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factures, arts, and commerce of the islands, have all reference to tillage, -to the cultivation of the sugar cane, pimento, and such things—and tillage is the earliest occupation of man when he first begins to be civilized. Then the brutalizing effects of slavery, a thing in itself much more dishumanizing to the master than to the slave. The passions' there, too, are all of a coarser kind than elsewhere ; and any traditions which are preserved among them relative to those qualities which popularly interest mankind, such as bravery, enterprise, or address, the modifications of heroism, are mixed up and alloyed with enormities and crimes. The West Indies have prodụced no heroes nor warriors, but only buccaneers; and M-Kinnen's account of John Teach, the famous Black Beard of the Bahamas, affords you some idea of the sort of corsairs a Jamaica Byron would celebrate, if ever it be in the nature of rum, rhobe, and sangree to engender a poet.”
“This extraordinary man had united in his fortunes a desperate and formidable gang of pirates, styling himself their Commodore, and assuming the authority of a legitimate chief. Under a wild fig-tree, the trunk of which still remains, and was shown to me in the eastern part of the town, he used to sit in council amongst his banditti, concerting or promulgating his plans, and exercising the authority of a magistrate. His piracies were often carried on near the English settlements on the coast of North America, where he met with extraordinary success. Perhaps in the history of human depravity it would be difficult to select actions more brutal. and extravagant, than Black Beard's biographer has recorded of him. As the narrative to which I allude is generally credited, and bears strong internal evidence of 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 desperados: 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 it 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, be 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
Of hollow tramplings, and strong battle-strokes,
Nor longer then did Jove
Fell ruining from high. So vast the din,
· CHAP. XXVI.
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.
* « This Poem is decidedly his best, but those who delight in the wild and wonderful will prefer Thalaba. It has more of talent than of genius; more of reflection than perception ; juster notions both of 'adventure and of situation than any other of his epics; but still, like them all, it fails to reach the heart, and though it pleases, never elevates the mind. The defect is undoubtedly owing to some lack both of power and of taste. Mr Southey cogitates himself into a state of poetical excitement, but he seems to be rarely touched with the fine phrenzy of the poet. He conceives his works according to certain predetermined principles, and is seldom inspired with the creative energy that calls forth those startling and glorious emanations, which at once make life felt and beauty visible. He has capacity and means to build a pyramid, but the little entaglio of Grey's Elegy is more valuable than all this great tumulus to the memory of the last of the Goths ;-—-still the volume contains many splendid and beautiful passages, which, when first seen, afford a very high degree of pleasure. It is only when we read them a second and a third time that we find out how much of their beauty is more owing to the mechanical structure of the language, than to the feeling or the elegance of the fancy embodied in them. The following description of the return of Roderick to Leyria is perhaps one of the finest passages in the book; but although full of imagery and of circumstances, the slightest of which, effectively managed, would have melted the very heart, I doubt if its merits, great as they are, have ever received the tri. bute of a tear.”