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The scalps were in the wild dog's maw,
Picked by the birds, on the sands of the bay." P. 25. Now if this be not a satire upon rawhead and bloody bones, we shall hereafter read the tragical end of little Red Riding Hood with appropriate gravity. If the noble Lord' is serious, he must have some views upon the Laureatship of Butcher Row, for surely out of compliment alone to the slaughter houses in Newgate Market, could such a strain liave been indited. Should this, like other portions of his Lordship's poetry, be set to music, we should recommend, to the composer, an appropriate accompaniment of marrow-bones and cleavers. . The noble Lord appears indeed to envy the hero of the Dunciad his monopoly of honours, and to emulate
" the man who brings
Throughout the Poem indeed the noble Lord seems to have adopted a new style of rithm and expression. In another place we are told.
“ The sharp shot dashed Alp to the ground;
Round he spun, and down he fell.” The comparison of poor Alp to a te totum is, we suppose, the very acme of sublimity. To our shallow apprehensions, it appears vastly like doggrel. This, however, we can readily laugh at and pardun, but when his Lordship borders upon blasphemy, we must confess that we begin to be more serious. In one part we find the following lines.
“ When pictured there, we kneeling see
Her and the boy God on her knee.”: ..
" That morn it held the holy wint,
In the dilemma between blasphemy and bad taste, we shall leave his Lordship, not kno:ving which side he may prefer. We would indeed willingly acquit his Lordship, if he would accept our acquittal, of any intentional profaneness : but we should earnestly recommend his Lordship, when he has again occasion to touch upon subjects on which he is ignorant, and points which he has never considered, to take inore care not to offend the prejudices of the believers in a certain creed called Christian. It is of course beneath a man of his Lordship's exalted genius to have studied these theological subjects, or he would have known that neither the Romish does not allow its laity to taste, nor the Greek Church to drink of the consecrated cup. In the course of the poem,'his Lordship appears to have taken one or two remarkable lines in the Bathos : as for instance, after hav. ing described the explosion which overwhelmed the living dead in one tremendous ruin, which threw down the walls and “ the waves a moment backward bent," he proceeds in a very econoinical but not a very poetical manner, to dispose of the cinders.
5. Many a tall and goodly man,
Scattered o'er the isthmus lay." . P. 52.
All that of living or dead remain
In one wild roar expired: The shock appears to have been so dreadful as to inflict upon the dead a sort of sécond death. We have not leisure to select any further beauties from this new specimen of his Lordship's genius; but shall conclude with observing, that if the poem be. fore us is meant as a serious effort, it displays a sad falling off in those powers, which, though much overrated, we are ever willing to allow him to have possessed. The noble Lord can. not complain of his enemies; in this instance he is a poetical felo de se, and appears to have written himself completely down. The public have already tasted the finer portion of the cup, what remajusis little better than the dregs of doggrel and of old ideas, wbich having lost their first favour, are mixed up with
glaring absurdity, to disguise their insipidity. The only please ing passage in the poem we willingly extract, which though it. contains no new ideas, is still prettily put together.
“ 'Tis midnight: on the mountain's brown
The story of the second poem is of a nature which must prevent 'us from entering into an analysis of its mefits. : Without
any apy stiff or overstrained notions of poetical morality, we are bound to enter our strong protest against the gratuitous exhibition of incestuous adultery as the subject of a popular tale. The very relation of such crimes is not unattended with danger; but when the history is decked out with all the embellishments of verse, when both the offenders and the offence are held up as objects more of commiseration than of disgust, it cannot but have the strongest tendency to sap the foundations of the public morals. Our plain notions will doubtless appear bigotted and narrow to the refined and liberal feelings of his Lordship’s school; but they are, and we trust that they long will be, the notions of the British nation. The principle upon which the punishment of such crimes was inficted by the Germans of old, is equally applicable to the offence itself. Flagitia abscondi. The poetry of the tale is in many parts very pretty, but in too many others awkward and strained. And here we must protest against the idea, now so generally entertained, that his Lordship is a poet of feeling. There occur, undoubtedly, in his Lordship's writings, thoughts which find an echo in the reader's mind, and correspond with the impressions which nature has already formed. These, however, are but few : there is too often in their stead that fastidious irritability which is to be traced not to the enlarged and noble feelings which nature has implanted, but to the feverish and fretful workings of a confined and selfish sensibility. The querulous acrimony of proud and peevish misanthropy bear no more comparison to the real feeling ofa poetic mind, than the morbid convulsions of an hysterical female, to the active exertions of a powerful and manly frame.
Art. XV. Reasons for not answering Mr. Gisborne, 8c. Art. XVI. Answer to Mr. Gisborne. By the Rev. H.
Woodcock. Rivingtons. 1816.
HAVING gone through the pamphlet of Mr. Gisborne so much at length, we have been unwilling to renew the contest by a review of the able pamphlets which have appeared in answer to that strange and ill-digested publication. If the reader, however, be desirous of reading a spirited and powerful answer within a short compass, we shall refer him, without entering into any particular enquiries, to the pamphlet of Mr.Woodcock. We could recommend him others also, in which much ability and right principle is displayed; but as these have each, within their own sphere, already answered their end, and as the pamphlet of
Mr. Mr. Gisborne is now forgotten, we shall not, out of respect to Mr. G. be willing to recall it into notice.
We cannot, however, pass over one of the ablest publications of the kind, which we have ever witnessed, under the title of “ Reasons for not answering Mr. Gisborne;” in which a much more complete answer is given to that gentlenian, than he will probably approve. The grounds upon which the author has taken up the question, are so original, the spirit and ingenuity with which he has shewn Mr. Gisburne to be unworthy of any regular attack, is so conspicuous, and the principles laid down are so masterly and just, that we should neglect our duty, if we did not recommend it to general notice.
We cannot conclude our observations on this subject, without remarking the very shabby manner in which Mr. Gisborne has been abandoned by his own party, who have in inany respects shrunk from his avowal of those sentiments which they all entere tain, and, at Bible Society meetings, universally express. The avowal, we allow, was indiscreet just at this time, but it was honest: we therefore are willing to allow him, on this score, a greater degree of credit than his friends.
Art. XVIII. The Wanderer in Norway, with other Poems.
By Thomas Brown, M.D. Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. Murray. 1816. THAT poets are born, and not made, is a saying which has been often repeated, and no man has as yet employed his taste or his industry so successfully as to disprove its truth. Of this fact, the present author may serve as an example. Dr. Brown has indeed a vivid fancy, and a heart of deep feeling ; but his creations are not poetical, and his sentiments are those of a mere moralist, who traces the affections to their source, and marks, with precision, their aberrations and general effects on human happiness.' We deny not that he possesses the mens divinior; but his conceptions resemble more the abstractions of the me taphysician than the fine embodyings of true poetry. If he enjoys the other requisite of the genuine bard; it must be con. fessed that his os magna sonans is confined to the utterance of swelling words without any corresponding import,mand that at all times there is no small difficulty in making out his meaning. His raptures are always full of the love of virtue and excellence, his breast glows with the best affections, and all his decisio $ are in support of goodness, of faithfulness, and of honour; but as he deals with ideas rather than with things, he commony Gg
leaves 'YOL, V, APRIL, 1816.