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1 gaze at the sky with high poetic feeling,
And liken it to a gorgeously spangled ceiling ;
31-91. We must make room for the following interesting digression in the Theatrical Critique.
As our friends declined taking their afternoon's nap at the new comedy, we went alone. We bought a play.bill at the door, and could not help thinking that if the Attorney-General had bought one, he would have read it carefully through; to see whether there might not be something in it to file an information against, and then have gone
home and facetiously talked about the liberty of the press; though by the way it is notorious that you cannot write a few pages of scurrility and abuse, particularly if you tack P-- R- to the end of it, without danger of being hospitably lodged in a certain rural retreat in Horsemongerlane, enlivened by what are archly 'ycleped arcades and views of the Surrey hills. For our own part, we are sure our readers will do us the justice to acknowledge that we did all we could to get in there; but as we found we did not like it, and then did all we could to get out again, we shall not readily be friends with a certain great Personage, who insisted on our staying there the full term of our sentence : and though on certain concessions we may forgive him, he must not expect there can ever exist between us a “How-d'ye-do-George-my-boy" sort of familiarity.
• We can imagine the sort of sensation excited at a certain mansion not far from Pall-Mall on the occasion of our liberation. We will suppose the scene to take place at a dinner, to which all the heads of Government are invited, “ to talk the matter over," as the phrase is.
• A Great Pers. (holding up a glass of Champagne against the light) Very odd—so L-H— did noi die in prison after all ?
'LD. CH. Jus. (eating two ices.) No, please your R-H-, he is at liberty, and writes better and with more vigour than ever.
' Great Pers. (evidently alarmed.) While that man continues to write against us, there can be no pensions, no peculation, no prodigality-I can do nothing I wish-he is a thorn in my side. (R-y-lt-y can sometimes be figurative.) As sure as Sunday comes, I never get a wink of sleep at night.
ALL. Nor 1-nor 1-nor I.
GREAT PERS. (taking a glass of Curaçoa.) He's a young man of wonderful abilities, certainly.
LORD CHANCELLOR. Prodigious knowledge of the law ! • LD. Ch. Jus. I own he sometimes poses me.
Why wasn't he bred to the bar?
• ABP. Of Cant. Or to the church? He's uncommonly diverting and jocose on all sacred and religious matters.
' CH, OF THE Excheq. Great talent for finance ! • Attor, Gen. Profound reasoner!
'LORD CASTLE-GH. Acute politician S-Why is he not in Par. liament? (adding with a sigh,) Ah! if I bad but followed his advice !
• Several CADINET MINISTERS (spcaking together.) He's too hard for us. • Great Pers. There's no resisting the force of his genius.
ALL. Your R- H- is perfectly right. (N. B. It is the etiquette to assent «en to truth when it comes from that quarter.)
• Great Pers. We must bave him with us at any price. • ALL. Certainly, certainly. • GREAT Pers. (cracking a nut.) Do you think he is to be boughi? * ATTOR. Gen. ( cracking a Joke.) No!!
• Great Pers. (tapping with a gold fork on the table.) Would fifty thousand buy him?
CH. OF THE EXCHEQ. (gallopping the maggot with the LD. C. Jus.) We'll try, please your R-H
• Great Pers. (unseasonably attacked with a fit of economy, and at the same time eating cherries at forty guineas a pound.) We must not waste the public money ; try him with fifty pounds.
• CH. OF THE Excheq. It will be useless to make such an offer ; he is incorruptible.
• All. He is not the man to be bought-for fifty pounds.
• GRBAT Pers. (shaking the head of a ridiculous china mandarin that cost two thousand guineas.) Don't offer more.
• Deciding that no attempt should be made to corrupt a patriot, the party disperse.
• But we are glad to get rid of politics, even though we are obliged to turn to theatricals.' pp. 7-12.
The introductory preface in support of the authenticity of the papers, describes the prominent characteristics of Mr. 'Hunt's style, in a strain of most biting irony. Few of our readers, however, we apprehend, are in the practice of seeing a Sunday paper ; they would not, therefore, be competent judges of the justness of the compliments passed upon the Editor of the Examiner. But Mr. Hunt will not fail to console himself under this literary persecution, as the author of “ Lyrical Ballads" has long since taught him to do, with his own notions of the constitution of Fame. The passage we refer to, is cited in the Supplementary Essay to Peter Bell.
• The love, the admiration, the indifference, the slight, the aversion, and even the contempt, with which these Poems have been received, Knowing, as I do, the source within my own mind, from which they have proceeded, and the labour and pains which, when labour and pains appeared needful, have been bestowed upon them, -must all, if I think consistently, be received as pledges and tokens, bearing the same genetal impression though widely different in value ;--they are all proofs that for the present time I have not laboured in vain ; and afford assurances, more or less authentic, that the products of my industry will endure ! pp. 28, 29.
Art. VI. Letters from the North Highlands, during the Summer, 1816.
By Elizabeth Isabella Spence. 8vo. pp. 364. Price 108. 6d. London,
1817. THOUGH we cannot assign to this volume a very high rank
among the productions of our domestic tourists, yet we have found in it some information, and rather more tolerable writing than we should have anticipated from the extravagant flattery lavisbed on Miss Porter. Miss Spence travelled over inspiriting ground, and sojourned among kindling scenes, and we confess that we should have expected from a writer thus advantageously circumstanced, something of a bigher relish, and of more permanent value, than we bave found in the present publication. There is no great difficulty in putting together the occurrences and observations of a pleasant journey, so as to communicate a certain portion of gratification; but it requires more time and pains than appear to have been bestowed in the present instance, to make such a work deservedly and lastingly popular. We shali not feel it necessary to trace the particular route taken by Miss Spence, but confine ourselves to one or two passages which may serve to indicate the general character of the work.
In the neighbourhood of Aberdeen, Miss Spence met with a female in humble life, endowed with considerable talents, and whose narrative, as taken from her own lips, furnishes an interesting biography She was early taught reading, writing, and the elements of arithmetic. At the age of fourteen she engaged in service, where she employed her leisure hours in composition, destroying her productions nearly as fast as they were written. After her marriage to a ship-carpenter, whose name was Milne, she obtained unsolicited patronage, which enabled her to publish a volume of poems by subscription, and this produced a clear profit of £100, with which her husband purchased a share in a tradiag vessel. Christian Milne is described as simple and modest in her appearance and demeanor, her countenance pale, melancholy, and sickly, but marked by intelligence,' and her domestic arrangements, though indicative of great poverty, yet distinguished by a neatness and order very unusual among the lower orders in Scotland. Her health has been much deranged, and though her industry has been exemplary, it has been unavailing to ward off the evils attendant upon scanty means and large family. The specimens of her poetry which are subjoined, though not of a high order, are yet extraordinary productions wben we consider their source; they display much elegance and tenderness of mind, with considerable command of language, and a correct ear for the harmovies of verse.
At Bamff, Miss Spence finds some slight remains' of the palace of a very singular character, with whose biography it were exceedingly to be desired that she would favour the world—the violent covenanter, Archbishop Sharp. This is really carrying ignorance and carelessness a little too far. If the assassination of Sharp bad not been one of the most notorious events of those turbulent and lawless times, it would still have been rather too much to confound Presbyterianism and Episcopacy, and to transform the savage and faithless persecutor of the Covenanters, into their • violent' partisan. It is an error of a different kind, to call the sword of the ruffian Pizarro, presented by a Spanish Lady to Sir John Downie,' a valuable relic.'
At Inverness, August 14th, 1816, the inhabitants were roused from their beds at midnight, by the shock of a severe earthquake. • People were thrown from their beds, furniture was overturned,
dwellings almost unroofed, chimneys gave way, and the streets exhibited a scene of the most awful devastation, being strewn . with huge masses of stone, hurled from the buildings.' The visitation was, no doubt, awful and severe, but we apprehend that the description given in the volume before us, is a little deepened by Miss Spence's midnight terrors: the fearful
stillness of the air,' and the alarming state of the atmosphere,' we cannot receive as facts, on the authority of fear; and we are a little sceptical about the incipient volcano' in Perthshire.
For the benefit of travellers, we mention that complaints are made of the dirt and enormous charges of the Highland inns.
At Glasgow, Miss S.
'made one in the vast multitude, now attracted to the Tron church to hear the Rev. Dr. Chalmers. Never did I behold so crowded an assemblage of persons, on so sacred an occasion. Long before the service commenced, the church was thronged to excess, and people of the first condition were satisfied with standing-room in the aisles.
. I expected to be pleased and edified, and I was so ; but after so much preparation, could not expect to be, as I was, surprised, very much surprised, at the boundless power of real genius, which, even in this fastidious critical age, achieves such unlimited power over the mind, without any of the accompaniments which so often usurp its name, and to vulgar minds supply its place. Dr. Chalmers is popular, while avoiding, and seemingly disdaining the arts which many consider as essential to popularity. No grace of appearance, or manner, no 'melody of voice, nothing in appearance, that conveys the idea of dignity or elegance. In short, his power over the will, and even the affections, is a victory over prejudice, and every visible obstacle. He owes nothing to any extraneous aid whatever. It is the genius of a logician, a poet, (for there is much poetry without numbers,) an astronomer, a mathematician, a powerful intellect, in short, which, after grasping all human science, soars beyond it, inflam«d by zeal, and exalted by pure Christianity.'
We had marked for quotation some whimsical anecdotes of one of the Lovat family, but we have reached our limits, and must refrain.
Art. VII. 1. The History of France, from the earliest Periods to the
second Return of Louis XVIII. to the Throne of his Ancestors. With a Chronological Table of Contents, and a contemporary List of Princes at the End of each King's Reign; with an Appendix and Notes.
By Frances Thurtle. 12mo. Price 7s. 6d. London. 1818. 2. Letters on French History, for the Use of Schools. By J. Bigland.
12mo. London. 1818.
history for the young. There is, indeed, no great difficulty in the mere statement of facts in their chronological succession, mingled with somewhat of anecdote and illustration ; and this is nearly the utmost that has been hitherto done by those who have undertaken this department of historical composition. We cannot, at the present moment, recollect any work of this kind which is addressed to juvenile readers as intellectual beings : they seem to have been considered too much as machines for the exercise of memory, instead of being, as early as possible, thrown upon their mental resources. The important purposes of exciting and informing the understanding, would be better answered by pointing out the causes of events, and the circumstances which prepared the way for them, than by the most diffuse and decorated description of the transactions themselves; and we are persuaded that the great objects of instruction would be more effectually attained by this direct appeal to the intellects of youth, than by any mere memorial arrangement.
The two historical compositions now before us, are professedly : drawn up for the use of young persons, and although they do
pot exactly answer our requisitions, yet they are very respectable and useful compilations. Miss Thurtle's work is agreeably written, but with a little more common-place decoration than a severer revision of her book would have permitted : in the event of a second edition, we would recommend the ejectment of some of her adjectives, and the excision of such very unpleasant expletives as · British valour,' and Albion's happy
shore.' A useful, and apparently well-executed appenriage to Miss T.'s volume, will be found in its very copious chronological apparatus. On the whole, however, we prefer Mr. Bigland's
Letters, though we do not greatly admire bis ' Questions for ' examination,' which, if at all necessary, might, we think, have been more efficiently framed. Neither do we approve the epistolary form : it is well enough adapted to lighter subjects, but it seems to us inexpressibly awkward and mawkish when applied to historical composition. Mr. B. writes in a plain, distinct, and sufficiently correct, though not highly finished style, and some of his reflections and retrospects are important and judicious.