Page images

less common to all nations, of depreciating each other's literature, and especially poetical literature.

A nation, like a poet, necessarily has a favourite style; the national style is only more extended than that of the individual. Any national standyard of taste must, of course, be to the nation that owns it, as near perfection as possible; and because one people is tincapable of entering into some of the peculiar feelings of another, these feelings are ridiculed, or even denied to exist. Thus the French, bigotted to the dramatic unities, and believing that nature and Aristotle are the same, designate the works of Shakespeare, "monstrous farces." And when Lord Byron, in his Don Juan, first fairly introduced into English literature that fantastic mixture of the serious and comic, in which Pulci, and some of the other precursors of Ariosto, and Ariosto himself delighted, many of our horror-stricken critics imagined, that the noble poet sat deliberately down to insult and confound the best feelings of our nature. Their very hair stood on end at such couplets as, "They grieved for those that perish'd

with the cutter,

And likewise for the bisquit-casks and butter."

So difficult is it to reconcile one's self at first to any thing that is in opposition to a preconceived standard of taste. The Edinburgh Review has lately let itself down, by shewing some feelings of this sort with respect to French literature; but it is most apparent in our dramatic criticisms, which go beyond all bounds in expressing contempt for the very opposite styles of our neighbours. It is hardly necessary to instance any particular passage; but a specimen occurred to me the other day, so trans

cendantly unjust, and divertingly impudent, that it is impossible to help giving it, once for all, especially as it comes from a quarter in which good sense, if not great genius, might have been expected. It is the prefatory address prefixed to Shadwell's "Miser," which commences thus:

"Reader, the foundation of this play I took from one of Moliere's, called L'Avare; but that having too few persons, and too little action for an English theatre, I added to both so much that I may call more than half of this play my own, and I think I may say, without vanity, that Moliere's part has not suffered in my hand; nor did I ever know a French comedy made use of by the worst of our poets, that was not bettered by 'em. 'Tis not barrenness of wit or invention that makes us borrow from the French, but laziness—; and this was the occasion of my making use of L'Avare!"-Poor Moliere! It is difficult to read such things as this without thinking of Prior's well-known epigram." Ned" had probably hit upon this sally of Shadwell's, amongst his other proofs of the absurdities of poets; and could his "inverted rule," as Prior wishes,

"Prove every fool to be a poet,"

[blocks in formation]

[We have inserted this ingenious paper, on account of its literary merits; but we must take leave to enter our protest against the doctrine which the author attempts to inculcate.-We think it indisputable, in so much as poetry is an art, that poets, like other artists, must be the best judges of each other's skill. In what, therefore, relates to the rhythm, the construction of the verse, and to the melody of the numbers, a poet, we conceive, must necessarily be a better judge than any ordinary critic, precisely as a painter is a better judge of pictures, that is, of the style, the drawing, and the colouring, than any ordinary spectator. We think it is paradoxical, therefore, to deny the superiority of a poet's critical judgment;-and we think so too with respect even to the

element of poesy itself. The taste of a gay and jovial Anacreon, is not likely to find the same delight in the solemn and serious compositions of a Milton, a Danté, or a Byron, that he would in those of a Moore: but it does not surely follow, that he is less a judge of poetry than the critic who does not possess the same delicacy of tact in any class of the art. We do not, however, wish to enter into a controversy on the subject, but merely to give a caveat against the principle assumed by our respected correspondent.-C. N.]


THE east wind has whistled for many a day,
Sere and wintry o'er Summer's domain;
And the sun, muffled up in a dull robe of grey,
Look'd sullenly down on the plain.

The butterfly folded her wings as if dead,
Or awaked e'er the full destined time:
Every flower shrunk inward, or hung down its head
Like a young heart, grief struck in its prime.

I too shrunk and shiver'd, and eyed the cold earth,
The cold heavens, with comfortless looks;

And I listen'd in vain, for the summer bird's mirth,
And the music of rain-plenish'd brooks.

But, lo! while I listen'd, down heavily dropt

A few tears, from a low-sailing cloud:

Large and slow they descended; then thicken'd-then stopt
Then pour'd down abundant and loud.

Oh, the rapture of beauty, of sweetness, of sound,
That succeeded that soft gracious rain!

With laughter and singing the vallies rang round,
And the little hills shouted again.

The wind sunk away, like a sleeping child's breath,
The pavilion of clouds was unfurl'd;

And the sun, like a spirit, triumphant o'er death,
Smiled out on this beautiful world!

On this beautiful world!—such a change had been wrought
By those few blessed drops.-Oh! the same

On some cold stony heart might be work'd too (methought,)
Sunk in guilt, but not senseless of shame.

If a few virtuous tears by the merciful shed

Touch'd its hardness, perhaps the good grain

That was sown there and rooted, though long seeming dead,
Might shoot up and flourish again.

And the smile of the virtuous, like sunshine from heaven,
Might chase the dark clouds of despair,

And remorse, when the rock's flinty surface was riven,
Might gush out, and soften all there.

Oh! to work such a change-by God's grace to recal
A poor soul from the death-sleep-to this!

To this joy that the angels partake, what were all
That the worldly and sensual call bliss?




BRING me flowers all young and sweet,
That I may strew the winding sheet,
Where calm thou sleepest, baby fair,
With roseless cheek, and auburn hair!

Bring me the rosemary, whose breath
Perfumed the wild and desart heath;
The lily of the vale, which, too,
In silence and in beauty grew.

Bring cypress from some sunless spot,
Bring me the blue forget-me-not,
That I may strew them o'er thy bier
With long-drawn sigh, and gushing tear!

[blocks in formation]

No taint of earth, no thought of sin,
E'er dwelt thy stainless breast within ;
And God hath laid thee down to sleep,
Like a pure pearl below the deep.

Yea! from mine arms thy soul hath flown
Above, and found the heavenly throne,
To join that blest angelic ring,
That aye around the altar sing.

Methought, when years had roll'd away,
That thou wouldst be mine age's stay,
And often have I dreamt to see
The boy-the youth-the man in thee!

But thou hast past! for ever gone
To leave me childless and alone,
Like Rachel pouring tear on tear,
And looking not for comfort here!

Farewell, my child, the dews shall fall
At morn and evening o'er thy pall;
And daisies, when the vernal year
Revives, upon thy turf appear.

The earliest snow-drop there shall spring,
And lark delight to fold his wing,
And roses pale, and lilies fair,

With perfume load the summer air!

2 A

Adieu, my babe! if life were long,
This would be even a heavier song,
But years like phantoms quickly pass,
Then look to us from Memory's glass.

Soon on Death's couch shall I recline;
Soon shall my head be laid with thine;
And sunder'd spirits meet above,
To live for evermore in love!





lyrics, but they want the nerve and condensation of song-writing. Nevertheless, I have sent another half dozen, according to your desire; though you will find them-except one or two, perhaps in exactly the same predicaYour sincere Friend,

EXPERIENCE teaches fo-: no, that set of the proverb will not do; experience makes a wise man. You must be convinced now, that song-writing is not my forte. As to the first six "Morsels of Melody,"-you observe I did not even pretend to call them songs,-I am exactly of your opinion, as who is not, when you speak in sincerity? They may do as sentimental Sept. 1st.


No. VII.



"TWAS when the summer skies were blue, and when the leaf was green,
When beauteous birds and blossoms on every bough were seen,
That I parted with my gallant love, as to the wars he went;
May dreams of home aye hover round the pillow of his tent.

Though pleasantly the sun illumes the woodland walks and bowers,
And sweetly sounds the stream, amid its broider'd banks of flowers;
Though the chesnut boughs be shady, and the orchard trees be fair,
I only think on days, when with my love I wander'd there.

I care not now, at noon of night, around the park to stray,
But sit and gaze upon the moon, that wends its silent way,
And I think, as on its silver orb I fix my eager sight,
Perhaps my William's eyes have there been also fix'd to-night.

Oh! soon be war's red standard furl'd, for silently by day
I sit and muse on pleasures past, and pine myself away;
And only through the dreams of night for me are pleasures shown,
For I wake, and sigh at morning light, to find myself alone.

Oh! may I hope within thy breast, that now and then may start,
'Mid noisy camps, a pensive thought, that brings thee to my heart ;
When round the board, at eventide, the wine-cup circles free,
Be joyous, and give smiles to all, but keep one sigh for me!

How happily these scenes shall look, that now deserted be,
How glad shall be the home, that now is sad, deprived of thee!
Till fame with glory crown thee, and thy course be hither bent,
May dreams of home aye hover round the pillow of thy tent!


THE sun is sinking brightly
Beyond the glowing seas;
The birds are singing lightly
From yonder clump of trees;
The labourer hath hied him home,
The ploughboy left the lea;
Come, Mary, 'tis for thee I roam-
Come, Mary, to me!

The beds of flowering clover
Exhale a perfume sweet;
The evening breeze sighs over

The shaded hawthorn seat;
All day I've wish'd this hour to come,
I've thought of meeting thee.
Come, Mary, 'tis for thee I roam,-
Come, Mary, to me!

Oh, fairest! and oh, dearest!
My life I would not give,
When to thee I am nearest,
For such as nobles live;
I envy none, yet pity some,
Who true love never see.

Come, Mary, 'tis for thee I roam,-
Come, Mary, to me!

No. IX.



Though, Betsy, another's thou art,
Who often hast clung to my side;
And, though 'mid my musings I start,
That another now calls thee his bride;
Though the love that between us did bloom,
On thy side is wither'd and cold;

Still it breathes to my heart in its gloom,
As fragrant and fresh as of old!

Ah, me! that the visions of youth
Like rainbows all melt and decay!
That the vows and the pledges of truth,
Should be things that can bind but a day!
That the heart, like the seasons, can turn,
And from sunshine be chill'd into frost ;
And the flame, which so brightly could burn,
In an instant be vanish'd and lost!

Then, Betsy, for ever farewell!

Every thought I have cherish'd for thee,
In the depth of my bosom shall dwell,
Like a treasure deep hid in the sea.

Through the scenes, where so often we roved,
'Twill sooth me all lonely to stray;
Every flower, every spot that was loved,
Shall be hallow'd when thou art away!

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »