Sidor som bilder

p. 17.

of the most striking passages in Don Juan.”- thoughts are to be advantageously conimani

cated to the public, in the writings of those Character of the President.

authors who have, at different periods, enlarged

the meaning, and increased the dignity, of the “The family of our friend the president ex- English language. He will derive bis modes hibits, in a very bigb degree, that domestio of expression from the sacred remains of those felicity for which man is indebted to the insti-writers, whose works bave been so justly and tation of marriage. He is happy in the pos- emphatically characterized as the well-springs session of a wife who displays in all her con. of English uodefiled: from works deeply im. duct the best qualities of the female character. bued with the spirit of classic lore, and rich in A stranger who enters his house, is struck with words and phrases at once noble and expresa perception of elegance which does not resalt sive; ample in their meaning, as they are dig. from the costliness of his furniture, but from nified and sonorous in pronunciation. He will, the taste which is discovered in its choice and! admit, judiciously avoid those inaccuracies disposition. Every thing appears to be in pre- into which the great but early masters of our cisely its proper place, and would evidently tongue bave sometimes fallen. He will cor. lose much of its effect by a different arrange- rect, by the rules of modern criticism, the ment. Every thing is exactly clean; and while license which was not only allowable, bat apnothing appears wanting, there is, at the same pears graceful and admirable in their imperisbtime, notbing unnecessary;

able works. In making these corrections, and “When I visit the old gentleman, I am in the general formation of his style, be will, I always peculiarly pleased witb the arrange - conceive, find a pecaliar advantage in taking ment of his table. Not that his entertainments for his model the invaluable productions of are ever costly. Indeed, all the members of Dr. Jobnson. From them certainly he may the Clab are men of frugal babits, and the Pre- best acquire such a command of the English sident is, in this respect, looked up to amongst language as should be possessed by every one us as an example. But bis frugality is not wbo aspires to the attainment of an eloquent meanness, and 'is, in effect, only the art of style. No other writer bas, in my opinion, so abounding in all necessary things, by avoiding fully exemplified the dignity and richness of such as are at once superfluoas and expensive. whiob our language is capable, or so varioosly Rarities never appear at his board, bat there exhibited the power of style to give elevation is always plenty, and his viands are chosen to common sabjects, and to add to the import with such care, and dressed with so much skill, ance of those which are in themselves noble. that even epicures mast confess themselves In sbort, when I consider the uncommon exwell treated. There is, at the same time, sach cellence of this great writer, I do not hesitate an unaffected welcome in the countenance and to pronounce that the student of composition, behaviour of his excellent wife, so much atten- who shall form bimself apon the model of tion to the wants and wishes of all around her, Dr. Johnson's prose writings, will acquire a so much politeness, and so little bustle, that a style as far superior to that of Mr. Addison, as guest is almost instantly at his ease, and feels a magnificent palace, the finished work of some a secret exhilaration, from tbe anfeigned cheer- great architect, is superior to a cottage, bowfulness with which he is received."-p. 81. ever simply elegant the latter may appear.”.

“ The Secretary, who possesses one qualifiStyle of Johnson and Addison contrasted.

cation, wbich, in ihe opinion of Bayle, is essen“ The President, a little moved perhaps by tial to a good disputant—that of patiently bearsome remarks from the advocates of an easy ing his adversary; always listens with attenand simple style, is usually the first to quit the tion, and with an air of deference, to the immediate subject of dispate, and enter upon a

remarks of the President, and generally, after wider field of discussion. At such times he a little pause, replies somewhat as follows.collects all the dignity and importance of bis “I think it will be allowed that the first reinanner, and looking round with that air of quisite of composition is to convey the meaning authority which is in him becoming, because it of the writer with clearness and precision appears to be natural, delivers himself, slowly, I do not mean that these qualities are of themand with a measured cadence, to the following selves sufficient to constitute a good style, bat effect.

I think that no style can be good in which they “So long as it shall be the end of composi- do not appear. Now, clearness and precision tion to adorn and dignify a sabject, so long appear to me most effectually to be attained by will that mode of communicating his sentiments the use of such words as are of common occur. by which this end is most completely obtained, rence, but which are, at the same time, free be preferred by a jadicions and skilful writer from any taint of vulgarity. The meaning of Such a writer will not derive his modes of ex- such words is more fully understood by all pression from the loose phraseology of conver. classes of readers, than the ineaning of antique sation; or employ words of hackneyed and expressions, or of those sounding words wbich common occurrence. He will be aware that are derived from the learned languages. With the language of ordinary life is debased by its respect to the construction of sentences, that association with mean and vulgar objects, and mode of arranging words which is the least * that it is, from that circumstance, unfit for the artificial, will, I think, generally be most perparposes of elevated or elegant composition. spicuous. It is, therefore, my opinion, that a Leaving, therefore, that language to its only writer who desires to please the community, legitimate and allowable use, to be the medium and to obtain general popularity, should avoid of communicating the common sentiments of unusual and learned words; and endeavour to mankind, in their ordinary colloquial iuter- make choice of such as are familiar, bat not course, he will seek for the words which be mean; and that he should aim rather at an ele. employs, and for the phrases by which his gapt simplicity of style, than at a magniloquent

and stately manner of expression. I am aware | qaoted as an instance of the true sublime, ibat a composition which is destitute of uncom- • Apd God said, Let there be light, and there mon words, and in which the thougbts are was light.' Nothing can be more removed expressed in an easy and unaffected manner, is from stateliness than the language of this pasnot so likely to-strike the imagination of com- sage, nothing more elevated than the sentiment mon readers, as a piece which is more inflated which it contains. and artificial. The difficulty which is expe- “With respect to the pathetic, if we look rienced by those who endeavour to write in a into those writers who have most powerfully natural and simple manner is not apparent to moved the feelings of their readers, we shall the reader; and although he is always more find that they bave generally succeeded, not pleased with authors who bave succeeded in by laboured and rhetorical descriptiovs of affect. this kind of writing, he usually reserves bis ing incidents, but by the sbort, natural, and admiration for those who appear to be more simple exhibition of human passions and feelprofound, because they are less capable of ings. In Shakespear's Macbeth, for example, being understood. It is, indeed, necessary to when Macduff is made acquainted with the be a tolerable judge of composition, and even slaughter of his whole family by the tyrant, and to bave had some practice in writing, in order when, lo rouse him from the grief which this to be able to appreciate the merit of a pure, iutelligence produces, he is exhorted by his natural, and simple style. I am not surprised friends to exert himself for revenge, what can when I hear the style of Dr. Johnson extolled be more pathetic, or have less of rhetorical by injudicious readers. I am sensible that stateliness, than his reply?such a mode of composition must appear to them admirable from its very defects; and that

• He has no children,--All my pretty ones? his namerous gocommon words, and sounding

Did you say, all?-0, bell kite! -All?' periods, must fall upon their ears with some- “As I have not heard it contended, that the thing like the effect of a spell or incantation. measured and declamatory style is best adapted The admirers of the Doctor must excuse me for delineations of life and manners, or for the if I cannot estimate his productions so highly exhibition of those foibles which are the proas I do those of Mr. Addison. It is to the per objects of good-humoured satire; I shall writings of that gentleman that I would always only observe, that the silence, on this point, of refer those who seek for a model of elegant those who are so much disposed to admire the composition. They will find in them that beau- style of Dr. Johnson, is a proof that even they tiful simplicity of expression, which engages are compelled to admit the saperiority of a na. the attention of the reader by a secret charm; tural and uvaffected mode of writing on all and which causes him again and again to recur topics which give occasion for the exercise of to the page with invariable delight. Allowance wit and humour.”-p. 117 to 122. must of course be made for some inaccuracies, and for the use of a few words, which, in the The authors are, we think, rather lapse of a century, have become inelegant. too confident as to their secrecy, find a style more parely English, or better Though they may not be generally adapted to express with clearness, and in an

known, they cannot be wholly conunulfected and graceful manner, the sentiments cealed. Notwithstanding the remarks of the author. Style has been termed the dress in the preface, we should be surprised of thought; and, if I might borrow this meta- if, where so few excel, their friends phor for the purpose of contrasting the styles could not know them by their style." of Addison and Johnson, I would say, that the tirst resembled the vesture of a Grecian nymph, Weconcur with them, indeed, in tħink. shading, but not concealing, the beautiful form ing that “they have nothing to fear which it enveloped; while the latter might be from publicity.” The good temper, likened to the hoop petticoat and towering the good sense, and the talent, which head-dress, by the assistance of wbich our grandmothers appeared taller and filled a greater the writers nothing but applause.

these essays evince, could procure for space, but not without losing, at the same time, much of the patural comeliness of the

There is one characteristic in the female figare.

Club, which deserves to be mentioned. “A good deal has been said of the dignity The range of subjects is more than and splendour of the Johnsonian style, and said usually extensive. Literature, science, too, in such a way, as would almost lead us to suppose, that nothing dignified or elevated and the fine arts, are all alluded to, in could be expressed in a natural and simple a way which shews that the writers manner. The advocates of this opinion seem, were adverting to what they underto me, to resemble those dramatic poets who stood. Religion and morality have make a hero by the help of a plume of feathers not been infringed in any of these and a flourish of trumpets. They appear to forget that trilling sentiments may be delivered papers. In some instances they have with great pomp of expression, as, on the other been ably supported. hand, the noblest thoughts may be expressed The members of the Club do not, with great simplicity. I believe, indeed, that however, all write equally well; some the most sublime, as well as the most pathetic, of them afford a regular critic an oppassages, in the best writers, are those in which the simplicity of the language is most conspi- portunity of finding fault; but, as we cuous. " I may instance that celebrated passage have been too much delighted with the in the sacred writings, which Longinus has beauties of these papers, to think much of their defects, we shall will us, makes his first appearance as a ingly leave to others the discovery legitimate descendant of this wonderand exposure of the latter, which, like ful character, and professes to inherit dull spots upon a bright surface, only the power for which bis progenitors serve to set off by contrast the bril- were so justly celebrated. He has liancy by which they are surrounded. also made some considerable improve

ment in the family science, having

found means to lengthen out his state Review.-Revelations of the Dead- of death far beyond the period which

Alive. Svo. pp. 372. London. Simp- any of his ancestors ever knew. Purkin and Marshal. 1824.

suing this conceit, he sinks into death, The title of this work being very ob- from the torpor of which he does not scure, some explanation seems neces

awake until the lapse of one hundred sary, as it scarcely conveys any mean- and ninety-eight days and a quarter, ing to the reader's mind.

during which time he was enabled to About a hundred years since, the peep into futurity, and notice the celebrated Dr. Cheyne asserted, that events that were to take place for one he had known some individuals who hundred and ninety-eight years and a possessed the strange power, to all quarter. By this curious legerdemain appearance, of dying when they pleas- we are carried forward to about the ed, and, after a given time, of regain- year 2023, from which he entertains ing that life which seemed to have us with the incidents of his vision, and become extinct. Of one strange ex

we are taught to survey the opinions periment, the account of which has which will then be formed of authors, been frequently published, but which and works, and arts, and sciences, may be new to many of our readers, and speculations, now flourishing in the following particulars may prove

the zenith of their reputation. entertaining

That the contrivance is ingenious, “He (the patient) could die when he pleas, think the title to have been badly

cannot well be doubted, but still we ed, and yet, by an effort, or somehow, be could come to life again. He insisted so much upon chosen. "England in the year 2023," our seeing the trial made, that we were forced would certainly have been far more to comply. We all three felt bis pulse; first, expressive, as it would have conveyed it was distinct, though small and thready, and its meaning without requiring the exbis heart had its usual beating: He composed planation which “ Revelations of the for some time; while I held his right band, Dr. Dead-Alive," now renders necessary. Baynard laid his hand on his heart, and Mr. As England is exclusively the scene Skrine beld a clear looking-glass to his mouth. of this imaginary transition, and LonI felt bis pulse sink gradually, till at last I don stands foremost in the author could not feel acy, by the most exact and nice view, it is easy to conceive that its touch. Dr. Baynard could not feel the least motion in his heart, nor Mr. Skrine perceive mutations are poured upon us with the least sort of breath on the bright mirror be no unsparing hand. Language, its held to his mouth. Then each of us, by turns, idioms and its accents, we find have examined bis arm, heart, and breath, bot could undergone such a change as to become not, by the nicest scrutiny, discover the least but partially intelligible; many comsymptoms of life in him. , We reasoned a long time about this odd appearance, as well as we

mon phrases now in use, have been could; and finding be still continued in that dismissed for their absurdity; and condition, we began to conclade that be bad London itself has been so metamor, indeed carried the experiment too far; and at phosed, that the resuscitated stranger last we were satisfied he was actually dead, and were just ready to leave him. By nine o'clock

can scarcely recognize places of his in the morning in autumn, as we were going former resort, and objects that once away, we observed some motion about the body; were familiar to him. On seeking the and upon examination, found his pulse and the storehouses of literature, he could gain motion of bis heart gradually returning; he no information of Murray and Colbegan to breathe gently and speak softly; we were all astonished to the last degree at this Office, and the Exchange, near where

burn; but he found the Bank, the Postversation with him, and with oarselves, went Somerset - house now stands : the away fully satisfied as to all the particulars of Monument was destroyed; of the stathis fact, but not able to form any rational lue at Charing-cross, no account could scheme how to account for it."-p.1 to 3.

be given; and the Bronze Colossus, Availing himself of this singular nar- raised by the ladies of 1822, had been rative, the author of the work before razed to the ground by the ladies of


1922, as furnishing an occasion for nor inclination to follow him through profligacy to offend the eyes and the all his imaginary excursions, nor even ears of delicacy with unchaste allu- to animadvert distinctly on those alsions. Paternoster-row had com- ready noticed. pletely lost its character and its trade, The work, without doubt, contains while Primrose-hill and Highgate, hav- a vast fund of satirical humour, which ing secured its literary honours, exbi- on some occasions we think rather illbited to the admiring world their piles timed and misplaced. The subjects of quartos, octavos, and duedecimos, also placed before us, tho'very numerand a due proportion of half-starved ous, might have been rendered much authors among their daily visitors. more diversified and interesting. Too With one of these it was the author's much time is spent in discussing the lot to fall in company, and this intro- merits of our modern celebrated poets, duces a long conversation between and in the picture gallery the waste them on the comparative state of lite- is still greater. The minuteness of rature in the two periods.

criticism to which the author descends On entering a book-shop, and in- renders his observations tedious, bequiring for some poetry in the free cause monotonous. His publication and easy manner of Wordsworth and would have been rendered more pleasColeridge, he is informed by the shop-ing, if he had given only the prominent man, that no poets of these names features of his subjects, and taken a were known, and that of their style wider range. But even in its present he could give no account. To his lite- state it is a book of considerable merit, rary companion, Mr. Drudge, he then and, making due allowances for the turns, and respectfully asks, bow they ebullitions of fancy, and the imposidispose of Scott, Southey, Byron, tions of improbability, it will prove Sotheby, Shelley, Moore, Crabbe, highly gratifying to those who wish to Rogers, Campbell and others; and in see the world in 2023, and to know in reply to his inquiries, (taking him to what light the inhabitants of that pebe a foreigner,) receives the following riod may view the arts, babits, man

ners, and people of the present age. "I do not pretend, sir, to understand your foreign notions of literature. You were always queer, you Frenchmen and Italians, on that

Review. point. You always arranged us in your own

Solid Resources for Old way; but you have here mixed up with the Age, or the Means by which the Evennames of some old English poets, (Milton, ing of Life may be rendered both Pope, Dryden, &c. &c. previously mentioned) many that, I take for granted, only exist in this

144. day on the hereditary shelves bequeathed this profitable and pleasant. 12mo. pp. you by your great-grandfather, and whom I The infirmities of age render the have not the bonour to recognize."-p. 73.

use of crutches necessary, and he who On the progress of machinery, the can furnish'any that will prove really author observes, that being invited to serviceable, is a benefactor of mandine with Mr. Drudge, he found, to bis kind. The author of the work before great astonishment, that knives and us, professes to manufacture this forks were put in motion by mecha- article; and on entering his storenical operation; the former dividing house, we have found some valuable the scanty morsel, and the latter pre- materials waiting the demands of senting its portion to his lips. The customers. satire is humorous but severe, yet it Independently of the preface, the well accords with other parts of the author has exhibited his resources in performance, particularly with the seven letters; this method having visit to the picture gallery, in which been deemed preferable to an unpleasure, disappointment, expecta- broken treatise, or a formal dissertation, and fear, are sarcastically deli- tion. Throughout these epistles, bis neated. From these, the author di- | recommendations are fair and rational, verges into a survey of dress, of prize- and those who reduce bis rules to fighting, exhibitions, funerals, public practice, will rarely fail to attain the characters, prince Hohenlohe, Joanna object at which they aim. Southcoate, legal proceedings, and Temperance, regularity, exercise, fleets of balloons fighting in the air, and cheerfulness, he places among &c. &c. But we have neither time the natural causes wbich soften the 82.-VOL, VII.




afflictive attendants on age; but to | Review --The Protestant Reformathe consolations of religion he ascribes tion, vindicated; a Sermon, delivered a much higher influence. The pro- at Lime-street Chapel, Preston. 20 fligacy of youth, he justly considers edition. By Joseph Fletcher, M.A. as the harbinger of misery in age, pp. 35. Westley. London. 1825. should the unhappy victim survive to This discourse exhibits, in a narrow reach the autampal or winter season

compass, a luminous survey of the of life. Against this prevailing evil he causes, character, and effects of the cautions his young readers, and pro- Protestant Reformation, without bevides for the unfortunate the only traying that bitterness of spirit which antidote that reason can suggest.

too frequently characterizes those who He promises no miracles, and ma- put their feet on this volcanic ground. nifests no enthusiastic inspirations. This is the more wortby of notice, as Plain good sense, enlivened by anec- it was delivered in a town, where dote, sententious sayings, or

popery bath its seat.” Little indeed amples, may be found in all his pages, of this vindictive spirit was to be exof which a pleasing style is but a pected from the pen of Mr. Fletcher, secondary recommendation.

whose pame has many times appeared before the public. The cause wbich

he advocates, is susceptible of a deReview. History of Scotland, by

fence, which the mere asperity of Robert Simpson. Also, Goldsmith's

language never can supply. Of this History of Greece, of Rome, and of he has availed himself, and produced England, abridged, and the latter a pamphlet, well worth the attention

of both Protestants and Papists. continued by the same Author. In four vols. bound. Edinburgh. Oliver and Boyd.

Review.-A Discourse delivered at the DR. GOLDSMITH is so well known, Weigh-House Meeting, Dec. 9, 1824, that, all observations on bis literary at the Monthly Association of Minischaracter, whether we view him as ters, &c. By Joseph Fletcher, A.M. a poet, an essayist, or an historian, pp. 48. London. Westley, 1825. will prove little better than a waste The subject of this discourse is the of time. Of Greece, and Rome, he prophecies concerning Antichrist. In has taken an interesting and a com- reference to these predictions, the prehensive survey; and of England, author quotes several passages of he has traced the events down to the scripture, and then “tracks the felon death of George II.' The subsequent home;" finding that those which reparts are by Robert Simpson, by spect its origin, describe its characwhom the above works have all been teristic features, and aoñounce its abridged.

final termination, all concentrate in These books, together with Mr. Popery. Simpson's history of Scotland, are Among other topics of discussion, all designed for the use of schools, the author adverts to the apostasy, for which purpose they are admirably or falling away, with which it was adapted; each paragraph containing to be introduced ;-to the secret opesome subject to exercise the memory ration of Antichristian principles in of the pupil, whose attention is thus the days of the Apostles ;-to their recalled at the end of every section. inability to display themselves under These volumes, are neatly printed, Pagan Rome;-to the predictions and the price is moderate.

which represent Antichrist as being Of the history of Scotland, it will within the limits of the ancient Robe sufficient to say, that this is the man empire, and as having its centre thirteenth edition, and that it contains in the city of Rome ;-to the Papal some additions and improvements. usurpation of civil supremacy ;-to

Other editions of Goldsmith, print- the assumption of ecclesiastical power, ed and published in London, are con- and divine prerogative ;-to the awful stantly on sale, and all find an exten- sanction given by it to wickedness; sive circulation. They are works of to its pretension to miraculous powers; intrinsic merit, for which, while - to the idolatrous tendency of the schools are held in estimation, there Papal system; and finally, to its inwill be a perpetual demand.

tolerant spirit.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »