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p. 98.

p. 99.

Robb'd of her dear, her only child,
Did droop and pine and die.

pp. 70–71. Of the poems, which fill the remainder of the volume, the first and longest-in which the winds are supposed to try their several powers on the Æolian harp-is conceived with spirit, but has an air of wildness which almost borders on the burlesque. It is liable to the same objections, which we have brought against “Hubert and Ellen”-imitation and repetition, and on the whole, has less merit than any other piece in the collection. Its obvious fault is, that the personifications are not uniformly sustained. They are at one moment living bodies, with faculties and passions, and in the next they become mere winds. For instance the South:

And now, with rapid hand of fire,
He rudely twang'd the chords, and now

He softly crept along the lyre.
Again;

Sudden, he lost his native fire,
And quivering, falt'ring, dropt the lyre;

And died away, for shame. Whoever has a distinct recollection of Collins' Ode on the Passions, and the Odes of Dryden and Pope on St. Cecilia's day, will readily perceive the sources, from which Mr. Sargent has drawn the idea, the form, and the best lines of " The Trial of the Harp."

In “ The Plunderer's Grave,” Mr. Sargent has relied more upon his own powers, than in any

other of his

poems,

and perhaps on this very account has succeeded better. Whatever may be the reason, there is certainly more invention in the subject, more harmony in the verse, and more vigour and dignity in the diction of this rapid and irregular piece, than he has discovered elsewhere. The description of a bracelet worn by the wrecked sailor, is a favourable specimen.

The pledge of devotion
Thine arm still is wearing!
That pledge, mid the ocean,
Gave heart to thy daring,
When eyes brightly beaming
Have ever beset thee;
When false fears were dreaming

Thy girl would forget thee;
It brightened thy love and it solac'd thy fears,

For the girl who was dearest,

When danger was nearest, There bound the fair pledge, and bedew'd it with tears. p. 120. We would recommend Mr. Sargent to the indulgence of the public, and claim something in his behalf, on the score of good

intention, and inexperience in authorship as well as on other grounds. Nevertheless, we cannot ourselves readily forgive him, for having misspent his time—no doubt laboriously, -in the manufacture of such verse as that we have under review; magno conatu, magnas nugas. He is far from being destitute of poetical powers, as may be seen, we think, even from the present publication, where they are perverted to so unworthy a use. Besides the passages we have already quoted from “ Hubert and Ellen," as specimens of his occasional success, there is another in the same poem soothingly demonstrative of what he might perform. Wishing to shew him all the favor com. patible with our duty, we shall proceed to transcribe it, remarking by the way, that it produced upon us the effect of surprise, when we came to it, on account of its being in a different key, from all the rest of the context. We refer to the relation of the return of Edwy, from the cottage, after discovering the treachery of his master to Ellen.

“My tears fast were flowing,

The chill blast was blowing,
'Twas midnight, and lone was the way o'er the moor;

Though dreary and cheerless,

My bosom was fearless,
And strong were my steps as I turn'd from the door.

The woes of poor Ellen,

My heart high were swelling;
That heart 'gainst the spoiler beat heavy and strong;

Those lips that had bless'd liim,

Those hands that caress'd him, Implor'd heav'n's vengeance to wait on the wrong." If the work of Mr. Sargent were other than what it is, we should dread the example of the preference he has given, to the versification of Scott, over that of Dryden and Pope. The innovation has been exceedingly mischievous in England, by the abuses to which it has led, independently of its being founded in bad taste. For such humble matter as Hubert and Ellen," the common, modernized quatrain of six and eight syllables, would have been much more suitable than its present dress. For the more lofty strains of the muse, and eminently for the epic, we never wish to see a babyish idiom, and pit-a-pat measure, substituted in lieu of

The varying verse, the full resounding line,

The long majestic march, and energy divine. The author of “ Hubert and Ellen," and the common disciples of Scott at home, have the new diction at a cheap rate, and, therefore find the less difficulty in discarding the old. Repe. tition, without end, of the same words and rhymes, the exclusion of the articles, unsparing elisions, the plentiful use of diminutives, and the frequent introduction of a few antiquated terms, such for instance, as“ gear" in the volume before us, form the whole cost and labor to which they are put. Doubtless this is not exactly the case, with their great model, whose peculiar defects alone they copy, and who must himself be sensible, that to cover, or recommend these, nothing less is necessary, than the union of his peculiar qualifications,—great powers of invention and description, a complete mastery both of ancient and modern English, and a facility of blending and mutually adapting them, so as to promote both significance and harmony. Notwithstanding these advantages, without which no man should attempt to tread in his footsteps, we can never imagine Mr. Scott at work on his poetical style, without bringing to our memory, the account, which Dryden gives of his labours, when employed about a similar strain,--that of the Lyric Drama. “ I am often forced,” says this most accomplished of versifiers, “to coin new words, revive some that are antiquated, and botch others, as if I had not served out my time in poetry, but was bound apprentice to some doggrel rhymer, who makes songs to tunes, and sings them for a livelihood.”

Johnson, in his life of Dryden, observes, “ from the time of chis Poet, it is evident, the English language has had no tendency to relapse to its former savageness.” This was true in the mouth of a critic of the last century, but it would certainly be erroneous, if uttered at the present day. Our language is now visibly exposed to this evil, and we would strenuously combat every attempt, to make this country an accomplice, in advancing the catastrophe. The first poetical intelligences of England, have been, for some time, occupied, not, as Dryden was, in what Johnson calls the rejuvenescence of ancient English poetry; that is, in modernizing its diction, and regulating its structure, but in a contrary sort of refaccimento, in restoring the modern, to its pristine grossness of phrase and licentiousness of metre. After the reformation effected by Dryden and Pope, Johnson did not, in all likelihood, consider a relapse, or even a very wide departure from the new standard, as possible. In forming this opinion, however, he was not sufficiently attentive to considerations, which experience now obtrudes upon our notice.

Every thing is to be apprehended, from the proneness of mankind to copy and admire the defects of manner, and even the vices in character, where such exist, of the great geniuses who command their regard. Walter Scott and Southey are of this order, and may prevail over alt salutary prejudices, and sound opinions, in establishing their chequered dialect, unless a sturdy resistance be made to the imitation of it, in any quarter. It may be at length invested with the force of custom and fashion, the mighty influence of which, in determining our judgments even as to the productions of the intel. lect, is proved by so many examples. On the subject of the dominion of these principles in matters of taste, there is a passage in the exquisite “Theory of Moral Sentiments," by Adam Smith, which we shall make the concluding paragraph of this article, because it will serve to explain and justify our fears, while it cannot be altogether displeasing to the poets, to whom they are owing.

“An eminent artist will bring about a considerable change in the established modes of each of the fine arts, and introduce a new fashion of music, writing, or architecture. As the dress of an agreeable man of high rank recommends itself, and how peculiar and fantastical soever, comes soon to be admired and imitated; so the excellencies of an eminent master recommend his peculiarities, and his manner becomes the fashionable style in the art which he practises. The taste of the Italians in music and architecture has, within these fifty years, undergone a considerable change, from imitating the peculiarities of some eminent masters in each of those arts. Seneca is accused by Quintilian of having corrupted the taste of the Romans, and of having introduced a frivolous prettiness in the room of majestic reason and masculine eloquence. Sallust and Tacitus have by others been charged with the same accusation, though in a different manner. They gave reputation, it is pretended, to a style, which though in the highest degree concise, elegant, expressive and even poetical, wanted however, ease, simplici. ty and nature, and was evidently the production of the most labored and studied affectation. How many great qualities must that writer possess, who can thus render his very

faults agreeable? After the praise of refining the taste of a nation, the highest eulogy, perhaps, which can be bestowed upon any author is to say, that he corrupted it. In our own language Mr. Pope and Dr. Swift have each of them introduced a manner different from what was practised before, into all works that were written in rhyme, the one in long verses, the other in short. The quaintness of Butler has given way to the plainness of Swift. The rambling freedom of Dryden, and the correct but often tedious and prosaic languor of Addisco, To 00 longer the objects of imitation, but all lorg verses tre now written after the manner of the nervous precision of Mr. Pope.'

262

On the Condition and Character of Women in different

countries and ages.

(From Card's Literary Recreations.] If the enlighted among our sex have rejoiced that they were born in a period of high civilization, how much greater cause have those of the other, to congratulate themselves upon the same event? since in polished nations, it is rarely the hard fate of women to be first adored, and then oppressed. We do not begin by being their slaves, and end in becoming their tyrants: for when the transient charms of youth and beauty fade, in the place of our idols, we make them our companions and friends.

In rude periods of society, woman is treated with the utmost coolness, indifference, contempt, and tyranny: the savage regards her only as a being of inferior species, and, consequently, with him, love is nothing but a simple instinct of nature, which he disdains, however, to procure, by any of those arts which are calculated to win affection and favour. It is the opinion of the great Bacon, that love is the first of human pleasures, and intoxication the second. The justness of this observation is disputed by the Indians of America; according to whose philosophy, intoxication is the greatest of human pleasures. It may be advanced, as another proof of the contempt and servitude in which women are held by savages, that, in their drunken assemblies, females are allowed to be present only for the menial and degrading purpose of supplying the liquor, and taking care of the sovereigns, when their reason is extinguished. Among the American tribes, the condition of women may be compared, indeed, to that of the Helots among the Spartans, a vanquished race, doomed to pass their whole life in administering to the wants of their conquerors. The rigorous despotism exercised by barbarians over the female sex, will be found to constitute their general character, in almost every quarter of the globe.

If we turn our eyes towards the eastern nations, to Turkey, Persia, Mogul, Japan, and the Empire of China, we shall see women reduced to the same state of slavery. Asia, from time immemorial, may be regarded as a vast and dreary prison, for the reception of female beauty The cursed spirit of despotism is, indeed, as fatal to love, as to virtue: exposed to all the caprices of a master, who looks upon female beauty as sub. servient to the purposes of animal enjoyment only, the will of

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