« PreviousContinue »
For-Heaven forgive that thought! the while
A single cloud on a sunny day.
When skies are blue, and earth is gay.' We must be brief in adverting to the remaining poems. Lord Byron has presented to us in this collection two specimens of blank verse, which shew that he is as competent to master that difficult rhythm in all its varied harmony, as any form of metrical verse. The first is entitled Darkness,' and represents the effects which the poet imagines would be consequent on the extinction of the sun and the heavenly bodies. It is Fuseli out-Fuselied; horror accumulated upon horror in naked hideousness, up to the highest point of exaggeration. . It required indeed a very extraordinary power of conception, to make such a rabble of misshapen and ghastly ideas pass before the mind in any order, and submit to be defined into form, and cohere together, for the purpose of the poet. But few persons, we think, will be inclined to read it twice: it is any thing but pleasing, and can answer no purpose but that of exhibiting the ingenuity of the Author in investing with a sort of spectral sublimity a subject which otherwise must have been purely absurd.
The other poem in blank verse is entitled “The Dream.' It is obviously intended to convey in the language of allegory, some secret history, to which many of his Lordship’s minor pieces have apparently an indistinct reference ; and it would seem that it was designed to intimate just so much to the reader, as might disarm bim of any indignant feelings which circumstances of public notoriety "might have drawn forth towards the hero of this tale of pity and mystery. The Author betrays a consciousness of how much there exists which needs all the extenuation that this soul-harrowing record, if faithful, would involve. But this is a subject on which we have no desire to enter. Lord Byron has produced a very touching and beautiful poem : it tells us he is wretched, and if he be so, in whatever his unhappiness originates, he must command our sympathy; but this is all that poetry can do. VOL. VII. N.S.
“ The Incantation is distinguished by great rhytlımical beauty; and though the fire which gleams and sparkles in the verse, is stolen from the cautdron, it charms as by its horrific lustre. Coleridge's Lady Geraldine might envy the inventive felicity of such a spell.
1 We transcribe a few stanzas.
• When the moon is on the wave,
And the glow-worm on the grass,
And the wisp on the morass ;
Though thou seest me not pass by,
And the power which thou dost feel
And a magic voice and verse
all these their chiefest harm ; In proving every poison known,
I found the strongest was thine own.' Two other" poems are entitled Churchill's Grave,' and • Prometheus :'" but the most pleasing poem in the Collection, is that entitled - Stanzas to ': that is, pleasing, if dissociated from the circumstances to which they seem to allude.i We must make room for a specimen.
• Though the rock of my last hope is shiver'd,
And its fragments are sunk in the wave, : :.
To pain-it shall not be its slave.
They may crush, but they shall not contemn-
'Tis of thee that I think not of them.
Though woman, thou didst not forsake,
Though slanderd, thou never could'st shake,
Though parted it was not to fly,
Nor, mute, that the world might belie.
Nor the war of the many with one
my soul was not fitted to prize it
• In the desert a fountain is springing,
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
Which speaks to my spirit of thee.' We could easily have extended this article by extracts of beauty equal to any we have made. In the third Canto of Childe Harold especially, the reflections on the field of Waterloo, the apostrophe to General Howard, and the subsequent stanza, are of surpassing merit : but they are already familiarized to many
of our readers. We have also forborne to comment on the moral sentiments interspersed through these poems, because we do not think they are calculated to spread infection, and the radical taint of his Lordship's feelings it is not in the power of sage philosophy to medicate. Lord Byron says,
• I have not loved the world, nor the world me-
That two, or one, are almost what they seem,
. It is obvious that there must be some affectation, or much ingratitude in this misanthropy. Lord Byron has taken the trouble to inform the public even of the names of many friends whose intimacy he professes to prize and to enjoy, and we know that at any rate all these have not forsaken him. Lord Byron has had many friends, and it is his own fault if the world is not his friend, for to poets and to peers, especially to one like him, the world is in its disposition most friendly. It were easy to retort upon our English Timon, the demand—What has he done to make the world love him? Have his labours, his words, his poetry, been directed to make that world better, which he esteems so bad? Even a critic might be allowed to start these questions; but he would ask them in vain. Our business, however, is not with Lord Byron, but with his readers and ours, who, we doubt not, will be able to discriminate, at the very height of their admiration, between the brilliant corruscations of sentiment, which flash from his Lordship's genius, and the legitimate evidence of correct principle. How very far more elevated in sentiment, whatsoever inferiority of poetical merit they display to the lines we have just quoted, is the apostrophe of a contemporary writer to this same world, on which Lord Byron looks back with misanthropic pride!
•O for a soul magnanimous to know,
Essays in Rhyme by Jane Taylor.
Page 172, line 14, for former correction, read proper correction.
« COMMON CANDOUR’ will receive our thanks for his communication: but we are sure it will at once allay his fears, to be informed that the only articles in the February Number not written by a Podobaptist, were the second and the fifth. We occupy neither consę. crated nor haunted ground, nor would such a ghost dare approach us for the life of him.'
ART. XII. SELECT LITERARY INFORMATION.
*** Gentlemen and Publishers who have works in the press, will oblige the Conductors of the ECLECTIC Review, by sending Information (post paid) of the subject, extent, and probable price of such works ; which they may depend upon being communicated to the Public, if consistent with its Plan.
in the year.
The Rev. Mr. Bicheno has in the press an Examination of the Prophecies, with a view to ascertain the probable issues of the recent restoration of the Old Dynasties; of the revival of Popery; and of the present mental ferment in Europe: as likewise, how far . Great Britain is likely to share in the calamities by which Providence will accomplish the final overthrow of the kingdoms of the Roman Monarchy.
Shortly will be published, an Enquiry into the Nature of Benevolence, principally with a view to elucidate the moral and political principles of the Poor Laws, hy J. E. Bicheno, F. L. S.
In the press, Letters from the late Mrs. Elizabeth Carter to the late Mrs. Montagu, chiefly upon Literary and Moral Subjects. Published from the originals in the possession of the Rev. Montagu Pennington, A.M. her nephew and executor. In 2 vols. 8vo.
Speedily will be published, an Abridgment of Universal History, commencing with the Creation, and carried down to the peace of Paris in 1763, in which the descent of all Nations from their common ancestor is traced, the course of colonization is marked, the progress of the arts and sciences noticed, and the whole story of mankind is reviewed, as connected with the moral government of the world, and the revealed dispensation. By the Rev. E, W, Whitaker, Rector of St. Mildred's, Canterbury. In 4 vols. 4to.
*** The Subscribers to this Work, who have not yet paid the additional Guinea for the additional Volume, are requested to pay it immediately, either to the Author, or into the Bankingbouse of Messrs. Gosling and Sharp, Fleet-street.
Mr. Samuel Spurrell has in the press, an Essay entitled, Vice Triumphant : the remedy proposed easy and effectual: with the statement of a New Hypothesis to explain Accountableness,
The Rev. Sir Adam Gordon has in the
press, a Course of Lectures on the Church Catechism, for every Sunday
Mr. Allen's Translation of Dr. Outram's valuable Dissertations on Sacrifices, is expected to appear about the end of this month, or early in April.
In the press, and shortly will be published, an Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of Short-Hand, extracted from lectures delivered at different periods by the Au:hor, comprehending an impartial and critical examination of the various systeins, down to the present time, illustrated with numerous examples of their comparative excellence and defects ; and fourteen plates exhibiting the various -alphabets. By James Henry Lewis, Inventor of the New Method of Teaching Writing, and Teacher of Short Hand.
Mr. C. Dyer has in the press, an entire new work of whole length Portraits, with Biographical Memoirs of illustrious Englishmen, the first part of which will certainly appear in th: course of this month.
A new work entitled Boarding School Correspondence, or a Series of Letters between a Mother and her Daughter at School, being a joint production of Mrs. Taylor, author of Maternal Solicitude, Practical Hints to Young Females, &c. and Miss Taylor, author of Display, Essays in Rhyme, &c. will be published in the ensuing month.
Mr. Reynolds of Norwich, who has translated, and published, two volumes of Superville's Sermons, is preparing a Third ; which he intends to put to press as SOOA as he shall have obtained a competent number of Subscribers.
Major Rennell will soon publish, in a quarto volume, Illustrations of the History of the Expedition of the Younger Cyrus, and the retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks, with explanatory maps.
Mr. J. M. Kenneir is preparing a Journey through Asia Minor, Armenia, and Kurdistan, in 1813 and 1814, with