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is certainly inconsistent with the abandoning ourselves to mirth in an inconsiderate way,inconsistent with converting the shortness of life (and similar topics) into a confused kind of reason for passing that life in levity, or for admitting promiscuously every idea that offered itself for our seasons of recreation.
Mrs. More, in the VIth Part of the History of the Two Shoe-makers, which is a Dialogue On the Duty of carrying Religion into our Amusements, and the greater part of which I have inserted in the Introduction to my Collection of Songs, has considered some of the foregoing texts, in connection with some passages from songs, as
« Since life is no more than a passage at best,
See the Opera of Thomas and Sally.
“ Bring the flask, the music bring,
Joy shall quickly find us;
And cast dull care behind us."
See the Finale to Lionel and Clarissa.
She shews how much the poet is at variance with the Christian precepts; but I consider it sufficient in this place to state them together, and refer those, who wish to see more on the subject to the Dialogue and to the Introduction, and, for some farther illustration of it, to the
Preface to the third Volume of my Collection of Songs, p. vii. and I shall proceed to consider the Songs which you have given in this class.
The Song beginning “ No glory I covet,” (p. 37.) I have given in the second Volume of my Collection ; but the sentiment “ The one thing I beg of kind Heaven to grant Is a mind independent and free", I altered to “ Onę thing which I beg &c.” as persons have many other things to beg of Heaven than a free and independent mind. Heaven appears to me to be introduced with propriety in this verse, as is Providence in the third :
“ The blessings, wbich Providence freely has lent,
I'll justly and gratefully prize”. The MORAL Thought, by Hawkesworth, “ Through groves sequester’d”, (p. 38.) is in my Collection, and I have no observation to make upon it.
" What man in his wits had not rather be poor”, (p. 39.) by the Rev. Samuel Wesley, is also in my second volume ; but thinking the first of the two lines of the conclusion uncharitable,
“ Such a wretch let mine enemy live, if he please,
But not even mine enemy die." I altered them to “ Sach a wretch should mine enemy live, may it please
Kind Heav'n he repent ere he die."
i Oh! what is the gain of restless care”, (p. 40.) by Mr. Smyth, is certainly a very pleasing poem ; but the expression in the fourth line from the end, “ there alone can the heart be gay,” I do not think just, as the heart can be gay in many other situations.
In “ Come, dear Amanda !” (p. 41.) line three from the end,
“And wisely crop the blooming day;"
the invitation to " secure the short delight” seems sufficiently guarded by putting the word wisely.
That I may not appear too severe, I will not object to the Song beginning “ Waft me, some soft and cooling breeze,” (p. 41.) farther than to the last line of the fourth verse “ The Gods of health and pleasure dwell,” which I should alter to “ The Sons of health and pleasure dwell.”
In the beautiful Song “ Dear is my little native vale,” (p. 43.) I could have wished that the Hours had had some other epithet than fairy-footed.
- Not on beds of fading flowers” (p. 44.) is in my Collection; but I altered the last line but one from 6 So from the first did Jove ordain", to “ For thus does Providence ordain".
Juno's Song in the Judgment of Paris. (p. 45.)
Let ambition fire thy mind,
Thou wert born o'er men to reign ;
Scord thy crook, and leave the plain.
Thou on Decks of kings shall tread;
Which way e'er thy fancy's led. &c. &c.
Firing the mind with ambition, and treading on the necks of kings, appears to me to go far, very far beyond a “calm and reasonable philosophy”, and “justly to excite the censure of the moralist”. (See before p. 94.)
“ The wretch condemn’d with life to part” (p. 46.) is in
collection. “O Memory! thou fond deceiver”, (p. 46.) appears to me to be much too unqualified. MeMORY has its PLEASURES as well as its pains, and “ he who wants each other blessing”, by which I suppose we are to understand the blessings of this life, must not by any means necessarily“ find a foe" in Memory. If he has treasured up in it the records of a good conscience, together with the promises of that reward to which a good conscience is permitted to look forward, it will afford him consolation amid his “ woe" in this life, and afford him the hope of unfading happiness in that which is to come.
After the high commendation which you have
given in a note upon Goldsmith's Song, beginning “ When lovely woman stoops to folly", (p. 47.) and also in your Letters on Poetry, (L. xix. p. 271.) I feel much reluctance in objecting to it. Goldsmith is a favourite author with me, and his Vicar of Wakefield, in which this song is introduced, is a work to which I am very partial. I should have been glad to have inserted this song in my Collection, but on mature consideration, I could not do so. The point, which you so much admire,—to die, appears to me in its seeming sentiment and beauty to bave misled him; for, surely, it cannot with propriety be said, that it is the part of a woman under such circumstances to die : that is, either to bring on her death directly, or indirectly, or even to wish it ; but to wait God's good time, and by penitence, and trust in the merits of a Redeemer, hope that her sin may be forgiven.
Lucy, I think not of thy beauty ;” (p. 47.) by Matilda Betham, is a very sweet poem, as is The Rose, (p. 49.) “ A Rose had been wash'd, just wash'd in a shower,” by Cowper. It is in my Collection, and is one of the most delightful poems I know. It shews the very happy art which he had of eliciting a moral from the most common incidents of life': I am only sur