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the self-same object. The cloud is supposed to be the speaker, as in the Neps),al of Aristophanes.
The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
That orbed maiden, with white fire laden,
Now, in these two stanzas, first of all the cloud is a “ sailing rack,” and what a “ sailing rack” may be we have taxed our ingenuity in vain to discover; then itis evidently a bird for it has “wings” and a “nest;" then it is something, or other with “a floor,” which subsequently we find to be “a tent ;” then it is a creature that can “laugh,” and then again it is a “tent.” Now, we must say, that all these metaphors give us a very vague notion of a cloud, and we are old-fashioned enough to entertain an opinion that metaphors have no business in poetry except for purposes of illustration, and that they are decidedly intended to assist, and not to bewilder, the comprehension of the reader.
But the ode “to a Sky-lark” is truly delicious; it is one of the most exquisite of Shelley's creations. It is full of imagery, but the images do not distract us. Each simile is kept distinct, and each complete in itself. We have not here a gorgeous, unmeaning, metaphorical mass, made, as it were, from a number of gems all ground together in a mill, but a string of jewels each more glittering than the last, undetached but yet unconfused. If our article had not already extended to such, great a length we would quote the whole of this exquisite poem, as it is, we can only give a portion of it. But go to the book reader—go to the Book of Gems-—the “Sky-lark” and the “Intimations of immortality,” are alone worth the value of the book. They are gems beyond
All the earth and air
What thou art, we know not;
In the light of thought,
Like a high-born maiden
We look before and after,
Yet, if we could scorn,
- Better than all measures Of delightful sound, Better than all treasures, That in books are found, - Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground.
Teach me half the gladness
And is not this “ harmonious madness?”. Is not this “clear joyance?” Many have been the “odes to a Sky-lark:” but was there ever one in the least like this? No one but Shelley could have written it. It has not a feature in it that resembles the poetry of any other bard. It is all original : a beautiful emanation from one of the most wonderful individual minds, that ever shed a lustre upon the earth. How joyously does image after image seem to float up into the clear hyaline like the liquid notes of the blythe creature they describe. How free, how gushing, how spontaneous is each verse—the poet's strains are poured forth with as little art as those of the mounting sky-lark, and with full as much animal enjoyment.
We have never heard,
The selections from Coleridge, who stands next on the list, are not badly chosen ; but we object in toto to the system upon which all the selections have been made. The editor says in his preface, that “he has taken complete poems, though short, in preference to detached passages from more extensive works.” Mr. Hall terms his volume “A Book of Gems,” and, therefore, we consider, that he is bound to give us the finest passages he can meet with in the authors, who have a place in his list. This, to be sure, would have given him a vast deal more trouble, and is objectionable upon that score, although upon no other. There are always passages to be found in every lengthened work, which are perfectly complete, when separated from their context. We believe that it is Mr. Hall's intention to publish a fourth volume of his book, which is to contain only Dramatic Gems; in that work he will be obliged to give ext, acts : and, for that purpose, he will be obliged to read immensely, if he trusts to his own abours alone. We would recommend him to call in Payne Collier or Alexander Dyce, to his assistance. The latter is now preparing an edition of Middleton, which, we think, will be one of the finest specimens of editorship ever issued from the press.
Mr. Leigh Hunt has written the prefatory notice appended to the extracts from Keats's works. And honestly we think, it would have been impossible, utterly impossible, to have done it better. It is quite a biographical gem. Fortunately, Mr. Hall has not contrived to botch it; it is Leigh Hunt's to the last sentence which, happening, to contain a beautifully comprehensive scrap of criticism, we shall forthwith transfer to our pages. “Of our lately deceased poets, if you want imaginative satire or bitter wailing, you must go to the writings of Lord Byron; if a thoughtful dulcet and wild dreaminess, you must go to Coleridge; if a startling appeal to the first elements of your nature and sympathies, (most musical also) to Shelley; if a thorough enjoyment of the beautiful, for beauty's sake, like a walk on a summer's noon in a land of woods and meadows, you must embower yourself in the luxuries of Keats.” Whole volumes of criticism could not have individualized more distinctly these four great poets.
Now, this is a book, on which we might write for ever; but we must bring ourselves speedily to a conclusion; but, before we do this, as honest critics, we must record our opinion, that on the whole the selections are not good, at least not to our taste. There are forty poets quoted, amongst whom will be found Charles Dibdin and Tom Bayly, and Tom Hood: we think that from the unquoted ones many might have been selected much more worthy of a place in the Book of Gems, at all events, than these two Toms ; to whose praenomina we were almost on the point of attaching an old family name. Arcades ambo, et cantare pares. . But why are not Motherwell, and Browning, and Sheridan Knowles, and Alford, and Miss Bowles, to be found in the Book of Gems 2 Surely, they write better verses than Haynes Bayley and Caroline Norton. And IRobert Montgomery, much as he has been abused, ought to have had a niche in the book; and Edwin Atherstone might have been there without disgracing his company.
The illustrations are forty-three in number and all beautiful, all gems—Colins's, and Martin's (how very strange their names sound together, for they are the very antipodes of landscape painters) and Reinagle's, are our favorites; there is also a church-yard scene by Creswick, which reminds us of Grey's church-yard, and re-calls to our recollection the time; but we must not indulge our egotistical propensities. There is a fine engraving too in the book, from Maclise's painting of Young Salvator and the picture-dealer, which we remember having seen a little time ago, we think, in the British Institution. Now, it is very clear, that these engravings might find us in pretty enough gossip until we had exhausted another quire of paper, and with it, the reader's patience. But, we must pause. The engravings are far superior, as a whole, to those in the volume of last year, which is now lying on the table before us. In that book there is one picture, which is worth any price, it is a full-length portrait of a lady, sitting in a chair, with her foot on a cushion; such a lady and such a foot, it reminds us of ; but we have finished our article, and thrown aside the Book OF GEMs.
ACCOUNT OF THE INSURRECTION AT TAVOY AND
Moulmein, 30th August, 1829.
To George Sw1Nton, Esquire,
SiR,-To anticipate any exaggerated accounts that may have been sent to Calcutta via Rangoon, respecting an insurrection which occurred at Tavoy in the beginning of this month, but which has now been completely and satisfactorily quelled, I have deemed it my duty to take up a small vessel, in order to convey to you the present report of the whole matter.
It is already known to Government, that at the time the Civil Commissioner, Mr. Maingy, was summoned on public duty to Calcutta in June last, he placed Tavoy in temporary civil charge of Mr. Assistant Surgeon Maule, and removed me to Moulmein, where he considered my presence would be most useful during his absence. I made it my duty, however, in the beginning of July, to pay a visit to both Mergui and Tavoy, and to hold a jail delivery at each of those places; and in the beginning of the present month, upon learning by a private letter from Mr. Maule that some rumour prevailed at Tavoy of the convicts confined in the jail there meditating an escape, I thought it my duty, notwithstanding the weather was most unfavorable, to embark again in the H.C.'s steam vessel Diana, and go down to Tavoy.
Most providential shall I ever consider it that I did come to such a resolution, for upon my arrival near the town of Tavoy at 9 A.M. of the 13th instant, I found the whole of the troops and Europeans, with the Chinese, Malays, and Moormen and their families, gathered in a crowd upon the wharf. Upon landing, the first accounts which I received of the state of affairs were most discouraging. I heard, that at 3 o'clock in the inorning of the 9th, a large party of two or three thousand Burmese had attacked the magazine guard of one naick and six sepoys in order to obtain prossession of the ammunition, but had been fortunately repulsed ; that another party of one or two hundred men had burst into the jail and released the whole of the ninety prisoners confined there; that the whole of the inhabitants of the town had, on the first alarm, fled out of it; that the Burmese native officers of Government had deserted Mr. Maule; that a party of conspirators, headed by the former Ye-woon, and pensioner of our Government, Mongola, had planned the revolt in order to restore the country to the Burmese Government, and that this party had entered the town and occupied it, as soon as the commanding officer of our troops had deemed it judicious to retire and take up a post at the wharf. I found Captain Cuxton, the officer commanding the troops, in a most deplorable state of health. He had but lately arrived at Tavoy, and was quite unprepared to determine whom he should trust or whom distrust. One of his subaltern officers, Lieutenant Shepherd, and two of his native officers were absent on a Court-Martial at Mergui. His detachment consisted of only 120 men fit for duty, and they appeared to be losing their strength and confidence. When I was told also, that a great portion of the town of Tavoy was burnt, and that some of those native officers of Government, even whom I had considered as bound to me by personal obligations, were in command of the guns immediately in front of the wharf, I own, for a short time, I was of opinion that all was lost, and that the best course would be, to remove the troops and party collected on the wharf to Goodridge's plains, and await there the arrival of a reinforcement from Moulmein. I wrote a hasty letter to Brigadier Vigoureux, reporting our situation, and I drafted an address to the inhabitants of Tavoy, in which I proclaimed martial law.” Upon further enquiry and investigation, however, among the Chinese, Malays and Moorish inhabitants of Tavov, who had retired with the troops to the wharf, I became satisfied that the inhabitants of the town had fled, from a belief that a body of 120 sepoys must be overpowered by the conspirators, and that it would be unable to afford them protection. I ascertained that the conspirators were devoid of all plan and resources; that their having failed to get possession of the magazine had totally disconcerted them; that those who had joined them subsequently to the troops retiring from the town, had done so from intimidation, and that the revolt was by no means general, but confined to a set of persons who had possessed power under the Burmese Government, and being dissatisfied with the loss of that power and influence under our Government, had twice before, in the years 1825 and 1826, planned a similar plot to get rid of our rule. Having ascertained these facts, and being assured from personal knowledge that the inhabitants of Tavoy are, as a race, eminently unwarlike, and that Moungda and his principal adherents were men of the most pusillanimous character, I proposed to the commanding officer, Captain Cuxton, not to remain where he was, but to advance on the insurgents and act on the offensive. I pointed out to him, that a disciplined force remaining as his did, on the defensive, gave up almost all the advantages it possessed over a set of barbarians. I expressed my conviction that Moungda and his party would never stand to receive our attack, and I recommended it should be made, whilst the arrival of the steam vessel and of myself had excited some sensation in the town. But Captain Cuxton and his officers, very naturally, entertained a higher opinion of the insurrectionary force, and less confidence in our means than what I did. I despatched the steam vessel therefore to Moulmein under charge of Mr. Corbyn, the Master Attendant of Amherst, with my letter to Brigadier Vigoureux; but I revised the draft of my proclamation and expunged the part proclaiming martial law. 1 told Captain Cuxton that I should wave my superior military rank in his favor, as himself and his officers and sepoys belonged to another presidency, and were little acquainted with me; but that I would not forego my military character, but take my full share of responsibility in assisting and advising him in every operation which was to be undertaken. I hope Government will approve of the course which I adopted. It was calculated to give satisfaction to both Captain Cuxton and his sepoys.t My first measure was to put Mr. Lindguist, the Commander of the Hon'ble Company's steam vessel Diana, and four of his lascars under Captain Cuxton, and to call upon the Chinese and Malays to assist them in throwing up a breast-work in front of the wharf, in dividing the ammunition into two portious, in case of accident, one portion being placed on board a vessel afloat, and in conveying to the wharf a supply of rice from the granary, which it was most fortunate the insurgents had not burnt in an attack that they had made on our party on the morning of the 13th. I made it a point also to obtain from the Chinese junks some salt-fish, oil, sugar, and tamarinds for the sepoys, in addition to the dry rice which was before served out to them : and I called together the native Christians, inhabitants of the town, who had retired with the troops to the wharf, to assist us in manning another 6-pounder gun. To inspire more confidence in some of our party 1 shewed them in
• Whilst Major Burney was hearing from Captain Cuxton and Mr. Maule an account of all that had passed, the whole of the pickets and sentries outside fell back upon the party on the wharf in a state of the utmost disorder and confusion, owing to a false alarm that the Burmese were coming down to attack. Major B. cried out, “Captain Cuxton this will never do-twenty bold mea will drive us all into the river. If the sepoys cannot keep their ground better, we must retire to Goodridge's plain.” This speech was afterwards recollected, and Major B. was charged with having proposed to retreat to Goodridge's plain.
+ At this period Government had not issued the rule, that Military Officers holding a Civil situation cannot claim or exercise the right of command as senior officers, by virtue of their com