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We now come to the work itself. However Mr. Barrett may pique himself upon the subject which he has chosen, we must take leave to dissent from his opinion of its peculiar happiness. In the first place, we consider the question with respect to the station which the female sex should hold in society, as long since settled in theory, and as pretty generally reduced to practice. In times immediately previous to the commencement of chivalry, when women were really degraded and despised, his vindication of their claims would have acquired an importance which it is not so likely to enjoy in the present age. For what sympathy can he now hope to extract from his male readers, when the greater part of them will probably peruse his work in a drawing-room, the very seat of female despotism, where a thousand ceremonials of homage give the · lie direct to the predominance of the lordly sex'? and where the finest couplet is liable to be broken off by the polite indispensibility of getting up to hand a chair ?
Of all this, however, the author himself seems so well aware, that he bas dedicated but a very small portion of his poem to the statement of the grievances of woman-much the greater part being occupied in describing her attractions. And here again we must beg permission to say, that however beautiful each individual attraction may appear, there is the same sort of monotony in a professed catalogue and collection of them, that we should experience in a sculptor's exhibition-room, where the Graces and Muses and Virtues were crouded around us, and where the only distinction between them was in the drapery, attitude and symbols. We might, indeed, acknowledge that each statue was charming in itself, but on viewing the whole series together, we should wish for some conbination of action, or at least for the interposition of a Hercules or a Laocoon), to give contrast and animation to the group.
In fact, there remains so litile doubt now-a-days, that a due elevation of females in society bestow's full as much dignity and comfort on ourselves as on them, that a poem which goes only to prove it, cannot pretend to the popular advantages which result from a disputed theory. We might add too, that the theme itself is already sufficiently hacknied, for we have innumerable prose disquisitions on it. And, although it may not till now, perhaps, have been professedly treated in English poetry, we can scarcely open one tuneful page in which the praises of woman are not introduced by way of subsidiary ornaments.
The poem opens with an elegiac tribute to the memory of the lamented Princess Charlotte, to whom, it appears, the author was in the act of dedicating the work, when intelligence of the fatal catastrophe reached bim. Of this circumstance he has taken advan
tage, and judiciously varied the almost unavoidable sameness of monody with an incident at once poetical and affecting.
The poet then proceeds to recount the causes from which the foriner oppression of the sex arose, and the moral improvements from which we may deduce their present state of exaltation. This is followed by a comparison between the two sexes, as to their distinct qualifications and duties.
• To Woman, whose best books are human hearts,
And her's that passive patience wbich sustains.'--pp. 30, 31. An enumeration of those virtues in which the poet conceives ours to be excelled by the softer sex, closes with the following charming passage.
"To guard that Virtue, to supply the place
Love pauses, Vice retracts his glozing tale.' The next four lines are peculiarly happy. They have (to us at least) all the brilliancy of invention, combined with the sobriety of truth.
Not she with trait'rous kiss her Saviour stung,
Last at his cross and earliest at his grave.'—p. 34. The conclusion of this part is very creditable to the poet's feelings-it is in a strain of patriotism, pure, ardent, and even sublime.
Mr. Barrett proceeds, in the next canto, to derive the influence of woman from those virtues, and from various other attractions, some of which are enumerated in the following pleasing and ele
With amiable defects of nature born,
And tame imperious might with winning charms.'-pp. 47, 48. Amongst the sources of female influence, beauty of course could Hot be omitted; accordingly, after a gay and aniniated description of a girl of fifteen, the portrait of a more matured loveliness is exhibited. The picture, ihough chaste, we had almost said pure, is yet somewhat too luxuriant for our pages; but we gladly borrow the closing lines. After observing that every other object of art or nature palls on the eye, if long beheld, the poet adds,
Light up the glorious image from within!'-pp. 55, 56. The episode on an unhappy victim of seduction, which concludes this canto, is, on the whole, the most interesting and highly wrought part of the poem ; as such, we recommend it to the notice of our readers. We cannot afford space for any extracts from it.
The third canto is occupied with a topic not particularly nex to poetry-love; somethivg original however is contrived. The symptrims of this passion, and the enchanting trivialities' of courtship are well designed; and the followiug passage, though not novel in thought, is pretty in expression.
• There is a language by the virgin made,
So soft, so wistful, so sincere, so kind,' &c.-pp. 81, 82.
display more lofty powers of description, and the first four lines struck us as particularly simple and vigorous.
"The sun set red, the clouds were scudding wild,
A hoarser murmur and a heavier wave.'-p. 85. The poem ends with exhibiting woman in her natural sphere, the gentle guardiau of rural and domestic retirement.
We have not read Mr. Barrett's former work on this subject, but we may venture to assure him, that those faults of style which he attributes to it, do not exist in the present. We might indeed point out several blemishes of a verbal nature, but we shall content ourselves with stating, in general terms, that they appear, for the most part, to originate in too much solicitude with regard to language; the versification though combining, as our readers must have observed, conciseness and strength with a considerable degree of harmony, is yet, from want of variety in the modulation of its pauses, occasionally cloying and oppressive.
On the whole, however, Mr. Barrett has evinced both talent and genius in his little poem, and sustained a fight far above the common level. Some passages of it, and those not a few, are of the first order of the pathetic and descriptive ; we hope, therefore, (in compliment to our own judgment,) that he will not, after auother lapse of years, quarrel with his present lady as be did with his first; nor, with the characteristic inconstancy of all professed admirers of the sex, repudiate and vilify a second Woman, for the sake of adopting a third.
Art. XII.— The Holy Bible, newly translated from the originat
Hebrew; with Notes critical and explanatory. By John Bellamy, Author of The History of all Religions. London. 1818. E can scarcely conceive an employment of more serious re
sponsibility, than that of translating the Holy Scriptures from their original languages. When we consider that they convey the word of the Most High to man, and unfold those truths which concern his eternal interests, it is of the utmost importance that their meaning should be clearly given, without addition or diminution, without admixture, perversion or corruption, that those who cannot peruse them in the original tongues may be enabled to ascertain their contents with the greatest possible accuracy.
This was forcibly felt by the government in the reign of James the First, when our present authorized version was made with every human provision for accuracy and general excellence. The work, which was then produced by the joint labour of the most learned men in the kingdom, with the greatest care and deliberation, and with the advantage of all the aids that could be supplied by any authority, ancient or modern, has justly been deemed, (in the words of Dr. Gray,) equally remarkable for the general fidelity of its construction and the magnificent simplicity of its language.
But, while it has been thus adınired for its general excellencies, it has never been contended that it is a perfect work, or that there are no particular passages susceptible of improvement. Notwithstanding the clearness of the language of Scripture on the more essential points, it is admitted that, occasionally, in the poetical parts especially, texts occur of difficult construction, the elucidation of which has employed with various success the labours of the learned. In rendering these, the translators gave that sense which, on the whole, they deemed to be the best, not that which should be so clear and decided as to unite the opinion of every biblical critic in its favour.
But, independently of the passages, where the difficulty of the construction bas produced diversity of opinion as to the sense, and of a few others perhaps in which the translators, as human beings, have erred in judgment; considerable advancement has been made, since the period of the translation, in the criticism of the Bible; the knowledge of the original languages has been in some instances improved; particular texts have been illustrated by the successful labours of the learned:—to which may be added, that the natural Aux of our language bas rendered some expressions less appropriate, and less easily understood than when the translation was first made.
It can never, therefore, be supposed that the fact of our possessing a translation so excellent on the whole can render unnecessary the labours of those learned persons, who attempt improvements, whether their object be to give a correcter meaning in particular passages, or to alter for the better the general course and character of the style. Of the many attempts of this description, some have proceeded from incompetent and injudicious persons, and have speedily sunk into oblivion. Others have been ihe matured fruits of the industry, learning, and talents of such men as Lowth, Blayney, Horsley, and Newcome, men, whose qualifications for the work were undoubted.' That these and other sound scholars have materially assisted the cause, and produced many valuable elucidations of particular passages, is gratefully acknowledged by all who are acquainted with their works. Yet, with all the respect which we feel for their labours, we venture to express a doubt whether any new translation of even a single book of Scripture has appeared since the publication of the authorized version, which, taken as a whole, has come up to its standard, either for the general fidelity and cor