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phraseology of Religion. In England Render me thankful, O Lord, that the there are many manuals of devotion, blessings of my lot have yielded me so independent of the Book of Common many comforts ; and be pleased now, in a Prayer, which in itself affords no small season of trial, to make me humble and reaid to family worship. In this coun

signed.

" In every situation have mercy upon try, the general dislike to forms has

me, O Lord, according to thy great and un. prevented this very important field

deserved goodness in Christ Jesus; and be from being properly cultivated. As pleased, through him, as the way, the far as we recollect, Dr Wilson's book

truth, and the life, to blot out my mani. is the first attempt of the kind, and, fold transgressions. Purify my mind from if several of his prayers might, as every thing sinful, and grant me an inmay be supposed, be improved, yet crease of piety and divine trust. In the it is a great step that the attempt hour of my departure, be the strength of has been made. We have no hesi- my hcart, and beyond the grave be my tation, therefore, in recommending portion for ever. this work to every family:

" in the multitude of thoughts within find in it prayers suited to all the me, while an eternal world is opening to daily and all the more interesting oc- thy countenance, and make thy face to

my view, be pleased to lift up the light of currences of life. They are generally shine upon me, that I may have good hope expressed in plain and perspicuous and joy in believing. I would trust in language, and it is easy for any indie thee, at all times, as my Father and my vidual to make such alterations upon God; be thou about my bed and my them as may suit his own taste or his couch, by thy good Spirit and gracious own circumstances. It may be quite presence ; and, when the days of my soas well that they are not perfect moc journing here shall be finished, and my dels, because it leaves greater liberty earthly sufferings at an end, receive me infor change and improvement. We to thy kingdom of glory, that I may dwell would recommend it to those who use

and rejoice for ever with thee, the Lord.

Amen and Amen." them to interleave their copy, and make their own additions or amend This is a fair specimen of the style ments. This will give them, what is Dr of these prayers, and we most heartily Wilson's real aim, a readiness in find- wish the reverend author success in ing appropriate expressions for their an undertaking which, if followed out own prayers. The following is a prayer, in its true spirit, would do more than taken from the last edition of the any thing else to take away the rework, on a very interesting occasion, proach from our age and country, that in which we suppose all men must the piety for which it was once so hohave a desire to pray,--it is entitled, nourably distinguished is now, alas!

A prayer to be used on the imme- on the wane! diate Prospect of Death."

“ Enable me, O Lord, to remember that I am descending to the gates of the grave, and that but a little while and I shall neither behold the world nor the in

Written July 1818. habitants thereot': for the children of men fade as a leaf, or they are cut off as in a [The following tribute to our late distinmoment; for verily there is none abid guished townsman (the only one we have ing. Yet, if lengthening out the day of yet seen in verse) is from the pen of a life will promote my present or future ad gentleman well known in the literary vantage, spare me yet a little before I go world as the author of several elegant bence ; but, whatever be the issue, teach poems, and describes very happily the me at all times to be ready when thou call characteristic traits of one who was not est; and, if the affliction under which I less generally beloved than admired. now labour be not unto death, may the fu The first part, alluding to the occasions ture conduct of my life be more in con on which the author met with Mr Play. formity to all thy commandments. En fair abroad, was written before his death large my graces, and prepare me better for -the concluding lines were added, on judgment and eternity.

hearing of that inelancholy event.) ** Under thy gracious and powerful protection, I would fear no evil, in health or How sweet in Memory's many-pictured in sickness; for thy promises are my con

page, fidence, and the rod and the staff of thy At rest beneath the household roof, once power will support me in the darkest hour.

VERSES ADDRESSED TO THE LATL

PROFESSOR PLAYFAIR.

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sues :

To trace far seas and distant regions o'er, Shall spread thy wisdom down the stream The path, where thy renown, far-honour'd of time : sage,

Yet, be thy life my lesson, blameless sage! Welcom'd our way :-Or where the vaunt. So may on me, with thy remembrance, dwell ing Seine

The sunshine of thy soul !_Farewell, fareReflects her gay metropolis :-Or where,

well !
Fleet as an arrow that divides the air,
The Rhone along the Leman Lake amain
Darts its blue flood with unpolluted flow:-

REMARKS ON THE POETICAL
Or where Mont Blanc, when earth is veil'd

DECAMERON.
in night,
Looks on the sun, and long detains his light
To wreathe with roscate beams his front of

THERE never, we believe, was any

period in which the treasures of lite Or where proud Rome, mid wrecks of rature were so thoroughly ransacked ruins, views

for “ things new and old," as that in Nought save the shadow of departed Time, which we live ; and, if the minute inThat spreading o'er the waste his wings quiry into old things may sometimes

sublime, Where nations and their glory lie en

appear to be a kind of laborious tritomb'd,

fling, yet it is singular enough how Onward and onward his lone fight pur

admirably it has been combined, in

our day, with the boldest and most Or where on bleak Vesuvio's flame-crown'd original efforts. Our greatest modern brow

poets and romance-writers display We hail'd the Paradise that beam'd below much of the antiquarian lore, former With gladness and perpetual suns illum'd. ly considered only as the portion of

So might I with like faithfulness retain that learned dulness, which, accord-
Thy converse and gay buoyancy of mind, ing to Pope, was never graced by one
That cast the multitude of years behind,
And from all art and nature's boundless success has been in no slight degree

sprig of laurel; and, in truth, their reign The zest and freshness of enjoyment they have breathed a living spirit in

owing to the happy skill with which drew! So might I round my social hearth recall

to these dry bones.” Black-letter Friends now long sever'd, who that circle has, accordingly, been dignified in our join'd,

imaginations, and the very dates and And listen'd to thy lore and taste refin'd,

editions of old books have become a Thy gentleness of heart so kind, so true, study of some interest, since inspiraWith vivid fancy and deep thought com- tion has been breathed from the dust bin'd,

which covers them, and even from the And artless eloquence, so clear, so mild, dullest and least awakening of their That while it lesson'd wisdom, charm’d the moth-eaten pages. It is this accidenchild !

tal connection, perhaps, with living Come Memory! come, concentring all thy powers,

genius which chiefly inclines us to Record those moments with life's happiest

throw a friendly glance on such inhours !

quiries. They have a more imme

diate connection, however, with the !Vritten in July 1819. genius of the dead, or rather of the While yet I dwelt on thee, and fondly immortal. Shakespeare, Spenser, and thought

the other great names of that gifted By no ungrateful tribute to have won period, have covered with the mantle Thy partial smile, to thee yon rising sun of their own glory the veriest rubbish Was set for ever.—That pure mind, deep- which surrounds them, or which can fraught

be raked out from the charnel-house With science and clear intellect profound,

of their age. There is an illusion in No more imparts its treasures :

this, no doubt, but it is not an un

If we can catch some Shall charm'd attention gathering up the pleasing one. lore

resembling expressions, some images Hang on thy voice.--Death silences its sound,

* Ten Conversations on English Poets But not the truths it taught.-Age after and Poetry, particularly of the Reigns of

Elizabeth and James 1. By J. Payne And realms far sever'd from thy native Collier, of the Middle Temple. In Two clime,

Volumes. London, 1820.

3K

never

more

age,

VOL. VI.

of the same stamp, with those which Dryden's best prefaces, which he has we have ever admired in these great thrown into the same form. masters, we think ourselves well re “ Bourne, Elliot, and Morton, were very paid, though we may have to wade intimate friends; they had been fellow col. through the merest drivelling to get legers,' and since the marriage of Bourne hold of them; there is always the they had been in the habit of meeting frehope, too, of making a discovery, of quently: within the last year or two, howfinding some bright gems in those ever, Elliot had been much abroad, and “ dark unfathomed caves,” which we

Morton chiefly with his relations in the may be the first

of ushering into the neighbourhood of Dorchester; yet when in light of day. We have no kind of London, the latter had not failed often to objection, then, to the literary resur

participate in Bourne's pursuits, directed

to obtain a knowledge of the lives and prorection-men, who are for ever dabbling ductions of the early writers of our counin

try. Of course, regarding such men as -that same ancient vault Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson, every Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie; body knows a little, and any body may

know a great deal; but Bourne thought but we rather like, at times, to ac

that there must be something about their company them in their researches. friends, acquaintances, and literary contemAmong the most agreeable of these poraries, worth learning, and he thought inquirers we have no hesitation in subject at intervals

, but such lights as he

rightly. Morton could only enter into the placing the present author, and, al- could procure from our bibliographical though, we believe, we might read miscellanies and other ordinary sources, he through his book without recollecting did not omit to avail himself of in the any one piece of information which he country ; giving them their chief use and has given us, yet he writes so plea- application when in company with his santly, and, with all his zeal for his friend, who only went before him in know. favourite studies, he can play with ledge, not in ardour. them, at the same time, so good-hu

“ From these inquiries the absence of Elmouredly, that it is scarcely possible Liot from England had excluded him, but

before he went abroad he was tolerably well to take it up without reading it from beginning to end. It affords' excellent versed in the more popular writers of the materials, too, for a Magazine-ard period to which we have referred : of course

, that is, in our eyes, not one of the sider it a scandal not to have Shakespeare least of its merits—so that, perhaps, at their fingers' ends, but Elliot, though a we may give our readers, froin time man of the world, had read Spenser through, to time, more specimens of it than we and of Ben Jonson, Massinger, and our recan comprise within our present pages; published dramatists, he knew more than and we are the rather tempted so to many. The difference, therefore, between do, as an ingenious contributor who him and Bourne was exactly this : he was used to favour us with observations acquainted with what every other person on the Historical Dramas previous to may acquire without difficulty, and Bourne Shakespeare, written very much in by, his perseverance had gained a know. the spirit of these volumes of Mr Col- books of value, that had escaped the re

ledge of not a few facts of importance and lier, has for some time past been searches of some of the most indefatigable dumb, and, unless he again finds his antiquaries. Yet it could not be said that speech, we shall make free with this the latter was more than very slightly inauthor as a substitute.

fected with what has been termed the blackThese volumes are in the form of letter mania, for he always endeavoured to dialogue, which, although it leads to form an estimate of a literary curiosity, ina good deal of prolixity, is, at the dependent of the intrinsic circumstances of same time, remarkably well adapted its price and rarity: indeed, of the two, for the rambling kind of information who had devoted time to these inquiries

, which they contain. Three old col- Morton was much the most likely, from lege companions are supposed to come

his sanguine disposition, to be afflicted with

this harmless species of insanity. together, after some separation :- but we shall let Mr Collier speak for him- Elliot, and undoubtedly since the era the

“ Our modern poets found an admirer in self in his “ Induction,” which, in writers of which Bourne had particularly spite of its affected title, appears to us studied, there never has been a time when written in a very pleasant strain of the laurel has flourished in this kingdon conversational discussion, and recals to with greater beauty or vigour. Of late us the spirit and clegance of one of years has made inany new and hardy

shoots, and every day fresh burgeons are allow? Omitang Spenser and Shake forcing theinselves through the rind, giving speare as out of the question, what say fair promise of successful progress. you to Fletcher and Jonson, to Chapman,

«About a fortnight after the return of Drayton, and Nash, to Greene, Lodge, Elliot from Germany, and during one of Hall, Marston, Peele, Marlow, Daniel, Morton's longest visits to London, the three and perhaps a hundred others ?” friends had appointed a place of rendez You may spare yourself the trouble of vous, for it was agreed that they should going through a list of names, many of which spend ten days or a fortnight together at are quite as new to me as their works,” Bourne's house at Mortlake : they took a resumed Elliot. “I do not mean to conboat at Westminster-bridge, and embark- tend with you on the merits of authors I ed for their destination, on one of the never heard of. When I spoke of two or serenest evenings of August. The sky was three exceptions, I alluded to such men as perfectly clear, and the majestic river, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson, who swollen to the edge of its banks by what is assuredly have never been equalled, pertermed a spring tide, was almost its exact haps never can be excelled, and very rarecounterpart; both were equally bright and ly if ever approached. For the rest, getransparent, and as the wherry, by the nerally speaking, I think the common obassistance of a light breath that seemed to servation unanswerable, that had they deevaporate from the water without ruffling served to be as well known as the poets I its surface, delicately cut its way, the have mentioned, they would not for so voyagers might almost have fancied them. many years have been consigned to dusty selves in mid air in that ship of heaven so death." As it is, nearly all that people lately and so delightfully described. As hear of them is what the commentators on this was not, by several, the first time they Shakespeare have been pleased to quote in had met since the arrival of the “ tongue- the way of illustration in their precious gifted traveller,' the topics which would of notes. Dr Johnson might well say, in recourse earliest occur had been, in a great ference to this subject, that the great degree, exhausted, and the conversation contention of criticisin was to find the faults involuntarily turned by the habits of the of the moderns and the beauties of the anparty, and the natural influence of the cients. Critics are always ready enough scene, upon that subject which, unlike all to raise the tardy bust' to ' buried meothers, affords something new and delight- rit, but it is with the utmost reluctance, ful whenever it is introduced-poetry. Be- and never without the hard compulsion of sides, supposing no absolute novelty in the general approbation, they admit that a way of illustration, criticism, or quotation living poet deserves to be read : be offered, what other matter of discussion can be found that will so well bear repeat. Et sua quod rarus tempora lector anuat.

Vivis quod fama negatur, ing? But in truth it is as impossible to exhaust such a source of enjoyment, as “ You have little reason to say so now," that the great stream on which the three friends were embarked should run dry: it be in the time of Martial : do we not every

replied Morton, “ however true it might may be higher or lower, more or less day see poenis that might be included in powerful, at different times, but with its small volumes, at the price of a few shilinflux it bears tidings from distant shores, lings, sold in immense numbers for about and with its reflux it brings down the

as many guineas ? Besides, it is somewhat cultivated beauty of domestic provinces."

strange, that, confessing your ignorance of pp. xi. xiv.

our old poets, you venture to pronounce So they begin to converse about this upon them so dogmatically. To be acgrand river, and the various allusions quainted with Spenser, Shakespeare, and made to it by the poets, from Gray three best pocts of their age, but they were

Jonson, is unquestionably to know the and Collins as far back as Spenser's

not the only poets, nor the only good poets, marriage of the Thames and Medway.

as you would yourself allow, even with Spenser brings in Drayton, and then the information you possess regarding sewe get into the heart of Queen Eliza- veral of the writers who have found a beth's poets, whom Mr Elliot cannot place in our popular collections, or wliose look upon with all the veneration of dramatic or undrumatic works have been his companions.

recently reprinted. You have been so

much abroad of late, that though of course “ I take it (says he) that the moderns you must have heard and read a great know quite as well wliat good poetry is as deal of our Byrons, our Southeys, our the ancients, (I mean the ancients of our Scotts, and our Campbells, (four names alown country,) and write much better, with ways united in the mind of a devourer of two or three exceptions.

modern poetry,) you know little or nothing * With two or three exceptions !” In- of the advance that has been made within deed! (said Bourne,) is that all you can only the last few years in the acquisition of

a knowledge of those, who, for the sake of studies, Elliot does not scruple to fall distinction, I will call the minor poets of foul of Shakespeare's commentators. the reigns of Elizabeth and James ; minor only in comparison with those poets whom

“ Montaigne says, (observes he,) la dif. you separated from the rest, and who, of ficulté donnc prix aux choses, and it is as themselves, would make (and, indeed, in true of books as of every thing else ; bethe opinion of many up to this day have cause so much pains have been bestowed made) an era in the literature of this coun. in raking and sifting dust and rubbish for try. There is scarcely any praise that you

some neglected relic, it is considered by can bestow upon them, that I will not im- the discoverer much more valuable than its

dmit the truth of much mediately allow to be well deserved : so far real worth. I are they above rivalship, that others will that you have advanced, but to put it to a seldom 'bear (even comparison. I do not sort of test, let me just ask, for instance, know any quotation more applicable to what have the laborious commentators on Shakespeare, than three lines in one of his Shakespeare been able to do for the poet, own exquisite sonnets, I think the 150th.

with all their knowledge (not to dignify it

by the name of learning) of old English “ In the very refuse of thy deeds literature ? I do not say that they have There is such strength and warrantise of accomplished absolutely nothing, but it is skill,

nothing compared with what might have That in my mind thy worst all best ex. been expected, if all you represent of the ceeds !”

value of old books were true. It is almost

a proverb in Germany, especially since the This, however, I may say, that an author who can write as well as Shakespeare when publication of the Lectures of Schlegel has

shown off our illustrators to such disad. he wrote his worst, deserves examining vantage, that as it has pleased heaven to and preserving

bestow upon England the best dramatic Various uses of old books are then poet that ever lived, so, in its justice, it has suggested, besides their intrinsic merit, endeavoured in some degree to counter. such as, that they contain specimens balance the benefit, by afflicting the nation of the fine old English language, at

with the most puerile and incompetent an.

potators and critics upon that poet. Scarce. the time when words were

« used in

ly one of those individuals whose namez their original and forcible senses, and

are ostentatiously appended to the com. were not clipped, filed, and perverted, ments of what is called the Variorum Edi. as at the present moment;"-more tion of Shakespeare, seems to have had an over, that in them the living traits of idea beyond the particular word or syllable ancient manners and customs appear he was discussing. Yet they congratulate in all their freshness : And we can themselves, and belaud cach other upon not refuse to admit how much inspi- their fancied discoveries, with much more ration may be derived from them in zeal than they, bestow upon the poet

. this view, after comparing any of Sir They constantly bring to one's mind Steele's Walter Scott's poems, with the notes that there seems to be a general combi

shrewd remark in the Tatler, when he says, subjoined to it, or contemplating the nation among the pedants to extol one anominute knowledge of English antiqui- ther's labours, and to cry up one another's ties which must have gone to the com

parts.'' position of Ivanhoe. The ingenious author of that romance was certainly

He afterwards gives a ludicrous exgreatly indebted to his friend Dr Drye ample of one of Steevens's explanaasdust, whose death, by the way, we

tions. are sorry to announce, and, of course,

“Of course (says he) you recollect that the cessation of those erudite researches, passage in Hamlet, as excellent in the from his pen, into the old state of the sentiment as appropriate in the expression English universities, which we were of it, in hopes of continuing through a se There's a divinity that shapes our ends, ries of Numbers. The learned Doc- Rough-hew them how we will.. tor had, unfortunately, his skull fractured (not an easy job it may be sup- It seems to want no remark; but what do posed) by the fall of all the volumes of you think is the ridiculous, the absurd, Dugdale's Monasticon upon it, as he it-I think you must remember it?

the degrading comment of Steevens upon was reaching for one of them from a

" As for me (said Morton) there is nohigh shelf, to find out the topography thing of which I am so laudabiy and satisof the Monastery ot' Kennaquhair.- factorily ignorant as of the notes upon Notwithstanding, however, the im- Shakespeare. portance ascribed to these black-letter "I well recollect the very expressions

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