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terminate General. Wellesley's military operations in India, and Colonel Gurwood's first volume.
We are well aware that we have given a very superficial and inadequate account of this work; but we have at least said enough to indicate its merits and importance as materials for the biography of the Duke of Wellington, and for general history. To those who are familiar with the Indian vocabulary, and interested in Indian scenes and events, it contains a fund of amusement as well as of instruction ; and, on the whole, we do not hesitate to pronounce it one of the most curious and satisfactory additions that have been made in our days to historical literature.*
Colonel Gurwood has performed his office of compiler and editor with considerable ability and laudable diligence; but his greatest merit is that of having conceived the plan of the work, and we cannot bụt offer him our best thanks for what he has done, and our anxious wishes for its continuation and completion. Two or three suggestions we will venture to make on some. points, in which we think it might be improved. We doubt whether several of the minutes of the Governor-General in council—which only recapitulate the original dispatches, and express the approbation of the superior authorities-might not have been omitted; they, in general, add nothing to the facts, while they swell unnecessarily a volume already sufficiently copious. We think, also-though here we speak more dubiously—that several reports and communications to General Wellesley might have been omitted or curtailed. We have been much pleased with some explanatory extracts, subjoined as notes, from the MS. Journals of Lord Harris and of Major-General Sir J. Nicholls; and we think the work will be greatly improved, as regards the generat reuder,' by a more frequent use of similar explanations, if Colonel Gurwood should be able to obtain them. In some cases, the want of explanatory notes is very striking : for instance, we read in different dispatches of the Rajah of Berarof Senah Sahib Soubah Behauder, and of Rajah Ragojee Bhoonşlah, without any intimation that these three denominations apply to one and the same person. We venture also to suggest, that the address of the letters should be more fully given; it is not enough
• To Colonel Close,' or 'To Major Munro'-the places where those officers were at the moment should also be specified. In many cases, the local position of the person addressed is of great importance. It may, it is true, be generally picked out: from the context, but it would be more convenient to have it stated at the head of the dispatch.
We cannot here refrain from noticing the general accuracy, as far as these original documents enable us to judge, of the Military Memoirs of the Duke of Wellington,' by Captain Moyle Sherer.-(Lo
*1832.) 'The author has made a careful and judicious use of the admirable letters of Sir Thomas Munro; but in many points to which that authority does not reach, the present publication corroborates Captain Sherer's well-written and interesting narrative.
: On the whole, we rise from the perusal of these volumes with a much higher idea--(difficult as it was to raise our admiration)-of the Duke of Wellington's personal character ; the patience of his inquiries--the capacity of his mind for all sorts of knowledge—the invariable good temper—the wonderful sagacity--the consummate prudence by which he was enabled to exercise-perhaps we should say indulge--his more splendid qualities of promptitude, decision, and valour. And when we see this illustrious public life accompanied and adorned with so much simplicity and generosity-so much moderation, justice, and good nature- the easy gaiety of a clear conscience, and the amiable impulses of a good heart, we feel (in contradiction to the common observation, that heroes do not improve on a close acquaintance) that there is at least one heroic reputation
quæ si propius stes
Te capiet magis'and that the Duke of Wellington, the better he is known, will be the more honoured and beloved.
Art. VII.-Italy; with Sketches of Spain and Portugal. In a
Series of Letters written during a Residence in those Countries. By William Beckford, Esq., Author of Vathek. London,
2 vols. 8vo. 1834. MR. R. BECKFORD, it is said, appeared as an author at the
of eighteen; but the · Biographical Memoirs of Extraordinary Painters' would have excited considerable attention, under whatever circumstances they might have been given to the world. They are a series of sharp and brilliant satires on the Dutch and Flemish schools——the language polished and pointed the sarcasm at once deep and delicate--a performance in which the buoyancy of juvenile spirits sets off the results of already extensive observation, and the judgments of a refined (though far too fastidious and exclusive) taste. These · Memoirs were reprinted about ten years ago, but are now, we believe, very little known. The tale of Caliph Vathek, however, which was originally written in French, and published before the author had closed his twentieth year, has, for more than half a century, continued in
possesșion of all the celebrity which it at once commanded..
• For correctness of costume,' says Lord Byron, beauty of descrip: tion, and power of imagination, it far surpasses all European imita
tions; and bears such marks of originality, that those who have visited the East will find some difficulty in believing it to be a translation. As an Eastern tale, even Rasselas must bow before it: his “ Happy Valley” will not bear a comparison with the “ Hall of Eblis." -Life and Works, vol. viii. p. 25.
Vathek is, indeed, without reference to the time of life when the author penned it, a very remarkable performance; but, like most of the works of the great poet who has thus eloquently praised it, it is stained with some poison-spots—its inspiration is too often such as might have been inhaled in the Hall of Eblis.' We do not allude so much to its audacious licentiousness, as to the diabolical levity of its contempt for mankind. The boy-author appears already to have rubbed all the bloom off his heart; and, in the midst of his dazzling genius, one trembles to think that a stripling of years so tender should have attained the cool cynicism of a Candide. How different is the effect of that Eastern tale of our own days, which Lord Byron ought not to have forgotten when he was criticising his favourite romance. How perfectly does Thalaba realize the ideal demanded in the Welsh Triad, of *fulness of erudition, simplicity of language, and purity of manners. But the critic was repelled by the purity of that delicious creation, more than attracted by the erudition which he must have respected, and the diction which he could not but admire :
"The low sweet voice so musical,
Fills the surrender'd soul.' It has long been known that Mr. Beckford prepared, shortly after the publication of his · Vathek,' some other tales in the same vein—the histories, it is supposed, of the princes in his 'Hall of Eblis. A rumour had also prevailed, that the author drew up early in life some account of his travels in various parts of the world; nay, that he had printed a few copies of this account, and that its private perusal had been eminently serviceable to more than one of the most popular poets of the present age. But these were only vague reports; and Mr. Beckford, after achieving, on the verge of manhood, a literary reputation, which, however brilliant, could not satisfy the natural ambition of such an intellectseemed, for more than fifty years, to have wholly withdrawn himself from the only field of his permanent distinction. The world heard enough of his gorgeous palace at Cintra (described in • Childe Harold'), afterwards of the unsubstantial pageant of his splendour at Fonthill, and latterly of his architectural caprices at Bath. But his literary name seemed to have belonged to another age; and perhaps, in this point of view, it may not have been unnatural for Lord Byron, when comparing · Vathek’ with other Eastern tales, to think rather of • Zadig' and · Rasselas,' than
• Of Thalaba—the wild and wondrous song.' The preface to the present volumes informs us that they include a reprint of the book of travels, of which a small private edition passed through the press forty years ago, and of the existence of which—though many of our readers must have heard some hints—few could have had any knowledge. Mr. Beckford has at length been induced to publish his letters, in order to vindicate his own original claim to certain thoughts, images, and expressions, which had been adopted by other authors whom he had from time to time received beneath his roof, and indulged with a perusal of his secret lucubrations. The mere fact that such a work has lain for near half a century, printed but unpublished, would be enough to stamp the author's personal character as not less extraordinary than his genius. It is, indeed, sufficiently obvious that Mr. Rogers had read it before he wrote his Italy'a poem, however, which possesses so many exquisite beauties entirely its own, that it may easily afford to drop the honour of some, perhaps unconsciously, appropriated ones; and we are also satisfied that this book had passed through Mr. Moore's hands before he gave us his light and graceful. Rhymes on the Road,' though the traces of his imitation are rarer than those which must strike every one who is familiar with the • Italy. We are not so sure as to Lord Byron; but, although we have not been able to lay our finger on any one passage in which he has evidently followed Mr. Beckford's vein, it will certainly rather surprise us should it hereafter be made manifest that he had not seen, or at least heard an account of, this performance, before he conceived the general plan of his · Childe Harold.' Mr. Beckford's book is entirely unlike any book of travels in prose that exists in any European language, and if we could fancy Lord Byron to have written the · Harold' in the measure of · Don Juan,' and to have availed himself of the facilities which the ottava rima affords for intermingling high poetry with merriment of all sorts, and especially with sarcastic sketches of living manners, we believe the result would have been a work more nearly akin to that now before us than any other in the library.
Mr. Beckford, like · Harold,' passes through various regions of the world, and, disdaining to follow the guide-book, presents his reader with a series of detached, or very slenderly connected, , sketches of the scenes that had made the deepest impression on himself. He, when it suits him, puts the passage of the Alps into a parenthesis. On one occasion, he really treats Rome as if
it had been nothing more than a post-station on the road from Florence to Naples; but again, if the scenery or the people strike his fancy, he has as royal a reluctance to move on, as his own hero showed when his eye glanced on the grands caractères rouges, tracés par la main de Carathis?'
• Qui me donnera des loir ?—s'écria le Caliphe.'
England's wealthiest son' performs his travels, of course, in a style of great external splendour.
Conspicuus longé cunctisque notabilis intrat'courts and palaces, as well as convents and churches, and galleries of all sorts, fly open at his approach : he is caressed in every capital --he is fété in every chateau. But though he appears amidst such accompaniments with ali the airiness of a Juan, he has a thread of the blackest of Harold in his texture, and every now and then seems willing to draw a veil between him and the world of vanities. He is a poet, and a great one too, though we know not that he ever wrote a line of rerse. His rapture amidst the sublime
scenery of mountains and forests—in the Tyrol especially, and in Spain--is that of a spirit cast originally in one of nature's finest moulds; and he fises it in language which can scarcely be praised beyond its deserts—simple, massive, nervous, apparently little la boured, yet revealing, in its effect, the perfection of art.
Some inmortal passages in Gray's letters and Byron’s diaries, are the only things, in our tongue, that seem to us to come near the
profound melancholy, blended with a picturesque of description at once true and startling, of many of these extraordinary pages. Nor is his sense for the highest beauties of art less exquisite. He seems to us to describe classical architecture, and the pictures of the great Italian schools, with a most passionate feeling of the grand, and with an inimitable grace of expression. On the other hand, he betrays, in a thousand places, a settled voluptuousness of temperament, and a capricious recklessness of self-indulgence, which will lead the world to identify hiin henceforth with his Vathek, as inextricably as it has long since connected Harold with the poet that drew him; and then, that there may be no limit to the inconsistencies of such a strange genius, this spirit, at once so capable of the noblest enthusiasm, and so dashed with the gloom of over-pampered luxury, can stoop to chairs and china, ever and anon, with the zeal of an auctioneer-revel in the design of a clock or a candlestick, and be as ecstatic about a fiddler or a soprano as the fools in Hogarth's concert. On such occasions he reminds us, and will, we think, remind every one, of the Lord of Strawberry-hill. But even here all we have is on a grander scale. The oriental prodigality of his magnificence shines out even about trifles. He buys a library where the other would liave cheapened VOL, LI, NO. CII,