Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

there would be a chance of his rendering effectual service to the public, and acquiring a merited good name. He has a stock of materials, as we have hinted, not deficient in value, variety, or splendour; but he too often betrays a most unfortunate want of skill to work them up. We shall give a specimen or two.

'Though, wrapt in night's impenetrable gloom,
Each mortal form must moulder in the tomb,
While o'er the sod the glow-worm's lamp shall bura
In emerald blaze, and wake the silent urn;
Far, far beyond her tenement of clay,
The rescued spirit mounts the ambient way,
Heaves, far behind, the wind's tumultuous roar,
And plies her voyage for her native shore.'—p* 81.

Now we beg Mr. S. and the reader to reflect, whether there is any instance, real or conceh able, of a lamp, a glow-worm's lamp, waking an urn; whether there is any instance of an urn or any thing else possessing such powers of vision, as to be put to sleep by the sun ail day, and yet waked by the glowworm's lamp at night; whether there is any instance of a body or spirit desiring to be rescued from a tenement; whether there is any chance of plying a voyage more successfully, by getting rid of the wind, and mounting any way whatever, even an ambient way. The passage is full of incongruous imagery; the figures separately are good, but they are.miserably deformed in a tasteless combination.

We will add another of the passages which are remarkable for this disgusting fault in composition; we shall leave the author and the reader to settle its merits without any comment of our own, as they may possibly tell us, with a just sneer at our incapacity, that we should find it easier to ridicule than understand.

* Nor may thy power, sweet source of vision! rest

,To give celestial insight to die breast, ,

To give unfledged imagination force.

And trace (•what ?) to glory's uncreated source,

Whose fiat strong unmoors the ardent soul,

And from the line can waft it to the fiole!

Till o'er this fading span the spirit rise,

On ransom'd hope to mount the yielding skies ;—

And as the prophet who in darkness lay,

Whelm'd 'neath the deep immeasurable •way,

Heard o er his head, while loud the ocean raves,

The harmless echoes of the booming waves ;—

So can this ho'y light refulgent glow,

Amid the glooms of misery teIo<w,

And tl rough the vale of iears, tho' stonns molest, ,

Point to the liaven of eternal rest !'p, 101.

There is scarcely a fault which a writer is liable to commit, that might not be exposed from the present work; we are not giving lectures on composition, but the public should be apprized of the extreme inaccuracy with which a poet may be chargeable, who is neither dull nor illiterate.

'Such was thy son, Columbia! in the hour

You burst th' enchantment of the classic bower ;' p. 71.

• Lives there a man who madly dare resign—' p. 66.

• Say why the woolly negro dare to smile,' p. 16.

• How Horeb's rock impell'd the gushing wave,' p. 8. Ecce iterum!

• Still as th' unguided voyage she would soar.' p. 11.

'Like the lom 'vestige (Palmyra) on yon torrid sands
That reads a volume where each fragment stands,' p. 2.

• Have ta'en their voyage for that happier shore.' p. 2.

« Angel of Vision! who selected stands (stand'st)
4 Who joys (joy'st) &c.

'Feigns in Religion's cause her cant sublime (whose I)
And pawns that name to sanctify the crime,' p. 47.

• Lively, yet pensive; sportive, yet serene'^—!! p. 83.
'On nimble plumes the floating cherubs fly,' p. 111.

It may surprise the reader to find that Mr. Stewart is capable of writing some passages, which, though far from blameless, possess considerable merit. 'i, "■'

'Yet, glorious truth! not still the grave shall hold'
The long-lost captives that her chains enfold! ,
When the dread morn of Resurrection beams, -
'•' And warmth, returning, feeds the vital streams;
Then the lit eye once more it's rays shall shed,
And the flush'd cheek recal its roses fled,
Then, all the joints shall know each portion'd part,
And the red rills gush proudly round the heart ;—
When hope and memory chase the waveless rest,
And swell with meeting tides the trembling breast;
When all life's sophistries, at last, are o'er,
And its allurements captivate no more.' pp. 72, 73.

'Say, Power supreme! shall those on earth we love,
Nor feel nor know the intercourse above?
Shall all those hopes that swell the heart the while,
Not meet in heav n the transport of a smile?
Shall the dear friends in memory's page that dwell,.
Not hear we linger'd o'er their narrow cell?
O thou! whose blossoms, nipp'd in early bloom,
Untimely wither'd in the en Ious tomb!
Say, shall no more our scenes of youth be dear,
Lost the fine link of sweet communion here
Vol. IV. E e

When pleasure sported on the bur [grave,] of care,

And lit her sunshine for our hearts to share?

Shall all the buds of opening life, that blew

In hope's fair garden, and in fancy's dew,

No more the smile of fond remembrance claim,

And picture hours of innocence the same,—

Hours, with the brother of my childhood spent,

When the light heart was cradled by content?

Shall I not then each well-loved feature trace,

Recal thy smile, and spring to thine embrace?

Yes! as the sailor, who by tempests tost,

On some lone coast survives his shipmates lost,

Spreads for his native home, once more, the sail

That swells exulting to the fav'ring gale:

And joyful strains, the rising shore in view,

To catch each object to remembrance true;

So, in that last, that great decisive hour,

When the new frame assumes angelic power,

In rank celestial though the virtuous shine,

'Mid radiant bands, transcendent and divine,

Still may they know the friends on earth they knew,

And the souls join that there engrafted grew!' pp. 119—121.

We hinted at some other defects in Mr. Stewart, beside those of taste. Speaking of the heathen world, he asserts,

'It yet confess'd one great existing cause
Creation's God;'

This is not generally true; in the earlier ages, and in the Oriental world, that is, at a time and place nearer to the divine origin of religious truth, the belief in a supreme, eternal, creating Power, was doubtless prevalent; it seems also to have been entertained by some of the Grecian Philosophers, at a subsequent period, when still greater and brighter discoveries had been made to a select nation in the East, and those philosophers had approached near enough in their travels, to feel the influence of this heavenly illumination. But there is no such tenet in the public creed, in the established religion, of Greece and Rome; and it can scarcely be recognized in that chaos of nonsense, inconsistency, and confusion, the modern mythology of pagan Asia.

There is a whimsical impropriety in the very useless designation of " the late excellent and pious divines, Hervey and Wesley," by the names respectively of Theron and Aspasio I

We find it difficult to give any idea of the plan pursued in this poem; it includes a variety of irrelevant topics, but is chiefly employed, sometimes with more seriousness than discretion, in describing the history of redemption, the character and work of Christ, and the future resurrection of man. h collection of notes, which are not uninteresting, though sufficiently trite, is appended to the volume. In these, Mr. Stewart is sometimes guilty of his favourite poetical sins ;—he says, in one place, "the chaplet of roses equally intertwined the brow of voluptuous pleasure, and hung the commemorative urn."' We give the author credit, however, for some improvement: there is nothing in his present specimen of prose to equal the following matchless fustian, from his former work; "Fancy images new creations: and Hope, whilst she fashions the energies of fortitude, weaves the brow with her brightest roses." Something like this might be expected, perhaps, in a young lady's novel, or a young gentleman's sermon; but in a Poet's preface it is intolerable. We must also do Mr. S. the justice to add, that his rhymes are respectably correct, and that his versification is, on the whole, smooth and even brilliant.

Art. XV. The Christian Spectator; or Religious Sketches from Real Life. Part II. By the Rev. W. Wilton, M. A. Rector of South Stoke, Sussex; and Chaplain to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, 12mo. pp 180 Price 2». 6d. Hatchard. 1808.

HPHE popularity acquired by the former part of the Christian Spectator, has, we are happy to find, been so considerable as to elicit from the worthy author a continuation of his work, and an avowal of his name. The claims of the present publication are, in our opinion, more than equal to those of its predecessor, and will doubdess find patrons equally numerous and friendly; "the same object." Mr. Wilton observes, "has been kept in view, and the same attempt been made to teach the art of turninir the most common occurrences of life to some good account." It would not be difficult to specify instances in which there is too much appearance of effort in this attempt, or in which the expression is 'less commendable than the sentiment But this we think would be unnecessary; the work has general merits which intitle it not only to the candour, but to the warm encouragement of every Christian reader. All the anecdotes introduced in this part, to suggest or exemplify pious reflections, are said to be founded on fact; some of these are highly interesting. The character of Maria is particularly beautiful. We shall copy one short anecdote, rather to gratify the reader, than to afford a satisfactory specimen of the work.

* Not many days had elapsed since the foregoing event, (a meeting of some soldiers for devotional exercises) when a very remarkable instance occurred of the Divine blessing upon such social prayer as we have just described. Two soldiers, having quarrelled, determined to fight till one should fall. The sun, which, when it rose upon the world, saw them both breadiing the breath of life, it was resolved, should behold one of them at least, ere it set, a lifeless corpse. In this murderous state of mind, they retired to an adjoining wood, to execute their fatal purpose. But here immediately upon their arrival, their attention was arrested by some sounds, as of men talking, issuing from a spot at no great distance from them. They listened—the sounds still continued, one while growing more faint and feeble, and again waxing louder and louder. Curiosity led them towards the place from whence the voices proceeded, and there, to their great surprise, they beheld a party of their fellow-soldiers assembled together, not like themselves, for the purpose of murder, but of prayer! No church opened its sacred doors to admit them into "the place where God's honour dwelleth," "the habitation of His house," which they '* loved" better than silver or gold; nor had they any privahe chamber, wherein to prostrate themselves before their Redeeming Lord. In the deep recesj, therefore, of the wood they had sought a sanctuary, where no eye might see them, but the eye of Him who sees all things, and where they might, without interruption and distraction, pour out their hearts in His presence. Thus were they engaged, when the two combatants were attracted to the spot* Suspending awhile the execution of their fell resolve, these sons of violence drew nearer and nearer still, and hearkened to their pious comrades' words. But what were their feelings, when they heard them praying for their sinful fellow-soldiers, of whom they themselves formed so sinful a part! They continued listening—they were melted into tenderness— they were shaken from their murderous purpose—they were convinced of the guilt of their conduct—they embraced as brethren, joined their fellow-soldiers in their devotions, returned in peace, and have not only ever since lived in friendship and fraternal love, but, from the most profane and profligate characters, have become conspicuous for piety and virtue.'

■ —■ ——■———■ 1— i

Art. XVI The Importance of Personal Religion, in Timet of National Calamity: A Sermon preached at Orange street Chapel, Leicesterfields, and the Union Chapel, Islington, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1808. being the day appointed for the General Fast. By the Rev. I. Cobbin. pp. 32. Price Is. Williams, Ogle. 1808. 'T'HE sentiments of this plain, but serious discourse, are worthy of general reception. They are deduced from Ezek. xiv. 20. and arranged under the following heads. "Eminent saints have great influence with God—the influence of saints is of no avail when guilty sinners are ripe for judgement—in the midst of a desolating judgement, God's people are the subjects of his peculiar protection—God's people owe their protection to the distinguishing mark of personal holiness—God does not overlook outward evidence; good works will not save you, but they will testify for you—the personal holiness of one will not do for another— the solemn "truth is confirmed by the oath of God." 1 he sermon will be found to contain many important and solemn admonitioss, amply supported by quotations from Scripture.

Art. XVII. Atx*« 'Ovp«v»o;, The Cakstial Atlas; or, A New Ephemeris for the Year of our Lord 180.<; being Bissextile, or Leap Year. Wherein are contained the Heliocentrick and Geocentrick Places of the Planets, the Eclipses of the Luminaries, and other remarkable Phcenomena that will happen this Year. Carefully computed, &c. &c. &c. By Robert White. 8vo. pp. 48. Price 2s. 3d. Greenhill, Stationers' Hall. 1808.

''"PHIS comprehensive and convenient publication is so well known to our scientific readers, that there is much less necessity for describing

« ПредишнаНапред »