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bark in safety. Notwithstanding the superiority of the enemy's force, the British troops have bravely sustained the honour of their country, and nobly supported the character which they acquired in Egypt, at Maïda, and at Vimiera. They sustained but little loss, considering the nature of the contest, and the magnitude of the force opposed to them. Sir John Moore fell in the field of honour, admired, beloved, and lamented. The patriot's tear will water his grave. We trust our gallant troops have, ere this, reached the harbour of Cadiz; for we can give no credit to a malicious report, that they have returned to this country to refit: the bare supposition is a gross libel on the government. We trust, also, that most powerful reinforcements will be dispatched to the south of Spain with more promptitude and celerity than have marked our military expeditions of late. We take it for granted, that the British admiral has not suffered the Spanish ships at Ferrol to fall into the hands of the French. Without vigour and decision, we repeat, the cause is lost. But we have not room for any farther observations on this allinteresting subject.
THE POET-LAUREAT'S ODE, AND THE NEWSMAN'S
AT the commencement of every year, the public are gratified, by immemorial usage, with various poetical productions. Of these, the most distinguished is the ode presented to their majesties by the poet-laureat. In humble imitation of this great example, the newsinan, the bellman, and the lamp-lighter, each presents his tribute in verse to his worthy customers; and junior poets, to enliven the festivities of twelfth-night, compose poetical characters for little masters and misses. Thus, from the highest to the lowest, all the votaries of the Muse exert their talents at this festive season : but as the rank of their patrons varies, so vary their rewards. The laureld poet, who writes for majesty, receives one hundred pounds and a butt of sack for his annual offering; but it is said, that since that species of wine has no longer been in use, this part of the salary has been shabbily committed for 301. the estimated value of a butt of sack a century ago; and the want of the customary inspiring
juice has by many been assigned as a reason for the late lamentable falling off in the poet-laureat's strains. The newsman, the beltman, and the lamp-lighter, in return for their present to their worthy customers, receive with thanks a few half-crowns and shillings; and a sixpence purchases, for the king and queen of twelfth-night and all their little court, a set of new characters with poetical illustrations.
On reading Mr. Pye's Ode for the Nw Year in yesterday's paper, curiosity led me to think of comparing his production with those of his rival contemporaries; but such is the short-lived modern existence of poetry, that the verses of the bellman and the lamp-lighter were no longer extant. Oblivion too had wrapt her mantle round all the twelfthnight characters; and after a most laborious search, through both parlour and kitchen, only the newsman's verses could be found. They, however, sufficed for the experiment; and finding in some passages of the respective compositions of these great poets such a rivalry of excellence, and in others such a contrast of beauties,' as left me at a loss to decide which was the worthiest to wear the bays, 1 hasten to communicate my observations upon them to you, and submit the point to your critical judgment.
It is unnecessary to prefix a copy of either of these Odes to my critique, for they are universally read; and the impressions their beauties make on the mind is so striking, that he who once reads can never forget them.
The argument, or general design of a poem, is the first subject of examination. Mr. Pye, in his Öde, lays down these propositions; that the sea, if it is not kept out, will come in; and if it is kept out, will not come in. He then illustrates these propositions by a simile, comparing Buonaparte to the sea; shewing that where he has not been kept out he has come in, and that where he has been kept out he has not come in; and concludes in a strain of highly-animated imagery, foretelling the success of the united exertions of Great Britain and Spain.
The newsman, in his poem, takes a wider scope, and presents a greater variety of images to the view of his readers: he commences with observing, that
“ Nations mourn a tyrant's dread controul,
And death and carnage paralise the soul;" but trusts that his customers will call off their attention, from those appalling considerations, to his annual lay. He congratulates them, that while other people are slaves, they are free, happy, and rich; and after thus artfully introducing this encouraging reflexion, solicits a Christmas-box; hopes that those who contribute to make him happy, will be happy themselves, and long live to continue their benefactions.
From the foregoing view of the design of these poems, it appears that simplicity and and sublimity are the great characteristics in
happy invention, and an artful arrangement of matter, in that of the newsman. The one is addressed rather to the stronger passions, the other to the softer feelings. The one resem. bles the ocean it describes, in a state of awful grandeur. The other
that of Mr. Pye;
the gentle river, winding its course through beautiful and diversified scenery ; or, to use the author's own words,
“Our fertile fields, our meadows, and our plains." To sum up this branch of the comparison, in poetry as in painting there are different styles of excellence, and each is a chef d'«urre of
\Vith respect to the execution of these poems, it must be admitted, that in the si majestic march of his verse, and in framing the long resounding line," Mr. Pre has a great advantage over the newsman, from the use of compound epithets. The “ full-orbed moon," rhe “ torrent-braving mound,” the “ wide-water'd coast," are flights of sublimity, to which the newsman cannol attain. He has indeed made one attempt of this kind, in the full-thronged city:" but as, if the city is full it must be thronged, and if it is thronged it must be full, he has only added to the words without auding to the sense: whereas, a true compound epithet brings out two ideas at once, just as a double-barrelled gun brings down two birds out of the same covey.
In correctness and propriety of expression, the newsman may claim the palm. Several instances of inattention to these requisites occur in the Ode of the poet-laureat; ainong which the following are too glaring to escape notice. He says,
- We scan the torrent wild of war,
Resistless spread its iron reign. There may certainly be an iron torrent, that is of cast iron; and I presume Mr. Pye caught the idea of this simile at a foundry: but how a torrent can be said to reign I cannot conceive,
(To be concluded in our next.)
SEVERAL communications should have appeared this montli which are necessarily deferred till our next; the cause of which will he evident to the respective writers. -- Les Memoires de M. de Comte de Puisaye" have not yet been received.
With the present number is published the Appendix to Vol. 31, containing, besides a review of foreign literature, Mr. Pickering's speech, correctly given at length as delivered in the American senate; in which he developes the Gallician policy of Jefferson, and his pre-determined hostility to this country; and also Bishop Milner's Letters respectiug the royal veto on the nomination of Irish Roman Catholic bishops, with the observations and strictures which have appeared on them, both in Ireland and England. These documents will be found important to the historian of the times, and are equal in extent to the usual contents of three half-crown pamphlets.
8c. &c. &c.
For FEBRUARY, 1809.
" Un historien ne peut jamais nous reprocher avec trop de force nos préjugés, nos erreurs, et 11os vices. Jamais sa philosophie ne causera aucun trouble ni aucun désordre; les sois ne l'appercevront pas; les gens d'esprit corrumpus la siffleront; mais elle familiarisera peu-à-peu les bons esprits avec la vérité, elle leur sera con noître nos lesoins, et nous disposera, s'il est encore possible, à ne pas nous refuser aus renedes quis nous sont necessaires,
The History of Barbados [Barbadoes], from the first Discovery of the Island, in the Year 1603, till the Accession of Lord Seaforth, 1801. By John Poyer. 4to. pp. 700.
11. 17s, 6d. Mawinan. 1808.; EVERY science is to be estimated according to its
tendency to furnish improvement, whether in private virtue or professional duty. To promote the advancement of public and private virtue, to supply such a degree of amusement as may supersedle the necessity of recurring to frivolous pursuits for relaxation, and to furnish us with the collected wisdom and experience of ages; such is the province of history. An acquaintance indeed with history is essential to al} persons of education, and in a country where every individual is an effective member of the constitution, and a politician, it is the best school of politics. In all ages, the writing of history has employed the ablest men, and scarcely any writer enjoys a more extensive (or what will probably be a more lasting) reputation, than a good historian. The endless variety of subjects in history renders it interesting to every description of persons. It may be either grave or gay, as it supplies materials with equal facility for the sallies of wit and the gravest disquisitions in philosophy. It is so connected with all kinds of moral and political knowledge, that even the novelist or essayist who does not illustrate his subject by historical facts or allusione,
No. 128, Vol. 32. Feb. 1809.
seldom attains even any temporary fame. Thus, while history serves to amuse the imagination, engage our rational faculties, improve the understanding, enlarge the
mind, and strengthen our virtuous sentiments, it more than ' any other science extends our powers of conversation, and
prepares us for the higher enjoyments of social intercourse. How far Mr. Poyer's ponderous quarto volume is likely to answer this desirable purpose of history, remains to be seen.
We are far from being adverse to the publication of histories of our colonies, however small they may be, as they generally tend to enlighten the mother country on subjects with which she would otherwise perhaps never become acquainted. But the civil history of a small island, about twenty-one miles long and fourteen broad, and in its most prosperous days containing only between sixty and seventy thousand negroes, and about one fourth the number of whites, cannot require many bulky volumes to relate its principal political events during a period of . little more than one hundred and fifty years. Mr. Poyer, however, has thought otherwise; and although he appears to have a still more limited idea of the legitimate objects of history than Mr. Fox, he tells us that, “in the progress of the work, due notice has been taken of the civil, military, and ecclesiastical establishments of the colony, its laws, and constitution. Their errors and imperfections are illustrated, and the abuses which have crept into the public administration are noted with decent freedom, in which candour has not been forgotten.” So far it is well: but, in order to enable his readers to judge of the extent and propriety of these “civil and military establishments, it was necessary to have added some returns of the revenue, the annual products, exports and imports, shipping, &c., with their respective duties. It is the wantonness of absurdity to call any work" a complete and impartial history of a colony," which takes no notice of the revenue, products, and shipping, and only details the incessant contentions between the governor and his council on one side, and the Legislative Assembly, amounting to twenty-two persons, on the other! Of the manners, customs, and state of the arts, which directly minister to the progress of civilisation, we find nothing in Mr. Poyer's “ History;” nor are we better informed of the state of literature: we hear of the bare existence of schools indeed, but of no scholars; balls and military revelries are often mentioned; but except the abstracts of some parliamentary speeches, which furnish