Page images
PDF
EPUB

duced it to the world. The rarity of the original is not its only or even its highest recommendation, though the following statement will shew its value in this respect, and evince the laudable accuracy which has been employed in preparing the reprint.

* Of the Comp'aynt of Scotland (says the editor) only four copies are known to be extant; one of which is deposited in the British Museum; another belongs to his grace the duke of Roxburgh; a third to John M'Gowan, Esq.; and the fourth to Mr. G. Paton. All these copies were inperfect; but three of thein have been completed irom each other. The two last bave been constantly used in this edition, and the museum copy has been occasiorally consulted. For this favour, I beg leave to achnowledge the polite assistance of Mr. Heber, Mr. Ellis, and Mr. Park. For con enience of reference, the pages in this edition correspond exacily with those of the ancient copies. The orthography of the original, however barbarous or irregular, has always been preserved, except in the case of typographical blunders. With all his respect for ancient authors, the editor has never ceased to recollect, that no ancient of thein all is so cld as common sense; and he is ready to admit that the priservation of an obvious typographical error, has always appeared to him as Nagrant a violation of cominon sense, as the preservation of an inverted word or letter; a species of inaccuracy *wbich the most rigid antiquary does not hesitate to correct. To enable every person to determine whether this license has been abused, a list of such alterations is subjoined."

To the whole is added a most valuable glossary, in which the etymology and meaning of numerous antiquated words are illustrated by extracts from rare and inedited MSS. AwOsnaedcov. An Astronomical Twelfth Cake, for the Year 1803.

15. Pp. 8. 410. Debreit. With regard to this Astronomical Twelfth Cake, our Stars have so ordered it, that it has been our lot to have to the full as much of it as we chose, but, unfortunately, we have not been so happy as to be able inwardly to digest it. Such a composition, indeed, rarely comes before us.

After having heard so repeatedly of the ups and downs of this world, we are here, at p. 6, amongst other things equally curious and important, seriously assured, that “ the world has nothing to do with upwards and downwards." But, if some authors are occasionally allowed to speak for themselves, supposing them to understand their own meaning best, surely that privilege should not be denied to the present, to whom he must, in truth, be a hardy rogue, who ventured to become interpreter. In the remarks on his “ New Orrery of the Sun, Earth and Moon only," we have this explanatory passage :comm

[ocr errors]

« Such an Orrery,” says he,“ would shew Tony Lumpkin, that the earth does not like a cart wheel) go round and round the sun, nor the sun go round and round the earth : and thereby settle that long and wonderful controversy ; and that the stars are not really pegged down, as some suppose, nor yet twinkled, as the books tell us, by the sun; but by the friction of their own motion, under the force of compression and concentration from space; whereby their motion is (as is that of oor earth), just sufficient to prevent corruption by stagnation, without terrifying poor Lumpkin with the idea of his being hurled round in bed 1150 miles in a minute, or of the overthrow of our church-establishment, from such violent motion of the steeples.

We cannot refrain from giving the reader some very agreeable information that occurs in a N. B.

“ The diagrams of the sun, earth and moon, are with the engraver, and will be shewn and EXPLAINED when desired ; together with the doctrine of the Dodecahedron.”

Wallace; or the Vale of Ellerslie, with other Poems, PP. 127, 12mo.

Glasgow, 1802. It is no common gratification to us, to be able, from various re. cent experience, to testify this pleasing fact--that the Muse can inspire as warm and sweet a strain of poetry upon the northern hills, exposed to the roughest blasts of Heaven, as in the most luxurious valley of the south, cheered by a milder sun, and fann'd by the softest gales that breathe.

In the roll of worthies to whom Scotland is indebted for its poetical celebrity, the name of the author of “ Wallace” will not be missing, nor will it be found in an inferior class. The piece now alluded to is an original, and the principal poem in this little collection. Its design is to trace the effects of natural scenery, and the education of a rude age, in forming the mind of a hero; which is admirably executed in the difficult stanza of Spenser, of which great master our poet appears a zealous lover, and a laudable imitator.

A single stanza will sufficiently confirm the justice of our eulogium, and assuredly excite no vain desire of more ample satisfaction in our readers.

The star of eve was bright-down the lone dell

With rocks up-pil'd, and mould'ring turrets crown'd,
Many a clear stream and mountain-torrent fell,

And sparkled to the gloomy woods around.

A calın, unwonted, fill'd the forest-bound-
When, lo! a voice the slumb'ring silence broke;

And as the strangely sad, prophetic sound

Rose in the woods-reach hoary giant oak
Shook hollow in the wind ! And thus the Genius spoke.

St. 1. Here, as in many other parts of this delightful composition, we trace the reading of our author, which reflects credit on his taste and judgment, without making him, in our opinion, in the smallest de. gree liable to the impeachment of plagiarism. The end of the above stanza reminds us of these verses of Collins :

And blew a blast so loud and dread

Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe. So again at po 11 his

enchanted look'd and snilld, recalls the

Hope enchanted smil'd, ' of the Ode on the Passions ; as this line at p. 34 :

till the wide green plain with crimson glows, brings easily to our recollection these words of Shakspere,

making the green, one redo If we feel any regret with regard to this beautiful poem, it is that, when the martial ardour of our youthful hero is roused to deeds of arms, and we pant to follow him into the field of glory, the subject ceases, and we are left, unwillingly, to dream the rest.

After " Wallace,we are presented with several smaller original pieces, full of pleasing imagery, delicacy of thought, and chasteness of expression. To these are added some translations from the most illustrious bards of Italy and Greece. The song of the Inchanted Bird, from Tasso, is prettily turned, though not in every part with equal success.

Oh! haste to snatch the rose, beneath

The morn's delightful beam,
For clouds shall sweep yon radiant sky,

And shroud the golden gleam.

8

Oh! snatch the rose of youth; and dare.

Love's blissful power to prove;
While mutual sighs thy sighs may bless :

! Thy love, a kindred love. The latter verses are very inferior to the original. The former contains an idea not unlike one we have met with in two Greek lines to this effect :

Soon fades the rose ; once pass'd the fragrant hour,

The loiterer finds a bramble for a flow'r. The writer has also, at p. 91, worked up a thought in some degree similar, under this motto from Ausonius :

Conquerimur, Natura, brevis quod gratia florum est :

Ostentata ogulis illico dona rapis. Tasso, by the way, affords our fashionable dames a little wholesome advice in one passage of this song.

Quanto si mostra men, tanto è più bella.
The lovelier still the less betray'd,
She wins with charms unseen.

P. 65.
We cannot notice our author's version of a chorus from the

dipus Tyrannus of Sophocles, without remembering, with the most grateful sensation, the rich treat we some years since enjoyed in the perusal of all the chorusses in this piece, freely translated with the tragedy itself, by the Rev. Mr. Maurice, in a vein of poetry every way worthy of the great original. This fine, bold translation, is rarely to be found, and consequently not so much known as its superior merit deserves. We should, indeed, marvel at this, could we not account for the neglect it receives from its author, by turning our eyes towards his other productions, of more original and more exquisite poetical merit, but especially by casting them on that lasting monument, the erection of which, he is now on the eve of finishing, from the rich and curious materials he has, with an ardent genius, and unwearied industry, dug from the deep, dark, and almost inaccessible abodes of the Archives of India, which labours are truly alone enough to render all minor acquisitions of fame superfluous and undesirable.

Our Scotch Poet, although as free in his version of this chorus,* as Mr. M. and deserving of considerable praise, will not bear a fa. vourable comparison with the English Bard. To reverse the sense of a line of the former, we may justly saya:

The glowing Rose above the THISTLE 10w'rs. t

* There was no necessity to quote either Greek or Italian; but if the author must give the original, he should not fail to give it correctly. In the four words prefixed to this chorus, there are two errors-oντιν for οντιν' and θεοπιεπεια for JEOTIETTELA. So in the Italian from Tasso, we have de la for della, and inanti for avanti, as it stands in the Venetian copies.

+ The thistle tow'rs above the haughty rose. P.33,

This would abundantly appear by a citation from each. The
length, however, to which we have already run, precludes any such
demonstration, and we must abruptly terminate our review of this
volume, with a strong recommendation of it to every amateur of
genuine poetry.
Memoirs of Alfred Berkley; or the Danger of Dissipation. By John

Corry, Author of a Satirical View of London, the Detector of
Quackery, &c. London. '8vo. 1802.

The rapidity of Mr. Corry's pen keeps pace with its versatility, and as the guidance of it appears to be controlled by moral impulse, we readily contribute our stimulus of applause, to make him hold his course “ right onward." Alfred Berkeley is not one of those ideal characters which are fabricated in the visions of fancy, or manufactured in the day-dream of a literary recluse. The author is an at. tentive observer of human nature, as it appears in the living circles which surround him, and aims, with no unsuccessful bird-bolt, to • shoot the reigning folly as it flies.' In the present production he takes up the poetical pencil, to depict the charms of vernal beauty, and we with pleasure exhibit an effort of his talent in descriptive song.

JUNE. AN ODE.
« Glittering with the morning dew,

And illum'd by fairest light,
Nature's beauties meet my view,

O'er the virent landscape bright.
u Hill and dale, and shady grove

Glisten in the light of day,
And the azure sky above

Shines magnificently gay.
Countless herbs and flowerets blooms

O'er the meads in vivid hues :
And a cheering rich perfume

Through the flowing air diffuse.
“ Fair the springing glossy corn

Waves luxuriant in the gale,
Sweet the blossom'd beans adorn

And perfume the fertile vale.
" Odoriserous spirits rise

From the fresh unfolding flowers,

Living tints delight the eyes,
n Where they grace the roseate bowers,

« PreviousContinue »