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ART. II. A Sicilian Story, with Diego de Montilla, and other Poems. By BARRY CORNWALL. London, Ollier, 1820. 12mo. pp. 177.

THE reception which Mr. Cornwall's « Dramatic Scenes, and other Poems" met with, at their appearance, must have been very gratifying to the feelings of a youthful poet. We had intended noticing them; but circumstances at the time prevented till we thought it unnecessary to repeat the encomiums, which daily, weekly, and monthly crities conspired to lavish on them. These, no doubt, have encouraged him so early once more to tempt the award " of gods, men, and columns ;" nor do we conceive he runs much hazard in lessening his reputation, by this, his second attempt. Should the account we give of it be short, and the extracts few, we think they will nevertheless sufficiently answer our design-that of rendering our readers impatient until they possess the little volume itself.

The first, or the Sicilian Tale, is unquestionably the finest poem it contains, and possesses such tenderness of feeling, and beauty of description, that we are at a loss where to begin, or rather where to conclude the extracts we intend giving. This story

"A story (still believed through Sicily,)

Is told of one young girl who chose to die
For love-"

is founded upon a tale in the Decameron of Boccacio, and finely illustrates the sentiments with which it commences, that

"There is a spirit within us, which arrays The thing we doat upon with colourings Richer than roses; brighter than the beams Of the clear sun at morning, when he flings

His showers of light upon the peach, or plays

With the green leaves of June, and strives to dart

Into some great forest's heart,

And scare the sylvan from voluptuous
dreams.

There is a spirit that comes upon us when
Boyhood is gone, before we rank as men,
Before the heart is canker'd, and before
We lose or cast away that innocent feeling
That gives life all its freshness.'

-P. 5.

The two lovers are Guido, who fled to Genoa from Milan, where his father perished, and Isabel.

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Guido, become the secret husband of Isabel, is slain by her brother Leoni, who is averse to their connexion, and who inters him in the midst of a solitary wood. Having appeared in a vision to his beloved Isabel, she, following his instructions, discovers his body-when, to give it in the words of the author, "She took the heart, and washed it in the wave,

And bore it home, and placed it midst wild flowers,
Such as he loved to scent in happier hours,

And 'neath the basil tree she scoop'd a grave,

And therein placed the heart, to common earth
Doom'd, like a thing that owned not human birth."

This tree, watered by her tears, and nursed "as a mother guards her child," flourished exceedingly," and stood unequalled in the land," till her brother,

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The rest of this affecting story, referring to the distraction which seized Isabel, may easily be imagined from the lines that follow; for

"That day the green tree withered, and she knew

The solace of her mind was stol'n and gone :

And then she felt that she was quite alone

In the wide world.".

The only other poem in the volume, of which we shall speak, is "The Falcon," the outline of which is also to be found in the Decameron. Nor can we refrain extracting the second scene entire, as it displays such exquisite taste, both in conception and manner; while it will afford our readers a genuine specimen of the same author's "Dramatic Scenes," already mentioned. The subject may be related in the quotation which is given from the old version of Boccacio.

"Frederigo, of the Alberighi family, loved a gentlewoman, and was not requited with like love again. But by bountiful expenses, and over liberal invitations, he wasted all his lands and goods, having nothing left him but a Hawk or Falcon. His unkind

mistress happeneth to come to visit him; and he, not having any other food for her dinner, made a dainty dish of his Falcon for her to feed on. Being conquered by this exceeding kind courtesie, she changed her former hatred towards him, accepting him as her husband in marriage, and made him a man of wealthy possessions."

BOCCACIO, (Old Translation,) Fifth Day, Novel 9.

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What can a mother do ?
Fred. "Tis yours Giana;
Aye, though it be my head.

Gia. It is the falcon.

Ah! pardon me; I see how dear the bird
Is to you, and I know how little I
Have right to ask it. Pardon me.
Fred. Alas!

I do, from-from my soul.
Gia. I feel my folly.

You shall not part with your poor faithful friend.

No more of it: I was cruel to request it. Signior, I will not take it, for the world. I will not rob you, Sir.

Fred. Oh! that you could.

Poor Mars! Your child, Madam, will grieve to hear

His poor old friend is dead.

Gia. Impossible!

I saw it as I entered.

Fred. It is dead.

Be satisfied, dear Madam, that I say it; The bird is dead.

Gia. Nay, this is not like you. I do not need excuses.

Fred. Gracious lady,

Believe me not so poor; the bird is dead. Nay, then, you doubt me still, I see.Then listen.

Madam, you came to visit me, to feast: It was my barest hour of poverty.

I had not one poor coin to purchase food. Could I for shame confess this unto you? I saw the descending beauty whom I lov'd Honouring my threshold with her step, and deign

To smile on one whom all the world abandoned.

Once I had been her lover, how sincere Let me not say. My name was high and princely:

My nature had not quite forgot its habits: I lov'd you still. I felt it-Could I stoop, And say how low and abject was my for

tune.

And send you fasting home? Your ser

vant would

Have scorned me. Lady, even then I

swore

That I would feast you daintily. I did. My noble Mars, thou wast a glorious dish, Which Juno might have tasted.

274 Cornwall's Sicilian Story, and other Poetical Pieces. MARCH

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And 1 will swear thine eyes are like the

stars,

(They are, they are, but softer,) and thy shape

Fine as the vaunted nymphs' who, poets feign'd,

Dwelt long ago in woods of Arcady.
My gentle deity! I'll crown thee with
The whitest lilies and then bow me down
Love's own idolater, and worship thee.
And thou wilt then be mine? My love,
love!

How fondly will we pass our lives together; And wander, heart-link'd, thro' the busy world

Like birds in eastern story.

Gia. Oh! you rave.

Fred. I'll be a miser of thee; watch

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(Thou hast already with thine eyes) and bring

My load of love and lay it at thy feet. -Oh! ever while those floating orbs look bright

Shalt thou to me be a sweet guiding light.

Once, the Chaldean from his topmost

tower

Did watch the stars, and then assert their
power
Throughout the world: so, dear Giana, I
Will vindicate my own idolatry.

And in the beauty and the spell that lies
In the dark azure of thy love-lit eyes;
In the clear veins that wind thy neck be-
side,

'Till in the white depths of thy breast
they hide,

And in thy polish'd forehead, and thy hair

Heap'd in thick tresses on thy shoulders
fair;

In thy calm dignity; thy modest sense;
In thy most soft and winning eloquence;
In woman's gentleness and love (now

bent

On me, so poor,) shall lie my argument.
Pp. 81-89.

We confess, we have been much delighted with the contents of Mr. Cornwall's little volume, which manifests, like its precursor, much tenderness of spirit, delicacy of feeling, correctness of taste, and beauty of imagery; and these are embodied with the same pure and graceful form, that at first soothed the critics' asperity, and gave Mr. Cornwall, in their opinion, such a high degree of superiority above his fellows-we mean those, with whom, (at the risk of vitiating his taste,) he deigns to associate. There is no writer of the present day, that we are acquainted with, who makes so near an approach to the pure and natural style of our elder dramatists. This encourages us to hope something still better from him, under whatever name he may choose to assume, (for we are assured that Barry Cornwall is but a nomme de guerre.) He has avoided what we conceived to be a partial blemish in his first work-something like affectation in his diction-by coming too near the barriers of unmeaning simplicity. And, in conclusion, we would only wish to guard him against allowing himself to be, (as one or two instances betray a tendency to such a fate,) too servile an imitator of the style, subject, or manner of any particular poet. There are works which stand alone, and may not be successfully copied; and failure in imitation ought not to be look

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