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And childhood murmur forth her holy name
Her soft hand clos'd
That they had gone to heaven,' p. 162. She dies at length in blissful resignation, and the scene closes with prayers and benedictions.
We have dwelt so long upon this leading part of the volume before us, that we can afford to give but a short account of the rest. There is another dramatic fragment, entitled• The Convict,' which we think has extraordinary merit.-The subject is the conviction and deliverance, at the place of execution, of an innocent country man, upon whom accidental circumstances had fastened irresistible suspicions of murder. The topics may seem low and ignoble, but the interest excited is prodigious, and of a true tragic character,—while the piety of the unhappy victim, the innocent simplicity of his wife and children, and the rustic images belonging to his condition, serve to redeem the horror of the main incidents, and Jend a certain elegance and dignity to what might otherwise appear but a dreadful or an edifying story. The great merit of i he piece, however, consists in the fine dissection and leisurely display of all the terrible emotions that belong to such an occurrence, and in forcing the reader to contemplate it steadily and fixedly, till all the powerful emotions with which it is pregnant are developed, and find their way to the heart. We have not room now to give any considerable specimens of the way in which this is executed. But we must add a part of the last scene. One compassionate and distant spectator observes,
" I see the hill-side all alive,
The whole process of dreadful preparation, with its effect on the sympathizing crowd, is then described with admirable force of colouring. When all is about to be concluded, the true murderer is accidentally discovered, and dragged to the foot of the scaffold, amidst shouts to stop the execution ; at this instant the prisoner's wife, followed by her children, bursts through the crowd, and exclaims, • Come down-come down--my husband! from the scaffold.
-O Christ! art thou alive-or dead with fear!
green and flowery earth
forward, but falls down in a fainting fit.]
held unconsciously in his arms.]
The Clergyman. Look up this world is shining out once more
ed, goes and kneels by his side.]
Prisoner. Alice! one word !
Wife. I never shall smile more—but all my days
Art thou my own sweet Daughter! Come, my Child,
- That laugh hath fill'd the silent world with joy!' p. 287-89. "The two most considerable of the other
• The Children's Dance,' and · The Scholar's Funeral,' both written with very considerable elegance, and full of the author's characteristic sweetness and tenderness. The first is not the celebration of a city ball, but of the annual assembly of the infant rustics around Grassmere and its romantic neighbourhood, who meet in a little lowly room, garnished with holly boughs and Christmas roses, to exhibit before their delighted parents their proficiency in the arts taught by the old village dancing-master, the judicious instructor of more than one generation. It begins,
• How calm and beautiful the frosty Night
Has stol’n unnotic'd like the hush of sleep
How sinks in softness every rugged steep!' p. 171.
This livelong day with rapture blithe and wild !
Both by grave Parent, and light hearted Child.' &c.
Twinkling quick measures to the liquid sound
The soften'd gleam of her rich golden hair, .
p. 172, 173. The description of the whole scene is equally beautiful and touching; but we can afford room for no more than the breaking up and retiring of the party.
• But now the lights are waxing dim and pale,
And shed a fitful gleaming o'er the room;
With peace and joy, and smiles on each vast slumbering hill.' • The dance and music cease their blended glee,
And many a wearied infant hangs her head,
185. • O'er Loughrig-cliffs I see one party climb,
Whose empty dwellings through the hush'd midnight
And some to those sweet homes that smile by Rydal lake.' • He too, the Poet of this humble show,
Silent walks homeward through the hour of rest-
p. 186, 187. The scene of the Scholar's Funeral' is at Oxford ; and it commemorates the untimely death of a glorious youth, who sickened and died while pursuing his studies at that seat of learning. It is written throughout with singular elegance and beauty; and has an air of sad reality about it, that assures us of its being drawn from nature. But we can afford no more ex tracts-and must here close our notice of this interesting volume.
We take our leave of it with unfeigned regret, and very sincere admiration of the author's talents. He has undoubtedly both the heart and the fancy of a poet; and, with these great requisites, is almost sure of attaining the higher honours of his art, if he continue to cultivate it with the docility and diligence of which he has already given proof. Though his style is still too diffuse, and his range too limited, the present volume is greatly less objectionable on these grounds than the former. It has also less of the peculiarities of the Lake School; and, in particular, is honourably distinguished from the productions of its founders, by being quite free from the paltry spite and fanatical reprobation with which, like other fierce and narrow-minded sectaries, they think it necessary to abuse all whose tastes or opinions are not exactly conformable to their own. There is no shadow of this ludicrous insolence in the work before us; in consequence of which, we think it extremely likely, that he will be execrated and reviled, on the first good opportunity, by his late kind masters.
ART. XI. The Story of Rimini, a Poem. By LEIGH HUNT.
pp. 111. London, Murray, 1816.
and poetry, too, of a very peculiar and original character. It reminds us, in many respects, of that pure and glorious style that prevailed among us before French models and French rules of criticism were known in this country, and to which we are delighted to see there is now so general a disposition to recur. Yet its more immediate prototypes, perhaps, are to be looked for rather in Italy than in England: at least, if it be copied from any thing English, it is from something much older than Shakespeare ; and it unquestionably bears a still stronger resemblance to Chaucer than to his immediate followers in Italy. The same fresh, lively and artless pictures of external objects,--the same profusion of gorgeous but redundant and needless description,--the same familiarity and even homeliness of diction-and, above all, the same simplicity and directness in representing actions and passions in colours true to nature, but without any apparent attention to their effect, or any ostentation, or even visible impression as to their moral operation or tendency. The great distinction between the modern poets and their predecessors, is, that the latter painted more from the eye and less from the mind than the former. They described things and actions as they saw them, without expressing, or at any rate without dwelling on the deep-seated emotions from which the objects derived their interest, or the actions their character. The moderns, on the contrary, have brought these most prominently forward, and explained and enlarged upon them perhaps at excessive length. Mr Hunt, in