Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

pendenton her brother, was determined the Colonel, and, soon after her arby every means to prevent his union rival at home, she retired to the sick with Clara, who was supposed to be chamber, where, by the most endearing without fortune,—while these selfish attentions to alleviate the sufferings fears were still farther aggravated by of Henry, &c. we shall leave her," &c. an ungovernable passion which she The use of pronouns, and especialhad conceived for Captain Byron, ly of the relative, seems particularly of whose propinquity she was not to have perplexed our author. Whereaware, and whose avowed indiffer- ever the relative is disjoined by an ence to the sex was only to be over- intervening phrase from the verb on come by addressing his avarice ;-Isa- which it depends, it is almost invabella, the cousin of Clara, a spright- riably. put in a wrong case. Thus, ly, heedless, but well-principled girl, “Ah, my Caroline, there is but one who was the sharer in many of Clara's in this wide world whom, I believe, sorrows, and at last her companion in loves you more fervently than I do," joy ;-Caroline, an Argyllshire beauty, &c. “ She again took her seat at the and a rich heiress, who, by the in- side of Mrs Macgruther, who she trigues of Matilda, is married to Lle- seemed to regard with unfeigned comwellen; but, dissatisfied by the cold passion.” Similar carelessness occurs attentions which a sense of duty alone in the construction of conjunctions, inclines him to pay to her, while his , and other parts of speech. One inheart is fixed on another, and, hav- stance shall suffice. “He determined, ing learned how the mutual love of therefore, thut, since happiness was her husband and Clara had been beyond his reach in a quarter to which thwarted by the arts of Matilda, she his heart had so fondly pointed, not forms the wild but generous resolu- to add the pang of guilt to his mind," tion of voluntarily separating from her &c. It may be thought fastidious to husband, to whose happiness she ima- indulge in these grammatical animadgined herself the only obstruction, versions on a work of whose merits and dies some time after in a con we have spoken so highly. But the vent in Normandy: Nor must we faults to which we have adverted are forget Miss Macgruther, the maid- too glaring to be overlooked ; and it en aunt of Isabella, who, dragged at a may be regarded as no small proof of late period of life into fashionable the excellence of this novel, in other society, is constantly regretting her respects, that, in spite of these repeatformer importance and retireinent in ed violations of the plainest rules of the island of Muck, and whose insu- good writing, we are never inclined to perable habits of rusticity afford a throw it aside in disgust, but read it whimsical foil to the general elegance with increasing interest to the end. amidst which she is placed, while her peevishness, induced partly by the vio- Poems, by William Couper. To which lent up-rooting of all her former associations, and partly by her total

is prefixed, a Memoir of the Az

thor, and Critical Notes on his dependence on a brutish brother, contrasts finely with the native kindliness,

Principal Poems, written expressly and the unsophisticated benevolence

for this Edition. Elmo. Edinof her heart.

burgh, Oliver and Boyd, 1818. Such are the most important of So ardent and insatiable is human the elements out of which our au curiosity, that the writer who does thor has framed this agreeable tale. not gratify it by imparting new inforThe narrative is easy and unaffect- mation, must rest his hopes of popued; but candour obliges us to ad- larity on his power of throwing an air vert to some defects in the style, of novelty over even familiar subjects, which, as they seem to have originated by the glow of his eloquence, the samerely in inattention, may, of course, gacity of his reflections, or the splenbe easily corrected. The structure of dour of his imagery. Yet there are the sentences is, in several instances, subjects, as there are characters, of so slovenly, that the meaning can be which we can never hear too much ; guessed only by the tenor of the story, on which the heart dwells with a kind and by no reference to any grammati- of holy reverence and affectionate encal rules. Thus, “ Clara did not in thusiasm ; and to every tongue that any way allude to her meeting with speaks of which we listen with inte

rest, though we can expect little more ments of genius, in their happiest than sympathy with our own feelings, combination ; seem to raise him so or a sanction to our own partialities. near the standard of human perfecIt was in such a disposition that we tion, that we cannot help exclaiming, opened these memoirs of our favourite -Who would not gladly exchange bard ; and it is on our reliance on the situations with Cowper ? Who would universality of such a disposition a not even submit to all he suffered, mong the lovers of English poetry, “ so were he equalled with him in that we recommend them to general renown !"-in the exquisite enjoyperusal. We cannot say that they ment which, in his unclouded moadd much, nor, indeed, was it possible ments, he had of life,--and in the that they should, to what we former confidence which he might well have ly knew of Cowper’s history. I But entertained with regard to futurity ? the kindred warmth with which the But, when we look on the dismal rebiographer enters into all the feelings verse of the picture,—when we see of his author,-the animation of his this excellent man the victim of a mastyle, kindling not unfrequently into lady which froze all his energies in poetical fervour,—and the good sense despair,—which rendered him, in his and acuteness that characterize his ob- own eyes, the outcast of heaven, servations, cannot fail to render his nar- which changed the soothing accents rative highly acceptable to the admir- of religion into accents of terror,-and ers of this amiable and eminent poet. " which, making life unsupportable and

We know not, indeed, a subject death horrible, impelled him to rein biography so interesting in every peated attempts at suicide,-our envy point of view as the life of Cow- is lost in our commiseration, and we per. Alike distinguished by his ge- feel grateful for the possession of those nius, his virtues, and his sufferings, ordinary qualities, which are less in it seemed as if nature intended to ex-, danger of such frightful disorder, and emplify in him the most exquisite of that common-place happiness, which and delicate mechanism of the human is exempted from such overwhelming mind, with all its advantages and all vicissitudes. its evils,--the excess of that fine sen Never, perhaps, was there a poet sibility which constitutes the poetic whose writings so completely harmotemperament,-capable of the noblest nize with his character and history. In efforts, --susceptible of almost heaven- reading his poetry, we seem to be adly delight,-yet ever exposed from mitted atonce to his intimate converse, the shock of ruder spirits, or the over -we see the man himself in all his vastraining of its own powers, to a de- rious moods, habits, feelings, and occurangement which deprives it of all its pations, without reserve or disguise, energy, and of all its sensibility, ex- -gay without frivolity,-melancholy cept to misery alone.

without austerity, great without efNever did any life afford a more fort,-tender without the affectation striking comment on the wisdom of the of sentimentality, simple without poet's advice to limit our wishes to the rudeness,-in short, thinking and enjoyment of a sound mind in a sound speaking on whatever happens to ocbody; or on the solemn question dictat- cupy his attention, with the ease, ed by still higher wisdom, “ Who grace and dignity of a superior and knows what is good for man in this polished mind. life?" In contemplating the life of

But we

are transgressing our Cowper, his genuine simplicity, hisun- bounds; and have all this time, we affected modesty, his refined relish for find, been speaking of Cowper, while all that was beautiful and sublime in we intended to speak only of the menature, his unenvying admiration of moirs and critical remarks which all that was good and great in human accompany a new edition of his character,-the cordial warmth of his poems. When we said that these mesocial affections, and the unsullied pu- moirs add little to what we formerly rity of his heart, eminently fitted for, knew of the poet's history, we by no and as eminently blessed with, friend- means intended to insinuate that they ship of the most exalted and endear- are destitute of originality. On the ing kind; and, with all these quali- contrary, they possess all the origities, sensibility, fancy, judgment, nality, which, without access to new learning, taste, in short, all the ele sources of information, a biographer

can be expected to display. The e discrimination, he appreciates the vents of the poet's life, his present efforts, the feelings, the inspirations of editor relates as he found them; but the poet, with a truth and fulness of his reflections on those events, and sympathy which a poet only could his manner of narrating thein, are his feel. The whole of his remarks on own, and evince no common share of the Task well deserve the perusol of talent and observation.

every lover of poetry, and particular, We can spare no room for quota- ly of every young candidate for poetic tions; but we were particularly pleased fame. These remarks are not merely with the passage in which he adverts critical. The annotator otten catches, to the jealousy entertained by Mrs as he proceeds, a portion of his author's Unwin, of the accomplished and fas- inspiration, and glows with equal arcinating Lady Austen,-a jealousy dour of benevolence, or expands into which obliged the unhappy poet to equal amplitude of thought. There renounce the friendship of one, to is one passage, in particular, on the whom he was indebted for some of demoralizing effects of state-lotteries, the brightest moments of his exist- conceived so completely in the spirit ence," whom he regarded with a of Cowper, and expressed with so brother's tenderness,---who hal so much of his virtuous sensibility to the successfully directed his talents to best interests of mankind, and with so noble pursuits, and whose sprightli- much anim ition and cogency of reaness and good nature had so often dis- soning, that it must carry conviction sipated the vapours of despondency to every unprejudiced understanding, that obscured his better judgment." and pleasure to every patriotic heart. The narrative, which is spirited and Another, and no trifling recommenwell written throughout, concludes dation of this edition, is, that it contains with-a sketch of the poet's character, soine beautiful poems which have very faithfully and ably delineated. never appeared before, except in liay

But it is in his Critical Remarks, ley's Life of Cowper; that it is printe that the abilities and taste of the ed very neatly, and embellished with editor are chiefly displayed. On beautiful engravings ; and that its this part of his task he enters with cheapness, which, considering all its all the ardour of a kindred spirit; and, advantages, is certainly surprising, while he estimates the characteristic places within the reach of every readqualities of Cowper’s various works er these exquisite poems, which canwith great acuteness and accuracy of not be too generally known.

SURVEY OF FRENCH LITERATURE.

NEW PUBLICATIONS.

which have no kind of reference to any March 1818.

part of the title, notwithstanding the care

the author seems to have taken to foresee Dictionnaire Critique et Raisonne, fr.- and prevent all objections. Never w.s our A Critical and Descriptivc Dictionary of remark more true than in respect to this the Etiquette of the Court, the Customs,

new publication of Madame de Genlis's, Amusements, Fashions, and Manners which has just occupied our thoughts. It of the French, from the death of Louis is a hotch-potch of articles on all sorts of XIII. to the present Time, containing at

subjects, amongst which those mentioned Picture of the Court, Society, and Litera. in the title-page hold the least place of all. bure, during the eighteenth Century; or, The greater part are intended to refute the the Spirit of the ancient Etiquette and Cus- philosophy of the eighteenth century, and, toms compared to the modern.

By Ma.

in particular, Voltaire's works; and we dame le Countesse de Gentis ; 2 vols. Bro.

cannot but say, that she has perfectly well When we see a work with a long title, succeeded. She gives the clearest proofs containing several subdivisions and expla- of the modern philosophers' bad morals, nations, we may almost be sure that the revolutionary principles, sophistical arguza author, before he began his book, did not ments, and perpetual contradictions. These maturely enough consider his plan. We proofs she draws from their own works, may also be certain to find many chapters quoting every time the volume and page

from whence she has taken them. This work on the temporal power of the see of part of the work is highly interesting, and Rome. It is difficult to give, in a few well executed. The rest contains very few, pages, a more perfect idea of a voluminous if any, new remarks, and is, in general, publication. If the rest of M. Chenier's too flippant. The language and style are critical productions had equalled this, we both excellent, and make the book, even would have felt as much pleasure as we in its weakest parts, read agreeably. Ale now have found disgust in their perusal. together, however, we do not think that

Appel à tous les proprietaires, fc.-An this publication will add much to Madame Appeal to ull Landholders in Europe, or 4 de Genlis's reputation. Like so many other manifesto of Society aguinst the parties by authors, she seems to forget that there is a

which it is distracted ; by a Friend of Order time to leave off writing, which time, if and Liberty. not already come for her, is at least very near at hand. Several anecdotes are re

A short preface is prefixed to this pampeated five or six times in the same words ; the most unlimited praise to the new ideas,

phlet, and the supposed editor gives thercin and we have also remarked three or four mistakes on points of literature, which the and numberless other qualities of the au

enlightened patriotism, energetic style, author might have avoided, with a little thor, who has had the kindness, he adds, care and retlection.

to permit the publication of this work. Fragmens, fc. Fragments of a Course

This is a sort of puff direct much used at of Lectures on Literature, held at the A- present in France. For our part, we canthenxum of Paris in the years 1806 und

not rightly understand why a living writer, 1807. By M. T. de Chenicr.

who composes a small pamphlet on some

political questions, should not be his own The Athenæum of Paris is not a public editor, or else what necessity there can be school, as, from its name, one might be of forcing a man to print a few reflections led to conclude. It is a society kept up by he may have thrown upon paper, and of private subscription, containing political fering up his undigested plans to the admiand literary reading rooms, and where, ration of his fellow-citizens. But we had during the winter evenings, some of the better ask, how any man can suppose his most eminent professional men hold regucountrymen stupid enough to be duped by lar lectures on different branches of science so gross an artifice. Whatever be the case and literature. None of these lectures in the present instance, let us see in what were ever more justly celebrated than those consist the new ideas and enlightened pa. of La Harpe. The whole collection has triotism of the unknown author of this been since printed in 19 volumes, in 8vo, publication. and procured to the author the flatter The work is divided into twelve chapters. ing title of the French Quintilian. In In the first, the author shews that true fact, no critic in France had ever before liberty cannot exist without order. In the shown more strength of judgment, more second, he examines the origin of civilized courage, and more attachment to the ge- societies. In the third, he proves, that, nuine rules of taste, which the revolution in all societies, there exists a natural inehad entirely overthrown. It was a diffi- quality among their members. In the cult task to succeed to La Harpe as a fourth chapter, he shews the consequence of professor of literature at the Athenæum that inequality. Thus far we have not of Paris. Messrs Chenier, Lemercier, found any thing in the least new. In the Aimé Martin, took the charge, perhaps fifth chapter, he considers the different anrashly, upon them. The work we have cient and modern constitutions.

The aujust procured contains some fragments of thor observes, that the existence of slavery M. Chenier's labours. Those fragments amongst the nations of antiquity, gave a treat of the French poets, and romancers great simplicity to their constitutions. before Louis XII. The subject itself I his observation is true, but has been ofis rather dry and uninteresting, it not kept ten made before. In the following two within due bounds; and M. Chenier is, chapters, we find the causes and effects of in our eyes, too minute, besides which, he the French Resolution, (at least in the auseems to forget that he has only been thor's opinion.) The eighth is entitled called upon to explain their literary Equality, and the ninth, of the partics worth or demerits. He quotes carefully, which at present divide France. This is and with apparent delight, every irreli- the first in which we begin to discover the gious or antisocial passage he can disco- author's true meaning. We shall explain ver, and seizes eagerly every good or bad it in a few words. opportunity of proclaiming his revolution A strong aristocracy is necessary in all ary principles. His work has afforded us well organized societies. Such an aristonó pleasure, and very little instruction. cracy does not at present exist in France, We except, however, one part, to which and must therefore be created. Titles and we cannot help giving due praise. The nobility are grown obsolete. They can be volume concludes with a summary of a of no other use than to create jealousy and VOL. 11,

30

disturbances. Wealth is the true aristo- quently, the population of Constantinople cracy in the present age. Therefore nobi- must be about 597,000 souls. This manlity and titles must be for ever abolished, ner of computing their number, in a place and all landholders must be united in cor where no bills of mortality are kept, is inporations. Those who pay 200 francs land- genious, and may be of use on several octax, and are electors, are to form the dis- casions. trict corporation, and receive the title of Honourable Men, whilst those who pay Du Cadastre, &c.- On the Cadaster ; 1000 francs land-tax, and are consequently its imperfections and insufficiency, by M. eligible, are to form the departmental cor- Montaigne de Poncino, in 8vo. poration, and be called Right Honourable

The land-tax in France is imposad, since Men. All other distinctions are to be an the Revolution, in a very unequal proportion. nulled. By the bye, with all due respect for, while some people pay no more than to our nation, we did not suppose there

ten per cent of their income, others, and were so many honourable men in France. by far the greater number, are taxed, at The idea is new, we acknowledge. Whe- twenty percent. and some even pay as ther it be patriotic, we leave to the decision much as thirty-five per cent. The want of of our readers. In our opinion, it is a

a more equitable distribution has been gevery doubtful question, on one side, whe- nerally felt for several years, and it was ther the empire of wealth, unsupported by in order to obtain that end, that Bonatalents or illustration, can ever be the most parte ordered the cadaster to be made out. liberal and the best check on the usurpa- By that word is understood a geometrical tion of government, or the restlessness of delineation of all the properties in France, the people; and on the other, whether the and a valuation made by sworn appraisers plan of levelling all distinctions above 1000 of the income each property may bring francs land-tax, would not lead to an ex to the owners. Every body agrees as to tension of that agrarian system, which, the utility of the geometrical part of this since the Revolution, predominates too work, which may also serve for the geomuch in France.

graphy, statistics, &c. of the kingdom.

The valuation, however, has found many Voyage à l'embouchure, fe.--A Jour

opposers.

The sworn appraisers being ney to the Mouth of the Black Sea, or

named by government, generally tax the an Essay on the Bosphorus, and on that supposed income too high, and the slow part of the Thracian Delta which contains the Waters that supply the city of bad effect on the progress of agriculture,

manner in which the whole proceeds has a Constantinople ; to which are prefired every owner waiting til after the valuation some Gene

Considerations on Physical of his lands, to make experiments of Geography, and si veral Maps aud Draw. ings subjoined, by M. Le Comte Andreos- elapsed since this work' began, and thirts.

improvement. Ten years have already sy, Lieut-Gen. oj Artiltery, late Ambassa- five more are required to bring it to pero dor from France to London, Vienna, and

fection. The whole expence is rated at Constantinople, Member of the Egyptian 139,000,000 ot francs, (L. 6,500,000 SterInstitute.

ling.) The author of the publication beThe author of the work before us might fore us is a considerable landholder. Acvery well have left out its first title, for it knowledging the necessity of the cadaster has no connection whatever with a jour- altogether, he offers some views for to make ney. The second title explains its true it better, more equal, and less expensive contents, which are of too technical a His chief idea is, instead of setting a price kind to offer any interest to persons who as at present, on every small portion of have not made geology, engineering, and land, according to its produce, quality, &c. hydrostatics their study.

To those we which occasions every estate to require more recommend it, and we have no doubt than twenty different appraisements, and that they will find in it several views and consequently causes a great loss of time, ideas deserving their consideration. The that each estate be valued in a lump, and only part which has struck us, who are not, the appraisements, instead of being subas the French say, du métier, is the one mitted to direct agents of government, be wherein General A. seeks to determine the made by the Mayor of the township, astrue population of Constantinople by means sisted by a notary, and the proprietor himof the quantity of water that the city con self. The reason on which M. M. grounds sumes in a day. The different aqueducts, his opinion appears solid; we do, hovaccording to a very minute table given by ever, not agree with him on the absolute the author, distribute every day, in that necessity of taxing the income preferably Large metropolis, 249 lules of water, which to the capital. The arguments on which coincide with 9, 561, 600

he supports his ideas on that point it 23,904,000 libs. Each inhabitant, includ- would be easy to overthrow. This small ing the public establishments, is reckoned work is written in a clear and unassuming to use 20 pints, or 40 libs. a-day ; conse- style.

OCCAS,

or

« AnteriorContinuar »