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REVIEW OF BOOKS.

PROBATQUE CULPATQUE.

Marmión ; a Tale of Flodden Field. By Walter Scott,

Esq.

[Continued from Vol. III. p. 332.] We shall now proceed to examine its merits as a poem. We have. before observed it is marked by the same excellencies, and the same defects as the “ Lay of the Last Minstrel,” and the criticism which was passed upon the versification of his former work is also applicable to this; but where there are so many beauties, and the pleasure they create is lessened by such trivial defects, the critic should in gratitude pass them by, and exclaim with Horace:

“ Verùm ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,

Aut humana param cavit natura.” The language is, with a few exceptions, spirited and beautifully poetical; and what is perhaps a greater merit, in a poem approaching so near to the dramatic, it is always characteristically appropriate ; but the delight which we have received from several passages of the introductory epistles, has induced us to wish that Mr. Scott would for awhile neglect the deeds of chivalry, and devote his lyre to the expression of social feeling.

From amongst the beauties which impart the irresistible charm this volume possesses, we have, in ad. dition to those contained in our analysis, selected the following:

« November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear :
Late, gazing down the steepy linn,
That hems our little garden in,
Low in its dark and narrow glen,
You scarce the rivulet might ken,
So thick the tangled green-wood grew,

So feeble trillid the streamlet through,
VOL, IV. -

F

Now, murmuring hoarse, and frequent seen
Through bush and brier, no longer green;
An angry brook, it sweeps the glade,
Brawls over rock and wild cascade,
And, foaming brown with doubled speed,
Hurries its waters to the Tweed.

No longer Autumn's glowing red
Upon our forest hills is shed;
No more beneath the evening beam,
Fair Tweed reflects their purple gleam ;
Away hath past the heather-bell,
That bloom'd so rich on Need-path-fell;
Sallow his brow, and russet bare
Are now the sister-heights of Yare.
The sheep, before the pinching heaven,
To sheltered dale and down are driven,
Where yet some faded herbage pines,
And yet a watery sun-beam shines :
In meek despondency they eye
The withered sward and wintry sky,
And far beneath their summer hill,
Stray sadly by Glenkiunon's rill.
The shepherd shifts his mantle's fold,
And wraps him closer from the cold;
His dogs no merry circles wheel,
But, shivering, follow at his heel;
A cowering glance they often cast,
As deeper moans the gathering blast.”

Page 5 *.

“ To mute and to material things
New life revolving summer brings ;
The genial call dead Nature hears,
Aud in her glory re-appears.
But oh! my country's wintry state
What second spring shall renovate ?
What powerful call sball bid arise
The buried warlike, and the wise ;
The mind, that thought for Britain's weal,
The hand that grasp'd the victor steel?
The vernal sun new life bestows :
Even on the meanest flower that blows;
But vainly, vainly, may he shine
Where Glory weeps o'er Nelson's shrine;
And vainly pierce the solemn gloom,
That shrduds, O Pitt, thy hallowed tomb!”

“ Nor yet suppress the generous sigh,
Because his rival slumbers nigh ;
Nor be thy requiescat dumb,
Lest it be said o'er Fox's tomb.

* Octavo Ed.

For talents mourn, untimely lost,
When best employ'd, when wanted most;
Mourn genius bigh, and lore profound,
And wit that loved to play, not wound;
And all the reasoning powers divine,
To penetrate, resolve, combine;
And feelings keen, and fancy's glow,
They sleep with him who sleeps below :
And, if thou mourn'st they could not save
From error, him who owns this grave,
Be every harsher thought suppressid,
And sacred be the last, long rest ! ”
“ With more than mortal powers endow'd
How high they soared above the crowd !
Theirs was no common party race,
Jostling by dark intrigue for place;
Like fabled gods, their mighty war
Shook realms and nations in its jar ;
Beneath each banner proud to stand,
Looked up the noblest of the land,
Till through the British world were known
The names of Pitt and Fox alone.
Spells of such force no wizard grave
E'er framed in dark Thessalian cave,
Though his could drain the ocean dry,
And force the planets from the sky,
These spells are spent, and, spent with these;
The wine of life is on the lees.
Genius, and taste, and talent gone,
for ever tombed beneath the stone,
Where, taming thought to human pride!
The mighty chiefs sleep side by side.
Drop upon Fox's grave the tear,
-Twill trickle to his rival's bier;
O'er Pitt's the mournful requeim sound,
And Fox's shall the notes rebound.
The solemn echo seems to cry,
• Here let their discord with them die;
• Speak not for those a separate doom,
( Whom Fate made brothers in the tomb,
. But search the land of living men,
" Where wilt thou find their like agen?” -

Pages 7, 10, and 13. The description of the Palmer is original and natural :

« When as the Palmer came in hall
Nor lord, nor kuight, was there more tall,
Or had a statelier step withal,

Or looked more high and keen;
For no saluting did he wait,
But strode across the hall of state,
And fronted Marmion where he sate,
As he his p.er had been.

Fs

But his gauut frame was worn with toil;
His cheek was sunk, alas the while !
And when he struggled at a smile,

His eye looked haggard wild.
Poor wretch ! the mother that bim bare,
If she had been in presence there,
In his wan face, and sun-burned hair,

She had not known her child.
Danger, long travel, want, or woe,
Soon change the form that best we know-
For deadly fear can time outgo,

And hlaunch at once the hair ;
Hard toil can roughen form and face,
And want can quench the eye's bright grace,
Nor does old age a wrinkle trace,

More deeply than despair.
Happy whom none of these befall,
But this poor Palmer knew them all.”

Page 51.

The apostrophe to woman, which follows Marmion's exclamation, when “left to die,” near the field of battle, is also uncommonly beautiful.

« They parted, and alone he lay;
Clara drew her from the sight away,
Till pain wrung forth a lowly moan,
And half he murmured, Is there none,

Of all my halls have nurst,
Page, squire, or groom, one cup to bring
Of blessed water, from the spring,

To slake my dying thirst!'-
O, woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
Aud variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou !
Scarce were the piteous accents said,
When with the baron's casque, the maid

To the nigh streamlet ran :
Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears;

The plaintive voice alone she hears,
-
Sees but the dying man."

Page 362. With these extracts we shall close our remarks upon a poen, which, however highly we inay have estimated its merits, renders our praise truth, and its application justice,

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Siruggles through Life. 2 vols. By John Harriott.

[Corlinued from p. 336. Vol. III.) We were compelled for want of room, to break off in the middle of an extract from these amusing and ins structive volumes.----Mr. Harriott is describing some experiments he made on an artful impostor, one of the lowest casts of the Gentoos, who wished to have it under stood that his horror at having been touched by a Parriar had been so great as to kill him,

• 1 laid hold of his hand, and was some time before I could feel a pulse, which completely satisfied me; but I kept my own counsel, Again the people pressed forward tumultuously, with an apparent design to carry the body away by force ; but, ordering the Sepoys to advance with fixed bayonets, I made them retire to a distance, suffering only the head men to remain, In vain did I endeavour to persuade them that the man counterfeited, until, finding nothing else would do, I assured them I possessed powers they had no conception of, and, without touching the body again, I would convince them of the man being still alive, by drawing a flame from his body, which they should see, and which would continue burning and consuming him unless he arose from the earth. My brother officers listened with nearly as much attention as the natives.

" I set my Dubash, Punnapa, to enjoin silence to the multitude, as a miracle was going to be performed by a European Bramin, which he assured them I was, (knowing I officiated as a chaplain.)

« Ordering my travelling escrutoir to be brought, I placed it pear the man's head, and took from it a wax taper, a small match, and a little bottle; articles I cara tied for the convenience of getting a light when wanted : I also took out a bit of sealing-wax, wrapped within a piece of white paper. I then directed all to be silent while the ceremony was performing, under pain of their being struck with death. Having had this explained by Punpapa to the chiefs, and by them again to the people, I was well satisfied the dead man heard and understood the whole, by slight involuntary twitchings I saw in his muscles.

“ When all was quiet, I began by walking slowly' round the extended body four times, laying one of the four articles each time at his feet; uttering with a solema

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