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sensibility would gladly avail himself of such indulgence, and claim the latter as a mitigation of his sentence. While we thus complain of conductso deserving severe reprobation, we wish not to be enrolled in that class of critics who deal their encomiums about with such prodigality of dispensation, they may well be denominated the swabbers of panegyric Every thing American is with them, ex necessitate rei, preeminently excellent. Without talents for discrimination, or sensibility to feel the beauties of a single passage they applaud, they still praise on with a gravity of countenance that beggars all description, and conceive it the most sacred duty of a critic thus to violate every principle of common sense. Writers, whose pens illuminated the centuries they lived in, are called from the repose of their tombs to resign their laurels. Praise is thus made a drug, possessing the potency and the value of those quack nostrums that so bespangle the pages of our daily papers, and immortality is promised with the same confidence and conferred with the same fidelity in both.
Avoiding these two extremes of approbation and censure, equally dishonest and detrimental, let us have the hardihood to deliver our opinions with manly freedom and a spirit of independence becoming the dignified office we undertake. Careless of whom we please, or offend, let us act with a singleness of heart, and not barely pander those faculties that the Deity has given us for nobler purposes, to obsequious panegyric, nor by a frown as servile, repulse the timid advances of blushing Merit. If the scourge of censure must fall, let the wound inflicted by it bear some proportion to the offence that occasioned it, and not by unnecessary torture, give colour to the charge, that predetermined malice awaited that oportunity of exercising its vengeance.
It new becomes our duty to examine a volume denominated « SKETCHES IN VERSE," the greater part of which, the editor informs us, has already appeared in the pages of this miscellany. The author modestly declares he only dallied with the Muses in those moments when the mind is too active to be idle, and too inert to solicit more arduous employment. He will suffer us, we hope, without even the suspicion of flattery, to declare that the hour so beguiled has flown away without a stain upon its plumes.
In a frame of mind averse to laborious study, and solicitous of recreation, we were exhilirated by his pages, and find, on reflection, cause of gratulation instead of regret. The general character of the volume bears ample evidence of the truth of the author's declaration—his sportive fancy alights on every subject indiscriminately, and though full of mischief is more disposed to tickle than to wound. The style of Wordsworth is hit with such playful severity, and at the same time with such critical justice, that we much question whether the bard himself would not enjoy the joke thus cracked at his own expense. thor has furnished us with notes perhaps in some instances too prolix considering the light and evanescent nature of his subjects; yet all abounding in shrewd propriety of remark, extensive reading, and pungency of satire equally judicious and just. He must not however be offended with us if we venture to predict that his book will neither have extended circulation nor perusal. He has only toyed with the Muses, and the locality of his subjects seems to ensure locality to the volume. If he wishes for a celebrity more extended than his book is entitled to, let him select subjects in future, more general, and exercise a portion of that poetic genius and critical acumen of which we have already discovered omens so favourable and auspicious. Durable celebrity is not formed by Fancy in her skipping and antic gambols; she must mine, explore, search, select and arrange, a task very different from the composition of a brilliant trifle. Surely if such a store of diversified learning, ancient and modern, await the bidding of a mind "half listless, half active,” when raised and stimulated by subjects more commanding, it may attempt a loftier flight. The loungers of literature notwithstanding the flippancy of their censures, or applauses, are not characters to be courted; the breath of Fame does not reside in their nostrils. They are no further serviceable than as a species of literary echoes, and it beomes important in those who regulate the public taste to teach them to utter faithful responses. We may be singular in the notions which we entertain on such subjects, but this will not deter us from avowing them, that we are called upon by no duty rigidly to examine and canvass the propriety of a joke and
with critical precision to scrutinize the structure of its materials. It is enough for our purpose that the general impression is exhilirating; that we can take the author by the hand and laugh with him, without consulting the rules of mathematics. Nothing burlesques criticism itself more than the Saturnine gravity of its own demeanor when so employed on a volume at a time when the author himself is laughing in his sleeve, at the trouble he has occasioned. It resembles a grave doctor of divinity standing in the desk with all his paraphernalia of office, and expounding a jest book. If we have refused higher praise to this volume it is the author's own fault, and he has none to censure but himself for not putting his faculties to a severer task, and com, manding it.
THE MERRY WORLD-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
The justdy celebrated
« The Gods of the Greeks" is equally familiar to the classical and the convivial tribe.
The felicity of invention, the dignity of stanza, the fertility of allusion, and the splendid imagery, which characterize this production all combine to stamp upon it a name of lyrical glory. But to the detriment of the song and the injury of Steevens, its acccomplished author, it is often printed in a garbled, and always sung in a mutilated style. We owe it to the Merry World at large, and to the rights of genius in particular to publish a correct copy of this poem in its legitimate shape.
The queen of soft wishes, foul Vulcan's fair bride,
Leer'd wanton on her man of var;
So she sparkled the morn and eve star.
From her cloud, all in spirits, the Goddess up sprung,
In ellipsis each Planet advanc'd;
As round Terra Nova they danced.
Even Jove himself could not insensible staud,
Bid Saturn his girdle fast bind:
And laughed at those mites called mankind.
From the hand of great Jove into space it was hurld,
He was charı'd with the roll of the ball,
And she hung it up high in his hall.
Miss, pleas'd with the present, review'd the globe round,
Saw with rapture, hills, vallies, and plains; The self balanc'd orb in an atmosphere bound,
Prolific by suns, dews, and rains.
With silver, gold, jewels, the Indiae endow'd,
France and Spain she taught vineyards to rear;
And Freedom she found flourished here.
The blue ey'd celestial, Minerva the wise,
Ineffably smild on the spot;
But, excuse me, one thing is forgot.
Licentiousness Freedom's destruction may bring,
Unless Prudenee prepare its defence;
And on Britons bestow'd common sense.
Four cardinal virtues she left in this isle,
As guardians to cherish the root;
And Englishmen fed on the fruit.
Thus fed, and thus bred, by a bounty so rare,
Oh preserve it as pure as 'twas given,
And return it untainted to Heaven.
'THE CLASSICAL WORLD FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
SINCE our commencement of the publication of the very po pular poems of HORACE in London, we have been repeatedly asked “who is the admirable author of odes so witty, fluent, and humorous;" and, although we have instituted an inquiry, both in London and elsewhere, all our inquisitiveness is hitherto baffled. We have, however, some reason to conjecture that this Rabelais work is the joint effusion of a brace of Templars, who, strange as it may seem to my Lord Chief Justice, prefer Catullus to Coke, and pore with more pleasure over the classical
Salkield and Ventries
The following imitation of one of the most noble odes of the Roman original is a new and splendid proof of the peerless powers of a laughing wit. The compliment to the genius of Walter Scott, though expressed with whimsical excentricity, is evidently the dictate at oncc of Judgment and Taste. The charm