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pression. The scene, however, is well-imagined ; and the
. ! .. i
• Thus underneath the golden sky
Sheds life and healing fragrance round.' Some very elegant common-places also occur in this volume; and we cannot help sympathizing with the poet, who writes well on Happiness and Sorrow, Love and Friendship, and other gentle themes, which are inexhaustible, how much soever they may have been drained as the sources of poetry in every age. We select an example of Mr. Sotheby's powers of composition in this difficult sort of manner; that is, in which it is difficult to write properly, and yet with some de. gree of novelty; • Hard is his heart, who never at the tomb
Of one belov'd, o'er the sepulchral urn:
Has mus'd on days that shall no more return,
Shades of past joy, while tears that lenient flow
Seem to obliterate the sense of woe.
Whereon we love to gaze,
O'er each harsh feature rude
While all that minister'à delight
Smooth gleams, and tender shadows steal between, While the pale silvery orb glides peaceful o'er the scene.' From this and other specimens, (see the opening of Canto 7.) we are led to conceive that Mr. Sotheby's forte lies in the pathetic, or at all events in the pensive class of subjects; and in fact his bolder manner, in aiming at sublimity, falls into , 14
post to kill him Holy Friar Temie. and is presenstance ahelf-Eater in the worke
bombast. Such is the furious and noisy scene at Maria's tomb, where Pedro sees the ghost of Blanche of Bourbon, and is preparing to kill himself; when the theatrical appearance of Constance and the Holy Friar reminds us of the do propos arrival of the Beef-Eater in the “ Critic.” Indeed, we strongly recommend this scene to be worked into some melodram by the dramatists of the Royal Circus.
Not so must we express ourselves concerning the very fanciful and lively ballad, intitled a Fairy Song, which is introduced in a Minstrel Song (“ carmina semper, et cithara,") at page 59
• Softly blow the wreathed shell,
Wind the ocean melody!
Cleave the liquid canopy !
Sea-maids ! who in season fair
Braid with pearl your yellow hair !
Rise! and smooth with song the way.-
Crown'd with wreath of Elfin flowers !
Silvering the sea with gleams of light!' We here close our extracts and remarks: hoping, that if we see Mr. Sotheby again, his muse will appear in her natural habiliments,
« Rursus et in veterem fato revoluta figuram."
Art. V. Extracts from the Diary of a Lover of Literature. 4to.
pp. 245. il. 18. Boards. Longman and Co.' 1810. W e occasionally meet with a sort of literary gossipping, which
throws open to the public the chosen parlour in which eminence has condescended to lounge; which admits us to the chitchat of learning and the impromptus of genius; and which, if it cannot be praised with dignity, is seldom read without amusement. By preserving such fortuitous scintillations of talent,
of the convers critieizescursion, he jouf Waleoks are anuale or
Boswell's Life of Johnson acquired great popularity; and the Diary of this · Lover of Literature aims at affording similar pastime. One day, Sir James Mackintosh, or Lord Chod. worth, drops into the author's book-room, and the substance of the conversation is recorded. Another day, he goes to the Opera, and critieizes the music and the spectacle. When the season invites excursion, he journalizes a tour over the Isle of Wight, or the mountains of Wales ; and when the weather occasions confinement, those. books are analyzed which supplied the desultory occupation of his morning or evening. Music, company, prospects, and books, are all agreeable objects of reminiscence : but the faded picturę cannot always be refreshed so distinctly as to communicate pleasure in the description. Yet the incessant variation suf, ficiently prevents any direct feeling of ennui ; and though a mosaic formed of fragments so miscellaneous may want design, it will include curious and precious pebbles : if not remembered with facility, it may be inspected with interest.
. A specimen or two will give a clearer idea of the work than any commentary :
• 1798, June 15th. * Had an agreeable sail to Newport, about five miles up the riser Medina. Visited Carisbrook Castle, proudly crowning the summit of an eminence ; but deficient in effect, from the want of picturesque accompaniments. Missed my friend Ogden, the old soldier, who on a previous excursion acted as Cicerone to the place ; and was accus. tomed, at the conclusion, to exhibit himself as the greatest curiosity there, being the person in whose arms the immortal Wolfe expired. Found, on enquiry of his son, who has succeeded him in the office of guide, and who still preserves with religious veneration the General's cane, that the gallant veteran was gone to the grand and final muster, at which, sooner or later, we must all appear. On my former visit, I was of course solicitous to enquire respecting the last moments of a Hero, on whose fall, the arts of painting, poetry, and sculpture, have conspired to throw so bright a blaze of glory. The old fellow assured me, that far from displaying the lively interest ascribed to him, in the fate of the day, he appeared absorbed in his own sufferings, oppressed with debility and languor, and nearly insensible to what was passing around him. It is not pleasant to have illusions of this kind destroyed : but as the natural propensity of my informant would be, rather to aggrandise, than depretiate, the fame of one with whom he must feel his own so nearly connected, there can be little reason to question the truth and accuracy of his representation.—Ascended to the highest point of the Keep, commanding an extensive but uninteresting prospect over the whole interior of the Island. Viewed again the celebrated Well, 200 feet deep to the water ; 30 of which are walled with stone, and 170 pierced through rock ; and 70 feet more of water at the bottom. Its prodigious
depth best shewn by dropping down a lighted sheet of paper, which, as it whirls round and round, in its spiral descent, emits a sound like the roaring of a furnace ; and, at length, when it touches the water, casts a transient gleam over its surface, which appears about the compass of a silver penny. A naval officer lately, in bravado, jumped across the well, and forgot the transverse spindle, round which the bucket winds :-he escaped ; but the blood curdles at the imminent and horrible danger to which his rashness exposed him.
• After dinner, strolled to the sequestered village of Arreton, lying snugly at the foot of the Southern declivity of the Downs ; and, climbing to their summit, pursued the extreme ridge, which runs transversely, East and West, about midway athwart this portion of the Island, and sloping steeply and smoothly down on both sides, presents, in either direction, a prospect almost equally attractive : extending, to the South, over a rich and variegated hollow, tufted with trees, sparkling with streams, and enlivened with villages and spires, to the heights of Appuldurcombe ; and, to the North, over the whole expanse of this division of the Island spread like a sylvan wilderness beneath, and across the vast arm of the Outer Passage distinctly studded with the men of war at Spithead, to a long line of the English Coast, on which, through a transparent atmosphere, Gosport, Portsmouth, Havant, even the city of Chichester, and headlands stretching far beyond on the Sussex coast, were clearly discernible.'
Now for one or two literary annotations ; which are, as in the present instance, often too slight to be striking, and rather tangent than tangible ; they graze, without hitting, the object at which they are aimed ; and they proclaim, without demon, strating, the archer's skill :
August the 18th. .. Read Shaftsbury's enquiry conecrning virtue. His ideas are not very distinctly stated : but he seems to place virtue in a proper management of the affections ; its recommendation to others, in its congeniality to our moral taste ; and its obligation on ourselves, in the advantages it procures us : and he very happily describes the in. Auence of true religion, of superstition, and of atheism, on its operation. He cvidently shews himself to be a Deist.
• Looked into D'Alembert's Elémens de Musique. His evolu, tion of harmony, at the opening (L. 1. C. 1.), from the harmonical sounds inseparably combined with every musical note, however ap. parently simple ; and which, though so intimately blended with the principle and generative tone as to escape ordinary observation, may clearly be detected and distinguished from it by a delicate ear, – ia to me quite new, and very satisfactory. This natural and inherent affinity between concordant sounds, evinced (where we should least expect to find it in the elements themselves out of which all artifi. cial concords are composed, seems to place the principles of modern harmony on a very solid basis ; and enables us to advance a step farther in accounting for the gratification arising from musical com
position, than is allowed to our curiosity in investigating the sources of most of the other pleasures of taste.
• Read Burke's Memorial on the Conduct of the Minority -a powerful composition, purely argumentative, and, I believe, without 2 single metaphor.'
Some curious theological matter occurs at pages 100, 103, 120, 167, 199, 201, 202, 205, &c. which we leave to the consideration of the dilettanti in these thorny yet ever stimulating discussions. The following conyersation will interest :
:-*1799. June 13th, ! Had a long and interesting conversation with Mr. M., turning principally on Burke and Fox. Of Burke he spoke with rapture i declaring that he was, in his estimation, without any parallel in any age or country-except perhaps Lord Bacon and Cicero ; that his works contained an ampler store of political and moral wisdom than could be found in any other writer whatever ; and that he was only not esteemed the most severe and sagacious of reasoners, because hc was the most eloquent of men,-the perpetual force and vigour of his arguments being hid from vulgar observation by the dazzling glories in which they were enshrined. In taste alone he thought him deficient : but to have possessed that quality in addition to his others, would have been too much for man. Passed the last Christmas with Burke at Beaconsfield ; and described, in glowing terms, the astonishiog effusions of his mind in conversation. Perfectly free from all taint of affectation : would enter, with cordial glee, into the sports of children ; rolling about with them on the carpet, and pouring out, in his gambols, the sublimest images mingled with the most wretched puns. Anticipated his approaching dissolution, with due solemnity, but perfect composure. Minutely and accurately informed, to a wonderful exactness, with respect to every fact relative to the French revolution. — M. lamented, with me, Fox's strange deportment during this tremendous crisis ; and attributed it, partly to an ignorance respecting these facts, and partly to a misconception of the true character of the democratic philosophers of the day, whom he confounded with the old advocates for reform, and with whose gequine spirit he appeared on conversation totally unacquainted, ascribing the temper and views imputed to them, entirely to the calumny of party. Idle and uninquisitive, io a remarkable degree. Burke said of him, with a deep sigh." He is made to be loved.” Fox said of Burke, that M. would have praised him too highly, had that been possible ; but that it was not in the power of man, to do justice to his various and transcendant merits. Declared, he would set his hand to every part of the preliminary discourse on the law of nature and nations, çxcept the account of liberty - a subject which he considered with Burke, as purely practical, and incapable of strict definition. OE Gilbon, M. neatly remarked, that he might have been cut out of a corner of Burke's mind, without his missing it. Spoke highly of