Obrazy na stronie

where, in short, he converses with his VIII. and Louis XI. ought never toreader; he is the Montagne of the have seen Tacitus in a library, without Greeks; but he has not, like him, that a species of terror. picturesque and bold manner of paint- If from the department of morais ing his ideas. Like him, however, he we pass to that of genius, who has attaches and interests, without appear- drawn characters more strongly? Why ing to aim at doing so. Above all, has descended farther into the depths his great art consists in painting men of policy ;-has drawn greater resulte by minute details. He draws none of from the smallest events ;-has betthose brilliant portraits, of which Sal- ter, at every line in the history of a lust first set the example, and which man, given the history of the human Cardinal de Retz, by his memoirs, has inind and of all ages ? Who has better brought so much into vogue among detected meanness under every fold in us; he does better, he paints in action. which it could hide itself;-has better We think we see all these great men discriminated all the species of fear, act and converse. All his figures are all the species of courage, all the se genuine, and have the exact propor- cret workings of the passions, all the tions of nature. Some persons think motives of men's discourses, all the this to be the style in which all pane- contrasts between their sentiments and gyrics ought to be written. We actions, all the movements which the should be less dazzling, say they, but mind will not own to itself? Who has more satisfactory; and admiration must better traced the singular mixture of sometimes be renounced for the sake virtues and vices, the assemblage of of esteems

different and sometimes opposite qua

lities ; ferocity cold and gloomy in Tacitus.

Tiberius, ardent in Caligula, stupid in The order of time, the connection Claudius, without restraint as without of ideas, the merit of this great man, shame in Nero, timid and hypocritical and the particular character of his in Domitian? -- the crimes of tyranny works, seem to require that we should and of slavery ;-pride humbling itseif speak of him here. At the name of on one side, to command on another; Tacitus, every man of the least sensi- corruption either tranquil and slow, oz bility feels his imagination warmed, bold and impetuous; the revolationary and his soul raised to a higher tone. character and spirit, the opposite views If you ask, who has better exposed of the chiefs ; instinct, fierce and rapavices and crimes ;--- better inspired in- cious in the soldier, tumultuous and dignation and contempt for all who feeble in the multitude ? In Rome, we brought misery upon mankind? I will see the stupidity of a great people, to say, I'acitus. Who inspires a more sa- whom the conqueror and the conquercred respect for virtue in misfortune, ed are alike indifferent, who, without who makes hier appear more august, in choice, without regret, and without chains, or under the stroke of the exe- desire, sit at the public shews, and cutioner? it is. Tacitus. Who has coldly wait till their master is announthrown the most sovereign contempt ced; are ready to clap their hands by on parasites and slaves, on all who chance to whoever shall arrive, whom, cringed, flattered, pillaged, and cor- if another had prevailed, they would rupted at the court of the emperors ? have trampled under foot. In short, again it is Tacitus. Name to me a ten pages of Tacitus teach us better mart who ever gave a more command- the knowledge of mankind, than threeing character to history, a more terrible fourths of modern histories put togeaspect to posterity. Philip II. Henry ther. It is the book of old men, of philosophers, of citizens, of courtiers, the pleasing effects arising from the of princes. It consoles him who is perusal of poetry, none have ever placed in solitude, for the absence of treated of the introduction of Moonthe society of men ; it enlightens him light Scenery. In most of the prinwho is forced to live with them. It cipal poems, both ancient and modern, is too true, that it does not teach us to we find that frequently the most intzteem them; but we should be too teresting, pleasing, and pathetic part, happy if their intercourse were not, is that which treats of the various ap

this respect, more dangerous still pearances of nature as then exhibited, than Tacitus.

or of the melancholy and tender emoI have spoken of his eloquence; it tions which the scenery is calculated is well known. In general, it is not to produce. To investigate to what an eloquence of words and of harmony; lengths such descriptions should be proit is an eloquence of ideas which fol. tracted; to what species of poetry they low and strike against each other. should be confined; or to give a reguHis thoughts seem every where to lar detail of them in every poem of meconcentrate themselves in order to oc- rit, would lead into a field of discussion cupy less space. We never foresee, much beyond the limits of this essay, we only follow it. Often it is not It is not so much my present object to brought entire, and is bid, as it enumerate and classify these descripkere, under a veil. Imagine a lan- tive parts of poetry, or to elucidate guage, rapid as the movements of the them by elaborate quotations, as to soul; a language which, in order to shew the pleasing influence they have express a sentiment, should never re- on the human mind, and how they quire to be divided into words ; a lan- contribute to call forth and refine all guage, every sound of which should the finer feelings of our nature. Withexpress a collection of ideas; such drawn from the cares and bustle of the almost is the perfection of the Ro- day, we contemplate by moonlight, man language in Tacitus. No super- nature displayed in one of her most Auous siga, no useless pageantry - enchanting forms ; and while thus our The thoughts press upon each other, attention is warped up in the grandeur and crossd into the imagination ; but of the scene, we experience that tranthey fill, without ever fatiguing it.- quillity of mind which we look for in In regard to the style, it is bold, ra- vain in the busy theatre of life. pid, often abrupt, always vigorous. It Accordingly we find, that every paints by one stroke. The connec- 'poet of taste has availed "limself of tion is more between the ideas than the such descriptions in almost every dekords. Muscles and nerves predo- partment of poetry. In day-light, minate rather than grace. He is the when the whole face of nature is disMichel Angelo of writers; he has the played at one view, and a boundless same depth, the same strength, and per- prospect opens to the sight, the mind haps a little also of the same rudeness. is apt to be so much distracted, and

the thoughts so dissipated by the mulObservations on the Introduction of tiplicity of objects, as to be rendered

MOONLIGHT SCENERY into POETRY, incapable of singling out any particuand the Effects the Contemplation of lar part, or of surveying it with atNature by night has on the human mind. tention. Hence, whenever the poet

wishes to impress upon our minds any To the Editor.

great or sublime object, or to melt us SIR,

with any tender or pathetic descripIT appears not a little surprising,

that tion, he withdraws us from the tumult among the numerous illustrations of and bustle of the world to the tran

quil scenery of some sequestered spot, ruddy tints of the setting sun diffused where “ darkness spreads her brood. over the face of nature. ing wings," and where “ musing me Many of the night scenes in poetry lancholy loves to dwell." It is in contribute little to illustrate this subsuch a situation where the tiver mur- ject, have frequently no connection murs gently o'er its pebbled bed, and with the natural phenomena produced the moon-beams play on the rippling at that period, and would have had waves, or, glimmering thro’ the trees, the same effect if introduced at any shed their light on the solemn scene, other time. Some, on the other hand, that the mind is disposed to indulge in serve as a sort of episode for reluring that train of solitary contemplation the mind from pursuing one continued that accords so well with a heart pos- description, and preventing that samesessed of sensibility. They in whose ness which would otherwise occur in minds imagination is the strongest any poem of considerable length. characteristic, are of all others the Even the most interesting subject, if most disposed to indulge in this en- long protracted, satiates the reader, thusiasm, and, if properly regulated, unless he is occasionally relieved by they genorally produce the most ten- some agreeable episode or engaging der and exquisite descriptions of which scéne. From Homer to our modern poetry is susceptible. The mind be- poets this expedient has been resorted comes in a manner allied to the sce.

to with considerable success, and, if nery, and by continually pursuing the properly introduced, displays equally same train of thought, it will paint the the taste of the poet and his skill in descriptions in those engaging colours, description. Camoenis

, in his Lusiad, what nature herself inspires; or to use

so admirably translated by Mickle, afthe words of Mr Rogers,

fords a beautiful illustration of this in « Thus kindred objects kir.dred thoughes evidently in imitation of a simile in the

a moonlight scene, which, although inspire, As suamet clouds' shoot forth electric eight book of Homer's Iliad, possesses fire."

an indisputable superiority, as his de Although even the delineation is cription is drawn from the appearance confined to inanimate objects alone, of night at sea. yet the pensive associations produced Calm Twilight now her drowsy mantle by the decline of a summer day, or the spreads, tranquil lustre of a moonlight night, And shade on shade the gloom still deep. impart an irresistible charm to every The moon, full-ord'd, forsakes her wat'

ning sheds. contemplative mind. But, if the de

ry cave, scriptions are blended or contrasted And lifts her lovely head above the wave. with the passions of the human breast, The snowy splendours of her modest ray every thing thať can please the taste Stream o'er the glist’ning ware, and or delight the imagination may be ex quivering play: pected Nothing can be more con- Around her, glittering on the heav'n's

arch'd brow, genial to the finer emotions of the

Unnumber'd stars, enclos'd in azure, heart, than the pleasure arising from

glow, the survey of an extensive landscape, Thick as the dew drops on the rosy displayed in all its lights and shades by an autumnal moon; and nothing Or May. flow'rs crowding o'er the daisy can harmonise better with the exqui. site sensations of love or of friendship, The canvas whitens in the silvery beam; than the influence produced by the last The masts tall shadows tremble o'er tbe

And with a paler red the pendants gleam;

deep, • Pleasures of Memory, P. 23. The peaceful winds a holy silence keep;




The vatchman's carrol echo'd irom the It is at this season too that the poet prows,

can introduce his characters as giving Alone, at tiines, awakes the still re,

vent to those emotions to which the puse *."

mind, actively engaged in the busiThe appearance of nature at thiş ness of the day, is unable to give utperiod may also serve as a kind of con- terance. The desponding swain retrast with some circumstance that has tires from his cottage to pore upon immediately preceded. After the poet the brook that babbles by," and to has exhibited some distressing event, pour out the melancholy tale of his or if he wishes to shew the tranquillity mistress's cruelty, and the pavgs of at this period so superior to the condi- disappointed love. Au nature, he tion of those engaged in troublesome conceives, sympathises in his distress, affairs, or harassed

by anxious thoughts, every rill listens to his sorrowful tale, the introduction of night scenery has and every shrub comıniserates his sufan isresistible effect. When Virgil fering. relates the sufferings of the unhappy The sailor, “ far from his country Dido, after being basely deserted by and his native home,” when nothing ter ungrateful lover, he does not en- is seen but the blue expanse of heaven, ter into a tedious detail of her suffer- and nothing is heard but the waye imgs; but after having admirably de- breaking upon the prow of his vessel, lineated the tranquil appearance of na- will be most inclined to indulge in ture, and the repose enjoyed by the that melancholy train of thought wbich whole animated world, he leaves his his situation naturally suggests. The reader to draw the interesting contrast. companions of his early years, the 'Twas dead of night, when weary bo

scenes of his youthful enjoyments, the dies close

dangers to be encountered before he Their eyes in balmy sleep, or soft repose; can fly " to meet his Helen's lov'd The winds ao longer whisper through embrace," are apt to overpower his the woods,

mind with sensations infinitely more Nor murm'ring tides disturb the gentle acute than those experienced in the

fouds. The flueks and herds and party colour'd peaceful walks of life. fowl,

His native hills that rise in happier climes, Which haunt the woods or swim the The grat that heard his song of other wesdy pool,

times, Stretch'd on the quiet earth securely lay, His lowly cat, his bark of slender sail, Forgetting the past labours of the day, His glossy laks, and broomwood blos. All else of Nature's common gifts par

som'd vale, take,

Rush on his thoughtsUnhappy Dido was alone awake. Nor sleep, nor case, the furious queen chose for his inimitable episode of the

It was this season that Falconer can find, Sleep filed her cyes, as quiet fed her parting of Palemon and Anna, when mindt."

unobserved by his avaricious father, the Nothing can possibly demonstrate unhappy youth could meet "the maid in more forcible colours the suffer- his soul ador'd,” could pour out his ings of the love-sick Queen than such impassioned heart, and receive the rea comparison, and nothing can awa- ciprocal declaration of love from a ken in our minds a more lively sense soul in unison with his own. Their of her sufferings than such a descrip- tender meeting ; their avowal of a

mutual passion ; their solemn vow of

eter • Lusiad, book s. Dryden's Virgil, Eneid 7.

* Pleasures of Hope.


eternal constancy, with the pangs of splendid return : or we hear him tun. separation; and the foreboding presages ing his harp, to deplore the loss of his of never again meeting, would, if the beloved friends, and sitting on the poet had chosen a different time for sounding shore, pouring out his inconthe scene, lost much of that effect solable grief. which has otherwise rendered the in- “Rise, winds of Autumn, rise ; terview perhaps the most affecting of blow upon the dark heath! streams of any contained in the English language. the mountains, roar! howl, ye tempests

The effects of night scenery appear in the tops of the oaks ! walk through more conspicuous in Ossian than in a. the broken clouds, O Moon ! show by ny other poet whatever, for producing intervals thy light! bring to my mind these tender and melancholy reflec- that sad night, when all my children tions. All his poems breathe the same fell; when Arundal, the mighty, fell; enthusiastic representation of nature, when Dura, the lovely, failed." and almost every description contains * When the storms of the mountain some allusion to his native wilds, as come; when the North lifts the wives displayed by moonlight. Possessed as on high ; I sit on the sounding shore, he was of a breast glowing with the and look on the fatal rock. Often, by noblest sentiments and tenderest pas- the setting moon, I see the ghosts of sions, of exquisite sensibility, and de- my children. Half-viewless they walk pressed at the reflection of having sur- in mournful conference together. Will vived all the companions of his youth, none of you speak in pity? They de ful years, no wonder that his poems not regard their father. I am sad, 0, breathe a delicacy of sentiment and ar. Camar, nor small my cause of woe*." our of enthusiasm, tenderness and me- Such are some of the uses of night lancholy, superior to any poet in any scenery to produce pathetic or melancountry. But giving vent to these choly descriptions. But it extends esimple and natural emotions of the ven in a greater degree, to exciting heart that so distinguished the illustri- sublime or awful emotions. The first ous bard, his descriptions, his similes, and greatest source of delight arising and his imagery, all originate from the from the contemplation of nature, is saine source ; and while he pours out undoubtedly the sublime. It seizes upall the finer emotions of his soul to on the soul with an irresistible force, the silent moon, he paints her glim- arrests our attention, absorbs all our mering rays reflected on the heath- faculties, and overpowers the mind cład hill

. He seems in his element with wonder and astonishment. The when guided by her light; he traver- passion it inspires is evidently a mixses the barren heath, or surrounded by ture of terror, of admiration, and of hurricanes and storms, he traces the curiosity; but they are characterized scenes of his youthful exploits. He by a majesty we observe on no other seems to listen, from the summit of occasion. It is to enjoy these impressome rugged cliff

, to the roar of the sions undisturbed that the poet secataract, or of the storm borire thro' cludes himself in the recesses where the solitary glen ; while the plaintive the sublime has fixed her peaceful relamentations of some disconsolate maid, sidence, where he experiences in conpouring out her sorrows over the turf templation the full force of that genithat covers her beloved warrior, com- us whose influence tunes his voice tp pletes the solemn concert. We see melody, and fires his imagination to The warrior and the bard addressing rapture. himself to the silent moon, gilding his

" Yet bark, laden with the spoils of his enemies, and singing the glory of his

* Songs of Selma

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