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Why swells dread Alaric's name on air?
Is then that daring spirit fled ?
the waters from their course,
Stern in their grief, his warriors bear
• Then the freed current's rushing wave,
Still'rolls, like them, th' unfailing river,
Art. XIV. Common Sense; a Poem. 8vo. pp. 53. Edinburgh. 1819. THIS is something much better, we confess, than the com
mon run of satirical poems. It is not the " Religion of a Clerk, or the ribaldry of a Pasquin, but contains the sentiments of a man who bas taste as well as wit, perhaps less wit than taste, and who can admire, as well as satirize; one who has positive as well as negative sentiments respecting men and things, and whose creed, both poetical and political, wears neither the drab nor the blue and yellow, party livery. Such a writer, although we may not agree with him on all points,'has a good right to be allowed the unmolested assertion of his opinions, especially as they are expressed without arrogance; and we are quite willing to connive at his harınless invasion of our province, by the promulgation of his criticisms. He is however a better poet than he is a critic, nor do we think satire his forte : there are some things in his poem which are of a higher quality than either satire or criticisin. The versification is pointed, and at the same time easy and free. The execution is in all respects as good as needs be. The Author modestly tells us in the opening lines :
• I have no' genius. Though I make no doubt,
And rhymes at least as good as Mister Keates'.? The Poem consists of two Parts, or rather, the pamphlet contains two poems. In the first, the Author asserts his po
etical and his political creed. Mr. Orator Phillips, and the Reverend Mr. Maturin, first come in for a share of his ridicule. Lord Byron is then commented on with more of the appropriate severity of a moralist, than of the feeling of a poet. In the feeblest passage of the whole poem, the Poet tells us that he admires him, but not through thick and thin ;' that the crazy - wandering boy' is not fit to be named with Milton; and that the Scrivener's son was nobler than the peer.' We warmly participate in our Author's indignation at his Lordship’s atroci. ous abuse of his talents, and concede that as a poet he is destitute of moral sublimity, as well as deficient in variety ; but it is of no use to expose oneself to the imputation of being unable to appreciate his extraordinary powers. Wordsworth,
we strongly suspect, our Satirist has not read; else, whatever perversity or imbecility he bad with good reason charged upon the Author of The Excursion,' he would never have characterized bis fancy as' poor.' Coleridge is treated as slightingly.
• Poor Coleridge! his is no affected rant,
Opium and Kant together could sustain ? Coleridge and Wordsworth are both fair subjects of satire ; but the worst is, that satire, even when it has a fair subject, is but rarely just. Lamentably abortive as bas proved the splendid promise afforded by Coleridge's early indications of genius, he has yet produced enough both in quality and in quantity, to entitle him to rank with our finest lyric poets : pretensions resting upon a much less solid basis than his, bave sufficed to admit many names into the Catalogue. Besides, there is something pecaliarly upgracious in wasting ineffectual satire upon a man of real genius, whose literary character has at all events been perfectly inoffensive, and who has not lost all claim to respect for his talents, though his babits may have sunk biin to a level with our pity. But we are insensibly straying into unnecessary discussions. 'Of Southey, the Writer says,
• He is a poet unconfined by rule
But who could draw Florinda sad and fair,
I still must read, and still must love thy lays.'-pp. 11-12. Notes are a most impertinent appendage to such a text, which ought not to require the qualifying or illustrating postscript, to set the reader right. We omit then, therefore, in our extracts. Tbe Cockney School are very summarily treated. Crabbe is thus vindicated as to his choice of subjects :
« None but a bard his own true line can tell
He chooses right who executes it well.' Campbell is characterized as · great in every thing but ease.' Moore.
for a song where wit and feeling pour Their mingled streams, there's not a bard like Moore.' Joanna Baillie, and Felicia Hemans, the only two ladies who are admitted to write verse well, bring up the rear. Tbe Reviews are then adveried to, “in the dual number,' our Allthor being imprudent enough to let all the regular purveyors of monthly criticism know, that ' the Edinburgh and (the)
Quarterly are the only ones he sees.' We dare say that he will take a peep at our present Number, and periaps he will be surprised to find what very intelligent criticism occasionally appears in the Eclectic Review. He seems to have a very just notion of the obligations the Public at large are under to the profession.
• I own I dearly like a new Review,
Loo-choo, where, peaceful as the Isle of Palms,
• Reviews are useful in another light,
But as to politics--their worth is less
I look to neither for my politics. pp. 21-23. Accordingly, he takes occasion to laugh at the veiled pro• phets of the North,' for their predictions respecting the war in Spain, and celebrates the praises of the Duke of Wellington and the Congress of Vienna. But after this, he turns rudely round upon Ministers, and adds :
• But oh, the tragic farce that then ensued,
Might gull the House, but not a London Jury.' p. 27. In the Second Part, the Writer assumes a graver tone, and after asserting the transcendent importance of our having, when • business fatigues, and pleasures cease to please,' a hope beyond the grave, proceeds to delineate the different styles of preaching wbich contend to satisfy the inquirer as to the way