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* The village bell with melancholy sound
*Ring out the knell of death.'
The thought which it excites in Theodorus, of the misery he most feel, should he survive his Cleone, is well introduced, and the paffage tender and affecting. He now hears the frequent repetition of
"O frail mortality!
-- At length I saw,
I cross’d his path- his eyes were bent on heav'n ;He saw me not-his vision was above!'This description is nervous and energetic. An episode fol. lows, which informs us who this " man of sorrow' was. The ftory, though much inferior, bears fome affinity to that of Celadon and Amelia, in Thomson's Seasons. The marriageday is fixed for the two lovers, Fanny and Agenor : on the preceding evening;
• Season of universal calm ! all breath'd
Walk’d forth Agenor and his destin'd bride.' All those who have · felt true passion' are called upon to tell, we should rather read conceive or imagine, 03
Landscapes in Verfe.
Arm wreath'd in arm, and soul to soul conjoin'd !'
- darkness wrapt
The fullen pool.' Agenor hears a plunge in the contiguous stream,' and fies to her aslistance.
stretch That look the pool he swam ;' but on this brook, stream, or pool, for it is distinguished by each appellation,
a different way
In his dear arms, O let me breathe my last!" Agenor comes too late, and his forrow terminates in phrenzy, The story is by no means artificially conducted. A word,' a scream of Fanny's, to have informed Agenor where she was, would have been more consistent with probability than the speech she makes while drowning. Theodorus, ftill under the guidance of Fancy, continues to depicture various scenes in warm and glowing, perhaps sometimes in glaring, colours. He invokes the Muses; and celebrates their power in soothing or directing, in a proper manner, the turbulent passions ; and exciting and invigorating those of a more amiable nature. They descend in imagination before him. An ode is intro, duced, as sung by them, allusive to his situation, the concluding image of which is prettily expressed.
! Abfence, tho' it wounds, endears,
Pains that please, and joys that weep,
Love and Sorrow, twins, were born
Never felt true passion's power,
Cleone approaches, and Theodorus concludes the poem by comparing himself to a turtle, that, during the absence of his mate, fooths his forrows by a soft confolatory fong; but at the fight of her,
• Then glad he gives his plumage to the breeze,
And springs along to welcome her rerurn.' The author informs us that this poem was no hafty production, but the labour of three years. This, though certainly a compliment to the public tafte, renders its defects, however trivial, more juftly liable to critical observation. We have selected some few passages that we thought objectionable, and others might be added. The last line of the poem, for inftance, is by no means happily expressed. To' spring along,' though descriptive of speed, gives an inadequate idea of flight. It might, with propriety, be applied to the light bounding of a hare or greyhound, but not to the smooth motion of a bird. In more than one place the author, possibly with a view to give his style a resemblance of Milton's, affe&ts a ftudied negligence of the laws of verlification.
Withdrawn, thus tuned ch' enthufiaft lay.And next appear'd, winding th'eventful avenue.' In the first of these lines, enthufiaftic would have founded bet. ter than enthufiaft;' it would have conveyed the same mean ing; and the epithet 'eventful' in the second, not only mili. tątes against metrical law, but injures the sense, as the * fact alluded to, Fanny's death, did not happen in or near the avenue. To aim at the imitation of Milton's beauties, is a laudable ambition; but to copy his harsh expressions, and unpolifed numbers, which doubtless proceeded not from design but negligence and inattention, betrays a want of judgment. This fault, however, is seldom to be found in our author ; he is more often tco ftudioully polished and ornamental. On the whole, there is considerable merit in this performance; and the drawings of + Mr. Lawrence, which accompany
are executed in a very pleasing manner.
Eugenius : or, Anecdotes of the Golden Vale: an embellished Nar
rative of real Fact. . 2 Vols. 12mo. 55. fewed. Dodsley. WE are indebted for this pleafing performance to the same
author who has often entertained us with observations dictated by good sense, and a cultivated taste. We allude to
• See page 32. + The author informs us that this ingenious artiit is now but sixteen years old.
the Spiritual Quixote, Columella, Euphrolyne, and some other publications of fancy and good-humour: nor are the Anec, dotes of Eugenius of less importance; for to smooth the wrink. led brow of carė, to beguile the heavy hours of suspence, or seduce the restless soul for a moment from its anxious solici. tudes, is an important task, and one in which humanity would wish to be employed.
The chief opinion which the author endeavours to incul. cate is, that the present age improves in many respects; and that the manners of our cotemporaries are, at least, not ' altered for the worse.' We have lately inclined to the fame opi. nion, in subjects of literature; and perhaps, if the’vices and follies of the last age are compared, in cumulo, with those of the present, they may prefent a more shocking picture than we can now furnish.
Avarice and hypocrisy are certainly not among the latter.
But let us hear our author : we can only find room for some parts of his argument.
· Reason has certainly gained ground, though deep learn. ing may be upon the decline; many prejudices are worn off, and many absurd customs laid aside ;'our manners are evidently more polished, and I think not more corrupt, than in the days of our youth. If we have fewer foxhunters, we have fewer hard drinkers ; if our country gentlemen live more in public places, they drink less in private parties, than heretofore. As to our statesmen, orators, and poets,-if we must defcend to particulars, without regard to party—though we have no Walpoles, Pulteneys, or Bolingbrokes, we have men not less honest, not less able: we have a Th-low, a C-md-n, a N-th, a Charles F-x, and a second William P-tt.
• If we have not a Swift, an Addison, or a Pope, we have an H-rd, the W-rtons, and an H--yley, with many others not inferior to them; not to mention many female writers, superior to those of any age, ancient or modern.
. In point of taste and skill in the polite arts, you will hardly dispute our superiority to the last age ; 'nor put even Pope's hero, Jervas, in competition with Reynolds or Gainfborough; or Hogarth himself with Harry B-nbury.
Even our fair ladies, though some few, with a noble contempt of the laws of decency as well as of chastity, have dif tinguished themselves in the annals of gallantry; and though they have too generally adopted the high ton of a bold malculine air and ambiguous dress; yet I question whether we have not in high life as many, or more examples of conjugal fidelity, maternal tenderness, and domestic ceconomy, as in
the former part of this, or in the latter part of the latt century.
He opposes the arguments drawn from the licentiousness of fome modern fashionable females, in the following manner.
· The Peerage of Great Britain, continues he, in conjunction with the Irish nobility, many of whom refide in England, amount, I believe, to near five hundred families : and our commoners of high rank, and pofseffed of capital fortunes, and who also figure in high life, are almost innumerable.
Now amonglt these people of distinction, who exhibit themselves on the theatre of the polite world, we hear of two or three ladies, in two or three years, perhaps, who from mere wantonness and love of variety, or from being unsuitably matched by their parents --and sometimes, I fear, from the ill usage of their tyrannical masters--violate their conjugal engagements, separate from their husbands, become the subject of public speculation, and fill every news-paper with licentious anecdotes, criminal adventures, and trials for incontinency.
But we hear nothing all this while, of the hundreds and thousands of virtuous wives, tender mothers, or dutiful daughters, who, in the sequeitered paths of life, discharge their duty in their several relations and departments without noise or oftentation,
"Neither are the trials of these few fair culprits, in this age, ftained with the guilt of poisoning or afTaffinations; crimes fhocking to humanity, with which history abounds; and which have furnished the subjects of tragedy, in earlier periods, in our own country, as well as in other parts of Europe, and amongst the ancient celebrated commonwealths of Greece and Rome.'
Perhaps it'is not difficult to draw the balance; but it will be augmented or diminihed by the mind of the accomptant. Those who pats cheerily through the vale of life, without feeling its distreffes or bearing its burthens, will increase the favourable sum : while those who sink under disease, whose pain, either of body or mind, cats a gloomy fade on their profpects, and separates their minutes by imaginary hours, will form a different opinion. Truth, as usual, muit lie between ; and when we weigh the facts in that balance, we think, with our author, that we have seen worte times; but he must allow us to add, that we wish for better.
The story, in general, is fimple, pleasing, and tender. The author calls it an embellished narrative; it is not above truth; it is not ornamented with splendid imagery, or refined by an affected delicacy; it feems to contain real facts in disguise.