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In the first scene of the second act there occurs a passage of infinite splendour, which I select for quotation, not solely on that account, but as it affords a fair specimen of the sublime style by which the whole work is distinguished. Speaking of the sun, the poet says,
the clouds have past,
In the same act, we have a most mind-stirring and magnificent description of Rome in tumult :
You hear the people's shouts !
In this act also appears the terrible lamentation of Catiline over his son:
Here's my hope-
The same act is enriched with an awful picture of a fair country ravaged by the oppressor.
Our fields are desolate,
In the third act, Hamilcar's delineation of the gems, is well worthy of the Muse of Dryden; and so is Aspasia's definition of Love, which finishes with such force and fire :
tell of gentle lives,
Dried into dust by the wild flame of Love;
Even this is excelled by a view of rural life, in the fifth act; and equalled in many other parts of this transcendent production. But it is not exaggeration to affirm that Catiline, if thoroughly examined, would be esteemed, by good judges, the pride of modern British literature. It will be so hereafter; yet now—who talks of Croly's Catiline ?
Another work by the same hand has always struck me as exhibiting most extraordinary powers ; I mean the “ Tales of the Great St. Bernard.” But it may be said of the writer, as Johnson says of Goldsmith on his marble, that there is scarcely any kind of writing which he has not tried, and that whatever he has produced has come forth embellished by the brilliancy of his genius. Already known as the author of “Salathiel,” and many other effusions in prose and verse, and with an established reputation as a poet, a scholar, and a critic, he has, in the “ Tales,” without the aid of versification, as has been admitted, increased not only his literary, but his poetical, renown,
No one who recollects what the definition of true poetry is, can hesitate to assign a very high place indeed, among efforts in the glorious calling of the poet, to these Tales. They abound, especially in the serious portions, in glowing imagery, descriptions the most faithful and vivid, and an adaptation of language to its legitimate purpose, surpassing nearly everything either in prose or verse which these times can show. Extravagant, as this assertion may appear to some, I feel convinced that, from the volumes alluded to, I could, without any trouble, save the toil of transcribing, bring forward a thousand instances in support of what I have advanced. But -where beauties are so numerous as, literally, to sparkle in every page, I shall content myself with the above general observations, and refer my reader for proofs to the books themselves.
PERSONAL SKETCHES OF HIS OWN TIMES.
BY SIR JONAH BARRINGTON.*
This publication by Sir Jonah Barrington, in two volumes octavo, belongs to the class of autobiography, and is, on that account, entitled to some excuse, Besides, it contains various proofs of talent, much interesting political discussion, anecdotes of eccentric individuals, and many curious miniature likenesses of distinguished public characters. But it also contains an incalculably greater quantity of downright nonsense, absurdity, and vulgarity than could, perhaps, be found in any other work of its kind in any known language. It is, moreover, carelessly written, and as carelessly printed.
* London, 1827.
Page 22, vol. i. In making mention of a female relative of his family, his great aunt Elizabeth, Sir J. says, “She contrived besides, a species of defence that I have not seen mentioned in the · Peccata Hibernia,' or any of the murderous annals of Ireland.” This mistake in the spelling of the word pacata may be intentional: it is too gross to be the effect of ignorance, and strongly resembles the author's manner of being pleasant.
Page 50. “ Attachment of the Irish country people to all whom they thought would protect or procure them justice.”
A careless or even slovenly style affords no apology for a person, belonging, as Sir J. B. did, to a learned profession, who allows this common, but egregious grammatical blunder, to appear in his page. A well-taught boy of twelve years old would know that whom cannot govern the verb would. The words “they thought," being in a parenthesis, though not so marked, the sentence should have
-“ whom they thought likely to protect,” &c. Page 61. “ Some of the most distinguished of my contemporary collegians.” This is a perfect specimen of Sir J. B.'s general mode of composition. The gentlemen in question might have been his fellow collegians, or his contemporaries when at the