« ПредишнаНапред »
So <we mistake the future's face,
Ey'd through hope's deluding glass. We have a superfluous expatiation on the thought: hope's glass, also to bear any relation to the natural circumstance, must be an in* verted telescope, which removes and lessens the object. In this cafe the lines should have closed the sentence thus j
So toe mistake t he future's face,
Ey'd through hope's deluding glass.
But here the context, by an improper introduction of the relative •which, is rendered absolute nonsense; "As yon summits which appear brown and rough, still we tread, &c." But by substituting^?/// for which, we may obtain propriety of expression, "As yon summits soft and fair, still when approached appear brown and rough, so still we tread, &c." This disputable couplet will, however, on the other hand, connect as easily with it's successors:
So <we mistake the future's face,
Ej'd through hope's deluding glass;
As yon summits soft and fair,
Clad in colours of the air,
Which to those, &c. This reading also will give us grammatical construction:—"We mistake the future's face, as We mistake yon summits, which are airy and beautiful when distant, but when near, brown and rough." The thought in this passage is one that seems naturally to occur to the human mind: we feel the fame kind of sensation when the eye views a delightful prospect, as when the imagination contemplates supposed fucure happiness: we think the place where we are, less pleasant than the place we behold; we think the present hour less happy than the hours in expectation.'
On The Ruins of Rome the author's remarks are chiefly encomiastic, and contain little that merits particular notice.
Collins's Oriental Eclogues, Mr. Scott endeavours to rescue from the disrepute into which they have lately fallen; he maintains, that they have all the requisites of a good poem, description, incident, sentiment, moral, and melody.
Gray's Elegy, which Mr. Knox censures, as *' a confused h-ap of splend.d idea?, thrown together without order and without proportion," Mr. Scott thinks perfectly regular, though simple, in its plan. On the stanza '* Perhaps in this neglected spot, &c." with the two following, he says:
'The English language probably cannot boast a finer specimen of poetry than these stanzif. The supposition of the powers possessed, of the circumstances which prevented their exertion, and the illustrative comparisons, are all communicated with a grandeur and energy that have seldom been equalled. The Poet calls from the graves before him, the hands that might have wielded the sceptre, or struck the lyre, and creates in our imaginations the allegorical beings, who repressed their progress to greatness; Knowledge withholding the fight of her roll, and Penury casting on them a look,
which might be metaphorically said to freeze or congeal their sa« culties*.
. 'There is in Young's Night Thoughts, a prosopopoiea of Midnight, waving a list of mortality in the startled eye, or sight of Fancy:
By the long list of swift mortality, From Adam downwards to this ev'ning's knell, Which Midnight waves in Fancy's startled eye. Gray undoubtedly had read the lines, yet it is questionable whether he thought of them when he produced this not very dissimilar image of Knowledge with her ample page. The action of the person is however properly varied, as the general subject required; Midnight is exposing the contents of the roll, knowledge is concealing them. There is in Pope's Rape of the Lock, a passage which possibly supplied our author with his sentiment; and there is in Young's Satires, another to which he might be indebted for his turn of expression: Like roses that in deserts bloom and die. Pope. Full many a flower is born to blusti unseen. Gray. And waste their music on the savage race. Young. And waste their sweetness on the desert air. Gray.' Several other ingenious remarks occur in this Essay. Mr. Scott is of opinion that Goldsmith's Deserttd Pillage is faulty in arrangement, and careless in expression: of this he brings many decisive proofs: but at the fame time he allows— and we think every reader who is possessed of sensibility must agree with him—that the poem abounds with beauties of the most natural and interesting kind.
On Thomson's Seasons Mr. S. makes many ingenious remarks, particularly respecting the well-known peculiarities of this writer's diction; the genrral resrlt of which is, that, in describing familiar objects, Thomson, in the midst of all his excellencies, often produces bombast on the one hand, or meanness on the other.
The specimens we have given of this work, will, we apprehend, be sufficient to place the writer before our readers under the character of a critic of sound judgment. These Essays may
• The designer, and engraver, have more than once employed their respective arts, in producing an embellishment to this noble poem. The poet leaning over a tomb-stone, given us by one, and the funeral procession by another, are trite and obvious ideas. The stanza in question would afford a sine picture: two of Gray's Forefathers of the hamlet, might be introduced reposing from their labour; dignity and grace might be given to their forms; the eye of one beaming celestial fire, might cast a regretful look at Knowledge turning from him with her folded roll; the other might indignantly regard Penury, who at a distance should, with a calm severity of countenance, point out to him a plough, or some other instrument of that cultivation, which it was his lot to attend to.'
be lie read with particular advantage by young persons, who wish to exercise and improve their taste in polite literature: and to those who are farther advanced in the art of criticism, they will afford some en'ertainment. •»
AtT. VII. An Universal History, from the carlielt Accounts to the present Time; compiled from original Authors. Illustrated with Charts, Maps, Notes, &c. 60 Vols. 8vo. 6s. each Volume bound. Robinsons.
WE shall confine our present account to the first t8 volumes, being the ancient part of the Universal History, reserving our remarks on the-modern part to a future article.
No performance of the kind ever met with greater approbation and encouragement than the Universal H;story. The usefulness of such a work, the reputation and acknowledged abilities of the compilers, and the liberality with which the publication of it was carried on, all concurred in recommending the original performance to the Public. So great was the esteem in which it was held, and so anxious were the learned both at home and abroad for its publication, that translations and pirated editions of it were printing in France, Holland, and Ireland, nearly as fast as the original London edition could be wo;ked off at the press. This history was first published periodically: five volumes of it, in folio, were completed in the year 1740; the 6th in 1742* and the 7th in 1744. A second edition, in octavo, began to be published in 1747, and was carried on monthly, with uncommon success, till the whole was concluded in twentyone volumes.
The project of this great work was first formed by Mr. James Crokat, a bookseller in Fleet-street *; and the plan on which ic was to be executed was suggested by the famed Mr. Sale, the celebrated translator of the Koran; who, for some time, was the sole conductor of the work, with such assistance as he thought fit to procure. Mr. Sale's conduct was not long agreeable to the proprietors, who found themselves under the necessity of taking the work entirely out of his hands, and of engaging several authors, of abilities suited to the different parts of the performance, among these were Dr. John Campbell, Mr. Archibald Bower, Mr. #*** (commonly called) Geo. Psalmanazar, the Rev. John Swinton, and Mr. Shelvocke f, afterwards Secretary to the Geneial Post-Office. = 1st
• James Crokat also first planned the well-known Daily Ad<verti/tr, and other noted works. He was the greatest literary projector of the age; and died worth—nothing.
+ By a letter from Dr. Johnson, inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine for Dec. 1784, it appears the parts which each of these gentlemen took in this work were as follow:
In carrying on so great a work, it was thought necessary for the several authors to have regu'ar meetings, and to examine, in a body, each part, but this was not universally consented to; andieach author insisted on proceeding in his own way: by this means they went much beyond the bounds agreed on, and in many instances repeated the fame common facts in each separate history. This ill management occasioned f-equent quairels among the authors and proprietors; and had it not been for the prudence and good advice of Psalmanazar, the work would have been a confused and injudicious performance; and, though it has many defects, yet his activity and punctuality alone pur it on the respectable footing on which it at present stand?. Whoever wisnes to see an account of the management of the publication, will find a circumstantial detail of all the particulars of it, in the Memoirs of Psalmanazar*.
We could have wished the present editors had made use of the directions which Psalmanazar has delivered for making a suture edition of so valuable a work, as perseift as the nature of it would admit: they have indeed retrenched many supeifluities, with which the edition of 1747 abounded; but several repetitions yet remain, and though they are not contradictory to each other, yet they increase the bulk of the book, and render it not only more expensive to the purchaser, but tedious to the reader, who often meets with the fame circumstances related under different heads. The original design was to have relaied nothing at length concerning the history of any nation or country, but what was transacted within its boundaries; and that the wars, conquests, &c. which were carried on abroad, should be mentioned chiefly in the histories of those countries where they were made. The editor might have much abridged the Roman nilMr. Swiuton. The history of the Carthaginians,—Numidians,—. Mauritanians, — Gætulians, — Garaman:cs,— Melano Gætulians,— Nigritæ, — Cyrenaicæ,—Murniarica, — the Rhtgio Syrtica,—Turks,—Tartars,—Moguls,— Indians,— Chiaese,—Dissertation o;i the peopling of America—on the Independency of the Arabs. Mr. Sale. The Cosmogony, and a small part of the history immediately following. Mr. Shelvocke. The history cf the Jews, to the birth of Abraham. Mr. Psalmanazar. The history of the Jews,—Gauls, —Spaniards,—
Xenophon's retreat. Dr. Campbell. The history of the Persians,—the Constantinopclitan
empire. Mr. Bower. The Roman history.
The authenticity of this account cannot be questioned, since the original in the Rev. Mr. Swinton's own hand-writing, whence Dr. Johnson obtained the copy, is deposited in the British Museum. * See an account cf this work in our 31st volume, p. 3:4. 441.
tory, which is spun out to a great length, since the conquests of the Romans ought, agreeably to the plan just mentioned, to have been related under the history of the country conquered.
That our Readers may form some idea of the work, we (hall give a view of the present edition, and (hew in what respects it differs from the former, which was published in 1747
The Preface is a very elaborate performance, shewing the use of history in general, and giving an ample account of the mode of distributing the matter and dividing the book. The editor has considerably shortened it, and though he has retained every thing of consequence relative to the work itself, yet many curious circumstances are omitted that might have afforded much entertainment, if not information to the inquisitive reader, and in some instances have enabled the diligent inquirer to satisfy himself respecting several difficulties and doubts, that necessarily occur from too superficial an acquaintance with the customs, manners, coin, weights, measures, &c. of different nations, especially those, of which we have only few records, and even these few, obscure. Chronology is of the utmost consequence in all historical works. The chronology of the ancients is every where obscure and confused, on which account the authors of this work have, in the Preface to their first edition, given ample chronological tables, and endeavoured to elucidate, as much as possible, the darker parts of their researches. To this we may add the accurate and comprehensive chronological Index at the end of the 8vo edition in 1747; which is a very valuable and useful addition to the work, in the present edition these tables and remarks are wholly suppressed. The advantage of the chronological index is so very great, that we are astonished at its being with-held, and especially that no reasons should have been given for so material an omission. To young persons, who study history as a part of their education, it is particularly beneficial; for by running over so much of the tables as regards that space of the history they read, within a certain compass of time, they will the more easily retain it in their memory; and by fixing all the capital facts, as they stand connected with each other in point of time, strongly in their mind, they will be enabled to recal, without much difficulty, most of the minute circumstances attending the more material transactions. We could recite many other advantages which these chronological tables afford, but we shall content ourselves with noting only one, more immediately belonging to the present performance. The plan of the Universal History is, as we have said above, geographical, by which means all confusion, with regard to that science, is prevented j but, for this very reason, breaches in chronology become n-cessiry. These breaches in chronology being united by the Tables, the reader has all the
Rev. July, 1787. D . .' principal