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Essays Moral and Literary.

810 with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. But after all, he carries the mark He skims over a work with ineffable upon bis forehead, and none will heed disdain, that has not as much of a his fury but those who are as intemdead as a living language in it. His perate as himself. He may rave and intellect is bedridden ;-- he knows no-thunder, but all the use it can serve thing of the current literature of the will be day, and you might as soon prove “ To waft a feather, or to drown a fly.that two and two were five, as rouse him from his lethargy. If you tell He is like the description of Echo in him of the publication of a volume full Ovid's Metamorphoses, vox et præteof power and pathos, he will hear you rea nihil. In favour of such a creaout patiently, and then, with a soft tare what can be said ?-Nothing complacent smile, answer, that it is very likely the author in question can

“ Come then, expressive silence, muse his

praise." not decline a Latin verb. He draws the curtains of pride and ignorance Having endeavoured to shew what around him, is invested in his learned are the pretensions of some men to garments, becomes indolent and stu- literary honours, I shall now conclude pid, and in this manner sits, like the by very briefly stating one or two quaimmoveable Theseus, unconscious of lifications, which, in my humble apsurrounding things.

prehension, a writer ought to possess. The really unlearned pedant, is a In the first place, he should be one literary pretender of another stamp. who can think for himself. The geneHe has a smattering of some of the rality are only mere authors, and languages, talks much, and under- | mere readers; but as “books can stands a little, of Chemistry, Astro- never teach the use of books," so nomy, &c, and reverses the maxim, reading, solely for the sake of writing, " Drink deep, or touch not the Pierian is little more than lost time. The spring.”

man who can only parrot those who His pocket-book is filled with Latin have parroted others, is surely the sentences, with which he interlards object of either pity or contempt. Sehis prose; and he always brings a host condly, a writer should, for his readof quotations from acknowledged ge- ing, be able to select well those aunius, to back his own opinion. He is thors who are men of genius, from vanity personified.

those who are merely men of talent, But the most insufferable of all and should attend to the one for the literary pretenders is, the frothy and possession of ideas, and to the other intemperate one. This is a creature, for ornamental improvement. Thirdwho, as Shakspeare says, “ speaks an ly, be should ascertain as far as he infinite deal of nothing." He puts him- can, for wbat particular branch of self forwards, as much as to say, literature his genius is best fitted, and "admire me first;” and then cries, should closely study the writings of “ be that hath ears to hear, let him those great men who have preceded hear.” He is the only being in the him in that department. It is of ma-, world from whom you get nothing but terial consequence for a writer to know original nonsense, and in his own the temper of his own mind, whether estimation he sits “high throned above to the grave or gay, since some of our all height.” He is fond of writing best authors have, in many instances, long letters, full of “perilous stuff," manifestly mistaken their powers. smiles at the futility of all opposition, He should, also, when he has ascerand thinks how culpable he should be, tained this, be careful in not pressing to put so much light under a bushel. his success too far. For my own part, He struts about with his hands stuck I could never bring myself to read in bis pockets, a simper on his lip, more than once, either Young's Night and thinks himself a “ Hannibal | Thoughts, or Hervey's Meditations amongst the Alps.” Should you dare there is doubtless great power in the to contradict him, alas, alas, sooner former, and some little in the latter ; than meet with his resentment, it but they appear to me to partake were better, far better, in his own much of the fault just noticed. Lastopinion, that

ly, a writer should be one, who can “ The op'ning earth your shame would hide, arrange his thoughts to the best ad. Qr ocean whelm you in its foaming tide.” vantage,--who can discriminate be, No. 44.-Vol. IV.

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tween argument, and the appearance natural history; nor can any study be of it, and who is at all times able to more instructive, or boast of a greater render a reason for his assertions. number of attractions. He should study well that secret of all Man, conscious of being unable to good writing, the art of condensation; attain a competent knowledge of the and if he has time, should repeatedly whole chain of natural objects, sponpolish his compositions, since the taneously enters on the study of some most elegant pieces are usually sus- one particular branch of natural hisceptible of amendment. He should tory ;-thus one man makes choice of never, if possible, venture upon a the enchanting study of botany ;-a commonplace subject, without being second, of the less interesting study able to make some original remarks of mineralogy ;-a third, of the inex. upon it, or to place the old ones in a haustible study of entomology, or that better and more imposing manner, branch of natural history which treats for, as Dr. Johnson used to say, the of insects;—whilst a fourth is lost in two most engaging powers of an au- the enthusiastic pleasures experienced thor are, to make new things familiar, only by the real ornithologist. and familiar things new.

In the cool of a fine summer's evenG. M. ing, what can be more delightful than

a few hours stolen from busy life, and

spent in contemplating the beauties of ORNITHOLOGY.-Hore Subsecivæ. nature, in observing the many differNo. 1.

ent shades of each individual flower,

and in partaking of the sweet and de"L'alouette s'élance dans les airs : la co- licious odours which nature scatters lombe quitte sa retraite pour voler sur la through every field and garden, grove sons mélodieux et plaintifs ; et ses tendres and forest? The delightful essence of accens remplissent les coteaux, les vallons et the new-mown hay ;—the exquisite les bois.”

STURM. sweetness of the honeysuckle ;—the

delicious odours of the rose, violet, How little do those men know of the rosemary, lily, hyacinth, narcissus, innocent pleasures arising from a con- jessamine, lilac, polyanthus, and a templation of the infinite beauties of thousand other flowers, blended togenature, who, actuated by a thirst for ther and scattered in every direction, wealth, or a mistaken desire of plea- obtrude upon our senses, and lull us sure, spend their whole existence into an exquisite delirium. The gay without ever participating of the ex- and sprightly gold-finch, and the faquisite sensations felt by her votaries. miliar robin-red-breast, tune their litThey may read the best authors on tle throats ;—the mimic bull-finch ;natural history, and spend an occa- the melodious woodlark;-the inimisional hour amidst forests, groves, table nightingale ;—the lively wren;and woods, and feel delighted with the shrill sky-lark ;—the simple and the varied music of the feathered inoffensive white-throat;—and the shy choir; they may take a cursory view black-bird, join in the concert, and of the unnumbered productions of the nature teems with pleasure and devegetable world, and admire her in- light. Does not the melodious and exhaustible variety of forms, odours, varied sweetness and strength of the tints, and colours ;--they may be nightingale's voice exceed that of pleased with visiting the cataract in every other bird? Is not the favourite the vale of Tempe, situate between chantress of Milton and Thompson, the mountains of Ossa and Pelion, in and of Walton and Pliny, far superior Thessaly; or the beautiful and roman- in excellence to the canary, or imitatic sublimity of the waterfall at Nant tive linnet? How sweet are the varied Mill, near the Lake Cwellin; but modulations of her voice!-how touchthey will never feel the pleasurable ing the risings of the little songster's emotions felt by those persons who plaintive strain, and the dying murcontemplate nature in her infinity of murs striking on the greedy ear! shapes, who are constantly exposed The motacilla luscinia, or nightinto her influence, whose health suffers gale, derives its name from the word not, and whose consciences are heal- night, and the Saxon word galan, thy. No study contributes more to “to sing.” This bird is somewhat the preservation of health, than that of larger than the hedge sparrow, and

813 Ornithology.

814

we nearly as plain in plumage, but its length, dropping on the ground in a body is longer, and finely propor- kind of ecstasy, from which they were tioned. Nightingales make their an- soon raised by a change of the nual visit in England about the first mood.” or second week in April, and leave us The wood-lark deservedly stands again about the latter end of August. next to the nightingale in pre-emiThey build in close quickset hedges, nence. This beautiful bird, unwilling and the females are said to bear the to yield to the superiority of the nightundivided fatigue of incubation. The ingale, has frequently been known to exquisite strains of the nightingale sing against her for a whole hour. The are acknowledged to be superior to canary-bird, brought originally from those of every other bird, by every the Canary Islands, and the fly-bird, lover of natural music; and in Aleppo from America, are considered by some there are people who obtain a liveli- ornithologists as equal, if not supehood by keeping tame nightingales, and rior, to the nightingale and wood-lark. letting them out on hire; and so much Next to the nightingale and woodare they supposed to conduce to the lark, the robin-red-breast, the blacksplendour of any public or private cap, the wood-song-thrush, the linnet, entertainment, that the exquisite notes the gold-finch, the chaf-finch, the skyof these universally admired choristers lark, the wren, and the tit-lark, are are seldom dispensed with.

esteemed the best English song-birds. It is a fact not less curious than it is There are some people who assert that true, that all the celebrated poets, the tit-lark has not a good voice; but with one or two exceptions, have con- they should not forget that there are spired in considering the garrulous many exceptions, and that the song of nightingale a melancholy bird. Thus, some of these little birds is nothing Milton, in his beautiful poem, Il Pen- inferior to that of the canary-bird, seroso, describes it in the following The motacilla rubecula, or robin-redlines of poetic excellence :

breast, is too well known to require “Sweet bird, that shann'st the noise of folly, any description; and it is the great Most musical, most melancholy!

confidence which these birds place in Thee, chantress, oft the woods among mankind, that has obtained for them a I woo, to hear thy even-song.'

privileged exemption from the wanton

cruelties which children are permitted Again :

to inflict upon poor inoffensive ani. “ The sweet poet of the vernal groves mals. If we ask any child why he Melts all the night in strains of am'rous woe.'

ARMSTRONG.

does not murder these birds, or destroy

their nests in common with the other Another poet says:-

inhabitants of the air, he will immediAs philomel in poplar shades, alone, ately reply, For her lost offspring poors a mother's moan, “Because the robin and the wren Which some rough ploughman, marking for

Are God Almighty's cock and hen." From the warm nest, unfledg'd, hath dragg'd For beauty of plumage, elegance awaay;

of shape, and melody of voice, the Perch'd on a bough, she all night long com- red-start possesses high claims to our

plains, And fills the grove with sad repeated strains.” and green-linnet, do not possess any

indulgence. The starling, red-pole, I shall now quote a passage from considerable talent as singing birds. Sir William Jones's Dissertation on The motacilla atricapilla, or blackthe Musical Modes of the Hindus, and cap, bas of late attracted the attenthen proceed with some furthur obser- tion of the lovers of nature's music, vations on European singing birds :- many of whom do not seem willing to “An intelligent person declared, that acknowledge the superiority of the he had more than once been present, nightingale. Who can listen to the when a celebrated Lutanist was play- familiar and curious note of the ing to a large company, in a grove cuckoo, and not feel the liveliest emonear Schiraz, where he distinctly saw tions of pleasure? There is not a field, the nightingales trying to vie with a wood, a grove, or a forest, that is the musician; sometimes warbling on not frequented by some of our favourite the trees, sometimes fluttering from singing birds : branch to branch, as if they wished to

Every copse approach the instrument, and, at Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush

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Bending, with dewy moisture, o'er the heads was enthusiastically fond; yet surOf the coy choristers that lodge within, rounded by beautiful scenery, the Are prodigal of harmony."

THOMSON.

many instances of affection, and The European singing birds will proofs of unalterable constancy, which ever be esteemed superior to those of we have received from her, present foreign countries by every impartial themselves to the memory, and create judge; nor will many of our British the most chaste, tender, and pleabirds suffer from comparison with surable emotions. Deprived of every those annually brought from the friend, forsaken by those who seemed warmer regions of Asia and of Africa, to admire us, when rolling in affluin regard to brilliancy of plumage, ence; or deceived by the artful blanand elegance of shape. The exqui- dishments of an adored mistress; we sitely beautiful and brilliant plumage still continue to listen with peculiar of the stately peacock must ever be satisfaction to a tune loved in our admired; and I bave no doubt that happier youth, till the notes are lost in every intelligent reader will feel inte- the ecstasy of hearing. rested on reading the following beau- Music is a sort of exquisite pleatiful lines of the immortal Young: sure, it speaks a universal language, “How rich the peacock! wbat bright glories creates an infinity of agreeable emo

tions, subdues and fascinates the From plume to plume, and vary in the sun! proud and ungenerous, and renders He proudly spreads them to the golden ray, the human soul excessively suscepAnd gives his colours to adorn the day; With conscious state the spacious round dis- Never do I listen to the exquisite

tible of all that is good and noble. plays, And slowly moves amid the waving blaze.”

notes of the piano-forte, or to the The peacock is a native of India.

mellow tone of the German-flute, the

warbling shake of which is little infeThe radiant and resplendent plu- rior to the exquisite strains of the mage of the pheasant and king-fisher, feathered inbabitants of the wood, the beautiful and different coloured but I am ready to acknowledge the bars of the jay, the extreme beauty of transcendent beauty of the far-famed the gold-finch and red-start, the many lines of T. Moore :coloured wood-pecker, and the neat

" When thro' life, unblest we rove, and regular plumage of the partridge, Losing all that made life dear, sufficiently demonstrate what I have Should some notes we as'd to love asserted. I might conclude with some In days of boyhood, meet our ear ; brief observations on the admirable

Oh! how welcome breathes the strain, and inimitable structure of birds'

Wak’ning thoughts that long have slept,

Kindling former smiles again, nests ; but this is a subject well worth Io faded eyes that long have wept.” a more copious consideration than

J. NUTTALL. could possibly be admitted. I shall

Handsworth Woodhouse, therefore reserve the structure of these

5th July, 1822. little edifices for the subject of some future paper. If it is a duty incumbent on parents to indulge their children's inclination for learning to play

GREAT BRITAIN, on some kind of musical instrument, how highly reprehensible are they, (BYRON-concluded from col. 759.) who neglect to instil a love of nature's music and beautiful scenery, into the Having made a short stay in the minds of their beloved progeny. Turkish capital, Lord Byron and his Have we lost a true and long-tried friend passed along the Asiatic shore friend, one whose chief happiness to the Troad, where our poet had the consisted in alleviating oor griefs, in satisfaction of reading Homer, and endeavouring to dispel the gloomy comparing his descriptions with the forebodings of precarious fortune, or existing scenery of that classic region. who would not have hesitated at the On the return of our travellers to risk of his own happiness to save us Athens, they parted, as Mr. Hobhouse from impending ruin? Have we lost had received a call from England; but a mistress whom we passionately Lord Byron was determined to remain loved? Perhaps we are for ever sepa- in Greece some time longer, that he rated from those scenes of which she might perfect himself in the language,

MEMOIRS OF THE LIVING POETS OF

817

Memoirs of the Living Poets of Great Britain. 818 and observe many objects of antiquity character than he deserves ; but then which he had hitherto neglected the fault was his own, and having reDuring his travels, he lost his mother, peated the offence, with the aggravawhose death he lamented in some tion of making all his heroes monsters pathetic verses; and yet, at a subse- of depravity, he had no right to cenquent period, without much regard to sure those who considered him as takconsistency or delicacy, he sketched ing a delight in sketching his own the character of his parent, under the likeness, though in caricature. name of Donna Inez, in his licen- But what renders these representatious epic of “ Don Juan,” an act of tions still more disgusting, in a moral indiscretion which his greatest admi- point of view, is, the open contempt rers will in vain labour to excuse. of religious principle, which pervades

Soon after the return of the noble them all, with an evident aim to con. lord to England, in the autumn of found the distinction of virtue and 1811, he prepared for the press, the vice. This may appear to some of two first cantos of a poem, written in the noble lord's admirers a harsh decithe Spenserean stanza, to which he sion, but let them read seriously that gave the title of “ Childe Harold's part of the second canto of “ Childe Pilgrimage, a Romaunt.” This poe- Harold,” where the author affects to tical history of the author's travels in moralize upon a skull, found in the Portugal, Spain, and Greece, was so ruins of the Temple of Minerva; after well received by the public, as to pass which, if they can acquit him of the through six large editions in the charge of daring infidelity, nothing course of a few months.

Instead, will be too difficult for their ingehowever, of being stimulated by this nuity. success, to complete his design, the In the “Giaour,” scepticism is carauthor printed soon after, a Turkish ried to its utmost extent, by being tale, with the title of “ The Giaour," made predominant over the mind of a which was shortly followed by another monk in a convent, and on a deatheastern story, called “The Bride of bed. Similar impiety prevails in the Abydos,” to which succeeded in a “ Corsair;" while the “ Bride of Abylittle space “The Corsair,” a narra- dos," like some of the author's subsetory poem, in three cantos, completed quent pieces, exbibits a in a subsequent piece, entitled combination of sensuality and profane“ Lara.”. These performances abound ness, mixed up with the finest descripin splendid beauties, intermingled with tions expressed in a glowing felicity of glaring deformities.

numbers. The

most striking defect which runs Of this utter want of respect for through them all, is, the want of con- sacred things, the noble lord gave a sistency in the characters, and of notable proof in the address which he lucid arrangement in the relation. wrote, soon after his arrival in EngThe former are mere creatures of the land, for the opening of the new imagination, without any semblance theatre in Drury Lane. The destructo real life ; and the circumstances in tion of a playbouse by a conflagration, which they are placed are equally and its revival, might have been celeincongruous. But these improprieties brated without any remote allusions are overbalanced by richness of de- whatever; but if the poverty of the scription, and vigour of expression, subject was such as to render some by depth of colouring, and liveliness imagery necessary, the scriptural bisof imagery. The idea of the noble tory was the last source from whence lord in giving his own personal his- it should have been drawn. Lord tory as the narrative of a profligate, Byron thought otherwise, and hence such as Childe Harold is represented, the feelings of piety were shocked by betrayed a strange want of judgment; a comparison of this seat of amusebut it was no less strange that the mont, to the miraculous column of author should complain of an applica- fire which conducted the children of tion, which the whole fabric of the Israel through the wilderness. poem made obvious to every reader. Toland, the infidel, wrote a book,

This identification of himself with to shew that the guiding pillar, menthe principal personages of his works, tioned in the Bible, was nothing more has no doubt led many to form a more than a light carried by an advanced harsh opinion of the poet's private party, well acquainted with the line of

nauseous

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