« AnteriorContinuar »
miration; that as to himself, he was fatisfied with his own ftyle, wholly oppofite to this, by which he hoped he had fecured a better founded applaufe; that he had endeavoured, with a tender colouring, and day-light in the open air, to give truth and relief to his figures; and that, inftead of imitating, like Caravaggio, what was ugly as well as what was agreeable in nature, he had always been folicitous to make choice only of that which was moft beautiful. The lively genius of Guido immediately took the hint, and he foon applied himfelf to the ftyle of Caravaggio, as the more advantageous scheme.’
We must add, however, to the honour of Guido, that he followed the fteps of Caravaggio, in his dark and disagreeable paths, but for a time; after which he fell into his fecond manner;
-a manner, as Mr. Rogers well obferves, far more scientific, graceful, and fweet; highly finifhed, with clear and bright colouring, gay, and tranfparent:which has established him chief in the modern ftyle of painting, and juftly obtained him the greatest applause.
ART. X. The Prince of Peace, and other Poems. 4to. 2 s. 6 d.
pomp and circumftance of glorious war," the acquifition of victory, and the participation of renown, are fo flattering to human vanity, that exclufive of all views of cuniary emolument, we are not to wonder that fo great a part of mankind have, in all ages, followed the profeffion of the fword. The incidents of battles and fieges afford fuch variety of interefting fubjects for defcription, and fuch frequent opportunities of introducing the pathetic and the fublime, that it is not at all furprifing that they have fo often employed the pen of the poet.
In the poem before us, entitled, The Prince of Peace (the most confiderable piece in the collection), the ingenious Author has deviated from the common road. He has not recommended war by pleafing pictures of heroifm and military fame; he has rendered it an object of deprecation, by forcible and affecting reprefentations of the mifery which it inevitably produces. The prefent unhappy American conteft is the particular object of his reprehenfion, though, evidently, not from party motives, but from confiderations of a fuperior nature. The poem opens with the following animated precatory apoftrophe, to the Prince of Peace:
O thou! that on the fapphire throne
Of glory feated, look'ft on human race
With eyes of tenderet love! fill deign to own,
Though much their madness flight thy proffer'd grace,
The fons of thoughtless ALBION! Write thy law
The thunders down of Heaven's keen punishment!
After deploring the lofs of peace, and the diminution of commerce, the poet digreffively regrets the difcovery of America; expatiates on the pleafing ideas which the discoverers might na. turally be fuppofed to conceive of the country, and contrafts them with its prefent melancholy fituation. He then proceeds to paint, in the moft ftriking colours, the horrid war of thofe Indian barbarians, whom Chriftians, of different nations, have too often, to their eternal difgrace, employed against each other. He juftly describes them as furious; infenfible of compaffion; unmoved by the fmiling innocence of infancy, the pitiable debility of age, and the inchanting power of female beauty:
Yet Infants hold no forfeit life
They, finlefs beings! furely 'fcape the foe!
Save fmiling innocence, no arms they know!
The heart, now milder than the milk they draw!
And fee, where feeble Age extends
His nervelefs arm! to ward th' impending blow;
Not thefe the promises that nature gave!
Belov'd and honour'd in the peaceful grave.
Bleach'd by the parching winds his bones unbury'd lie?
Yet Beauty meets a milder doom
Yet female weakness bends the ftubborn foul-
Their furious paffions feel no foft controul.
Some maid fhall listen to her lover's voice,
When holy rites fhall fanctify her choice.
E'en now the hears the ambush'd foe:
Our safe retreat what prying foe shall find ?
Or d stant waters founding in the wind.
No more that lovely cheek with beauty glow!
Thofe waving ringlets ftiff with clotted gore!
Impending o'er their agonizing prize,
His laft ftanza except one, is a fevere but juft reproof of the fhocking practice of praying for fuccefs in the business of defroying our fellow-creatures :
Ah! furely dead to human woe
Their iron hearts, that deeds like these approve!
Nor fear a vindicating Power abɔve!
And yet to Heaven they bow the fuppliant knee,
The precatory ftyle is beautifully refumed in the conclufion:
Man's guardian friend! at Pity's call
Once more thy spirit in their hearts renew;
And, O may Heaven, whose mercy floops to all,
Their crimes forgive!—they know not what they do!
From Thee all human hope, all comfort springs !
Arife once more with healing on thy wings!
And kindred nations bow before THE PRINCE OF PEACE.
This performance is one of the few in which a fpirit of piety and a spirit of poetry are united. The Reader must have obferved that the ftanza is moftly conftructed of heroic lines, with tetrastich and couplet rhyme: this ftructure is perhaps better adapted to the dignity of the greater ode, than one con
fifting of lighter and fhorter measures. It pleafed in fome of AKENSIDE's odes, and it pleases in the prefent inftance.
The third piece in this agreeable affemblage, entitled, an Elegy in Memory of a Lady, appeared in print several years ago, under the title of CONSTANTIA, and was mentioned in our Review, vol. xxxix. The fubject of this elegant tribute of grief and friendship was the first lady of the late ingenious Dr. Langhorne: a gentleman whofe death will be long lamented by his friends, and will prove a confiderable lofs to the lovers of literature. The remainder of this collection confifts of Two Elegies, a Hymn to Patience, Four Odes, and Two Sonnets.
Report, on good authority, (we believe) has given the poems in this collection to the Rev. Mr. Cartwright, Author of that excellent performance, entitled, ARMINE AND ELVIRA, a Legendary Tale: fee Monthly Review, vol. xlv. p. 103.
ART. XI. LONGINI omnia quæ extant, Græce & Latine. Recenfuit Notafque fuas atque Animadverfiones adjecit Johannes Toupius. Accedunt Emendationes Davidis Ruynkenij. 4to. 10s. Boards; 8vo. L. P. 5 s. 6d. ditto; and Sm. P. 8vo. 4 s. ditto. Oxford printed, and fold by Elmfly in London. 1778.
EFINEMENT in learning, like cultivation of manners, is apt to degenerate into effeminacy and diffipation: the ftudent grows wanton on the improvement of others; and is ungrateful enough to overlook, nay fometimes to despise, the labour of those who have cleared the paths of fcience, and made them easy and delightful. This, we are afraid, is too much the cafe with the profeffors of learning in our times: it seems their utmoft ambition to be efteemed men of polite and elegant tafte; and it is no wonder, when labour is fupposed useless, that the mind, unaccustomed to severe and fundamental ftudies, fhould fink into trifles, and vainly imagine itself poffeffed of what appears so easy to attain. Among thofe acquifitions which require manly application, and which tend to give strength and confidence to the mind, we rank the accurate knowledge of words, which is indeed the bafis of all other improvements. This study seems to have undergone a very uncommon fate. It has been railed at by the idle, rejected by the polite, and ridiculed by the witty. We are told indeed, what, if true, muft for ever deftroy its credit; that it is both dull and useless. To the first we shall bring our answer from facts, and observe, that it has employed the pens of the firft heroes in the republic of letters. Who is ignorant of the names of Scaliger, Erafmus, Clarke, Bentley, and Le Clerc? These writers, it may be faid, have explained words as connected in compofition, and have fupplied food to the imagination by reftoring beauties which were loft, and reviving colours which time
what excufe can be offered for the barrennefs of thofe who have confumed much time and labour in picking up fingle words, and piling them in a vaft heap?-What pardon can be expected for Dictionary-makers ?-Milton must be deemed, by our objectors, little better than a dull drudge; and Johnson, with all his genius and learning, muft dwindle into a laborious Idler.— It would be endlefs to produce great men among the moderns, who have been ornaments of human nature, as well as of this study; and among the ancients we fhall be contented with the teftimony of Quintilian, who, with more than ufual fire and fpirit, interrogates certain cavillers like ours: "An ideo minor eft Marcus Tullius orator, quod idem artis, hujus diligentiffimus fuit; & in filio (ut in epiftolis apparet) ufquequaque afper quoque exactor? Aut vim Caii Cæfaris fregerunt editi de analogia libri? Aut ideo minus Meffala nitidus," (elegant) “quia quofdam totos libellos non de verbis modo fingulis fed etiam litteris dedit?" Quint. Inftit. Orat. lib. 1. cap. 7.
Let none hereafter call that dull which Tully, Cæfar, and Meffala have thought worthy their ftudy and attention. But enough of authorities.
Our objectors ftill cry that it is ufelefs. Need we anfwer, if any learning is ufeful, that furely cannot be without advantage on which all knowledge is built. What? Are they of no fervice to mankind who have brought to light, refined, and explained, thofe ancient models, from whom genius has caught fire, and patriotifm ardour? Is it then of no importance to the world that the thoughts of Tully and Tacitus, the fine poetry of Virgil, the neat elegance of Horace, fhould be exhibited as far as poffible genuine and unmixed? Is it of no advantage that the oracle of heaven fhould be purified from the corruptions of time, and ignorance, and the mifreprefentations of bigotry? The days of infallibility, we thank God, are now over. We hear no more of divine infpirations and fpiritual workings. All know that the New Teftament is delivered down with the fame difadvantages as other ancient writings. Na miracle has been difplayed to preferve it. It depends therefore intirely on a nice and critical knowledge of words to interpret and investigate what Chrift has commanded; and many of thofe monftrous perversions of scripture, which fix fo deep a ftain on the history of human nature, derive their origin from the most grofs ignorance in the language and phrafeology of the apoftles, and are nothing but the crude effufions of unlettered fuperftition. Let any Christian but reflect a moment on this, and let him blefs the days when Clarke, Wetstein, and Erafmus confidered the New Teftament as critics, not for fyftems but for fenfe. It may be obferved here, that if learned men, in thofe dark ages, have been abfurd in their opinions, caufes ftill more deplorable than