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ness, his inconceivable grandeur and his inexpressible absurdity, without a careful perusal of the Indian Queen and the Indian Emperor; Almanzor and Almahide; Auregzebe and Tyrannic Love. If precedent were law in the art of compilation, we might observe in favour of our present opinion, that Cato and Rosamond are always given with the poems of Addison, and that Edmund Smith's scanty contribution to the treasury of the muses is always eked out by Phædra and Hippolitus.
But when we speak of omissions which render this edition incomplete, we should not forget our obligation to the editors for avoiding the insertion of some few pieces both original and translated, which, as friends of virtue, they could not have introduced. Their care in this respect has rendered this edition, as nearly as the works of any poet of those times can be, unexceptionable.
So much has been written of late, and that so well, on the poetry of Dryden, that it cannot be necessary to review it here in detail. His great and astonishing beauties have been contrasted with his gross and surprising defects; but only the ignorant, the malicious, and the superficial, can permit their admiration of the former to be extinguished by the recollection of the latter. We are by no means of the opinion expressed by some, that before Dryden's time, the English language presented no specimens of pure, sonorous, and exact metrical composition; but the effect of these examples was so slight, that up to Dryden's time, and even to the end of his days, the writings of the most approved poets, himself excepted, abounded with examples of false and careless composition ;--that even his superior melody was envied, ridiculed, and calumniated, much more than it was imitated or practised. Had Dryden never been, the English language, both in verse and prose, would have wanted one of it's best models. Addison, scorning the jargon of L'Estrange, might have shewn his refinement by the adoption of a stiff learned style; and Pope, wanting the clear and polished mirrour before which he adjusted himself, might have retained many of the slovenly forms toward which in his earlier writings he shewed no small propensity,
The characteristic cause of Dryden's defects is an inability to sever himself from the society of which he forms a part, and from the passions, occupations, and amusements of the day, Thus, in the midst of a paraphrase on the 29th ode of the first book of Horace, during a strain of the most flowing and dignified poetry, he begins,
Thou, what befits the new Lord Mayor,
And what the Gallic arms will do :
If nature could not, anger would indite
Such woeful stuff as I or Shadwell write. These instances are taken almost at random. From their frequent occurrence many have wantonly depreciated the general talent of Dryden, and forgotten, or refused to advert to the numerous sublime and exquisite passages in which no such disgraceful bathos occurs.
As his own individual character and feelings entered so much into his compositions, it is not surprising that the particular constitution of his mind should have been much discussed. His change of religion, or rather his assuming a decided form of belief, is a topic on which the abuse of nearly a century seems now to have been exhausted in vain, and candour has acquiesced in the compromise which liberality first suggested. In the days in which he lived, Congreve did not venture to vindicate his friend, for fear of being suspected of a similar predilection; but when his conduct came to be explained, little appears in it that is worthy of censure. In a profligate age he thought of religion as little as those with whom he lived, and seems to have considered priests of all religions as fit only to be despised and derided. When matters of faith began to be more seriously regarded, he began also to think attentively. It would be too much to say that interest had no share in deciding his choice; but every election which concurs with a man's interest is not necessarily dishonest. . His firmness in retaining the faith he had chosen, in spite of calumny, insult, and privation, proves at least his sincerity; and the large portion of his time and exertion which was devoted to the promotion of the religion to which he was become a convert, demonstrates the solemn feeling of his mind, that the waste of his youth required, according to the doctrine of his sect, constant and resolute acts of atonement in his
age. Another great reproach against this author is the flattery he is ever ready to bestow on his patrons. On this head he has been abused beyond measure, and, in our judgment, but feebly vindicated. Had his compliments been bestowed only where his interest invited, he might more justly have been censured; but considering the universal admission that he was most benevolent and liberal to all who wanted his countenance and assistance, considering the many passages in his works where he
VOL, IV. NO. VI).
extols those who could make him no return in money,
and whose tribute of applause could be of no value, the disposition to praise cannot be ascribed to sordid motives alone. If another example were wanting, his generous and spontaneous notice of Milton, whom it was almost dangerous for a man that wished to be well received at court to admire, would speak no less in favour of his freedom and liberality, than of his good taste and discernment. But, in fact, the great in those days expected the homage of the learned and the witty, and Dryden paid the required tribute in larger measure, and better quality, than any one who preceded or followed him. This was not owing to any baseness in his own character, or to a forgetfulness of what was due to himself. His temper was sanguine, his genius inexhaustible. He expected from every new patron the attainment of that honourable provision or employment, which would keep him above the daily drudgery of writing for the players and the booksellers, and hope kindling into extacy, he poured out in advance all that gratitude should have dictated after his expectations had been realized. Indeed it is well for mankind, who are taught by examples, that the character of Dryden was not so constituted as to escape this
Had he made satire his delight, and used it as for recreation instead of necessity, the picture he would have exhibited of his times must have been hideous, and we must have turned from his pages with loathing; but his inclination to praise adds to the force and effect of his animadversion when reluctantly he betakes himself to satire; and we listen with greater attention to his voice in reproof, when we have been so much delighted to hear it uttering the most animated expressions of good-will and admiration. That he was free from great and conspicuous faults we do not deny; but in his life, as in his writings, they were balanced by extraordinary and distinguished excellencies.
In conclusion, looking at the whole composition of the man as a writer, as a reasoner, and as a moral agent, we find so much to admire, that we feel the strongest disposition to forgive.
ART. VII.-The Resources of Russia, in the Event of a War with
France; and an Examination of the prevailing Opinion relative to the political and military Conduct of the Court of St. Petersburgh; with a short Description of the Cozaks. By M. Eustaphieve, Russian Consul at Boston. America printed-London re-printed, by John Stockdale, Piccadilly, octavo Pamphlet, 1812. However painful it may be to Russians to hear that the original capital of the empire is in the hands of the enemy of their country; yet it is consolatory to retlect that he is possessed merely of bare walls, containing within their circuit neither inhabitants nor provisions. The haughty conqueror imagined, that on his entrance into Moscow, he would become the arbiter of the whole Russian empire, when he might prescribe to it such a peace as he might think proper ; but he is deceived in his expectations. He will neither have acquired the power of dictating, nor the means of subsistence*.” * Novissimè maximâ duce oppressa civitas, nullum de se gaudium hosti reliquit. Unus enim vir Numantinus non fuit qui in catenis duceretur. Præda ut de pauperibus nulla; arma ipsi cremaverant. Triumphus fuit tantum de nominet!'
Such is the affecting analogy between two of the most horrid catastrophes that have stained the annals of ancient and modern history; and we may further assert of the Russians, as well as of the Numantines, “ Macte esse fortissimam & meó judicio beatissimam in ipsis malis civitatem asseruit, quum fide socios, populum orbis terrarum viribus fultum, sua manu, ætate tam longâ sustinuit." For we do not envy the moral constitution of that mind which would not eagerly have preferred the loss of property, or of life, at Moscow, to the degrading office even of first satellite in the train of the usurper.
We have selected the pamphlet before us, because it appears to give from competent authority a clear and fair statement of the resources of the Russian empire for a defensive warfare on its own territory: it may, therefore, afford to those who feel an interest in the struggle now going on there (and who does not feel the deepest interest in it?) reasonable grounds of calculation as to its ultimate result. The principal object of M. Eustaphieve appears to have been to exonerate his country from the imputations generally cast upon her, Ist, as to the insufficiency of her resources; 2d, as to the vacillation of her policy; 3d, as to
* Vide address of the Emperor Alexander to his subjects on the fall of Moscow. + L. A. Florus, cap. 18, lib. 11. Bellum Numantinum.
foreign influence and corruption; and, 4th, as to the defects of her military system. The first is that on which it is our present object principally to dwell, though we shall not, certainly, omit the others.
On this point he begins with an historical statement of the population of Russia. It appears that the first computation, made by the order of Peter the Great in 1719, afforded a return of fourteen millions of both sexes, including the Ukraine, and the newly conquered countries of Estonia, Livonia, and part of Finland. By the second enumeration, in 1743, there appeared to be an increase of two millions, and in 1761 of four millions more.
In 1781, a fourth report gave an increase of eight millions; and the fifth and last census, which took place in 1794, by an accession of four millions, afforded a general total of thirty-two millions. The annexation of Courland and Lithuania brought in five millions more; and as the tables of births, marriages, and deaths, annually presented to the synod from the parishes of the empire, shew a regular increase of 500,000 for each year, we may, by adding the tract of country acquired by the treaty of Tilsit, fairly estimate the present population of Russia at between 45 and 46 millions.
Estimating this population in connection with the Russian tera ritory, which is calculated to contain about 340,000 geographical square miles, we have only 129 souls to a square mile, which, compared with the density of population in the well cultivated countries of Europe, appears, as M. Eustaphieve well expresses it, “ like a few solitary shrubs scattered over a vast desart, to remind the traveller of helpless weakness, rather than of energetic grandeur.” But this reasoning, like most arguments founded upon mere political returns, unverified by actual observation, would, upon inquiry, prove erroneous. For, in point of fact, it appears that no less than three-fourths of the immense territory of Russia contain only one fifteenth part of her population, and, consequently, that no less than fourteen-fifteenths of her population are concentrated on one-fourth only of her territory : i. e. to the 258,000 square miles in Siberia, there are only three millions of inhabitants, while, to the 82,000 square miles of Russia in Europe, there remain 43 millions, giving twelve persons in Siberia, and more than 700 in European Russia to each square mile. But even this calculation does not do justice to the capabilities of the state; for many parts even of European Russia, especially towards the north, are very thinly inhabited. Its densest population is between 48o. and 55o. of latitude, and from 42°. to 68o. of longitude,-comparatively a small space, many districts of which contain from 1300 to 2400 souls