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Art. 34. Poems, chiefly descriptive of the softer and more delicate
Sensations and Emotions of the Heart; original and translated, or imitated from the works of Gesner. By Robert Fellowes, A.M, Oxon. 12mo. 45. 6d. Boardı. Mawman.
Some persons will probably be not a little surprised at seeing a grave divine, who has been recently occupied on the sombre subject of Death., now employed in
“ Sporting with Amaryllis in the shade
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair;"! (Milton.) but Mr. Fellowes perhaps would say that, while life continues, whether for a longer or a shorter date, it is wise to sweeten it with love; and that he is sanctioned by the example of Horace, who urges the circumstance of Death as a motive for losing no time in cultivating the soft emotions of the heart. In our court, Mr. F. will not be asked to give a reason for being in love, or for expressing his passion in numbers: we shall not object to his endeavours to enliven his pure suits by cultivating poetry but he must forgive us if we express our concern at discovering that the dancing Muse is not so propitious to his fame as the sedate matron Theology. From bloated and unnatural phraseology,' his pieces are certainly free, and so also are those of Sternhold and Hopkins : but Mr. F. seems to have forgotten a maxim of Horace, ' In vitium ducit culpæ fuga, si caret artę.” It is not sufficient to constitute good poetry that the writer avoids the extremes of affectation and bombast ; he must also shun with equal care those of tameness and negligence. Verse should be elevated above prose both in thought and expression ; while it ought not to be stiff and inflated, it should be elegant and polished; and it is not a sufficient apology for a prosaic and drawling rhimer, that it has been his aim to be natural and easy. When lines creep along on monosyl. labic feet, when the natural construction is inverted for the sake of the metre, and when, in what is called poetry, neither grace nor effect is manifested, we cannot suspend the task of criticism because the writer has not been guilty of bloated phraseology.' We had not sead many pages before we saw that Mr. F.'s ideas of poetry were yery unlike our own; and, as we proceeded, our dissatisfaction in. creased. Few ballad verses are, we believe, inferior to the following:
• With less of care my days have flow'd,
More joy'd I've travellid on life's road.'
Her smiles with rapture sees,
Thee not to kiss ! 'tis past my power.
• To thee this vase I vow, if thou'lt agree,
What I for Mary feel to make her feel for me.' In the longest poem of the collection, intitled, “The first seaman, or Love teaching the art of Navigation, which, as bordering on the Epic, claims some majesty of verse, the same ease appears as in the smaller poems. Take these couplets as specimens ;
• With patient skill I'll scoop the hollow tree
Till it is capable of holding me.'
Shap'd by his art, a boat began to be.'
lo such a crazy baik to put to sea.'
The hollow trunk that brought me safe to thee.' Mr. F. assumes to himselt the merit of having been studious of perspicuity : but, if he has not embarrassed the reader by the sesquipedalia verba, he obliges him to think twice to find the meaning of his inverted language. The couplet,
• Does not the tamest sheep which I
Rejoice with me than with his fellows less,' is not a more striking instance of words transposed from their natural order, for the sake of the verse, than the line
" And he will me home take" in Sternhold's and Hopkins's version of the Psalms.
• The virtuous, when the virtuous love,
That love is form'd to last.' Here Mr. F. has begun a sentence, but, not having finished it, the lines are incapable of construction.
The Elegy, in which the author takes a glance at his personal situation, interested us in the perusal, though the last lines of the 5th and 15th stanzas are very imperfect. We transcribe two stanzas ;
• For he, whom Nature with fine taste befriends,
Who, sensitive to beauty's impulse glows,
His is the landscape wheresoc'er he goes.
Treach'ry has pierc'd me with her barbed dart;
A balmy softness steals o'er all my heart.'
The version of the French triolet, p. 52. is rendered incomplete by the omission of the Name.
His objections to the election of Lord Percy for Westmin. ster proceed therefore on public principles. He tells the Electors that the nobleman whom they have lately chosen cannot represent their class, their habits, or their opinions; that he cannot enter into their feelings; and that, in a contest between the Aristocracy and the People, he must inevitably take part against the latter. They are called likewise to consider, in the present state of the representation, when Peers and rich commoners have so preponderating an infuence in the return of members to serve in the lower House of Parliament, whether any truly constitutional man can espouse a system which must decidedly add to that preponderance, and in fact convert the House of Commons into a representation not of the people but of the Peers.
At a General Election, these reflections are not unworthy of notice : but we observe with concern that constitutional principles are daily going out of fashion ; and because the French have abused the name of Liberty, many. Britons seem inclined to relinquish those sound maxims which were venerated by their ancestors, and without which this country could never have become the admiration of the world. Independent Electors, if truly solicitous of obtaining a House of Commons which shall fairly represent the people of Eng. land and zealously watch over their liberties, should display a sacred veneration for the principles of the Constitution, when they are required to exercise their franchise. ---As men of talents and vigor of mind are not always rich, and capable of standing a contest, Mr. M. recommends the establishment of an Election Fund.
9s. Boards. Asperne. 1886.
Eeq. M. A. F. A. S. Royal 8vo.' 105. 6d. Boards. Longman
and Co. 1806 - The memoirs of a child who never completed his seventh year must be regarded as a curiosity of literature ; and the enthusiasm of the
parent biographer, who proudly displays the traits of this prodigy of genius, can be no matter of surprise. Thomas Williams Malkin, who was born Oct. 13, 1795, and died July 31, 1802, was indeed a most uncommon child ; for, according to the facts here stated, the faculties of bis mind rapidly expanded at an age when the germs of intellect scarcely appear. That a boy at six years of age should write correctly, sketch designs with his pencil, form an imaginary country (another Utopia) in his mind, draw the map of it, with the names (all of his own invention) of its cities, rivers, lakes, islands, &c. write a kind of history of it, and even attempt the formation of its language; that he should compose poetry, fables, and tales, and undertake dramatic composition ;-are incidents of infantine history, which others besides a parent must contemplate with astonishment; bot we are not sure that this precocity of genius is desirable ; nor that this exbibition of it is likely to do any good, unless the melancholy termination of the tale should teach parents, instead of being solicitous for premature mental improvement in their children, to study to give them that vigour of constitution which is essential to their attainment of manhood.
We could have wished that Mr. Malkin had composed these memoirs with more simplicity. He flatters himself that he has waited till his passions are cool: but liis readers will perceive that his ardor is not sufficiently chastised by judgment. When he tells us that his child, at five years of age, understood the English language with critical precision, could he hope to escape from being suspectedof hyperbole; or do any of the specimens, astonishing as they are, bear him out in this assertion? His remarks on the psalm and litile prayers inserted at p. 48 and 49, are also instances of extravagant eulogy:
In the long dedication to Mr. Johnes of Hafod, a biographical notice is inserted of Mr. William Blake the artist, with some selections from his poems, which are highly extolled: but if · Watts seldom rose above the level of a mere versifier,' in what class must we place Mr. Blake, who is certainly very inferior to Dr. Watts ?
MISCELLANEOUS. Art. 38. Brookiana. 2 Vols. Crown 8vo. 103. 6d. R. Phillips. · In some general remarks, which we have on former occasions offered to the public respecting the merits of publications bearing the denomination of ana, we expressed our disapprobation of the plan of anatomizing the works of great men, and picking and culling such portions as the literary caterer thinks will form a palatable dish for the community. If, however, instead of melting down the rich ore of a good author, an Editor takes the pains to collect a miscellaneous fund of information respecting such a writer, his literary and domestic friends, his family connexions, his place of residence and pur. suits in life, &c. &c. such a miscellany is calculated to furnish very useful and interesting amusement, and is a very agreeable mode of perpetuating the memory and memoirs of men who deserve to live in the remembrance of posterity. As the compiler of these volumes of Brookiana has adopted this latter plan, we have pleasure in patronizing his labors and recommending them to general notice. In such
a variety a variety of amusing anecdotes, letters, and extracts, from different quarters relating to Mr. Brooke, it would be difficult for us to select portions for our readers without embracing a wider scope than our limits allow; and we have no doubt that those, who have read the Fool of Quality, the tragedy of Gustavus Vasa, or some other of the various productions of Mr. Brooke, will take a pleasure in perusing this collection of papers, and not be satisfied with such specimens as we might be able to introduce into a corner of our Review.- In the mean time, as some of our readers may wish for a little acquaintance with Mr. Brooke and his family circle, we shall present them with a letter from one of his friends, describing his residence and domestic habits at Corfoddy in Ireland :
• When I came within six or seven miles of Mr. Brooke's, I was afraid I should mistake my way in such a wild part of the country, so that I asked almost every one I met, man, woman, and child, “ Ís this the road to Corfoddy ?' every one knew Mr. Brooke, every one praised him, and wished he might live for-ever. As I knew that the author of Gustavus Vasa had written a great deal in praise of agriculture, I expected, of course, as I approached his house, that I should find it
“ Bosom'd high in tufted trees ;” that his hedges would be covered with flaunting honey suckle ; that I should find his garden a second Eden, and that his grotto would exceed Calypso's fabled one. To tell you the truth, I never was so disappointed in my life; not a tree on the whole road to shelter the tra. veller from a shower; not a hedge to be seen; and the way so bad, that I am sure it must be impassable in the winter. His house stands on a barren spot, and the only improvement. I could see, a little garden in the front, shaded with a few half-starved elms, that seem rather to have been planted by chance than design. I was told that he had just walked out; and, as it was uncertain which way he went, the old nian that took my horse advised me to stay till his return, as he was sure his master would not be long out, as he heard him say that he had a great deal to do that day. I took his advice ;-I was led into the library by an old woman, who told me there was pen, ink, and paper, if I wished to write, and that she would be very happy if I would accept of any refreshment after my journey. The library was small, but well-furnished with the best English and Roman Classics, and a small shelf of the most pious books in our language, such as the works of the author of the “ Whole Duty of Man,' Watts's, and the works of Bishop Kenn, with the following distich on the fly-Icaf, in a neat female hand, probably by Mr. Brookc's mother:
" My son, peruse the works of pious Kenn,
The best of bishops, and the best of men. ! I was charmed with the manner in which he received me. I was scarce half an hour in conversation with him, when I found I could trace him in all his writings. He was dressed in a long blue cloak, with a wig that fell down his shoulders, a little man, as neat as wax work; with an oval face, ruddy complexion, and large eyes,