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leaves his reader at the utmost loss how to comprehend his reasoning, and how to sympathize with his emotions.
The Wanderer in Norway is the celebrated Mary Wolstonecraft; a lady who wrote to avenge the cause of her sex, and to maintain their rights, and who lived to exemplify in her history their peculiar weaknesses and misfortunes. While at Paris, during the tumultuous scenes of the Revolution, she formed an intimacy with an American of the name of Imlay; and with the view, it is said, of not rendering her lover responsible for some debts she had contracted, she gave him all the rights of a husband without the legitimate title ; lived with him in the same house, assumed his name, and in due time became the motber of a daughter, who afterwards shared with her the misery which such a connexion could hardly fail to produce. Iinlay was unprincipled, and soon abandoned her. He passed over to England, and gave his attentions to another lady, while the unfortunate Wolstonecraft, devoured by her own regrets, divided her time, between useless importunities and thoughts of suicide. An apparent return of kindness on his part, diverted her from the dreadful resolution of self-murder ; and she eagerly seized an opportunity which was presented to her, of repairing to Norway to superintend some commercial arrangements for the behalf of him whom she called her husband. In the society of her little girl, Mary thus commenced her wanderings in toat northern land, endeavouring to soothe her mind by the summer scenery of a romantic and mountainous country, and by the thought, perhaps, that she might still be of service to one, who little deserved the interest which he had too long continued to excite in her breast. We make two or three extracts, which we give as a fair specimen of Dr. Brown's poetical talents.
“ Land of wild beauty! when the heart is free,
No tardy vernal months thou ask'st, to rear
Mute is the mountain-cataract, whose fall
“ Ye mountain-woods that rising dark from earth,
Bid every sorrow die amid your gloom !” P. 66. The lines we admire the most, are to be found in the dea scription of her friend's funeral, who dying in France, was committed to the ground in the night, with all the stealth and sia lence which the bigotry of the Papists imposes upon Protes. tants. There is something touching in the dust “ dropping cautious on the bier.”
“ In the dark hour, when half by stealth she gave
The sob faint stifled in the noiseless tear, ..
Could look, nor dread to look-beyond the tomb." P. 44 The following verses were addressed to Professor Dugald Stewart, when the author presented to him a copy of his “ Observations on Dr. Darwin's Zoonomia.” The attempt to delineate, in poetical language, the phenomena of mind, savours pretty strongly of Darwin's characteristic nonsense.
“ O still in all my soul's proud musings sought,
Dear were the hours, when mid the listening trair
“ Mid blooms and odours born and tones that swell
The shadowy band again to shine, to live. .
With softer bondage, will, the giant power,
And proud pursues, as if he wandered free. · The marks of the , chisel are strong on Dr. Brown; but we must end where we began; a poet is born, not made.
ART. XVIII. The Battle of Waterloo ; a Poem. By George
Walker. small 8vo. pp. 77. 1815.
THIS is a poem, Mr. Walker tells us, in “ the simple style of the Old English Ballad;" a style, which he says, he has been induced to adopt, in the hope that his work may, “ in that dress, find its place in the Farm-House and the Cottage, it being vain to expect shelter from the rich and the great, in competition with such poets as Scott, Byron, Southey, Swift, &c." He professes, also, to have " no doubt that many will prefer this native and simple style, to the high ornaments of heroic pomp, and he is led to this belief, from observing that most of our historical tales, most of our interesting stories, and legendary ballads, and even one version of the Psalms used in our Churches, are formed to this measure, which, indeed, appears to be the natural inclination of our language in its first step from prose.”
That Mr. Walker is not competent to rival any of the poets whom he mentions, we can easily believe, and we applaud his prudence in not entering the lists with them. We fear that, even in the humbler kind of poetry which he has chosen as his field, he will be found to have made a wrong estimate of the difficulties, and of his own powers. He seems to think that by adopting the ballad style, he has relieved himself from the trouble of seeking for poetical ornament, and has nothing to do but to write in a loose kind of eight syllable metre, and in stan. zas of four lines each. This idea of his is an exceedingly er, roneous one. The ballad style does not exclude grace and elegance, and chaste embellishment. In the present day it im. periously requires them. It is not merely the fluency of the verse, which constitutes the charm of so many ballads. That charm lies in their touches of nature and pathos, in the frequent beauty of their language, and in the felicity of their descriptions. Even our rudest ballads occasionally display these merits, in a very high degree. Nothing can be more affecting, or more picturesque, tban numerous passages in them. Among a thou
Pabe wulgare manifest a chavoductions
sand others of the kind, we need only refer to The Children in
“ The tardy night its darkness spread
“ And give one general shout!
Of justice in the fight ;
Until the morning light.
Our men have need of rest;
For God our cause has blest.
So many brave men down;
Napoleon lost the crown !". We cannot suffer one assertion, in Mr. Walker's “ historical detail,” to pass uncontradicted. He gives his readers to understand, that, if the Prussians had not come up when they did, the British troops would, probably, have been defeated. This is directly contrary to the fact.' The final efforts of Napoleon against our army had been foiled before the arrival of Marshal Blucher's troops, and the battle was consequently won'; though, undoubtedly, from the complete inability of our forces to pursue, it would not have been so decisive in its effects, had not our allies appeared in the field at the critical moment, contributed mainly to throw the French into irretrievable confusion, and followed up with vigour the advantage which had been gained.