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who leaves the estate,-not to her canting brother, but to his daughter by the second marriage, a lady one degree more cunning and assiduous than her father. Forthwith the honest attorney ci-dessus nommé, who
particeps criminis" of the clandestine marriage, determines to turn bis knowledge of that transaction to account, by forcing the father of the rich legatee to give her and her estate to his own son. His power to effect this purpose is increased by an error in the wording of the will, which, giving the property to his friend's eldest daughter, of course, if her claim were made public, would assign it to the little Catholic perdue. The negotiation to keep this secret, very happily commenced, is abruptly broken off by the supposed heiress choosing for herself and running off with a third party. The attorney, thus foiled, embarks in a new speculation to produce the “true Simon Pure," and marry his son to her. Upon the point as he imagines of carrying this design into successful execution, he is again thwarted by the old Methodist father, who, seeing no other means of avoiding the snare, and touched moreover in his conscience, brings to light a forgotten entail which nullifies the will, and settles the property on Reginald, who, as in duty bound, marries his cousin, and the curtain falls.
Such are the very flimsy materials out of which the author of Reginald Dalton has contrived to spin three very closely printed volumes, by dint of descriptions and details à la Walter Scott, (if W. Scott be the "great unknown")-descriptions and details, which, though of the most ordinary and trifling incidents and situations, are still, by force of writing, endowed with considerable interest to the reader. It is this circumstance, indeed, which alone renders the work worth five lines of criticism. It is this faculty of engaging an balf-alive sort of attention, and pinning the mind down to details which tend to enfeeble the intellectual powers of the reader, which aim at affording amusement without rousing thought or interesting the nobler passions, and which familiarize the imagination with selfish and narrow notions and motives,--that we would deprecate as debasing literature and degrading the national tone of feeling. Whatever openings the story affords for energy and dignity of character in the better personages of the tale, are utterly lost by the author. Reginald and his father are both more amiable than otherwise, but both are nearly ruined; the one by his thoughtless extravagance, and the other by want of paternal vigilance, or rather of common prudence. Both are weak,—and accident alone prevents them from being miserable. There is, indeed, an attempt at the portraiture of an old lady of sense and goodness, but nothing is made of the character, either in the story or as a character. The moral interest which might spring out of the religious peculiarities of the personages, is left wholly aside, and no use whatever is made of the circumstance.
The most interesting and amusing part of the book is occupied with a very vivid description of a night brawl in Oxford, which, though a mere parody of the prentices' row in the Fortunes of Nigel, is executed with considerable force.
THE RELEASE OF TASSO.
THERB came a Bard to Rome: he brought a lyre,
had shed Warm tears, fast-glittering in that sun, whose light Was a forbidden glory to his sight. Oh! if it be that wizard sign and spell And talisman had power of old to bind, In the dark chambers of some cavern-cell, Or knotted oak, the Spirits of the Wind, Things of the lightning-pinion, wont to dwell High o'er the reach of eagles, and to find Joy in the rush of storms ;-even such a doom Was that high Minstrel's in his dungeon-gloom. But he was free at last!-the glorious land Of the white Alps and pine-crown'd Apennines, Along whose shore the sapphire seas expand, And the wastes teem with myrtle, and the shrines Of long-forgotten gods from Nature's hand Receive bright offerings still ; with all its vines, And rocks, and ruins, clear before him lay-The seal was taken from the founts of day. The winds came o'er his cheek; the soft winds, blending All summer-sounds and odours in their sigh ; The orange-groves waved round; the hills were sending Their bright streams down; the free birds darling by,
And the blue festal Heavens above him bending,
- There is no solitude on earth so deep
On the deep's foam, amidst its hollow roar
The pilgrim sinks beside the fountain-wave,
F. H. LIVING FRENCH POETS.-NO. JI.
De Lamartine. The higher order of poetry in France was considered as almost extinct for some time before the fall of Napoleon. The impulse which the Revolution gave to genius is sufficiently attested by its prose productions, its specimens of eloquence, and the progress of painting. But that species of boisterous excitement which inspires the orator and the artist with subjects fitting to such times, and strengthens the faculties in their immediate display, seems the very reverse of that which is most favourable to the poet. His art is pre-eminently one that demands repose. His talent lives on recollections, and grows in retrospect. The images which Ait before him escape as soon as observed. They are impalpable, though powerful, and can rarely be described when first conceived. Their presence is as unreal as the shadows of a dream, but the impressions they make sink as deeply in his mind; and it is in leisure and retirement that he embodies forth the notions, the vividness of which is not injured by time. The interval between inspiration and composition is therefore much greater than is commonly supposed; and we think that extempore productions are in most cases but the utterance of ideas long before received. It must be obvious that we do not refuse belief in those improvisatore effusions which are frequent and sometimes good. We do not deny the hurried production of verses possessing considerable merit, nor undervalue the various pièces de circonstance for stage or closet; but we speak of the higher order of poetry; and glance at, rather than examine, one great cause of its decline in France. Another obviously presents itself, in the slavery that succeeded to the fury of the Revolution. The storms of that event, which rocked the cradle of Despotism, were chilling to the bright but delicate flower of poetry. It opens gladly to the breath of Freedom, but is shrunk and withered by the noxious blast of Tyranny. Every one of the productions under the reign of the Emperor was forced and unseemly. They had, perhaps, the florid bloom of poetry, but it was unhealthy; and what they gained in colouring they lost in perfume.
It is, therefore, but little astonishing that from the days of Delille and Parny until the Restoration, no poet of any eminence appeared in France. But no sooner did that event take place, and political convulsions subside into something like the calm of comparative freedom, than literature resumed its influence; and however political sentiments might vary, there seemed a common accord in relation to poetry. The general feeling was, that it had arisen from its long sleep; that it had returned, as it were, from its term of exile; and that, however little other emigrants had profited by their banishment, it at least had gained new vigour from repose, and came back regenerated and revived. The inspirations of the Muse were deeply and generally felt, and she scattered her favours neither like a niggard nor a partisan. Amongst men of every political opinion she found votaries; and she denied her smiles to no party in the state. Royalists, Republicans, and Constitutionalists produced alike their poets, of various degrees of merit and in different walks of the art; but none took his station on a prouder eminence than Alphonse de Lamartine.
A volume of poetry, the leading qualities of which were religion