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We have thus endeavoured, in a concise, though we fear imperfect manner, to put our readers in possession of the substance of this very acute and masterly performance. Those who are acquainted with Mr. Bentham's former publications, will have no difficulty in recognizing his hand in this. They will perceive the same love of abstract reasoning, the same desire to classify and arrange, the same determination to assert on every occasion, the paramount importance of the principle of utility. Perhaps, too, they will sometimes discover these pensities carried to excess-metaphysical refinement employed to give utterance to obvious and almost self-evident truths, divisions and subdivisions so largely multiplied, as frequently to perplex instead of illucidating the subject under discussion, and the bare doctrine of utility exalted to an undue pre-eminence over the moral feelings of mankind, over those universal perceptions of right and wrong, which are the most certain tests of its value and amount, and which therefore can never be safely disregardeci. No one, however, capable of understanding these volumes, can read them without admiring the originality of the matter and the spirit with which it is delivered, or earnestly wishing, that, whatever becomes of the author's entire theory, many of his rules and suggestions may speedily receive the attention, and be sanctioned by the authority, of the legislature.
Art. X. Lines, sacred to the Memory of the Rev. James Grahame, Au
thor of the “ Sabbath,” &c. foolscap 4to, pp. 19, price 2s. Glasgow,
Smith. Longman and Co. 1811. WE
E have been much struck with the beauty of several pas
sages in this small performance, and hasten, therefore, to indulge our readers with a few of those by which we have been more peculiarly gratified. The subject is mournfully interesting. Every lover of poetry and of virtue must feel its excellence, and be disposed to receive all the instruction, and to share in all the delight, which it can convey.
When Grahame departed, the world was stripped of one of its worthiest ornaments, and every man that breathes upon it lost a personal friend. The poem is evidently the production of an amiable, tender, and cultivated mind. The diction, in general, is chaste and appropriate, the versification flowing and correct, the imagery refined and affecting; and the thought and the feeling which pervade the whole, though both occasionally too extravagant, are elevated and ennobling.
The beginning of the poem is employed in pensively intimating the writer's familiar acquaintance with the departed poet; in slightly sketching the leading features in his appearance, manners, and disposition, and in representing the melancholy ideas with which these circumstances were used to inspire him. He alludes, in very affecting strains, to the lamented shortness of the poet's ministerial service in the church; an object which would seem to have been cherished by him, from his earliest years, in fondest prospect--though long busied, alas, with very different, untoward cares. In a passage of great beauty, the circumstances are thus presented, in which the death of the Sabbath bard was first announced to our author.
On a most clear and noiseless Sabbath night
Mid long-expecting angels.' Some lines of much tenderness succeed, but participating too strongly of that useless extravagance at which we have already hinted. After an excellent passage on the happy combination of poetical genius and Christian piety, the author proceeds to notice the higher merits of Mr. Grahame's poetry, principally in reference to the “ Sabbath;" although with much less fulness and discrimination than we could have desired. Few, perhaps, are more intimately acquainted than ourselves with this popular poem, and none more firmly conscious of the power of Heaven to employ even, apparently, the most indifferent or indirect means for the conversion of human beings; yet we own we should have hesitated, without decisive evidence, to have pronounced the “ Sabbath” to have been the instrument of effecting on full many a wanderer,' this mightiest and most joyful change. Much and various good, bowever, it unquestionably may have done, and much more, we trust, it will do. No pious man can read it without feeling its sentiments accord with the kindest and most virtuous emotions of his soul, and no other, we conceive, can enter into its spirit, or know its genuine value.
The following pleasing delineation is entirely relieved from the censure we have before insinuated. It is needless to remark how forcibly it must remind every reader of the characteristic compositions of the lamented poet himself, whose worth it so tenderly commemorates. Indeed the whole performance is written very much in his peculiar manner.
While lonely wandering o'er the hills and dales
He twines around her neck, and hides his sighs
Most infantine, within her gladden'd breast,
On thee,' sweet child! and others pure like thee!' Some lines occur in an extended illustration of this last most soothing sentiment, which we confess we cannot distinctly understand: we sherefore omit them. He goes on:
A holy creed
Thi adoring reverence that we humbly pay
That won in former days our earthly love. pp. 17-18.
upon her blissful dreams Who bears thy name on earth, and in it feels A Christian glory and a pious pride Thai must illume the widow's lonely path With never dying sunshine. To her soul Soft sound the strains now flowing fast from mine! And in those tranquil hours when she withdraws From loftier consolations, may the tears, – For tears will fall, most idle though they be, Now shed by me, to her but little known,
may not think
Yield comfort to her, as a certain pledge
Blest for the father's and the husband's sake.' The author might so easily bave corrected the following grammatical inaccuracy, by individualizing the representation, that we are surprised he should have permitted it to escape
• How well he taught them, many a one will feel
Unto their dying day; and when they lie,' &c. &c. pp. 6—7. A few sentences are so involved that their meaning is obscure, or unintelligible, or ambiguous--the ambiguity is generally occasioned, perhaps, by defective punctuation. The motto is low and hackneyed. We overlook, however, every trivial default, and hope that the unknown amiable writer will be to stranger in our courts. Art. XI. ' Reviewer's reviewed : including an Enquiry into the moral and intellectual effects of Habits of Criticism, and their Influence
general Interests of Literature. To which is subjoined a brief History
of the Periodical Reviews published in England and Scotland. By John Charles O'Reid, Esq. 8vo. pp. 75. Price 2s. 6d. Bartlett, Oxford. Conder. 1811. IN the third dialogue De Natura Deorum, Cotta, the Epicu.
rean, makes a very eloquent discourse on the pernicions effects of human reason. While this noble faculty, he affirms, is of advantage to but a few individuals, it is most injurious tó the multitude. It is accessary to the greatest crimes both public and private; and if the gods had contrived the hurt of man, they could not have bestowed upon him a more pestilent gift; since, without reason, the seeds of fraud, injustice, intemperance, and cruelty, could never have been brought to maturity. There might be a degree of indecorum, in comparing the faculty of reason to the art of criticism : but certainly Cotta's discourse is nearly allied in the mode of its argument, (for Cotta is said to be eloquent) to that of J. C. OʻReid, Esquire. Like many worthy persons, in other cases, this gentleman has taken but one view of the subject. Overlooking, perhaps unintentionally, the benefits which the public derives from periodical criticism, he has formed a dismal picture of the mis.. chiefs which its perversion has, in some instances, unhappily produced. His fears have cast a mist over his understanding; and if his eloquence did justice to his desire of proclaiming the danger, he would no doubt disturb the quiet of many honest members of society.
In Mr. OʻReid's estimation, a critic is a very contemptible being, who, by babits of abstraction and minute attention,' has