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which the two first have been publithed in London. This part may be divided into four heads. The first contains the proofs of revelation, drawn from its moral design, from the authority assumed by our Saviour, from his precepts respecting morals, and from his doctrine of a resurrection. Under the second head the principles and evidence of the Christian and Mohammedan systems are centrafted. The third head vindicates the genuineness of the book of Daniel and his prophetic character ; and, under the fourth, are considered the prophecies concerning Antichrist. Of these heads the first gave us the greatest satisfaction. The second head has of late years been a favourite topic ; but, in this country or in America, it is not worthy of so much discussion; for no one is interested in the defence of the Koran, or is likely to become a convert to Islamism. The defects and absurdities of that system are obvious to the most illiterate Christians; and the introduction of so many anecdotes from the Arabian history, and of so many paffages from the Koran, may be deemed fuperfluous. Under the two other heads there is little no. velty. The downfall of the papacy feems to have been produced in a very different manner from that which was prognosticated by most of the commentators on prophecy; and the next generation may perhaps find it expedient to invent or adopt a different key to unlock the mysteries of revelation.
Our author falls into the general opinion of the increase of infidelity in these times. This persuasion rests on the great increase of infidel writers, and the greater liberties taken by thern in attacking Christianity; but this may only prove that the anti-christian spirit of suppressing the arguments of an adversary by force, and the finister influence which, under the pretext of defending religion, violated the precepts of Christ and his apostles, are gradually declining. It does not follow that infidels are more numerous, because they profess their opinions more openly.
To those who have perused the two first volumes, the present will be a pleasing acquisition ; and the first part of these discourses will, from the subject and the manner of treating it, be highly interesting to serious readers.
Lyrical Ballads, with a few other Poems. Small 8vo.' 55.
Boards. Arch. 1798. THE majority of these poems, we are informed in the advertisement, are to be considered as experiments.
• They were written chiefly with a view to afcertain how far
the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of fociety is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure. P. i.
Of these experimental poems, the most important is the Idiot Boy, the story of which is simply this. Betty Foy's neighbour Susan Gale is indispofed; and no one can conveniently be sent for the doctor but Betty's idiot boy. She therefore puts him upon her poney, at eight o'clock in the evening, gives him proper directions, and returns to take care of her fick neighbour. Jolinny is expected with the doctor by eleven ; but the clock strikes eleven, and twelve, and one, without the appearance either of Johnny or the dactor. Betty's restless fears become insupportable ; and she now leaves her friend to look for her idiot fon. She goes to the doctor's house, but hears nothing of Johnny. About five o'clock, however, she finds him fitting quietly upon his feeding poney. As they go home they meet old Susan, whose apprehensions have cured her, and brought her out to seek them; and they all return merrily together.
Upon this subject the author has written nearly five hundred lines. With what fpirit the story is told, our extract will evince.
• Oh reader ! now that I might tell
I to the muses have been bound,
further aid bereave me? And can ye thus unfriended leave me? Ye muses! whom I love so well. Who's yon, that, near the waterfall, Which thunders down with headlong force, Beneath the moon, yet shining fair, As careless as if nothing were, Sits upright on a feeding horse? Unto his horse, that's feeding free, He seems, I think, the rein to give; Of moon or stars he takes no heed; Of such we in romances read, -'Tis Johnny! Johnny! as I live. And that's the very pony too. Where is she, where is Betty Foy? She hardly can fuftain her fears; The roaring water fall the hears, And cannot find her idiot boy. Your pony's worth his weight in gold, Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy! She's coming from among And now, all full in view, she fees Him whom she loves, her idiot boy. And Betty fees the pony too ; Why stand you thus good Betty Foy? It is no goblin, 'tis no ghoft, 'Tis he whom you so long have loft, He whom you love, your idiot boy, She looks again--her arís are upShe screams he cannot move for joy ; She darts as with a torrent's force, She almost has o'ertúrned the horse, And fast she holds her idiot boy. And Johnny burrs and laughs aloud, Whether in cunning or in joy, I cannot tell; but while he laughs, Betty a drunken pleasure quaffs, To hear again her idiot boy.
And now she's at the pony's tail,
Her limbs are all alive with joy.' P. 170. No tale less deserved the labour that appears to have been bestowed upon this. It resembles a Flemish picture in the worthleffness of its design and the excellence of its execution, From Flemish artists we are satisfied with such pieces : who would not have lamented, if Corregio or Rafaelle had wasted their talents in painting Dutch boors or the humours of a Flemish wake?
The other ballads of this kind are as bald in story, and are not so highly embellished in narration. With that which is entitled the Thorn, we were altogether displeafed. The advertisement says, it is not told in the person of the author, but in that of some loquacious narrator. The author should have recollected that he who personates tirefome loquacity, becomes tiresome himself. The story of a man who suffers the perpetual pain of cold, because an old woman prayed that he never might be warm, is perhaps a good fory for a ballad, because it is a well-known tale: but is the author certain that it is well authenticated ? and does not such an affertion
promote the popular superstition of witchcraft?
In a very different style of poetry, is the Rime of the Ancyent Marinere ; a ballad (says the advertisement) profeffedly written in imitation of the style, as well as of the spirit of the elder poets. We are tolerably conversant with the early English poets; and can discover no resemblance whatever, except in antiquated spelling and a few obsolete words. This piece appears to us perfectly original in style as well as in story. Many of the stanzas are laboriously beautiful ; but in connection they are absurd or unintelligible. Our readers may exercise their ingenuity in attempting to unriddle what follows.
• The roaring wind ! it roar'd far off,
It did not come anear ;
That were fo thin and sere,
And a hundred fire-nags Theen
To and fro they are hurried about ;
The stars dance on between.
The fails do figh, like fedge :
And the moon is at its edge.
And the moon is at its fide :
A river steep and wide.
And dropp'd down, like a stone!
The dead men gave a groan,' P. 27.
With pleasure we turn to the serious pieces, the better part of the volume. The Foster-Mother's Tale is in the best style of dramatic narrative. The Dungeon, and the Lines upon the Yew-tree Seat, are beautiful. The Tale of the Female Vagrant is written in the stanza, not the style, of Spenser. We extract a part of this poem.
“ 'Twas a hard change, an evil time was come;
To join those miserable men he flew;
the crowded fleet its anchor stirred.
The parting lignal streamed, at lait the land withdrew, CRIT. Rey. VOL. XXIV. 02. 1798.