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At page 83 we meet with ' Verses occasioned by the Author's being presented with a silver Pen.' The gKt may be considered as a compliment to her genius, though it cannot be admitted as exprejjiue of it. The agate mentioned by Pliny, on which, as he informs us, Apollo and the Mascs, with every symbol of their characters, were represented—rudely indeed, but entirely by the hand of Nature, is the just and proper emblem of Mrs. Yearfley.
There are undoubtedly faults in Mrs. Yearsley's Poems; but they are " faults which true Critics dare not mend." We shall therefore conclude our account of this extraordinary woman, and her literary compositions, with faying—that the justness of the observation, Poeta nasitur, non Jity was never mote powerfully •exemplified than by herself. M **
For DECEMBER, 1787.
Art. 16. Plan of the neiu Constitution for the United Stntes of America, agreed upon in a Convention of the States. 8vo. is. Debrett. 1787.
•AS the sudden rise of a new empire in the world, constituted on
jf~\. principles of government essentially different from the old, cannot fail to draw the notice of European politicians; every circumstance relating thereto, must necessarily become interesting and important.'
So fays the Writer of the Preface to this republication; and the observation is just: we do not know a subject that is more likely to attract the notice of an attentive spectator of what passes on the grand, theatre of the world, than the progressive steps of the new American, republic, toward the completion of a well-regulated government.
As to the articles contained in this plan for a new constitution, Sec. we refer those readers to the pamphlet, who have not already perused, them in the news-papers. The Preface-writer also gives us the following refutation of a groundless report, which, indeed, we never credited, as it appeared totally repugnant to all our ideas of the unbounded influence which the great character of Dr. Franklin has ob- , tained throughout the American states:
« Some of the London News-papers mentioned a strong opposition between General Washington and Dr. Franklin for the Presidency; and that General Washington was elected by a majority of one vow. We have authority to contradict this account. The fact is, that General Washington was elected with one voice, and not by a majority of one. Dr. Franklin, as the senior person of the Convention, and who is already President of the State of Pennsylvania, was the member who put General Washington in nomination, and he was conducted to the Chair with a unanimous voice.'
Rev. Dec. 1787. L 1 Tradb,
Art 17. Ohservations on the Corn-Bill; wherein the proposed Alteration in the Laws for regulating the Exportation and Importation of Corn, is fairly examined. 8vo. is. Debrett. 17F7. In this pamphlet, the alterations proposed to be made by the new corn bill, are stated in a plain, dispassionate manner, by one who seems to be well acquainted with the subject of the corn laws. According to his account, the proposed bill is intended to produce alterations in respect of the following particulars:
1st, 'It alters the mode of 'verifying the returns of the London cornfactors.' Every cornfactor is ordered to deliver, upon oath, a weekly account of his sales, and the prices.
2d, 'It alters the term of forming the average prices for the purpose of importation, from three months, lo Jbc weeks. And it rectifies a small error respecting the entries for exportation.' The alteration respecting the entries here noted is, that the export and bounty flail be governed by the returns of the preceding week, instead of the/«sent week.
3d, * It divides coast counties into districts, and directs how the prices (hall be collected and ascertained, to prevent abuses in the importations and exportations, at the out-ports.' Directs that the average prices of grain (hall be collected every week, from a number of market towns, not less than four, nor more than eight in each county, for the purpose of governing the exportation and importation dt all the ports in each district. The exportation by one week's average, and the importation by the aggregate average of/f* weeks preceding every quarter session.
4th, • It directs what weight of wheat, when it is fold by weight, shall be deemed equal to a Winchester bushel.' viz. Fifty-seven pounds.
5 th, 'It prohibits the importation of flour, except from Ireland, when wheat is importable at the low duty.'
These, we are told, are the principal heads of the bill; on each of which our observer proceeds to offer some remarks, in order to show that the regulations proposed will have a beneficial tendency. In this respect we are disposed, in general, to acquiesce in the opinion of our Author, though we are by no means convinced that they will remove future complaints concerning the corn laws. The radical evil of these laws we remember once to have seen pointed out, in a book that fell under our notice some years ago, which has now escaped our particular recollection. It is the absurdity of allowing the same rate of bounty on the exportation of grain the moment it falls ever so little below the rate at which exportation is permitted, as can be obtained were it to sink to one shilling, or under, per bushel. Were the bounty in all cases to rife, in a certain ratio, in proportion to the fall of price, and vice versa, we can easily conceive, that with the help of the regulations here proposed, and perhaps a very few others, this branch of commerce would become more stable than hitherto, and far less liable to those abuses to which it has heretofore been so peculiarly obnoxious. .
<"+*- **• PofiTur. Poetry.
Art. 18. Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. By Robert Burns.
Second Edition. 8vo. 6s. Creech, Edinburgh ; Cadell, London.
We are glad to find, by the numerous and respectable list of subscribers prefixed to the volume before us, that this Bard of Nature has no reason to complain that " a poet is not honoured in his own country." It appears that he has been very liberally patronized by an indulgent Public; and we rejoice to fee that he may now have it in his power to tune his oaten reed at his ease. Whether this change in his circumstances will prove beneficial to the cause of literature, or productive of greater happiness to the individual, time alone can discover; but we sincerely wish it may prove favourable to both.
Having given a pretty full account of the first edition of these poems, in our Review for December last, we only announce the present republication as an article of some curiosity, and mention that in this edition, several new poems are added, which bear evident marks of coming from the fame hand with the former collection. The most entertaining of these additions appeared, to us, to be, "John Barleycorn, a Ballad," which gives a very entertaining allegorical account of the whole progress and management of barley, from its being sown in the ground, to its affording a warm, exhilarating liquor. The thought is not altogether new; but it is delivered in a style of great pleasantry, and native humour. As this piece is written in Englijh, it will be relished alike by the southern, and the northern reader. df—■ »*-'
Art. 19. A Poem -written during a Shooting Excursion on the Moors.
Was crown'd the banquet's Lord—Such once was fam'd
Rusli'd on th' invading foe, till Rome's proud host
L 1 2 Uncontjuer'd
Unconquer'd long, from Cambria's rugged brow, Or deep recesses of Jvonian glades, In desultory war they (till maintain'd Stern Independence; till the Norman Lord, Victorious, join'd in social intercourse, And from assimilating manners form'd One common people: then grew feudal rights. Each haughty Baron claim'd some wide demesne, To range whose ample bound'ry uncontroul'd, And rule the petty tyrant of the chace. Was Valour's meed; and hence no vassal arm Dar'd 'gainst the branching honou/s of the stag Bend the tough bow; to other flights confin'd The shaft light- timber'd, from some poplar's height Dcwn brought the cooing Dove, or, as he stood On the preen margin of the sedgy pool, Transfix'd the Crane; but still securely sprang The whirring Covey, and with rapid flight Baffled the arcber'a aim. To other arts Th'en turn'd th' attention, and as oft it mark'd The strong-wing'd Falcon, from his towering height Down dart upon his prey, th' ungenerous thought Suggested, 'gainst the feather'd kind to league With their fell tyrant; and with docile hand To smoothe his ruffled plumes, and point his flight. So yet where rolls the Rhine's impetuous course Through many a winding vale, and forest tall. The patient German, with incessant toil, Trains the young gos-hawk, or the fiercer bird On chilly Iceland's topmost summits bred, With griping talons to arrest on high The heron's flight, or strike the trembling hare. Yet still imperfect were the fowler's joys! For oft the eager Falcon, gorging high His ravening maw, glut with intemp'rate food, Or droop'd with heavy wing, or dimly shot His eye's weak glances, andrefus'd the flight.' After this quotation, the poetical Reader, especially if he be a sportsman, will not need our recommendation, to induce him to give this poem a place in his collection. Sortie of the lines are prosaic; but this is a defect which few poets have been able wholly to avoid, in the composition os blank verse. £j^
Art. 20. Poems. By John Macgilvray, A. M. Master of the Grammar School of Lestwithiel. 410. 4s. Boards. Bew. 1787. Although this writer's Muse seems unable to conduct him into the higher regions of poetry, she now and then leads him, pleasantly enough, along the smooth vale of humble rhime: witness, the following easy verses on English poetry:
'To please our rough illiterate Sires
Though sever'd by the surly main,
* But when at length bright Learning's day Had chac'd the morning clouds away, True Taste illumin'd all the isle, And clastic Genius deign'd to smile.' The Author, however, cannot uniformly support this strain of versification. He frequently finks into a dull and inelegant prosaic diction, which wants even the charm of melody.
But even creeping on the ground with Mr. Macgilvray, is better than taking an airing with him in a balloon, in search of Beauty: • O tell me, Charmer, tell,
Where in some green Elysian isle
That there we may our cares beguile?
Come let us trace the desart sky,
Far o'er the earth and mountains fly.
Now waft us to the loveliest Q»een;
How fanciful the groves between!
Of blooming Youths and Virgins fair,
We pierce the fragrant folds of air.' What is it, to pierce the fragrant folds of air ivitb soft desire? Plain fense in rhiming prose may be endured, but sheer no meaning, in the dress of poetry, is intolerable :—especially in a writer who has shewn that, in general, he well knows how to express his ideas. ^
Art. 21. Poems Oh various SubjeSs. By Miss Eliza Thompson. 4to.