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ments successfully made, even war itself rendered instrumental in the promotion of native manufactures, and the nation elated with victory? What bond of security, then, and of lasting amity, can there be in the treaty which has been recently concluded?
“ With regard to commissioners, is it not surprising that this country could not appoint men thoroughly acquainted with Annerican affairs? No doubt lord Gambier, and his worthy coadjutors, acted from the dictates of honour and benevolence; but were they competent to the task of negotiating with such shrewd, not to say subtle men, as Bayard and Gallatin?-for, as in the treaty of 1783, so in the present instance, the British delegates have been foiled by American sophistry. It is much to be regretted that some native of the provinces, was not added to the list of British negotiators, as many gentlemen of superior talents, might have been really obtained from either of the colonies. Our interests would then have been ascertained, and as certainly defended. The author feels assured, that ignorance, and not conscious weakness, swayed our councils in the signature of the treaty. The spirit of that part of it, at least, which relates to the boundaries, is founded on the American claims, established by the treaty of 1783. The arrangements made on the late occasion, re. late to surveying this frontier, and ascertaining with precision, its exact geographical limits, in order to prevent disputes in future. In ordinary cases this would be just and equitable on both sides; but it must be recollected, that although disputes had arisen on this subject, it was not even a collateral cause of the war: on the contrary, the United States commenced hostilities for the real, though concealed, purpose of wresting Canada from Great Britain altogether. It was this circumstance alone that produced the war vote in congress: and, therefore, sanctioned a departure from terms of reciprocity, and the enforcement of measures necessary to the security and repose of those provinces, against which the enemy's force was directed, The ostensible motives assigned by the American government for the declaration of war, such as the establishment of sailors' rights and a free trade, &c. were rather political engines, employed to gain popularity, than real causes of hostility. Subjects calculated to inflame the public mind were forced into notice, and commented on with the utmost malignity and virulence; false statements, and even palpable absurdities, were assiduously propagated, both by newspapers, and various other means: and it is a fact, worthy the serious consideration of Britons, because it develops, in some measure, the deadly rapcour of the ruling party, and the dangerous principles of American policy, that these injurious comments and assertions were intended to shake the loyalty of British seamen, whom they designedly hold up, as being at present no better than degraded slaves."
We gladly close our remarks upon this noxious book. Our report of its contents will, we are persuaded, deter all good unen from wishing to peruse it further.
The Siege of Corinth, a Poem. Parisina, a Poem,
[From the Monthly Review.] Though lord Byron has not chosen to give his name to these poems, the public cannot entertain any doubt of their legitimacy; since, in addition to the voice of report and the testimony of the publisher in the advertisements of the work, sufficient internal evidence of the fact is furnished not only by the general style and character of the compositions, but by various particular expressions and references contained in them. Nor do we sec any sufficient ground for supposing (and this is the most material point to the reader) that the circumstance, to which we have alluded, has arisen from any consciousness of inferiority in these compared with his lordship’s former productions: because, even if they should be judged to contain nothing quite equal to the best parts which might be selected from their predecessors, they possess the same vigorous conception, and brilliant and successful elicitation, which have been by general consent ascribed to lord Byron's muse.
On the general merits and defects of this noble author's poetry, we have had so many opportunities of expressing our opinion, that we shall not on the present occasion detain our readers with any such discussion. It will only be necessary to repeat that the greatest merit of the writer consists in his skill in dissecting the human character, and in drawing and contrasting the effects of the more violent passions; while his most general faults are a want of variety, a perpetual gloominess, and an unpardonable license both of phrascology and of versification. His pictures exhibit the bold and decisive lines and striking contrasts which, in the sister art, are to be found in the works of Rembrandt, accompanied by the same depth of shadow, and the same brilliancy of the few bright tints which they contain: but they seldom display any of the breadth of light, and the gay variety of colouring, which characterize the Italian school. We cannot better express our general ideas than by the above illustration, since these poems are too original to be compared with any other productions in the same art.
Of the two tales which are at present before us, the first is, in our opinion, endued with the least interest and merit; and the story is extremely meayre. It is well known that, in the year 1715, the city of Corinth underwent a siege and storm by the Turkish army which was led by the famous vizier Ali Coumougi; and this is the action which the poem describes.
Alp, a Venetian renegade, has a high command in the vizier's army, and is incited to a vigorous prosecution of the siege not less by his thirst of revenge against his injured country than by the hope of possessing himself, in the assault, of the person of Francesca, the daughter of Minotti, the governor of the town; to whom, in earlier days, before his crime, he had been a favoured suitor. Having wandered, in the night before the storm, through the infidel camp to the very gates of the town, the renegade encounters the form of his mistress, who earnestly warns him of the danger in which he stands of immediate and everlasting perdition: but he refuses to listen, and returns to the camp to prepare for the assault. The town is carried; and in the conflict Alp encounters Minotti, against whom he hesitates to raise his hand, eagerly mentioning Francesca, but he receives for answer that she died 'yester-night.' Horrorstruck with the recollection of the vision which at the same moment he had himself witnessed, the wretched warrior recoils, and immediately receives his death by a shot through his head. Such of our readers, as are acquainted with this portion of history, will recollect that a dreadful explosion of gun-powder took place at this storm, which lord Byron has worked up into a fine incident for the conclusion of his poem.
We shall now quote a part of the description of the repose of the night-scene, when Alp commences his solitary walk:
• The waves on either shore lay there
It seemed to those within the wall
Wakes, though but for a stranger's knell.' The simile printed in italics is extremely beautiful, and indeed the whole is excellent. The contrast to this stillness in the agitation of the hero is equally well-drawn:
His head grows fevered, and his pulse
all he gazed upon.' This is followed by another fine passage,* in which the author, describing the surrounding objects, (Lepanto's gulf:
the brow of Delphi's hill,' &c.) is led to apostrophize their ancient glories: but we have not space to extract it. Hitherto, the netre has been regular: but the reader must prepare to find in the subsequent extracts a change in that particular, which not even their utmost beauties can withhold us from censuring. It seems a strange perversion of taste, that when the subject is rising in interest, and the incidents are becoming more powerful and affecting, the verse should on a sudden be changed to a style which is removed the farthest of all from dignity, and scarcely susceptible of it in any hands.
* This was given in oar last number, p. 455.
The faults of this poom are of the same character which we have described as belonging to lord Byron's writings in general; and it is perhaps the best praise that we can bestow on him to say that, in order to exhibit his beauties, we are led to extract whole passages, while to show his faults we are forced to pick out individual lines and expressions. On that ungrateful labour, we do not feel ourselves now obliged to spend many moments: but we cannot forbear to censure such expressions as that which occurs at line 910, which describes the Madonna and the boy-god on her knee;' and we hope that the author will, in the next edition, expunge or alter the four lines from line 957 to 960, the subject of which will scarcely be deemed proper for such a poem as the present.
Parisina, the second of the tales before us, is on the whole one of lord Byron's happiest efforts: but, from the nature of the story, we doubt whether it will, in general, meet with the admiration which it appears to us lo deserve.
This tale is written throughout in the octosyllabic metre, to which lord Byron has in most of his works given a force and dignity that were before unknown to it. In phraseology, too, this poem is, with very few exceptions, not open to censure. It is in fact the most equable of all the writer's works. Though it is occupied with some of the most violent and fatal of the human passions, and describes some of the most distressing situations in which human beings can be placed, the noble author has dealt with them more calmly than his usual custom would have led us to expect. The picture is indeed all gloom, but the keeping is good, and the general effect is as pleasing as any display of such tragical circumstances can be made.
The Eclectic Revicw thus concludes its examcn of these iro poems:
* It is surely a singular circumstance, that lord Byron has hitherto contined himself to the narration of crime, and to the delineation of vicious character. His spirited sketches, for they are after all sketches, exquisitely spirited and powerful, but nothing more, are all devoted to the illustration of the