by the latter, would afford a good subject for a picturesque artist, who had as much grace as Mr. Westall, with more poetry, and less confined by the shackles of mannerism : the knights' ladies, palmers, and children of this artist, are all alike-all formed to the one pretty pattern in his eye, without the least variety by even a distant imitation of any thing in nature.

The Palmer, without sufficient inducement, tells to Ila the story of his woes, which bears much too strong a resemblance to the main subject, besides having the revolting addition that the lady with whom the Palmer had had an intrigue, murdered her illegitimate child ; this circumstance, besides, gives rise to vulgar associations, which do not contribute to its dignity. The Palmer having performed all he was intended to do, viz. to fill up a certain space with an incident, is dismissed by the author at the end of the 4th Canto; and in the 5th, we find Ila arrived at Strevline, and aided by the Abbot of Dumfirmline, who thought " to admire the chief of all Heaven's works was good.” He seems to recognize the silver ring Mador had left with lla, and bastens to the court of the King, where, after praising the damsel's beauty, he declares that she has been wronged by a traitor near the throne.

“ The King was wroth, and rose from off his throne,

Look'd round for flush of guilt, then raised his hand : By this !' said he, “the knight that so hath done

Shail reparation make, or quit the land.

I hold not light the crime, and do command
A full relation.—He who can betray

Such beauty, with false vow, and promise bland.
As lieve will dupe his king in treacherous way.
The ruthless traitor's name, and hers, good Abbot, say.'
" Thou art my generous King ! the Abbot cried,

* And Heaven will bless thee for this just award !
This feeble arm of mine hath erst been tried,
And for the injured has a foeman dared ;

And should the knight your mandate disregard,
Tis old and nerveless now, and small its power,

But all his skill its vengeance shall not ward
Beshrew his heart, but he shall rue the hour;-
The knight is Mador hight, the dame fair lla Moore.'
“ As ever you saw the chambers of the west,

When summer suns bad journey'd to the main,
Now sallow pale, now momently oppress'd

With crimson flusb, the prelude of the rain,

So look'd the King; and stamp'd and scowl'd amain,
To stay the Abbot's speech, who deign'd to heed,

But did, with sharpest acritude, arraign
The low deceit, the doer and the deed,
And lauded much the King for that he had decreed.
“ "I think I know the wight,' the King replied ;

• He is abash'd, and will not own it now;
But my adjudgment shall be ratified,

A King bath vow'd, and must not break his vow.'

Then look'd be round, with smooth deceitful brow,
As he the mark of conscious guilt had seen;

Then with majestic air and motion slow,
Walk'd with the Abbot forth into the green;

But all unknown the strain of converse them between.” In the mean time lla is overtaken by her father, who is in search of his unhappy daughter, and both are conducted to the Priory by the Abbot, where the King, who had resumed his habit of the minstrel Mador, soon arrives, and by repentance reconciles himself to lla, with too much facility to be quite natural, though very convenient to the relation. The whole is wound up in the two following stanzas :

“ Their hands were join'd-a mother's heart was blest!

Her son was christen’d by his Sovereign's name;
In gold and scarlet the young imp was dress'd,

A tiar on his head of curious framc.

But ne'er on earth was seen a minstrel's dame
Shine in such beauty, and such rich array;

An hundred squires, and fifty maidens, came
Riding on palfreys, sporting all the way,
To guard this splendid dame home to her native Tay.
“ Needs not to sing of after joys that fell,

Of years of glory and felicity;
Needs not on time and circumstance to dwell..

All who have heard of maid of low degree,

Hight Ila Moore, up raised in dignity
And rank all other Scottish dames above,

May well conceive how Mador needs must be
And trace the winding mysteries of his love.

To such my tale is told, and such will it approve." A « conclusion” to the poet's harp follows, in which he diffidently anticipates a share of admiration for its strains. A dark allusion seems made to some fair female to whom this poet's songs were formerly addressed; whether Mr. Hogg have or have not been disappointed in that passion which he so warmly describes in the introduction to the third Canto, we know not; but certainly, if we judge from his general reflections upon women dispersed in various parts of this work, he entertains no high admiration for the sex.

“ Distrust her not—even though her means are few,
She will defeat the utmost powers of man;

In strait she never yet distinction drew
"Twixt right and wrong, nor squeamishly began
To calculate, or weigh, save how to gain her plan.”

Canto II. st. 55. “Slander prevails—to woman's longing mind

Sweet as the April blossom to the bee;
Her meal that never palls, but leaves bebind
An appetite still yearning food to see,” &c.

Canto III. st. 9. We do not suppose that Mr. Hogg has had any very extensive experience, and indeed the above and other reflections npon different subjects (which however are but sparingly introduced), are either very common place, or the sentiment is copied from other writers. If Ila be considered at all as an abstract representative, her sex will have no reason to complain ; and even in the height of his reproof, he does females the same justice they received from Ariosto more than three hundred years ago :

Molti consigli delle donne sono

Meglio improviso, che a pensarvi usciti ;
Che questo e speciale, e proprio dono

Fra tanti, e tanti lor dal ciel largiti.
Ma può mal quel degli uomini esser buono,

Che maturo discorso non aiti ;
Ove non s'abbia a ruminarvi sopra
Speso alcun tempo, e molto studio, ed opra." -

Ó: F: Canto xxvii. The stanza selected by Mr. Hogg, as our readers will perceive, is that modification of the Italian octave, the use of which, however inconvenient and ill-suited to our tongue, was consecrated by Spenser. It has since been often employed by our poets, and never with greater beauty than by Thomson in his Castle of Indolence. Dr. Beattie, another countryman of Mr. Hogg, was not so successful, resorting to unpleasant invertions and distortions for the sake of the rhime, in which he was not aided by the adoption of any

antiquated or obsolete words. Mr. Hogg has however introduced, at a shift now and then, a term purely Scottish; but we cannot fairly congratulate him either upon the choice of his stanza, or the manner in which he has at all times produced it: as a native of Scotland, probably not very well acquainted with our literature, he could not be supposed to possess that wide and perfect knowledge of the language which such a reduplication of sounds requires. It is however to be observed, that the recent study of our elder and better poets, has given more liberty in the art of rhiming than was possessed at any period since the systematic times of Pope and Addison.

Art. IV.- Narrative of Ten Years' Residence at Tripoli, in

Africa; from the Original Correspondence in the possession of the Family of the late RICHARD TULLY, Esq. the British Consul, &c. London, Henry Colburn, 1816,

4to. Pp. 370. Some French writers have of late worked themselves into a state of high fermentation against the states on the northern coast of Africa. It does not appear that the Algerines or Tunisians have been peculiarly active in their piratical depredations within the last two or three months, or that they have treated the Christian slaves in their possession with unusual severity within that period; but continental storms having settled into a calm, and no other great events having occurred to occupy attention otherwise, it has naturally been turned to that quarter where, for a long series of years, silent aggressions of the most atrocious nature have been made and continued upon the establishments of civilized society.

There is, as might be expected, a party in France who contend that England has exercised an undue influence, in compelling Louis XVIII. to abandon the Negro slavetrade; that this country, with a sort of national Quixotism, has been setting herself up to assert rights, and to redress injuries, while, in fact, she has been pursuing her own particular interests; and that having some time ago abolished the traffic in blacks herself, it became very important to the success of her commercial concerns that other nations should put theinselves under similar disadvantages. Having accomplished her designs in this respect, on the broad principles of humanity, the same party have been very vehement in urging against her the more imperious duty of patting an end to the traffic in white slaves, conducted to a great extent by the states of Barbary. Many pamphlets have been circulated abroad, urging this topic, and enforcing it by exaggerated descriptions of the miseries endured by the unhappy captives on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Into this political question we are not about to enter, not only because it has been already pretty much exhausted in the ordinary vehicles for such opinions, but because we apprehend it does not come within the proper sphere of our duty. The discussion, however, has more than usually directed public curiosity to the acquisition of information upon the manners, customs, and practices, of some barba. rous governments, until now little known in detail, but whose proverbial tyranny and cruelty had frequently formed bases of romance-giving the writer a wide range for his fancy in the description of scenes which comparatively few had visited, and of which still fewer bad communicated any particulars.

The principal value of the work before us is derived from the authenticity that may fairly be attached to its statements. They are contained in a series of letters, written by the sister of the British consul at Tripoli, during her residence at that port from July, 1785 to November, 1793– a period not exceeding seven years, though a single and a short letter is subjoined, bearing date in 1795, in order to complete the ten years stated in the title-page. We certainly cannot bestow great praise upon the general style in which these letters are written, though it is not unobvious that they were originally composed with a view to publication : at least, however, in the language of the preface, they are “artless,” (with one or two exceptions, where an attempt is made to work up a narrative,) and some of them are “lively;” and if they are now and then a little ostentatious, we do not attribute it to the lady from whose pen they proceeded. The defects of a work of this kind speak sometimes highly in its favour, and dispose us to give the more credit to the facts communicated; even if they be given with little of the arrangement which would enable us to understand better their connection between themselves, and their relation to their consequences.

During the residence of the author at Tripoli, particularly during the latter part of her stay, many political events and changes occurred in the government, the notice of which occupies a considerable portion of the volume.

« ElőzőTovább »