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Freedom, like happiness, disdains to rest
She lifts the soul from earthly to divine.' P. 5.
Is fix'd Death's irremediable dart.' Irremediable is at best but an aukward word; and it is not the dart, but the wound inflicted by the dart, which is irremediable. L. 31, 32.—"'Fore heav'n and thee my inmost soul display,..
. And ftate my conduet in the face of day. ?Fore heav'n has a ludicrous air ; it comes suddenly on the reader, very much like a petty oath ; and, when he has discovered its true import, he finds the sentiment grievously lowered by the next line, which is a genuine fpecimen of the bathos. · L. 215.- And plunge their prospects in eternal night.' We very much doubt whether plunging a prospect is not too incongruous a metaphor. Would not fade their prospects have beeng at least, more correct?
L. 277.-It is surely high treason against the fublime to style meteors, earthquakes, and comets, Nature's bandles..
We observe that art is the correspondent rhyme to heart in no less than five several instances in the course of the poen); and that fèene is faultily introduced as rhyming with vain.
We are sensible that thefe minutiæ of criticism are fometimes very provoking to the genus irritabile vatum ; but we hunliy presume they may be useful. It is not imponible that the author of this epistle may profit by these and similar strictures in the preparation of a second edition ; and we assure him we thould not have taken the trouble to state them, had not we thought his poem pois sessed a considerable degree of merit. Pleasures of Solitude, a Poem. By P. Courtier. So. 25, 6d.
Cawthorn. 1800.. This poem displays evident traces of a philofophic mind, and of pious and amiable difpofitions. Its plan is good, and its topics are well chofen; but the author does not feem to be gified with the nicety of ear necessary to the construction of melodious verse, nor is he inspired by the ardour of poetical enthusiasm, which irreGistibly raises the mind to the higher regions of fancy. We do not think hiin fortunate in the choice of his measure, which, requiring the concurrence of fimilar rhymes, often betrays him into the lame
ness and in Gpidity occasioned by the insertion of lines whose only use is to fill up the verse ; a kind of poetical make weights, or invalids, introduced merely for the purpose of mustering with the company.
As a fair specimen, we thalle quote the introduction to the first book:
They love the insipidities of life.
Again there are whom both its ceaseless strife
And some who hourly dread th' aTafðn's knife,
Who Gng of Nature, Fancy, Solitude ;-
To Ouroud where sympathies dare not intrude.
Though I, alas! have borne the buffet rude,
And known of fortune in her darkest mood,
To ease and soften, not to aggravate;
To break the spell of long-inwoven hate;
And him to lower whom vanities inflate :
O man, how often thine to mould thy fate!
DRAMA. Theodora ; or the Spanish Daughter : a Tragedy. Dedicated, by Permifron, to the Duchess of Devonshire. 8vo. Leigh and Sotheby. 1800.
Theodora, the heroine of this tragedy, bewails the loss of her lover Alphonso, who the imagines has perished in a storm, and vows eternal fidelity to his memory. But when the is solicited by Don Garcia, a merciless creditor, who holds Guzman, her father, in strict cuftody for debt, her resolution gives way, and her filial piery induces her to wed the bitter enemy of her family. Soon after the marriage, Alpbonso, who had in fact been detained for several years ig. captivity at Tunis, arrives in Madrid. The distress occasioned by the communication of the news of his arrival to Theodora, the jealousy of Garcia, and the confequent catastrophe, compose the effence of this tragedy.
Here are the materials of an interesting drama; but the author of Theodora has arranged them most inartificially. He passes, without cereinony, the bounds of space and time. In the compass of a single act we find Alphonso at Tunis and at Madrid: Theodora vifits her father in his dungeon, and is distracted by his sufferings ; the takes her leave of him; and Carlos, the servant of Guzman, attempts to alleviate his woes by music; and lo! whilft he is still touching his lute, arrives the annunciation of Theodora's wedding. Truly our heroine posts to the nuptial bed with adinirable dexterity! One of the principal circumstances of the play hinges on Garcia's ignorance of the existence of his wife's cousin. Antonio ; and, though this monster of cruelty is stimulated to vengeance by the ftings of jealousy, we find in the denouement, that, when he was about to sally forth to murder his wife's supposed paramour Antonio, he kindly made his will, bequeathing to her all his property, only restricting her from marrying Antonio. We must confess that this incident does not very ftri&tly concur with common ideas of the temper of a Spanish coco imaginaire.
The diction of this tragedy is diffuse and feeble. It is also oce casionally disgraced by vulgar inelegancies; for instance,
"Yes in my bosom diall the secret lay.' The second act closes thus coarsely :
And while I live I never can forget
• How much Antonio is in Seliin's debt.' In the following passages, by aiming at originality, the author degenerates into conceit.
Chaste moon! thou Chou'dít withdraw
“Yes! with my latest breath, in
Oficy iexture that enchain’d creation.' P. 74.
By Francis Gibson, Esq. 8vo. 25. 6d. Robinsons. 1800. ·
The ancient Greeks wisely availed themselves of the stage, in or. der to awaken patriotic enthusiasm in the breasts of their countrynien. Æschylus did good service to the Athenian republic by his (word; but he, perhaps, served his country no less effe&ually by the composition of his immortal tragedy, entitled Perfæ Mr. Gibson, (who, we understand, is major-commandant of the Whitby volunteers) emulates this great example, and manifefts lois zeal for his country's cause by wieiding the pen as well as the truncheon. In the invasion of the Danes we see a type of the once-threatened invafion of this country by the French. The feud, which he supposes to have fubfified between the families of Raymond, Lord of Strean Mall, and Maulay, Baron of Mulgrave, is, we presume, iatended as a shadow of the political differences which have of late years agitated the British empire; and we doubt not that, had the enemy effected a landing, the denouement which he has imagined, would have been verified by the fact, and that ininisterialists and oppositionists would have cordially co-operated in repelling the foe. Mr. Gibson has interwoven into the fabric of bis story a tale of love. Edgar, the son of Maulay, has long entertained a pailion for Everilda, daughter of lord Raymond. His pallion is returned by the lady with equal ardour: but the completion of their happ ness is prevented by the discord which prevails between the heads of their respective houses. The loves of Edwina and Grofmont, who is supposed to be slain in foreign lands, but who unexpeedly returns to save his mistress from the ravithing gripe of his own brother, who had doomed him to death by the hands of an assassin, compose an under,plot. The story of the drama is skilfully brought to a close by the reconciliation of the contending barons, consequent on their joint endeavours against the common enemy, which are crowned with complete success. This reconcilement naturally clears away every obstruction to the union of Everilda and Edgar, which is as naturally accompanied by that of Grosmont and Edwina.
The story is developed with skill; and the style is frequently not inelegant. The writer is particularly happy in description and sentiment; but he is less successful in the delineation of paflion. We were surprised to observe, that he has in fome inftances adopted the obsolete custom of ending acts and scenes with a set of rhyining couplets. He ought to have entertained a stronger consciousness of his powers. His drama poffesses too much intrinsic merit to require these empty applause-traps. It gives us great fatisfaction to remark, that, though the invading Danes are evidently the representatives of the modern French, he has not adopted the vulgar topics of abuse. We Mall close our review of this publication by a tew extracts.-The following paffage may serve as a specimen of Mr. Gibson's powers of description.
• Anf. Your cause is that of justice, theirs of blood.
Where cruelty prepar'd for scenes of death ;
Loud howl the winds amongst the shatter'd towers ;
But all's a howling wilderness behind.' P. 73. In the first scene of the fifth aet we have a pleasing picture of the emotions of a compassionate mind on the destruction of enemies.
"ACT V. SCENE I.
EVERILDA and Edwina.
• Eve. It was a night indeed replete with horror!
• Edw. The clouds, in horrible convulsions rent, . .
O! ' was a night of congregated terrors !
• Enter GROSMONT. (Speaks.)
• Eve. The dead, inclosed in the filent vault,
• Grof. The tempest that has shook our loftieft towers,
The tempest's strength is spent; the falling wave