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dition. Misery herself cannot, however, keep incessant watch
The sun again begins to peep,
The dews, brush'd off from grass and flowers,
While every leaf that forms a shade,
It will have appeared, in some measure, from our specimens, that Clare is rather the creature of feeling than of fancy. He looks abroad with the eye of a poet, and with the minuteness of a naturalist, but the intelligence which he gains is always referred to the heart; it is thus that the falling leaves become admonishers
and friends, the idlest weed has its resemblance in his own lowly lot, and the opening primrose of spring suggests the promise that his own long winter of neglect and obscurity will yet be succeeded by a summer's sun of happier fortune. The volume, we believe, scarcely contains a poem in which this process is not adopted; nor one in which imagination is excited without some corresponding tone of tenderness, or morality. When the discouraging circumstances under which the bulk of it was composed are considered, it is really astonishing that so few examples should be found of querulousness and impatience, none of envy or despair.
The humble origin of Clare may suggest a comparison with Burns and Bloomfield, which a closer examination will scarcely warrant. Burns was, indeed, as he expresses it, 'born to the plough,' but when in his riper years he held the plough it was rather as a master than as a menial. He was neither destitute nor uneducated. Secure from poverty, supported by his kindred, and surrounded by grand and exciting scenery, his lot was lofty and his advantages numerous compared with those of the youth before us. There is almost as little resemblance in their minds. To the pointed wit, the bitter sarcasm, the acute discrimination of character, and the powerful pathos of Burns, Clare cannot make pretension; but he has much of his tender feeling in his serious poetry, and an animation, a vivacity, and a delicacy in describing rural scenery, which the mountain bard has not often surpassed. In all the circumstances of his life, the author of the Farmer's Boy' was far more fortunate than Clare. Though his father was dead, Bloomfield had brothers who were always at his side to cheer and sustain him, while an early residence in the metropolis contributed largely to the extension of his knowledge. To want and poverty he was ever a stranger. Clare never knew a brother; it was his fortune to continue till his twenty-fifth year, without education, without hearing the voice of a friend, constrained to follow the most laborious and revolting occupations to obtain the bare necessaries of life. The poetical compositions of the two have few points of contact. The Farmer's Boy' is the result of careful observations made on the occupations and habits, with few references to the passions of rural life. Clare writes frequently from the same suggestions; but his subject is always enlivened by picturesque and minute description of the landscape around him, and deepened, as we have said, with a powerful reference to emotions within. The one is descriptive, the other contemplative.
A friend of Clare has expressed a doubt of his capacity for the composition of a long poem :-we have no wish that he should make the experiment; but we have an earnest desire that he should be respectable and happy; that he should support a fair name in
poetry, and that his condition in life should be ameliorated. It is with this feeling that we counsel that we entreat him to continue something of his present occupations;-to attach himself to a few in the sincerity of whose friendship he can confide, and to suffer no temptations of the idle and the dissolute to seduce him from the quiet scenes of his youth-scenes so congenial to his taste, to the hollow and heartless society of cities; to the haunts of men who would court and flatter him while his name was new, and who, when they had contributed to distract his attention and impair his health, would cast him off unceremoniously to seek some other novelty. Of his again encountering the difficulties and privations he lately experienced, there is no danger. Report speaks of honourable and noble friends already secured: with the aid of these, the cultivation of his own excellent talents, and a meek but firm reliance on that GOOD POWER by whom these were bestowed, he may, without presumption, anticipate a rich reward in the future for the evils endured in the morning of his life.
ART. IX. 1. De l'Angleterre. Par Monsieur Rubichon. Vol. I. 8vo. Paris.
2. De l'Angleterre. Par Monsieur Rubichon. Vol. II. 1819. OF Fall the materials for book-making, it might be thought that those collected in travelling were the most easily obtained. Let a person of plain good sense, improved by a liberal education, and with an unprejudiced mind, set out to ramble over any tract of country inhabited by human creatures; and the probability seems to be, that he will return home with such a store of observations as shall not fail to be instructive and beneficial, and to add to the common stock of truth by which alone the progress of mankind can be made certain.
But, when we consider that those qualities, though far removed from the highest endowment of intellect, are by no means so frequently met with as might be supposed, and that the majority of travellers have a different end in view from the study and observation of men, it will be less surprising that so little real advantage has accrued from their strictures upon the characters of the nations among whom they have resided.
The most important end of travel, however, that to which all other considerations should converge, is to acquire a knowledge of human beings, and of the modes and institutions by which they have been rendered wiser, happier, and better. Unfortunately, it is not in those parts of the world in which men and their institutions are the most worthy of observation, that they
have met with the greatest attention, and it is more common for the explorers of Asia, Africa, or the South Seas, to give a picture of manners, customs, and characters, than for those who visit the countries of Europe, to bestow upon them the labour and investigation to which so high a degree of culture has entitled them.
One of the causes which very much diminishes the value of travels in general, is the rapidity with which their authors (though they may be very sensible men, and very conversant with mankind at home) judge of habits and manners that are new to them. The effect of novelty upon the mind is always to produce emotion, to raise it out of the tranquil condition, in which alone sound judgment can be exercised, and to place it in a state of excitement, approaching to enthusiasm. Whether this enthusiasm tends to raise or depreciate in our estimation the object which is new to us, depends upon a variety of circumstances; but upon none so much as its relation to our own habits and dispositions; to those causes which have produced our prejudices. To form a just estimate how far the descriptions of a traveller are exact, we should, in some measure, be acquainted with the state of his mind; in order that we may be enabled to supply the deficiencies, and to lop off the redundancies of his praise or censure.
We meant, at first, to treat somewhat fully on this point; and indeed its importance, at a period when the mania of travelling is epidemic among us, and the country is annually drained of nearly eight millions sterling by British absentees, would justify our enlarging upon the subject-but opportunities will occur for returning to it with advantage. We shall therefore content ourselves with adding here, that we shall neither regret this extraordinary emigration; nor think these eight millions sterling during a few years, unhappily expended, if our countrymen return home loaded with the spoils of wholesome travel, and enriched with the kindly fruit of observation and enlarged virtue.
The press, in every part of Europe, has teemed of late with publications upon England and France. But the art of observing nations and their characters has been so long suspended, that it is, in some measure, lost. They who travel now are the children of those who travelled before the interruption. Every thing is new to them, except their own fire-sides. Other ideas too have filled the chasm which the sword had opened in European civilization. Other passions have agitated the minds of men. No two nations exist, who have not waged war with each other ; who have not mixed their banners in fight, alternately friends and foes. To the want of peaceful communication, have been joined the habit of suspicion and the instability of every social
tie. For these reasons it is more necessary than ever, that the enlightened of all nations should be brought into contact with each other; and that every man who has become acquainted with any of the countries which compose the most civilized portion of our globe, should contribute his mite to make them better known to each other; in the hope of repairing the breach which the fourth part of a century, spent in war and devastation, has made in mutual courtesy.
Beside the impediments which prevent men in general from soundly judging of nations not their own, particular causes may interfere to prevent the natives of some countries more especially from forming just ideas upon others. Without stopping to consider every case of this kind that might be found in Europe, we shall confine ourselves to what is suggested by the two volumes before us, as the most interesting to Englishmen, and to the history of the times in which we have lived; and speak of two countries, one of which has caused all the trouble and turmoil of our younger years, and the other has constantly sought to quell them; of France, the most attached of nations to physical refinement and luxury, and by whom the happiness of mankind was most bitterly warred against; and of England, the foremost in moral and intellectual civilization, by whom it has been still more successfully defended and secured.
In perusing the accounts which Frenchmen have given of England, upon a short acquaintance with it, we have often had occasion to remark how much more unfavourable and virulent they are, than the pictures which Englishmen, under similar circumstances, have drawn of France; and we have frequently been tempted to inquire into the causes which occasion such a disparity of mutual toleration. Before we enter upon the merits of Mr. Rubichon, then, we shall examine this question: Whether the opinions which Frenchmen pronounce upon England, or those which Englishmen pronounce upon France, are most likely to be just and competent; and state some of the causes which may contribute to warp the judgment of either with regard to the opposite party.
And here we must beg pardon of our readers for indulging in such homely topics as the first we must discuss; but we cannot help it. For many reasons we cannot avoid speaking of the physical inconveniences which English and French must feel on visiting each other's country, so different from their own. men are, in some measure, governed by their physical perceptions; and we agree with an adage of our neighbours, which says, that a parterre assis juge avec plus d'indulgence qu'un parterre debout. But of all the unplumed bipeds who pretend to reason,