Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Poems by William Robert Spencer. 8vo. pp. 240.

THE principal poems in this volume have been long known to the public, and received its sanction. They are the translation of Leonora, The Year of Sorrow, and Beth Gellert. Two of the others, namely, The Emigrant's Grave, and the Song of "Wife, Children, and Friends," our readers have had the pleasure of perusing in former volumes of the Poetical Register. Most of the poems added by Mr. Spencer, are of equal merit with those which we have named. Mr. Spencer's serious style is chaste and elegant, and his lighter pieces have much graceful playfulness.

Poems; by Mary Russel Mitford. Second Edition, with considerable Additions. 8vo. pp. 278.

Ir these poems had not speedily reached a second edition, we confess that we should have thought unfavourably of the public taste. They possess merit of no common kind. In every page we have found proofs that their author has a vigorous and elegant mind, a highly poetical imagination, a command of glowing language, and an ear finely tuned to all the harmony of verse.

The Campaign in Egypt; a Poem. Intended to celebrate the Valour of the British Military, and Naval Forces employed in the Expedition to Egypt, &c. &c. By Constantine Williams. 8vo. pp. 326.

To read such a poem as Mr. Williams's is almost as laborious a service as taking a share in the Egyptian campaign must have been; and unfortunately the fatigue is not compensated by any glory. Mr. Wil

liams has an unlucky knack of making dignified subjects appear ludicrous. Throughout the whole of his volume there is not one passage which we can honestly praise; and very few which are not intolerable.

Remains of Nithisdale and Galloway Song; with historical and traditional Notices relative to the Manners and Customs of the Peasantry. Now first published by R. H. Cromek, F. A. S. Ed. Editor of the Reliques of Robert Burns. 8vo. pp. 402.

MR. Cromek has done a service to poetry in collecting and giving a local habitation to these remains of Nithisdale and Galloway song, of which the greatest part would, probably, in less than half a century, have been irretrievably lost. They contain many fine touches of pathos, much humour, and many beautiful images. His historical and traditional notices are well drawn up, and afford considerable information.

The Remains of Joseph Blackett; consisting of Poems, Dramatic Sketches, The Times, an Ode, and a Memoir of his Life. By Mr. Pratt, In two Volumes. 8vo. pp. 672.

THE warmth with which Mr. Pratt patronized Mr. Blackett, and the care with which he has published the remains of that young man, are extremely honourable to him. Nor were his patronage and care bestowed upon an object unworthy of them, either as a man or a poet. The writings of Mr. Blackett display indubitable signs of strong native powers. In his poems there is both fancy and fire. From the progressive improvement which appears in them, it is evident that he would, likewise, have soon been en

titled to the praise of correctness. His dramas are, as might naturally be expected, frequently incorrect; but each succeeding drama is more free from faults than that which precedes it, and the whole of them afford sufficient reason to believe that, in time, he would have produced something deserving of the public approbation. Poor Blackett! he died at the age of four and twenty, when fortune was beginning to smile upon his incessant and laudable efforts. He left behind him an infant daughter. We hope that the profits of this edition, and the kindness of his friends, will raise her above the reach of poverty.

The Conduct of Man; a Didactic Epistolary Poem. Syo. Pp. 164.

THE writer of these epistles is a man of sense, shrewdness, and observation; but he has not an atom of poetical talent. He appeals from the judgment of those critics who have always inhabited "a sooty town," and only quitted it" for an hour or two," to ride "to Highgate or to Hampton Court." From our jurisdiction, however, he cannot escape by his appeal, as our country excursions have not been confined to such narrow limits. We, therefore, have a right to tell him that he is insufferably "prolix and tame." His volume contains between four and five thousand lines, of which not a single one is tolerable. What sort of an ear must a man have to write such lines as the following?

"The motley view society displays

To th' Associations of Ideas

Which mens' minds nourish, in a great degree
Owe their formation, and consistency."

When next this author writes prose, he will do well to print it. in the usual form, and not as he has now done.

[ocr errors]

The Plants; a Poem, Cantos the third and fourth, with Notes and Observations. By William Tighe, Esq.

Svo. pp. 239.

IN our seventh volume we mentioned, with merited praise, the first two cantos of The Plants. The last two cantos are not less worthy of applause. They contain much excellent poetry, and the versification is melodious and animated. The notes are numerous, and afford information as well as amusement.

The Poetical Works of Percival Stockdale. 8vo. 2 vols. pp. 758.

NEARLY the whole of the poems contained in these volumes were published separately in the quarto form, between the years 1760 and 1800. We are well pleased to see them collected. Mr. Stockdale was a man of a vigorous and poetical mind. Though sometimes negligent, his writings always bear the stamp of superior talent. Had he been a little more attentive to the minor graces of composition, his works would doubtless have obtained more than they did obtain of the popular favour.

The Battles of the Danube and Barrosa. 8vo. pp. 87.

THIS author is an avowed imitator of Mr. Croker, but he follows his master at a great distance. He has none of the taste, and but a middling portion of the talent, which Mr. Croker possesses. His style is, in reality, of the Della Cruscan kind. He mistakes sounding words and extravagant ideas for sublimity. Almost every page of his work displays instances of wild, incongruous, and inflated language and imagery. The reader shall judge:-we will select a few proofs from a multitude." Liberty diffusing wreaths of applause on

[ocr errors]

66

warriors' brows;"" a song assailing a holy sphere;" "a Muse careering on her trembling plume," ". filming an eye with a ray;' a dream chasing a meed away;'

"

99 66

66

a scheme surmounting idle dreams, and quelling a roar that echoed down the brambled shore ;""flames claiming compassion of the sky;" "wreaths adorning bleeding eyes, beneath the approving smile of Heaven;" for miles and miles they sent amain, six hundred sheets of fire." This is enough, we think to justify our censure. Nor is the author by any means a skilful describer of a battle. We see nothing in his description but "ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, confusion worse confounded." Yet he thinks proper to pass sentence upon the Archduke Charles, whose " splendid corslet," he says, is marked with a lasting "stain of infamy and shame." Modest enough this! Let it not, however, be supposed that we think the two poems quite unworthy of notice. The author should study to improve his taste, which, at present, is lamentably bad. He undoubtedly has, on the other hand, a lively fancy, a command of language, and a flowing and spirited versification. The Battle of Barrosa is more free than the Battle of the Danube from the faults of which we have disapproved.

[ocr errors]

The Battle of Albuera; a Poem. catory to Lord Wellington.

With an Epistle dedi8vo. pp. 43.

THIS is far from the worst battle piece we have yet seen. Indeed it is, on the whole, highly creditable to its author. Many passages display an animation and descriptive power which induce us to believe that the writer may, in time, produce better things. We advise him, however, to correct his next work, with more care than he has manifested in correcting his

VOL, VIII,

RR

(

« AnteriorContinuar »