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Whene'er I woo the Muse serene,
And brighter tints discloses:
Her myrtle with his roses.
Haste then, my Laura, to my bower,
To plenty, love and pleasure,
My amatory measure.
Let not the town your soul enthral,
Those penalties of fashion,
And crown a poet's passion.
No jealous fears shall curb your mind,
By prejudiced opinion,
ave Cupid's soft dominion
CRITICISM. FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
SKETCHES IN VERSE. Mecum quære modos leviore plectro. Printed for
C. & A. Conrad, Philadelphia, by Smith & Maxwell, 1810, p. p. 184.
This is one of the most brilliant and beautiful, if not one of the most splendid and magnificent books, that has ever issued from the press of Philadelphia. The type is broad and bold, the ink is of ebony blackness, and the paper is of a texture, we believe, precisely the same as that of Barlow's Columbiad. In fact, the mechanical execution reminds us perpetually of that
splendid quarto, which even the severity of Scottish criticism has spared.
It is not often our habit to dwell with so much fondness upon the mere exterior of a volume, however ostentatious and imposing. But in the early epochs of the history of our country, and, in particular, of its literary annals, it is just and honourable to both to record the minutest circumstance which can inAame the ambition of authorship. We have no hesitation in asserting, with all the confidence though none of the dogmatism of Bishop Warburton, that the truly elegant plates, with which this book is adorned, are not only superior to any thing of the kind in America, but when compared with Bensley's designs in the splendid edition of Gray, or with the engravings in Dodsley's Shenstone are still more graphical and in a purer taste. The designs were beautifully painted by Mr. T. Sully, an American artist of high and deserved reputation, and finally transferred to the copperplate by the genius of that excellent engraver, Mr. Leney of New York, and of George Murray of this city, a favourite pupil of the celebrated Anker Smith, and, in the opinion of the best judges, not at all inferior to his accomplished instructor. Mr. Murray has gloriously distinguished himself by the execution of some of the most masterly and spirited engravings in Bradford's edition of Dr. Rees's Cyclopedia; and the specimens of Mr. M's talents, as exhibited in the interesting volume, now under our review, are of a character so brilliant, as to warrant all the praise which taste and judgment, as well as friendship and affection can bestow.
Our business is now with the literary department of this volume, and we shall startle the sensitive author by an act of flagrant hostility in our first onset against his book. He commences his desultory volume with what he chuses to call an imitation of the style of the sixteenth century. Seduced by the example of Dr. Parnell, Chatterton, Thomson, and the whole tribe of Spenser's imitators, he has conceived that whilom, eftsoons, albeit, certes, and spelling envy with an ie are quite sufficient to transport us back to the æra of king James. But while thus apparently dealing out censure, we have great comfort for our author in store. Though, in our deliberate opinion, the poem,
to which we now allude, is nothing like an imitation of the obsolete and quaint style of a pedantic age, yet it is a great deal better. The orthography may be affectedly ancient, but the sense and spirit of the poetry are fresh and new and sharp, as the most recent gold coinage from the mint of Great-Britain. The compliment in the closing stanza, addressed to a favourite fair one, is a brilliant proof of a lover's genius and affection. It is equally poetical, gallant and sincere.
The next poem, which purports to be an invocation from Oberon to the Queen of the Fairies, would not, in its musical and poetical character, disgrace an Opera, modelled after the Masque of Milton, or the scenes of Armida.
Our author's intimacy with the middle Latinity of the continental scholars has led him in the next place, to a translation from Stephanus Forcatulus, and we discern in this poetical ad. venture much of the purer manner of Mr. Moore.
Now follows a quizzical string of fourteen lines, in which the drawling and monotonous tone of the modern sonnet is very successfully ridiculed. The author alludes to the literature of Spain and of France, as furnishing a hint for this ingenious sarcasm; but in one of the British miscellanies of classical poetry, we remember to have read what possibly may have produced the seminal idea in the poet's mind. Yet he is nothing like a plagiarist, but a very lucky imitator.
Page 18 introduces us to three sprightly stanzas, precisely of that character, which the French denominate Vers de Societè, a sort of brilliant trifle, such as the Marquis de la Fare might indite, and resembling a lady's watch, at once light and glittering:
The next article is another joke at the expense of modern versemen. The author treats all coxcombical lovers without the least mercy; and the severity and sharpness of his sarcasms are sufficiently provoked by the excessive silliness of the stupid stanzas which are the butt of his satire. The whining, drawling, and infantine style of many of the moderns appears to our author an object of the most implacable disgust. At the least glimpse of affectation in literature he seems to shrink with a
sort of instinctive abhorrence; and while he thus triumphantly derides the bad taste of pretenders, he asserts, in our opinion, most nobly. and successfully the classical purity of his own.
(To be continued.)
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
ODE TO HUMANITY,
Dedicated to Duncax M'Intos, deliverer of more than two thousand
French people during the massacre of St. Domingo. Translated from the French of V. M. Garcsché.*
Preceptress of celestial birth!
And my distrustful pencil guide.
And dissipates the glooms;
HUMANITY my way illumes.
With many a warrior's name,
Mistakes the proper path to Fame.
na See Port Folio, vol. I. p. 293.
Charm’d with a different glory quite,
Heroic worth complete;
Of colours bright and fragrance sweet.
Murmur'd for ages past,
Loud sounding in the hurrying blast ?
Among the heaps of dead?
The wretches who have thither fled
'Gainst every sex and age ?
Stop the mad Ethiop's savage rage
In those tempestuous days.
To consecrate thy Hero's praise ?
Acted through many a scene.
A single mortal stepp'd between.
Displays its glcaming edge;