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In so arduous an undertaking it would be no way furprising or unpardonable that errors and blemishes should have crept into it; but these are so few and so trifling, that, like spots in the sun, they are lost in the general refulgence. Why should we censure the agreeable and learned author for the decided partiality he belows on the Spartans in preference to the Athenians ?' This is a matter of taite which non est disputandum. He who prefers the Tuscan order of architecture to the Corinthian loves folidity better than ornament; the strong unadorned virtue of the Lacedemonians had found its way into the bosom of M. Barthelemy, and has kept its place against all the talents and social qualities of Athens, tending to effeminacy and corruption. His fondness for Lycurgus leads him to shew that the hunting of the Helots was an abuse, and did not spring from that legislator; and that the Cryptia was originally but an exercise of the most hardy nature. Though the author does not attempt to justify the cruelties imputed to the Spartans, he suspects the account of them to be highly exaggerated.
The beauties of this work have prolonged our attention to it; but in concluding we muft not omit to notice that the language is in general easy and familiar, often elevated ; and that gaiety hath smoothed the ruggedness of learning.
.. For MARCH 1790.
Art. 18. Alfred; an Historical Tragedy : 10 which is added a Cola
lection of Miscellaneous Poems, by the same Author. 8vo. 45. sewed. Robinsons. London, 1789. THIS author must be ranked in that very numerous catalogue of
I modern poets who have failed in attempting tragedy. From liis Miscellaneous Poems he deserves, however, a more favourable fentence. The following verses will be thought not deftitute of merit.
• The Tear of SYMPATHY. • To MARIA [on reading to her Sterne's beautiful Story of
Why rudely check the rising figh?
Tears which lament another's woes
Unveil the goodness of the heart;
Whose opening blush delights the view,
When brightly gemm’d with morning dew?
Dreft in more pleasing charms appear,
Of Pity's sympathising tear.'
Plants; a Poem. With Philosophical Notes. Volume the Second, Second
It is with much pleasure we announce to our readers a second edition of this elegant performance. The author has made a few additions, which have the same spirit as the original work, and a few alterations, which we consider as improvements.
In the second interlude he has done us the honour to adopt our opinion of the source of pleasure arising from scenical distresses; and though he has incorporated it with his own, he has not failed to give us the credit of it. We wish he had availed himself of our other hint, and produced a little more variety in his third canto, which, notwithstanding a small alteration, still abounds too much with horror, not sufficiently relieved by tenderness, or any other passion. But the plea prefixed in the advertisement is a sufficient excuse for this and every other deficiency that may be found in so truly poetical a performance.
We still wait with no small impatience for the first part, or, Economy of Vegetation.
For our review of the first edition of this poem, fee Vol. XIV. p. 1. ART. 20. Matilda; an original Poem, in Seven Cantos. Inscribed to
the Hon. George Fulk Lyttelton, By Mr. Beft. 4to. 2s. 6d. Stalker. London, 1789.
In this original poem we have the old story of a frail maiden
• Thus some hage rock, amidst the roaring waves
How far Mr. Best might have been indebted to Dryden's Virgil for the hint, we will not determine; we here produce the lines we allude to, and leave the reader to judge for himself:
- A rock that braves
Propp'd on himself he stands.'If dull, common-place declamation, without incident, can please, then Matilda will be bought and read; and the author did well in securing his property by entering the publication in Stationers-Hall; but, in the present cafe, we rather suspect that the precaution was unneceffary. Art. 21. Elegy written on the Author's revisiting the Place of his for. mer Residence. 4to. Is. Law. London, 1788.
On revisiting his former abode, the remembrance of past pleasures, of a wife and children that are now no more, excited in the mind of the author the train of melancholy ideas which are expressed in the elegy before us. It is the effufion of a feeling heart, though not the production of superior genius. The following short specimen will suficiently characterise it:
• How oft with transport was my bosom fir'd,
When near this happy feat of peace I drew;
Th’abode of solid pleasures met my view.
In many a rolling volume, light and blue;
And hide my mansion from the public view.
Above the dusky hills were faintly seen,
And gradual darkness veil'd the rural scene.
How was I charm'd my pleasing home to seek ;
With sweetness unaffected, soft, and meek.
When in the howling storm returning late,
And hear the watch dog barking at the gate.
(Whilft all around was dreary, cold, and wild)
Where friendship met, and love connubial smild.' '. Here the imagery is well selected, and the simplicity of elegy is not destroyed by the gaudy and unsuitable ornaments with which she is but too often decked by modern rhymers,
ART. 22. Poems, by the Rev. Joseph Sterling. 12mo. 35. Robinsons.
London, 1789. We noticed the Dublin edition of these poems in our Review for O&tober 1787, and now can only mention it as a republication; for the author, though he seems to say that some additional poems appear, has not pointed them out to the reader, and we have not the Dublin copy at hand. The preface, however, is new; and, as it is addressed to us, perhaps this irritable bard would take it amiss should we pass it over in filence. We had said that he bestowed extra. vagant praise on Ariosto, when he called him first of poets. He maintains that there is no extravagance in the case, and that he has all the readers of that divine poet on his side. Should he die in this opinion we cannot help it; we have generally found the conversion of authors a very hopeless undertaking. He is angry that we call some of the rhymes we found fault with · Hibernian,' and says it is sa national reflection.' Here the ire of Mr. Stirling has prevented him from attending to matter of fact. We said very modestly, we thought, and we are sure very truly, that the Irish pronunciation of the words receive and pream (resave, strame) injures the effect of the following description ;' nor will our opinion, we imagine, be controverted; but we did not give them the appellation of Hibernian. Mr. Sterling admits they are bad rhymes, nay more, has corrected in them in the present edition; and yet this ungrateful bard abuses us for the good advice which he has followed! Instead of correcting that solitary example, it would perhaps have been better for him to have kept our remark in view throughout the whole revisal of his poems, we mould not then have met with the same species of fault so frequently in this corrected edition. The following instances of what our author calls " weak rhymes,' which he falsely alledges we denominated · Hibernian,' and which we only venture to say are owing to the Irish pronunciation, are all to be found in p. 15 and 16,' care, appear, share, severe, cease, face, sway, sea.' Were we to enumerate every rhyme of this kind to be found in the work, the list would be a long one indeed; but as the task is disagreeable, and the author has been ungrateful for what we have already done in this way, we fall leave them for his own discovery. · We still maintain that to ' wail in speechless woe is what is called a bull;' and we now farther say that it is not the bull of Moschus, who only tells us that Echo lamented among the rocks, because she could no more imitate the songs of Bion. If the author will reconsider the passage, he will find that we have attended to the original, fully as much as himself.
He has endeavoured to make something like a defence for his "deep Aönian rill;' but, after all, wisely abandons it, and substitutes a fountain in its place. The exchange meets with our approbation. With our · profound observations on expletives,' &c. he declares he will have nothing to do, he leaves us in · full and undisputed pofsession. Now, had we been to give him friendly advice on this occasion, we should have counselled him to keep the observations, as he has done our other remarks, for use, and to part with the expletives, &c.; but on some people advice is thrown away. - P 3
The nerves of the Reviewer have not been affected by any part of this angry preface, except by the last sentence; that he confeflies has alarmed him. “As a friend,' says Mr. Steiling, I would advise him neves to go to Ireland; there he will meet with no mercy; there
· Bulls roam at large, and butt at all mankind.' He will, however, take Mr. Sterling's friendly advice, and avoid, if possible, these butting bulls, of whom, he supposes, the bulls of Balhan were only a type. · He cannot, however, avoid remarking that St. Patrick stopped short in his work of extirpation, and that he undoubtedly should have destroyed this terrible race of bulls along with the other noxious animals of Ireland.' ART. 23. The Contrast; or, A comparative View of France and Eng
land at the present Period. A Poem. Addressed to the Right Hon. W. Pitt. 4to. 2s. Cadell. London, 1790. '
This poem, as its title professes, is addreffed to Mr. Pitt; but, lest an opportunity should be lost of bringing forward the virtues of another illustrious character, we have a dedication to the Duke of Dorseta His Grace is also treated with an apostrophe in the poem itself:
? Here, too, while civil rage and tumult storm'd,
'Twas his with manly confidence to stand' We thought he had left Paris on the occasion, and always admired his prudence for keeping clear of a quarrel in which he was no way interested.
The following description of Mr. Pitt the reader will admit has something more than poetry to recommend it:
• Born with that great and comprehensive mind,