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Picturefque Poetry. Confiling of Poems, Odes, and Elegies, on various Subjes. By the rev. J. Teafdale. 80. 2s. 6d. Ro
Thefe poems are chiefly defcriptive. The images, though feldom new, are delineated in a pleating manner; and the reflections, though fometimes trite, are in general juft, and well applied. A performance entitled DAY, confifting of three parts, MORNING, NOON, and EVENING, pleates us as well as any in the collection, of which the concluding fection may ferve as a specimen. There is, however, one impropriety in it; the defcribing flowers as expanding, and erecting themfelves at the approach of night, when the reverfe is a wellknown fact.
Now, when ev'ning's fober ray
As the fun, that fmiles invest,
Now again the eddying breeze
Low its cadence, fmooth its tides,
Now the flow'rs, that fweets exhale,
All the bloffom'd furze is gay, Where the wanton kidlings play; VOL. LX. Aug. 1785.
And in yonder peopled mead,.
Let us join the mirthful throng,
Johnfon's Laarel, or Coutefi of the Poets. 4to. 15. Hooper.
All writers write, and fome who fcarce can read;
The theme alike, yet diff'rent is their aim;
We allow this paffage to be a little hyperbolical, but have found to our forrow too much truth in it. The panegyrifts of Dr. Johnson have been exceedingly numerous;-peace to his manes we truft their doleful elegies will never wound his ears, nor that of pofterity. Whether pudding or fame was held in view, of the generality we speak, the objects have furely been equally unattainable.
The prefent author informs us that,
All bards GREAT Johnfon's wreath (the laurel) claim, and they accordingly repair to Parnaffus to affert their refpective rights. Surely, confidered merely as a poet, Johnfor's merit is not of fo fuper-eminent a nature as to entitle him to this high compliment.
First Pratt began, in accents meek and mild,
As pukeing gives no idea of meeknefs or mildnefs, we would fubititute puling for it, which, fignifying to whimper in a gentle manner, is more analogous to fome of Mr. Pratt's writings. PUKEING conveys an indelicate idea, ungenial to his ftyle and fentiment..
Next Whitehead came, his worth
a pinch of fnuff, But, for a laureat, he was well enough.' This is too fevere on a very decent author; for to write birthday odes with fuccefs, is evidently no eafy talk. We no less difapprove of the following character.
• And Mafon now, whofe numbers nice by art,
Though fome of Mr. Mafon's poems are too highly ornamented, whoever has read his Elfrida and Caractacus must have felt that his numbers will reach the heart: He fhould not have been reprefented as a candidate for Johnfon's laurel, whofe own is of fo fuperior a verdure.
The Pious Incendiaries: or, Fanaticifm Difplayed, a Poem. By a Lady. 4to. 55 Hooper:
We doubt not of the good intentions of the fair author, in this performance, and cannot but approve the diffidence the expreffes, and feems to feel in offering it to the public. The poem is written in the style and manner of Hudibras. A well known, we may add, a too well known character, is the principal object of the fatire it contains. To imitate Hudibras is an ardu ous undertaking; and if the public fhould decide that this lady, has not fucceeded in her attempt, fhe may juftly confole herself with the reflection, that the has only failed in an enterprize where few would have come off with honour.-Magnis excidit aufis !
The Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulyffes. In English Verfe. 8vo. 35. 6d. Jewed. Becket.
The encomiums beftowed on the French Telemachus are in general juft: towards the conclufion our author observes that, Notwithstanding the indifputable merit of Monf. Fenelon's performance in the original (to which the numerous tranflations in our own tongue are fuficient vouchers) a poetical verfion fees ftill wanting, to accommodate the taste of an Englith reader with one of its ufual gratifications in an Epic Poem, which title juftly belongs to thefe volumes, though devoid of. an ornament not fufceptible of dignity in the French language."
We will allow that French verfe is ill-adapted to an epic compofition; and that in many effential points, verfe excepted, Telemachus is entitled to that appellation; yet ftill we cannot fee the utility of its being verfified in our language. The fuccefs of numerous profe-tranflators vouch for the propriety of that method. The original, even when literally rendered, ftrikes naturally into our language in periods eafy and harmonious. What more have we to expect? The time of an able writer would furely be mifpent, in endeavouring to improve by rhyme what appears to the utmost advantage in flowing profe; and the labours of an inferior one would undoubtedly be excelled by the most literal verfion. The ftyle of the prefent author in his advertisement is, though fometimes a little inclining to the bombaft, eafy and fpirited; had he attempt. ed the original in that manner, we do not think he would have proved unfuccessful; but his poetry is flat, diffufe, and fome times ridiculous. In a ftorm, raised by Neptune to fink Telemachus's veffel, he gives the following account of Mentor's behaviour.
He takes an axe, and cuts the breaking maft,
We drank the briny furge, till backward fent,
An unfuccessful attempt of the fame kind was made by a Mr. Bagnal, in the year 1756. From the title we were led to expect an entire tranflation of Telemachus: this performance however only confits of the first fix books, and here we suppose the undertaking will end.
Poems on feveral Occafions. By Ann Yearly, a Milk-woman of Brifiol. 4to. 6s. Cadell.
Thefe poems are ushered into the world by a prefatory letter from Mifs Hannah More to Mis. Montague, giving fome account of this felf-inftructed votary of the Mufes. It refembles the well-drawn relation of Stephen Duck, written by Mr. Spence, and prefixed to his poems. A parallel might indeed be drawn between him and the prefent writer, but not much to the advantage of the former. Stephen was merely a rhymer: the protection he obtained proceeded from the peculiarity of a thresher's writing verfes, not on account of the verfes themfelves. As Pope fays of ftraw and grubs in amber,
• We know these things are neither rich nor rare,
The poems before us are entitled to a fuperior degree of praife; there are evident traces to be found in them of a strong and fervid imagination, as the following paffage will fufficiently teftify.
My foul is out of tune,
Then why thus fwell your liquid throats, to cheer
Drear, joylefs, vacant, as my wasted soul,
Ah, me! how bright fhe painted future scenes,
Correctness and precision cannot be expected from one who does not know a fingle rule of grammar, and who has never even feen a dictionary; but we can affure the reader many paffages, in no refpect inferior to the preceding, might be felected. We will not anticipate his curiofity any farther, but recommend to him the book itfelf. He will receive the double fatisfaction of being amufed by its perufal, and contributing to the relief of depreffed genius. A large lift of fubfcribers is annexed; which does honour to the author's protectress, by whose means, we apprehend, fo many refpectable names were procured for promoting her benevolent intention.
More Lyric Odes to the Royal Academicians. By a diftant Relation to the Poet of Thebes, and Laureate to the Academy. 4to. Hookham.
This is a very fuccefsful imitator of the fame humorous, ingenious gentleman, who has twice before had a stroke' at the Royal Academicians. It is as impoffible to prevent laughing at his oddity, as being offended at his groffnefs: nothing but the brilliancy of his genius could bear him through the abuse he fo liberally bestows on the late exhibitions.