Page images

Art. 50. La voix du Patriotisme dans la circonstance presente. Ser-
mon. Par F. Prévost, Ministre Anglican, et Pasteur de l'Eglise Fran-
çoise conformiste, dite le Quarré, &c. 8vo. PP. 47-
De Boffe.


Is. 6d. This discourse, on the text Isaiah, xl. 3-9. is addressed to the Swiss who are domiciliated in England. The subject is political, treated in a sensible manner, in an easy and not inelegant style, and expressed with suitable animation. We shall translate the two or three concluding pages:

You, subjects of this kingdom, or strangers who have chosen it for your abode, take comfort; as you reasonably may, from the signal deliverances which it has so often experienced, and from the late glorious victories obtained by its fleets; never despair of the success of a country which has so many titles to your affection, for pusillanimity invites and accelerates destruction. Much rather, place your confidence in the wise and religious counsels of your virtuous monarch, and of the ministers who surround his throne: ministers, why should I conceal it? it is not the language of flattery; 'Europe and posterity will repeat it in concert: ministers, great by their talents, by their virtues, by the dignity of their conduct, and the elevation of their sentiments. Who, preferably to them, may be expected to realize to Jerusalem the prophecy of hope which I have now been laying before you? These skilful pilots, we may venture to predict, will save from shipwreck the agitated vessel of the state. However, it cannot be disembled, it may, notwithstanding their precautions, it may be shattered by the tempest.


Such is the voice of experience and of history. Governments, like the men of whom they are composed, have their origin, their maturity, and their decay. Arrived at the summit of prosperity and glory, the most flourishing degenerate, wear out, and decline. The only empire, that never decays, is virtue; the only sovereign, who continues always the same, is the Lord Jehovah. Let us then, my brethren, place our first confidence in him on whom all the empires of the world depend, in the King of kings, the Lord of lords. That celestial confidence will secure to us advantages far more precious than those of the earth; more valuable than the most solid national credit, or the most flourishing commerce; advantages more beneficial than triumphant fleets or victorious armies:--that heavenly confidence will secure to us a kingdom immutable and eternal, when those of the earth shall be destroyed; and when the lamps of heaven shall be extinguished, it will occasion us to enjoy for ever an immortal light.' Tooke.

Art. 51. The faithful Soldier and true Christian; and the Miseries of
Rebellion, considered in Two Sermons, preached at the Parish
Church of All-Saints, Northampton, September 9th, 1798. By
William Agutter, A. M. 12mo. 6d. Rivingtons, &c.

Mr. Agutter writes in an ardent and benevolent style, recommending zeal in the cause of our country, and in the practice of every Christian virtue. His well intentioned discourses are likely to


strengthen an attachment to the welfare of this kingdom, and, if properly regarded, to invigorate every Englishman's exertions for his own highest interest as to the present time and the future.


In our review of the Manchester Transactions, (January, p. 47,) we noticed an error concerning the circumstances of the arrival of a body at an apse, in a paper on the Inverse Method of Central Forces. We have since received a letter from a correspondent *, in which we are informed that, in the hurry of transcribing that paper, the writer omitted the words "n greater than q," after those of " suppose y=p."-The insertion of these words effcctually obviates the objection which we adduced, in the case of an orbit described by a force varying as ( diftance); for, in the hypothesis of


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

the ingenious author of the memoir, the force varies as

[ocr errors]

Don x?

and ʼn must be greater than 9-our instance, then, does not apply. In the example given in the memoir, n is made 2, and 9=-1: but this was not sufficient to make us believe, that the assertion concerning the arrival of a body at a second apse was not general. There are so much neatness and skill to admire in the memoir, that we are happy to find our objection obviated.


The communication of Philoteute does not appear to be properly within the plan of our work: we have therefore sent it for insertion in one of the Magazines.

We have received a letter from M. Biset, translator of the Vicar of Wakefield into French, relative to a French ballad copied into our xxivth vol. p. 114. from a miscellaneous work entitled The Quiz, and which is there asserted to have been the original of Goldsmith's celebrated ballad "Turn, gentle Hermit of the Dale." The contrary opinion was maintained by a correspondent, in p. 239-240. of the same volume, and the good faith of Goldsmith was there asserted. M. Biset has taken the trouble of detecting a great number of faults, of all kinds, in the French ballad, which lead him decisively to the opinion that it is not an original composition, but a translation from the English verses of Goldsmith. We have not leisure sufficient to 'enter farther into the dispute, nor do we think that it would interest our readers; for we apprehend that the point has long been decided in their minds.

Mr. Josse's letter is received, and his work is under consideration.

P. 328. line 11. put a full stop after deprehendo.'

* It came to hand a month or two ago, but was mislaid and forgotten.



For AUGUST, 1799.

ART. I. Original Sonnets on various Subjects; and Odes paraphrased from Horace. By Anna Seward. 4to. PP. 179, 6s, 6d. .. sewed. Sael. 1799.

THE public are too well acquainted with the talents of this ingenious and elegant writer, to require any formal intro duction of the present miscellany. She has, on previous occa sions, commanded our applause in the composition of English heroic verse*;-and she now attempts different strains, in which her success will be variously appreciated by her readers, ac cording to their knowlege of the authors whom she imitates. The mere English reader will be gratified by the rich display of imagery, and the poignancy of feeling, which these poems exhibit; while the fastidious critic will hesitate, in several instances, to decide whether the poetess has nearly approached her models.

Few English writers have succeeded in the sonnet. The rules of its versification, though less rigid than those dictated by the French and Italian critics, present great difficulties to the happiest genius for rhime. Hence, though the passion for Italian poetry, which prevailed so strongly in this country during the sixteenth and part of the seventeenth century, rendered the sonnet a very fashionable species of composition; yet only a small number of those verses can now be endured. Their popularity was, indeed, so long suspended, that some of our great poets have entirely neglected them; we do not recollect a single example of them in the works of Dryden and Pope.

Miss Seward has prefaced her collection by some remarks on the structure of sonnets. She distinguishes the regular sonnet, very justly, from those irregular poems, consisting of a few quatrains and a final couplet, which have lately been

* See M. Rev. vol. lxii. p. 458.; lxiv. p. 371.; lxvii. p. 46.; lxxi. P. 335.




improperly referred to the former class. Elegiac verses of this kind are not, however, a recent invention; as witness the beau tiful lines presented to Queen Elizabeth, by Sir Henry Lea : "My golden locks time hath to silver turn'd," &c. the second stanza of which runs thus:

"My helmet now shall make an hive for bees,
And lover's songs shall turn to holy psalms,
A man at arms must now sit on his knees,
And feed on prayers, that are old age's alms,
And so from court to cottage I depart,
My saint is sure of mine unspotted heart.”

There is a curious and accurate account of all the varieties of the English Sonnet, in Drayton's preface to his smaller poems, which may be consulted with advantage; especially as he has proposed several new metres, which may yet become subjects of experiment. From this source, Miss Seward might have derived more useful information, than from the paper in a periodical work to which she refers. The rules in that essay are founded on the practice of Milton, who cannot be regarded as the best model for this kind of composition: for he was greatly excelled in it by Spenser, Drummond (of Hawthornden), and others of the older poets. Perhaps the best modern sonnets are those of EDWARDS, the spirited and accomplished antagonist of Warburton in the field of criticism. They possess a clear elegant strain of poetry, and a touching simplicity, which give a strong interest to every image and allusion.

We have perused the collection before us with considerable pleasure: we have been checked, indeed, by some obscurities, which are never admissible in small poems, and by several prosaic lines; and we have found reason for complaining that, in some of the pieces,

"Pure description holds the place of sense :"

but to these remarks there are many agreeable exceptions. We shall copy one poem, which is both descriptive and pathetic:

[ocr errors]

Written on rising Ground near Lichfield.
The evening shines in May's luxuriant pride,
And all the sunny hills at distance glow,
And all the brooks, that thro' the valley flow,
Seem liquid gold.-O! had my fate denied
Leisure, and power to taste the sweets that glide
Thro' waken'd minds, as the soft seasons go
On their still varying progress, for the woe
My heart has felt, what balm had been supplied?
But where great NATURE smiles, as here she smiles,
'Mid verdant vales, and gently swelling hills,

And glassy lakes, and mazy, murmuring rills,
And narrow wood-wild lanes, her spell beguiles
Th' impatient sighs of Grief, and reconciles
Poetic Minds to Life, with all her ills.'

We were particularly pleased also with the following sonnet:
That song again !-its sounds my bosom thrill,
Breathe of past years, to all their joys allied;
And, as the notes thro' my sooth'd spirits glide,
Dear Recollection's choicest sweets distill,
Soft as the Morn's calm dew on yonder hill,
When slants the Sun upon its grassy side,
Tinging the brooks that many a mead divide
With lines of gilded light; and blue, and still,
The distant lake stands gleaming in the vale.

Sing, yet once more, that well-remember'd strain,
Which oft made vocal every passing gale

In days long fled, in Pleasure's golden reign,

The youth of chang'd HONORA! now it wears
Her air-her smile-spells of the vanish'd years!'

[ocr errors]

Yet the descriptive part of this little piece will appear, to classical readers, too "long-drawn-out," though certainly "with" linked sweetness."-It has not been sufficiently observed, by our poets, that small poems ought to be entirely free not only from faults, but from flatness. The gems of the muse must be rejected, if a single flaw be discernible. True taste is inexorable on this subject; and we are obliged, however unwillingly, to observe that the file has been too sparingly employed in these sonnets. In the very first, we remark an obscure, or at least inelegant expression. We are told that, if the soul throws open the golden gates of Genius,

'She atchieves

His fairy clime delighted'

We shall not stop to examine the happiness of the introductory figure, but what is it to atchieve a climate?.

* In sultry noon when youthful MILTON lay,
Supinely stretch'd beneath the poplar shade,

or to 1

In the 22d sonnet, we are surprised to find the word enthusiasm prolonged to five syllables.

Other remarks of the same kind had occurred to us: but we are far from wishing to find subjects for censure, in the productions of an author whose sex and genius equally entitle her to our respect. We prefer the gratification of our readers, and our own, by inserting the following elegant sport of imagination, relating to a supposed adventure of Milton:

*This romantic circumstance of our great Poet's juvenility was inserted, as a well-known fact, in one of the General Evening Posts in the Spring 1789, and it was there supposed to have formed the first impulse of his Italian journey.'



« PreviousContinue »