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The lay of Moore which has often waked to vibration, each corresponding string of harmony, in every soul not“ dull and dead" to all the melody of mind, has yet, as often roused the envy of those vulgar souls which wait with malignant gaze to triumph in the fall of Genius, what time
his venturous spirit loves to urge The labouring theme to Reason's utmost verge; Kindling and mounting from the enraptur'd sight,
While anxious Wonder eyes his daring flight. Every scholar must have been delighted with that felicitous introduction of classical or mythological allusion, which dignifies and decorates that sportive and vigorous offspring of Bacchus, and the gayest of the Muses, the Anacreontic glee of “ Oh fly not yet.”
We allude with peculiar emphasis to those lines; lines which even now tingle in our ear:
Fly not yet, the fount that played,
To burn when night was near. It may perhaps gratify the puny malice of little minds to be informed that this allusion however happy, is not derived from the original of the elder Pliny, but was borrowed with all the licentious audacity of Genius, from the thrice laboured poctry of the younger Warton,
This University Bard satırizing the nocturnal excesses of a highz blooded votary of fashionable frivolity, says that Hippias' blood,
Like Ammon's fount by day ran icy cool,
At night as hot as Hell's sulphureous pool. Every reader of classic taste will readily perceive that the nectareous “rill of song,” which flows thus sweetly from the pen of the British Anacreon, although not drawn immediately from the undefiled well of antiquity, has, by filtration through the mind of Moore, become defecated from all the turbid impurities of Warton.
PNew-York, May 27th, 1809.
One of the best critics of North Britain, a poet and a prose writer too of very splendid powers thus defends Gray. We know not whether the latter has ever found a more eloquent apologist. EDITOR.
“I have heard the finest ode in the world blamed for the boldness of its figures and for what the critic was pleased to call obscurity. He had, I suppose, formed his taste upon Anacreon and Waller, whose odes are, indeed, very simple, and would have been very absurd, if they had not been simple. But let us recollect the circumstances of Anacreon, considered as the speaker of his own poetry, and of Gray's Welch Bard. The former warbles his lays reclining on a bed of flowers, dissolved in tranquillity and indolence, while all his faculties seem to be engrossed by one or a few pleasurable objects. The latter, just escaped from the massacre of his brethren, under the complicated agitations of grief, revenge, and despair; and surrounded with the scenery of rocks, mountains, and torrents, stupendous by nature, and now rendered hideous by desolation, imprecates perdition upon the bloody Edward; and, seized with prophetic enthusiasm, foretells, in the most alarming strains, and typifies by the most dreadful images, the disasters that were to overtake his family and descendants. If perspicuity and simplicity be natural in the songs of Anacreon, as they certainly are, a figurative style and desultory composition are no less natural in this inimitable performance of Gray. If real prophecy must always be so obscure, as not to be fully understood till it is accomplished, because otherwise it would interfere with the free agency of man, that poem which imitates the style of prophecy, must also, if natural, be to a certain degree obscure; not indeed in the images or the words but in the allusions. It is in the allusions only, not in the words or images, for these are most emphatical and picturesque, that the poem partakes of obscurity ; and even its allusions will hardly seem obscure to those who are acquainted with the history of England. Those critics, therefore, who find fault with this poem because it is not so simple as the songs of Anacreon, or the love verses of Shenstone and Waller, may as well blame Shakspeare, because Othello does not speak in the sweet and simple language of Desdemona. Horace has nowhere attempted a theme of such animation and sublimity as this of Gray; and yet Horace, like his master, Pindar, is often bold in his transitions, and in the style of many of his odes extremely figurative. But this we not only exa cuse, but applaud, when we consider, that in those odes the assumed character of the speaker is enthusiasm, which in all its operations is somewhat violent, and must, therefore give a peculiar vehemence both to thought and language."
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
In looking over some old papers, I discovered the enclosed account of an interesting interview, in which I partook, some years ago, with that great nan, Dr. ROBERTSON, the illustrious Historian of his own and of our country. It is a circumstance which I have osten repeated to my friends and acquaintance ; but it is now, for the first time, offered to public notice. If you should consider it as entitled to a place in The Port Folio, it is at your service.
Your friend and humble servant, New-York.
IMMEDIATELY preceding the death of this great man, several American gentlemen arrived at Edinburgh, on a tour which they were making through Great-Britain.* Having previously heard of the severe illness, under which he then laboured, they had taken no introductory letters to him; but finding him still living, they expressed to Mr. Balfour, an eminent bookseller, and one of the executors of Dr. R. their desire to see so distinguished a character.
Mr. Balfour had the kindness to state their wishes to Dr. Robertson, and he was pleased to express a desire to gratify them: he announced to them, through Mr. B. that on the first day, “when he should find himself well enough to see company at all, he would send for the Americans."
To their great gratification, they received the summons, on the third day following. They repaired to his house, about a mile distant from Edinburgh, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon. They were intraduced into a drawingroom, and awaited about ten minutes, when he entered from an adjoining apartment.
His first salutation was (alluding to the circumstances under which their introduction was made) “you see, gentlemen, but the wreck of Dr. Robertson"!
He reclined upon a sofa; and aware of the embarrassment his visitors naturally felt, he introduced the conversation, commencing with inquiries as to the state of affairs in the United States, supposing that that subject would to them be most easy and familiar. He spoke of general Washington with enthusiasm. He said that governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, had early predicted to him, (Dr. R.) the eminent rise of general W. in public life. He spoke of Dr. Ewing, the Provost of
· Dr. D. Hosack, Mr. John Morton, and Mr. Childs, of New.York."
the University of Pennsylvania, as a man of great talents, for whom he entertained a great personal regard.
He inquired into the plans of the travellers ; and finding that they had preferred a correct knowledge of Great-Britain before they went upon the continent of Europe, he highly approved them, as being directed to a country to which their own was so nearly assimilated in its laws, manners, and customs.
They enjoyed his conversation for about three quarters of an hour; when, finding him a good deal exhausted, they took their leave.
With the prospect of death immediately before him (his physicians had announced to him that he could live but a few days) he was, in that interview, as calm and collected as if many years were still to be his portion.
His last words at parting were, “Do not forget to present my kind regards to Dr. Ewing."
On the arrival of the travellers at Dublin, fourteen days afterward, they received the intelligence of the death of this illustrious man!
EPISTOLARY--FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
Bethlehem. I am always delighted with my visits to this place, and leave it withi reluctance. The town is charmingly situated in a mountainous, healthy, and romantic country, upon one of the most beautiful rivers that our country can boast of. I take infinite pleasure in wandering upon the retired banks of the Lehigh, whose solemn, winding stream, and richly-shaded borders present a beautiful and secluded scene.
The society of brothers and sisters united in one common interest, and shut out from the noisy and busy pursuits of the world, offers a sublime and beautiful model of the perfection to which human nature may be elevated, when the petty passions and desires of our nature are subdued or properly controlled. The Moravians are a most benevolent and charitable set of people, and have an integrity and simplicity of manners, at the same time an honest and frank politeness that preposşesses us strongly in their favour.
Bethlehem-is the spot for those who are disgusted with the vain pursuits of the world, and a retreat where those who are bowed down with the misfortunes incident to life, may find comfort and consolation VOL. I.
and live in calm resignation. The surrounding country is charming, and the neighbouring villages enliven the prospect. I have visited most of them, and particularly Nazareth, where you and I have passed many happy moments. The fond recollection of youthful pleasures, enjoyed while at school, rushes upon the mind. It was here that we received the rudiments of knowledge, and the first impression of piety and religion. As Memory throws her sunshine on the past, the many boyish amusements of our younger days, arising with renewed recollection, appear as actions of yesterday. The pleasure we took in receiving instruction from our amiable tutors, the amusements and plays in the moments of recreation, our delightful excursions to Bethlehem, the Blue mountains, &c. the little gardens we cultivated with such indefatigable labour and pleasure; the anxious joy with which we arose before break of day to receive our Christmas and Easter presents ; the religious festivals, that occurred at stated periods; the fearful, the pleasing sensations, when summoned to attend our monthly confessions, when we reposed ourselves with unlimited confidence, in the bosom of our venerable and respectable President, acknowledged all our faults, promised amendment, and received his fatherly advice and benediction: the innocent celebration of our respective birth-days, and the playful and complimentary verses addressed to each other on these occasions, when we strove to outrie each other in the wit and beauty of our lines. I never shall forget the pleasure I experienced on the anniversary of my birth, when rising early in the morning, and entering the room, I observed these little testimonies of affection and esteem, upon my desk a pile of these verses, and my place decorated with the early flowers of Spring, my companions greeted me, and our amiable tutor advanced, took me by the hand, and congratulated me on having progressed one step more towards manhood. It was Hd, who has since become a celebrated Physician, and employed by the Holland Company, in the sultry and unhealthy climate of Batavia, has enlarged the delightful and charming Science of Botany; the manner of this one action was sufficient to leave a most favourable impression, but his uniform, affectionate, and tender conduct endeared us to him. All these scenes return with renewed pleasure, sometimes accompanied with a melancholy recollection of other circumstances, that is both pleasing and mournful to the soul. It was here that I first experienced the delights of generous friendship, and felt the first pangs of a separation from the objects of it, the day is still fresh in my memory, when C-s left us to return home, when I felt myself alone, and insulated, in the midst of my gay companions. Most of our acquaintances are scattéred over the wide world: upon inquiring I found that many had gone to that country from whose bourne no traveller returns, others were