—and it is with no small degree of just discrimination, that the selection before us confines itself to the names of those converts to Christianity, whose attainments, impartiality, and habits of inquiry, must give the utmost weight to the deliberate submission of their minds to the truths of Revelation. Out of the sixteen examples of conversions, either from libertine principles, scepticism, or acknowledged infidelity, the details of which form the contents of these volumes, the greater proportion belongs to England. Lords Rochester and Lyttleton, the Hon. Robert Boyle, Captain Wilson, distinguished as being the conductor of the first Christian mission to the South Seas, John Bunyan, and the late Dr. Bateman, in this country; and Counts Struensee and Brandt, Baron Haller and La Harpe, in foreign nations, are the most prominent names that find a place in this publication.
In reading the memoir of Charles Gildon, in the sixth volume, we were not a little disappointed to find that the professions of neutrality amidst conflicting creeds, and an avowed pledge to make this a ' truly national work, equally acceptable to readers of all parties and denominations'— professions which are reiterated at the very threshhold of this volume, are to be understood as admitting of hostility against one class of Christian believers. We ask the editor whether he has in this instance acted with good faith towards the public? We recommend him to act with a little more caution in this respect. He should not compromise the character and interests of so serious an enterprise, by indulging his own religious sentiments, at the expense of others, which may be at least quite as conscientiously entertained, and much more benevolently practised.
Art. XVni. ' Leigh's New Pocket Road- Book of Ireland, on the plan of Reichard's Itineraries, fyc. 18mo. 9s. bound. London: Leigh. Dublin: Mffliken. 1827.
It is a curious fact, but by no means difficult to be accounted for, that up to this period we should have been without a decent guide-book for Ireland. Into such a state of obscurity has that country been degraded, that it is no wonder that she should have been regarded by strangers as a barren wilderness, where nature had done for the soil, what an abominable system of misgovernment had effected for the inhabitants. Hence it is that too long the bold and majestic scenery of the north and south of Ireland—the Giants' Causeway and Killarney—and all the attractions of the unrivalled landscapes of the County Wicklow, have been neglected by Englishmen for distant, difficult, and expensive expeditions in search of the beauties of nature., As a source of enjoyment to the lovers of pic
turesque scenery, we are glad to see that, at length, the sister country begins to excite some interest amongst our tourists—for, with whatever motives the inhabitants of the different divisions of the empire are induced to hold intercourse with each other, the result must be, to dissipate mutual prejudices, and to lay the foundation of universal harmony.
Of the small but valuable work before us, it is perhaps giving it the highest eulogium which we could confer, to say, that it is formed on the plan of, and executed with as much care and correctness as, the wellknown publications, " Leigh's Road Books of England and Scotland." It would be quite impossible, we should think, to present the traveller, whatever be his views in undertaking a journey to Ireland, with a volume, in which so great and various a collection of useful topographical matter could be made to combine with so much convenience as to dimensions, and so much economy as to price. Clearness, accuracy, readiness of reference, in short, all those qualities which are invaluable to the tourist, who wants to obtain the largest amount of information with the smallest possible expenditure of labour, are the recommendations which will enable the ' Pocket Road Book of Ireland' to supersede all existing publications on the same subject.
Art. XIX. Traditions and Recollections; Domestic, Clerical, and Literary: in which are included Letters of Charles II., Cromwell, Pair/ax, and a number of recent and modern Literary Characters. By the Rev. R. Polwhele, Vicar of Newlyn and St. Anthony, and Honorary Associate of the Royal Literary Society. 2 vols. 8vo. London: Nichols & Son. 1826.
W'b desire no better occupation for our leisure, than a couple of volumes from some such provincial oracle, some such acknowledged prophet in his own country, as the Rev. Vicar of Newlyn—one that has been at the university, and remembers the young men who now figure away as chancellors, judges, and archbishops; and takes the liberty of alluding to such personages, under favour of juvenile privilege, by the familiar appellations of "Jack" and " Harry," and " wild rogue," and so on. If he have, next, the least clue whatever to his ancestry, the spice of genealogical dignity gives an exquisite flavour to the literary banquet. For facts in such a case one cares little—it is the manner in which they are told—the ceremonious bow and measured bend, with which they are ushered into our presence, that render these things so truly valuable amongst the ordinary sources of legitimate recreation. We begin in wonder, and terminate with a hearty langh, when we read about the patriarchal uncle, who, as can be proved by documentary evidence, slept eight hours out of the twenty-four, and lived, when awake, at the safe rate of some four meals a-day, cunningly intermingling with the solid food, adopted in his time, the wholesome properties of some cotemporary beverage. And how a gentle pony (" free from vice") had been ridden on, as far as the parsonage ; and what was said thereupon to the dean, (which made him and the complaisant clerk ready to break their sides with laughing)—by the famous old gentlewoman, who had the honour of being grandmother to our author, are circumstances to which the landing of King William, and the battles of Marlborough, stand only in the proportion of nursery relations.
But we have an additional ground for recurring, we are sorry to be obliged to confess somewhat tardily, to these volumes. We remember Mr. Polwhele as one of the most promising of the literary aspirants, who challenged our critical attention in the last century. He has a grateful remembrance of our judicial tenderness; and, as the fidelity of the historian calls upon him to enumerate the successive contributions which he made to the stock of letters, he thinks it not amiss to quote at length the opinions which we pronounced, from time to time, on those productions, as they issued from the press. Upon re-perusing these various paragraphs ot our earlier pen, we feel a pride and pleasure, at this distance of time, in recognising in them the same determined spirit by which we are still actuated, to incite, by all legitimate means, the honest ambition of genuine talent; ever preferring the chance of working temporary mischief by too much encouragement, to the hazard of inflicting irreparable injury by premature condemnation.
We have, to be sure, occasionally rallied our reverend friend on his excessive veneration for every thing Cornish. We still find him ready to sacrifice every thing to his old predilection; but it is far from being a crime to yield too much to local attachments. It is the error (leaning, indeed, pretty much to " virtue's side"), of an amiable mind: and of such Mr. Polewhele is undoubtedly the possessor. He speaks proudly of having been enabled to receive his preliminary education in Truro, in his native county, at a school where several years before the eccentric Sam Foote was a pupil. It would have been next to impossible that some traditions respecting him should not have been .preserved by our author. Of the early propensity of that singular person to ill-natured jocularity, the following anecdote, which was related at Truro to Mr. Polwhele, is a strong proof:
'One of the earliest instances of his jocularity, as practised upon his father " the old justice," is yet in the minds of several aged people of his neighbourhood. Imitating the voice of Mr. Nicholas Donnithorne, from an inner apartment, where his father had supposed Mr,. D. was sitting, he drew his father into conversation on the subject of a family transaction between the two old gentlemen; and thus possessed himself of a secret, which, whilst it displayed his mimicry, justly incurred his parent's displeasure. He was certainly a very unamiablc character. Polly Hicks, a
Eretty silly simpering girl (as a veteran memorialist of Truro described er to me), was dazzled by his wit. She had some property; he therefore made her his wife; but never treated her as such'—p. 29.
Mr. Polwhele, after completing his education at Oxford, in due time retired to Cornwall, to perform the duties of a pastor; and between a faithful, and to his flock highly satisfactory, discharge of the obligations of his sacred office, and literary indulgence—now building a sonnet, now inditing a critical epistle to some erudite friend—he seems to have spent a considerable portion of his life, with no ordinary share of pleasure to himself and profit to those around him.
The correspondence which our author has thought fit to communicate to the world, engrosses, at the least calculation, three-fourths of tlie two volumes. The general reader will be inclined to think that some considerable quantity of the epistles might have been spared, and superseded by a more extended specimen of autobiography than Mr. Polwhele has afforded us. The letters, for the most part, relate to minor subjects of lit*