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lebrated “MINSTREL;" and indeed many of the lines and phrases, and most of the prominent ideas are distinctly taken from this poem. I will point out some of them, with a hope of inducing this young author to rely more upon himself in future, or to be more candid in acknowledging the aid he receives from others.
In the first four lines there is so much confusion, added to some grammatical error, that I cannot say I comprehend its
« Some men there are, cold as the winter's snow,
" Whose souls were never touched with poet's strain, “Rapt in the sacred dream, from earth below,
“ And ride aloft on heaven's azure main."
It is not very clear what is “ rapt in the sacred dream". whether the “poet's strain" or the “souls" just before mentioned; and I am still more at a loss to find the nominative case to the verb ride, in the fourth line; there is a want of harmony and sweetness, too, in the whole: but these are in the class of faults I would excuse, on the terms mentioned.
I cannot see the propriety of the sentiment in the second stanza; that the man who is so unfortunate (for a misfortune it is) as not to be “ touched with poet's strains," can have no “feeling: friend;" or that he shall be sooner forgotten, when “inhumed," than another-much less can I agree that his children shall be discharged from all natural and filial obligation, and so deeply resent his want of taste as to shed no “ pearly tear” on his tomb; the “village hinds" may withhold their “ wild flowers” if they please, for they have long been the licensed decorators, exclusively, of poetic graves; but our children, I hope, will not so scornfully refuse to pay us some tribute of affection and respect, although we may not feel the raptures of poetry as Orlando does.
To proceed in pointing out the instances in which our author has drawn from the stores of others. The course of thought and collection of figures which make up the second stanza, are entirely familiar to every reader of elegies and sonnets; and perhaps, as a sort of common poetic property, Orlando has as good a right to them as any body that has used them for the last
five hundred years. We come, then, to cases more direct and palpable.
In the fourth stanza of Orlando,
“ Not deeply skilled in human lore was he.”
In the Minstrel,
“ As yet poor Edwin never knew your lore."
In the sixth stanza,
“ I ween Orlando was no vulgar boy."
In the Minstrel,
“ And yet poor Edwin vas no vulgar boy."
Orlando has, in common with Edwin, a skill in music, and a fondness for “visionary joy.”—They both too found delight in rising early in the morning, and in roaming over the “ lonely mountain's head" and through "untrodden groves."In short, these young gentlemen are as like each other, even to their parentage, educations, dispositions, and amusements, as twin brothers. Your Dromios and Socias are nothing to them; and Viola and her bro. ther Sabastian, are absolute antipodes in comparison with Edwin and Orlando. To proceed regularly “ to point out faults and beauties alike"-thé scenery in the seventh and eighth stanzas is very picturesque and beautiful, especially in the latter the following lines, if original, will of themselves, almost entitle the author of Orlando, to the name of a poet:-
In Collins' ode to the passions,
« In sounds by distance made more sweet."
In the eleventh stanza,
“ Why should anticipation chill the present hour,
In the Minstrel,
“ But why should foresight thy fond heart alarm?
The thirteenth stanza meets the particular applause of your correspondent; and not without reason. But if he will turn to the nineteenth verse of the first book, and the seventh verse of the second book of the Minstrel, he will find the prototype of his friend's effusion.
The fourteenth stanza is filled with beautiful imagery, but unfortunately not belonging to Orlando:
“ Or gain some dell, where Alpine heights arise,
This whole whole stanza is evidently compounded from the following passages in the Minstrel:
“ Oft when the winter storm had ceased to rave,
High tow'ring sail along th' horizon blue."
5. And oft he trac'd the uplands to survey."
In these passages we have the hero going to a height to command the scene--we have the noise of the “ eagle soaring in the skies.”-For the chamois bounding,* which is claimed as original, we have the bounding fawn, and the “wild deer sporse ing;”-and the last line,
“While all around them clouds and shadowy billows play'd,"
is found in Beattie's
“Enormous waste of vapour tost in billows;"
and in the preceding line,
“ Where all in mist the world below was lost."
The goats, some reclined and some wandering,
" A moving speck on the eternal snow,"
is all that is left of this stanza, for the author of Orlando; and even this remnant, if it be truly his, entitles him to praise; but we are apt to suspect the honesty of one, so often detected in pillaging, and to doubt his right to what may really belong to him. I should 110t wonder at finding another owner for these goats. * In Wieland's Oberon we have the chamois bounding.
The fifteenth stanza,
“ Dear was to him, the hour of early morn,
and the last line,
“ How sweet upon his ear the birds wild music flows."
Now, in what does this differ from the Minstrel,
“ Even now his eyes with smiles of rapture glow
The smoking streamlets and the ruddy tints, acknowledge the same master.
The sixteenth stanza,
“ The milk maid carols forth her simple lay,
In Beattie's description of the morn, we also have
“ The lowing herd-the sheepfold's simple bell,
“ Crown'd with her pail, the tripping milkmaid sings;
The objects displayed in the scenery of the eighteenth and nineteenth stanzas are not the same with those introduced by Beattie, but the general view is so much so, as to leave no doubt of its origin.
Every reader will instantly recognize Gray, in these lines in the twenty-first stanza,