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We now come to our reluctant office of pointing out what we conceive to be the defects of this noble effort of genius.
- In the first place, we do not wish to dwell on the plan, any farther than to say that a very little management would have avoided the fault to which we alluded before, when we mentioned the manner in which Azim and Zelica are brought together. Pity for the one, and admiration of the other, should liave prevented this painful incident: but we should ourselves commit the very offence which we censure, if we spoke more plainly on the subject. We are loth to say any thing of the blasphemies of the Impostor; they are in character, no doubt : but some of them will excite a shudder among the less firm of their audience. The dreadful scene which precedes and follows the unveiling of the mysterious countenance is admirably executed; but we shall not mutilate such a passage, nor spoil the freshness of the reader's pleasure.
In adverting to particular lines and expressions, it will be sufficient, for the most part, simply to quote them; because the reasons of our censure will be manifest, from the explanation of our principles of criticism on these points which we have so often given, · An unworthy simile, lowering the object which it is intended to illustrate, is appended to the following four lines, which in themselves are not only unobjectionable but beautiful :
• Oh grief, beyond all other griefs, when fate
First leaves the young heart lone and desolate
Since the sad day its master-chord was broken!' Had the latter subject been compared to the former, it would have been obviously ennobled and exalted : but the contrary effect is produced at present, by a species of perverted comparison very common in modern poetry.
Just before this passage, occurs one of the numerous lines in which a wrong accentuation is vainly attempted to be slurred under a rythmical variety :
those sounds of dread Fell withering on her soul, “ Azim is dead !" ! Just below, we have a galaxy of lips and eyes ;' and this may be pretty and proper Mohammedanism: but certainly a redundancy of these features, particularly the last, is visible throughout the volume:• Woman's bright eyes, a dazzling host of eyes.' 03
---' from :
None but a lover
But safe as yet that Spirit of Evil lives.'
Is seen glittering at times, like the white sail
Of some toss'd vessel.' In these lines, the three sorts of vagary to which we directed the reader's observation are all exemplified. Here is the familiar vagary, in the prosaic expressions, Among the last of whom; the rough inharmonious vagary, in the clause, Is seen glittering at times ;' and, lastly, the overlapping vagary, in the conclusion, like the white sail of some toss'd vessel.' How easy, how inexpressibly easy, it must be to write such verses as these, in comparison with the attempt to compose a single passage in the simple but sweet and dignified style of Goldsmith, (to mention the last alone of our chosen favourites,) or in the natural and better manner of Mr. Moore himself. Assured as we are, by his very powerful and original productions, that the poet in question could, if he pleased, with comparative facility, avoid all the errors of expression and versification into which he has of late fallen, we have bestowed and shall continue to bestow considerable pains on this his longest effort, – but not even yet his best effort, if he chuses, (as we warmly urge him,) to make a still higher attempt; if he chuses to efface the mark of dishonour from the annals of English literature; and not to leave one of the first nation's that has stamped its memory on time, destitute of a single great poem erected on a patriotic foundation.
We are forced, in pursuance of our object, to return to the ungracious task of verbal criticism.
Among the many examples of prosaic or familiar words which the volume affords, introduced in such a manner as to give a low or ludicrous effect, we mark the following:
airy as the dancing spray, When from its stem the small bird wings away. Only substitute Ton-Tit for small bird, and see the effect.
- through the evening dusk
- as the sea-dog dotes