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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 same. sessed 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 generally produce the most ten- some agreeable episode or engaging der and exquisite descriptions of which scene. 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; of to use
so admirably translated by Mickle, afthe words of Mr Rogers,
fords a beautiful illustration of this in • Thus kindred objects kindred thoughts evidently in imitation of a simile in the
a moonlight scene, which, although inspire, As suinmet clouds" shoot forth electric ght book of Homer's Iliad, possesses fire"."
an indisputable superiority, as his deAlthough 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 deepimpart 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 Aná lifts her lovely head above the wave. with the passions of the human breast, The snowy splendours of her modest ray every thing that can please the taste Stream o'er the glist’ning wave, 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
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.
lawn : 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, Po 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 inelancholy 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 valk pressed at the reflection of having sur- in mournful conference together. Will vived all the coinpanions of his youth, none of you speak in pity? They do 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*." Jour of enthusiasm, tenderness and me- Such are some of the uses of night lancholy, superior to any poet in any scenery to produce sathetic 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 Qust 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, coin- us whose influence tunes his voice ip 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
" Yet lov'd he nature in her wildest Melting it flows, pure, num'rous, strong mood,
and clear, Her clefted rocks magnificently high, And fills th' impassion'd heart, and Her mountains awful, vast, sublime,
wins th' harmonious eart. and rude,
The same warm admiration of naLifting their giant crests above the ture must have been experienced by
sky; Interninable glens that mock the eye,
almost every one in the least acquainMore than the gentler beauties of the ted with the appearance she assumes dale ;
his season. It animates the heart, More than the flocks that on the flows upon us in a torrent of raptures, greensward lie;
places us in an ideal paradise, and afThe shepherd piping in his peaceful fords us a source of pleasure, attainable
vale; The cot half-hid in trees, wav'd by the only by those whose " minds are feelnoiseless gale *,
ingly alive to each fine impulse."'.
But the poet who wishes to make The rocky glen and sequestered this contemplation of nature subservivalley, o'erhung with wood, and wa- ent to the cause of religion, has, of all tered by a murmuring stream, sooth others, the best opportunity of attainto peace the wearied soul, ally eaching his object. It is now, when every turbulent desire, dissipate every anxi- passion is lulled to repose, and every dus or corroding thought, and teach turbulent desire is overcome, that we the mind to coar above the meaner find leisure to reflect on the power, pursuits of the world. In situations wisdom, and goodness of the Deity; such as these, the student of nature and while we thus feel the impresand the lover of contemplation finds sions the surrounding scenery has on full scope for reflection, and can then the mind, we rise from the contemplaform, in imagination, those picturesque tion of Nature's works, to the contemand animated descriptions, the true plation of Nature's God. J. C. characteristics of a real poet. In scenes like these, which daring to
Account of Manuscripts in the SCOTCH depart
College at Paris. From sober truth, are still to nature (From the Preface to Mr Foa's Hisforical true,
Work.) And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view;
NE of the earliest and greatest
ONE Th'heroic muse employ'd ber Tas- in the course of his labours, arose frony,
difficulties that he encountered so's art! How have I sat, when piped the pensive the manner in which Mr Macpherson wind!
and Sir J. Dalrymple had explained To hear his harp by British Fairfax and conducted their respective publistrung,
cations, and which he always consiPrevailing poet, whose undoubting mind dered as unsatisfactory. Hiscomplaints Believ'd the magic wonders which he of both these authors were frequent ;
sung : Hence at each sound imagination glows, and the more he examined and studied Hence his warm lays with softest their books, the more he perceived the sweetness flows,
necessity of making some further researches. He was anxious, if possible,
to consult the original documents from * Wallace; or the Vale of Ellerslie. which their extracts were made; and It seems not a little surprising, that this he was at first apprehensive, that nopoem, possessed of no ordinary merit,
thing should be so little known.
thing short of an examination of all and I have now ascertained beyond all the manuscripts of the Scotch College doubt, that there were in the Scotch at Paris, could enable him to deter- College two distinct manuscripts, one mine the degree of credit due to the in James's own hand, consisting of paextracts of Macpherson. But he must pers of different sizes bound up togevery soon have despaired of obtaining ther, and the other a sort of historical that satisfaction, for he had strong rea- narrative, compiled from the former. sons to suspect, even before his journey The narrative was said to have been to Paris in 1802, that the most valu- revised and corrected, as to style, by able part, if not the whole of them, Dryden * the poet, (meaning probably had been destroyed. Three important Charles Dryden, the great poet's son,) points, however, might yet be ascer- and it was not known in the College tained :--Ist, Of what the manuscripts, whether it was drawn up in Jamesis so long preserved in the Scotch Cole life, or by the direction of his
the lege at Paris, actually consisted ;- Pretender. I doubt whether Carte 2ndly, To what part of them either ever saw the original journal; but I Carte or Macpherson had access ;- learn, from undoubted authority, that 3dly, Whether any portion, copies, or Macpherson never did ; and yet to fragments, of the papers were still in read his Preface, page 6 and 7, (which existence. The result of his enquiries pray advert to,) one would have supwill be best given in his own words, posed, not only that he had inspected though upon the first point he had as- it accurately, but that all his extracts certained * something more than ap- at least, if not Carte's also, were taken pears from the following extract of his from it. Macpherson's impudence in letter to Mr Laing:
attempting such an imposition, at a “ With respect to Carte's extract, time when almost any man could have I have no doubt but it is faithfully detected hiin, would have been in anocopied; but on this extract it is neces- ther man incredible, if the internal sary to make an observation, which evidence of the extracts themselves applies to all the rest, both of Carte's against hiin were not corroborated by and Macpherson's, and which leads to the testimony of the principal persons the detection of an imposture of the of the College. And this leads me to latter, as impudent as Ossian itself. a point of more importance to me. The extracts are evidently made, not Principal Gordon thought, when I from a journal, but from a narrative; saw him at Paris, in October 1802,
that all the papers were lost. I now * Among Mr Fox's papers were found hear froin a well-informed person, that a list of the works which were placed the most material, viz. those written in the Scotch College at Paris, soon af. in James's own hand-writing, were in. ter the death of James the Second, and deed lost, and in the way mentioned were there at the time of the French
by Gordon, but that the Narrative, Revolution.” It is as follows: Four volumes folio, six volumes quar
from which only Macpherson made to,--Memoirs in James the Second's own his extracts, is still existing, and that hand writing, beginning from the time Mr Alexander Cameron, Blackfriars that he was sixteen years of age.
Wynd, Two thin quarto volumes --Containing letters from Charles the Second's * It is the opinion of the present posministers to James the Second (then sessur of the narrative, that it was comDuke of York,) when he was at Brus. piled from the original documents by şels and in Scotland, MS.
Thomas Innes, one of the Superiors of Two thin quarto volumes-Contain the College, and author of a work en. ing Letters from Charles the Second to titled, A Critical Essay on the ancient Ir. his brother, James Duke of York, MS. habitants of Scotland,