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those countries theirs, in which their own chimerical notions of liberty have turned the people's brains with specious and mischievous absurdity.
Breathes there the man, with soulso
After introducing the ballads of three different bards, he finely concludes with the following hymn for the dead.
That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
We pretend not to say we have selected the most beautiful passages of this delightful poem, but they struck us as possessing great force and beauty ; nor do we fear, that those, who can feel with the poet, will think our quotations too long, or numerous. If our admiration, warmly expressed, can induce many to read the book, it may kin
dle the pure and ardent flame of native genius in bosoms, where the spark now lies dormant ; and the view of its rare excellence may repress the presumption of obtrusive poetasters, who would not pester the publick with so many vapid rhymes, clumsily strung together, did they not mistake pertness and self-conceit for brilliant talents and uncommon powers.
The Dramatick Works of William Dunlah, in ten volumes, vol. I. containing—the Father of an only Child, Leicester, Fontainville Abbey, Darby's Return. Philadelphia, printed by T. & G. Palmer, 1 16, High-street. 1806.
This volume contains what the author seems to imagine dramatick performances ; but, in truth, it asfords only four farragos of nonsense, in which the most essential laws of the drama are altogether violated, and the rules of composition disregarded. In these four “plays” for the stage, made worthy of it by “eighteen years” “revision and attachment,” taste, wit, and sentiment take no part ; they do not once enter during their whole performance—ior Mr. Dunlap has very ingeniously, and in a manner peculiar to himself, kefit them behind the scenes.
It might seem unjust to condemn this volume altogether; and no doubt it will appear so, particularly to the author, who “cannot see the propriety of condemning en masse,” and conjectures, that “his readers may perhaps be tempted to lament, that he has soared so often into the heaven of invention.” But we believe, it would be more unjust to weary our readers, by leading their attention through Mr. Dunlap's endless labyrinths of nonsense. If it can be any satisfaction for him to know, that we have waded through his work, he is assured of it ; and we mention it particularly, because it is probable he will never hearthe like again. We believe, that we have cohsulted his interest, when we condemn it en masse ; for,as he threatens the publick with ten volumes, an analysis of the first would never excite a curiosity to behold its brethren. ft is absolutely scandalous to the republick of letters, that works like this should be suffered to issue from the press. It reflects no credit on Mr. D. that, “after eighteen years attachment to the drama, and having revised these plays to the best of his abilities,” he should now intrude them, unmeaning as they are, upon the patronage of the publick. The facility of publication in this country and elsewhere, by which the shelves of the booksellers are crowded with double tiers, is one of the causes, which increase the obscurity of works of merit. We have considered this work as to its stage effect and as to its closet effect, and the only effect, which it seems likely to produce, is, that it may make “the unwary laugh,” “but it will make the judicious grieve”; and we are as fully persuaded, that every intelligent reader, who will take upon himself the task of a Reviewer and put this decision to the proof, will acquiesce in the judgment. After he has become acquainted with the “Father of an only Child,” the horrours of “ Leicester,” passed through “ Fontainville Abbey,” and sces “ Darby's Return,” he will most devoutly wish, that some proper authority would or could
interpose a power to stop the
swelling torrent of the press. But
Rusticus expectat, dum defluat amnis ; at ille
Labitur et labetur, in omne volubilis atyum.
There is one distinction, which we have never before met with, and which may not be uninteresting to our agricultural friends. It is in act II. sc. 1. of “The Father of an only Child”; (by the by, we are very glad this family was no larger.) Susannah, in showing Platoon the gardens, tells him, “there's “pumpkins, potatoes, and turnips, “ and apples and ingons and sich “ like, and that’s round sace ; and “ there’s carrots, and cowcumbers, “ parsnups, and beets and sich; and “ that’s long sace. But whether “mortars grow round or long, “when you plant them in a tulip “ bed, darn me if I know.”
Ten volumes | | | We hope Mr. Dunlap will reconsider this In latter.
The work is adorned with a portrait of Mrs. Wignall, painted by W. Dunlap and engraved by D. Edwin.
ed in England. To many of the audience this might have seemed parade ; and the speaker unhappily encourages the opinion, when he says, “I have taken the liberty to make (of making) these general observations, gentlemen, with no hope of communicating any new information.” On the assignment of rewards the remarks are judicious ; and against the plunderers of the beach huts of the society they rise to animation. But the general tenour of the address is even and stately. The diction is never vulgar, and seldom easy. We find no original thought to engage us; no artful combination of old ones to amuse or to surprise. There is little to censure ; much to approve; but nothing to admire. Pompous language in description of humble things may be stared at awhile ; but when it is understood it becomes ridiculous. Professus grandia, turget. A sneer involuntarily rises at the affectation of an unusual phrase in such a manner as the following. “The leading object of the society is the recovery of persons apparently dead, whether this appearance is (be) occasioned by submersion, suffocation by noxious vapours, or the cord,” &c. “For this purpose, it is common to apply friction, the feather, and powerful salts.” Is any particular feather intended, or is the phrase adopted to dignify the object? “ The first object of the operator is to employ blankets, the heat of a living body, the fire, or the warm bath.” “It is therefore supposed, that it possesses the power of renewing the customary actions of the system.” Custom implies volition. These, and other examples, resemble the strut of youthful imbecility, imitating the dignified gait, but regardless of the easy motions, of manhood.
The idea in the author's mind is not always conveyed with dignity or perspicuity. “No tongue indeed can convey to the understanding the satisfaction, enjoyed by the friends of humanity, when they have delivered an afflarently lifeless corhse, alive and intelligent, to the embraces,” &c. “But this pleasure, from its distance, and refined nature, often loses its influence.” Brevis esse laboro.
These are minor faults, and may pass unobserved by the majority of readers in a hasty perusal ; but the author, we presume, wishes to stand the scrutiny of the observing, and to receive the approbation of the learned.
In the ode to Humanity, for 1806, is a line of unjustifiable boldneSS. Thou canst restore the mystick flame, And aid the efforts of a God.
If there be one theme more favourable for poetry than another, it is this perhaps,which our author has selected. At the mention of home, a thousand images, congeilial to the muse, possess the fancy at once, and we are in greater dai, ger of being distracted by the suiness of matter, which the subject presents, than troubled to conceive about what we shall write. The winter fire-side circle, convened by the inclemency of the season, all the domestick amusements and duties that grow out of the year, the pastimes of childhood, the occupations of age, the intercourse of friends, the attachments of kindred, the history of love, with in
cidents and sentiments in ‘endless variety, are here exhibited to the muse, and invite her to sing. To the poet in particular the subject must be doubly propitious, as we all have a gift at describing pleasures that are removed from our reach, and a propensity to praise what we should like to attain. ...
Home is the resort
w ere, - Supporting and supported, polish'd
friends And dear relations mingle into bliss.
With a field so extensive before him, enlivened with every flower that can gratify sense, it is natural to suppose, that our author would have gathered a bouquet not unworthy to be laid at the feet of the JWine. But in examining his selections, we have met with what is common to other personages than criticks...the disappointment which follows expectations too exalted. We donot deny that he has collected some gems, which are delicately marked and prettily coloured, but he has fewer rose-buds than leaves, and more knot-grass than pinks. He does not present us with a remembrance to be worn in our bosoms on a sabbath or gala, though he affords something perhaps medicinal, and something that is savoury.
In one of his notes, our unknown observes, that dissonant rhymes may be occasionally employed with happy effect; and quotes Pope and Gray for the correctness of the remark. Whether or not poetry contribute to her harmony, by interrupting in this way the chime of her bells, as all ears are not constructed on a similar model, we leave it to our readers to determine for themselves. We would re
Vol. III. No. 10. 3X
mind the prosodiah, however, that Swift regretted, that he had not inspected the translation of the Iliad before it was committed to press, because he wished to have had corrected some unsociable rhymes, which he considered as offensive to cultivated tympanuns. What the censor of Homer would have said to our poem, whose author appears, in his critical notices, to speak one word for rhyme, and a couple for himself, will be readily imagined, when we quote concords like the following. Revive, live ; tie, joy; blooms, comes ; voice, joys; break, cheek; heard, as fear'd ; flood, good; roam, home; foam, home; bloom, home; and many more, that are as distant from chimes as a sheep-bell and cymbal. Had home, this unhappy text-word of the poet, which continually falls on the end of a line, by a small metrical manoeuvre, been otherwise disposed of great pains might have been saved, and less melody murdered. It is at best but a bad part of speech to ring the changes upon, and would have answered much better differently placed in a couplet. Another ground of objection against our poet is, he weakens his versification with a profusion of expletives. Ere while less sweet, they now delight the eye. My heart, that, when the tempest, echoing, past. Here not a sound is heard but boasts a charm. and he has too much to say about Edwin and Emma ; who have sustained, poor unfortunates : the burden of song for rather more than a century, and were deserving before the date of this performance of a quiet interment in the tomb of the Capulets. - But to sprinkle a little praise upon this severity of remark, for
OF NEw PUBLIcATIons IN THE UNITED STATEs For October. --
No. 1. Vol. I. of Flora Carolinaeensis ; or, A Historical, Medical, and Economical Display of the Vegetable Kingdom, according to the Linnaean or sexual system of Botany. Being a collection or compilation of the various plants hitherto discovered and made known by the several authors on Botany, &c. By John L. E. W. Shecut. 8vo. pp.88. This work will consist of at least 12 numbers, of about 80 or 90 pages each, which will form two hexades, that may be bound in two octavo volumcs. Price to subscribers 50 cents, each number. Charleston, S. C. printed for the author by John Hoff.
Reports of Cases, argued and determined in the Supreme Court of Errours
of the state of Connecticut, in the years 1802, 1803, and 1804. By Thomas Day, counsellor at law. Vol. I. 8vo. $3 calf. Hartford, Conn. Hudson & Goodwin. Means of preserving health, and preventing diseases : Founded principally on an attention to air and climate, drink, food, sleep, exercise, clothing, passions of the mind, and retentions and excretions. With an appendix, containing observations on bathing, cleanliness, ventilation, and medical electricity, and on the abuse of medicine. Enriched with apposite extracts from the best authors. Designed not merely for physicians, but for the information of others. To which is annexed, a glossary of the technical terms contained in the work. By Shadrach Rick