Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

43. 6d.

• Cunning and superficial, prating ever,

•But not discriminating, wise, or clever.'
• Shame on their meanness who such things can do

But yet they are done, nay are common too.'
. Hold, Poet, hold! thy rash intemperate satire

And rather say, how shall we make things better.'
A poet who is solicitous to make things better should study to
make better verse, in order to give effect to his expostulations.
Art. 18. Sacred Dramas : intended chiefly for young Persons. To

which is added an Elegy in Four Parts. By John Collett, Master of the Academy, Evesham, Worcestershire. Longman and Co.

To the entertainment which the author received from a work of Mrs. H. More, bearing precisely the same title, and published by her in 1802. (see M. R. Vol. lxvii. p. 31.) we are indebted for this undertaking, in which Mr. Collett has endeavoured to increase the list of Sacred Dramas. The gentleman, however, does not presume to contest the palm with the lady; on the contrary, he ingerunusly acknowleges that his Dramas are inferior to those already before the public. In one respect, Mr. Collett has exceeded the plan of his fair predecessor, having introduced persons of his own creation to fill out the piece and co sustain the dialogue : but he pleads in ex. cuse that he has 'inore occasion for imaginary characters, on account of the paucity of real ones.' How far this apology is strictly admissible, in the present case, is a point on which we shall not venture to decide. Poetic liberties are not allowed to be taken with Sacred Scripture; and it will be said by critics that, if a narrative in the bible includes fewer characters than are necessary for the compo. sition of a Drama, the attempt to dramatize it should be abandoned We are not sure that to works of this kind, as designed for young persons, it might not be objected that they tend to give to Sacred History an air of fable. A palpable defect consists in the unaccommodating nature of the subject, which rejects embellishments strictly poetical ; while the very language, which is appropriated to it, is that which we employ in our devotions.

Mr. Collett's first Drama is intitled Ebud, the subject being taken from Judges chap. iii.; the second, Naboth, from 1 Kings chap. xxi.; and the third, Esther, from the canonical book of Esther only. In the first he has displayed most genius, having indulged in the greatest liberties. He has formed the story of Ehud inio an interesting piece; and, employing the usual appendages of Dramatic exhibitions, with the introduction even of a song and chorus in the last scene, he has studied what is called stage effect. The dialogue is tolerably inanaged: but occasiovally the author is very negligent of rhythm, though he talks of his employment in measuring syllables;' and his language is sometimes extremely poor.

• And is ihe spirit of liberty destroyed?'
• And Israel has oftimes done the same.'
• That can with more propriery be raised.'

he .. he looks as he Would utter, Haman, I care not for thee, This, this I cannot bear.'

• Farewell, my Lord, we will erect the gallows.' Though we have mentioned Mr. Collett's Song and Chorus in the finale of Ehud, we cannot compliment him on this lyric effusion: it is not like Eastern poetry, but has a bad resemblance to some of the poetry of the West, as the chorus of the warriors, &c. on bringing Ehud victorious into Eglon's Palace will evince:

• Raise your voices ! sound your trumpets !

Lo the conq'ring hero see!
Crown him ruler! Crown him! Crown him

He has sav'd from slavery.'
On the whole, however, the characters are well sustained.

The Elegy in four parts is in fact a series of Llegies on a brother and three sisters, the first of whom died March 3, 1791, and the last Oct. 7, 1802. In these mournful compositions, the anthor was 10 doubt inspired by affection, but not by the Muse; and they should not have travelled beyond his own family. Art. 19. Edgar, or Caledonian Feuds: a Tragedy, performed with

universal Applause at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. By George Manners, Esq. 8vo.

8v0. 25. 61. Tipper and Richards. 18c6.

A rapid succession of incidents, producing the most unexpected and unexampled vicissitudes in the fortunes of the heroes of the piece, constitutes the chief interest of this performance.-In favour of the alleged inexperience of the writer, and the little time allowed him for preparing to meet the public, we are willing to overlook the harshness of his numbers, and the strange liberties which he has taken with the established laws of versification : but the total absence of that elevation of sentiment, and of that just and lively delincation of passion, in which consist the genuine graces of the Tragic Muse, for. bids uz to Aatter Mr. Manners with the prospect of future celebrity beyond the walls of a theatre.

LAW. Art. 20. Practical Points, or, Maxims in Conveyancing, drawn from

the daily Experience of a very extensive Practice. By a late eminent Conveyancer. To which are added Critical Observations on the various and essential Parts of a Deod, by the late J. Ricsori, Esq. 8vo. 55. Boards. Clarke.

The editor of theae tracts represents them as containing ' a brief but instructive selection of maxims, which the student may turn to great advantage by diligent reading, and to a much greater by interleaving his own copy with writing paper, and making it his common place book.' Entertaining much high notions of their importance, he ought, we think, to have bestowed a little attention on their revisal. The passages here strung together might surely have been copied accurately, refereuces made to she works from which they


[ocr errors]

were borrowed, and the cases specified which support the doctrine ;
it was not necessary that it should be made known to the public
that the compilers were better lawyers than grammarians. The at.
tempt of Mr Ritson was well imagined, and, had it been better
executed, it would have proved interesting.
Art. 21. The Principles and Law of Tithing, adapted to the In-

struction and Convenience not only of Gentlemen of the Profes-
sion of the Law, but of all Persons interested in Tithes; illustrated
by Reference to the most leading and recent Tithe Cases. By
Francis Plowden. Esq., Barrister at Law. 8vo. Pp. 627. 165.
Boards. C. and R. Baldwin

18c6. Like the other writings of this learned author, the present volume discovers considerable reading : but, like them, also, it fails in its object, from the want of chasteness in the plan and of finishing in the execution. Politically and economically considered, the subject here treated is one of the nicest and most difficult on which talents and learning can be employed ; and the legal view of it is not free from intricacies and embarrassments. Nir. Plowden shews, we conceive, a deficiency of judgment in uniting in one work investigations so widely different in their nature, though relating to the same subject. The pohtician and the economist feel little interest in the nature of the legal liability, or in a detail of the methods by which that liability is entorced; while the practising lawyer is not much disposed to speculate on the nature of the right, nor to examine its consequences in an economical point of view. Art. 22. Observations on the Rules of Descent ; and on the Point

of Law, whether the Brothers of a Purchaser's Paternal Grandmother shall be preferred in the Descent, to the Brother of the paternal Great Grandmother of a Purchaser? in Defence of Mr. Justice Manwood's Position ; and in Reply to the Advocates for ide Doctrine of Mr. Justice Blackstone. Together with some Reflections on the Subject of our Law's Disallowance of Lineal Ascent. By W. H. Rowe, of Gray's Inn, Esq. Conveyancer. Svo. pp. 117, gs. 6d. Boards. Clarke and Sons.

If this question be not without practical interest, it principally claims the attention of the student as forming him to a habit of investigating abstruse legal points. Much of the learning that bears on the matters in discussion admits of more useful application. Art. 23. A Vindication of the Commentaries of Sir William Blackstone,

against the Strictures contained in Mr. Sedgwick’s “ Critical and Miscellaneous Remarks.” By William Henry Rowe, of Lincoln's Inn, Esq. 8vo. Pp. 246. 78. Boards. Clarke. 1806.

In our 37th Vol. N.S. p. 103, we announced Mr. Segdwick's Re. marks on Blackstone in terms of qualified commendation. While some of them displayed considerable subtilty and acuteness, and several of them were well founded, others were dubious, and some were erroneous; some also were not unimportant, while others were ex

Cn the whole, they were too desultory, and too little connected, we think, to call for the notice that is here taken of them. We cannot discover that either legal or miscellaneous know


tremely trivial.

lege has gained much by these discussions : but Mr. Rowe has in some instances convicted Mr. Sedgwick of a very superficial examina. tion of his authors. Art

. 24. A Companion or Supplement to Digest of the Stamp Laws ; being an Analysis of so much of the late Acts, 44 Geo. 3. c. 98. and 45 Geo. 3. c. 28. as relate to the English Duties : shewing at one View, under distinct Heads, the various Stamp Duties now payable, contrasted with the old Duties, and pointing out the Difference or Increase between them, and the particular Laws, Regulations, or Restrictions applying thereto; as also, Instru. meots positively or constructively exempted. The whole illustrated with practical Annotations. By J. A. Heraud, Law Stationer. 8vo. 55. Boards. Clarke and Son.

The character of Mr. Heraud's plodding labours is too well known to the public to require any description of them from us. He has here, with his usual care and correctness, analyzed the statutes mentioned in the title page ; which we regard as the most oppressive, and the least politic; even in the fiscal division of our legislative enact


48. 6d.

Art. 25. The Practice of the Commissioners, Assessors, Surveyors, Col.

lectors, and other Officers, under the Authority of the several Acts relating to the Assessed Taxes ; including a correct analytical Abridgement of the several Statutes passed in the 43 and 45th Years of the Reign of his present Majesty, relative to the Duties under the Management of the Commissioners for the Affairs of Taxes; with Tables of the Duties, adjudged Cases, explanatory Notes, and original Precedents. The Whole digested and arranged in the Methodical Order and Course in which the Acts are to be carried into Execution. By Thomas Walter Williams, Esq. of the Inner Temple, Barrister at Law. Svo. pp. 112. Boaris. Pheney.

The great convenience and utility of a work of this kind are now too generally felt, to require that they should be pointed out by criticism. Mr. Williams's labour, unfortunately for the public, will be acceptable to a much greater exteật than it is in our power to rein commend them.

NOVEL S. Art. 26. Men and Women: dedicated to Sir James Mackintosh,

135. 6d. Boards. Longman and Co. We learn that the author of this novel professes to have under. taken to represent Men and Women, inhabitants of the earth, and clogged with all its imperfections. In the characters which he brings forwards, he has certainly exhibited a variety of impertections; and he has endeavoured to shew the absurdity of some of them, by hold. ing them up to the ridicule of the world. In satirizing a poet without learning, he is too severe, and particularly as he associates the name with that of a living character: however imprudent it may be in a mechanic to devote himself to poetry, yet surely the act is not likely to compel him to become the instrument of an abandoned attorney, and lead him REY. Jan. 1807 H


3 Vols.

I 2mo.

to attempt murder; here seems to be something like ill-nature, which has a forbidding aspect. Other parts of the work are reprehensible on account of the indelicate ideas which they excite; and a farther objection to this novel, though not of so serious a nature as the for. iner, may affect iis popularity, viz. the learning which it contains : allusions to and quotations from Greek and Latin authors generally frighten readers of publications of this nature, and often prevent a continued perusa!. Moreover, and worst of all, the novel, as the author dreaded, is sometimes dull, and often improbable; and the main tale is broken by too long episodes, which, though connected with it, are disproportionate ard tedious. We read with abhorrence the passage in which Julia, with whose character we are interested on account of the general purity of her sentiments and the propriety of her conduct, without any immediate solicitation, deliberately proposes to become the mistress of Carberry, on account of their mutual love, and to suit his convenience. Many parts of the tale, however, are related in an interesting manner, and may afford amusement to those who delight in reading works of this nature. Art. 27. Memoirs of M. de Brinboc : containing some Views of

English and Foreign Society. 3 Vois. 1 2mo. 125. 60. sewed. Cadell and Davies.

The hero of these memoirs is a supposed French emigrant, who Aies from the savage persecution of his countrymen, first to Berlin, and afterward to London. The recital of his adventures, and of various collateral incidents, is conducted with considerable skill, and manifests a mind that is capable of discriminating and portraying the light and shade of human character. We pursue the fortunes of the principal personages of the tale with undiminished interest; and we easily suffer ourselves to be carried along by a train of events which we can readily fancy to have occurred in real life. To these advantages which the narrative derives from the selection and distribution of the materials, we may add those which naturally flow from an animated and impressive style, from spirited conversations, and from occasional strokes of humour.

The Faculty are unmercifully treated in a part of this performance: but modern philosophers, and the abettors of the doctrine of perfeca tibility, are chiefly the objects of the author's unrelenting satire. The caricature of Haljaz betrays some coarse buffoonery, which might well be spared ; and the abuse of amiable sentiments should have been more carefully distinguished from the sentiments themselves. The progressive melioration of the species is a generous and consoling idea, which we are not willing tamely to renounce, because it has given hob to some absurd and extravagant reveries.

We will not contend that turpitude like that of Chevreville never existed : but we regret that a picture so odious and disgusting should be exhibited in a popular and otherwise entertaining display of life and manners. The delineation of enormous criminality, which is pailiated by no amiable quality, nor by any visitation of remorse, has fortunately little connection with the ordinary occurrences of humanity, and can afford neither pleasure nor improvement to the readers of novels.


« AnteriorContinuar »