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these remarks apply. Our admiration of him as the writer, is enhanced by the consideration that they do bear upon the onceadmired work of his countryman, David Hume, which is also chargeable with the manifestation of bad feeling towards the memoirs of many of the greatest and best Englishmen; and, moreover, with bad faith or wilful credulity, in respect to every alleged or actual slander on their conduct. We always welcome compensation to any injured character, however long the defamed may have been removed from the sphere in which human praise can affect him ; but our gratification is increased, when the reparation comes even from the same country as the injury. Sir Walter Raleigh has been most vilely misrepresented by Hume, and we have lately had to thank a candid, learned, and searching Caledonian for an ample, though condensed relation of his deeds, and a triumphant vindication of his moral character. Neither we, nor many others, believed the asperions cast on him to be true; we know them to be reputed falsehoods. We dare not venture to affirm that Lord Bacon was quite undeserving of that serious moral blame which has cast a shade even over so splendid and enduring an intellectual reputation as his; bnt we shrewdly suspect that, if all the particulars of his imputed conduct were investigated by any one who united in himself the rarely-combined powers of the minuteexaminer of legal evidence, and of a moral philosopher, with the stimulus derived from generous enthusiasm, directed by a strict love of truth, most of those injurious allegations would be found to be either baseless or exaggerated ; and the service done to history would be the least important consequence of such a result, as we anticipate, from a thorough investigation. It would prevent the exultation of the pharisaic imbecile, who thanks God that he is no genius (like Lord Bacon), who is at the same time wanting in integrity; and the still worse use that is made of his supposed misdeeds by the corrupting sophist, who would persuade the young, the weak and the vain, that they show intellectual superiority by disregarding moral obligation.
Perhaps we have already digressed too far from the legitimate boundaries of reviewers; but we must plead in self-defence, our anxious love of justice, our earnest desire to cherish in others every worthy feeling towards the memory of the sages, and benefactors of the human race; and our wish that those of our cotemporaries who have the smallest claim to the gratitude of after-coming ages, may feel encouraged by the thought that ultimate justice will be done to them. Such persons ought to consider every reclamation that is made for the denied merits of the eminent men who have been entombed for centuries, as a beacon of hope to themselves; and they should look with grateful confidence upon every effort that is made to assert the mental power and moral rectitude of plagiarised and calumniated men. We can almost believe that the bones of Sebastian Cabot rioted in his tomb, when an American located in England, proves to the satisfaction of all the world, that he, the object of detraction, and the subject of depreciation, had “ titles manifold" to our admiration, esteem, and gratitude. To proceed with Mr. Cunningham's exposition of his plan and purpose, we must, as we did previously cite his own words, they being more clearly explanatory of the drift and reasons of his labours than any phrases which we could substitute. « Without wishing to discourage a study so sublime and important as that of philosophical history, we do not go too far when we say, that the popular attractions of history do not reside in its scientific principles, but in its personal interestthat the great majority of readers take less interest in the relation of events to abstract maxims, than in their connexion with the fortunes of individual men, with whom they can identify themselves in thought, and in the vicissitudes of whose lives they can take a home-felt and immediate concern.
“ Whoever, therefore, can most perfectly combine this personal interest with the series of public wants, confers on history the greatest degree of that attraction which makes it studied by readers in general, and which, by enabling them to sympathize more completely with the prime actors in the drama of society, at once directs their eyes to the governing spring in its great movements, and brings home its moral lessons more powerfully and directly to their hearts. It is on this principle that we have thought that if an alliance could be accomplished between the Muses of biography and history, a work might be produced which, with equal truth and fulness of information, might possess superior interest, and therefore, superior utility for the mass of readers, to the present historical compendium and biographical collections.” Mr. Cunningham then enumerates the nine periods into which his “ History of England in the Lives of Englishmen,” is divided :
Ist. From Alfred the Great to the Conquest. 2nd. From the Conquest to the Accession of Edward I. 3d. From Edward I, to the Accession of Henry VII. 4th. From Henry VII. to the Accession of James I. The first three periods are completed in the volume before us, and in a style that makes us augur well as to the execution of the immediately following portions, which will comprise the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., and of the Queens Mary and Elizabeth. Sir Thomas More is one of the most important of the persons whose life comes to be written in this portion of the book. We trust that Mr. Cunningham will avail hiniself of the most complete and exact account of that (illustrious man which has yet appeared, that is, “Rudhardt's Life of Thomas More," which, excellent as it is, to our surprise has not yet been translated from the original German; and, indeed, is not known at all to English readers, except from the critical analysis which appeared some time ago in the “ Foreign Review.” We hope that our literature will not long have to bear the double reproach of wanting an adequate biography from a native writer, and also of neglecting to transplant one which has been reared by the industry and skill of a foreign hand. The number of historical errors which have been extensively spread in popular works, makes us anxious to prevent their perpetuation ; hence, these hints to the conductor of a new work. We shall, however, be glad to find that they have been rendered superfluous by the comprehensive knowledge and conscientious exactness of Mr. Cunningham, whose second volume we shall notice as soon after its appearance as is compatible with due time for examination of its contents.
· Art. XVIII.
1. The Dream, and other Poems. By Mrs. GEORGE LENOX Co
NYNGHAM. 1 vol. 8vo. London: Moxon. 1833. 2. Bishop Toby's Pilgrimage; or, the Method of procuring a
Mitre. In six stages. Newcastle : 1833.
ure to our been able, and confe The first venience beber in
These two publications are widely different from each other in many important points, but they may with convenience be considered under the same general head. The first of the works is a volume of very sweet poetry, and confers immortal honour on the female who has been able to contribute such a model of elegant literature to our current stock. We hope that we are not mistaken in inferring from the mottoes which are prefixed to the smaller poems, that Mrs. Conyngham is a lady possessed not merely of an ardent and disciplined fancy, but also of the treasures of classical lore, varied by an acquaintance with the most select of the modern languages. We find repeatedly in this volume quotations in the Greek language from authors, an acquaintance with whose works implies a very extensive prosecution of Greek studies. Four lines in the Greek which are placed at the head of a War Song, we find to be translated in the subsequent verses, a proof at all events that the inditer of the said verses must have been an unexceptionable Grecian. In other pages we find mottoes in German, in Italian, in classical Latin, (Cicero), and the collection is closed by some sonnets in the Italian, which remind us of the charming measure of Petrarch.
The first piece in this volume is a poem of considerable length. It is called “ The Dream,” and turns upon a romantic incident, the details of which derive considerable effect from the descriptions of the scenery where they have been realized. We are inclined, however, to give our attention to the smaller effusions, in which Mrs. Lenox Conyngham’s genius appears to soar with more freedom. A Greek War Song, Immortality, an Ode to Hope, The Righteous Perisheth, Grief is my Nature now, Woman's Truth, display great power and spirit. A “ Chorus of Virgins," the scene of which is in the old Roman territory, is a piece beautiful in its execution, as it is affecting in its story and catastrophe. Julia Alpinula is a young priestess of Aventicum, whose father being condemned to death by Aulus Cæcina, she throws herself at the feet of this governor, and implores his clemency by tears and lamentations. But he proved inexorable, and the charming young priestess, in the violence of her grief, sank down a victim, and followed her father to the grave. In the short poem before us, the poetess represents a number of virgins as assembled round the tomb, whilst one of them addresses the rest. The first part of this beautiful lament is as follows:
Bring flesh flowers, and let us fling
Holding communion with high heaven.
The virgin then makes an allusion to the cold and cruel author of the untimely death of their beloved sister, but she soon consoles them by the assurance that their Julia need not be mourned as though they thought her locked in the grasp of death beneath the unconscious tomb; no, they should rather believe that it was to some world of freedom that the maiden had fled, some region of love, some holy sunny sphere, where the griefs which haunt us here have no entrance, where no hearts are broken, where no tears are shed. The virgin then, recurring to the remembrance of the lost one, thus apostrophizes her :
Thou wert his only one,-his all on earth ;
Yes! he was as a sere and aged tree,
A very large proportion of these small poems is devoted to subjects of ancient Greek history, and they show an intimate acquaintance, on the part of the authoress, with the minute incidents in the annals of that illustrious race. Mrs. Lenox Conyngham appears to be guided, in her choice of these themes, by a lurking ambition to act upon the national feelings of the modern Greek nation, by holding out, as examples of valour and of a love of liberty, the deeds of their glorious ancestors.
The second poem on our list is a combination of humour and satire, forming one of the happiest imitations of the difficult style of Hudibras with which modern literature has been enriched. The intention of the caustic poet is to expose the too common system prevailing amongst the exalted classes of society, of converting the offices of the sacred ministry of the church into objects of mere worldly ambition, and as sources of emolument, the distribution of which is made on pecuniary and interested considerations alone. The first “ stage,” therefore, opens with a communication addressed by a bishop to his son Edmund, familiarly written “ Ned,” for the purpose of tracing the devious course, and describing the arts, stratagems, &c. by which he attained to that gem of all ecclesiastical gifts—a mitre. In a note to the first page of this epistle of the bishop, the author states that a certain member of the hierarchy, whose name is not mentioned, began his career as a pot-boy in his father's inn, somewhere in the west of England, and he informs us, that it is from the conduct of this bishop, and from his character as a stickler for church preferment, and a pamphleteering controversialist, that the subject matter of this pilgrimage is principally drawn.
The bishop, whom we left addressing a history of his early life to his son, acknowledges that after leaving the grammar school, his next employment, and he blushes to speak it, was waiting in his sire's hotel. Here, however, he had an opportunity of seeing how