We shall open our reading with a short poem of eminent beauty, written by a learned friend with whom we have enjoyed many a literary feast. We scarcely know in the whole range of English poetry, and uncommon incident so happily illustrated. —— In the description of a cottage there is much ingenuity and fancy, and it contains a compliment that must have been pleasing to the persons to whom it was addrest. —— In the praise of tea we join most heartily with Van-ta-zhin and consider it as the beverage of the Muses.
We admire the humour and versification of “The Power of Song”, in which the author has successfully imitated Dryden’s ode on “St Cecilia’s Day.” The German Bacchanalian song by Mr Campbell reminds us of the sweet little canzonet of “Dear is my little native Vale” by the author of Pleasures of Memory, and like it, is a beautiful specimen of that style of poetry, which without affecting the brilliancy of wit, the sportiveness of humour, or the tones of passion delights the fancy, by dressing familiar thoughts and sentiments in ruch and flowery diction. We cannot convey our meaning better than by comparing it to the music of Jackson in some of his duets. The verses entitled “Ebors Green,” are a juvenile imitation of “Arno’s Vale,” a little song that delighted the readers of poetry half a century ago.
The dialogue between the Turk and the Englishman, is a very faithful representation of the late theatrical riots, in which the author cannot be accused of exaggeration.
We have lately been amused with many humorous compositions, in ridicule of the lawyers, from what quarter we know not, but we are no enemies to the gown, and so long as such pieces are distinguished by good verse and humour without personality, we shall be glad to receive them. The poem which we shall read this evening called “Westminster Hall, or the First Day of Term,” is very ingenious, but a little too severe. Its wit however atones fro its satiric severity. We think we have seen it before. —— The Mother’s Song is above our praise, and is certainly from a source that has furnished the Attic Chest with some of its sweeter flowers.
To give due praise to the Latin Gerunds would require many more words than the poem itself contains (indeed we have already used more). It is a neat and witty distich.
We shall conclude this evening’s entertainment with a long poem of which we here have the beginning, but where the end is the Pythian priestess or some other oracle, must reveal, for it is above our knowledge and foresight to divine. It talks a deal about the Attic Chest, and expels the deities of ancient days from their Homeric glories, investing them with the sovereignty of the planets and the powers of nature, which probably is doing no more than reinstating them in their original employments. The gods of the heathens, being the powers and metaphysical property of the universe, personified the Muses however as the directress and inciters of mental exertion still retain their offices, and are in this poem sent on some errands (We hope not a fool’s errand) to the sun. Their path through the heavens and their travelling dresses are poetically and characteristically described, and as far as we know, this is the first time that their costume has been delineated. We long to see them come back again, that we may know why they have taken so long a journey, and hope that the author will not leave them in the skies, as Fitz-Pieria left them on this terrestrial globe.
Besides the pieces already noticed we have received some in different hands which appear to relate to matters we are unacquainted with. We shall therefore forbear to read them till we are better informed, not being willing to make the Chest a vehicle for replies or allusions to what did not originate within its inclosure.