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We thought that Age had quench'd thy fire,
Or Law's rude hammer crush'd thy lyre,
Or Pension chang'd the Harp's uncourtly strings,
And with her golden scizzars clipp'd thy wings.” Art. 28. The Hurricane : a Theosophical and Western Eclogue.
To which is subjoined, a Solitary Effusion in a Summer's Evening. By William Gilbert. 12mo. pp. 104. 35. 6d. Boards. Martin and Bain.
This poem is merely a vehicle to convey to the public the following doctrines, viz.
First, That all Countries have a specific Mind, or determinable principle. This character may be traced with as much satisfaction in the vegetable as in the animal productions. Thus, Strength with its attributes, viz. Asperiiy, &c. is the character or mind of England. Her leading productions are the Oak, Peppermint, Sloes, Crabs, sour Cherries. All elegance, all polish, is superinduced; and pri. marily from France, of which they are Natives.
Secondly, That a Country is subdued, when it's mind or life, it's prince according to DANIEL, or it's genius according to the modern Easterns, or it's principle according to Europeans, is either supprest, destroyed, or chemically combined with that of a foreign country in a form, that leaves the foreign property predominant ; and not till then. And this cannot ensue but upon Suicide, upon a previous abandonment on the part of a nation, of its own principle. For when the Creator made every thing very GOOD, he also made it tenable, on the one hand ; and on the other complete; consequently without the necessity, without the desire, of encroaching, and also without the capability, except under the penalty of surrendering with it's own complete roundness, it's own tenability. Thus I arrive at a primary Law of Nature, that EVERY ONE MUST FALL INTO THE PIT THAT HE DIGS FOR OTHERS; either before or after success, or without success.
-Thirdly, That in the European subjugation of AMERICA, the AMERICAN MIND or Life only suffered under a powerful affusion of the European ; and, that as the solution proceeds it acquires a stronger and stronger tincture of the Subject, till at length that, which was first subdued, assumes an absolute, inexpugnable predominancy, and a FINAL-inasrnuch as the contest is between the two last parts of the world, and there is no prospective umpire to refer to; but it must be decided by the possession of first principles, or the highest Mind in the Hierarchy of Minds; and the European possession of mind having previously arrived at perfection from her long intercourse with AFRICA and Asia, and not being able to rescue her from the present grasp and predominancy of AMERICAN MIND, the question is now settled for ever, and Europe yields to the Influence, Mind, and Power of AMERICA, linked in essential principle with AFRICA and Asia, for ever. Besides Europe had full suc. cess in her encroachments; she succeeded in throwing America into the pit, and of course, it MUST be her own turn to go in, now: She depopulated America, and now AMERICA MUST depopulate her.'
If If the reader should not very clearly comprehend all this, the fault is not ours ; nor does it appear that the author himself will feel much mortified by the reader's disappointment. 'I am not understood,' says he in one of his notes ; it is well ;-I understand myself : it is better!"
Of this work the notes constitute the major part ; and in these Mr. Gilbert soars to a region of intellect far above that in which we move, or any that we can hope to reach. "When,' however, to use his own phrase, "he comes down low enough to be seen in England, we learn that he means to recommend the astrological study of the heavens, to depreciate the sciences of mathematics and physics compared with the more sublime science of correspondences, (vide Baron Swedenborgh,) and to bring back mankind to a proper regard for the communications of God by dreams, &c.
We shall give a more correct idea of the opinions of Mr. G. by a few extracts, than by any explanation or description of ours.
• With every lump of Sugar, a certain portion of Essence of AmeRICA and of AFRICA is swallowed: and if refined with the blood of bulls, a proportion of England too; but the first are wholly predominant.'
• Spirit without spirituality; Christians without Christ or Power ; Asserters of, nay, brawlers for Jesus, without Salvation, you Englishmen are- Mathematicians : all purer characters are superstitious. The SCIENCE of Mind, to be sure, is Superstition : but it is the Superstition which ARCHIMEDES wanted to raise the World ; but which, I tell you, mean men of physics, I HAVE ;--and The FRENCH HAVE! And will KEEP and PERFECT, whether you see, and whether you approve, or not. Adieu!'
• If Religion, if Life, consist in a communication with God, this remark furnishes an accurate criterion to judge of the general state of Religion at all times, in all nations, and in any individual. Low indeed, is that state, where few see Visions, few dream Dreams, few interpret them, and few are fools enough (for such is the preponderance against DEITY IN ENGLAND-Hear O Earth! And Give Ear, o Heavens !) to seek an Interpretation, when THE LORD hath spoken-or to give GLORY to the LORD their GOD, before he cause DARKNESS, by the silence of His Word, and before their feet stumble on the DARK MOUNTAINS!! For ye are on MOUNTAINS! and know it not! He that SPOKE LIGHT, can be silent into DARKNESS.'
ENWRAPT (speaking in the character of America) in the Prin. ciples, and ever forcing them into Action, though I wrought WHOLLY ALONE, of equal Liberty, equal Justice and equal Honor, to all Mankind; regulated alone by Individual desert: Thus acting, I acted against all EUROPE till France joined me. « Though open," is, though in, and acting in, the Body or Europe, or on European Ground.
"The PRINCIPLE of AMERICA is this EQUILIBRIUM, and agrees with the Sign attributed by ASTROLOGY to the West, namely, LIBRA or THE BALANCE ; where SATURN having, by the same Science, his Exaltation, or greatest public Strength, we must also refer SATURNTA REGNA, or the REIGN OF SATURN, so much ex
tolled; tolled; and which is thus, in other térms, the Reign of Just EQUALITY; where the empty scales are always even, and, of the full, that consequently always preponderates, which ought to preponderate. I have said this to clear EQUALITY from the obloquy of the English.'
These extracts perhaps are enough for readers of ordinary, unen. lightened intellect ;--those who are blessed with a knowlege of the correspondences, and desire a more intimate acquaintance with the sublimities of Mr. G., we refer to the work at large.
In the poem itself, some beauties occur : but the effect of them is often counteracted by lines written in defiance of all the rules of metre, and by a stiffness of phraseology which in some places renders the incaning scarcely intelligible.** Art. 29. Retribution, and other Poems. By H. Hughes. 8vo. 28.
· Clarke. The author of these poems appears to be of a gloomy and melan. choly cast of mind, somewhat tinged with religious enthusiasm.
In the poem intitled Retribution, he predicts the downfall and destruction of Great Britain, with as much confidence as if he were really inspired! Conversant as we are with the vanity and self-sufficiency of young authors, we own that we could not read this com. position without some degree of astonishment.-- The following lines may serve as a specimen : • Should all the suns that flame in boundless space
Shrink into non-existence at his frown,
Worlds heap'd on worlds, drop from their summit down;
From ev'ry pore belch furious flames around,
Might hear them burst, nor tremble at the sound.' When additional years have matured the writer's judgment, his poetry (for he is not destitute of genius) will probably merit a larger share o] critical approbation than that which he seems likely to acquire froin his present adventure. We would advise him, however, to limit his ambition to the honours of the Poet's wreath, without aspiring also to the higher and more sacred dignity pf the PROPHETIC character. Art. 30. The Crisis, or the Brilish Muse to the British Minister and
Nation. By the Author of Indian Antiquities. 4to. 25. 6d. Faulder. 1798.
In warm and energetic strains, the Poet here seizes, as a proper subject for the loyal muse, the present crisis of British honour and British safety; and he accordingly suggests every principle and every consideration that occur to a lively and vigorous imagination, in the view of animating his countrymen, as Tyrtæus of old did the Spartans, to unite as patriots and heroes in our common national defence, againt an inveterate, ambitious, and unprincipled enemy. It appears, indeed, that Mr. M. had the courageous Grecian Bard in his syo, when he sate down to the composition of this public-spirited
call call to arms *. but it is happy for us that England is not circum stanced as were the desponding Lacedemonians when the poet roused and led them to battle and to victory ; for, unquestionably, our ever undismayed warriors, on either element, and of every denomination, have proved to the world that they want not the excitements of poetic enthusiasm, nor the stimulus of eloquence, to prompt them to those manly exertions which they owe to their country and to themselves, as citizens, as men, and as Britons. The author, however, merits not only our warm approbation of his good design, but our thanks for the pleasure that he has afforded us in the perusal of his ingenious performance.
A very few lines may be deemed a sufficient specimen of an effusion on a subject of this kind; the thoughts and poetic embellishments of which will be easily pre-conceived by every reader of the advertisement which announces the work, or of its title, as it stands at the head of the present article.
Adverting to the military ardour and spirit which, through the course of the war, appear to have animated all orders and degrees among us, the poet thus exultingly and distinctly regards them according to their ranks in society :
•_ Britain's bright ensigns blaze from shore to shore,
See her bold offspring round those ensigns pour ?
Conqu’rors on shore, and sov’reigns on the main.' The poet's introductory address to Mr. Pitt (• Th’immortal son of an immortal sire !') is elegant and nervous :--it reminds us, together with the whole poem, of Prov. ch. xi. v. 10. “When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth; and when the wicked perish there is shouting.”
* In the exordium, he alludes to the Heav'n-born Muse
- When fir'd in virtue's cause, she pours along
NOVEL S. art. žl. Henry Willoughby. .2 Vols. 12mo. 75. Boards. Kearsley,
Misanthropy is, too often, the voice of age, but very rarely that of youth. On our first entrance into life, we generally view the prospect before us through the bright and flattering medium of hope ; expectation is vivid ; and we can scarcely credit.the representation of experience, that the world is a scene of vanity and sorrow. If we are to believe the short preface prefixed to these volumes, the author, who is but just of age, is an exception to this remark. He sees the world through the most gloomy optics, and finds in civil society nothing but vice and misery. The characters of a philantlıropic philosopher, (who, like the benevolent Howard, explores and relieves the miseries of prisons); of a negroe woman ; and of a Quaker ; he holds up to admiration : but, excepting these, he makes his hero meet with only the most odious and detestable ; so that at last he resolves, with a friend, to abandon Europe and unite himself with a Quakerestablishment in America. We may say indeed of this Novel, in the words which the author has put into the mouth of one of his characters, that it is a gloomy picture of man, [in civil society,] calculated to inspire the attentive beholder with sentiments of disgust and abhorrence.'
The Devil, says an old proverb, is often pointed blacker than he really is ; and a similar remark may be applied to this author's view of society. He must have painted from imagination, and not from experience : his characters are unnatural : they never did nor could exist; and his system, which he gradually developes, in regard to the renovation of society, is as impracticable as his representation of the present state of it is incorrect. There are many vices and evilo to cure among us; yet not enough to make it necessary, in order to the enjoyment of happiness, that we should abandon our country for the deserts or savannahs of America.
Novels have lately been the vehicles of certain speculative principles, in which these are artfully exhibited as established truths, essential to the improvement and happiness of man; and human nature in her present state is blackened beyond reality, in order to give them effect. We protest against this as an unfair proceeding; and no system can be good that wants such aid. Art. 32. Statira, or the Mother. 12mo. 35. 6d. Lane. 1798.
This volume may communicate little interest to the reader, but will convey no injury to his morals. The design is to exhibit the fatal effects of jealousy, as exemplified in two tragical but improbable stories.--Is jealousy the epidemical vice of this age and country? We should not be sorry to perceive a certain degree of it somewhat more prevalent.
, MISCELLANEOUS. Art. 33. Dr. Johnson's Table-Talk: containing Aphorisms on Li.
térature, Life, and Manners; with Anecdotes of distinguished Persons : selected and arranged from Mr. Boswell's Life of John. son. 8vo. pp. 446. 6s. Boards. Dilly. 1798. Rev. Oct. 1798.