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It suits all places—revels, parks, and plays;
The church, the ball-room, and the masquerade :-—
'Tis kind then of our friends sometimes to die,
To give us opportunity to mourn!
To show our grace, our gravity, and love!
It is a needful and convenient farce,
Of two long acts, play'd for the benefit
Of those who thrive on human vanity.
By custom led, the poor, too, ape the rich,
And reckless of expences, hardly borne,
Give to their needy creditors just cause
To mourn indeed:—tenacious of the mode,
Though penury on their future days impend.**
The just tribute to our naval heroes we cannot pass without transcribing.
"Yes, great and gallant men! your country owes
To you a boundless debt of gratitude!
To you, next Heaven, each blessing she enjoys f
By you protected, sweeter are the charms
Of social life—the vernal prospects shine
With brighter hues !—more rich th' autumnal fields!—
Bolder the broad-arm'd oaks that shade her hills;
And prouder still the rocks that bound her reign
Hubert, the veteran soldier, is ably pourtrayed, and this book concludes with an admirable apostrophe, on the vanity of fighting for false glory; national justice being the only honourable cause for engaging in national warfare.
Book III. deprecates, with patriotic warmth, the madness of entering into war from motives of ambition, and instances the bloody contests for succession between the houses of York and Lancaster.'
The author's grateful exclamation, awakened by our temporary peace with France, and the candid appeal, which follows, to the good sense of Englishmen, it would be injurious, if not criminal, to. suppress.
** Thanks to th' Almighty arm which guards our coast From restless foes, that thunder o'er the deep !Thanks to the mercy-breathing voice divine, Which hush'd the tempest of intestine war, And bade us in our softest shades repose!
O ! ne'er again, while lours the gath'ring storm* '.
May wayward faction, in the perilous hour, Delude the public mind: though evil men.
With specious argument, the easy faith Of partisans persuade—Britons, beware
» ■ _
Their plausive lore! for those are merely fond
Bull-baiting and cock-fighting are forcibly depicted and decried; and "more humane and manly recreations recommended, to form the British mind to intrepidity. A boyish holiday is beautifully described, when the village school
"Pours out its little inmates—noisy, wild,
And void of care ; from toilsome task releas'd
And tongue of lecturing dame; and, happier still,
From dread of birchen rod, terrific shook
High o'er the doltish head."
Rural sports and pastimes are likewise pleasingly exhibited; and a matron of the author's native hamlet is most interestingly set forth. So are the accounts of early introduction to his favourite authors, Bunyan, Hervey, and Milton: nor is his animated censure misdirected against those poets and painters of the Delia Cruscan and Germanic schools—
. "Wild wandering still
From Nature's track, in quest of glittering toys, *
To deck their brows—affecting to despise
Simplicity and truth."
By those who are capable of relishing the calm felicities of rural life, and by those who have only the means of enjoying them retrospectively, the present production will be valued, for affording a rich variety of entertainment and moral observation. The same encomium may be extended to the remaining pieces in this ▼ery pleasing volume, which are entitled—" Edward and Joscelin." "Adieu and Recal to Poetry." "Harvest-morning." "Woodburyhill:" and " Expostulation to a Bird started in a favourite Walk."
The Life of the late William Camper, Esq. Abridged from the Quarto Edition of William Hat/ley, Esq. \2mo. 3s. London, printed for M. Jones. 1803.
Before we have found leisure to enter upon the welcome task we had proposed to ourselves, of proceeding with deliberate attention through Ilayley's Life of Cowper, an epitome of that publication has appeared, and has obtained a previous perusal. As a condensation of epistolary collectanea, which Mr. Hayley has extended through two quarto volumes, to us it forms a valuable essence of biography, and will be thought a desirable sucredaneura for the
original work, by those who have not purses adequate to the demands of modern bibliopolists; particularly as the editor earnestly disclaims all tendency to misrepresentation.
"It is confidently hoped, he adds, that no offence will be gfven by this attempt, to the ingenious author of the quarto edition, or to its liberal-minded publisher: more especially, as, should the present humble effort prove to be deserving of public favour, it will only induce those who are able, to purchase the original work, since any alteration in the elegant diction of the justly-celebrated Mr. Hayley, must assuredly be for the worse." ... j
To the truth of this observation we fully subscribe, with his lives of Crashaw and of Milton warm in our recollection, and with every presentiment in favour of the modern bard and his biographer, which their writings have excited, and the present abridged account of their friendly intercourse has served to increase.
Gleanings in England; descriptive of the Countenance, Mind, and Character of the Country, With new Views of Peace and War. By Mr. Pratt. Vol. III. London. Longman and Rees. pp. 674. 8vo. 10s. 6rf. 1803.
So well is the fame of Mr. Pratt established, and so popular have his writings long become, that it is now only necessary to announce any thing new from his pen, in order to secure it a favourable reception. His gleanings in particular have obtained a very extensive circulation. The present volume, though avowedly the last in the series, is perhaps not inferior to the others in variety and effect.
When so many different topics are handled within the compass of the volume which lies before us, no general character can be given, which will apply equally to all the component parts. Some appeal to the heart, and some to the understanding; and not a few are distinguished for that innoxious pleasantry, which has m a miamer become characteristic of the author. According to the various tastes of men, some portions of the book will be more esteemed than others; but when, at the outset, we pronounce all without offence in their kind, we hazard no chance of contradiction from any description of our readers.
To Mr. Angerstein this volume is dedicated, and with equal truth and propriety the outlines of his character are delineated. The preface is unusually long, though not tedious. It is a kind of stated account between the author, his critics and readers, and with equal good humour and happy irony gives to each his appropriate due.
The work itself commences with some reflections on the influ* •nee of local attachment; and a series of sonnets, written on revisiting the place of the author's nativity (St. Ives, in Huntingdonshire) express his feelings and his regrets. We select one as a specimen. It is addressed to his native stream, the Ouse.
"What, tho', fair stream, from prouder deeps I come—
The wealthy Maeze, and the imperial Rhine!
Amidst the oziers that enrich thy side,
In times long past, my earliest lyre I strung j
And thought thy still wave listen'd to my song:
And fancy smil'd, alas I and I was blest,
Wild with the anguish throbbing in my breast— O, God! forgive the still repented thought!
Grief's madd'ning thought, in passion's phrenzied hour, E'er sorrow own'd the sway of reason's god-like power."
Mr. Pratt reverts to John Hills, the man of nature, whom he had introduced to our acquaintance towards the close of the last volume of Gleanings; and he now brings forward another character, in the humble occupation of a mole-catcher, whose "short and simple annals" are told in the author's usual style of narrative. The witches of Warboys, in the vicinity of which he was gleaning, are brought on the carpet, and another formidable attack is made on the strong hold of superstition, but, though its outworks have long been destroyed, we apprehend all the ridicule of our author will be unable to eradicate it entirely from the human heart; and when it ceases to be dangerous, it rather becomes the object of pity than detestation.
It is impossible to follow Mr. Pratt through the multifarious topics he has produced: occasionally he exercises the risible muscles; but on the whole we think his forte is pathos, at least there is a large portion of it in the present volume.
Bidding adieu to scenes endeared by early recollections, and which seems to have excited a mixture of pleasing and painful ideas, the author takes an amply survey of the state of British literature, and pronounces a just eulogy on the advantages of a free press. The situation of authors naturally fall under this division of his subject; aad) from apparently honourable motives, he is led to applaud that
melioration of the condition of the more unfortunate writers which the literary fund is likely to produce. On this benevolent institution he bestows merited praise, and we doubt not his arguments will be felt in all their force.
Humanity to animals, which all his writings recommend, is again introduced. The narrative of the canine hero is well told, and forms an introduction to the many interesting anecdotes of dogs, dispersed through our author's works.
Though Mr. P.'s transitions are often rapid, there is generally some connection between the subjects he introduces. After contrasting the town and the country, he transport us to the former, and gleans that world of wonders, London, with equal diligence and success. Yet the reader is not to expect a description of splendid edifices and works of vertu. No! he will find very little indeed of this kind; but if he possesses any susceptibility of mind, he will meet with much to please, to affect, and to warm. Neither the gay haunts of fashion nor the deep gloom of a prison escape the notice of our author. Misery in every form comes in for a full share of commiseration; and dissipation may sec its own picture, not perhaps without a blush of conscious shame.
With all the ardor of patriotism, he descants on the situation of his native land; and degenerate must be her sons, if they are not ready to echo and applaud his sentiments. But we know they are as high spirited as they are brave, and that they will with heart and hand resist unprovoked insolence and aggression. Yet though our author, in the most animated language, rouses all our energies to war, he is deeply impressed with a sense of its melancholy effects.
"To what," says he, "does all this amount! alas! nothing. The politician knows that such things have always been, and, it is to be feared, ever will be. The critic is disarmed, and, by the deep affliction of the truth, feels the sterner part of his occupation give way. The philosopher shakes his head, and breathes more than a modern philosopher's sigh. The hero almost weeps at the thought of victory; and the real patriot laments the dire necessity of war, even in a righteous cause; but execrates at the same time the tyrant, whatever be his station, whose ambition riots in the blood of man and in the groans of nature.
"But for the man of peace—for the lover of his kind and of nature in her smiles—for you, my loved friend, and for all like you, I enter awefully into the sanctuary of every thought and every sensation. Even at this anxious distance, how perfectly do I in my mind survey the emotions that I have kindled in your heart, and which I know, will rush into your countenance on perusal of these pages,—pages, that though intended to put an end to the gleaning part of our long maintained, though much interrupted intercourse, may yet perhaps never reach your hand. But it' they should, you will give a smile of love, and although