Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Can ye atone? The fault is Jason's all, i
And mine, more impious still. Yes, they must die !
I never gave them birth- and shall they perish?
My children perish ?-pure and innocent,
How can they merit death? But ah ! what crime
Doom'd my poor brother? Wavers thus my mind,
Uncertain still? Whence fall these foolish drops
That wet my pitying cheek? When will the strife
Importunate of love and anger cease
To tear my yielding heart? A doubtful tide, .
As when the rapid blasts contentious rage,
And rival-swelling urge the parted main,
Divides my tortur'd breast. Rebellious fury
Now chases love, and now the tyrant yields
His stormy throne. Oh! end the doubtful strife,
And grief submit at last. Dear offspring ! ye
The only comfort of my drooping house,
Haste, gentle babes, and twine your tender arms
Around your wretched parent. They shall live
For Jason and for me. The time draws nigh
That exiles me from Corinth : lo! e'en now,
Torn from my aching bosom they depart
In sighs and tears. Then shall they die, nor bless
Their treach'rous father with the fond embrace
That never can be mine! Revenge breaks forth,
And hatred boils again! The former rage :

Invites my hand, nor longer I delay. pp.80-82. The finest passage in the whole draina, we think, is the fola lowing expression of Medea to Jason, after having slain one of her children.

+ If still
A pledge of love were pleading in my breast,
This sword should search my entrails, and pluck forth
From its deep-rooted source the hated tie,

That bound my alienated heart to thee,' p. 87. The incantation of Medea, and several of the choruses, are rendered in lyric metres.

We are rather surprised that Mr. Wheelwright should select the tame and abortive drama of Octavia as a companion to his other performance. The reason he gives is most extraordinary:

'it is the only one of the Latin tragedies, of which the story is contemporary with, and partly involves that of its supposed author!' Of all the tragedies of uncertain origin,' we should think this the least likely to be the work of Seneca, because, anong other reasons, it introduces that philosopher himself, as an actor, and must by the supposition have been written during the life of the tyrant, whose enormities it holls up to

execration. Mr. Wheelwright even suggests that part of it appears to be little more than Tacitus's description versified !'

In the second volume, the principal objects are, a translation of the thirteenth satire of Juvenal, and a paraphrase of the first chapter of Isaiah. Both these are more elegant, but less faithful than the versions already mentioned. In that from Juvenal, the diction is for the most part very poetical, and the versification very spirited: but the translator's sense, in many instances, has but a slight and indefinite relation to that of the original. The concluding passage is in every respect a favourable specinien: but the particular scoundrel to whom Juvenal alludes, the noster perfidus, is completely out of sight. .: "Bold is the sinner 'till the deed is o'er;

Then doubts perplex, and terror sleeps no more.
Corrupted Nature, resolute on ill,
Repents, retorms, and is corrupted still.
Who e'er has paus'd, the bounds of virtue past ?
Or who will say, “ this crime shall be my last ?!?
When could a blush of conscious guilt inflame
The brow once harden'd to a sense of shame?
And though he still the threats of Justice foil, .
Elude her net, and mock her secret toil,
Close and more close the maze obstructs his way,
And the dark cell receives its destin'd prey :
Th' Ægean rocks, though crowded by the great,
Have yet for him one solitary seat.
Then ev'ry wave shall waft his bitter tear,
And ey'ry, gale transport his'sorrows here:
And thou, at length, exulting shalt confess,

That Heay'n can see to wound can listen to redress !' p. 42. We have only room for a short extract from the paraphrase of Isaiah. .

• But ye, who all my sacred laws have broke,
Spurn'd my dread name, and cast away my yoke,
Ev'n now, to crush your rebel pride aspire
Consuming wrath, and Heav'n's avenging fire.
Your giant oaks, whose thick embow'ring shade,
In conscious darkness veil'd the Idol's head,
The branching cedar, and the stately pine,
Where with unhallow'd incense glow'd the shrine,
And fed by impious hands the tow’ring flame,
With blacker infamy soall brand your name.
And as a leafless trunk by lightning riv'n,
Shrinks from the desolating bolt of Heav'n;
Or drooping flow'rets, that expect in vain
The gentie moisture and accustom'd rain ;
Thus low your boasted honors shall be laid,
Rais'd but to fall, and blooming but to fade.

As flames o’er fields of stubble urge their way,
Rise unsubdu'd and spread the quick decay;
Thus shall ye see your helpless Idols fall,

And unresisted ruin bury all." The author has made some other attempts in the species of poetry best suited to his sacred profession, and has succeeded so well, that we hope he will be encouraged to revew his efforts. We do' not, however, quite understand his notion of r the horrors of a death-bed repentance. A more suitable title to the poem would be the horrors of a death without repentance;' unless he supposes repentance, or at least that of a death-bed, to be bothing more than a frightful combination of remorse and despair. We hope he will take pains to instruct himself more perfectly on the subject of repentance, and death-beds. .

Of the original poems we need not give any particular account. Mr. Wheelwright has a respectable share of skill in the business of writing poetry; but we doubt whether he bas capital enough to trade with safety on his own bottom. ; . Art. VI. The Imperial and County Annual Register, for the Year 1810 ;

containing a History of Great Britain, with an ample Collection of State Papers ; the Public and Private Annals of the English Provinces; arranged under the Names of the Counties to which they respectively belong, and divided into Five General Departments, viz. 1. Public Business. 2. Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence. 3. Chronicle. 4. Miscellanies. 5. Biography. Also the Principality of Wales : Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Colonies. Royal 8vo. pp. xxxi. 862. Double Columns. Price 11. 118. 6d. boards,

G. Robinson. 1811. W E noticed the first volume of this entertaining work, in

' our Review for March last; and then suggested a few such alterations in its plan, as were calculated; in our opinion, to render it still more worthy of public approbation. Those suggestions were, of course, too late to be of any use to the editors in preparing the volume now before us. They have, however, considerably enlarged the extent of their compilation, as its new title will evince; while some slighter modifications tend to make it altogether a very acceptable and useful performance. For our own parts we have, if we may so say, again lived over the year 1810, by means of this book; and, if time would permit, should indulge in many speculations occasioned by contrasting the eagerness and vehemence with which we participated in some of the occurrences of twelve months back, and the unruffled calmness with which we now, after so short an interval, peruse accounts of those transactions.

The introductory part of the present volume, which has

ontains a histo most important Parliament. T

wedis posterifacts that this with

grown out of the original plan, occupies about 220 pages, and contains a history of Great Britain for the current year, a collection of the most important state papers, and a summary of general or national acts of Parliament. The histori. cal part is not executed with very great judgement; being made up in great measure of accounts of speeches in Par-, liament, taken verbatim from the newspapers, and duly or. namented with proper notices, whenever the rewas an exclamation of read, read!' or 'hear! hear!' as well as with correct information relative to a class of facts that will doubtless be particularly interesting to posterity ,-namely, whenever the debate was continued till two o'clock in the morning.' (p. 160.)

Indeed, we may observe also with regard to the subsequent parts of the work, that, though in general they merit commendation similar to that which we bestowed upon the volume for 1809, they are notwithstanding in many cases objectionable, on the ground of want of discriminate selection and compression. This cause of complaint occurs most frequently in chronicling the concerns of London, Westminster, and Middlesex. There can be no doubt, for example, that Mr. Quin, Mr. Alderman Wood, Mr. Jacks, Mr. Waithman, &c. &c. are most of them very admirable politicians, very eloquent and impassioned orators, and very worthy citizens in every sense of the term: but really it does seem to us, notwithstanding, that when any one of these gentlemen comes to make a second or a third speech, upon any of the political topics which agitate the minds of men in these days, he so naturally adopts the same maxims, the same general mode of argumentation, the same particular métaphors or anecdotes in illustration of his positions, and, as far as our experience in these momentous matters goes, the same identical words, if not the same scraps of poetry, as he had employed in his maiden address; that it is quite unnecessary to lay before the public more than one exercise of each speaker, to enable it fully to appreciate the relative mental and philosophic stature of the whole of them and at the same time to bestow upon that public all the illumination it can receive from our metropolitan orators.

The editors offend again, in a similar way, with re.. gard to county elections. Every one knows the language in which a candidate for a seat in Parliament shapes his promise: "Should I be so fortunate as to have this disa

tinguished honour conferred on me, I will do my duty to ' the best of my abilities. If the contest grow warm, one party at least declares, no difficulty shall deter ine ' from the defence of your rights. The whig candidate, if VOL. VII.

30

there be one, exhorts the voters to trample on the ve

nomous serpent, which has stung the vital parts of the o constitution. If he loses his election, which is likely enough, he declares in form and manner following: "An ? exposure of some of the instances of influence and ty

ranny, will be my first object. If they do not deter - the enemies of independence from such mal-practices in

future, they will, I hope, encourage others to resist them.' The successful candidate on the other hand, says, ' an " upright and independent discharge of the trust committed into my hands, will, I am assured, be the most acceptable return to you, and best justify the hopes I presume to indulge of obtaining your future confidence.' This magnanimous profession being advertised, and perhaps paid for, he bids farewell to the county till the eve of the next general election. Now, all this occurs so naturally whenever a seat in Parliament is contested, that we conjecture the public would gladly be saved the trouble of reading five or six closely printed columns of letters, (in the account of occurrences in only one county,) relative to matters so perfectly uninteresting, except to the parties concerned at the moment of operation. . Yet, in this way we are entertained with no less than eleven electioneering letters, written by Mr. Houblon, and Mr. Montagu Burgoyne

or their attornies--to be read by the freeholders of Essex. In Cambridgeshire again, the accounts of speeches delivered at an election occupy ten columns: and in Gloucestershire seven columns are employed similarly. Surely the Editors do not intend to pursue this plan, in their register for the year of the approaching general election.

Our only remaining protest is against the method pursued in this volume, with respect to biography. We have before referred to the want of an index to facilitate the reading of this department of the work. We now beg leave to object to the introduction of any memoirs, but those which relate to persons who died within the current year. In the present volume there are, we believe, bear forty biographical sketches; out of which five at least, namely, those of Di. Enfield, Sir William Jones, Lord Rokeby, Jobn Walker, and Michael Bruce, certainly ought not to have been found in the Register for last year. One of these sketches, however, we mean that of Michael Bruce, by Dr. Drake, given in cols. 124-138, Part. II., has awakened such exquisite emotions and furnished such pensive pleasure, by the reperusal of it, that we willingly forgive the editors the anomaly of inserting it in the present volume

« ElőzőTovább »