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satisfaction; but the nation which mourns over its sufferings, without the power to redress its wrongs, which faintly struggles in an interval of hope against that op. pression which would impose a permanent despair, must eventually give rise to a romance of incident, to a boldness of character, and a vicissitude of event, which bestows on the wildest fiction of the novelist the sanction of probability and the autho. rity of fact.
Miss Owenson remarks, and the circumstance assuredly is of a very striking nature, that in these lat- ages of the world, “ it was reserved for the rude descendants of those barbarous Scythians, looked on by the ancient Greeks with such profound contempt, to arouse their descendants from the gloomy dream of their long endured captuity." " The Russians determined on ravishing the classick isles of the Egean and the continent of Greece from the Porte', and, as they asserted, of restoring the republicks of Solon and Lycurgus."
They, indeeil, found no difficulty in inspiriting the Greeks in defcnce' of their natural rights, and for the recorery of their ancient liberties. The same love of frec. dom, the same vivacity of feeling, and ardour of enthusiasm, was found among many of the oppressed descendants of the heroes of Marathon and Platea as distinguis!ied their immortal ancestors; and, when their eager eyes beheld the Russian fleet dou. bling cape Matapan, the Arcipelago thought itseif free. A beam of their ancient glory seemed to shine on the brow, and warm the heart of the Greek patriot; but the bean, thongh bright, was illusory; and, like tlie funt, dissolving lustre of an autumnal iris, it died away in clouds and storms. Deserted by their allies, subdued by their tyrants, the patriots of Greece were only rescued from national slavery by the victorious sabres of those who imposed it. Thousands were massacred; and it was a point in debate in the Ottoman council, whether tlic whole race should not be Exterminated.
It is on historick documents, such as these, that I have ventured to depict incidents of heroism and sentiments of patriotism, as still existing among the Greeks. And that I have supposed, to use their own touching and pathetick words: “ That in Greece is still to be found a people glowing with the love of freedom, whom the iron yoke of barbarism has not quite degraded, and who have constantly before their eres the images of their heroes, by whose example their warriours are still to be animated."
From these materials, joined with some of the more ordinary ingredients of romance, the readers of The Wild Irish Girl will easily conceive ihat such powers as are possessed by this author cannot fail to have produced a most affecting story. They will, however, possibly suspect (as we also have imagined) that the leading characters of the two groups, and the methods of grouping them, bear considerable resemblance to each other; that the two heroes are essentially the same; that ihe uncle of Ida is in many points loo nearly identified with the Irish chieftain ; and that the Archondessa is only the princess of Inismore with a new title and a more highly cultivated mind. They will also perceive a secret assimilation constantly made between the fallen state of Athens, and the degraded inferiority of our sister kingdom; and they will lament that the wise and just political doctrines of liberty and toleration, which should be taught only with a weight and an dignity.corresponding to their importance, are fruitlessly thrown away in impeding the progress of a novel.
The story, on the whole, is excellent, but it is not very skilfully related. The first volume ought to have been the third ; and the incidents contained in it might have been much compressed. A very bad effect is produced by going back from the departure of the Englishman to the far more interesting events of Osmyn's love and rebellion, which appear tedious from our knowledge that they are nearly two years old at the time of our first introduction to the characters. When Ida is in England, she loses some dignity
See the memorial of the patriot Greeks, in the life of Catherine of Russia.
of character by the thoughtless volatility with which she mingles in the gay scenes of the world ; the second uncle is brought on the stage rather too abruptly ; while his strange and unexpected discovery of his niece, and his equally sudden disappearance afterward, impart to her newly acquired wealth the character of a fairy gift, the accumulation of a golden shower, or the produce of Fortunatus's wishing cap. We would also bint to this lady, as well as to many of her fellow labourers in the same species of writing, - that romance has lately been somewhat too familiar with hard hearted landlords, bailiffs, and pawnbrokers. The example of Fielding's Amelia is 10 justification, because the nature of her character and history made the circumstance unavoidable.
To the language of these volumes we must offer the same objections which have occurred to us in examining Miss Owenson's former productions; and we are the more anxious to deter her, by our friendly warning, from the dangers of extravagance and affectation, because she is naturally endowed with great sensibility to the charms of style, and displays, in general, a vigorous and lively, though unchastised, eloquence. A very extraor. dinary fact is mentioned with regard to the author's velocity of composition.
I have already written almost as many volumes as I have [lived] years.* I have been necessitated to compose with great rapidity, and my little works have been always printed (from an illegible MS.) in one country while their author was the resident of another.1
This hasty execution is not absurdly vaunted as furnishing a claim to applause, but is modestly stated in order to account for inaccuracies. It is, however, an inadmissible plea. Every writer may justly unite two objects, present popularity, and permanent reputation. Though it is 100 common io sacrifice the latter to the former, it is perfectly clear that even the former will be soon destroyed by an excessive anxiety to secure it, when the publick find that advantage is taken of their indulgence to deluge them with crude and careless compositions. Why, however, will not the fair author condescend to write a legible hand? and why may she not so arrange her visits to England, as to be present while her compositions pass under the printer's hands? Some of the strange phrases which swarm in these pages may perhaps be referable to such omissions. But they, like the neglect which produced them, are still chargeable on the author. Such is the mis. spelling of Anadyomene; the apparent (for transparent) tissue of woven gir;" sensurous for sensuous, &c. but it often happens, as in these two latter mis. takes, that the word intended is almost as bad as the word erroneously employed; and if we were told that the author, speaking of delicate limbs,
did not mean to say that their “extremities were rosed with flowing," but with glowing “hues,” we should convict her, on her own confession, of
meaning to use an expression which is alien to the English tongue. Why disfigure and overload our copious language with " are spondent," "a comminglement, ," "to retribute," “ to obliviate," and other words equally unnecessary, ungraceful, and unclassical? It is an important, though perhaps
* The “Wild Irish Girl” was written in six weeks; the “Sketches" in one;
and “Woman,” though I had long revolved its plan and sendency in my mind, and frequently mentioned it in society, was not begun until the 20th of last July. It was written at intervals, in England, Wales, and Ireland, and almost always in the midst of what is called the world. It was finished on the 18th of October, and is now printed from the first copri
It is a fact that can be attested by my publishers, that I never corrected a proof sheet of any one of my works, nor ever resided in England during their printing or publication.
an ungallant and rather a pedantick admonition to female writers, to tell them that words derived from the learned languages are edge tools, and cannot safely be handled by the unskilful. Any attempt to alter them may betray these fair adventurers, when not extremely well versed in their ori. gin and in the principles on which they are compounded, into mere nonsense, or perhaps into downright contradiction. To be perfectly versed in the powers and the delicacies of their native tongue is no mean esercise of the faculties; it is a much safer ambition, and not a less honourable praise.
FROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW
Leontinc de Blondheim, &c. By Augustus Von Kotzbue. Translated (into French)
from the German, with Notes, by H. L. C. 3 vols. 12mo. London. 1808.
THOUGH we had assisted in the mournful ceremony of conducting Clara d'Albe to the peaceful tomb, we were frequently tempted to believe, while perusing the pages of M. Kotzbue's novel, that we had again encountered that lovely heroine, under the name of Leontine de Blondheim, transplanted to the sombre forests of Esthonia from the fertile and sunny plains of Touraine. Both are married at an early age, to men much older than themselves, in deference to paternal authority ; both are disappointed in their matrimonial prospects, and feel that vacuity of mind which leaves ample room for the impressions of unlawful love ; to both, an amiable and interesting admirer presents himself, and virtue and happiness are endangered by seductive opportunity. The melancholy fate of the ardent French beauty is already known to our readers : but the Russian lady is saved at one time by her own prudence, and at another by a very seasonable heureusement. We have resolved, however, not to attempt any analysis of this story, which is too coinplicated, and too replete with incidents, to be sus. ceptible of abridgment within our limits. It will suffice to observe, that the outline is much more ably filled up than in the parallel novel to which we have alluded; and that the state of Leontine's affections is, on the whole, very naturally traced and explained on consistent principles. Some strange sentiments, some coarse reasonings, and some whimsical refinements of feeling, do indeed occasionally appear, after the usual manner of German tragi-comedy; and a circumstance is introduced of the most revolting nature, and wholly unnecessary to the conduct of the story, of which it infects all the parts and poisons the conclusion. The reader must make an effort to forget this disgusting ingredient, before he can allow himself to be pleased by the otherwise attractive materials which are provided for his entertainment.
We propose here to exhibit this versatile author in a point of view in which he has not been often seen. His plays, his romances, his sentimental journies, and the childish biography of his early youth, have invested him with a notoriety which, if not absolutely discreditable to him, has always bordered on the ridiculous. The letter which we now translate will prove him to be capable of fulfilling, with sobriety and discrimination, the important duties of a moral instructer. The occasion of writing it appears sufficiently on the face of it. An aged clergyman addresses to his beloved pupil the advice which his situation and opinions appear to require.
You give me pain, my young friend. Your letters had already made me suspect what is confirmed by those of a respectable man who lives at Revel, and is much attached to you. You have not a good reputation; and, which is worse, you do
not appear to regret it; doubtless because you believe that your beneficent innovations* and your noble ideas have drawn that misfortune upon you. Do not deceive yourself: in this world, good people are sometimes ridiculed, but seldom are hated. I think I can perceive the cause of the hatred which you have incurred, in the incli. nation to satire which I have, from your earliest youth, vainly combated. You cannot hear any thing either false or absurd, without immediately exposing it, and always with a degree of bitterness. Already this unfortunate fault has frequently endangered your life ; yet, the moment afterward, you again indulge it with as much freedom as before.
Allow your old master once more to enjoy his ancient privileges; allow him to recall to you a proverb which says, that the world rather pardons al bad action than a good joke (bon mot). Suffer fools to pursue their course with impunity, as you let a drunken man pass you in the street without even a thought of diverting yourself at his expense.
If an epigram could do any good, if you could say, I sacrifice myself to make others better-But no, on the contrary you do but irritate them. Fools as they were, you change them at once into obstinate and vindictive fools, and your recompense is a bad name.
I hear you answer: “What does that signify to me? I act well; and if I am ill treated, so much the worse for those who misunderstand me. I speak and act accord. ing to my own conviction "
My young friend, this is not enough. A bad character, eren when undeserved, is always a great evil. Certain moralists pretend, it is true, that virtue ought to suffice for itself, without even caring about all that surrounds it. Such maxims belong to inexperience or selfishness. Such virtue is fit only for the deserts of the Thebaid.
Are you really better than other men ? then make virtue amiable by your example, though it should cost you the sacrifice of a few bon mots, and some lively and inge. nious sayings. The esteem of your fellow citizens,—the confidence of the unfortu. nate,-the friendship, in a word, of a multitude of persons who dread wit only when it is not joined to goodness—these will be your reward.
But you will say to me"I am young and rich, and I find resources enough in myself, to dispense with other men : why then should I submit to them » Ah! dear Maurice (permit me still to call you by that name which preserves to me the rights of a father over you) no man, however powerful, can say on this earth, that he does not stand in need of other men ; and on how many occasions may the judgment of the world be afflicting in its consequences! Stop at the first exaniple which offers: suppose for a moment that mademoiselle de Blondheim bad not been to you an object of indifference; suppose that you had perceived in her the woman destined to form the happiness of your life; and that you had owed to your bad reputation alone the refusal which your mother has received. Consider now, what influence that reputa. tion, of which you seem to think so slightly, might have on the whole remaining part of your life.
I should be fearful of offending you, if I endeavoured to justify this letter. Mau. rice know's my paternal tenderness towards him. He forms, with my daughter, all that I hold most dear and love best in the world. I must, then, bě permitted in speak to him with frankness, when I tremble for his happiness.
His young friend stands forward in defence of his own opinions, and displays much spirit, ingenuity, and good sense : but all the distresses which afterward persecute him result from the neglect of his reputation. The whole correspondence between these two friends, in the unimpassioned parts of the work, abounds with just observation. We select but one remark more.
O my friends, what a fault is committed in the education of men! Who even thinks of teaching them, in childhood, to distrust their first judgments? Yet tell me what it is that determines their first impressions. Here, it is a face that displeases us : there, it is a little awkwardness of 'manner, perhaps only a dress which is not quite fashionably cut; we have heard something to the disadvantage of one, and judge by what we hear; another drops a word in opposition to our ideas, and because his opi
• Wallerstein, to whom this letter is addressed, had enfranchised all his vassals We are happy to find, in a note by the translator, that all the nobles of Esthonia and Livonia have lately concurred in the same measure. Red.
nions are not ours, we deem him more wicked than ourselves; for it is thus that men think-their own course is alone right, their own understanding is alone correct, their own reason is alone infallible; and all of us, like the tyrant of antiquity, have our bed of iron, to which every man must conform, on pain of being mutilated.
Notwithstanding the many faults of Kotzbue, few authors have been gifted with a more powerful talent of affecting the feelings by minute traits, and sudden turns of reflection. The regret of Leontine, a girl scarcely fifteen years old, when she leaves the protection of her indulgent father, with a husband to whom she feels no strong attachment, and her childish exulta. Lion at the idea of entertaining that beloved father as a guest in her family, are here represented with a degree of delicate pathos which rivals the pen. cil of Mackenzie. Her faded appearance, also, after three years of unhappy marriage, is contrasted with the rosy health and lively naïveté, with which she had before graced the gay circles of youth, fashion, and beauty, in a manner exquisitely touching. In truth, it would be scarcely too much to assert that Kotzbue is deficient in none of the requisites for forming a novelist of the highest order, except good taste ;-but to the production of a complete and lasting effect, how fatal is that single deficiency!
FROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW.
The Life of the Right Honourable Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson, K. B. Vice Admiral
of the White Squadron of his Majesty's Fleet, Duke of Bronte in farther Sicily, &c. &c. &c. By Mr. Harrison, 8vo. 2 Vols. 11. 38. Boards.
ENTHUSIASM in the service of his country, and for the honour of his profession, was the distinguishing and paramount feeling of Nelson. In the pursuit of this object no danger terrified him, no obstacle deterred him, no consequence restrained him. Life was desirable only as it tended to this duty, and death was welcome if occurring in the discharge of it. All the particulars here recorded, concerning his command while protecting the two Sicilies. Malta, &c. eminently illustrate and confirm this truth, and afford, perhaps, an unparalleled display of exertion and anxiety. “Is his Majesty's service," said he, "to stand still for an instant ?” Few constitutions, we believe, could long support such a mind as he possessed, and such fatigues as the incessant workings of that mind created; his bodily frame certainly was too weak for the task, and suffered severely from the effects of it.
That he considered the cause, moreover, in which he was engaged, to be just, and that he deemed the views of his government to be laudable, must be argued from a remarkable passage in a letter to lord Minto : “My conduct, as yourës, is to go straight and upright. Such is, thank God, the present plan of Great Britain ; at least, as far as I know : for, if I thought otherwise, I should not be so faithful a servant to my country, as I know I am at present."
A degree of irritation, and the most acute feeling, naturally attended a temperament of this kind ; and we discover repeated instances of those sensations in his expressions respecting sir Sidney Smith, whose appointment in the Levant seemed to interfere with his own command, as well as respecting his treatment by the Admiralty on various occasions, and on being superseded by a senior officer. The excess of his exertions, the unfortunate issue of the contest, and his disappointments, call from him the observation, in a letter to lord Spencer,“ you will see a broken-hearted man. My spirit cannot submit, patiently.",
Vanity was undoubtedly another leading feature in his character, and perhaps as inseparable from it as irritation. In a letter to lady Nelson, on