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*Let gorgeous Tragedy
us by its unwieldy difference from the common cosIn scepter'd pall come sweeping by.'
lume of expression."-pp. 215-218. "Even situations far depressed beneath the famil. There is the same delicacy of taste, and iar mediocrity of life, are more picturesque and beauty of writing, in the following remarks the virtues of the middling rank of life, that the on Collins—though we think the Specimens strength and comforts of society chiefly depend, in afterwards given from this exquisite poet are the same way as we look for ihe harvest, not on rather niggardly. cliffs and precipices, but on the easy slope and the uniform plain. But the painter does noi in general
“ Collins published bis Oriental Eclogues while fix on level countries for the subjects of his noblest at college, and his lyrical poetry at the age of landscapes. There is an analogy, I conceive, to twenty-six. Those works will abide comparison this in the moral painting of tragedy. Disparities if they have rather less exuberant wealth of
with whatever Milton wrote under the age of thirty. of station give it boldness of outline. The com. they exhibit more exquisite touches of pathos.
genuis, manding situations of life are its mountain scenery Like Milion, he leads us into the haunted ground portrayed in their strongest contrast and colouring." of expression haloed with thought, which by single
Vol. v. pp. 58–62.
or few words often hints entire pictures to the imagiNothing, we think, can be more exquisite nation. In what short and simple terms, for inthan this criticism,—though we are far from stance,
does he open a wide and majestic landscape
10 the mind, such as we might view from Beolo. being entire converts to its doctrines; and are inond or Snowden—when he speaks of the hut moreover of opinion, that the merits of Lillo,
"That from some mountain's side as a poet at least, are considerably overrated.
Views wilds and swelling floods.' There is a flatness and a weakness in his dic- And in the line, Where faint and sickly winds tion, that we think must have struck Mr. C. for ever howl around,' he does not seem nierely to more than he has acknowledged, -and a tone, describe the suliry desert, but brings it home to the occasionally, both of vulgarity and of paltry senses. affectation, that counteracts the pathetic effect A cloud of obscurily sometimes rests on his of his conceptions, and does injustice to the highest conceptions, arising from the fineness of his
associations, and the daring sweep of his illusions; experiment of domestic tragedy.
but the shadow is transitory, and interferes vry The critique on Thomson is distinguished little with the light of his imagery, or the warmıh by the same fine tact, candour, and concise- of his feelings. The absence of even this speck of
mysticism from his Ode on the Passions is perhaps
The happy circumstance that secured its unbounded "Habits of early admiration teach us all to look popularity. Nothing, however, is coinmon-place back upon this poet as the favourite companion of in Collins. The pastoral eclogue, which is insipid our solitary walks, and as the author who has first in all other English hands, assumes in his a touchor chiefly reflected back to our minds a heightened ing interest, and a picturesque air of noveliy; It and refined sensation of the delight which rural seems that he himself ultimately undervalued those scenery affords us. The judgment of cooler years eclogues, as deficient in characteristic manners; but may somewhat abate our estimation of him, though surely no just reader of them cares any more about it will still leave us the essential features of his this circuinstance than about the authenticity of the poetical character to abide the test of reflection. tale of Troy. The unvaried pomp of his diction suggests a most “In his Ode to Fear he hinis at his dramatic unfavourable comparison with the manly and idiom ambition ; and he planned several tragedies. Had atic simplicity of Cowper : at the same time, the he lived to enjoy and adoru existence, it is not easy pervading spirit and feeling of his poetry is in gene. to conceive his sensitive spirit and harmonious ear ral more bland and delighiful than that of his great descending to mediocrity in any path of poetry ; rival in rural description. Thomson seems to con: 1 yet it may be doubted if his mind had not a pastemplate the creation with an eye of unqualified sion for the visionary and remote forms of imagina. pleasure and ecstasy, and to love its inhabitants tion, too strong and exclusive for the general pur. with a lofty and hallowed feeling of religious hap- poses of the drama. His genius loved jo breathe piness ; Cowper has also his philanthropy, but it is rather in the preternatural and ideal element of dashed with religious terrors, and with themes of poetry, than in the atmosphere of imitation, which satire, regret, and reprehension. Cowper's image lies closest to real life ; and his notions of poetical of nature is more curiously distinct and familiar. excellence, whatever vows he might address to Thomson carries our associations through a wider the manners,' were still tending to the vasi, the circuit of speculation and sympathy. His touches undefinable, and the abstract. Certainly, how. cannot be more faithful than Cowper's, but they ever, he carried sensibility and tenderness into the are more soft and select, and less disturbed by the highest regions of abstracted thought: His enthu. intrusion of homely objects. It is but justice to say, siasm spreads a glow even amongst the shadowy that amidst the feeling and fancy of the Seasons, tribes of mind,' and his allegory is as sensible to we meet with interruptions of declamation, heavy the heart as it is visible to the fancy."-pp. 310, 312. narrative, and unhappy digression with a parhelion eloquence that throws a counterfeit glow of expres- Though we are afraid our extracts are besion on common-place ideas--as when he treats us coming unreasonable, we cannot resist indulgto the solemnly ridiculous bathing of Musidora ; or ing our own nationality, by producing this draws from the classics instead of nature; or, after specimen of Mr. Campbell's. invoking inspiration from her hermit seat, makes his dedicatory bow to a patronizing countess, or speaker “ The admirers of the Gentle Shepherd must of the House of Commons. As long as he dwells perhaps be contented to share some suspicion of in the pure contemplation of nature, and appeals 10 national partiality, while they do justice to their the universal poetry of the human breast, his re. own feeling of its merit. Yet as this drama is a dundant style comes to us as something venial and picture of "rustic Scotland, it would perhaps be adventitious-it is the flowing vesture of the druid ; saying little for its fidelity, if it yielded no more and perhaps to the general experience is rather im- agreeableness to the breast of a native than he could posing; but when he returns to the familiar narra- expound 10 a stranger by the strict letter of criti. tions or courtesies of life, the same diction ceases cism. We should think the painter had finished to seem the mantle of inspiration, and only strikes the likeness of a mother very indifferently, if it did not bring home to her children trails of unde. the flush of his gay hopes and busy projects ler. finable expression which had escaped every eye minated in despair. The particular causes which but thai of familiar affection. Ramsay had not the led to his catastrophe bave not been distinctly force of Burns; but, neither, in jusi proportion to traced. His own descriptions of his prospects his merits, is he likely to be felt by an English are but liule to be trusted; for while apparently reader. The fire of Burns' wit and passion glows exchanging his shadowy visions of Rowley for the through an obscure dialect by iis confinement to real adventures of life, he was still moving under short and concentrated bursts. The interest which the spell of an imagination that saw every ihing in Ramsay excites is spread over a long poem, deline: exaggerated colours. Out of this dream he was ating manners more than passions, and the mind al length awakened, when he found that he had must be at home both in the language and manners, miscalculated the chances of patronage and the to appreciate the skill and comic archness with which profits of literary labour. he has heightened the display of rustic character “The heart which can peruse the fale of Chat. without giving it vulgarily, and refined the view terton without being moved. is liule to be envied of peasant life by situations of sweetness and ten- for its tranquilliry; but the intellects of those men derness, without departing in the least degree from must be as deficient as their hearts are uncharitable, its simplicity. The Gentle Shepherd stands quite who, confounding all shades of moral distinction, apart from the general pastoral poetry of modern have ranked his literary fiction of Rowley in the Europe. It has no satyrs, nor featureless simple. same class of crimes with pecuniary forgery; and tons, nor drowsy and still landscapes of nature,
but have calculated that if he had not died by his own distinct characters and amusing incidents. The hand he would have probably ended his days upon principal shepherd never speaks out of consistency a gallows! This disgusting sentence has been with the habits of a peasant ; but he moves in that pronounced upon a youth who was exemplary for sphere with such a manly spirit, with so much severe study, temperance, and natural affection. cheerful sensibility to its humble joys, with max. His Rowleian forgery must indeed be pronounced ims of life so rational and independent, and with improper by the general law which condemns all an ascendency over his fellow swains so well main serious and deliberate falsifications; but it deprived tained by his force of character, that if we could no man of his fame; it had no sacrilegious interfer. suppose the pacific scenes of the drama to be sud- ence with the memory of departed genius; it had denly changed into situations of trouble and danger, not, like Lauder's imposture, any malignant motive we should, in exact consistency with our former to rob a party, or a country, of a name which was idea of him, expect him to become the leader of its pride and ornament. the peasants, and the Tell of his native hamlet. "Senting aside the opinion of those uncharitable Nor is the character of his mistress less beautifully biographers, whose imaginations have conducted conceived. She is represented, like himself, as him to the gibbet, it may be owned that his un. elevated, by a fortunate discovery, from obscure to formed character exhibited strong and conflicting opulent life, yet as equally capable of being the elements of good and evil. Even the momentary ornament of either. A Richardson or a D'Arblay, project of the infidel boy to become a Methodist had they continued her history, might have height: preacher, betrays an obliquity of design and a con. ened the portrait, but they would not have altered tempt of human credulity that is not very amiable. its outline. Like the poetry of Tasso and Ariosto, But had he been spared, his pride and ambiiion that of the Gentle Shepherd is engraven on the would probably have come 10 flow in their proper memory, and has sunk into the heart, of its native channels. His understanding would have iaught country. Its verses have passed into proverbs, and him the practical value of truth and the dignity of it continues to be the delight and solace of the virtue, and he would have despised artifice, when peasantry whom it describes."'-pp. 344-346. he bad felt the strength and security of wisdom.
In estimating the promises of his genius, I would We think the merits of Akenside under- rather lean to the uimost enthusiasm of his adınir. rated, and those of Churchill exaggerated : ers, than to the cold opinion of those who are afraid But we have found no passage in which the of being blinded to the defects of the poems attrib. amiable but equitable and reasonable indulg- uted to Rowley, by the veil of obsolete phraseology
which is thrown over them. ence of Mr. Campbell's mind is so conspicu- “ The inequality of Chatterton's various pro. ous, as in his account of Chatterton—and it ductions may be compared to the disproportions of is no slight thing for a poet to have kept him the ungrown giant. His works had nothing of the self cool and temperate, on a theme which definite neatness of that precocious talent which has hurried so many inferior spirits into pas- stops short in early maturity. His thirst for knowsion and extravagance.
ledge was that of a being caught by instinct to lay
up materials for the exercise of great and unde. “When we conceive," says Mr. C., "the in- veloped powers. Even in his favourite maxim, spired boy transporting himself in imagination back pushed it might be to hyperbole, that a man by to the days of his fictitious Rowley, embodying his abstinence and perseverance might accomplish ideal character, and giving to airy nothing a local whatever he pleased, may be traced the indications habitation and a name,' we may forget the im- of a genius which nature had meant to achieve worka postor in the enthusiast, and forgive the falsehood of immortality. Tasso alone can be compared to him of his reverie for its beauty and ingenuity. One as a juvenile prodigy. No English poei ever equalof his companions has described the air of rapture led him at the same age."-Vol. vi. pp. 156—162. and inspiration with which he used to repeat his passages from Rowley, and the delight which he The account of Gray is excellent, and that iook to contemplate the church of St. Mary Red- of Goldsmith delightful. We can afford to cliffe, while it awoke the associations of antiquity give but an inconsiderable part of it. in his romantic mind. There was one spot in particular, full in view of the church, where he “Goldsmith's poetry enjoys a calm and steady would often lay himself down, and fix his eyes, as popularity. Ii inspires us, indeed, with no admirait were, in a trance.
On Sundays, as long as day. tion of daring design, or of fertile invention ; but it light lasted, he would walk alone in the country presents, within iis narrow limits, a distinct and un. around Bristol, taking drawings of churches, or broken view of poetical delighisulness. His descrip. other objects that struck his imagination.
tions and sentimenis have ihe pure zest of nature. “ During the few months of his existence in He is refined without false delicacy, and correct London, his letters to his mother and sister, which without insipidity. Perhaps there is an intellectual were always accompanied with presents, expressed composure in his manner, which may, in some pas. the most joyous anticipations. But suddenly all / sages, be said to approach to the reserved and pro.
saic; but he unbends from this graver strain of certain tone of exaggeration is incident, we reflection, to tenderness, and even to playfulness, fear, to the sort of writing in which we are and connects extensive views of the happiness and engaged. Reckoning a little too much, perinterests of society, with pictures of life, that touch haps, on the dulness of our readers, we are the heart by their familiarity. His language is cer- often led, unconsciously, to oversiate our tainly simple, though it is not cast in a rugged or sentiments, in order to make them undercareless mould. He is no disciple of the gaunt and stood; and, where a little controversial famished school of simplicity. Deliberately as he warmth is added to a little love of effect, wrote, he cannot be accused of wanting natural and an excess of colouring is apt to steal over idiomatic expression; but still it is select and re. fined expression. He uses the ornaments which
the canvass which ultimately offends no must always distinguish true poetry from prose; eye so much as our own. We gladly make and when he adopis colloquial plainness, it is with this expiation to the shade of our illustrious the utmost care and skill, to avoid a vulgar humility: countryman. There is more of this elegant simplicily, of this chaste economy and choice of words, in Goldsmith, C. resumes the controversy about the poetical
In his observations on Joseph Warton, Mr. than in any modern poet, or perhaps than would be altainable or desirable as a standard for every writer character of Pope, upon which he had entered of rhyme. In extensive narrative poems such a at the close of his Essay; and as to which style would be too difficult. There is a noble pro- we hope to have some other opportunity of priety even in the careless strengih of great poems giving our opinions. At present, however, we as in the roughness of castle walis; and, generally must hasten to a conclusion; and shall make speaking, where there is a long course of story, or observation of life to be pursued, such exquisite our last extracts from the notice of Cowper, touches as those of Goldsmith would be too costly which is drawn up on somewhat of a larger materials for sustaining it. The tendency towards scale than any other in the work. The ababstracted observation in his poetry agrees peculiarly stract of his life is given with great tenderness with the compendious form of expression which he and beauty, and with considerable fulness of studied; whilst the homefelt joys, on which his detail. But the remarks on his poetry are the fancy loved to repose, required at once the chastest and sweetest colours of language, to make thein most precious,-and are all that we have now harmonize with the dignity of a philosophical poem. room to borrow. His whole manner has a still depth of feeling and reflection, which gives back the image of nature
• The nature of Cowper's works makes us unruffled and minutely. He has no redundant peculiarly identify the poet and the man in perusing thoughts, or false transports; but seems on every them. As an individual, he was retired and weaned occasion 10 have weighed the impulse to which he from the vanities of the world; and, as an original surrendered himself. Whatever ardour or casual writer, he left the ambitious and luxuriant subjects felicities he may have thus sacrificed, he gained a
of fiction and passion, for those of real life and simbigh degree of purity and self-possession. His ple nature, and for the development of his own chaste pathos makes him an insinuating moralist; earnest feelings, in behalf of moral and religious and throws a charm of Claude-like sofiness over his truth. His language has such a masculine idiom. descriplions of homely objects, that would seem
atic strength, and his manner, whether he rises only fit to be the subjects of Dutch painting. But into grace or falls into negligence, has so much bis quiet enthusiasm leads the affections to humble plain and familiar freedom, that we read no poetry things without a vulgar association ; and he inspires with a deeper conviction of its sentiments having us with a fondness to trace the simplest recollections come from the author's heart; and of the enthu. of Auburn, till we count the furniture of its ale
siasm, whatever he describes, having been un. house, and listen to the varnished clock that the idea of a being, whose fine spirit had been long
feigned and unexaggerated. He impresses us with clicked behind the door.'"-pp. 261--263.
enough in the mixed society of the world to be There is too much of William Whitehead, polished by its intercourse, and yet withdrawn so and almost too much of Richard Glover,--and simplicity. He was advanced in years before he a great deal too much of Amhurst Selden, became an author; but his compositions display a Bramston, and Meston. Indeed the ne quid tenderness of feeling so youthfully preserved, and nimis seems to have been more forgotten by even a vein of humour so far from being extinguished the learned editor in the last, than in any of by his ascetic habits, that we can scarcely regret his the other volumes. Yet there is by no means For he blends the determination of age with an
not having written them at an earlier period of life. too much of Burns, or Cowper, or even of the exquisite and ingenuous sensibility; and though he Wartons. The abstract of Burns' life is beau- sports very much with his subjects, yet, when he is tisul; and we are most willing to acknowledge in earnest, there is a gravity of long.felt conviction that the defence of the poet, against some of in his sentiments, which gives an uncommon ripe. the severities of this Journal, is substantially
ness of character to his poetry. successful. No one who reads all that we unaffectedness and authenticity of his works, con
“It is due to Cowper to fix our regard on this have written of Burns, will doubt of the sin sidered as representations of himself, because he cerity of our admiration for his genius, or of forms a striking instance of genius writing the his. the depth of our veneration and sympathy for tory of its own secluded feelings, reflections, and his lofty character and his untimely fate. enjoyments, in a shape so interesting as to engage We still think he had a vulgar taste in letter- the imagination like a work of fiction. He has in.
vented no character in fable, nor in the drama ; but writing; and too frequently patronized the he has left a record of his own character, which belief of a connection between licentious in- forms not only an object of deep sympathy, but a dulgences and generosity of character. But, sabject for the study of human nature.
His verge, on looking back on what we have said on it is true, considered as such a record, abounds with these subjects, we are sensible that we have opposite traits of severity and gentleness, of playexpressed ourselves with too much bitter- which appear almost anomalous ; and there is, un. ness, and made the words of our censure far doubtedly, sometimes an air of moody versatility in more comprehensive than our meaning. Alihe extreme contrasts of his feelings. But looking
to his poetry as an entire structure, it has a massive beauties of creation ; but it gives his taste a con. air of sincerity. It is founded in steadfast princi- ientment and fellowship with humble things. It ples of belief; and, if we inay prolong the archi. makes him careless of selecting and refining his lectural metaphor, though its arches may be some. views of nature beyond their actual appearances. times gloomy, its iracery sportive, and is lights and He contemplated the face of plain rural English shadows groiesquely crossed, yei altogether it still life, in moments of leisure and sensibility, vill its forms a vast, various, and interesting monument of minutest features were impressed upon bis fancy; the builder's mind. Young's works are as devout, and he sought not to embellish what he loved. as satirical, sometimes as merry, as those of Cow. Hence his landscapes have less of the ideally beau. per; and, undoubtedly, more witty. But the melan- tiful than Thomson's; but they have an unrivalled choly and wil of Young do not make up to us the charm of truth and reality. idea of a conceivable or natural being. He has “He is one of the few poets, who have indulged sketched in his pages the ingenious, but incongruous neither in descriptions nor acknowledgments of form of a fictitious mind-Cowper's soul speaks the passion of love; but there is no poet who has from his volumes."
given us a finer conception of the amenity of Considering the tenor and circumstances of his female influence. Of all the verses that have been lise, it is not much to be wondered at, that some ever devoted to the subject of domestic happiness, asperities and peculiarities should have adhered to the those in his winter evening, at the opening of the strong stem of his genius, like the moss and fungus fourth book of The Task, are perhaps the most that cling to some noble oak of the forest, amidst the beautiful. In perusing that scene of intimate de. damps of its unsunned retirement. It is more sur. lighıs,' 'fireside enjoyments,' and 'home-born prising that he preserved, in such seclusion, so much happiness,' we seem to recover a part of the for. genuine power of comic observation. There is much gotten value of existence; when we recognise the of the full distinctness of Theophrastus, and of the means of its blessedness so widely dispensed, and nervous and concise spirit of La Bruyère, in his so cheaply attainable, and find them susceptible piece entitled Conversation,' with a cast of humour of description at once so enchanting and so faithful
. superadded, which is peculiarly English, and not to Though the scenes of The 'T'ask are laid in be found out of England."-Vol. vii. pp. 357, 358. retirement, the poem affords an amusing perspec
tive of human affairs. Remote as the poet was of his greatest work, The Task, he after- from the stir of the great Babel, from the conwards observes,
fusæ sonus Urbis, et illælabile murmur,' he glances “ His whimsical outset in a work, where he engaged the attention of his contemporaries. On
at most of the subjects of public interest which promises so little and performs so much, may be those subjects, it is but faint praise io say that he advantageously contrasted with those magnificent espoused ihe side of justice and humanity. Abundcommencement of poems, which pledge both the
ance of mediocrity of talent is to be found on the reader and the writer, in good earnest, to a task. same side, rather injuring than promoting the Cowper's poem, on the contrary, is like a river, cause, by its officious declamation. But nothing which rises from a playful little fountain, and can be further from the stale commonplace and gathers beauty and magnitude as it proceeds. He cuckooism of sentiment, than the philanthropic leads us abroad into his daily walks; he exhibits eloquence of Cowper-he speaks like one having the landscapes which he was accustomed to con authority.' Socieiy is his debtor. Poerical expo. template, and the trains of thought in which he sitions of the horrors of slavery may, indeed, seem habitually indulged. No attempt is made to in. very unlikely agents in contributing to destroy it; ferest us in legendary fictions, or historical recol- and it is possible that the most refined planter in lections connected wiih the ground over which he the West Indies, may look wiih neither shame expatiales; all is plainness and reality : But we
nor compunction on his own image in the pages instantly recognise ihe true poet, in the clearness, of Cowper. But such appeals to the heart of the sweetness, and fidelity of his scenic draughts; in community are not lost! They fix themselves his power of giving novelty to what is common; silently in the popular memory; and they become, and in the high relish, the exquisite enjoyment of at last, a part of that public opinion, which must, rural sig'ils and sounds, which he communicates
sooner or later, wrench the lash from the hand of to the spirit. • His eyes drink the rivers with de the oppressor."-pp. 359—364. light.' 'He excites an idea, that almost amounts to sensation, of the freshness and delight of a rural
But we must now break airay at once from walk, even when he leads us to the wasteful com- this delightful occupation; and take our final mon, which
farewell of a work, in which, what is original, • Overgrown with fern, and rough is scarcely lesz valuable than what is repubWith prickly gorse, that, shapeless and deform'd, lished, and in which the genius of a living And dang'rous to the touch, has yet its bloom, Poet has shed a fresh grace over the fading And decks itself with ornaments of gold,
glories of so many of his departed brothers. Yields no unpleasing ramble. There the turf Smells fresh, and, rich in odorif'rous herbs
We wish somebody would continue the work, And fungous fruits of earth, regales the sense
by furnishing us with Specimens of our Living With luxuries of unexpected sweets.'
Poets. It would be more difficult, to be sure,
and more dangerous; but, in some respects, “ His rural prospects have far less variety and compass than those of Thomson ; but his graphic it would also be more useful. The beauties touches are more close and minute : not ihat of the unequal and voluminous writers would Thomson was either deficient or undelightful in be more conspicuous in a selection ; and the circumstantial traits of the beauty of nature, but different styles and schools of poetry would he looked to her as a whole more than Cowper. be brought into fairer and nearer terms of The poet of Olney, on the contrary, regarded comparison, by the mere juxtaposition of their human philosophy with something of theological best productions; while a better and clearer contempt. To his eye, the great and little things view would be obtained, both of the general of this world were levelled into an equality, by his progress and apparent tendencies of the art, recollection of the power and purposes of Him ihan can easily be gathered from the separate who made them. They are, in his view, only as study of each important production. The toys spread on the lap and carpet of nature, for mind of the critic, too, would be at once engious indifference to the world is far, indeed, from lightened and tranquillized by the very great. blunting his sensibility to the genuine and simple ness of the horizon thus subjected to his
survey; and he would probably regard, both subject him to the most furious imputations with less enthusiasm and less offence, those of unfairness and malignity. In point of contrasted and compensating beauties and courage and candour, we do not know anydefects, when presented together, and as it body who would do it much better than were in combination, than he can ever do ourselves ! And if Mr. Campbell could when they come upon him in distinct masses, only impart to us a fair share of his eleand without the relief and softening of so va- gance, his fine perceptions, and his conried an assemblage. On the other hand, it ciseness, we should like nothing better than cannot be dissembled, that such a work would | to suspend, for a while, these periodical lube
very trying to the unhappy editor's pro- cubrations, and furnish out a gallery of Livphetic reputation, as well as to his imparti- ing Bards, to match this exhibition of the ality and temper; and would, at all events, Departed.
The Dramatic Works of John Ford; with an Introduction and Explanatory Notes. By HENRY
WEBER, Esq. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 950. Edinburgh and London: 1811. All true lovers of English poetry have|--and Napier, and Milton, and Cudworth, been long in love with the dramatists of and Hobbes, and many others ;-men, all of the time of Elizabeth and James; and them, not merely of great talents and acmust have been sensibly comforted by their complishments, but of vast compass and late restoration to some degree of favour reach of understanding, and of minds truly and notoriety. If there was any good rea- creative and original;—not perfecting art by son, indeed, to believe that the notice which the delicacy of their taste, or digesting knowthey have recently attracted proceeded from ledge by the justness of their reasonings; but any thing but that indiscriminate rage for making vast and substantial additions to the editing and annotating by which the present materials upon which taste and reason must times are so happily distinguished, we should hereafter be employed, -and enlarging, to an be disposed to hail it as the most unequivocal incredible and unparalleled extent, both the symptom of improvement in public taste that stores and the resources of the human faculhas yet occurred to reward and animate our ties. labours. At all events, however, it gives us
Whether the brisk concussion which was a chance for such an improvement; by placing given to men's minds by the force of the in the hands of many, who would not other- Reformation had much effect in producing wise have heard of them, some of those beau- this sudden development of British genius, tiful performances which we have always we cannot undertake to determine. For our regarded as among the most pleasing and own part, we should be rather inclined to characteristic productions of our native genius. hold, that the Reformation itself was but one
Ford certainly is not the best of those ne- symptom or effect of that great spirit of proglected writers,—nor Mr. Weber by any means gression and improvement which had been the best of their recent editors: But we cannot set in operation by deeper and more general resist the opportunity which this publication causes, and which afterwards blossomed out seems to afford, of saying a word or two of a into this splendid harvest of authorship. But class of writers, whom we have long wor- whatever may have been the causes that shipped in secret with a sort of idolatrous determined the appearance of those great peneration, and now find once more brought works, the fact is certain, not only that they forward as candidates for public applause. appeared together in great numbers, but that always appeared to us by far the brightest in in spite of the great diversity of their sub
--or indeed jects and designs, would have made them be of hurnan intellect and capacity. There classed together as the works of the same never was, any where, any thing like the order or description of men, even if they had middle of Elizabeth's reign to the period of time. They are the works of Giants, in originality of genius, neither the age of Peri- family ;-and their characteristics are, great cles, nor the age of Augustus, nor the times force, boldness, and originality ; together with into comparison: For, in that short period, which distinguishes them from all those per We shall find the names of almost all the formances that have since been produced produced, -the names of Shakespeare, and general idea of European excellence. Their very great men that this nation has ever among ourselves, upon a more vague and Bacon, and Spenser, and Sydney, - and sudden appearance, indeed, in all this splen.