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On the whole, we consider Sir S. Romilly as hating most completely reiuted the doctrine in question ; and earnestly recommend his publication to all our readers, as one of the most ingenious, satisfactory, and interesting', we ever perused. It will have a powerful effect in convincing any intelligent and reflecting person, that the profuse enactment of capital punishments — whether carried into execution or dispensed with,— is, in every view of it, impolitic, inhuman, and unjust.
Art. XV. The Battles of Talavera. A Poem. 8vo. pp. 40. price 2s. 6d. Murray. 1810.
IF we consider this publication as a political pamphlet in the interest of an aspiring party, designed to bolster up the fame of Lord Weltngton, and justify the expeditious partiality which adorned his head with a coronet at the '.rioment when his withered laurels were falling o£Fr we, who are of no party, cannot profess to be very anxious for its success. The people of England exult when they think of Talavera, as affording a new testimony to the bravery of the British troops; and acknowledge that it displayed the promptitude and skill of the British general : but they are not accustomed to celebrate that as a victory, which terminated in a precipitate flight and an abandonment of the wounded to the enemy; nor to lavish the highest honours on a Commander whose temerity exposed his army to unnecessary and useless peril, from which only their unrivalled courage could extricate them at the expense of a victory not Jess destructive than a defeat.
Considering the work, however, as a narrative poem, it certainly displays very superior talents ; and if, instead of being a palpable imitation of Walter Scott, it had united to many other merits that of originality in> the style of execution, we should have hailed it as one of the most extraordinary productions of the age. The array of battle-is thus described.
* And is it now a goodly sight,
And eagles winged with gold ;*—
Their varied lines unfold :—
The knell of battle toll'd;
The poet gives warning to the emperor in these words.
* In thy last hour of parting pain,
The parent's, widow's, orphan's moan,
The murdered prisoners' midnight groan,
Shall harrow up thy brain;
Thou peopler of the tomb?
That lighted to his doom !' ■
It is not generally known, that the dry grass on the field of battle took fire from the bursting of the shells. The consequence is thus affectingly described.
• But ah ! far other cries than these
And chill the heart to hear,
The giant shadows stride.
As if from funeral pyres,
Art. XVI. Cattigrajihia Gram, et I'aalogra/ihia Graca: a Work explaining and exemplifying the Mode of forming the Greek Characters with ease and elegance, according to the Metiiod adopted by Dr. Thomas Young; and exhibiting a Copious Collection of the Various Forms of the Letters, and of their Connexions and Contractions. Written by John Hodgkin, and engraved by H. Ashby. Folio, 18 plates, and 5 pp. letter press. Price 18s. Arch, Payne, Longman and Co. &c. 1807.
WHOEVER has noticed the clumsy and inelegant forms of Greek writing which prevail in our public schools and universities, must be sensible of the utility of such a work as this on our table. Some excellent Grecians have produced such disgraceful manuscript execution, as might authorize the suspicion of their adopting the vulgar notion, that execrable hand-writing is a mark of gentility and taste. The late Professor Porson was not of this description. His Greek writing was, in fairness and beauty, worthy of his unrivalled attainments in the literature and criticism of that language. If this elegant work of Mr. Hodgkin were introduced into schools as a copy-book, it would contribute much to prevent the evil of which we com, lain. The characters are beautiful, and the method of their construction is concisely but sufficiently explained, in neat Latin, by Dr. Young. That elegant scholar and philosopher has taken great pains to establish, on simple principles, an easy and elegant style of Greek Calligraphy. He does not omit to give directions for making and holding the pen, and for the mechanical formation of each letter.?—The additional plates to the present edition contain a very extensive collection of Contractions and. Nexus Literarum, not only such as occur in printed book?, but those which ?.re found in the Manuscripts of the middle ages. In oir opinion, the book has great merit; and we cordially recommend it to be used both in the school, and in the study.
Art. XVII. A Few Words on the Increase uf Methodism, occasioned by " Hints" of a Barrister, and the Observations in the Edinburgh. Review- 8vo. pp. 24.,price Is. Miles and Hunter (late Johnson.) 1810.
TPHE writer of this pamphlet, though no methodist, has witnessed the beneficial exertions of irregular preachers : he is aware of the conformity between their creed and that of the English church; he appears much too indifferent respecting ' opinions on speculative subjects/ and unreasonably prejudiced against establishments -in general, by the want of piety and zeal he has observed among the clergy; he strenuously opposes the proposition for < legislative interference, or, in other words, religious persecution,' and seems to apprehend serious evils from Lord Sidmouth's bill. His style is clear and fluent; his mind seems wellinformed, and his disposition benevolent.
Art. XV111. Poems, by Mary Russell Mitford. fcp. Svo. pp. 150. price 7s. bds, Longman and Co. 1810.
IT is possible we may be understood to speak in higher terms of this volume than it deserves, when we say, that the tale with which it commences would lose little in comparison with Mrs. Opie's Warrior's Return^ and that some other parts of it are nearly as well inti.led to be printed in quarto as the introductory epistles in Mannion. In fact, we have seldom seen a volume, which, without aspiring to the loftier flights of passion or fancy, was distinguished by such harmony of verse, such elegance of thought, such acorrect taste,and such a poetical turn of expression. The tale we allude to, is the usual one of a secret attachment between persons of unequal rank: the maid is unhappily pierced .by the sword of her father the baron, as she rushes in between him and her minstrellover. The poem concludes thus.
« Who is that chief on Judah's strand, Who, reckless of t'le mortal wound, Hews desp'rate mid the Paynim band,
Strewing with mangled heaps the ground I
• And who is he, whose raven hair
Is tnnned by sun and wet with rain,
Bathing with tears the bloody stain?
'That chief—may Heav'n its mercy shew! That wretched youth in woe unnuv'd,— That chief is he who gave the blow,
That youth is he whom Sybille lov'd.' p. 20.
In a pleasing poem on revisiting her school, Miss M., among other early companions, thus elegantly distinguishes Victoria ; —
• As o'er her harp with bending grace
At distance seems to fall and die.
The tenderness of Miss Mitford's allusions to her father, compels U3 to forgive her for having had any thing to do with coursing matches, or inscribing an elegant little poem, on her greyhound's winning the cup, to Mr. Cobbett. We will only add the conclusion of this beautiful trifle.
• And ne'er, Maria ! greyhound true,
But when thedestin'd prey was found,
Those little feet scarce felt the ground,
Chas'd the poor victim like the wind,
And left each far-fam'd dog behind; , ■
)n vain the fated quarry flies,
Her death decides the envied prize.
Loud the assembled crowd proclaim
We sincerely wish Miss Mitford may lose no friend by multiplying her admirers, that her imagination may continue gay, and her feelings virtuous.
- Art. XIX. The Real Stale of England, 1809. 8vo. pp. 117. Price
4s. 6d. Matthews and Leigh. 1809.
XJOW far the real state of our country calls for strength, vigilance, and liberal principles in the government, and unanimity and patriotism in the people,—how far our being excluded from continental politics and alliances may be an evil or an advantage to the nation, what objects should be principally regarded by the people, and what line of policy pursued towards all classes of his Majesty's subjects ;—Whether the present state of Europe, with its probable consequences, may be viewed as a blessing from the hand of Providence, or a judgement,—whether its influence on the other parts of the world is likely to be injurious or beneficial, and especially what will be its effect upon our own country:«—Whether the dangers of the United Kingdom be greatest from foreign violence, or internal corruption and discontent, and what principles and measures are the best adapted to avert them,—are considerations which demand a careful and immediate investigation. This writer, however, does not propose to estimate the real state of Great Britain, much less that of the United Kingdom. Why England only should be the object of his investigation, we cannot imagine. As he does not specify whether he means to develope the real state of the population, the agriculture, the commerce, the constitution, the government, the external relations, the morals, or religion, of England, the reader may possibly expect to have his inquiries on all these subjects definitively answered; but we fear he will be woefully disappointed, when he finds that the greater part of the pamphlet is occupied with extracts from Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, Bishop Newton on the Prophecies, and other popular works, beginning with the time of Constantine the Great, and continuing to the present period. The title, we must suppose, was not selected because it would suit die bopk, but because it might please the public.
1 he principal design of the pamphlet is to shew, that the authority of the Roman Pontiff, previous to the. Reformation, and the balance of power subsequent to that event, were the two circumstances in succession to which the inhabitants of Europe were accustomed to look as the bond of peace, and the cause of national safety; and that Providence has taught us that both were equally false grounds of confidence.
This^writer traces the rise and progress of the spiritual and temporal power of the Roman Pontiff, and the various gradations by which it introduced the worship of images, the invocation of saints, the canonizing of the dead, the doctrine of transubstantiation, purgatory, and the power of tha Pope to forgive sins, work miracles, and determine what is truth and error, the celibacy of the clergy, the horrors and consequences of the crusades, the sale of indulgences, terminating in the total subjugation of the people to