Page images

raelites ?? asked a critic.-All safely got over.'- But where are the Egyptians ?'—'Where should they be?' replied the painter : all drowned, to be sure. Our author's ballads are like the picture of the Red Sea. Art. 35.---The Triumphs of Poesy: a Poem. By J. C.

Hubbard, A. M. Author of Jacobinism, &c. 4to. 28. 6d. Nicol. 1803.

The design of the author, in this little poem, is to characterise a few of the most eminent of the Greek, Latin, and English poets. This he has done with a richness of language, and a swell of versification, which we do not often meet with. We quote the opening stanzas.

• At length, desending from her car of fame,

That roll'd triumphant o'er the land and deep,
Britannia quits the blood-stain'd fields of fame,

And bids the thunders of the battle sleep;
Thunders, that hurld their aggravated roar
O’er India's clime remote, and Egypt's burning shore.
• Fresh on her brow the immortal wreath is seen,

By Valour fix'd, and Freedom's fingers wove:
More pure its tints than spring's primeval green,

More sweet its odours than the breath of Love!
O'er her white cliffs seraphic harps resound,
While Echo wafts the notes her raptur'd shores around.
• The heroic bands, that first spontaneous rose,

Confess'd at once their country's pride and shield,
That hung terrific on her host of foes,

And burn'd to bleed in Glory's arduous field,
With duteous love around the goddess throng,
Hail her approving eye, and catch the aerial song.
• The imperial banner, waving o'er her head,

Full to the sun the mystic cross displays;
For this she rush'd to arms, for this she bled,

On this, in battle, fix'd her ardent gaze;
This nerv'd her arm, and, as it hover'd near,
Wing'd with resistless fate the lightning of her spear.
• When, late, insulted by unheard-of crimes,

Fair Faith from Gaul's barbarian coast withdrew,
Abash'd, forlorn, through Europe's tainted climes

She fied, and flying heard the fiends pursue ;
Heard the wild scream, the accumulating yell,
Of Murder, scowling round, and Rapine, hot from hell.
• But soon to Albion's happy isle retird,

Whose righteous sceptre guards the public weal.
Her gallant sons the heaven-born maid inspir'd

With matchless skill, and ever-during zeal;
With zeal, the madness of the storm to brave,

And skill, from felon-hands their blood-bought rights to save,' p.1. Who would suppose that these stanzas were the commencement of a poem upon the Triumphs of Poesy?

Crit. Rev, Vol. 38. May, 1803.

Art. 36.-Poems, inscribed to the right honourabie Lord Vis

count Dudley and Ward; having a Reference to his Lordship's beautiful Seat of Himley; by Luke Booker, LL.D. 4t0. 28. Hurst.

"To the right honourable lord viscount Dudley and Ward. • My Lord,

"Insensible were I of kindness, and unsusceptible of impression from the beauties of nature, to have been honoured with so much of the former by your lordship, and to have had so many opportunities of surveying the latter in ihe fine park of Himley, did I not feel, enkindled within me, many a grateful and pleasurable emotion.-Behold, my lord, the proofs that I have felt them, in the attendant inspirations of my Muse. These are presented to your lordship as so many wild flowers culled in your own demesne,-manifesting the exquisite beauty of the scene in which they grew, rather than the skill of the person who braided them together.' P. iii.

Lord Dudley and Ward is the hero, or rather the Mæcenas, of these poems. Mæcenas is the title of the eclogue..

r- He, when winter comes in storms and cold, i
Is to the poor a father; to the old
A solace; to the widow lorna friend :
Such, did his armi in want's dark hour defend.
With copious food he famish'd hundreds fed,
Who, ev'ry sabbath-morn were seen to tread

The winding pathways to his princely gate;
Where, to assuage the woes of adverse fate,
His weekly dole was bountifully giv'n
Blessing his heart with foretaste high of heav'n.

We, Arcas, in the humble happy band,
Have oft receiv'd the largess of his hand,
Largess, apportion'd to the sacred-day,
When, for the donor, each at church would pray;
Thence, home return'd, with hearts embued by Heav'n,
How sweet the meal by good Mæcenas giv'n!
That meal by heedful cleanliness prepard,
And by our little smiling offspring shar'd.
These, taught to know from whom the bounty came,
Would grateful lisp their benefactor's name,
Would, as fit grace, with artless tongues implore
Blessings on him who oft thus bless'd the poor.

Nor did he only Hunger's wants supply,
And wipe the tear from pale Affliction's eye,
But, at cold winter-tide, our lives to save
(Drawn from his jetty mines) he fuel gave;
Causing our humble homes, each night, to throw
A cheerful gleam athwart a waste of snow.
Round our bright fires we sung the song of joy,

Nor could the howling storm our bliss annoy. !. With strains like these did ev'ry cottage ring

“Long live Mæcenas, and God save the king !" P.5. The scathed oak stands in the park of Mecenas. The young'oak.

tree, the subject of another poem, was planted by Mæcenas: Væcenas is the burden of every song in the book. The poetry is of that respectable mediocrity which characterises all Dr. Booker's publications,

DRAMA. ART. 37.- A llouse to be sold, a musical Piece, in two Acts.

As performed at the Theatre-Royal, Drury-Lane. By James Cobb. The Music composed and selected by Michael Kelly. 8vo. 2s. Robinsons. 1802.

Wherever Mr. Cobb has altered the French play • Maison à vendre,? he has altered it for the worse. The phrases of Charles Kelson would shock the ear of a lob-lolly boy. A cable is turned to the use of a knot of spun-yarn-10 splice two people together. Among the causes which have contributed to the flattering success of A liouse to be sold,are to be numbered the exertions of the manager, the composer, and the performers.' ART. 38. -The Female Jacobin Club: a political Comedy, iiz

one Act. Translated from the German of Augustus Von Kotzebue; by J. C. Siber. 12mo. 28. Vernor and Hood.

This little drama, no doubt, pleased well enough at the time of its birth: it seems to have been produced by the spur of occasion. A club of female Jacobins deserved to be laughed at; and the author does it pleasantly. Its day, however, is now passed.

. NOVELS, &c. . ART. 39.-The Lottery of Life, or the Romance of a Sum

mer: By Mr. Lyttleton. 3 Vols. 12mo. 12s. Boards. Lane and Newman. 1802.

This is a performance which has a fair claim to a mediocrity of praise. Where the author pursues the thread of his history, and relates the adventures of his principal characters, his manner is simple and impressive; yet, in his digressions, he is vague and languid. Mr, Lyttleton's thoughts on seduction are both just and pathetic: but we hope he will another time avoid the ridiculous affectation of quoting Latin scraps, in a work that is read by that class of persons only who are not likely to understand them. ART. 40.Victor, or the Child of the Forest. From the

French of M. Ducray-Duminil. 4 Vols. 12mo. 168. Boards. Lane and Newman. 1802.

In this romance, are narrated, in the most turgid language, a series of improbable events. We do not know, as we have not read the original, whether the bombast exist in the French, or is of English ma. nufacture: we suspect both author and translator

• par nobile fratrum.' One or the other is also a poet : we will treat our rcaders with a sin. gle stanza out of four.

· thox! unconscious of my ardent flame,

Who press the pillow of repose above,
Hear, ah! a moment hear my tender claim,

And listen to the voice of hapless love!
This blest asylum, and its master kind,

Alas! I fly, with ev'ry care to cope;
All that I ever lov'd I leave behind,
Nor take one charm away-- not even bope!'

Vol.i. P. 103. Now, be it known to all whom it may concern, that Victor, who here intreats Clementina for a moment's patience, to hear a bapless love of which she was unconscious, had but a little while before made her a long declaration of it, and had received, in return, from that tenderhearted damsel, a confession of a reciprocal attachment, and an as. surance that her father would not think of opposing it. Perhaps the reader, who is not so much of a versifier as to forget grammar, will observe that press, in the second line, ought to be pressest; and may condemn the pathos of the last, by observing that hope is but a very little way behind enjoyment in its sensation, even if it be not, where some philosophers have placed it, a good deal before it. Why will novelists render themselves doubly liable to censure, by adding to bad prose worse poetry? Art. 41.-The Travels of Alladin, Sultan of Egypt. An

Eastern allegorical Story, from the Arabic of Hassan. Dedicated to the most noble the Marquis of Dozenshire. 12mo. 45. sewed. Nicol. 1802.

There is nothing peculiarly interesting in the sentiments of Alladin, nor any thing astonishing in his travels or adventures. The language is frequently defective.

MISCELLANEOUS LIST. ART.42.--An Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food, as a moral Duty. By Joseph Rilson. Svo. 58. Boards. PhilJips. 1802.

This singular Essay, deformed by an affected spelling, inculcating opinions still more affected, will not probably obtain great attention. The first chapter, ‘on man,' is filled with a vast collection of facts relating to the human race; but the chief observations which bear on the subject are designed to demonstrate that no part of our structure proves us to be carnivorous. On the other hand, animal food is shown to be unnecessary, fostering cruelty and ferocity, pernicious to the spirits and the finer feelings; while, on vegetable aliment, we are told we should be equally strong, equally corpulent, more mild, gentle, and humane. We will not send our author to a court of aldermen, or even to a chapter dinner, for converts : even in our garrets we feel inclined to oppose him; and, could we oftener command better dinners, we should enjoy them, in spite of precepts. In a more serious strain, we think the writer, with a vast extent of quotation, has not proved bis position. Human nature is not in its most perfect state without

some animal food; nor capable of such long, such continued, exercise. We will, indeed, admit that other animals, whose patural food is grain, may be rouzed to unusual exertions, by some portion of meat mixed with it, as fighting cocks, race-horses, &c. But man, with a regular supply, feels a continued vigour, without relaxation, and without injury to his constitution. Man, it may be said, attains a mature age, when fed on vegetables : but he does the same, when he has lived on animal substances; and, among the oldest people, it will be difficult to find that any peculiar mode of life has appeared to contribute to their longevity. We have never found those who have habitually abstained from animal food possessed greater tranquillity of mind, or freedom from passion, than their neighbours who indulged in an aniinal diet. Art.43.- Mooriana ; or Selections from the moral, philoso

phical, and miscellaneous I'orks of the late Dr. John Moore. Illustrated by a new biographical and critical Account of the Doctor and his IVritings; and Notes historica, classical, and erplanatory, by the Rev. F. Prevost, and F. Blagdon, Esq. 2 Vols. 12mo. 95. Boards. Crosby and Co.

The anu of the neighbouring kingdom have been long known as at least amusing, if not always instructive, collections. In many instances, however, they communicate information, in the pleasing form of conversation. Our authors have a design of offering to the public an extensive series of ana, 'selected from the productions of the most renowned and lately deceased authors of this country, as well as those of the continent.' Are not the works of Xenophon and Plato, they remark, strictly Socratiana? and does not 'the most fastidious critic read with enthusiasm the Orphica, the Pythagoræa, and the Æsopica?" Our learning cannot keep pace with the authors'; for, though we know that there were Oppaïrwy Scripturæ, that Henry Stephanus has preserved some passages * in his treatise De Poësi Philosophica, yet, of the other collections, we find no trace, even should they mean Pythagorica, instead of Pythagoræa.'

We would, however, suggest a question, whether selections from works published can be considered as of the same kind with the French ana. The latter are collections of the remarks that occurred in conversation in their nature desultory, and, in some measure, unconnected rescued from oblivion by eager admirers, or occasionally by the authors themselves. We prize them, therefore, as treasures that were hastening to the gulf of oblivion, preserved by accident, and valued in proportion to the danger they encountered in their progress. The Memorabilia of Xenophon are more near the table-talk of the French ana, and the · Sententiæ' of Stobæus to the present plan. In reality, the selection of passages from connected works is very diffe rent from what our authors appear to suppose. The occasional recol lections of table-talk may be easily separated from any general subject: but, to separate passages from a narrative, or from a series of adventures, is to present them to the public in a very disadvantageous point

[ocr errors]

* Jadeed the whole of the Orphaïca are suspicious, and attributed to Onomacritus, who probably discovered some fragments, and added what his fancy suggested. The Orphaic preserved by Justin Martyr is evidentiy fictitivus, as it treats of Abraham the Decalogue, &c.

« PreviousContinue »