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lution to attack the English again, and it is agreed between him. and Bruce, in the hearing of their men, that they fhall meet again in a few hours. At this fecond interview, Bruce, in strong terms, laments his having been feduced by the false infinuations of the king of England, and his inability to withdraw his forces, his fon being a hoftage; but vows not to act offenfively against his countrymen in the approaching battle.
Wallace furprifes the English near Linlithgow, Edward calls upon Bruce for his affiftance, who gives it only in appearance: Edward urges him to more vigorous action; Bruce demands to have his hoftage delivered up, and promifes, upon that condition, what he had fworn to Wallace not to fulfil, that he would attack the Scots, and recover the day. Henry perceives his defection, and, as the Author fays, confues him as a prifoner at large,' at the fame time being himself obliged precipitately to retreat over the Solway home.
Wallace returns to Edinburgh, and in a fit of difcontent foon after retires to France.
In the third book Robert Bruce, the hero, firft makes his appearance, and the Reader muft fuppofe the action of the poem not yet commenced.
Bruce the father being dead, and Bruce the fon in France, Scotland is again invaded by the English, who, in this poem, are affectedly called Saxons; and Bruce, as his father had done, takes part with the invaders: they overrun almost the whole country, and Henry removes the coronation-chair, and many Scots archives, from Scone.
In an interview between Bruce and Cumbernald, both ha ving pretenfions to the crown, Cumbernald offers either to give. up his own lands, and property to Bruce, upon condition that Bruce refigns his pretenfions to him, or to refign his own pretenfions to Bruce, upon condition that Bruce fhould make over his, private inheritance in return.
Bruce agrees to give Cumbernald his inheritance, and Cumbernald makes over his title to Bruce by proper inftruments under hand and feal.
Bruce then returns to England with king Edward, determined to affert his right on the first opportunity: but the goddess of Difcord influences Cumbernald not only to violate his agreement with Bruce, but to fend the contract to Edward. Ed-' ward, provoked at the fuppofed treachery of Bruce, determines to put him to death, but the angel Ariel preferves him by a fecret influence over Henry's council, and by infpiring Montgomery with a fudden friendship for him. In confequence of which he fends him a purfe and a pair of fpurs, not daring to truft any one with a verbal or written meffage, intending by thefe fym
bols to intimate that he fhould immediately leave the kingdom. Bruce, being affifted by his tutelar angel, difcovers the meaning of the prefent, and fulfils the precept it was intended to convey: he arrivés fafe at a feat belonging to his family in Scotland, with only two fervants. Some of his friends next morning feize a meffenger that had been dispatched by Cumbernald to Edward, admonishing him to put Bruce to death speedily, as delay would be dangerous. Bruce rides directly to Cumbernald, and having reproached him with his perfidy, flabs him. He then publishes a manifefto, is proclaimed King by his party, and prepares to eftablish his claim. He first proceeds to Scone, where he is crowned, and then to Perth, which was held for the English by Pembroke: he fummons the place to furrender, a battle enfues in the foreft of Methuen, the Scots are defeated, and retreat to Aberdeen.
Bruce is foon after driven from Aberdeen to Kildrummy, and from Kildrummy into the weftern Highlands: he there wanders about, ready to perifh with hunger and cold, while Kildrummy is befieged by the English under the fon of king Edward, afterwards Edward the fecond. The place is gallantly defended by a brother of Bruce; Edward marches at the head of another army, but dies on the way: Kildrummy at length furrenders, fays the poet, on terms,
Put haughty Edward, who no terms obferv'd,
Some hang'd, fome quarter'd, fome in prison starv'd.' In the mean time, Bruce having, as the poet expreffes it, feized fome victuals, goes first to Arran, and then to Carrick. At Arran, fays the poet,
Rich English victuals load the homely board.' And the king having first filled his belly,
Each individual next fhar'd boil'd and roaft.
Bruce, upon his landing at Arran, is met by a prophetess, who kept an inn, and whom therefore with great propriety the Poet calls an hoftefs; the affures him of final fuccefs, and he immediately takes Carrick, which, though the original property of his family, was then held for the English by Percy.
The fifth book contains, by way of epifode, an expedition of Douglas to recover his inheritance from lord Clifford, in which he fucceeds. This epifode is curious. Douglas arrives with a few friends at Douglasdale, where he meets with an old fervant of his father's, who tells him his name is Tom Dickson, a council is held in Tom's barn, for which the Poet apologizes by obferving that it was the largest room:
Now down in Dickfon's barn the council fate,
Dickfon not only furnishes a council-chamber, but raifes fome men, and they get into the enemy's church the next Sunday,
maffacre the congregation. From church they proceed towards the castle, and the Poet, not willing to pass by any circumstance of importance and dignity, tells us that in their way thither they met a cook and a porter: they killed not only the porter, but the cook, though the poet very pertinently afks,
but why not spare an unoffending cook?' and made hafte to devour the meal he had prepared for his lord: they also furnished themselves with clothes from the wardrobe, and then fet the caftle on fire.
In the mean time, Bruce continues at Carrick; the English endeavour in vain to force the place: they hire a boor to affaffinate him, who fails in the attempt; Bruce, leaves Carrick, and gaining the victory in an important action, becomes mafter of the western quarter of the country.
In the fixth and laft book, the King marches northward, but as he is paffing the mountains falls fick the earl of Buchan takes advantage of this to attack him, but is repelled by the King's forces, which he commanded in a litter. He fubdues Forfar and Perth, makes himself master of Edinburgh and its cattle, with the South Country. England and Scotland collect their whole force for a decifive action, which takes place at Bannockburn, and Bruce obtains a complete victory.
Such is the action or fuch are the actions of this epic, which feems to be made with great exactness after the receipt to make epic, poems, given in the xvth chapter of the great Scriblerus's treatise on that art, which this Author has fo happily illuftrated in particular inftances. Some have been already cited, but it would be injurious both to the Author and Reader to omit the following:
The unintelligible :
"The crowd in peals of loud applauses rife.'
That a crowd of people should rife from the earth in a peal of applause, is more incomprehenfible than that a heavy carriage fhould go up a hill without horses.
High in their glitt'ring arms the chiefs appear,
And from the walls annoy the hoftile war.
We query, with Scriblerus, what it is to annoy a war? Our Bard, among many other defcriptions of the evening, has the following:
Now Cynthia, filent, fheds a filver light,
Gilds the expanfe, and azures all the night.' What can be more in the fpirit of the Bathos, than to reprefent the moon as making night blue by gilding it with a silver light?
Our Bard exhibits a picture of unfading laurels withered. 'Speaking of Edward's expedition to Paleftine in the holy war, and his subsequent injurious invasion of Scotland, he lays,
• 1 hen
• Then bays agfading grac d for awful brows,
Our English Homer has this verie,
“And scenes of blood me creadful in de bu”
The Brucian bard lays of this nero, that ⚫rature filds race is '
These running finds ford a foe intance of the uninte gile, and thus has our Bard faded another precept of his great mafter, "read Shakespeare, Micom, and Drysen, izvi ie, to bu ry their gold in your own dan"
Our Author has in another place confounded land and water: he fays that
Mangled feeds and warriors cóue é in for?
Ideas vulgarized by a fingle word,
• To rooms of late afcends the roval quet.
• At once the monarch and the chiefs drew near,
The fervants led the viduals from the mais’-
Scriblerus advises his Author "rather than fay Thetis fow
Burft from the roof, and crackle in the skies.'
Scriblerus also advises above all to obferve a laudable prolixity, prefenting the whole and every fide of an image to view; our Bard therefore having defcribed the arms, the steeds, the men, and the leaders of an army, proceeds thus,
'Three hundred waggoners, unwarlike croud,
The metonymy, or inverfion of caufes for effects, &c.
The following paffages are fo modern, that, like fome mentioned by Scriblerus, they cannot be reduced to any rule. Ladies are represented not as dreffing the wounds of their he roes only, but the fears:
By tender hands each fear and bleeding wound
Laftly, our Author has prefented us with a new weapon, and feveral new words:
Charg'd, in his hand, a lance he bore on high.' a charged lance we confefs never before to have heard of. He uses infcious for ignorant:
Entirely infcious of the lowland ftate.
And invious for impaffable:
In woods, and invious hills, and barren vales.'
Thus have we given our Readers an account of the Bruciad. An Epic does not appear every day, and therefore we hope we fhall not be thought to have beftowed too much attention upon it, or at leaft that we shall not be feverely cenfured for a work of fupererogation.
For NOVEMBER, 1769.
Art. 12. Occafional Attempts at Sentimental Poetry, by a Man in Buf nefs, with jome Mifcellaneous Compofitions of his Friends. 2s. 6d. Durbam. 1769.
HE word fentimental is, like continental, a barbarism that has TH but lately difgraced our language, and it is not always easy to conceive what is meant by it. We have before feen a Sentimental Novel, and a Sentimental Journey; and now we have Attempts at Sentimental Poetry. Our own old English word fentiment means only thought, notion, opinion; the French word fentiment feems to mean intellectual fenfation; a fenfe of conduct and opinion, diftinct from the fenfe of qualities that affect us by the tafte, fight, fmell, touch, and hearing: it has a place in the cant of our travelled gentry, many of whom fhew, by their use of it, that they neither know the meaning of it in English nor French: to the fashionable ufe of the word Jentiment, however, we owe the word fentimental, which, from polite converfation, has, at length, found its way to the prefs.
As ufed by the man in business,' whofe work is now before us, it feems to mean fomething diftin&t from defcription and narrative; he has attempted little, he fays, at defcriptive poetry, both for want of capacity and inclination; and it appears from the fituation in which he wrote, that he had not leisure to concatenate events. The account he gives of his performance is to this effect; while he was learning his profeffion he was much employed in writing, but when he began bufinefs for himself he had not occupation fufficient to give employ ment to his thoughts or his pen; and having read that without fome kind of purfuit for the imagination, the mind of a young man would foon become wafte, he took to rhyming,' as he expreffes it, by way of exercifing his invention, and keeping his quill in ufe;**1 compofed,' fays he, while I was walking the crowded, noify, muddy ftreets of London, or riding on the dully road of its environs, and at my return tranfinitted my viatic compofitions to paper. He thinks, if more leifure had been allowed, his performances might have been