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The funeral dirge over Ariana is sweet. The two last lines are peculiarly tender.
"On gently-moving air
'Once like the fresh-blown lily in the vale,
The smile of kindness on her wasted cheek.'"
Themistocles is thus described, contemplating an embark
"He said, and, moving tow'rds the beach, observes The embarkation. Each progressive keel
His eye pursues. O'erswelling now in thought,
His own deservings, glory, and success,
Rush on his soul like torrents, which disturb
A limpid fount. Of purity depriv'd,
The rill no more in music steals along,
But harsh and turbid through its channel foams."
We have had frequent occasion to mention our author's power of local description, in which there is a minuteness and distinctness of delineation, which, as before remarked, we in vain look for in the characters of his poem. The cave of the Furies and the conjuration of the seven assassins are executed with a decided and powerful hand.
"There was a cavern in the bowels deep
Growth immemorial, which forbade the winds
To this, the fabled residence abhorr'd
Conducts the sev'n assassins. There no priest
They reach the sisters three, tremendous forms,
Display their scorpion curls; within their grasp
To render horrour visible, diffus'd
Such light, as Hell affords. Beside a chasm,
A vessel; o'er the brim their naked arms
They stretch'd; he pierc'd the veins; the envenom❜d blood,
A fit libation mix'd for Hell, he pour'd
Down the deep clift; then falt'ring, half dismay'd
At his own rites, began: Ye injur❜d men,
Of wealth and honours violently spoil'd,
These dreadful goddesses you swear, his death
There is a tender and mellow beauty in the lines we shall next extract.
"By his Cleora, Hyacinthus sat.
The youthful husband o'er the snowy breast
Her cell in conchs and coral she had dress'd,
We conclude our extracts with the following chaste picture of a Grecian marriage.
"To Calauria's verge
He pass'd; beneath a nuptial chaplet gay
A nation's rev'rence, to the advancing chief
In sweet composure unreluctant yields
Her bridal hand, who down the vaulted isle,
Where Echo joins the hymeneal song,
Conducts the fair."
From the observations we have made, and the copious ex
tracts we have given, we think our readers will be able to form
a pretty accurate opinion of the nature, extent, and variety of the merits of the Athenaid. It has, indeed, been our endeavour to select from this very long poem such specimens of the author's powers as might produce the most favourable impression. We are, however, free to confess, that, as a whole, it does not exhibit any surpassing excellence: but, with all its faults, it will not, we think, be deemed unworthy of the notice and space we have allotted to it. It is, moreover, one of the objects of our work to point out the sources of innocent pleasure hitherto neglected; and those who are capable of receiving gratification from Leonidas, are likely to experience as much or more in the perusal of the Athenaid.
ART. VII. The Life and Adventures of Lazarillo Gonsales, surnamed de Tormes. Written by himself. Translated from the original Spanish. In two parts: 12mo. 19th Edition; London, 1777.
This is one of the amusing histories of Spanish roguery; and, in gratitude for the entertainment Lazarillo has afforded us, we intend to devote a few pages to him. It may be thought that we are easily pleased, and if it be so, we are rather disposed to consider it as an advantage than otherwise. We would rather belong to that class which
"Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
than be enrolled in the ranks of those critics, who can find a blot in every author's scutcheon, and whose chief pleasure is to be displeased. We would, by our own will, have the critic, were his knowledge as ample and comprehensive as the "casing air," as pliant and impressible. We think it no proof of a man's wisdom, or of his knowledge, to be niggardly of praise, and, like a certain insect, to pass over that which is good to light upon that which is unsound and worthless. But so it is
"The bee and spider, by a diverse power,
Suck honey and poison from the self-same flow'r.'
While some read for information, many read for amusement, but both objects have the same tendency-the increase of human happiness; and the power of enjoyment is the greatest proof of wisdom. This little work will perhaps be thought by some of a low and trifling nature; but it is the first of a race of comic ro
mances, which have added to the innocent delight of thousands. Indeed, for wit, spirit, and inexhaustible resources in all emergencies, there is nothing like your Spanish rogue; he is the very pattern of a good knave, the perfection of trickery. Foul weather or fair, it is much the same to him; in winter or summer he is ever blithe and jocund. If his face be as plump and bright as the orange of his own Seville, he is not without its tartness; and if he be as lean and sunken as an apple kept over the springtime, he can laugh with the season. In fact, he is never out of season; for if we have a black cloud on one side of the hill, there is sunshine on the other. He is the true Spanish blade, sharp and well tempered. And then for his plots and shifts, and pleasant adventures, there is no end to them, they are countless. Of all rogues, the Spanish is, after all, the only agreeable companion. A French rogue is nothing to him; and your Jeremy Sharpes and Meriton Latroons are mere dullards in the comparison. The first is but a mechanical sharper, and the others are indecent blackguards.-They are bread without saltmere animal matter without soul. We would not, however, for the world, depreciate our old acquaintance Gil Blas, a book which we cannot leave without regret, whenever we dip into it; but he is, in reality, nothing more nor less than a Spanish rogue. Spain gave him birth, and furnished his adventures. Nor would we say any thing against that pleasantly extravagant book, the "Comic Romance" of Scarron, which has more of the English cast of humour, than any other work of the same country that we are acquainted with. As to those eminent individuals who first figure at Tyburn, and then in the "Newgate Calendar," there is too much of reality in their deeds: and besides, they present, with the dreadful inadequacy and inequality of their punishments, a too uniformly sanguinary and gloomy picture for us to introduce here. But the Spanish rogue is too light for the gallows-" hemp was not sown for him." And we escape with gladness from the reflections which were just awakening in our minds, to the more immediate object of this article.-What depth of knowledge and acuteness of observation do the Spanish "Lives" and " Adventures" display; and what a fund of wisdom is mingled with their rogueries, as in the Gusman de Alfarache, for instance, the most celebrated of all Lazarillo's successors, and which will form the subject of an article in one of our future numbers. Books of this description have, some how or other, obtained an uncommon degree of popularity; and, judging from the number of editions through which the book before us has passed, it has received its share. For ourselves, we can say, with truth, they have beguiled us of many an hour, which would otherwise have been wearisome; and we can still turn from perusing, in the pages of the historian, the graver knaveries of "your