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careful hand every thing has been excluded, from which Milton's fame, as the champion of the moral dignity of mankind, could in the least degree be compromised. The utility of such a compilation as this is obvious.
Art. XXI. Narrative, of an Excursion from Corfu to Smyrna, comprising a Progress through Albania and the North of Greece, with some account of Athens, descriptive of the Ancient and Present State of that City. To which is annexed a Translation of the Erastee of Plato. By the Author of "Letters from Palestine." 1 vol. 8vo. pp. 271. 10s. 6d. London: Black & Young. 1827. Mr. Joliffe happens to have traversed and described a portion of the Albanian and Greek territory, which is the best known in this country. He proceeded from the coast of Italy, by way of Corfu, to Prevesa, and ther.ce to Joannina, the residence of the famous Ali Pasha. He continued his journey eastward to Larissa, and from that city directed his course to Thebes and Athens, where he embarked for Smyrna.
We do not find that Mr. Joliffe has added many important particulars to the stock of historical and local information which we already possessed, relative to those scenes of undying interest through which he has passed. It is unfortunate, too, that the remote date of this narrative, 1817, excludes the hope that it can contribute any thing to our knowledge of the political condition of Greece.
However, this is a work which, if it be inferior to most of those productions that give an accurate account of that celebrated country, in point of originality and extent, possesses, certainly, the advantage over them all, of being written upon a more economical, and therefore a more generally accessible scale. In another respect, too, this volume is not destitute of value, for it contains the detailed testimony of an eye witness to the miserable consequences of the protraction of Turkish domination over the destinies of Greece. We think Mr. Joliffe's work assists very considerably in shewing a marked distinction between the case of the revolted Greeks, and that of the treasonable insurrection of rebel subjects. The importance of establishing such a principle as this, at the present time, will be appreciated, when we remember the grounds upon which the policy of Great Britain has proceeded, with respect to the struggle in the Archipelago.
The account which is here given of Ali Pasha, coincides very nearly with the descriptions of the same personage by Dr. Holland and Mr. Hobhouse; and it is calculated upon the whole, to diminish the disgust which his sanguinary acts cannot fail to inspire. Mr. Joliffe also visited | the son of Ali, who was then exercising a subordinate government in the I district of Larissa. The young man appears to possess talents, and a I thirst for moral improvement, which would have enabled him, perhaps, I after he had succeeded to supreme command, to have introduced a more I humane system of administration than was known to the policy of Turkish magistrates.
Mr. Joliffe is too experienced a traveller, not to contemplate the habits and maimers which differ from those of his own preference, with perfect indulgence. It is quite pleasing, therefore, to accompany him through the details of customs, of institutions, of modes of life, towards which Englishmen, in general, are almost justified in feeling a prejudice, and mark the tone of philosophic forbearance which he preserves through all his remarks, and the disposition at all times which he shews, to display the best side of the picture.
We think that a work which deserves the character now bestowed upon the 'Excursion,' may, with great propriety, be recommended as a very safe guide to those parts of which it embraces a description.
Art. XXII. Mont Blanc, and other Poems. By Mary Ann Browne, in her fifteenth year. 8vo. pp.177. Hatchard & Son. 1827.
Let not this young aspirant suspect that we are about to criticise her with chilling severity, when we confess that this is a title page that did not bespeak our favourable prepossessions. If we are somewhat tired 'of prodigies and juvenile phenomena, it is not from any cynical devotion to " the love that deadens young desire," but because long experience and observation have convinced us, not only that premature exposure to the capricious atmosphere of popular admiration, more frequently blights and destroys than fosters and matures, the early buds of genius, but that it almost inevitably brings a canker with it, destructive to the hopes it for a while inflates, and inimical to the happiness of maturer life.
If our apprehensions were thus alarmed by the title page, they were certainly not allayed by an injudicious preface, written, as it is stated in the first paragraph, by " a friend of the authoress," who "feels himself in the situation of a daw that undertakes to introduce a nightingale." A cuckoo would have been somewhat more in point for a metaphor, as far as natural history is concerned; but if this friendly preface writer understood so well his own attributes, he should have been aware that such introductory chatter is little calculated to collect an audience, or bespeak attention to the song: for what rational credence will be given to a pompous announcement, that "the genius displayed" by a young creature in her fifteenth year, "and who has passed the few years of her life altogether in a state of country retirement," "is of too decided a character to derive advantage from extraneous aid?" This is the very strain of partial infatuation, by which so many an else promising intellect has been perverted and undone; and we conjure Miss Browne—of the indications of whose poetic talent (if she can but keep aloof from such delusive flattery), we think very favourably—to be assured that there never was, nor in the nature of things, ever can be, poetic or literary genius of such age, that did not 'require, at least, the extraneous aid of critical animadversion, suggestion and advice. In some of the ornamental arts which address themselves exclusively to the senses—as music, for example—great proficiency is sometimes attained in very early years: and even this species of excellence is not attained without "extraneous aid,"—without the advantage of much scientific training and instruction. But poetry is an endowment, and an art that is not connected with the senses only; it is a talent connected with deep feelings and profound intellect, and must be sustained by the knowledge derived from acute and extensive observation, and by mental cultivation and attainments:—an instinctive science if you please; but still an instinct that requires the aid of all the intellectual faculties for its developement. The sparklings of youthful fancy are not the concentric fire of imagination, and even the tenderness of sentiment so natural to the early years, especially of the softer sex, if the judgment be not cultivated, and the sphere of sympathy enlarged by knowledge and meditation, soon dissipates itself on trivial objects, or degenerates into monotonous inanity.
These are some of ouropinions upon the subject ofpoetry and poetic genius. If our young poetess of fifteen should think them at all correct, let her not learn to pride herself, at an age so premature, in "deriving no advantage from extraneous aid;" for she must be told, that she has still a great deal to learn. On the subject of metaphor she seems to be ignorant, that it is its head, not its "breast," that a mountain " lifts towards heaven;" that a " cataract" does not "leap along the base'' of a mountain; that " memory revelling in past pleasure's blaze" is an incoherent prettiness of phrase, since we certainly cannot be revelling in what is past; that a " storm" with "circling clouds," "gathering weight," and, seizing the moon, and hurling her struggling back," is language that approaches, at least, to the straining of bombast;—as does also the idea, that if the clouds did not "pour their torrents forth to quench the fire," the lightning might " melt the earth in its too furious ire." We might have objected also, to the idea of nature meeting the soft reconciling kiss of the moon, in the following lines, as somewhat fantastic.
'The tempest sinks away to its abyss,
This verse reminds us of another, in which the four lines contain as many metaphors, some inapplicable to the subject, and all inconsistent with each other. She says of love, that
'It is the first delightful thrill
That dawns within the maiden's heart,
We are at a loss to understand how a thrill can dawn any where: but not satisfied with making it an object of vision, Miss Browne next supposes it to be a fire which may be chilled by the wing of time; and after all, she represents it to be a silver tie, which the said wing cannot force apart! These, and some other defects of the same, and of some other descriptions, it might have been a kindness in criticism to have pointed out to so young a poetess. She herself, at her leisure, would have corrected them, and would have learned for the future to avoid them: for her mind and her feelings are evidently poetical; and notwithstanding the defects inevitable in such extreme youth, we know not when we have met with so much pleasing poetry from so young a pen. We trace, indeed,' in several instances, the evidence of an imitation of more than one contemporary writer; but not only in some of these are there indications of a taste more chaste and pure than exists in the adopted models, but, in others of her compositions, there are the clear emanations of an originality of mind, that if she will trust to nature, cultivate her judgment, and keep clear of the affectations of all " schools," may lift her above the imitator's art.
There is one circumstance, in particular, that distinguishes Miss Browne from her glittering contemporaries, which deserves particular notice. Her poetry is not all mere egotism: she is so far from being the perpetual heroine of her own theme, or dwelling incessantly on her own concerns and feelings, that one could almost wish her to be a little more egotistical than she seems inclined to be. We could like to look a little more into her own heart and mind, and know a little more of herself than she is in the habit of unveiling. But it should seem, that young as she is, she is more a being of imagination than of passion. She steps out of herself with a sort of dramatic tact; and writes almost always in an assumed character.
Of this tact, the following lines may be given as a favourable specimen.
'From a Wife to her Husband in adversity.'
1 Why heave that sigh, my only love?
'Believe me, thou art still as dear
As when thou wast in wealth and riches;
'Oh think upon those early days,
When thou to strains I sung would'st listen;
And with sweet tears thine eyes would glisten.
'Believe me, love, 'tis still the same,
The fruit is here, tho' fall'n the blossom :—
'There is a thought may still beguile—
'Oh, cease to heave the struggling sigh 1
'Look on our infant's artless wile,
That strives to take away thy sorrow;
'There is a something in my breast
That says we are not quite forsaken,— . That says once more we shall be blest, And joy's soft tone again shall waken.
'Perchance the parting beam of life
Will shed a peaceful sunshine o'er us;
The young creature, who in her fifteenth year, could write these lines so characteristic of the wife and the mother, must have looked into the affections and the feelings of others with an eye of penetrative sympathy.
We must not indulge in further quotation; but we may refer to the * Fragment,' (p. 40), in support of the commendation we have given to our young poetess as evincing, even in her imitations, a taste more pure and correct than is to be found in the adopted model. There is a vein of moral piety, not sermonising or intrusive, but effective—what we should call the social religion of the heart,—that is indicated, rather than conspicuous, in all the writings of this young lady; and even in her 'sacred pieces,' of which we have three or four at the end of the volume, there is neither cant nor common-place, nor any affectation of a quaint and mocksanctified phraseology; and we may ascribe to her the merit, so exceedingly rare among religious versifiers, of being at once rational, pious, ami poetical. In short, taken as indications of what may hereafter be expected, these poems are entitled to favour; and, although we are much more solicitous to impress the young authoress with a feeling of how much she has yet to do, than to delude her into self-satisfaction with what she has already done, we do not scruple to pronounce, that there are portions of her little volume of higher merit, than is to be found in the major part of the compositions of some of those of comparatively maturer years, who have been puffed into high reputation.
LITERARY AND MISCELLANEOUS INTELLIGENCE,
The Count de la Garde, who was the French minister at Madrid, in 1822-3, has written a poem, entitled "the Obsequies of Kosciusko, at the Tombs of the Kings of Poland," which he has dedicated to Mr. Canning. The Count has so little distinguished himself as a lover of liberty, that we were by no means prepared for his selection of such a subject; still less for his dedication of it to our "liberal", "radical," "jacobinical," premier, as some of the continental journals are in the habit of styling him.
Within the last month, two or three Weekly Literary Newspapers hare made their appearance, and as many more arc said to be in a state approaching to existence, one of which, we are told, is to be of a colossal size. There are two classes of men who will infallibly rejoice in these productions—the stationers and the cheesemongers.
The foreign periodical Journals, particularly those of France, are remarkable for the temperate and courteous tone of their criticisms. But we think that an unhappy author, who was not praised so highly as be deserved—in his own opinion, at least.—lately carried the language of complaint to the very acme of politeness, when he commenced a letter to an editor of one of those journals, in the following manner.—" Mr.