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tions—while they are palpably unjust to those which wear a different complexion, or spring from a different race.

But, if it be difficult or almost impossible to meet with an impartial judge for the whole great family of genius, even among those quiet and studious readers who ought to find delight even in their variety, it is obvious, that this bias and obliquity of judgment must be still more incident to one who, by being himself a Poet, must not only prefer one school of poetry to all others, but must actually belong to it, and be disposed, as a pupil, or still more as a master, to advance its pretensions above those of all its competitors. Like the votaries or leaders of other sects, poets have been but too apt to establish exclusive and arbitrary creeds, and to invent articles of faith, the slightest violation of which effaces the merit of all other virtues. Addicting themselves, as they are apt to do, to the exclusive cultivation of that style to which the bent of their own genius naturally inclines them, they look everywhere for those beauties of which it is peculiarly susceptible, and are disgusted if they cannot be found. Like discoverers in science, or improvers in art, they see nothing in the whole system but their own discoveries and improvements, and undervalue everything that cannot be con. nected with their own studies and glory. As the Chinese mapmakers allot all the lodgeable area of the earth to their own nation, and thrust the other countries of the world into little outskirts and by-corners-so poets are disposed to represent their own little field of exertion, as occupying all the sunny part of Parnassus, and to exhibit the adjoining regions under terrible shadows and foreshortenings.

With those impressions of the almost inevitable partiality of poetical judgments in general, we could not recollect that Mr Campbell was himself a Master in a distinct school of poetry, and distinguished by a very peculiar and fastidious styleof composition, without being apprehensive that the effects of this bias would be very apparent in his work, and that, with all his talent and discernment, he would now and then be guilty of great, though unintended injustice, to some of those whose manner was most opposite to his own. We are happy to say that those apprehensions have proved entirely groundless; and that nothing in the volumes before us is more admirable, or to us more surprising, than the perfect candour and undeviating fairness with which the learned author passes judgment on all the different authors who come before him ;—the quick and true perception he has of the most opposite and almost contradictory beautiesthe good-natured and liberal allowance he makes for the disadvantages of each age and individual and the temperance and brevity ind firmness with which he reproves the excessive severity of critics less entitled to be severe. No one indeed, we will venture to affirin, ever placed himself in the seat of judgement with more of a judicial temper---though, to soften invidious comparisons, we must beg leave just to add, that being called on to pass judgment only on the dead, whose faults were no longer corrigible, and had already been expiated by appropriate pains, his temper was less tried, and his severities less provoked than in the case of living offenders—and that the very number and variety of the errors that called for animadversion, in the course of his wide survey, made each individual case appear comparatively insignificant, and mitigated the sentence of individual condemnation.

It is to this last circumstance of the large and comprehensive range which he was obliged to take, and the great extent and variety of the society in which he was compelled to mingle, that we are inclined to ascribe, not only the general mildness and indulgence of his judgments, but his happy emancipation from those narrow and limitary maxims by which we have already said that poets are so peculiarly apt to be entangled. As a large and familiar intercourse with men of different habits and dispositions never fails, in characters of any force or generosity, to dispel the prejudices with which we at first regard them, and to lower our estimate of our own superior happiness and wisdom, so, a very ample and extensive course of reading in any department of letters, tends naturally to enlarge our narrow principles of judgment, and not only to cast down the idols before which we had formerly abased ourselves, but to disclose to us the might and the majesty of much that we had mistaken and contemned.

In this point of view, we think such a work as is now before us, likely to be of great use to ordinary readers of poetry-not only as unlocking to them innumerable new springs of enjoyment and admiration, but as having a tendency to correct and liberalize their judgments of their old favourites, and to strengthen and enliven all those faculties by which they derive pleasure from such studies. Nor would the benefit, if it once extended so far, by any means stop here. The character of our poetry depends not a little on the taste of our poetical readers ;-and though some of our bards are before their age, and some behind it, the greater part must be pretty nearly on its level. Present popularity, whatever disappointed writers may say, is, after all, the only safe presage of future glory ;-and it is really as unlikely that good poetry should be produced in any quantity where it is not relished, as that cloth should be manu,


factured and thrust into the market, of a pattern and fashion for which there was no demand. A shallow and uninstructed taste is indeed the most flexible and inconstant-and is tossed about by every breath of doctrine, and every wind of authority; so as neither to desire any permanent delight from the same works, nor to assure any permanent fame to their authors ;—while a taste that is formed upon a wide and large survey of enduring models, not only affords a secure basis for all future judgments, but must compel, whenever it is general in any society, a salutary conformity to its great principles from all who depend on its suffrage.--To accomplish such an object, the general study of a work like this certainly is not enough:--But it would form an excellent preparation for more extensive reading—and would, of itself, do much to open the eyes of many self-satisfied persons, and startle them into a sense of their own ignorance, and the poverty and paltriness of many of their ephemeral favourites. Considered as a nation, we are yet but very imperfectly recovered from that strange and ungrateful forgetfulness of our older poets which began with the Restoration, and continued almost unbroken till after the middle of the last century.-- Nor can the works which have chiefly tended to dispel it among the instructed orders, be ranked in a higher class than this which is before us.--Percy's Relics of Antient Poetry produced, we beJieve, the first revulsion—and this was followed up by Warton's History of Poetry.-- Johnson's Lives of tue Poets did something; -and the great effect has been produced by the modern commentators on Shakespeare. These various works recommended the older writers, and reinstated them in some of their honours ;-but still the works themselves were not placed before the eyes of ordinary readers. This was done in part, perhaps overdone, by the entire republication of some of our older dramatists--and with better effect by Mr Ellis's Specimens. If the former, however, was rather too copious a supply for the returning appetite of the public, the latter was too scanty; and both were confined to too narrow a portion of time to enable the reader to enjoy the variety, and to draw the comparisons, by which he might be most pleased and instructed. --Southey's continuation of Ellis did harm rather than good; for though there is some cleverness in the introduction, the work itself is executed in a crude, petulant, and superficial manner,-and bears all the marks of being a mere bookseller's speculation.—As we have heard nothing of it from the time of its first publication, we suppose it has had the success it deserved.

There was great room therefore, --and, we will even 'say, great occasion, for such a work as this of Mr Campbell's, in

the present state of our literature ;--and we are persuaded, that all who care about poetry, and are not already acquainted with the authors of whom it treats and even all who are—cannot possibly do better than read it fairly through, from the first page to the last—without skipping the extracts which they know, or those which may not at first seem very attractive. There is no reader, we will venture to say, who will rise from the perusal even of these partial and scanty fragments, without a fresh and deep sense of the matchless richness, variety, and originality of English poetry: while the juxtaposition and arrangement of the pieces not only gives room for endless comparisons and contrasts,-but displays, as it were in miniature, the whole of its wonderful progress, and sets before us, as in a great gallery of pictures, the whole course and history of the art, from its first rude and infant beginnings, to its maturity, and perhaps its decline. While it has all the grandeur and instruction that belongs to such a gallery, it is free from the perplexity and distraction which is generally complained of in such exhibitions ; as each piece is necessarily considered separately and in succession, and the mind cannot wander, like the eye, through the splendid labyrinth in which it is enchanted. Nothing, we think, can be more delightful, than thus at our ease to trace, through all its periods, vicissitudes and aspects, the progress of this highest and most intellectual of all the arts-coloured as it is in every age by the manners of the times which produce it, and embodying, besides those flights of fancy, and touches of pathos, that constitute its more immediate essence, much of the wisdom, and much of the morality that was then current among the people; and thus presenting us, not merely with almost all that genius has ever created for delight, but with a brief chronicle and abstract of all that was once interesting to the generations which have gone by.

The steps of the progress of such an art, and the circumstances by which they have been affected, would form, of themselves, a large and interesting theme of speculation. Conversant as poetry necessarily is with all that touches human feelings, concerns, and occupations, its character must have been impressed by every change in the moral and political condition of society, and must even retain the lighter traces of their successive follies, amusements, and pursuits; while, in the course of ages, the very multiplication and increasing business of the people have forced it through a progress not wholly dissimilar to that which the same causes have produced on the agriculture and landscape of the country ;-where at first we had rude and dreary wastes, thin sprinkled with sunny spots of simple cultivation—then vast forests and chases, stretching far around feudal castles and pinnacled abbeys—then woodland hamlets, and goodly mansions, and gorgeous gardens, and parks rich with waste fertility, and lax habitations—and, finally, crowded cities, and road-side villas, and brick-walled gardens, and turnip fields, and canals, and artificial ruins, and ornamented farms, and cottages trellised over with exotic plants.

But to escape from those metaphors and enigmas, to the business before us, we must remark, that in order to give any tolerable idea of the poetry which was thus to be represented, it was necessary that the specimens to be exhibited should be of some compass and extent. We have heard their length complained of -but we think with very little justice. Considering the extent of the works from which they are taken, they are almost all but inconsiderable fragments; and where the original was of an Epic or Tragic character, greater abridgement would have been mere mutilation, -and would have given only such a specimen of the whole, as a brick might do of a building. From the earlier and less familiar authors, we rather think the citations are too short; and, even from those that are more generally known, we do not well see how they could have been shorter, with any safety to the professed object and only use of the publication. That object, we conceive, was to give specimens of English poetry, from its earliest to its latest periods; and it would be a strange rule to have followed, in making such a selection, to leave out the best and most popular. The work certainly neither is, nor professes to be, a collection from obscure and forgotten authors—but specimens of all who have merit enough to deserve our remembrance ;—and if some few have such redundant merit or good fortune, as to be in the hands and the minds of all the world, it was necessary, even then, to give some extracts from them,—that the series might be complete, and that there might be room for comparison with others, and for tracing the progress of the art in the strains of their models and their imitators.

In one instance, and one only, Mr C. has declined doing this duty, and left the place of one great luminary to be filled up by recollections that he must have presumed would be universal. He has given but two pages to SHAKESPEARE-and not a line from any of his plays. Perhaps he has done rightly :-a knowledge of Shakespeare may be safely presumed, we believe, in every reader; and, if he had begun to cite his Beauties, there is no saying where he would have ended. A little book, calling itself Beauties of Shakespeare, was published some years.ago, and shown, as we have heard, to Mr Sheridan. He turned over the leaves for some time with apparent satisfaction, and then said, This

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