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pic of physicians, whose works lay is filled with works of royal origin, before us. If any of my readers have Basiaone. These are the writings of not read them, they have a feast in James the I. of Scotland, the poet store. If beauty of style and good and the lover, who spent “ the long ness of feeling are interesting to them, days and the nightes eke," in writing they will be delighted with the verses to celebrate his ladye love; and works-strange and paradoxical as of James the I. of England, the persome of the positions contained in secutor of papistry and tobacco, the them may appear-of this practical monarch who was a pedant when he lover of toleration, who sympathized should have been a king, and a with men of all countries and all squabbling polemic when he should sects ; " neither believing this, be- have been a warrior and a statesman. cause Luther has affirmed it, nor These two are the writings of his less denying that, because Calvin' hath fortunate, but superior son, Charles. disavouched it;" to whom, with They breatheaspiritof loftiness which more propriety than any writer that becomes the subject and the author. I can name, applies the so often I shall not now detain my readers quoted “nihil humanum a me alie- with any remarks on the volume num puto." Not that he blazes out bearing Charles's name; whether it his love of mankind at every page belong to him or Gauden is not at -not that he makes a boast and present to our purpose. a bye-word of his humanity; no Here are my friends the Old Drawhere are we told, in express words, matists--here are the works of those that the author is better or wiser who formerly gave delight to the than the rest of his species ; but we crowded audiences of a tavern-room are told, by the spirit of humanity or temporary shed. There's rare which breathes through his pages, James Shirley ; Nat. Lee, the awful by the lovely and beautiful touches and solemn webster; the witty, comiof natural feeling which burst from cal, facetiously quick and unparallelhim, by the whole strain and tenored John Lily; the spirited but irreof his writings, that he was one gular Chapman; the satirical Marston, who looked upon himself as a citizen Dekker, Greene, Middleton, Bishop of the world, and upon mankind as Bale, with his seven-in-one mystehis brethren--who sympathized deep-ries; and sporting Kyd, and Tourly in the joys and distresses of his nour, of whom, by the way, nobody fellows--whose religion, though oftere seems to know any thing. But stay mixed with singularity, was pure and I shall say nothing new of them, humble-and whose views towards and had therefore better hold my his-fellow creatures were founded peace. There are plenty of modern upon that great rule of moral con eruditi, who duct, “ Do unto another as thou
talk of Tonson's art, would'st he should do unto thee."
Of Shakespeare's nature, and of Cowley's But it is time to bid farewell to the author of the Religio Medici, and How Beaumont's judgment check'd pass on to other subjects. Suppose we what Fletcher writ. take a stroll through the library. See The poets have ever found a wel-here--this is the Theological divi
come place among my volumes,-not sion which my good ancestors thought that I choose to encumber myself proper to heap up, not for the bene- with the dull, cold verses of Garth, fit of me, for the volumes are never Broom, Blackmore, and the door, opened by their unworthy descend- who compose the poetical list from ant. I care, indeed, very little about the Restoration to the close of the the discordant opinions of Theologi- last century. I dive into those old ans, nor do I ever take from the shelf and neglected fields from which sweets the Tela Ignea Satanæ, or Monta- may be gathered, far different from gue's Treatise on the Invocation of the languid insipidity of such wriSaints. We shall therefore direct our ters as I have mentioned. Of Chauattention to something more interest
cer it is not necessary to speak; but ing.
there are many, almost unknown, in Do you see that little black cup- whom the richness of poesy appears. board, with a crown on the top? that The beautiful and touching simpli
city of the elder Wyatt-the majese future Galileo. In the mean time, tic pinion of Chamberlayne's muse- in attending to this curious subject the far-fetched but glowing and ani- of research, we must be content to mated conceits, mingled with innu- weigh and compare actual examples, merable beauties of a higher order, of instead of measuring imaginary dishis cotemporary Crashaw—and the tinctions, and constructing uncertain graceful Auency of Herrick, have and unsatisfactory theories. It is our charms of no small power for the lo- opinion, that Poetry is a thing devers of “ heaven-born poesy. But pendent on kind, but that the term the number of poets who may be Genius relates to degree alone; and called excellent, are, of course, few, one of the opinions consequent on the and many are around me which do foregoing is, that the former of them not merit the appellation. Sir Thon may be produced without the previes Davies, though elegant, and sence of the latter ; that it very frequently highly poetical, does not rarely is so produced, but that it belong to the first class : Du Barta's may be. It strikes us, that a very “divine” works, aš someborly calls remarkable illustration of the foregothem, are pompous and heavy; and ing position, in both its members, wearisome indeed is the lengthy may be found in the works of the doggrel of Warner's Albion's Eng- elegant and accomplished writer now land.
That the Fall of JerusaI had much to say on many other lem, and the Martyr of Antioch, are poets, and some of our earlier prose poetry, it would be hypercritical, writers; but as evening is lending a as well as ungracious and ungrateful, deeper gloom to the heavy, dark wains- to deny; but we hold it to be equal cotting of the library, I must leave ly certain, that the natural powers this collection of
of their author do not mount to that books of all sorts,
degree in the scale of the human
mind which entitles them to the Folios, quartos, large and small sorts
name of Genius. Perhaps they come till a future period. And yonder is nearer to that degree, without reachC-coming to partake of my fru- ing it, than those of any other writer gal meal, and to ramble in imagina who has devoted much of his attention with me over the scenes of our tion to poetical composition; and youth. It is a treat I would not their results deserve to rank higher miss for the world-dulce est desi- in the class to which they belong, pere in loco.
than the productions of any other Crito. writer of whose powers the same
may be predicated. We have noUR MILMAN'S BELSHAZzar *.
ticed this more particularly than
might at first seem necessary, beIn watching the operations of the cause we think that, while it offers human mind, we feel that there is a something like a denial to the propoint at which what is in common position which is meant to be conlanguage called Talent, rises into and veyed in the ancient axiom of “poeta assumes the character of Genius. We nascitur, &c.,” it also affords a most feel that there is such a point, but we interesting and instructive example in rain attempt to detect and trace it of the possible effect of culture on the out. At least, hitherto this has been human intellect. Mr Milman has, the case; and it will probably for in fact, been enabled to take a reever remain so, unless we suppose it spectable, and, as we sincerely hope, possible that mind may at some fu a permanent rank among the poets of ture period be demonstrated to pos- his day, not by nature, but by himsess similar attributes to those of self. We would wish it to be unmatter, and become subject to the derstood, however, that we say this inventions and discoveries of some chiefly with reference to those works
of Mr Milman which have precedBelshazzar: a Dramatic Poem. Byed the one the title of which stands the Rev. H. H. Milman, Professor of at the head of this article. Fazio, Poetry in the University of Oxford.“ (incomparably the best of this auJabn Murray, London, 1822.
thor's productions,) is full of cha
racter and passion; and the Fall of the destruction of his city by the Jerusalem, and the Martyr of An- Medes and Persians; yet, it is extioch, are stately and 'impressive panded to what at last becomes a works : but, in turning our atten- wearisome length of detail, quite intion to the poem immediately before compatible with that force and disus, we are reluctantly compelled to tinctness of impression, which should, confess that it is a comparative fail- attend the relation of a tale of this ure. Belshazzar is, indeed, far from kind. This is, however, attempted being without passages of consider to be relieved by the introduction of able merit; and had it proceeded a family of Jewish captives, one of from the pen of a new candidate for whom, a betrothed bride, is torn literary honours, it might have ex- away to be sacrificed to the impious cited much attention, and still more rites of Bel the Chaldean god ; but expectation, as an earnest of future the destructive catastrophe arrives in excellence. But as the mature work time to save her from outrage, worse of a tried and matured intellect, we than death. In choosing our excannot but think that it evinces no- tracts from this work, (which, for thing beyond a graceful mediocrity; our own gratification, as well as the that it includes much more of arti- reader's, will be the most favourable fice than of nature and passion ; but we can meet with, in the different little eloquence either of language or inanners of this writer,) we shall enversification ; scarcely a single touch deavour to interweave them with, of involuntary poetic power; and, in and let them follow the course of, fact, much more of the confidence of the story itself, as related by the successful authorship, than of any poet, and of which we shall give a thing else. Two things, however, slight sketch. The poem opens by we are sure of, that if Mr Milman what appears to us to be a not very had never produced any thing better judicious introduction of the Destroythan this, he would have gained no ing Angel of the Lord, hovering over higher reputation than his mere pro- the devoted city, and dooming its fall. fessorship would have given him ; and that if he produces one or two
Within the cloud-pavilion of my rest, more such works, he will speedily Amid the thrones and princedoms that lose that rank among his brother
await poets which he at present holds: Their hour of ministration to the Lord, for the writer who, on the strength I heard the summons, and I stood, with of his acquired reputation, taxes us,
wings both in time and pocket, by means of Outspread for flight, before the Eternal
Throne. works inferior to those we are entitled to expect from him, is selling
And, from the unapproached depth of
light us, not his poetry, but his name, Wherein the Almighty Father of the and has consequently no longer a worlds right to enjoy it himself; and if he Dwells, from seraphic sight by glory should afterwards find that he needs
veil'd, what he has thus parted with, he came forth the soundless mandate, which will at least have all his work to do I felt over again, and may not improbably Within, and sprung upon my obedient do it all in vain: for, in the mean plumes. time, we (the public) may chance But as I sail'd my long and trackless to discover, that he owed his fame voyage more to our zeal to reward even the
Down the deep bosom of unbounded space, semblance of merit, than to his pos
The manifest bearer of Almighty wrath, session of the substance; or, at best,
I saw the Angel of each separate star that he gained it more by what he
Folding his wings in terror o'er his orb has avoided, than by what he has
Of golden firc; and shuddering till I done.
To pour elsewhere Jehovah's cup of venThough the plot of Belshazzar is
geance. very simple, including merely the last
And now I stand upon this world of day of the inonarch's life, together
man, with his great feast-the appearance My wonted resting-place. But thou, oh of the prophetic writing-and, finally, Earth!
Thou only dost endure my fatal presence I set my foot, here take my gloomy rest, Undaunted. As of old, I hover o'er Even till that hour be come, that comes This haughty city of Chaldean Bel,
full soon. That not the less pours forth her festal pomp
We consider this extract as affordTo do unholy worship to her gods, ing a fair specimen of Mr Milman's That are not gods, but works of mortal characteristic manner. The versifihands.
cation is, in some parts, (particularly Behold! the Sun hath burst the eastern
the beginning,) heavy, awkward, and gates, And all his splendour floods the tower'd and not unmusical. The language is
monotonous; and, in others, flowing, walls, Upon whose wide immeasurable circuit
proud and pompous, but, at the same The harness'd chariots crowd in long ar.
time, cold and common-place; and ray.
the general effect, which might have Down every stately line of pillar'd street,
been made highly poetical and imTo each of the hundred brazen gates, pressive, strikes us as being someyoung men,
what indistinct and indifferent. And flower-crown'd maidens, lead the The human part of the action now mazy dance.
opens, before the temple of Bel, where Here the vast palace, whence yon airy the priests are waiting the approach gardens
of Belshazzar, who comes to consult Spread round, and to the morning airs their gods on the issue of the siege hang forth
which the Medes and Persians are Their golden fruits and dewy opening laying to his city. Their terror at flowers;
the portentous shadow, which is supWhile still the low mists creep in lazy posed to be cast around by the wings folds,
of the Destroying Angel, is stopped C'er the house-tops beneath. In every by the arrival of the King. He
court, Through every portal, throng, in servile
comes, attended by his haughty mohaste,
ther, Nitocris ; and, however disCaptains and nobles. There, before the tasteful it may be to Mr Milman to temple,
be told of any coincidences that may On the far side of wide Euphrates' stream, look like plagiarisms *, we cannot The Priests of Bel their impious rite avoid pointing out a resemblance, in prepare :
this part of his work, to Lord ByAnd cymbal clang, and glittering dulci- ron’s Sardanapalus and Salamenesmer,
we mean in the remonstrances of NiWith shrill melodious salutation, hail tocris against the luxurious inactivity The welcome morn, awakening all the of her son. It must be confessed, city
too, that the resemblance shews To the last dawn that e’er shall gladden greatly to the disadvantage of Mr her.
Milman. Babylon! Babylon ! that wak’st in pride
Kalassan. Great King, And glory, but shalt sleep in shapeless ruin,
What answer wouldst thou, which such Thus, with my broad and overshadowing May not compel ?
sumptuous offerings wings, I do embrace thee for mine own; for
Belshazzar. Declare ye to our gods,
Thus saith Belshazzar : Wherefore am I bidding,
call'd Even at this instant, yon bright orient
The King of Babylon, the scepter'd heir To shed his splendours on thy lofty Must be infested by rebellious arms,
Of Nabonassar's sway, if still my sight streets. Oh, Desolation's sacred place, as now
That hem my city round; and frantic
cries Thou'rt darken'd, shall the darkness of the dead
Of onset, and the braying din of battle Enwrap thee in its everlasting shade!
Disturb my sweet and wonted festal songs?
Nitocris. In the god's name, and in Babylon ! Babylon ! upon the wreck of that most impious tower your fathers
mine own, I answer! rear'a To scale the crystal battlements of Heaven,
See his Preface to this work.
When Nabonassar's heir shall take the Belshazzar disregards, however, and sword
he departs, amid
the exulting praises Of Nabonassar in his valiant hand; of the priests and people, to show With the inborn awe of majesty appal himself on the walls of his city. The Into the dust Rebellion's crested front;
scene of the poem then changes, and When for the gliding bark on the smooth we are introduced to the Jewish cap
waters, Whose motion doth but lull his silken ably favourable specimen of Mr Mil
tives, in a dialogue which is a tolercouch, He mounts the rushing chariot, and in
man's more tender and subdued
manner a manner in which he has Asserts himself the lord of human kind.
sometimes been very successful. In Sabaris. Will he endure it ?
this scene we are also introduced to Nitocris. Oh, my son ! my son ! the prophet Daniel, at least by deMust I repent me of that thrill of joy scription. The passage is one of the I felt, when round my couch the slaves very best in the poem. It describes proclaim'd
the change that has just taken place I had brought forth a man into the world, in his manners and appearance, in A child for empire born, the cradled lord consequence of the supposed revelaof Nations--oh, my son and all the tions which have come to him, of pride
the destruction that awaits the deWith which I saw thy fair and open brow voted city. Expand in beauteous haughtiness, commanding
Imlah. Till but lately he was girt Ere thou could'st speak ? And with thy With sackcloth, with the meagre hue of growth, thy greatness
fasting Still ripen'd: like the palm amid the On his sunk cheek, and ashes on his head; grove
When, lo! at once he shook from his Thou stood'st, the loftiest, at once, and
The attire of woe, and callid for wine ;
ing streets Or on a soft and dainty maiden wasted, With a sad scorn. Amid the heaven. That might have been, if not herself, like piercing towers, her
Through cool luxurious courts, and in Thy martial ancestress, Semiramis,
the shade Mightiest at least the Mother of the Of summer trees that play o'er crystal Mighty ?
fountains, Belshazzar. Queen of Assyria, Nabo He walks, as though he trod o'er mossnassar's daughter !
grown ruins, Wife of my royal father, Merodach ! 'Mid the deep desolation of a city Greater than all, from whom myself was Already by the Almighty wrath laid waste. born!
And sometimes doth he gaze upon the The gods that made thee mother of Bel clouds, shazzar
As though he recogniz'd the viewless Have arm'd thee with a dangerous li. forms cence. Thou,
Of arm'd destroyers in the silent skies. Secure, may'st utter what from meaner And it is said, that at the dead of night lips
Ile hath pour'd forth thy burden, Babylon, Had call'd upon the head the indignant And loud proclaim'd the bowing down sword
of Bel, Of Justice. But to thee we deign reply. The spoiling of the spoiler. Even our Is't not the charge of the great gods t' lords, uphold
As conscious of God's glory gathering The splendour of the world that doth round him, them homage?
Look on him with a silent awe, nor dare As soon would they permit the all-glo. To check his motion, or reprove his speech.
rious sun To wither from their palace - vault in
This scene, which has little or noheaven,
thing to do with the progress of the As this rich empire from the earth.
story, but which is yet one of the
most pleasing and poetical scenes in This scene closes by the appear the drama, closes with a long hyinn, ance of unfavourable portents, which sung by the Jewish captives; and