« ElőzőTovább »
in later ages.
nians what we cannot refuse to the modern neighbours of the Eskimaux ?
66 The truth is, that the resemblance at least, of all the virtues contained in the poems of Olian, and which are probably exaggerated in the usual manner of poetry, still remains in the High. lands of Scotland. The valour of the Highlanders is allowed by their greatest enemies; and the most prejudiced cannot accuse them of cruelty. Battle seems always to have been more the ob ject, than the rewards of victory. In the social virtues, the lowest Highlander is not, even in this age, deficient.
* In ancient iimes, the Highlanders had much better opportunities to learn exalted sentiments, if such must be learnt, than
The most prejudiced of our opponents will allow, that refinement is in every country, in a certain degree, an inseparable appendage of a court. In the days of Fingal, and for many ages after him, the Highlands were the seat of govern'ment. After the extinction, or rather the conquest of the Pics, the kings of the Scots fixed their residence in the low country. When the southern
parts of Scotland were wrested from the Saxons and Danes, an extension of territory and the danger of a southern enemy carried the seat of government Itill further from the Highlanders. This circumstance had certainly its weight in depriving the posterity of the Fingalians of some part of that exalted character, which distinguished their ancestors. But their retaining still só many of the virtues celebrated by Offian, is certainly a good argument, that those virtues might have existed in their pertection, in more favourable times.
• But there is little occasion for speculative reasoning on a matter which is so well established by fact. A whole people give their testimony to the existence of the poems of Ofian; and gentlemen of the first reputation for veracity, and a capacity to judge of the subject, have long ago, permitted their names to be given to the public, as vouchers for many parts of the collection published by Mr. Macpherson. Many more are ready to join their testimony to that already given to the world. The truth is, that even the defending a matter of such notoriety, is the most plausible argument that the prejudiced could have brought against the authenticity of
" To put the matter beyond the contradiction of the preju. diced, and the unbelief of the most incredulous, I am glad to be able to inform the public, that the whole of the poems of Ossian are speedily to be printed in the original Gaclic.' In vain will it be said by Doctor Johnson and others, who have manifeftly resolved not to believe the authenticity of the poems, that the same man who could invent them in English, might clothe them in a Celtic dress. To this, I answer, that it would be impossible for any perfon, let his talents be ever so great, to impose a translation, for an original, on any critic in the Gaelic language.
Doctor Johnson will certainly permit me to ask him, whether any of his countrymen could iinitate the language of the age of
Chaucer, so as to pass his own work, for a compofition of those times ? Doctor Johnson's criticalknowledge of the English language, would spurn the idea ; but I will venture to affure the Doctor, chat we have, among us, several persons as conversant in the old Gaelic, as he himself is in the tongue of the ancient Saxons.
" In the arrangement of the whole work, and even in the improvement of particular passages, the public are perhaps indebted. to the taste and judgment of Mr. Macpherson. Being perfectly master of all the traditions relative to the Fingalian times, he has, no doubt availed himself of that advantage, in placing the poems in their most natural order, and in restoring the scattered members of such pieces, as he found floating on tradition only, to their original Itations. As he collected some parts of the poems from what Doctor Johnson would call the ' recitation of the aged,' in different parts of the country, he was certainly excusable in taking the • beit readings in all the editions, if the expression may be used.
“ Thus far we will admit, that Mr. Macpherson is the author of the
poems. But more we will neither grant to him, nor to Doctor Fohnson; who seems not to be aware of the compliment he pays to a writer, who, by meriting his envy, has excited his malevolence.”
In the perforinance before us, our author hath refuted inany misrepresentations, and detected many inconsistencies in the Doctor's Journey,' but some of his remarks, we must here observe, are trivial and insignificant. His hnguage for the most part, is nervous and masterly, candour, fo apparent in his sarcastic expressions, greatly din minishes the merit of a learned and siaunch Scotchman, whom the amor patriæ hath hurried on beyond the bounds of decen cy and good order.
Emma Corbett; or, The Miseries of Civil War. Founded on
fome recent Circumstances which happened in America. By the Author of the Pupil of Pleafure, Liberal Opinions, Shenstone Green, &c. &c. In 3 vols, 12mo. Price 7s. 6d. Baldwin.
[Continued from page 268.]
From the comment which was given in our last Review, of this elegant and interesting performance-interesting indeed to every reader within these realms, because on a subject in which every lover of his country and his kind, is concerned) --we proceed to the extracts, which, in that comment were promiled. Introductory, however, to these, it is impoffible to suggest any thing more in point, (from whence the diffe
rence betwixt this work and the general run of novel-nonsense may be feen) than what will be found in one of the last letters of the history written by (in our opinion) its most admirable character,
“ Sir Robert Raymond to his Friend, “ I am just come from the most agonizing ceremony, oh Frederick, that can possibly pass under the eye of man !-May you never feel what otherwise you can never know ! Easy in your fortunes, quiet in your fituation, unconnected in your interests, you can, happily for you, have no conception-at least no perfect oneof that rend in the heart which is made by death, when youth, in. nocence, and beauty, is committed to the duft-when the parent hangs his drooping head over the last fad tenement-when the orphans
" What have I said ? Youth, innocence, and beauty !--and do all these then go down to the earth's cold bosom? Shall none of them ascend? The glooms of the soul almoit carry sensation into lin! They shall alt ascend! The one shall ensure everlasting exil. tence to the others. Innocence shall immortalize beauty and youth.
"I am realoning with an almost breaking heart, Berkley ; while poor old Corbett, the survivor of his family, in all the solemn pathos of grief, forgets every pain of body in nursing that which is feated within. The romance of youth inay teach you to expect that I should execratemthat I should summon to my assistance
every infernal power-that I should tax heaven itself with cruelty, and iake refuge from altercating man, anidit the friendly concealment of impenetrable woods. This may, perhaps, answer the purpose of the novellist, buc it corresponds not with the nature of your
friend. No, Berkley. It is not in a moment like this that the truly touched and truly tender indulge themselves in outrage. The first burft is part: that which began with loudness, with vehemence, and with vociferation, settles into the still, the folemn, and the affecting. The temper, stormy and headstong, of Corbett himself, terminates in the eloquence of dumb diftress. The tears fall fast from me as I write. More impetuous periods I have felt : so awful and so affecting a crisis never did I experience. You, who knew not Emma, and have not a regular though you have a worthy heart, cannot know what I have lost. The manner of her death-the motive-and the whole tenour of circumstances connected with it, throw over every passage of the scene, a colour fo movingly fad, that I fit wonderstruck in the room, and seem almost in my grave, with the world about me. I have exerted myself to say thus much at the winding up of this folemn catastrophe, left you, my dear Berkley, or any other person, into whose hands these incidents may fill, should presume to question the ways of Almighty God, which are juftifiable in every part of this pathetic story. Erroneous notions of punishment and reward, are perhaps the leading steps to jirelia gion and infidelity The vile herd of novellists have done an el. 1 ential injury to the cause of virtue, by sacrificing to the pleasure' of the reader, beyond the fimplicity of truth. Difficulty, in the beginning of a narrative ; love, in the middle; and marriages, at the end, make up, almost invariably, the recipe of a modern ro. : mance. This is called rewarding virtue ; a bad character or two, perhaps, drops off, and that is called punilhing vice. False, foolish, conclufion! Look into life. Doth rot heaven's blessed beam shine equally on the just and the unjust. Are all rewards so mechanically contrived? Hath virtue no joys of her arun ?-joys, which generous sorrow only can produce ? Is the sacred struggle of a good man altogether afli Elive? To pass through a road perplexed and thorny-to travel through a hard and difficult life, without tearing the finer principles from the heart, doth it require no better conduct than moves in the machinery of those contemptible pages where all is given up to letter'd art, and distorted imagination? Are there no tweets in the pensive sigh--the pious tear ? Break they from the mourner without offering hiin any balın? Hath heaven-born conItancy no comforts ? Consider the life of Emma! Hath death, at once virtuous and christian, nothing to lift the survivor's spirit above very care of vulgar being? Oh, Frederick, I am touched by a very tender example. In lamenting as I now lament, say my friend, is there no dear and welcome mitigations? Yes, I feel I feel that there are. Would I part with this generous grief --Ah no! What would I take in exchange? - The universe should not buy it from me. I even anticipate the holy satisfaction when I fhall iteal from the shout and strife of society, to the tomb of a vir
I love her less because I no more shall see her? Hath she suffered in my esteem by her ascension into beaven Shall The lose as an angel, what as a mortal the acquired? I love her better. The Omnipotent placed her in the path of my life, ta fix and concentrate the best of passions. I am not of disposition or age to change again. Oh,' that the daughter of Emma may live! Shall I be content with a parent's common duty-to çloathe, to feed, to educate ? Consider Berkley, whole babe it is ! " I have hurried down stairs to examine my
treasure ! " ---It lives, it sleeps. 'I have felt its gentle breath on my cheek.
“ God will spare it. Louisa's orphan too is mine. Corbett too shall live. I have moved towards his bed-fide often, since I began to write. His face is hid- he will not yet endure existence, but the hours of resignation are at hand.
“ I conjure you then, Berkley, to settle your opinions about Providence.-- Bring your piery to a point. Cultivate your tenderness. ---Love, like Emma ; and if you meet with such a disappointment, do not transfer your affection, but turn it to a generous account.. The vulgar eficét of tender distress, is difipation or de pair. Had I yielded to these, a poor old man would have wanted a friend ; two lovely infants, a parent; and I the self-approving bosom-ray, which cbeals my spirit in this vale of forrow.
· Circumscribe not, therefore, the rewards of Heaven. The writer
romance would paint me as a wretch without hope, who calls down the stroke of fate in pity to his aid. Attend you to the reality, my friend; and behold a man who wishes still to live! and who thinks himself rewarded. Farewel
" Robert RAYMOND." Sentiments like these, as eloquent as they are affecting, reconcile us to the various shocks of sympathy which we suffered in the perufal of Emma Corbett : They reconcile us to her pilgrimate, her poison, her wounds and her death. In a POLITICAL light, this performance is to be considered as giving a new form to old matter ;-as pointing, with a master's hand, at the deep gashes that are made in the fide of relationship and society in this wretched contest, where to speak as men, we must acknowledge both parties are wrong. The author holds up to our eye (and the impression enters our heart) two violent partizans of opposite principles, the one an American, the other a Briton, in sentiment : and then, he attempers these again by the medium of a third character, over every part of which is thrown the finest luftre of philanthropy. Of all these personages, (who are intimately connected with every event of the story) the reader may form some judgment from the subsequent letters supposed to be written by themselves :
66 To Emma Corbett. " Emma, be yourself. You must make one generous effort. I see you languishing under my eye and cannot bear it. Thrice have I seen you in the fick chamber within a few weeks. It is easy to perceive that your whole loul is pining after Henry--the perfidious Henry; with whom your union must never be while you
pro. per to own a father, and accept his protection. I tell thee, Einma, that were he this moment returned, and returned with what degenerate Britons now call glory-nay, could he lay the conquest of the plundered colonies at thy feet, there exists a reason which would make it vile..yes, mark the strength of the term -VILE, in Emma Corbett to accept it. But I see nothing less than the entire explanation of the fact will convince thee.
To crush, therefore, every lingering hope at once, know thou dear infatuated, thy father still leans his very foul on the welfare of America. Those fortunes which have been destroyed, those debts which have impoverished me, as well as those ample streams of commerce which rolled unobstructed from shore to shore, were all dedi. cated to injured America. For her thy brother's blood was shed, and had I yet more fons, more fortunes, and more resources, they fhould all be at the service of ihat violated country. She is in jured-she is aggrieved, my daughter, Her oppressions are at my Vol. XI.