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• When he fell, and wished to fall, is singularly happy. It speaks whole stanzas. The Spectre Boat contains one thrilling and magical stanza, for which it was worth while to write and print the whole ballad: we need not say that it is the last. But it is in the patriotic songs, the • Song of the Greeks,' the Song Men of England,' and the stanzas to the memory of the Spanish Patriots, that all the latent fire of the Author's genius bursts forth from its embers, and flashes before us with
Wakes thee now ?
"Glory to them that die in this great cause !
STAR that bringest home the bee,
That send'st it from above,
Are sweet as her's we love.
And songs, when toil is done,
Curls yellow in the sun.
Of thrilling vows thou art,
By absence from the heart.' pp. 91–2.
say nothing about it, except that the Poet has wrestled with a shapeless idea, and has been thrown by it. ‘A Dream' is the title of a poem written apparently in a similar mood, not the Author's happiest. It is strange that he cannot be the moralist, without affecting the misanthropist. We look in vain through his later poems, for the bright and heavenly influence of the
pleasures of hope,' breaking upon the soul from a world unseen. The Christian's creed is scarcely any where to be detected. Hence there is a deplorable poverty of moral sentiment in all his productions, as if his warmest feelings were withered by a heartless infidelity. The true lyric spirit seems to be enkindled within him by the name of freedom or the patriot theme; and then, who like he can' awake the Spartan fife?' But never is the poet called up within him by holier themes, and rarely does a devotional sentiment or heaven-ward aspiration escape him. Whatever this may proceed from, we deplore it, because it materially lessens both the power and the interest of the Author's productions. We do not wish him to write Hebrew melodies like Lord Byron's, nor sacred Anacreontics like Moore's. To his honour be it remembered, Mr. Campbell has never degraded himself to a level with the Author of Don Juan and Thomas Little, by making his poetry a pander to vice; and he therefore might send forth a volume even of religious poetry, without its being said that his Muse had turned Magdalen. But this we do not ask of him, nor do we require that his poetry should be religious, but we call upon him as a poet at least to do homage to religion. It is but just, perhaps, to notice a fine stanza in the poem entitled · The Last Man,' which forms the most striking exception to our remarks.
• This spirit shall return to Him
That gave its heavenly spark ;
When thou thyself art dark !
By Him recalled to breath,
And took the sting from Death!' We must not omit to notice the last poem in the volume, a wildly solemn legend very powerfully told; but it is much too long to extract entire, and we will not be guilty of mutilating it. We cannot lay down the book, however, without giving one more specimen, and it is a poem which we suspect no one but Mr. Campbell could have written.
SONG OF THE GREEKS.
By the virgins they've dragg'd from our altars,
Art. III. Original Letters Illustrative of English History; including
numerous Royal Letters, from Autographs in the British Museum, and one or two other Collections. With Notes and Illustrations. By Henry Ellis, F.R.S. Sec. S.A. Keeper of the Manuscripts in the British Museum. 3 vols. pp. xx. 1050. 8vo. Price 11. 16s. London. 1824.
E could scarcely name any Author of the present day, to
whom the republic of letters is under greater obligations than the indefatigable Editor of these volumes. Placed at the head of one of the most important departments of our national depository, the British Museum, Mr. Ellis, who for a long period has held the custody of the manuscripts, has been unwearied in his efforts to arrange and methodize the increasing mass of documents entrusted to his care ; enhancing by this means the value of a collection, the importance of which, the literary world has on no occasion been slow to acknowledge. Nor is it the smallest portion of this gentleman's praise, that, by the kindness and urbanity of his
manners, the literary inquirer has, upon all occasions, found an easy access to these archives, and that guidance and assistance in researches of difficulty, which no one is more eminently qualified to afford than himself,—furthering by every means in his power, the best purposes of the establishment, and promoting at the same time the general cause of learning. For the honest truth of this testimony, we might appeal to innumerable printed acknowledgements, which occur in prefaces to works of importance on varied branches of literature, more particularly on historical, biographical, antiquarian, and topographical subjects, which have been published during the last quarter of a century. Yet, notwithstanding this admitted attention to a laborious office, Mr. Ellis has made time, by drawing largely, we suspect, on his midnight lamp, to produce many works which have placed his name deservedly high as an Editor and Antiquary ;-witness the many folio volumes which have passed through his revising hands at the instance of the Record Commission,-the republication of several of our early Chronicles, with important elucidations and additions,—his improved edition of Mr. Brand's Popular Antiquities in two quarto volumes, and many other publications of similar labour and research. But these proofs of unwearied industry are yet surpassed by a work of still more gigantic labour, now drawing near to its completion, the weight of which, we understand, has long rested almost wholly on the shoulders of this literary Atlas; we allude to the Monastic History of our country, compiled originally by Sir William Dugdale, but, in the hands of the present Editor, doubled in bulk, and incalculably increased in value, by corrections of the older part, by collation with the original documents, as well as by the accession of a vast accumulation of newly discovered additional matter. Perhaps there has, in our times, been no literary project so bold, and none more successful, than this republication of the Monasticon; a work which may be considered as of national importance, and of the highest authority in ecclesiastical matters ; particularly in cases where the identification of property emanating from the church through the suppression of the Monasteries, is concerned.
By way of relief from these severer labours, Mr. Ellīs has