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LThe yellow-tinging plague
What poet scruples to describe an elegant diminutive female by the expression, fairy-form, or to impersonize unpropitious darkness by calling it
--that witch, the night? We must not be too strict with the bards in our demands for the abolition of agreeable fables. Sublime use has been frequently made, by them, of the unphilosophic and long-exploded idea, that the sun is a moving orb. “ He cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course.” Spenser has clothed the same mistaken idea with yet more splendour.
“ And now the golden, oriental gate
“ Thou sun, of this great world both eye, and soul,
One of the most strikingly exceptionable violations of NATURAL HISTORY is committed by the
generally so very accurate Thomson, whose allusions and descriptions are almost always as faithful to truth, as they are dear to beauty. This violation is found, in a very prominent point of view, even in the beauteous exordium to his SPRING. As Mr Aikin justly observes, that poem opens at the period in which the fairest of the seasons is, in turn, repressed by the roughness of winter, and triumphant over it; but that discerning critic, who makes such a point of fidelity to nature in descriptive writing, shews his partiality to Thomson, and desire of concealing every defect of his, by not pointing out the impropriety of the veil in this vernal personification. It ought to have been composed of the springflowers, primroses, violets, hyacincths, &c. instead of those shadowing roses which, in our climate, never appear before the end of June. SumMER might properly have been invoked to descend,“ veild in a shower of shadowing roses ;" but it is a gross anachronism to attire the SPRING in that ornament.
Rev. T. S. WHALLEY, ON THE CONTINENT.
Lichfield, March 1, 1785. It has lately, dear friend, been my lot again to suffer pained' apprehension from seeing the dart of death shaken furiously over the weak frame of my aged father ; Sophia's, to mourn the extinction of her revived hopes ; and yours, to endure the anguish of losing your tenderly valued friend, in the flower of his youth. “Ah! is this all of thy Chatillion's story.” Mournful proof of life's instability!
In the severe disappointment which thus, to you and Mrs Whalley, casts the whole Continent into gloom; thus shrouds all the fair schemes you had planned of visiting, with this amiable and accomplished Savoyard, its varied scenes ; my best consolation is, that you are together, and have the power of devoting a portion of every day to the remembrance of him whom you have lost. Indifferent people must soon shew you their weariness of a theme so melancholy; and even your friends, who did not know him, cannot take an interest so lively in those precious recollections, as will be mutually and equally shared by you. When Adam and Eve are exiled paradise, Mil
“ They, hand in hand, with wandering steps, and slow,
Thro' Eden took their solitary way."
The little words, “ hand in hand,” steal, with balmy power, upon the pains of sensibility, while it contemplates that mournful banishment. Were I near you, I should strive to sooth, instead of using fruitless endeavours, by common-place arguments, to banish your grief. I should ask yon concerning Chatillion's person, his graces and his virtues. By making them habitually our theme, a lost friend seems not lost; he mingles in our conversation; we see him ; we hear his voice; we make our friends see and listen to him ; and we imagine that his beatified spirit hovers over us; and that it is not among the least of its delights to contemplate the affection, which thus consecrates his idea in the breast of those who were dearest to him upon earth, and to whom he will soon be reunited in that state, the happiness of which will find its perfection in the consciousness of its perpetuity.
The brilliant bard of Sussex lately sent me a beautifully flattering impromptu from his new
Parnassus ; its subject a mistake of his sculptor.
IMPROMTU BY MR HAYLEY.
Ye gods, cried a bard, with a classical oath,
Who had order'd the bustos of Pope and of Prior; That on each side of Seward *, who rivals them both,
They might properly honour that queen of the lyre :
O Jove, he exclaim'd, if I wielded thy thunder,
I wou'd frighten the sculptor who ruins my hope, Sure never did artist commit such a blunder,
He has sent me a NEWTON instead of a POPE.
In the wonders of nature Sir Isaac was vers’d,
But, alas ! with the NiNE he had little alliance, And tho' to the bottom of comets he pierc'd,
He ne'er sounded woman, that much deeper science.
But away, old astronomer! 'tis not thy post !
Here, exclaim’d the vex'd poet, take Newton away ; When, O wonderful speech! in the tone of a ghost,
The meek modest sage thus petition’d to stay :
“ Dear irascible bard, be a little more just,
Nor thy sculptor accuse of a careless transaction, In the shape of a cold and insensible bust,
I am drawn to thy house by the laws of attraction.
* Her picture by Romney.