Imágenes de páginas

fiderable defalcation from the profit ftated in Mr. Tadman's eftimate ; perhaps not less than five pounds per acre from the eighteen acres above mentioned : so that the profit will stand thus-981. 18 s. 6d. ; which, with the beans (five quarters per acre), speaks sufficiently in praise of this method, without there being the necessity of magnifying the loss on the one hand, or exaggerating the profits on the other. But experimental farmers are very apt to impose upon themselves in these matters. Or this self-deception many instances are to be met with in the volume before us. Mr. Bud, in estimating an acre of parsnips, lays the clear profit at 21 1. 8 s. 7d. If any inference were to be drawn from this, who would grow any thing else? That Mr. Bud might accidentally make that advantage of them we will not deny ; but, by the way he makes out his estimate, it might poffibly be done, and yet the crop itself might not be intrinsically valuable. The principal part of the profit was made upon fixteen hogs. Now every body, who has the least ac. quaintance with rural economy, knows, that nothing is so fluctuating as the price of those animals ; consequently if Mr. Bud's hogs were bought at a time when they were at a low rate, and sold out when they were dear, the profit is then easily accounted for, without calling in any great affistance from the parsnips. We ourselves once knew an instance, a fingular one it is true, of a farmer, who, by a fortunate concurrence of cir. cumstances of this kind, made the rent of a dairy-farm by his hogs alone.

But, perhaps, the strongest instance of self-deception that this volume affords, is to be met with in what is said of the cluster-potatoe by Mr Hay. "They serve,' says he, the same purposes as corn to my horses, and keep them better in flesh, making them look cleaner and seeker, and do their work with MORE SPIRIT, than when they were fed with corn,' &c. This is quite Dr. Lalt's alles' milk,better than comes from the beasteses themselves. It is not with a view to discourage any one from making trials of either of the roots recommended by Mr. Bud or Mr. Hay, that we have thus noticed their experiments; it is merely to guard the inexperienced against forming too fanguine expectations.

Perhaps the moft curious and important article in this volume is Sir Alexander Dick's letter on the culture and preparation of Rhubarb; a plant, which promises to become an important article of commerce. Its domeftic use is, indeed, so great, that its hiftory and cultivation cannot be too generally known.But as it is too long for our insertion, we must content ourselves with referring to the book. Besides the medicinal purposes to which Rhubarb is applied, it hath been suggested, that there is a poffibility of its being a valuable drug for the dyer's


use. But before any extensive experiments of this kind can be tried, it muft be more generally cultivated.

The fifteenth article contains a list of premiums, &c. in the class of polite arts, from the original institution of the Society to the year 1776. Perhaps the excellence and reputation of some of our first artists may be derived from the early encouragement their talents met with from this Society.

This volume is introduced by a well-written Preface, comprising a general history of the Society, its progress, and designs.


ART. VI. The Faithful Shepherd: A Dramatic Paftoral. Transla

ted into English from the Pastor Fido of the Cav. Guarini. Aie tempted in the manner of the Original. Small 8vo. 3 s. sewed. Robinson, &c. 1782. HE Pastor Fido of Guarini has been long admired for the

harmony of its language, the richness of its imagery, and the refinement and delicacy of its sentiments. These beauties, however, by no means atone for the want of probability and nature that is observable in every part of it. In this age of refinement, we are too wise to interest ourselves in events that never could have happened, or to lavish our fympathy upon distress that never could have been selt. Hence it is that the Pastor Fido is no longer a popular poem, Few people, we believe, read it a second time. Its chief admirers now are the romantic lover or the unfledged poet. It may gratify the one, in proportion as he feels his amorous folly soothed and encouraged by it; and to the other it may serve as a poetical common-place book. We have many doubts, whether a translation of this poem (we speak not of detached parts, many of which are uncommonly beautiful) ever would succeed, whoever might attempt it, or in what manner foever the attempt might be executed. Our present Translator seems to think, that the want of success in those who have preceded him, may be attributed to causes very different from what we should allign. He has thought it would be impossible,' he says, 'to preserve the spirit and brilliancy of the original, in this his attempt to render it into English, without adopting the manner, the occasional shiming, the play of words, &c. but especially the unfettered versification of the author; of whom it may be truly said

Numerisque fertur

Lege solutis. As a specimen of his success, take his translation of the following paffage :

O primavera Gioventù dell'anno
Bella madre di fiori,


The Author's general plan may be collected from his Adver. tisement to the Reader. • The following Essays are written in imitation of the file and manner of Rochefoucault, short and fententious, and are illustrated by frequent allusions and comparisons. These usually make stronger impressions on youth, and force the lessons, which they are designed to teach, more powerfully and effectually than any other sort of reasoning.' This laudauble design is ftill farther announced in the Prefatory Letter. "Youth generally completes us in virtue or in vice; and lays in that stock of good or evil which composes the residue of our lives. In order to confirm you in a steady adherence to those morals and manners you have been so carefully taught, and in a determination to thun whatever may contaminate your character, the following epistolary ellays are addressed to your perusal. You are to consider them as a repository of those maxims and sentiments that are to guide you successfully in your progress through the world. They are the laborious result of years and long experience, and are founded on a close and continual study of human nature. Endeavours have been used to enliven them, by calling in the assistance of such metaphors and comparisons as might render them more acceptable to the imagination, and make a stronger impression on the memory.'

These Letters (which are seventeen) creat of the following subjeås, in which the most material circumstances of human lite occur: The importance of Education -Good Nature and Benevolence-Veracity-Generosity-Sense of Equity and the Light of Conscience-Gratitude-Magnanimity-Temperance and Sobriety- Propriety of Behaviour-Forethought and Reflection - How to jucige of Mankind-Disfimulation-DiscretionUse of Genius and Judyment-Labour and Industry of the Mind--Emulation Contentment and Moderation. To the Letters is added a Conclufion, consisting of miscellaneous reflections.

As a specimen of the Writer's style and manner, we will present the Reader with a brief extract:

“ Truth gives firmness to our behaviour. Like a man who knows he has got friends to support him, our expressions are bold, and our appearance refolute : while the consciousness of falsehood influence like a flaw in a deed that invalidates the whole: it unmans us, and often baffles the most conftitutional intrepidity, by that embarrailment which attends the fear of detection.'

• DISSIMULATION may sometimes be unhappily necessary, but never can be claffed with the virtues. Great minds may occalionally condescend to use it, but they always pay a price far above its worth in the violence they are forced to put upon their inclinations.'


Nothing doth here of dark or blind appear.
My hapless will, which from another's guidance,
Seeks to obtain, but vainly seeks for light.
Or is it that my hard and envious fate,
These cruel remoras delights to place
Becween my bliss and me?- but much with fear,
Doth this delay and sadness overwhelm me.
For promis'd bliss-each hour, each moment proves,
That is deferred, an age to him who loves !
But who shall say ? - perhaps I'm come too late ;-
Perhaps they waited for me long in vain ;~
And yet I was impatient to set out;-

O should this prove the case, I am undone!
If the reader is not satisfied with this specimen, we could
furnith him with others, though very few so unexceptionable.
But (to dismiss the Translator in his own words)

'tis high time, Mirtillo! thou should'It go. For much too long hath been thy tarry here.


ART. VII. An Esay on the Evidence external and internal relating to

the Poems attributed to Thomas Rowley : containing a general View of the whole Controversy. By Tomas James Mathias. 8vo. 25. 6 d. sewed. Becket. 1783. R. Mathias hath delineated the capital and leading ob

jects of this curious controversy with great accuracy, perspicuity, and elegance. He hath not however been fo fortunate as to throw any new light on it. His own observations carry little force or conviction with them. They are generally diffuse, and in some instances they are equivocal; and though he himself espouses the authenticity of the poems, yet his book, having so faithfully and so strongly represented the arguments on the other side of the queftion, is more calculated to overthrow than to confirm his own opinion. The objection is too forcible for the answer.

As a specimen of the Writer's skill and dexterity in eluding one of the most striking arguments against the authenticity of the Poems of Rowley, we will transcribe his remarks on the power of genius, and, what he calls, the capability of the Enge lish language.

It was urged, very strongly, by those who suspected, or were convinced, ihat the poems were the composition of a modern æra, that, fuperiority of genius could not poflibly have produced any thing so perfect and refined, both in language, structure, and sentiment, as those poems, by any native effort of its ewn, unaffifted by preceding improvements, and independent of all models: for poetry, like other branches of literature and science, bath its gradual accessions, is influenced by the condition of society, allumes accidental and arbitrary forms, and is

subject subject to new and peculiar modifications. This Writer is obliged to acknowledge that there is little fimilarity between the Poems of Rowley and those that were written in the age in which, it is said, he lived. Inequality, says he, is not the characteristic of this Author. Whatever subject is treated by him, is marked with the hand of a master, with the enthusiasm of the poet, and the judgment of the critic. The utmost that I fhould think proper to urge from harmonious lines, and passages now extant in ancient authors, is, that it appears from those passages, that there was at least what may be termed a capability in our language at that early period. Either our poets did not then fufficiently pursue their point when they had attained a tranfient excellence; or their ear was fo accustomed to the production of the e final, as not to be offended by it; and at other times was perfectly satisfied with the more numerical scanfion of the verse; or their genius was unequal to the task of uniform perfection, and the efforts of patient and unremitted attention. Those who eiteem the poems of Rowley as authentic, are of opinion, that the powers of this poet were so great, as to have seized this very capability in the language which I juft observed ; and, by adding to it an extensive erudition and consummate judgment, to have produced such compositions as are indisputably superior to all those of his cotemporaries, and appear by no means unworthy of the greatest name in the annals of poetry.' But the point in dispute is not, whether Rowley might not have been superior to every other poet of his day, but whether there is any ground in reason to suppose, or whether experience could warrant the supposition, that he thould be effentially and almost totally different in language, in mode of compofition, in har. mony, in metre, in allusions, in references, in observations, in sentiment, and in every thing that falls within the compass of what is called taste, from not only a few, but from all the writers of his own and of every preceding age? The defenders of Rowley must afsent to this proposition in its fullest extent a propofition to which the mind almoft inftinctively revolts; and which the experience of mankind universally coniradicts. Mr, Mathias, however, attempts to prove it not only possible in tbeory, but a fact established by one great example, that may serve instead of a thousand. His example is Homer. His rea. soning on this head is merely gratuitous. It is not only reason ing without proof, but even in spite of it. Let the learned judge. Genius, we know, is peculiar neither to age nor couniry. The innate powers of the mind doubtless require cultiva. tion, and in the proper season will produce fruits suitable to the ja bour which has been bestowed upon them. I am not here Speaking of an early maturity in a particular person, but only of

« AnteriorContinuar »