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at length are loft; our flahy retrospeel, a mere jet d'eau, may serve to foothe the heats of an autumnal day with its light-dripping fall, and form a rainbow round."

This reminds us of mincing a furloin of beef and reducing it to foup for the purpose of affording nourishment to very weak stomachs, without the labour of digestion. Mrs. Piozzi was an admirer of Mr. Pennant, and had he lived, the work was to have been dedicated to him. “ I thought, says she, “ to have given some importance to the work by prefixing on its first page the name of one of my earliest and most respectable friends; than whom no wit, no scholar, nor no man of general knowledge, ever had more reason to delight in retrospection ; but Pennant is gone, and I will search no further for a patron.” Pref. xi. If Mrs. Piozzi imagine that she is a happy imitator of her old and agreeable friend, in his lively anecdotes and pleasant tours, it is necessary to inform her that she is egregiously mistaken. Sequitur haud pafsibus æquis. But if there be not great infincerity in the very first sentence of her preface, the stands in no need of such information,

• If the Rambler is right when he says, " That no man ever obtains more from his most zealous endeavours, than a painful conviction of his own defects,' how strongly mult that conviction press upon her mind, who, having collected all these facts together, presents them as an object of Retrospection to the Publick. Of those who turn them over, how different, how numerous will be the censures ! while each expects his favourite hero, his beft

. remembered incident to be dilated and brought forward ;-instead of which others perhaps appear, and take the lead."

What the good lady means by a “ favourite hero to be dilated," we pretend not to conjecture.

We are fully convinced that no general description, no comparison with antient or modern authors, either in poetry or prose, can convey the smallest idea of this lady's style, and the lucidus ordo of her ideas. This is a work sui generis. We shall give a specimen or two of the best, and we cannot but be apprehensive that our readers will be contented with a sample without harbouring a wish to inspect the bulk; for greater perversion of words, confulion of ideas, and distortion of figures we have never met with. Mrs. P. certainly has read in a light manner; she may lay claim to the merit of industry; but her materials are so jumbled together, and her language exhibits such a tissue of affectation, inversion, and obscurity, that she is absolutely confounded by her own mass of matter, rudis indigestaque moles.

* Rome seemed herself annihilated, but as the Pope Pelagius supported in fome ineasure his facerdotal dignity, he was the firit bishop elevated to the papal chair fince great St. Leo, without requiring the Emperor's confent; and the neglect was now more accidental than designed, for the church had not yet as formally shaken off the state's fupremacy. Pelagius owed his feat and dignity to Narses, and was the firft Pope, as Gibbon tells, who required celibacy of his clergy: he bid the deacons and sub.deacons leave either their


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wives or their offices, and what deacon or sub-deacon was likely to hesitate in the choice ? His patron abhorred a married prieft, he said, and those who were abhorred by Narses lived not long. The new Emperor, however, wholly fwayed by his young confort Sophia the Proud, had the imprudence, at her suggestions, to send the gallant leader an insulting letter ; which the ill-advised lady wrote herself, thinking it a high ftrain of loftiness perhaps to bid him return and spin with her maids in the palace, and not think of setting himself up to rule the west. In effect he was immediately superseded, and his place filled up by a vicegerent, with the style and title of Exarch, the seventh form of government in Rome. This officer held his court at Ravenna, and ruled the state after a new mode, which lasted on (nominally at least) till time of Charlemagne. But we muit follow the fortune of old Narles, who sent his thoughtless correspondent word, that he would spin her fuch a thread anon as she and all her maids never should untwist. To keep his word, he made immediate application to Alboin, a semi-barbarous prince, residing in Hungary, where the rough natives had with horror viewed him to their polluted altar drag by force his promised bride, the beauteous Rosmunda, whose father Conimundus having denied her to his arms after betrothent, he murdered even before the shrieking daughter's eyes; and forming his fcalped cranium into a cup, obliged the wretched Princess to drink out of her patent's skull the festive, but to him, in future, the fatal marriage draught. Encouraged by revolting Narses, this pitiless leader of Pannonian multitudes pressed forward into Italy ; but the offended lady who followed in his train, and loved his chamberlain Count Helmichis, watched an unguarded hour, and betrayed her too-confiding sponse into the hands of that lord and anoiher, Peridæus, who stabbed their master Alboin when asleep. The assassins were obliged to run however ; and taking shelter at Ravenna, a town inimical to Narles, were received, and Peridæus proposed the celebration of his nuptials with the widow, who had promised him her hand in order to obtain the benefit of his. Rosmunda was no rigid observer of her promises ; the Exarch, to whom she applied for release of them, was himself sensible to her charms, Longinus, and sent his rival chained to Constantinople, where Justin and Sophia causing him to be thrown to a lion, the brave Croatian killed the savage beast, threatened the men who turned it out upon him, and having stabbed two noblemen at a time, using both hands at once, the Emperor commanded his

put out, and caged him for the remainder of his life. Count Helmichis meantime, her real favourite, being too much in love to act with prudence, saw the officious manners of the Exarch, and viewed them with jealous 'eye : but teazing the lady too much with his fufpicions concerning Longinus's zeal in her service, made himself inconvenient to Rosmunda's {chemes, and the resolved upon his death immediately. Adding deceit to cruelty, the herself prepared the poison, and with an air of gaiety administered it to him in sherbet. The sturdy officer however, familiar with assassination, on the fi:st taste doubted not the intent; and seizing his perfidious princess with a firm grasp, forced her to divide the fatal potion with him, and then expired in her lifeless arms. Etmuller says that soldiers have an idea whoever drinks out of a human skull shall thereby grow invulnerable. They must have been true descendants of the old Scandinavian deities who thought so but Etmuller* died only in 1732.

*" Euuller was no infidel physician : he thinks with all his heart, that if you gather a root of cyanus upon Corpus Chrifi day, you mnay, bulding i sight in your hand, stop a hæmorrhage of the nose."

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The following quotation is made, that this lady fair may have art opportunity to criticise her own work, and to defcribe an effect which it certainly has had on some readers.

In these days St. Dünftan too was fo exquisite a' performer, that his harp was accounted celestialand capable of producing sounds without help of any hand at all : witness the old verses made ages

after :
" St. Donstan's harp fast by the wall

Upon a pin did hang-a
The harp itself with lyre and all

Untouch'd by brand did twang-a" " And this superstition setting some fly fellow to tune two ftrings in unison, &c. putting the instrument in a place where the wind blew hard, suggestedt the idea of Æolus's harp, described by Kircher in Musurgia. It was no new discovery in our days. But our own island. must not engross all powers of Retrospection : the plague which raged at Rome may well detain it perhaps to admire the courage of the pontiff, perhaps in our present humour, to condena as superstition what scarce could even then have been enough praised as piety. When the meek bishop walked himself in procession, fearlefs for his safety along the infected streets, singing devout litanies to heaven, and requesting from God, not requiring from many cessation of the dire calamity. 6 While thousands literally fell beside him, and ten thousand at his right hand, yet was he not afraid either for the peftilence that walked in darkness, nor for the fickness that destroyed at the noon day. So did true Christian faith trample indeed upon the adder, and crush the poisonous bafilisk under foot. The pathognomic symptom of this disease was sneezing, and 'tis not in Europe totally forgotten. Some still fay, God bless you, upon such occafions ; others fignifying the same intent, commute their prayer with a bow. But scenes of horror were not confined to Rome. Cofroe the Persian spoiled Jea rufalem, and massacred, I think Cedrenus says, 90,000 Christians; as many Jews had been, in confequence of Sifibetus's edict, forcibly baptized the year before. Famines too, consequent perhaps on such a loss of men to till the earth, drove several of the last named race to seek a watery grave, and leap from the high cliffs of Calabria into the sea, rather than ftarve upon its barren Thores; while something of a similar desperacion is recorded of Anglo Saxons on the coast of Sussex. When I read this to an Italian friend however, and when he aked me why they did not rather go o' fishing? I had no an. fwer ready. History herself is often ill prepared enough when sudden queftions interrupt her eloquence; and my poor summary is willing to confefs, as controvertible, the truth of many a fact recorded here : but with the facts, except as a compiler, myself have nought to do. It was in this century at least that Ifidore Hispalenfis wrote his books of Retrospection, beginning with the earlieft dawn of lighty, bút leaving us in days of fad opacity. And how has that vaporous effect of distance increased since his time! How is the difficulty grown almost insuperable, of finding through the gloom decided objects on which to fix our mental telescope. My terror is left readers should agree to throw it down at once, and think upon this huddled work no more. The ages now under reviewal seem the November of our destined year ; in which We travel through dark ages, and in the abyss of chaos and old night meet oftany as di! Satan umre, a vast vacuity ;


6. Or else a universal hubbub wild

of stunning sounds and voices all confus'd.” " First seventy years of_Retrospefion,1—23, “ tossed the bloated body of Vitellius into Tyber," 1--23,

“ while ardent only to chase affrighted vice into the arms of impossibility.' 1.-23.

Gentle reader, what can be meant by the arms of impossibility ? Is the tender maiden induced to marry age and riches ? she finds her great disappointment in the arms of imposibility. Does the widow of a respectable merchant make a foolish match the looks in vain for her former importance in the arms of impossibility. Does a weak woman flattered with folly, take up the pen of the historian, and think to add to her reputation and fame? alas she seeks them in the arms of impossibility; or (hould some vain bookseller purchase the precious manuscript, in vain will he seek to find his money again in the arms of impossibility.

We select the following passages as exhibiting a sufficient proof of the justice of our remarks on that perverfion of mind ; confusion of ideas, absurdity and contradi&tion, which are to be found in these Retrospections.

• The world was then ail Roman, born so, or so adopted, to become ; for conqueft led but to incorporation. In that enormous, that amazing city, centered all knowledge, all pleasure, all wealth, all power. What wonder then if, midst a heterogenous mass of inhabitants, raked out from every country under heaven, plurality of Gods and variety of worships, licentious malters and permitted slaves, republican ideas and elective empire, all contrarieties of custom and of climate, miraculously accumulated in one vast swel. ling town, which Vossrus says, though I believe him not, contained at one time fourteen millions of residentiary dwellers? What wonder then, should fermentation act upon the foul congeries? What wonder then,

-Should Nature breed
Perverse! all monstrous, all prodigious things,

Abominable! unutterable ! and worse, &c." €. That so she did breed, we are unable to doubt or to deny.. Imperial Rome having consented to his death who lived alone to hless and purify mankind, became herself accursed, like fentenced Babylon, in scripture language, cage

unclean and hateful bird.” It is always more grateful to the critic to praise than to censure. We hope the age of chivalry is not paft. We would not try a lady by the severelt rules of criticism. We are great admirers of Dr. Johnson, and consider that Mrs. P. was once the friend of that good man. She is a firm believer in Revelation, and looks with just abhorrence on the enormities of the French revolution. She touches' on the accomplishment of prophecy, but there, like wifer heads, she has failed. She makes some little mention of the origin of language, but there are very few subjects on which the throws any light. Her remarks are Aippant and light, pert rather than pertinent, desultory S 3



for every

and fighty. She does not distinguish between obscurity and sublimity, between fimplicity and affectation. We cannot fatter her with the hope, that this work will prove any addition to her fame or her fortune. It will not add to the stock of our historical knowledge, and mere novel-readers will start at the sight of two porderous quartos. At first we were disappointed, that the events and the characters of eighteen centuries, hould not have the aslistance of an index or a table of contents, to direct the indufiry or to satisfy the curiosity of the reader, but we foon inclined to pardon Mrs. P. for this omision; for this one good reason, which probably did not occur to her, that the work is not worth an index.

Thote rea jers who have patience to read the volumes through, will be dit ofte) with the affectation of perpetually introducing, Retrospection's Eye, Retrospection's Glance, Retrospcition's View. Zetrajpection dwells, &c. &c. as well as with the frequent abuse of wors, distorted phraseology, and deviations from gran matical precision. For instance, "coetaneous," “ once firm-fit world, conglobed, under one univerfal monarchy," “ nascent civilization,"

putrifying credulity.” “ A reign of fourteen years spent on that business proved that they were no dissemblers nor no hypocrites.”. 11--27.

PP. 48.

Considerations on the Coronation Oath, to maintain the Protestant Reformed

Religion, and the Settlement of the Church of England, as prescribed by Stat. i W. & M. c. 6. & Stat. 5. Anni. c. 8. By John Reeves, Esq. 8vo.

Is. 6d. Wright. London. 1801, T was not to be supposed that, during the agitation of a question, fpurious liberality of the age, and its general concoinitant, indiffeience, an apathy on all matters of religion, appear disposed to confider with as little concern as a mere question of commerce or finance, the steady friend of our laws, the vigilant and firin champion of our conftitution, who, at a most critical period, ajociated all her dutiful fons in her defence, and so rescued her from the fangs of Whigs and Jacobins, would remain a filent and inactive spectator of the passing scene. No all who knew the man, relied on the immediate exertion of his talents in such a cause. So long as the Britifh Constitution shall continue to flourish,

Dum Domus Æneæ capitoli immobile faxum .

Accolet, imperiumque pater Romanus habebit ; will John Reeves be deemed her best historian, her most able advocate, and her mot faithful protector.

The Author justifies the laws which have been passed, at different times, for imposing reftrictions on all persons diffenting from the

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