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Sir J. Harington's Epigrams and Poems. The author's autograph MS.
laneous collection of materials, with a manuscript inder - A collection of Penny Histories, in 6 volumes - - - Another collection, in five volumes -
Printing. Willett on the origin of Printing, Newc. 1220. Santander on
Ramsay's New Miscellany of Scots Songs, 1727 (presumed 2d. edit.) - 1 7
The Compendion Historiall, translated in manner of pastyme, by Thomas
ley, Countess of Southampton, and Thos. Treacheroy, Somerset Herald 3 1 William Percy's Comedies, Pastorals, and Epigrams; the MS. from which Mr. Lloyd printed two plays for the Roxburghe Club in 1824 - 12 12 Destruction of Jerusalem ; vellum MS. 14th century - - - 12 12 The original Register of the Performances at Covent Garden Theatre from 1750 to 1773, by C. M. Rich - - - - - - - 3 5 Chaucer's Legend of Good Women, a MS. on paper - - - 7 0 A volume of original Contracts between Authors and Publishers - 4 0 A collection of MSS. relating to the Fastolfe family - - - 13 0. Stimulus Conscientiae, by Roll, a vellum MS. 14th century - - 2 5 Portsmouth Theatre account-book, 1771-1774 - - - 5 7 Papers relating to the office of Revels, 16th and 17th century - - 9 15 Wicliffe's New Testament, a fine vellum MS. 14th century - - 43 0. A common-place book of Poetry, collected by Richard Jackson, 1623 - 10 15 Mr. Haslewood's correspondence with his literary friends relative to Ri. Brathwait, and an autograph of the latter - - - - - 4 4 Psalms by Sir Philip Sidney and Mary Countess of Pembroke, differing from the printed copy; a MS. formerly belonging to the Haringtons - 2 9 Paradise of Dainty Devises, 4to. 1585 - - - - - - 4 10 Tracts on the Drama, 28 vols. 8vo. and one 4to - - - - 24 10 Green Room Gossip, by Mr. Haslewood, 1809, prepared for a new edit. 7
2 Watson Taylor's Poems and Plays (privately printed) 1830 - - - 0 13 Watson Taylor's Profligate, a Comedy, (privately printed) 1820 - - 1 12
Walton's Complete Angler, first edition, 1653, 131.5s. ; second edition, 1655, 51.5s. : third edition, 1661, 31.6s. ; the same with new title, 1664, 31.6s. ; fourth edition, 1668, 31. 1s. ; fifth edition, 1676, 31. 15s. ; sixth edition, 1750, 21. 2s. ; first edition by Hawkins, 1760, 31.3s; ; second edition, 1766, 11.11s. 6d. ; Bagster's edit. 1202, illustrated, 5l. 7s.6d. ; his second edition, 1813, illustrated, 4i.; another copy,
illustrated, and including the portrait of Walton by Bovi, 51. 10s. Walton's Lives, 1670, with autograph inscription to Beacham - - 2 4 His Life of Bp. Sanderson, 1678, with corrections by his own hand - O 19 Watson's Collection of Scots Poems, 3 parts, 1706-13, Ritson's copy - 2 13 Plays, Players, and Playhouses: a collection by Mr. Haslewood, in nine
quarto volumes, principally relating to the London theatres - - 20 O
Robinson's Rewards of Wickedness, 1574 (poetry) - - - - 2 lo Ritson's Bibliographia Poetica, interleaved and enlarged - - - 4 4 Spenser's Faerie Queene, 1st. edit. 2 vols. 1790-96 - - - - 3 5
* Among them was the original Signature Paper of the Members of the Middlesex Association, 1745, containing most of the Nobility of the day; and Lord Strafford's last Letter to his Son, dated from the Tower, 11th May 1641, the day before his execution, a beautiful specimen of his parental affection and magnanimity: “Be sure to avoyd as much as you can to enquire after those y' have been sharp in the jugement toward me: And I charge you never to suffer thought of revenge to enter into your
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS. —O—
Life of Burns.
WE cannot persuade ourselves that after Mr. Lockhart's excellent volume of biography, another Life of the Poet of Scotland was wanting; a few notes added to his text, would have given all the additional information that has been collected. It is very disadvantageous to Literature, to multiply books unnecessarily; and persons who wish to become acquainted with the Life and Character of Burns, may now be unable to decide to whose work they ought to have recourse. There is not much that can be found fault with in the present volume. It is easily and not unpleasantly written; but the narrative moves too slowly, the quotations are too numerous, and it is too long, considering the small number of facts which it records. There is very little originality of reflection, or no. velty of research, for such could not well be expected on a subject that had been all but exhausted, and which had been an arena for praise, censure, reflection, criticism, and quotation, for the last forty years. The subject has now we think been bolted to the bran. The poet's character is ascertained, his poetical genius duly estimated, and his defects of temper and of conduct sufficiently canvassed. That he was a singularly eminent man, most richly and nobly endowed by nature, all will own; that his life was unfortunate, too early clouded over, and too prematurely closed, all must also feel with regret. He lived in times unfortunate for him, times of great political excitement and violent party, feeling. He held a place, (small indeed) under a Government the conduct of which on many occasions he disapproved, and whose acts he imprudently censured. The members of that Government considered the safety of the state to be involved in the maintenance of their opinions; and they looked therefore very severely and suspiciously on any one, especially one whom they trusted and fed, who was suspected of opposing them. The misfortune that assailed Burns in
GENT. MAG. Wol. I.
his official capacity, arose from the causes mentioned. His failure as a jarmer was occasioned after all by his incapacity as a practical agriculturalist. He neither selected his farm wisely, nor cultivated it properly. This is quite clear from the present narrative. A neighbouring farmer said, “he had chose his farm as a Poet, not as a farmer;” and another friend accounted for his failure from the carelessness, ignorance, inattention, and extravagance, with which the farm was conducted. Most assuredly less was done for him, than he had a right as a man of genius to ask of a grateful and admiring country. He was neglected : —politics, and the danger of invasion, and the overthrow of the principles of monarchy, and the preservation of the British Constitution,absorbed the entire feelings, and seemed to call forth the undivided energies of all. What Burns might have gained, had he been a staunch Pittite, we cannot say; but he was on the wrong side of the tapestry, and people's blood was then too warm, to separate the poet from the man : So imprudence, and neglect, and the hardships of early poverty never overcome, and passions indulged, and a genius that seemed incompatible with a low, and sordid industry, all united to bring the poor and brokenhearted child of song to his untimely grave. Of his biographies we have now had quite enough; of his own productions, we shall only cease to enjoy the varied treasure, when even poetry can no longer charm us, when our ears shall be deaf even to the voice of singing men and singing women. Mr. Cunningham is himself a poet— and poets when they condescend to write in prose, are sometimes a little misty. We meet at p. 2 with the following sentence: “But like the artist who founds a statue out of old materials, he has to reproduce them in a new shape, touch them with the light of other feeling, and infuse them with fresh spirit and sentiment.” Soon after, there is an unusually strong burst of indignant language that we cannot approve : "The elder Burns 4
was an indifferent judge of land, took an imprudent lease, the season proved adverse, and a stern factor compelled him, as he did not pay his rent, to relinquish the lease.” For this the poet found him a niche in the Twa Dogs. “How easily,” says Mr. C. “may endless infamy be purchased 1" When factors have to do with needy poets, as when booksellers have to do with needy biographers, whose offers to write they are not willing to accept, it may be unfortunate, but not necessarily infamous. At p. 11, Mr. Cunningham says, “There is some truth in the assertion, that in true knowledge the poet was at nineteen a better scholar than nine-tenths of our young gentlemen when they leave school for college.” What he may mean by a scholar in true knowledge, we cannot say. That Burns was no scholar is clear; that he had a great deal of knowledge, such as he miscellaneously gathered up, and brought to the improvement of his mind, to the exercise of his imagination, and the cultivation of his poetical faculties, is equally clear; but as it was chiefly drawn from the perusal of the English poets, it was not necessary to compare it with the results of scholastic, or academic education. Burns was a wiser person, but an inferior scholar, to 99 boys out of a 100 that leave school; for who, with all their advantages of education, could claim to possess his great original talents, his capacious mind, his vigorous intellect, and his fine imagination ? P. 29. “ It was not without reason that Murray, the oriental scholar, declared that the English of Milton was less easy to learn than the Latin of Virgil.” We wish Professor Murray joy of his discovery, and Mr. Cunningham of his credulity. How far Mr. Murray understood Milton we cannot say; but if he found Virgil easy, and his Latinity facile to his comprehension, we cordially wish that he had deigned to be his commentator, for the use of those less learned than himself. Dr. Parr we know would not quite have agreed with the northern Professor. “Waller's praise,” says Mr. C. “made Sacharissa smile (where is that said 2), and smile only; and another lady of equal beauty saw in Lord Byron a pale-faced Lord, lame of a
foot; and married a man who could leap a five-barred gate!” Now, as Miss Chaworth married Mr. Musters, and as Mr. Musters is still alive, we think this insult might have been spared, especially as she secured to herself a most happy marriage, and a most estimable husband, which she possibly might not have possessed with the noble poet. P. 48. Mr. C. calls “Thomson and Young poets of the highest order, and of polished elegance.” We must take leave to differ entirely as to their right to either claim. They are eminent poets, but neither of the highest order; neither have they any peculiar pretensions to polished elegance. At p. 59, we meet with a passage which, to say the truth, we either do not understand, or understanding we do not assent to. “It is humiliating to think that works which Burns seemed willingly to forget, brought him first into notice; some of the most exquisite lyrics ever said or sung, failed to do for him what the Holy Tuilzie, and the Kirk's Alarm, accom. plished at once; and there can be no question that “Holy Willie’s Prayer.' and the Epistle to Goodie,” prepared the minds of the people around him for admiring his Hallow e'en, and his Cotter's Saturday Night. In truth, poetry, which only embodies sentiments and feelings common to our nature, cannot compete in the race of immediate fame with verse appealing to our passions and our prejudices, and glowing with the heat of a passing dispute. Time settles and explains aii. The true Florimel is found to be of delicate flesh and blood, and breathing of loveliness and attraction, and adorn. ed by nature; while the false Duenna is discovered to be a thing of shreds and patches, with jewels of glass, and an artificial complexion. Nature and Truth finally triumph, and to Nature and Truth Burns finally returned. He left the agitated puddles of mysticism, to drink at the pure springs with the Muse of love and joy and patriotism.” Now it does not follow, (begging Mr. Cunningham’s pardon) that because a subject is of a Passing nature, that the poem which describes it must be passing too. Wit, and humour, and satire, and raillery, and invective, may be as imperishable and durable, as descriptions of milder feelings or declarations of more common sentiments. The wit of Aristophanes, which ridiculed the mysticism of the Athenians, is as permanent as the pathos of Euripides; Lucian lives by the side of Plato; Hu. dibras is on the same shelf with Milton; Don Quixote with Sydney's Arcadia; Gulliver's Travels with Telemachus; and the Rape of the Lock with Thomson's Seasons. Certainly “Time settles,” if it does not “erplain all !” but his decision is, not that true wit and humour, and the rich vein of ridicule and raillery, is to wither and die, because nature and truth prevail; but that, if unduly elevated by temporary circumstances, they fall back to their proper station, but being founded on nature and truth, as well as sentiments and feelings of different kinds, they continue to delight and [... with their original power. it and humour are employed in castigating the pride, laughing at the folly, and censuring the passions of men; but as this pride and those passions are ever the same, modified only by times and circumstances, and disappearing only to come back with fresh dresses and new marks, the wit originally launched at them, if genuine and true, never loses its primitive weight and lustre. The wit of Aristophanes and Lucian is still fresh and brilliant, and the dew of Hymothus is still on it. Moliere still makes us laugh, though those who sat for their portraits have long since disappeared from the stage of life and being. We cannot admire the style of expression which the biographer uses with regard to the native talent with which his poet was endowed. “He had too little tolerance for the stately weak and the learnedly dull, and holding the patent of his own honours immediately from God, he could scarcely be brought to pay homage to honours arising from humbler sources.” We wonder why learning in these pages is so constantly the theme of censure, or contempt. Are learning and dullness necessarily connected are they often found united 2 or on the other hand, is not learning in general the best remedy against dullness? Witness the Professors Stewart, Robertson, and
- Blair, . those sons of Boeotia, whom
Burns and his biographer abhor.
We must now conclude, and though we have given commendation to the work; we still feel at liberty to point out its blemishes, and to censure when the style of composition is not to our taste. Under this opinion will fall the expression of the following sentence: “His look changed, his eye became milder, all that was stern or contradictory in his nature vanished, when he heard the rustle of approaching silks ; charmed himself by beauty, he charmed beauty in his turn. In large companies the loveliness of the North formed a circle round where he sat; and with the feathers of Duchesses and Ladies of high degree fanning his brow, he was all gentleness and attention.” A person who writes in this fashion, may well despise the chastened taste of Stewart, and theinflexible correctness of Blair.
Oaths: their Origin, Nature, and History. By James Endell Tyler, B.D. Lond. 8vo. 1834.
THIS treatise has been written with the view of stimulating the legislature in its pending investigation upon the subject of Oaths. It may be divided into three parts. The first part contains inquiries into the Scriptural lawfulness of Oaths, the manner in which they are administered in England, and the changes which are thought advisable; in the second part, the author examines the forms of ancient and modern Oaths; and, in the third part, treats of perjury, and the various punishments inflicted, in different nations and ages, upon the perjurer. The effect and interest of the volume are very much lessened by an improper arrangement of the first and second parts. In the first part, the reader is drawn onwards to the conclusions at which the author is desirous he should arrive; and in the second part he is sent back again, to trace the
forms and history of Oaths, from the
time when Abraham ‘lift up his hand to the Lord,” down to the latest Old Bailey profanation. This arrangement was adopted by the author designedly, and in order that the questions investigated in the first part might not be thrown into the back-ground. The intention was good, but the effect will be, that most readers will stop short at the conclusion of the first part; few