Page images
PDF
EPUB

Remember me over your claret ;

Fill your glass to the brim,

And pledge it to him,
Who at fancy's feast gladly will share it.'
From the Bagatelle we copy the following, which is very pretty:

"To A LADY,
Who desired the Author to write some Poetry on her.
« Oh! sweet is the music which beauty inspires,

And sweet is the song of the soul ;
When the brain is illum'd by the heart's glowing fres,

And the Graces the subject controul !
You ask a poor bard all your charms to rehearse,

And the task would chill apathy warm;
But no pencil can picture, nor pen paint in verse,

What a God must have studied to form!
The poor silly insect that thoughtlessly plays

Round the flame which is pregnant with fate,
While, lur’d by its lustre, is scorch'd in the blaze,

And feels the fell danger too late,
So the poet, presumptuous, who dares to pourtray

The likeness of charms such as thine,
Must inhale the strong poison that lurks in the lay,

And wound his own heart with the line !'
Art. 18. Love of Fame, a Satire. 8vo. 28 Sherwood and Co.

1814. Never was poet more incensed against Bonaparte than this satirist : but he cannot say with Juvenal, Facit Indignatio versum. He is feeble in his wrath, which boils over without appearing to be warm, and flows from page to page without energy and force. A tame and nerveless satirist pelts with feathers, and shews his teeth without being able to bite. Almost superior to our hatred of the monster is our pity for the poet, when for satire he gives us such lines as these :

· And if there live one honest man, who says,

The deeds of Bonaparte are worthy praise,
I like the good physician will reply,
When his own sick the General would destroy,
If to be great require a deed like this,

Do thou seek glory, I'm content with bliss.'
If the author pays his court in this manner, he may talk of his Love
of Fame, but it will not be reciprocal.
Art. 19. Poems, or Miscellaneous Metricals, amatory, moral, pa-

thetic, &c. By P. Taylor, Meinber of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, &c., late Deputy Customer Inwards at the same Port. 12mo, 63. Boards.

Longman and Co. 1814. · How often shall we be under the necessity of cautioning dabblers in rhyme against the Aattering advice of friends, and of reminding them that the praise of a country-town is no sure passport to fame? Genuine

poetry

poetry is a language which very few understand; it is also a species of literary manufacture in which skill and nicety of execution are required. The painter and the statuary never estimate their works by the praises of their ordinary acquaintance, but, by comparing them with the best models, judge of their own proficiency in their respective arts. The poet, also, if he would excel, must act on the same principle. Pope, indeed, talks of “ snatching a grace:" but the cunning rogue knew full well that he never snatched a grace in his life, and that his poetic excellence was the result of study, and of much revision, arising from a difficulty in pleasing himself. Mr.

Taylor appears to have never felt any difficulty of this kind, but to
have pride in telling us with what facility he composed . at a public
desk, amidst the bustle and pressure of business. Could he have
heard the epithets of displeasure which we expressed while reading
his sadly imperfect verses, he would have been extremely mortified.
When no rules either of poetry or of grammar are observed, critics
cannot help growling. We will not undertake to point out all the
defects of this little volume, but, as specimens of Mr. T.'s poetic
merit, copy two or three stanzas :
To a young lady, the bard observes ;

"A good economist,
Will ponder in his breast,
From circumstances low,

How comforts soon may flow.'
Mr. Taylor's poetical circumstances are low enough; what comforis
may flow from them, we cannot conceive.
In some lines on an angler, we read thus :

• At length beguild a growing trout,

Sprung on the fly's alluring wing -
Alas! too late, he strives to root

In giddy maze, its fatal sting! -
So in life's course we often see,

The unsuspecting young a prey
To flattering duplicity,

That strings before meridian day!' Mr. T. seems to have quitted his post of Customer Inwards' at the port of Newcastle: but, if the bellman of the said town is in want of a verse-maker, the author may be a candidate for that office, with some prospect of success. Art. 20. Adbaston; a Poem. By Charles Ash. Crown 8vo. 55.

Boards. Robinsons. 1814. George," (said a gentleman to his intimate friend, who had accompanied him on a visit to his native village,) ~ I view these scenes with an enthusiasm which I cannot communicate to you; for when a boy I trudged over this path to school ; in that field I "urged the flying ball," and in that hedge I had once the felicity of finding a blackbird's nest with four eggs." Similar recollections, under similar circumstances, very generally produce the same feelings; and hence verse-men and prose-men have spoken with rapture of the natale solum, which, though it could not renew their youth, revived its brightest visions. Mr. Ash remarks, from Ovid, that “there is a peculiar sweetness that attracts us all to the place which gave us birth, and neither time, nor distance, can erase it from our recollection ;" and this poem is meant to be an illustration of the remark. Adbaston, a retired spot on the western borders of Staffordshire, of no intrinsic celebrity, rises into consequence with Mr. Ash, and becomes the subject of his muse, because it happened to be his birth-place. Every circumstance of the scenery and moral features of this village is displayed, and we should suppose that the picture is tolerably correct. The poetic execution, however, is not in the first style. Though Mr. Ash is captivated with his theme, his numbers want polish and force ; he has spun it out to an unnecessary length ; and we think that the drunken bout at the farm-house, and the long detail of the multifarious occupations of the parish-clerk, are of a too low and vulgar character for insertion. The poem, indeed, is not an elegant composition, but may be denominated an unpolished pastoral. The writer's apostrophe to his native village is a favourable specimen, and therefore we shall take it :

• Dear native Adbaston ! - remote from care,

Thy tranquil fields would mitigate despair :
In thy sweet vales a balsam I could find,
When nought on earth could calm my troubled mind.
Each wild, each trilling object that surrounds,
Each lonely stile in thy sequester'd grounds;
The ancient elm that shades the cottage door,
The distant grange — the dusky, rush-grown moor,
The echoing wood that joins the neighb'ring farm, -
Each hath, by turns, the magic pow'r to charm.
And yet, while thus the landscape I pursue,
What sad sensations pierce my heart, to view
Such change in ev'ry once-frequented scene,
That many a trace is filed of what has been.
Remember'd trees, on which I've carv'd my name,
Or hung the trophy of some boyhood fame,
Are seen no more; -- the axe, with well-aim'd blow,
Long since has laid their leafy honours low;
While others rise upon the tufted lawn,
Which then were only in their sapling dawn :
Thus mighty empires that have long sustain'd
The shocks of time, and still, each day, have gain'd
Superior pow'r, for boundless ages past,

Must know a change - a dreadful fall at last.'
Art. 21. National Triumphs. By Mrs. Cockle. 8vo. 28. 6d.

Chapple. 1814. Painters are not better acquainted with the effects of light and shade than poets, who are very dextrous in contrasting our joys with our sorrows, and in giving the boldest relief to splendid triumphs by loading the back-ground with the darkest tints. Mrs. Cockle, being thoroughly initiated into this poetic secret, first harrows up Rxv. Aug. 1814.

our

[ocr errors]

our souls before she attunes them to strains of rejoicing ; displaying the scenes of horror which were perpetrated, in the course of the war, in Russia, Germany, France, and Spain, as introductory to the grand burst of joy on account of success over the ferocious tyrant, and of the return of order and peace. We must not compare this lady's muse to the wild corn-flower whose name she bears, but to the elegant produce of the highly cultivated parterre, since her verse is nervous and flowing ; as the reader will perceive from the following short extract appropriated to the praise of the illustrious Emperor, of the North, and perhaps, in due time, Emperor of the East :

Piercing the awful gloom in darkest night,
What sudden lustre pours its northern light?
And not alone its dazzling radiance glows
On the pale bosom of its native snows,
Rhine's rapid wave receives its welcome beam,
And Seine's gay bank reflects its stranger-gleam
No faithless form, with wild delusive rays,
To guide the cheated step with meteor blaze,
But ah ! like that, the sacred star of yore,
Leads murmuring man to wonder and adore ;
Raise the sunk eye, and with a throne restor'd,
Accept heaven's better gift - the war-sheath'd sword.
Ah! great in arms - in virtues more than great,
The glorious monarch of a glorious state !
Greater than him, the kindred name who bore,
Wept over conquer'd realms, and sigh'd for more ;
Like bis, we see thy victor flag unfurl'd,
Yet not like his, to awe a vanquish'd world.
In every clime its guiding banners wave,
Inscrib'd with heaven's owu words, “ We come to SAVE:
To guard, not conquer - succour and defend —
To tyrants hostile to the oppress'd a friend :
To bid the groans of bleeding Europe cease,

And hush a nation's sorrows into peace.”
The address to the restored Louis is equally commendable.
Art. 22. Ode to Trinity College, Cambridge. 8vo. 15. Maw.

man. By a man who has devoted his time at the University to the ardent pursuit of knowlege, his college will be contemplated as the birthplace of thought ; and his veneration for it will not be less enthusiastic, than that which he feels for those rural scenes on which he first opened his eyes. In many respects, the recollections of college-life will be fraught with more sublime and improving sentiments, with sentiments which, while they expand the intellect, ennoble the heart. Clouds, however, will arise to darken these mental visions ; and the very seats of the Muses may, under certain circumstances, become irksome and disagreeable.

So common are these sensations with studious men, that we were surprised to hear the writer before us say that he was not aware

that similar ideas have ever been associated with similar places or institutions. We should rather remark that, to University-inen or to persons habituated to college-life, his reflections are obvious, if not common-place. Why this is termed an Ode to Trinity College, in preference to St. John's, King's, on any other college, we cannot discover ; since nothing occurs to confine the address, except per. haps a dark allusion (p. 15.) to the colonnade of Neville's Court. The ode, we must confess, has disappointed us. We soon stumbled on sentiment as a rhyme to paint; occasionally, we encountered defective grammar; and we generally experienced that want of vivid fire by which we hoped to find such a subject illuminated. If we copy the conclusion, we shall not take the worst part of the poem :

• Fair scenes, adieu ! ye once had power

To fascinate youth's ardent hour;
Awhile ye soften’d later woes,
And lull'd despair to short repose.
The charm is gone : yet ne'er shall fade
That strong attachment ye convey'd ;
And still, whene'er ye meet my eye,
Shall fond remembrance prompt a sigh:
Fair scenes, adicu ! ere yet too late,
Resolv'd to try a different fate,
Her waken'd votary Wisdom calls,
To quit in haste these fatal walls ;
In less recluse abodes to live ;

And seek content, ye cannot give.'
Art. 23., Parnassian Wild Shrubs ; consisting of Odes, the Mo:

ralist, a Series of Poetical Essays ; Sonnets, and Miscellaneous Pieces. By W. Taylor. 12mo. 58. 6d. Boards. Wilson. 1814.

Why not Parnassian Weeds This title, would have had a more modest appearance, and in fact have been more appropriate. Carrying on the metaphor, we should call these pieces poetic creapers ; the chickweed, not the rhododendrons, of Parnassus. Even in the first page of the first ode, addressed to novelty, before we have proceeded six lines, we stumble on the pronominal incongruity of youing and thouing the same person. E. G.

• Much I love to gaze on you !

Thou who ever art the same.' In the ad ode, 'a Dial is made to arise,' and song and lawn, and lawn and mourn, are given as rhimes; and in the 3rd, swallows circumambulate a stream.

It is confessed by the author that his present poetical attempts possess neither satire, humour, nor the enthusiasm of romance :' but he trusts that their moral tendency will obtain for him some indulgence. In a moral point of view, certainly, Mr. Taylor's verse is unexceptionable : but we think that his good meaning will not procure for him so much allowance as he probably expects. The morality of the following lines can never make them pass for even tolerable poetry: Ff2 .

. For

« PreviousContinue »