Page images

Old Fabius. When a quick and sudden cry
Of Callias, and a parting in the throng,
Proclaim'd her father's coming. Forth she sprang,
And clasp'd the frowning headsman's knees, and said
“ Thou know'st me, when thou laid'st on thy sick bed
“ Christ sent me there to wipe thy burning brow.
“ There was an infant play'd about thy chamber,
“ And thy pale cheek would smile and weep at once,

Gazing upon that almost orphan'd child
“ Oh! by its dear and precious memory,
“ I do beseech thee, slay me first and quickly:
“ 'Tis that my father may not see my death.”

CAL. Oh, cruel kindness! and I would have closed Thine eyes

with such a fond and gentle pressure ; I would have smooth'd thy beauteous limbs, and laid My head upon thy breast, and died with thee.

OLYBIUS. Good father! once I thought to call thee so, How do I envy thee this her last fondness : She had no dying thought of me.-Go on.

Ofr. With that the headsman wiped from his swarth cheeks
A moisture like to tears. But she, meanwhile,
On the cold block composed her head, and cross'd
Her hands upon her bosom, that scarce heaved,
She was so tranquil ; cautious lest her garments
Should play the traitors to her modest care.
And as the cold wind touch'd her naked neck,
And fann'd away the few unbraided hairs,
Blushes o'erspread her face, and she look'd up
As softly to reproach his tardiness :
And some fell down upon their knees, some clasp'd
Their hands, enamour'd even to adoration
Of that half-smiling face and bending form.

Cal. But he-but he-the savage executioner-
Off. He trembled,

Ha! God's blessing on his head !
And the axe slid from out his palsied hand?

Off. He gave it to another.
Cal. And
Opf. It fell.

I see it,
I see it like the lightning flash-I see it,

And the blood bursts—my blood my daughter's blood !
Off-let me loose.

OFF. Where goest thou ?

To the Christian,
To learn the faith in which my daughter died,
And follow her as quickly as I may.-- Pp. 159—162.

Notwithstanding what we have said, we do not deny the Martyr of Antioch considerable merit of tenderness and purity, if we cannot concede to it the higher praise of power or pathos. It does not make our heart beat, and our thoughts glow, as such a subject ought to do ; but it contains much amiable and pure writing, and we doubt not that it will please many gentle and pious people. If Mr. Milman would slacken the rein of his imagination-would be less sententious, and more impassioned-in short, if he would write more as he did in Fazio, he would shortly rank in the very first class of our poets. He has shewn that he has genius, if he would but give it play--poetic fire, if he would permit it to burn freely. But he dreads so much to be extravagant that he becomes cold : he reminds us of that class who

are so afraid of dealing
In rant and fustian, they ne'er rise to feeling"-

in a word, he has been so fearful of taking too lofty a flight, that he has clipped his wings, and now does not rise from the ground. It is seldom that critics have to preach self-confidence to poets; but in Mr. Milman a small addition of that quality, so superabundant in most others, does seem necessary to draw forth those powers which he is known really to possess.


MEMOIRES DE M. Le Duc de LAUZUN. I Vol. 8vo. Berrois

L'ainé. A Paris, 1822.

Our readers need not fear that we are going to disgrace our page by any extracts from this book, or even by any detailed account of it. We merely wish to make known its nature and character, that no one may be led to read it in ignorance.

The Memoires du Duc de Lauzun are written by himself. They exhibit the revolting spectacle of a man recording in age the profligacies of his youth, and gloating over the lewd recollections of a vicious life. At the time when the Duc de Lauzun wrote this book, he must have been of an age which could not, in the course of nature, be many years distant from the close of life. At this time,—when the fires of youth are burnt low, and the passions which have hurried us into sin are cooled within us ;-when death is drawing fearfully near, and we have but scanty time to close our this world's reckoning :-- at this period, one would think, the soul would look remorsefully back on the errors and crimes of earlier years, and would devote the brief remaining space of mortality to atonement and repentance. But this man, with sins in number and in blackness such as we hope few have to answer; whose whole life had been one course of offence to Heaven, and of wrong towards his fellow-man--this man devotes the last days of his profligate existence to relating his evil deeds with self-glorying satisfaction and pride, and clothing them in the colours most calculated to render them objects of imitation to others, as they had been of exultation to himself.

But, perhaps, the most disgusting part of this odious publication is the manner in which M. de Lauzun makes public the unhappy persons who had been so unfortunate as to place trust in him. Every woman with whom he boasts to have intrigued is named at full length ; and all the weaknesses of affection and passion are most savagely and pitilessly made known. In this list are the names of some of our own countrywomen,-and, alas ! of some who are still alive. In this instance, the publishers share the guilt of the writer. If this beastly and abominable work must appear at all, the smallest grain of human feeling would have prompted its suppression until the death of all whose ames are so unhappy as to appear in it. But even this miserable mercy was not shewn, and more than one person has been branded by being named, justly or not, in this record of guilt and infamy. We say justly, or not, from the strong doubt which exists in our minds of the truth of great part of these Memoirs. A man who is so totally lost to all honour as to expose a woman who had confided in him, would not scruple to belie those who had never done so. If there be on earth one obligation more binding than another on honour-on feeling-on common humanity, it is that of keeping faith to a woman who has reposed trust of this kind. If a man betrays her who has sacrificed so much, and risked all for him,-he will not, we repeat, have any scruple to immolate at the shrine of his miserable vanity, women who have never been otherwise his victims.

And yet, this wretch who calmly and cold bloodedly makes the exposure of all the women who ever trusted him, and of many, we doubt not, who never did, boasts repeatedly that he “ n'a jamais eu de mauvais procédé envers aucune femme !"

It may be said, why notice such a book at all ?_We should not have done so, were it not that our speaking of it could give it no additional publicity. It has not only been translated into English, but has been published in cheap numbers, so as to be within the reach of all. Those who pander to the pruriency of youth, and to the lees of grey-haired lechery, have tried to gain a foul won penny by this production. It is our object to defeat this; by rendering the nature of the book as well known as its name ; so that no one can buy it unknowingly—and that those who would willingly do so may be ashamed to have it in their possession.

Some Passages in the Life of Mr. Adam Blair, Minister of the

Gospel at Cross-Meikle. 1 vol. BLACKWOOD, Edinburgh; and CADELL, London. 1822.

We cannot but call the attention of our readers to this extremely beautiful tale. It has a soul-searching power of pathos, such as we have not met with for a very long time. It possesses simplicity, vigour, and matchless tenderness, to a degree in which we have seldom seen them united. Its beautiful and perfect morality, also, gives to it a character of dignified and lofty purity, which the triumphs of genius do but too rarely possess. The beauty of style too of this tale is by no means common. On occasions of passion or of tenderness, it soars to the utmost pitch of eloquent enthusiasm, - without ever making that one step too far, which mars in a moment the beautiful and intense reality of feeling and expression. When it treats of matters of severer gravity, it has a pure and chastened solemnity of phrase, which is, perhaps, the most impressive of all modes of speech. And, on humbler themes, its true simplicity prevents what is homely from ever seeming to be coarse, what is lowly ever approaching to be vulgar.

« PreviousContinue »