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Poetical Essays. By A. J. Mason, throws a spear at Dr. Johnson, the 12mo. pp. 111. 8s. London, 1822.
Leviathan of his age. Reflecting
upon all these vicissitudes of taste and Mr. Mason informs us, that these
extravagant fluctuations of opinion, we poems were the amusement of his lei.
are by no means disposed to form our sure hours, and were not intended for judgment upon any classification of the press, but were published in obe- our authors, or to consider them at all dience to the wishes of his friends.
in groups, but on the contrary, to view All this, we have no doubt, is true, but them as links of one continuous chain, it is very trite, and the world has long commencing with rare Ben Jonson and ago passed its unalterable verdict upon
his fraternity, connected with the wriapologies of this sort.—The public has ters of Queen Ann by the intermediate nothing to do with the compliments, links of Waller, Otway, Cowley, Milwhich pass between an author and his ton, and Dryden. Friar Bacon, and friends. If the work be of merit, the Chaucer are separated from the great advice to publish appears to the public
current of our literature, by a strong impertinent; if it be the reverse, no
chain of darkness and ignorance, bat advice can gain the book the approba- from the reign of Elizabeth to the tion of the world, or shield the author present day, there bas been one confrom the charge of indiscretion. An
tinuous tide of genius and eminent author should do well to remember, ability. Without diminishing that ve. that Dr. Johnson, in his prologue to neration for the literati of Queen Ann's Irene, boldly avowed, that
period, in which we were reared, we
are alive to the richer and more natural He scorn'd the mean address,--the suppliant beauties of our earlier writers, and we
strain; With merit needless, and without it, vain.
are glad when we see reprints of any
of their works, convinced that the Mr. Mason, we have no doubt, has greatest acquisition will be made to talents, but if not more sensible, we the intellectual enjoyments of our are, at least, more sincere than his countrymen, whenever they are made friends, when we advise him to direct familiarly acquainted with our earlier the powers of his mind to other subjects writers, whom they are now taught to than poetry.
praise, but of whom, from the scarcity of their works, they are really igno
rant. Sir George Mackenzie wrote in Moral Gallantry, with other Es- the reign of Charles II, and his successays, by Sir G. Mackenzie, Adyo- sor James, when our literature had cate to King Charles II. and King manners and morals of the continent :
imbibed something of a tinge from the James VII. Duodecimo, pp. 158. but living in Scotland, so far removed 5s. London.
from the contagion, the writings of
Mackenzie preserve the homely style We believe that the republic of and sterling merit of the age which Letters very much resembles all other had passed away. The work now berepublics in two grand particulars, fore us contains excellent reflections, that of being very capricious, and that and moral truths often illustrated by of being always upon extremes. Du- metaphors so natural and free from the ring the whole of last century, none strained invention and artful polish of of our early authors, except Shakspeare mere modern literature, as to form a and Ben Johnson, could receive scarce- strong effect upon the reader from ly a plaudit from our countrymen. their novelty, as well as from their None were deserving of praise or even intrinsic beauty. The style is homely of attention but the writers of the without being coarse ; it is a homelireign of Queen Ann, that golden and ness characteristic of the age, aud is Augustau age, as it was called, of Eng. in itself a considerable beauty. We lish Literature. Now the tide sets are glad to see the Moral Gallantry thus another way, the reign of Elizabeth repeated, and we wish that the success was the classic era of English letters of the publication, or at all events, and we are to be told that Pope was some motive may induce literary per not even a poet--that Swift was but a sons to give the present age the means paltry satirist-Prior a mere versifier of really being acquainted with the and Addison nothing but the prince earlier writers of our country- The of the host of gentlemen, who write contemporaries of Sir George Macken. with ease. Every pupy whipster now zie, or rather his predecessors.
ACHILLES. A Statue erected in Hyde Park to the Dake of Wellington, &'c. Tae temporary palisado which Upon the base is the following surrounded the noble statue, recently inscription : erected in Hyde Park, having been, in the course of the last month, re
“ Placed on this Spot on the 18th moved, and the whole thrown open day of June, 1822, by command of to public view; we think it may gra
His Majesty George IV." tify our readers, and especially such
The material, of which this magof them as llave not the opportunity nificent statue is composed, is not, of seeing this stupendous and ad. however, exclusively the metal of mirable work of art, if we present them with a brief description of it, used alone for that purpose. To
cannon, which is too brittle to be and add a few remarks connected twelve four-and-twenty pounders it with the subject. The statue is placed on a gently
was found necessary to add about
a third of metal, of a more pliant rising mound in the Park, about a
and fusible kind; and the weight of hundred and fifty yards from the the whole is supposed to be about Piccadilly-gate, at the fork produced thirty-three or thirty-four tons. It by the separation of the road, branch
was cast under the active supering off towards the Serpentine river intendance of Mr.WestmacOTT, who from that leading to Grosvenor and has manifested the most consummate Cumberland-gates. The body fronts Knightsbridge; but the head is die skill, in the way in which he has rected, over the left shoulder, towards arduous nature of which may be
accomplished the undertaking; the Apsley - house, the residence of the easily conceived, from the fact, that Duke of Wellington. The actual it is above sixteen hundred years, height of the statue exceeds eighteen feet; but as there is some inclination namely, in the time of Severus,
since a cast of similar colossal size lower extremities, it is probable, that has been produced. As the attempt
to cast it in a mass would have been if the figure were quite erect, it would attended with considerable risk, Mr. not fall far short of twenty feet. It
Westmacott cast the trunk and the is placed upon a basement and plinth extremities separately ; in doing of Dartmoor grey granite, surmount
which, he was enabled to restore ed by a simple pedestal of beautiful those parts of the surface of the orired granite from Peterhead, near ginal, which had been corroded by Aberdeen; and the whole, including time. By an ingenious and novel the mound, which is to be guarded mode of subsequently uniting the by a strong chevaux de frise, is about
various parts of the cast by fusion, thirty-six feet above the level of the the danger of future disjunction has line of 'road. On the pedestal is
been avoided; and the whole posthe following inscription, in bronze letters :
sesses an appearance of high finish
which is surprising, and entirely “ To Arthur, Duke of Wellington, unprecedented in a work of such and his Brave Companions in Arms, magnitude. this Statue of Achilles, cast from Of the original, in marble, of which Cannon taken in the Battles of Sala- this bronze statue is a copy, the hismanoa, Vittoria, Toulouse, and Wa. tory is very obscure. It is, eviterloo, is inscribed by their Country- dently, a production of remote anWomen,"
tiquity, and is generally, though
* The victors in the Olympic Games on their return to their native towns, were admitted through a passage made in the walls, and not through the gates :It is a singular coincidence, that to admit this Statue, erected to the honor of the Duke of Wellington, into Hyde Park, it became necessary to make a breach in the wall, the usual entrances being found too narrow. Ed. Eur. Mag. Vol. 82.
fancifully, attributed to PHIDAS. in general rather deficient) while the Together with another statue of si- cloudy back-ground prevents the conmilar dimensions, ascribed to Praxi- tour from appearing too harsh and TELLES, it was found in one of the cutting against the sky: ruined saloons on the Quirinal Hill at The attitude of the figure is that Rome, having, as it is supposed, been of defence. The feet are firmly formerly conveyed thither from Alex- planted at the distance from each andria, by Constantine the Great, other which is calculated to impart for the purpose of embellishing his the greatest stability to the body baths. During the pontificate of and the vigorous muscles of the legs Pius the Fifth, these statues were and thighs seem capable of resisting erected in front of the Papal Palace, every effort to displace them. The and the hill on which they were so head is turning fiercely round, with erected has since been known by the an inimitable expression of haughty name of Monte Cavallo, as two defiance, arising from the consciousantique horses, which were disco- ness of unequalled power. The upvered near the statues, were placed raised left arm, protected by a shield, so as to groupe with them, although (which shield was introduced by Mr, the propriety of the union has always Westmacott, in our opinion mabeen disputed, and is now very ge- terially to the benefit of the componerally denied. By some, the parti- sition,) is evidently ready to sustain cular figure in question has been unflinchingly the assault of the most imagined to represent Castor,—a formidable opponent; while the right conjecture which appears to have hand (in which, we presume, it is little foundation. Others, with more intended to place the short Greek probability, believe it to have been sword,) appears prepared, instantly meant for a personification of Achil- and irresistibly, to avenge injury or LES. But, whoever may have been insult. In the proportions of the the sculptor, or the individual whom trunk, there is a happy mixture of it was his intention to commemorate, strength and energy; of the Farnese the statue itself has been invariably Hercules, and the Gladiator, “ a considered, by the ablest judges, to thousand hearts" seem “swelling in be one of the most admirable and that breast." But the pre-eminent magnificent works of art that the quality which the statue possesses, genius of man ever produced. and which, like Aaron's rod, swal
We recommeud those, who wish to lows up all the rest ; a quality which see this striking and splendid orna- immediately arrests the imagination, ment of the Metropolis to the greatest and long withholds the judgment advantage, to go to the Park about from entering into any minute inten or eleven o'clock, on a morning vestigation ; a quality which is only
a of alternate gloom and sunshine. to be felt, and can, by no effort of The best position for the spectator, language, be adequately described; or that from which the figure "com- a quality which, impressed as it is poses" best (as the artists call it) is on all the productions of the great on the pathway, which is known by Creator, is rarely, indeed, to be the name of “theWellington Walk, found in the humble works of man, a few yards to the north of the rail- is-sublimity. ing, which terminates the shrubbery Unhappily, there are many perof Apsley-House. In that situation, sons wholly incapable of appreciatand at the time of day, and under the ing this quality, whether in nature circumstances we have described, the or in art; and who seek, by the effect is inconceivably grand. The miserable gratification which they figure it not fore-shortened by too experience in the abuse of excelnear an approach, nor is its appa- lence, to compensate themselves for rent magnitude diminished by its their conscious want of taste and feel. being seen at too great a distance; ing. Achilles, when living, had and the strong south-east light, his Thersites, whom, however, he pouring occasionally and partially ultimately demolished; and this, his into its deep anatomical markings, stern representative, is beset by a exhibits them in powerful relief, herd of cold and captious critics, (a property in which bronze, in con- for whom, we trust, a fate is reserved sequence of the tone of its surface, is as ignominious as that which even
tually befel their worthy predecessor are capable of promulgating the criand 'model. It is painful to see a ticisms to which we have alluded, large portion of the public press, must unquestionably be polluted, to whose duty it is, and whose pleasure be cheated out of the high delight it ought to be, to foster the liberal arising to a cultivated understanding arts, join in this vulgar and un- from the contemplation of a sublime patriotic attack. Some of the cen- work of art like the Achilles, by sures, thus extensively, and, there- the apprehension that at the very fore, injuriously circulated, evidently moment when their thoughts are proceed from sheerignorance; others, elevated and refined, and carried beprobably, emanate from party mo- yond the limits of the corporeal tives; but, we fear, that too much of world, they may be suspected by the Gothic disposition, which has dull and ribald spirits of being solebeen manifested on this occasion, is ly intent on pampering the most solely attributable to that love of gross and disgusting sensuality ?
. sneering depreciation which is the
We hope not; we believe not; we pervading evil and curse of society, are sure not. We trust that they which seems as infectious and malig- will retort upon the sneerers in the nant as the small pox, and against emphatic words of the motto of one which, no moral Jenner has yet of our most illustrious orders : been able to devise the means of security by any process of mental “ HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE." vaccination.
And what is the gravamen of the Every man who has any love for accusation against this noble, and in the fine arts; every man who is quaEngland unrivalled, statue ?. That lified to form a just conception of it is indecent. Indecent! If there their importance to society, inust reis a single feeling less excited than joice at the erection of this magnifiany other in the mind of every one cent work in so commanding a situwho contemplates it, unless indeed ation in the Metropolis, as a great that mind be morbidly prone to seek national benefit. How extensive in the most innocent spectacle or that benefit will be remains to be occurrence the gratification of a fil- It is absolutely the first atthy disposition, it is indecency. The tempt, that has been made in this severe character of the figure (not country, to imbue the general mind to mention other considerations on with a knowledge of the principles which it would be really “indecent” of high art. We trust that it will to dwell,) abundantly repels the soon be followed by other efforts of charge. To those indeed, as we a similar nature. If once the public have already observed, who are feel what is excellent, and if to that grossly inclined, purity itself may feeling they should add a conviction be tortured into the stimulus of a of the true glory that would ensue depraved appetite. The licentious
The licentious from a successful rivalry with anciSterne contrived to raise a lewd ent art, we anticipate with confiimage simply by the description of dence that the genius of the country Uncle Toby, or Old Shandy (we for would soon be found fully competent get which), fixing bis eyes on a chink to answer every demand that could in the wainscot of the room in which be made upon it, and that the perhe was sitting. But are the large petuation of the fame of some fumajority of the public, and especi- ture “ Wellington,” and “ His ally of the fairer portion of the pub- BRAVE COMPANIONS IN ARMS,"might lic, who are utterly and proudly free with safety and pride be committed from the taint by which those who to the chissel of A British PHIDIAS.
This theatre closed for the season son, must, we are convinced, have on Saturday the 10th inst. with the left the house with reluctance, and scientific and beautiful opera of Moze cast a longing, lingering look bein Egitto. It is said that the season hind, regretting that they should be just terminated has not been so pro- made to forego so captivating an ductive as that of the preceding year; amusement, even for the sake of the the first of Mr. Ebers's management pomp of woods and garniture of -if this be the fact, we not only re- fields.” When the Opera season comgret it, but it really occasions us mences, members of the fashionable inuch surprize; for the Opera has world generally expect some little seldom been able to boast of so many change in the company—some new excellent singers, or of a more judi- importation of talent, on which they cious and liberal conduct on the part may exhibit their skill, and display of its manager. The opera of Moze their ingenuity, by criticisms and in Egitto can hardly be said to have colloquial dissertations :-we hope taken with the public on its being that the manager will make little first brought out in London ;-but change at the expense of his present the whole strength of the company company - we trust, at least, we shall was latterly poured into this charm- not lose Madame Ronzi de Begnis, ing work; and the characters were por Zucchelli ; if to these we could so admirably sustained, particularly have the addition of Ambrogetti and on the last night of its representa- Catalani, we should perhaps possess tion, that all its beauties are now ap- the finest Opera in Europe ; certainly preciated by the English lovers of finer than any thing we have seen in harmony. Those who saw the cur. this country since the days of Mrs, tain fall for the last time of the sea- Billington
HAY-MARKET THEATRE. Our last report of this theatre was of singers; and her sweet Aexible replete with novelties; but neither voice won the audience to applaud, Thalia nor Melpomene has been
par. " to the very echo which shall apturient, at least at this house, since plaud again.” It has been said that our last number went to press: there the moral tone of an English audihas been nothing new; and we are ence would not admit of a faithful glad of this, as it has enabled the translation of Beaumarchais' Figaro managers to treat the public with re- if this be true, we must be allowed peated representations of Cibber's
to reply, that no translation into dramatic satire, The Hypoerite ; English ought to have been attemptGoldsmith's legitimate comedy of ed. Certainly our version of Figaro She Stoops to Conquer ; and Mr. is “ weary, stale, flat and unprofitaColman's, we will not say comedy, ble," when compared to the original. but excellent five act farce of The Mrs. Garrick divested the character Heir at Law. To these rich regal of the Countess of all its intrigue ings have been added the enjoyment and vacillation of propensities; whilst of a debutante of “surpassing merit” Liston's want of voice made him so -a Miss Paton, known to the fre- completely the murderer of Mozart's quenters of concerts, has made her fine melodies, that even his excellent appearance on the boards, in the acting could not win us to approbacharacter of Susanna, in Beaumar- tion; and the tout en semble of the chais' opera of Figaro. She was re- opera was heavy and unattractive. ceived with decided applause-exhi- But it is really a pleasure to call to biting much more of talents as an mind, and to expatiate upon the peractress, than usually falls to the lot formance of the Heir at Law. If it