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Nor less the guilty Parent's ire,
High raise the murd'rous ax; the ruthless tort'ring steel!
Rev. W. Taker, A. B. The second Edition, with considerable Additions. 410. 24. Dodsley, &c. 1778. In our Review for July lait, p. 72, we inserted a Catalogue-article of this Ode, which then appeared without the Author's name: a circumstance which gives the present edition a customary right to fome notice, as a knowledge of the Writer is new matter of infor: mation to our leaders.
Mr. Tasker, like Tyrtæus of old, aims, in general, at the great purpose of rousing the martial spirit of the people; but the more immediate and peculiar occasion of this poem, is the celebration of our last year's encampments, near Maidstone, Salisbury, Winchester, and Brentwood:
heath, on every strand,
Gallia's pale genius stands aghalt,
(The lillies wither in her hand) Her feets receive the favouring blast,
"But dare not seek che adverie land. On England's rough and rocky shore,
She hears th' awaken'd Lion roar. These lines, detached from very distant parts of the poem (but not, we apprehend, unnaturally connected here), will serve, in some measure, as a specimen of this fpirited Ode:--from which no quotation was made in our first mention of it. Art. 24. The History of the Holy Bible, as contained in the sa
cred Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. Attempted in eafy verse. With occasional Notes. Including a concise Relation of the sacred History from the Birth of Creation to the Times of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and his Apofles; and comprehending all - the memorable Transactions during the Space of above 4000 Years. By John Fellows, Author of Grace Triumphant; a Poem.
4.vols. 8s. Hogg. 1778. This book may prove agreeable and useful to children, and youth, for whom it is, particularly intended, and to some others who wish to allift the memory, and are not much solicitous about the exactness and beauty of poetry.
DRAMA TI c. Art. 25. Buthred; a Tragedy. As it is acted at the Theatre
Royal in Covent-Garden. 8vo. I s. 6 d. Newbury. 1779.
Two ingenious gentlemen have publickly disclaimed this piece; which seems to be the production of some fond schoolboy, who had seen and read tragedies, till he had betrayed himself into the idea of being able to write one. Buthred is beneath all criticism.
MISCELLANEOU S. Art. 26. The Panegyric of Voltaire. Written by the King of
Prussia, and read at an Extraordinary meeting of the Academy of Sciences and Belles Lettres of Berlin, November 26, 17:8. 8vo. js. 6 d. Murray, &c.
We have before us a performance which is, at once, a monument to the memory of Voltaire, and to the honour of human friendship. The prince who had warmly patronised the poet when living, afferts and vindicates his fame when dead.-Farther than this, friendship cannot go.
This piece, however, does not seem to be one of those happy eologiums which have both immortalized themselves, and the subjeet of their praise. It is, on the whole, a production too superficial for the pen of the Royal Pruflian, from whose literary and philosophic accomplishments, something more substantial might have been expected.-But, indeed, the wonder is, how, with such important and hazardous engagements on his hands, at the juncture when this panegyric was composed, the letter'd warrious could so detach himself from the 'tented 'field,' as to execute this academical tak, so decently as he has done. But it will be aked, why then did the King, so circumstanced, undertake so nice and difficult a theme? A theme too, on which he was sure to meet with very powerful competitors * !-In reply to this, we shall, perhaps, be told that, at least, we have here a strong proof of the siNCERITY of that regard which his Majesty had so long professed for Monfieur de Voltaire;' --we must admit this.
The translator of this piece juftly observes, in his preface, that • Voltaire, whó celebrated many kings, is himself celebrated by a king. It is the province of poets to write the panegyric of princes, but Voltaire is perhaps the first poet whose panegyric is professedly written by a sovereign. The following piece was composed after the king of Prusia had begun to withdraw his troops from Silesia, and before he returned to take up, his winter-quarters in that country. If it is remarkable that the king of Prussia should write the pane. gyric of Voltaire, it is ftill more remarkable that he should undertake this task amidst the cares, the fatigues, and the disappointments of the field. But the fingular character of that philosophical hero renders what would appear most extraordinary in the conduit of other men, natural and familiar with him.'
The translator farther remarks, that ' In order to efimate the merit of the panegyric, it is necessary to take into consideration not oniy the dignity of the author, and the peculiar circumitances in which he wrote, but the nature, object, and aim of this species of composition
• Without bidding open defiance to the evidence of historic truth, he panegyrift is entitled to borrow all the colours of painting, and
Among other eminent literati, engaged in the same tak, we have been particularly informed of Niellrs. Linguet and Palissot ; the latter of whom has actually published his panegyric on M. Voltaire; and we have given an accoude of it in our Appendix 10 Rey, vol. lix. jaft published.
to employ the whole power of eloquence, to magnify the character of the hero who is the object of his praise. To those actions which principally tend to elevate and to adorn it, he is to give prominence and relief; while he throws whatever is blameable or defective into the shade of obscurity. This is the great rule of panegyric, as practised by its inventors, the Greeks; and such is the nature of the encomium which their imitator Pliny bestows on his admired Trajan. Whatever is great, elevated, and noble; whatever is proper to excite a mixed passion of furprize and approbation, by rising superior to the ordinary conduct and character of men, may with propriety be introduced into a panegyric. Yet the mob of mankind, dazzled with the splendor of external circumstances, and prone to admire what is elevated in rank and station, rather than what is eminent in abilities and virtue, seem to think that princes, warriors, and statesmen, are alone worthy to become the subject of popular applause. With this prejudice bis Pruffian Majesty is obliged to contend; and it is beautiful to hear a prince, born in a country where the phantom of nobility, and the vain decoration of empty titles, are regarded with more respectful stupidity than in any other kingdom of Europe, rise his voice against the prevailing errors of his nation, and reinstate perfonal merit and abilities in that rank, which they are justly entitled to maintain. He proves that the fertility of M. Voltaire's genius, and his unexampled success in all the various kinds of literary composition, render him truly deserving of universal admiration ; while his successful stand against that work species of tyranny, which would enslave the heart, the affections, the minds of men, entitle him to the gratitude of the whole human face. To establish these points, his Majesty gives an analyfis of th principal works of his favourite author, and describes those transactions of his life, by which he added luftre to his speculative principles, and defended the injured cause of suffering humanity. The history of the family of Calas and of Sirvens, makes a distinguished figure; and the amiable beneficence of indulgent philosophy, is contrafted with the destructive rigour of gloomy superstition. With singular propriety the royal author throws a veil over the more doubtful or licentious writings of the philosopher of Ferney. He afirms that Voltaire was convinced of the great truths of natural religion ; and too intimately persuaded of the authenticity of revealed, to imagine that the vain doubts and reasonings of a few speculative men, could counteract the effect of divine inspirations. The aim of his majesty throughout, is to destroy the opinion generally entertained of the impiety of Voltaire, and to fhew that he explained the philosophy of Epicurus, Hobbes, and Bolingbroke, without adopting their tenets. He goes. ftill farther; and undertakes to prove, that the life and conduct of this celebrated writer was generally governed by the amiable maxims, the humanity, candour, and divine charity of the Gospel. The attempt is worthy of our serious attention; and proves that, even in the opinion of the King of Prussia, a disrespect for Christianity can never be employed as a topic of panegyric.'
These observations are just ;-as to the panegyric itself,' all that we Mall add, in the present article, will be the following short extract; from which the reader will infer, how highly the royal encomiatt
deems of the abilities and learning of the fingular genius whom he celebrates :
• Such a diversity of talents, and such a variety of knowledge, united in the same man, affect the readers with surprize, mixed with admiration, Call to remembrance, Gentlemen, the lives of the great men of antiquity, whose names are handed down to later ages. You will find that each of them confined his talents to one paiticular
Aristotle and Plato were philosophers; Æschines and Demofthenes, orators; Homer, an epic poet; Sophocles wrote tragedies; Anacreon, fongs; Thucydides and Xenophon, histories. In the fame manner, among the Romans, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Lucrecius, were poets ; Livy and Varro, hiftorians; Crassus, and the elder Antony, attended only to their pleadings. Cicero, that eloquent consul, the guardian and father of his country, is the only Roman who possessed the whole compass of literary attainments. He joined to that commanding eloquence, which rendered him fuperior to all his contemporaries, a deep knowledge of the philosophy ftudied in ancient
as is evident from his Tusculan Questions, his admirable Treatise on the Nature of the Gods, and Books of Offices, which contain, perhaps, the best system of morality which we have seen to this day. Cicero was likewise a poet: he translated, into Latin, the Verses of Aratus; and it is believed that his corrections much improved the philosophical Poem of Lucretius.
It is necessary, therefore, to run over seventeen centuries before we can find, in that immense multitude which composes the human species, a fingle man fit to be compared with our Author. It may be said, if I may be allowed so to express myself, that Voltaire alone was equal to a whole academy. In some of his writings we recognise Bayle, armed with all the arguments of logic; in others we seem to read Thucydides: here he is a philofopher, prying into the secrets of nature, there a metaphysician, supported by analogy and experience, following, with measured fteps, the wary track of Locke. In other performances you find the rival of Sophocles: there he assumes the comic mask; but the elevation of his genius can hardly descend to an equality with Terence and Moliere. Soon you see him mount on fiery Pegasus, who, extending his wings, carries him to the top of Helicon, where the god of the Muses adjudges him his place between Homer and Virgil.
Having already discussed the celebrity of M. de Voltaire, in our account of M. Pallifot's Eulogium, in our Appendix (jult published), we have thought it the less requisite to enlarge on the present panegyric ;- notwithstanding that to illustrious a man is the subject, and 10 great a Prince the auihor. Art. 27. A Year's Journey through France, and part of Spain..
By Philip Thicknesse, Eig; the Second Edition, with Addisions, 8vo. 2 vols. 10.s. 6 d. sewed. Browo, We are not surprized to see, that a fecond edition of these entertaining travels bath been so speedily called for. The Author's ori• ginal manner, bis shrewd fenfible turn of observation, and the many amusing and inftructive particulars comprehended in bis narrative, could not fail to recommend bis work to the generality of readers: who love nothing more than to fit at their ease, and traiel at home, F 3
Among the additions made to this re-public tion, we are pleased to find a letter to the Author, from the holy fathers of the monastery at the mountain of Montferat, in acknowledgment of the present which he had sent them of his perspective view of that mountain, &c. which he juftly styles (in the preface to this edition) one of the most fingular and beautiful productions of nature *. The substance f of the letter is as follows:
' Worthy Sir, • The letter and print which came enclosed to me, demand our warmest thanks, and it is with pleasure we hear of your health, and that of your worthy family; this whole community highly value the print, on two accounts ; firs, for the excellent and delicate manner in which the work is executed, and secondly, for its strong resemblance to the place; but as none of our fraternity understand English, the books would have been to us quite useless. We should be happy to fee you and your good family once more on our mountain. Pere Tendre I, is at this time very much indisposed, but desires his respects. May all manner of felicity attend you and yours, for which I offer up my prayers, being, with great esteem
Your obliged servant,
Pere PASQUAL Rodrieguo.' A letter from the Hermits of Montserrat, is like news from the other world : with what peculiar pleasure must it have been received by Mr. Thicknesse : we envy him his feeling on this occafion. Art. 28. Candid and impartial Narrative of the Transactions of
the Fleet under the Command of Lord Howe, from the Arrival of the Toulon Squadron on the Coast of America, to the Time of his Lord thip's departure for England. With Observations, by an Oficer then serving in the Fleet. 8vo. 1 s. Almon. 1779.
From the circumstances detailed in this narrative, we are led to conclude, that the pamphlet is really the production of a person actually present in the service which he describes.
The Acthor highly extols the conduct-the skill, the bravery, of Lord Howe, but he violently exclaims against the ignorance, the . daftardly councils, or treacherous designs,' of our ministry; and he, particularly, makes very free with the name of Lord Sa-h. ---He
may have spoken the honest truth, in the warm praises which he has bestowed on his favourite hero; and we are inclined to believe that he has done so; but we cannot commend the splenetic, the virulent, we may add, the outrageous manner, in which this candid and impartial Narrator inveighs against the steersmen placed at the helm of the British Itate. He produces, however, some facts in support of his invectives; and we must do him the justice to acknowledge, that he can argue as well as rail.
. Our extract from the Author's very ample description of this ærial habitation of monks and hermits, may be seen in the Review for Sept. 1777. + The original is given at length, in our Author's Appendix.
One of the good fathers of the monaitesy, particularly mentioned in our Author's description of Montserrat.