Page images


Ye, who would sing of country life, must give
Not only scenes where Trees and Cattle live,
But those where you have lov'd and been belov'd;
'Tis with such painting that the soul is mov'd.
In pow'rful contrast, and in colours bold,
The ways of virtue and of vice unfold,
In terrible or touching pictures prove
The town how tainted! and how pure the grove !

When first imperial Paris we survey,
Bright'ning the splendour of meridian day,
As from her circling hills we wond'ring gaze,
The mind at once instinctive homage pays.
" Oh ! here,” we cry, “ reign opulence and arts,
And all the charms that polish'd life imparts;
Here th' immortal works of genius shine,
Paintings and sculpture! and the song divine !"
But, ah! too soon these purple visions fade,
And thou, the queen of cities, wrapt in shade!
For here, alas! do we not also find
How pride and meanness taint alike the mind ?
How here, from the wide earth's remotest bound,
Compress'd, fermenting, every vice is found ?
While mere fatiety demands new crimes,
And on from vice to vice fastidious climbs.
Here too, at once licentious and uncouth,
The bane of marriage, and the scourge of youth,
What shameless bands of prostitutes are seen !
Of hearts ferocious, and unlovely mien :
Here Mercy's self like Misery appears,
And cruel Charity her prisons rears:
Where foul contagion reigns in dreadful fway,
And gasping victims heap the loathsome way :
Here Suicide in gloomy madness lours,
Sharpens the dagger, or the poison pours.
See the pale Gamefter in his midnight cave,
Hurling the fatal die, despairing rave.
How many piteous plaints our ears affail,
From babes forsaken, who incessant wail.
How much obscure distress! and secret guilt !

How many tears are fhed! what blood is spilt! Nothing can be more happy than the two examples which the author has chosen to illustrate his precepts in this delightful pallage. They have afforded him an opportunity of dis. playing the versatility of his gerius. In delivering rules, he is clear and instructive ; plain without negligence, and precise without pedantry or harshness. In the description of his visit to the place of his birth, his verses have all the softness and simplicity of those fentiments, from which they seem fpontaneously and artlessly to flow. On the first glance of


indulges in a proud capitahid Beneath that talia

the magnificence of Paris, he rises to a more swelling harmony, and indulges in a luxury of language, suited to the grandeur and pomp of that proud capital. But when he drags to light the vice and misery which are hid beneath that tailacious magnificence, he arms himself with all the authority and severity of moral indignation, and pours forth his honest invectives against corruption and crimes, with all the vigour and fervour of satire. In the course of two pages, he países from the elegance and tenderness of Virgil to ihe terrible ma. jesty of Juvenal. Yet such is the ariful ease of his transitions, so foit are the bands by which all these apparently incongruous ideas are linked together, that the mind, without effort or difficulty, passes from one subject to another, which seems the most · remote ; from the rules of descriptive poetry, to the feelings of the poet when he revisits the place of his birih; from tender-, ness to satire ; from the beauties of the country to the vices of the town. More sweet description of the charms of nature, or more poignant invective against the crimes of men, is scarcely to be found in poetry.

M. l'Abbé Delille has imitated, in this Canto, an exquisite passage of Horace, of which we shall subjoin the original and the imitations, both by this author and Boileau, that it may be seen how gracefully the Abbé Delille can copy Horace, and how far he has surpassed one of the greatest of French poets.

O rus, quando te afpiciam, quandoque licebit
Nunc veterum libris, nunc fomno et inertibus horis,
Ducere solicitæ jucunda oblivia vitæ,
Oblitusque meorum, obliviscendus et illis.
O fortuné sejour ! O champs aimés des cieux
Que pour jamais foulant vos pres delicieux,
Ne puis-je ici fixer ma course vagabonde,
Et connu de vous seuls, oublier tout le monde. BOILBAU.
“ Hélas! pourquoi faut'il que celui dont les chants
Enseignent l'ari d'orner et d'habiter les champs,
Ne puiffe encore jouir des objects qu'il adore !
O champs! O mes amis quand vous verrai-je encore.
Quand pourrai-je tantôt goûtant un doux sommeil,
Et de bons vieux auteurs amusant mon réveil.
Tantôt ornant sans art mes ruitiques demeures,
Taatôt laissant couler mes indolentes heures ;
Boire l'heureux oubli des soins tumultueux,
Ignorer les humains, et vivre ignorē d'eux." DELILLE.
Ah! why in vain the muse has lent her pow'í,
To make me fondly love my native bow's;
Taught me to ornament its various scene,
To taste with bliss the rural life ferene,

В 1

Oh, fields for ever dear! Oh, friends belov'd!
From you my heart at least has never rov'd.
Ah! when shall I, no longer doom'd to roam,
Behold once more my fields, my friends, my home?
No cares tumultuous in my peaceful breait,
When waked each morn from sweet refreshing rest :
To add fume flow's, some shrub, of brighrer green,
In ariless taste, to deck the rustic scene;
Or idly wander o'er the various page,
Of some pure classic, or some antique fage ;
Or eat my frugal meal, or lip my bowl,
Nor heed the lazy hours that o'er me roll;
Or seek a chosen few, or muse alone,

The world unheeding, by the world unknown. The Poein, after an address to Virgil, of almoft Virgilian elegance, concludes with the following verses:

“ Ainsi seul, a l'abri de mes rochers déserts,
Tandis que la discorde ébranloit l'univers,
Heureux je célébrois d'une voix libre et pure,
L'humanité, les champs, les arts et la nature.
Veuillent les Dieux sourire à mes champêtres sons !
Et moi, puisse-je encore pour prix de mes léçons
Compter quelques printemps ; et dans les champs que j'aime -
Vivre pour mes amis, mes livres et moi-même.”
While Discord fhook the trembling world around,
Beneath my native rocks I shelter found;
And iho' the wide horizon round me lour'd,
With voice lill free, my moral strain I pour'd.
Of virtue, nature, country life, I fung,
And happy o'er my theme enamour'd hung.
Oh! may the gods my ruitic notes approve,
And ’midst thole scenes, which I so fondly love,
Grant to my age, ere this frail being ends,

Some few returning springs, my books, my friends. We rise from the perusal of this work with too much gracitude for the delight which it has afforded us, not to with most heartily that the modelt prayer of the illustrious author may be granted, and that he may long enjoy and celebrate those pleasures, which are so well suited to his pure and elegant mind. Every lover of literature must join with us in the with, that his age may not be embittered by the care of sublistence. There seems to be no impropriery in taking this opportunity to remind the public, that this poet is one of the most interesting victims of the French Revolution. Robbed of his whole lorturie by that terrible event, he has since steadily resisted every temptation to return to France, which the oppreflors of his country could hold out to him, though


they have tried to shake his honour by offers, which it requires great firmness in an exile, spoiled of his all, to resist. His friends have undertaken to procure him such relief, as he might honourably accept, by the publication of a magnificent edition of his “Gardens," greaily enlarged by himself, which they have circulated proposals to print by subscription; and weirust that they will not be disappointed in their reliance on the generosity of the English nation, which will noi be inlenfible to the claims of a poverty, voluntarily embraced for the fake of honour; nor deaf to the united voice of genius, virtue, and glory, who are joint suppliants to our national munificence, in behalf of this illustrious poet. We ought to add, that the conclusion of this poem originally consisted of a highly finished picture of the miseries of France under her various revolutionary tyrannies, from Mirabeau to Bonaparte, The French government suppressed this beautiful passage, and it is now expected to form a striking part of the Poem, to be published by the Abbé Delille, under the vile of Le Malheur et Le Pitié; which is said, by those who have heard parts of it recited, to be the most affecting description ever given, of the miseries of the greatest convulsion that has been known to fill the world with sufferings and with forrows.

which are of the youngeona Vicar Davies

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Art. III. Sermons preached to a Country Congregation : the which are added, a few Hints for Sermons ; intended chiefly for the Use of the younger Clergy. By William Gilpin, Prés bendary of Salisbury, and Vicar of Boldre, in New Forest.

8vo. 438 pp. 6s. Cadell and Davies. FEW Theological writers have more completely poffeffed I the art of producing useful works ahan Mr. Gilpin, whose " Lectures on the Catechisin,” and “ Exposicion of the New

Testament,” are in the hands of every English reader who delights in sacred knowledge. We fee with pain that, in the openiog of his very judicious and manly Dedication to Sir John Mitford, he describes himself as not likely ever again “10 speak from his pulpit." This apprehension, however, has occasioned the present publication ; and so far the public is benefitted by it.

In a short and well-written Preface, Mr. G. throws out some very beneficial hints, on the mode of writing sermons for such congregations as he mentions in his title-page. These we thall insert, with our unqualified approbation.

" When

facred in the hands

" When we write a treatise, we consider the subject throughout. We strengthen it with arguments-weclear it of objections—we enter into details and, in short, we leave nothing unsaid that properly appertains to the subject. Much prefatorial matter also may arise, before we begin the discourse.

« But in the construction of a fermon, perhaps a different mode of composition may, in general, be more eligible—at least, where a country congregation only is addressed on a common subject.

“ In the firit place, though a short opening of a text may often be necessary, there seems to be no occasion for a long preface. Whatever appertains immediately to the discourse, had better perhaps be intro, duced into the body of it. If it do not iinmediately belong to the discourse, it might as well be omitted. At least, if it be not perfectly appolite, it takes off the first edge of attention from an audience, which will not perhaps so reaciily be restored.

" A few easy dii ilions in discussing a subject seem useful. Some divines think it better to melt all together. But a few heads, I think, are a kind of land-marks, which prevent the confusion of running one part into another. They are also heads of reference, which bring a Subject more easily to the memory.

" In proving a point before a common congregation, it seems un. necessary to produce all the arguments that may be used. Such as are most forcible, are enough. Many will labour a point so much, and

throw so many different lights upon it, that, like an object seen in a multiplying glass, it will be confused rather than enlightened. The common people cannot separate a chain of arguments. They lose one in another. And, in the arguments you use, if you dwell only on the most prominent parts, you may make an impression, which a long detail, though equally good in its kind, cannot do.---In short, it seems to be one of the preacher's great points to draw his subject into so compact a form, that his congregation may have a complete view of the u hole.

An illustration may sometimes not only explain a point, but have the weight of an argument with some hearers ; at least, it is a vehicle which makes advice the better remembered.

“ With rigard to language, if you avoid vulgarity, and low ideas, it cannot be too easy. Long sentences are apt to produce confusion, Shorten 'hem as much as you can, and have an eye chiefly to perspi, cuity and ease.

« Sermons, constructed on the plan here described, the author bath thought, from long experience, to be the most useful in a country congregation. Some preachers have the power of fastening the attention of a congregation for more than an hour together. He certainly should not wish to check such preachers : but with numbers, it may be fcared, such attempts will be very feeble. In general, perhaps half that time is as long as a country congregation can be brought to attend. At least, as much may be said in that time as they can well carry off.” P. vi.

The Sermons, according to the author, are not, in general, © more than common parilh discourses”; but they are of the


« PreviousContinue »