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We almost imagine we perceive in the above little poem fome marks of the style and sentiment of a former Lord Lyttelton. What, in some measure, favours our conjecture, is, that we find nothing in the present collection that bears any resemblance to it.
Beside the pieces already taken notice of, there is a tolerable imitation of the first. Elegy of Tibullus. The remaining part of the poems we pass over as, in general, poor, contemptible, and vulgar.
Prefixed to this collection, is an apology for its noble Au. thor, by a Gentleman who had been his intimate companion many years. From this intimate companion we learn, that no man ever experienced more illiberality; few men deserved it lefs.' And speaking of the obloquy and reproaches which his Lordfhip met with for his licentious and unprincipled conduct with respect to women, this Apologist adds, there is no situation in life which will admit of an avowed contempt of vulgar prejudices.' We think this friend had acted more judiciousy had he passed over his Lordship's vices in silence, than thus by a feeble an ineffectual effort to excuse them, be the means of keeping up the memory of what, it might be hoped, would foon have been loft in oblivion.
ART. VII. Letters on Patriotism. Translated from the French Origi-
The letters which accompany this, are at present read with the greatest avidity throughout Germany; they were lately published at this place in French, and are the production of our great northern hero.
“ You will give the translation of them to the Public in whatever form you please. At this period, every incitement to patriotism is laudable; though the general conduct of your nation, which lias juftly excited the admiration of the world (I mean the general proofs of patriotism), sufficiently thew how little such incitements are wanted.
“ In the translation, I am apprehensive, some traces may be disa covered of a pen disused in its native language; bat however it may fall thort of the beautiful simplicity and spirit of the original, I bélieve it will be found no unfaithful copy of the illustrious Author's meaning."
The above extract affords, in general, a pretty just account of the work before us.
As to the authenticity of the Letters, we are disposed to beJieve them genuine, when we view them in connexion with the other productions of the royal Author ; but if we compare the generous, humane, and patriotic sentiments contained in the
present work, with the life and actions of his
PnMwe fall find as little reason, perhaps, to ascribe it to him as to any other person in his dominions.
The Letters are supposed to pass between Anapislæmon* and Philopatros ; the former of whom is instructed by the latter, in the duties which he owes to his country. These duties are enforced by every consideration (excepting those of RELIGION and LIBERTY) that can influence the minds of men. It is not in republics only that the virtues of the citizen ought to prevail.
• Good monarchies, founded on principles of prudence and phi. lanthropy, conftitute in our times a lpecies of government approaching much more to arittocracy than to desporism ; in fact, it is the Laws only that reign in such a government.
• Let us consider this matter a little :-If we reckon up the persons who have a share in the several councils, in the administration of justice, in the finances, in foreign missions, in commerce, in the army, in the interior police of the nation ; add moreover all those who have yotes in the provinces ; all these in some degree partake of the sovereign authority. The Prince, in fuch a ftate, is far from a despotic and arbitrary governor, acting only from his caprice; be is only the central point in which all the radii of the circle concur. In this form of government only, it is posible for deliberations to bentanaged with a secrecy unattainable in republics, and for the different branches of administration to proceed, like the quadrige of the Romans, marching abreast, and concurring equally to the general welfare. If the Prince is endued with firmness, there will be much less room for faction than in republics, which are so often Tuined and subverted by the iniquitous intrigues and confederacies of the citizens against each other.'
The Author, personating the Mother Country, sums up, in a few words, the principal arguments employed in the course of the work :
“ Ah! ye degenerate and ungrateful children, indebted to me for your existence, will ye for ever remain infenfible of the favours which I heap upon you ? Whence are your ancestors ? It is I who gave them birth.- Whence did ye both receive your nourishment? From my inexhaustible fecundity; they were indebted to me for their education ; their estates and poffefsions are my ground, my soil. Ye yourselves were created in my womb; in Thort, ye, your parents, your friends, and whatever is deareft to you in this world, it is I who gave them being. My tribunals of justice protee you against iniquity; they defend and vindicate your rights; they guard your poffeffions; the policy which I established, watches for your safety ; when ye walk the town, or ramble the fields, ye are equally secure againit the surprise of thieves, and against the dagger of affaflins ;
* We leave it to our learned Readers to determine whether it is from ignorance of the Greek that the second and fourth syllables of the word alluded to, are erroneoully written throughout.
and the troops which I support, protect you against the violence, rapacity, and invasion of our common enemies. I not only provide againlt your neceflity, but my care extends even to the case and convenience of your lives. If ye are desirous of inftruction, ye will find afters of every kind; if desirous of rendering yourselves useful,
al and employments are waiting for you; are you infirm or un. fortunate, my affection has provided succour, and prepared affift. ance : and for all the favours which I daily lavih upon you, I demand no other acknowledgment, than that ye entertain a cordial affection for your fellow-citizens, and interest yourselves with a lincere attachment in whatever may be of advantage to chem.-They are my members; they are myself; ye cannot bear any affecion for them without loving me.- But your obdurate and in actable hearts despise the value of my favours; ye fuffer yourselves to be directed by an unruly madness; ye are desirous of living separate and abAtracted from Society, and of breaking the ties which ought to bind you to me. When your country is ftraining every nerve for your benefit, will ye do nothing for her?-Rebellious againft all my care and anxiety, deaf to all my representations, will nothing be able to foften or more your flinty hearts ? Reflect- let the advantages your parents have enjoyed melt you! Let your duty and your gratitude unite! Let your future conduct towards me be such as viriue shall dictate, and my care for your glory and honour demand.”
Anapiftæmon, with the humble deference due to the royal Instructor, yields a ready assent to the force of this eloquence. But in a country of Liberty it would not, perhaps, bave been so easy to convince him. It is possible he would have returned a manly, though respectful answer to the artful demands of his sovereign. “ You require,” might he reply, “ my gratitude, my services, my fortune, my life itself, in retura for the favours which you confer on me.
But it is necessary first to examine whether these favours merit so great a sacrifice. "The troops which you support, protect me against the violence, rapacity, and invasion of our common enemies.' You forget that these enemies have been created by your ambition ; and that it is only on your account I have the smallest reason to fear their resentment. The laws of my country defend me against afaffins :' but so will the laws of every civilised country upon earth. The same may be said of the other boasted advantages which I derive from her. They are such as I may every where enjoy as a stranger, without laying myself under any buidenfome obligations. If my country would deserve my peculiar gratitude and regard, she must distinguish me by peculiar favours. I mean not that she is to prefer me to my fellow-citizens; but she must make me feel the distinction between citizen and stranger. She must give me a constitutional weight in the establishing, as well as in the administration of those laws which defend my life, liberty, and fortune. Under their influence I must feel my own rights, and the rights of those who are dear to me, more safe and secure in my native country,
than they would be in any other upon earth. Unaccompanied
Theatre-Royalin Covent Garden. By the Author of Percy. 8vo.
tial to excellence in dramatic poetry, that it would be unnatural, even for obdurate critics, not to be anxious for her fuccess. She is, we think, a pupil, and no mean proficient, in the school of Otway. Many passages in this tragedy remind us of their source in the plays of the Orphan, and Venice Pree served. Like 'her great master, though in an inferior degree, Me is endowed with a facility of expreffion, and tenderness of sentiment. But she does not follow him with equal success in the delineation and preservation of character, in the management of particular incidents, or the general construction of the fable.
Her failure in these circumstances is, perhaps, in great measure owing to that very rich and easy vein, of which we grant she is poffessed. Trusting to the rapidity of her execution, the begins to “ build the lofty rhime,” before she has well laid the foundation. A good tragedy, or indeed any excellent production, is a work of exquisite art, as well as genius; which might be proved not only from common sense, but even from the works of Shakspeare, whose example has been so often cited in support of the contrary doctrine. To the want of attention to this art, Horace ascribes the defects of the Roman dramatists, to whom he imputes no defect of natural talent for tragedy, The same thing may, perhaps, be truly said of many an Englith writer, whose plays have failed on the stage, merely from an abuse of talent in the closet :
spirat tragicum fatis, & feliciter audet, Sed turpem putat in fcriptis, metuitque lituram. Aristotle has juftly determined that perfect characters are less adapted to tragedy, than such whose good qualities are tinged wiin some frailties: but those frailties Thould appear to be congenial, if we may so term it, with their virtues. Macbeth is ambitious, yet " what he would highly, that would he holily. ” His ambition prevails, yet his veneration for fanctity is never lott, nor can even the most horrid deeds of desperation and cruelty aflimilate Macbeth to the remorseless Richard. The Fatal Falsehood is radically defective in this respect. Such a
* Hannah More.
man as Orlando, open, noble, generous, and sensible, could never be guilty of such a falsehood as that on which the distress of this tragedy is founded--a falsehood commencing in the most capricious perfidy, proceeding to the basest treachery, and ending in the supposed affaflįnation of his dearest friend.
To the truth of this representation let our Authoress herself bear witness ! Early in the play, Bertrand thus , describes Orlando; and it seems to be the idea the Poet herself withes us to entertain of his natural character :
As charm all womankind, Such is the original draught of Orlando at the opening of the play; but before the conclusion of the first Ad she gives us his picture drawn by his own hand : Orlando. Thou know'tt I left my native Italy,
Directed hither by the noble Rivers,
Sav'd my devoted life, and won my soul.
Or whether peaceful scenes, and rural Thades,
'Twas reason, 'cwas persuasion, nay 'twas love.
Oh! too soon she came,
Forgot my faith, my friendship, and my honour. The complicated bareness of this conduct we think we may venture to pronounce unnatural in a man naturally good, though occasionally blinded by paflion. Inconstancy is not supposed K4