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If we may credit the accounts of contemporaneous bistorians, Jerome of Prague was sensible that the time was not yet come for the rejection of the Papal yoke, and he declared that a century would not elapse, before his doctrines would be received in the very country in which they were then condemned as heretical. In modern Germany, we are convinced that much will be done to limit ecclesiastical power, and possibly these proceedings may hasten the attempt; but deliverance from the Pope is nothing, unless it carry with it deliverance from Popery, from its errors in religion, its immoralities in practice, and its slavery in politics. And to whatever beneficial results such struggles as the present may lead, we are well assured, that nothing can be done for any Popish country, until princes and people appeal, as Luther did, to the Bible, and consign, if not to the flames, at least to universal contempt, all bulls, and briefs, and decrees, which derive their authority only from the usurped power of the Papal See.
We would hope that the publication of these documents, will furnish a useful lesson to the British public. The members of that Church, whose bead appears here in so unfavourable a light, are still seeking political power in our empire, avowing at the same time that to the Pope they owe no obedience, nor acknowledge in him any control, except in matters purely spirisual. But this individual claims to be the judge of Wliat is, and what is not spiritual. For example; marriage is, in his view, a spiritual matter, therefore his ordinances respecting it must be obeyed: but who will say that they will never clash with the laws of the land, or interfere with the legal rights of individuals ? Again; the appointment of a bishop is a spiritual thing; but is our government prepared to negotiate on the filling up of every Irish Popish see? In short, are we prepared to grant to the Church of Rome a power, which in numberless cases may be exercised in a manner injurious to the subjects of this realm? Redress, doubtless, may be had in our courts of law, but to the decrees of these courts, every true Catholic (and such may be on the bench) will feel that be owes no submission, as the case is a spiritual one, and in it the Pope's authority is paramount and supreme.
Whatever may be the issue of present contentions at bume or abroad, feeling, as we do, that Popery is an anti-christian conspiracy against the religion and liberties of mankind, we should evince but little regard for the word of God, if we did not anticipate its downfall
, not indeed by the power of man, but by the power of truth : it shall be broken without bands. And viewing the diffusion of knowledge, the circulation of the ScripJures, and a general anxiety for instruction, contemporaneous throughout Europe, we hail it as a happy prospect, and doubt not but future historians, employed in developing the secret springs of various movements which may take place, will assign them a prominent place, as we justly ascribe the success of the Reformation, under God, to many events which at that period tended to enlighten the minds, and awaken the curiosity of the nations of Christendom. Art. V. 1. Peter Bell. A Lyrical Ballad. 8vo. 1819. 2. Two Papers: A Theatrical Critic, and an Essay (being No 999 of
the Pretender) on Sonnet-writing, and Sonnet-writers in general, including a Sonnet on Myself; attributed to the Editor of the Ex-m-n-r. Preceded by Proofs of their Authenticity, founded
upon the Authority of Internal Evidencc. 8vo. 1819. MR.. William Wordsworth having announced another
lyrical ballad under the title of Peter Bell, some waggish witling has thought to get the start of him with the Public, presenting himself as the real Simon Pure.' The Preface sets forth, that “ Peter Bell."
completes the simple system of natural narrative, which I began so early as 1798. It is written in that pure unlaboured style, which can only be met with among labourers ;—and I can safely say, that while its imaginations spring beyond the reach of the most imaginative, its occasional meaning occasionally falls far below the meanest capacity. As these are the days of counterfeits, I am compelled to caution my readers against them, “ for such are abroad.” However, I here declare this to be the true Peter ; this to be the old original Bell. I commit my Ballad confidently to posterity. I love to read my own poetry: it does my heart good.
It is the thirty-first of March,
An old man o'er an old grave stares,
He hath a noticeable look,
at the graves, and seems,
From year,-to year,—to year,-to year.' Peter Bell readethably,' and he proceeds to read the inscriptions on the tomb-stones.
• The ancient Marinere lieth here,
Harry Gill is gone to rest,
Never more shall she pick faggot.' In fine, Andrew Jones, and Simon Lee, and Barbara Lewthwaite, and Alice Fell, and Betty Foy, and all the other heroes and heroines of certain Lyrical Ballads, are discovered by the old man, slumbering here in peaceful oblivion.
" Yet still be sees one blessed tomb ;
pp. 24, 25.
Thou art happy, Peter Bell,
Never more will trouble you, trouble you." The Author of this burlesque has evidently thought it pot worth while to bestow more pains on an ephemeral trifle of this kind, than might suffice to secure a laugh on a first perusal. This purpose it may answer better even than a more elaborate hoax. We wish the despicable pun in the fifteenth stanza had been suppressed : the rest is neat and fair enough. The genuine Peter Bell is close behind; the pseudo Peter must therefore make the most of his time with the public, and not venture to invite too close a scrutiny into his pretensions. · And yet, from whom but Mr. Wordsworth could we expect to receive any other than a burlesque poenn under the title of Peter Bell?
Mr. Wordsworth can well stand the laugh against him which his own perverseness provokes; and he is a poet that, after all, cannot be laughed down. But how will the nerves of that other
at Poet and Essayist bear this more faithful parody upon his lucubrations? It is said that Walter Scott, on being shewn Wat' o' the Cleugh, in the Poetic Mirror, jocosely admitted it to be bis own writing, although he had forgotten when he wrote it. The internal evidence in favour of the authenticity of the“ Two
Papers" ascribed to the Editor of the Examiner, is not less irresistible. Will Mr. Hunt have the magoavimity to own them at once?
Although the Theatrical paper is by far the best, we must, were it only for the sake of the Sonnet, take the shorter of the two. • The Pretender, being No. 999 of a Series of Essays on Morals, Politics,
Law, Physic, Divinity, Poetry, the Arts, Science, Manufactures,
Ву the Editor. « On Sonnet-WRITING, AND
SONNET-WRITERS IN • PetrARCH wrote sonnets. This, I think, is pretty generally knownI mean among the true lovers of Italian poetry. Of course, I do not here allude to those young ladies and gentlemen who are beginning to learn Italia as they say, and think PETRARCH really a charming man, and know by heart the names of Tasso and ARIOSTO, and of that wholesale dealer in grand vagaries, DANTE. But besides these, several other Italian writers have composed sonnets, though I do not think with
the rest of the world that they have brought this species of composition to any thing like perfection.
Among us, SHAKSPEARE and Milton have made attempts. Milton, by the way, is known to people in general merely as the author of Paradise Lost; but his inasque, called Comus, I think the finest specimen of his poetical powers, faulty as it is in many respects. Some allowance, however, must be made for his youth' at the time he wrote it; and indeed I must, in common fairness, admit, that when I composed my Descent of Liberty, I had the advantage of being somewhat older.
• When I inform my readers that SHAKSPEARB wrote sonnets, I know they will be inclined to receive the revelation with a bless-my-soul sort of stare, and, for any thing I know, discredit it altogether. People, , generally speaking, are very ignoranı about the great nature-lookingthrough Bard, though I know they pretend to talk a good deal about him. His sonnets, for instance, are known only to the few whose souls are informed with a pure taste, and whose high aspirings enable them to feel and enjoy all the green-leafiness and dewy freshness of his poetry. For my own part, I think well of them; and certainly upon the whole they are not unworthy of their great author. Yet he has left something to be done in that way.
Among the moderns we have no great examples. This lack of good sonnet-writers in England is in some sort attributable to the style of versification prevalent among us, and which is totally unfit for the streamy, gurgling-brooky, as it were, flow of the sonnet. Dryden and Pope, i
DRYDEN I think, were wretched versifiers, though I know this opinion will absolutely horrify all the boarding-school misses, as well as many other wellintentioned folks, who like verses which cost them no trouble to read into music. But to come to the point. What our poetry has hitherto wanted, is a looseness and irregularity---a kind of broken, patchy choppiness in the construction of its verse, and an idiomatic how-d'ye-dopretty-well-thauk-ye sort of freedom in its language. This, at length, I have succeeded in giving it, and present my readers with the following SONNET ON MYSELF as a specimen. By the way, I intend it only for such readers as have a fine eye for the truth of things--for sweet hearts and fine understanding-for maids whose very souls peep out at their bosoms, as it were, and who love the moon-light stilliness of the Regent's Park.
SONNET ON MYSELF.
And climb thy grassy eminence, Primrose Hill!
And of the frolicksome breeze swallow my till,
all round and round me. Then I lie
And sicken to think of the smoke-mantled-city,
But pluck a butter-cup, yellow and pretty,
And then I drink hot milk, fresh from the cow,