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ticed. The genera of peziza and clavaria, are each enriched with two species.
Mr. Dickson has formed a new genus, or rather a miscellaneous class of bodies, not easily referable to the other genera. He has called it fphæria, a name frequently applied to different species of the fungi. Its fructification is fphærical, and full of powder. It contains nine species, chiefly taken from Wiegel: one only, the 1. braflicæ, is in Murray's edition of Linnæus's System of Vegetables, under the title of lycoperdon minimum. Of the lycoperdon, there are five new fpecies; and of the mucor, one.
We have thus given a cursory view of the novelties in this Fasciculus, which are so many, that we reflect, with pleasure, on the intimation given by the author, that he means to offer us more. The descriptions are clear, concise, and discriminated, the references exact; but, as the objects are frequently quite new, and feldom much known, they cannot be nume
In this retired recess, a great harvest is yet to be reaped; and we are pleased to fee labourers so diligent and able in the task.
Heron's Letters of Literature. Concluded, from Vol. lx. p. 413.) WE
E again take up the work of this enterprising au
thor, who in various Mapes engages the attention of the public with hopes, perhaps in vain, to fix it. We had just reached the twenty-eighth Letter, and shall proceed in order.
De Retz, he tells us, is weak and superficial; his reputation false, and his gravity the appearance of wisdom. This differs from common cpinion ; but perhaps is not very
diftans from the truth. Extremes are always suspicious ; and the popular current has carried the name of De Retz down the stream with a rapidity which he did not deserve.
Mr. Heron next examines the antiquity of farces, and traces them to the first originals of the drama. In this there are some just remarks, mixed with mistakes so numerousy that we are led to think, that' with all the superficiality of French crio ticism,' oun author has taken from copies. Pantomime, in his opinion, is equally ancient; but he should have observed, that it was pantomime made intelligible by the help of an interpreter. If the opinion of the ancients is to be credited, this assistance was not at that time so necessary as it is at prefent, since we are told of a speech which was acted, and underfood as easily as when spoken. If we excel in pantomime,
we fail in dramatic compositions, if our author's diđates are oracular.
. Indeed pantomime is now the best entertainment we in our theatres. It is quite astonishing to remark how much our stage hath declined within this half dozen years, since the retreat of Garrick. It is overwhelmed with floods of Irilh nonfense, and stuff more ftupid than ftupidity, where not one glimmer of sense or wit appears. Had those Irishmen, female scriblers, &c. offered their trash to a Bartholomew-fair audience a few years ago, they would have been hissed to scorn. Our poor audiences sit with Dutch phlegm, and take what God sends. English good-nature, or bon homie, if you please, puts us upon à level with the most stupid and barbarous of nations. What the judgement of our audiences condemns, their good-nature with a vengeance ! comes in and reprieves at the very gallows. However it is some consolation to know that our stage cannot possibly be worse than it is, so it mutt mend of course.
The next Letter is on Gravina's work Della Region Poetica. It is intended to lessen the credit of the author, and it does not add to that of the critic. The following, though well expressed, is not new.
• Many of his observations upon Homer are fine ; such as, his being the greatest poet, because his works all bear the very ftamp of nature; none of his characters being perfect; the virtuous being painted as capable of vice, and the vicious as guilty of virtue. Perfect characters form, indeed, a sure mark of a middling writer; who cannoi copy nature, but only a feeble idea of perfection in his own breast. They are always infipid ; witness Eneas, the most infipid character ever drawn; for the vices of Eneas, his dereliction of Dido, &c. are not described as imperfections of character; bus are indeed mere inconsistencies.'
In the pássage which follows, we can trace his steps, where we have often found them, and shall take an opportunity of detecting him.
The following Letter is on Historical Truth. We have had occasion to remark how many various forms it puts on, while it cannot be said to have altered its nature ; but our author positively asserts; that. there is no such thing as truth of fact, or historical truth, known to man.' It is something to assert with confidence; it is of more consequence to demonstrate. Our author explains his opinion ; and then we find him exact in his judgment.
The thirty-second Letter contains a comparison between the form of the ancient stage and the modern one, with some comparative observations on the modern and ancient dramas. A few remarks may deserve a different character from the reft C2
for, in general, it may be truly pronounced a superficial compilation; and, wonderful to relate ! chiefly from Latin authors, We have much reason to believe, that our author honours the found of Greek only; though, in the following Letter, he again attacks the Latin poets. He compares Virgil, however, not with Homer, but with Tasso.
In the thirty-fourth Letter he endeavours to prove, that the English has' vaft defects' in found; but our author's ear, in many instances, is not very correct. His observations, and his plan to improve the sound of our language, are trifling and absurd in the highest degree. A specimen of the reformed English, of the one hundred and fifty-ninth Number of the Spectator, will enable the reader to judge for himself.
• When I waz ato Grand Cairo, I picked up several orientala manufcripta, whica 1 havé ftill by me. Among othera, I met with one entitulen, Thea Visiona of Mirza, whica I havé redd ové with great pleasuré. I intend to give ito to the publico, when I have no other entertainmento fo them; ando fhall begin with the first vision, whico I havé translaten wordo fo wordo az followeth.'
The observations on the Greek characters, and the remarks of reference, are of little consequence; and we may exclaim with Mr. Heron, 'common sense! common sense ! what an uncommon thing art thou! Let us for once tell this.gentleman, that to differ, is not always to be right; and to appear decisive, will not always convince.
The next Letter is on ' the Grave, a poem by Mr. Blair, of considerable merit ; but not unknown, though not generally admired. It is indeed unequal, and the subject is too. gloomy to become familiar.
In the following Letter, our author thịnks a poet may be too good an antiquarian ; for customs may have exifted that? will add to the force of the description, though they have never been mentioned. This is the very essence of triling.
The thirty-seventh Letter contains some modern Latin poetry, which the author selects aş deserving praise. We are not more fond of the modern attempts than Mr. Heron ;-- these are not of the best kind; but he is the worst of translators. Let the reader judge from his attempt to translate an ode of Casimir's 'Jyllable for fyllable.' We shall select only the first ftanzas.
• Ad fuam Testudinem.
Dum ridet aer, et supinas
To bis Harp.'
While laughs the sky, and the gale
Softly revives the littlefs leaves. The rest contains some mistakes, not excusable in a schoolboy. The translation of Mr. Gray's famous Alcaic Ode, is neither more correct nor more elegant.
Letter thirty-eighth is on Shakspeare again. We shall foon have enough of this subject, but shall select our author's concluding remark.
• Let us not dismiss the book without due thanks to Mr. Steevens ; to whom the readers of Shakspere are as much obliged as those of Hudibras to Dr. Grey. Both of them are completely versed in
“ All such reading as was never read.” Both are fellow-labourers in the congenial mines of dulness; where no man of taste or science ever dirtied himself. Both have explained their author, without being capable of underftanding him.'
Letter thirty-ninth endeavours to shew, with little success, that luxury is neither a sign of a decaying state, nor the cause of its decay. Yet there are some acute observations in it, which might be better employed than in fupporting paradoxes, Our author then starts - from his subject, to speak of the uncertainty of determining the age of an author from style, and thinks that it is easy to command an hundred different styles.' If this be the talent which he affects, we do not wonder ac the various names with which he has appeared in the world of letters; but it is not the talent which he possesses.
Mr. Heron next enquires into the improvements of science fince the time of Bacon ; and details, at some length, the extensive analysis of knowledge delivered by this penetrating au
In examining the improvements, we find much illiberality in the language, and many defects in our author's infor: mation. Indeed we are too much disgusted with this letter to enlarge on it. He praises and censures Gibbon with fome justice ; and at last observes,
• Let bim revise his History, and it will stand among the very first in the world. Above all things let him be less a geographer, and more a chronologer. Geography and chronology, have weil been called the two eyes of history ; but he has exa tinguished the latter, as · hoping the other would fine more brightly.'
In his Remarks on the Epiftolary Style, his enumeration of the distinguished authors is not correct. There are other sets
of letters, and to some of these he is more obliged than he chufes to acknowlege.
The forty-firit Letter is on Imitation. Mr. Heron speaks boldly, and we cannot avoid respecting a man who does so, when he is not illiberal; he openly declares, that to encourage imitation is to check genius. We believe it, and agree with him in many of his remarks in this Letter ; but he debases the subjećt and himself, by language which disgraces a gentleman, He has injured the effects of the following Letter also, by an improper display of political opinions, and the virulence of his censure ; yet, on the whole, we think it the most able and animated one in the present volume. It begins with vindicat, ing Hume from the censures of Gray. 61
grant you that Mr. Gray's censure of David Hume is the most exceptionable part of his letters; but it is very vindicable, being written in confidence to a friend; and with no intention that the public should see it. His trite application of the remark, that muddy rivers seem deep, fhew3 that it was written in an unlucky moment, when thought is absent; and perhaps in the fluster of evening wine : which last is indeed the only apology that can be made for the remainder of the stricture. No writer can be more clear and manly than Hume; I mean as to his sense; nay, what is wonderful, his style is always easily intelligible, though full of folecisms and every species of barbarity: his gaiety is always that of an innocent and truly wilę
His History of England, nay his Essays, display talents very far superior to any that Gray hath ever thewn. Mr. Hume might have ruled a state : Gray's utmost views would only have suled a college. Hume's reputation in France was only the echo of his fame in England." Mr. Gray shewed himself less than a child when he called Hume one. Such mad calumnies recoil upon their author's judgment, and crufla it to nothing. Yet all this censure lights upon the editor ; for Gray would have called upon mountains to cover his shame, if he had seen his name publicly branded with throwing dirt from Billingsgate upon a cotemporary lord of fame, because his envy saw that he was richer dreit, and of far higher rank than himself.'
The remarks on Hume's History, and the tendency of hiş other works, are in general just; and the conclusion is finished with admirable force and energy:
• Besides, my friend, the consolations of human life are by no means too numerous, Religion is one of the chief of these consolations to thousands of people ; and among these to many pofleft of qualities superior io genjuş, knowledge, or philosophy; qualities that constitute the good, the first order of fociety. Shall I, with rafh and facrilegious hand, burft open the temple of iheir happiness, and steal away the palladium of their peace ? Forbid it humanity ! forbid it even philosophy! The