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vol. 2.] Fine Arts.-David's new Painting, “ Cupid and Psyche.”
were tolerably executed, and the subjects embassy to China, he would have taken chosen from domestic life.
care to dispatch a person who would The cities of China are divided into have observed all the prostrations requirthree classes, Foo, Chow, and Hien ; ed. We trust the difference between besides Poo, a hamlet ; Chiz, a milita- the Prince Regent of England and a ry post with houses; and Tang, the post Corsican adventurer will always be held itself. The Tartarized Chinese consti- a suficient answer, at least in this countute eight classes, and are distinguished try, for our not being prone to pursue by different coloured banners. The exactly the same course ; and it may Mantchoos, or ancient worshippers of further added, that what would have Fo, have also eight banners ; as bave been a disgrace to a British nobleman, the Mun-koos, who have adopted that might have been unobjectionable in one worship since they entered China. of the revolutionary dignitaries of the
Having gone to such length with Mr. new order. Ellis's volume, both by analysis and Towards the conclusion of the work, extracts, we shall neither visit Nankin a slight notice is taken of Captain Maxwith him, nor follow the whole route to well's voyage towards Corea, and CooCanton, where the Embassy arrived Choo, two kingdoms tributary to China, safely and remained to the 20th of Jan- and his discovery of some hitherto unuary. Thence they proceeded to Macao, explored islands; but as a separate work and on the 3d of February reached is advertised on this subject, we shall not Manilla. The shipwreck of the Alceste anticipate the more full and accurate inhas been too minutely recorded in the formation. periodical press to admit of any novelty We take our leave of Mr. Ellis, who, from us, further than an expression of though not a practised writer, has afour individual admiration of the cool- forded us much entertainment. He has ness, intrepidity, skill, and conduct of composed a valuable record, which is Capt. Maxwell, whose behaviour, under calculated to save public money by circumstances of extraordinary peril, at showing that no future embassy is likePulo, surrounded by Malay pirates, was ly to be sent to China, at least during worthy the noblest character of a British the reign of the present monarch ; for
The coloured view of his en- we could not send any other ambassatrenchment here is very interesting. dor to do what Lord Amherst has reFrom Batavia, on the 12th of April, our fused, and there is no reason to expect wanderers sailed in the Cæsar, and an- that the ceremonious Mandarios will rechored in Simon's Bay, Cape of Good lax one iota in their pretensions. In this Hope, on the 27th of May. On the point of view the experiment is a saving 11th of June they again sailed ; made one, though we think the diplomatic St. Helena on the 27th ; paid a visit to prudence of the author, in letting out so Buonaparte ; left the island on the 3d many secrets, very questionable. of July; and arrived at Spithead on the To the literary world there is one sub17th of August.
ject of congratulation connected with The conversations with the Ex-empe- this volume. It bodes a return to old ror are rather hacknied, and we shall prices ; for it is elegant, and cheaper only offer one remark on the dicta as- than any work of the kind which has cribed to him,--that if he had sent an been published of late years.
From the Literary Gazette, Oct, 25, 1817. DAVID'S NEW PAINTING, “ CUPID AND PSYCHE." THIS THIS new production of the celebra Psyche, voluptuously stretched an an
brated artist possesses merit of the antique bed, is sleeping in the arms of first order. Skill and grace are the chief Love. The beams of Aurora, which characteristics of the composition. already gild the summits of the distant
Contemporary Authors. Joanna Baillie.
hills, warn the young god that it is time hair, and the shades of the neck approxito quit his lovely mistress. He rises mate too nearly to black. But though from the bed with the utmost caution, M. David may have lost some portion of lest his motion should disturb the slum- his taste for the antique and the grandiber of the innocent Psyche.
ose of form, he has certainly improved in In this picture the habitual style of the other particulars, which are not less imartist is not recognisable at the first portant to the art of painting; we allude glance. Hitherto M. David has perhaps to truth of expression and force of colourbeen too inattentive to colouring, and has ing. His Psyche is designed with exquidevoted himself to the production of fig- site grace, and may
be compared to the ures of the grand style. His Cupid, most beautiful of Titian's Venuses for though exquisitely formed, possesses no elegance of contour and truth of colourideal beauty, and there is even an expres- ing in the flesh. The picture altogetber sion of vulgarity in the countenance; reminds the observer of tbe vigorous the arms are too long and thin, there is touch of Caravagio. little luxuriance in the colouring of the
From the Monthly Magazine, October, 1817.
interesting when she lays open the whole
process of reflection in her's, and generally MRS. JOANNA BAILLIE.
fails when she attempts to bring themiote THE NHE works of this lady have not ob- action. With the very highest respect for
tained that portion of popular fa- the talents of this much-endowed author, vour which we decidedly think they we do therefore think that hergenius is not merit, while those of other writers, of far at all dramatic, tho' she has executed her inferior talent, have successively engross- tasks in dialogue with surprising ability. ed the attention of the public. The We are even of opinion, that she has not great drawback on the fame of this ad- been a great frequenter of the theatre; and mirable genius, has been the injustice of we venture to assert, that she was but coinparing her dramas to those of Shak- slightly acquainted with the plays of Shakspeare, which, it is true, they somewhat speare when she composed her earliest resemble in the physiognomy of their and the best of her dramatic poems. If she style ; but than which no two things of has ever attended the representation of a the same genus can be more different,al- pantomime, she must have been sensible though, perhaps, in their respective classes, that the dialogue is, after all that has been the one is not much inferior to the other. written on the subject, the least effective
Skakspeare was strictly the poet of ac- part of a play; and that the skill of the tions, and we learn what passes in the dramatist" consists in putting into the minds of his heroes by what they do, mouths of his characters the few short more than by what they say ; but the sentiments natural to their situation. dramatist of the passions throws, as it Miss Baillie is not happy in the choice were intentionally, the action of her pieces of situations, but she makes us acquainted behind the scenes, and only brings her with the inflections of the mind under characters into view when they are in a the governance of the passions, with a state of meditation or colloquial debate. delicacy, justness, and poetical propriety, There are, doubtless, several very poble not inferior to Shakspeare himself, and specimens in Shakspeare of the same with a degree of minuteness which the kind of writing in which this lady excels, more rapid movement of his plots necesparticularly in Macbeth ; but he is al- sarily precluded. It is impossible to ways most effective when he represents conceive any thing more like the manners his heroes actuated by what they feel, of mankind than the fictions of Shakrather than in telling us what they think. speare, or less so than those of this lady,
and yet her characters think and feel
• See p. 112.
VOL. 2.] Contemporary Authors.--
389 with as much of the genuine nature of popular, we never return to the perusal man, as those of the only poet with whom of her productions without wonder and it is proper to compare her. Miss delight. Like the works of Michael Baillie, as a female author, is the noblest Angelo and Raffaele, they seem to imin point of genius that has yet appeared; prove the oftener they are examined ; she is even more than this—she is, her- their merits require to be unfolded by self, the only one of her kind, and her study, and, as the principles upon which peculiar merits can only be duly appre- they have been composed are underciated by comparing the greatesi authors stood, we become attached even to their with her, when they happen to touch defects, as we respect the foibles and upon the same course of reflections. personal defects of our friends.
In thus stating our opinion, we trust Miss Baillie will undoubtedly be alit will not be supposed that we think ways regarded as a dramatic writer, her genius like that of Shakspeare and her peculiar merits will
, in consecreative, supreme, and universal; for quence, perhaps be long of obtaining we consider it circumscribed, local, and their just renown: but, in time, her uninventive; but it has opened to us name must be placed very high among sources of poetical enjoyment hitherto the most illustrious in the literary anunknown. If she has not created new nals of this country; for, even if the poworlds, she has, like Columbus, disco- etical powers of her mind were much vered others; and shewn us that what more stinted, there is a sweetness and has hitherto been regarded as the waste humanity, if the expression may be aland endless ocean of metaphysics, con- lowed, breathing through all her works, tains some of the richest and most mag- that will for ever render them refreshing pificent regions of poetry.--Her genius to the wearied or harassed mind. We is purely didactic, but by a felicitous are not aware of any poet of the present error, and the possession of the most day who possesses
of bestowadmirable descriptive powers, she has ing on the reader such a temperate saadopted the engaging form of the drama tisfaction. We open her volumes as we to inculcate some of the finest lessons do our window on a fine evening, and on the philosophy of the human mind; we read even of the bad actions of her teaching, at the same time, a moral as worst characters, as we look on the high as that which may be deduced harmless summer lightning that illufrom the most impressive representation. minates the cloud in the horizon. But
In point of elegance in imagery, Miss it is time that we should give some Baillie is as much superior to Shak- proof of our reason for disputing her speare, as he excels her in the melody pretensions to the title of a legitimate and variety of his numbers ; but her dramatist, and of considering her as characters want that peculiarity of ex. more properly belonging to the class of pression which is as necessary to distin- didactic writers. guish them from one another, as the In the tragedy of Basil, she has unfeatures of the face, or any of the other dertaken to delineate the progress
of external marks of individuality. They the passion of love; for this purpose she are, in fact, but the personification of has made choice of a military comabstract 'notions; and the wonder is, mander, and the fatal result of the inthat she should have been enabled to fluence of the passion is the neglect of endow things in their own essence so his duty, the consequences of which general with so much spirit and life, drive him to despair. Nothing can be In this respect they may be compared more inartificial, or less dramatic, than with the personification of Bunyan, for such a mode of treating the subject
. It they are as much superior to the alle- is hardly possible that it could afford a gories of Spencer, as Othello, as a drama, single interesting situation, and the casurpasses her tragedy of De Monfort. tastrophe is in itself not more dignified
But, while we cannot praise Miss than the despair of an apprentice drownBaillie as a dramatic writer, and indeed ing himself on being turned off for makcannot persuade ourselves that she may ing love to his master's daughter. In ever produce a play that will become analysing this poem, we shall not notice
the explanatory scenes, those scenes cer. We are not informed that the inwhich are introduced to inform the nocent young lady is the agent of her audience what is doing, or has been political father ; but we learn this from done, like the directions to the players, the sequel. A dramatic writer, in mabut confine our observations to the naging such a topic, would have shown conduct of the principal character and to the artifice of the duke; and some inte
rest would have been excited by the Count Basil is brought on the stage apprehension of the consequences attendwith all the pride and pomp of glorious ing on the consent of Count Basil; but, war, advancing towards Pavia with the as our author has treated it, the transacimperial troops, at the same time when tion seems a very hearty hospitable proVictoria, the princess of Mantua, is ceeding. Yet, upon the consent of the passing in an ecclesiastical procession to count to remain, turns the issue of the return thanks to her patron saint for the drama; for after that, until the news recovery of her father. The gallant arrive of the battle of Pavia, the count officer and the young lady make genteel is no more than a very well-bred gentlerecognizances to one another, and fall inanly lover, and the incidents are mere in love at first sight. Some time after, daily pastime, such as might bappen ia when the troops have been dismissed to any ducal court, if the persons who intheir quarters, Count Basil happens to habit such places were so affectionate and meet with a party of his officers as they poetical as the characters which the are lounging on the ramparts, and hold amiable feelings of Miss Baillie dispose ing a conversation of small talk in a her to describe. After the battle, the very officer-like manner. He joins them count, however, is so affected by the conwithout speaking, but he listens very at- sciousness of his folly, that he blows his tentively to their respective declarations brains out; he certainly does this in a concerning Victoria, who, in the opinion cave instead of a barrack-room, as a of the whole squad, was a devilish band- modern ensign would probably bave some girl; and when one of them, a done; and in so far the catastrophe may blunt facetious sort of a dog, happens to be said to be poetical. Wbo could speak of an olive branch of fretted gold imagine, from such a vehicle as this, that which she held in her hand, the general it would be possible to show the proinquires if he had noticed her hand; and gress of the passion with any thing de. the audience are left to infer, from this serving the name of poetry; and yet pertinent question, that the general is in Miss Baillie has done it with a degree of love with her. After some farther par- address and grace that has no parallel in ley, the rest of the officers separate, to the language: for, in the Romeo and take a stroll through the town; and this Juliet of Shakspeare, it is not what the affords an opportunity for Count Basil lovers feel that interests us, but the situto tell his friend Rosenberg, (the huc ations into which their ardour precimourist alluded to), a full, true, and par- pitates them. ticular account of the impression which We have been thus particular in our Victoria had made on his heart. Ro- analysis of the tragedy of Basil, because senberg, who proves to be an honest dis- it affords the most complete example of interested fellow, does not appear very the author's best manner, and because well satisfied with so much of the lover's her other dramas are constructed so eorapture in a commanding officer, and tirely according to the same rules, that, by gives him some very good advice on the doing so, we save the time of our readers. subject. With this conversation ends As a comic writer, the dramatic deact first.
fects of Miss Baillie are even more obIn act second the crafty Duke of vious. An attempt bas been made to Mantua treats Count Basil with much bring forward her play of “the Eleccourtesy; but their discourse is inter- tion, compressed into a three-act piece; rupted by the count falling into great but the experiment has not been succonfusion at the sight of his sweetheart, cessful. It would indeed be extraordiwho prevails on him to stay longer than nary if it had met with any considerable was consistent with his duty as an offi- share of popular applause; for the piot
VOL. 2.] Biographical Portraits.-General Kosciusko.
391 is so unskilfully constructed, that the Her volume of “Miscellaneous Draprincipal character is rendered exceed. mas” contains a few pieces which are ingly disagreeable, although by a slight probably more calculated to succeed in alteration this defect might have been representation than those which she has avoided : it is a defect of the same sort published on her system ; but, as draas that which we have remarked in her matic works, they cannot be ranked very management of the policy of the Duke high: they abound in descriptive poeof Mantua in Basil. Had she from the try, and in examples of intellectual mofirst acquainted the audience that the tion, expressed with the most admirable rival candidates were brothers, the inte- propriety; for it is in these things that rest of the equivoque would have been Miss Baillie excels, and it is for them obtained, and we should not have been that her works will be read with delight constantly irritated, till the very last and instruction, when the works of more scene, against the senseless pride of the fashionable poets are forgotten, with legitimate. It is this want of indirectly all the associations which have given informing the audience of the relative them such extensive currency. Miss coodition of her chief characters, that Baillie must be satisfied with the reobliges her to lengthen out the fable by nown of being the greatest metaphythe long interlocutory conversations of sical poet, and, one of the most extraortheir attendants. Were her dramas re- dinary female characters, that has ever cast in their structure by any person ac- appeared; nor think that she suffers quainted with the business of the stage, injustice from those who pay her the and capable at the same time of under- tribute of their admiration as such, when standing the metaphysics of different they say, that they regret she should characters, some of them might acquire ever have appeared a candidate for disa place among the stock pieces of the tinction as a dramatist. theatre. But curtailment of the dia Besides the three volumes logue, or any change of incident, such as passions, and her miscellaneous volume, we sometimes see in altered pieces, will she has published a separate piece, not do: the original sin of their nature called, “a Family Legend,” which was is so inveterate that they must be en- performed at Edinburgh, and afterwards tirely renovated.
From the Literary Gazette, Nov, 15, 1817.
it was with great events, will form tion. He then visited France for the a history; in the mean time the follow- first time. Jinproved by the knowledge ing sketch may be agreeable.
he had acquired in his travels, he returnMen who have defended the laws ed to his native country in the hope of and independence of their native country, devoting his talent to her service. But without dishonouring so just a cause by the ardour of his passions now threw him any unworthy action, or political crime, out of the career which he was after deserve that their memory should receive wards destined to pursue with so much the homage of public respect at the time honour. An adventure, which arose out the tomb encloses their mortal remains. of the attachment entertained by young To mention Kosciusko, is to mention a Kosciusko for the da hter of the Mare man who bas been honoured even by chal of Lithuania, compelled bim to those Sovereigns, against whom he fought quit Poland. He proceeded to the in defence of the legitimate government United States, where he served with disof his country
tinction as an Aide-de-Camp under General Thaddeus Kosciusko was de- General Washington. scended from a 'noble Polish family. He He returned to Europe, and the Diet received his first education at the military of Poland, which stood in need of so school of Warsaw, and was afterwards brave a defender of the national inde