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touch, brilliancy of colouring, and novelty of conception, has not been exceeded since the days of Della Crusca.
I turned where Tejo's glimmering stream,
Of the dark hills that fence her distant strand.'--p. 8. Who is there that does not feel as if he saw Lisbon ? What accuracy, what simplicity, what truth of delineation! The breast of snow, the fairy form, the gentle inclination forward, the playful naïveté with which she disturbs the slumbers of her native flood, &c. are circumstances all admirably chosen and highly characteristic. But even this beautiful picture is exceeded by that of Belem Castle.
the embattled head
In pictured lustre deck the answering tide.'-p.9. We entreat our readers to admire the head of Belem playing in the radiance; and though we cannot much commend the hospitality which welcomes a farewel, we are agreeably surprized at the complacent smile of the old castle at seeing itself in the water; a vanity the more excusable, as we apprehend that he never did see himself in the answering tide' before, or since that memorable evening.'
The convent of N. S. da Penha next engages his lordship's attention, and gives occasion to a strain of invective, in which, with equal novelty and truth, he attacks the “Tiger superstition,' and shows that convents were originally built and are still maintained by' feudal frenzy' and 'regal rapine,' for the purposes of shrouded murder,''trembling guilt,' and dark remorse.
An ordinary poet would, at the moment when Lord George wrote, have seen in Portugal the stains of more recent blood than that which superstition had shed; he would have seen, raging far and wide, flames which the torch of bigotry had not lighted; and he might have deplored desolation not caused by the blighting shade of the convent. The confiagration of towns—the devastation of whole provinces—the massacre of half a people were before his eyes;
but these unhappily were real and recent scenes, and Lord George's
poetry is too refined and subtilized for actual existence. In the quiet seclusion and religious shades of N. S. da Penha, which the English army covered from profanation, he was at leisure to remember all the enormities of the 'tyrant superstition, and to forget the tender mercies of Massena's invasion.
Through the next seven pages the author proceeds in a high strain of poetry, of which we humbly coufess we can give the reader no other account than, that we find in The Argument the following passage.
“The performance of the duties of religion by no means necessarily, or inseparably connected with the artificial gloom inspired by the seclusion of the cloister.'
. The divine Being perhaps to be worshipped with feelings of a more exalted devotion in his works, as displayed in an extensive prospect.'
If we could have found the corresponding lines in the poem, we should quote them, but we have really found it impossible to select from the seven pages any passage which was capable of bearing this or any other meaning. There is indeed something, which to our understanding, is like a shipwreck, but as the argument says nothing of any such event, it is possible that we may have mistaken the description of some part of the cloister' for it; and lest we should mislead the reader, we leave the choice to his unbiassed judgment.
But whatever this passage be intended to represent, we are not, we hope, mistaken in selecting the following lines as the description of an atheist,' which the argument states as occurring in this part of the poem:
. And thou poor hopeless wretch! if such there live,'-
Which crowding angels tremble while they hear.'-p. 23. Of this picture (which is evidently intended as a pendant to the portrait of superstition,) we have certainly never seen the original; of what immediately follows we have indeed some recollection,
• Are these thy triumphs, this thy proudest aim,
Our readers will immediately perceive that we allude to the wellknown soliloquy in the Rovers, where Rogero describes himself, in the character of Hope, sitting by the bottomless pool of Despondency, angling for impossibilities.' But though we doubt, with his lordship, whether any such there live' as the foregoing lines describe, there is one passage that not a little disturbs us. We flatter ourselves that we are not obnoxious to the charge of atheism, and yet, we are really unable to answer certain questions, which our noble Inquisitor, with the assistance of Job, (upon whose patience, by the bye, he piously calculates,) propounds as infallible tests for detecting latent atheists:
Canst thou trace the birth sublime
O'er boundless space to scan omnipotence ?'- p. 25. We know not how far the noble author might have proceeded in these theological discussions, had not his rapturous admiration of the works of nature fortunately brought a cork tree to his recollection -the cork tree reminded him of Cintra-Cintra of Lisbon-Lis. bon of all the kings and queens of Portugal, and his Pegasus, "right glad to miss the lumbering of the wheels' of controversy, gallops along the high road of history, to the conclusion of the first part of
We cannot enter into an examination of this portion of the work, nor venture to give any opinion on the merits of the Alfonzos, Emanuels, Johns, Jozes, and Joachims, who come like shadows and so depart;' because, unhappily, the two great sources of information on which we relied, are, on this topic, entirely at variance. The Argument states these persons to be 'ancient Portugueze worthies;' the notes shew them to be some of the greatest monsters that ever scourged mankind; and as the text is equally irreconcileable with either of these descriptions, we retire from the responsibility of deciding between them.
The second part of this poem has all the beauties of the first, with some which are peculiarly its own. Of the latter, the most striking is that, though it still bears the name of Portugal, it chiefly relates to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: there are, indeed, several patriotic allusions in the first part also, but the second amplifies and repeats them with greater tenderness. Thus, in the former part we read,
Seaward I stretched my view, where to the west,
And, fondly tarrying, pause o'er Britain's isle.' —p. 10. This is so exquisite that we were not surprized that the author's partiality induced him to insert it again in the second part, with slight variations of the expression, but none, we are glad to observe, of the meaning.
* England, my country!--generous, great, and brave,
Catch thy faint accents in the whispering breeze,' &c.-p.75. When the noble author thus imitates himself, we are not to wonder, and still less to lament that he has on several occasions copied with great accuracy and taste several other poets. In a few instances, however, impartiality obliges us to say, that the imitation is rather too close; we doubt whether it was prudent to adopt so exactly from the Vision of Don Roderic, the description of the soldiers of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and to apply to the battle of Busaco precisely the same traits which Mr. Scot had given to the battle of Albuera.
We should be sorry, however, (without offence to any poet,) that Lord George Grenville should resign his individual style, and lose any portion of his originality. Could the study of any model furnish him with more beautiful lines than the following? —
• Call it not false, when faery fingers shed
Their twilight visions o'er the wanderer's head,
Call it not false.'- p. 77. Whence could he copy such delineations of natural objects as the following? The sea in a storm
* Rises, in foamy wrath, his frowning face
red in clouds the Sun of battle rode,
“The dewy Moon a thankless vigil keeps.'-p. 85.
ocean, with affection wild,
Clasps to her heaving breast her favourite child.-p. 81. Sheep or snow it is not clear which) on a mountain;
the mountain's topmost pride,
The fleecy tract that decks its glimmering side.'--p. 5. An army marching through a defile;
they, who burst the wizard spell
Of nature, shrined within her peaceful dell.-P. 58. A ghost appearing;
• But who is he, who from the wide expanse
Of unseen distance moves?'—p. 48. Of passages similar or even superior to these, the store is inexhaustible; one is so characteristically excellent, that we cannot but recommend it to particular attention--it is the description of the morning of the day on which the battle of Busaco was fought.
· The unwilling sun from out his heathy bed,
In tearful moisture raised his shaded head ;
And veiled in purer air his conscious crest.'--p. 55. We do not recollect seeing the sun on the 27th September, 1810; those, however, who were so fortunate as to behold this unwilling, tearful, shaded, giant, bending, gazing, seeking, blushing, veiling and conscious luminary, must have assisted at his levee,
Nil oriturum aliàs, nil ortum tale fatentes. But it is in the part of Portugal' which relates to the United Kingdom, that the peculiarity of the author's manner is most striking, and the feeling which causes it most apparent. Between the husbanding system of his party, and the peninsular policy of their adversaries, he is so unwilling to decide, that we doubt whether he applauds or reprobates the war in Portugal, and is most inclined to hope or to despair of the public fortunes of his country. This moment, he hails Britain as
the loveliest, bravest, best, Cradle of worth, of liberty, and rest,
The last stout bulwark of a tottering world,'--p. 81. the next, he sees her
Weigh’d to the earth,—by countless foes opprest,
pomp her gory ensigns wave,