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“ to these qualities, and partly to the great variety of his “ style, that Mr. Scott is much less frequently tedious than
any other bulky poet with whom we are acquainted. His
store of images is 60 copious, that he never dwells “ long enough to produce weariness in the reader; and, even u where he deals in borrowed or in tawdry wares, the rapidity " of his transitions, and the transient glance with which he is “ satisfied as to each, leave the critic no time to be offended, “and hurry him forward along with the multitude, enchanted “ with the brilliancy of the exhibition. Thus, the very fre
quency of his deviations from pure taste, comes, in some sort, to constitute their apology; and the profusion and variety of his faults to afford a new proof of his genius.
“ These, we think, are the general characteristics of Mr. “ Scott's poetry. Among his minor peculiarities, we might “notice his singular talent for description, and especially for “the description of scenes abounding in motion or action of “any kind. In this department, indeed, we conceive him to “ be almost without a rival, either among modern or ancient
poets; and the character and process of his descriptions are
as extraordinary as their effect is astonishing. He places “ before the eyes of his readers a more distinct and complete
picture, perhaps, than any other artist ever presented by mere words; and yet he does not enumerate all the visible
parts of the subject with any degree of minuteness, nor con“ fine himself, by any means, to what is visible. The singular “merit of his delineations, on the contrary, consists in this, « that with a few bold and abrupt strokes, he finishes a most “ spirited outline,-and then instantly kindles it by the sud“ den light and colour of some moral affection. There are
none of his fine descriptions, accordingly, which do not de“rive a great part of their clearness and picturesque effect, as “ well as their interest, from the quantity of character and “ moral expression which is thus blended with their details, « and which, so far from interrupting the conception of the “external object, very powerfully stimulate the fancy of “ the reader to complete it; and give a grace and a spirit to “the whole representation, of which we do not know where “ to look for any other example.”
Wallace, or the Fight of Falkirk. This beautiful little poem is by far the happiest of all the imitations of Mr. Scott's manner. It is the production of a lady~" Miss Holford” and exhibits
very uncommon powers, both of fancy and versification. We are happy to find that it has been republished in this country, and can, with great confidence, recommend it to our readers. It professes to be no more than a description of the battle of Falkirk, in which the liberties of Scotland were “ for a time cloven down," and has therefore very little variety of incident. But the account of this battle, and of some of the preceding and subsequent adventures of Wallace, is wrought up with great spirit, and imbued with considerable interest. The history of her hero has been rendered familiar to our public by the prose romance of Miss Porter, “ The Scot
tish Chiefs," which has had so wide a circulation among us. The ignominious death of the Scottish chieftain, upon which Miss Porter dwells with so much pathos, could not well be minutely described in a poem of this description. Miss Holford has closed her work with a mere allusion to this topic, in which she has displayed considerable ingenuity and skill.
“ Now, ye who list, with Wallace go,
“ Drank of the votive strain, and bless'd it from the sky." As the" Fight of Falkirk” may not be known to very many of our readers, we shall lay before them two or three additional extracts, as specimens of the general merits of the work. The death of Guy earl of Warwick slain by the hand of Wallace is thus finely described.
“ And now more dreadful, fierce, and fell,
(* The sanguinary river flows!
Conquered he sinks upon the plain,
“ All powerless, faint and wan the noble Warwick dropp’d." The following passages may also serve to illustrate the general strain of sentiment and diction.
“ Ah! would the muse could drop the tear,
“ Where is the breast of iron mould,
“ When we stand on the dark grave's fearful brink,
" When our lip shall be wet with the chill, cold drink,
“ Which hangs on this pleasant world, for ever left behind!" The feelings awakened by the approach of a battle in the mind of the combatants are well described by Miss Holford.
“Yes, it is come! that pause of dread,
" As that ere nations meet, to seal each other's doom." Vol. I.
Storia della Guerra dell' Independenza degli Stati Uniti 1
d'America, scritta da Cario Botta. So much has been said and written, on the advantages to be derived from the study of history, that it would be deemed almost impertinent in us, if we undertook to expatiate on that subject. We may, however, be permitted to offer a general recommendation on this head to our young countrymen, and to point out some of the particular sources, from which the lessons of experience are to be drawn with most profit and pleasure. There does not now exist on the face of the earth, and perhaps there never has existed a people, upon whom it is more rigidly incumbent, both from motives of interest and duty, to apply to historical studies, than upon the citizens of the United States. The unrivalled felicity of their condition, the splendor of their prospects, and the magnitude of the dangers to which they are exposed, summon them imperiously to make the operation of the human passions, upon the welfare of states, as it is unfolded in the general experience of mankind, the subject of their most eager and unremitting research. The rise and the decline of the free governments which have at any time flourished in the world, should particularly engage their attention, as they offer, not only the most delightful aliment to liberal curiosity, and the most magnificent pictures to the fancy, but the most instructive commentaries on our particular situation, and the surest rules of conduct for the members of a free commonwealth. The histories of Thucydides, of Polybius, of Livy, and of Sallust among the ancients, and those of Ferguson, Gillies, Hume, Machiavel and Guicciardini among the moderns, should be habitually read and revolved, by such of our youth, as cherish the sacred ambition of administering beneficially the affairs, and preserving unimpaired the institutions of this republic.
There are, also, certain other works, which we would espe, cially recommend to their notice, and which may be said to contain the philosophy of history, and to be the digests of the general principles of state wisdom, as they are to be collected from particular cases in the narrative of human fortunes, and the great current of human affairs. We allude to such political writings as those of Aristotle, of Plato, and of Cicero,~-of Bolingbroke, Burke, Montesquieu and Machiavel. The discourses on Livy, which form a part of the works of the Italian politician, contain, perhaps, more copious and valuable instruction, for a republican reader, than any other political discussion