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Smith, of the British Museum, a gentleman universally respected for his urbanity of manners, and polite attention to all, who have occasion to visit that valuable collection of literary and scientific curiosities. Though born of humble parentage, Mr. Roscoe has evinced through life that unaffected dignity of manner, that delicate sense of honour, and that pride of acting up to its most rigid and jealous dictates, which prove, that the principle which constitutes true greatness of mind is not the exclusive birthright of ancestry. He is a zealous advocate for the rights of mankind, and the voice of freedom inspired him to sing "The Wrongs of Africa," and to pourtray them with a spirit and strength of colouring, that gave a new impetus to the enthusiasm which animated the friends of liberty at the time; and which eventually restored the degraded African to that equal freedom, which is the birthright of the human
It was this love of liberty, or rather the great and generous emotions which it awakens in the soul, that inspired him when he breathed the following impassioned strains :
There Afric's swarthy sons their toils repeat
Beneath the fervors of the noon-tide
Till broke with fervor, helpless and
From their weak grasp the lingering
The jest of folly, and the scorn of pride,
Lift the faint head, and bend the imploring eye,
Till death, in kindness to the tortur'd breast,
Calls the free spirit to the realms of
Mr. Roscoe intended to publish his Wrongs of Africa in three parts. The first appeared in 1787, and the second the year following; but the public was never gratified with the third. The subject, it is true, ceased to possess interest after the Slave Trade was abolished, and to this
alone we can attribute the circumstance of its not having appeared. Mr. Roscoe, both in and out of parliament, never ceased his exertions till this great event was happily accomplished; and one of his most argumentative and spirited works is, a refutation of a pamphlet in defence of the Slave Trade, entitled, "Scriptural researches into the licitness of the Slave Trade," Mr. Roscoe entitled his answer "A Scriptural refu tation of a pamphlet lately published by the Rev. Raymond Harris." He was the first who succeeded in bringing the literature of the middle age into repute in this country. Life of Lorenzo de Medici, and of Leo the Tenth, rendered an acquaintance with the characters, discoveries, and historical occurrences of those times an indispensible qualification in any person, who would mingle in the literary and fashionable circles. We have learned with unfeigned satisfaction, that he is at present engaged in editing Pope's works. He has lately favoured the public with an able defence of his life of Lorenzo de Medici, which has been attacked by some foreign writers of high literary repute. As the work however is well known to our readers, and was reviewed in our last two circumstance which should not be numbers, we mention it only as a his edition of Pope's works we look omitted in a memoir of his life. To controversies which have lately enforward with great interest; for the gaged the public attention, relative to Pope's poetical character, will, we doubt not, be investigated in that distinct and perspicuous manner which is characteristic of all Mr. Roscoe's writings. He, who travels through the regions of "Cimmerian with him, is certain of not being led many of our modern writers, to asdarkness." He never aims, like tonish his readers, by pretending to teach them what he does not understand himself. What he perceives clearly, he expresses simply and luminously. The same chaste simplicity and perspicuity of manner were the distinguishing characteristics of the great poet in the elucidation of whose works he is now engaged.
A SONG.-BY MRS. OPIE.
Yes-thou art gone! I feel it now!
Uncheer'd except by thoughts of thee!
Oh how I hate to meet with those,
But can I smile? No!-Thou art gone!
Through tears I now see morning rise,
They bid me sing the favourite lay,
Or sing at all, since thou art gone?
They bid me round my tresses twine
But why should I desire to shine,
They ask me why I seem so sad,
So pale my cheek, so chang'd my tone:
I-join the dance! to others yield
No!-sacred be my hand as heart
To thee, my love, and thee alone!
As if I hop'd with thee to meet,
RAMBLINGS OF A POET.
"That spirit is never idle that doth waken
THERE is no inconsistency in the Ramblings of a Poet being related in prose: all poetry is not verse, any more than all verse is poetry-a fact which no one will be inclined to deny who reads one hundreth part of the poems, whether blank or in rhyme, which issue from the press.
But I am not assuming now the character of a poet; I am relating no high wrought fictions; no impassioned scenes:-I am not endea vouring "to raise the show of things to the desires of the mind"-I am expressing on paper my own solitary musings; in which, though nothing new may be found, something old may be at least represented in a new dress.
Among my stated rambles there is one which I retread with pleasure, unalloyed by repetition-It is a path which leads to a church-yard; and here I have lingered for hours un wearied, occupied by the reflections produced by surrounding objects. The spot of which I speak is situated on an eminence which commands a lovely prospect. I have been seated on my favourite seat, a large mossy stone, over which a spreading beech throws its shade, when the close of day was approaching-there was the stone church, with its sombre ivy grown walls and steeple the thick leafy grove, with its music-breathing inhabitants-the green hill, and the little murmuring rivulet that wandered at its bot tom, over its pebble-gemmed bed, dashing its light spray over its violet banks the whitewashed cottage and barn, with the horse-shoe nailed over the door, the lingering relic of drooping faith in demonology-the spreading fields, and clump of trees, and thinly scattered habitationsand farther on, the majestic windings of the river, beyond which, dim hills raised their eternal barrier to close all further view-and, most beautiful of all, the deep gentle shade of even ing, sinking and reddening on hill, and plain, and valley-it is then Eur. Mag. Vol. 82.
that the soul, emancipated from earthly thoughts and earthly hopes, holds closer sympathy with the scenes around, and holier visionings flit before the mind; and what spot could better harmonize with such thoughts than the one I have described?
A church-yard, is of all places the one most calculated to call up those feelings which, abstracted from the pleasures, are uncontaminated with the evils of the world-in the evening too, the charm is stronger-on every side lie "relics of mortality"the fantastic or fearful shapes, which the gloom lends to indistinct objects,
Like a demon thing,
Or shadow hovering, give a mysterious awe to this ultima thule of human schemes-and the doubtful certainty (if the expression may be used) of shortly becoming a companion of the mouldering dust, and hideous corruption beneath us, doubtful as to its period but certain as it regards the event, is fraught with deep, though fearful and appalling interest. Am I wrong in saying that this is the place-the school the theatre for a poet? Is it not here that the casualties of rank and station are destroyed; and is it not the work of the poet also to overlook these accidental distinguishments, to develop the rise of simple and unadorned loveliness, and to see and properly to estimate the intrinsic excellence of things and actions?
Death is your only sure balance in which to weigh the real worth or importance of individuals the magic girdle that fits none but those whose deeds have been pure-the wild steed that none can manage but those who encounter him undismay ed-the infallible touchstone of greatness or power-he is like the gust, which blows away the thistledown of splendour and vanity, and exposes the nakedness which lies beneath :-he is the best of friends who relieves us from our cares-our greatest enemy who bereaves us of that
we love best-our life:—in short, he is the most paradoxical of things, who is every day present, but never seen the most unwelcome of visitors, who, whenever he comes, is an unwished-for guest.
I am fond of a church, particularly an old one: it is, as it were, the home for the soul; the refuge from the world; and I am fond of its venerable antique gloom; its painted windows; its monuments which speak of the dead and their houses, the grave,' and of its music:-there is an awful solemn beauty in churchmusic which stills each unhallowed thought; each wish that speaks of earth; and throws its calm of holiness over the mind-the deep roll of the organ; the thrilling enthusiasmcreating sound of human voices trembling to the throne of eternity; which when I think of, I reflect with complacency upon the abodes of monkish superstition,
Those deep solitudes and awful cells, Where heavenly pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns: and could almost wish that I had been an inhabitant of them, blest with peace, and undisturbed by vice and folly. Pshaw, pshaw, I am dreaming; and these are the dreams of a poet doomed to wake-an essay writer.
But there is another ornament to a church-the greatest perhaps in my estimation-its bells; its organs of speech; with which it calls together fellow-worshippers.
I love these eloquent inanimations -these metallic tractors of the soul, whose vibrations call up into view the past, which is fled, the present, which dies in its existence, and the future, which will fade away like its predecessors that simple stroke of two pieces of metal gives me an infinity of ideas the burst into life, and quick sinking into nothing, the reiteration of the strokes, one succeeding another in measured intervalsall speak of the mutability of every thing earthly, and the rapid succession of beings, which bloom and perish and are forgotten.
I cannot admire the Mahometan custom of employing the human voice as a substitute for bells-methinks the invitation, which calls to
such exercises of devotion, should be addressed to the mind in some sound which may awaken suitable thoughts
not spoken in the every-day dialect of business and pleasure.-An English steeple will continue, in my thinking, to be very preferable to a Turkish minaret.
And what is it that lends this magic to so simple a music? what is it, but that which lends beauty to every thing-the fertile power of association. It is the connexion which subsists between it and the inward workings of the soul-the relation which it bears to the operations of life and of death, which renders it thus pleasing.
It is this principle of association, which is the vivifying soul of matter, which gives interest and beauty to inanimate objects-which engages the soul through the medium of the senses-which is the spirit of poetry --it is not the mere sentiment conveyed by the words of the poet-it is the flood of sweet and gentle reminiscences, which starts upon the reader, varied as it must of ne cessity be in different individuals, as their respective views, characters, situations, and mental organizations differ; from which is derived the highest pleasure of poetical_compositions-I am not young-I am indeed approaching to the period when I shall cease to indite these dotings of age, but in these recurrences to the feelings of past days consists my fondest pleasure-these and a few other loved associations linger in my memory, and shall sink with me to my peaceful bed.
It was a saying worthy of Pope, that he should not care to have an old stump pulled down which he had known in his childhood. I am deeply imbued, I might say saturated, with such feelings-I have a piece of an oak, which grew by the school where I was educated, and has long since fallen a prey to the axe of the spoiler.-I remember, as well as I do any thing, the cutting down of the venerable tree; how we crowded about it; and how each busy discipulus was cutting off relics of their old friend. The branches, which were left by the workmen as useless, were gathered up, and in the evening made into a bonfire-then too we had a feast,
and we sat round the glowing embers with every one his apple, his gingerbread, his nuts, and his glass of currant wine. Then tales of school heroism and school mischief were recounted; and still the wit became brighter as the fire decayed -the mirth and fun grew fast and furious.'-Ah! those were happy days.
I often visit this scene of my infant years; the school is there, with the stone, the owl with its goggle eyes perched above it; there is the play-ground; the dark stone walls with their soft and solemn brownness-but I will write an essay on the school and my school-daysthere are many faces too, but they are strange to methose of my time, alas! where are they-they are scattered over the world-those that survive at least there was Zouch, and C, with his bright wit and clear judgment, and Phillips with his lively sallies of good-humoured mirth, and dozens whom I could mention-One of them I must mention, 'tis R, the most singular inoffensive mortal I ever met with R fell in love-a thing of common occurrence and slight moment with most men. But it was otherwise with him-his constitution was delicate, and his feelings sensitive beyond the conception of any
but his intimates; to such a being -to love as he loved-was an exertion of energies almost alarming. He succeeded-the object of his adoration loved him-the day was fixed for their marriage-before it came she died, and R- -s fond ties were broken-From that hour all his time was spent in retracing the walks they had taken together.There was a rose-tree which she had planted, and R- watched over it with incessant care, for "he was the slave of sympathy." I found him near it one day-he said to me,
You see that tree-I shall live as long as it no longer.'-He would not be persuaded that it was a mere whim of the imagination. Two months after this he died-I passed through the garden-the tree was withered.
I am perfectly sensible not half my readers will believe this story. To those who do-who will look upon it as an instance of the strong power of the imagination over the mental and physical faculties-I relate this short notice of a gentle and innocent being, poor R- ; it is an humble stone that covers his remains in yonder church-yard-his name is unknown, save to a few-but by those it will long be honoured, loved, and wept over!
DIGRESSIONS BY GEOFFREY HARDCASTLE, GENT.
Pha.-Thinke what you will of it, I think 'tis done, and I think 'tis acting by this time; harke, harke, what drumming's yonder; I'll lay my life they are comming to present the shew I spake off.
Common Sense-It may be so; stay, wee'le see what 'tis.
I AM neither a disciple of Jeremy Collier, nor of the author of Histriomastrix; both of whom, with more zeal than discretion, have occupied themselves in railing against stage plays, and play-goers. More especially, the latter author has contrived to steal sufficient time from the labours of his profession, to indite a goodly quarto tractate" of some thousand and odd in which pages, he logically proves the immorality of the stage, by well arranged and subtle syllogisms, such as-Things derived from the devil are evil-stage
plays are sprung from the devilergo, stage plays are evil-which syllogism would, indubitably, be conclusive on the subject, were it not that it is unfortunately necessary to prove his major, which he attempts to do, by the testimony of divers fathers of the Primitive Church, and among others, Tertullian, Cyprian, Chrysostom, Ignatus, Lactantius, and many other long-named men, whom few in the present time know, nor if they knew, would care for.
Leaving, therefore, the reverend and learned gentlemen to slumber