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Long'st thou for tale of goblin-guarded portal ? sicut
First Robber. Mock me not thus-Hast met him of a truth?
Bertram. Well, fool-
Brith But man that leagues with demons lacks not man. ; - 27.
The description of the fiend's port and language, the effect which the conference with him produces upon Bertram's mind, the terrificdignity with which the intercourse with such an associate invests him, and its rendering him a terror even to his own desperate banditti,-is all well conceived, and executed in a grand and magnificent strain of poetry; and, in the perusal, supposing the reader were carrying his mind back to the period when such intercourse between mortals and demons was considered as matter of indisputable truth, the story acquires probability and consistency, even from that which is in itself not only improbable but impossible. The interview with the incarnate fiend of the forest, would, in these days, be supposed to have the same effect upon the mind of Bertram, as the metaphysical aid’ of the witches produces upon that of Macbeth, awakening and stimulating that appetite for crime, which slumbered in the bosom of both, till called forth by supernatural suggestion. At the same time, while we are happy to preserve a passage of such singular beauty and power, we approve of the taste which retrenched'it in action. The suadente diabolo is now no longer a phrase even in our indictments; and we fear his Satanic Majesty, were he to appear on the stage in modern times, would certainly incur the appropriate fate of damnation.
To return to the present work. We observe, with pleasure, that Mr Maturin has put his genius under better regulation than in his former publications, and retrenched that luxuriance of language, and too copious use of ornament, which distinguishes the authors and orators of Ireland, whose exuberance of imagination sometimes places them in the predicament of their honest countryman, who complained of being run away with by his legs. This excessive indulgence of the imagination is proper to a country where there is more genius than taste, and more copiousness than refinement of ideas. But it is an error to suffer the weeds to rush up with the grain, though their appearance ay prove the richness of the soil. There is a time when an author should refrain, like Job, even from good words—though it should be pain to him.'-And although we think Mr Mathurine has reformed that error indifferently well, in his present work, we do pray him, in his future compositions, to reform it altogether. For the rest, we dismiss nim with our best wishes, and not without hopes that we may again meet him in the maze of fiction, since, although he has threatened, like Prospero, to break his wand, we have done our poor endeavour to save his book from being burned.
alde MST PRUS
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