« ZurückWeiter »
truth and pathos: the author feelingly describes the forlorn and destitute condition of that class of society; who, after having reared sons to serve the state, are left to pine in want and solitude, neglected or forgotten. Let us hope, however, that the case is not so general as he deems it.
Let us hope that many, very many, find love to soothe, and gratitude to support them : that they have kind daughters to smooth their pillow, and affectionate sons to scatter some flowers along the dim and chill path of declining age.
There are two poetical pieces, and they are among the best, with a brief notice of which we shall close our remarks. One is entitled, “A Tale without a Name.” It describes the wanderings of a fratricide, who flees his country, and after an absence of twenty years, returns home only to meet the punishment due to his crime. But the tale is chiefly interesting from the devoted attachment of the partner of his fate, whose love never wavers throughout that long and painful pilgrimage; whose bosom is his pillow at night, and whose affection is his solace by day. In battle on land, and in tempest at sea, he courts death in vain. Still there is one true to him, though all beside have abandoned him and that one is a woman; woman--in whom man generally finds his best—and often his last friend. The author's style is mostly perspicuous, and sometimes elegant; and the moral and religious tendency of his work unexceptionable.
We notice, in conclusion, the other poetical production, “The Voyage of the Blind," which is a favorite with us. It is founded on the disastrous fate of two slave-ships, which are so infected by ophthalmia, that in one, the whole crew (to say nothing of the slaves,) became blind; and in the other, one only retains his sight till the vessel reaches the destined port. The former is the Leon, a Spanish vessel ; and the latter, Le
Rodeur, from France. The horrors of this most execrable • traffic are forcibly described; and the author is justly severe
on the cold blooded indifference, which, at the treaty that followed the restoration of Louis XVIII. so needlessly signed away the happiness and the hopes, and the blood, of thousands of our fellow-creatures, because they were
“Guilty of a skin,
Not coloured like our own.” And who but will—but must deplore-the apathy that bowed and smiled away, not only the peace--but the lives of myriads of human beings: and that too at a time when France had not (as our author says) a foot of ground on the habitable globe, to be cultivated by the toil and blood of a single negro, nor one farthing embarked in that commerce of human misery. Truly does our author say—“ Indifference is conni
vance in such a case ; every man, therefore, with a voice and a pen, who has heard of this evil under the sun, ought to express his detestation, or be considered an accomplice.” With which opinion we heartily coincide. We let our author take leave of our readers in his own character---that of a poet. The quotation, we are sure, will be acceptable.
“That pestilence 110 power could check;
; ܐ: ܢ
Reullura. By T. Campbell. New Monthly Magazine,
No. XLVI. Oct. 1, 1824. London. MR. CAMPBELL made his appearance in the poetical world at a time when the disciples of the romantic sehool of poetry increased and multiplied, and brought forth abundantly.
The luxurious genius of Dr. Darwin, and the delicate exquisiteness of his taste, had refined the manners of the English Muse to a dainty and fantastical dandisettism, which was inimical to all freedom of action, dignity of movement, variety of expression, beauty of sentiment, and nobility of thought, It was not surprising that this extreme should be followed by another. Excess and abuse of refinement have a tendency to produce barbarism. Nations have been ruined by luxury, when confined in its objects, and limited in its application to the purposes of selfish indulgence, rather than extended according to the true Epicurean principle, which, in its universality, embraced virtue as the
sublimest means of happiness, and knew no luxury so great as that “ of doing good. But, unfortunately, so prevalent have frequently been the antisocial over the social tendencies of national institutions, that the higher aims and attainments of pleasurable desire, and the instinctive yearnings after happiness in the immortal spirit of man, have been subjected and subordinated to the more immediate, but less honorable, demands of individual excess and inglorious ease. Hence, the general good is sacrificed to particular advantage, and the general interest weakened by the division into its component parts. This is the decline, and then cometh the decay and fall of empires.
“ First freedom, and then glory,—when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption, barbarism at last." These effects are not owing to luxury, but to the error of expending it upon an improper object. It was not the Epicurean principle which was to blame, but its application. Men placed their happiness in indolence, not industry,-in vice, not virtue. The capabilities of men were not exhausted; they mistook the proper object, and paid the forfeit of their
Thus, the poets of the Darwinian school sacrificed all that was great in conception, and sublime in execution, to that foppery of verse which was but a sublimation of those petty niceties of metre, observed by the imitators of Pope. Sound was preferred to sense; high words to high thoughts. Too indolent to think, they contented themselves with selecting phrases, rather than with collecting ideas; they luxuriated in the splendor of the ornaments, and the sweetness of the music; but of the virtue which gave substance to the embellishment,
and expression to the numbers, they were regardless. They were educated-not born poets. They did not write poetry, but poetically.
To this frippery of diction, so gratifying to their own pecu, Har vanity, they prostrated thought, and limited the exertions of the more intellectual muse. Mechanism was substituted for mind, and manner for genius, which was antecedent and superior to the habit it had acquired, and the medium it had adopted, but independent of which its ebullitions seemed abrupt, and its boldnesses unpleasing “to ears polite.” These writers civilized their language, without cultivating thought. No wonder that the reaction should be equally violent, and that the manifestations of intellect should be opposed to the civility of diction, and that the public mind should have been easily directed to the contemplation of the ruder models of ancient minstrelsy, in which it as easily overlooked what pleased in the discord, roughness, and redundancy of those peripatetic harpers, pleased rather in despite than by favor of the diction. Uncouth expression generally accompanied the most beautiful poetry of those “olden times." Was it to be marvelled at, that it should be involuntarily fancied, that where uncouth expression was, there also beautiful poetry must be ?
From the rugged north a mountain flood descended upon the plains of taste. Then Campbell appeared, and with his poetry, pruned as it was in expression, smooth in versification, and regular in metre, opposed a barrier to the impetuous torrent. A revolution, at the sametime, was commencing in the publictaste. The lovers of poetry had perceived that this barbarian muse, arrayed in all her savage finery, thus introduced into the politer circles of literature, by art, indeed, scaree less than magical, and skill worthy of all admiration, though she for a brief period attracted more attention than the most elegantly accomplished, yet was not therefore the best attired. As the restorer of the classical dynasty, Campbell was welcomed by men of taste. His Pleasures of Hope, and Gertrude of Wyoming, chaste in expression, pleasing in subject, picturesque in illustration, justified the praises which were awarded to them; and unambitious in their end, and modest in the employment and adoption of the means, prevented jealousy and anticipated prejudice. Hence he, with Rogers, has enjoyed the reputation due to his merits, without dispute and without interruption, escaping alike the shafts of envy, and the fangs of malevolence.
We have neither time nor space to distinguish the peculiar features of Mr. Campbell's geniuș, or we might institute a comparison between him and Mr. Rogers, delineating each according to the peculiar characteristics of their respective identity, either by the force of contrast or of comparison.
We regret this the less, seeing that Mr. Campbell has a new poem in the press, entitled Theodric, together with a col. section of his minor pieces, when we shall have a more eligible opportunity of entering upon this interesting task.
It is gratifying to know, that one of our numerous periodicals is edited by a man so respected and talented, from whose classical taste, and correct discrimination, every benéficial effect is to be expected. The last number of the New Monthly Magazine contains a pleasing little poem from the pen of the editor. Though devoted to classic exemplars, and adopting their style and manner, he had already shewn, in Lochiel's Warning, and Lord Uller's Daughter, that he was not incapacitated from entering into the romantic land of poesy, and at the same time proved, that the severer graces
of a chastened understanding were not inapplicable to the errant and unconfined tale that claims to “ flow on as wild as cloud, or stream or gale."
“ He boasts no song in magic wonders rife,
But yet familiar, is there nought to prize,
No form with which the soul may sympathize ?” The action of the poem to which we allude is placed in the age of romance: it is entitled Reullura. Cast in an imaginative mould, it is indebted to the influences of the spiritual world, for the interest which it is peculiarly calculated to excite.
Reullura, in Gaelic, signifies “beautiful star," and is the name of a prophetess, who was the partner of the bower of Aodh, the dark-attired Culdee. The Culdees were Albyn's earliest priests of God, and apparently the only clergy of Scotland from the sixth to the eleventh century. They were of Irish origin, and their monastery, on the island of lona, or Ikohuill, was the seminary of Christianity in North Britain. Not slavishly subjected to Rome, like the clergy of later periods, they resisted the papal ordinances respecting the celibacy of religious men. But the roof lies low where the Gael once heard the preaching of Aodh. With him, in that temple, pale and faint, stood Řeullura, in an hour when her soul was gifted with visions of awe, by the statue of an ancient saint; she eyed the statue's face, and uttered the following prophecy :
« • It is, he shall come,