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is not, however, what the laborious author had led us to expect. That which he announced to follow his history of Caledonia was a Dictionary chorographical and philological, for the investigation of the various languages which had ever been spoken in that country; and, after the Dictionary, was to come what we have here, namely, a topographical history in ' a sequence of shires.' In the present volume we have only a part of this topographical history, including that of the southern counties; Roxburgh, Berwick, Haddington, Edinburgh, Linlithgow, Peebles, and Selkirk. The account of each shire is given under eight heads; that is to say, its name, situation, extent, natural objects, antiquities, establishment as a shire, civil history, agriculture, manufactures and trade, and ecclesiastical history: preceded by an introductory chapter, in which the author treats of the country in general, its first settlement, original discovery, the names by which it has succesively been distinguished, the name of Caledonia, its North British inhabitants, the ScotoSaxon period, what are here called its degrees, its several judi-. catories, sherifwicks, ecclesiastical state, parishes, ministers, stipends, superficial contents, agricultural state, roads, coins, banks, weights and measures, foreign trade, ports, shipping, wealth private and public, moral effects, and its chorography.
The author professes to have taken the whole of this voiumia nous matter from authentic sources, and acknowleges that he made great use of Robertson's parliamentary record, objectionable as he admits that work in many respects to be.
We are assured that
· There was intended to be prefixed to this volume a new map of Scotland ; in which the boundaries of shires are more elaborated than they formerly were ; the limits of districts are better ascertained; the location of the churches are more discriminated, and the names and places are more appropriated to the history : but the infirmities of the engraver have made it
necessary to postpone this appearance of the following volumes.
The presumption is strong that those who judge composition to be easy are strangers to the art. To jumble words together, so as to produce an indistinct and obscure meaning, is one thing: but to compose is another. Mr. Chalmers, we suspect, knows not the labour of hunting long for the term which best expresses the idea ; and we acquit him of ever having consumed time in arranging his words, or in rendering the junction of his sentences easy and natural. In attempting to be concise, we dare say that he has never found himself becoming obscure; in lopping off redundancies, he has never impaired; nor is he chargeable with wasting time in order to make his periods flow, or to give point to his sentences and illumination to his pages. From him, it would seem, composition calls for
map, till the
little else than manual labour : he pens a treatise as he would scrawl à letter, the public and posterity seeming no more in his eyes than a common correspondent; and he discusses the gravest subject as he would talk of a topic of the day.
The subjects in the present volume have not usually been connected with such as are introduced in the preceding. Indeed, it is scarcely consistent that any person, who has been long engaged in setting forth the high topics of history, in developing the plans of statesmen, and in narrating the exploits of the hero, should in one and the same work bring himself to describe antiquities, and to give topographical and statistical details. We did not expect to behold the civil history of a country followed by a detailed account of its subdivisions; and to this departure from usage we are not disposed so far to give our sanction as to apply criticism to it. From the view which we have taken of this immense mass, it does not appear that the usual accuracy of Mr. Chalmers has forsaken him; while, with regard to selection of matter, arrangement, and style, the performance does not rank above the generality of the kind.
FOR FEBRUARY, 1815.
POETRY. Art. 11. Don Emanuel, a Poem, in Three Cantos, with Notes : by
Matthew Newport, Esq. A.B. late of Trinity College, Dublin. 4to. il. is. Boards. Sherwood and Co. 1813.
This hero-Don seems to be a kind of non-descript, harmless, walking gentleman, whose history the author very concisely delineates in the few following lines :
! Yet e'er the matin organ sound,
In Lisbon's portals must be found
Far as Brazilian Salvador.'
Emanuel then sets forth to seek his Lusitanian bride, and very quietly puts up with a rebuke which he receives from his friend Rev. FEB. 1815.
Lorenzo for avoiding the field of battle. The reader will here be reminded of “ He who fights,” &c. &c.
r« Then only 'midst the warlike clangs,
Contracted, and unarm’d,
By patriot virtue warm’d.
May justly be alarm’d.
May with a fellow flame be fir'd." ; The sentiment in this passage seems to keep pace in propriety with the language. The hero next appears in the facetious character of a Bouncer; not that species of bouncer which young Wilding so ex. cellently represents, but the following:
• Two coursers tramp the suburb plain,
Emanuel disdains the rein,
Across the saddle bounc'd.' We shall not detail the incoherent tissue of incidents which occur in the course of his journey to Brazil, but shall follow him to the church; where, with his Maria at his side, he appears in all the grandeur of a bridegroom. We know not whether it be the custom in Spain for the priests and maidens to sing choruses at the altar, but the description of such singing in this place gives us rather the idea of a sailor's wedding in a farce than of any other ceremony. Moreover, we cannot help pitying the poor Don when this cheering chorus is 50 unfortunately interrupted by the appearance of a troop of French soldiers, headed by a second Don, (Pedro, by name,) who accosts both bride and bridegroom shortly, yet pithily, in the subjoined
•“ O Lady, you must come with me,
And youth, my pris’ner you must be."
Help! help!” faint echo, help, replies ;
To shorten this interesting tale, we have only to record that Don P. disarms Don E., and intrusts his prisoner to the care of a complaisant centinel, who gives him his sword again :
. But with hands Swordless a second time he stands;' and here we will leave him:
66 Solventur risu tabula :- - tu missus abibis." Art. 12. Cumbrian Legends ; or, Tales of other Times : dedicated to
H.R.H. the Princess Charlotte of Wales. By Mrs. Ryves, of Ryves Castle. Crown 8vo. pp. 184. 108. 6d. Boards. Printed at Edinburgh.
These compositions being inscribed to the Princess Charlotte of Wales, the fair writer invokes“ angels bright and fair” to guard her Royal Highness's heart; while “ to make assurance doubly sure,” she directs Minerva to spread her ægis.-Mrs. Ryves gives little of either variety or animation to her “ meek-eyed” saints and ladies : but, to make amends, she sets inanimate nature hard at work: the moon bows and smiles (p.40.); the blast shrieks' and growls, and at last owns a savage howl (p.41.); the trees thrill with rapture, or weep tears of blood; and, when « tir'd nature" is described as sinking to sleep, she is also made to dream, (p. 8.) -After such unwonted performances, those who are not interested by the Cumbrian Legends cannot allege that the fair author's muse is tame, though they may perhaps “ hint a fault” of an opposite nature. Art. 13. Poetical Effusions, by Isabella Lickbarrow, Kendal. Svo.
Pp. 127. Richardson. 1814. The introduction to these verses is written with a simplicity and humility which are sufficient to mollify the severest critic; and the compositions, though not brilliant, display much chastened feeling, and a poetical perception of the beauties of nature. Art. 14. Mentor and Amander; or, a Visit to Ackworth School, with
descriptive Notes. By a late Teacher. Crown 8vo. Isa Darton. 1814.
We are disposed to agree with Mentor in his abhorrence of severe corporeal punishment for children ; and, for the sake of giving publicity to his mild suggestions, we should be glad to recommend this simple and rather pleasing description of the school at Ackworth, instituted by the Society of Friends. Art. 15. Tears of the Novel Writers; or, Fiction’s Urn, a Satirical
Poem. Crown 8vo. pp. 61. Souter. 1814. Fastidious readers will be inclined to refuse this writer's guidance in matters of taste, when they perceive his own ignorance of grammar and poetry in such lines as the following: • Scribble strange nonsense as the nonsense rise.'
P.2. « Black letter mania—stupifying rage,
With book-making, have banished taste the age.' P. 18. 6 Yet of this wond'rous bard the sadden'd sense Wept most at purity to give offence.' P. 19.
Even his meaning is unintelligible when he asserts that Sacharissa's
« Lines have power
Amusing time without the power to kill.' Throughout the book, he obliges us to pronounce the word hour as if it contained two syllables ; and indeed an hour passed in reading his verses will probably appear unusually long : while (p. 7.) he mis-pronounces the name of Thalia, laying the accent on the first syllable ; and certainly the comic muse has not been propitious to his invocation. Yet this gentleman's “ modesty” is no “ candle to his merit ;' for he is so well satisfied with his attempt at satire, that, in the dedication to Mr. Matthias, he seems to expect
an extensive portion of the public' to admire his verses more than the “ Pursuits of Literature.” Art. 16. Familiar Poems, Moral and Religious. By Susannah Wilson.
28. Boards. Darton and Harvey. 1814. In the preface to these verses, the writer is stated to be of very humble rank, and we believe that few persons in the same station could equal her compositions : but, to say the truth, we rejoice in this persuasion, since so much maudlin poetry already exists that we deprecate a permission to our domestics to become also servants of the muses.
We are told that Mrs. S. Wilson has read Milton and Young ; and Cowper's poems should probably have been added to the list of her studies, since we trace a resemblance between the last stanza of her ode on her mother's death and part of Cowper's beautiful address to his mother's picture, which can scarcely have originated in accident. (See p. 48.) - In the poem called • The Missionary,' we find, mixed with some nonsense, one good and new idea, p. 93. : but, the writer's piety not being guided by, good taste, she is in danger of rendering sacred subjects either ludicrous or revolting; as, for instance, in the dialogue supposed to take place between our Saviour and the author's soul, (p.126.) which is displeasing from its familiarity; and the description of her mother's imagined entrance into heaven is far too daring for so unskilful a hand. Art. 17. The Orphans; or, the Battle of Nevil's Cross. A metrical Romance, in Five Cantos.
75. 6d. Boards. Cadell and Davies. 1814.
It is not sufficient to say of this writer, Magnis excidit ausis ; since, as his daring is not justified by his talents, he ought to be reproved for presuming to be an imitator of such a poet as Mr. Walter Scott. He has certainly failed in his attempt to emulate ; (see Advertisement ;) and of this failure instances occur in almost every page: but for a proof of it we need only quote the first stanza of Canto ii. :
• Oh! is there happiness below,