Page images
PDF
EPUB

The heavy artillery of blank verse is here employed against Jaco. binism, and what has been called the modern philosophy. Prose, we should have thought, would have better suited the author's

purpose. No conviction can be produced by such desultory discussion, nor contentment and joy by such an address, as that which makes the finale of this poem :

• Then bow yourselves, my countrymen, and own

That in a world where voluntary slaves
Exist by millions, wretched slaves to vice,
That in a world where victims to the sword,
Famine, and pestilence, are swept away
As summer insects by an eastern blast,
That in a world like this--you're BLEST AND FREE.'

Moo.y.
Art. 47. The Battle of the Nile. A Descriptive Poem. Addressed

as a tributary Wreath to Nautic Bravery. By a. Gentleman of
Earl St. Vincent's Fleet. Svo. Is. 6d. Debrett.

Our naval victories have furnished an ample field for descriptive
poetry; and the late brillant action off the Mouth of the Nile has
the advantage of affording many opportunities for classical allusions,
of which the author of the poem before us has not failed to avail
himself. The versification is in general smooth, and sometimes
elevated : but there is frequently great negligence and want of correct-
ness in the rhymes: as in towers, secures. Pour, fire. Skin, entwine,
&c. The author shews an ardent zeal for the honour of the Bri.
tish Navy, and appears to possess considerable knowlege of maritime
affairs, as well as of the particular circumstances of the action which
he celebrates.-On the signal being made by the Earl of St. Vincent
for Admiral Nelson's squadron to go in pursuit of the enemy,
the author thus describes a ship weighing anchor, and casting to
sea :

· Then high in air the colour'd signals fly ;

The watchful feet the waving tokens spy.
Quick runs the ready answer to the main
Nor need they more the order to explain.
“ All hands up anchor,” loud the boatswains bawl,
As round the decks they pipe the triple call :

All hands up anchor, cchoes all around;
And boatswains' mates with silver pipes resound.
Now from his gripe the forked anchor's torn,
And to the bows the pond'rous mass is borne ;
A weight unwieldly t, which, in times of old,
Would a whole Grecian flect securely hold.
Some to the helm repair, while up the shrouds,
With cheerful naste, each hardy sailor crowds,
To climb the yards, and loose the girded sail,
And spread its bosom to the western gale.-
•* A blue flag is hoisted at the main.'
The anchor of a first-rate weighs five tons !'
H 2

The

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The skilful master on each motion tends,
“ The anchor's up,” he cries; “ she wends, she wends !"
Her

prow obedient * now she heaves and laves,
And turns majestic on the swelling waves.
Now fourteen sail, by valiant Nelson led,
By gales impellid, glide o'er old Ocean's bed;
Swift o'er the deep they bound with willing feet,
Whilst from afar they view the remnant feet.
With crowded sail, urg'd by the fresh’ning breeze,
And steady course, they plough the briny seas.--
Now on the swelling surge + they plunge and rise,
And lift alternate to the seas and skies.
Now through the blocks the whistling current pours,
And through the masts and yards and tackling roars.
Successive shocks the trembling bark sustains,
And to the wind the lab'ring canvass strains.
Now wide around the foaming surges play,
And circling gyres mark out a whiten’d way.
Thus, with strong gales, the chosen squadron tend,
And tow'rds Sicilia's isle their course they bend;
Full east-north-east a steady course they bore,
Till safely anchor'd on its sea-girt shore ;
Where, in the bay of Syracuse, they wait,

To gain some tidings of the Gallic fieet.'
The subject of this poem is generally interesting; and its descrip-
tons of nautical operations, illustrated by the notes, will be partícu-
larly pleasing to those landsmen who are partial to naval affairs, and
wish to acquire more idea of them than the opposite nature of their
pursuits has allowed them to attain.

Capt.B...y.s Art. 48. Leonidas, a Poem, by William Glover. Adorned with 6.2.

Plates. 8vo. 2 Vols. 185. Boards. Printed for F. J. du
Roveray, by '£. Bensley, and sold by Boosey, &c. 1798.

This is a very beautiful edition of an ingenious poem, but of which the merit has been so often discussed, that we shall not now enter

* Her prow obedient, &c.] There is something highly pleasing in the appearance of a vessel a

casting to sea," that is, when her anchor being once clear of the ground, she begins to lift and swing off, being before stationary, by the conjoint influence of the wind and waves.'

't Now on the swelling surge, &c.] It is perhaps one of the grandest images existing, and most subline, confining our ideas to works of art and the manner in which they may be affected, to observe so beautiful, 90 vast, stupendous, and complex a machine as a man of war of a hundred guns rising and plungmg in the waves. I have beer, struck with a silent and pleasing astonishment, at beholding a vessel of tbat magnitude crossing the stern at sea, when it has been tempestuous weather, and the waves consequently lofty. Such an immense, yet beautifully diversified body, tossing, rolling, and darting along the waves, gives you an idea of some huge, animated, monstrous Beingi'

on

[merged small][ocr errors]

el

D! B....y

on' its examination. Indeed it may be said to be out of statute, with respect to our critical court ; having been published in 1737, twelve years before our establishment. Its present editor candidly confesses that this poem was too highly rated by the friends of the author, on its first appearance ; and that, with equal injustice, it afterward experienced neglect, when that party had either gained their point; or its principal members were retired “ to that bourne, from whence no travellers return." Many instances might be given, of the enthusiasm with which literary productions, in support of party, have been at first received, and which have experienced the same diminu. tion of favour : such as Dryden's Alban and Albanius, Rowe's Tamerlane, Addison's Cato, Churchill's Poems, &c. In prose, as well as in verse, if an author's political principles flatter those of his readers, or hearers, they are not disposed to be very fastidious critics.

All that remains for its to do, with respect to Leonidas, lies in a very small compass. The author of the poem having, amid the clash of opinions, obtained an honourable niche in the temple of fame, we shall not attempt to displace him by critical ejectment, in order to assign him either a better or a worse station than that of which he has been long in possession; and we have only to add that the plates of this cdition, of which there are seven, have been designed and engraved by excellent artists ; and that the paper and type do honour to Mr. Bensley and our national press. Art. 49. The Rape of the Lock, an Heroi-Comical Poem, by Mr.

Pope. Adorned with Plates. 8vo, ros. 6d. Boards. Printed for F. J. du Roveray, and sold by Arch, &c.

This is an exquisite cdition of our great bard's playful poem. Besides the frontispiece, there is a beautiful plate to each canto, by artists of the first class. Intending this for a companion to Leonidas, the editor has spared neither pains nor expence in rendering it equally complete.

DO
Art. 50. The Sacred Oratorios, as set to Music by Geo. F. Handel.

Part I. · Containing, Messiah, Athalia, Belshazzar, Deborah,
Esther, Jephtha, Joseph, Israel in Egypt, Joshua, Occasional
Oratorio, Samson, Saul, Solomon, Judas Maccabæus, and Su-
sannah. Izmo. pp. 251.

45. 6d. Boards.

Hookham, &c. A collection of the words of sacred dramas set by Handel, the hrst reception and subsequent patronage of whose compositions reflect 80 much honour on our country, was much wanted :-for, as the music to these poems is not likely to be soon laid aside, correct copies of the words must be very acceptable and useful to the votaries of this great musician.

The paper and type of this collection are beautiful and elegant. We wished, however, to have found the names of the writers and compilers of these oratorios, and the dates of their first performance; most of which are, we apprehend, recorded in Dr. Burney's History of Music, and Dr. Arnold's edition of the Works of Handel. The first two, Esther and Athalia, we have no doubt, were formed on the model of Racine's sacred dramas of the same name. Pope and Gay have

H 3

been

[ocr errors]

been said to have had some share in furnishing Handel with the words of Acis and Galatca ; and Saul must have been the production of no contemptible poet. Many of the others were written, or compiled, by the learned Dr. Morell; who constantly attached himself to Handel, during the latter years of his life ; and in whese judgment the composer often confided in the import, pronunciation, and expression of passages in scripture, and in allusions ta the sacred writings.

A second part of these lyrical productions is promised, with the life
of Handel, and a general index.
Art. 51. The Count of Burgundy, a Play ; in Four Acts. By

Augustus Von Kotzebue. Translated from the Genuine German
Edition. By Anne Plumptre. 8vo. 2s. 61. Symonds.

The original of this play was noticed in our xxviith volume, p.581.
It appears to advantage from the hands of the present translator.

Тау. Art. 52. The Natural Son; a Play, in Five Acts, by Augustus

Von Kotzebue, Poet Laureat and Director of the Imperial Theatre at Vienna. Being the Original of Lovers? Vows, now perform: ing, with universal Applause, at the Theatre Royal, Covent: Garden. Translated from the German by Anne Plumptre, (Author of the Rector's Son, Antoinette, &c.) who has prefixed a Preface, explaining the Alterations in the Representation ; and

has also annexed a Life of Kotzebue. 8vo. 25. 6d. Symonds. Art. 53. Lovers' Vows; a Play, in Five Acts. Performing at the

Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden. From the German of Kotzebue.
By Mrs. Inchbald. 8vo. Robinsons.

The name of Kotzebue will now secure to every production of his pen a considerable popularity in Great Britain. Considered as a national moralist,--and such is the very responsible office which every dramatic writer assumes,,he is too indulgent, for the true in. terests of domestic happiness, to breaches of chastity: yet there is, in other respects, a refinement in the cast of his ethics, a lofty indifference to artificial distinctions, a catching spirit of disinterest and benevolence, and an exclusive enthusiasm for the qualities of the heart, which provoke only because they humiliate the cringers to fortune, birth, and power. It is no feeble symptom of interior selfishness, not to relish the general flow of his sentiments ; not to glow with sympathetic rapa ture, while this Rousseau of the drama delineates the sweet affections and the noble sacrifices which abourd among his heroes and heroines, and which are so well adapted to electrify an audience.

Of the play specifically before us, every one is familiar with the story, from its great success in representation. The translation of Miss Plumptre is, to mere readers, of most value on account of its superior fidelity. That of Mrs. Inchbald is inore wisely adapted to representation in this country. The soliloquy of Frederick will afford a convenient passage

for comparison. Miss Plumptre, p. 30:

• Return with these few pieces ;-Return to see my mother die ? - No, no, rather plunge into the water at once=wrather run on to the end of the world. Ah, my feet seem clogged I cannot advanceI cannot recede--the sight of yonder straw-roofed cottage, where

rests

[ocr errors]

rests my suffering mother !-why must I always turn my eyes that
way ?-am I not surrounded by verdant fields and laughing meadows ?
why must my looks be still drawn irresistibly towards that cot which
contains all my joys, all my sorrows! (looks with anguish at the money)
Man! man ! is this your bounty? this piece was given me by the
rider of a stately horse followed by a servant, whose livery glittered
with silver ;-this, by a sentimental lady who had alighted from her
carriage to gaze at the country, describe it, and print her descrip-
tion. “ Yon cottage,” said I to her, while my tears interrupted
me" It is very picturesque,” she answered, and skipped into her
carriage. This was given me by a fat priest, enveloped in a large
bushy wig, who, at the same time, reviled me as an idler, a vagabond,
and thus took away the merit of his gift. This Dreyer (extremely
affected) a beggar gave me unasked ; -he shared with me his mite,
and, at the same time, gave me God's blessing. Oh! at the awful
day of retribution, at how high a price will this dreyer be exchanged
by the all-righteous Judge! (He pauses and looks again at the money)
what can I purchase with this paltry sum? Hardly will it pay
the nails of my mother's coffin--scarcely buy a rope to hang myself!
(He casts a wishful look towards the distant country) There insultingly
glitter the stately towers of the prince's residence ;--- shall I go
thither ? there implore pity ?-Oh no! she dwells not in cities-the
cottage of the poor is her palace-the heart of the poor her Temple,
Well then, should a recruiting officer pass by, for five rix-dollars
paid on the spot, he shall have a stout and vigorous recruit. Five
rix-dollars! Oh what a sum! yet on how many a card may such a
suin be staked, even at this moment! twipes the sweat from his fore-
bead) Father! Father! on thee fall these drops of anguish-on thee
the despair of a fellow creature, and all its dreadful consequences;
yet God forbid thou shouldst languish in vain for pardon in another
world, as my wietched mother languishes in this for a drop of wine.
(a hunting horn is beard at a distance, ma gun is fired, succeeded by
the Halloo, Halloo,to the hounds ; several dogs run over the stage,
Frederick looks around) Hunters ! Noblemen probably! Well then,
now to beg once more !--to beg for my mother !-Oh God! God i
grant that I may meet with compassionate hearts !'
Mrs. Inchbald, p. 33.

To return with this trifle for which I have stooped to beg! return to see my mother dying ! I would rather fly to the world's end. [Looka ing at the money.] What can I buy with this? It is hardly enough to pay for the nails that will be wanted for her coffin. 'My great anxiety will drive 'me to distraction, However, let the consequence

of our affliction be what it may, all will fall upon my father's head; and may he pant for Heaven's forgiveness, as my poor mother [At a distance is heard the firing of a gun, then the cry of Halloo, Halloo-Gamekeepers and Sportsmen run across the stage-he looks about.] Here they come a nobleman, I suppose, or a man of fortune. Yes, yes--and I will once more beg for my mother,– May heaven send relief!

A few scenes are fortunate : but, in general, they are loosely conpeçted, and excite no progressive anxiety: nor is the story probable

. Tay. H4

.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »