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And thofe pure lights which revelations throw
Whether Dr. Johnfon is intended by this feminine fun of science,' we can no more conjecture, than how its beams can fet the light of the moon on fire.' The author, or his learned friend, should have favoured us with a comment on this paffage. It is caviare to the million,' and will never be underflood by the vulgar.
Death improved. An Elegiac Poem, occafioned by the Death of the Rev. T. Gibbons, D. D. By Richard Piercy. 8vo. 6d. Buckland,
The poem opens with the never-failing obfervations made ufe of by a long train of fucceeding bards in their funereal clegies. The author firft expreffes his furprize at Death's wide devastation; that he spares neither age nor fex,' neither • weak nor strong: in short,
Nor ought (aught) fuffices but the lives of all.'
These deep reflections, on which funeral fermons have rung all the changes the fentiment could poffibly admit, naturally lead him to afk Death why he does fo? whence proceeds his thirst of blood why blend the good and bad together.'
Why muft the kind, the gen'rous, the devout,
This of courfe introduces the principal fubject of condolence, as if he ought, on account of his great virtues, to have been exempted from the common fate allotted to all.'
Is not this earth already too obfcure?
How various, how important his employ,
After the catalogue of his virtues we have likewife the following customary exclamation.
But now too late, too late 'tis to complain:
Gibbons the great, the good, thy hand has flain.'
The next lines however tell us, that we ought rather to blame Sin than Death on this affecting occafion;
As all have finn'd, fo all for fin muft die.'
Thus concludes the fecond page, and with which we shall conclude our critique. What follows is much in the fame ftrain, and gives a higher idea of the author's piety than poetical abilities.
An Elegy on the much lamented Death of William Shepherd, Efq. Merchant, of Plymouth, who died, May 25, 1784. By the Rev. Herbert Mends. 4to. 6d.
An Elegiac Poem, &c. on William Shepherd, Merchant of Plymouth, who died, May 25, 1784. 4to. 6d.
An Elegy on the much-lamented Death of William Shepherd, of Plymouth, Efq. an eminent Woollen-Manufacturer and Merchant : who, after bearing a very tedious Illness, with a moft Chriftian Fortitude, died May 25, A. D. 1784, aged 54. By J. Macey, School-Mafier. 8vo. 3d.
The authors of thefelachrymofa poemata' feem rather to have eloped from Bedlam than Parnaffus. The first lays his fcene ultra flagrantia mænia mundi,' on the coast of blifs ;' and afterwards removes it to the third heaven,' where
At the blue throne, and reach the topless height.
However irreconcilable this expreffion may feem to common fense, the poem is precifion itself, when compared with that of the fecond bard's, which feems to have been dictated by the genii, if fuch may be fuppofed, of opacity and confufion. The author first addreffes the diffenting preachers of Plymouth, to
accept of his books, and purchafe fmall Bibles with the amount thereof, and diftribute them as they may judge proper.' He then gives us another title-page, and another dedication to the reverend the clergy.
My friends, here take the law* of laws !—a task,
With these books, allure
Salvation preach,-Chrift's blood!
Of the verses we fhall fay nothing; they fufficiently speak for themselves. But we cannot help expreffing fome degree of furprize, how the diffenting clergy are to purchafe Bibles with the fale of books they are defired to accept as a prefent: or how the author could foresee that Mr. Shepherd's death would oblige
Bibles (purchased by a thousand of thefe poems, &c.) given to the poor to fulfil a facred promife made of fo doing on the fafe return of a friend from sca, "I have fworn and I will perform it." Pfalm cxix. 106.' F 4
other people to fulfil his vow, which he takes for granted, by purchafing a thoufand copies. 'Tis wonderful, most wonderful! The third author is by much the leaft eccentric of the trio. He talks fomething like folks of this world,' and his language refembles common fenfe. For instance, Religious duties mark'd his life; Scarce ever difcompos'd: Happy must be his virtuous wife ! What must the not have los'd!'
Poor woman! though, after all, we know not whether it is meant that we should chiefly condole with her on her lofs, or congra tulate her on her happinefs. The author ought to have known, that los'd is not the preterperfect of to lose.
The Nofegay; or May-Morning-Free-Will Offering. (A truly extemporaneous Offspring) on Incbriation. Small 4to.
In the above title dele the first parenthefis, and for on read of ; as we conceive no man in his fober fenfes could write in fo ftrange a manner. The fpirit of wine feems to have had as much share in the prefent performance, as that of enthusiasm in the preceding ones: and be it known, gentle reader, this poem likewife originates from the fame inaufpicious quarter with the
At Plimouth I thefe lines indite
But, as I in my study write,
Conclude you have no need.'
Surely there is fomething epidemic in the air on the western coaft! We heartily recommend thefe unlucky votaries of Apollo to his care and protection; not in his poetical, but medical department. They are entitled to his favour, on account of the cruel treatment they feem to have experienced from his fifter Cynthia, in her nocturnal excurfions: for certainly to adopt a whimfical line of Dryden's, which feems by the bye to have been written under the influence of the fame planet,
The moon has roll'd over their heads and turn'd them.'
Ivar. A Tragedy. 8vo. 1s. 6d. (Printed at Exeter.) Kearfley, We are extremely forry to inform the public that the conta gion, which, from the preceding articles, we apprehended prevails on the western coast, is extended, if we may judge from the title-page, to the metropolis of thefe parts. The fcene of this tragedy is laid near the palace, but what palace we are at a lofs to conjecture. The dramatis perfonæ are Hengift, Alfwold, Offa, Handel, Ivar, and Matilda: but we find no de fcriptions of, or allufions to, the old Britons, Saxons, or modern Germans, as Handel, a well-known name at prefent, might lead us to fuppofe. Ivar is reprefented as prime minifter to Hengift, and, like most other prime minifters, we mean
thofe in tragic writ, a great villain. He rebels against his fovereign, and is thus addreffed by a meffenger,
Meff. Thus faith the feer who looks into the fates,
Ivar. Stay, take thy reward with thee-bear my mef-
This fhalt thou give in answer to the feer;
[Stabs the Meffenger. • Me. I am made fick to death!-O you great gods!
This fmart exclamation, as Bayes calls it, and indeed the whole paffage, forcibly recall honeft Nat. Lee to our minds, who in his Herculean vein, would probably in a fimilar fituation have made his hero kill the meffenger, and bade his ghost carry back defiance to the gods. But the happy thought of returning a meffage to a living man by making his nuncio a ghoft, furpaffes any of Nat's furpaffing ideas, and is truly original.
We have had occafion to commend provincial publications, and we fufpect from the fame city; but, on every occafion of this kind, we must now except the printer before us. We have feldom feen any thing more imperfectly and aukwardly executed.
NOV E L.
The Falfe Friends. A Novel. In a Series of Letters, by the Author of the Ring. 2 Vols. 6s. Barker.
We are told in the preface, that the author is young, unexperienced, and a female.' We readily believe it; and only with that he had been more advantageously employed. The characters, the language, and the fentiments, if we except a ftrict morality, are below mediocrity. We endeavour, however, to learn fomething from every book which we read; and we find a lady's idea of a handfome man to confift in black piercing eyes, a brown complexion, and white teeth.' With
fine fenfe,' great beauty, and a wonderful difpofition to unite all the parties by marriage, added to a defcription of this kind, we have the effence of every novel, written by a young lady.'
The Adventures of Alonzo; containing fome friking Anecdotes of the prefent Prime Minifter of Portugal. 2 Vols. 12mo. 6s. Bew.
Thefe Adventures feem to have been written fome time ago, for the minifter, alluded to in the title, was probably the unfortunate marquis de Pombal. He certainly was unfortunate, perhaps guilty while he curbed the exorbitant power of the church, he added to that of the crown; while he enlarged the minds of his countrymen by encouraging learning, and giving fome fcope to liberal enquiry, he is faid to have fettered commerce by an odious monopoly. Yet, on the fubject of his miniftry, we have not much novelty; nor are the anecdotes numerous.
In other refpects, the Adventures are interefting and agreeable. They are far removed from the common tract, and frequently above it. The language is nervous, but incorrect; in one or two inftances the mifplacing will and shall feems to fhew that the author is not an Englishman; yet his judgment feems to be good, and his knowledge not inconfiderable: a vein of good fenfe pervades and embellishes thefe little volumes.
A Candid Review of Mr. Pitt's Taventy Refolutions. Addreffed to the People of Ireland. 8vo. 25. Debrett.
Though political fubjects of great importance ought always to be treated with the utmoft degree of impartiality, there is too much reafon to fufpect, that in enquiries of this nature, the confideration of public utility is often facrificed to the paffions of individuals, and the common interefts of a party. Actuated, however, as we are by no other view than that of examining faithfully the merits of literary productions, we are difpofed to weigh the arguments both of those who have fupported, and of thofe who have oppofed the Irish propofitions, without any deviation to either fide.
In the introduction to the pamphlet before us, we are forry to obferve that the author betrays a defign of exciting the Irish to oppofe the Refolutions in queftion. It would have appeared much more candid to have delivered his fentiments difpaffion ately, and to have left to the good sense of the majority of the Irish nation either to approve or reject them.
The author's obfervation on the Second Refolution is as follows.
This Refolution contains the principle or bafis on which the above regulation is intended to be carried into execution.— It is stated as a conditional bargain; offering on the one hand a full participation of commercial advantages to Ireland, whenever Ireland' fhall make a provifion towards defraying the expences of protecting the trade, &c. of the empire, in time of peace. And the twentieth Refolution, which ought to be conidered as a part of the fecoud, declares what that provifion is to be, and how it is to be fecured.