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teresting and very unfortunate woman, Mrs. Woolstonecroft. It has always appeared to us from the perusal of her beautiful and pathetic letters to Inlay, that it was the ardour and strength of her attachment which oppressed him, and alienated him entirely from her. We know not whether he is still alive, but if he were, he would probably bear his testimony to the truth of the following representation.Adolphe being wounded in a duel which he fought in resentment of an affront cast upon his mistress, her love manifests itself in all its force, and he thus expresses the strength of his passion :-" Affection overcame me; I was torn by remorse. I wished to find in myself what could re. ward an attachment so constant and tender. I called to my aid recollection, imagination, even reason and a sense of duty. Useless efforts ? The difficulty of our situation; the certainty of a future separation; perhaps too an inexplicable repugnance to a tie I was unable to break—all internally tormented me. I reproached myself with ingratitude; I laboured to conceal from her I was in affliction when she appeared to doubt of a love which was so necessary to her : I was not less unhappy when she seemed to believe in it. I felt that she was better than myself, I despised myself for being unworthy of her. It is a dreadful evil not to meet with a return of love ; but it is a much greater evil to be beloved without the power of returning it. The life which I had risked for Elénore I would a thousand times have sacrificed to render her happy without me."
In a critical postscript and preface our author bears tes. timony to the wretchedness inevitably consequent on such a connection as that of Adolphe with Elénore. “ I have exbibited him," says he,“ because he loved but feebly; he would not have been less miserable had he loved her more. He suffered through her from want of feeling; with a stronger passion he would have suffered for her. The scornful and reproachful world would have shed its poison over an affection which its laws had not sanctioned, and happiness requires that such ties should not be formed. When the career is opened, there is but a choice of evils."
Art. III.—The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale,
By Robert Souther, Esq. Poet Laureate, Member of • the Spanish Academy, 8c. London, for Longman and
Co. 1816, 12mo. Pp. 77. All who read Mr. Southey's productions must allow that there has seldom appeared a poet who possessed more facility of composition; not that sort of facility which Mr. Samuel Rogers seems to enjoy in the smoothness of his versification, and which Waller (a poet very much of the same school) says in fact costs a man more labour than the polishing of a diamond, but an easy flow of language that originates in a long habit of writing. The list of poetical productions annexed to this volume independent of his labours, when as he expresses, he “ patient pursued the historian's task severe,” may well induce us to believe that Mr. Southey writes currente calamo, and, as his friends report, that besides his other occupations, he regularly emits forty lines every morning before breakfast. The necessary consequence is, however, that deep thinking, profound remark upon the actions and motives of men, the result of the patient revolving and assorting of ideas in the mind, are in a great degree excluded, and we have little else but the superficies of things presented to us. Mr. Southey is like the sea-fowl which glides a few feet above the surface of the waters with eye-fatiguing velocity, now and then stooping to pick up its small finny prey, betrayed by the glittering of the sun upon its scaly sides, but never diving down to the sunless recesses of the ocean to survey wonders hidden since the creation of the world.
This is peculiarly the case with the Carmen Nuptiale, though it is more to be excused because the subject was of a temporary nature and required dispatch in the execution. We do not apprehend that its author wishes to rest either his poetical, or his political fame upon productions of this adulatory kind; as Milton asserted when writing against royalty, so Mr. Southey may perhaps say when writing in its favour, “I never was so thirsty after fame, nor so destitute of other hopes and means, better and more certain to attain it." *
Nevertheless in several parts of the poem before us, the author has expressed confident hopes, almost an assured certainty of immortality :
• Preface to Eiconoclastes.
“ Thus in the ages which are past I live,
And those which are to come my sure reward will give," are two lines from the very beginning, and in the last stanza but two he vaunts
“ The amaranthine garland which I bring
Shall keep its verdure through all after hours;
So long this garland shall its fragrance give.” These are pretty positive anticipations of the future, and to a certain extent they will no doubt be realized. We once thought that it would be a curious, and in some respects a useful task, to select from the works of celebrated writers those passages in which, speaking of themselves they prognosticated their coming fame : we had made a few extracts for this purpose from noted poets, beginning with the wellknown conviction of Milton, before he commenced his Paradise Lost, that he should live to complete 6 something which the world would not willingly let die," and the passage we have above quoted, when we met with the Memoirs of Mr. Perceval Stockdale; in these, as a matter about which posterity would be extremely anxious, he informs us of the precise spot where he stood when he wrote the lines upon a lady's Goldfinch: we threw our papers immediately into the fire, ashamed of our slow conviction that these anticipations were in fact common to all authors; the difference being that with the weak and vain it was a mere idle hallucination, a mistake of the will for the power, while with the great and excellent, it was a clear perception of future admiration, when the slow advance of knowledge rendered the age capable of appreciating their productions. Among the latter we are , anxious to runk the above and some subsequent quotations from the Lay of the Laureate.”
To advert more particularly to this poem, we confess that when first the title caught our eye in its ostentacious black letter, we really imagined that it was a satire upon Mr. Southey, until by what followed we, were informed that it was a dutiful tribute from the Laureate upon the late marriage of the Princess Charlotte : but proceeding beyond the first page or two we found that if it were a Carmen Nuptiale, as applied to her Royal Highness, it was a sort of Carmen Triumphale as applied to Mr. Southey, for quite as much of it is occupied with himself as with the event proposed to be celebrated. The proem and the epilogue are exclusively filled with various pieces of intelligence respecting the au
Crit. Rev. Vol. IV. July, 1818.
thor's literary achievements, very well written, but not very closely connected with the main subject, or rather, with what ought to have been the main subject. The reader shall judge; the work thus opens :
“ There was a time when all my youthful thought
Was of the Muse; and of the Poet's fame,
Alone enduring, when the Monarch's name
Was then my daily care, my dream by night;
My spirit imped her wings for stronger flight:
Thou whom rich Nature at thy happy birth
That Heaven indulges to a child of Earth,--
All low desires, all empty vanities;
The applause or censure of the herd despise;
Jostling and moiling on through dust and heat;
Take thou content in solitude thy seat;
Thus taught me what to seek and what to shun;
Appointing me my better course to run
A little further on, Mr. Southey in somewhat of a boastful strain adverts to his “ laureate crown," and replies with rancour to those who on his acceptance of it accused him of political rather than of poetical incapacity to the servile duties it was said to impose.
“ Yea in this now, while Malice frets her hour,
Is foretaste given me of that meed divine;
The friendship of the good and wise is mine;
My master dear, divinest Spenser wore,
Which thoughtful Ben and gentle Daniel bore,-
In honour it was given, with honour it is worn!" In this enumeration Mr. Southey carefully omits those later Laureates, whose only wreath was that which royalty gave; who brought the office into deserved contempt, from which its present possessor promises to rescue it, though he may not perhaps be able to raise it to the rank it held in the time of “ his master dear, divinest Spencer.” We know not, as we observed on a former occasion (Vol. Ill. p. 476) by what title Mr Southey claims the honour of calling himself the pupil of Spencer. Lydgate Gower and Höccleve, if we mistake not, speak of “their majster Chaucer,” but they had the opportunity of personal converse, of drinking from the 6 well of English' undefiled,” and yet one of them has the modesty to say that he had “ leered full lite or nought.”* Mr. Southey however repeatedly assert's his right to call Spencer his master, without any such diffi. dence; and if he means merely that he is a humble follower of that great poet in the office he holds, we have only to complain that he does not express himself more distinctly."
The 66 Lay of the Laureate," like the second part of the “ Pilgrimage to Waterloo," claims the rank of an allegorical poem; and notwithstanding their author's vaunted admiration for his “ master dear,” if we are not much mistaken, they are the only pieces of that description that have proceeded from the pen of Mr. Southey. "We might presume, therefore, it is only very lately that Spencer has become his master dear;" yet in another part of the Proem he is careful to tell us,
“ But then my Master dear arose to mind,
He on whose song while yet I was a boy,
* Vide Speght's Life of Chaucer, 1598.