Page images
PDF
EPUB

POETICA L. Art. 27. The Ancient English Wake; a Poem. By Mr. Jerningbam. 46o.

is. 6 d.' Robson. 1779. That primitive fimplicity of manners, fo opposite to the artificial refinements of polished life, and which is supposed to characterize our uncultivated ancestors, is not easy to delineate. It will therefore be thought no Nender compliment to the abilities of this inge. nious Writer to say that, in this part of his present work, he has displayed the fame judgment and taste which have been remarked in some of his former publications.

Whatever may be the difficulties that the poet encounters, who attempos to describe manners at a distance fo remote from the prefent, they are, in a great measure, counterbalanced by the advantages he will gain in the construction of his fable. Unrestrained by an attention to that propriety of conduct and occurrences which is expected in modern ftory, he may give a loose to the reins of fiction, without danger of exciting either weariness or disgust. Events, which in themselves are not only romantic but improbable, will frequently, when viewed through the medium of antiquity, affume an air which is at once both graceful and engaging. That falle glare of colouring, which shocks the eye of the spectator when brought too near, will, when placed at due distance, acquire a mellowners which has every effect of just painting. This observation may, with peculiar propriery, be applied to the principal incident in the poem before us.

As a specimen of the poem, and as a justification of th: opinion we liave given of it, we shall subjoin the following extract :

• The hoary pastor near the village-fane
Receiv'd the honour'd chief and all his train :
This holy, meek, disinterested man
Had form’d his useful life on duty's plan :
Unpractis'd in those arts that teach to rise,
The vacant mitre ne'er allur'd his eyes,
Regardless still of diffipation's call,
He seldom tarried at the festive hall,
Where all around the storied texture hung,
Where pfaltries founded, and where minitreis fung;
But to the humble cot's neglected door
The sacred man the balm of comfort bore :
Still would he listen to the injur'd swain,
For he who listens mitigates the pain :
There was he seen reclining o'er the bed,
Where the pale maiden bow'd her anguish'd head;
Where, reft of hope, the yielding victim lay,
And like a wreath of snow dissolv'd away:
With feeling soul the pastor oft enquir’d
Where the meek train of filent grief retird,
Shame that declines her sorrows to impart,
The drooping spirit, and the broken heart,
He ne'er the friar's gaping wallet fed,
But to the widow sent his loaf of bread :
5

His

His fee to Rome reluctantly he paid,
And call'd the Pardoner's a pill’ring trade,
The sacred Psalter well he knew to gloss,
And on its page illuminate the Cross :
The written Millal on the altar seen,
Inclos'd in velvet of.the richest green,
Display'd initials by bis fancy plann'd,
Whose brilliant colours own'd his kilful hand,
This gaily-letter'd book his art devis'd,
The temple's only ornament compriz'd :
The hallow'd service of this modeft fane
(Far from the fplendour of a choral train)
Could boat no labour'd chaunt, no folema rites,
No clouds of incense, and no pomp of lights,
But at tire plain and lowly altar stands
The village priest with pure uplifted hands,
Invoking from above, Heav'n's guardian care,

In all the meek fimplicity of pray'r.'
Art. 28. Epistle from the Honourable Charles Fox, Partridge,

Shooting, io tbe Honourable John Townshend, cruising. 4to. I $. Faulder. 1779.

Few poems that we have lately met with have afforded us more pleasure than the little epistle which is now before us. It is not only terse and elegant, but replete, also, with a kind of pleasantry which is, in some degree, peculiar to itself; a pleasantry unembit. tered by the gall of party or personal satire: it is very rarely that true humour and good humour are so happily blended. The Epiltle opens with the following lines :

" While you, dear Townshend, o'er the billows ride,
Mulgrave in front, and HANGER by thy fide,
Me it delights the woods and wilds to court,
For rullic feats and unambitious sport.--

• At that dim hour when fading lamps expire,
When the lait, ling’ring clubs to bed retire,
I rife!-how should I then thy feelings shock,
Unthav'd, unpowder'd, in my fhooting frock!
What frock? thou criest--I'll tell thee-the old brown;
Trimm'd do a jacket, with the kirts cut down
Thou laugh'it; I know, thou do'st; but check that sneer;
What though no fashion'd sportsman I appear,
Vet hence ihy CHARLES's voice gains Triller force ;
Ah! jack, if DUNNING Not, he'd not be hoarse.

• Nor deem ev’n here the cares of state forgot,
I wad with gazettes ev'ry second shot:
Almon's bold sheets the intervals fupply;

And till, methinks, his charges fartheit fly.' The company and entertainment with which he purposes to cele. brale his friend's return, bear such evident marks of taste and good judgment, that we should eileem ourselves happy in having a card of invitation to be of the party :

· That right, to festive wit and friendship due, That night thy CHARLES's board Mall welcome you.

Sallads,

Sallads, that lhame ragouts, shall woo thy tafle ;
Deep shalt thou delve in Weltjie's motley paste;
Derey shall lend, if not his plate, his cooks,
And, know, I've bought the best Champaigne from BROOKS;
From liberal BROOKS, whose speculative skill,
Is hafty credit, and a diftant bill ;
Who, nurs'd in clubs, disdains a vulgar trade,
Exults to trust, and blushes to be paid !

• On that auspicious night, supremely grac'd
With chosen guests, the pride of liberal Taste,
Not in contentious heat, nor madd’ning Arife,
Not with the busy ills, nor cares of life,
We'll waste the fleeting hours ; far happier themes
Shall claim each thought, and chase Ambition's dreams,
Each Beauty that Sublimity can boast
He best shall tell, who ftill unites them moft.
Of Wit, of Tafte, of Fancy, we'll debate;
If SHERIDAN for once is not too late :
But scarce a thought to ministers we'll spare,
Unless on Polish politics, with Hare :
Good-natur'd Devon ! oft shall then appear
The cool complacence of thy friendly ineer :
Oft shall FırZPATRICK's wit, and STANhope's case,
And BURGOY NE's manly sense unite to please.
And while each guest attends our varied feats
Of scatter'd covies and retreating fleets,
Me shall they wilh some better sport to gain,

And Thee more glory, from the next campaign.' There are a few verbal inaccuracies, too trifling indeed to be Doticed in a poem of less excellence, which, in the ardour of com: position, have escaped correction : one or two we have marked in italics.

We believe it is now a needless piece of information, that the Public are indebred for this performance to the fame elegant pen that produced the Project, and the Wreath of Famion. Art. 29. Ruin seize thee, ruthless King! A Pindaric Ode, not

written by Mr. Gray. 4to. 15. Almon. 1779. This free parody contains many lines that are humorous, some that are unintelligible, and a few that are impudent.

DR A MAT I C.
Art. 30. William and Nanny; a Ballad Farce, in Two Acts.

As performed at the Theatre in Covent Garden. Evo.
Kearly. 1779.

Idle fing-long, and Aimsy dialogue, sustained by hacknied chasacers poorly delineated, not enlivened by humour, nor rendered interesting by any circumstances of the fable. Art, 31. The Cottagers : A Musical Entertainment. As per

formed at the Theatre in Covent Garden. 8vo. 6 d. Griffin.

The firit draught of William and Nanny, the Author of which has thus characterised the Cottagers. “ The fact is, that this little farce was originally written ten or eleven years ago; as it ftood then, a

real

[ocr errors]

Teal Baronet was in love with Nanny, who generously resigned her to William, on discovering their attachment; this was thought FLAT AND INSIPID."

Preface to William and Nanny. We have only to echo the Author's lait words, flat and insipid ! Art. 32. The Critic; or, Tragedy Rehearsed: a Literary Catch.

penny! by way of Prelade to a Dramatic After-piece. By R. B. Sheridan, Esq. With a Dedication, Preface, and Prologue. Svo. .] s. Kingsbury. 1779.

Many a true word spoken in jeft. This piece exactly answers the description in its title.page. ** A literary catchpenny, by way of prelude to a dramatic affer-piece.” Art. 33. The Critic Anticipated; or, the Humours of the Green

Room: A Farce. As rehearsed behind the Curtain of the Theatre in Drury Lane. By R. B. S. Esq; &c. 8vo. 15. Bladon. 1779.

Alius üidem! Another theatrical mushroom, engendered by the warmth of Mr. Sheridan's reputation. Art. 34. The Mirror; or, Harlequin everywhere. A Pantomi.

mical Burletta. As performed at the Theatre, Covent Garden. 8vo. is, Kearlly. 1779.

This pantomimical burletta may, for aught we know, be a very diverting spectacle on the theatre ;-in the closec it is but a poor' entertaininent. Art. 35. The Shepherdess of the Alps; a Comic Opera, in Three

Afts. As performed at the Theatre, Covent Garden, 8vo, I s. 6 d. Kearsly. 1780.

A dramatic travery of the elegant and affeding tale of Marmontel, The characer of Count Triste is founded, if we recollect rightly, on one of the Proverbes Dramatiques. Most of the other comic cha, raciers and incidents are mere counterparts to thofe which have been repeatedly exhibited, with more address, in our late musical dramas.

L Art. 36. Remarks on the Law of Difcent, and on the Reasons

assigned by Mr. Jullice Blackitone for rejecting, in his Table of Descent, a Point of Doctrine laid down in Plowden, Lord Bacon, and Hale, 4to.

I s, 6dBrooke. 1779. The point of law here discussed, in 47 quarto pages, is,“ Whether the heir of the Great Grandmother, on the part of the father, ought to be preferred, in the course of the inheritance, to the heir of the Grandinother on the same fide; or, vice versa ??" Mr. Justice Black fore gives the preference to the Great Grandmother, in contradic. tion (as this Author contends) to the ancient do&tring. Had the jeained Commentator on the Laws of England contented himself with fingly declaring his opinion on the subject, the Public would find little difficulty in chuling between fo weighty an authority, and that of an anonymous writer ; but as the reajons on which the former grounds his opinion are alligned at some length, those reasons are certainly open to the freefi examination. The question is shifted from authority to argument. Our Remarker enters on the difcuffion with temper, and with decency; but with what fuccess he hath acquitted himself, must be left to the decision of those who are derp in

A

W.

this particular subject. The investigation of a law-thesis hath no charms for the generality of readers. Courts of justice do not fit to decide abftrae points of law. They require real parties, real interelts, and an aduel cause depending before them; but there is always an avenue to the judgment of inen of learning through the medium of the press. Ingenuity can here exert itself with no other client than the bookseller, and find its way to public notice, though the gates of Westminster-hall are shut.

[The above account was prepared for the press before we were informed of the melancholy eveni which has deprived our country of the respectable Judge, whole opinion is canvalled in this pamphlet. Criticism may lay afide her pen; and Controversy herself for a while forget her acrimony, to thed a tear over departed genius and learning. An author's best and noblest monument is his writings. Non omnis moritur. And we have the satisfaction to hear thai a pofthumous work is bequeathed, by Sir W. Blackitone, to the profeffion of the law, as well as fome Additions with which his Commer, iaries on the Laws of England will be enriched.]

HORTICULTURE. Art. 37. The Garden Mufisroom : Its Nature and Cultivation,

A Treatise exhibiting full and plain Directions, for producing this desirable Plant in Perfection and Plenty, according to the true successful Practice of the London Gardeners. By John Abercrombie, Author of the Gardener's Kalendar, 8vo. 1 s. 6 d. L. Davis.

Though this treatise contains nothing materially new, yet, as it enters more minutely into the subject than any former publication, it will not be without its use to the curious gardener, who wilhes to cultivate the vegetable of which it treats, in the highelt perfection. The rules, as we learn from a gentleman who has had some experience in these matters, are the same which are observed by the belt gardeners,

MISCELLANEOUS, Art. 38. Lessons in Elocution; or, Miscellancous Pieces in Prose

and Verse ; selected from the best Authors, for the Perusal of Perfons of Taste, and the Improvement of Youth in Reading and Speaking. By William Scott, Teacher in Edinburgh. izmo. 35. Elliot, Edinburgh ; Longman, London. 1779.

The idea of this compilation is evidently borrowed from Dr. Enfield's Speaker, a work, the general use of which is its belt praise. A very confiderable part of the lesions in both are the same; and where they differ (to say the leaft), we see no reason to give the preference to Mr. Scott's judgment and tatte in selection. With respect to the disposition of the materials, the method adopted in the Speaker, of arranging the pieces under the several diftinæ fpecies of elocution, parraiive, didactic, argumentative, oratorical, &c. is certainly much better suited to answer the purpose of improvemert in speaking, than a promiscuous miscellany in proe and verse; for each branch of elocution has its proper tone and manner, which must be beft acquired by repeated exercise,

Art.

« PreviousContinue »