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bosom, to which familiar letters owe their first attraction. All is study, ornament, and artifice; yet applied by one, who is but a very imperfect mistress of the rules of art.
Miss S. was not a scholar; it is not surprising therefore that she was insensible to the purities of a classical taste. But it was unfortunate, that ignorant of such models, she thought herself a perfect adept in the principles and rules of criticism. She had read the modern poets of her native tongue till she had imbibed their defects and excellencies with indiscriminate admiration. Her natural taste seemed to be more delighted by expression than by thought in composition; she therefore too often grasped at the shadow instead of the substance. Her enthusiasm was too frequently conjured up for the occasion, and the strut of empty and tawdry diction was the natural result.
In the whole compass of her poetry, or her prose, there is but little real pathos. If she felt any, it evaporated in the toil and struggle of composition. It appears, indeed, that she had little apprehension of the merit of simplicity in others. She preferred the style of Johnson to that of Addison; she could see no beauty in the exquisite language of Cowper’s letters; and as for her contemporary, Mrs. Charlotte Smith, she thought her contemptibly vapid and dull.
But Miss S.'s judgment was not uniform; it was liable to be ridiculously counteracted not only by envy and neglect, but by partiality springing both from friendship and from flattery. Her exaggerated praises of rhyming correspondents are more often illplaced than her censures. It was her misfortune to pass her life in a country town; an unpropitious sphere for talents like hers to receive their due improvement and correction.
It is clear that she was not happy; and that her vanity exposed her to more mortification than she derived pleasure from her success. She was not able to wrap
in the creations of her own brain; the pleasures derived from the employments, of intellect did not with her produce their own reward. For wit or humour with her pen she acknowledges that she had no talents; it is probable therefore that she did not possess it in company.
It may be admitted, on the testimony of her biographer, and of her letters, that she had some virtues of the heart. Her filial affection and attentions were amiable and praiseworthy. Her charity and benevolence are strongly insisted on. With petty squabbles and local prejudices it would ill become the biographer to stain his page. The writer, however, of the Elegy on Cook, of the Monody on André, of some parts of the Louisa, and of a few. of the smaller poems, was no com
mon person. If her letters do not exhibit the sense, the learning, and the comprehensive views of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter's; if they fall short of the exuberant sentiment, the natural imagery, and the elegant morality of Mrs. Katharine Talbot's; they still abound with matter of much interest to cultivated minds ; they contain many beautiful, and some splendid passages; and they shew an occasional insight into the human character, which could only have been acquired by natural sagacity, improved by experience. They cannot be read without exercising both the memory and the judgement. Most of the modern works of her native country in the department of polite letters come in review before hier; and anecdotes of their authors are agreeably interspersed.
The sonnets appear to have given her the most self-satisfaction, but they are not in general happy. To attain ease within the chains of the sonnet is certainly an arduous hope. Miss S. has not, we think, surmounted this difficulty. One of the best is the following:
INVITATION TO A FRIEND,
“ Since dark December shrouds the transient day,
And stormy winds are howling in their ire,
The soul of cheerfulness, and best array
The cordial visit sullen hours require !
Shines ;—but it vainly shines in this delay
Their vow'd disciple ;-come, for they invite !
Come, that I may not hear the winds of Night,
Nor count the heavy eave-drops as they fall." We must content ourselves with one short extract from her justly celebrated elegy.
“ Borne on fierce eddies black Tornado springs,
Dashing the gulphy main with ebon wings;
Already has the groaning ship resign'd
And Ocean chides his dashing waves below."
Art. VIII. Essay on the Military Policy and Institutions of
the British Empire. By C. W. Pasley, Captain in the Corps
of Royal Engineers. Lloyd. London. 1811. There is no circumstance which appears to us to afford more substantial ground for general congratulation, than the renovation of public spirit which has, of late, been gradually kindling throughout the country. To what cause or causes this may
attributable it may not be immaterial to inquire. Different impressions made by the course of events on different descriptions of the community, may have led to this happy result. Amongst the reflecting, every succeeding year's experience must have confirmed the conviction, that, in the present state of Europe, a secure peace with France being utterly hopeless, a reliance on our own courage, fortitude, and exertions has become indispensable. The sympathies of the generous must have been powerfully excited, by the systematic injustice and barbarities perseveringly committed by the Vandal invaders of Spain and Portugal, and by the animated resistance of the people of those countries. Those whose opinions are formed (as is the case with a large portion of the community) by language held in the two houses of parliament, have of late been far less exposed than heretofore to the dangerous iniluence of that querulous impatience for peace, which has so often disgraced our public discussions. To the minds of all classes a powerful stimulus has been given, by the rapid and brilliant succession of our military achievments, and a fresh incentive to increased efforts furnished by a just confidence in the tried prowess of our army.
Another cause, and that by no means the least efficient, for the improved and improving state of the public mind, may be found in the altered tone of the press. This mighty engine seems now, with few exceptions, to be worked by one generally pervading principle. Journalists, pamphleteers, and reviewers, (however differing as to means, and measures, and men,) appear to have laid aside the language of despondency, concession, and even compromise; and, no matter whether from choice or interest, to be forward in the expression of sentiments more worthy of Englishmen at such a crisis. Weare no longer sickened by childish lamentations over the evils of war, or by vapid descriptions of the blessings of repose. How the war should be best conducted seems to be the chief consideration, and the only material ground of difference. Some administrations have, perhaps justly, been thought to have done too little; others, to have aimed at too much; measures have been condemned, as rashly taken up, or hastily and improvidently abandoned; but no voice, of any importance, has of late been heard even to whisper the expediency of an overture to the enemy, and no pen has dared to intimate the necessity of submission.
Writers of capacity and reflection, who devote their labour's to the great national object of fortifying the tone of the public mind, can scarcely be spoken of in terms of panegyic beyond their deserts. It is not enough for us to be told, in language however forcible, that we should be courageous, and persevering, and patient under the sacrifices and burthens which such a war with such an enemy must require. We want the cheering prospect of final reward to the exercise of these virtues, and the conviction that by calling them into practice, we are not only consulting our present glory, but our future safety. This is a task in which the ablest pen may be the most usefully and honourably employed; and those, who in addition to this noble
purpose in taking it up, are qualified by reading, observation, and experience, to trace past reverses to defective institutions, irrational systems, and injudicious or ill-concerted measures, and at the same to propose remedies and improvements, may be justly considered as entitled to no less applause, than the minister by whom such suggestions may be adopted, and successfully acted upon.
These preliminary observations bring us at once to Captain Pasley's work, an attentive perusal of which has, in fact, in a great degree suggested them. It is only strict justice to the author to say, that we recollect no modern publication, of the same description and character, at all comparable to it. The style is throughout easy, unaffected, and perspicuous; the reasoning close and logical; the sentiments elevated and original; and it has the rare merit of being unsullied by any feature of party spirit.—The author is well versed both in ancient and modern history; and draws from the abundant stores, with which such reading has furnished his mind, reflections generally accurate as referable to the present state of Great Britain, and often pointed with peculiar propriety and felicity of application. He frequently reminds us of Polybius by the profundity of his observations, though he bears no resemblance to him in point of prolixity. The arguments and suggestions are throughout traced from principles, not presumptuously and dogmatically laid down, but founded upon the experience of past times, and established by a judicious reference of effects to their proper causes. In composition, he aims at nothing beyond his powers; and there is every internal testimony, that his labours were instigated by the single and honourable motive of rendering service to his country, whose dangers he has correctly estimated, and whose capacity for exertion on a larger scale he has ably developed and vindicated.
It is fortunate, we will not say surprising, that a military man could be found, who from tone of mind, education, extensive reading, observation, and habits of reflection, was qualified to engage in a book of this nature; as no one but a military man could properly have undertaken it. This observation applies