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Mr. D’Israeli is far enough indeed from being a rigid moralist; he is evidently, to use his own expression, a man of sen
sation,' whose law is impulse, and whose God is the world. Art. XII. Modern Greece. A Poem, 8vo. pp. 67. London, 1817. THIS is not to be passed over among the neatly sewed and
well covered pamphlets, that are every now and then put forth under the protection of the Albemarle-street publisher. It is the production of a man of genuine talent apd feeling. The subject is not new : we anticipate the train of thought inevitably suggested to the miod of the poet. Lord Byron has in a few powerful stanzas told us the whole tale of Modern Greece, and laid the exanimate corpse of its fallen grandeur before us. All that a subsequent writer could do, was to pronounce the oraison funébre, relying upon the eluquence of verse to impart a sustained interest to the simple and obvious reflections appropriate to the theme. The present poem, is in fact, nothing more than a single and familiar thought newly set to a richly ornamental harmony. It extends to a hundred and one stanzas, unrelieved by incident, a continuous stream of descriptive poetry. The effect of this upon the reader, as a whole, will depend upon how long his mind can hold breath; but we shall bave no difficulty in extracting passages of impressive beauty.
Chateaubriand mentions the emigration of the natives of the Morea to different parts of Asia, and even to the woods of Florida. • Vain hope ! he exclaims, the exile finds pachas and 6 cadis in the sands of Jordan and in the deserts of Palmyra.' The Author has turned this thought to a good advantage.
6 Lo! to the scenes of fiction's wildest tales,
And the sad wanderer finds but lawless foes,
• But thou, fair world! whose fresh unsullied charms
Yes! thou hast many a lone, majestic scene,
• There, by some lake, whose blue expansive breast
So deeply lone, that round the wild retreat
The green savannas, and the mighty waves ;
And from those green arcades a thousand tones
Th' eternal torrent, and the giant tree,
• But doth the exile's heart serenely there
That coldly smiles midst pleasure's brightest ray,
Though thought and step in western wilds be free,
The deserts spread between, the billows foam, Thou, distant and in chains, art yet his spirit's home.' pp. 6—10. In the following passage, the traosition from the degraded and degrading empire of the Turkish sovereigns of Greece, to the romantic era of the Caliphate, is very happily introduced. After comparing the column of the mosque rising amid the landscape a landmark of slavery,' to the dark upas tree, the poet exclaims :
• Far other influence pour'd the Crescent's light,
Light, splendid, wild, as some Arabian tale
· Then foster'd genius lent each Caliph's throne
And the wild Muses breathed romantic lore,
• Those years have past in radiance-they have past,
. Where now thy shrines, Eleusis! where thy fane,
And oh! ye secret and terrific powers,
How long your power the awe-struck nations sway'd,
• And say, what marvel, in those early days,
And mortals heard fate's language in the blast,
• Thebes, Corinth, Argos !-ye, renown'd of old,
Search for the classic fane, the regal tomb, And find the mosque alone-a record of their doom !' Some of the most spirited stavzas in the poem are those which contain the apostrophe to Athens. The Elgin marbles, which are described with not less correctness and skill than enthusiasm, naturally lead the poet to advert to the influence which the study of these works is adapted to have upon our own artists, and he calls upon England, in conclusion, to be what Athens e'er has been.'
Art. XII. The Arctic Expeditions. A Poem. By Miss Porden. 8vo.
pp. 30. 1818. W E should have noticed this poem before. Perused imme
diately after the very able and delightful article' in the Quarterly Review, which to a subject half-science, half speculation, succeeded in communicating the illusive interest of romance and the reality of history, it would have accorded well with the reader's feelings. But now, alas! the Expeditions have returned, and the day-dream is ended! Lost Greenland is
VOL. X. N. S.
not found, and Baffin's Bay may still be written Bay by our geographers. What is worse, the predictions of the Quarterly Reviewers have failed to do credit to their weather-wisdom: instead of the chill and wintry season with which they threatened us, we have had a summer of more than ordinary fertility and pleasantness. Our corn-fields, our orchards, and our hopgrounds have teemed with wealth and luxury; but as to our vines, which, we were told, are, some of these days, to flourish again as they did in the time of our ancestors, the emigrant icebergs have not travelled southward far enough, or the polar barrier has not been sufficiently broken up, to admit of our having that gratification as yet, Devon and Hereford are again flowing with cider, Scotland may boast of her John Barleycorn, and the honest Cambrian may rejoice over his Cwrw ; but we citizens must still be content, as heretofore, to be indebted for our port and our raisins to the Dons, and to make up the deficiency of better articles, with currant juice and malt wide. The hope of once more realizing the descriptions of spring given by our elder poets, is now again indefinitely deferred, and those who wish to descant on the vernal beauties of the Queen of the Seasons, must, as we apprehend they did, catch the echo of Greek or Roman strains, and clothe with the charms of Arcadian or Sicilian skies, the cold and capricious clime of a higher latitude.
We regret, we say, that we have deferred our notice of Miss Porden's version of the pleasant soothsayings of the Secretary to the Admiralty, till they have lost much of their effect, or rather, till they have acquired the power of exciting a different effect from what they were intended to produce. This is not the fault of the poetess, who has managed her subject secundum artem, and discovers no small skill in versification. Her production may still claim to rank with any of the prize-poems that either Oxford or Cambridge are accustomed to furnish; and if she might without fear enter the lists in competing for the laurel wreath, the Notes to the present poem, not less than those append. ed to her former production, discover an ambition of sciențific attainments. We think that the lectures at the Royal Institution, to which Miss Porden refers, are proved by the present instance, to be of no small service to the Public.
Without further preface, we shall proceed to lay before our readers a specimen of the poem itself, as the best metbod now left us, of apologizing for our unfortunate dilatoriness. Adopting the chimerical expectation of discovering the lost colony on the eastern coast of Greenland, the Author exclaims: