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critick ; for they will produce no written with that even judgment effect upon tbe reader, either plea- and just taste, for which the Docsant or otherwise. They belong tor is distinguished, and though to that numerous tribe of negative less laboured intentionally perhaps, productions, that are published eve than the popular Letters to his Son, ery day, which are read, and are is in no respect unworthy the auforgotten ; for they have no adhe- thor. To be at once easy, entersive quality, whereby they can taining, and instructive, requires a fasten themselves upon the mind, union of talents, which is rarely and perpetuate their remembrance. possessed, and which the Doctor,
This collection of poems is, on not deserving perhaps of the first the whole, hardly worth the trou- honours of criticism, may be al-ble of perusing. The ideas are lowed to enjoy in an eminent considerably poetical in some of degree. If the performance of these performances, although nov- more than we promise entitle us elty is the least prominent feature to praise, we conceive ourselves on the face of this collection. The indebted to the author to the aexecution of these verses is by no mount of another compliment ; means rude, and by no means polo for his present labour is not only ished. The versification, howeve worthy, as he would have it, of the er, is very unequal. We are very attention of a young student of far from saying these verses are poetry, but may be read with edi. composed, • Musis et Apolline nul. fication by the oldest admirer of lo,' but we do not hesitate to affirm, the Muses. they are composed, Musis et A- We understand that some of polline parvo.
the wits of England accuse the Wishing does not belong to our Aikins of book-making; an emprovince, but we cannot prevent ployment, it seems, not the most ourselves from wishing, that Mr. honourary which letters afford, Davis had lived to a more advanc- and in nowise, we should presume, ed age ; or that he had applied appropriable to any branch of the himself more studiously to poetry, family. If the lighter, but useful, in his earlier years. Had this been publications, which Mrs. Barbauld the case, we should have had the and her brother have obligingly satisfaction of enjoying the fruits put together for the improvement of a genius more matured, and the of youth, are considered as speciMuses would not have blushed mens of this kind of manufacture, when weeping on his grave. we can only observe, that we feel
a respect for the craft, and wish
success to its partners. It may ART. 25.
rash in us to call in quesLetters to a young lady, on a course
tion the awards of our superiours, of English Poetry. By J. Aikin, and we hope for our own sakes, M. D. Boston : Published by that what we have heard may be Munroe & Francis, and by Thó- traced in the end to the scandalous
& Whipple, Newbury- club; yet we cannot avoid export. 1806. 12mo.
pressing our disapprobation of
any ungentle remarks upon the This is a choice little work, and Doctor and his connexions. If brings the pupil very pleasantly they are not to be admitted on the acquainted with the poets. It is valued file of authors, we should
Hike to be directed, in this dearth are none more alive to his merits, oi polite literature, to those whose than the gentlemen of the Antholpretensions are fairer. We sus- ogy. We know, that he moved pect that their numbers are easily in the literary world with the firm computed ; unless the eccentricks step and imposing port of a giant, of the new school of poetry are but it cannot be concealed, that to be thrown into the account, he sometimes passed,unimpressed, who compose elegies on asses, or by a sublimity, and sometimes unannually lie-in with an epick. coutbly set his foot on a grace. The occasion, however, of this in pursuing the track of his predisaffection to the Doctor is readi. decessor, in the series before us, ly explained. There are in all Doctor Aikin has occasionally literary communities a set of dif- done justice to those, who have ficult sparks, who pronounce every suffered by his severity. Among thing execrablc, which is not po- the numbers, who have been reinsitively divine, and with one stated in their literary claims, we sweeping clause cut up by the were happy to notice the eccen. root a second-rate author, with trick Dean of St. Patrick's. the same unconcern, as they cut Whether, because Johnson's arisopen his leaves. But we have tocracy was hurt by the Doctor's been too long acquainted with the familiarities with the great, or bepretensions of inferiour excellence cause his Deanship had neglected not to allow, that there is much to procure him a degree, or on worth preserving, which falls short what account, or no account, he of their standard. Though the entertained his dislike, our readers, Doctor in his poetical criticisms if disposed, may conjecture for may be less copious than Johnson, themselves : but we are convincor elaborate than Hurd, he has ed, either for something or noperformed to the utmost what thing, that he was inclined to dishe seems to have intended, and we parage both the man and his works. could wish, that his opponents However, the superiority of Swift were invariably as fortunate. is not easily veiled ; and those,
It is a reviving reflection to an who would deny him the first author, that it is not in the power praise as a wit, may expect to be of a name to destroy his preten- accused of stupidity or prejudice. sions ; that though the world may Sheridan has lately acquainted us be set against him for a time by with the moral excellences of the the oracle of the day, he will at- Drapier, and Doctor Aikin has tain in the end the celebrity he now pronounced him a writer per. merits. Notwithstanding John- fece in his kind. son's reputation as a critick, it has With the criticisms on Hambeen suspected of late that his mond and Young (we beg pardon taste was confined, and it is now of the Muses for coupling them) considered excusable to fall out we are not, we confess, so perfect. with the Prefaces. Poor Collins ly satisfied. We conceive that is every day getting better of the the Doctor has spoken rather timfaint praise of his friend, and it is idly in praise of the latter, and thought that the bard may yet and that he might, conscientiously, pass for a prophet. We must not have said less of the former. be charged with a want of rever. Upon the merits of the Love Eleence for the Rambler, for there gies perhaps we ought to be silent,
Vol. IV. No. 5. LI
for some time has elapsed since have been rendered more enter. we had the heart to peruse them. taining ; and its airiness is not obHowever, should we, from exist. tained at the expense of sound ing impressions, venture an opin- comment. ion concerning them, we should This work is neatly executed. agree, what with the cloying na. ture of their theme, and the die. away style, in which it is treated, that they were peculiarly adapted
ART. 26. to give one a surfeit.
The Echo : printed at the Porcu.
pine Press, by Pasquin Puro*Love, only love, their forceless num
nius. bers mean.'
8vo. New-York, 1807. Of any ill effects, that might at.
OF the type and paper of this tend a close acquaintance with the volume, which contains 331 pages, Night Thoughts, we cannot con
we may justly speak with approceive. Few minds, we believe, bation. The plates likewise, which owe their melancholy or cheerful
are eight in number, designed by ness to the influence of song; and Tisdale, and engraved by Leney, the fears, which our author enter. possess considerable merit. That tertains of the dejected muse of of the negro-ball contains an admiDoctor Young, appear, we must
rable likeness of a ci-devant goversay, altogether extravagant.
Be- nor of this state. The work itself sides, allowing the lady aforesaid is said to be the production of va. to be rather grave in her sugges.
rious political wits in Connecticut, tions, the critick should recollect who, at different periods, have emthat it is wholesomne, occasionally, ployed their talents in ludicrously to visit the tombs.
We own we
versifying the prosaick absurdities love at midnight to follow this which occasionally appeared in the mournful sister of poesy over the
The Echo uneven footing of the church yard, amused the publick for the moor to pause with her by moonlight ment, was read, excited a laugh, on the broken colonade.
and was forgotten.
We little expected to see a per• The tombs And monumental caves of death look
formance, thus local in its subjects, cold,
and therefore not likely to excite And shoot a chilness to my trembling
more than a temporary interest, heart.
come forward, at the expiration of Give me thy hand, and let me hear thy several years, in all the dignity of voice.
octavo, and ornamented with splenWere we to go into a particular did type, paper, and engravings; criticism upon this performarice, nor did we imagine, that the crude we sliould exceed the usual limits and unfinished trifles of an idle allotted to a notice; we must there. hour, would obtrude themselves fore content ourselves with a ge- on the grave tribunal of profest neral acknowledgment of its me- criticism. Vanity is said to be rits. To say, simply, that we have our national foible, and we are sorbeen pleased with the style in ry that the authors of the Echo which it is executed, would be in- have afforded additional confirmadirectly to withhold what we con- tion to the truth of the remark. sider its due. Perhaps no pro- We cannot, indeed, discover duction of a critical cast could sufficient merit, in the contents of
this volume, to justify re-publica- Pitsligo, Bart. one of the execution, which, we firmly believe, can tors of Dr. Beattie. now be read with interest by the
Earum rerum omnium vel in primis, &c.&c. writers only. At the same time,
CICERO pro-Archia. we enter our protest against this New-York, published by Briscustom of book-making, by which ban & Brannan, No. 1, City. we are invited to purchase, at an Hotel, Broadway. 1807. 8vo. advanced price, what we have already paid for. Should this vol. The rage for book-making ume succeed, it may operate as an seems lately to have vented itself encouragement for the revival of by Memoirs, Lives, and Biographmuch deceased trash, and may a. ical Sketches. When a man, who waken from the peaceful slumber has attained to any literary emi. of oblivion, the Gleanings of the nence, expires, the biographer anCentinel, the Flowers of the Reper- ticipates the undertaker, and istory, and the Beauties of the Palla. sues proposals for his “Life,' before
We fear, that New-Eng- the publick bave fairly received land wit can be relished only in the intelligence of his death. It New-England; and if M'Fingal is has been well observed by Mason, an exception, that exception only in his Life of Gray, that the lives proves the rule. We excel more of men of letters seldom abound in judgment, than in imagination, with incidents. A reader does not like the inhabitants of Scotland, find in the memoirs of a philosopher whom we are thought greatly to or poet, the same species of enresemble, where wit is so rare a
tertainment or information, which prodigy, as to have become almost he would receive from those of a proverbial. In the Echo there is statesman or general. some broad humour ; a severe crit. pects, however, to be informed or ick would say vulgarity, but no entertained,' &c. &c. But of what wit. We are not yet arrived at a consequence to the world is the sufficient height of civilization to domestick history of men, who write satire like gentlemen ; as
have passed their days in studious would be soon discovered, were seclusion, and who have taken no Horace as well understood as he active part in the great drama of deserves to be :
life? Would not that, which is
most essential to be known, shine Defendente ricem modò rhetoris, at- brighter through the medium of
que poëtæ ; Interdum urbani,parcentis viribus,atque
their literary labours ? We do not Extenuantis eas consulto.'
mean by this to confine their HoR. S. 10. 1. 1. names,' and their history,'to the
(storied urn ;' (the reader would,
sometimes, be little bettered by ART. 27.
this bargain); our only intention is
to check the spinsters and the knitAn account of the life and writings ters of Lives, Sketches, and Me.
of James Beattie, L.L.D. late moirs, in their tedious tales, and in professor of moral philosophy and wearying us with the trifing aneclogick in the Marischal college dotes of men, whose works we view and university of Aberdeen. In. with as much delight, as we look cluding many of his original let. upon their private lives with indifters, By Sir William Forbes, of ference. Sir William tells us in
his appendix to this octavo, that which he would never wish to hear he intended to have inserted the of again ; and what a restraint
Diary, which Dr. Beattie kept of would it be on all social interthe number of days he was reading course, if one were to suppose, Homer ;' but finding upon calcula- that every word one utters would tion that it did not exceed what be entered in a register.' any young man, with no ertraordi. In this compilation of Letters, nary degree of application, might occasionally illustrated by Sir W. accomplish,' he thought proper to
F., and which he has thought prowithhold it ; and thus the world per to entitle the Life of Dr. is deprived of the number of days, Beattie,' the Dr.'s thoughts and and perhaps hours and minutes, opinions on men and things, toconsumed by the Doctor, in his gether with the state of his health "perusal of Homer.' We are very at various times, are given with glad, that we know in what state all the frankvess of undisguised his gown was, in which he was friendship. There are also some wrapped while reading it ; for he of a more dignified nature, inscritells us himself, in a letter to the bed to men, who, he well knew, Rev. Dr. Majeudie, that it was would exbibit them to others; and "very ragged,' and, for that rea. in these the studied manner of the son, facetiously compares himself composition distinguish them from to Socrates.
the rest. If the letter to Dr. Of all the ways of presenting a Porteus is not in this class, it is man to the world, hitherto devised, one which seems to betray not a that of publishing his private let. little art and vanity in the author. ters is perhaps the most unfair. His opinion of Johnson as a critick, It is like taking a man out of his and his observations on the Tour bed, or pulling him from his closet, to the Hebrides, must be taken to thrust him into company, where with some indulgence; for it must it is indecent to be seen in an un- not be forgotten, that Dr. Beattie dress. Letters intended for pubwas born in Scotland. The exlication are always dull things at travagant encomium, however, best; and those meant only for the which he bestows on Mrs. Mon, eye of a friend ought never to ap- tagu and her book, reflects but litpear in print. The former com- tle credit on the author of the monly possess too little of that Essay on Truth : freedom peculiar to the epistolary style ; the latter generally contain
• Johnson's harsh and foolish censure foo much. 'Dr. Beattie himself on Mrs. Montagu's book does not surwas partly of this opinion, and pro- contemptuously of it. It is for all that,
prise me ; for I have heard him speak bably would have heard with re- one of the best, most original, and most gret, that many of these letters elegant pieces of criticism in our lan. were to be seen by others than guage, or any other. Johnson had many those to whom they were addres- of the talents of a critick ; but his want sed. In one of his letters to Ro- something. I am afraid, of an envious
of temper, his violent prejudices, and bert Arbuthnot. Esq. "to publish turn of mind, made him often a very a man's letters,' says he, : or his unfair one. Mrs. Montagu was very conversation, without his consent, kind to him, but Mrs. Montagu has is not in my opinion fair : for how could not bear that any body should
more wit than any body; and Johnson many things, in friendly corres- have wit but himself. Even lord Ches. pondence, does a man throw out, terfield, and, wbat is more strange, even