« PreviousContinue »
And those pure lights which revelations tirow
Or view him in the Chriftian hero die.' Whether Dr. Johnson is intended by this feminine sun of science,' we can no more conjecture, than how • its beams can set the light of the moon on fire. The author, or his learned friend, should have favoured us with a comment on this palfage. It is, caviare to the million,' and will never be understood by the vulgar. Death improved. An Elegiac Poem, occafioned by the Death of the
Rev. 1. Gibbons, D. D. By Richard Piercy. 8vo. 60, Buckland, The poem opens with the never-failing observations made use of by a long train of succeeding bards in their funereal elegies. The author first expresses his surprize at Death's wide devaftation ; that he spares neither age nor sex,' neither weak nor itrong: in short, :
• Nor ought (aught) fuffices but the lives of all.' These deep reflections, on which funeral sermons have rung all the changes the sentiment could poflibly admit, naturally lead him to ask Death why he does fo? whence proceeds his thirst of blood ?' 'why blend the good and bad together.'
• Why must the kind, the gen'rous, the devout,
The brightest lamps be all by thee put out.' This of course introduces the principal subject of condolence, as if he'ought, on account of his great virtues, to have been exempted from the common fate allotted to ail.'
• Is not this earth already too obscure ?
How various, how important his employ,
To mind his learning and devotion call.' After the catalogue of his virtues we have likewise 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 occasion; As all have finn'd, so all for sin must die.?
Thus concludes the second page, and with which we fall conclude our critique. What follows is much in the same ftrain, and gives a higher idea of the author's piety than po. etical abilities. An Elegy on the much lamented Death of William Shepherd, Esq.
Merchant, of Plymouth, who died, May 25, 1784. By the
Rev. Herbert Mends. : 4to. 6d. ! An Elegiac Poem, &c. on William Shepherd, Merchant of Ply..
mouth, who died, May 25, 1784. 4to. 6d. An Elegy on the much-lamented Death of William Shepherd, of.
Plymouth, Esq. an eminent Woollen-Manufacturer and Mercbant : who, after bearing a very ledinus Illness, with a moft Christian Fortitude, died May 25, A.D. 1784, aged 54. By 7. Marry, School-Mafier. Svo. 3d.
The authors of these lachrymosa poemata' seem rather to have eloped from Bedlam than Parnaffus. The first lays his scene' ultra flagrantia mænia mundi,' on the coast of bliss ;' and afterwards removes it to the third heaven,' where
Seraphs arrive At the blue throne, and reach the topless height,' However irreconcilable this expression may seem to common sense, the poem is precision itself, when compared with that of the second bard's, which seems to have been dictated by the genii, if such may be fupposed, of opacity and confusion. The author first addreíses the dissenting preachers of Plymouth, to accept of his books, and purchase Tmall Bibles with the amount thereof, and distribute 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 talk,
O, ye priests of God,
Moses, with his rod,
So, to feed the poor,
With these books, allure
Salvation preach,-Christ's blood ! With hands impartial, give to all that alk' of the verses we shall say nothing; they fufficiently speak for themselves. But we cannot help expressing some degree of surprize, how the diffenting clergy are to purchase Bibles with the sale of books they are desired to accept as a present: or how the author could foresee that Mr. Shepherd's death would oblige
• * Bibles (purchased by a thousand of these poems, &c.) given to the poor to fulfil a facred promise made of fo doing on the safe return of a friend from (ca. " I have sworn and I will perform it.” Palm cxix. 106.'
other people to fulfil his vow, which he takes for granted, by purchaing a thousand copies. 'Tis wonderful, molt wonderful
The third author is by much the lealt eccentric of the trio. He talks something like folks of this world,' and his language resembles common sense. For instance,
• Religious duties mark'd his life ;
Scarce ever discompos'd :
What must she 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 loss, or congratulate her on her happiness. The author ought to have known, that los’d is not the preterperfect of to lose. The Nosezay; or May-Morning-Free-Will Offering. (A truly ex
temporaneous Ofspring) on Inebriation. Small 4to. In the above title dele the first parenthefis, and for on read of as we conceive no man in his sober senses could write in fo ftrange a inanner. The spirit of wine seems to have had as much share in the present performance, as that of enthusiasm in the preceding ones: and be it known, gentle reader, this poem likewise originates from the same inauspicious quarter with the others.
* At Plimouth I thefe lines indite
Them for yourfelf to read ;
have no need.' Surely there is something epidemic in the air on the western coaft! We heartily recommend these 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 seem to have experienced from his fifter. Cynthia, in her nocturnal excursions : for certainly to adopt a whimsical line of Dryden's, which seems by the bye to have been written under the influence of the same planet, • The moon has roll'd over their heads and turn'd them.'
DRAMA T I C. Ivar. A Tragedy. 8vo. 15. 6d. (Printed at Exeter.) Kcarsley, ,
We are extremely sorry to inform the public that the conta. gion, which, from the preceding articles, we apprebended prevails on the western coast, is extended, if we may judge from the title-page, to the metropolis of these parts. The icene of this tragedy is laid near the palace, but what palace we are at a lofs to conjecture. The dramatis persona are Hengift, Allwold, Offa, Handel, Ivar, and Matilda : but we find no des fcriptions of, or allusions to, the old Britons, Saxons, or modern Germans, as Handel, a well-known name at present, might lead us to suppose. Ivar is represented as prime minister 10 Hengift, and, like most other prime ministers, we mean those in tragic writ, a great villain. He rebels against his sovereign, and is thus addressed by a messenger,
"MelThus faith the seer who looks into the fates,
(Stabs the Melenger. • Mel. I am made fick to death !--O you great gods !
[Exit." This smart exclamation, as Bayes calls it, and indeed the whole passage, forcibly recall honest Nat. Lee to our minds, who in his Herculean vein, would probably in a similar'situation have made his hero kill the messenger, and bade his ghost carry back defiance to the gods. But the happy thought of returning a message to a living man by making his nuncio a ghost, furpaffes any of Nat's furpaffing ideas, and is truly original.
We have had occasion to commend provincial publications, and we fufpect from the same city ; but, on every occasion of this kind, we must now except the printer before us. We have seldom seen any thing more imperfectly and aukwardly executed.
N O V EL. The False Friends. A Novel. In a Scries of Letters, by the Au
thor of the Ring 2 Vols. 6s. Barker. We are told in the preface, that the author is young, un. experienced, and a female.' We readily believe it; and only with that the had been more advantageously employed. The characters, the language, and the sentiments, if we except ą îtrict morality, are below mediocrity. We endeavour, however, to learn something from every book which we read ; and we find a lady's idea of a handsome man to consist in black piercing eyes, a brown complexion, and white teeth. With
fine fenfe,' great beauty, and a wonderful disposition to unite all the parties by marriage, added to a description of this kind, we have the effence of every novel, written by a young lady.'
The Adventures of Alonzo; containing fome hriking Anecdotes of the prefent Prime Minister of Portugal. 2 Vols. 12m0.6s. Bew.
These Adventures seem to have been written some time ago, for the minister, 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 scope to liberal enquiry, he is said to have fettered commerce by an odious monopoly: Yet, on the subject of his ministry, we have not much novelty ; nor are the anecdotes numerous.
In other respects, the Alventures are intereiting and agreeable. They are far removed from the coinmon tract, and frequently above it. The language is nervous, but incorrect; in one or two instances the misplacing will and Mall seems to fhew that the author is not an Engliihman ; yet his judgment feems to be good, and his knowledge not inconfiderable : a vein of good sense pervades and embellishes these little volumès.
P O L I T І с A L. A Candid Review of Mr. Pitt's Twenty Resolutions. Addressed to
the People of Ireland, 8vo. Debrett, Though political subjcets of great importance ought always to be treated with the utmost degree of impartiality, there is too much reason to suspect, that in enquiries of this nature, the confideration of public utility is often sacrificed to the pailions of individuals, and the common interests of a party. Actuated, however, as we are by no other view than that of examining faithfully the merits of literary productions, we are disposed to weigh the arguments both of whose who have supported, and of those who have opposed the Irish propofitions, without any de: viation to either fide.
In the introduction to the pamphlet before us, we are sorry to observe that the author betrays a deign of exciting the Irish to oppose the Resolutions in question. It would have appeared much more candid to have delivered his sentiments difpaffioniately, and to have left to the good sense of the majority of the Irish nation either to approve or reject theni.
The author's observation on the Second Resolution is as fol. lows.
• This Resolution contains the principle or basis on which the above regulation is intended to be carried into execution.It is ftatcd as a conditional bargain ; offering on the one hand a full participation of commercial advantages to Ireland, when ever Ireland shall make a provision towards defraying the expences of protecting the trade, &c. of the empire, in time of peace. And the twentieth Resolution, which ought to be conNidered a part of the
coud, declares what that provision is go be, and how it is to be secured.