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fication. His subject is gay and varied, and he treats it with the ease and good breeding of a gentleman, and occasionally not without the imagination of a poet--and yet it is on the whole heavy ; so much so, indeed, that though we have read it all, we cannot boast of having been able to read it through: we have read it by fits and starts, and here and there, with great satisfaction ; but whenever we endeavoured to proceed right on with a regular perusal it fatigued us--like a French avenue or a Dutch canal, which is pretty to look at from an occasional crossing, but which becomes exceedingly wearisome when you are obliged to travel on it for leagues.
The causes of this tediousness appear to us to be, first, the didactic and narrative style to which the author's original design restricted him.-Three thousand lines of uninterrupted advice, even though it be the advice of a dandy to a dolly, are very appalling ; and a whole poetic novel with but a single character, affords the prospect of no very enlivening lête-à-tête :--and secondly, the bad taste shewn by him in selecting a woman of that style as the object of a literary tribute : it throws a sameness of vulgarity and fulsomeness over the whole work, and though the author's language and his scenes are always decent, nay though they often rise into high life, our feelings are shocked in every page with the appearance of a connexion which would degrade its hero in the eyes even of the partners of such follies.
The author seems to have anticipated this last objection; and urges, in his defence, that he copies Horace; for that, to the Eighth Ode of the First Book,
• Lydia, dic, per omnes
Te Deos oro, Sybarin cur properas amando
Perdere ?' he is indebted for his idea : but in the first place, Horace's ode is a pleasantry of only sixteen lines ; and, secondly, there is not a word in it which obtrudes Lydia upon us as a courtezan. The Scholiast thinks she was one, and we think so too ; because from the state of manners in ancient Rome, no other kind of female society was likely to have drawn Sybaris from his usual exercises or amusements ; but the ode itself conveys no idea which might not, according to our manners, be applied to a legitimate love, nay even to domestic and conjugal happiness : and we cannot but think, that if the adviser had jocularly complained that a happy marriage had domesticated his friend, and drawn him from the gayer pleasures of his former society, it would have been a much more agreeable hypothesis ; though even that would have wanted truth and nature, since marriage does not now-a-days remove å man from scenes of decent amusement, such as the author describes. In short, we cannot praise the plan of the work. It proceeds on principles altogether false, both in point of fact and in point of taste; and the author's powers of fancy and of language are incapable of giving any lasting interest to so indelicate and so ungrateful a subject. That these powers are considerable a few extracts will shew. Our readers cannot but admit that there is much pleasantry and spirit in some of the following portraits, and a lively, accurate and ori. ginal view of nature in some of the following landscapes. His description of the dandy's conversation, though not perhaps in his best manner, is characteristic and clever.
• How much at home was Charles in all
The world, half angry, was diverted'-pp 22, 23. The following passages of autumnal London are extracted from a too long and too minute description ; yet are they, in themselves, sprightly and amusing.
“'Tis August. Rays of fiercer heat
And still the Mercury mounts bigher,
See, how beneath the cloudless beams
Proclaim The Capital undone.'—pp. 162, 163. The trip to Margate in the steam-boat is excellent in its way: and our readers will not fail to observe here and there, amid the broad and accurate humour of the description, touches of a finer pleasantry.
• Now many a city-wife and daughter
Embarked, they catch the sound, and feel
Exulting, on the Margate shore !'-pp. 156—158. There is something in the following illustration of that gentle violence with which political favours are thrust upon us,' which savours of Swift.
" 'Tis thus that peerages are proffered,
Add relish to men's bread and butter.—p. 197.
of this description in the poem,) shew the author to more advantage than the whole work; for he is never satisfied to sketch his scene-he labours it with the care, but without the effect, of a Dutch painter; and rarely intermits his pains, till he has confused and flattened his first design by the cruel luxuriance of his illustration.
If this redundancy of rhyme be attributable to copiousness, to the errors of taste, and the inexperience of a young author, we entertain great hopes of his future success; but if, on the other hand, as we see some reason to suspect, the Letter to Julia is the vehicle of the hoarded facetiousness of a practised dealer in jeux d'esprits, we can expect not merely nothing better, but perhaps even nothing more of this kind from the same pen. The accumu. lated pleasantries of years have apparently been lavished in an incautious fortnight on the extravagant Julia. '
Art. XI.--Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Esq. Begun
by himself and concluded by his Daughter, Maria Edgeworth.
2 vols. 8vo. London. 1820. W E have been so much amused with the writings of Mr. Edge
worth and his daughter, and their style seems so particularly adapted to domestic biography, that we found it impossible to open this book without certain anticipations of pleasure. But it too often happens that those who exhibit the shrewdest good sense in measuring or describing the qualities of others, are woefully deficient in appreciating their own. To speak of one's self with moral truth is difficult; with absolute truth perhaps impossible. Endless indeed are the forms which vanity takes; but it may gene. rally be said that the two most frequent, and yet most intolerable faults are, on the one hand, long-winded explanations of minute and trivial facts, and on the other, pompous declamations, in which the facts are overlaid by a verbose and unwearied panegyric. We are afraid that our readers will find these observations not altogether inapplicable to the present volumes.
Richard Lovell Edgeworth was born at Bath, in the year 1744, of a family which had been settled in Ireland since the time of Queen Elizabeth, but which he says had been, God knows how long, established at • Edgeworth, in Middlesex, now erroneously called Edgeware.'
Mr. Edgeworth favours us with some memoranda of his immediate ancestors, which it required no little exertion of candour to give, and which are only curious as showing that some of the most absurd scenes of his Castle Rack-rent were copied from the traditions of his own family. And here, perhaps, we may be allowed to observe as the literary reputation of the Edgeworths is mainly