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kind to Sir Walter Scott, or Sir Walter Scott to Mr. Moore. The idea of either of those gentlemen looking out for some lord who would be likely to give him a few guineas in return for a fulsome dedication, seems laughably incongruous. Yet this is exactly what Dryden or Otway would have done; and it would be hard to blame them for it. Otway is said to have been choked with a piece of bread which he devoured in the rage of hunger; and, whether this story be true or false, he was, beyond all question, miserably poor. Dryden, at near seventy, when at the head of the literary men of England, without equal or second, received three hundred pounds for his Fables —a collection of ten thousand verses, and such verses as no man then living, except himself, could have produced. Pope, at thirty, had laid up between six and seven thousand pounds,-the fruits of his poetry. It was not, we suspect, because he had a higher spirit, or a more scrupulous conscience, than his pre
'decessors, but because he had a larger income,
that he kept up the dignity of the literary character so much better than they had done. From the time of Pope to the present day, the readers have been constantly becoming more and more numcrous: and the writers, consequently, more and more independent. It is assuredly a great evil, that men fitted by their talents and acquirements to enlighten and charm the world, should be reduced to the necessity of flattering wicked and foolish patrons in return for the very sustenance of life. But though we heartily rejoice that this evil is removed, we cannot but see with concern that another evil has succeeded to it. The public is now the patron, and a most liberal patron. All that the rich and powerful bestowed on authors from the time of Maecenas to that of Harley would not, we apprehend, make up a sum equal to that which has been paid by English booksellers to authors during the last thirty years. Men of letters have accordingly ceased to court individuals, and have begun to court the public. They formerly used flattery. They now use puffing. Whether the old or the new vice be the worse-whether those who formerly lavished insincere praise on others, or those who now contrive by every art of beggary and bribery to stun the public with praises of themselves, disgrace their vocation the more deeply,–we shall not attempt to decide. But of this we are sure, -that it is high time to make a stand against the new trickery. The puffing of books is now so shamefully and so successfully practised, that it is the duty of all who are anxious for the purity of the national taste, or for the honour of the literary character, to join in discountenancing it. All the pens that ever were employed in magnifying Bish's lucky office, Romanis's fleecy hosiery, Packwood's razor strops, and Rowland's Kalydor, all the placard-bearers of Dr. Eady, all the wall-chalkers of Day and Martin—seem to have taken service with the poets and novel: ists of this generation. Devices which in the lowest trades are considered as disreputable, are adopted without scruple, and improved
upon with a despicable ingenuity by people engaged in a pursuit which never was, and never will be, considered as a mere trade by any man of honour and virtue. A butcher of the higher class disdains to ticket his meat. A mercer of the higher class would be ashamed. to hang up papers in his window inviting the passers-by to look at the stock of a bankrupt, all of the first quality, and going for half the value. We expect some reserve, some decent pride, in our hatter and our bootmaker. But no artifice by which notoriety can be obtained is thought too abject for a man of letters. It is amusing to think over the history of most of the publications which have had a run during the last few years. The publisher is often the publisher of some periodical work. In this periodical work the first flourish of trumpets is sounded. The peal is then echoed and re-echoed by all the other periodical works over which the publisher or the author, or the author's coterie, may have any influence. The newspapers are for a fortnight filled with puffs of all the various kinds which Sheridan recounted, —direct, oblique, and collusive. Sometimes the praise is laid on thick for simple-minded people. “Pathetic,” “sublime,” “splendid,” “graceful, brilliant wit,” “exquisite humour,” and other phrases equally flattering, fall in a shower as thick and as sweet as the sugarplums at a Roman carnival. Sometimes greater art is used. A sinecure has been offered to the writer if he would suppress his work, or if he would even soften down a few of his incomparable portraits. A distinguished military and political character has challenged the inimita ble satirist of the vices of the great; and the puffer is glad to learn that the parties have been bound over to keep the peace. Sometimes it is thought expedient that the puffer should put on a grave face, and utter his panegyric in the form of admonition! “Such attacks on private character cannot be too much condemned... Even the exuberant wit of our author, and the irresistible power of his withering sarcasm, are no excuses for that utter disregard which he manifests for the feelings of others. We cannot but wonder that the writers of such transcendent talents, a writer who is evidently no stranger to the kindly charities and sensibilities of our nature, should show so little tenderness to the foibles of noble and distinguished individuals, with whom, it is clear, from every page of his work, that he must have been constantly mingling in society.” These are but tame and feeble imitations of the paragraphs with which the daily papers are filled whenever an attorney's clerk or an apothecary's assistant undertakes to tell the public, in bad English and worse French, how people tie their neckcloths and eat their din ners in Grosvenor Square. The editors of the higher and more respectable newspapers usually prefix the words “Advertisement,” or “From a Correspondent,” to such paragraphs. But this makes little difference. The panegyric is extracted, and the significant heading omitted. The fulsome eulogy makes its appearance on the covers of all the Reviews and Magazines, with “Times” or “Globe” affixed,
though the editors of the Times and the Globe have no more to do with it than with Mr. Goss's way of making old rakes young again. That people who live by personal slander should practise these arts is not surprising. Those who stoop to write calumnious books may well stoop to puff them;-and that the basest of all trades should be carried on in the basest of all manners, is quite proper, and as it should be. But how any man, who has the least self-respect, the least regard for his own personal dignity, can condescend to persecute the public with this rag-fair importunity, we do not understand. Extreme poverty may, indeed, in some degree, be an excuse for employing these shifts, as it may be an excuse for stealing a leg of mutton. But we really think that a man of spirit and delicacy would quite as soon satisfy his wants in the one way as in the other. It is no excuse for an author, that the praises of journalists are procured by the money or influence of the publisher, and not by his own. It is his business to take such precautions as may prevent others from doing what must degrade them. It is for his honour as a gentleman, and, if he is really a man of talents, it will eventually be for his honour and interest as a writer, that his works should come before the public, recommended by their own merits alone, and should be discussed with perfect freedom. If his objects be really such as he may own without shame, he will find that they will, in the long run, be better attained by suffering the voice of criticism to be fairly heard. At present, we too often see a writer attempting to obtain literary fame as Shakspeare's usurper obtains sovereignty. The publisher plays Buckingham to the author's Richard. Some few creatures of the conspiracy are dexterously disposed here and there in a crowd. It is the business of these hirelings to throw up their caps, and clap their hands, and utter their vivas. The rabble at first stare and wonder, and at last join in shouting for shouting's sake; and thus a crown is placed on the head which has no right to it, by the huzzas of a few servile dependants. - The opinion of the great body of the reading public is very materially influenced even by the unsupported assertions of those who assume a right to criticise. Nor is the public altogether to blame on this account. Most, even of those who have really a great enjoyment in reading, are in the same state, with respect to a book, in which a man, who has never given particular attention to the art of painting, is with respect to a picture. Every man who has the least sensibility or imagination, derives a certain pleasure from pictures. Yet a man of the highest and finest intellect might, unless he had formed his taste by contemplating the best pictures, be easily persuaded by a knot of connoisseurs that the worst daub in Somerset-house was a miracle of art. If he deserves to be laughed at, it is not for his ignorance of pictures, but for his ignorance of men. He knows that there is a delicacy of taste in painting which he does not possess;
tised judges can; that he is not familliar with the finest models; that he has never looked at them with close attention; and that, when the general effect of a piece has pleased him, or displeased him, he has never troubled himself to ascertain why. When, therefore, people whom he thinks more competent to judge than himself, and of whose sincerity he entertains no doubt, assure him that a particular work is exquisitely beautiful, he takes it for granted that they must be in the right. He returns to the examination, resolved to find or imagine beauties; and if he can work himself up into something like admiration, he exults in his own proficiency. Just such is the manner in which nine readers out of ten judge of a book. They are ashamed to dislike what men, who speak as having authority, declare to be good. At pre sent, however contemptible a poem or a novel may be, there is not the least difficulty in procuring favourable notices of it from all sorts of publications, daily, weekly, and monthly. In the mean time, little or nothing is said on the other side. The author and the publisher are interested in crying up the book. Nobody has any very strong interest in crying it down. Those who are best fitted to guide the public opinion, think it beneath them to expose mere nonsense, and comfort themselves by reflecting that such popularity cannot last. This contemptuous lenity has been carried too far. It is perfectly true, that reputations which have been forced into an unnatural bloom, fade almost as soon as they have expanded; nor have we any apprehensions that puffing will ever raise any scribbler to the rank of a classic. It is, indeed, amusing to turn over some late volumes of periodical works, and to see how many immortal productions have, within a few months, been gathered to the poems of Blackmore and the novels of Mrs. Behn; how many “profound views of human nature,” and “exquisite delineations of fashionable manners,” and “vernal, and sunny, and refreshing thoughts,” and “high imaginings,” and “young breathings,” and “embodyings,” and “pinings,” and “minglings with the beauty of the universe,” and “harmonies which dissolve the soul in a passionate sense of loveliness and divinity,” the world has contrived to forget. The names of the books and the writers are buried in as deep an oblivion as the name of the builder of Stonehedge. Some of the well-puffed “fashionable novels” of the last, hold the pastry of the present year; and others of the class, which are now extolled in language almost too nigh-flown for the merits of Don Quixote, will, we have no doubt, line the trunks of eighteen hundred and thirty-one. But though we have no apprehensions that puffing will ever confer permanent reputation on the undeserving, we still think its influence most pernicious. Men of leai merit will, if they persevere, at last reach the station to which they are entitled, and intruders will be ejected with contempt and derision. *But it is no small evil that the avenues to fame should be blocked up by a swarm of noisy,
pushing, elbowing pretenders, who, though
that he cannot discriminate hands, as prac- they will not ultimately be able to make goal
their own entrance, hinder, in the mean time, ! “But who could trace Thine unrestricted comme those who have a right to enter. All who will
Though Fancy follow'd with immortal force 1
There's not a blossom fondled by the breeze, not disgrace themselves by joining in the un. There's not a fruit that beautifies the trees, seemly scuffle, must expect to be at first bustled There's not a particle in sea or air,
But nature owns thy plastic influence there! and shouldered back. Some men of talents,
With fearful gaze, still be it mine to see accordingly, turn away in dejection from pur How all is filled and vivified by Thee ; suits in which success appears to bear no Upon thy mirror, earth's majectic view,
To paint Thy Presence, and to feel it too. proportion to desert. Others employ in selfdefence the means by which competitors, far The last two lines contain an excellent speinferior to themselves, appear for a time to ob- cimen of Mr. Robert Montgomery's Turkey tain a decided advantage. There are few who carpet style of writing. The majestic view of have sufficient confidence in their own powers, earth is the mirror of God's presence; and on and sufficient elevation of mind, to wait with this mirror Mr. Robert Montgomery paints secure and contemptuous patience, while dunce God's presence. The use of a mirror, we after dunce presses before them. Those who submit, is not to be painted upon. will not stoop to the baseness of the modern A few more lines, as bad as those which we fashion are too often discouraged. Those who have quoted, bring us to one of the most amusstoop to it are always degraded.
|ing instances of literary pilfering which we We have of late observed with great plea- remember. It might be of use to plagiarists to sure some symptoms which lead us to hope, know as a general rule, that what they steal is, that respectable literary men of all parties are to employ a phrase common in advertisements, beginning to be impatient of this insufferable of po use to any but the right owner. We nuisance. And we purpose to do what in us never fell in, however, with any plunderer who lies for the abating of it. We do not think so little understood how to turn his booty to that we can more usefully assist in this good good account as Mr. Montgomery. Lord Bywork, than by showing our honest countrymen ron, in a passage which every body knows by what that sort of poetry is which puffing can heart, has said, addressing the sea, drive through eleven editions ; and how easy any bellman might, if a bellman would stoop
"Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow." to the necessary degree of meanness, become Mr. Robert Montgomery very cooly appro"a master-spirit of the age.”. We have no en- priates the image, and reproduces the stolen mity to Mr. Robert Montgomery. We know goods in the following form: nothing whatever about him, except what we
“And thou, vast Ocear, on whose awful face have learned from his books, and from the Time's iron feet can print no ruin trace." portrait prefixed to one of them, in which hela
So may such ill-got gains ever prosper! appears to be doing his very best to look like a l'
| The effect which the Ocean produces on man of genius and sensibility, though with less
Atheists is then described in the following success than his strenuous exertions deserve.
lofty lines: We select him, because his works have received more enthusiastic praise, and have de “Oh! never did the dark-soul'd ATHEIST stand,
And watch the breakers bojling on the strand, 'served more unmixed contempt, than any
And, while creation staggered at his nod, which, as far as our knowledge extends, have Mock the dread presence of the mighty God! appeared within the last three or four years.
We hear Him in the wind-heaved ocean's roar,
Hurling her billowy crags upon the shore : His writing bears the same relation to poetry
We hear him in the riot of the blast, which a Turkey carpet bears to a picture And shake, while rush the raving whirlwinde past!" There are colours in the Turkey carpet, out of which a picture might be made. There are
* Mr. Robert Montgomery's genius were not words in Mr. Montgomery's verses, which when far too free and aspiring to be shackled by the disposed in certain orders and combinations, rules of syntax, we should suppose that it is have made, and will again make, good poetry. at the nod of the Atheist that creation shndBut, as they now stand, they seem to be put ders, and that it is this same dark-souled Athetogether on principle, in such a manner as to
ist who hurls billowy crags upon the shore. give no image of any thing in the heavens
A few more lines bring us to another inabove, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters stance of unprofitable theft. Sir Walter Scout under the earth."
has these lines in the Lord of the Isles, The poem on the Omnipresence of the Deity "The dew that on the violet lies, commences with a description of the creation,
Mocks the dark lustre of thine eyes." in which we can find only one thought which
| This is pretty, taken separately, and, as is has the least pretension to ingenuity, and that
almost always the case with good things of one thought is stolen from Dryden, and marred
good writers, much prettier in its place than in the stealing
can even be conceived by those who see it only
| detached from the context. Now for Mr. Mont. "Last, softly beautiful as music's closo,
gomeryAngelic woman into being rose."
“And the bright dew-bead on the bramble lies, Che all-pervading influence of the Supreme
Like liquid rapture upon beauty's eyes." Being is then described in a few tolerable linee The comparison of a violet, bright with the borrowed from Pope, and a great many intoler-dew, to a woman's eyes, is as perfect as a able lines of Mr. Robert Montgomery's own. comparison can be. Sir Walter's lines are 'The fol.owing may stand as a specimen part of a song addressed to a woman, and the
comparison is therefore peculiarly natural and familiarity so far as to bid the Supreme Being graceful. Dew on a bramble is no more like stop and ineditate on the importance of the a woman's eyes than dew anywhere else. interests which are under his care. The groThere is a very pretty Eastern tale, of which tesque indecency of such an address throws the fate of plagiarists often reminds us. The into shade the subordinate absurdities of the slave of a magician saw his master wave his passage, the unfurling of whirlwinds, the un. wand, and heard him give orders to the spiriis rolling of thunder, and the upheavirg of who arose at the summons. He accordingly worlds. stole the wand, and waved it himself in the Then comes a curious specimen of our air; but he had not observed that his master poet's English used the left hand for that purpose. The spirits
" Yet not alone created realms engage thus irregularly summoned, tore him to pieces, Thy faultless wisdom, grand, primeval sage! instead of obeying his orders. There are very for all the thronging woes to life allied few who can safely venture to conjure with
Thy merey tempers, and Thy cares provide." the rod of Sir Walter, and we are sure that we should be glad to know what the word Mr. Robert Montgomery is not one of them. « For" means here. If it is a preposition, it
Mr. Campbell, in one of his most pleasant makes nonsense of the words, " Thy mercy pieces, has this line
tempers.” If it is an adverb, it makes non
sense of the words, “Thy cares provide." “The sentinel stars set their watch in the sky."
Those beauties we have taken, almost at The thought is good-and has a very striking random, from the first part of the poem. The propriety where Mr. Campbell placed ilmin second part is a series of descriptions of va. the mouth of a soldier telling his dream. But, rious events--a battle--a murderman executhough Shakspeare assures us that “every tion.--a marriage..a funeral--and so forth. Mr. true man's apparel fits your thief,” it is by no | Robert Montgomery terminates each of these means the case, as we have already seen, that descriptions, by assuring us that the Deity was every true poet's similitude fits your plagiarist. present at the battle, murder, execution, marLet us see how Mr. Robert Montgomery uses riage, or funeral, in question. And this propo. the image
sition, which might be safely predicaled of “ Ye quenchless stars! so eloquently bright,
every event that ever happened, or ever will Untroubled sentries of the shadowy night,
happen, forms the only link which connects While half the world is lapped in downy dreams,
these descriptions with the subject, or with And round the lattice creep your midnight beams, How sweet to gaze upon your placid eyes,
each other. In lambent beauty looking from the skies.”
How the descriptions are executed, our rea
ders are probably by this time able to conjecCertainly the ideas of eloquence-of un.
ture. The battle is made up of the battles of troubled repose-of placid eyes, on the lambent
all ages and nations; “red-mouthed cannons, beauty of which it is sweet to gaze, harmonize
uproaring to the clouds," and "hands grasping admirably with the idea of a sentry!
firm the glittering shield." The only military We would not be understood, however, to
operations of which this part of the poem resay, that Mr. Robert Montgomery cannot make
| minds us are those which reduced the Abbey similitudes for himself. A very few lines far.
of Quedtinburgh to submission--the Templar ther on, we find one which has every mark of
with his cross...the Austrian and Prussian originality, and on which, we will be bound,
grenadiers in full uniform--and Curtius and none of the poets whom he has plundered will
Dentatus with their battering-ram. We ought ever think of making reprisals :
not to pass by unnoticed the slain war-borse, “ The soul, aspiring, pants its source to mount, who will no more As streams meander level with their fount."
“Roll his red eye, and rally for the fight;" We take this to be, on the whole, the worst similitude in the world. In the first place, no or
Tor the slain warrior, who, while “ lying on his stream meanders, or can possibly meander. lol
bleeding breast," contrives to “stare ghastly level with its fount. In the next place, if an.
and grimly on the skies.” As to this last ex. streams did meander level with their founts, noploit, we can only say, as Dante did on a simi. two motions can be less alike than that of |
flar occasion, meandering level, and that of mounting up
“Forse per forza gia di parlaala
si stravolse cosi alcun del tutto: wards. .
Ma io nol vidi, ne credo che sia," We have then an apostrophe to the Deity, couched in terms which, in any writer whol The tempest is thus desoribed
“But lo! around the marsh'lling clouds unite, to which, we suppose, Mr. Robert Montgomery
Like thick battaliong halting for the fight;
The sun sinks back, the tempest-spirits sweepi attaches no idea whatever.
Fierce through the air, and flutter on the deep,
Till from their caverns rush the maniac blasts, " Yes! pause and think, within one fleeting ho
Tear the loose sails, and split the creaking maste, How vast a universe obeys Thy power;
And the lash'd billows, rolling in a train, l'nseen, but felt, Thine interfused control
Rear their white heads, and race along the main Works in each atom, and pervades the whole; Expands the blossom, and erects the tree,
What, we should like to know, is the differ. Conducts each vapour, and commands each sea, Beams in each ray, bids whirlwinds be unfurl'd,
ence between the two operations which Mr. Unrolls the thuader, and upheaves a world :".
| Robert Montgomery so accurately distinguishes
from each cther---the fierce sweeping of the No field-preacher ever carried his irreverent tempest-spirits through the air, and the rush.ng
of the maniac blasts from their caverns? And why does the former operation end exactly when the latter commences ! We cannot stop over each of Mr. Robert Montgomery's descriptions. We have a shipwrecked sailor, who “visions a viewless temple in the air;”—a murderer, who stands on a heath, “with ashy lips, in cold convulsion spread;"—a pious man, to whom, as he lies in bed at night, “The panorama of past life appears, Warms his pure mind and melts it into tears;”a traveller, who lose:, his way, owing to the thickness of the “cloud-battalion,” and the want of “heaven-lamps, to beam their holy light.” We have a description of a convicted felon, stolen from that incomparable passage in Crabbe's Borough, which has made many a rough and cynical reader cry like a child. We can, however, conscientiously declare, that persons of the most excitable sensibility may safely venture upon it in Mr. Robert Montgomery's alteration. Then we have the “poor, mindless, pale-faced, maniac boy,” who
“Rolls his vacant eye, To greet the glowing fancies of the sky.” What are the glowing fancies of the sky? And what is the meaning of the two lines which almost immediately follow 1 “A soulless thing, a spirit of the wonds, IIe loves to commune with the fields and floods.” How can a soulless thing be a spirit 1 Then comes a panegyric on the Sunday: A baptism follows:—after that a marriage; and we then proceed, in due course, to the visitation of the sick, and the burial of the dead. Osten as death has been personified, Mr. Montgomery has found something new to say about him. “O Death: thou dreadless vanquisher of earth, The Elements shrank blasted at thy birth: Careering round the world like tempest wind, Martyrs before, and victims strew'd behind; Ages on ages cannot grapple thee, Dragging the world into eternity.” If there be any one line in this passage about which we are more in the dark than about the rest, it is the fourth. What the difference may be between the victims and the martyrs, and why the martyrs are to lie before Death, and the victims behind him, are to us great mysteries. We now come to the third part, of which we may say with honest Cassio, “Why, this is a more excellent song than the other.” Mr. Robert Montgomery is very severe on the infidels, and undertakes to prove that, as he elegantly expresses it,
“One great Enchanter helm'd the harmonious whole.”
What an enchanter has to do with helming, or what a helm has to do with harmony, we do
not quite understand. He proceeds with his argument thus:
“And dare men dream that dismal Chance has framed
"We should be sorry to stake our faith n a higher Power on Mr. Robert Montgomery's logic. Does he believe that lightning, and bubbles, and the phenomena of dreams, are designless and self-created If he does, we cannot conceive why he may not believe that the whole universe is designless and self-created. A few lines before, he tells us that it is the Deity who bids “thunder rattle from the skiey deep.” His theory is therefore this, that God made the thunder, but that the lightning made itself. But Mr. Robert Montgomery's metaphysics are not at present our game. He proceeds to set forth the fearful effects of atheism.
“Then, blood-stain'd Murder, bare thy hideous arm, And thou, Rebellion, welter in thy storm: Awake, ye spirits of avenging crime; Burst from your bonds, and battle with the time?” Mr. Robert Montgomery is fond of personification, and belongs, we need not say, to that school of poets who hold that nothing more is necessary to a personification in poetry than to begin a word with a capital letter. Murder may, without impropriety, bare her arm, as she did long ago, in Mr. Campbell's Pleasures of Hope. But what possible motive Rebellion can have for weltering in her storm, what avenging crime may be, who its spirits may be, why they should burst from their bonds, —what their bonds may be, why they should battle with the time, what the time may be, . —and what a battle between the time and the spirits of avenging crime would resemble, we must confess ourselves quite unable to understand.
“And here let Memory turn her tearful glance On the dark horrors of tumultuous france, When blood and blasphemy defiled her land, And fierce Rebellion shook her savage hand.”
Whether Rebellion shakes her own hand, shakes the hand of Memory, or shakes the hand of France, or what any one of the metaphors would mean, we know no more than we know what is the sense of the following passage: “I.et the foul orgies of infuriate crime Picture the raging havoc of that time, When leagued Rebellion march'd to kindle man, Fright in her rear, and Murder in her van. And thou, sweet flower of Austria, slaughtered Queen, who dropped no tear upon the dreadful scene, when gushed the life-blood from thine angel form, And martyr'd beauty perish’d in the storm, Once worshipp'd paragon of all who saw, Thy look obedience, and thy smile a law,” &c. What is the distinction between the soul orgies and the raging havoc which the foul orgies are to picture? Why does Fright go behind Rebellion, and Murder before ? Why should not Murder fall behind Fright? Or why should not all the three walk abreast ! We have read of a hero who had
“Amazement in his van, with Flight combined, And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.”
Gray, we suspect, could have given a reason for disposing the allegorical attendants of Ed ward thus. But to proceed.—“Flower of Austria” is stolen from Byron. “ Dropped" is false English. “Perish'd in the storm” means nothing at all; and “thy look obedience” means