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Author of these volumes will understand us to imply, that the lowest declaration of our judgement respecting him is, that he possesses all these in a plain and invariable combination. Mr. Lacey, is evidently a man of sound judgment and considerable reading; and, habituated to Christian feeling and serious thought. We think we perceive in him, besides an enlarged and accurate acquaintance with the sacred writings, an unusually happy faculty of tracing allusions which are not at all to us obvious, but which lead greatly to the elucidation of many passages.

The sermons are short, included in about fourteen or fifteen pages, which it will take little more than the same number of minutes distinctly to read. The divisions are very plain ; the style is, perhaps, even too simple and familiar, and the whole character of the work, of a nature that canpot fail to gratify all who take it up with edification for their object, and the professed design of the publication for their rule of criticism. the orthodoxy of Mr. L. be questioned, we believe it will arise from bis having carefully, and, in our opinion, very rationally, guarded himself against the use of some of those phrases to which much more importance than meaning has been sometimes attached. The substance and the tendency of his remarks are unequivocally evangelical. It is with considerable satisfaction we can say that, in general, we agree with the excellent Author of these volumes. On one point, however, we must express a difference of opinion : we are not, as he professes himself, conscious of the great deficiency of his sermons in those qualifications which are needful to satisfy persons of refined taste and critical skill. It will be the pretenders only to those high attributes who will lay them down in disgust.

From a publication of unconnected sermons, it is not easy to select a quotation which will do justice to the general execution ; nor is it by a quotation that it can be appreciated. The following extract will enable the reader to judge of Mr. Lacey's manner. It occurs at the conclusion of three very excellent discourses, entitled,— The Day begun with God--the Day spent with God- the Day closed with God.

Which among all the enjoyments of sense can equal this happy effect of humble faith? It is the peace of God which passeth all understanding ; it is joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. How highly soever imagination may value this state of mind, experience only can tell what it really is. The reliance which the soul of the believer places in the care of God, is as simple and unreserved as that with which he commits his body to the nightly couch. He may feel some occasional apprehension of temporal calamity; but what is this when he considers his deliverance from the agonies of a guilty conscience and the fears of the second death ; when these are

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removed he can bear every other burthen without a sigh, secured and blessed for eternity by an interest in Jesus Christ, he can possess his soul in patience amidst the tribulations of life, and the prospect of death-he can look without dismay upon the last enemy, and is inot afraid when summoned to lie down upon the bed from which he is to rise no more. This holy calmness of mind was remarkably exemplified in the apostle Peter. No circumstances could be more calculated to excite apprehension—nay, even terror and despair than his : he was in a dungeon-between two Roman soldiers-bound with a chain—and on the eve of execution ; but when the angel of merey arrived to release him, he was sleeping in peacehe lay down even in that perilous condition, and was not afraid. The same happy composure of mind was enjoyed by David, when he fled before the armies of Absalom, and was compelled by that unnatural son to remain for some time at a distance from the holy city and the sacred arn, and was uncertain whether he should ever return. In this distressing situation he composed his third psalm ; which contains these remarkable words, 66 I laid me down and SLEPT: I awaked, for the Lord sustained me.”

• Gracious God! are these the consolations and supports which thy opepleenjoy in the present world ! Dost thou thus comfort their minds; and strengthen their hearts ! Art thou able thus to counteract the power of wicked men, and sustain the life and hope of them that put their trust in thee! Is thy care so minute—so constant—so marked with condescension and love! Can thy servants thus have free access to thy throne and to thy heart! Thus enjoy thy protection by night and by day-thus realize thy presence in every condition, and have no fear in their minds but what is met and counteracted by a promise in thy word! Then what manner of persons ought they to be in all holy conversation and godliness.' Vol. I. p. 107. Another extract shall conclude this article:—it is,

· The Good Man's Prospect after Death. • When the Christian religion was introduced among the eastern tribes of this kingdom by Augustine and his Missionaries, a convocation was held of a number of chiefs to deliberate upon its merits, and to determine whether it should be adopted. The sovereign of Essex, a nephew of Ethelbert, was present, and was thus addressed by a venerable man who rose up in the midst of the assembly. “Our present life, O king, reminds me of a bird that flies in from the darkness ali lcold to shelter itself under our roof, at some feast where your majesty and your nobles are seated at a convivial banquet, with the hearth blazing in the middle of the hall.

The little stranger comes in at one door and departs at another we know not whither. It came from the darkness and returns to it. So it is with the life of man, but if this new faith instructs us where we go after this existence, it ought to be adopted.”

We rejoice, my brethren, that this is the case. The Christian faith does instruct us where we go after this existence. The doctrine of a future state is one peculiar glory of the New Testament, Jesus Christ, has brought life and immortality to light by the gospel. Among the heathen nothing satisfactory was known on this subject, and what lit:le was conjectured, was but ill adapted to restrain them from vice, or lead them to practise the most common duties of natural religion. Their greatest poet, their best philosopher, and their favourite historian, speak on the subject with the most distressing uncertainty. Their writings clearly prove, that immortal life was not a doctrine of paganism, and that natural religion in its purest state, and its noblest examples, gave no certain cheering prospect of future and eternal bliss,' &c. Vol. II. p. 305.

Art. X. Laura: or an Anthology. of Sonnets, on the Petrarchan

Model,) and Elegiac Quatuorzains: English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German; original and translated great part never before published. With a Preface, Critical and Biographic; Notes, and Index. In five volumes. By Capel Lofft.

London. 1813. Price 30s. B. and R. Crosby and Co. THE Sonnet has been unworthily depreciated by English

readers, because it has been imperfectly exhibited by English writers. Most of our early poets, froin Surrey to Milton, attempted it; and when among these are included the names of Spenser and Shakspeare, if they had not succeeded, it would seem, according to Dr. Johnson's hasty decision, with its doggrel illustration, (see his Dictionary,) that the Sonnet is indeed not very suitable to the English language.' But the fact is, Spenser has succeeded, and has left noble specimens of the Sonnet, among the monuments of his versatile genius. Shakspeare's charming little love-songs, that bear this name, are only what Mr. Lofft calls Quatuorzains, a poem of very different structure. Milton's Sonnets, notwithstanding the obscurity and almost obloquy under which they have lain till the present age, are gradually rising to the honour that is due to them, and which is not derogatory to him. Dryden, we believe, has left no example of this poem, and from him to Cowper, its appearance among the works of our eminent bards is so rare, that we only recollect the Sonnet of Gray to the memory of West, as deserving the name. This we shall quote, since it has been praised by Mr. Mathias, (a very able judge,) as the most perfect Sonnet, on the Petrarchan model, in our language.

• In vain to me, the smiling Mornings shine,

And reddening Phæbus lifts his golden fire:
The Birds in vain their amorous descant join;

Or cheerful Fields resume their green attire ;
These ears, alas, for other Notes repine ;

A different object do these eyes require:
My lonely anguish meets no Heart but mine ;

And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.

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· Yet Morning smiles the busy race to cheer,

And new born pleasure brings to happier Men:
The Fields to all their wonted tribute bear :

To warm their little Loves the Birds complain :
I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear;
the more because I weep in vain.'

Sonnet CX. Vol. II. Of this sonnet Mr. Mathias, in his Preface to the Componimenti lirici de' piu illustri Poeti d'Italia,' says, ' it is so full of affection, melody, and tender expression, as to appear worthy of the Poet of Valchiusa himself.' Mr. Mathias proves this, by giving an admirable Italian translation, which we are willing to believe that Petrarch would not have blushed to own. Certainly, if we had many Sonnets of similar merit, this species of composition would rank much higher than it does in the estimation of our countrymen. Yet delicate and harmonious as it is in tone and diction, and absolutely unrivalled in beauty of thought, this sonnet seems to want something to render it as perfect as it might have been : its defects, few and minute as they are, we will mention merely to shew how curiously polished and painfully laboured a Sonnet should be. We object to the cacophony in the first line, the smiling mornings shine, ' where the s hisses hideously, and the ings jingle unpleasingly. In the second line the epithet 'reddening' applied to ' Phebus' is ambiguous, for it is not clear, whether it means, that the sun grows redder as he ascends, which is false, or whether he causes the clouds to redden by his rising, which is true. Mr. Mathias, adopts the latter sense, though the former is the more obvious interprétation, and very happily translates the line thus :

• E'l Sole inalza i rozzegianti rai.' Again, the rhymes' shine' and join,' cheer' and ' bear,' i men' and · vain,' would not be tolerated in the present day; such flaws, indeed, ought never to appear in a son, net, which being a pearl of poetry, ought to be as pure and unspecked as a dew-drop. We may further observe, that the rhymes in the first part are not so brilliantly contrasted as they might have been, the vowels of shine' and 'fire,' &c. being the same, which makes the endings tiresomely monotonous.--Mr. Mathias's translation far excels the original in this respect : giorno,' rai,'—' intorno,' — lai, keep the sets of =

· rhymes entirely distinct, which are delightfully relieved by the rich diversity of sounds. The Sonnet itself

, though a legitimate one, on the model of several of Petrarch's, carrying through. both clauses a regular alternation of rhyme, is not composed according to the strict and favourite form of that great master and his school, which encloses the rhyming couplets in the two


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quartrains that constitute the first part, by connecting the first line with the fourth, making the fifth correspond with that, and binding the whole with a similar ending of the eighth. In the second part, 'more licence is allowed in the intertexture of the verses, and it is only requisite that the two triplets which con stitute it, should have one pair of rhymes common to both.

We shall illustrate this subject by offering an example of the Sonnet in its most rigid form, which will not be found in Mr. Lofft's collection, though there is a translation of the same original, executed by himself, (Vol. IV, No. 593.) We prefer, how ever, our own, for reasons not worth assigning. It is a paraphrase, rather than a translation, (for the English language is considerably more brief than the Italian) of a very sublime Sonnet, wherein the author attempts to describe the terrible majesty of God, when he rises up to shake the nations with his judgements.

From the Italian of Giambattista Cotta.
• I saw the eternal God, in robes of light,
Rise from his throne;-to judgment forth He came;
His presence pass'd before me, like the flame
That fires the forest, in the depth of night:
Whirlwind and storm, amazement and affright
Compass ‘d his path, and shook all nature's frame;
From highest heaven, that echoed with his name,
To this low world was but a moment's flight.

“As some triumphal oak, whose boughs have shed
Their changing foliage, thro' a thousand years,
Stoops to the rushing wind its glorious head;
The universal arch of yonder spheres
Bow'd with the pressure of its Maker's tread,

And earth's foundations quaked with mortal fears.' The severe and intricate model here exemplified has this advantage above every other,--it renders the first clause, consisting of two quartrains, so compact, that every line, and every rhyme, in its order, is absolutely requisite to make one harmonious stanza of all the eight, and were a line withdrawn or superadded, or a rhyme varied, the cadence would be broken. This is applicable to the two triplets in the second clause, though their complete assimilation is not indispensable. Now according to the form adopted by Mr. Gray, after Italian precedents of the highest authority, the tune, if we may employ the phrase, is out at the end of the fourth line; it is merely repeated at length in the second quartrain, and might as well have been closed at the end of the sixth as the eighth line, there being no obvious necessity in the verse itself for continuing the strain any longer. The first clause is in reality two stanzas, in the same measure as


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