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“ And tossing the green sea-weed o'er and o'er,
When a calm sea advances on the sands, we always hear a sound spelt thus, ush-ush-ush.
Garrick, whose ear was indisputable, certainly, since he composed the Jubilee himself, and was to speak it, took care that it contained - no verse whose dissonance must unavoidably grate the ear of people of taste-yet has it this line,
'Tis Shakespeare!-Shakespeare !-Shakespeare!"
Harsh as it is, I dont believe it was disgustingly so from his lip—and a poet is always to suppose his verses will be read well. No reader that knows not how to cover these little asperities, and melt them, by judicious intonation, into the general harmony, will ever give the power and
proper effect to the most musical couplets. Every poetic writer will exclaim
“O save my lines from being read by those,
A goud poet, committing himself to the skill of his reciter, will not scruple to use sounds in themselves unmusical, but in which more is gained on
the side of vigour and representation, than is lost on that of harmony.
I knew a gentleman who, God help him, could not endure the hadst, didst, and shouldst, inevitable upon the majestic plainness of addressing in the second person singular; and a duty indispensable to every poet who writes gravely. I asked my man of refinement if he chose the speech of Satan to Beelzebub should be smoothed into such civil, and courtly sounds, thus, “ If you be he, but O! how fallen, how chang’d!” He replied
Why, no, in the solemnity of that address I grant
the you a worse evil than the harsh st, which it banishes." “ Well Sir, let us see if you
think such banishment an advantage in a passage which is not solemn; instead of
66 Return fair Eve!
“ Return fair Eve,
But no-he was constrained to acknowledge that even there the change rendered the passage ludi
I then exhorted him, as I exhort you, to cease complaining of unavoidable circumstances in Nature, in science, and in art. Do not, be
cause the elbow of a slender young woman is not a pretty thing, quarrel with a light and beautiful nymph, because she has elbows.
Lichfield, 9, 1787. Ah, Madam, it is a too-confiding benevolence which induces you to suppose there must have been some good, even in such a being as that on whom Elizabeth's ill fatę wasted her youth, her affections, and her virtues ; something on which softened remembrance might dwell, as palliatives to the faults which ruined himself, and deprived him of the means to support his wife and child
But no ! callousness and outrage, united with the vices of sottishness, unchastity, and extravagance, to rob the grave of its power, to screen from her recollection the miseries of their union. She wept, indeed, beneath the first intelligence of an event, startling, however inevitably welcome. She wept, from the consciousness of his being the father of her children but it would
be weakness in the extreme, if these are not the last tears she will ever shed for him. **
I had, indeed, great pleasure in finding dear Mrs Port cheerfully alive to every agreeable impression, and disposed to throw all the lustre of partial regard over things which had, perhaps, essentially but little claim to the value which she appeared to set upon them. I do not, however, include in that number Mr Saville's obliging exertions to animate the evening we all passed together at Matlock, with the united charms of poetry and music. He alone, of all the warbling tribe, breathes at once, in his songs, the harmonic and the poetic 'spirit ; and this from powers which mere musical science, ability, and taste, however perfect in their kind, cannot give, without a combination of genius, sensibility, and knowledge, which are of higher extraction than that of the tinkling strings.
The rulers of our cathedral are a little be-demoned, or much be-deaned, which is nearly the same thing. They are demolishing our pretty choir at a vast expence, and to the long exclusion of the finest choir-service in the kingdom. They have shut her gates against her celebrated minstrels; turning them adrift to lose, or, at least, injure their voices by the rust of inaction. Yes, “ they are pulling down the carved work with axes
and hammers.” I question not Mr Wyatt's power of bestowing a great accession of future beauty; but he says it must be four years ere the alterations will be completed, and the service resumed. A four year's silence for “ the pealing organ, and the full-voic'd choir !" Four years! Ah! how many of us, who delight in their power to lift the rising spirit in warmer devotion to its God; how many of us, before they are elapsed, may be slumbering in the impervious silence of the grave ! Four years !--no inconsiderable portion of human existence! Alas! “ a few lagging winters, and a few wanton springs, and the life of man is at an end.” Of those which shall be allotted to my friends at Hopton, may neither disease abridge the number, nor affliction darken the course !
Rev. WH. BAGSHOT STEVENS OF REPTON.
Lichfield, April 11, 1787. Your Ode to Delius is beautifully rendered. O! the immeasurable difference between a poet's translation and that of those insipid versifiers, who