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We now come to our reluctant office of pointing out what we eonceive 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 beantiful:
• Oh grief, beyond all other griefs, when fate
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.' O 3
None but a lover
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, (fo 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 Tom-Tit for small bird, and see the effect.
through the evening dusk
• as the sea-dog dotes
In which it undulates, small fishes shine
While on the other,' &c. &c. (side understood.) This fondness for the epithet small reminds us of the celebrated tale of Little Red Riding Hood; where, in a modern versification of the story, the wolf tells his young visitor,
“ I've got a small cold in my head.” Enough of this.
• Forth like a diminutive mountain-tide, Into the boundless sea they speed their course.' These are rather like the Miltonic cadences of blank verse, than such as we have been used to consider as the legitimate and musical varieties of rhyme. A very popular joke circulates among modern anti-harmonists, about not counting syllables on the fingers. Have they forgotten that Horace, when he gives much to the ear, does not take away all from the fingers ?
6 Legitimumque sonum digitis callemus et aure."
Millions of such as yonder Chief brings hither.'
Yon myriads howling through the universe.' We shall conclude this long critique, reserving the remainder of the volume for our next Number, with two or three remarks of a similar nature: but not until we have recalled to the reader's recollection the pathetic, the glowing, and the highly animated passages which we have already presented to his perusal; nor without requesting him, and the author, to believe that we love much better to enjoy the beams of the sun, reflected in the scenery beneath him, than to gaze on his spots, however alarmingly they may have increased of late.
The phrases, years since,' some months since,' &c. occur with as much sang froid in this poem as if poetry really admitted them; and a fault yet remains to be noticed, into which we did not imagine that this author would have fallen. Terror and Pity have been considered as the rightful divinities who preside over the tragic and the epic temple; and it has been thought that the excitement even of moral horror must be cautiously managed. It may be salutary, however, to be at times disgusted with exhibitions of depraved feeling: but natural horror, or disgust raised by revolting physical objects, can never be allowed in modern poetry,
whatever the stronger stomachs of the antients may have endured. On this ground, we object to the dreadful dead-body scene in the Veiled Prophet,' at page 26., and to the allusion to it afterward :
• Instead of scents and balms, for thee and me
" Quodcunque ostendis mihi sıc," &c. The pictures in the Prophet's apartments excite a different sensation : but we question whether by the change we gain as much in taste as we lose in more elevated qualities. The execution of the scene is, as usual, highly meritorious.
[To be continued.]
ART. VIII. On the Supply of Employment and Subsistence for the
Labouring Classes, in Fisheries, Manufactures, and the Cultivation of Waste Lands; with Remarks on the Operation of the Salt Duties, and a Proposal for their Repeal. Addressed to the Right Hon. Nicholas Vansittart. By Sir Thomas Bernard, ,
Bart. 8vo. pp. 72. 35. Murray. 1817. 17
. T is well known to our readers that this worthy Baronet has
laboured for many years in the cause of the humbler orders; and he now comes forwards with redoubled diligence in this season of their distress. The object of his pamphlet is of the highest interest: but we cannot help thinking that it might have been more definitely expressed by such a title as - The Effects of a Repeal of the Salt Duties in extending productive Industry, affording Labour for the Poor, and providing fresh Sources of Revenue.” He agrees with Lord Erskine * in forming a high estimate of the importance of this commodity; observing that no substance is more valuable or more generally applicable to use than common salt; and that every acquisition and every step which we make in chemical knowlege discover new benefits that may be derived from it. Lime has been of the greatest advantage to our agriculture in the course of the last half century, yet lime is neither so cheap nor so powerful, nor yet so universal, a manure as salt. Different soils require different proportions : but it may be laid down as a general rule, that not less than ten loads of lime are required to manure an acre of land, for which a single bushel of salt would be sufficient. Where a failure has taken place in applying salt as a manure, it has generally proceeded from an excess in the quantity; such, at least, was the case before the extraor
* See “ Armata ;" or the M. Rev. for March last.