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elegiac. By Elizabeth Scot, a Native of Edinburgh To which
From the short history of this lady, prefixed to her poems, and from the amiable spirit disclosed in her productions, we can entertain no doubt that Mrs. Scot was an interesting object to her friends : but the virtues of domestic life do not constitute the merit of a writer ; and the slight verses now brought before the Public would have been more respectably stationed, had they still dwelt in a private bureau.
To prevent an unfavourable impression, which might otherwise be occasioned by the title-page, we ought to observe that the story of Alonzo and Cora was versified from Marmontel, long before it was burlesqued by Kotzebue, or his translators.
The editor of this volume, moved undoubtedly by friendly zeal for the author, has anticipated the labours of the critic, by character. izing almost every composition in a note. We shall quote a few stanzas from the piece called Edwin and Edith, because he says that the -author's talents no-where shew themselves to greater advantage than in this little poem.' We are of the same opinion, and shall Icave the reader to judge of her powers from this example:
• Adown yon fair sequester'd vale
A silver stream meandering flows ;
And sweet the azure violet blows.
Its arms the fragrant woodbine twines;
To paint the fairy scene combines.
That blasts the hope of infant spring;
his dusky wing.
The traveller's eye delighted view'd ; 'Twas oft the weary wanderer's home,
Whom want and wretchedness pursu'd.
That stately rais'd it's rev'rend head;
And wide its friendly shelter spread
Safe from the storms of public strife :
To taste the sweets of rural life.
« His • His youth, for gallant feats renown'd,
Had earn'd sweet peace to gild his age ;
The hoary temples of the sage.
Adorns the apple's wither'd arms,
Fair as the dawn, her opening charms,
Ting'd with the rose's softest die ?
The star of morning in thine eye?"
• Thus by his side a daughter shew,' is not intelligible in point of grammar, and is totally indefensible as a rhyme to hue. Had such a passage occurred in a work that required emcndatory criticism, we should have restored it as follows:
“ Thus by his side his daughter's shoe
Display'd it's ribband's purple charms." It is surely incumbent on those who attempt poetical composition, to understand the leading principles of style in the language which they design to immortalize. Art. 26. Poems, by the Rev. Wm. Lisie Bowles. Vol. II.
Small 8vo. 6s. Boards. Cadell jun. and Davies. 1801. Having repeatedly paid our compliments to Mr. Bowles, we shall hope to be excused if, pleading the privilege of old acquaintance, we treat him less ceremoniously on the present occasion than we should do on a first introduction. Some of the pieces, comprized in the elegant little volume which he here presents to us, have demanded our notice as separate publications; and to those accounts we beg leave to refer our readers. Our remarks on the Song of the Battle of the Nile, the first poem in this collection, will be found in M. R. vol. xxviii. p. 110. N. S., and those on the other principal poems, intitled St. Michael's Mount and Coombe Ellen, in M. R. vol. xxix. p. 237. and 239. N. S. Here, as in other places of our journal, we have so fully appreciated Mr. Bowles's rank as a poet, that little more is requisite for us now than to announce this second volume of his works; and to assure the many lovers of his Muse that they will find in it those specimens, sometimes of bold description and at others of elegant simplicity, which their knowlege of the powers of his mind and the character of his genius will have taught them to expect.
Besides the poems already named, this volume includes, Inscriptive Pieces, Calpe Obsessa, On an Unfortunate Woman, Hymn to Woden, Gilimer, Summer Evening at Home, Winter Evening at Home, the Spirit of Navigation Discovery, Water Party on Beaulieu River, Fairy Sketch, the Snow Drop, and Monody on the Death of Dr. Warton. We shall copy Gilimer. Ff3
«Gilimer was the last of the Vandal kings of Africa, conquered by BELISARIUS ; he retired to the heights of Pappua, when his army was entirely beaten.--His answer to the message sent to him there by Belisarius is well known. He desired the conqueror to send him a Loaf of Bread, a Sponge, and a Lute : this request was thus ex. plained that the king had not tasted any baked bread since his arrival on that mountain, and earnestly longed to eat a morsel of it before he died; the sponge he wanted to allay a tumour that was fallen upon one of his eyes ;" and the lute, on which he had learnt to play, was to assist him in setting some elegiac verses he had composed on the subject of his misfortunes.
“ Hence, soldier, to thy plumed chief;
Tell him that Afric's king,
Asks but a lute, that he may sing
A sponge, which he in tears may steep;
Such, Gilimer, was thy last pray'r
When thou forlorn, and frozen with despair,
The sun from darkness rose,
Now the prophetick song indignant flows
“ Thine, Roman, is the victory -
In every clime thy eagles fly,
That flashes far and near,
" I sink forsaken here-
Yet boast not thou,
Soldicr, the laurels on thy victor brow;
« With haggard beard, and bleeding eyes,
The conqueror of Afric lies
Where now his marshall’d legions thronging bright,
His steeds, his trumpets, clanging to the fight,
« Now see him poorly led,
Begging in age his scanty bread!
Me, to scorn and ruin left ?
That thou too, in thy turn, may'st know,
How doubly sharp the woe-
around on all the world,
H. Steers, Gent. 4to. 6d. Printed at Driffield. We do not perceive the necessity which Mr. S. states to have impelled his Muse to leave 'its humble scene and artless lay,' in or. der to engage in the sublime employment of embalming in gorgeous verse the memory of the late Duke of Bedford: but, if the Fates have urged him to the attempt, we can only say that it is unfortunate that they did not at the same time equip him with adequate powers. We transcribe one stanza, as an evidence of his poetic abilities:
* Nor unlamented shall such goodness fall,
His study was the welfare of mankind.'
About two or three years ago, we perused two small publications în prose, by this writer ; whom we commended for his good sense. Had we seen only his verses, we could not have expressed ourselves so much in favour of his literary abilities. Indeed, we cannot honestly encourage hím to persist in the culture of this branch of study.
As Mr. W. seems, as far as we may conclude from bis writings, to be a respectable character, we hope that his feelings will not be too sensibly impressed by our non-admiration of his poetry; and that he will bear in mind the common quotation of Non omnia possumus
" • Alluding to the supposed miserable state of Belisarius in his old age.
MATHEMATICS. Art. 29. Reflections on the Theory of the Infinitesimal Calculus (the
Method of Fluxions.) "By C. Carnot, Ex-director of the French Republic, Minister of War, &c. Translated from the French, and illustrated with Notes, by William Dickson, LL.D. 8vo. 28. Richardsons. 1801.
The original of this work possessed so much merit, in our opinion, that we made it the subject of an ample discussion *. One or two points, indeed, appeared to us objectionable : but its general character is that of perspicuity; and previously to the attempt of Dr. Dickson, we should have thought it difficult to misunderstand the meaning of the author. Nothing, however, is impossible to a commeritator; especially to such an one as the present, who, with a success beyond calculation, has explained away the meaning of his author, and has involved in deep gloom and obscurity, by the power of his illustrations, that which before was sufficiently evident.
The preface and notes of Dr. D. are not composed with very conspicuous modesty: 'He trusts he understands something of Newton's fluxionary theory;'-—' he decidedly prefers the fuxional notation,' &c. He has not condescended, however, to bring proof of his assertions, and we must doubt whether he could make them good: but, reduced to an alternative, we would rather grant that he understande what he has not than what he has expressed.
It would be a misapplication of time to note all the defective rea. sonings and errors which strike our apprehension in this pamphlet : but we must remark that it is rather curious that Dr. D. has ventured to make a petty attack on Leibnitz for his mode of explanation, and afterward adopts that mode in its most faulty parts. He explains the delicate theory of the infinitesimal calculus, by saying that dx-dy, dx", &c. may be safely neglected relatively to x, dx, &c. for the same reason that ..00000i &c. may be neglected relatively to 1. Surely the commentator was determined to shew the world how com. pletely he could misunderstand the meaning of his author, and offend against reason.
“ Criticis haud paucis mos est, (says Lord Bacon,) ubi incidunt is quidpiam quod non intelligunt, vitium statim in exemplari supponere.” So Dr. Dickson, in an unlucky moment, supposed an expression of Carnot to be erroneous, and in a long note has attempted to correct it, but has thus in reality vitiated the text. Our mathematical readers will be astonished when they learn that Dr. D, and his friend Mons. Buée were led to expose themselves, the one in a note and the other in a letter, purely from ignorance that two expressions, such as, btcod
+ are equivalent ! Dr. D., however, needs not want such consolation as example and precedent afford him. He is one of a numerous host of commentators who have mistaken the meaning of their authors ; and, as to the multitude of books by which truth has been obscured, the present pamphlet must bear a very small proportion to that enormous mass. * See M. R. Vol. xxxiv. N. S. p. 463, Appendix.