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monly the effect of novels) will laugh, and grow wifer, as they read; the experienced mother will derive pleasure and happiness from being present at its reading; even the fons of the family will forego the diverfions of the town or the field to pursue the entertainment of Evelina's acquaintance, who will imperceptibly lead them, as well as their fifters, to improvement and to virtue.

If the author of this amufing and inftructive novel poffefs any of Richardfon's merits, he labours alfo under one of his principal faults. The gold is in fome places beat out confiderably too fine. The fecond volume deserves few of the folid praises which we with pleasure bestow on the first and the third. The Roman fibyl, after she had burnt part of her work, still perfifted in demanding the fame price for what remained; we fhould fet a higher value upon this performance had the writer made it shorter---but perhaps, as Swift faid of a long letter, he had not time.

The outline of Evelina's flory is this.-The child of a mother who gave her existence at the expence of her own life; and of a brutal father who occafioned that mother's death, and refused, as it was fuppofed, to acknowledge her daughter; The is educated under the paternal care of Mr. Villars, a worthy clergyman. The novel opens when Evelina is of the age at which young ladies are, as the phrase is, introduced into the world. Mr. Villars trufts his accomplished ward with a family of fashion and fortune, that she may be brought upon the public stage in that great theatre of the world, London. Her fimplicity, good fenfe, and inexperience, are productive of useful humour and diverting fatire. The characters of her newly-difcovered grandmother Madame Du Val, and of a captain Mirvan, the latter an honest English failor, the former a frenchified English waiting-woman, whofe good ftars had made her the widow of a man of rank and fortune, are well fupported, finely drawn, and in a great measure original. During the few months which Evelina spends at a distance from Mr. Villars, the commences an acquaintance, that ripens into love, with lord Orville. His lordship's rivals are painted from nature, the progrefs of the amour is traced by the hand of an artift. The winding up of the story is ob vious---Evelina gets a husband, and discovers a father.--- We could wish her husband had not been a lord, and that her father had been lefs rich. Lords and ladies cannot afford to fpend their precious time in reading novels; and, if they could, they bear no proportion to the commonalty of the literary world. The purchasers of novels, the fubfcribers to circulating libraries, are feldom in more elevated fituations than

the

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the middle, ranks of life. The subjects of novels are, with a dangerous uniformity, almost always taken from fuperior life.--The fatirifts complain with injustice of the want of virtue in our modern nobility; when the hero and the heroine of every novel hardly ever fail, fooner or later, to turn out a lady or a lord. What effect has this upon the readers? They are convinced that happiness is not to be found in the chilling climate of. low life, nor even, where one of our poets fo truly fixed it, in the temperate zone of middle life---Rank alone contains this unknown good, wealth alone can bestow this coveted joy -The title of Sir Charles Grandifon, the fortune of Mifs Byron, are the leaft with which our young novel readers are determined to fit down fatisfied. What is the confequence? Their fates have perhaps deftined them to be a petty attorney or a filverfmith's daughter, a grocer's fon or a clergyman's heiress; fortune pofitively refuses to realize any of their romantic dreams; and a quarter of an hour's perufal of an unnatural novel has embittered all their lives.

We have heard of an advertisement for a houfe with a N. B. that it must not be within a mile of a lord: we with, to fee one novel in which there is no lord,

To the well written performance now before us is prefixed this poetical and affectionate dedication.

Oh author of my being !-far more dear
To me than light, than nourishment, or reft,
Hygeia's bleffings, Rapture's burning tear,

Or the life blood that mantles in my breast!
If in my heart the love of virtue glows,
'Twas planted there by an unerring rule;
From thy example, the pure flame arofe,

Thy life, my precept-thy good works, my school,
• Could my weak pow'rs thy num'rous virtues trace,
By filial love each fear fhould be reprefs'd;
The blush of incapacity I'd chace,

And ftand, recorder of thy worth, confefs'd:

But fince my niggard ftars that gift refuse,
Concealment is the only boon I claim;
Obfcure be ftill th' unfuccefsful mufe,

Who cannot raife, but would not fink, your fame,

• Oh! of my life at once the fource and joy!
If e'er thy eyes these feeble lines furvey,
Let not their folly their intent destroy ;
Accept the tribute-but forget the lay.'

A poetical

A Poetical Epifile to an Eminent Painter. 4to. 35. 6d. fewed. Payne. THE age in which we live is certainly, with regard to Engnot the age of poets. a country rejoice at this, or not, is a different queftion; we only speak of the fact. No writer has yet fucceeded to the honours of Goldsmith, or of Gray; the chair of Churchill is still vacant, and likely to continue fo. The prefent feems to be the age of history and politicks. Our American troubles have made us a nation of politicians. Roetry is frightened away from us; or, if the deign to lift her voice, feldom rifes higher than an epilogue, or an heroic epiftle, the fcandal of the week, or the lie of the day. Even Poetry is now taken up as a vagabond, and preffed into the fervice of Politicks.

Our prefent author has employed her more agreeably, in compofing the panegyric of her favourite fifter, Painting. The public are under no common obligations to him for his elegant performance. The worst we can fay of the gentleman is, that he feems to be rather unnaturally well with two fifters at the fame time.

This poem is addreffed to Mr. George Romney, and reflects equal honour upon its author as a friend, and as a poet. It is divided into two parts. The firft opens with an introduction to the fubject, and proceeds to defcribe the flourishing ftate of the art of painting in this country. Our bard next notices, with true humour and poetry, the difadvantages attending the modern painter of portraits, beftows a fhort encomium on this branch of the art, and gives a masterly account of its origin in the story of the Maid of Corinth. Some of the ills which await the portrait painter are thus enumerated. Nor is it pride, or folly's vain command, That only fetters his creative hand; At fashion's nod he copies as they pass Each quaint reflection from her crowded glass. The formal coat, with interfecting line, Mars the free graces of his fair defign; The towering cap he marks with like diftrefs, And all the motley mafs of female dress. The hoop extended with enormous fize, The corks that like a promontory rise. The ftays of deadly fteel, in whofe embrace The tyrant fashion tortures injur'd grace.?

The laft couplet is fingularly happy-fts elegant allufion to the well-known anecdote of the iron bed of Procruftes, cannot fail to please every reader of true taste.

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Portrait-painting is thus beautifully traced to the Maid of Corinth; or higher ftill, to Love itself.

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• Oh! Love, it was thy glory to impart
Its infant being to this fweeteft art!
Infpir'd by thee, the foft Corinthian maid,
Her graceful lover's fleeping form portray'd:
Her boding heart his near departure knew,
Yet long'd to keep his image in her view.
Pleas'd the beheld the steady shadow fall,
By the clear lamp upon the even wall.
The line the trac'd, with fond precision true,
And, drawing, doated on the form the drew:
Nor, as the glow'd with no forbidden fire,
Conceal'd the fimple picture from her fire;
His kindred fancy, ftill to nature just,
Copied her line, and form'd the mimic buft.
Thus from thy inspiration, Love, we trace
The modell'd image, and the pencil'd face.'

We could with art had been affociated with a lefs general epithet than Sweetest, in the second line of this extract; and we should not have been forry had the last line but one been rather more mufical-a point in which this author feldom fails.

Our poet then proceeds to maintain the fuperiority of hiftorical painting, to enumerate the Grecians who chiefly excelled in it, to account for the failure of the Romans, and for its revival in Italy; when he takes occafion to speak, in the language both of poetry and painting, of the Italian, Flemish, and French painters. The firft part concludes with these lines, not lefs juft than elegant, upon the French school.

Tho' Frefnoy teaches, in Horatian fong,
The laws and limits that to art belong;
In vain he strives, with Attic judgment chafte,
To crush the monsters of corrupted taste;
With ineffectual fire the poet fings,
Prolific ftill the wounded hydra springs :
Gods roll'd on gods encumber every hall,
And faints, convulfive, o'er the chapel sprawl.
Bombaft is grandeur, affectation grace,
Beauty's foft fmile is turn'd to pert grimace;
Loaded with drefs, fupremely fine advance
Old Homer's heroes, with the airs of France.
Indignant Art difclaim'd the motley crew,

Refign'd their empire, and to Britain flew.'

The second part of the poem defcribes the birth. of painting in England, and accounts for her late appearance among us; mentions the rapidity of her growth; weighs the different

merits

merits of her moft eminent living favourites, and expreffes the poet's wish to fee his friend among the number, and his reafons for hoping it. Our elegant writer then justly observes how much the painter's reputation depends upon a happy choice of fubjects, fome good ones are recommended from events in our own hiftory, as well as from Milton and Shakspeare; and the performance concludes with its author's poetical prayers for his friend's success, which we fincerely hope no evil dæmon will difperfe in air.

One of the fubjects recommended is the affecting story of Margaret, daughter of the famous fir Thomas More.

Shall Roman charity for ever share
Thro' every various fchool each painter's care?
And Britain ftill her bright examples hide
Of female glory, and of filial pride?
Inftruct our eyes, my Romney, to adore
Th' heroic daughter of the virtuous More,
Refolv'd to fave, or in th' attempt expire,
The precious relicts of her martyr'd fire:
Before the cruel council let her ftand,
Prefs the dear ghaftly head with pitying hand,
And plead, while bigotry itself grows mild,
The facred duties of a grateful child.'

The concluding lines of the poem are these.

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May health and joy, in happieft union join'd,
Breathe their warm spirit o'er thy fruitful mind!
To noblest efforts raife thy glowing heart,
And ftring thy finews to the toils of art!
May Independance, burfting Fashion's chain,
To eager genius give the flowing rein,
And o'er thy epic canvas fmile to fee
Thy judgment active, and thy fancy free!
May thy juft country, while thy bold defign
Recalls the heroes of her ancient line,
Gaze on the martial group with dear delight,
May youth and valour, kindling at the fight,
O'er the bright tints with admiration lean,
And catch new virtue from the moral scene.
May time himself a fond reluctance feel,
Nor from thy aged hand the pencil steal,
But grant it ftill to gain increafing praise,
In the late period of thy lengthen'd days,
While fairest fortune thy long life endears,
With Raphael's glory join'd to Titian's years.'

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To this highly-finished performance are fubjoined fome entertaining notes, upon which we should bestow more praise had they contained lefs apparent affectation of the knowledge

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