Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Her deathless laurel leaf, with which to materials of such value, we can only bind,

select a specimen, we cannot, perhaps, Thy flowing locks, already Fame pro- give one more striking than the fol

vides; Why then this burden, better fur declined” lowing admirable note on Book i. l. Speak, muse! for me. The fair one said,

26. who guides

And justify the ways of God to man. My willing heart, and all my fancy's flights, “ Justify them by evincing, that whep *This is the language in which' Love de man, by transgression, incurred the forlights !

feiture of his blessings, and the displea.' But the following sonnel, which is

sure of God, himself only was to blame.

God created him for happiness, made him surely one of the finest compositions completely happy, furnished him with of its kind, and is rendered by Cow. sufficient means of security, and gave him per, in a manner truly worthy of explicit notice of his danger. What could Milton, and capable of delighting the be more, unless he had compelled his great poet himself, cannot be omitted. obedience? which would have been at once

to reduce him from the glorious condition The original begins “ Giovane piano."

of a free agent to that of an animal. The translation is this, and, perhaps,

“ There is a solemnity of sentiment, as a more excellent translation was never

well as majesty of numbers, in the exormade.

dium of this noble poem, which, in the SONNET.

works of the ancients, has no example. “Enamoured, artless, young, on foreign

“ The sublimest of all subjects was reground,

served for Milton, and bringing to the Uncertain whither from myself to fly,

contemplation of that subject, not only it To thee, dear lady, with a humble genius equal to the best of theirs, but at sigh,

lieart also, deeply impregnated with the Let me devote my heart; which I have

divine truths which lay before him, it is found,

no wonder that he has produced a compoBy certain proofs not few, intrepid, sound, sition, on the whole, superiour to any that Good, and addicted to conceptions high.

we have received from former ages. But When tempests shake the world, and

he who addresses himself to the perusal fire ihe sky,

of this work, with a mind entirely unacIt rests in adamant self-wrapt around;

customed to serious and spiritual contemAs safe from envy, and from outrage rude, plation, unacquainted with the word of From hopes and fears, that vulgar ininds

God, or prejudiced against it, is ill qualiabuse,

fied to appreciate the value of a poem As fond of genius, and fixed fortitude,

built upon it, or to taste its beauties.---Of the resounding lyre, and every muse.

Milton is the poet of Christians. An infided Weak you will find it in one only part,

may have an ear for the harmony of his Now pierced by love's immedicable dart.”

numbers; may be aware of the dignity of

his expressions; and in some degree of the When we come to the notes writ

sublimity of his conceptions; but the un

affected and masculine piety, which was ten by Cowper, upon the three first

his true inspirer, and is the very soul of books of Paradise Lost, we deeply his poem, he will either not perceive, or regret that he was prevented, by sor it will offend him. row or malady, from pursuing a task “ We cannot read this exordium withfor which he was so eminently fitted.

out perceiving that the author possesses

more fire than he shows. There is a sup. His remarks on the language and

pressed force in it, the effect of judgment. versification of his author, are of high flis judgment controls his genius, and value; but his sentiments on the in his genius reminds us (to use his own ventions, the contrivance, and, above beautiful similitude) of all, the religious feelings of Milton,

-A proud steed reined are inestimable. Cowper justifies, lle addresses himself to the performance

Champing bis iron curb. most solidly, the fiction of Pandemo

of great things, but he makes no great nium, and the very unjustly censured exertion in doing it; a sure symptoir of allegory of Sin and Death; with the uncommon vigour.” p. 189. fine apostrophes where the poet Thus it is that one poet comments speaks in his own person. As among upon another; and we will not scru

[ocr errors]

p. 100.

VOL. II.

3 A

ple to say, that there is more of valu- advantage will be derived from it. able observation in the few notes, The outline sketches by Flaxman, which Cowper produced on the be- though elegant, are hardly sufficient ginning of this poem, than in ten to raise the book to the price fixed times the mass of ordinary annota- upon it; but this must be excused, in ions.

consideration of the application of the As to the part of Mr. Hayley in profits. The typography is handsome, this work, it modest and proper. but very far from correct. Whether Some good notes he has written, and the fault is to be imputed to the Chi. others collected, upon the poems chester printer, or to some little faihere translated; and we suspect, lure of sight in the editor, we know though we do not perceive it to be too well how difficult it is to avoid said, that the translation of the com- press errours, to speak very harshly plimentary poems, addressed to Mil- of them. Altogether, the work is such ton, was his work. The volume is as to give abundant gratification to printed for the benefit of a godchild the admirers of Milton, Cowper, and of Cowper, as before announced, and poetry, whether Latin, English, or

cannot doubt that considerable Italian.

we

FROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW.

A Cursory View of Prussia, from the Death of Frederick II. to the Peace of Tilsit.

Containing an authentick account of the Battles of Jena, Auerstadt, Eylau, and Friedlanıl; as also, other important Events during that interesting Period. In a Series of Letters, from a Gentleman in Berlin to his friend in London. 8vo. pp. 176. 58. sewed. 1809. THE history of Prussia, compared welfare of his subjects. One delusion with that of the other states of Eu- led the way to another; and his un. rope, bears some resemblance to the derstanding being affected by the history of Thebes, when considered consequences of excess, as well as of in relation to the other states of remorse, he was so far forsaken by Greece. Each may be said to have his reason as to become a believer in risen and fallen with one man. The- the absurd doctrine of apparitions, bes with Epaminondas, and Prussia and to delegate unlimited authority with Frederick II. Neither country to a hypocrite of the sect of Illumi. occupied a conspicuous rank in the nati. The ministers of Frederick II. political commonwealth before the consequently declined to occupy a age of its respective hero; and neither cabinet which they could not direct, continued long to maintain its eleva. and retired in 1792, six years after tion when its hero was no more. The the death of their patron. letters before us commenced in 1786, It was on ihis change that Austria when the death of Frederick II. took prevailed on Prussia to enter into the place, and his nephew, Frederick treaty of Pilvitz, the object of which William II. ascended the throne; was to attack France, and to complete having at his command a well disci. the clismemberment of Poland. The plined army of two hundred thousand latter of these points was accommen, and a treasury of forty millions plished in 1793; and the Polish noof dellürs. He proved himself, huw- bility were brought reluctantly to ever, aitogether unworthy of such a Posen, to swear allegiance to their succession ; since, though not des- conquerors. Nothing could be more titute of capacity, he permitted the impolitick, or less adapted to conlove of sensual pleasures to engross ciliate, than the subsequent conduct ?hose hours which he owed to the of the I'russian government towards

the Poles. Instead of respecting tinued to be the policy of Prussia, till their national feelings, and endea- the invasion of Germany by Buonavouring to gain their attachment by parte, in 1805; when the violation of sensibly ameliorating their condition, the territory of Anspach and the perall the measures of Prussia were sonal urgency of the emperour of abrupt and peremptory. Their taxes Russia, who came to Berlin very were increased, their publick func soon afterwards, led to a change of tionaries were changed, and the Ger measures. It was at this visit of Alex. man language and the Prussian dis ander that the convention of Poizdam cipline, with all its horrours, were was concluded, by which Prussia acforced upon them. We need not, ceded to the coalition against France. therefore, wonder at the serious in But this convention was scarcely surrection which broke out in the signed when the battle of Austerlitz succeeding year; nor at the discon-' took place; and was followed by the tent which continued to lurk in the submission of Austria. The court of minds of the Poles, after it had be Prussia immediately endeavoured to come impossible to vent it in open reassume its former character of neu. resistance.

trality, and to conceal the convention Though the constitution of Frede. of Potzdam. But Buonaparte had been rick William II was naturally of the apprized of its hostile tendency, and most robust kind, it was prematurely demanded, not only the renunciation exhausted by intemperance, and he of it by Prussia, but satisfaction for died in 1797. He was succeeded by her audacity in taking measures to his son, the present king; whose oppose him. This satisfaction he education, having been entirely ne made to consist in the surrender of glected by his father, was conducted the provinces of Anspach, Cleves, in a manner at once too private to and Neufchatel; and in return he pregive him a knowledge of the world, tended

tended to make over Hanover to and too remiss to convey that solid Prussia. But that this was mere preinstruction which retirement well tence became apparent in the course employed affords the best opportunity of a few months, by lord Yarmouth's of acquiring. He possesses, there- negotiation at Paris. The formation, fore, neither depth in the cabinet nor at the same time, of the confederation winning manners in publick; and he is of the Rhine, showed that Buonaparte much better fitted for the quiet of intended himself, and not the king of domestick life than for the agitations Prussia, as the successour of the emof royalty. Mildness, diffidence, and perour Francis, in the control of Gerindecision are his prominent charac many; while, moreover, the French teristicks. At his accession, however, armies continued in Germany in imhe filled his cabinet with respectable mense numbers, notwithstanding the men, and gave his subjects an ex- reiterated applications of Prussia for ample of frugalitv in his establish their removal. These successive afment Averse, also, from war, he re fronts, and the promised aid of Rusfused to enter into the coalition of sia, gave an ascendency to the war. Austria and Russia, against France, party at Berlin; and the queen, who in 1799, in which there can be little had not hitherto interfered in po. doubt that he acted wisely. But he liticks, now became a keen advocate crred in carrying his love of economy for asserting the national dignity. so far as to neglect the repair of his The people at large were eager for fortresses, since their dismantled war, and confident of success from state was the principal cause of their the recollection of the exploits of a rapid surrender to Buonaparte. former generation under Frederick

Neutrality, it is well known, con- II. no person seeming conscious how

much they had degenerated since not considering tbat these poor soldiers that period, and still less how much themselves were half dying with hunger. their antagonists had improved.

Nor were those peasants near the French The sequel of this imprudent mea- without considering the wretched situation

quarters more fortunate; for they also, sure is universally known. But the

of those miserable people, took whatever present work communicates several they could find; and in passing Jessau, the circumstances which had not pre rector of which place had fled to Königsviously been published in this coun berg, they employed his whole pious litry. The most interesting of these

brary to boil their kettles. The rector's relate to the battle of Jena, the siege sister, confined by the rheumatism, could

not escape. She lay in a little garret. Some of Glogau, and the retreat of prince oatmeal mixed with melted snow, was beHohenlohe, till his surrender at fore her, and this, for eight days, had been Prenzlau on the Oder; the French, her only sustenance. We gave her a small superiour in cavalry, and possessed portion of our travelling stock, and joy and of a shorter route than the Prussians, gratitude beamed through her tears. The

nearer we came to Eylau, the fewer marks having advanced with such rapidity of devastation we found; and though there as to cut off the whole army.—The were no provisions to be had any where, writer next proceeds to give an ac. yet we saw at least human faces; for the count of the battles of Pultusk, Eylau, other villages we passed through were all and Friedland. But in these, as well

deserted; nor liad the houses here been so as in his detail of the battle of Jena, after the various scenes of misery we had

much damaged, which gave us some relief, the rearler will be greatly at a loss

gone through. In the totally desolated vilfor want of plans of the engagements. lage of Kleinsausgarten we once more The subsequent extract presents an found the terrifick picture of war; but miaffecting picture of the calamities of sery, indigence, and distress, I first saw

in their extreme at Eylau itself. Parents war, and should be read by all those

were there already so far reduced as to be who are apt to treat such horrours

forced to bury their literally starved babes with levity. Truly on this subject may in their gardens. Bread, meat, wine, branit be said:

dy, salt, or tobacco, were no where to be

found. Poor, emaciated, hollow-eyed specHe jests at scars, who never felt a wound."

tres were crawling about the streets, co“ Soon after the arrival of Bennigser vered with rags like the most pitiable begat Königsberg, I received a letter from a gars. To enter their houses, on account of friend there, of which I send you an ex the stench of dead bodies, was scarcely tract, to give you, who, in your happy isl. possible; and even my essence of vinegar and, know nothing of the horrours of war, was not sufficient to defend me in their some little idea of the miseries attending church. I never should haye believed these dreadful scenes.

without seeing it myself, that human na“ As soon as the roads were safe, my ture could have born such an excessive curiosity prompted me to visit the memo. degree of inisery. Buonaparte had cruelly rable scene of ion at Eylau. Most terri. given up the place to plunder. In short, evebiy, indeed, had the iron hand of war ry thing was ruined, destroyed, and laid stamped its baneful traces upon these waste. Not a door, nor a window, nor a cupunfortunate districts, Here the peaceful' board was remaining. This is, indeed, the peasant, who reads no newspapers, nor less extraordinary, when we consider that knows even the name of Buonaparte, is the town had been twice in the possession scared from his quiet abode. Both friend both of the French and the Russians, and and foe seem to have united to make him thus, twice were the streets streaming feel, to its full extent, his woful lot. with blood. The combatants even followed 'The Russians, who were encamped to the each other into the very houses, From extent of five or six miles about Königs- the highest to the lowest of the inhabitants berg, had, to make them fires in this cold they were all robbed of every thing they weather, unroofed and broken up the huts possessed, and simple water, with a scanty of all the neighbouring villages. Every pittance of mouidy biead, was all they now kind of provision was swept away; and had to keep life together. To form an idea what made its loss more mortifying was, of the situation of these miserable beings, that five times as much was wasted as was one must bave seen them; for words are inade proper use of. This naturally enra not sufficient to describe their excess of ged all the peasants against the Russians, wretchedness. Many dicd through fial,

the past.

many from ill treatment, and many were carts, horses, saddles, cloaks, hats, haryet sick from the painful recollection of ness, broken muskets, pistols, and other

arms innumerable, all in confusion, scat“Overpowered by such dreadful scenes tered about. Russians, French, and Prus. of calamity, I deemed it even a relief to go sians, here all lay together. It was in truth and contemplate the horrours of the field. a woful sight.” Howsoever mangled I there found many of my fellow-creatures, yet these lifeless We have remarked a few German bodies had at least surmounted their suf idioms in this epistolary publication. ferings; but the unfortunate inhabitants of The word “ apparently” is used with Eylau were yet languishing on towards the more excruciating death of hunger. reference to the future, in the sense This certainly would have been their dis- of “probably;" and in page 48 the mal lot, as the whole surrounding district author talks of “irritating the feelwas equally bereft of every mean of sus- ings of the whole woman, a phrase tenance, had they not soon received from

which sounds rather awkwardly to Königsberg the most desirable relief and refreshment, besides clothing, linen, and English ears. The book, however, is every necessary article to repair and make entertaining, and fully satisfies that their dwellings tolerably comfortable. Had degree of expectation which the title I first visited the field of battle, this hide- of a " Cursory View” is calculated to ous, unusual sight, which I hope never to

raise. Although without pretensions see again, would have undoubtedly shock

to the character of a finished perfored me more than it now did: for after having my mind so deeply harrowed up

mance, on the score either of richness with the late dreadful scenes, I must re ofdescription or profundity of thought, peat that the sight of the field, frightful as it has a claim to attention, both on it was, with from twelve to fifteen thou- account of the novelty of several of sand slaughtered victims strowed before

the circumstances mentioned in it, me, was yet a relief.-A slight snow had just fallen. My foot slipped, and, in sink- and for the unprejudiced manner in ing, my hand caught a ghastly human which the whole narrative is conface! Ilere were fragments of drums, ducted.

[blocks in formation]

Tales of Fashionable Life. By Miss Edgeworth, Author of “ Practical Education

Belinda Castle Rackrent," &c. 12mo. 3 vol. London. 1809. Announced for republication by J. Milligan, Georgetown), and by Bradford and Inskeep, Philadelphia.

If it were possible for reviewers good sense, these cannot, indeed, be to envy the authors who are brought taught; and, with an extraordinary before them for judgment, we rather share of it, they are acquired without think we should be tempted to envy an instructer: but the most common Miss Edgeworth; not, however, so case is, to be capable of learning, and much for her matchless powers of yet to require teaching; and a far probable invention-her never-failing greater part of the misery which exgood sense and cheerfulness--norists in society, arises from ignorance, her fine discrimination of characters than either from vice or from incapa-as for the delightful consciousness city, of having done more good than any Miss Edgeworth is the great moother writer, male or female, of her dern mistress in this school of true generation. Other arts and sciences philosophy; and has eclipsed, we have their use, no doubt; and, Heaven think, the fame of all her predeces. knows, they have their reward and sors. By her many excellent tracts on their fame. But the great art is the education, she has conferred a benefit art of living; and the chief science, on the whole mass of the population; the science of being happy. Where and discharged, with exemplary pathere is an absolute deficiency of tience as well as extraordinary judy

« PreviousContinue »