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great intervals with a sentiment, which deserves either censure or approbation. It is a vast Serbonian bog, where there is nothing to bear up his steps. Every thing sinks beneath sim, nor can the eye glance far enough to behold an inch of solid ground, on which to rest its hopes. Declamation, without genius or spirit, false reasoning, without ingenuity enough to be called sophistry, and an inveterate hostility to the rules of grammar and composition, are principal features in this performance. In the very first paragraph he valorously takes up arms against the “monarchick sway” of grammar. “We will [shall] neither be able to reflect with accuracy,” &c. In the same page he says, “Political institution should emphatically be considered as that science, which proposes for its object the promotion of general felicity.”— Words may be emphatically spoken, and perhaps, by a figure, emfihatically written, but who ever heard of considering, or deliberating on a subject emphatically 2– Yet, as Mr. W. has no emphasis in his book, perhaps we ought to indulge him in claiming it for his brain. Farther on, he says, “civil society, as well as her sister sciences” &c. We open the book, by accident, at the 65th page, and from that, and those immediately following, will transcribe a few paragraphs, as specimens of Mr. W.’s style and sentiments. The first sentence which meets our eye is this. Speaking of poetry and metaphyMicks, he observes, “ such are the studies which elude the utmost frofundity of intellect”. He proceeds. “Not so with rational politicks. Every truth is luminous; every principle is clear, perspicuVol.-III. No. 19. 3.W
ous, and determinable ; its doctrines are establishcd in the common sentiments and feelings of mankind ; its positions are maintained and enforced by universal experience.” Does not Mr. W. know that political science has, more than any other, divided the opinions of mankind, and that, after a discussion of many centuries, very few principles are yet settled : What “position” of politicksis maintained by universal experience : Can he name one, that has been received by the one millionth part of the population of the world since the creation ? In page 67 are these shrewd remarks. “Man, therefore, is the only actor upon whatever theatre human conduct is destined to become exhibited. To whatever object our imagination is extended, to the statesman in the cabinet, the philosopher in his closet, or the hero in the field ; wherever we direct our contemplation, to battles and to sieges, negociations or hostility, treaties of peace, convention of commerce, or declaration of war; it is man that acts and suffers.” Wonderful counsellor . Have you then discovered that human beings alone can be the authors of Juman actions : Page 68. “ The duties attached to the intercourse of nations and individuals, arise from the identical sountain of obligation, and must therefore be, in a great measure, familiar to every understanding.” Page 69. “Without pretensions to superiour discernment, every person can as easily perceive what couduct in one nation violates the rights, and operates to the detriment of another, or what acts of a government infallibly terminate in personal injury and oppression, Hence then it is an obvious position, that every intelligent being must necessarily possess a sufficient standard of political discrimination. Can the obstinacy of scepticism demand still farther illustration ?” No, no, illustrious Tunis, the “obstinacy of scepticism” is a weak, shivering victim beneath the scy meter of such logick. It doubts of nothing while you reason, although you should attempt to prove the muddiness of your own brain. In page 171 are the following sentiments, which come fresh and strong’ from the school of Godwin. “It has been rendered sufficiently plain, that a virtuous government cannot become materially injured by misrepresentation ; for the most acrimonious and violent invectives will be the most open to detection. Why then should punishment be inflicted Will the confinement of my body within a prison, or the removal of my property to the publick treasury, render me a better man & Will such severity be calculated to conciliate my affections towards the government 2 or will it be likely to inspire me with lasting resentment? If I have been guilty of malicious detraction, let corroding Envy, sickening Jealousy, and vulture passions torture and prey upon my heart. Believe me, I should be punished by misery more agravated, than the horrours of an inquisition.” This is genuine. The disciple has excelled the master. These sentiments are too good to die with a first reading. Let us view them in another shape. The doctrines, which Tunis so ingeniously applies to cases of malicious libel, must be equally applicable to other transgressions of the law. On mur
der, for instance, he would reason in the same way. “It has been rendered sufficiently plain, that society
cannot be materially injured by the
death of one individual: for the most barbarous and violent deeds will be the most open to detection. Why then should punishment be inflicted on a murderer Will the confinement of my body within a prison, will chains or the gallows render me a better man 2 Will such severity be calculated to conciliate my affections towards society or will it be likely to inspire me with lasting resentment? If I have been guilty of wilful murder, let corroding Envy, sickening Jealousy, and vulture passions torture and prey upon my heart. Believe me, I should be punished by misery more aggravated, than all the horrours of hemp” . . . Such are the torrents of nonsense, which a man, who calls himself a counsellor, is capable of pouring forth, as a subject closely connected with his professional studies. Believe us, Mr. Counsellor, if these be your sentiments, the cap and bells would become you more than the long robe, and you would shew better in Bedlam, than the Forum. * , Aluf. 56. : The Lay of the Last Minstrel, a foem, by Walter Scott, Esq.Hugh Maxwell, Philadelphia. 12 mo. 1805.
This work is neatly and accurately re-printed, and is a good specimen of the rapid progress, which this country is making towards typographical excellence.
European Reviewers have so justly displayed the beauties, and appreciated the merits of this interesting composition, that we have little, if any thing, to add to their remarks; but we cordially join them in praising a poem, which has afforded us exquisite pleasure, and which “has raised its author to a permanent rank among the classical poets of his country.” In towns, where trade occupies every thought, at all times and seasons, and in every company monopolizes the greatest share of conversation; where its maxims and spirit pervade every class of society, and weuld confine all mental exertion within its own contracted sphere ; it must be peculiarly gratifying to the few, whose faculties are not shackled and benumbed, to read of other times, of other manners, of other men ; with different objects in view, with more ardent, as well as nobler passions ; and whose vices, while they neither exceeded in number or enormity those of later times, were balanced by many virtues; among which unbounded generosity, steady friendship, faithful love, and heroick valour, shone conspicuous. It is therefore with great satisfaction, that we strongly recommend, to the rising generation particularly, this vivid effort of genius and learning; but as it is probable more attention will be paid to samfiles, than to mere recommendation, we shall select a few specimens, and vouch for the goodness of the whole. The introduction is poetical and interesting in the highest degree. An aged Minstrel, wandering near the Castle of Branksome, was admitted by the Dutchess of Buccleugh, and, after being hospitably treated, to gratify her and her ladies, he sings to his harp a tale of arms and chivalry, in which the
names and actions of her ancestors are commemorated.
Amid the strings his fingers strayed, And an uncertain warbling made— And oft he shook his hoary head. But when he c the measure wild, The old man raised his face, and smiled, And lightened up his faded eye, With all a poet's ecstacy In varying cademce, soft or strong, He swept the sounding chords along; The present scene, the future lot, His toils, his wants, were all forgot; Cold diffidence, and age's frost, In the full tide of song were lost. Each blank, in faithless memory void, The poet's glowing thought supplied; And, while his harp responsive rung, 'Twas thus the LATEs.T MIN's TREL
sung. P. 12. '
Those, who have any relish for the beautiful and sublime, will be ` charmed with his description of Melrose abbey.
If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moon-light; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray. When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafted oriel glimmers white; When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruined central tower; When buttress and buttress, alternately, Seem framed of ebon and ivory ; When silver cdges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die ; When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave ;
Then go—but go alone the while—
Then view Saint David's ruined pile,
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair
But the imagery and language in the following pages are awful and terrifick in the extreme, when William of 1)eloraine, who was sent to the monk of St. Mary's aisle, opens the tomb of the cele
brated Michael Scot, to take from thence his book of magick.
The pillared arches were over their head,
And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead—
-Still spoke the monk, when the bell tolled one – I tell you that a braver man Than William of Deloraine, good at need, Against a foe ne'er spurred a steed Yet somewhat was he chilled with dread, And his hair did bristle upon his head.
“Lo, warrior now the cross of red
With beating heart, to the task he went ; His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent ; With bar of iron heaved amain, Till the toil-drops fell from his brows like rain. It was by dint of passing strength, That he moved the massy stone at length. I would you had been there to see, How the light broke forth so gloriously; Streamed upward to the chancel roof, And through the galleries far aloof No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright: It shone like heaven's own blessed light; And issuing from the tomb, Shewed the monk's cowl, and visage pale ; Danced on the dark-brow’d warrior's mail, And kissed his waving plume.
Before their eyes the wizard lay, As if he had not been dead a day :
His hoary head in silver rolled,
After this scene of horrour, the imagination is gradually composed, and soothed with the tenderness of love and beauty. Where are two figures to be found more happily designed, and finely contrasted, than Margaret of Branksome, and “Baron Henry, her own true knight”
A fairer pair were never seen
When arrived at this part of his lay, the old Minstrel breaks off, and observing the interest he had excited in female bosoms, he says,
And now fair dames, methinks I see,
—Ye ween to hear a tender tale—
Alas! fair dames your hopes are vain My harp has lost the enchanting strain : Its lightness would my age reprove; My hairs are gray, my limbs are old, My heart is dead, my veins are coldI may not, must not, sing of w; 49