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Not one who claims, though but in half-formed voice, .
That seals Koöma’s doom : right yields to power.
That sheltered smiled, droops shivering in the breeze.' p. 64. The simile of the snakes is highly picturesque. . That which is contained in the closing lines is not very accurate, inasmuch as the trees that are left, when a copse is felled, are not the aged, but the young and thriving.
We should quote the following excellent passage, if only for the last line. It describes the conveyance of captives in a boat to the slave ship.
• Quick plunge the oars : fleetly to eyes unused
Like vulture's wings above the trembling lamb.' p. 65. In the introductory lines of the second part, Mr. G. addresses the ear as successfully as the eye. i · Heave, heave the anchor, on your handspikes rise !
Ye yea resounds amid the buzz confused
Ascending from the hold with groans and shrieks.....
The floating herse nods onward o'er the waves.' p. 67. The horrible situation of the slaves, when the weather renders it necessary to fasten down the hatches, is inost forcibly described. : -The coffined captives pant
For air ; and in their various languages
In fearful grin, and makes death lovely seem.'... .. There is a want of congruity, in making convulsion gnaw his own arm, while trismus torments his victim ; and of perspicuity, in the expression makes death lovely seem', which, though true in the sense of rendering death itself desirable to the sufferer, is very much the reverse in the more obvious sense of rendering that particular form of death pleasing to the beholder.
The passage proceeds thus: in the first line, perhaps, a fastidious rhetorician would carp at an anticlimar.
One endless day, one night that seemed a year,
Dim through the cloud that to the topmast steams.' We certainly need not repeat the admiration we have more than once expressed, for Mr. Grahame's talent of description. The passages we have already cited contain several minute strokes of nature, which few other artists would have thought to introduce, but which have a very powerful effect in enabling the mind to realize the scene depicted. The description of a calm is far from being the worst in the poem.
• For now the sails hàng heavy on the breeze; The lambent waves rise gently on the prow;
His bulk the following sluth-hound of the deep
Seven days and nights the deep a mirror lay
The sinking corpse, that finds a living grave.' pp. 75, 77. As the first part of this poem narrates the capture and purchase of the, negroes, and the second the passage, the third brieflv describes the miseries and toils they suffer in the West Indies. The following passage in this book, though it begins rather humbly, is intitled to notice, for the fine allusion with which it terminates.
And is it for a system such as this
The bondman's dwelling passes o’er untouched ! p. 83. In the fourth part, our poet concisely celebrates the abolition, and anticipates the moral emancipation which may be effected for the negroes by the diffusion of religious truth and European knowledge.
Already I behold the wicker dome
In deep attention fixed, all but that child
In reverence profound, his little hand.' p. 87. Several instances have been given of Mr. Grabame's suc. cess in employing the simile. We will only add the following, which appears to us particularly happy, though it may be thought to border on a conceit. It refers to the dying saint,'
o Whose hymning voice of joy is fainter heard, And fainter still, like the ascending lark,
As nearer heaven he draws? · It was our intention to point out the faults of this poem at greater length, than we now feel inclined. One of the principal is, as we have alreally observed, the slovenly, dull, untuneable passages, in the versification, which, instead of embellishing or enforcing the sentiment, enfeeble it. Allied to this, is the admission of certain lines of irregular length. There are also several layers of mere prose intruded in different parts of the composition.
• But small the sum of evil that results
Of Him, whose law was peace.' We are confident that, if fifty lines of this description were to be read aloud to an English audience, they would fall as fast asleep as if they were at church. The following passage is as bad"; and the wonderments render it a more nauseous dose, though perhaps less soporific,
Murdered ! yes, foully murdered, is each one
That gain and custom sanction every crime.' p. 76.
The intellectual powers 'emancipate .
To men who pace the round of polished life.' p. 89.
• Or, if direct attempts should not be made [to revive the trade)
May not connivance, &c. · We are ready, however, to admit, as a partial excuse for these prosings, that it is scarcely possible to give a poetical turn to the enunciation of abstract truth in blank verse. It is a task which challenged, and, we musť frankly own, not unfrequently foiled, even the unrivalled abilities of Cowper. It is only the measure and music of rhyme, that can animate the march of poetry over the dreary wastes of moral disquisition..
We think it can require no argument to establish Mr. Grahame's pretensions to at least as much popularity as he has acquired, on the ground of his peculiar talent for description. Of his success in the pathetic we do not think very highly, except so far as the singular vivacity of his descriptions excites emotions in the reader's mind, which, supposing they are felt, are not sympathetically communicated, by his own. He paints to the eye; and a Hebrew poet has told us, the eye affects the heart.' But if he fails to kindle the affections by a glow of sentiment, and delight the ear by the harmony of his numbers, it must be admitted that he produces occasionally a more. perfect illusion of the fancy than any of his contemporaries; we might venture to say, perhaps, – than any poet his country. can boast. We shall soon have. the pleasure of introducing him again to the notice of our readers, as author of British. Georgics.
The remaining poem, if we are rightly informed, is the production of a lady. This, we think, should render us rather sparing, than lavish of our praise. The fạir author would despise, and the public disallow our decision, if they supposed we had awarded it to her sex instead of her poem. What has been said of mercy, is true of almost every virtue; it is "twice blest.” Of flattery, as of many other vices, we might say the reverse : and as we are not disposed to take any shame to ourselves on Miss Benger's account, or bring her real merits into discredit on ours, we shall be cautious not to entwine a single leaf too much, in the wreath which our office requires us to bestow upon her. In fact, there are several short passages in her poem, and a few long ones, that are by no means unworthy of a place in this splendid publication. . · The principal fault we have to find is, that the language seems to have been too often the first consideration, and the thought only the second. This we have been led to suspect, in some degree, by the number of second lines, in different parts of the poem, which appear to have been added to com. plete the couplet, and to have been suggested by the rhyme. We could not read even the first paragraph, without being forced to entertain this suspicion: it is addressed to Granville Sharp.