« AnteriorContinuar »
I sit me down and think
That I had less to praise.
Thy thanks to all that aid,
Of fancied faults afraid;
The little trembling hand
Dread memories for years.
I will not think of now,
Have wasted with dry brow;
But when thy fingers press
The tears are in their bed.
When life and hope were new,
Thy sister, father too:
My light, where'er I go,
My bird when prison-bound,
My prayers shall hold thee round.
"His voice—his face—is gone,"
Yet feel we must bear on,—
Oh! I could not endure
That it will not be so.
This silence too the while—
Seem whispering us a smile—
Something divine and dim
Who say—we've finished here.'—p. xlvii.
We will not spoil the effect of these pleasing stanzas by any verbal criticism, but we may be allowed without offence to hint
to to Mr. Hunt, that he might have found the ' unattractive creed' a very consoling one under the sorrows and apprehensions which gave rise to the poem; and therefore, for the sake of others who may be visited in the same way if not for his own, he should hesitate before he lifts up his voice to undermine its influence.
But what shall we say of the next poem, addressed to J. Hunt four years old?—surely this must have been a real effusion for the nursery, and have crept into the volume by accident. 'Ah, little ranting Johnny,
For ever blithe, and bonny,
And singing nonny, nonny,
With hat just thrown upon ye—
Ah Jack, ah Gianni mio,
As blithe as laughing Trio.
Sir Richard too, you rattler,
So christened from the Tatler,
My Bacchus in his glory
My little cor-di-fiori,
My tricksome Puck, my Robin,
Who in and out come bobbing
As full of feints and frolic as
That fibbing rogue Autolycus,
And play the graceless robber on
Your grave-eyed brother Oberon—
Ah, Dick—ah, Dolce Riso,
How can you—can you be so f—p. liii.
How master Dick ' can be so?' may be matter of wonder; but it seems to us far more strange, how master Dick's father could be so ill-advised as to publish nearly a hundred lines such as those last quoted, that have neither fancy nor prettiness to recommend them, not even homely verity and simplicity to excuse them—nothing, in short, but affectation and silliness to distinguish them: they are neither a poet's address to his child, nor a nurse's lullaby—but just what might have been expected from a pert, forward boarding-school girl in her seventh or eighth year. Mr. Hunt however delights in such effusions; in the next page, on hearing a little musical box, he breaks out in this exquisite manner—
'Hallo—what? where?—what can it be
That strikes up so deliciously?—
I never in my life—what no!
That little tin-box playing so.'
If ' Master Dick loquitur' had stood at the head of this poem, there would have been at least a dramatic propriety in it; and if, as we shrewdly suspect, the lines really were dictated by him, it
is is a little unfatherly to deprive him of the honour of their production.
But our limits oblige us to have done; we therefore pass over the remainder of the ' foliage/ that we may give our readers a specimen of the ' evergreens/ as Mr. Hunt is pleased to denominate his translations from the poets of antiquity, imagining, we suppose, that copies however taken would retain the perpetual bloom of their originals. Mr. Hunt shall here be his own critic. 'In the translations from Homer my object is to give the intelligent reader, who is no scholar, a stronger sense of the natural energy of the original, than has yet been furnished him/ This is the rule, now for the example; we refer our readers who are scholars to the 253d line of the last book of the Iliad; and those who are not, to the corresponding passage 'in that elegant mistake of Pope's in two volumes octavo, called Homer's Iliad.' 'Be quicker—do—and help me, evil children,
Down-looking set! Would ye had all been killed
Instead of Hector at the ships! Oh me,
Curs'd creature that I am! I had brave sons
Here in wide Troy, and now I cannot say
That one is left me. Mestor like a God
And Troilus, my fine hearted charioteer,
And Hector, who for mortal was a God,
For he seemed born not of a mortal man,
But of a God—yet Mars has swept them all,
And none but these convicted knaves are left me,—
Liars and dancers, excellent time-beaters,
Notorious pilferers of lambs and goats.
Why don't ye get the chariot ready and set
The things upon it here, that we may go ?'—p. 12. We hardly know whether to admire most the spirit or the fidelity of this rendering; but however good this is, Mr. Hunt'is more confident of the other pieces, and he thinks he may venture to say, that the reader who does not feel something pathetic in the Cyclops, something sunny and exuberant in the Rural Journey, and even some of the gentler Greek music in the elegy on the death of Bion, would not be very likely to feel the finer part of it in the originals. All, however, that he answers for is, that' he has felt them himself, like the sunny atmosphere which they resemble.' Now for the example again, and it shall be of the sunny and exuberant kind.
'Dear Lycidas, cried I, you talk indeed
Like one whom all agree, shepherd and reaper,
To pipe among them nobly—which delights me—
And yet I trust I am your equal too.
It is a feast we're going to. Some friends
Keep one to day to the well-draperied Ceres,
Mother of Earth, and offer their first fruits
For gratitude, their garners are so full.
But come, as we have lighted on each other,
Let us take mutual help, and by the way
Pastoralize a little; for my mouth
Breathes also of the muse, and people call me
Greatest of living song—a praise however
Of which I am not credulous—no by earth—
For there's Philetas and our Samian too
Whom 1 no more pretend to have surpassed,
Than frogs the grasshoppers.'—p. 25. Who does not feel a glow reflected on him from the ' sunny atmosphere' of these lines? A few hundred of them carefully packed and hermetically sealed would be a valuable addition to the stores of the Dorothea and Isabella, if, in spite of our hopes and predictions, they should chance to be frozen up in the polar basin.
We have done, and we trust Mr. Hunt' will pardon us these public compliments for our own sakes, and for sincerity's.' He possesses talents, which might have made him a useful citizen, and a respectable writer; but he wants sound principle and Christian humility; and the want of them has made him as a citizen what we do not like to name, and as a writer only not contemptible because he is sometimes pernicious. Had he been thoroughly well principled, and property humble, he might still have been anxious to improve the taste and manners of his countrymen as well as to correct the abuses of their government; but he would not have undertaken the task without a due sense of its difficulty, and a diffidence, at least, of his own ability to perform it. Instead of rushing with boy-like presumption to his task, he would have passed years in silent study and diligent observation; instead of panting with womanish impatience for immediate notoriety, and courting it in the poor publicity of a weekly paper, instead of demanding perpetually-renewed gratification for a diseased vanity, protruding every fresh fancy crude as it came from the brain, and sacrificing every thing for the worthless applause of the mob, he would, like Achilles, have abstained from the battle till he had possessed himself of the heavenly armour; in the mean time he would have derived ample enjoyment from his cause, and his conscience, and if he desired any other reward, it would have been the applause of the few now, and undisputed and immortal fame hereafter. How painful is it to turn our eyes upon the contrast before us! Mr. Hunt is indeed a most pitiable man, and whatever he may think or say of us, we do pity him most sincerely. He began life, we doubt not, with pure and lofty dreams; he must now feel that he has taken the wrong course, that he can never realize them—he has put on himself his own trammels, he knows that he has done so, they gall him, but he can never break them. Henceforth all will be wormwood and bitterness to him: he may write a few more stinging and a few more brilliant periods, he may slander a few more eminent characters, he may go on to deride venerable and holy institutions, he may stir up more discontent and sedition, but he will have no peace of mind within, he will do none of the good he once hoped to do, nor yet have the bitter satisfaction of doing all the evil he now desires; he will live and die unhonoured in his own generation, and, for his own sake it is to be hoped, moulder unknown in those which are to follow.
Akt. IV. Narrative of an Expedition to explore the River Zaire, usually called the Congo, in South Africa, in 1816, under the Direction of Captain J. H. Tuckey, U. N.;—to which are added the Journal of Professor Smith, some General Observations on the Country and its Inhabitants; and an Appendix, containing the Natural History of that Part of the Kingdom of Congo through which the Zaire flows. Published by permission of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. 4to. London. 1818. "DERHAPS it is not too much to say that, with the single excep-"- tion of the expedition now on its way for exploring the polar regions, no enterprize, since the voyages of Cook, excited a greater share of public interest than that of Captain Tuckey to explore the river Congo, and, by tracing it to the northward, to attempt the solution of that great geographical problem—the termination of the Niger—which, as Park has emphatically stated in his Memoir to Lord Camden, may be ' considered, in a commercial point of view, as second only to the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope; and, in a geographical point of view, as certainly the greatest discovery that remains to be made in this world.' The occurrences and results of this ill-fated attempt are now before the public; and the volume which contains them must be considered as an important and valuable addition to the records of African discovery. As this subject has occupied a distinguished place in our pages, we take this early opportunity to resume it, in tracing the history of this unfortunate voyage; after which we shall take a brief prospective view, favourable, as we think, to the hope of better success iuthe prosecution of future discoveries.