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'I am excusable, because I have so dreadfully guilty and corrupted a heart, that I have no disposition to repent, to believe, to love God.'

Those who wish to see what can be said pro and con, in reference to this distinction, are referred to the printed trial of Albert Barnes before the Synod at York; he will find it in the able and succinct argument of the accuser and defendant on the point.

I shall close with a few reflections. I. If free agency belong to man, and be inseparable from his nature, as an accountable being, then, in view of its results in relation to God, ought it, not, instead of being a subject of vain glory and boasting, to be an occasion of shame and deep abasement. Who among the sons of men, has not perverted and abused his freedom?

II If man be a necessary agent, and it be certain that left to himself, he will only sin and that continually, then ought the best and holiest of men, imperfectly sanctified on Earth, to be humble, to feel their dependence, and continually pray, “ Lead us not into temptation.” “Who maketh thee to differ from another? Or what hast thou, which thou hast not received ?"

III. If the inability of man in regard to spiritual things, so far at least as it is blaineworthy, be only of a moral nature, and the result of a wrong disposition, then how false, deceptive, criminal and ruinous is the common plea of inability by which men attempt to justify and excuse their disobedience, impenitence and rejection of the gospel. The reader may see this point most powerfully and convincingly urged,

by Doctor Griffin, in his "Park St. Lectures,” sermon on “The plea of inability considered.” Montgomery co., Pa.

S. H., Jr.

OLD ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH BALLADS.

"O suavis anima! qualem te dicam bonam
Antehac fuisse tales cum sint reliquiæ !"- Phædrus iii. 5.

“O sweet soul! how good must you have been heretofore when your remains are so delicious!"

Admirably applied have the two foregoing lines from Phædrus been, by Mr. Addison in the Spectator, to the few poetical remains of Sappho that have come down to us from antiquity. The tenth muse, on account of her excellence, was this poetess styled by the antient Greeks who had her works entire, and modern critics, from the choice fragments of her writings preserved, are not disposed to find fault with the appellation. Beautiful specimens they are of passionate, unaffected verse. Frequently have they been translated into different modern languages; and some of our best poets, in spite of the affectation of their times, by imitating her simplicity, have sometimes been enabled to express with greater truthfulness and warmth than perhaps they could otherwise have attained to, the amatorial emotions. With the exception of some very short fragments and epigrams her remains are confined to two amatory odes, one of these not entire, composed in the verse that bears her own name. Selected were these two odes, the one by Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the other by Longinus, from her whole stock of writings, as being the finest specimens of lyrical composition, and thus

have they come down to us in their works. As the good taste of these two eminent critics is not to be disputed—they certainly selected from her compositions what was best. She may have written something equal therefore, it is possible, but nothing better, and, in all likelihood, a good deal that was worse. On the whole then, for her own memory's sake, I am just as well pleased that herodes have reached us no more numerous nor complete. With greater propriety than even her beloved Anacreon she might have sung:

A βάρβιτος δε Χορδαίς
"Ερωτα μουνον ηχεί.

String anew her lyre as she might, it sounded only love. To be surfeited with sweets it is not well. To pronounce on the flavor and body of a wine a few sips are often better for qualify. ing us than even a hearty draught. Of her writings enough are still remaining to shew us her high poetical genius, and we would leave the rest to our imaginations. In the dim and shadowy land of antiquity she stands at present only half revealed, to be sure, but beautiful in the distance, and we would not wish to destroy the enchantment around her, as perhaps we might, by any nearer view.

After the same manner, in modern literature, I am just as well pleased that some of our old ballads have come down to us not entire. In this case, however, not for the sake of their authors am I well satisfied, as these are wholly unknown, but for the sake of the productions themselves. Of old ballads that have

reached us from former centuries unimpaired it is a characteristic trait that they are not always pervaded throughout by the same uniform excellence. Composed, in most cases, no doubt, by illiterate strollers, in some parts they fall often below even the worst prose, while in others, on account of their true simplicity and genuine pathos, they rise superior to any thing of a kindred sort in modern verse. With respect to those then that have reached us not entire it is natural to suppose that, as the populace would treasure up more fondly those parts which came home to their feelings and made the deepest impression, in being orally transmitted from one generation to another, these were the very parts which were not the soonest lost but the longest preserved. In their antiquated language they resemble old ruins, broken down, to be sure, in part, but not desolate nor devoid of beauty. An evergreen humanity they contain which becomes not arid, but is ever springing forth and covering them over as with the freshest moss and ivy. No modern hand should ever attempt their reparation. In filling up their breaches great injury is always done to their solemn grandeur and natural freshness. It knocks off a great deal of their ivy and ancient cast. They belong to their

own hallowed times and their green old-age should be respected. No modern, however rich in imagination and steeped in romantic lore, can so thoroughly transport himself amid the scenes and manners of the past as to be able to reproduce its genuine poetry. Even its emotions and peculiar modes of thought should he succeed in entering into, he will certainly fall short in the diction. Ils ruinous old verbiage he cannot so organically reconstruct as not to show some artificial arrangement and modern phraseology. His high finish and over-refinement displayed will show 100 much of his own age. O Shade of Thomas Chatterton! Nurtured in black-letter while on earth and walking amid the show of olden times, casting over their gray ruins and recalled pageantry the fresh but lurid dawn of thine own enchanted life, with all thy rich imagination thou couldst not divest thyself entirely of modern phraseology and manners and assume the ancient!

In repairing a lonely fragment, however, instead of attempting an antiquated reconstruction of the whole, the modern bard is mostly better pleased with renovating, in later language, the antique relic itself; as thus he can make it chime in better with his own polished additions. Its scenes and incidents he may still leave in their own barbarous times, but he clothes them in the more refined diction of his own. By the introduction of pieces prepared in this way our English literature, we admit, has

sometimes been greatly benefitted, when, in its history, it had gone all too far astray from nature. Thus during the latter part of the Seventeenth century it is well known that the prevailing taste of the learned had become either too classical or too metaphysical. It avoided simplicity and scenes of common life as things prosaic and sought after absurd conceits, preposterous metaphors, scholastic ornaments and pagan machinery. The treasures of the olden poets were left neglected and ballads were given over to the vulgar. Towards reclaiming this perversion, Dryden, with all his faults, at the close of this century, did something, we allow, by renovating, in more polished language, the old romantic tales of Chaucer. Prior 100, at the beginning of the eighteenth century did perhaps a little towards the same object by paraphrasing the simple old ballad of the Not-browne Mayde; and even Pope conferred his mite by turning into the smoothliest flowing verse the Temple of Fame and perhaps some other poems of Chaucer. Nevertheless, though the age was benefitted, we cannot help lamenting the native worth of the authors thus despoiled, and feel disposed to exclaim in the words of Juvenal :

Quanto præstantius esset
Numen aquæ, viridi si margine clauderet undas
Herba, nec ingenuum violarent marmora tophum!"

How much lovelier would be
The water's Genius, if with margent green
The grass enclosed its waves, nor marble marred
The charms of native tuff-stone!

It was not, however, till after the middle of this same century that Bishop Percy accomplished more than all by the publication of his Relics of Ancient Poetry; which, however, for the most part, it is well known, are not properly relics at all, but renovations or enlargements merely of old ballads. Still they brought in a revived relish for what is simple and natural in poetry, expressed in words mostly of Saxon origin, at a time when with ihe classic, to be sure, but often too grandiloquous phraseology of Dr. Johnson and his followers the reading public had been well nigh over sated. For the poets and critics, of the “ Lake School,” however, at the beginning of the present century, it was reserved to come to the full understanding in this matter. While of old English poetry and ballads they imitated the simplicity, sometimes, it is acknowledged, even to a fault, they never assumed their antiquated diction. By imitating the natural style of these merely they sought to impart new beauty and freshness to modern poetry; but they loved and revered still the old poets themselves and never thought of superseding them. Indeed of the critics of this school, of Hazleti, Lamb and Hunt, for instance, it was the main intent to bring back into proper estimation the works of ancient authors; and by their judicious criticisms and praises they have certainly well succeeded. To make ourselves acquainted with the rich descriptions of Chaucer we never think, now-a-days of having recourse to the diluted versions of Dryden or Pope, and to arrive at the wealth of Shakspeare, certainly not of betaking ourselves to the improved edition of that poet's works by Nahum Tate. We prefer at once to drink from the well of English undefiled.” Not to the age of Queen Anne nor of any of her successors, but to that of Queen Elizabeth is now awarded the high distinction of being called the Augustan age of English literature.

My only regret is that the prevailing taste for what is excellent in old poems is not accustomed, from want of opportunity and not of disposition I cannot help thinking, to feast itself also on fragments of old ballads. Of these, even in England, genuinc collections are rare, confined mostly to private libraries, and in our own country how few of us have ever had the delightsome privilege of reading one in black-letter. Published collections, Jike those of Percy and Scott, I know, are not uncommon,

but their ballads are generally all filled out and modernized. old fragments our later poets catching inspiration have often given us beautiful poems, I admit, but certainly these should not supersede entirely ihe originals. When placed together, like the two “brigs of Ayr,” described by Burns, though upbraiding each other, they are both shown off to better advantage by their ancient and modern contrast. Graphic, for instance, are the following lines, from Lochiel's Warning, by Campbell:

From

“But hark! through the fast-flashing lightnings of war,
What steed to the desert flies frantic and far?
'Tis thine, oh Glen Ullen! whose bride shall await,
Like a love-lighted watch-fire, all night at the gate :
A steed comes at morning-no rider is there;
But the bridle is red with the sign of despair !"

But for touching simplicity are they at all superior to the old Scottish fragment by which, no doubt, they were, in part, suggested ?

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