Page images
PDF
EPUB

moan,

“ No longer now she spumed at mean re- Irish, the poet boldly breaks the venge,

chain of his fiction ; escapes from Or staid her hand for conquered foeman's Don Roderick, the Prelate, and the

Vision; and devotes the remainder As when, the fates of aged Rome to changes of the poem exclusively to the cele

By Cæsar's side she crossed the Rubicon: bration of British valour. We have

Nor joyed she to bestow the spoils she won, As when the banded powers of Greece were

already noticed some of the beauties

of the piece. That our readers may tasked To war beneath the youth of Macedon :

have an idea of its defects also, we No seemly veil her modern minion asked ; copy the following lines, wbich are He saw her hideous face, and loved the fiend not more weak, or of more ordinary unmasked."

xli. manufacture, than manyothers which After this we have the detail of we pass over without notice. They the Spanish war :-the coronation of contain an address to Massena. Joseph, the general insurrection, the “ But ihou, unfoughten wilt thou yield to fate Guerillas, Saragossa and Gerona, the Minion of fortune now miscalled in vain! exploits of Lord Wellington and of Can vantage ground no contidence create, Generals Beresford and Graham. Marcella's pass nor Guarda's moantain

chain? This was certainly the most difficult and dangerous part of Mr. Scott's

Vain-glorious fugitive, yet turn again! task, and he has extricated himself Behold where, named by some prophetie seer,

Flows Honour's Fountain, as fore-doomed from it without disgrace. To do the stain more was perhaps impossible--at Prom thy dishonoured name and arms to least it required his happiest vein, clear-and the most strenuous exertion of Fallen Child of Fortune turn, redeem ber his powers; yet, as if to shew that the favour here. force of his genius can at pleasure Yet ere thou turn'st, collect each distant aid; triumph over mean associations, he Those chief that never lıeard the lion roar! 'has ventured to introduce into a scene Withiu whose sopis lives not a trace pour of very

serious and terrible interest, tray'd the three cheers of Old England, and

of Talavera or Alondego's shore ! with so noble an effect that we do

Marshat each band thou hast, and summon not hesitate to give this passage

the

niore ; preference to any other in the poem,

Of war's fell stratagems exhaust the whole ;

Rank trpon rank, squadron' on squadron w While all around was danger, strife and fear,

pour, While the earth shook, and darkened wno Legion ou legion on thy foeman roll,

And weary out his arm--thou can'st not And wide destruction stunn'd the list'ning ear,

quell his soul." Conclusion, viii, ix. Appalled the heart and stupified the eye; And afterwards:

Alar was heard that thrice repeawed cry In which old Albion's heat and tongue unite « Go batfled boaster! teach thiy haughty Whene'er ber soul is up, and pulse bests

mood high,

Toplead at thme imperious master's throne ! Whether it hail the wine-cup or tlie fight, Say thou hast left his legions in their blood, And bid each arw be strong, or bid each beare Deceived his hopes and frustrated thine be light.

own ; Don Roderick turn'd him as the shout grew By British skill and valour were outvied;

Say that thy utmost skill and valour shown Joud: A varied scene the changeful vision show'd;

Last say thy conqueror was Wellington! For where the ocean mingled with the cloud. And if he cluse, be his own furtune tried A gallant nary stewm'd the billows broad." God and our cause to friend, the ventare we'll

Conclwion, si. After a highly spirited description We conceive that this is mere of the British army, in their several rant, without the loast pretension to divisions of English, Scotch, and The literal translaion vf Fuentes d'Ilonoro

liv, Iv. abide."

the sky,

[ocr errors]

the name of poetry; and if we did poem before us as the first instance not know its origin, should almost sup- in which, instead of being aided by pose it written for the Morning Post. bis plan, he has been encumbered

The Vision of Don Roderick con- by it. This is the severest test to tains many passages of descriptive which talent can be exposed, and elegance, much spirited declamation, weihink that it has been sustained and many sounding lines. That it in the present instance with ho. has less striking beauties than any of the former productions of its author,--that it is occasionally turgid, and sometimes mean,--that it is de Menoirs of the Life of Peter Daniel ficient in elaboration and polish,

Huet, Bishop of Avranches : writ. and, above all, that it fails in inte.

ten by himself; and translated rest,-are truths which our admira

from the original Latin, with cotion of the writer need not lead us

pious Notes, biographical and crito conceal; for it is proverbially

tical, by JOAN Aikin, M. D. 2 vols, true, that no man is at all times

8vo. London: Longman and Co., equal to himself: nor is there any

1810. want of precedent among poets, för WHATEVER might have been the enequalities of composition infinite- real motive which impelled Huet to ly more marked than that which compose his own memoirs, he himMr. Scott has exhibited. The great self professes to have discovered demerit of this piece is ils incom- one, in a desire to disclose the una petency in exciting and arresting sound parts of his character; by the atteotion--a fault, the cause of way of making a kind of oblation which is easily to be traced in the to the righteous Governor of the radical weakness of its plan. It is world. Under the influence of afas difficult to listen with interest to fliction, he writes:--" I feit myself a vision as to a dream, and they summoned by God to scrutinize the hoth equally demand conciseness in engrained spots of my conscience, the narrator. If extended to any and most humbly and submissively length, their dulness can only be re- lay them before his sight. I theredeemed by some artifice of plot, and fore thought I should perform an continuity of action. A succession useful task in presenting an account of independent events of real oc- of my past years to him, the Witcurrence, such as form the subject ness and Judge of all my delinquenof this poem, amounts to nothing cies, and the Author of all grace, more than a history, which is not goodness, and beneficence, if I the better for being told in verse, or may hope to have acquired any meintroduced through the medium of a rit for my actions in his eyes.” (p. 2.) fiction.

- To this paramount consideration he High as the genius of Mr. Scott attaches one of subordinate impor, must be ranked, by all the lovers of tance, thus:—“To this motive was true poetry; and wonderfully en- added the almost daily reproach of dowed as he is with the talent of my friends; who, having heard me adorning every subject that falls into relate many anecdotes concerning the bis hands; it has been always ap- most learned men of this age, with parent that he has owed much to whom I lived in close intimacy, urged his story, and that if he has far ex- me to undertake such a work.” Ibid. ceeded every other poet of his day Then follows a prayer that the Alin the delight which his works have mighty would bless his undertaking. excited, it is partly because his tales The comparative efficacy of the two baye been such as would, inde motives announced in the above pendently of the embellishments of paragraphs may be determined by his verse, have been productive of the general air of the performance. entertainment. We consider the If the life of lluet be an useful spe. CHRIST. OBSERY. No, 121.

F

man.

cimen of spiritual anatomy; then and sole judge of their intended exthe writer was actuated by the no- hibition.” p. 6. bler impulse first described. If it Huet details the adventures of his be merely an illustration of the early years with more prolixity importance of a man to himself; than would be admired even in the in that case, the narrator of his present age; when the value of biown tale may bave bad someography seems almost to be mea. difficulty in distinguishing the blan- sured by the compiler's ability to dishment of some friends and many collect the littlenesses of the cradle, dependants, from a desire which the coral, the nursery, the gingeroriginated solely in his own mind, bread, the school, and so on till the to augment the reputation acquired suckling becomes a But, by his writings, by superadding the peace ! we do not wish to raise the fame and flattery of his admirers. ghost of Sam. Johnson. Here then are two theories, one of While Huet was finding his way which may perhaps be fully de. to manhood, veloped in the course of this ar

“ There arrived at Caen a company of ticle.

Dominicans, for the purpose of restoring the Huet was born in 1630. His fa- relaxed discipline of the order in that town, ther was once a Calvinist But the

With the spirit of piety displayed in this mention of this fact deserves to be

new form, I was so much captivated, that I amplified.

became extremely desirous of being admitted

into the society. My own relations, affec“ My father was born and bred in the tionately, yet pertivaciously, detained nie midst of the errors of Calvinism; yet, through

a sort of prisoner in their houses; and thus the influence of Divine Grace, and the exhor

was obviated a design, undertaken, as I suptations, both in person and by letter, of John posed, on the Divine suggestion. Even from Gontier, a pious and learned man of the

my early childhood I was conscious of no order of Jesuits, he renounced the fatal doc.

obscure wishes to enter into the service of trines which he had imbibed. When his Christ; and I frequently felt the sparks of mother, from whom he had derived his er

this pious desire bursting forth in ny soul, roneous opinions, was attacked by a severe

which were repressed by a vivacious dispo. disease that brought her life into inminent sition, obnoxious to the light inclinations and danger, the prayers of this excellent person

fecble blandishments of the world ; until at for liis parent's salvation, and his urgent ex- length conquering grace threw the rein over hortations, were so eficacious as to bring her my reluctant spirit, and entirely subjected to a sense of the truth; and, renouncing the it to its own dominion." p. 25. doctrines of her neiarious sect with her dy. As curiosity allured the degeneing voice, she calmly slept in Christ." p. 4. rale israelites lo aitend the instruc

tions of the precursor of the Messiah, Gontier, elevated to the most though his doctrine, like his vesture dizzy heights of self-gratulation, by and food, was repulsive to a haughty this triumphant refutation of Cal- and luxurious nation, so there has vinism, celebrated the whole affair been always something in Mo« in a collection of Greek, Latin, nachism, which the young mind and French verses ;” (p. 5.) which, finds attractive ; and unnatural as in perpetuum rei memoriam, were en- it may seem, the attractions are such graved on immortal marble on the as night be expected, if they pleaslady's tomb, in the church of St. ed at all, to please any period of John at Caen; at the expense of life except its vernal season; when her son, who was “ an elegant pleasure either blossoms or begins dancer;" indeed, so elegant, " that to mature its high-flavoured fruit

. dnce,” says the anti-calvinistic pre. This is the conquest achieved by the late, “ when a splendid ballet was imagination of youth over the expe. in preparation at Caen, and he was rience of age.

When Huet had confined to his bed with a slight reached the winter, the hard season illness, the dancers came to him of life, he was able to interpret the and constituted him the spectator wishes of his earlier days; and he found his call to religious seclusion knows to be likely to enhance his to have been nothing better than a character in the eyes of the majority boy's fancy. However, there seems of his readers. The epistle to Me to be in the above extract a lurking nage is here obviously referred to, design on the pari of the bishop to by way of further information on a secure to himself the credit of having subjeci which he could not decobeen substantially religious from his rously dwell upon." If an accurate infancy. Yet the terms employed surveyor of human nature, in its to testify the existence of this occult present abject state, were looking and dormant piety, are so artificial abroad for an object which had an that if the climax be really truth, undisputed claim to deep commiTruth, in this instance, bas conde- seration, we should venture to direct scended to veil her simplicity be- his attention to the conduct of a neath the drapery of attectation. Christian prelate, who, in his eighty

Huet's insatiable love of literature fifth year, could not resign the repuintroduced him to Bochart: “ But tation of having enjoyed the average as the controversies between the Ca- share of sinful pleasure in the prime tholics and Calvinists, of the latter of manhood; the season when men of whom Bochart was minister, were of the world formally allow themcarried on with peculiar warmth; selves and others to drink the Cirlest those of my persuasion should cean cup, not merely as a matter of entertain suspicions of the sound- course, but as a kind of homage ness of my faith, it was agreed fairly due to their general system, between us that I should pay my and ihe willing price by which the visits with caution, and for the most friendship of their community may part by night, and without wit- be purthased and secured. Huet nesses.” (p. 36.) Let no controver- writes, as though he expected to sialist, after reading this, neglect to “ breathe a second spring," while improve the witching time of night; he caught a distant prospect of the for now Peter, Martin, and Jackgroves of Daphne; to whose guilty may converse without either speak- recesses all return was now debarred; ing or using daggers.

not, it should seem, by principle, but While Huet's nights were given by causes which no speculations of to Bochart, he laboured to accom- his could controul. plish bis exterior by commencing a Some readers may censure these series of attentions to the sex ; to remarks, as too harsh for the occabe a favourite of whom,” he says, sion. The translator, we believe, " I regarded as the surest proof of will not concur in that censure. He politeness. In this view, I omitted has known enough of mankind to be nothing that I thought necessary to aware of the fact, that in many sad ingratiate myself with them : such instances, the libertine survives the as care of my person, elegance of man; and he will account for the dress, officious and frequent attend- unextinguished influence of vice on ance upon them, verses, and gentle the mind of one who appears unwhispers, which feed the insanity willing to renounce sin, even when, of love: practices which I have, in one sense, sin has renounced him. with too litile reserve, displayed in It is a strange circumstance, and a metrical epistle to Menage, well wise men will observe it, that liberknown to the public.” (p. 48.) On times themselves have frequently this ridiculous and pitiable drivelling, turned with abhorrence froin such the keen translator observes : “ No- superannuated offenders

as have thing costs less 10 se it-love than a aspired to totter back again, from the confession of this kind; in which the verge of the grave, to scenes where writer, under the pretence of ac- the confession is wrung out,“ I have knowledging some youthlul frailties, nop leasure in them.” Nature feels gires views of himself which he herself degrailed and insulted; and

[ocr errors]

p. 189.

the very adepts in profligacy are according to the institution of the blessed ready to despise gratifications which Loyola, for the attentive recollection of all they discover to be valuable to the the errors of my past life, and the more fancy of a dying dotard.

careful regulation of my future days. And

O that I had adhered to my engagements ! In 1652, Huet visited Sweden in order to pay his learned respects to

but I too readily suffered myself to be borne queen Christina.

On bis return

away by the fire of youth, the allurements

of the world, and the pleasures of study, through Flolland, he says :

which so filled my breast, and closed up all " At Worcum i personally experienced its inlets with an infinite number of thoughts, what I had often leard, but regarded as a that it gave no admission to those intimate fiction; namely, that in the Dutch inns, a

and charming conferences with the Supreme charge is made to the guest, not only für Being. Under this imbecility of soul with expenses incurred in his entertainmeni, but

respect to divine things I have laboured for the noise he makes. For when we were during the whole course of my life ; and reckoning with our host, he put down to even now, the frequent and almost perpetual our account the barking of our little dog, wanderings of a volatile mind blunt ny asand the horse-lauglis of our sauey valet. pirations to God, and intercept all the benefit And upon our laughing still louder at the

of my prayers. When from time to tinie charge, and treating it as a joke, the land- God has benignantly invited me to pious exlord few into a passion, and called to his ercises for the purpose of confirming in my assistance certain rustics armed with axes:

soul the sense of religion, and washing away Here, said he, are those who will make

the stains contracted from human contagion, these rascally Frenchmen pay their dues! I have retired to places suitable to those inWe chose rather to submit than to fight.” tentions; either to the Jesuits' College at

Caen, or the Abbey of Ardennes of the This jocose story will convince Præmonstratensian order, one mile distaut every 'candid reader that Sir John from Caen, or to our own Aulnai, after I was Carr's claim. to originality must placed at the head of it. But I frequently henceforth be abandoned. He is experienced a contrary current in the breeze now convicted of having twitched of divine grace; as if the Deity by this infrom a Scandinavian crag all that difference meant to punish my inmoderate time has suffered to remain of the attachment to letters, and my sluggish moveinantle of Sir Peter Daniel Huet.

ments towards divine things. p. 239. But such is now the ingratitude of The religion developed in this mankind, that a traveller can com- confession, is that of a person who pile : a quarto Northern Summer compels himself to bear in mind, without expressing a single obliga- thar when a bishop writes his own tion to the man, who not only be- life, the world will expect him to queathed his mantle, but an anec- say something about the object of dote out of uy Pocket-Book, by his profession, as a matter at least dropping a leaf of his journal at a

of propriety; or demand it as a Dutch tavern.

kind of technical finish to a piece After a season, the author's moral of ecclesiastical biography. But feelings revived. He describes the

to answer this demand, is embarconsequence thus:

rassing A prelate finds himself “ It was now some time since I had duly to be no bishop, but a parade offiexplored the recesses of my conscience, and cer; or a civilian in canonicals; or mutolded theru in the Divine presence : for it a man of letters living in classical commonly happens that the pursuit of vulgar luxury at the expense of the church. objects attracts the niad from the contem

Still, there are moments when the plation of the celestial life, and even from a vigorous correction of the manuers.

soul looks into futurity. The feel

For these purposes, a retreat to La Fleche, and ings of these awful intervals, togethe assistance of Mambrun, appeared well cal.

ther with their immediate conseculated. I therefore with great alacrity re- quences, are recalled and described ; paired thither; and after a delightful cou. and the result is inade to stand as versation between us on the state of our con- evidence of the writer's religion. cerns, I resolved to set apart an entire week, In retracing his adventures, Huet

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »