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of application, rarely employed for such purposes by modern poets; as the simile, in particular, though a favourite figure with the greatest bards of former ages, is almost exploded by our contemporaries. We shall quote two of Mrs. West's, as elegant specimens of her skill and taste in such embellishments. The following description of the gradual labours of education, is a striking example of a negative comparison. Patient shall she toil,
Lay line on line, till, well compact and firm,
A temple rises, founded on a base
Of adamant, unlike th' infernal pile
Of Pandemonium, which spontaneous rose
To fifes and timbrels, glittering but unsound.' P. 101.
There is something to our mind truly sublime and awfully affecting, in the simile, or rather parallel, that concludes the following melancholy tribute of the Muse to the memory of Lady Maria Micklethwaite.
Come, strew with flowers the bridal-path, and wake
A widow'd mother's comforter and friend,
Of sweetness, goodness, truth, love bow'd, nor long
Mix'd in his roseate wreaths. One year revolves ;
The groves of Beeston, that with pride receiv'd
So when the fall'n Emathian race through Rome
A slave, an orphan, not Achaia's lord. pp. 177-179
There is a short but elegant illustration of modesty, that deserves notice.
'Modest flowers adorn
The spring, and in the spring of life no grace
It is not without reluctance that we omit a fine passage, written with peculiar delicacy, on a very exquisite and tender subject; when the disinterested principle of self-sacrifice, which we have extolled as the chief glory of the mother in the earliest infancy of her child, is again tried, perhaps yet more painfully, when her daughter, grown up in her own. image, and fulfilling all her hopes, allows a stronger passion than filial piety to usurp her bosom, and yields to a lover that hand which hitherto had been devoted supremely to minister to a parent's enjoyments.
We should not forget to say that the poem is divided into five books-Infancy-Religious Instruction-Education-Separation from Children-Maternal Sorrows. We think that the author warms and mends as she proceeds: there is a great deal of dry digression in the three first parts; but in the two latter there is an overbalancing proportion of powerful and pathetic interest. Fortune does not alway's favour the brave in verse, and poets are seldom the most successful when they are the most daring. The address which Mrs. W. has most absurdly put into the mouth of the new born infant to its mother, (p. 17.) would much better have come from the lips of its grandfather. We have marked some inexcusably rude lines, which however it is needless to particularize.
Art. IX. A Treatise on Medical Police, and on Diet, Regimen, &c. In which the permanent and regularly recurring Causes of Disease in general, and those of Edinburgh and London in particular, are described; with a general Plan of Medical Police to obviate them, and a particu, lar one adapted to the local Circumstances of these Cities. By John Roberton, M. D. 2 Vols. 8vo. price 12s. Boyce and Co. Edinburgh ; Murray. 1809.
IN an introductory chapter of fifty-three pages, Dr. Roberton has given an affecting description of some of the evils which he wishes to alleviate, and sketched an outline of the plan which he has to suggest for the purpose. He observes, with great truth, that the Bills of Mortality, however defective and inaccurate, demonstrate the awful truth, that few of the human race die of old age, or natural decay; and that by far the greater proportion are put off by diseases induced by 'want of care, and propagated
by want of attention both to themselves and their inferiors in society.' p. 15.
A full investigation into the causes of this melancholy fact, would be indeed of inestimable value; but when we consider how much the moral and physical condition of the human race re-act upon each other, and how intimately they are connected together, it would evidently be an undertaking of no common difficulty, and would require talents of a high order, together with very extensive opportunities of observation and inquiry. A very great proportion, however, of the suffering and mortality which cast so deep a shade upon the picture of human life, may undoubtedly be traced to physical causes; and it is to the developement and arrangement of these, that the medical philosopher may be expected most successfully to direct his attention. A great deal has indeed been already done on this subject; facts and observa tions are every where to be found in the writings of medical men, and abundant materials are at hand, ready for collection and arrangement. With respect to the work before us, it is evidently the production of an individual, possessing an ardently benevolent mind, and anxious to improve the condition of his fellow creatures, but not always under the direction of that strict logical discipline and severe discrimination, which are indispensably necessary to the successful pursuit of moral or physical inquiry. There is too great a want of judicious proportion in its subordinate divisions, and many subjects of great importance are passed over with very hasty and insufficient notice; while others, of less general interest, are as disproportionately extended. The chap ter of Soil,' for example, as a general cause of disease, extends to thirty-eight pages; while the corresponding one, on Police for Soil,' is dismissed in four, of which the most remarkable feature is, a recommendation to introduce limestone into those districts where it is not found, because Gibraltar, which is a lime-stone rock, and some towns in North America built of lime-stone, are remarkably healthy; and because calcareous materials used for the purpose of building, paving, &c. have been found of the greatest service, in sup pressing contagious distempers!! The interesting subject of the various Occupations' of civil society as a source of dis ease, is comprised in eight pages; and the corresponding chapter, intitled Police for Occupations,' fills about a page and a quarter! It may not be improper to observe that the term police is used by our author in a sense very remote from that to which it is in general restricted, as expressive of municipal regulation sanctioned by legislative authority; he uses it generally, as expressive of any plan for the re
moval or prevention of the causes of disease, whether intended to be carried into effect under the sanction of municipal authority or not; an application of the word, in which we presume he is not likely to have many followers.
The nature and extent of the work will be sufficiently explained by the following extract.
The work will be divided into three books, the first of which is genetal, and the others particular.
The first book is divided into two parts; the first of which alludes to the sources of disease, and the second to the modes of preventing or of obviating them. The first part is divided into three chapters; of which the first two explain the causes, the third the reasonings upon these causes, and the diseases produced. The natural causes are soil, Climate, and situation. The artificial causes are the construction of houses, occupations, modes of living, and manners in general. The second part is divided into two chapters. In the first of which is explained plans of police, by which diseases arising from the foregoing causes may be prevented. The second includes the practical methods by which the diseases themselves may be remedied. Observations more or less minute, according to their importance, respecting these plans of police, for each individual subject previously considered, shall form the Various sections of the first of these chapters, arranged exactly in the order in which these subjects have been détailed.
Book second is precisely a counterpart of book first, and all the prineiples detailed in it are particularly applied to the local circumstances of Edinburgh. Book third is also a precise counterpart of book first, and all the principles detailed in it are particularly applied to London.' p. xlix.
It is evident, that, to do complete justice to so extensive a subject, must require no inconsiderable diligence, and an extensive, acquaintance with the most eminent writers on medical subjects; but it strikes us as an unpardonable defect in the work before us, that there is a total want of refe renees to the authorities, from which the facts and observa tions have been collected. The names of some of the most eminent ornaments of the medical profession, are indeed occusionally introduced in the text as authorities for a specific fact, but never with any accurate reference to the work or page from whence the observation has been obtained. This, perhaps, may render the work of less real value only with one class of readers; but still it has a general effect in diminishing its respectability, and produces upon the mind of an intelligent reader much the saine effect that hearsay evidence does upon that of an intelligent jury. We do not however intend by any means to detract from the real merits of the work. It will be found to contain a very respectable mass of infor nation, on many questions of general importance; it exhi bits almost perpetual proofs of amiable and benevolent feeling and correct principle; and, though there are many subordinate points on which we should differ in opinion, yet its
views may for the most part be safely recommended to general adoption. As a work intended for popular instruction, the object of the author is laudable; though we cannot venture to express an opinion that it is in any great degree attainable. The prevention of disease is certainly an object of importance to every individual and to every community; and on this subject the more the public mind can be enlightened, the better. It is as absurd to expect that every man can become his own physician as his own lawyer; but it is both a rational, and desirable object to make every person aware of the dangers to which life and health are perpetually exposed, and to teach those, who are already in possession of the greatest of all temporal blessings, by what means it may be preserved and improved.
We select the following extract as a specimen of the author's style and manner, not from the novelty of the observations it contains, but from their real value.
Not to load the digestive organs by too large quantities, or in proper qualities, either of food or drink, is a matter of the very great t est importance. We ought never to indulge in either of these, so as even to render us in the slightest degree unfit for business, exercise, or pleasure of any kind. Thus we may preserve our minds in a vigorous tranquil, happy state, capable of enjoying the various pleasures, which this world can afford; we are happy in ourselves, and diffuse the same spirit to all around us. Our sleep is tranquil, our dreams agreeable, and we awake refreshed and contented. Different is the fate of him who attends not to such things: He has little serenity of mind, and no lasting enjoyment. It is only while gorging himself. with various kinds of food, and indulging in inebriating potions, that he experiences momentary delight, and this only lasts at most for a few years. At other times he is irascible, impatient, and discontented. It is then he plys the various provokers of appetite, that he may again enjoy as before momentary relief, and thus gradually, but surely and entirely, de stroys the digestive functions. Were we only to drink when we are thirsty, desist when thirst is quenched; eat when we are hungry, and desist when our appetite is satisfied, perhaps one half, if not greatly more of our most troublesome complaints would never be heard of.' Vol. 11. P. 71.
The following extract from the Recapitulation, and Conclus sion,' will enable our readers to form some estimate of the mode of preventing diseases, especially infectious ones, which the views of our author would lead him to recommend and enforce.
• A council of health ought to be established, consisting of some of the principal members of the legislature, some of the chief magistrates of each city, and several medical attendants; and this body should be entrusted with such powers as might enable it to see all its orders exe cuted with impartial justice, as well as that no unnecessary hardships be, under any pretence, inflicted. This body ought to appoint inspectors of