« EelmineJätka »
more correct and compleat; but he could attempt nolling, dirunstanced as he was, but what arose from occasional thoughts accoon 3 to the difpofition of mind he happened to be in. The posts art, indeed, just fuch as might be expected from fuch a man, in fuch a útuation; but though the reafons he affigns may well justify the writing them, they will not even apologize for the publication. What could perfuade this man that the cafual effufion of a mind, of which the ideas muft neceffarily be few, produced at fhort intervals in tumult and hurry, and for want of leifure never reviewed, could be fit for the public eye, or even read with patience by thofe who are familiar with the poetical compofitions of men that have written with all the advantages of genius, knowledge, and retirement? With fuch compofitions every reader in Great Britain is familiar, and though he may not be able to diftinguifh nice degrees of excellence, he cannot fail to fee the difparity of extremes.
In the first place, this fentimental poetry is, in more instances than one, grossly indelicate :
In an Epistle to the Gown of a Clergyman, the Author fays,
To what before thy mafter's face
Dare scarce appear, in guise of verse,
In an Epiftle to an Officer, he fays of his wife, that she was not one of those
Who for the addition of fome pounds
Unto their jointure, or fome grounds,
Do give their bodies to th' embrace
Some are not verfe, and fome not grammar. The Author, speaking of a poet like himself, fays,
He needs but thrice to hem or cough,
Of a failor, he fays,
His garb was fuch as failors wear:
Once 'twas new,-but, now, quite threadbare.
Of a doctor,
He'd write both history and phyfic,
That wou'd, for his meaning make ye feek
Of a pond,
In Enfield Chace, not far from hence
Where you may go 't your convenience,
A Defcription of Train'd Bands :
Again, three brave, ftrangers to daftard fear,
But the principal performance in this collection feems to be a northern paftoral on the death of the Earl and Countess of Sutherland, to the wonders of which we shall call our keaders attention, in a tyle that,
that, for time immemorial, has been appropriated to the exhibitionof wonderful things;
Firft, gentlemen and ladies, you fhall fee the azure sky obfcuring green ocean like içe;
The azure fky reflected, then, was seen,
And, as if ice, obfcur'd the ocean's green.
Now you fhall fee the buzzing beetle fly against a horfe, and the horfe fake his ear:
The buzzing beetle, wing'd now with his fhield,
Now you fhall fee the buzzing beetle fly against a sheep, and the fheep start up in a fright;
Or 'gainst a fheep, difturbing thus his rest,
As on his fleece, he, foft reclining preft;
The frighten'd sheep ftarts up with hafty bound
Now you fhall fee how the frighted sheep wakes his companions, and how they wonder what ails him :
His wak'ning mates, all wand'ring, rofe around.
Now you hall fee Menalcas asleep by the fire-fide in an old chair:
When old Menalcas, wearied with the day,
Sat by his fire, and doz'd the hours away,
Now you shall hear how old Menalcas talk'd in his fleep, and frighted his family:
But good Menalcas in his ancient chair,
Repos'd not long his mind from worldly care;
Now you fhall hear Corinna tell as how she faw two ghosts courfing each other round a wheat-stack:
Pale fhone the moon, and awful to my fight
I ftood aghat, when lo! another came
Now you fhall hear how Conftance, the chief of the fhepherds, died, and how Fidelia, his wife, was so afflicted at his lofs, that he died before bim:
Our chieftain's dead-but firft, his gentle mate
Fled to the fkies, refolv'd to fhare his fate.
Now you fhall hear how Fidelia footh'd Colin's mufic, and made his pipe louder by liftening:
She footh'd my mufic, when the liften'd near;'
My pipe was louder, and its notes more clear.
Now you thall hear how the dead fhepherdefs's husband was a
But her lov'd Lord!-for him a tear muft flow.
Now you fhall hear how Conftance gave Colin a pipe that would fun the horrid billows of the fhore:
Conftance in friendship, as in judgment, ripe,
That pledge, dear Colin, of our chieftain's love,
O fun the horrid billows of that shore
Now you fhall hear how it fell to the lot of Menalcas, a poor cottager, to cloath and feed the infant daughter of a dead Lord and Lady:
Corinna! you (for now the winds blow cold)
And now, Gentlemen and Ladies, that no necessary for the child might be wanting, Menalcas refolves, with his own hands, to work it a wicker chair;
I'll work a cradle, and a wicker chair.
Pleas'd with the thought, the old man gave a bound, And with his ftaff, tranfported, ftruck the ground. Gentlemen and ladies we don't deceive you, the like is not to be feen in England.
Art. 13. Trinculo's Trip to the Jubilee. 4to. 1 s. 6d. Moran.
There is much of what may be termed poetic gamboling and revelry in this wild, whimfical, droll, diforderly poem. It is written in the character of a jolly and humorous tar; and it feems to be the work of a gentleman who is fond of, and excels in, the Trinculo-ftyle. For a farther idea of this no fresh-water poet, we refer to his Sailor's Letters, and to the following short extract from his Trip to the Jubilee: AURORA tofs'd and tumbled all the night,
Defirous, anxious for th' approaching light;
But cou'dn't tell where;
Howe'er the rofy wench arofe;
But, in her hurry, quite forgot her cloaths;
She in her fnow-white fmock appear'd with glee,
Gay and dull, and old and young;
One and all,
Repair, repair, repair,
To fip merrily,
Their coffee and tea,
And banish all forrow and care.
There the ear-piercing fife,
And the ear-piercing wife,
Were enough to destroy both the head and the lungs: Such ruftling of bums,
Such rattling of drums,
That Babel herself was out-done by our tongues. Our greatest objection to this piece, is its length. Had the Author, or fome judicious friend, corrected and reduced it to half its prefent quantity, he might have kept his readers in a hearty laugh from the beginning to the end of his motley and merry performance. Art. 14. The Bleffings of Liberty difplayed; with the Fall of Corfica: a Poem. 4to. 1s. 6d. Bladon.
There is no part of our province more difficult, than to speak of a merely dull poem. What can we fay of fuch a piece, more than that it is a dull poem? To amplify the characteristic would only be multiplying words, without adding to the idea.-Be it, then, briefly recorded of this difplay of the bleflings of liberty, that it is a dull poem : -if a collection of trite fentiments, fuch as are daily hackneyed in every news-paper, tagged together with a parcel of rhymes, (and those not always in the current coin of Parnaffus) without any poetic invention, or embellishments of imagination,-can with propriety be termed a poem.
Art. 15. Man and Wife; or, The Shakespeare Jubilee. A Comedy of Three Ads. As performed at Covent-Garden. 8vo. I s. 6d. Baldwin, &c.
The famous festival at Stratford, in honour of our immortal Shakefpeare, feems to have cut out a whole winter's work for the theatres in London; and very well hath the town been entertained at both houses.
Mr. Colman, the author of this Jubilee comedy, was certainly in the right to lofe no time in availing himself of a circumftance which, he might easily forefee, would turn out highly to the advantage of the other house. Accordingly he contrived to interweave a love-plot, the ufual ground-work of comedy, with the fcenery of the Stratford exhibition: and, on the whole, though an haly, it is not an unpleafing performance that he hath furnished on this extraordinary occafion.
* A few indelicacies (too frequent in all the writings of this Gentleman) might alfo be objected to; but the Author, perhaps, in the prefent inftance, thought them more especially allowable in a production which feems confined to no rules or limitations.
There is humour in feveral of the parts, and novelty in that of Kitchen, in particular. This character is ftrongly marked, and well fupported; and we should undoubtedly have ftyled it an original, had not our Author ingenuously prevented our falling into any mistake on this head, by reminding us, in his previous advertisement, that there are some traits of the character of Kitchen, in the 3d vol. of The Connoiffeur *'-In Marcourt we have the fop of the present day; and in the tea-table conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Crofs, we have fuch a striking picture of matrimony, as could not fail of highly diverting every spectator who was not conscious of having the original at home.
Art. 16. The Oxonian in Town: a Comedy, in Two Acts. As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden. 8vo. 1 s. Becket, &c.
The public are fufficiently acquainted with the merit of this petie piece, (the production of Mr. Colman's pen) which hath been played with deferved applaufe, during these two or three winters paft, on the Covent-Garden theatre: although it never appeared in print till the prefent month. We have, with great pleasure, feen it acted; and if it hath not yielded us equal entertainment in the perufal, it is, no doubt, owing rather to the circumftance of our having already had our laugh, than to any want of power in the Author, to please in the clofet, as well as on the ftage.
MISCELLANEOUS. Art. 17. An Hiftorical Journal of the Campaigns in North-America, for the Years 1757, 1758, 1759, and 1760: containing the most remarkable Occurrences of that Period; particularly the two Sieges of Quebec z the Orders of the Admirals and General Officers; Defcriptions of the Countries where the Author has ferved, with their Forts and Garrifons; their Climate, Soil, Produce; and a regular Diary of the Wea ther. Alfo feveral Manifeftoes; a Mandate of the Bishop of Canada; the French Orders and Difpofitions for the Defence of that Colony, &c. &c. By Capt. John Knox. Dedicated by l'ermiffion to Lieut. General Sir Jeffery Amherst. 4to. 2 Vols. 11. 1 s. fewed. Johnfton, &c. 1769.
A very valuable collection of materials toward an history of our late war, and conquefts, in North America; as well as for a defcription and natural hiftory of thofe parts of the country in which this attentive and induftrious officer + perfonally ferved. The work, in its prefent form, as a journal, in which every occurrence, however minute, is registered, may feem tedious to many readers; and fome parts of it are undoubtedly trivial: but thefe are amply compenfated for by others of real importance, and of the moft interefting nature, to every Briton particularly the ever-memorable fieges of Quebec,
With refpect to Mr. Colman, this character of Kitchen may ftill, perhaps, notwithstanding his acknowledgment, be deemed an original; fince it is not impoffible, nor quite a new thing, for a man to fteal from himself: nor would his being convicted of the felony, at all affect his property in the goods.
+ Capt. Knox bore his commiflion in the 43d regiment of foot, Kennedy's.