« AnteriorContinuar »
Spare one inglorious bard, who owns your skill,
No advocate for war, a friend to peace,
His sole aspiring is-to happiness,' &c.
The following may be fairly given as a specimen of the prin'cipal poem.
As day succeeds to day, and wave to wave,
The shadow for the substance, undeceived
And shews what 'tis to die!' p. 256.
We forbear to give any extracts from the 'Pastorals,'' Odes,' and Sacred Eclogues,' which form the specimens of " Cambrian-border Minstrelsy." We cannot help wishing that Mr. Lloyd's Muse had never crossed the border. He will, we think, if he consult either his fame or usefulness, confine himself for the future in English to prose, and write his Pastorals in Welch. His theological sentiments are orthodox, and we have little doubt that he is a good preacher.
From Mrs. Pike's "Triumph of the Messiah," we select the following lines. They are the opening of Dialogue 2. The Dramatis Personæ are Angels, Nathaniel, Philip, Messiah.
In distant grove, I ken a son of love,
Nathaniel is his name; come, list we here,
God of my father Abraham! low I bow
For each transgression of its precepts pure.' &c. p. 17.
We now come to Joseph; "a religious poem, patriarchal, historical, and typical." The author will excuse us if, for the sake of room, we waive the unnecessary formality of cutting the sense into lines of similar lengths. If our more curious readers wish
to ascertain the initial and final words of each line, they may
Then Ramosin, uncouth of speech. "Well, well, I trust it will
Mr. Lucas complains in his preface that critics not only condemn an author for what he has and has not done, but for what he does not profess or wish to do.' We are anxious to avoid such a charge. We have a sincere respect for Mr. Lucas, as evidently an amiable man. His plea avails with us good-natured critics to its full extent, that so far from the benefit of seclusive meditation, the incipient prattle of three or four little ones has mingled with his cogitations during the time.' The address to matrimony, in the opening of the 11th book, gave us great pleasure, because it seemed the language of honest feeling. We will even go so far in proof of our sincerity as to afford room for another extract.
Unhappy wretches they! who try to feign a disbelief of genuine virtuous love uninfluenced by worldly casualties, of holy marriage springing from the heart, of the sweet sympathy of genial souls, as it were bone of bone, and flesh of flesh! Nor is it wonderful they would not know what, from their baseness, they've at length become incapable of self-experiencing: who drag along a solitary life, unloved, uncared for by a single being, and unregarded, but for worldly hopes of their decease; yet these must conscious be, their social life hath added to the stock of human ills: or else hath pass'd in vain. In truth, I pity you, victims of fears; like children at a tale of airy nothings.' p. 217.
We quite sympathize with Mr. Lucas in his apostrophe to Christian Missionaries.
Keep on your pilgrimage; each Christian cheers, tho' he can't mete, your labours; and if I know aught of comfort the mind's peace affords, ye need not wish t' exchange your life of love, for prince or hierarch's state in Christendom. Swartz, Gerické, Vanderkemp, Kicherer, Frank, Ziegenhausen, Frelinghausen, Schultz. have proved what Berkeley wished to be !'
Names,' adds Mr. Lucas in a note, not formed for metre, but something better!' Undoubtedly. But to return:
Mr. Lucas's professed design is to compose a family work adapted to every one's reading, edification, and amusement, and to elucidate the history of that wordly and spiritually great man, Joseph, in a proper, pleasing, and useful manner; in which attempt, if I have succeeded, the Christian reader will not lament that I have neglected the flowery beauties of Parnassus for the nutricious herbage of Zion! To harmonize the subject hath been my unambitious attempt, and a poetic measure my necessary trammels.'-Why necessary' Mr. Lucas? We appeal to our readers whether they were necessary? Why not after the manner of the renowned Mr. McGowan, give us the plain tale in sober prose? The work might then have been comprised in one volume instead of two-an obvious improvement! and Mr. Lucas's laudable design would have been as well answered.
But it is time we paid our respects to the Rev. R. Patrick, Chaplain to the Dowager Marchioness of Townsend, and Vicar of Schiel Cotes.-O lyre divine! What daring spirit wakes thee now!'
Smiles on Bagration's dying features play'd;
He shook his diamond-hilted+ blade,
• And fiercely beam'd his feverish eye;
Fight, brother-princes; warriors, fight; he said; 'On, Platoff on; charge, Kutusoff charge.
'Tis done, the fight is won;
They fly, they fly! sweet is the victory.
Pursue, my warriors, friends, companions all;
But let a chosen band around me stand,
'Nor let the haughty foe behold the prince Bagration fall!'
• What though I'm called away
To realms of endless day,
Happy the thought, that heaven, our native land will save;
And Russia never be a slave.
• Visions of future fame, ye bless my aching sight,
• Ye bring to Russia's favor'd land ecstatic proud delight.
• I see, I see
The invading Frenchman flee
• From braver Muscovy!
• Pursue, Cossacs; Tongusians, on;
+ See an interesting account of his patriotism, and of his as tonishing opulence in my friend Sir R. K. Porter's Travelling Sketches in Russia, whose chapter on Moscow is become history! It is now no more! It is gone with the years before the flood; with the towers of Babel or Babylon, Palmyra, or Persepolis !'
Charge, Calmucs, charge;
Spread your conquests broad and large:
E'en to the Oder, Weser, Elbe, and Rhine;
Far, far beyond the barrier-Weichsel line !-'
Nothing can be farther, our readers must acknowledge, from tame mediocrity than this. Here is all the lyric fury, certainly! The Death of Marmion, to which the note refers us, is nothing to it.—But we have yet another bard, and an imitator too of our friend Walter, to complete our climax. Produce we a sample
from Don Emanuel.'
The particles of orient light
• Where silver Naiads told their tale
By Nature set to Nature's tune,
Whilst echo told it to the moon.' pp. 45, 46.
We have styled this gentleman an imitator of Scott, but feel rather uncertain whether, in the following lines, the author of Marmion, or the author of Hudibras, were his model.
• Lorenzo, with his heroes, go In swift pursuit of flying foe, And now the fleur de lys of Gaul Fly from the towers of Portugal In rapid race the vanquish'd wind The vale, the conquerors behind • Press on the routed squadrons, sore 'With death in rear and shame before; 'Nor yet has slaughter learn'd to scan 'Her wide extent, for hindmost man 'Wearied of faint resistance made, • Resigns his life to foeman's blade.' But here we must, in pity to our readers, conclude our extracts. We feel the danger of becoming dull by infection, in inspecting the productions of dullness. We are aware that we
might easily have been more amusing, but the old fable of the frogs was brought so forcibly to our remembrance, that we found it difficult to discharge the duty we owe to the Public, at the expense of the frogs.
In a former number we endeavoured to give our readers a clear idea of what, in our estimation, constitutes the essence
of poetry. The design of this article is to enable them to see what poetry is not. We cannot but consider such productions as phenomena, too common, indeed, to excite surprise, but sufficiently interesting to give rise to a variety of reflexions in a thinking mind. By what strange illusion, it is natural to inquire, could such productions, making every allowance for the operations of self love, seem to be even to their authors, poetry? What pleasure at all analogous to the emotions of taste could attend the composition? If the imagination be indeed excited, the most common and unaffecting forms of expression may seem to possess beauty and energy; and we believe that feelings the more vivid from their indistinctness may be awakened in minds possessing real sensibility, but imperfectly cultivated, by words conveying little or no meaning. Spread but "the mist of obscure feeling" over the composition, and it becomes significant of all the ideas, which could be derived by the individual from the productions of real genius. Thus in our half waking dreams the buz of an insect may be mistaken for distant music, and awaken emotions similar, perhaps equal to those, which would be derived from the reality. This to a certain extent will account for the delight which persons of some imagination but no genius (understanding by genius the power of forming new combinations of thought) receive from composition. No doubt, also, there is some degree of pleasure attending every mental exertion, however low the description or degree of that exercise; and in this respect the mechanical ingenuity which is excited in arranging words in lines of a certain length, which the author calls blank verse, may supply a harmless amusement for a leisure hour. It is an ingenious sort of puzzle for children, or for those who are content with the amusements of children. There is, however, another principle, and perhaps it is the most satisfactory one on which we can account for the cacoëthes scribendi'-and this is, the love of imitation. Man," it is said, though it cannot be called a distinguishing or a sublime characteristic, " is an imitative animal." This has never been so curiously and amply illustrated as by the account which Dr. Clarke has given us of the Russians. Among them the art, the instinct of imitation (for it seems to possess the limited and stationary perfection of instinct) exists in a most singular degree. Yet it cannot be said that their rude and grotesque paintings do not appeal to the imagination, for they are evidently contemplated with strong emotions--but emotions widely different from any which are connected with the pleasures of taste. It is as the arbitrary symbols of vague ideas that they have the power of affecting the mind; while to the artist himself, being mere copies, they can only supply the satisfaction of mechanical skill. One would