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productive of any rational effect, and which only pleases the ear by frequent repetition, as men who have once had the greatest aversion to strong wines and spirituous liquors, are, by habit, at last brought to regard them as delicacies.
In advancing this opinion, I am aware that I am opposing myself to the declared sentiments of many individuals whom I greatly respect and admire. Miss Seward (and Miss Seward is in herself a host) has, both theoretically and practically, defended the Italian structure. Mr. Capel Lofft has likewise favoured the world with many sonnets, in which he shews his approval of the legitimate model, by his adherence to its rules, and many of the beautiful poems of Mrs. Lofft, published in the Monthly Mirror, are likewise successfully formed by those rules. Much, however, as I admire these writers, and ample as is the credence I give to their critical discrimination, I cannot, on mature reflection, subscribe to their position of the expediency of adopting this structure in our poetry, and I attribute their success in it more to their individual powers, which would have surmounted much greater difficulties, than to the adaptibility of this foreign fabric to our stubborn and intractable language.
If the question, however, turn only on the propriety of giving to a poem a name which must be acknowledged to be entirely inappropriate, and to which it can have no sort of claim, I must confess that it is manifestly indefensible; and we must then either pitch upon another appellation for our quatorzain, or banish it from our language; a measure which every lover of true poetry must sincerely lament.
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
POETRY is a blossom of very delicate growth; it requires the maturing influence of vernal suns, and every encouragement of culture and attention, to bring it to its natural perfection. The pursuits of the mathematician, or the mechanical genius, are such as require rather strength and insensibility of mind, than that ex. quisite and finely-wrought susceptibility, which invariably marks the temperament of the true poet; and, it is for this reason, that while men of science have, not un. frequently, arisen from the abodes of poverty and labour; very few legitimate children of the Muse have ever emerged from the shades of hereditary obscurity.
It is painful to reflect how many a bard now lies, nameless and forgotten, in the narrow house, who, bad he been burn to competence and leisure, might have usurped the laurels from the most distinguished personages in the temple of Fame. The very consciousness of merit itself often acts in direct opposition to a stimulus to exertion, by exciting that mournful indignation at
suppositious neglect, which urges a sullen concealment of talents, and drives its possessor to that misanthropic discontent which preys on the vitals, and soon produces untimely mortality. A sentiment like this bas, no doubt, often actuated beings, who attracted notice, perhaps, while they lived, only by their singularity, and who were forgotten almost ere their parent earth had closed over their heads;—beings who lived but to mourn and to languish for what they were never destined to enjoy, and whose exalted endowments were buried with them in their graves, by the want of a little of that superfluity which serves to painper the debased appetites of the enervated sons of luxury and sloth.
The present age, however, has furnished us with two illustrious instances of poverty bursting through the cloud of surrounding impediments, into the full blaze of notoriety and eminence. I allude to the two Bloomfields-bards who may challenge a comparison with the most distinguished favourites of the Muse, and who both passed the day-spring of life in labour, indigence, and obscurity,
The author of the Farmer's Boy hath already received the applause he justly deserved. It yet remains for the Essay on War to enjoy all the distinction it so richly merits, as well from its sterling worth, as from the circumstances of its author. Whether the present age will be inclined to do it full justice, may indeed be feared. Had Mr. Nathaniel Bloomfield made his appearance in the horizon of letters prior to his brother, he would undoubtedly have been considered as a meteor of uncommon attraction; the critics would have admired, because it would have been the fashion to admire. But it is to be apprehended that our countrymen become enured to phenomena:---it is to be apprehended, that the frivolity of the age cannot endure a repetition of the uncommon:—that it will no longer be the rage to patronize indigent 'merit: that the beau monde will therefore neglect, and that, by a necessary consequence, the critics will sneer!!
Nevertheless, sooner or later, merit will meet with its reward; and though the popularity of Mr. Bloomfield may be delayed, he must, at one time or other, receive the meed due to his deserts. Posterity will judge impartially; and if bold and vivid images, and original conceptions, luminously displayed, and judiciously apposed, have any claim to the regard of mankind, the name of Nathaniel Bloomfield will not be without its high and appropriate honours.
Rousseau very truly observes, that with whatever talent a man may be born, the art of writing is not easily obtained. If this be applicable to men enjoying every advantage of scholastic initiation, how much more forcibly must it apply to the offspring of a poor village tailor, untaught, and destitute both of the means and the time necessary for the cultivation of the mind! If the art of writing be of difficult attainment to those who