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truth, it may be amusing to mention a few particulars of a man who was for some time considered as sovereign of this island.
" In person, as well as disposition, this desperado, who was a native of England, seems to have been qualified for the chief of a gang of thieves. The effect of his beard, which gave a natural ferocity to his countenance, he was always solicitous to heighten, by suffering ít to grow to an immoderate length, and twisting it about in small tails like a Ramilies wig ; whence he derived the name of Black Beard. His portrait in time of action is described as that of a complete fury,--with three brace of pistols in holsters slung over his shoulders like bandoliers, and lighted matches under his hat, sticking out over each of his ears. All authority, as well as admiration amongst the pirates, was conferred on those who, committing every outrage on humanity, displayed the greatest audacity and extravagance.Black Beard's pretensions to an elevated rank in the estimation of his associates, may be conceived from the character of his jokes. Having often exhibited himself before them as a dæmon, he determined once to shew them a hell of his own creation. For this purpose he collected a quantity of sulphur and combustible materials between the decks of his vessel ; when, kindling a flame, and shutting down the hatches upon his crew, he involved himself with them literally in fire and brimstone. With oaths and frantic gestures, he then acted the part of the devil, as little affected by the smoke as if he had been born in the infernal regions, till his companions, nearly suffocated and fainting, compelled him to release them. His convivial humour was of a similar cast. In one of his ecstasies, whilst heated with liquor, and sitting in his cabin, he took a pistol in each hand, then, cocking them under the table, blew out the candles, and, crossing his hands, fired on each side at his
companions : one of them received a shot which maimed him for life. His gallantry also was of the same complexion as this vein of humour. He had fourteen wives, if they may be so called; but his conduct towards one of them appears to have been too unfeeling and unmanly to admit of description.”
BATTLE OF THE TITANS. “ I do not wonder,” said Egeria, in reply to some remarks which the Bachelor was making on the genius of the ancients as compared with that of the moderns, “ why persons particularly attached to their literature have adopted so contemptuous an opinion of the works of the latter. It is perfectly evident, that, besides a knowledge of the laws which governed the style and composition of the Greeks and Romans, something much more ingenious than mere philological knowledge is required to extricate the meaning from the obscurity with which time has invested much of their phraseology. There is something, too, of the delight of discovery attached to classical reading ; for many of the ideas, which probably were common-place enough in the time of the writers, have acquired a recondite and curious interest merely by having lost somewhat of their clearness, by becoming in fact obsolete. To decipher the genuine meaning, various readings are resorted to, and these trials of ingenuity are in themselves pleasing exercises, which, when attended with success, yield a degree of satisfaction analogous to that of the chemist when he has adroitly performed some new and agreeable experiment. But, independent of the pleasure arising from such studies, there are many things in the works of the classics to which some of the finest passages of the moderns may be traced, and the detection of such plagiarisms naturally induces a decided preference for the originals. It cannot, for example, be doubted, that Milton,
that celestial thief,'—stole several of the grandest ideas, in the sixth book of the Paradise Lost, from the Theogany of Hesiod. Look but at Mr Elton's translation of the Battle of the Titans, and you must instantly convict him.” “ All on that day roused infinite the war, Female and male; the Titan deities, The gods from Saturn sprung, and those whom Jove From subterraneous gloom released to light: Terrible, strong, of force enormous; burst A hundred arms from all their shoulders huge: From all their shoulders fifty heads upsprang O’er limbs of sinewy mould. They then array'd Against the Titans in fell combat stood, And in their nervous grasps wielded aloft Precipitous rocks. On the other side alert The Titan phalanx closed: then hands of strength Join’d prowess, and display'd the works of war.. Tremendous then the immeasurable sea Roar'd; earth resounded; the wide heaven throughout Groan'd shattering : from its base Olympus vast Reeld to the violence of gods: the shock Of deep concussion rock'd the dark abyss Remote of Tartarus: the shrilling din
Of hollow tramplings, and strong battle-strokes,
Nor longer then did Jove
Fell ruining from high. So vast the din,
SOUTHEY'S RODERICK. “ No writer of the present day,” observed Egeria, turning over the leaves of Southey's “ RODERICK, THE LAST OF THE Goths,' as it lay in her lap, “has written more of what I would call respectable poetry, than the Poet Laureate. He has, I acknowledge, produced several passages of great beauty and magnificence, but none which can justly be called truly sublime or pathetic. He ranks high in the estimation of the world, and deservedly so, as a man of genius; and, perhaps, in point of industry, he is not inferior, neither in constancy of application, nor in productive power, to the greatest of his contemporaries. But the whole of his lays and lucubrations bear an impress of art and authorship which will ever keep them out of the first class. He has ease undoubtedly, and wonderful facility, but he has little of that natural vivacity which enchants the attention. One never forgets, in reading the works of this clever and ingenious person, that one has a book in one's hand, nor that it is the production of Mr Southey ; yet in his works there is no great degree of mannerism, and really very little egotism, although I believe few authors of our time have been more charged with the latter fault.