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ART. IX. The Garden ; or, The Art of laying out Grounds.
Translated from the French of the Abbé de Lille. Small 8vo. 45. Cadell. London, 1789.
is extended to the literary fame of his country, to be more highly gratified than by this poem of the Abbé de Lille, and the reputation it has deservedly obtained in France. Low and degraded as uninquisitive prejudice may deem the present poetic genius of our inle, we find that a neighbouring kingdom, celebrated for its refinement, and remarkable for the delicacy of its critical judgment, is so far from considering the British Parnaffus as a barren wilderness, that, as from the pieria of the most revered antiquity, their favourite authors transplant, with eager industry, those treasures of beauty and of art, with a view to immortalise their names among their admiring countrymen.. The assistance which M. de Lille has so copiously received from Gray, from Shenstone, Mason, and Thomson, as well as from Pope, Milton, and others, he has not, however, been grateful enough to acknowledge; on the contrary, in his introduction, he boldly
claims a garland where shall be found no foreign ornament. This is the more remarkable as the
title of his poem is an imitation of Mason; and besides whole pages copied from Gray, and innumerable imitations of Pope, &c.
Les Jardins' pofTeffes but little of didactic merit which is not to be found in 1 The English Garden.' The Abbé does not very frequently favour us with any thing new in the preceptive way; and some of those rules which are introduced into this poem without the authority of Mr. Mason, and perhaps all which controvert his principles, tend only to prove that France is still behind us in taste and the chaste fimplicity of nature. In proof of this, besides dashing the raging fountain to the skies, we might quote many other passages of the work before us. Nei. ther are the precepts in this work so various or determinate as those which may be adduced from its British rival; while at the same time (though the poems differ but little in length) it does not display equal embellisnment. This perhaps is partly owing to the different conduct of the authors. The Abbé pursuing a plan less regular, naturally became more excursive and diffuse, and was consequently in danger of suffering inany precepts to escape which the classical arrangement of Mr. Malon happily availed himself of. Much also is to be attributed to the declamatory genius, or (if we may hazard the expression) the playful loquacity of Gallic fancy.
The present performance is nevertheless worthy of perusal; not only for the opportunity it gives of comparing the fentiments of two rival countries in an obvious point of view, but also for the intrinsic merit of the two performances.
The translator professes to make a free translation; and he has, with judgment, omitted some conceits which did no credit to their author. If the idea of the two currents running a race, and disputing the doubting prize,' with fome other reprehenfible passages, had been also rejected, perhaps the reader of taste would not have lamented the loss. The language is flowing and poetical, the versification generally easy and melodious, and the pauses are regulated with an equal attention to smoothness and variety; neither is the harmony interrupted with unpleasant triplets. The punctuation is incorrect, and sometimes we meet with mere apologies for rhime, as scene and seen, console and soul, fevere and revere, &c. These are not rhimes but echoes; and the following are neither verse nor prose:
• Art then the rebel nature may fubdue,
But the to grandeur must his triumph owe;' And,
• The paths whose happy guidance we pursue
Should ornament the profpects which they new,' &C.
s Which e’en the awe-ftruck hand of time doth spare.'
Alas! I've never rou'd those vales among,
And there I'll read the firains those scenes infpir'd.'
Now spring returns, and o'er the dewy vale,
Say, Who may touch aright the rural reed?
the sunny hill, or 'neath the grove,
Displays the flow'rs and turf, the waves and shade.'
We give the following lines as a specimen of the performa
. And now the gale
And glist’ning in each eye the starting tear." The romantic descriptions which the third book contains are particularly delightful; and the episode of Petrarch and Laura, with which it concludes, is pathetic.
This publication, though, upon the whole, not correct, is elegant and pleasing.
ART. X. Miserio's Vifon; a Poem. 4to. Is. Norwich printed.
Baldwin, London. No Date. SOMEBODY; we know not who, is introduced we know not
how, describing a place without a name, we know not whers, as a second Eden;'
-Sea, land, and sky conspire
The author, however, a few lines further on, flatly contradicts this, and tells us
This happy country round Seems Eden all, seems all enchanted ground;' and paints the inhabitants in the full enjoyment of all they can desire.' This unknown and nameless personage amazed,' we suppose at so uncommon a state of things, asks
• What bounteous hand Sow'd joys and plenty over all the land.' Miserio, all reply.' He wishes to see this glorious man;' and his abode being pointed out to him, he tells us hither
straight I ran.' But, contrary to his expectation, and ours too, he finds him a most wretched melancholy wight, incapable of any enjoyment, because • Amelia's gone away; -do not mis. take him; reader, as we did; he does not mean eloped, but gone to her long home. He then tells his visitor how happy he and his Amelia were, how they used to play with Poll and Chloe (the parrot and lapdog), and how he used to lead her to hear
the billows roar 'midst drawling stones ;' with many other things equally grave and pathetic. At last, having finished his would-be interesting story, he begs the stranger to weep for < pity o’er his widow'd life.' At that moment he is struck dumb with astonishment and terror by a dreadful earthquake, accompanied by thunder and lightning. In the midst of this elementary convulsion, the visitor displays a pair of wings, and is converted into a very splendid angel. He gives Miserio very good advice; tells him to learn patience,' and fear God; and, having executed his commiffion, returns to heaven:
• The angel spoke, and back like lightning fies,
Shoots palt the blinded sun, and flames along the skies.' The reader all this time does not fufpect that he has been read., ing a dream; but so it is, for the author immediately after says,
Miserio trembling waķes in wild amaze
'Twas all a dream.' The intelligent public will see by this analysis how miserably defective the author is in the construction of his story; the diction is equally faulty. Now and then, amidst every species of bad compofition, something like poetry appears; of this kind is the couplet we last quoted; the fun blinded by the superior blaze of the heavenly messenger is a thought that would not dit grace the most genuine votary of the mufes.
ART. XI. Henry and Acasto; a Moral Tule. By the Riv. Brian
Hill; with a Preface by Sir Richard Hill. Small 8vo.
PERSONS of a melancholy temper have generally a dispo
sition to religion, love, and to poetry. These three accomplishments, for the most part, centre in the same person; the lover is poetical, the poet is amorous, and the faint both; witness the pfalmift David. Perhaps, upon a chemical analysis of the mind, it would be found that religious, poetical, and amorous enthufiasm are but different directions of the same principle; as the object of all is confeffedly the same, an invisible and ideal beauty, which Nature hath not thought proper to realife in this fublunary world, and which is the mere creation of the mind in which it refides. These three expansions of the mind, devotion, sentimental love, and poetry, constitute the purest and most rapturous pleasures of life, and are only exposed to one mortification, that human nature cannot support them for any length of time. The expressions of them too, in writing or discourse, furnith the most agreeable morsels of literary entertainment. Madame Guion's short way, her torrents, and her Commentary on the Song of Solomon; Rousseau's Eloise, and Thomson's Seaforis, present an entertainment of the fame kind, and are equally pleasing to an elegant taste. Unfortunately, however, the most precious works of nature as well as of art are frequently counterfeited; and in the currency of the literary world there are at least ten counterfeits for one sterling coin. Whether the work before us belongs to the former or the latter description will appear from the sequel.
After some vague and trite descriptions of rural scenes, in which there is an equal regard Thewn to grammar, propriety, and poetry, our author tells us that a certain old gentlewoman called Autumna
• Had nine times spread her golden store
And the first light on Henry's head arose.'