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The author's first piece, the Rime of the aneyent marinere, in imitation of the style as well as of the spirit of the elder poets, is the strangest story of a cock and a bull that we ever saw on paper: yet, though it seems a rhapsody of unintelligible wildness and incoherence, (of which we do not perceive the drift, unless the joke lies in depriving the wedding guest of his share of the feast,) there are in it poetical touches of an exquisite kind.
The Dramatic Fragment, if it intends anything, seems meant to throw disgrace on the savage liberty preached by some modern philosophes.
The Yew-Tree seems a seat for Jean Jaques; while the reflections on the subject appear to flow from a more pious pen.
The Nightingale sings a strain of true and beautiful poetry; -Miltonic, yet original ; reflective, and interesting, in an uncommon degree.
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs
Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell
A most gentle maid
What time the moon was lost behind a cloud, -
may associate Joy ! Once more farewell,
Sweet Nightingale ! once more, my friends ! farewell.' The Female Vagrant is an agonizing tale of individual wretchedness; highly coloured, though, alas ! but too probable. Yet, as it seems to stamp a general stigma on all military transactions, which were never more important in free countries than at the present period, it will perhaps be asked whether the hardships described never happen during revolution, or in a nation subdued ? The sufferings of individuals during war are dreadful: but is it not better to try to prevent them from becoming general, or to render them transient by heroic and patriotic efforts, than to fly to them for ever?
Distress from poverty and want is admirably described, in the true story of Goody Blake, ard Harry Gill : but are we to imagine that Harry was bewitched by Goody Blake? The
hardest heart must be softened into pity for the poor old woman ;--and yet, if all the poor are to help themselves, and supply their wants from the possessions of their neighbours, what imaginary wants and real anarchy would it not create ? Goody Blake should have been relieved out of the two millions annually allowed by the state to the poor of this country, not by the plunder of an individual.
Lines on the first mild day of March abound with beautiful sentiments from a polished mind.
Simon Lee, the old Huntsman, is the portrait, admirably painted, of every huntsman who, by toil, age, and infirmities, is rendered unable to guide and govern his canine family.
Anecdote for Fathers. Of this the dialogue is ingenious and natural: but the object of the child's choice, and the inferences, are not quite obvious.
We are seven :-innocent and pretty infantine prattle.
On an early Spring. The first stanza of this little poem seems unworthy of the rest, which contain reilections truly pious and philosophical.
The Thorn. All our author's pictures, in colouring, are dark as those of Rembrandi or Spanioletto.
The last of the Fluck is more gloomy than the rest. We are not told how the wretched lero of this piece became so poor. He had, indeed, ten children: but so have many cottagers ; and ere the tenth child is born, the eldest begin to work, and help, at least, to maintain themselves. No oppression is pointed out; nor are any means suggested for his relief. If the author be a wealthy man, he ought not to have suffered this poor peasant to part with the last of the frock. What but an Agrarian law can prevent poverty from visiting the door of the indolent, injudicious, extravagant, and, perhaps, vicious ? and is it certain that rigid equality of property as well as of laws could remedy this evil?
The Dungeon. Here candour and tenderness for criminals seem pushed to excess. Have not jails been built on the humane Mr. Howard's plan, which have almost ruined some counties, and which look more like palaces than habitations for the perpetrators of crimes? Yet, have fewer crimes been committed in consequence of the erection of those magnificent structures, at an expence which would have maintained many in innocence and comfort out of a jail, if they have been driven to theft by want ?
The mad Mother; admirable painting! in Michael Angelo's bold and masterly manner.
The Idiot Bay leads the reader on from anxiety to distress, and from distress to terror, by incidents and alarms which,
though of the most mean and ignoble kind, interest, frighten, and terrify, almost to torture, during the perusal of more than a hundred stanzas.
Lines written near Richmond – literally “ most musical, most melancholy !"
Expostulation and Reply. The author tells us that these lines, and those which follow, arose out of conversation with a friend who was somewhat unreasonably attached to modern books of moral philosophy.' These two pieces will afford our readers an opportunity of judging of the author's poetical talents, in a more modern and less gloomy style than his Ballads :
“ Why William, on that old grey stone,
Thus for the length of half a day,
And dream your time away?
To beings else forelor, and blind!
From dead men to their kind.
As if she for no purpose bore you ;
And none had lived before
When life was sweet I knew not why,
And thus I made reply.
We cannot bid the ear be still ;
Against, or with our will.
Which of themselves our minds impress,
In a wise passiveness.
Of things for ever speaking,
But we must still be seeking ?
Conversing as I may,