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While, conscious ev'ry step we tread,
Ev'n here, my friend, in nature's plan
From the foregoing abstract of our Author's moral and philosophical principles, we may venture to conclude, that however fingular and mistaken he may be in some particulars of his credenda, his fyftem, nevertheless, upon the whole, is by no means derogatory from religion and virtue: and he appears to us to have treated metaphysical subjects with a laudable freedom of enquiry ; though it must be owned that in some instances he has, unwarily perhaps, approached too near the borders of infidelity.
We must not omit to inform the Reader, that this work is embellished with head-pieces and tail-pieces elegantly engraved, and representing emblematical figures, which bear striking allufions to the subject of the poem. When engravings thus serve both for entertainment and illustration, the engraver is ncc called in vain to the assistance of the poet.
The Visitations of the Almighty. A Poem. Inscribed to her
Grace the Duchess of Queensberry and Dover. Part the First, 40. Is. Robinson, &c. THIS anonymous Writer informs us, that the entire Poem,
I which is now to consist of four parts, had been so planned originally, as to be published in one ; which he intended to
om te conlitho voor paris hin oprema have inscribed to the late earl of Drumlanrig. But that young nobleman's decease occasioning a melancholy pause, let the Author on reconsidering his work; the consequence of which was a division of his subject, and a more diftinét arrangement of it. The particular topics of the present publication are, Famine and Pestilence. The subsequent ones are to pourtray Insurrections, War, Land- Hurricanes, Sea-Storms, Inundations, fiery Eruptions from Volcanos, Earthquakes and Confiagrations; whence our Readers may readily infer the distinct lubjects of each in this dreadful bill of fare, of which the human race have,, at different periods, already partaken, and must hereafter partake, until the termination of the scene and subjects of them. Besides the general and manifest intention of detaching the group of our Mort-lived generations from their extreme if not sole attention to an old and decaying world, to a con. templation of the temporary horrors and physical evils inflicted by the Omnipotent, our Author acknowleges, in addressing his noble patroness, a particular inclination to divert her from too preying an attention to a private, though most interesting affliction, by transporting her imagination
To regions where, amidit surrounding woes,
Fades at the glare by public rivin cait!
· Indeed these subjects do not seem to have been selected by our Poet, without previously estimating his abilities to display them. He is generally happy in description ; his figures and their attitudes are striking and just, and his colours sufficiently glowing. Having observed, that a famine, (by which he means a general onė, a total want of herbage and all provision) attacks the brute creation first, he thus delineates, as it were, the familhing state of some of them.
Along the mountain slopes,
In his itall
And asks the pittance he would gladly pay
The faithful dog, ev’n faithful in distrets,
Dies almost unrepining. Such melancholy situations of the most useful animals very naturally induce the not wholly unpleasing emotions of humane concern and sympathy : but in the most extreme instances of human distress from famine, we think a few of the representations are full strong, if not rather horrid, as in the following.
-- where children, friends,
Tnat trickle from her eyes. He closes the scene of famine by an irruption of the beasts of prey into cities already depopulated by it, and by their devour. ing each other at last, after a consumption of all such other food as shocks the imagination. The impossibility of this last instance, however, occurring among ourselves, affords some such consolation to an English Reader, as Lucretius supposes a man on shore may have, in contemplating the danger of a ship in a violent storm- quibus ipse malis careas quia cernere suave eft.
The instances of particular misery from the peftilence are not ill imagined, nor unfeelingly expreiled. That of the father of a family surviving them all, and dying at last from the force of contagion aggravated by grief, is perhaps the most affecting.
- Oppreit with woes,
love! cracks loud;
Look terror, agony, despair, and love!
He sinks, embrace, thivers, groans and dies. Having thus cited such paffages from this poem, as appear to us not the least affecting, we shall submit a night exception or two to the judgment of our readers, and to the ingenious Author's consideration.— In detailing the mileries of famine, he says,
Where presling croads with eaç er fi:gers leize
And ev'ry fiich edaciously devour. Here we suppose the well known word voraciously avoided as too synonymous, and, as we may say, too symphonous, with devour ; and this probably was not amiss : but edacioufly, which we conceive this gentleman has first coin'd, seems to add little or no force to the verb it precedes here, as it was intended to do, which may be partly owing to its entire novelty; since, like Virgil's fame, it may gather strength from a further progress. But while it is acknowledged to be neither unpoetical, rough, nor form'd contrary to analogy, perhaps a coarser sound might be more proper and energic in the expresion of this indelicate image. We are by no means for censuring the poetical liberty of the word itself, being fufficiently mindful of the liberal concessions of Horace t on such points; besides which, it seems as if the very genius of our language delighted both in deriving and compounding boldly, and, like the fpeakers of it, exulted in liberty.
It is only upon such a principle, that the expression of liftless limbs, p. 24. can be dispensed with, as it is not formd strictly according to the plain analogy of our language. The final morofyllable less in composition is very rarely, if ever, annexed to verbs, but entirely perhaps to fubftantives, which it converts into adjectives, with a negative or privative construction, as in
* Sublimales are the medicines produced from the substances which Cuemiltry, whence this metaphor is taken, jublimis: and though the former may have been inattentively admitted as a verb, by some de. (int Writer, yet if it was not originally a meer vulgarism, it is cerTa nly more corrupt than elegant. Could analogy futter it, it must be a: a frequentative of the verb, to sublime.
t - piatoribus atque poecis
lifeless, difeless, deathless, motionless, thoughtless, (not moveless nor thinklefs) and a multitude of such other words. The following line, p. 24.
- In ev'ry form distemper can assume, And all terrific! was probably intended as an elegant construction or extension of the verb to assume, but it reads a little hard to us, and more exceptionable here with in than invade would have been. The hysteric disease may be said to assume many forms, but to invade in many. Stagnate occurs twice or thrice as a participle (the common way of forming them beyond the Tweed) for ftagna, ted or flagrant, one of which we think should be preferred, if it were only to distinguish it from the verb. Many such little circumstances of our language, which occasion no obscurity among ourselves, produce no small perplexity to foreigners; and the literal sameness of our spelling different parts of speech, from the same root, proves a considerable fund of difficulties to them. Now as a disposition to learn English seems to increase on the continent, it would be but polite, and cannot be impolitic, to encourage the diffusion of it, as our enemies have done of theirs fome centuries past.
We have been the more particular, and perhaps even somewhat minute in these few, and not unfriendly strictures, from the Author's having promised three subsequent parts to compleat his poem: and as we have no formal academy for the cultivation or standard of our tongue, we think every learned and ingenious writer should be rather the more attentive to observe, for his own part, and for the sake of his readers, the elegance, the pusity, and the perspicuity of it.
The Art of Land-measuring explained, In five parts, viz.
1. Taking dimensions. 2. Finding contents. 3. Laying out ground. 4. Dividing. And s. Planning. With an Appendix concerning instruments. By John Gray, teacher of the mathemathics at Greenock, and land-measurer. 8vo. 55. Glaso
gow printed, and fold by Wilson and Durham, London. N ECESSITY, according to the common proverb, is
TV the mother of invention, and to this the art of surveying, in particular, owed its origin. The annual inundations of the Nile, destroying the marks which bounded the lands of different persons, the ancient Egyptians were under a necessity of measuring to every person his respective quantity of land every year; but how far they improved the art of surveying cannot now be known. Perhaps, as it owed its origin to ncceflity, so it was never carried by them to