« PreviousContinue »
Dear fir, you're a rule for my friends, I declare : How long may it be since you came from the Square ?” The author disclaims any personal allusion; yet we sometimes fufpect that he verges towards it. But perhaps the scenes described have been so often acted, that it is not easy to repeat what may not, in some degree, be applied.
Elegies and Sonnets. 4to. 35. Cadell. Though we find not any thing peculiarly striking, or indicative of strong original genius in these poems, they are by no means liable to critical censute. The language is pure, easy, and grammatical. We think the Sonnets in general extremely elegant, and shall adduce the following on Love, in vindica. tion of our opinion.
. Ah! who can say, to him that fondly loves
How strangely various every hour appears ?
And now in joys is lost, and now in tears :
Despair too soon the flattering scene removes ;
Sarmifes groundless doubts, and jealous fears.
Gay smiles the morn, deceitfully ferene,
And clouds, and sudden darkness intervene,
And blast with ruthless torms the beauteous scene.', Verses on the Death of Dr. Samuel Johnson. 4to. 15. 6d. Dilly.
Dr. Johnson has not been very happy in his paneygyrifts: nor is the present author much more successful than his predeceffors. He tells us, that a friend, whose reputation is great in the literary world, and had a better knowlege of the subject than he can pretend to, induced him, with a few additions, to lay them before the public.' His friend muft surely be either infincere, or have acquired reputation very undefervedly. We found our opinion chiefly on his permitting the concluding lines of the poem to appear in their present state.
• Soon as the mind exerts a wish to stray
And those pure lights which revelations throw
Or view him in the Christian hero die.' Whether Dr. Johnson is intended by this feminine " fun of science, we can no more conjecture, than how its beams can set the light of the moon on fire. The author, or his learned friend, should have favoured us with a comment on this parTage. It is caviare to the million,' and will never be une derstood by the vulgar. Death improved. An Elegiac Poem, occafioned by the Death of the
Rev. 'T. Gibbons, D. D. By Richard Piercy, 8vo. 60. Buckland, The poem opens with the never-failing obfervations made use of by a long train of succeeding bards in their funereal elegies. The author first expresses his surprize at Death's wide devaftation; that he spares neither age nor sex,' neither weak nor strong: in short,
. Nor ought (aught) fuffices but the lives of all.' These deep reflections, on which funeral sermons have rung all the changes the sentiment could poslibly admit, naturally lead him to ask Death why he does fo? whence proceeds his thirs of blood ?? « why blend the good and bad together.'
• Why must the kind, the gen'rous, the devout,
The brightelt lamps be all by thee put out.' This of course introduces the principal subject of condolence, as if he ought, on account of his great vistues, to have been exempted from the common fate allotted to all,'
• Is not this earth already too obscure ?
How various, how important his employ,
To mind his learning and devotion call,? After the catalogue of his virtues we have likewise the following customary exclamation.
• But now too late, too late 'tis to complain:
Gibbons the great, the good, thy hand has slain.' The next lines however tell us, that we ought rather to blame Sin than Death on this affecting occafion; As all have finn'd, so all for fin must die,?
Thus Thus concludes the second page, and with which we shall conclude our critique. What follows is much in the same strain, and gives a higher idea of the author's piety than poetical abilities. An Elegy on the much lamented Death of William Shepherd, Eją.
Merchant, of Plymouth, who died, May 25, 1784. By the
Rev. Herbert Mends. 4to. 6d. An Elegiac Poem, &c. on William Shepherd, Merchant of Ply
mouth, who died, May 25, 1784. 4to. 6d. An Elegy on the much-lamented Death of William Shepherd of
Plymouth, Esq. an eminent Woollen-Manufacturer and Merchant : who, after bearing a very tedious Illness, with a moft Chriftian Fortitude, died May 25, A. D. 1784, aged 54. By J. Macey, School-Mafter. 8vo. 3d.
The authors of these lachrymosa poemata' seem rather to have cloped from Bedlam than Parnassus. The first lays his scene' ultra flagrantia mænia mundi,' on the coast of bliss ;' and afterwards removes it to the third heaven,' where
Seraphs arrive At the blue throne, and reach the topless beight.' However irreconcilable this expression may seem to commor sense, the poem is precision itself, when compared with that of the second bard's, which seems to have been dictated by the genii, if such may be fupposed, of opacity and confusion. The author firft addresses the diffenting preachers of Plymouth, to . accept of his books, and purchase (mall Bibles with the amount thereof, and diftribute them as they may judge proper." He then gives us another title-page, and another dedication to the reverend the clergy. • My friends, kere take the law * of laws !-a talk,
O, ye priests of God,
Mofes, with his rod,
So, to feed the poor,
With these books, allure
Salvation preach,-Christ's bloor With hands imparcial, give to all tharask.' of the verses we shall say nothing; they afficiently speak for themselves. But we cannot help expreffing some degree of surprize, how the diffenting clergy are to urchase Bibles with the sale of books they are desired to accept as a present : or how the author could foresee that Mr. Slepherd's death would oblige
« * Bibles (purchased by a thousand of these poems, &c.) given to the poor to fulfil a sacred promisé made of fo doing on the safe return of a friend from sea. “ I have sworn and I will perform it." Psalm cxix. 106.'
other people to fulfil his vow, which he takes for granted, by purchasing a thoufand copies. 'Tis wonderful, moft wonderful!
The third author is by much the least eccentric of the trio' He talks something like folks of this world, and his language resembles common sense. For instance,
Religious duties mark'd his life;
Scarce ever discompos'd:
What must she not have losid!!! Poor woman! though, after all, we know not whether it is meant that we should chiefly condole with her on her loss, or congratulate her on her happiness. The author ought to have known, that los'd is not the preterperfect of to lofe. The Nosegay; or May-Morning-Free-Will Offering, (A truly ex
temporaneous Offspring) on Inebriation. Small 4to. In the above title dele the first parenthesis, and for on read af : as we conceive no man in his fober senses could write in fo. ftrange a inanner. The spirit of wine seems to have had as much share in the present performance, as that of enthusiasm in the preceding ones : and be it known, gentle reader, this poem likewise originates from the same inauspicious quarter with the others.
At Plimouth I these lines indite
Them for yourself to read ;
Conclude you have no need.? Surely there is something epidemic in the air on the western coaft! We heartily recommend these unlucky votaries of Apollo to his care and protection; not in his poetical, but medical department. They are entitled to his favour, on account of the cruel treatment they seem to have experienced from his after Cynthia, in her nocturnal excursions : for certainly to Hopt a whimsical line of Dryden's, which seems by the bye to. mae been written under the influence of the same planet, 'The moon
has roll'd over their heads and turn'd them.'
P R A M A T I C. Ivar. A agedy. 8vo, 15.6d. (Printed at Exeter.) Kearsley,
We are extemely sorry to inform the public that the contagion, which, Im the preceding articles, we apprehended prevails on the welturn coast, is extended, if we may judge from the title-page, to he metropolis of these parts. The icene of this tragedy is laid tear the palace, but what palace we are at a loss to conjecture. She dramatis personæ are Hengist, Alfwold, Offa, Handel, Iva, and Matilda : but we find no de fcriptions of, or allusions to the old Britons, Saxons, or modern Germans, as Handel, a well-known name at present, might lead us to suppose. Ivan is represented as prime minifter 10 Hengift, and, like most other prime ministers, we mean those in tragic writ, a great villain. He rebels against his lovereign, and is thus addressed by a messenger.
• Mel. Thus faith the seer who looks into the fates, (By whose permission hither am I come) The heav'ns are troubled and the gods are angry, And inftant ruin threatens upon Ivar. And this withal he gives you in advice ; Let each one to his station strait retire, And by his penitence atone his crime Vanish like mist before the rising day, For what so terrible as gods incens'd! • Ivar. Stay, take thy reward with thee-bear my mef.
(Stabs the Messenger. • Mel. I am made fick to death !-O you great gods !
[Exit.' This smart exclamation, as Bayes calls it, and indeed the whole passage, forcibly recall honest Nat. Lee to our minds, who in his Herculean vein, would probably in a similar situation have made his hero kill the messenger, and bade his ghost carry back defiance to the gods. But the happy thought of returning a message to a living man by making his nuncio a ghost, surpasses any of Nat's furpalling ideas, and is truly original,
We have had occasion to commend provincial publications, and we suspect from the same city ; but, on every occasion of this kind, we must now except the printer before us, We have feldom seen any thing more imperfectly and aukwardly executed,
N O VEL: The False Friends. A Novel. In a Scries of Letters, by the Au
thor of the Ring. ? Vols. 6s. Barker, We are told in the preface, that the author is young, un. experienced, and a female.' We readily believe it; and only with that he had been more advantageously employed. The characters, the language, and the sentiments, if we except a strict morality, are below mediocrity. We endeavour, however, to learn something from every book which we read; and we find a lady's idea of a handsome man to consist in black piercing eyes, a brown complexion, and white teeth.' With
fine sense,' great beauty,' and a wonderful disposition to unite all the parties by marriage, added to a description of this kind, we have the essence of every novel, written by a young lady.'