« ZurückWeiter »
• The beat of heart, the flush of cheek, are gone,
And these, AMENAÏDE, were all for thee.'—pp. 11–13. The sentimental reflections on loneliness, clothed as they are in phraseology which really conveys no idea, no picture to the mind, are precisely the sort of writings which our critics praise as glorious bursts of passion.
Amenaide having survived the first shock, and escaped from the consolations of her nurse, to her own chamber, looks through her lattice, and sees at a distance the mansion of her lover's father.
• A crimson beauty wooed the maiden's eye :-
Alas, how haughty and how high they were !'~p. 13. The alliteration, and the contrast, evidently give great energy to the last line. Our heroine is not allowed to enjoy the prospect long, when she, who had hitherto apparently been but a rustic orphan, is summoned to a higher destiny.
""Amenaïde!” her kind old nurse's voice ;
We submit to any person, who is at all capable of judging on the subject, whether such writing as this deserves the name of poetry. From these creeping lines we ascend to some pages of tinsel, about a lovely room, velvet carpets, myrtle buds, lily bells, scented winds, purple couches,
-how soft and warm Clung the rich colour to her ivory arm'! pictured faces, and wreathed flowers. In short, the Countess was restored to her rank; yet she was miserable, as her lover was still absent.
• Many a weary hour and day had past
Where Count Arezzi held his festival.'-p. 17. The lovers meet, but, alas, Leoni is married! Amenaide, of course, is horror-struck at seeing his bride, and when she returns home, falls very naturally into a fit, from which she awakes with a resolution to conquer her passion. The contest in her breast gives birth to another Landonic apostrophe.
• Love, whut a mystery thou art !-how strange
-Why hast thou separate being ? why not die
yet must suffer still : For who is there can say they will forget ?
-It is a power no science teaches yet.'—pp. 36–38. In this mood, she meets a Jew, who offers for sale the fatal bracelet, containing a subtle poison, which a secret spring afforded the means of extracting. After a short struggle—but we must here exclaim with the author,
• Alas! alas ! how plague-spot like will sin
Spread over the wrung heart it enters in'! she buys the bracelet, poisons her rival, saves Leoni from the effect
of a sentence which adjudged him to be the murderer, and dies heroically at his feet. Of the verses, in which all this latter part of the tale is told, we shall only select the announcement to Amenaide of the result of her stratagem.
• Hark! the ball echoes to a stranger's tread —
gave her the sherbet :-'twas not all drain'd;
I would I had not told thee of this tale.'-pp. 44-45. If this trash be really English poetry, then let some other country claim as her own, our Pope, our Goldsmith, our Campbell, our Byron, and our Moore. We should take shame to ourselves for thus speaking of the productions of a woman, if the foolish praises of her friends, and of those who adopt their sentiments, did not render it absolutely necessary to abate the nuisance.
Upon • The Lost Pleiad,' we shall only remark, that it is just such a poem as any person, experienced in writing, may produce, who chooses to let his imagination and his pen wander over a quire of foolscap, taking care only to give eight syllables to each line, and to find rhymes for the couplets—a task which the labour of an hour or two will render perfectly easy. The History of the Lyre,' being in blank verse, may be rivalled with still greater facility, if the experimentalist can by any chance discover as mellifluous a name as Eulalia! The horrors of the Ancestress' will no doubt procure for that dramatic sketch the honour of being represented at the Coburg Theatre. Many of the poetical portraits we have met before, and shall therefore pass them over, in order to come to that second new star in our literary hemisphere-Robert Montgomery:
We are told by several of our contemporary critics, metropolitan and provincial, that in his new poem, Mr. Montgomery has displayed “wonderful powers ;” that “its sublime tenor places him at once on terms of noble emulation with the better spirits of the age;" and that he is, indeed, one of those
Beings more than men,
To the Literary Gazette our author is indebted for the first of these quotations; to a writer in the Times for the second ; and to that most profound and enlightened print, the Carlisle Journal, for the third. It is worth while to notice here, in passing, the paltry imposition which is practised on the public by advertising a favourable criticism from the Times, without adverting to the material fact, that it was emphatically marked in that newspaper as the production of “a correspondent," a precaution which is generally used when the editor has a wish to oblige, but no desire to be held out to the world as responsible for the truth or justness of the article so inserted.
Mr. Montgomery has chosen a singular, and, as we shall shew, a most preposterous title for his new production. It might as well, —and, indeed, with a great deal more propriety—have been called “Mr. Montgomery,” or “ Peter,” or “ Tobias,” or, indeed, any name whatever, with the exception of that which he has chosen. 'When he determined to evoke “ Satan” from the sphere of his power, and to represent him as holding a soliloquy upon the earth, and its inhabitants,—their various pursuits, their vices, and their follies,-he ought at least to have studied the character of that Spirit, and to have preserved its consistency. Satan is generally, we should suppose, believed to have been degraded from the highest rank of the seraphs, and to have been duoined to never-ending woe, as a penalty for his rebellion against the CREATOR. Even if we were not to take his character from the glimpses of it which are afforded to us in the sacred writings, or from the awful impressions of it with which Milton has pre-occupied every cultivated mind, there is still in the very nature of the crime, and its consequent penalty, which eternally excluded Satan from heaven, enough to teach us that peace, joy, hope, or any of the affections that delight the soul, can never revisit his polluted breast. We can form no idea of him, except as the enemy of man, -as the lion that never sleeps in pursuit of his prey. To brand an act as Satanic, is to call down upon it a more than ordinary share of execration, as being a deed of more savage atrocity than man could be supposed capable of perpetrating.
What will our readers, who agree with us in these notions of Satan's character, say, when they learn that Mr. Montgomery's Satan is, in fact, a very good sort of a person, with whom any body might spend an hour without the slightest danger to his morals? He appears in many parts, and in all of them, to the greatest advantage. He often speaks like a polished gentleman. He is sometimes a very learned, and even an eloquent philosopher. Dr. Syntax was but a tyro to him in his admiration of the picturesque. He is a friend to liberty, and a classical scholar of the first order. No person excels hin in a love of the fine arts. His taste in all things is exquisite. To the fair sex he is quite devoted ; nay, he likes wedded life very well, and can paint with great truth its dignity and happiness. He is remarkably fond of children, so
that the old gentleman must. henceforth cease to be a terror to the infant generations. But the most novel feature in the reformed Satan of Mr. Montgomery is, that he ascends the pulpit frequently, and preaches right excellent discourses.
Our readers will hardly believe that any man in his senses could have really feigned such a portrait of Satan as we have just described. We shall presently give them an opportunity of putting our description to the test of truth. In order, however, that they may be able to comprehend the plan of the poem, it is necessary to premise, that the author represents his hero as appearing once more upon the mountain which witnessed his temptations of the REDEEMER.
• Awake ye thunders ! let your living roar
Was tempted, and withstood me!'-p. 19. Here is a commencement with a vengeance! Here is a flourish of thunders! The ancient and the modern poets, too, who are supposed to have any pretensions to that sacred title, thought that the opening strain of a long poem could hardly be too modest or too simple in its language. But Mr. Montgomery, who in many things appears to think that novelty as well as excellence may be found in the reverse of established notions, flings his hero upon the scene, in the midst of darkness, and a living roaring' storm of thunder! Not content with this, he follows it up with an earthquake, and an indescribable accumulation of natural and supernatural horrors, which, though long, we must quote, as it furnishes a specimen of the most unqualified bombast which we have seen since the days of Rowe.
• Is the Earth
lightnings through yon darken'd sky,All echo with the chorus of her clouds!
* And well Earth answers to the voice of Heaven. Hark to the crash of riven forest-boughs In yonder waste, the home of hurricanes, That catch the howlings of the cavern'd brutes, And wing them onwards to Arabia's wild, O'ercanopied with flying waves of sand, Like a dread ocean whirling through the skies !