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FOR JULY, 1799.
FOR THF, EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.
The GLEANER, N°. IX.
Pope. AS S I was closing my la!t number, opinion? The public voice disregards
a learned friend made me a vi- all rules, and soon appreciates the fit, and finding I had been writing, genuine merit of any production. inquired the subject of the compo- We fee tragedies and comedies com. filion. I told him that I had been posed according to the very formulas throwing together a few desultory of critical prescription ; the critics reflections on Descriptive Poetry: pronounce that they shall be immor
friend had newly perused tal, but the public voice condemns Knight's Essay on the Greek Alpha- them at once to oblivion. Shakespear bet, he informed me, with very little neither wrote by rules, por is to be ceremony, that he had a very nean judged by rules; and there is the opinion of critical compofitions, as new Euripides of Germany, Kotwell as of the sublime art of criti. zebue, who breaks all the unities, cilin. Criticism, said he, affects to sets the poetics of Aristotle at defiinform us when we thould approve ance, and yet presides over all the and disapprove of literary compofi. emotions of the soul with irresistible tions, and applies her gauging-rod sway. My friend continued to enu. with equal precision to the feelings merate a multitude of similar initanof the heart and the flights of fancy. ces, and then victoriously clenched She pretends to direct our judgment his proof with the authority of and modulate our taste, as if our Knight; who, in his E!Tay on the judgment could act judge for itself, Greek Alphabet, admits vo kind of nor tatte decide without the help of critical merit but that which is verrules. Shew any person of common bal. To this fluent harangue I refense, proceeded my friend, a ballad, plied, that as this Knight has really an elegy, a heroic, or even a descrip- very great merit as a verbal critic, it tive poem, and he will be at no loss was a great pity that he should insiit to determine whether it be good or upon depreciating those critics who bad froin the feelings which it ex- extend their attention to sentences, cites in his mind. He can only give and paragraphs, and chapters, and you his private opinion, you will say; fections, and even to whole books ; and after all, can your critic give but that, with all deference to the you any thing more than his private Essay on the Greek Alphabet, I ap
prehended, that the reasons of our and poetical powers, joined with con. copinions might always be ascertained fiderable faules both of thought and by attending accurately to their ob- diction. The author attempts to jects, and the sensations which these convey to the English reader a cor. produce in our minds ; that by at- reat idea of Alpine scenery : an untending to objects in connection with dertaking arduous as it was bold; the emotions which they excite, we for, as he asserts, “ the controuling may discover both the origin and na. influence which distinguishes the ture of our different ideas of taste, Alps from all other scenery, is derivwhether sublime, beautiful, pathetic, ed from images which disdain the or picturesque, whether witty, hu. pencil.” In conveying the general mourous, or ludicrous; and that characters along with the individual upon this process of attention or scenery, he is frequently very success. judgment, the principles of the cri- ful. His descriptions are often gratical art depended, and were, there. phically minute, but always sketched fore, no more fallacious than any o. with energy and Atrong conception. ther species of scientific reasoning. We enjoy all the pleasures of the peThus criticism arranges in luminous destrian traveller, and are ready to order our confused ideas, demon- admit with the author, that did hapftrates those subtile but important re. piness reside on earth, her abode lations of our ideas that are apt to would be, escape our notice, unravels the mazes Where murmuring rivers join the song of perception and thought, and sepa:
of Even, rates the essential from the accidental, Where falls the purple morning far and
wide in those impressions which are made
In flakes of light upon the mountain upon the mind. In the descriptive
fidc poets, criticism affifts us in the study Where fummer funs in ocean fink to of nature, for in the delineations of
reit. the poet we are not confounded by
We hear the road.elms of Gallia the diversity which nature presents, ruftling thin above his head-we atDifferent objects are better defined tend him to the lake of Como, emand separated from the groups by bosomed in chesnut groves, and trace which they are surrounded, and the the twining pathway beneath its different emotions are referred more purple roof of vines diftinctly to the objscts by which
Whence oft at eve the viewless lingerer they are excited. We learn to study
fees the original by means of a ver From rock-lewn feeps the sail between Gion, if the expression may be used. the irecs. With these observations my
In the description of the lake of was no more satisfied than I had been Como, there are many picturesque with the authority of Knight in the delineations of that kind, which in. Essay on the Greek alphabet, and clines to the beautiful; many which we parted, according to the custom an Englishman can only figure in of disputants, each more convinced imagination--the cots placed under of the truth and propriety of his own the towering rocks, with each its opinion. So I proceeded to make household boat belide the door, the following observations on the The torrents shooting from the clear blue Descriptive Poets, and left my friend
Пky, to peruse Knight's, Effay on the The towns like swallows nefis that cleave Greek Alphabet.
on high, WORKS WORTH'S DESCRIPTIVE The blazing forests throwing rich SKETCHES display great originality golden verdure on the waves, are all
of this nature, and peculiar to the folitary light glimmers in the vale Alps. Of the same clasa are the gi.. the death-dog howls, and banditci gantic torrents interrupted by voices talk, the bushes ruftle, and the Black drizz ing crags that, beaten by the wolf approaches at the cry of her din,
child. The Lake of Uri is delineatVibrate, as if a voice complained within. ed in a more chaste and correct ftile, The croffes reared to death on every and almost with the pencil of Gold. fide.
smith. The Chamois Chacer, and 'Tis form ; and hid in mift from hour the life of the Swiss Mountaineer, All day the floods a deeper murmur pour, are ftriking and original tketches, And mournful sounds, as of a spirit loft, as well as the Slavery of Savoy, and Pipe wild along the hollow bluftering the Influence of Liberty on Cottage coaft.
Happiness. Every person of real The sun flashes through the mifts, tafte, that peruses these sketches, and we behold the Alpine torrents will immediately recognize the true At once to pillars turn'd, that flame with
of poetry, both gold-while
in the sentiment and in the expresTriumphant on the borom of the form fion; but he will at the same time Glances the fire-clad eagle's wheeling regret the uncorrect colouring which
form. Behind his fail the peasant ftrives to fhun often sheds a false and tawdry lustre The west, that burns like one dilated over the real beauties of defeription. fen.
The language is ftrong and vigorous, Where in a mighty crucible expire but defective in respect of fimplicity : The mountains, glowing hot, like coals the phraseology is often original, but of fire.
clogged with exuberance of epither, It is impoflible to particularize the and allures us from the ferenity of minute touches of description, which observation, and the sweet deceptions are equally spirited and characteris. of sympathy, to attend to its own tic. Some of the ketches poffefs uncommon structure. Indeed the lapeculiar. excellence, as the Grison bour of composition is too apparent gypsey-a very different being from both in the fentiment and the exprefthe gypsey of Goldsmith and of fiom The ftructure becomes gawdy Rogers. Many of the circumstances from redundance of ornament; and which compose this pi&ture are. resembles a Grecian temple deformfrightful to the fancy: The roofed ed by the minute fritterings of Gobridge, where she is driven for shelter, thic architecture.
L. quivers in the form, and the water
[Observations on Bowles's COOMBE fpirits call fearfully from below; a Ellen in our next Number.] ·
TO THE EDITOR OF THE EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.
T is a common observation among ginal works are borrowed. So much admired, compositions that are gene- that he compares the inftructions we sally reckoned original, there is very derive from books to fire, which we little originality. Not only are the obtain from others, kindle at home, fineft thoughts which occur in one and communicate till it become fpecies of writing transplanted from the property of all. Every perfua another, incidents modified anew, has heard of the German who cursed and the names of characters changed, the ancients for ftealing bis good but even the plans of the most ori- thoughts; but it muftbe owned
the marauding ancients have caught “only published without the Profefa parcel of Tartars in the moderns, “lor's knowledge or approbation, who have not failed to plunder them " but the Atatement of his doctrines in their turn. Montaigne informs “ is frequently inaccurate. Amid us, that he practifed a curious me. “ the most copious citation of authothod of plagiarism, in which he has “ rities, the name of Dr Hunter is been copied with great success. He “ ftudiously concealed; even where å tells us, that he used to insert whole “ Grammatical Effay, published with fentences from the ancients without “ the Profeffor's name, is cited, there acknowledgments that the critics" is only a vague reference to the might' give nasardes to Seneca and' “ Transactions of the Royal Society Plutarch, while they imagined that “ of Edinburgh. To the preface to they tweaked his nose. Thus the “ the Encyclopædia Britannica, a molt original ideas in the Emilius of “meagre, dry, and as it were relucRousseau, and the moit useful part “tantly extorted apology, appears of that performance are borrowed "in a note, in which the author of from the Tractate on Education, “this plagiarism affc Cts, to particulafalsely attributed to Plutarch (if we “rize what opinions of Up Hunter may truft Wyttenbach,) as Williams“ are original ; refers, in general, has shown at great length in his Lec " for the reft to a multitude of
gram. tures on Education.
“ marians, and, as if he were not yet I was led to these reflections by “ sufficiently secure from detection, meeting with a fingular passage in “ modestly infinuates, that “ discothe New London Review for Janua“ veries in grammar are not, indeed, ry 1799. The passage occurs in the "' to be looked for, because, forsooth, Review of Mr Horne Tooke's diver. “ the subject is so intimately confions of Purley, and runs thus : "nected with metaphysics !!!!
“ The article « Grammar' in the As I knew that the conductor of « Encyclopædia Britannica contains the last six volumes of the Encyclo. “ many original and profound views pædia Britannica was Dr Gleig, an “ on the fubject of language, deriv. Epifcopal clergyman, of no mean li• ed from the prelections of the terary reputation, aud of an excellent “ learned Dr Hunter, Professor of moral character, I could not help • Humanity in the Univerfity of St being Mocked at such an infamous “ Andrews; but the mode of their charge as that contained in the pa“ publication perits the feverest re- ragraph cited, and believed it to be • prehenfion. The Professor has, one of the infinuations eqırally malici. " from a date anterior even to the ous as groundless, that are too often e publication of Mr Horne Tooke's admitted into the literary journals of « letter to Mr Dunning, been in the the day. Upon consulting the arti“ habit of giving public lectures on cle Grammar in the Encyclopædia “ grammar. The principles which Britannica, I actually found the vague “ he has long been accuttomed to reference to the Transactions of the " roaintain, differ, in fome respects, Edinburgh Society, initead of the ts from those of Mr Tooke, while in particularization of Dr Hunter's El" many others they coincide. Now lay on the particles As and ad. The • the article “Grammar,” is known article, too, seemed to contain vari. " to confift almoft entirely of mere ous discrepancies, as if the author “ transcripts of grammatical exer: had not understood his own princi. “ cises in the humanity class, upon ples, and to resemble more the lec“ the subject of the Professor's lectures of a profeffor of humanity, than “ lures. These exercises were not such an essay as a man of philofophi.
cal discrimination and science would treated according to the reviewer's have composed for the Encyclopædia statement ? Dr Hunter's fame as a Britannica. Upon confulting the grammarian is deservedly great, but preface to the Encyclopædia Britan-. can we believe he would have been nica, I discovered an error in the so little solicitous about his literary statement of the reviewer ; for it is reputation, as to suffer himself to be not Dr Gleig the editor, but a Mr quietly swindled out of the fruit of Bruce, whom I have since discover his laborious hours of Atudy? Besides, ed to be an Episcopal clergyman at the reviewer states the fa& as one Dundee, who makes the acknow that is well known, whereas I had ledgment to Dr Hunter of St An- never before heard such an infiavadrews; but then, in other respects,, tioa. I therefore requeft an eluci. the stationent of facts seems to be dation of this subject from any of correct, and of the intention it is im. your correspondents or readers that possible for me to judge. Can we may happen to be acquainted with suppose, however, that Mr Bruce the real state of the fact; and I do would have made such an apology to this with the greater expectation, as, Dr Hunter, if he had been guilty of from the circulation of your Magathe proceeding with which he is zine, it may be expected to reach charged by the reviewer? Again, can either Dr Hunter, or Dr Gleig, or we suppose that Dr Hunter would Mr Bruce, or some of their friends. have remained silent, if he had been Edin. July 8th, 1799. PHILALETIES.
DESCRIPTION OF THE VIEW.
OPETOUN House, the seat of tiful lawn expands immediately a
the Right Honourable the Earl round the house. A spacious kitof Hopetoun, is situate on the south- chen-garden fills the subsiding botera bank of the Forth, at the diftance tom. On the skirts of the lawa, of about twelve miles north-west wood is beautifully disposed ; prefrom Edinburgh, and within three fenting, first, piduresque fingle trees; miles of the burgh of Queensferry. then thickening gradually into one
It is a stately and magnificent surrounding mass of verdant fhade; manfion; fronting the south; and which, however, opens here and accommodated with itables and other there, at proper points of view, to office houses, uncommonly sumptu- unveil to the eye distant prospects, ous and superb.
which invite and charm it, with all The bank upon which it stands, the power of the fairest landscapes, rising holdly over the Frith below, fele&ted and embellished by the genispreads into an extensive terrace ; the us of delign, and the most exquisite surface of which is very gently vari. touches of the hand of painting. ed by some low and unequal swells. Path-ways are romantically conduct. Beyond this terraced bank, the level ed through the encircling woods ; of the ground partially fubfides, and and ruftic feats are dispersed here then rises with a confiderable, but not and there, under the trees; suggeste disagreeably abrupt declivity, so as ing to imagination, the bewitching, to protect and shelter the whole rural fimplicity; the love, the inno. scene below.
cence, the uncloying joys, which In the decoration of this scene, have been attributed to the Arcamuch labour and expence have been dian scenery of the pastoral poets. apparently lavished, with taste and Aftately wall encompasses and bounds fikill uncommonly happy. A beau, the whole scene. It is accessible by