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But leave their love more open yet and free
Than all the fields of air, their spacious birth-right."
We doubt whether the author's imagination has sustained an equal flight through the whole extent of the fiction; or whether we impart to the father, brother, and countrymen of Youwarkee, to whom we are successively introduced, any very large portion of that affection, which every reader, unless differently constituted from the rest of mankind, will be disposed to entertain towards her. We doubt, we say, whether the author's powers have enabled him to raise into the air, and poise the grosser and heavier bodies of masculine make, with an equal degree of graceful ease, and without a greater demand upon the reader's acquiescence. We doubt, too, whether the elevation of their minds corresponded to the superiority of their external form; and whether their feelings and passions are sufficiently spiritualized to buoy them up, and prevent their sinking again to the earth. “ To go drifting along on a fleecy white cloud,” were recreation meet for a being of angelic mould, animated with the pure affections and buoyant spirit of woman; but the nature of man required to be refined, and even undergo a kind of transmutation, before he could have power, or be permitted to patrole the fields of air, and expatiate in vacuity. Whether his humanity has undergone such change in the hands of our author, we leave the reader to collect, by acquainting himself with the original, which at all events will amply repay his trouble, if it do not quite satisfy him on the subject of his inquiry. Meanwhile, without any wish that he should be led to prejudge the question, we merely intimate that our own private opinion leads us to think, that the honest author, instead of raising a sort of mortal spirit, or spiritual mortal, to the skies, has only given wings to a better kind of Otaheitean savage. Peter, whom this people of the air deem it worth their while to transport with his cannon to Normnbdsgrsutt (a soft monosyllable in Youwarkee's pretty mouth), the glumm Peter, prophesied of in the sacred traditions of their priesthood, as one who should arise out of the sea, “ with hair round his face,” (the Swangeans had no more beard than their women,) and “ known fire and smoke" in his hands, is a law.giver and demigod among those denizens of the upper regions. Never prophet wrought such instantaneous conversion--never legislator was so promptly obeyed ; never general-no, not he who gave his eagles to fly over“ prostrate Asia,” was so triumphant. At a single moucheratt, he eradicates the prejudices of a thousand years, and makes a whole people ashamed of their idolatrywith one stroke of his sword, he annihilates the image which
priestcraft had substituted for the great Collwar himself, though defended by an organized body of devout and holy ragans, whom he finally compels to recant their creed and read their Bibles. Slavery, which it cost the British parliament so many years of hot and dusty debate, in its moucheratts, to abolish, Peter does away in the twinkling of an eye; and by one bold and sensible speech, [we wish we could give the reader it here] makes every man-as the great Collwar made him-free! As for his exploits in war, hear Lieutenant-General Nasgig detailing them, in his place, in the parliament of Brandleguarp: “Peter only sat in his chair, and commanded victory: he spoke aloud but thrice (with his cannon), and whispered (with his musket) once to them, but so powerfully, that having at the two first words laid about three hundred of the enemy at their lengths, and brought Harlokin to the ground with a whisper, at a third word he concluded the war.”— It may be very well all this—yet still, wars and rumours of wars-kings and their courts---profligate courtiers, and faithless mistresses-factious priestcraft-treason, and rebellion Surely the author needed not have lifted us into the air, and carried us thousands of miles, to see a repetition of the same dull work that is transacted on our own earth, and which we have an opportunity of seeing every day!
But in all this action and adventure, this changing of dynasties, and marrying of sovereigns, and modelling states, do we love and respect our hero more, than when silent and solitary he cuts faggots in his wood, and then flinging them on his back, trudged home to cook his dinner? Alas! no.-From the midst of a palace, and a crowded capital (scooped though they be out of the solid rock, and lighted neither by the rays of the sun, nor yet by artificial fire, but by living glow-worms,) we cast many a backward look to the remote and solitary arkoe, surrounded by the pathless ocean. There you may see the path from the grotto to the pure streamlet, worn by the foot of him who daily drank at it,—and as he drank, thanked the heavens for their boon--now almost erased by the rank springing and untrodden grass. The grotto that once knew a simplehearted tenant, and was jocund with the mirth of an affectionate wife, and lovely yacoms, who grew unseen of men, but smelt most fragrant in the face of heaven, now knows him no more. His boat rots, and falls piecemeal in the little dock his hands had made the rain and wind have beaten down his thatched roof-the implements of his own industry—the rude toys of his children, and Youwarkee's little attempts at sempstress work, lie scattered all about it. The fowls, whom he took so much care to tame and pen, now roam at large, and vainly stretch their necks for the expected step of him, who comes to feed them. On the lake he is not seen in the wood he is
missed--the wild birds no longer eye him with curious glance from the higher branches. His wife and little glumms no longer frolic in the serene and evening air, as once they used, whilst he more slowly, and sedately bent his way along the bank. All is silent, all forsaken, as if no human eye had ever looked upon the still waters of that quiet lake, even from the “ birth of time." Blank and dreary, nature seems to droop, grieving, “ if aught inanimate e'er grieves," over the everlasting farewell of man.
In good truth, the change is not one at all to our liking, but the reader may be of a more cheerful and lively turn of mind than we elderly persons, who are looking forward to that bourn whence no traveller returns; and we would not that our gloomy views should lead bim to appreciate unfairly the merit of any ingenious performance. Of the latter portion of the work, we are unable to give a detailed account; but the reader will do well to take the trouble into his own hands, and peruse it for himself. He will find much ingenuity, much good sense, much kind and honest feeling, and much striking description of the winged people and their aërial excursions ; not to mention trees, that grow excellent fish and fowls-sweecoes, that give a mild, steady, and agreeable light, with the additional advantage of not burning the fingers,-a flight-race, where a gawrey wins the prize, when a glumm was too corpulent to enter the lists,-and Hannibal's mixture, with which the labourer of Brandleguarp
Diducit scopulos et montes rumpit aceto. Our hero, too, throughout the various schemes, acts always like a liberal-minded and well-meaning man. It may be, that by dealing too much in general affairs he loses sight, rather more than he ought to do, of individual interests; and brings to the ground a flying countryman, to gain any information wanted, with as much sang froid as a sportsman would fetch down a woodcock on the wing. But, on the whole, it would be well, we think, if the ministers of royalty never evinced themselves more undebauched by the possession of power, than does Glumm Peter of Graundevolet. We confess, we deem our hero more honoured in the simple epithet of Peter, sweetly pronounced in the soft accents of Youwarkee's voice, as it waked the echoes that dwelt in the rocks around, than in the proud title of father to his most gracious majesty King Georigetti ; and would rather any day have had an hour's fishing with him in the lake of Graundevolet, than assist him in manufacturing laws in the capital of Brandleguarp:
We ask pardon of our readers for detaining them so long
in a remote island, which never had existence but in the imagination of the amiable and unknown author; and whence, perchance, they have been long desiring to escape, Forourown parts, happy to have discovered, though but in fancy, that " lodgethe vast wilderness" which the poor poet vainly sighed for, to escape the “rumours of wars, oppression and deceit,” we quit it with regret, having found it a pleasant hour's rest for our thoughts, as well as food for the imagination.
“ Like the day dreams of melancholy man-
The reader will already have partly divined how it came to pass that Peter tumbled so unexpectedly out of the clouds, in sight of the ship Hector. The fact was, that our hero having had the misfortune to lose his Youwarkee, after several years' residence in her country, became, in consequence of that melancholy event, so unsettled, as to long extremely after his own: accordingly, he had persuaded some stout Swangeantines to attempt to convey him over to the great continent of America, in like manner as they had before conducted him over the wide ocean to Brandleguarp. “ If in your history," he addresses his kind amanuensis, “ you think fit to carry down the life of a poor old man any farther, you will as well know what to say of me as I can tell you ; and I hope what I have hitherto said will in some measure recompense both your expense and labour."
ART. VIII.- Examen ; or, an Inquiry into the Credit and Veracity
of a pretended Complete History; shewing the perverse and wicked Design of it, and the many Falsities and Abuses of Truth contained in it. Together with some Memoirs occusionally inserted. All tending to vindicate the Honour of the late King Charles II., and his happy Reign, from the intended aspersions of that foul Pen. By the Hon. Roger North. London, 1690.
This is one of the most striking and melancholy proofs, that exist in print, how incapable contemporaries are of forming a right judgement, and obtaining just views of transactions, which even pass before their eyes, or within their hearing. Here is a man of no ordinary abilities, quick, intelligent, and
honest, --with no more or stronger prejudices, we imagine, than fall to the lot of the generality of men, and who, from his connection with some principal actors on the then stage of the world, had more than common opportunities of right information, has written a bulky quarto volume of near seven hundred pages, to disprove facts, which the course of time has incontrovertibly established. And he not only in his own estimation does disprove them, but he does it triumphantly,—he not only hurls his opponent to the ground, but he spoils him of his very armour, and insults over his prostrate body. He maintains the conflict with a cheerfulness that shows him confident of success-his mood is mirthful from beginning to end,-he lays down the charges only to have so much the more pleasure in refuting them in the strongest terms, and even banters while he fights. And so much will we say for the ingenious author of the Examen, that if it had been possible to vindicate the honour of King Charles the Second, and his happy reign, from any aspersions, however foul,—that the pen of Roger North was the weapon to have done them that good service. But the most acute and zealous advocate in the world will find the simple truth, in the long run, too strong an adversary to cope with. He may trample upon it,--hold it down by main force,-and essay to strangle it;. but no sooner does he release his grasp, than straight it rises, Antæus-like, uninjured and unwearied. In undertaking to prove that Charles was not a bad man, not a libertine, not a voluptuary, not a papist, or if not a papist, nothing at all, nota dissembler, not a prince of arbitary designs, not a pensioner of France, not desirous, with the aid of that power, to subvert the liberties of his country, he undertook, we think, what the most plausible and dextrous reasoner, that ever gulled mankind, would have failed to accomplish. Over his more immediate adversary he appears to obtain advantages without end ; but the cause of truth, thank heaven! rests not on one pair of shoulders, but finds an advocate in every honest and correctly thinking man. When we turn from the perspicuous pages of that work, which a great statesman has bequeathed us
the precious memorial of his own benevolent and manly principles-to those of the Examen, we confess we even sigh over the author's fancied victories, and cannot help regretting that an honest and well-meaning man should have put himself to so much utterly unprofitable labour. That his intentions were upright, and his own faith in the goodness of his cause sincere, we do him the justice to believe. A mere flatterer of people in power-gaping for place or preferment in state or church,---does not usually choose his patrons from the great of other days, or espouse the cause of princes, whose bones have been long mouldering in the common grave of men.