« ForrigeFortsæt »
The lovers die in each others arms, Nor found one sunny resting-place, and the Peri carries up to paradise the Nor brought him back one branch of grace ! farewell sigh breathed by the devoted
“ There was a time,” he said, in mild maid. The reader of this part of the Heart-humbled tones-"thou blessed child ! poem will not fail to observe a most I looked and prayed like thee-but now”
When young and haply pure as thou, striking similarity in the description of He hung bis head_each nobler aim, the death of these lovers, to the death
And hope, and feeling, which had slept of Frankfort and Magdalene, in Mr From boyhood's hour, that instant cảme Wilson's “ City of the
Plague,” which Fresh o'er him, and he wepthe wept !" indeed Mr Moore himself notices, with high commendation of the corresponde The Peri carries a tear of penitence ing passage. A coincidence so strike to Paradise--the gates unfold and ing, and yet so entirely accidental, may the angel welcomes her into eternal serve to shew the folly of those critics bliss. who are for ever raising the cry of We think this poem, on the whole, plagiarism, and who cannot conceive the most beautiful and characteristhe souls of two poets affected by the tic of all Mr Moore's compositions. breath of the same inspiration. --But Though wild and fanciful, it everyeven this holy sigh fails to win admit- where makes an appeal to the heart; tance to the Peri, who, once more wing- and we can allow the flight of a Peri ing her way to the Holy Land, floats to be described with more gorgeous through the dying sunshine hat and brilliant colouring, than the real bathes Mount Lebanon, and, circling or imaginary travels of an ordinary the ruins of the Temple of the Sun at mortal. Accordingly, the ornamental Balbec, alights beneath the shadow of and descriptive parts, though long and its ruined columns. Here she sees a. protracted, never weary, and we willbeautiful child at play among the rosy ingly resign ourselves up to a delightwild-flowers, while a man of a fierce ful dream. It might not perhaps have and savage aspect dismounts from his been in Mr Moore's power to have steed, in all the perturbation of guilt opened the gate of the dungeon-soul and remorse.
of guilt, and brought into our ears all
the terrible sounds that disturb its “ Yet tranquil now, that man of crime (As if the balmy evening time
haunted darkness. He has followed Softened his spirit) looked, and lay a safer 'course, and confined himself Watching the rosy infant's play :
rather to the outward signs of remorse Though still, whene'er his eye by chance than its inward agonies. There is Fell on the boy's, its lurid glance
therefore nothing in this tale that can Met that unclouded joyous gaze,
entitle Mr Moore to be classed with As torches, that have burned all night
those Poets who have penetrated into Through some impure and godless rite, Encounter morning's glorious rays.
the deepest and darkest
recesses of the "But, hark! the vesper-call to prayer,
soul; but there is much in it to renAs slow the orb of day-light sets,
der him worthy of taking his place au Is rising sweetly on the air,
mong the best of those whose genius From SYRIA's thousand minarets ! has breathed a new beauty over innoThe boy has started from the bed
cence and virtue. Of flowers where he had laid his head,
We shall give our readers an acAnd down upon the fragrant sod
count, in our next Number, of the Kneels, with his forehead to the south, Lisping the eternal name of God
two remaining poems, the “ Fire Wor, From purity's own cherub mouth,
shippers," and the “ Light of the And looking, while his hands and eyes
Haram.” We may perhaps then speak Are lifted to the glowing skies,
a little more at length of Mr Moore's Like a stray babe of Paradise,
faults, which we indistinctly feel to Just lighted on that flowery plain,
be numerous, and blended, we fear And seeking for its home again!
incurably, with his merits. But we Oh, 'twasasight—that Heaven-that Child wished, at present, to give those of A scene, which might have well beguild
our readers who have not seen the voEv'n haughty EBLIs of a sigh For glories past, and peace gone by!
lume an idea of its general character ; And how felt he, the wretched man,
and this, we hope, we have done more Reclining there while memory ran
effectually by the means now pursued, O'er many a year of guilt and strife, than if we had indulged ourselves in Flew o'er the dark flood of his life, minute and captious criticism. VOL. I.
Memoirs of the Life and Writings was a part of the half-yearly payment
of George Buchanan. By DAVID of that pension. As for the finer IRVING, LL.D. The Second Edi- shades of his personal character, we tion. 8vo. pp. 486. Blackwood, have no materials on which to ground Edinburgh. Cadell and Davies, a fair account of them,--and mere pres London, 1817.
sumption, in this case, is neither hom GEORGE BUCHANAN is an instance of nest nor useful. But we think that more various excellence thau belongs the opening of his “ Admonitioun" is to any man of his time. He was, in clearly illustrative of a genteel modes Latin, a lyric and dramatic poet, -an ty of demeanour, and an arch suavity historian, -and the most rational and of manner, nearly allied to generosity accomplished writer on politics of that and vigour of mind, and far removed age ;-and all this with a spirit of free from pedantry or bigotry. The passdom, which Milton and Sydney, a
age would do honour to the adroit century afterwards, did not excel, and politeness of a modern adviser, with a grammatical accuracy of which
For his vigorous determination of Quintilian himself might have
mind, and strong sense of independe
approved. As a practical politician, he ence, the story related by James Melwas firm, moderate, and judicious ;
vin, among other instances, may sufa too high-minded to adopt all the fer. fice. A year before the death of the vour of vulgar prejudice-while he historian, while his health was declinwas essentially bound in mind and ing, Andrew Melvin and his nephew, heart to the popular cause, –and too James, paid him a visit ; and findings independent to make common interest that in the latter part of his history, with an ignorant and selfish nobility, rather freely of the conduct of Queen
which was then at press, he had spoken or to flatter the weaknesses of a pe- Maryin the affair of Rizzio, ventured to dantic monarch; though in the one body he could see a part more worthy express their fears that the king would than the rest, and, in the other, issue a prohibition against the work. something that was to be supported
“Tell me, man,” said Buchanan, if
-“ Yes, sir, as belonging to the chief magistrate of I have told the truth?". the nation. It is pleasing to speak of replied his cousin, " I think so. such a man in the language of Mil
“ Then," rejoined the dying historiton.
an, “ I will abide his feud, and all
his kin's. Pray to God for me, and “ A better senator ne'er held let him direct all." The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, As an historian, he is remarkable repellid
for the classical purity and richness of The fierce Epirot, and the Afran bold ; his diction,--and commendable, in so Whether to settle peace, or to unfold The drift of hollow states, hard to be spell’d;
far as regards events that approach his Then to advise how war may, best upheld,
own times, for the spirit and
sooth. Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, fastness” of his narration,-as well as In all her equipage : besides, to know for a high-minded regard to the liberBoth spiritual power and civil, what each ties and happiness of mankind. Of
his dialogue, “ De Jure Regni," we What severs each.”
can only say, that it brings him far
beyond his age,--and that coupling As an officer of the government, he its invaluable principles, which are was disinterested, and as useful and those of our English revolution, with intelligent as we can imagine of one its exquisite Latinity, it is the finest who had a large previous acquaintance prose composition by any modern in with mankind-great natural acute- the language of ancient Rome. ness, and an intimate friendship and In this work, as well as in his his" connexion with the wisest statesmen tory, the maxims of free government, of his day. His noble generosity, and though they be too frequently and contempt of all pecuniary advantages, carefully sanctioned, as was the pracmay be inferred from the fact, that tice of his time, by references to clasthough he had been preceptor to the sical story, and though they attach too king, and enjoyed some of the most much to the ancient problem of tyranni, honourable and lucrativeappointments, cide, are wonderfully distinct. To their along with a pension of five hundred exclusive honour, however, it must be pounds, -yet all he died possessed of said, that they bear not the least evi
dence of having been written under tion, and almost attraction, even to à feudal despotism. A few sentences the grossest historical fables of an ignear the close of his history, which he norant and credulous people. --preputs into the mouth of Morton at a con- serving its equilibrium in the heats vention of the nobles held at Stirling, and sallies of civil commotion, not afford full proof of this assertion. They forcing mankind, or expecting greatly contain the germ of all the modern of them, in any way so much as by & improvements in government, and are clear and extended view of their innot inferior to any thing in the Defen- terests. There are passages of the sio pro populo Anglicano.*
“ Admonitioun,"* which have remindHis poetry has the rare quality of ed us of the invectives of Burke, in his delighting, by its niceness of adjust- " Letters on a Regicide Peace.” ment, and its musically measured ca Dr Irving discusses every circumdence, while it is more adequately stance connected with the life of Bureplenished with ideas, than perhaps chanan, and much of what relates to that of any subsequent writer of Latin the literary men of his time in Europe, verse, For a ready instance of the with extreme accuracy. The account two first qualities, it is sufficient to re- of the Portuguese literati is copious, fer any one who remembers the de- and possesses the interest of making light with which he first perused it, an English reader acquainted with auto the dedicatory epigram addressed to thors not generally known. This part, Queen Mary before the translation of however, and the notices of those learnthe psalms. As proof that Buchanan ed men with whom Buchanan was wrote from the impulse of a full mind, connected, are digressions ;--and, as as well as for the gratification of one they are long and particular, they lead of the finest poetical earsfew lines us away from the main story,--so that from his ode to May might suffice. ordinary persons may forget whether There is no better verse in all Bem- they are reading the memoirs of Bubus or Fracastorius, and very little chanan, or of Turnebus, Muretus, or poetry any where equal to the whole Govea. We are also so unfortunate as to of that fine ode, for moral tenderness, think, that these digressive discussions and an exquisite sensitiveness of fancy, sometimes oblige us to read of names which looks to nature and all times, as which may be safely consigned to oblithey are associated with human feel- vion, and to refer to authors, who, ings.
without any offence against good manIn the characters and situations of ners, might remain in their protracted Knox and of Buchanan, there were obscurity. To those inquirers, whose some peculiar similarities, and some familiarity with the learned languages differences equally striking. Both were may not equal their laudable thirst for ardent lovers of liberty, both vehe knowledge, a full account of Buchanment in their tempers, both had been an's pursuits and connections is valutried in scenes of disappointment and able :-but to this end, it is not necesa incertitude far from their native land, sary that we should resuscitate all the and both were ultimately brought dry bones that ever wore an academiinto the strong current of popular po- cal gown during his stay at the contie litics by a chain of imposing events, nental seats of learning. which it was not unnatural that the fer Dr Irving is a moderate, and there vid imaginations and enthusiastic pro- fore a rational, though a firm friend pensities, which are most nourished in of civil and religious liberty; and we a period of reformation, should have meet in this book with passages which regarded as influenced by the special are far superior to the cold and lifeless and direct interposition of the Almigh- speculations of a mere scholar,--and, ty. In matters of taste and judgment, assuredly, of an higher strain than a however, there was no such parallel. careless or impatient reader might In the lucidus ordo animi, Buchanan be apt to perceive, or ready to adleaves Knox far behind. His is the mit, if he only looked to their comtrue mens sana, giving elegance of dic
• Dr Irving has shewn a commendable See p. 729 of the Edit. Amsterodami, attention to the completeness of his work, 1649. " Hujus quoque juris expressum, by printing this very curious tract in the &c.
pactness and simplicity of enuncia Dr Irving's taste for classical litera. tion. There is an exemplary cool- ture is pure and highly informed. He ness of judgment, and calmness of has been advantageously known to the manner, about our author, which public for several years, as the author is strongly evinced in the manage- of a very complete and useful little ment of this biography. He never book on the elements of composition ; attempts to reason his reader into an and his own style, if it wants variety admiration of his theme, by supposing and softness, is not tinged with any motives which the most clear exposi- thing like vulgarity. The most accution of Buchanan's conduct, or the rate scrutiny could not produce from most obvious construction of his own the whole of this volume more than language, when he speaks for himself, two or three instances of peculiarity of would not fully warrant. He may diction, or violation of the idiom of fail in ease, or variety, or graphical our language. The whole shews a delineation ;-but he has no fits of taste which has been formed on the languor. He has energy without in- best models--or rather, which always vective, or assumption, or declamac seems so much under the guidance of tion, or straining for effect. All this a judgment remarkable for clearness, may be called inane mediocrity, by method, and order, as to require no those who love a continual smartness models to work from. of manner and fulness of assertion, The former edition of this book and it may not half please those ar. contained some asperities of controdent spirits who look back on times versy, all of which are suppressed. that are gone as better than our times, Throughout the whole, there is not a and on the men as perfect who sup- single attempt to flatter vulgar preported their speculative opinions stren- judices;- and what is still more viruously and successfully in practice at tuous, because there is a temptation to a period of revolution, trying enough, it which is always more difficult to rewe confess, to internal vigour and ca- sist,we never find this manly writer pacity of action. But it appears to affording the incense of adulation to our old-fashioned eyes, that a man great names, or foisting in the pretenevinces accurate taste, and a masculine sions of some considerable living pera understanding, when he never attempts son, in order to speak courteously of to raise his subject out of its natural them. We know no biographer or limits. In history and biography, sem historian, who could more firmly exvere truth is a cardinal requisite. The claim, fiat justicia, than Dr Irving; one can never be honestly made an and as we are quite sure that his agreeable tale, made up of something book is a full and trust-worthy record, that did occur, and more that might So we are convinced that it will be imagined, --nor the other sately be long valued by the judicious few rendered a partial pleading, calculated who expect moderately, and judge to bring a frail man much nearer per- coolly. We bid farewell to him and fection than his own estimate of him- to it with a feeling of respect, and self, or the opinion of his contempor- something like regret that our limits aries, could ever have led him to aspire not allow us to expatiate longer on to. The literary, as well as personal the merits of either. character of our age is remarkable, we think, for a struggling vivacityman appearance of easy powerfulness and careless vigour, which seems to attempt The Craniad, or Spurzheim Illustrated; and accomplish great things, more by a Poem, in two parts. 12mo. Blacka strenuous grasp of first principles, wood, Edinburgh, 1817. and a rapid felicity of representation, than by patient thought and a silent The Craniad is the worst poem we attention to the truth of particulars. have now in Scotland. The author Dr Irving's self-denying sobriety in has it in his power at once to decide speculation, and full attention to the the great craniological controversy; truth of history, point him out as an Let him submit his skull to general honourable exception from those pe- inspection, and if it exhibits a single culiarities which future ages may con- intellectual organ, Spurzheim's theory sider as the odd variety of our own. is overthrown.
Manfred. A Dramatic Poem. By poetry, of the most irresistible and
Lord Byron. 8vo. Murray, Lon- overpowering pathos, in which the don, 1817.
depth of his sympathy
sorrows and common sufferers, seems as Lord Byron has been elected by profound as if his nature knew nothing acclamation to the throne of poetical more mournful than sighs and tears. supremacy; nor are we disposed to We have no intention of drawing question, his title to the crown. There Lord Byron's poetical character, and breathes over all his genius an air of have been led, we know not how, into kingly dignity; strength, vigour, ener. these very general and imperfect obgy, are his attributes; and he wields servations. But perhaps the little we his faculties with a proud conscious- have said may in some degree shew, ness of their power, and a confident why hitherto this great poet has dealt anticipation of their effect. Living so seldom with the forms of the expoets perhaps there are, who have ternal world. He has so deeply looked taken a wider range, but none who into the soul of man, and so intensely have achieved such complete, such per. sympathized with all the struggles fect triumphs. In no great attempt there that he has had no feelings or has he ever failed; and, soon as he passions to fling away on the mere begins his flight, we feel that he is earth he inhabits. But it is evident to soar upon unflagging wings--that that the same powers, which he has so when he has reached the black and gloriously exerted upon man as their tempestuous elevation of his favourite subject, would kindle up and enlighten, atmosphere, he will, eagle-like, sail on or darken and disturb, the features undisturbed through the heart of of external nature; and that, if he so clouds, storms, and darkness.
willed it, his poetry, instead of being To no poet was there ever given so rife with wrath, despair, remorse, awful a revelation of the passions of the and all other agitating passions, human soul. He surveys, with a stern might present an equally sublime asdelight, that tumult and conflict of semblage of woods, glens, and mounterrible thoughts from which other tains,- of lakes and rivers, cataracts highly gifted and powerful minds have and oceans. In the third canto of involuntarily recoiled; he calmly and Childe Harold, accordingly, he has fearlessly stands upon the brink of that delivered up his soul to the impulses abyss from which the soul would seem of Nature, and we have seen how that to shrink with horror; and he looks high communion has elevated and down upon, and listens to, the ever- sublimed it. He instantly penetrated lasting agitation of the howling waters. into her heart, as he had before into There are "in his poetry feelings, the heart of Man; and, in a few thoughts, sentiments, and passions, months of solitary wandering among that we at once recognise to be human, the Alps, his soul became as deeply though we know not whence they embued with her glory and magnificome: they break upon us like the cence, as if, from youth, he had dedisudden flash of a returning dream, cated himself to no other power, and like some wild cry from another world. had for ever devoutly worshipped at And even those whose lives have had her altar. He leapt at once into the little experience of the wilder passions, first rank of descriptive poets. He came for a moment feel that an unknown into competition with Wordsworth region of their own souls has been ree upon his own ground, and with his vealed to them, and that there are in own weapons; and in the first endeed fearful mysteries in our human counter he vanquished and overthrew nature.
him. His description of the stormy When this dark and powerful spirit night among the Alps of the blendfor a while withdraws from the con- ing--the mingling—the fusion of his templation of his own wild world, and own soul, with the raging elements acondescends to look upon the ordinary round him,-is alone worth all the dull shews and spectacles of life, he often metaphysics of the Excursion, and seems unexpectedly to participate in shews that he might enlarge the limits the feelings and emotions of beings of human consciousness regarding the with whom it might be thought he operations of matter upon mind, as could claim no kindred ; and thus widely as he has enlarged them regaile many passages are to be found in his ing the operations of mind upon it