The extraordinary severity of the frost appears to have congealed the intellects of all our ingenious correspondents, save Mr. Fitz-Pieria, whose fire defies the rigours of winter, and burns clearly even amid the turbid waters of a thaw. We anticipate the pleasure which our hearers will receive from a continuation of The Muses Vagaries which promised to afford amusement for several evenings to come and we flatter ourselves that as often as we open the Attic Chest the Nine Ladies will be apparent in the fruits of it, although their sensible forms are not made visible to our unhallowed eyes. We think that Fitz-Pieria is rather too hard upon our friend of travelling notoriety, who has collected and delivered, in pleasing language, much information of a minor and local nature, which his readers would not easily collect for themselves and would look for in vain in the works of grave historians, and sober philosophers, intermixed with matter of a superior nature that would not be disgraceful to either. The shafts of ridicule are frequently keenly pointed by witty malice and when justice does not direct their flight. The unhappy object is destroyed if candour does not interpose her celestial shield. On all occasions we would say to the satirist
“Laugh where you must, be candid where you can.”
The Sonnet to a Nightingale is a pleasing composition, though somewhat defective in perspicacity, a quality that is essential to compositions of every kind and we regret that its conclusion is also defective in what the critics of late years have denominated a complete impressive epigrammatic point. This in sonnets, and other poems, which consist of little more than the amplification and embellishment of a single thought can never be dispensed with, though in larger poems a single termination is to be preferred to the affectation of a pointed sentence. Homer concludes his Iliad with
“Such burial the illustrious Hector found.”
and Milton dismisses our first parents from paradise with this pathetic observation
“Some tears they shed, but wiped them soon
“The world was all before them, where to choose
“Their resting place, and Providence their guide.”
The ode to St. Andrew, which has the Signature of I. Bowen, 1792, breathes that spirit of piety and poetry, which the venerable pile in which it was written would naturally awaken in a mind susceptible of congenial impressions. We cannot give it greater praise. — We are uncertain whether it has appeared in print or not.
The verses “To a Lady, who sung with taste and feeling but with a feeble voice” is equally excellent and bespeaks a mind of elegant feelings in the genuine well spring of poetry.
Of the Birthday Verses, we have nothing to add to what we said of them last week, namely that they would not be the worse if they were mended, and that if they had been shorter, our auditors might have thought them long enough.
We withheld them at our last meeting.
The sprightly humour of Fitz-Pieria appear’d to give so much delight that we were unwilling to diminish it by a subject so dull and unprofitable.