« السابقةمتابعة »
the faculties of the mind are in some measure dependent on those of the body, and that the former seldom continue in a vigorous state when the latter are impaired by time or fickness, they engage in the works of imagination with the same hopes of success as when fancy, borne on the wings of youth, was active and unrestrained.
It is with unaffected concern we behold, in the Poem before us, a striking instance of the fenescence of Genius. The sentiments indeed are still characteristic of their Author, but most of them are to be found in his Night-Thoughts; and very little has been advanced on the doctrine of Resignation that is not to be met with in the different works of Divines and Moralists. The style also is like that of Dr. Y--, but the resemblance is rather in its blemishes than its beauties. Here is the same fondness for antitheses and pointed expression, the fame hunting down of figures, and lowness of metaphors, that are to be found in his other poetical works; but little of their strength or harmiony remains. He has also been unhappy in the choice of his Metre. The Lyric Muse has always been unfavourable to him; and to attempt her easy measures at this time of life, was an unfortunate determination. If he thought the dignity of Blank Verse toa much for his years, he ought to have considered that the easy harmony of Lyric Poetry is not more readily caught by the unbraced ear of age, than the swelling grandeur of Miltonic numbers.
After these animadversions, we must, in justice to the Author, quote his apology for this Publication, which is contained in the following Advertisement prefixed to his Poem :
“ This was not intended for the Public; there were inany and strong reasons against it, and are so ftill; but some extracts of it, from the few copies which were given away, (a few copies were printed and given to the Author's friends) being got into the printed Papers, it was thought necessary to publish something, lest a copy, ftill more imperfect than this, should fall into the Press; and it is hoped that this unwelcome occasion of Publication may be some excuse for
This unjult cenfure of the present race of Authors may easily be aca
Difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti
Now with respect to this Apology, it must be owned that the reasons were sufficient for reprinting the Poem ; but then it must be asked, Why did the Author ever suffer so imperfect a performance to pass through the Press ? He should have considered that true observation of Horace,
Semel emiffum, volat irrevocabile verbum. With great propriety too might he have answered the importunity of his friends, in the language of the same Author:
Spectatum fatis, & donatum jam Rude, quæris
Peccet ad extremum ridendus, et ilia ducat. It is true that Horace was versifying even while he urged such strong reasons against it; but Horáce had not then seen many more than half the years of Dr. Y- His Epistles are by no means the productions of exhausted genius; and had he acquiesced in the reasons he advanced against writing at all, the world had been a considerable lofer.
This Poem is addressed to a Lady, to teach her Resignation, when under a very severe affliction, caused by the death of a beloved Husband. The Author endeavours to reconcile her to her lot by shewing that pain is not always an evil, but is frequently productive of very good consequences. This, with some difficulty and torture of attention, we have been able to make out from the following Stanzas :
From Virtue's rugged path to right
By Pleafure are we brought
Pain chides us for our fault.
If Folly is with tood;
For our eternal good.
And in delusion great,
To spend his whole esta:e,
For which, as he was born,
Say not your loss in triumph leads
Religion's feeble strife,
Joys bankrupts of this life.
It bears an early date;
Befriends our present state; The ingenious Mr. Samuel Richardson, who was engaged in printing the first Edition of this Poem, died before the impression was finished. The Author here laments him as a friend, and has given some just sketches of his genius.
To touch our passions' secret springs
Was his peculiar care,
In boloms of the Fair.
All art beyond imparts,
The key of human hearts. In the fecond part of this Poem Dr. Y-- has severely difciplined his aged Cotemporary, Voltaire, for the publication of Candide.
Why clofe a life fo juftly fam'd
With fuch bold Trash as this?
Obscurity a bliss.
Is obstinately bent,
Of gloom and discontent:
Why light with darkness mix?
Your Helicon with Styx?
Repugnant pasions raise,
As Genius can inspire,
With horror we admire.
In the following lines the Author attempts to shew the general causes of our Dissatisfaction, and why that Resignation he recommends is so little prevalent.
What our sole fountain of Distress ?
Strong passion for this scene :
Of mighty moment mean:
On our polluted Souls,
Arunder, as the Poles ;
Our grandeur we disgrace.
Of moral pow'rs possess'd
That Traitor from the Breaft. The Thoughts in the two last Stanzas are beautiful and new, for we do not find that our Author has borrowed them even of himself. These quotations are sufficient to shew the style and manner of the Poem, as well as to justify the censure we have passed upon it.
Sermons. By the late Rev. James Ducha! *, D.D. 8vo.
55. bound. Millar,
TN an Advertisement prefixed to these Sermons we are can.
I didly told, that they were written without any view to the Press'; that they are only a specimen of the Doctor's ordinary weekly labours ;, and that if this Volume meets with encouragement, his friends propose to select more Volumes from that very large fund they are in possession of.
As to the merit of the work, it appears to be very confiderable. The style of the Author, indeed, is far from being elegant, nor is there any thing animated in his manner ; but fuch Readers as are more desirous of improving in virtue, than of reading ingenious and sprightly Discourses upon it; of reforming their lives, rather than of pleasing their fancies, will find abundant satisfaction in perusing the present Volume.
• In the VIIIth Volume of our Review the Reader will find an account of a Volume of Sermons, published in the life-time of this learned and worthy Author. ¿
A spirit of piety, candour, and modesty, breathes through the whole of it; the subjects are useful, and treated with judg. ment and perspicuity.—We shall present our Readers with a Ihort view of what is contained in it; fincerely wishing, that it may be so well received by the Public, as to encourage the Author's friends to favour us with more of his excellent Dir. courses.
In the first Sermon he shews, that eternal Life is the reward of patient continuance in well-doing: in the second, that moral perfection is the ultiinate intention of all the works and ways of God. The nature of enthusiasın, and the marks by which its irrational heats are to be distinguished from a natural and becoming warmth of affection, and a suitable fervor of fpirit in religion, is the subject of the third, and is treated in a very rational and judicious manner.
Enthusiasm, in general, the Doctor says, may be understood to signify a man's acting under an apprehension of a present divine energy upon his mind, to which all his powers are fupposed to be subjected, and by which he is carried on, without attention to any thing else as his guide. After pointing out some of the effects which this must produce, where a person is mistaken in such apprehension, he goes on to observe, thai while men studiously avoid enthusiasm, they may be in danger of falling into the contrary extreme, and of contracting a culpable languor and insensibility of spirit in matters of religion; which ought always to be confidered as a most dangerous distemper, as it seems to be a very general one in the present age.
« Warmth of affection towards God and the Redeemer, (continues he) emotions of spirit in contemplating the divine greatness and goodness, and the astonishing scenery of the invisible world, which the gospel hath presented to us as the objects of our faith, are not only rational and natural, and manly, but, indeed, may be said to be the necessary concomitants of a lively faith, and a serious attention to those objects : and that there should be a rapturous joy in a rational and just application of the gospel promises to ourselves, is obvious and indisputable. It is true, indeed, these feelings will, in different persons, be different, according to the greater or less sensibility of their spirits, and delicacy of their sensations. But, where there is any sensibility, where there are any afections which become humanity, surely such objects as I have now mentioned, must, if seriously attended to, excite H h 2