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With half-drawn metaphor and fond conceit,
And verse that halts upon uneven feet,
Within their still domain.
Should waste such smiles in vain.”
These wild and melancholy eyes
The cloudlike sails and radiant shrouds.
Cloudlike sails; anglice, Canvass—and Radiant Shrouds;
Hemp, with a little coal tar.
“O world of waters! the steadfast earth
Ne'er lay entranced like thee.”
“For long, in sooth, he strove,
Who tells, how tiny boats like Monarchs glide, 235.
While, with low tone, hush'd billows kiss their side;
Long, in sooth, he might; but, one more quotation, and that
She mocketh the gentle mighty one
Of shipwrecked mariners?”
Guess, gentle reader! who it is that speaks! No less a personage than the Moon “singing in her bliss,” and addressingher
self, in this dismal ditty, to the
— waves that lend their gentle breast
In gladness, for her couch of rest! “Cedite Graii, cedite Romani scriptores!”
“And say what wanteth now the Isle of Palms?”
“It wanteth sense, and taste, and everything but rhyme.”
And blessed airs and gentle Moon invite,
With smiles, a joyous bark to pass a night
Shades of Laura Maria, Carlos, Reuben, Orlando, and Adelaide, if your mellifluous strains still illumined the Oracle, how would each “blue stocking bard" exult, and “shake his empty noddle at a brother,” in the anticipation of excellence which pro‘mises to surpass your whole choir” And yet this is the magnus Apollo of the Edinburgh Reviewers; this is the Poem which they think “will afford great delight to those who are most capable and most deserving of being delighted.” They indeed add, “there are none whom it will not sometimes dazzle with its glare, and sometimes weary with its repetitions.” I wish, for the sake of consistency, that this learned Body, who have come forward as Arbiters of the Public Taste, had been more moderate in the praise they have bestowed upon this tissue of absurdities; as, I much fear, it will excite a belief in the minds of those, who still remember their unmerciful treatment of poor Montgomery, that there is a mode of appeal to their tribunal, of which ordinary readers have very little suspicion. From the tone of apparent candour which they contrive to
plend with the acrimony of their strictures, there are many, no
Within their still and silvery domain,
But waste (poor creatures 1) all their smiles in vain?
doubt, who conceive them to be actuated by a spirit of fair and
liberal criticism. By these it will be heard with surprise, that the
Oracle of Jeffrey delivers its “fata” in a manner not very dissi
milar to that of the Delphic Apollo. A secret influence behind
the curtain directs the operations, and an insolent affectation of sincerity covers the imposture. With the same blind and stupid adoration are its edicts received by those who are dazzled by the
pomp of an apophthegm and the splendour of declamation. At
this moment, the words of Horace seem prophetic, and intended
Before I conclude the subject, I would inquire of the Rev. Sydney Smith, if Le Maitre's mimicry of a certain Lecturer at the Royal Institution had any share in pointing the acumen which assailed Le Maitre's Travels; and what was the nature of the private quarrel, which left so bitter a remembrance behind, as to
influence the Reviewer in his notice of Dr. Parr's Sermon? I 'Tis Wilson 1 Master of the pretty song!
Though something, nothing; and tho' little, long;
would also ask that “smooth-tongued” Patriot, Mr. Brougham, if Dr. Currie's Biography of Burns offended him more than Dr. Currie's conduct at Liverpool? Mr. Jeffrey, perhaps, can inform me, whether Coppleston's witty pamphlet (Hints to a Young Reviewer) was the provocation which drew forth the tirade against Oxford, and the clubbing of his wit with that of the Rev. S. Smith and Richard Payne Knight, Esq. for the overloaded abuse of that Professor;—if the only sermons he ever noticed without damning were not those of his own brother-in-law;—and what meaning he intended to convey, when he returned a review of Shepherd's Life of Poggio", saying: “It had not pepper and salt enough 9” Further, it may afford some satisfaction to know, if the Edinburgh Review be the only publication over which Mr. Pillans has sufficient control, to procure the insertion of a favorable critique of the very indifferent Themes of his own Scholars, and
consequent praise of their worthy Preceptor.
* Their own account of that very book was replete with errors,
detected by Shepherd in the Monthly Magazine.