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kull, by inscribing a word or a line, comes one of those horrid kicks beneath the weather quarter, and almost jerks his eyes out of their sockets, or at least runs his pen, as if in forced contempt, through all his graphic labors. What at first might pass for Arabic or Persian, or for an arrow-headed manuscript from Persepolis, then appears not only far less intelligible, but as if intentionally scratched out: or, should he be in the act of delineating a bird or beast, or mass of ice, he will find himself compelled to mark down sundry outlines, which convert his sketch into some fearful object of nonexistence. Those whom curiosity has tempted to inspect my MSS., indited under such ease-destroying circumstances, will comprehend the reality of what I here describe ; but those who have attempted to read them, have indeed partaken of my sufferings."
“ The Assassins," and " Vision of Lucifer," in the third volume, are new versions of very old stories; so also is “ The Governess," which is preceded and succeeded by some long-winded conversations which are scarcely worth recording. “ Mortram" is a tale will suit the taste of the sentimental, and “ The Boarwolf" of the horrible. The following remarks are so perfectly in accordance with our own ideas, that we cannot resist the opportunity of extracting them.
“ 'I am very glad,' exclaimed Captain W---, rubbing his hands and looking round him, with an air indicative of his feelings, 'that Frank Mortram was bappy at • last. I don't like stories that end unhappily, at all.'
"! Nor do I, John,' observed our commander, unless there is a very striking 'moral inference to be drawn from their catastrophe, and even then they are more tole
rable than pleasant. The mind that can feel delight in misfortune, I conceive to be ' either unsound, or evil-disposed, and under both circumstances undeserving of conh'dence. The man who can be gratified with imaginary misery, will not be so reluce
tant to occasion real distress, as he who holds affliction in abhorrence. There is not • that strong obstacle to bis acting cruelly which influences the kind-hearted being, the 'violation of his own comfort; and when no feeling of selfishness opposes the commis* sion of a misdeed, there is little hope that temptation will be resisted.'
“• Persons disposed to melancholy,' said William, ‘will feel a morbid satisfac* tion in perusing narratives of grief and disappointment, yet they are often most harm« less creatures in society.'
“• Still,' replied Captain Shafton, they are inclined to indulge in mental foud, • which must be obtained by the sacrifice of happiness, though fictitious; and their • appetite, when accustomed to such luxury, will relish unfeigned woe without reflect•ing on its source, as the glutton who has habituated his palate to excitement will
feast upon the victim of culinary barbarity, without a thought of the sufferings it * endured to become delicious. Few melancholy beings are guilty of crimes to satiate
their propensity for distress, but they seldom fail to shew the dark side of every pros'pect to the parties concerned in it,---and destroy the hopes of others, for the gratifi
cation of their own gloomy imaginations. This they do, I believe, without malicious • intentions, but it shews that their own feelings engross their attention, to the exclu•sion of other considerations. The truly kind and benevolent seek to brighten the
views of life, and to make existence tolerable, even to the most depressed in condi'tion and in mind ; while the misanthrope, under the semblance of wisdom and pre'caution, adds the weight of anticipated evil to the oppression of the present. It is • his delight, and he turns from the sight of felicity to contemplate suffering for his pleasure.''
“ The Voyager" brings his adventures rather abruptly to a conclusion; but as he was somewhat tedious in the first part, in describing his personal observations, this may be the better borne. We bid him farewell with reluctance, for his work is, on the whole, extremely
amusing; his reflections are rational and just, and altogether display feelings more consonant to the sober and well-disciplined mind which ought to characterize the English gentleman, than we have lately been accustomed to see.
Ahab : a Poem, in Four Cantos. By S. R. Jackson, Author of
“ Lament of Napoleon," “ Fall of the Crescent,” “ Affection's “ Victim," &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Jackson's morality is unquestionable: he tells us, in page 6 of his preface, that in his poem of " Ahab” he has endeavoured to shew that crime always brings its own punishment, and that whenever we do wrong, an inward monitor reminds us of it. In the first canto he depicts the folly of endeavouring to drown the remembrance of guilt in wine, and he concludes it with some moral reflections. In the opening of his second canto, there is a comparison of the mist carelessly foating on the air with Youth on the wave of Life; and part of the third canto is destined, as its argument assures us, to showing the insignificance of pomp and pride. His poem, moreover, is interspersed with some remarks on the fall of empires, and the faithfulness of woman. His taste and memory are equally unobjectionable and excellent; in fact, they are like our own; we admire as much, and remember almost as much as he does himself, the passages of Lord Byron which appear to be his favorites.
He is equally remarkable for originality ;---his grammar, pronunciation, versification, philosophy, and conception of character, are, in many respects, entirely his own. We beg leave to make some quotations in support of these assertions. Some of the words we have put in italics, are instances of the novel beauty with which this author can surprise us in the midst of passages the most familiar to our memory. The parting of Ahab and Zebudah appears, at first sight, an exact copy of the parting of Conrad and Medora; but on a more accurate perusal, we find it replete with exquisite varieties, resulting from Mr. Jackson's peculiar style of thought and expression.
Why lov'd she thus that man of sin and shame?”
“ Why need my pen the various sweets express,
As one who on our native strength relies.” These last words are extracted from the speech of a young chief, who is eager to attack the enemy; how different is the cautious candour they display from the inconsiderate turbulence usually attributed to impatient warriors.
“ And when he dies, may vilest things accurs'd
Long have we had good reason to complain,
A mighty throne, that rich with jewels blaz’d."
A seraph amazed at a throne rich with jewels ! What daring sublimity of imagination! Is it some new insult he meditates?
“ Ahab was not wont To see his foe in arms, and ponder on't.” This last quotation is almost overwhelming. We must take a little time to ponder on it.
" O ever good! for thou didst never yet
Upbraid me, than thou could'st not but regret.”
genius, we must expect to meet with some flights beyond the pitch of an ordinary comprehension.
Why staidst thou ?---What hath kept thee from my sight?"
“ See, the repast thou lov’st invites thy taste." This is no mortal music.
“ Yet, wert those false, if that too maddening sense
And in its stead this kiss must now suffice." Such are Mr. Jackson's merits; yet in his preface we find the following astonishing assertions:
“ Thrice have the waves of neglect passed over me.” “ I have tried, and could not get a purchaser.”
There is a little obscurity here. Is something omitted? Are we to consider his readers as the objective ? or Lindley Murray ? He himself accounts for bis failure by the following ingenious and poetical supposition :
“ At this season, when the leaves are falling fast, book sellers, as well as trees, get cold hearted.”
He also says,
“ Dry prose is better lov'd than is sweet song." We confess we do not think this a sufficient explanation of the mystery; but it is not only Mr. Jackson's want of success, which we find surprising on reading the poem of “ Abab.” We feel a considerable portion of astonishment at the occasional appearance of such lines as the following in its pages :
“ And manhood's wreck but strews the tide of age."
I am unbless'd, and there are many such.” A satisfactory answer to the problem may perhaps be found by better metaphysics or memories than our own. We will return to our author's preface.
“ During the printing of this work, one has criticized a rough rhyme, another cried, “Ha! what you turned poet ?' and giving his head a significant shake, said,
better mind Cocker.' 'So I would,' I replied, “but Cocker won't mind me.'--In all the various changes of my life, the Muse has not deserted me : belured ones have vanished---friends have deceived--but she has remained faithful. One critic has advised this addition, another that curtailment; but remembering the story of the old man and the boy, and the ass, I plod on; not that I am indifferent to opinion, far from it; but there are persons whose advice one cannot take, who find fault merely for the sake of talking, and impale an author from mere spleen."
Mr. Jackson's indulgent opinion of his muse merits her fidelity, at all events ; nevertheless, however, we will not " find fault, merely " for the sake of talking."
His present work is published by subscription. On this subject
“ It has been customary to print subscribers' names, and this would have been done here, but from general objection to it; yet I cannot refrain from honorable mention of a few, whom I trust I shall not offend by the distinction."
Then follow four or five letters, placed out of alphabetical order, and preceded by the titles of Miss and Mr. Is this the honorable mention to which Mr. Jackson alludes ? We do not, ourselves, see how it can be deemed a very offensive distinction.
But we imagine the contemplation of Mr. Jackson's poetry must by this time have lulled our readers into “ a pleasing stillness of admiration;" we will leave them to its enjoyment,
“ As sweet repose and rest
History of the Peninsular War. By Robert Southey, Esy. LL.D., $c.
2nd volume. Murray. We received this volume so late in the month, that it is absolutely impossible for us, in justice to its merits, to attempt any thing like a lengthened review. A hasty glance enables us to ascertain, that it is by no means inferior to its predecessor, in sustained dignity of style; in concise but comprehensive accounts of the diversified events of this eventful war; in the masterly delineation of the characters of those noble spirits, such as the Romans and Albuquerques, who half redeemed the fallen chivalry of Spain; nor in any of those qualities which should distinguish the history of events no less interesting in their progress, than decisive in their ultimate results upon the destinies of Europe. There is, perhaps, too much bitterness of resentment displayed by the author against the party of the English nation who were opposed to the prosecution of the war in Spain, and which, though it would be properly displayed in the Quarterly Review, is scarcely compatible with the elevation above party spirit which ought to be the characteristic of the historian. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to feel, that this History of the Peninsular War is a work which it would be disgraceful to any English gentleman not to possess, as one of the most precious ornaments of his library. Poor as we are, at the present day, in bistorical writers, it is a splendid consolation to find that the grandest national exploits performed since the days of Marlborough, have been described by one who was worthy of the task, and that the deeds of the greatest warriors of our time have been narrated in fitting language by one of the greatest of our poets.
The volume before us embraces those transactions which took place in Spain, from the retreat of the British to Corunna, lo the