« PreviousContinue »
paragraph, except it be some of the prolixly concatenated sentences of Gauden; but his involutions are amply redeemed by a richuess of imagination which scatters the brightest flowers over the palpable confusion.
“ The purport of his undertaking was, as he informs us, “ to tell his readers what he had observed of men and books in the most amusing manner he was abie.” This, iodeed, was an unambitious claim, and to which, I thiok, he established a sufficient riglit in the progress of his labours."
“ li' the Observer be considered as a body of Essays, upon life, upon maupers, and upon literature, it will shrink in comparison with those produced by Steele, by Addison, aud by Johoson. Cumberland was capable of imagiping characters: but he does not seem to have had much power of observing those qualities in iodividuals of which character is compounded. That which was obtrusively visible in a man, he could seize and portray ; but the less obvious modes of thought, the secret bias, the prevailing but obscure motives to conduct, were seldom within his reach. He could invent, and give the invention an air of reality ; upon a sleuder basis of truth be could engraft an agreeable fiction, in whichi, however, the traces of fancy would still be so disceruible that the reader never mistook them.
" lo this respect, therefore, he was greatly inferior to either Steele, Addison, or Johnson. They had a quick perception of the follies of mankind, and exhibited, without exaggeration, such a picture of them as none could mistake, and none could view without conviction of its truth. They looked abroad upon life, and observed all its various combioations : they studied man, and knew the artifices by which his conduct was obscured. They penetrated through that veil which necessity sometimes, and custom always, impels us to throw round our actions, and they disclosed those hidden qualities which escape the notice of ordinary observation, but which are recognized with instantaneous acquiescence when displayed.
“ The want of this powerin Cumberland is greatly felt by him who reads his essays consecutively ; for, being restricted in the limits of his excursions, by inability to avail himself of what wider research would have offered, he is too diffuse upoo single incidents and characters, as a man who has not many guincas applies one to its utmost vari. ety of purposes.
“ In his literary disquisitions, though always inferior to Johnson as a critic, he is often very pleasing, and often equal to Addison. His learning, perhaps, sometimes degenerates into pedaotry, but he who is rich is apt to display his wealth. His critical papers are among the most amusing, and he has instituted an ingenious comparison betweeo Massinger's Fatal Dowry and Rowe’s Fair Penitent, in which the brief opinions of Mr. M. Mason (Massinger's editor) are enforced by examples pertinently selected. I wish, however, that his admira. tion of Cowper had not excited him to an imitation of that nervous and original writer,
" In his characters he sometimes exhibited living in lividuals. I have already alluded to his introduction of Johnson; and in the same
Vol IV. Nero Series. 48
Bumber, I imagine his actress to be Mrs. Siddons. Gorgon, the selfconceited painter of the deformed and terrible, (No 98.) was probably meant for Fuseli : but if so, there is more willingness to wound thao
“There is nothing in these papers by which the most delicate reader can be displeased, which is a praise that caunot be wbolly given either to the Spectator or Guardian, whose zeal to reform certain exposures of the female person often led them to illustrations not exact. ly within the linits of decency. This commendation I bestow the more willingly upon Cumberland, because the practice of such decorum was not habitual in bim, for in some of his writings he only needed to employ a corresponding licentiousness of expression to rank with the eorrupters of public morals."
We shall not quote this writer's strictures on the Society for the Suppression of Vice, at p. 450. et seq. : but we recommend them to the consideration of its zealous members. · A large portion of these pages is dedicated to the drama ; and the author will not be said to have gone out of his way by animadverting on the extrenje folly of the town in its idolatry of the talents of Master Betty. At the zenith of his popularity, we endeavoured to correct this inania, by suggesting the impossibility of those perfections which the public voice attributed to that youth, and has itself since refused to recognize.
of the novels of his hero, Mr. M. speaks in terms of moral disapprobation; and of his scheme to establish a Review, with no applause. The following is his short account of Mr. Ci's death and character.
“ Cumberland's death was not preceded by any tedious or painful illoess. The uniform temperance of his life was such that he might justly hope a calm and gentle dismission to another state; that euthanasia for which Arbuthnot so tenderly sighed, for which every man must devoutly wish, and which, indeed, as I have heard, was vouchsafed to Cumberlaud. He was indisposed only a few days previously, and quietly resigned his soul to its Maker at the house of his friend, Mr. Henry Fry, in Bedford Place, Russel Square, a gentleman whom be mentions with great kindness in his Memoirs. This melancholy event took place on the 7th of May, 1811.
" When his death was known, it excited a very general sensation in the literary world. He båd, indeed, lived through so long a period, had written so much, had acquired so general a reputation as an elegant scholar and author, and had been connected so intimately with the most eminent men of the last half century, that his loss seemed to dissever from us the only remaining link of that illustrious circle by which the individuals who composed it were still held to us.
“He was buried in Westininster Abbey on the 14th of May. His remains were interred in Poet's Corner, near the shrine of his friend Garrick. The funeral was attended by a numerous procession, whicb reached the abbey about one o'clock, where they were niet by Dr. Vincent, Dean of Westminster, the long-remembered friend and early schoolfellow of Cumberlaod. His office must, therefore, have been an affecting one. When the body was placed in the grave, he pronounced the following oration, for a correct copy of which I am judebted to the kiudoess of bis daughter, Mrs. Jansen :
4 • (tood People, we have committed to the dust the body of Rich. ard Cumberland, a man weil entitled, by his virtues and his talents, to repose among the illustrious dead by which, in this place, he is surrounded. No author has written more ; few have written better. His ta. Jents were chiefly devoted to the stage : his dramas were pure and clase sical, the characters drawn from high life as well as low life, but all invariably dealt with according to the strict rules of poetical justice; and we may say of bim what we can say of few dramatists, that his plays were pot contaminated by oaths or libidinous allusions, such as have disgraced the stage in all ages of the drama, and greatly, nay abominably, so at the present day. He was of opiujon that the theatre was not merely a place of amusement, but a school of mappers. In bis prose works he was a moralist of the highest order. Io his two great poems, drawn from holy writ, he well siistained the dignified character of our sacred religion, approved himself a worthy teacher of gospel morality, aod a faithful servant of his blessed Redeemer. He was not exempt from the failings and infirmities of human nature; but let us remeinber, that his talents were never prostituted to the cause of vice or immorality ; let us contemplate his loog and useful labours in the service of God and his coyotry; and may the God of all mercy pardon his sios, and in the resurrection of the just receive him into everlasting peace and glory!'”
To the correctness of this character, given of the deceased by Dr. Vincent, Mr. M. demurs, denying him the praise of a stricte Jy moral writer, and refusing to allow that his plays are free from oaths ; but the passages which are adduced in Mr. M.'s first edi. tion, and suppressed in the second, are not quite in point, if by oaths we inean impious appeals to the Divine Being. The practice, too common in the present day, of profane execration or cursing, is indeed exemplified in Camberland's drainas.
Throughout this work, Mr. M, has aimed at producing a nervous composition, and on the whole he has succeeded: but, as he is a martinet in style, we were surprised to meet in p 469. with the following language : “he affords too many glimpses in the progress of the action, of how it is to terminate ;” and in p. 451. the sentence is not much better, in which he speaks of “ negligen. ces which he had already animadverted on in examining the West Indian." He has written on Cumberland's works more than was necessary : but he has in general written well, and in the spirit of found criticism.
OF THE LATE
BRIGADIER GENERAL ZEBULON MONTGOMERY PIKE.
ZEBULON MONTGOMERY PIKE was born at Lamberton,* in the state of New-Jersey, January 5th, 1779. His father was a respectable officer in the army of the United States. His family had for several generations resided in New-Jersey, and were descended from a Captain John Pike, whose name is preserved by tradition as having been a gallant and distinguished soldier in the early Indian wars of the colony. He entered the army wbile yet a boy, and served for some time as a cadet in his father's company, which was then stationed on the western frontiers of the United States. At an early age he obtained the commission of ensign, and some time after, that of lieutenant in the 1st regiment of infantry. He was thus almost from his cradle trained to the habits of a military life; but he did not, like most of the peaceful veterans of the barracks and the parade, while away his days in inaco tivity, contented with the mechanical routine of military duty. By a life of constant activity and exposure, he invigorated his constitution, and prepared himself for deeds of hardihood and ad. renture. At the same time, he endeavoured to supply the deficiency of bis early education by most ardent, though, probably, often desultory and ill-regulated application to every branch of useful knowledge. He had entered the army with no other education than such as is afforded by the most ordinary village school,
-reading, writing, and a little arithmetic. By his own solitary , exertions he acquired, almost without the aid of a master, the
* This name is a curious instance of the mode in which many of our Indian names have been changed It is a corruption of Lamaton, which was formerly pronounced and spelt Alamatunk, that being the original Indian name;