Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Jiarity of this general incident that gives life and motion to the whole scene. It makes that which before was only an object of perception, a subject of reflection ; and in such strokes as these the unattainable art of the genuine poet of Nature is more fully discovered, than in the most ostentatious parade of wholesale description.

• Nor road-side cottage smoke was seen, ..
Or, rarely, on the village-green: .
No youths appear'd, in spring-tide dress,
In ardent play, or idleness.
Brown wav'd the harvest ; dale and slope
Exulting bore a nation's hope :
Sheares rose as far as sight could range,
And every mile was but a change

.
of peasants lab'ring, lab'ring still, ....

And climbing many a distant hill.'-Book II. pp. 107–8. We shall be thought very superficial critics, if we do not point out some of the thousand faults, which every superficial reader will find in this volume. We say every superficial reader, because those who will take the pains to be pleased will not be disappointed; they will find the faults diminishing, and the beauties multiplying, the more patiently these pages are examined. The author's humour is generally very poor; and the language of it too coarse even for his homely style of poetry. Yet we do not envy the fastidious delicacy of those who can be so disgusted with the bluntness of phrase, as not to feel, by instantaneous synipathy, the poet's rapture expressed in the following lines :

TL ASD - Hang the dunce,

ace, deci Who would not doff his cap at once

. In ectasy, when, bold and new, sát

b utas Bursts on his sight a mountain-view.'-p. 78. In the opening of the fourth book, after having told us, very prettily, how much he was affected while attending divine service, performed alternately in English and Welch, in the principality, our traveller, with unbecoming lerity, demands :

• Ye, who religious maxim's teach,
What constitutes a sabbath's brouch
Is it, when joy the bosom fills,
To wander o'er the breezy hills ?
Is it to trace around your home..
The footsteps of imperial Rome
Then guilty, guilty let us plead, , , ,
Who, on the cheerful rested steed,
In thought absorb’d, explor'd with care :

The wild lanes round the silent Gaer, &c. &c. pp. 103-4. Had this question been asked from any better motive thar

8.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

idle bravery, the author would not have mounted his horse till it had been answered to his satisfaction, lest he should igno. rantly break God's commandment concerning the sabbath. 9330

We shall quote one more passage, wherein the poet,-tracing the Wye from its fountain, in a fairy voyage down its course,--displays more ingenuity of thought and liveliness of fancy than will be found in an equal compass in all his works.

How placid, how divinely sweet, y r AD H1117
The flow'r-grown brook, that, by our feet,

as
Winds on a summer's day; e'en wherebb
Its name no classic honours share,
Its springs untrac'd, its course unknown, loa OR
Seaward for ever rambling down !

N e

313
Here, then, how sweet, pellucid, chaste; Hotel
'Twas this bright current bade us taste
The fulness of its joy. Glide still,
Enchantress of Plynlimmon hill.
Meandering Wye! Still let me dream,
In raptures, o'er thy infant stream;

ISO
For could th' immortal soul forego

Its cumbrous load of earthly woe,
U H And clothe itself in fairy guise,
Too small, too pure, for human eyes,

9 . bor Blithe would we seek thy utmost spring,

so

Where mountain-larks first try the wing;
of There, at the crimson dawn of day,
39 Launch a scoop'd leaf, and sail away,
we het Stretch'd at our ease, or crouch below,

below. T he
Or climb the green transparent prow,
Stooping where oft the blue bell sips
The passing stream, and shakes and dips ; 0 9 95,
And when the heifer came to drink,

a ."? no

Quick from the gale our bark would shrink, gadis
And huddle down amidst the brawl

e r . Of many a five-inch waterfall, de ninag nghiiv SA

Till the expanse should fairly giver d e sinon
The bow'ring hazel room to live ; S

a isten
And, as each swelling junction came
abs
O To form a rip'let worth a name,

We'd dart beneath, or brush away W ASCO
Long-beaded webs, that else might stay

! Our silent course : in haste retreat. Y

D W
Where whirlpools near the bullrush meet; o'lag
- 10

Wheel round the ox of monstrous size;
And count below his shadowy flies;

to
And sport amidst the throng; and when

above,
We met the barks of giant men,
Avoid their care still undescribd
And mock their overbearing pride
Then vanish by some magic spell. 2 11925

. And shout, “ Delicious Wye, farewell!" ) Pp. 116-119.

In the fourth line of the above quotation the reader will observe “ shared for "s shares,” in the third person singular of the verb. The same fault occurs twice at p. 26; where Coldwelt rocks by it are made to reflect their own forms, and even. to shake their shadows. Other graminatical inaccuraciesappear, which, we hope, will be corrected in the next edition, Several songs, &c. are interspersed with 'the narrative, of very moderate merit, and with very indifferent effect. The volume is embellished with a few engravings. . . Art. VII. Travels in the South of Spain. In Letters, written A. D.

1809, 1810. By William Jacob, Esq. M.P. F.R.S. 4to. pp. 450.

Price 21. 2s. Johnson, 1811. IT is but a very short time, since we had the pleasure of ac

companying a distinguished knightly adventurer, over nearly the same ground that is here trodden by a Member of Parliament, and Fellow of the Royal Society. Sir John, indeed, in consequence of having started a few months earlier, was privileged to indulge bis curiosity over a wider extent of country: but, as far as our present conductor takes us, the variation of route is inconsiderable. We may add, too, that the knight and the parliamentary philosopher concur, for the most part, in their views of the affairs of the country : so that, in reality, the chief point of distinction consists in this--that, whereas the former has been careful to lay in a plentiful assortment of smart sayings and amusing anecdotes, the latter has more solicitously turned his attention to commerce, antiquities, and the fine arts. The substance of Mr. Jacob's volume, it appears, was communicated in letters, written to his family and friends, suitable retrencbments, alterations, and additions, having been made to render the said letters fit for public perusal.' Half the letters are dated from Cadiz and Eeville: many of those dated from Grenada, (relating to the Mahomedan dominion) have been entirely composed' since his return.

Our author took his leave of England early in September, 1809, in company with Mr. Ridout, General Viruez, Don Ramon, and Don Pedro. The sea was so agitated, that it produced sickness in the General, Don Ramon, and Mr. Ridout:' but the person who had most reason to remember the voyage, was the ship's surgeon ; who, in consequence of the rolling of the vessel, was thrown so violently against one of the quarter-deck guns, that both the bones of one of his legs were broken a little above the aucle. The young man, however, .bore bis sufferings with great fortitude,-gave the necessary directions with great coolness, '--and, when Mr. Jacob sent off his first letter, was as well and as likely to recover as if the best surgeon had been employed.' " While entering the bay of Cadiz, Mr. Jacob sits down to compose a short account of his fellow-voyager, General Viruez, whose amiable and patriotic character appears deserving of all his praise." This done," he turris to look at the fine assemblage of objects before him : but, when we reflect on the "immense 'nuinbr of English pens and pencils that they have - already employed, we think he is quite right in making his account of them as concise as possible His sensations on landing, he must be permitted to describe in his own words.

• After I had entered the gates, and become a little' reconciled to the nauseous effluvia of oil and garlick, I was greatly struck by the extraordi. pary scene around me; and could have imagined I had suddenly been dropped from the clouds into the midst of a large masquerade :' the variety of dresses and characters, the swarms of people, the height and externally clean appearance of the houses, with the curtains drawn from one side to another, and the extreme narrowness of the streets, rendered still * more so by the projecting balcony of painted or gilt iron grating-allproduced feelings I never before experienced, and which no language can describe. ..*

Our traveller's accommodations, though not exactly calculated for a cloud-descended visitant, were cool, and tolerably neat and comfortable. The hed-furniture, too, was pretty good ; and encomiastic notice is taken of the sheets, which were made of calico, with a border of muslin, about a quarter of a yard wide.' In a short time our author has leisure to advert to the houses with their brick floors, stone or marble staircases, and windows generally looking into a retired court; to the narrow, but well paved streets; and to the gallegos, or porters, (the 'name now implying the occupation as well as the country,) who here perform those laborious occupations for which, in other cities, horses and carts are employed. He then sets down a few observations on a subject, on which, as an aldermant, he must be presumed einigently qualified to decide -the Spanish mode of living. It is, he says, 'favourable to health and enjoyment. We will not suffer ourselves to picture the astonishment with which the worthy author's civic associates will read this last epithet of eulogy, when they find that fruits and vegetables form the principal food even at the best tables.' The Spanish frugality, however, does not extend so far as to discard a great number of useless 'menials, or to interdict either men or women from the greatest extravagance in personal dress and ornaments. *** I am told, says Mr. J. " that the money expended on a lady's silk stockings and shoes alone, (for they never walk out twice in the same) is enormous.' The principal amusement of both sexes is described to arise from games of hazard. From the letter containing these and

several other miscellaneous particulars we copy the following paragraph. In the latter part of the extract, our autbor contrasts very favourably with the gay and gallant Sir John.

• The mode of visiting, after a first introduction, is very easy and fa. miliar. You may enter the house at any hour, and, without being announced, proceed to the apartments of the family, where you generally meet agreeable company. On these occasions refreshments are seldom distributed beyond a glass of iced water, or a very cool liquor called agrace, composed of the juice of unripe grapes, cooled with ice, and sweetened with sugar. The visit is always paid to the lady of the house, who is constantly dressed to receive company. Senora

at whose house I most frequently visit, is a fine woman, has a large family, dresses well, talks a good deal, and is generally surrounded with visitors. Indeed, dress, cards, and occasionally music, form the principal pursuits of the ladies. I must not omit to mention one occupation in which they pass a large portion of their time. They daily frequent the churches. Yet I fear their religious ceremonies are performed rather with a view to amuse than instruct. They kneel, it is true, before the altar, or bumble themselves before the image of some saint-lisp a few prayers-count their beads to ascertain the number is correct, but depart with little of that religious feeling so necessary for the regulation of worldly conduct.'

Our author's curiosity was extremely diligent in exploring the churches, which are all, he says, 'superbly fitted up, and adorned with rich ornaments and good paintings. A more interesting object, however, in Mr. Jacob's pages, is the ruined residence of the late Governor Solano, who was barbarously murdered by the mob for disaffection to the patriotic cause. The particulars of his death are related as follows..

• The whole city was in a state of tumult. The populace, irritated by the patriots of Seville, indignant at the treachery of France, and clamorous for the death of the governor, surrounded his habitation. . Some parties attacked it with musquetry, while others dragged capnon from the ramparts, and assailed his residence. In the midst of the firing he escaped by the roof of his house, and took refuge in an adjoining one, the lady of which, an intimate friend of the family, hid him in a small closet, which had been secretly built some years before,

"When the insurgents gained possession of Solano's house, and discovered his flight, they pursued him to the house where he was concealed, which was searched with diligence, but without success. After commit. ting some atrocities, and even wounding the lady of the house with a musket ball, they were departing discontented with having missed the obo ject of their vengeance; when the party was joined by an artificer, who had constructed the secret closet, and who conducted them to the hiding place, where Solano was discovered, and delivered, to the fury of the mob. The general cry of the mob was, “ To the gallows! 10 the gallows !" whither this veteran was conducted. . But such was the indignation of the people, that before he quitted the house where he was discovered, he was lacerated with knives, and his clothes literally torn from his body. Naked and streaming with blood, from numberless wounds, he preserved the firm

« ElőzőTovább »