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firmament. Trembling with wonder and delight in new-found existence, she look. ed abroad, and beheld nothing in heaven or on earth resembling herself. But she was not long alone; now one, then another, here a third, and there a fourth resplendent companion had joined her, till, light after light stealing through the gloom, in the lapse of an hour, the whole hemisphere was brilliantly bespangled.
The planets and stars, with a superb comet flaming in the zenith, for a while contemplated themselves and each other; and every one, from the largest to the least, was so perfectly well pleased with himself, that he imagined the rest only partakers of his felicity, he being the central luminary of his own universe, and all the host of heaven beside displayed around him in graduated splendour. Nor were any undeceived with regard to themselves, though all saw their associates in their real situations and relative proportions, selfknowledge being the last knowledge acquired, either in the sky, or below it,till, bending over the ocean in their turns, they discovered what they imagined, at first, to be a new heaven, peopled with beings of their own species; but, when they perceived further that no sooner had any one of their company touched the horizon than he instantly disappeared, they then recognized themselves in their individual forms, reflected beneath, according to their places and configurations above, from seeing others whom they previously knew, reflected in like manner. By an attentive but mournful self-examination in that mirror, they slowly learned humility, but every one learned it only for himself, none believing what others insinuated respecting their own inferiority, till they reached the western slope, from whence they could identify their true images in the nether element. Nor was this very surprising,-stars being only visible points, without any distinction of limbs, each was all eye, and, though he could see others most correctly, he could neither see himself, nor any part of himself,-till he came to reflection! The comet, however,
having a long train of brightness streaming sunward, could review that, and did review it with ineffable self-complacency: indeed, after all pretensions to precedence, he was, at length, acknowledged king of the hemisphere, if not by the universal assent, by the silent envy of all his rivals.
But the object which attracted most attention, and astonishment, too, was a slender thread of light, that scarcely could be discerned through the blush of evening, and vanished soon after nightfall, as if ashamed to appear in so scanty a form, like an unfinished work of creation. It was the moon, the first new moon ;-timidly she looked round upon the glittering multitude that crowded through the dark serenity of
space, and filled it with life and beauty. Minute, indeed, they seemed to her, but perfect in symmetry, and formed to shine for ever; while she was unshapen, incomplete, and evanescent. In her humility, she was glad to hide herself from their keen glances in the friendly bosom of the ocean, wishing for immediate extinction. When she was gone, the stars looked one at another, with inquisitive surprise, as much as to say, "What a figure!" It was so evident that they all thought alike, and thought contemptuously of the apparition (though, at first, they almost doubted whether they should not be frightened), that they soon began to talk freely concerning her, of course, not with audible accents, but in the language of intelligent sparkles, in which stars are accustomed to converse with telegraphic precision from one end of heaven to the other, and which no dialect on earth so nearly resem❤ bles as the language of eyes, the only one, probably, that has survived in its pu rity, not only the confusion of Babel, but the revolutions of all ages, &c.
Our limits stop us: we are almost ashamed to disturb the reader's admiration of these passages, by the truly critic-like objection, that our author, in passing from one to the other, has unceremoniously and injudiciously changed the gender of his stars; they are feminine in the first paragraph (as they ought to be), and masculine in the second.
"The Life of a Flower," supposed to be written by itself, which precedes this, is, also, exquisitely told, in a strain of playful elegance, and light, graceful, natural language. The specimen above, will, perhaps, excuse us the necessity of illustrating our opinion by another; nor do we think it quite fair in us Reviewers to plagiarise by wholesale from an author's works, extracting the honey, and leaving the empty combs for the purchaser of the book.
There is some bonâ-fide poetry in these volumes; yet, strange to say, it is far less poetical than some of the prose beside it. It is not exactly Poetry by a Proser; on the contrary, there are many of the disjecti membra to be recognized, here and there, by an industrious anatomist: but we certainly never should have suspected the author of poetry to any amount, had he not betrayed his propensity in a more unequivocal manner than shines through his verse.
A reader who begins (as some
Prose by a Poet.
readers may) at the beginning of this work will, perhaps, be prejudiced (as we were) against it, by the flippant tone which reigns through the introductory piece, a kind of deprecatory dialogue between the reader and the book, needless in any case, and injurious in this. Perhaps the author wrote it merely to cover paper; but this innocent design has a fatal result, -that of proving very evidently, that, whatever faculties of mind he may enjoy, wit is not one of them. He should be careful how he endeavours to indulge a disposition to be witty; there is nothing more exalted in the scale of intellect than wit, nothing more contemptible than the pertness which is frequently mistaken for it. Advice, we are aware, is more generously of fered, than gratefully received; yet we will venture to advise "Poet," in his future compositions, not to be witty. His temperament is evidently playful, but his spirit is not sharp enough for wit; he succeeds very well in amiable pleasantry, his attempts to be smart are always unhappy. May we be permitted to ask, if it is to the Genius of Wit, or No-meaning, that we owe the choice image contained in this sentence: "Like the variable star in the head of Medusa, he (the author) graduates between a luminary of the third, and one of the sixth magnitude, as the muse of fire' burns bright or dim within him?" In Shakspeare's Prologue, the Muse is allotted quite a different task; there she is not expected to burn at all, but merely to "ascend the brightest heaven of invention." Miracles, however, we are told, will never cease: why should the Muse not burn in propria persona for a poet's convenience, as well as do a great many other extraordinary things, to which the mad use of metaphor has frequently condemned her?
Few, whether admirers or despisers of Ossian's poetry, will agree with our author as to the felicity of his proposal about turning its irregular cadences into Anapestic verse, except in the unfavourable sense which he himself seems to entertain of such a measure: "though a few pages got up in this manner may not be unpleasing, a volume would be into
such an attempt our unqualified disFor ourselves, we give approbation. Whatever be the merits of Ossian, put the sentiments into any thing like regular metre, and you annihilate the principal charm of the book. Nothing but the vast variety of its manner can relieve the is caught from the wilderness, its sameness of its matter. Its imagery manners from wild society; its rhythm must also be wild, and the wilder (if not barbarous) the better. We are surprised that any man with has one, can deny the necessity of an ear, and our author undoubtedly frequent poetic discords in such a poem as Ossian. But we have often remarked that poets who duate between the third and sixth magnitude," are mainly deficient in graneral harmony. what may be called ear for gein verse, or it is no poem to them. A poem must be We would not, however, be considered as champions for the immaculate beauty of Mr. Macpherson's rhythm; it is, in many places, very defective.
who seldom praise toto ore: in every We are of that class of critics, human work, there is inevitably something faulty, which our taste is generally fastidious enough to dis
little wish to put in a plea of Our author, we dare say, has fection for his work, and less hope that we should allow it. But, we judge to these volumes the merits of can, with sincerity and safety, adconsiderable poetic fancy, harmony of language, and purity of sentiment. for their moral scope, and the lessons We can, moreover, recommend them, of piety which they sweetly infuse, We have rarely (and we regret it!) to the bosom of every private family. been able to accord such recommendation to books whose chief motive to be didactic, their authors think it is the inculcation of virtue; in order necessary to be dull where they ought to solicit with the bland lip of poetry and eloquence, they repel pedantry. The work before us, by a with the harsh voice of lecture and judicious intermixture of gay imaginations with serious reflections, renders morality as sweet to the taste, as it is wholesome to the constitution.
SPECIMENS OF SONNETS
FROM THE MOST EMINENT POETS OF ITALY.
Ben fosti in Cipro colta nel giardino
Torna a Madonna, e dì piangendo a lei,
Che sua bellezza al tuo stato somiglia,
E che al suo ben proveda, e a' martir miei.
FROM Cyprus' isle, where Love owns every bower, Or from the neighbouring shores of Jove's domain, Thou surely comest, sweet Rose, since this our plain Bears not the stem where bloom'd so fair a flower. For I, who late was near my last sad hour, No sooner from her hand the gift obtain, Than thy sweet breath did charm away my pain, And to my limbs restore their wonted power.
But mark one thing that wakes a just surprise, Thy pallid form with life but faintly glows, That late of loveliest hue blush'd vermeil dies: Haste, to the thoughtless fair go sorrowing, Rose, Bid her, by thy waned beauty taught, be wise, For her own good provide and my repose.
FROM THE SAME.
Parte dell' alma mia, caro consorte!
Il vederti attristar m' è doppia morte;
Al mio partir sol ti dimando un dono ;
LORD of my love! my soul's far dearer part,
Thy sobs and tears give death a double smart ;
This only boon I crave ere I go hence;
GIOVANNI DELLA CASA.
O dolce Selva solitaria, amica
E la tua verde chioma ombrosa, antica
Vo ripensando, che mi avanza, e ghiaccio
Ma più di te dentro e d' intorno agghiaccio;
SWEET lonely Wood, that like a friend art found
But I with sharper frost than thine congeal; Since ruder winds my winter brings, and night Of greater length, and days more scant and chill.
Alma che scendi in noi pura immortale,
Tu c' hai ministri in questo viver frale
Dunque sì tralignar non ti vergogna
Deh sorgi omai, lasciando l'ombre e i sogni,
SOUL that to us descend'st immortal pure,
Shake off these slumbers dark, awake, arise,
Padre eterno del ciel! se, tua mercede,
L'occhio divino tuo languir mi vede
Verità sei, dicesti d'esser meco;
Faccia in te degno a sì gradita pianta.
FATHER of heaven! if by thy mercy's grace
In me much drooping, Lord, thine eye will trace,
So cleanse me, that abiding e'er with thee,
I feed me hourly with the heavenly dew,
And with my falling tears refresh the root.
Thou said'st, and thou art truth, thou 'dst with me be,
REPORT OF MUSIC.
THERE has scarcely ever been known a time when the preparations for the musical campaign have been upon so extended a scale. A new management at the King's Theatre-new proprietors at the Argyle Rooms Madame Catalani in England, who, it should appear, is determined to have most of the arrangement, as well as of the profits, of every thing in which she engages; il gran maestro Rossini himself too arrived! all these things give such an impetus to the public exhibitions of the art as has not been experienced for an indefinite period. For it is not alone the novelties, but the powers of the competitors that increase the interest, and all these operating not simply inter se, but of necessity stimulating the conductors of all our musical
establishments into the exertions indispensable to the conservation of their due share of the general favour. The theatres, the oratorios, the benefits, even the Ancient and the Philharmonic Concerts, will all be moved by the momentum of the impulse, and we are quite safe in prophesying that the metropolis never witnessed such appeals to the curiosity of the public, as well as to the predilections and the judgment of the amateurs, as will be put forth this season. It is not, indeed it cannot be, without well-founded fears for some of the entrepreneurs, that we contemplate the magnitude and the multitude of the preparations.What contributes to this apprehension is, the enormous demands of the principal singers, which exceed