Imágenes de páginas

:Killing of time, my dear lady, is a serious business Every body talks of it as a thing easily effected; but if you will credit what I tell you, all the labours of HERCULES were a fea-bite to it;- for time is not to be destroyed. It is juft such a thing as the Polypes, or (for

I hale a fimile that does not lie at my elbow) just like one of the . Sea Anemonies that are found on the rocks of MARGATE, which you may cut long ways, or cross ways, or end ways, or edge ways, or any ways you please, fill every part you separate becomes an entire whole, and the parent animal equally perfect as before-Thus when you have flipt off from time, days, and weeks, and months, and years, new days, and weeks, and months, and years shoot immediately into their places, and this instantaneous succession must be eternal. —

• If my fimile is good for any thing, time, with respect to yourself, is immortal, and therefore never to be killed.

• Now when one is harassed by an adversary too powerful to be overcome, it is a wise maxim to win him to our intereit.-Besides, the tenderness of your own heart, Madam, would never excite in you a wish to destroy any thing you do not want to kill time, you only wish to prevent him from plaguing you, and there are a thou. fand ways by which you may make him your friend. It is not with minds occupied in the avocations of domestic life, or exercised in the duties of professions and business, that time opens hostilities; he attacks only the idle, and the diflipated, and such whom affluence and luxury have enervated. We are all naturally formed for action; and if those who are placed by fortune beyond the toils, the wants, and the anxieties, which the generality of mankind are doomed to -feel, would cultivate the many noble pursuits and studies which lic open to them, they might ever have entertainments of their own to revert to in all their leisure hours; nor be compelled to drive about the world with languid countenances, and live on the miferable cha *rity of public amusements.

• Those who have various refources in themselves, feel that inde. pendency of mind which all must covet, nor are ever conscious of the oppressions of time; they meet its approach with joy, and only blame che rapidity with wbich he seems to steal away from them.Such as have the most of these, will ever be found the happiest ;

cheerfulness is the natural result of exertion, and man the only being 'we know of in creation to whom time appears often burthens fome.

For how many centuries did the fucceffors of Saint Peter make all the potentates of EUROPB ride behind them !-and trotted them up hill, and down hill, over rough and smooth, just as they pleased to lead the way ;- for their holinesses always bestriding a mule, partook a good deal of the humour of the beaft that carried them. Our Eighth HARRY was one of the first who openly quarrelled with the pillion, and resolved to ride fingle, and independent; the advantages of which ENGLAND bath been sensible of ever fince. • While we are able, like the Pope, to ride foremost, and keep * time on the cropper, which is the case of the active, the ingenious, and the happy, we may with more infallibility than the fee of Rome ever poffeffed, assert, that we have time at our command ; and every thing we meet with attracts and delights. But if we live at the

mercy mercy of time by being behind, we are dragged on at whatever pace he pleases to move,--the reins are out of our hands; and the whole journey of life grows tedious; and irkrome.

. This is merely a hint en passant, and my readers remain at full liberty to ride whichever way they like belt.

The following address to the Sea is, perhaps, more peculiarly - in the Author's otun manner :

• Hail! thou inexhaustible source of wonder and contemplation ! Hail! thou multitudinous ocean! whose waves chase one another down like the generations of men, and after a momentary space are emerged for ever in oblivion !--Thy fluciuating waters wash the varied shores of the world, and while they disjoin nations, whom a nearer connection would involve in eternal war, they circulate their arts, and their labours, and give health and plenty to mankind.

How glorious! how awful are the scenes thou displayeft! Whether we view thee when every wind is hulhed, --when the morn ing fun, as now, filvers the level line of the horizon, or when its evening track is marked with flaming gold, and thy unrippled bosom reflects the radiance of the overarching Heavens !-Or whether we behold thee in thy cerrors !—when the black tempelt sweeps thy (welling billows, and the boiling surge mixes with the clouds, when death rides the form;--and humanity drops a fruitless tear for the toiling mariner whose heart is finking with dismay!-

! And yet, mighty deep! 'tis thy surface alone we view-Who can penetrate the secrets of thy wide domain ?-What eye can visit thy immense rocks and caverns, that teem with life and vegetation ?

Or search out the myriads of objects, whose beauties lie scattered Over thy dread abimes ? · "The mind Itaggers with the immensity of her own conceptions, -and when the contemplates the flux and reflux of thy tides, which from the beginning of the world were never known to err, how does The shrink at the idea of that Divine Power, which originally laid tby foundations fofure, and whose omnipotent voice bath fixed the limits where thy proud waves shall be stayed.'

There is great propriety in the Author's reinark on a fashionable mode of dancing, lately borrowed from our capering neighbours across the water ::

• I must own I am racher sorry to observe, that the Cotillon begins to be introduced into our balls.-How far more experience in those dances may improve us in them, I know not; but I have scarcely as yet, seen the figure gone through without interruption. Besides, we seem to want that feftivity, and chat enjouément, which hath made me view them with so much pleasure in FRANCE.-Who

ever has attended to them, even in the BoIS DE BOULOGNE AU SAINT · ESPRIT, or at any of the guinguettes about Paris, must have remarked, that the foul dances with the body, and every feature of the

face tells you it does.. • Another objection to their coming into public use here, is, that they occupy a very large space in a room, and employ but very few; so that in a crowded assembly, the far greater number must be merely Spectators, and the few who dance, become extremely difinguihed; I 2

whilft -whilst the whimsical steps, and high capers, which are practised in our ENGLISH COTILLON, furnith more of a spectacle, than many ladies may choose to contribute to.

.-Our own COUNTRY DANCEs have the peculiar advantage of admitting a very large number to join in them.- I have seen them practised and admired, in most parts of Europe; and they are in my idea, infinitely better calculated to display that elegant ease of motion, which has been so properly termed swimming in the dance ; and which would inevitably be loft, should we apply to them the theatrical steps, which the professors of the COTILLON now


" -As dancirg is an act of hilarity, I think in general, that we appear to make too serious a business of it.-The exercife gives an impulse to circulation.-We may also allow something to the animation of music,-and far more to the animation of sentiment, naturally excited by being engaged in so pleasing a familiarity, with the sex we most wish to appear favourably io ;-and yet, in almost every ballroom, how many couple do we see journeying down a dance, with such serious countenances, as if they were rather toiling through a penance imposed them, than engaged in a voluntary amosement!

" It is certainly being undesirably philosophical, to feel pleasure, without expressing it.

.-Nothing is more calculated than the MINUET, to thew an elegant figure to advantage;- it is the art of moving with grace and eale, but to dance in that degree of taste, as to command admiration, requires early instruction, good judgment, and a nice ear, superadded to many personal endowments. -As greatly to excel therefore, in this accomplishment, can happen but to few, a mo. derate knowledge of it may be dispensed with, and attended to ;but it were far better declined by the many, who attempt it, without any of the requisites.

ó -A&s, which are the efforts of grace, ought to be gracefully performed !- And as there is some path, or other, in which every one may walk with propriety and success, it is a sad miftake, when we place ourselves, unnecessarily, in such conspicuous situations, as we are totally unsuited to appear in."

A pathetic, beautiful, and pious ejaculation to Health, fhall . conclude our extracts from these agreeable Sketches : • '-How sweet is thy return, o Health! thou rosy cherub!'my soul leaps forward to meet thee, whose true value thy absence

can only teach us!—When thou comeft, with bealing on thy wings; when every part, and nerve, and artery, are obedient to their office; and when this complicated machine is so perfectly harmonized, that we perceive not that we have any part, or nerve, or artery, belonging to us, how sweetly is the mind then attuned to receive pleasure from every inlet of sense!

I-God of my life! who numberest my days, teach me to meet with gratitude, or patience, the good, or ill, which the tide of time shall Aoat down with them!- but never withdraw from me those native spirits, which have been the cheering companions of my exiftence, and have spread a gilding upon every thing around me! that I may continue to view, with rapture, the inexhaustible volume of NATURE that is thrown open before me; on every page of which is charactered the impression of thy OMNIPOTENT HAND!-'

These Sketches from Nature are enlivened with a variety of entertaining anecdotes, real or feigned, together with some episodical stories, well told, and naturally introduced. .. We will now, for the present, take our leave of an Author, whose various writings * we have perused with pleasure ; and which, with grateful acknowledgement for the entertainment they have afforded us, at various times, since the commencement of our Review, are, to the best of our recollection, enumerated in the note.

*. Alps, a poem.

2. Nerley Abbey, a poem.
3. Monument in Arcadia, a dramatic Paftoral.
4. Temple Student, a poem.
5. Lady Gray to Lord Dudley, a poem.
6. Ferney, an Epiftle to Voltaire,
7. Account of Geneva.
8. Poem to the Memory of Mrs. Cibber.
9. Sketches from Nature, in a Journey to Margate.

[ocr errors]

ART, VII. The Seasons. By James Thomson. A new Edition. i Adorned with a set of Engravings from original Designs. To · which is prefixed an Essay on the Plan and Character of the Poem. • By J. Aikin. 8vo. 4 s. boards. Murray. 1778. , . IN the well-witten Essay, which Mr. Aikin has prefixed to I this edition of the Seasons, may be discovered the same principles of just and elegant taste, which are distinguishable in the other critical works of this ingenious writer.

He fets out with remarking, that originals are always rare productions :

"The performances of artists in general, even of those who stand high in their respective classes, are only imitacions; which have * more or less merit, in proportion to the degree of kill and judgment with which they copy originals more or less excellent. A good original, therefore, forms an æra in the art itself; and the history of every art divides itself into periods comprehending the intervals between the appearance of different approved originals. Sometimes, indeed, various models of a very different caft may exercise the talents of imitators. during a single period; and this will more frequently be the case, as arts become more generally known and ftudied : difference of taste being always the result of liberal and varied pursuit. · · How strongly these periods are marked in the history of Poetry,

both ancient and modern, a cursory view will fuffice to thew. The -Scarcity of originals here is universally acknowledged and lamented, and the present race of poets are thought particularly chargeable with this defect. It ought, however, to be allowed in their favour,

I 3


that if genius has declined, taste has improved ; and that if they imirate more, they choose better models to copy after. Wie Thar THOMSON'S SEASONS is the original whence our modern descriptive poets have derived that more elegant and correct style of painting natural obje&ts which diftinguishes them from their imme. diate predecessors, will, I think, appear evident to one who examines their leveral calts and manners. That none of them, however, have yet equalled their master; and that his performance is an exquisite piece, replete with beauties of the most engaging and delightful kind; will be senably felt by all of congenial taste:-and perhaps no poem was ever composed which addressed itself to the feelings of a greater number of readers. It is, therefore; on every account an object well worthy the attention of criticism; and an enquiry into the peculiar nature of its plan and the manner of its execution may be an agreeable introduction to a re-perusal of it in the elegant edi. tion now offered to the public.'

After {hewing, that the principal and favourite occupation of poetry has at all times been, to describe such natural objects, as by their beauty, grandeur, or novelty, agreeably impress the imagination, he observes that,

• Thus intermixed as they are with almost all, and essential to some species of poetry, it was, however, thought that they could not legitimately constitute the whole, or even the principal parts of à capital piece. Something of a more folid nature was required as the ground-work of a poetical fabric ; pure defcription was opposed to Jense; and binding together the wild flowers which grew obvious to common fight and couch, was deemed a trilling and unprofitable amusement,

"Such was the state of critical opinion, when Thomson published, in succession, but not in their present order *, the pieces which compose bis Seafons; the first capital work in which natural description was professedly the principal object. To paint the face of nature as changing through the changing seasons; to mark the approaches, and trace the progress of these viciffitudes, in a series of landkips all formed upon images of grandeur or beauty ; and to give animation and variety to the whole by interspersing manners and incidents suitable to the scenery; appears to be the general defign of this Poem. Essentially different from a didactic piece, its business is to, describe, and the occupation of its leisure to teachi And as in the Georgics, whenever the poet has, for a while, borne away by the warmth of fancy, wandered through the flowery wilds of description, he suddenly checks himself, and returns to the toils of the husband, man; so Thomson, in the midst of his delightful lessons of morality, and affecting relations, recurs to a view of that fate of the season which introduced the digression.'

The plan and conduct of the Poem are next examined, Thele are unfolded with great judgment and perspicuity : Buf,

* They appeared in the following order ; Winter, Summer, Spring,

[ocr errors]


« AnteriorContinuar »