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equal, is similar to him; if his style be less perfect in its kind, his spirit is perhaps superior. His Muse is neither so languishingly soft, nor so renderly sportive as her fore-runner, but with graver qualifications she is so richly endowed as to be well worthy of the trust she has undertaken,--to be the guardian and guide of the orphan “ Edwin" along “ the primrose path of dalliance,” or through the rough ways of adversity, in “ the progress of genius” from boyhood to maturity. On the whole, so far as our favourable opinion, une reservedly expressed (for we shall never be ashamed or afraid to praise, where praise in our judgement is due) will encourage the author of this poem to proceed in the ungracious task which he has assumed, we here tender him that opinion, with only a few words of advice. We particularly urge him to let his style rise with the dignity of his subject, and his genius expand with his hero's; and while he unfolds the ad. vancing powers of Edwin, let him attend most minutely to the circumstances that awakened, impelled, and confirmed them ; with these, and with active characters, let him enliven, enrich, and ennoble his narrative, at the expense of description, senti. mentality, and puling declamation.
What we consider the principal blemish of this work is the frequent interpolation of phrases from preceding poets ; even those from Dr. Beattie's Minstiel itself had betier have been avoided, while those from Milton are absolutely intrusive, The author, whoever he be, is not so poor as to have occasion to borrow from any inan's stores.
We would rather have seen these very passages imitated, and the originals acknowledged in the notes. A poet never borrows from another, except at enormous usury; it is an expedient that impoverishes, instead of enriching him. Apt quotations enliven and embellish prose; but they clog and deform poetry; the language of Scripture alone may be happily adopted to strengthen, adorn, and exalt the conceptions of a true poet. We trust that our author will shun this idle temptation in his future produce tions; we wish him also to be more curious in the choice of rhymes, and less liberal of epithets.
We do not think that it was either necessary or proper for the present author to assume the person, as well as the theme, of his predecessor, and to take up Dr. Beattie's lamentation on the death of Dr. Gregory, however near and dear to himself Dr. Gregory might be; for the continuation of “ The Minstrel" is avowedly by another hand ; the reader is aware of it, and cannot easily yield to the delusion that Dr, Beattie himself is revived in his disciple, particularly in an instance of private feeling, unconnected with the poem, where the fiction itself is no sooner formed, than it is destroyed by the following
note to the fourth stanza : - " See the conclusion of Dr. Beattie's second Canto."
The story of “Edwin” proceeds, in this third book, with the death and beatification of “the Shepherd," his father; the habits and favourite themes of the youthful bard ; his friend. ship with Malcolm ; and the Canto concludes with a nocturnal adventure on the sea-shore, in which Edwin meets with two warriors, fiying from the victorions Edward I. of England, then ravaging and subjugating their country. This poble incident, (whic'r we would gladly have given at length, had our limits allowed it, and which we will not mangle by abridgement) is a flight much beyond the wonted excursions of Dr. Beattie's Muse, and incomparably superior to the hacknied tale of The Hernis, in the second Canto of The Minstrel.
But we must give a few brief examples of faults and excellences from this additional book. The following lines are very bald and prosaic:
$ In him more genuine heart's content excitę."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
: That circle round his head in order infinite.' In one of the most brilliant stanzas of the poem there is some perplexity of metaphor.
Not Edwin-in_whose infant breast, I ween,
From childish cares and little passions free,
Had blown the fairest flower of Poesy;
Instructed Genius found; each straggling shoot
Twin'd the rich streams of science round the root,
And view'd with warm delight the fair and grateful fruit.' p.17. A flower is not the “ promise of a tree," Trees may bear flowers, but no flower ever bore a tree, or grew up into one, The inage in the last line of our next quotation is equally false to nature: the Morning Star rises after midnight in the east, and shines from that quarter of the heavens till it is lost in the splendour of advancing day, not“ sunk in the main,''
• Thither the melancholy youth would hie,
Oft as the sun's last ray illumed the plain,
Till sank the morning planet in the main, In the following stanza we find an expression of poetical feeling, which could only burst from the heart of a poet.
• O could I aught of that celestial flame
Acquire, which glow'd in SPENSER's holy breast,
Of nature's stores and nature's love posseșt !
He whom the Muse has favoured, most is blest :
purer flows the stream, and fairer smiles the field. p.15. We shall quote one passage more, in which Edwin, with great felicity of conception, is represented as singing to the villagers around him, the songs of other times, the wars of Fingal, and the woes of Ossian.
• Oft, at the close of eve, assembled round
The last of all his race, alone on Morven's plain.' The rhymes of the last couplet are unallowable in English, though in French, Italian, and other continental languages, similar endings are not only permitted, but admired. Art
. VI. Notes and Observations on the early Part of the History of the British Isles. By Robert Couper, M, Þ. F. R. S. Ed. Svo. pp. 70,
Price 2s.6d. Johnson, 1807. ON the topic of our national origins, we are apprehensive
of being charged with partiality rather than inattention, and with redundancy rather than deficiency. . We have embraced various occasions of correcting vulgar errors respecting it; and'at several times, have suggested nearly the whole of our conclusions on the subject; derived, not from popular opinion, but from laborious and accurate research.* It would therefore be needless and improper, at present, to tread over the same ground, even if Dr. C.'s perforinance had a stronger claim on our attention, than either its extent, or its execution, can support. His notes and observations on our early history, occurred, as he informs us, from a course of reading, which was merely accidental; and they are “ thrown together, in so careless a manner," as to demonstrate, that they were
not intended for publication." They are,
notwithstanding, " thrown before the public in this crude state, in the idea, that though were not likely to be useful to the author in his own pursuits, they might be useful when combined with other pursuits, and in the hands of others; and he flatters himself, that this specimen may excite a similar and farther exertion."
Against this mode of reasoning, if it may be so called, we must enter our immediate protest, on behalf of the public. Nothing that is careless or crude, (as these remarks truly are) should be obtruded on its notice. An author has no right to suppose, that what is not likely to be useful to himself, will be so to others. We shall, nevertheless, be glad if so unfavourable a specimen can excite farther exertion; but we hope, in that case, that a manner very dissimilar from Dr. c.'s will be adopted.
The attempt to analyse or arrange his desultory conjectures and assertions, appears to us as hopeless, as it would be fruitless. We must limit our remarks to a few instances, which either peculiarly demand correction, or can admit of a more favourable mention.
A passage which occurs early in the book, includes something of each description.
« Celtiberia, then, signifies the Celts of Ibher, or, as it is latinized, Iberia ; Ibh in the Celtic language, signifying a Country, and Err, bounding, limiting, terminating. Hence, before the arrival of the Romans, the little that was known of Spain, from the Pyrenees along the east, only to Gibraltar, was called Ibherr, and its inhabitants Celtib. herr. The name of Gibraltar, itself, is Celtic at this day. Gibbach, rough; er, terminating ; al, a rock; and ter, the earth-the rough terminating rock of the earth, which suits perfectly not only with the place, but with the geographical ideas of the times ; and so is also the old name Calpe, and nearly signifying the same thing. Call, or Gall, signifies a rock; and Biodh or Píodh, both sounded nearly Bee or Pee, the world--the rock of the world, from its magnitude, or its being their boundary of the world ; or, rather, from Gall, a rock, and Bagh, of
* Vol. III. pp. 209, 413, 414, 654-659, 944-950.
Badh, pronounced nearly as our word bay, and the origin of it, the Bay of the Rock.' pp. 8, 9.
The name of Iberia, we think fair game for etymological sportsmen ; and Dr. C.'s guess respecting it may stand as good a chance as another man's : but he should
not have been ignorant that Gibraltar was an Arabic, not a Gaelic name.
« The Phenicians, (says he) who seem to be the first upon record to whom our island was known, and who trafficked with it even before the Trojan war, were believed to be Celts; and the scenes in their language in Plautus is perfectly intelligible Celtic at this very day.' p. 12.
Although the author never refers to authorities, we presume that he hazarded this assertion on the ground of General Vallancey's Irish version of Plautus's Punic speeches. Unfortunately, however, Bochart has given a Hebrew interpretation of a part of them, the internal testimony of which, as well as the certainty of a strong resemblance between the Punic and the Hebrew languages, demonstrates Vallancey's ground to be vo more than the baseless fabric of a vision. We are more inclined to give the General credit for a l'esemblance which he traces between the Maltese and the Irish dialects; but for this we account by the probability, that the Iberians, (whom we believe to be ancestors of the Irish) and the earliest inhabitants of Malta, were both of Getulian extrac. tion
• The venerable Bede has been said to have mispresented the early lan. guage of the island, when it was fully peopled, and to have laid the foundation of much doubt and controversy in our history, by advancing that five different languages were spoken in it ; whereas the pious old man only says, rejoicing, that in his day, by means of the Latin
tongue, known to them all, the five different nations of the island, the Angli, Britones, Scotti, Picti, and Latini, had been made acquainted with the truths of the Christian religion.' p. 15.
We are surprised that Dr. C. should so mistake or pervert the obvious import of the passage in Bede *, who certainly meant that Christianity in Britain was studied and professed in the several languages of five nations. The knowledge of Latin indeed was then confined to the clergy, and to a few only of them, if we may argue from their state in Alfred's time.
The author's etymology of Hibernia, we leave on the same footing with that of Iberia.
• This island seems, anciently, to have been also called Hiberin, or Ibh, aspirated, and Erin, the country of Erin, from whence the Latin Hibernia is evidently derived.” pp. 22 23.
* Hæc in presenti, juxta numerum librorum quibus lex divina scripta est, quinque gentium linguis, unam eandemque summæ
veritatis et veræ sublimitatis scientiam scrutatur et confitetur,' &c. Hist. Eccl. 1. 1. $ 4.