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Our readers will immediately perceive that we allude to the wellknown soliloquy in the Rovers, where Rogero describes himself, in the character of Hope, sitting by the bottomless pool of Despondency, angling for impossibilities. But though we doubt, with his lordship, whether any such there live' as the foregoing lines describe, there is one passage that not a liele disturbs us. We flatter ourselves that we are not obnoxious to the charge of atheism, and yet, we are really unable to answer certain questions, which our noble Inquisitor, with the assistance of Job, (upon whose patience, by the bye, he piously calculates,) propounds as infallible tests for detecting latent atheists:
Canst thou trace the birth sublime
O'er boundless space to scan omnipotence ?'-p. 25. We know not how far the noble author might have proceeded in these theological discussions, had not his rapturous admiration of the works of nature fortunately brought a cork tree to his recollection the cork tree reminded him of Cintra-Cintra of Lisbon-Lis. bon of all the kings and queens of Portugal, and his Pegasus, “right glad to miss the lumbering of the wheels' of controversy, gallops along the high road of history, to the conclusion of the first part of
We cannot enter into an examination of this portion of the work, nor vențure to give any opinion on the merits of the Alfonzos, Emanuels, Johns, Jozes, and Joachims, who come like shadows and so depart;' because, unhappily, the two great sources of information on which we relied, are, on this topic, entirely at variance. The Argument states these persons to be ancient Portugueze worthies, the notes shew them to be some of the greatest monsters that ever scourged mankind; and as the text is equally irreconcileable with either of these descriptions, we retire from the responsibility of deciding between them.
The second part of this poem has all the beauties of the first, with some which are peculiarly its own. Of the latter, the most striking is that, though it still bears the name of Portugal, it chiefly relates to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: there are, indeed, several patriotic allusions in the first part also, but the second amplifies and repeats them with greater tenderness. Thus, in the former part we read,
• Seaward I stretched my view, where to the west,
And, fondly tarrying, pause o'er Britain's isle.'--p. 10. This is so exquisite that we were not surprized that the author's partiality induced him to insert it again in the second part, with slight variations of the expression, but none, we are glad to observe, of the meaning.
England, my country!-generous, great, and brave,
Catch thy faint accents in the whispering breeze,' &c.-p.75. When the noble author thus imitates himself, we are not to wonder, and still less to lament that he has on several occasions copied with great accuracy and taste several other poets. In a few instances, however, impartiality obliges us to say, that the imitation is rather too close; we doubt whether it was prudent to adopt so exactly from the Vision of Don Roderic, the description of the soldiers of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and to apply to the battle of Busaco precisely the same traits which Mr. Scot had given to the battle of Albuera.
We should be sorry, however, (without offence to any poet,) that Lord George Grenville should resign his individual style, and lose any portion of his originality. Could the study of any model furnish him with more beautiful lines than the following?
• Call it not false, when faery fingers shed
Their twilight visions o'er the wanderer's head,
Call it not false.'-p.77. Whence could he copy such delineations of natural objects as the following? The sea in a storm
Rises, in foamy wrath, his frowning face
red in clouds the Sun of battle rode,
• The dewy Moon a thankless Tigil keeps.'--p. 85.
ocean, with affection wild, Clasps to her heaving breast her favourite child.'- p.81. Sheep or snow it is not clear which) on a mountain;
--- the mountain's topmost pride,
The fleecy tract that decks its glimmering side.'--p. 5. An army marching through a defile;
they, who burst the wizard spell Of nature, shrined within her peaceful dell.'--p. 58. A ghost appearing;
But who is he, who from the wide
Of unseen distance moves?'--p. 48. Of passages similar or even superior to these, the store is inexhaustible; one is so characteristically excellent, that we cannot but recommend it to particular attention--it is the description of the morning of the day on which the battle of Busaco was fought.
• The unwilling sun from out his heathy bed,
In tearful moisture raised his shaded head;
And veiled in purer air his conscious crest.’-p. 55. We do not recollect seeing the sun on the 27th September, 1810; those, however, who were so fortunate as to behold this unwilling, tearful, shaded, giant, bending, gazing, seeking, blushing, veiling and conscious luminary, must have assisted at his levee,
Nil oriturum aliàs, nil ortum tale fatentes, But it is in the part of Portugal' which relates to the United Kingdom, that the peculiarity of the author's manner is most striking, and the feeling which causes it most apparent. Between the husbanding system of his party, and the peninsular policy of their adversaries, he is so unwilling to decide, that we doubt whether he applauds or reprobates the war in Portugal, and is most inclined to hope or to despair of the public fortunes of his country. This moment, he hails Britain as
the loveliest, bravest, best, Cradle of worth, of liberty, and rest,
The last stout bulwark of a tottering world,'-p. 81. the next, he sees her
• Weigh'd to the earth, by countless foes opprest,
The iron dint has entered to her breast,
Then again she looks up a little, and appears as one
whose form, Like her own oak, ne'er trembled in the storm.'-p. 89. The reader will easily perceive that these and similar passages are shrouded in oracular darkness. In our wish to reconcile them, we had recourse, as usual, to the notes, where we found, in reference to this part of the subject, two quotations from Exodus, the first of which, as being most to the point, it will perhaps be sufficient togive.
* And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are, and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt:Exodus, c. xii. 8. 13.
This exposition was not, at first sight, very promising; but by a careful collation of the note with the text, we are enabled to state with some confidence, that the author's meaning must be this, that as the destroying angel spared the houses that were marked with blood; so shall he spare England, because she is not marked with blood.* This explanation is in the best style of the ancient soothsayers : but lest there should be readers so uncandid as not to admit its applicability to the noble lord's topic, we shall state the elucidation which the argunent affords, of these different passages,
I turn to the ocean,-England—the feelings of joy occasioned by the recollection of our native country, and the pride with wbich we contemplate her present gallant struggle in the cause of Europe, PERHAPS a little damped by reflecting upon the scenes of misery which inevitably accompany war, wherever it is found, as well as upon the severe and irretrievable loss of valuable lives she has herself sustained in its prosecution.'
The noble lord thinks the war perhaps glorious, and we infer that he thinks it perhaps necessary; but it is perhaps a natural damper of the feelings which such a war should excite, to recollect that war in the abstract is attended with some human misery. This reasoning, which is perfectly clear and irrefragable, leads his lordship to a conclusion which approaches very nearly to the declared opinion of his noble relatives, that as war, wherever it is to be found, is attended with local evil, it would be prudent, instead of carrying it abroad, to permit it to come amongst us at home. It is a scourge which ought by no means to be inflicted by us upon the French on any part of the continent of Europe ;. but it may very properly be visited (as surgeons try experiments, in corpore vili') on the Turks, Egyptians, or South Americans: when directed against Ciudad Rodrigo or Badajos, it is a miserable waste of strength; but when waged upon Alexandria or Buenos Ayres, it' is good husbandry and statesman-like resolution.
It is but justice to observe that the author is not less happy in his profane than in his scriptural references. We never met with a more surprising instance of illustration by an apt classical allusion, than the following.
• Nor rouse to save tho' ruin sap the wall.'-p. 58. This is the text; the note follows.
tanti tibi non sit opaci
The last four lines of the poem, in which he dissuades England from toiling for fame or glory; and in which, because she is stout and able, he exhorts her by no means to fight ; till she is forced to fight for her life, are of so high a strain of public spirit as well as poetry, that we cannot refrain from quoting them.
• Let others toil for fame, thy veteran ray
Fight England but for life, and live but to be free!--p. 92. We must here, admonished by our contracting limits, conclude our review of this excellent work. We can only hope that what we have said will not damp the curiosity of the reader, nor induce him to take our opinion upon a poem, which we promise him he will find, upon one or two perusals, (we recommend two at least,) to exceed any idea that we have been able to convey of it.
Art. IX. Observations on the Criminal Law of England, as it
relates to Capital Punishments, and on the Mode in which it is
administered By Sir Samuel Romilly. London. THIS
HIS able and luminous pamphlet, which was published two
years ago, was intended to convey to the public the substance of a speech delivered by the author in the House of Commons, (9th February, 1810,) on moving for leave to bring in a series of bills to repeal the acts of 10 and 11 William III. 12 Anne, and 24 Geo. II. which make the crimes of privately stealing in a shop, goods of the value of five shillings; or in a dwelling house, or on board a vessel in a navigable river, property of the value of forty shillings, capital felonies. The publication took place while the fate of the bills was still depending in parliament. On the 2d of May, the motion for a repeal of the capital punishment for the larceny in a dwelling-house was rejected by a small majority. Soon after, the second bill, relating to larceny in a shop, was carried in the House of Commons without a division; but its progress was stopped in the House of Lords by a majority of three to one. At the end of the same session, the third bill , from the pressure of business, was