Imagens da página

of the most striking passages in Don Juan.”- thoughts are to be advantageously conimanip. 17.

cated to the public, in the writings of those Character of the President.

authors who have, at different periods, enlarged

the meaning, and increased the dignity, of the " The family of our friend the president ex- | English language. He will derive his modes hibits, in a very bigb degree, that domestic of expression from the sacred remains of those felicity for which man is indebted to the insti writers, whose works bave been so jastly and tation of marriage. He is bappy in the pos- emphatically characterized as the well-springs session of a wife who displays in all her con. of English undefiled : from works deeply im. duct the best qualities of the female character. bued with the spirit of classic lore, and rich in A stranger who enters his house, is struck with words and phrases at once noble and expresa perception of elegance which does not result sive; ample in their meaning, as they are dig. from the costliness of his furniture, but from nified and sonorous in pronunciation. He will, the taste which is discovered in its choice and I admit, iudiciously avoid those inaccnracie disposition. Every thing appears to be in pre into which the great but early masters of our cisely its proper place, and would evidently tongue bave sometimes fallen. He will cor. lose much of its effect by a different arrange rect, by the rules of modern criticism, the ment. Every thing is exactly clean; and while license which was not only allowable, but apnothing appears wanting, there is, at the same pears graceful and admirable in their imperisbtime, notbing unnecessary.

able works. In making these corrections, and “When I visit the old gentleman, I am in the general forination of his style, be will, i always peculiarly pleased with the arrange- | conceive, find a peculiar advantage in taking ment of his table. Not that his entertainments for his model the invaluable productions of are ever costly. Indeed, all the members of Dr. Jobnson. From them certainly he may the Club are men of frugal babits, and the Pre- best acquire such a command of the English sident is, in this respect, looked up to amongst language as should be possessed by every one us as an example. Bat his frugality is not who aspires to the attainment of an eloquent meanness, and is, in effect, only the art of style. No other writer bas, in my opinion, so abounding in all necessary things, by avoiding fally exemplified t

fully exemplified the dignity and richness of sucb as are at once superfluous and expensive. wbiob our language is capable, or so variously Rarities never appear at his board, bat there exhibited the power of style to give elevation is always plenty, and his viands are chosen to common subjects, and to add to the import. with such care, and dressed with so much skill, ance of those which are in themselves noble. that even epicures must confess themselves In sbort, when I consider tbe uncommon exwell treated. There is, at the same time, sach cellence of this great writer, I do not hesitate an unaffected welcome in the countenance and to pronounce that the student of composition, behaviour of his exoellent wife, so much atten who shall form himself apon the model of tion to the wants and wishes of all around her, | Dr. Johnson's prose writings, will acquire a so much politeness, and so little bustle, that a style as far superior to that of Mr. Addison, as guest is almost instantly at his ease, and feels a magnificent palace, the finished work of some a secret exhilaration, from the unfeigned cheer- great architect, is superior to a cottage, howfulness with which he is received."-p.81. ever simply elegant the latter may appear.”

“ The Secretary, who possesses one qualifiStyle of Johnson and Addison contrasted.

cation, which, in the opinion of Bayle, is essen“ The President, a little moved perhaps by tial to a good disputant—that of patiently hearsome remarks from the advocates of an easy | ing his adversary; always listens with attenand simple style, is usually tbe first to quit the tion, and with an air of deference, to the immediate subject of dispute, and enter upon a remarks of the President, and generally, after wider field of discussion. At such times he a little pause, replies somewhat as fo collects all the dignity and importance of bis “I think it will be allowed that the first remanner, and looking round with that air of | quisite of composition is to convey the meaning authority whicb is in him becoming, because it of the writer with clearness and precision. appears to be natural, delivers himself, slowly, I do not mean that these qualities are of them

mensored cadence, to the following selves sufficient to constitute a good style, bot effect.

I think that no style can be good in which they “ So long as it shall be the end of composi- do not appear. Now, clearness and precision tion to adorn and dignify a subject, so long appear to me most effectually to be attained by will that mode of communicating his sentiments the use of such words as are of common occorby which this end is most completely obtained, rence, but which are, at the same time, free be preferred by a judicious and skilful writer. from any taint of vulgarity. The meaning of Such a writer will not derive his modes of ex. such words is more fully understood by all pression from the loose phraseology of conver classes of readers, than the meaning of antique sation; or employ words of hackneyed and expressions, or of those sounding words which cominon occurrence. He will be aware that are derived fr

are derived from the learned languages. With the language of ordinary life is debased by its respect to the construction of sentences, that association with mean and valgar objects, and mode of arranging words which is the least * that it is, from that circumstance, upfit for the artificial, will, I tbink, generally be most perparposes of elevated or elegant composition. | spicuous. It is, therefore, my opinion, that a Leaving, therefore, that language to its only | writer who desires to please the community, legitimate and allowable use, to be the inedium and to obtain general popularity, should avoid of communicating the common sentiments of unusual and learned words; and endeavour to mankind, in their ordinary colloquial iuter- make choice of such as are familiar, but not course, he will seek for the words which he mean; and that he should aim rather at an ele. employs, and for the phrases by which his gant simplicity of style, than at a magniloquent

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

and stately manner of expression. I am aware | quoted as an instance of the true sublime, that a composition which is destitute of uncom- Aod God said, Let there be light, and there mon words, and in which the thoughts are was light.' Nothing can be more removed expressed in an easy and unaffected manner, is from stateliness tban the language of this pasnot so likely to strike the imagination of com- | sage, nothing more elevated than the sentiment mon readers, as a piece which is more inflated which it contains. and artificial. The difficulty which is expe “With respect to the pathetic, if we look rienced by those who endeavour to write in a into those writers who have most powerfully nataral and simple manner is not apparent to moved the feelings of their readers, we shall the reader and although he is always more find that they have generally succeeded, not

find that the pleased with agtbors who bave succeeded in by laboured and rhetorical descriptious of affect. this kind of writing, he asually reserves bis ing incidents, but by the short, natural, and admiration for those who appear to be more simple exhibition of human passions and feelprofoand, because they are less capable of ings. In Shakespear's Macbeth, for example, being anderstood. It is, indeed, necessary to | when Macduff is made acquainted with the be a tolerable judge of composition, and even slaughter of his whole family by the tyrant, and to have had some practice in writing, in order when, to rouse him from the grief which tbis to be able to appreciate the merit of a pure, intelligence produces, be is exhorted by his natural, and simple style. I am not surprised friends to exert himself for revenge, what can when I hear the style of Dr. Johnson extolled be more pathetic, or have less of rhetorical by injudicious readers. I am sensible that stateliness, than his reply? such a mode of composition must appear to

• He has no children,-All my pretty ones? them admirable from iis very defects; and that

Did you say, all?-0, bell kite! -All?' bis namerous gncommon words, and sounding periods, must fall upon their ears with some "As I have not heard it contended, that the thing like the effect of a spell or incantation. measured and declamatory style is best adapted The admirers of the Doctor must excase me for delineations of life and manners, or for the if I cannot estimate his productions so highly exhibition of those foibles which are the proas I do those of Mr. Addison. It is to the per objects of good-humoured satire; I shall writings of that gentleman that I would always only observe, that the silence, on this point, of refer those who seek for a model of elegant those who are so much disposed to admire the composition. They will find in them that beau style of Dr. Johnson, is a proof that even they tiful simplicity of expression, which engages are compelled to admit the soperiority of a nathe attention of the reader by a secret charm; tural and upaffected mode of writing on all and wbich causes him again and again to recor topics which give occasion for the exercise of to the page with invariable delight. Allowance wit and humour."-p. 117 to 122. must of course be made for some inaccuracies, and for the use of a few words, which, in the The authors are, we think, rather Japse of a century, have become inelegant. too confident as to their secrecy. Bat making these allowances, we shall no where Though they may not be generally find a style more purely English, or better adapted to express with clearness, and in an

known, they cannot be wholly conunaffected and graceful manner, the sentiments cealed. Notwithstanding the remarks of the author. Style has been termed the dress in the preface, we should be surprised of thoogbt; and, if I might borrow this meta if, where so few excel, their friends phor for the purpose of contrasting the styles could not “know them by their style." of Addison and Johnson, I would say, that the first resembled the vesture of a Grecian nymph,

| Weconcur with them, indeed, in thinkshading, but not concealing, the beautiful form

ing that “they have nothing to fear which it enveloped; while the latter might be from publicity.” The good temper, likened to the boop petticoat and towering | the good sense, and the talent, which bead-dress, by the assistance of wbich our these essays evince, could procure for grandmothers appeared taller and filled a greater space, but not without losing, at the same

the writers nothing but applause. time, much of the natural comeliness of the

There is one characteristic in the female, figare.

Club, which deserves to be mentioned. "A good deal has been said of the dignity The range of subjects is more than and splendour of the Jobnsonian style, and said

usually extensive. Literature, science, too, in such a way, as would almost lead us to

and the fine arts, are all alluded to, in suppose, that nothing dignified or elevated could be expressed in a natural and simple | a way which shews that the writers manner. The advocates of this opinion seem, were adverting to what they underto me, to resemble those dramatic poets wbo stood. Religion and morality have make a hero by the help of a plume of feathers

not been infringed in any of these and a flourish of trumpets. They appear to

papers. In some instances they have forget that trilling sentiments may be delivered par with great pomp of expression, as, on the other

been ably supported. band, the noblest thoughts may be expressed | The members of the Club do not, with great simplicity. "I believe, indeed, that however, all write equally well; some the most sublime, as well as the most pathetic,

of them afford a regular critic an op. passages, in the best writers, are those in which

portunity of finding fault; but, as we the simplicity of the language is most conspi- | cuous. ' I may instance that celebrated passage

have been too much delighted with the in the sacred writings, which Longings has beauties of these papers, to think much of their defects, we shall will us, makes his first appearance as a ingly leave to others the discovery legitimate descendant of this wonderand exposure of the latter, which, like ful character, and professes to inherit dull spots upon a bright surface, only the power for which bis progenitors serve to set off by contrast the bril- were so justly celebrated. He has liancy by which they are surrounded. also made some considerable improve

| ment in the family science, having

found means to lengthen out his state Review.-Revelations of the Dead- of death far beyond the period which Alive. 8vo. pp. 372. London. Simp

any of his ancestors ever knew. Porkin and Marshal. 1824.

suing this conceit, he sinks into death, The title of this work being very ob- | from the torpor of which he does not scure, some explanation scems neces

awake until the lapse of one hundred sary, as it scarcely conveys any mean

and ninety-eight days and a quarter, ing to the reader's mind.

during which time he was enabled to About a hundred years since, the

peep into futurity, and notice the celebrated Dr. Cheyne asserted, that

events that were to take place for one he had known some individuals who

| hundred and ninety-eight years and a possessed the strange power, to all | quarter. By this curious legerdemain appearance, of dying when they pleas

we are carried forward to about the ed, and, after a given time, of regain

year 2023, from which he entertains ing that life which seemed to have

us with the incidents of his vision, and become extinct. Of one strange ex- we are taught to survey the opinions periment, the account of which has which will then be formed of authors. been frequently pablished, but which I and works, and arts, and sciences, may be new to many of our readers,

and speculations, now flourishing in the following particulars may prove

the zenith of their reputation.. entertaining.

That the contrivance is ingenious,

cannot well be doubted, but still we • "He (the patient) could die when he pleas

i think the title to have been badly ed, and yet, by an effort, or somehow, be could come to life again. He insisted so much opon

chosen. “England in the year 2023," our seeing the trial made, that we were forced would certainly have been far more to comply. We all three felt his pulse; first, expressive, as it would have conveyed it was distinct, though small and thready, and its meaning without requiring the exhis heart had its usual beating. . He composed

planation which “ Revelations of the bimself on his back, and lay in a still postore for some time; while I held his right band, Dr.

Dead-Alive," now renders necessary. Baynard laid his hand on his heart, and Mr. | As England is exclusively the scene Skrine held a clear looking-glass to his mouth. of this imaginary transition, and LonI felt bis pulse sink gradually, till at last I don stands foremost in the author's could not feel any, by the most exact and nice view it is easy

view, it is easy to conceive that its touch. Dr. Baynard could not feel the least motion in his heart, nor Mr. Skrine perceive

mutations are poured upon us with the least sort of breath on the bright mirror be no unsparing hand. Language, its held to his mouth. Then each of us, by turns, idioms and its accents, we find have examined his arm, heart, and breath, bot could undergone such a change as to become not, by the nicest scrutiny, discover the least

but partially intelligible; many comsymptoms of life in bim. , We reasoned a long time about this odd appearance, as well as we

mon phrases now in use, have been could; and finding be still continued in that dismissed for their absurdity ; and condition, we began to conclude that be bad | London itself has been so metamor: indeed carried the experiment too far; and at phosed, that the resuscitated stranger last we were satisfied he was actually dead, and

| can scarcely recognize places of his were just ready to leave him. By nine o'clock in the morning in autumn, as we were going

former resort, and objects that once away, we observed some motion about the body; ] were familiar to him. On seeking the and upon examination, found his pulse and the storehouses of literature, he could gain motion of bis heart gradually returning; he no information of Murray and Col: began to breathe gently and speak softly; we | burn; but he found the Bank, the Postwere all astonished to the last degree at this unexpected change, and after some further con

Office, and the Exchange, near where versation with him, and with ourselves, went

Somerset - house now stands : the away fully satisfied as to all the particulars of Monument was destroyed; of the stathis fact, but not able to form any rational | tue at Charing-cross, no account could scheme how to account for it."-p. I to 3. .

be given; and the Bronze Colossus, Availing himself of this singular nar- raised by the ladies of 1822, bad been rative, the author of the work before razed to the ground by the ladies of

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

1922, as furnishing an occasion for nor inclination to follow him through profligacy to offend the eyes and the all his imaginary excursions, nor even ears of delicacy with unchaste allu- to animadvert distinctly on those alsions. Paternoster-row had com- ready noticed. pletely lost its character and its trade, The work, without doubt, contains while Primrose-hill and Highgate, hay- a vast fund of satirical humour, which ing secured its literary honours, exbi on some occasions we think rather illbited to the admiring world their piles timed and misplaced. The subjects of quartos, octavos, and duedecimos, also placed before us, tho'very numerand a due proportion of half-starved ous, might have been rendered much authors among their daily visitors. more diversified and interesting. Too With one of these it was the author's much time is spent in discussing the lot to fall in company, and this intro merits of our modern celebrated poets, duces a long conversation between and in the picture gallery the waste them on the comparative state of lite is still greater. The minuteness of rature in the two periods.

criticism to which the author descends On entering a book-shop, and in- renders his observations tedious, bequiring for some poetry in the free cause monotonous. His publication and easy manner of Wordsworth and would have been rendered more pleasGoleridge, he is informed by the shop-ing, if he had given only the prominent man, that no poets of these names features of his subjects, and taken a were known, and that of their style wider range. But even in its present he could give no account. To his lite state it is a book of considerable merit, rary companion, Mr. Drudge, he then and, making due allowances for the turns, and respectfully asks, bow they ebullitions of fancy, and the imposidispose of Scott, Southey, Byron, tions of improbability, it will prove Sotheby, Shelley, Moore, Crabbe, highly gratifying to those who wish to Rogers, Campbell and others; and in see the world in 2023, and to know in reply to his inquiries, (taking him to what light the inhabitants of that pebe a foreigner,) receives the following riod may view the arts, habits, mananswer:

ners, and people of the present age. · "I do not pretend, sir, to understand your foreign notions of literature. You were always queer, you Frenchmen and Italians, on that

Review.- Solid Resources for Old point. You always arranged us in your own way; but you bave here mixed up with the

Age, or the Means by which the Even· names of some old English poets, (Milton, ing of Life may be rendered both Pope, Dryden, &c. &c. previously mentioned

profitable and pleasant. 12mo. pp. many that, I take for granted, only exist in this day on the bereditary shelves bequeatbed to you by your great-grandfather, and whom I

The infirmities of age render the have not the bonoar to recognize."-p. 73.

use of crutches necessary, and he who On the progress of machinery, the can furnish'any that will prove really author observes, that being invited to serviceable, is a benefactor of mandine with Mr. Drudge, he found, to bis kind. The author of the work before great astonishment, that knives and us, professes to manufacture this forks were put in motion by mecha- article; and on entering bis storenical operation; the former dividing house, we have found some valuable the scanty morsel, and the latter pre- materials waiting the demands of senting its portion to his lips. The customers. satire is humorous but severe, yet it Independently of the preface, the well accords with other parts of the author has exhibited his resources in performance, particularly with the seven letters; this method having visit to the picture gallery, in which been deemed preferable to an unpleasure, disappointment, expecta- broken treatise, or a formal dissertation, and fear, are sarcastically deli- tion. Throughout these epistles, bis neated. From these, the author di recommendations are fair and rational, verges into a survey of dress, of prize- and those who reduce bis rules to fighting, exhibitions, funerals, public practice, will rarely fail to attain the characters, prince Hohenlohe, Joanna object at which they aim. Southcoate, legal proceedings, and Temperance, regularity, exercise, fleets of balloons fighting in the air, and cheerfulness, he places among &c. &c. But we have neither time the natural causes wbich soften the 82.-VOL. VII.


[ocr errors]

afflictive attendants on age; but to | Review --The Protestant Reformathe consolations of religion he ascribes tion, vindicated; a Sermon, delivered a much higher influence. The pro at Lime-street Chapel, Preston. 2d fligacy of youth, he justly considers edition. By Joseph Fletcher, M.A. as the harbinger of misery in age, pp. 35. Westley. London. 1825. should the unhappy victim survive to This discourse exhibits, in a narrow reach the autampal or winter season

compass, a luminous survey of the of life. Against this prevailing evil he

causes, character, and effects of the cautions his young readers, and pro- | Protestant Reformation, without bevides for the unfortunate the only traying that bitterness of spirit which antidote that reason can suggest.- too frequently characterizes those who He promises no miracles, and ma-put their feet on this volcanic ground. nifests no enthusiastic inspirations. This is the more wortby of notice, as Plain good sense, enlivened by anec

it was delivered in a town, “where dote, sententious sayings, or ex

popery bath its seat.” Little indeed amples, may be found in all his pages, of this vindictive spirit was to be exof which a pleasing style is but a

pected from the pen of Mr. Fletcher, secondary recommendation.

whose name has many times appeared before the public. The cause which

he advocates, is susceptible of a deReview. - History of Scotland, by

fence, which the mere asperity of Robert Simpson. Ålso, Goldsmith's I language never can supply. Of this History of Greece, of Rome, and of

he has availed himself, and produced England, abridged, and the latter

a pampblet, well worth the attention continued by the same Author. In four

of both Protestants and Papists. vols. bound. Edinburgh. Oliver and Boyd.

Review.-A Discourse delivered at the DR. GOLDSMITH is so well known, · Weigh-House Meeting, Dec. 9, 1824, that all observations on his literary

at the Monthly Association of Minischaracter, whether we view him as ters, fc. By Joseph Fletcher, A.M. a poet, an essayist, or an historian, I pp. 48. London, Westley. 1825. will prove little better than a waste The subject of this discourse is the of time. Of Greece, and Rome, he prophecies concerning Antichrist. In has taken an interesting and a com- | reference to these predictions, the prehensive survey; and of England, author quotes several passages of he has traced the events down to the scripture, and then “ tracks the felon death of George II. The subsequent home;" finding that those which reparts are by Robert Simpson, by spect its origin, describe its characwhom the above works have all been teristic features, and announce its abridged.

final termination, all concentrate in These books, together with Mr. Popery. Simpson's history of Scotland, are Among other topics of discassion, all designed for the use of schools, the author adverts to the apostasy, for which purpose they are admirably or falling away, with which it was adapted; each paragraph containing to be introduced ;-to the secret opesome subject to exercise the memory ration of Antichristian principles in of the pupil, whose attention is thus the days of the Apostles;-to their recalled at the end of every section. inability to display themselves under These volumes, are neatly printed, Pagan Rome;-to the predictions and the price is moderate..

which represent Antichrist as being · Of the bistory of Scotland, it will within the limits of the ancient Robe sufficient to say, that this is the man empire, and as having its centre thirteenth edition, and that it contains in the city of Rome ;-to the Papal some additions and improvements. usurpation of civil supremacy ;-to · Other editions of Goldsmith, print- the assumption of ecclesiastical power, ed and published in London, are con- and divine prerogative ; to the awful stantly on sale, and all find an exten- sanction given by it to wickedness; sive circulation. They are works of to its pretension to miraculous powers; intrinsic merit, for which, while to the idolatrous tendency of the schools are held in estimation, there Papal system; and finally, to its inwill be a perpetual demand. . tolerant spirit. . r

« AnteriorContinuar »