At our last meeting the demon of despondency overshadowed our repository and filled us with apprehensions that the conclusion of the season would not equal what the flourishing commencement had promised. We however this evening shall sing another song for the angel of abundance has showered down his treasures and we again are enlivened with the hope that the birthday will not pass without its usual honours. Such are the operations of chance and change, the constant theme of moralists and poets — hopes and fears, delight and sorrow, form the tissue of human life, and give it variety and interest. The calm of uninterrupted happiness would unnerve the soul and sink it into listless indolence. The oak attains its superior hardihood more by struggling with the storm than by the influence of showers and sunshine.
On the vicissitudes of life our correspondents have founded some very pleasing poems. One of them seems to have been suggested by Beattie’s Hermit, and like that composition is poetical and pious. It is also written like that poem in the English Anapaestic measure which seems by its airy movement to be more fitted to sprightly than pathetic subjects, yet in our nameless poem (yet more especially in the Hermit) the sentiment overpowers the levity of the verse.
The Captive Lover’s Epistle to His Mistress is an amorous complaint of chance and change which we think eminently beautiful. The lines
While thus I passed each careless hour
Blythe o’er the mead and in the bower
I found the sweetest fairest flower
That flower was love
reminds us of a stanza “of a popular Chinese song” thus literally translated in one of our reviews
How delightful this fresh flower
One day morning found in my house
Being mine I wear it not out of doors
But keep fresh flower and am constant
This the reviewer pronounces sad stuff; but to us it is a sweet sentiment dressed in the luxuriant imagery of Persian or more properly Eastern amatory poetry and dull must have been the critic that could debase it by such a translation. We trust our correspondents will do it justice and make the critic sensible of its beauty if his leaden heart is capable of sensibility.
The comparison between days of yore and modern times is not intended to be to the advantage of the latter; but the author must not imagine that in the days of chivalry ladies were not under the dominion of vanity though it might not always have dress and finery for its object. Dress and rank, and riches had then perhaps as much influence as at present, but in those giant-killing times, if they chanced to be united in the person of a Rhoderick Dhu the hero carried all before him. In spite of the gentlemanly chivalry of a Fitz-James this little jeu d’esprit is well versified and the points of comparison well preserved.
We think highly of the verses address’d “To a Lady on the Palpitation of Her Heart”, the composition of a stranger who in future year will perhaps further enrich our repository. His heaven is finely imagined. It is all that yields delight on Earth to the good and wise. Etherealized is a word that is new to us and as beautiful as new.
The whimsical History of Alamon Tippeny must not be passed over with a note of approbation only. It is an instructive exhibition of the ill consequences of an eager desire for riches and splendour in weak minds and of the happiness which mortal man may find in every situation if he will limit his wishes to his actual wants. The desire of wealth, of power, of praise, of distinction, are however among the machinery which heaven employs to put mankind in motion and lift our nature above the Earth we tread on. When inspired by religion and virtue & directed by intellectual energy they lead to all that is noble and sublime, to honour and glory. In the vicious and the weak these desire terminate in disgrace and misery.
Our readers will share with us the pleasure we feel in announcing that the charming poem called the Sylphiad approaches its close. The 5th Canto will be read this evening and another canto is to complete it. We therefore hope before the season is over to know by what means the fair Maria had been delivered from her subterranean spouse & restored to love and Henry. We see she is released but as her slender form testifies that her sufferings have been great, we feel too much interest in her adventures to be answer’d with “No matter how”. We cannot flatter ourselves with the same satisfaction from the author of the Restoration. He has got so many ladies on his hands and so many veils to recover that it is not impossible but all of them may be married and bless their knights with a score of smiling cherubs before their adventures are concluded. However we do not despair
“Hope travels through nor quits us when we die.”