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VI.- Preached at Firz-Roy Chapel. By J. N. Puddicombe, Minister.
410. Is. Johnson. Ano:her spirited declaimer !—but on the other side of the question, Dr. Disney harangues on the parent's cruelty to the child, and Mr. Puddicombe on the child's ingratitude to the parent. Much may be faid on both sides !- and much may be said against both! VII.--Ac St. John's Clerkenwell. By the Rev. E. W. Whitaker,
B. A. Rector of that Parith. 460. is. Rivington. A well drawn parallel between the people of ancient Ifrael and modern Britain, boch with respect to their privileges on the one hand, and their abuse of them on the other. This Sermon breathes a spirit of piety and moderation. The Preacher avoids all political discusions; and very properly confines himself to what is of more general concern; and more becoming the duty of a Christian mini. iter on a day of fafting and huiniliation.
** The Remainder of the Fast Sermons in our next.
GENTLEMEN, N OT doubting your readiness to convey any literary informas tion compatible with the plan of your work, I take the liberty to make an observation on a passage in your Review, for February laft, page 85, quoted from Mr. Thomas Warton's ingenious History of English Poetry. “ There is an old madrigal set to mufick by William Bird, supposed to be written by Henry * when he fell in love with Ann Boleyn. It legins, ." The eagle's force subdues each birde that flies
What mortal can refilte che flaming fyre?
And melt the eyce, and make the froit retire ?" When I first read these verses in the Nugæ Antiquæ they seemed to me too good to be written by a king; and I have since found that their real author was Thomas Churchyard, a poet of Queen Elizabeth's time, and one of the alliltants in the Mirror of Magiftrates. The lines in question are part of a stanza in Churchyard's legend of jane Shore, and may be found in Mrs. Cooper's Mules Library, 8vo. 1741. p. 122.-Considering Mr. Warton's very extensive acquaintance with old English poetry, it is ftrange this circunstance should have escaped him. Royalty should not have been deprived of this little sprig of bays which former flattery, or present accident has giver it, -- but for the consideration that every author dead, or living, ought to have the merit of his own works, be it what it may.
I am Gentlemen, Yours, &c. April 8th, 1782.
+++ We acknowledge the receipt of a Letter relative to a late pofthumous publication, from a person who figns himself · An Enemy to pious Frauds;' and who charges the Editor of that work with having • been guilty of a trespass against fidelity, as an Editor, which nothing can excuse.'
We rather wonder that our ingenious but anonymous Correspondent should not perceive the manifest impropriety of our publishing a charge of a very serious kind, on the testimony of an unknown pe: fon: nor indeed is it our business to make ourselves parties in difcussions of this kind, even on the best authority.
A second letter on the rot in sheep, has been received from our obliging correspondent Mr. Roberts. Another ingenious corre(pondent, who signs himself Philopatria, has also favoured us with one on the same subject. We are forry that neither the nature por the limits of our undertaking permit us to engage any further in this excursive inquiry. From our general rule of admitting nothing has not relation either immediately or remotely to literature. We that deviated in the first inttance, seduced merely by the importance of the subject, and by the hope of awakening the general attention to a matrer of luch great national inportance. As this effect is in fome degree aniwered, we must here take leave of our correspondents. They will no doubt find some other vehicle of public intercourse, to the nature of which their communications will be more suitable. --Weintended to insert these letters entire ; but on re-perusing them, we perceive that, besides their being of a length that would encroach too much on our limits, as well as on the immediate object of our journal, they wear fomewhat of a controversial complexion, with an appear. ance of perfunality *, to which we can by no means afford admit tarce.
* This is less applicable to one of the letters than to the other.
* Our Readers are requested to correct the following errata in the article of Milles's edition of Rowley's Poems, in our latt Review,
Page 207. 1. 30. for ' unharmonious coincidence of words,'
- 217, l. 16. for • Embrice,' r. Ewbrice. For some smaller mistakes, we beg the Reader's indulgence, to which the hurry often attending periodical works gives ihem an especial claim.
We are obliged to poltpone our conclusion of the review of Dean Milles's edition of Rowley; but it will certainly appear in the next Month's Review.
For MAY, 1782.
Art. I. Dean Milles's Edition of Rowley's Poems CONCLUDED.'
See Review for March. THERE are two points which may be regarded as the main
1 hinges on which this controversy turns. The first respects the genius and abilities of Chatterton: the second, the æra of the supposed Rowley. The opposers of the authenticity of these Poems have, at the utmoft, only an extraordinary, or, if it must be so called, an improbable circumstance to struggle with : but those who defend it, have an absolute impossibility to surmount.
We have already delivered our opinion respecting the singular genius and abilities of Chatterton; and in proportion to our acquaintance with the history and acknowledged productions of this extraordinary youth, so are we the more firmly convinced that he was fully equal to the imposition of Rowley. The supposition might at first confound a careless and uninformed enquirer; and indeed there are few persons who would not be Itaggered to have such a question as the following proposed to them on a sudden, or without any previous acquaintance with the character of Chatterton :-" How was it possible for a low-bred boy, just emancipated from the rigorous bondage of a charityschool, to have written poems which evidently bear the deep traces of antiquity, reflection, learning, and genius ?” Wegrant the fact to be extraordinary to a very high degree. Let it even be called improbable. It was a circumstance not likely to happen in the course of a century. But what then? The fact' implies no absurdity-no contradiction. It is at least possible: and we think it one of those very fingular events that sometimes occurs to amuse and aftonith mankind, Chatterton was himVOL. LXVI,
self a wonderful being; and can we be surprised that he should project something as extraordinary as himself? By his own confellion he wrote the first part of the Battle of Hastings; the account, originally published in Farley's Bristol Journal, respecte ing the ceremonies used at the opening of the bridge in the fifteenth century, was acknowledged by himself to be a fiction of his own: and we are assured by Mr. Rudhall, one of his confidential friends, that he blackened parchment, and imitated the old mode of writing, in order to give his MS. the appearance of antiquity. If the truth of his own acknowledgments be question. ed, we have at least strong internal evidence to appeal to for their support; and that support is afforded very amply, not only to one poem, but to all ; for the marks of imposition are uniform and universal. If his confeffion receives credit (and why should it not ?), it at leasts affords a fufpicion, that he who was capable of a fraud (and a fraud too so very ingenious) in one case, was capable of varying the imposition, and of devising fictions without number, in a line so congenial to the bent of his genius and the habit of his studies. If he was more guarded in the language, sentiments, and allusions of the second part of the Battle of Hastings, than in the first, it only tends more forcibly to support the supposition of impofture. The imitations of Chevy Chace, in the first part, were so flagrant and palpable, that we apprehend they must have struck Mr. Barret himself, to whom the poem was at first given. His fufpicions very probably made him so eager (as we find he was) to press for the original MS. When it could not be produced, the suspicion of an imposture was undoubtedly confirmed in Mr. Barret's mind, and very reasonably. What was the issue of this transaction? Why, we are fairly informed by Mr. Barret himself, that Chatterton confessed the whole was a trick ;-that the poem was his own; and that he wrote it at the solicitation of a friend! This confession was very natural, on the supposition of Chatterton's having acted the part of an impostor ; but in any other view, it is unnatural and improbable in the highest degree. If he had been in possession of the original MS. what should have hindered his producing it? and if he had at any time pofTefled it, what should have tempted him to have destroyed it? If he withed to give credit to his pretensions, how could he better have effected his purpose than by shewing his originals? What (we ask again) could have been his motive for destroying them, under the supposition of his having possessed them ?-This question was never answered ; and we believe it out of the power of any advocate for Rowley to give any answer to it, that can afford the lealt satisfaction to an impartial enquirer.
To return to Mr. Barret. When Chatterton confessed the imposition in the first Battle of Hastings, because having been
whome appreso in the position
pressed presied for the original MS. he was incapable of producing it, he promised to supply the defect, and, in some measure, to atone for his fraudulent attempt, by presenting him with a poem on the same subject, that should undoubtedly be original. The producing of such an original was now absolutely necessary to his credit; and it must have struck him with double force, that if his first attempt was suspected for want of evidence, the second would be more strongly suspected on the same ground; espe. cially as he had engaged to furnish the evidence which was requisite to give credit to his pretensions. The objection to the authenticity of the second part of the Battle of Hastings would have been, in every degree, more weighty than that which was urged against the first, if it was after all found deficient in evio dence, so easy to have been produced, if it could have been produced at all ;- for what so easy as the producing the MS. from which the transcript was professed to have been taken ?-We would ask Mr. Barret the following questions :-What made him suspect the authenticity of the first poem which Chatterton gave him? Did he believe Chatterton when he assured him that the poem was his own? If Chatterton only said this to avoid all further enquiries respecting the MS., from whence it might be supposed to have been taken, did he suspect that the MS. was in Chatterton's hand, or that he had destroyed it? If it was in his hand what motive could he have for refusing to shew it, which might not have induced him to have kept other MSS. of the same pretended antiquity, concealed with the same care? If he had destroyed, or accidentally lost this MS. would he not have been more careful to have preserved the other, in order to have given Mr. Barret that satisfaction which was both expected and promised ? When Chatterton produced the copy of the second part of the Battle of Hastings, did not Mr. Barret ask, as in the former case, to see the original ? If this request was refused, what reafon was given for the refusal ? If no MS. was produced, but Chatterton's pretended transcript, what could have induced Mr. Barret to give it that credit which he had denied to the former ? Would he not naturally have said, “Young man, I am not to be deceived a second time. You acknowledge yourself to have made an attempt on my credulity in a former instance. Do you imagine me to be so great a fool as not to be guarded against a second attempt? My objection recurs with additional force, Produce the MS., nor pay so poor a compliment to my understanding as to suppose that I shall always be a dupe to your artifices."-Would not this have been the language of any man of sense in Mr. Barret's situation ? Was it not his? We wish he would inform us.