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of universal attraction is applied to the actually existing case of the sun and planets in our system, the perturbations occasioned by the action of all upon each, cause the planets to move in trajectories that are not exactly ellipses, but coincide more nearly with them than with any other known curve. Where, then, is the contradiction between Newton and Kepler? And how can even Mr. Frend jump to the conclusion, that the laws laid down by these great men are neither of them true?'
So much for our author's attack upon the doctrine of attraction. As for the rest of these " Evening Amusements," they are, we believe, much of the same kind as they have always been ; and they are manufactured most, probably, after the method described at p. 417 of our seventh volume.
Art. IX. Poems on several Occasions. By Edward, Lord Thurlow.
cr. 8vo. pp. 128. Price 8s. White and Cochrane. 1813. WE believe that, both among critics and general readers, the
presumption is almost always in favour of an author of high rank. At least it is so with us; not from any remains of the notion of a certain innate inexplicable superiority transmitted in aristocratic descent, (a notion for the practical refutation of which, laudable pains have been taken by the class in whose favour it existed, but from the rational and obvious considerations, that a man of noble birth may be confidently assumed to have had a liberal education, in an extensive sense of the phrase; that it is probable---especially when we see that he is a man of literary taste---he has associated a good deal with some men of distinguished abilities and accomplishments; that he has had opportunities of surveying nature and art on a wider scale than men of humbler fortune; that he must be sensible he has more to hazard, in the way of reputation, than obscurer men, in challenging the public criticism; and that it is certain his writing is not task-work to which be is driven by necessity.
If all these considerations may not be enough to warrant a highly sanguine anticipation of the quality of a peer's performance, they were at least sufficient to make us confident of something very superior to the quite ordinary results of the prevailing juvenile ambition to appear in elegant little volumes of poetry.
At the first opening of the book, the reader perceives one conspicuous indication of such an extension of studies as implies. a decidedly literary taste and habit, in the imitation of the diction and therhythm of Spenser, to which the author has trained his verses with a degree of success. But almost at the same moment there will be a perception of certain affectations and extravagancies, of extremely unfavourable omen. Indeed, we think the few short pieces at the beginning of the volume will force on the cultivated reader an opinion, which he will in vain make his utmost efforts to dismiss and leave behind him, in order to proceed through the book with unallayed pleasure. They are copies of verses addressed to contemporary individuals, with a song to Sir Philip Sidney, and lines on beholding his portraiture.'. All these verses having been written in order to be prefixed to a late edition of the Defence of Poesy,' an allusion to Sir Philip naturally occurs in several of the addresses; and some of these allusions are in a strain of enthusiasm so impetuously dashing through the clouds and meteors and at the stars, that not even his character, with all the splendour and the sort of poetic sanctity fixed and beaming around it, can preserve the reader's complacency, or even gravity.
• The man that looks, sweet Sidney, in thy face, (the picture)
Beholding there love's truest majesty,
the pale moon, and the pure stars above
head to blow,
« On the divine and never-ending memory of Sir Philip Sidney,' is the inscription of one of the copies of verses.---To say nothing of an approach toward profaneness in some of the lines we have transcribed, how is it possible, we would ask, that any man can feel pleasure in thus laboriously throwing his mind out of all correct order in its estimates of things; in thus putting himself in an artificial delirium, that he may not be sensible of the folly of attempting to inflate a particular name, however distinguished, into co-extension with the universe and eternity?
But if there be no tolerating the excesses of high flown enthusiasm when Sir P. Sidney is the subject, a man who has been removed from this part of the creation for ages, whose name has acquired the venerable and pensive associations of the remote past, and has long been contemplated as presented througlı the mediuin of romance and poetry ; what can be said of an extravagance that bears, directly and personally, towards contemporary individuals, and rains an overwhelming shower of hyperboles on the heads of Earl Moira, Earl Spencer, Lord Holland, or the Prince Regent ?---Lord Spencer escapes before the very thickest of the storm ; the address ends thus :
• But thou, that like the sun, with heayenly beams
The learned heads, that drink Castalian streams ;
Made for all time, but yet unfit for thee.?
• Most favoured Lord, in whose pure intellect,
Of all that lives above the lamping sky;
T'attain the glory of this argument,
The star, that shall enlight our firmament?
Of all, that honour magnanimity
And in the rule of virtue find content, &c.'
• To thee, that art the glory of our days,' &c.
And make thy life divinest poësy!
now the world's fair light is gone, To rule thee and to make thy bliss his own.'
But, the brightest stars are robbed of their beams, the sweetest flowers of their odours, the most melodious birds of their tones, for an offering to one still greater, worthier, sublimer object, than whom no other could be so justly figured out in the following lines :
"As when the burning majesty of day
Shall warble from the bosom of the night ! p. 112. We think we have produced quite enough to excuse us from saying any thing of · Herinilda,' a tale of Ladies, and knights, and arms, and glorious love, and courtesy, and brave exploit,' in the Holy Land, though it is the principal poem in the volume, and abounds with things demanding the epithets 'sweet,
golden,' and especially divine.'---Unless poetry has 'recently obtained a legal divorce from sound correct sense, (of which we have seen no record in the proceedings of any authorized court of criticism,) we think the noble writer should be dissuaded from too much freedom in courting her acquaintance.
Art. X. Sketch of the Sikhs ; a singular Nation, who inhabit the
Provinces of Penjab, situated between the Rivers Jumna and Indus. By Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm; Author of the Political
Sketch of India. 8vo. pp. 199. Price 9s. Murray. 1812. THE origin, character, and religious institutions of the Sikhs,
as Colonel Malcolm spells their name, or Sic's, Seecks, Seecs, &c. as it is spelt by others, form a curious, and not uninstructive chapter in the history and statistics of India. It is pretty generally known, that the Hindu race not only originally occupied the whole extent of territory, as far as the range of lofty mountains which border upon Persia and Tartary, but that in the provinces which most nearly approach to these mountains they are supposed to have principally flourished, and to have most highly cultivated the peculiarities which distinguish them so strongly from all other nations. In these provinces it was that they are reported to have received their origin, or rather in Cashmere, the most northern province of all; and here too they are said to have accumulated the greatest wealth, and to have left the most numerous monuments of their religion. It is true, indeed, that the Hindus in these provinces had been subject to Mahomedan conquerors since the year 1000 of the Christian era, and a considerable mixture of Mahomedans was diffused through the country. But the texture of Hindu society and manners could not, on this account, be regarded as broken, or even impaired. The Mahomedans introduced themselves only as warriors; and if they supplanted the military caste, they left all the others in their ancient situation. The same hands cultivated the ground, the same exercised the labours of the loom ; and the arts and commerce of the country continued to flow, without interruption, in their accustomed channel.
About five hundred years after the establishment of the empire of the Ghaynivides over the northern provinces of India, Nanac Shah was born in the province of Lahore. He appears to have been of the Cshabriya, or military caste; although his family were engaged in the business of grain factors, to which he hiinself was destined. It is of little use here to trace the history or character of this man. It is sufficient to say, that he conceived the design of promulgating a new religion, alike subversive of the superstitions of the Mahomedans, and, what might appear a more difficult task; of the Hindus ;---and that in this design he succeeded.
Of all the attempts which have been made to give currency to prejudice, we recollect none in which the faculty of withdrawing the attention from facts, has been exercised in greater perfection than on the subject of the Hindus. In the zealous and bigotted opposition which has been made to the propagation of Christi nity in India, (which, regarding it only in a temporary point of view, would clear Hindu society of so many cruel obstructions to civilization and happiness, and be itself so unspeakable an improvement,) it has been customary to accumulate reproaches of ignorance, and folly, and enthusiasm, and we know not how many hard imputations, on every one who should venture even to bint that the change of Hindu belief was not altogether impossible. Did you feel disposed, by way of answer, to pronounce together the two terms human and unchangeable ?--and to ask where the experience of human nature taught us to look upon them as necessarily or possibly conjoined !---Oh; this