صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Agamemnon's Prayer, in the third Book, is yet more humorous than any thing we have quoted.

O Jupiter! who, every Friday,
Art worshipt on a mount call's Ida;
O Phæbus! and thou Mother Earth!
That gives to Thieves and Lawyers birth;
O Demons! and infernal Furies!
Whose counsels aid Westminster Juries ;
Thou discord-making Fiend that trudges
The fix month's circuit with the judges;
And thou, the hellish Inp that brings
Sulphur to punish perjur'd Kings;
Be witnesses to what we say,
Jf Paris Menelaus slay,
May he keep Nell, much good may't do him,
And make her true and faithful to him;
Whilft we, poor Devils, will depare,

And trudge it home with all our heart. The Reader will perceive from these quotations, that this work is by no means destitute of humour; and with thofe who are fond of this kind of versification, it might have pafled off very well, had not the bounds of decency been, in many places, so insufferably transgressed.

We remember to have seen a burlesque translation of part of the Iliad, printed about 130 years ago; before Cotton's Virgil travestie appeared. It was done with as much humour and drollery as Mr. Cotton's, or the present performance; and, if we remember rightly, with more decency than either of them.

La,

The House of Superftition, a Poem. By the Rev. Mr. Denton.

4to. 6 d. Hinxman.

THE Muses are the handmaids of Truth, and are never T more happily employed than when they are adding new ornaments to her person, or bringing new votaries to her temple It was in consideration of this their high office that they were said to descend from heaven, and to derive their origin from Jove. To discover and expose the mazes of fraud and error, to exhibit the clear images of things in their ideal mirror, and to direct mankind in the paths of truth and nature, were essential parts of their sublime commission. It is therefore with great propriety that Mr. Denton, one of their Priests, but neither of the highest nor of the lowest order,

has

has invoked their asistance to describe the House of Superfti-
tion; a monster that has spread destruction over the face of
the earth. His Picture, however, is but a miniature ; it is only
a small sketch of the habitation of that infernal fiend, in which
but a few of her diabolical attendants are introduced. As the
House of Superftition is evidently written in the style and man-
ner of Mr. Thomson's Castle of Indolence, we wonder the
Author did not so far avail himself of his precedent, as to de-
{cribe the unhappy consequences in which the votaries of
Superftition were involved, when they had been once deluded
into her house. Here would have been a fine field for inven-
tion, for as Superstition has various forms, and produces dif-
feren: effects on different minds, a great variety of characters
and circumstances might have been introduced ; and in such
a complicated scene of human misery, the pathetic powers of
Poetry might have found abundant matter for affecting de-
scriprion and elegant complaint. Thus too the cause of Truth
would have been more effectually supported; and as the Poet
has at last represented her dispersing the gloom of Superftition,
and snatching the facred volume from her hand, he would
have appeared with much greater lustre, had the been described
as rescuing from misery and darkness those wretched beings,
whose unhappy circumstances had before been represented
and deplored. Of these hints the Author may, if he pleases,
avail himself in fome future Edition. We shall now enquire
into the merits of his Poem.

Thus the House of Superstition makes its appearance to the
Poet, in a vision:

As when fair Morning dries her pearly tcars,

The Vountain lifts o'er milts its lofty head;
Thus new to fight a gothic Dome appears,

With the grey ruft of rolling years o'erspread.
Here SUPERSTITION holds her dreary reign,

And her lip-labour'd orisons the plies
In congue unknown, when Morn bedews the plain,

Or evening skirts with gold the western kies;
To the dumb fiock she bends, or sculptur'd wall,

And many a C:oss she makes, and many a Bead lets fall.
In Poetry, as well as in Painting, every circumstance should
be peculiarly characteristic. The House of Superstition is
here described without any other attributes than antiquity and
the gothic order; now as there are ten thousand buildings
with the same properties, that can by no means be called
Houses of Superstition : the Painting is here imperfect, and

[ocr errors]

the the House of Superstition is here described with no more propriety than the city of London would be, were a number of houfes and spires thrown together in perspective, without either the Monument or St. Paul's. : Near to the Dome a magic Pair refide,

Prompt to deceive, and practis'd to confound; These two beings are Ignorance and Error. Ignorance is represented as a stupid, liftless wretch, that lies in a dark cave without exerting any of his faculties. The picture of Error is as follows: Where boughs entwining form an artful shade,

And in faint glimmerings just admit the light,
There Error fits, in borrow'd white array'd,

And in TRUTH's form deceives the transient sight.
A thousand Glories wait her opening day,

Her beaming lustre when fair Truth imparts;
Thus ERROR would pour forth a fpurious ray,

And cheat th' unpractis'd mind with mimic arts. She cleaves with magic wand the liquià skies, Bids airy forms appear, and scenes fantastic rife. Error is properly enough described as affecting the appearance and qualities of Truth; and this is certainly a more agreeable image of her than that in the Fairy-Queen, which is enough to make a delicate Reader do a very indelicate thing.

The Porter that is here provided for the House of Superftition is Prejudice, a very proper person indeed; but though the Author has rightly enough represented him as blind, we do not see any propriety in calling him decrepid : perhaps it might not be amiss to change that epithet for one that thould describe his obstinate and untractable temper. The bowl of infatuating liquor which he offers to every traveller, and by that means makes them fee objects in false lights, is a proper fymbol.

The sovereign Pontiff is honoured with a place in this House, and is thus described :

The first appear’d in pomp of purple pride,

With triple crown erect, and :hroned high;
Two golden keys hang Jangling at his fide

To lock or ope the portals of the sky:
Couching and prostrate there (ah! sight unmeet!)
The crowned head wouid bow, and lick his dufty feet.
Wiih bended arm he on a book reclin'd,
Fal lock'd with iron clasps from vulgar eyes;

Heav'ni's

[ocr errors]

Heaven's gracious gift to light the wandering mind,

To lift fall’n man, and light him to the skies !
A man no more, a God he would be thought,

And’mazed mortals blindly must obey ;
With slight of hand he lying wonders wrought,

And near him loathsome heaps of reliques lay.
Strange legends would be read, and figmen s dire,
Of Limbus-prison’d shades, and purgatory fire.

Penance and Indulgence are the personages next described as inhabitants of the House of Superstition, and then follows this juft description of a Monk.

With shaven crown, in a sequester’d cell,

A lazy Lubbard there was seen to lay; . .
No work had he save some few beads to tell,

And indolently (nore the hours away..
The nameless joys that bless the nuptial bed,

The mystic rites of Hymen's hallow'd die
Impure he deems, and from them starts with dread,
* As crimes of fouleft stain, and deepest dye.

No social hopes hath he, no social fears,
. But spends in lethargy devout the ling’ring years.

If we mistake not, devout lethargy is an expression that has been made use of by some of our Divines, but it seems to want propriety; for Lethargy and Devotion must be totally incompatible.

The most detefable person that we find in the family of Superstition, is PERSECUTION. This inonster is her eldeft. born, and the most diabolical of all her offspring. No colours can be too horrible to paint him. With what detestation must every liberal mind reflect on those dreadful scenes of massacre and ruin which he produced among mankind, when affecting the authority of the benevolent author of Christianity, he trampled on his humane precepts; and, like the Thief in the Gospel, came only to sleal, to kill, and to doStroy. Happy, could we boast that this enlightened age were free from all marks of his impious violence! but while Suo perstition retains the least influence among mankind, PERSECUTION can never die. It must however seem strange, if, in a free country, from which the errors of Popery are banished, Religion should at any time think it necessary to call in the aid of the Civil Power, when only her truth is called in question, or she is attacked by the Telum imbelle of Ridicule ! Such proceedings would certainly be inconsistent with the true spirit of CHRISTIANITY, which professes only to pray for its Persecutors.

Mr.

Mr. Denton's description of Persecution is as follows:
Gnashing his teeth in mond of furious ire

Fierce PERSECUTION late, and with ftrong breath
Wakes into living fame large heaps of fire,

And feasts on Murders, Massacres, and Death.
Near him was plac'd PROCRUSTES' iron bed,

To stretch or mangle to a certain fize;
To see their writhing pains each heart muft bleed,

To hear their doleful frieks and piercing cries:
Yet he beholds them with unmoisten'd eye,
Their writhing pains his sport, their moans his melody!

After these quotations, it will scarce be necessary to inform the Reader that this is a tolerable Poem. But there is nothing striking or uncommon in the thoughts; the verfitication is not always elegant, nor the language correct. The Author's principles however are noble, free, and manly; and cannot be too much applauded.

La.

Refignation. In two Parts, and a Postscript to Mrs. B--,

4to. 2s. Owen. TL Ambition de la emprenta es una Colpa que no bafia arte

pentirse *, says an antient Spanish Writer ; and the truth of his remark we have frequently occasion to observe and lament. It is not, however, to be wondered at; for Fame is a mistress whose favours we never cease to court, from the vigour of youth to the impotence of age. The candidates for literary reputation in particular are rarely satisfied wich the portion of fame they have acquired; while they behold others Itraining for those laurels with which they have been already crowned, they are ready to conclude that it could only happen through their own inactivity, that new competitors have ventured into the field. Forgetting that the Aonian tree affords an eternal supply of branches, they seem apprehensive left every new garland that is provided for the brow of merit, Mould take something from their own t- forgetting too that

the • The ambition of appearing in print is a fault paft repentance.

+ These reflections were partly occasioned by the following Stanza in this Poem.

And since of Genias in our Sex,

O ADDISON! with thee
The Sun is set, how I rejoice
A Sitter-lamp to see!

This

« السابقةمتابعة »