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Art. 45. An attempt to explain a Punic Inscription, lately discovered

in the island of Malta. By John Swinton, B. D. This inscription is the same with that mentioned by the Abbe Barthelemy, in the supplement to the Journal des Sçavans for December 1761 ; and from which he deduced new Phænician alphabet. Mr. Swinton differs in his conjectures from the Abbe Barthelemy and M. de Guignes; who conceived the Phoenician alphabet to be almost entirely Syriac. But as what is advanced on both fides on so obscure a subject, is, probably, after all, but mere conjecture, we must refer it entirely to the antiquarians.

The Astronomical and Mathematical Papers, will be considered in our next, and conclude the Article.

K-n-k

INDEPENDENCE, a Poem. Addressed to the Minority. By C.

Churchill. 4to. 25. 6d. Almon, &c.

NDEPENDENCE is, indeed, a glorious theme! But what is

our own.

is not to be discovered from the poem before us. It is not our duty on this occasion, to define what it is; but we will venture to say what it is not. Independence, then, is not the privilege of abusing a Lord, or of libelling a nation. It is not the privilege of satirizing the vices of others, without blushing to expose

In few words, Independence is not the licence of saying and doing what we will, but rather, the power of faying and doing what we ought. The Stoics will tell us, and perhaps in this they are not wrong, that he only is truly independent, who is wife and virtuous. It matters not that we are free from the dominion of others; if we are not masters of ourselves, we are still dependent.

But, our animated Bard laughs at these musty precepts. His guide is uncontrouled Fancy. On he presses towards the summit of Parnassus, (which, alas! he will never reach) and cares not whom or what he overturns in his way. He writes as if he was independent of the rules of decency, the dictates of truth, the principles of justice, the laws of his country-and what, in a fon of Apollo, may be deemed still greater presumption, he writes as if he was independent of the rules of poetry. A favage kind of Independence this! And yet this is the Independence he claims. "Hear him speak, we beg pardon! we mean, hear him sing, good Reader:

Happy the Bard (tho' few such Bards we findi
Who, 'bove controulment, dares to speak his mind,
Dares, unabalh'd, in every place appear

As

As to the first line, it is evidently borrowed from an old head of a copy by which children are taught to write, and in the original stands thus

Happy the boy (tho’ few such boys we find)

Who well his writing, and his book, doth mind. But the second line of this couplet is much superior to that of our Author; for 'bove controulment, is certainly a most aukward phrase, and such a one as the Compleat Penman would never have fuffered to escape him. The sentiment in the third quoted verse, is truly admirable, and perfectly in character.

Dares unabash'd in every place appear ! It must, undoubtedly, be a peculiar happiness to discard all sense of shame, and to appear with unblushing impudence in every place, and in every character, alike. Such a Bard, we are told, is no less happy in disregarding all distinctions of political fub.. ordination, than he is in discarding the blushes of modesty; and, consequently,

When, sweeping forward with her peacock's tail,
Quality, in full plumage, passes by ;

He views her with a fix'd contemptuous eye. The image of the peacock's tail, has a good effect in this place ; but the passage would have been infinitely heightened, had the Author, by way of contrast, given the Bard the reddening honours of the turkey. But who are those who, we are told,

Have basely turn'd Apoftates, have debas'd
Their dignity of office, have disgracd,
Like Eli's sons, the altars where they stand,

And caus'd their name to stink thro' all the land. An heavy charge this! and if there be such a man, who has bafely turned Apoftate! who has debas’d the dignity of his office! who, like the Priests the sons of Eli, has disgraced the altar before which he stood if there be such a man, and fuch a Bard, it is, indeed, with the greatest propriety that he is said to have caused his name to stink thro' all the land.

The elegance, the harmony, and ease of the following verses, page 3, are not, perhaps, to be equalled by any thing called verfe in the English language :

She
gave
them

eyes,
And they could fee-lhe gave them ears--they heard

The inftruments of stirring, and they stirr d. Page 5, Can any thing in verse be more elegant and harmo nious than the following couplet; when the Author speaks of the casual honours of birth ?

Had

Had Fortune on our getting chanc'd to shine,

Their birthright honours had been your's or mine. This is, indeed, to debase the language of those Maids who pour the genuine frain.

In the same page we meet with the following marvellous comparison between a Bard and a Lord :

« Observe which word the people can digeft most readily,

which goes to market best, which gets molt credit, whether « men will trust a Bard, because they think he may be juft, Or • on a Lord will chuse to risk their gains. But what is this, Reader, you cry? Is it poetry? Cut it into lines of ten fyllables and try. Who goes to market best? O beauty of elegance ! O sweetness of harmony! Who goes ta market beji? O glowing exertion ! not of poetical, but of culinary fire!

Yet, amidst this vernacular inelegance, this vulgarity of sentiment and diction, the following scene of weighing a Lord against a Bard, must be allowed to poffefs an odd species of whimsical humour, which will make the Reader laugh from very different motives :

A BARD-A LORD_let REASON take her scales,
And fairly weigh those words, see which prevails,
Which in the ballance lightly kicks the beam,
And which, by finking, we the Victor deem.

'Tis done, and Hermes, by command of Jove,
Summons a fynod in the sacred grove,
Gods throng with Gods, to take their chairs on high,
And fit in ftate, the senate of the sky,
Whilst, in a kind of parliament below,
Men stare at those above, and want to know
What they're transacting; Reason takes her stand
Juft in the midit, a balance in her hand,
Which o'er and o'er she tries, and finds it true;
From either side, conducted full in view,
A man comes forth, of figure strange and queer ;
We now and then see something like them here.

The Firit was meager, flimsy, void of trength,
But Nature kindly had made up in length,
What she in breadth denied; erect and proud,
A head and shoulders taller than the crowd,
He deem'd them pygmies all; loose hung his skin
O'er his bare bones ; his face so very thin,
So very narrow, and so much beat out,
That Physiognomilts have made a doubt,
Proportion loft, expression quite forgot,
Whether it could be call'd a face or not ;
At end of it howe'er, unbless'd wich beard,

Some cwenty fathom length of chin appear'd;
Rev. O&t. 1764.

T

With

A

With legs, which we might well conceive that Fate
Meant only to support a spider's weight;
Firmly he strove to tread, and with a stride
Which shew'd at once his weakness and his pride,
Shaking himself to pieces, seem'd to cry,
Observe, good people, how I shake the sky.

In his right hand a paper did he hold,
On which, at large, in characters of gold,
Distinct, and plain for those who run to see,
Saint ARCHIBALD had wrote L, O, R, D.
This, with an air of scorn, he from afar
Twirl'd into Reason's scales, and on that bar,
Which from his soul he hated, yet admir'd,
Quick turn'd his back, and as he came retir'd.
The Judge to all around his name declar'd ;
Each Goddess titter'd, each God laugh’d, Jove ftard,
And the whole people cried, with one accord,
Good Heaven bless us all, is that a Lord !

Such was the First--the Second was a man,
Whom Nature built on quite a diff'rent plan ;
A Bear, whom from the moment he was born,
His dam despis'd, and left unlick'd in scorn;
A Babel, which, the pow'r of art outdone,
She could not finish when she had begun;
An utter Chaos, out of which no might
But that of God could Atrike one spark of light.

Broad were his shoulders, and from blade to blade
A H-

might at full length have laid ;
Vaft were his bones, his muscles twisted strong,
His face was short, but broader than 'twas long,
His features, tho' by Nature they were large,
Contentment had contriv'd to overcharge
And bury meaning, fave that we might spy
Sense low'ring on the penthouse of his eye;
His arms were two twin oaks, his legs so itout
That they might bear a mansion-house about,
Nor were they, look but at his body there,
Design'd by l'ate a much less weight to bear.

O'er a brown Caffock, which bad once been black,
Which hung in tatiers on his brawny back,
A fight moft ftrange, and aukward to behold
He threw a covering of Blue and Gold.
Juit at that time of life, when man by rule,
The Fop laid down, takes up the graver fool,
Ile started up a Fop, and, fond of thew,
Look'd like another Hercules turn'd Beau.
A subject, met with only now and then,
Much fitter for the peocil than the pen;
Hogarth would draw him (Envy must allow)
E'en to the life, was Hogarth living now,

With

With such accoutrements, with such a form,
Much like a porpoise just before a torm,
Onward he rollid; a laugh prevail'd around,
E'en Jove was seen io limper; at the sound
(Nor was the cause unknown, for from his youth
Himself he studied by the glass of Truth)
He join'd their mirth, nor ihall che Gods condemn,
If, whilft they laugh'd at him, he laugh'd at them.
Judge Reason view'd him with an eye of grace,
Look'd thro' his soul, and quitc forgot bis face,
And, from his hand receiv'd, with fair regard
Plac'd in her other scale the name of BARD.

Then (for she did as Judges ought to do,
She nothing of the case beforehand knew
Nor with'd to know, the never stretch'd the laws,
Nor, basely to anticipate a cause,
Compellid Sollicitors no longer free,
To thew those briefs she had no right to see)
Then she with equal hand her scales held out,
Nor did the cause one moment hang in doubt,
She held her scales out fair to public view;
The LORD, as sparks fly upwards, upwards flew,
More light than air, deceitful in the weight;
The BARD, preponderating, kept his flate:
Reason approv'd, and with a voice, whose found
Shook earth, fhook heaven, on the clearelt ground
Pronouncing for the Bards a full decree,
Cried–Those muít honour Them, who honour Me,
They from this present day, where'er I reign,
In their own right, precedence hall obtain,
Merit rules here; be it enough that Birth
Intoxicates, and sways, the fools of earth.

Nor think that here, in hatred to a Lord,
I've forg'd a tale, or alter'd a record;
Search when you will (I am not now in fport)

You'll find it regiiter'd in Reason's court. Envy itself must smile at the very jocular manner in which the Bard has here drawn his own picture. The pleasantry with which he laughs at himself, might half incline one to pardon the liberties he takes with others, did we not perceive Vanity and Arrogance peeping through the mask of partial ridicule.

Go on illustrious Bard! thou art in the right road to Independence. Indulge the reigning depravity of taste: get deeper still in dirt; the Half-crowns will wash thee clean. Leave elegance and harmony to others : in these firring Times, they will not procure thee Six-pence-To use thy own phraseology, They will nct go to Market.'

1.5 R-d.

Churchill

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