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tive to a single family, of which all the interest has long since faded away. As long as it is curious to balance moral probabilities, and develope the hidden movements of human conduct; as long as it is instructive to study the display of all the powers of many strong and cultivated minds on those principles of evidence, which have been among the primary objects of their professional labours, such discussions must abound both with amusement and information!
SENEX. Oct. 31, 1807.
P.S. As this is a miscellaneous paper, permit me to enclose the following lines by a young friend, for insertion in your pages.
Written at Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, in Decem
“ The rising sun for me in vain
Arrays in gold the mountain's crest;
With crimson tinges Ocean's breast:
No more their wonted joys bestow;
That clouds my soul with endless woe.
The life-blood curdles round my heart;
And death alone can ease impart.
With feelings still to rapture true;
Affection's germs with funeral yew.
The starry eve, the new-born day,
Alike have lost their power to charm;
Again this frozen bosom warm:
Who first awoke its slumb'ring fires;
And will, till life itself expires.”
To this the Editor takes the opportunity of adding the following Sonnet by a friend, written immediately after reading “ The Wild Irish Girl.” “ Oh! had my soul, when first, with wild hope filld,
And Love's delusions, danc'd my awaken'd heart,
As Beauty's witchery did its spells impart; Oh! had my soul, when every feeling thrillid With new-born joys that fate too quickly kill'd,
Met thee, Glorvina, and with thee been blest!
My days had flown caressing and caress'd, And every anxious throb been sweetly stilld. The airy harp had sooth'd my bosom's woe ;
And as thy wild notes swell'd the trembling strings,
With grateful incense to the KING OF Kings!
ART. DCCXIX. No. XX. On the Sonnets of Milton, with a translation of one of his Italian Sonnets.
Tuere are few persons, I presume, among those who are in the habit of exercising their mental faculties, exempt from occasionally suffering an unconquerable lassitude and in becility, the effect perhaps of over-exertion, and often of great anxiety and fatigue. On such occasions the assistance of eminent friends, which is at all times highly acceptable, becomes doubly gratifying. It is therefore with more than common satisfaction, that at a moment when my spirits are low, and my humble talents more than commonly weak, I am enabled to communicate a very excellent translation of an Italian Sonnet of Milton by the learned and poetic editor of that poet's Paradise Regained.
Milton's Fourth Sonnet, “ Diodati, io te'l diro," 8ic.
Translated from the Italian.
Am fall’n, where oft the brave have captur'd been.
Are my resistless victors. A new form
That nobly graceful portance; those smooth brows
That converse sweet, with various tongues adorn’d;
That song, whose charming potency might well
But 'gainst whose magic strains to close the ear,
Ireland * This was written near two years ago, under an idea that in
There seems to my ear a kind of stately Miltonic movement in these verses, which makes the want of rhyme unperceived.
In my humble judgment, the Sonnets of Milton, however condemned by the malignant sarcasms of Johnson, though I will not say they are among the best of his compositions, partake alınost every where of the majestic plainness of his lofty genius. For seven and twenty years they have been the objects of my admiration; and I do not like them the less, because they are deficient in all the finical prettinesses of modern poetry. When I hear of their harsh and bald deformities, I only smile with scorn at the tasteless inability to discern in them the spirit of an exalted mind above the artifices of a tinsel dress.
I have already given my opinion in the memoir of Dr. Darwin, and elsewhere, of those narrow notions of poetry, which too many indulge. They seem to think it confined to sparkling images, to pointed expressions, and harmonious rhymes. Even the best of these ingredients is of very inferior importance to that sublimity or tenderness of soul, which has the power of communicating its own strong impressions to the reader. He who busies himself with the tricks of language, is never hurried away by the fire of natural thoughts.
A manly mind hates all the minor machinery of poetical composition, though it be the only part
translating a sonnet from the Italian, if you keep pretty close to the original thoughts and expressions, it may be made more readable in blank verse than by cramping it into the correspondent rhymes of the legal sonnet. C. D.
which a feeble or vitiated critic comprehends or relishes. But yet how contemptible is he, who in the boundless varieties of the human intellect, and the boundless space over which it may travel, would confine our judgments to one or two models of excellence! If Spenser, and Shakspeare, and Milton were poets, so were Cowley and Dryden; yet how unlike! Where then is to be found the definition of poetry large enough to comprehend its powers?
Of all the Sonnets of Milton, I am almost inclined to prefer the XIXth, On his Blindness. It has, to my weak taste, such various excellences, as I am unequal to praise sufficiently. It breathes doctrines at once so sublime and consolatory, as to gild the gloomy paths of our existence here with a new and singular light.
Of Milton's harshness, may it not be observed, that originality often appears like harshness ? Common-place phrases seem smooth, because we are habituated to them, while a new combination of words sounds rough to our ears. How far from harsh are those fine lines in the XIV th Sonnet to the memory of Mrs. Thomson, where he says,
Thy works and alms
-Love led them on, and Faith who knew them best,
And azure wings-
thenceforth bid thee rest, And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams !" How majestic is the flow of those vigorous lines in