صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Led by those waking dreams of thought
That warm the young unpractis'd breast,
Her wonted bower fweet ELLEN fought,

And CARRON murmur'd near, and footh'd her into rest. The interview between the lovers is well imagined. It is painted not only with great warmth of colouring, but with all thofe genuine ftrokes of nature, which are only to be acquired by an intimate knowledge of the human heart, and the secret fprings by which it is actuated :

Led by the golden ftar of love,

Sweet ELLEN took her wonted way,
And in the deep-defending grove

Sought refuge from the fervid day-
Oh! Who is he whofe ringlets fair

Disorder'd o'er his green veft flow,
Reclin'd in reft—whose sunny hair

Half hides the fair cheek's ardent glow?
'Tis he, that sprite's illufive gueft,

(Ah me! that fprites can fate controul!)
That lives ftill imag'd on her breast,

That lives ftill pictur'd in her foul.
As when fome gentle spirit fled

From earth to breathe Elyfian air,
And, in the train whom we call dead,
Perceives its long-lov'd partner there;
Soft, fudden pleafure rushes o'er

Refiftlefs, o'er its airy frame,
To find its future fate restore

The object of its former flame.
So ELLEN flood-lefs power to move
Had he, who, bound in flumber's chain,
Seem'd haply, o'er his hills to rove,

And wind his woodland chace again.
She flood, but trembled-mingled fear,

And fond delight and melting love
Seiz'd all her foul; fhe came not near,

She came not near that fated grove.
She ftrives to fly-from wizzards wand

As well might powerlefs captive fly-
The new-cropt flower falls from her hand-
Ah! fall not with that flower to die?
Haft thou not feen fome azure gleam

Smile in the morning's Orient eye,
And skirt the reddening cloud's foft beam
What time the fun was hafting nigh?

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

It is not unufual for an action to be impreffed more forcibly upon the mind by an incident apparently minute and trivial, than by its principal and more obvious circumftances. The third line of the eighth ftanza above quoted will illuftrate our remark. A fimilar beauty (differently, indeed, applied and appropriated) may be recollected in the Roman poet: Collecti flores tunicis cecidêre remiffis.

A beauty, of which, we believe, every painter who made the rape of Proferpine his fubject, availed himself. The application of the fable of Atalanta, in the laft ftanza, is happy and elegant; and the fame may be faid of the claffical allufion in the following ftanza:

And Moray, with unfather'd eyes,

Fix'd on fair Lothian's fertile dale,
Attends his human facrifice,

Without the Grecian painter's veil.

When a writer alludes to or applies the fables of antiquity fo as to place them in a point of view unnoticed before, he may be then faid to make them his own and if in doing this, the ideas he excites are natural and forcible, he gives most indifputable marks of genius and tafte.

The tranfition from mifery in the extreme to that penfive and fettled gloom, which fo frequently takes poffeffion of delicate minds, is touched with great fancy in the two first lines of the following paffage: the thought is not only highly poetical but perfectly juft:

On

ļ

On Melancholy's filent urn

A fofter fhade of forrow falls,
But ELLEN can no more return,

No more return to MORAY's halls.
Beneath the low and lonely shade

The flow-confuming hour fhe'll weep,
Till nature feeks her laft-left aid,

In the fad, fombrous arms of fleep.

These jewels, all unmeet for me,

·

Shalt thou,' fhe faid, good fhepherd, take;
• Thefe gems will purchase gold for thee,
And these be thine for ELLEN's fake.

So fail thou not, at eve and morn,

The rofemary's pale bough to bring-
Thou know'ft where I was found forlorn-
• Where thou haft heard the redbreaft fing.

• Heedfull I'll tend thy flocks the while,
Or aid thy fhepherdess's care,

For I will share her humble toil,

• And I her friendly roof will share.'

So fail thou not, at eve and morn,

The rosemary's pale bough to bring-
Thou know'ft where I was found forlorn-

The manner in which Ellen, unable even to name her murder'd lover, or to hint at the circumftances of his death, directs the fhepherd to ftrew his grave with rosemary (a funeral fuperftition that prevailed in the earlier ages) is as pathetic as it is natural:

The heart that forrow doom'd to share,
Has worn the frequent feal of woe,
Its fad impreffions learns to bear,

And finds, full oft, its ruin flow.
But when that feal is firft impreft,

When the young heart its pain fhall try,
From the foft, yielding, trembling breaft,
Oft seems the startled foul to fly.
Yet fled not OWEN's-wild amaze

In palenefs cloath'd, and lifted hands,
And horror's dread, unmeaning gaze,

Mark the poor ftatue, as it stands.
The fimple guardian of his life

Look'd wistful for the tear to glide;
But, when she faw his tearless strife,

Silent, the lent him one,-and died.

When the shepherdefs, to whose care she had intrufted her fon, communicates to him, upon her death-bed, the circumftances of his birth, his fentiments and fituation are thus defcribed:

The

Funbridge school
A By the ww. Mr Knoxe, master of

The catastrophe of this affecting narrative is wound up with great pathos: but for this we must refer our Readers to the poem itself. We cannot help expreffing a wifh that a writer every way fo qualified for dramatic excellence would turn his attention to the ftage. He feems, in an eminent degree, poffeffed of thofe powers, by which, according to the definition of our great prototype, the final aim of tragedy is most effectually to be accomplished:

Διὰ ἐλέκ καὶ φοβε περάννυσα τήν τοιύτων παθημάτων καθαρσιν.

Fo

ART. X. Eays Moral and Literary, 8vo. 4s. 6d. bound. Dilly.

1777

TH

HE mifcellaneous form of writing, introduced with fo much fuccefs by Addifon and his cotemporaries, has fince their time been adopted, under various appellations, by writers in almost every clafs of literary merit. Sometimes we fee the forward fcribbler, before he has himself learned to think, or to digeft the thoughts of others, bringing forth the immature conceptions of his brain, without method, without ftyle, without meaning, and obtruding them upon the public under the title of effays. Sometimes the young adventurer in queft of fame, tries the half fledged wings of his genius in fhort excurfions, and, thinking himself at prefent unequal to the mightier, labours of the mufe, modeftly contents himself with collecting the fragments of his youthful leifure, into a mifcellany of profe and verfe. Sometimes the philofopher, in the character of an effayift, throws out, occafionally, hints, obfervations and experiments, without regard to connection or method, and then cafts his mite into the treafury of science. And fometimes the writer of fuperior ability, who has grown old in the fervice of literature, gathering together the cafual productions, which onvarious occafions have fallen from his pen, makes an acceptable offering to the public, of thefe gleanings of genius.

To which of these claffes the prefent collection is to be referred, we leave its various readers to determine, as their various judgments may incline; and fhall only declare, for our own part, that we confider thefe effays as bearing the evident marks of an understanding to which nature has been liberal in her endowments, and of a taste well cultivated by a familiarity with the ancients. The fubjects on which they treat are fo numerous *, that many of them are neceffarily treated in a general

and

* The fubjects of thefe effays are as follow: On fentiment-Affeetation of the graces- i he complaints of men of learning-Eloquence -Modern literature-Temperance-Concifenefs -Patience-Retirem.ent-Affectation of the vices of men of eminence-Verbal cri

ticifm

* Rev. Mr Cartwright

and curfory manner; but on every topic the writer discovers manly reflection, a correct tafte, and a command of language. His critical effays are ingenious, and generally fatisfactory; his moral pieces are folid and judicious; and in a few inftances he has attempted the humorous delineation of characters with tolerable fuccefs. From the critical effays we felect the following, on Concifenefs of Style, as a fpecimen:

A celebrated French writer, remarkable for cONCISENESS OF STYLE, in a letter to a friend which he had made longer than ufual, apologizes for his prolixity, by faying, that he had not time to make

it fhorter.

To fay much in few words is certainly a great excellence, and at the fame time a great difficulty in compofition. The mind naturally dwells on a firong conception, views it on every fide, and expreffes its variety of lights in as great a variety of words: but the amplification of a sentence, though it may add to its perfpicuity, frequently diminishes its force: as the fcattered fun-beams diffufe only a gentle heat, but are able to burn when collected in the focus.

Brevity of expreffion is fometimes the mark of conscious dignity and virtue. It was manliness of fentiment, and haughtiness of foul, which gave rife to the laconic ftile. When the tyrant of Macedon menaced the Lacedæmonians, the answer they returned was comprised in these few words: "Dionyfius is at Corinth." To underftand which, it is neceffary to call to mind, that Dionyfius tyrant of Sicily had been dethroned by his people, and compelled to earn his bread by fetting up a little fchool at Corinth. Such a document, expreffed in fo brief a manner, must have ftruck the mind with more force than the laboured periods of an Ifocrates, or the diffufion of a Cicero.

It is well known, that Salluft was an enemy to the great orator of Rome. One would almost imagine, from the difference of their ftyle, that the difagreement extended to matters of talle and literature. Salluft always labours to exprefs his ideas in the fewest words. Cicero delights in amplification. It has been faid, that a man, of true tafle, would rather have written that beautiful parallel between Cato and Cæfar, than all the Philippics.

ticifm-Dialogue between Dean Swift and Dr. Bentley-Story of Ariftocles from Plutarch - The fluctuation of taste-The inequalities of genius Account of a strolling player-The pleafures of reflection -Remarks on the life and writings of Dr. Jortin-The character of Addifon as a poet-Account of a clergyman-Remarks on fome of the minor Greek poets-Hiftory of Philodenes-Ill effects of reading without digefting-Men of genius do not always excel in converfation-The Odysey-Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles-Letter from Ariftarchus Minor-Cafaniire the Latin poet of Poland-The neglect of antient authors-The inferiority of modern to antient eloquence -Pliny the younger-Inconfitency-Remarks on fome paffages of Tacitus-The bad confequences of national avarice-Harmony of period-Sculpture-Architecture-The various modes that have prevailed of communicating ideas to the public, particularly on the art of printing.

R.v. Feb. 1778.

L

• Many

« السابقةمتابعة »