composition, passion being only to be conveyed by strong and natural expression, which poetry has always found it impracticable to render susceptible of adventitious ornament. In short, to the lyric poet is allotted the almost impossible task of giving, with out the aids which novelty of situation or of preparation affords the dramatic author, a natural and striking, as well as original expression of feeling, whilst he is at the same time subjected to lyrical difficulties and limitations from which the other is free. Such are the difficulties of this species of poetical composition; and it is from a noncompliance with some one or other of the requisites which have been described, that those disappoint ments which so often attend the lyrical efforts of the greatest poetical talents arise. Sometimes the structure of the thought embodied in each stanza is too artificial-sometimes the description of sentiment in one stanza differs from that in another, to which the same air is consequently inapplicable-sometimes the train of thought is throughout unsuitable to the air. Hence springs that apparent inconsistency which causes us to reject, when sung, stanzas of undoubted poetical merit, and to prefer lines of little original desert, of which, however, the sentiment is similar to, and continuous with the air to which they are joined.

The songs of the earlier poets, Shakspeare, Fletcher, and others, were probably written with little reference to the music which was to be appended to them. The crude and half barbarous science, which at once formalized and complicated the music of the age, would afford little encouragement to lyrics.

Milton indeed appears to have admired the rather more modern " Ayres" of "Master Henry Lawes," but if the crabbed passages and awkward modulation of Queen Elizabeth's lessons for the virginals are to be taken as samples of the taste of her times, musical inspiration, in any shape, must, I think, have been of rare occurrence. Whether or not any of the popular airs of that period have come down to us, I do not know. It seems, however, sufficiently evident, that England has never perfected a national style of music, and to this may be in part attributed the scarcity of good lyrics in English poetry.

Shakspeare's songs are very unequal; his most fanciful are perhaps his best. "Blow, blow, thou winter wind," powerful as is its language, is yet a little too didactic to be perfectly lyrical; "but that's not much." "Five fathom deep thy father lies," is a beautiful disappointment. The conclusion does not answer the commencement. The " ding dong bell," in particular, I must venture to protest against; even the name of Shakspeare cannot sanctify the absurd burthens, the


heigh-hos!" and "hey nonny nonnies," which the fashion of his time has probably led him to affix to many of his songs. The formal quaintness of Harrington is directly at variance with lyrical effect, nor can I help thinking, that the lyrical parts of Fletcher's Faithful shepherdess have been over-praised. The well-known, take, oh take those lips away," is, af ter all, to me, the finest song of the time. A little later, Ben Jonson's S, "drink to me only with thine eyes," is much and deservedly celebrated. Those witty and elegant verses which are called the songs of Charles the Second's time, are nearly worthless as Lyrics. Let every one, however, read them, but let them only be read; they are pretty songs as they stand, and singing only spoils them.

At what period the description of lyrics, called "Hunting songs," became general, I cannot certainly say. They are less satisfactory to me than even drinking songs, of which last we have, considering all things, marvellously few good specimens. Yet the joyous and social spirit which is the spring of conviviality, would seem to be well adapted for lyrical and musical expression.

If we except a few excellent songs, which are certainly to be found scattered throughout the pages of English poetry, and the admirable specimens which are preserved amongst the early Scottish ballads, Robert Burns may be styled the first good song writer that has appeared. Not that Allan Ramsay is to be forgotten, many of whose songs, as for instance, "Woes my heart that we should sunder," and others in "the Gentle Shepherd,” are of considerable poetical, as well as lyrical merit.-But Burns, besides his genius as a poet, seems to have hit, almost by a sort of instinct, upon the true principles of this department of writing. From these he has rarely

zealous partizans appear ready to act, although they do not venture openly to profess them? But, if the false imputation of matters of opinion be justly reprehensible, how much more unpardonable is that of interested motives, and corrupt designs and intentions? How, after the experience of the last twenty or thirty years, it can still be asserted, by any person having the smallest pretension to truth or common honesty, (what, nevertheless we find unblushingly repeated in every page of every government journal, and often broadly insinuated, if not distinctly promulgated as the true political creed, from every quarter of the Treasury Bench), that the sole object of the party in opposition, is to dispossess their rivals, and bring themselves into place and power, and how an assertion, so self-evidently false, and almost ridiculous, can actually obtain credit, and pass current, with threefourths of the nation, is, I think, among the most inexplicable phenomena of modern politics. Yet the mischief of such a persuasion is as extensive as its absurdity should seem to be palpable. Great as the preponderance of the government scale now is, and long has been in the opinions of the country at large, yet the time is not quite arrived-(and I hope to God it never will arrive-) for reposing a blind and unlimited confidence in any ministry, however popular and however virtuous. With all the prevailing bias in favour of the present ministers, the people still require (and long may they continue to demand-) the constitutional check and security of a regular opposition. But, if that necessary and honourable part of our state establishment, whose legitimate office it is to watch the conduct of ministers, to weigh and investigate, and (for the purpose of their being the more scrupulously weighed and investigated) even frequently to oppose and impede, their minutest proceedings,

if the regular and constitutional opposition be vilified and calumniated, their principles misrepresented, and their intentions falsified, what is the self-evident and immediate consequence? What?-but to throw the

unreflecting part of the nation-of that nation which will not consent to become the mere blind tools and simple adherents of even the best administration-upon the hollow and dangerous protection offered them by a set of unprincipled adventurers against both the conflicting parties, making no scruple to bespatter them equally with the dirt which each, in its blindness, imagined to be safely employed as the instrument of attack upon the other? A general election is the fittest of all seasons to call forth in every breast which retains the smallest regard to truth and moderation of sentiment, observations of the nature of these which I have now addressed to you. On the more zealous and determined adherents of either party, I can have little hope that they are calculated to produce any effect; but if they should tend to preserve one candid and liberal mind from being merged in that vortex of faction, which threatens to swallow up all that remains of true honesty and sobriety in the nation, I shall be satisfied to bear all the rest of my life, the reproach which Mr Hobhouse-(not with much apparent justice or felicity,) the other day bestowed upon his less popular rival at Covent-Garden, and be classed, together with him, among those

"Vile neutrals, who in caution's middle steering,

Are neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring."

The Golden Mean," which we were taught to venerate in our nurseries-the "Aurea Mediocritas," of which we read at school, and which was inculcated by Horace as the best standard to regulate the lives and actions of more than school-boys, has, since the new light of modern philosophy has visited us, (deservedly, I suppose,) been exploded and rejected. Yet," in the golden days of good Queen Bess," it was still regarded as the golden rule of practice; and the most moral poet of that glorious age has, in his most moral and divine poem, devoted one entire canto to the celebration of it. I am, Sir, yours, &c. METRODORUS.

lively songs failed to overcome, was exacerbated by the harmony of the accompaniments; inasmuch as general stimulants increase the predominant description of feeling of the mind to which they are applied; as for instance, drinking spirituous liquors is well known to heighten instead of alleviating the horrors of a shipwreck. The songs of the Beggar's Opera are probably the most happy of dramatic lyrics. They are indeed the only English operatic songs that have become really and permanently popular. The airs of "Woman is like a fair flower in its lustre," "I like the fox shall grieve," and, "Can love be controlled by advice?" are in themselves beautiful, without reference to the peculiarities of the plot of the piece. For the right appreciation of the duet of "The Miser thus," and of the song of "The Charge is prepared," it must be recollected, that we set out with a highwayman for a hero, and the whole action is under the atmosphere of Newgate. The songs of the Duenna I must always regard as the weakest part of that performance, nor will the Elegiacs of Burgoyne and Jackson of Exeter, in the Lord of the Manor, go far to redeem the English opera from the mediocrity which seems to be its fate." Incledon and Dibdin did their best to make sea songs popular, and for a while they succeeded. Dibdin, however, wanted judgment, for, from his

attempts to clothe grave thoughts in seaman's phraseology, good taste will always revolt. In one of his songs, the resurrection is actually thus alluded to.

"When he hears the last whistle, He'll come upon deck."

One might as well think of extracting the sublime from a shopboard. "Oh! penny pipers, and most painful penners

Of bountiful new ballads, what a subject!" But, to be serious-with vulgar slang grave interest can never amalgamate. Divested of this, however, I do not see why the peculiar vicissitudes of a sailor's life might not give variety to the lyric muse, or why the exploits of the "Vikingr,” whether of good old Saxon or more modern times, are not as capable of tuneful commemoration as those of heroes upon dry land. Campbell's "Battle of the Baltic," I have read a hundred times, but have never seen the music, if there is any appended to it. The Storm of G. A. Stevens, too, no doubt contains passages of high lyrical merit; but it is, upon the whole, by far too much of a ballad. Black-eyed Susan, and Glover's Admiral Hosier's Ghost, are, I think, hardly to be classed as sea songs. The scenes, to be sure, are laid on board of ship, but they embody no feelings or incidents of any consequence, which are peculiar to a sea life.-I am, &c.


WHEN first I sought that smile of brightness,
More pleasing haply from its lightness,
I had but felt a transient grief,
To think our love might be as brief.

For tho' thine eyes, as now, were beaming,
Oh! Leila, I was far from dreaming,
That thou would'st claim, when we should

So large a portion of my heart.
Methought the ice my breast defended
Would only make its fires more splendid,
As sunbeams that in winter glow,
Glance brightest from the wreathed snow.
But, oh! my bosom, which before
Began so lightly to adore,

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Would now perversely have thee be E'en constant in inconstancy.

IF fate will tear thee from my heart,
Without a warning sign depart,
For I can give no answering sign,
Nor faulter a farewell to thine.


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If the last wafture of thy hand
Could let my soul forth where I stand,
If the stabb'd heart would truly bleed,
Then kindness would be kind indeed.



(SCENE-The Vale of Enna.)


Proser. Now come and sit around me,
And I'll divide the flowers, and give to each
What most becomes her beauty. What a vale
Is this of Enna! Every thing that comes
From the green earth, springs here more graciously,
And the blue day, methinks, smiles lovelier now
Than it was wont even in Sicily.

My spirit mounts as triumphing, and my heart,
In which the red blood hides, seems tumulted
By some delicious passion. Look, above,
Above: How nobly thro' the cloudless sky
The great Apollo goes-Jove's radiant son-
My father's son: and here, below, the bosom
Of the green earth is almost hid by flowers.
Who would be sad to-day! Come round, and cast
Each one her odorous heap from out her lap
Into one pile. Some we'll divide among us,
And, for the rest, we'll fling them to the Hours ;
So may Aurora's path become more fair,
And we be blest in giving.

Here-This rose

(This one half-blown) shall be my Maia's portion, For that, like it, her blush is beautiful:

And this deep violet, almost as blue

As Pallas' eye, or thine, Lycimnia,

I'll give to thee, for like thyself it wears

Its sweetness, never obtruding. For this lily,
Where can it hang but at Cyane's breast?
And yet 'twill wither on so white a bed,
If flowers have sense for envy :-It shall lie
Amongst thy raven tresses, Čytheris,
Like one star on the bosom of the night.
The cowslip and the yellow primrose-they
Are gone, my sad Leontia, to their graves,
And April hath wept o'er them, and the voice
Of March hath sung, even before their deaths,
The dirge of those young children of the year.-
But here is heart's-ease for your woes.
And now,
The honey-suckle flower I give to thee,
And love it for my sake, my own Cyane :
It hangs upon the stem it loves, as thou
Hast clung to me thro' every joy and sorrow;

It flourishes with its guardian's growth, as thou dost;
And if the woodman's axe should droop the tree,
The woodbine too must perish.-Hark! what sound-
Do ye see aught?


Behold, behold, Proserpina !

How hoary clouds from out the earth arise,

And wing their way towards the skies,

As they would veil the burning blush of day.
And, look, upon a rolling car,

Some fearful being from afar


""Tis only from the belief of the goodness and wisdom of a Supreme Being, that our calamities can be borne in that manner which becomes a man."-HENRY MACKENZIE. that modify or constitute the existence of the poor.

IN Summer there is beauty in the wildest moors of Scotland, and the wayfaring man who sits down for an hour's rest beside some little spring that flows unheard through the brightened moss and water-cresses, feels his weary heart revived by the silent, serene, and solitary prospect. On every side sweet sunny spots of verdure smile towards him from among the melancholy heather-unexpectedly in the solitude a stray sheep, it may be with its lambs, starts halfalarmed at his motionless figure-insects large, bright, and beautiful come careering by him through the desert air-nor does the Wild want its own songsters, the grey linnet, fond of the blooming furze, and now and then the lark mounting up to heaven above the summits of the green pastoral hills. During such a sunshiny hour, the lonely cottage on the waste seems to stand in a paradise; and as he rises to pursue his journey, the traveller looks back and blesses it with a mingled emotion of delight and envy. There, thinks he, abide the children of Innocence and Contentment, the two most benign spirits that watch over human life.

But other thoughts arise in the mind of him who may chance to journey through the same scene in the desolation of Winter. The cold bleak sky girdles the moor as with a belt of ice-life is frozen in air and on earth. The silence is not of repose but extinction-and should a solitary human dwelling catch his eye half-buried in the snow, he is sad for the sake of them whose destiny it is to abide far from the cheerful haunts of men, shrouded up in melancholy, by poverty held in thrall, or pining away in unvisited and untended disease.

But, in good truth, the heart of human life is but imperfectly discovered from its countenance; and before we can know what the summer, or what the winter yields for enjoyment or trial to our country's peasantry, we must have conversed with them in their fields and by their firesides; and made ourselves acquainted with the powerful ministry of the Seasons, not over those objects alone that feed the eye and the imagination, but over all the incidents, occupations, and events

I have a short and simple story to tell of the winter-life of the moorland cottager-a story but of one evening -with few events and no signal catastrophe-but which may haply please those hearts whose delight it is to think on the humble under-plots that are carrying on in the great Drama of Life.

Two cottagers, husband and wife, were sitting by their cheerful peatfire one winter evening, in a small lonely hut on the edge of a wide moor, at some miles distance from any other habitation. There had been, at one time, several huts of the same kind erected close together, and inhabited by families of the poorest class of daylabourers who found work among the distant farms, and at night returned to dwellings which were rent-free, with their little gardens won from the waste. But one family after another had dwindled away, and the turf-built huts had all fallen into ruins, except one that had always stood in the centre of this little solitary village, with its summer-walls covered with the richest honeysuckles, and in the midst of the brightest of all the gardens. It alone now sent up its smoke into the clear winter sky and its little endwindow, now lighted up, was the only ground star that shone towards the belated traveller, if any such ventured to cross, on a winter night, a scene so dreary and desolate. The affairs of the small household were all arranged for the night. The little rough poney that had drawn in a sledge, from the heart of the Black-Moss, the fuel by whose blaze the cotters were now sitting cheerily, and the little Highland cow, whose milk enabled them to live, were standing amicably together, under cover of a rude shed, of which one side was formed by the peat-stack, and which was at once byre, and stable, and hen-roost. Within, the clock ticked cheerfully as the fire-light reached its old oak-wood case across the yellow-sanded floor-and a small round table stood between, covered with a snow-white cloth, on which were milk and oat-cakes, the morning, mid-day, and evening meal of these frugal and contented cotters.


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