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before that time conquered the greater not a little depended, in regard of his part of Greece. His siedge was laid skil and manly power, and because against this cittie with such power, in al the precedent battailes, he had and maintained with so violent fury, beene stil the principal occasion of the that after many bloody battles, and by cittie's safety. Neverthelesse, after a course of as manie months while the long resistance, being sore wounded, siedge continued,-after the death, and his blood abundantly streaming also, of infinite worthy men, as well from his hurts, be forsook the place he on the one side as the other; the had defended, to have some mediTurk appointed the last day of bat- cines applied to him in the cittie. taile to be the nine and twentieth, Which when the people perceived, in the yeare 1453, the Emperor Fre- their courage became immediately derick raigning then at Rome, third quailed; and worde thereof being of that name; and he gave them bat- brought to the emperor, he ran after taile by breake of day. In which him, instantly beseeching him to reextream fury the inhabitants being no turn, and make good his place, shewlonger able to resist the huge multi- ing what necessity stood upon his tude of their enemies, and the impe- presence. But no conditions or protuous storm, the cittie was surprized mises whatever could cause him to go in the assault ; and some authors re- backe: be it that either it so pleased corde it was in this manner:
God, that his courage should fail him, “ The emperor, being given to un- or else that hee could no longer beare derstand that the Turke had aban- the grief of his wounds, but having doned the cittie's pillage for three them dressed, intended to return. So days together, after many worthy the gate was opened to him, and chiorations made, he went out of the rurgeons called to give him what help wals with a great number of his peo- they could. ple, to defend the barbicans or sub- “In the meane space, his followers burbs ; which were of as high moun- that defended his quarter, not having ture and strength as the wals of the bim with them, began to shrink back cittie. And he went himselfe in per- and give over the place. son, to give orders and to counsel “ The Turkes no sooner bebeld this what was to be done, causing the cit- advantage, but they fell afresh to a tie's gates to be fast shut after him, much more dreadfull assault, and to take from his people all hope of contrariwise the Christians were so flight.
weake and out of hart, that being able “And even now, did there happen to resist no longer, they turned their the very fiercest and most cruel bat- backs, seeking to shelter themselves taile that ever was seene since the in the cittie. The gate remaining open invention of warre, with all kindes of in expectation of Justinian's return, arms and instruments for fight, as the Turkes mingled themselves among well for defending as assayling. It the Christians, and entering the cittio seemed as if the very heavens would with them, went up upon the wals, have split in sunder with the noise and did pitiful massacres upon the and outcries of the soldiers; and the Christians. earthe looked like unto a great sham- “The Emperor, having changed his bles, covered with the bloode and habit, to the end that he might not be limbs of the slaine and wounded. knowne, was slaine by the enemies. The emperor on one side, and the Others say, (among whom is Pope Turk on the other, added fire and Pius the II.) that as he desired to spirite with their chearful wordes, to retire into the cittie, grieving to see the great encouragement of their arm- his people in such disorder, he was. ed troopers, being themselves ever throwne down by the flying multitude, foremost, or rallying the hindmost, and being greatly trampled on by as occasion and need required. For their passage over him, he died under great and awful was that day, the the feet of his own followers, even in prize held at stake.
the very sight of his soldiers on the Among the valiantest warriors wals, as he was entering the cittie that boldly stood for defence of the gate. But be it howsoever, his body Barbicanes, there was a Genowese, was knowne by the Turkes, who cut off named Justinian, upon whose virtue his head, and fixing it on a lance's and valour the people within the wals point, carried it as their victorio's
338 trophy thorow the whole camp, and expressing our wish, that such comafter, into the cittie.
manding talents as could produce the “As for Justinian, (the flight of Feast of Belshazzar, and the picture whom was the principal occasion of of Joshua, might select some features so lamentable a misfortune,) he seeing from so grand an event as the fall of the cittie taken, fled away by the sea, Constantinople, to give the world a and died in a little island, either of wilder and a deeper feeling of its terthe wounds he had received, or of rors, than even the language of the some other disease; albeit, he had it poet can convey. It would be another once in his own choice to have died testimony of the triumph of bis genihonourably in the place he had lived us, which we may safely trust, would with so much fame and credit.
gather with ease, the exact time and “ The Turkes beeing thus entred the action, and the situation of the great cittie, lefte no kinde of bloody cruelty characters in the piece. The subject upperformed, that malice or villany is no less worthy of the attention, and could devise. All the household and of the exertion, of the very highest kindered of the Emperour, both men powers of the poet; and we are not and women, were (without mercy) sorry to find that it is intended to be put to the sworde, and in like sort offered to the rival geniuses of the age, They dealt with all the people, except in the shape of a prize poem, by the such as escaped, or whom they tooke new Royal Literary Society, for the to their slavish servitude.
present year. If this be so, we have “And here I may not forget one pleasure in recommending to their notorious detestable action; for they notice, the preceding sketch of that could not content themselves with ex- great historic event on which they ecuting their barbarous malice upon are about to exercise their powers. Christian men and women, but having We propose to take every advantage gotten a goodly image of the crucifixe we can reap from it, on the same of Christ, they, in a shameful mock- ground, for ourselves; and would ery, would needs performe another therefore wish to be met fairly and crucifying thereof upon a foule and honourably, and equally, with “no bloody cross, representing a new pas- chance to boot,” we could reserve in sion of our Savioure; and over his our own favour, in preference to the head they wrote this inscription: hope of its escaping the knowledge • This is the God of the Christians,' and research of other candidates. with many other abominable blasphe- For we do think there are points in it, mies. In this manner that noble cittie which, in the hands of genius and of Constantinople, fell into the hands power, may give that individuality of of the disciples of Mabomet, the character and circumstance, and that sworne enemies to Jesus Christ; as dramatic truth, which we trust will be yet they do continue. I would it thought essential to the success of pleased God, that even as ther hath the poem. beene in her wals manie mutations We can only say with Dante: to her great misfortunes, that once
“ O Muse, O alto ingegno! or in acutate!” againe it might bee regained, to serve to his glory, and the generall good of As a contrast to the preceding acChristendome.”
count, and in order to render the deThe Treasurie of Ancient and scription more complete, we intend
Modern Times. adding, in the ensuing number, Mary We cannot help remarking, in con- Wortley Montague's lively and amusclusion, that we were particularly struck ing letter on the Wonders of the with the bold and vivid description, dis- Turkish Capital. played in the latter part of this account. The siege, the battle, and the storming of the ruling city of the East, with the minute and touching incidents relating to the brave Justinian, with No. 2.-On Modern Poetry. the death of the Emperor, and the ensuing desolation, are all brought This may truly be called a poetical before our eyes with the terrible truth, age, at least if we are to judge by the and living energy, of a great historic quantity published; but whether one painting. Nor can we refrain from I thousandth part will be heard of twenty
ESSAYS MORAL AND LITERARY.
years hence, is a question which ad-, edly is, he may carry his forte too
irs, and lyric odes from for tical literature, if it obtains plum cake to paste blacking, and one truly great man in every century. from the ocean to a washing tub. But there are some authors who make Then again we have lines in praise it their boast to have written a great and in dispraise of numberless invisi-dealI hate to hear of it.-It is much ble ladies, and soft lamentations in more creditable to write one volume many a plaintive ditty. “The course well, than five hundred tolerably. of true love never yet ran smooth,” Supposing a man does begin and and every weak trifler must needs finish a pamphlet in two hours, what record his troubles in verse. This is does it prove ?--only, that he was a an eternal topic, from the splendid simpleton for not taking the four and pamphlet, to X Y Z in every maga- twenty to do it better. For this reazine. In short, poetry is the prevail- son, there is nothing more insipid ing mania, and immortality the gene- than to be told of that renowned bookral hope.
maker, Lope de Vega. As to myself, Notwithstanding this, it is some
I should feel inclined to give more what vexing to be told when you are praise to Gray for bis elegy, than to reading a work which pleases you, the other for all he had scribbled. A that it is not poetry, and must not be man generally cannot write much encouraged ; and yet if we examine without becoming tiresome, and he into the matter narrowly, we shall has only the same feelings and pasfind that in pine cases out of ten the sions to deal with, and although he reproof is founded in truth. With may at first depict them in an interestthe exception of about three or four ing manner, yet by frequent repetiliving poets, there is little in the tions, they are little better than dull works of any other that can be per- and tedious common-place. used with advantage.
The herds of If we examine the principal poets imitators which the poetry of Lord of the present day, we shall, I think, Byron has created, are of no service find that the greater part have written to literature, but rather tend to vitiate themselves out, and are only injuring, a correct taste. It is the same also instead of increasing, their lasting as to the celebrated novels of Waver- fame. Some of them, although the ley, How many blustering soldiers, sun of their genius is decidedly on the and degenerate mysterious witches, wane, appear incapable of letting him have not Meg Merilies and Major Dal- set quietly, leaving us the rememgetty given birth to. A word or two brance of his mid-day warmth, but upon these novels, en passant. The must needs expose the coldness and public already begin to talk about them feebleness of his latest glimmerings. lightly, and certainly the three last The interminable book-making Souhave given them some occasion. they is of the class ; he should have Great as the author of them undoubt- forgotten pen, ink, and paper, twenty
years ago. If writing Lives of * See Coleridge's “Sybilline Leaves." Wesley” and “Visions of Judgment,”
342 be for his interest, they are not for With regard to Lord Byron, he has his reputation. Hexameters do not written too much, unless it was done suit an English taste, and it would better. Childe Harold is his noblest have been well if his muse bad been work—the third canto is written in the entranced long enough to have pre- spirit of Wordsworth's Excursion. vented the publication of her “ Vi- His four last tragedies are decidedly sion;" she would not then have added inferior, being carelessly written, and another weight to “Thalaba.” As to having a great deal of common-place Coleridge, he can scarcely be quar- in them--they would have done credit relled with on this account, and per- to any young writer ; but they confer haps not admitted to the title of a no honour on Lord Byron. As to great poet; a metaphysician, how- some of our elder dramatists, he can. ever, he is, and as moon-stricken a not even touch the hem of their garone as ever ruled nonentity. Amid ments. There is one defect in all his his dark and drear wanderings, “ he works; they have too much glitter, stands,” as a witty writer says, “most and are more likely to please a heated lamentably in need of an intellectual and perverted imagination, than a safety lamp.” His “ Ode on the de- correct taste. He has not that calm parting Year,” is a fine burst of poeti- majestic faculty, wbich of itself encal feeling.
nobles a subject ; he can keep up the The poetical works of Sir Walter dignity of a splendid work, but cannot Scott are now but little inquired after; raise that of an apparently mean one: and it may here be remarked, that he is great only with his subject. immediate popularity generally por- seems to be aware of this, for all he tends approaching forgetfulness. Those does has a reference to it. If he works which steal upon public atten- leaves his country, it is to tread the tion gradually, are commonly written classic shores of Athens: if he deby men of the greatest talent, and it scribes an object, it is a mountain, is much more creditable to obtain a thunder storm, or the terrors of the place in the literature of a country illimitable ocean; it is always someafter twenty years'application, than thing sublime, either in nature or art. to be that period the idol of all, and He speaks of the battle of Waterloo ; then sink into everlasting, oblivion. of the shades of great men; he visits Walter Scott is a bold painter ; but Greece, and depicts the thousand what poetry he possessed was all put associations which it cannot fail to to flight in the battle of Waterloo. create; he turns to Rome, that It was, however, exerted honourably, “ Niobe of nations,” and stands within being in his country's cause, and this its Coliseum. This then proves the is not what every dead poet could want, in no inconsiderable degree, of have said.
that commanding power which has Crabbe, that sensible, and Rogers, generally been allowed him. He dethat pretty ladylike poet, have done lineates, with a master hand, that sufficient to insure a good name, and which is lofty in creation, but holds ought not to tempt the muses again. no sympathy with lesser objects, “ Human Life” was a sad drop from although these, perhaps, are more the “ Pleasures of Memory.” Moore, the poet's province. The “witchery that gay light-hearted flutterer round of the soft blue sky,” a “shallow rivuParnassus, who has written Lallah let,” the “meanest flower,” are things Rookh, and a thousand sweet stan- of which he in effect knows nothing. zas, has as yet done nothing ; I mean, In fine, he is not a man of great nothing great. He has not even laid mind, although one of splendid poetithe foundation-stone for any thing like cal ability. permanent fame to rest upon. Whether There is one poet now living who is he can do so, is a question perhaps to a striking contrast to the above menbe doubted. He is not a thinker; his tioned ones; he has written little, and muse skims along the surface, and that little admirably; I mean, Campdances among the sunbeams; but bell. Let the “mob of gentlemen,' does not, or cannot, dive for the who stain paper with their merciless pearls which lie at the bottom. He effusions, write, or let them pride seems to think it praise sufficient to be themselves in the number of their thought the least sorry writer in Great common-place volumes, it is not such Britain.
who are deserving of public esteem ;
it is he who has increased the intrinsic / ing suits the taste of the multitude, it worth of literature, without adding a is often produced with little or no greater_quantity of inferior matter. talent, for a fire way frequently be The “Exile of Erin,” and “O'Con- created from very green materials. nor's Child,” are worth a hundred This will also apply to public speakmodern rhapsodies, and have done ing; and it has often been said, that more for Ireland in the way of poeti- scarcely any thing is much easier than cal credit, than all the “Melodies” to make the generality of an audience Moore has published. He is a true weep. It always requires less power poet, and deserves all the reputation to move the passions, than to convince he has acquired. As to Wordsworth, the judgment. For a young writer of enough has been said of him else- genius, however, this method is danwhere ; and were I to attempt to gerous. Although men generally like offer any analysis of his poetry, it that sort of composition which immewould only be treading the same diately pleases them, and feel disground that has been so often gone posed to exalt a writer whom they unover ; besides, it is not the object or derstand at first sight, yet it is not within the limits of the present article. well to minister to such a taste. It is The assailants who have said any better to build on a more solid basis, thing against him, have been in fact and to rise into estimation by the those who probably never read his sole merit of a man's own works. Such writings, or who at best have only a process may be slow, but it is read the most unfavourable passages. sure. What he has already done is before It is always a fault, as well as an the public, the more enlightened por- indication of want of real ability, tion of which have justly appreciated whenever a writer seems to depend his merits. What he will yet do, is more for success upon expression than not for me to say. _He has given us matter. A work may contain a good one volume of the Excursion, and has deal of very excellent common-place promised another. There have been applicability in it, arrayed in pomcold sneers and unmeaning epithets pous diction, and in what some would attached to his name, and criticisms call fine language, without being worth on his poetry, "lighter than vanity ;" a straw. Indeed, every-day thoughts, but his increasing fame is not to be clothed in high-sounding words, aphindered - he is sure of his reward. pear worse by far, than they would Milton is the only poet with whom he otherwise do in their own appropriate can be compared, either for loftiness costume. It is like the daw in peaof thought or strength of imagination, cock's feathers. This is an error into and those who quarrel with him as a which many have fallen, and which poet, for the few objectionable pieces some have committed who ought to he has written, might, with as much have known better. For my own part, reason, find fault with the sun for the I dislike showy diction, even when spots upon its surface.
the thoughts are good; but when they The greater and more popular por- are not, it is insufferable. To read a tion of modern poetry, seems to aim at passage splendidly written, and to affecting the passions, instead of tak- bave our expectations baulked by the ing the higher ground of imagination. trifling meanness of the idea, is vexThis certainly is the way to attract ing and somewhat laughable. It is a instant notice, if it misses of enduring flourish of trumpets, and enter Tom fame. Whatever is new or uncom- Thumb. The language of poetry mon, is always sure to please the ma- should be pure and simple, as far from jority of readers ; and if a story can bombast on the one hand, as from be so framed, as to admit of any new littleness on the other. We have some feature of horror, or can depict any sweet unaffected passages in our elder single passion, (no matter which,) in poets and dramatists, which should be a light in which it has not before ap- more studied, and, as to diction, imipeared, so much the better. Hence, tated. But the times are now peculi. as to poetry, we hear of nothing but arly unfitted for the development of the poet's fire ; and if an author does a poetical genius of this mouldnot almost scorch his readers, he strange excitement and high-wrought might in most cases as well hold his narrative are the ruling features of peace. Although this species of writ- the age, and an author who writes for