Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

impress the mind with the idea of the unceasing progress of time, than to look at the perpetual motion of the second index of a time piece. This speaks to the eye, and each rapid revolution proclaims that our life has become so much shorter.-How carefully then should we redeem time! low different does its value appear in the huur of health, and the near prospect of death and judgement! How greatly do the best of men on a death bed regret much misspent time, and with what different views do things appear at that solemn period, when all things assume their true and proper appearance! Ought it not to be the business of every day to determine whether we have lived, thought, and acted as we would wish we had done when we come to die? By the choice we now make, is our state hereafter to be fixed, and by the diligence with which we do the work of the Lord, is the degree of reward to be determined Did this strike the mind strongly, and were a faithful comparison made between time and eternity, we might well apply to our whole short life the words of Jesus, -What! could ye not watch one hour.'--pp. 158, 159.

Art. X An Essay on the Sanctification of the Lord's Day;

humbly designed to recommend that important Duty. By the Rev. Samuel Gilfillan, Minister of the Gospel, Comrie, The eighth Edition, corrected and greatly enlarged. 16mo. pp. 174. Price 2s. boards. Hamilton, 1815.

THE extensive circulation of this little work, and the num

ber of editions through which it has passed, render any commendation of ours unnecessary: at the same time we are unwilling to let the present opportunity pass by, without bearing our most explicit testimony in its favour. We have perused it with great satisfaction; and are acquainted with no production of modern date, which appears to us so well adapted to promote the “ Sanetification of " the Lord's Day Its arrangement is methodical; its language is uniformly marked by chastness and simplicity; its arguments are scriptural and convincing; and the tone of cheerful piety and elevated devotion which every where pervade it, combined with other excellencies, presents a powerful claim to our cordial and unqualified approbation,

[ocr errors]

2 O.

Art. Xl. Essays Moral and Religious. By W. Potter. small 8vo.

pp. xv. 307. price 6s E. Cox and Son, 1814. THESE Essays appear to be the production of a modest

and pious person, desirous of being useful, especially to young persons, and encouraged to publish them by the

cordial entreaties of friends, and the importunate requests • of those of the juvenile world, with whoin he has the happiness to be acquainted.' He closes his preface with the following quotation from Dr. Knox.

• He who professes only an attempt, however unsuccessful, has a claim to candour and indulgence. Failure has ceased to be

ridiculous, where presumption has not made pretensions, nor . confidence anticipated success.'

After this apology, it might seem severe to remark on the defects of style and composition in the volume, which, though certainly considerable, would not, to readers of the description for whom probably the Author designed it, be obvious or important. We are rather disposed to allow him the benefit of an application of his own observations in defence of some preachers of the Gospel, which will at the same time serve as no unfavourable specimen of the style of the Essays.

Nor is the excuse, that those who preach the Gospel, are often ignorant and unqualified men, a sufficient argument; they will be at least as wise as the generality of their hearers; and if they are good men, their experience will prevent them from propagating error, and their conscientiousness, from preaching the truth in an improper manner. If they do not render those who attend their ministry, remarkable for knowledge and judgement, they will at least keep then from breaking the Sabbath, and from profligate habits, beside which, they will excite a spirit of de. votion, which will increase in strengh, and produce a corresponding influence on the general deportment of the life.' p. 216.

• It is our happiness, that Great Britain exceeds all other countries in the means which are adopted for the moral improvement and elevation of the lower orders of society. " by the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil, and by mercy and truth iniquity is purged." Let us use every proper means to inculcate that fear, and to promote that purity.' p. 217.

Art. XII. The Descent of Liberty, a Mask. By Leigh Hunt. Smail

8vo. pp. lix. 82. price 6s. boards. Gale and Co. 1815. PREFIXED to this little Poem is a disconrse 'On the

Origin and Nature of Masks.' Mir Hunt is not inclined to fetter so lively and airy a composition, in the bonds of a too strict definition ; be considers it as

• A mixed Drama, allowing of natural incidents as of every thing else that is dramatic, but more essentially given up to the fancy, and abounding in machinery and personification, generally with a particular allusion. p. xxiv.

Milton's Comus, he considers, as the best indeed, but, at the same time, the least specific work of its kind. Perhaps, common readers will have heir idea of a mask best formed by being referred to that in Shakspeare's Tempest.

Mr. Hunt's piece is of a much more extensive and varied nature; extremely gorgeous in its pageants, rich in its imagination, and delightfully romantic and fanciful in its diction. To some readers, indeed, the diction may appear as too much an imitation of our old poets; but to us, any thing that brings them to recollection is charming. Neither can Mr. Hunt be called, properly, an imitator; he has imbued himself richly with the wild fancies and picturesque language of those good old bards, but he has at the same time his own manner.

The subject, as the reader will guess by the title, is the return of Liberty and Peace to the earth, after the downfall of Buenaparte; and we think the political purport now and then peeps rather too broadly through the fancy of the piece. Shepherds are introduced as having heard, for some days, sweet music in the air, a

new sound,
The first, of any comfortable breath,

Our wood has heard for years.' Hence, they'augur some glad change at hand, some relief from the enchanter who has so long been the curse of the weary land.'

« I know not why,
But there is such a sweetness in the touch
Of this mysterious pipe that’s come among us,
Something so full of trilling gladsomeness,
As if the heart were at the lip that fill'd it,
Or went a rippling to the fingers' ends,
That it forebodes, to me, some blessed change.' p. 8.

[ocr errors]

Of this music and of their conjectures they resolve to ivforin old Eunomus,

Who used to set
So rare a lesson to the former court,
But now shuts his sorrows in this corner ;' p. 8.

• How has he suffered ?
Both his sons gone,—the first one by his death
Breaking the mother's heart, the second now

Torn from his bride, and dead too as they say.'--p. 10. This Eunomus and his daughter-in-law Myrtilla are chariingly described; and, at the request of the latter, put forth in a sweet song, a spirit announces the coming of Liberty. The destruction of the enchanter is then shewn in an aërial pageant, and the twilight, which had before lain upon the face of the whole country, vanishes. Spring descends to prepare the earth for the approach of Liberty; and perhaps we could not quote any thing more characteristic of the Author's lighter and more playful style, than the description which is given of her flowers.

. Then the flowers on all their beds
How the sparklers glance their heads !
Daisies with their pinky lashes,
And the marigold's broad flaslies,
Hyacinth with sapphire bell
Curling backward, and the swell
Of the rose, full-lipp'd and warm,
Round about whose riper form
Her slender virgin train are seen
In their close-fit caps of

green:
Lilacs then, and daffodillies,
And the nice-leav'd lesser lillies,
Shading like detected light,
Their little green tipt lamps of white;
Blissful poppy, odorous pea,
With its wings up lightsomely;
Balsam with his shaft of amber,
Mignonette for lady's chamber,
And genteel geranium,
With

a leaf for all that come ;
And the tulip, trick d out finest,
And the pink, of smell divinest;
And as proud as all of them
Bound in one, the garden's gem,
Heartsease, like a gallant bold,

In his cloth of purple and gold.' pp. 28.-9. We return to earth, and we are delighted with the innocent fancies of Myrtilla.

You've heard me, Sir,
In my young fancy picture out a world,
Such as our present-timed, unfinal eyes,
Knowing but what they see,-and not even that,-
Might gather from the best of what's before them,
Leaving out evil as a vexing thorn,
Whose use they know not ;
2nd. Shep.

Such a world, you say,
This change appears?
Myrt.

I do, it seems to me,
In it's fresh whisper, and delighted eye,
And all this burst of out-o'-door enjoyment,
Just like a new creation, Spring and Summer
Married, and Winter dead to be no more.
Was ever so much horror, at the best,
Follow'd by such a time,-change, wondrous change
In what has busied all your talk by the way,
And with it all this luxury,-flowers, blossoms,
And heaps of leafiness on every

side
About and overhead, with beams between,
And quick-voic'd birds that steep the trees in music,
Green fields, and crystal waters, and blue skies,
With here and there a little harmless cloud
That only wants a visible cherub on it
To ride its silver,- happy human beings
O'ertaking us mean time at every step
With smile that cannot help itself, and turning,
As they pass quick, with greeting of the day,
Exchanging blessedness :-Oh sir, Oh father,
There's such a look of promise all about us,
A smile so bidding, something that almost
Seems to say yes to what the tip-toe heart,
Hanging on Nature's neck, would ask of her,
Even to the raising of a buried joy,
That I could fancy_but-forgive me, pray,

For talking of those things. pp. 31-33. We must give one more touch from the earthly part of the poem. It has something in it exquisitely touching. Philaret, the husband of Myrtilla, returns almost unhoped-for from the wars; and, on hearing of the kindness of his wife, during his absence, to his old father, breaks out into the following expressions of tenderness.

• Did she do so ? Did you do thus, my best
And tenderest heart,-my wife?-May heaven for this,
If only this, bring out that cheek again
Into its dimpled outline, -Heaven for this
Cool the dear hand I grasp with health and peace,
Bless thee in body and mind, in home and husband, -

« ForrigeFortsett »