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What iöllows, though extremely powerful, Made him a thing, which I, who pity not, and more laboured in the writing, has less Yet pardon those who pity. He is mine, charm for us. He tells his celestial auditor And thine, it may be-be it so, or not, the brief story of his misfortune ; and when No other Spirit in this region harh
A soul like his-or power upon his soul." he mentions the death of the only being he
pp. 47, 48. nad ever loved, the beauteous Spirit breaks in with her superhuman pride.
At his desire, the ghost of his beloved As.
tarte is then called up, and appears—but re. * And for this
fuses to speak at the command of the Powers A being of ihe race thou dost despise,
who have raised her, till Manfred breaks out The order which thine own would rise above, Mingling with us and ours, thou dost forego
into this passionate and agonising address. The gilts of our great knowledge, and shrink'st back
“ Hear me, hear meTo recreant mortality-Away! [hour— Astarte! my beloved ! speak to me!
Man. Daughter of Air! I iell thee, since that I have so much endured-so much endureBut words are breath !-Look on me in my sleep, Look on me! the grave hath not changed thee more Or watch my watchings-Come and sit by me! Than I am changed for thee. Thou lovedst me My solitude is solitude no more,
Too much, as I loved thee: we were not made But peopled with the Furies !-I have gnash'd To toriure thus each other, though it were My teeth in darkness till returning morn,
The deadliest sin to love as we have loved. Then cursed myself till sunset ;-I have pray'd Say that ihou loaih'st me noi-that I do bear For madness as a blessing-—'ris denied me. This punishment for both-ihat thou will be I have affronted Death-but in the war
One of the blessed and that I shall die! Of elements the waters shrunk from me,
For hitherto all hateful things conspire And fatal things pass'd harmless."'-pp. 36, 37. To bind me in existence-in a life
Which makes me shrink from immortality, The third scene is the boldest in the exhi- A future like the past ! I cannot rest. bition of supernatural persons. The three I know not what I ask, nor what I seek: Destinies and Nemesis meet, at midnight, on I feel but what thou art—and what I am; the top of the Alps, on their way to the hall And I would hear yet once, before I perish, of Arimanes, and sing strange ditties to the For I have call’d on thee in the still night,
The voice which was my music.-Speak to me! moon, of their mischiefs wrought among men. Startled the slumbering birds from the hush'd Nemesis being rather late, thus apologizes for boughs, keeping them waiting.
And woke ihe mountain wolves, and made the
Acquainted with thy vainly echoed name, [caves "I was detain'd repairing shattered thrones, Which answered me-many things answered meMarrying fools, restoring dynasties,
Spirits and men-but thou wert silent still! Avenging men upon their enemies,
Yet speak 10 me! I have outwatch'd the stars, And making them repent their own revenge ; And gazed o'er heaven in vain in search of thee. Goading the wise to madness; from the dull Speak to me! I have wandered o'er the earth Shaping ou oracles to rule the world
And never found thy likeness.-Speak to me! Afresh; for they were waxing out of date,
Look on the fiends around they feel for me: And mortals dared to ponder for themselves, I fear them not, and feel for thee alone.-To weigh kings in the balance, and to speak Speak to me! though it be in wrath ;-but sayOf freedom, the forbidden fruit.-Away!
I reck not what-but let me hear thee once-
Phantom of Aslarte. Manfred !
Say on, say on This we think is out of place at least, if we I live but in the sound—it is thy voice! (ills. must not say out of character; and though the Phan. Manfred! To-morrow ends thine earthly author may tell us that human calamities are Farewell! naturally subjects of derision to the Ministers Man. Yet one word more--am I forgiven ?
Pam. Farewell! of Vengeance, yet we cannot be persuaded
Say, shall we meet again? that satirical and political allusions are at all Phan, Farewell! compatible with the feelings and impressions Man. One word for mercy! Say, thou lovest me! which it was here his business to maintain. Plam. Manfred : When the Fatal Sisters are again assembled
[The Spirit of ASTARTE disappears. before the throne of Arimanes, Manfred sud
Nem. She's gone, and will not be recalled."
pp. 50-52. denly appears among them, and refuses the prostrations which they require. The first The last act, though in many passages very Destiny thus loftily announces him. beautifully written, seems to us fess powerful.
It passes altogether in Manfred's castle, and Prince of the Powers invisible! This man
is chiefty occupied in two long conversations Is of no common order, as his port And presence here denote; his sufferings
between him and a holy abbot, who comes to Have been of an immortal nature, like
exhort and absolve him, and whose counsel Our own; his knowledge and his powers and will, he repels with the most reverent gentleness, As far as is conipatible with clay,
and but few bursts of dignity and pride. The Which clogs the etherial essence, have been such following passages are full of poetry and As clay haih seldom borne ; his aspirations feeling. Have been beyond the dwellers of the earth, And they have only taught him what we know- "Ay-father! I have had those earthly visions, That knowledge is not happiness; and science And noble aspirations in my youth; But an exchange of ignorance for that
To make my own the mind of other men, Which is another kind of ignorance.
The enlightener of nations; and to rise This is not all ;-the passions, attributes [being, I knew not whither-it might be to fall; Of earth and heaven, from which no power, nor But fall, even as the mouniain-cataract, Nor breath, from the worm upwards, is exempt, Which having leapt from its more dazzling heigh Have pierced his heart; and in their consequence Even in the foaming strength of its abyss,
(Which casts up misty columns that become in this poem ;—but it is undoubtedly a work
perhaps, is, that it fatigues and overawes us Abbott. And why not live and act with other men ? by the uniformity of its terror and solemnity Man. Because my nature was averse from life ; Another is the painful and offensive nature of And yet not cruel ; for I would not make,
the circumstance on which its distress is ultiBut find a desolation :-like the wind,
mately founded. It all springs from the disThe red-hot breath of the most lone Simoom, Which dwells but in the desert, and sweeps o'er
appointment or fatal issue of an incestuous The barren sands which bear no shrubs to blast,
passion; and incest, according to our modern And revels o'er their wild and arid waves,
ideas-for it was otherwise in antiquity-is And seeketh not, so that it is not sought,
not a thing to be at all brought before the But being met is deadly! Such hath been imagination. The lyrical songs of the Spirits The course of my existence; but there came are too long; and not all excellent. There Things in my paih which are no more."
is something of pedantry in them now and pp. 59, 60.
then; and even Manfred deals in classical There is also a fine address to the setting allusions a little too much. If we were to sun-aud a singular miscellaneous soliloquy, consider it as a proper drama, or even as a in which one of the author's Roman recol- finished poem, we should be obliged to add, lections is brought in, we must say somewhat that it is far too indistinct and unsatisfactory. innaturally.
But this we take to be according to the design "The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
and conception of the author. He contemof the snow-shining mountains.-Beautiful plated but a dim and magnificent sketch of a I linger yet with Nature, for the night
subject which did not admit of a more accuHath been to me a more familiar face
rate drawing, or more brilliant colouring. Its Than that of man; and in her starry shade Of dim and solitary loveliness,
obscurity is a part of its grandeur ;—and the I learn'd the language of another world!
darkness that rests upon it, and ihe smoky I do remember me, that in my youth,
distance in which it is lost, are all devices to When I was wandering-upon such a night increase its majesty, to stimulate our curiI stood within the Colosseum's wall,
osity, and to impress us with deeper awe. Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome;
It is suggested, in an ingenious paper, in a The trees which grew along the broken arches Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars
late Number of the Edinburgh Magazine, Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
that the general conception of this piece, and The watchdog bayed beyond Tiber; and much of what is excellent in the manner of More near, from out the Cæsars' palace came its execution, have been borrowed from the The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Tragical History of Dr. Faustus" of Marlowe; of distant sentinels the fitful song Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
and a variety of passages are quoted, which Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
the author considers as similar, and, in many Appear'd 10 skirt the horizon ; yet they stood
respects, superior to others in the poem before Within a bowshot.
We cannot agree in the general terms And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon! upon of this conclusion ;-but there is, no doubt, a All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
certain resemblance, both in some of the Which soften'd down the hoar austerity Of rugged desolation, and fill'd up,
topics that are suggested, and in the cast of As 'twere, anew, the gaps of centuries ;
the diction in which they are expressed. Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
Thus, to induce Faustus to persist in his unAnd making that which was not, till the place lawful studies, he is told that the Spirits of Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
the Elements will serve him With silent worship of the great of old !"
pp. 68, 69.
"Sometimes like women, or unwedded maids, In his dying hour he is beset with Demons, Than have the white breasts of the Queene v
Shadowing more beauty in their ayrie browes who pretend to claim him as their forfeit;
Love." but he indignantly and victoriously disputes And again, when the amorous sorcerer com their claim, and asserts his freedom from their thraldom.
mands Helen of Troy to be revived, as his
paramour, he addresses her, on her first ap“ Must crimes be punish'd but by other crimes,
pearance, in these rapturous linesAnd greater criminals 1-Back to thy hell ! Thou hast no power upon me, that I feel ;
“ Was this the face that launcht a thousand ships Thou never shalt possess me, that I know : And burn'd the toplesse towers of Ilium? What I have done is done ; I bear within
Sweet Helen! make me immortal with a kiss! A torture which could nothing gain from thine : Her lips sucke forth my soule !--see where it flies' The mind which is immortal makes itself
Come, Helen, come, give me my soule againe ! Requital for its good or ill-derives
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in that lip,
0! thou art fairer than the evening ayre, Born from the knowledge of its own desert. Clad in the beauty of a thousand starres ; Thou didst not tempt me, and thou couldst not More lovely than the monarch of the skyes tempt me:
In wanton Arethusa's azure arms !"
The catastrophe, too, is bewailed in verses of
“ Cut is the branch that might have growne full
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough (straight, There are great faults, it must be admitted, I That sometime grew within this learned man.
Faustus is gone ?-regard his hellish fall, place it much more in contrast, than in any Whose fiendful torture may exhort the wise,
terms of comparison, with that of his noble Only to wonder at unlawful things."
In the tone and pitch of the comBut these, and many other smooth and position, as well as in the character of the fanciful verses in this curious old drama, diction in the more solemn parts, the piece prove nothing, we think, against the origi- before us reminds us much more of the Pronality of Manfred; for there is nothing to be metheus of Æschylus, than of any more found there of the pride, the abstraction, and modern performance. The tremendous sol.. the heart-rooted misery in which that origi- tude of the principal person—the superna idad nality consists. Faustus is a vulgar sorcerer, beings with whom alone he holds communion tempted to sell his soul to the Devil for the —the guilt—the firmness—the misery-are ordinary price of sensual pleasure, and earthly all points of resemblance, to which the power and glory—and who shrinks and shud- grandeur of the poetic imagery only gives a ders in agony when the forfeit comes to be more striking effect. The chief differences exacted. The style, too, of Marlowe, though are, that the subject of the Greek poet was elegant and scholarlike, is weak and childish sanctified and exalted by the established becompared with the depth and force of much lief of his country; and that his terrors are of what we have quoted from Lord Byron; nowhere tempered with the sweetness which and the disgusting buffoonery and low farce breathes from so many passages of his Eng. of which his piece is principally made up, I lish rival.
(Iannary, 1809.) Reliques of ROBERT Burns, consisting chiefly of Original Letters, Poems, and Critical Obserrations on Scottish Songs. Collected and published by R. H. CROMEK. 8vo. pp. 450. London: 1808.
Burns is certainly by far the greatest of our childhood ; and, co-operating with the solitude poetical prodigies—from Stephen Duck down of his rural occupations, were sufficient to to Thomas Dermody. They are forgotten rouse his ardent and ambitious mind to the already; or only remembered for derision. love and the practice of poetry. He had about But the name of Burns, if we are not mis- as much scholarship, in short, we imagine, as taken, has not yet "gathered all its fame;"' Shakespeare; and far better models to form and will endure long after those circumstan- his ear to harmony, and train his fancy to ces are forgotten which contributed to its first graceful invention. notoriety. So much indeed are we impressed We ventured, on a former occasion, to say with a sense of his merits, that we cannot something of the effects of regular education, help thinking it a derogation from them to and of the general diffusion of literature, in consider him as a prodigy at all; and are con- repressing the vigour and originality of all vinced that he will never be rightly estimated kinds of mental exertion. That speculation as a poet, till that vulgar wonder be entirely was perhaps carried somewhat too far; but repressed which was raised on his having if the paradox have proof any where, it is in been a ploughman. It is true, no doubt, that its application to poetry. Among well eduhe was born in an humble station; and that cated people, the standard writers of this much of his early life was devoted to severe description are at once so venerated and so labour, and to the society of his fellow-labour- familiar, that it is thought equally impossible ers. But he was not himself either unedu- to rival them, as to write verses without ai. cated or illiterate; and was placed in a situa- tempting it. If there be one degree of fame tion more favourable, perhaps, to the develop- which excites emulation, there is another ment of great poetical talents, than any other which leads to despair: Nor can we conceive which could have been assigned him. He any one less likely to be added to the short was taught, at a very early age, to read and list of original poets, than a young man of fine write; and soon after acquired a competent fancy and delicate taste, who has acquired a knowledge of French, together with the ele- high relish for poetry, by perusing the most ments of Latin and Geometry. His taste for celebrated writers, anc conversing with the reading was encouraged by his parents and most intelligent judges. The head of such a many of his associates; and, before he had person is filled, of course, with all the splendid ever composed a single stanza, he was not passages of ancient and modern authors, and only familiar with many prose writers, but with the fine and fastidious remarks which far more intimately acquainted with Pope, have been made even on those passages. Shakespeare, and Thomson, than nine tenths | When he turns his eyes, therefore, on his of the youth that now leave our schools for own conceptions or designs, they can scarcethe university. Those authors, indeed, with ly fail to appear rude and contemptible. He some old collections of songs, and the lives of is perpetually haunted and depressed by the Hannibal and of Sir William Wallace, were ideal presence of those great masters, and bis habitual study from the first days of his their exacting critics. He is aware to what
comparisons his productions will be subjected stage of their history, and in a period comamong his own friends and associates; and paratively rude and unlettered. Homer weni recollects the derision with which so many forth, like the morning star, before the dawn rash adventurers have been chased back to of literature in Greece, and almost all the their obscurity. Thus, the merit of his great great and sublime poets of modern Europe predecessors chills, instead of encouraging his are already between two and three hundred ardour; and the illustrious names which have years old. Since that time, although books already reached to the summit of excellence, and readers, and opportunities of reading, are act like the tall and spreading trees of the multiplied a thousand fold, we have improved forest, which overshadow and strangle the chiefly in point and terseness of expression, saplings which may have struck root in the in the art of raillery, and in clearness and soil below—and afford efficient shelter to simplicity of thought. Force, richness, and nothing but creepers and parasites.
variety of invention, are now at least as rare There is, no doubt, in some few individuals, as ever. But the literature and refinement of “that strong divinity of soul"—that decided the age does not exist at all for a rustic and and irresistible vocation to glory, which, in illiterate individual; and, consequently, the spite of all these obstructions, calls out, per- present time is to him what the rude times haps once or twice in a century, a bold and of old were to the vigorous writers which original poet from the herd of scholars and adorned them. academical literati. But the natural tendency But though, for these and for other reasons, of their studies, and by far their most com- we can see no propriety in regarding the mon effect, is to repress originality, and dis- poetry of Burns chiefly as the wonderful work courage enterprise ; and either to change those of a peasant, and thus admiring it much in whom nature meant for poets, into mere read the same way as if it had been written with ers of poetry, or to bring them out in the form his toes; yet there are peculiarities in luis of witty parodists, or ingenious imitators. In- works which remind us of the lowness of his dependent of the reasons which have been origin, and faults for which the defects of his already suggested, it will perhaps be found, education afford an obvious cause, if not a too, that necessity is the mother of invention, legitimate apology. In forming a correct esin this as well as in the more vulgar arts; or, timate of these works, it is necessary to take at least, that inventive genius will frequently into account those peculiarities. slumber in inaction, where the preceding in- The first is, the undiciplined harshness and genuity has in part supplied the wants of the acrimony of his invective. The great boast
A solitary and uninstructed man, of polished life is the delicacy, and even the with lively feelings and an inflammable imagi- generosity of its hostility—that quality which nation, will often be irresistibly led to exer- is still the characteristic, as it furnishes the cise those gifts, and to occupy and relieve his denomination, of a gentleman-that principle mind in poetical composition : But if his edu- which forbids us to attack the defenceless, to cation, his reading, and his society supply strike the fallen, or to mangle the slain—and him with an abundant store of images and enjoins us, in forging the shafts of satire, to emotions, he will probably think but little of increase the polish exactly as we add to their those internal resources, and feed his mind keenness or their weight. For this, as well contentedly with what has been provided by as for other things, we are indebted to chivalthe industry of others.
ry; and of this Burns had none. His ingeniTo say nothing, therefore, of the distractions ous and amiable biographer has spoken reand the dissipation of mind that belong to the peatedly in praise of his talents for satirecommerce of the world, nor of the cares of we think, with a most unhappy partiality. minute accuracy and high finishing which are His epigrams and lampoons appear io us, one imposed on the professed scholar, there seem and all, unworthy of him ;-offensive from to be deeper reasons for the separation of their extreme coarseness and violence-and originality and accomplishment; and for the contemptible from their want of wit or brilpartiality which has led poetry to choose liancy. They seem to have been written, not almost all her prime favourites among the re- out of playful malice or virtuous indignation, cluse and uninstructed. A youth of quick but out of herce and ungovernable anger. His parts, in short, and creative fancy-with just whole raillery consists in railing; and his so much reading as to guide his ambition, and satirical vein displays itself chiefly in calling roughhew his notions of excellence-if his lot names and in swearing. We say
ihis mainly be thrown in humble retirement, where he with a reference to his personalities. In many has no reputation to lose, and where he can of his more general representations of life and easily hope to excel all that he sees around manners, there is no doubt much that may be him, is much more likely, we think, to give called satirical, mixed up with admirable huhimself
up to poetry, and to train himself to mour, and description of inimitable vivacity, habits of invention, than if he had been en- There is a similar want of polish, or at least cumbered by the pretended helps of extended of respectfulness, in the general tone of his study and literary society.
gallantry. He has written with more passion, If these observations should fail 10 strike perhaps, and more variety of natural feeling, of themselves, they may perhaps derive ad-on the subject of love, than any other poet ditional weight from considering the very re- whatever-but with a 'fervour that is somemarkable fact, that almost all the great poets times indelicate, and seldom accommodated of every country have appeared in an early to the timidity and "sweet austere com
posure” of women of refinement. He has and that the excuse of impetuous feeling can expressed admirably the feelings of an en- hardly ever be justly pleaded for those who amoured peasant, who, however refined or neglect the ordinary duties of life, must be eloquent he may be, always approaches his apparent, we think, even to the least reflectmistress on a footing of equality; but has ing of those sons of fancy and song. It renever caught that tone of chivalrous gallantry quires no habit of deep thinking, nor any thing which uniformly abases itself in the presence more, indeed, than the information of an honest of the object of its devotion. Accordingly, heart, to perceive that it is cruel and base to instead of suing for a smile, or melting in a spend, in vain superfluities, that money which lear, his muse deals in nothing but locked belongs of right to the pale industrious tradesembraces and midnight rencontres; and, even man and his famishing infants; or that it is a in his complimentary effusions to ladies of vile prostitution of language, to talk of that the highest rank, is for straining them to the man's generosity or goodness of heart, who bosom of her impetuous votary. It is easy, sits raving about friendship and philanthropy accordingly, to see from his correspondence, in a tavern, while his wife's heart is breaking that many of his female patronesses shrunk at her cheerless fireside, and his children from the vehement familiarity of his admira- pining in solitary poverty. tion; and there are even some traits in the This pitiful cant of careless feeling and volumes before us, from which we can gather, eccentric genius, accordingly, has never found that he resented the shyness and estrange- much favour in the eyes of English sense and ment to which those feelings gave rise, with morality. The most signal effect which it at least as little chivalry as he had shown in ever produced, was on the muddy brains of producing them.
some German youth, who are said to have But the leading vice in Burns character, left college in a body to rob on the highway ! and the cardinal deformity, indeed, of all his because Schiller had represented the captain productions, was his contempt, or affectation of a gang as so very noble a creature.—But of contempt, for prudence, decency, and reg. in this country, we believe, a predilection for ularity; and his admiration of thoughtless that honourable profession must have preness, oddity, and vehement sensibility ;-his ceded this admiration of the character. The belief, in short, in the dispensing power of style we have been speaking of, accordingly, genius and social feeling, in all matters of is now the heroics only of the hulks and the morality and common sense. This is the house of correction; and has no chance, we very slang of the worst German plays, and suppose, of being greatly admired, except in the lowest of our town-made novels; nor can the farewell speech of a young gentleman any thing be more lamentable, than that it preparing for Botany Bay. should have found a patron in such a man as It is humiliating to think how deeply Burns Birns, and communicated to many of his pro- has fallen into this debasing error. He is perductions a character of immorality, at once petually making a parade of his thoughtlesscontemptible and hateful. It is but too true, ness, inflammability, and imprudence, and that men of the highest genius have frequently talking with much complacency and exultabeen hurried by their passions into a violation tion of the offence he has occasioned to the of prudence and duty; and there is some-sober and correct part of mankind. This thing generous, at least, in the apology which odious slang infects almost all his prose, and their admirers may make for them, on the a very great proportion of his poetry; and is, score of their keener feelings and habitual we are persuaded, the chief, if not the only want of reflection. But this apology, which source of the disgust with which, in spite of is quite unsatisfactory in the mouth of another, his genius, we know that he is regarded by becomes an insult and an absurdity whenever many very competent and liberal judges. His it proceeds from their own. A man may say apology, too, we are willing to believe, is to of his friend, that he is a noble-hearted fellow be found in the original lowness of his situa—too generous to be just, and with too much tion, and the slightness of his acquaintance spirit to be always prudent and regular. But with the world. With his talents and powers he cannot be allowed to say even this of him- of observation, he could not have seen much self; and still less to represent himself as a of the beings who echoed this raving, without hairbrained sentimental soul, constantly car- feeling for them that distrust and contempt ried away by fine fancies and visions of love which would have made him blush to think and philanthropy, and born to confound and he had ever stretched over them the protectdespise the cold-blooded sons of prudence ing shield of his genius. and sobriety. This apology, indeed, evidently Akin to this most lamentable trait of vul. destroys itself: For it shows that conduct to garity, and indeed in some measure arising be the result of deliberate system, which it out of it, is that perpetual boast of his own · affects at the same time to justify as the fruit independence, which is obtruded upon the of mere thoughtlessness and casual impulse. readers of Burns in almost every page of his Such protestations, therefore, will always be writings. The sentiment itself is noble, and treated, as they deserve, not only with con- it is often finely expressed ;-but a gentleman lempt, but with incredulity; and their mag: would only have expressed it when he was nanimous authors set down as determined insulted or provoked; and would never have profligates, who seek to disguise their selfish- made it a spontaneous theme to those friends ness under a name somewhat less revolting in whose estimation he felt that his honour That profligacy is almost always selfishness, stood clear. It is mixed up, too, in Burns