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And whilst their falling echoed to the wind,
“ Sweet Julia, though her fate was finish'd half,
“ But lo! while Udolph's bursts of agony, And age's tremulous wailings, round him rose, What accents pierced him deeper yet than those ! "Twas tidings — by his English messenger
Of Constance — brief and terrible they were,” &c. p. 35, 36. These must suffice as specimens of the Swiss part of the poem, w
which we have already said we consider as on the whole the most perfect. The English portion is undoubtedly liable to the imputation of being occupied with scenes too familiar, and events too trivial, to admit of the higher embellishments of poetry. The occasion of Theodric's first seeing Constance - in the streets of London on a night of public rejoicing — certainly trespasses on the borders of this wilful stooping of the Muses' flight — though the scene itself is described with great force and beauty.
" "Twas a glorious sight!
Amidst them he remark'd a lovelier mien," &c.— p. 15. The description of Constance herself, however, is not liable to this, or to any other objection.
And to know her well
She studied not the meanest to eclipse,
• To paint that being to a grov'lling mind
That mighty truth — how happy are the good !"— p. 25. All this, we think, is dignified enough for poetry of any description ; but we really cannot extend the same indulgence to the small tracassaries of this noble creature's unworthy relations — their peevish quarrels, and her painful attempts to reconcile them - her husband's grudges at her absence on those errands — their teazing visits to him and his vexation at their false reports that she was to spend “yet a fortnight” away from him. We object equally to the substance and the diction of the passages to which we now refer. There is something questionable even in the fatal indications by which, on approaching his home, he was first made aware of the calamity which had befallen him — though undoubtedly there is a terrible truth and impressive brevity in the passage.
“ Nor hope left utterly his breast,
That he had now to suffer — not to fear!”—p. 37. We shall only add the pathetic letter in which this noble spirit sought, from her deathbed, to soothe the beloved husband she was leaving with so much reluctance.
Theodric! this is destiny above
Shape not imagin d horrors in my fate -
The latest from my living lips for yours?""— p. 39–41. The tone of this tender farewell must remind all our readers of the catastrophe of Gertrude ; and certainly exposes the author to the charge of some poverty of invention in the structure of his pathetic narratives — a charge from which we are not at this moment particularly solicitous to defend him.
The minor poems which occupy the rest of the volume are of various character, and of course of unequal merit; though all of them are marked by that exquisite melody of versification, and general felicity of diction, which makes the mere recitation of their words a luxury to readers of taste, even when they pay but little attention to their sense. Most of them, we believe, have already appeared in occasional publications, though it is quite time that they should be collected and engrossed in a less perishable record. If they are less brilliant, on the whole, than the most exquisite productions of the author's earlier days, they are generally marked, we think, by greater solemnity and depth of thought, a vein of deeper reflection, and more intense sympathy with human
TRUE TO THE CAUSE OF LIBERTY.
feelings, and, if possible, by a more resolute and entire devotion to the cause of liberty. Mr. Campbell, we rejoice to say, is not among those poets whose hatred of oppression has been chilled by the lapse of years, or allayed by the suggestions of a base self-interest. He has held on his course through good and through bad report, unseduced, unterrified; and is now found in his duty, testifying as fearlessly against the invaders of Spain, in the volume before us, as he did against the spoilers of Poland in the very first of his publications. It is a proud thing indeed for England, for poetry, and for mankind, that all the illustrious poets of the present day
– Byron, Moore, Rogers, Campbell — are distinguished by their zeal for freedom, and their scorn for adulation ; while those who have deserted that manly and holy cause have, from that hour, felt their inspiration withdrawn, their harp-strings broken, and the fire quenched in their censers ! Even the Laureate, since his unhappy Vision of Judgment, has ceased to sing; and fallen into undutiful as well as ignoble silence, even on court festivals. As a specimen of the tone in which an unbought Muse can yet address herself to public themes, we subjoin a few stanzas of a noble ode to the Memory of the Spanish Patriots who died in resisting the late atrocious invasion.
" Brave men who at the Trocadero fell Beside your cannons
- conquer'd not, though slain !
“Yet laugh not in your carnival of crime
Glory to them that die in this great cause ! Kings, Bigots, can inflict no brand of shame, Or shape of death, to shroud them from applause : No!-- manglers of the martyr's earthly frame! Your hangman fingers cannot touch his fame, Still in your prostrate land there shall be some Proud hearts, the shrines of Freedom's vestal flame. Long trains of ill may pass unheeded, dumb, But Vengeance is behind, and Justice is to come."- p. 78–81. Mr. Campbell's muse, however, is by no means habitually political; and the greater part of the pieces in this volume have a purely moral or poetical character. The exquisite stanzas to the Rainbow, we believe, are in every body's hands; but we cannot resist the temptation of transcribing the latter part of them.
“When o'er the green undelug'd earth
Heaven's covenant thou didst shine,
To watch thy sacred sign?
O'er mountains yet untrod,
To bless the bow of God!
The first-made anthem rang
And the first poet sang.
Unraptur'd greet thy beam:
Be still the poet's theme!
The lark thy welcome sings,
The snowy mushroom springs !
O'er mountain, tower, and town,
A thousand fathoms down!
As young thy beauties seem,
First sported in thy beam.