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But other mooncalf's mine. By Chewton's dingle,
More picturesquely rapt, I sometimes range
See Solent* tossing in distemper'd sleep,
Last, from the south forth sallying, sweeps along
Then seek my cell and books, and trim my hearth,
But give my fountain vent, and set it spouting,
And so ʼmid nothings fleet away my time.' Mr. Rose has infused a new life into his model, but he is endowed with such a happy vein of originality, that we sincerely regret that he has chosen rather to be an imitator than an inventor, particularly as the species of composition which he has copied, however ably executed, can only be considered as marring the beauty, and destroying the utility, of the fictions of Æsop. Somewhat similar is the Hind and the Panther. Nothing can surpass the admirable versification of that poem, yet Dryden has denaturalized the character of the apologue and of the animals which appear in it; and his talents have not protected bim against the criticisms which he deserves. Voltaire has justly censured La Fontaine himself, whose later fables are expanded to a greater length than his earlier ones. Besides, the poet must write without shewing himself on the stage, and without any tincture of ridicule or sarcasm. Æsop is neither laborious, nor witty, nor impassioned: he observes the scenes which nature has presented to him, and he reports them with the impartiality of nature.
* The Solent, or Solent-sea, is the channel between the Isle of Wight and mainland. II 2
It will appear from our observations on the Animali Parlanti, that, according to the Italian classification, the satirical poem neither seeks to surprize us by varied incident, nor to move us by exalted sentiments. It is a poem in which the action and the personages are only subservient instruments employed to lead us to despise the opinions which we venerate, and to laugh at events in which we sympathise. Therefore the persons speak more than they act. On the contrary, it is the end and object of romantic poetry, that, through its medium, this rude world may appear more interesting than it actually is. The romantic poet seeks to astonish his readers by marvellous adventures, by human characters which range above mortality, by chivalrous exploits, by excessive tenderness and he roism, sometimes exaggerated even into absurdity. Poets of this class profit by any theme which presents itself: they are capable of be. stowing animation upon any object, therefore they do not reject the ludicrous scenes which happen to fall in their way ; but they never go a step out of it to search for them. Such are the poems on Charlemaine and his Peers by Pulci, Boiardo, Berni, and Ariosto. The Prospectus and Specimen of the National Work by William and Robert Whistlecraft' has undoubtedly been sug. gested by these poems, and most particularly by the Morgante Maggiore, of which we shall speak anon; but there is one important difference between them. The English author las filled his poem with sprightly humour, whilst the Italian romantic poets only laugh now and then. In examining the four cantos which have been published of the Specimen,' we shall discover whether this alteration bas succeeded. The
poem opens, like the Morgante Maggiore, and the Orlando Innamorato, with a scene of holy-tide festivity at the court of the king of chivalry.
• The great King Arthur made a sumptuous feast,
And held his royal Christmas at Carlisle.' To those who do not understand Italian, the following stanzas will afford an accurate idea of the interest which Pulci's vivacity gives to the most trivial scenes, and of the easy grace which Berni contrives to bestow upon
Was past all powers of language to describe-
Beggars and vagabonds, blind, lame, and sturdy,
And Jews and foreigners with foreign features.'
They look'd a manly, generous generation ;
The ladies look'd of an heroic race,-
Their dresses partly silk, and partly woollen.' Near Carlisle was a valley inhabited by a race of giants, froin which they sallied forth for the purpose of carrying off the ladies. This adventure was the beginning of a furious war. The author traces the characters of his personages with consummate art.
• Sir Tristram was prepared to sing and play,
From realm to realm he ran—and never staid;
To ride triumphant, prodigal and proud,
His schemes of war were sudden, unforeseen,
Sir Gawain may be painted in a word,
A word from him set every thing at rest,
In executing schemes that others plann'd,
Adviser general to the whole community,
He sery'd his friend, but watch'd his opportunity.' Whenever the author composes in a serious strain, he becomes poetical in no ordinary degree. As a specimen of his success when he is in this mood, we shall quote his description of the valley of the giants.
Huge mountains of immeasurable height
A rock was in the centre, like a cone,
A wild tumultuous torrent rag'd around,
Till the last point of their ascent was won.' Whoever compares this passage with any long prosaic description of mountain-scenery will be convinced that poetry is best calculated to represent the works of nature with effect, as well as with precision. The simplicity of style of some descriptive travellers passes almost into silliness; and the turgid eloquence of others wearies without impressing the imagination.
In the vicinity of the Giant's Valley was a convent of Benedictine monks, who had long enjoyed themselves in peace and quietness. However they nearly brought destruction upon themselves by starting an entire new ring of bells, by the noise of which the giants were mightily offended. This episode was partly suggested by Pulci; but the English author, availing himself of its capability, has developed it by the introduction of more humorous scenes, and more pertinent allusions. The war had scarcely begun, when the abbot died suddenly of a fit of the gout.
• The convent was all going to the devil,
Whilst he, poor creature, thought himself belov'd
By way of leaving things to find their level." At this crisis, one Brother John (who had hitherto lived almost unnoticed) becomes a man of consequence he exhorts the monks to defend themselves against the giants, and he ends by taking the supreme command. All this however is to be considered as poetry, and not by any means as politics. The author does not deviate into reflexions or expositions-he presents us with a sample of the natural course of human affairs, and ith characters faithfully copied from mankind; and he leaves it to his readers to reflect, or to seek for the application. We presume that there are living poets who.chuse to say that they have behaved like cowards on the field of battle, and who compare themselves to the lyric poets of antiquity. We cannot give any other interpretation of the following lines.
Poets are privileg’d to run away-