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Thy soul's quick sense of injury I know,
« Envy not, foolish man, the pomp of kings ;
And for his king bleeds every loyal heart.' It frequently happens, after an author has exhausted his fire against persons who are the immediate objects of his satire, that he embraces the first opportunity of bestowing a laudable portion of praise on the first worthy character that, strikes his imagination.-Dr. Johnson is complimented by this writer in the highest strains of panegyrick ; and we hope the reader will think with him, that the doctor is
ma nobly fingular, immortal man! Whom nought could t'er divert from virtue's plan.' 14. The Poetical Retrospect, or the Year MDCCLXIX. A Poem.
410. Pr. 25. S. Noble. This Retrospect is any thing but poetical; it hardly deserves the name of a newspaper versified. As a proof that our censure is not too severe, take the beginning, where, if at any time, the poet, especially a young one, must be supposed to have exerted himself.
« Alift me ye Muses, preside o'er the verse,
Of consequence greater than usually found,
Great mischiefs this year did the land discompose.' 15. Fuens, by John Gerrard, Curale of Withycombe in the
voor, Devon. 410. Pr. 55. Kearly. This gentleman presents his works to the public with a laudable diffidence. • Conscious, he says, of their defects, he ex. pels not the voice of the impartial, and therefore only presumes to solicit the candid, and bespeak fome allowance for the forward attempts of inexperienced years, and unmellowed judgment.'
Every person may undoubtedly be allowed to plead inexperience as an apology for deficiencies in the productions of his youth : but inexperience is no excuse for publication. It is, on the contrary, a very substantial reason why he should keep his writings in his own possession tili his judgment is sufficiently improved. Let him remember the advice of Horace.
-- Nonum prematur in annum Membranis intus politis : delere licebit
Quod non edideris : nescit vox inilla reverti, Whoever finds in himself an invincible inclination to fcribble, ought to have these excellent lines inscribed in capitals on his desk, or in some conspicuous part of his study; and this falutary memento inight save him the trouble of some inward mortification, and unavailing repentance. . We would not be thought to apply these remarks to the author of his collection of poems. Mr. Gerrard we hope, will have no reason to regret his temerity. His poems may be al. lowed to stand on the same Melf with some of the best of his cotemporary bards.
This collection consists of pastorals, elegies, odes, fonnets, epistles, and other little pieces, which a poet of a tolerable genius might be supposed to write extempore. 16. A Turkish Tole. In five Cantos. 8vo. Pr. Is. Becket.
This Turkish Tale, as it is called, is neither more nor less than the sacred history of the fall of man versified, with the addition of a new and imaginary character, upon whom the chief part of the catastrophe turns. Instead of one, our poet supposes two females to have been originally created, Eye, and Vixen her servant; for the necessity of whose creation, our poet accounts in the following manner :
· The pair created, for Eve's aid
The ladies must in this agree.' As Eve was formed of nature's choicest stores, fo Vixen was composed of the coarsest mould, and the devil foon got porn session of her ; of course me was a very mischievous hulley.
Eve complained to Adam, who rates Vixen roundly, and threatens to turn her out of Paradise, if she did not mend her manners. But this was far from her thoughts ; on the contrary, she enters into a compact with the serpent, who Thews her the forbidden fruit, which is supposed to be the grape, inStead of the apple, and to have the power of intoxication. The serpent advises her to take three bunches, to give two to Adam, and reserve the third for herself. She succeeds; and Adam being intoxicated, mistakes Vixen for Eve, and passes the night in her arms. Poor Eve is in great distress at the ab. sence of Adam ; but meets him next day, when he informs her of his crime, and that he is now mortal, while she is still immortal. Eve, overtome by love, rather than part with Adam, eats the forbidden fruit also. They are driven out of Paradise ; Mrs. Vixen wanders to the land of Nod, where the is delivered of a daughter, who is afterwards married to Cain. The poem concludes in the following manner.
• From these two diff'rent sources flow,
Refreshes, or the health affails,
The origin from whence they came.' Such is the plan of the Turkish Tale. The reader will perceive the versification to be fmooth and polished, but not to have attained the force and spirit of Swift or Prior, which is hardly now to be expected in the present old age, or rather dotage, of poetry. We only beg leave to suggest our doubts how far it is proper in a Chriftian country to handle å facred lubje&, the foundation of our holy religion, in a ludicrous manner. 27. A Word to the Wife. A poetical Farce, most respectfully
addressed to the Critical Reviewers. By T. Underwood, late of St. Peter's College, Cambridge. 8vo. Pro is. Noteman.
Could we find any thing finart or poignant, or indeed the leaft indication of genius, in this production, we fhould very teadily allow the author all the commendation he could reafonably desire : for no invectives thall ever prevent us from giving to merit its proper tribute of applause. We are not af. tected by the petulance of disappointed writers. We expect to be reviled by those, whose productions we have been obliged to condemn. But in the present cafe, it is not in our power to say any thing in favour of the author of this Poetical Farce. 'There is through the whole hardly one stricture which is just, or properly applied. His performance is versification without poetry, and malevolence without wit. 18. A Dialogue of the Dead : betwixt Lord Eglinton ani Mungo
Campbell. 8vo. Pri is. Murray. The story on which this dialogue is founded, is too well known to have any thing said of it here. There have been few more tragical events that have happened at any period. The unfortunate nobleman was no doubt a person of great merit, a Jover of liberty and the constitution ; but perhaps too fond of a ftrict execution of the game-laws, an infringement of which will never be thought criminal in the eyes of men. The man by whose hands he fell, seems to have been of a fierce and resolute spirit, impatient of affront and indignity ; perhaps the more fo, on account of the low station of life into which he was tirown. His exit was suitable to his principles and character.
In all probability he would not have been condemned in this country. The one deserved a better fate, and the other a better fortune. . Lucian, the great father of humour, was likewise the inventor of this species of composition (dialogues of the dead) in which he has been most successfully imitated among the moderns, by Fontenelle and lord Lyttleton. Though we do not altogether condemn the execution of this piece, yet we apprehend it does not come up to the idea that should be formed of such a composition. The author makes the two speakers re. tain, in the lower regions, the one all his haughtiness, and the other all his ferocity ; nay, he seems to represent the characteristic disposition of each perhaps in stronger colours than either displayed it whilst alive. We cannot help thinking it would have been more natural, as well as more agreeable to our notions of the temper of men's minds, when they arrive at their state of eternal and unchangeable existence, to have drawn them conversing with more calmness; and to have represented them as seeing things in another light, and each repenting of that passion which brought him to his untimely end. This at least would have conveyed a finer moral. That we are well warranted in our observation, will appear from the opening of the dialogue, subjoined as a specimen of the whole.
• Eglinton. Ha! Cappbell!
6 Campbell. You have nothing to fear, my lord, because it is not now in your power to do me an injury.
• Eglinton. Insolent! I hope you died like a dog.
• Eglinton. Villains ! Are there no reprisals for the loss of life?
• Campbell. Would there were ! • Eglinton. How !
• Campbell. The court that condemned me would in a short tiine honour us with their company.
• Eglinton, So! It is very well, still—They took your scoundrel life.
· Campbell. No, my lord, I lived free, and died so. The life they would have taken froin me was my property, unforfeited, but by the defence of another species of property, of which the laws and nature of society made me equally the marter. That property, my lord, I would not give up to you My life I would not resign to them--I died by my own hand.
• Eglinton. Consummate knave! He has cheated even the gallows.'
To the dialogue is annexed an abstract of the evidence and pleadings at the trial.