We shall open our readings this evening with a pleasing poem addressed to May lamenting the chill and sickly aspect of this patroness of vernal fragrance and beauty; and containing in the allusion to Emilia and her lovers an elegant compliment to the ladies and warriors of Britain. The seventh of May has long been a favourite subject with the poets, but, alas, the May of England is frequently cold and dreary and much unlike that sprightly season which Chaucer tells us “leads the jolly months along.” The old bard having warmed his imagination with the genial May of Italy, painted rather from fancy than nature, and his successors have sung the same air with variations from his days to the present. There is in all likelihood however some difference between the May of Chaucer’s days and ours occasioned by the alternation of the style, great changes taking place in the course of eleven days at a season when all the elements of nature are in motion. But notwithstanding this we are of opinion that if the first picture had been taken from the May of our climate she would probably have appeared as a sober damsel in a bonnet and pelisse carrying an umbrella, rather than as a frolic nymph, in a robe of transparent lawn with wreathes of flowers encircling her golden tresses, yet so charming is the classic picture that we do not wish to see it given up for our native May.
The “Description of a River, a Translation”, we believe from the German, and by the same hand which favoured us with “Cupid as a Painter” is highly poetical, and has all that glow of diction which distinguishes the poem we alluded to in our observation on May. We shall be glad to see it in regular verse by the same hand as honoured us with a versification of “Cupid as a Painter”.
Mira’s Despair displays a poetical imagination and does credit to the poet, young as we suppose him to be, but we must beg leave to observe that there are many odes and elegies describing young ladies walking out by the seaside in a storm, to bewail their absent lovers, and then throwing themselves headlong into the ocean. This kind of catastrophe might have been striking the first time it was mentioned, but now by frequent use it has lost its effect. We recommend to the attention of the author the beautiful simplicity with which one of Gay’s poems of a similar character is terminated:
Then like a lily drooping,
She bowed her head and died.
The Epitaph on the Duke of Hamilton deserves the approbation of our readers both for its moral and poetical beauty. Tho’ the poem entitled Graeme of Balgowan has appeared in a public paper, we shall read it this evening for the gratification of such of our Society as may not have seen this tribute to the hero of Barrosa. “Most haste, worst speed” is a true story naturally told, and may be perused with advantage by all young ladies in, and out of the nursery.
We make our profoundest bow to Sir John Carr, for his admirable dream in which he, as we suppose, is quizzing some of our most valuable members. His dream has the spirit of an original picture and we hope he will frequently indulge us with such visions. The Verses by the fair Maria we suppose were written in the castle where she was left when Albruno carried off Henricus to his subterranean dungeon. How the gallant knight will be able to perform what she so ardently expects is at present out of our power to conjecture but the information we derive from the Restoration gives us reason to hope for a favourable termination of her misfortunes. Of the Restoration we have received another Canto, but as we think it will have more effect when the story is farther advanced, we shall defer the reading of it, and substitute for this evening’s amusement the 3 first canto of the Sylphiad which has been so long laid aside that we fear the poem is nearly forgotten.