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The Village Curate; a Poems
A soul humane and sensible of wrong :
• Alcanor come, and let us once again
The filent rook to the high wood make way
Then let me steal along the woody lane, "To hear thy song so various, sweet bird,
The queen of night, transporting Philomel ;
The conclusion of this extract affords an example of what we before remarked, viz. that the author frequently debases his composition by blending the solemn and ludicrous, the common, the vulgar, with the sublime. Had the passage above quoted ended with gentle modesty inspires,' it would have been more perfect. What follows strikes like a harsh discord in music, and every serious idea is banished by the ludicrous imagery presented in the last line. This fault runs through the whole of the pub. lication; out of many we shall select one more example. The poet has thought proper to introduce a dirty, ugly servant maid into his poem; he has chosen this
Surpassing Dorothy, the sweetest thing
T'hese bitter times afford for his dulcinea, and says that, like the stingless drone, which ! seeks the fane of Cloacine, he will fing her beauties. He then goes on to praise her "vast becoming ftrides, her aukward s majesty, her swinging arms, like the handles of a pump,' he .calls her • queen of neglect and dirt;' he then proceeds to describe her formidable row from ear to ear of never-cleansed (teeth, her broad hysteric grin, her shining face, her greasy
locks,' &c. &c. He next compares his Dolly to the flaunt• ing belle,' and gives the preference in every respect to Dolly. Her teeth, he says, are all her own, thofe of the fashionable fair purchased of the dentist; her breath is sweet, theirs offends with such a' foetid stench,' that, were it not for perfumes,
"We could not live within a thousand leagues
Of such a fearful pest.' Dolly's ' locks,' though greasy,' we are told, grew on her, but theirs were « bought of some lousy wench. Having exhibited this dirty and disagreeable picture, he next compares the mental qualities of each, and prefers those of his favourite dulcinea. The conclusion, following the creed of the celebrated Bays, was intended we suppose to elevate and furprise'-it does indeed excite wonder:
" You write, perhaps, and read :
And hide his countenance.' Whatever a headftrong bard, who is bound by no rule, and ' subject to no law,' may imagine, we cannot approve of this serio-comic assemblage, this seria mixta jocis; nor do we think
it will meet with the approbation of any reader of taste. After this disgusting mixture of his lovely Lulage, his Sugarissa, his
dear Dorothy' with angels and the Deity, it is not surprising that he should debase the Supreme Being to an electrician;' and speak of his charging and recharging his dreadful battery.' .
Having marked the striking features of the Village Curate, to dwell on minute and verbal criticism is needless. The vul. garism lay instead of lie, we think occurs more than once in this publication; and prosaic lines, such as the following are not unfrequent :
• As carrots, parsnips, onions, cabbages,
Upon the whole, though we have found a good deal to blame in this performance, yet the author discovers marks of genius, which, when matured by time, may produce something more worthy of public approbation. He himself does not speak highly of the present work, and says that applause were ill de" lerved by this rude song obtain'd.' 'Like Milton; he builds his hopes of immortality on his future labours :
Yet I not fear,
To hit, these woods may well remember.' The hopes of Milton were fully realised; may those of the author of the Village Curate not be disappointed!
Art. XII. Observations occafioned by the Attempts made in Enge
land to effect the Abolition of the Slave-Trade; shewing the Manner in which Negroes are treated in the British Colonies in the Weft-Indies; and also some particular Remarks on a Letter addressed to the Treasurer of the Society for effecting such Abolia, tion, from the Rev. Robert Boucher Nicholls, Dean of Middleham. By G. Francklyn, Esq. 8vo. 2s.6d. stitched. Jamaica,
printed; London, reprinted. Walter, 1789. AS every man claims the privilege of being heard in his own " defence, the advocates for the save-trade seem particularly deserving attention, on account of their distance from the seat of legislature, which is about to determine the fate of this branch of commerce, and of the too general odium in which it is involved by men who think very little further on the subject ENG. REV. VOL. XV. FEB. 1790.
brand of legislature, which on account of their dinleem partic
than how far any proposed restrictions may affect their own interest. Though the pamphlet before us contains much feverity, and is not in every part correct, yet the first, it will be allowed, is not unprovoked, and the latter no where obscures the meaning. . Our author begins with shewing that slavery was permitted, inasmuch as it was regulated, under the Mosaic dispensation. The unimproved state of society in the East at that period of the world, might render slavery the only means of subordination ; and the well-known imperfection of the law should not prevent those who are blessed by a more perfect revelation from drawing moral institutes from the former code. Though the letter of the gospel takes no particular notice of slavery, Mr. Francklyn very honestly admits that the equality of rank proposed by its teachers, seems very inconsistent, not only with flavery, but with most of the institutions in Christian countries. He therefore advises the Christian advocate to consider the fituation of the British soldier and sailor, the former of whom in particular is often trepanned from the blessings of society, and forced, for life, into a more abject slavery than the negroes ever experience; and the latter, to whom the state owes so much, is never for a moment in the secure possession of all that renders society endearing. On the subject of maltreating the slaves, we are directed to compare the few instances that the most zealous industry has been able to produce, in ransacking the annals of more than a century, and in the circuit of all the West-India islands, with the number of crimes annually perpetrated in Great-Britain. It is urged, that if the native inhabitants of tropical countries are invariably found milder and more inoffen. five than those nearer the poles, it is but reasonable to conclude climate inust do something towards softening the manners of thofe who constantly reside in the former; and that however irascible indolence and indulgence may render them, the few instances produced, shew they are not chargeable with severity or cruelty. That the conduct of such as reside in England is usually marked with tenderness to their servants, and often a blameable inattention to those prudential motives which occa. fion the severity exercised towards inferiors. That, were it otherwise, common prudence would induce every Creole to be as careful of the health and life of a save as an English farmer is of his live stock; and if some occasional severities are heard of, they must be imputed partly to the imperfection of human nature in the islands as well as every where else, but particularly to the spontaneous or constrained migration of every European, whose connexions find him unfit to live in England.