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The rules of this species of composition are justly conceived, and happily expressed, by Mr. Robinson.
• Pastoral romance stands in the fame degree of affinity to the simple eclogue, as epic poetry does to dramatic dialogue. Each should di. ftinctly form one complete whole. However interspersed with episodes, or chequered with ornaments, still there should be held out one principal and main object throughout the work. The extent of the subject is of no consideration in this rule; that Nature herself seems to point out to us ; for tragedy has its aim as well as epopee; and while a shepherd chants over his reed, there may be as much pre-conceived purport in his song, as if it made up a story of some volumes.
• The same rules, then, with regard to unity of time, place, and action, which are applicable to the drama and coopee, hold good in respect of paftoral romance. The scene alone constitutes the difference; but this gives rise to variety of imagery; and hence, like verficoloured flowers, blowing from the same stem, epopee and pastoral romance shoot from the intricacy of situations in which a great and good character is placed.
However, as pastoral romance reaches not the dignity of epopee, fome allowances must be made relative to the unities.
• A hero is generally given one year to complete the godlike work he has undertaken in an epic story. The drama, overawed by probability, gives but a few hours, ftri&tly speaking ; but paftoral romance, participating of the nature of both, without the importance of either, may widen or contract the circle of duration, as the concomitant circumstances flow more or less from the advenures of unbounded fancy, or the still scenery of domestic life.
• Romance, in its own nature, seems to carry with it the idea of heroic biography : but when the epithet paftoral is joined to it, ic leffens distance, fetters time, clips the wings of fancy, and gives up the reins to the more uniform walk of Nature. If Abel, Thirza, Mehala, and Cain, were not fhepherds and shepherdefles, the death of one brother by another, the first murderer, and the first blood the earth e'er drank, might have sprung forth into the fields of fancy, blossomed into adventures of the deepest dye, and pompoufly increased in duration of time, and expansion of place.
• Pastoral romance, then, with regard to unity of time, stands betwixt epopee and the drama, neither so unbounded as the last, nor so diffuse as the former.
• The unity of place is determined by the name itself. 'The scenery mult be rural; and, as the cares, concerns, and undertakings of swains seldom spread beyond the umbrage of their own groves, or the banks of their own rivulets, so the whole of a pastoral event may be crowned within the limits of one manor, or even one village, The subject itself, by giving greater scope to fancy, requires less of place; for a fairy or dryad can do more within the magic ring of a billock, or the sacred bark of an old oak, than heroes on wide excending plains, or the boundless ocean.'
The second volume consists of characteristic tales ; in which the character and manners of the Germans, the Spaniards, the Portugueze, the French, and the Persians, are represented in a variety of adventures, and delineated with propriety and elegance. The following extract from the German tale will give a specimen of the Chevalier de Florian's manner, and of his talent for description,
• One evening, having passed the day in reaping, the good old Peter, Theresa, and his family, seated on the turf, were indulging themselves' at their own door. They were lost in contemplation of those sweet summer nights, that the inhabitants of cities never know. “ Observe," said the old man, “ how that beautiful sky is besprinkled with stars, some of which, falling from the heavens, leave behind them a long train of fire. The moon, hid behind these poplars, gives us a pale and trembling light, which tinges every object with an uni. form and soft splendour. The breeze is hushed; the tree seems ta respect the sleep of its feathered inhabitant. The linnet and the, thrush sleep with their heads beneath their wings. The ring dove and her mate repose amidst their young, which have yet no other covering, or feathers, than those of their mother. Nothing interrupts this deep filence, but that plaintive and distant scream, which, at equal intervals, strikes our ears; it is the cry of the owl, the emblem of the wicked. They watch while others reft; their complaints are incessant; and they dread the light of heaven. My dearest children, be always good, and you'll be always happy. Sixty long years have your mother and I enjoyed a happy tranquillity. God grant that none of you may ever purchase it fo dearly.
These tales are well known, and deservedly esteemed, at Paris. The translation, notwithstanding, of some quaint phrases, is executed with fidelity and spirit. Those readers who have a taste for the simple beauties of nature, and the artless expressions of passion, will here meet with entertaina
ART. VI. Defultory Reflections on Police : with an Essay on the Means of
Preventing Crimes, and Amending Criminals. By William Blizard, F. S. A. Surgeon of the Honourable Artillery Company, Loc. Svo. 23.
Dilly, 1785. MR. Blizard appears to have some merit in the exertions he
has made in behalf of the police of the metropolis. He was a zealous member of the London Military Foot Alociation; and his pamphlet is partly employed in commemorating his own merits, and those of his coadjutors. We believe him to be a man of probity and good sense, and we should not be disposed to refuse him our vote as a member of a council of police. But whatever be his merits as a man, and a citizen, ENG. Rev. Vol. VI. March 1786. M
they come disguised to us in his capacity as an author, by a frippery and affectation, which have feldon been equalled. When a man writes in this stile, he unfortunately detects for us, the principle of the whole of his character, and we cannot but perceive, that the mass of his virtues are dictated by a fpirit of vanity and oftentation. These features are finished off, in the present instance, by the elegance of his paper, and the beauty of his type, together with a pompous copper plate frontispiece prefixed to his petit brocheire. Since however, with all his demerits, we could wish to recommend his pamphlet to the attention of our worthy friends the citizens of London and Westminster, we will beg leave to present them with one of his letters entire, which of all the rest is most calculated to do credit to his good humour and humanity.
SIR, • There are practices in this town, which seem to be authorised by some rulers of parishes, that do not comport with the boasted humanity of this nation.
-Very lately, a poor black fellow was turned out of a cart on the pavement, in a parish of this city, and there left. His condition was truly shocking, for both his legs were in a state of complete mortification ; he was too ill to relate the story of his forrows. The first suggestion was, to remove him a little further, out of the parish, left it should be burdened with him. A more humane and intelligent person remarked, “ that his life had already been nearly facrificed to this saving principle, and that he would relieve them of their concern ;” and instantly had him put into a coach, and conveyed to the London-Hospital. Both his legs were amputated, and the poor fellow now begs about the eastern parts of this town.
• A little time fince, a miserable woman laid herself down at my door. She said, she had dragged her toitering frame from Portimouth. Her appearance, one would have thought, would have melted any heart. She was reduced to the lowest state, by disease, want, and fatigue : one of her arms, from these caufes, was beginning to mortify. A neighbouring fage came, and advised me to have her put away only about a hundred yards, and he would then be out of the parilh, and no expence could accrue from her. Shocking expedient ! and what, then, is to become of this finking creature ? Tossed from parish to.parish, where is to be the last cruel scene of her existence ? No, while the gates of the London-Hospital continue open to the diseased and wretched, we will implore the blessings of that place, to rescue from death, or to soften its pangs ! She was conveyed thither: but the powers of nature were too far fpent; she lived only about ten days --Her sense of gratitude, for what had been done for her, was so great, that the hardly ever ceased, night and day, praying for and blessing the charity.
• But, ah! my friend, I have a tale of woe to relate, that must deeply affect your sensibility.- A fine male infant was laid at the door of our friend ***. His good lady was from home, and he at a loss, for the instant, how to act for the preservation of the babe. An
officer of the parish, who had been informed of the matter, came officiously, and assured our friend, that he would take care of the business. He took up the little innocent and went away. "He looked up and down the street; and presently saw a female, of about nineteen years of age, walking to and fro, in seemingly great agitation. He contrived to have the heart-rent girl brought into a public house. He presented the child, and asked whether she was the mother of it? Maternal tears where then big in her eyes! but shame would combat with nature! The replied, no. All the while, lidtuin like, in every anxious look on the babe, yearning for the breast. feeling monster proceeded then I will lay it in the kennel. She Thrieks, seizes the infant, and flies from her enemy, man!-Whither, hapless female, wilt thou go? Would that a Sterne, or a Shenstone, or a Hanway, or that thou, my honoured friend, hadft been near, to have comforted her broken heart! And what are her crimes--say, rigid ftoic--that her tender nature should be so violently treated ? Alas ! her heart was too susceptible: the loved, was deceived, and undone! And wilt thou, feducer, bear no share of the burden of her woe? Whither, hapless female, wilt thou flee? Perhaps, distracted, she may plunge herself and babe into some stream; or the
dah out the brains of the smiling boy, saying, “ I will not add to the race of savages ;” and save out her remaing days in Bedlam !
• Bat let us finish this affecting story. The officer returns, runs over the relation of the circumstances, and adds, ** She is now out of the parish, and we are safe.” " A curse light on thee !” said
I am, &c.'
Annexed to Mr. Blizard's pamphlet, is the opinion of the City Recorder, upon the legality of the London Association. It is written perhaps as fairly, and as well as the subject will bear ; but to us it affords only a new specimen, how much an honest man will be puzzled, when he attempts to defend the dictates of common sense by the quibbles of the law. No government ever yet included a remedy for its own imperfections. The laws of England are, in our opinion, in peremptory and direct opposition to this sort of consideration. But if the police of the country be in so wretched a state, as to be unable to protect the lives and property of its citizens, or if our liberties are brought into imminent and alarming danger, these are cases that look beyond temporary and political instim tutions, and that lead us back to the great and unalienable principles and immunities of our nature.
ART.VII. Ejay on the Life and Character of Petrarch. To which are
added, Seven of his Sonnets; translated from the Italian. Svo, 15.6d.
Cadell. 0784 0
UR author is of that class of writers, who, ever fecure
of escaping our cenfure, are never happy enough to obtain our applause.
Serpit humi tutus nimium timidusque procella. It is not easy to say, in the present instance, whether the Essay on the Life of Petrarch was compiled for the sake of the translated fonnets, or whether the sonnets were translated to eke out the biography. Certain of never rifing to diftinction, and never going down to posterity, this pamphlet will not, however, disgust the most faftidious and critical reader. But to say this, is to confess that it will have its share of applause and celebration. We will do it the justice to say something of each of the parts of which it is composed. The most considerable article in the life, is a critical examination of the fact, whether or no the Laura of Petrarch was 'ever married. The affirmative of this question is maintained by the author of Memoires pour la Vie de Petrarque, printed upon the continent, in three volumes, quarto, and abstracted in Englifh in two volumes, octavo. The public notice of this work has been sufficient to diffuse a kind of general opinion of the veracity of the fact, and a persuasion among the superficial and credulous, that it was out of all controversy. The writer before us brings the question under fresh examination, and we think has been toJerably successful in wiping away this stain from the repuu tation of his favourite poet. He observes, that the author of the Memoires is a descendant of the family of the married Laura, and therefore was interested, in respect of his vanity, in establishing her pretensions to be the mistress of Petrarch. We are not at liberty. to extract his arguments before us at large, but we will present our readers with one or two of those which appear to us most forcible.
"360. An amour of this kind, with a married woman, the mother of a family, was in itself an offence against both morality and religion, and must have been viewed by the poet himself in a criminal light. But the passion of Petrarch for Laura appears to have been his glory and pride, and to have raised hinr both in the esteem of others and of himself.
Anima- da li ti vien l'amoroso pensero
Son. 12. • In amore meo, says Petrarch, in his dialogue with St. Augustine, nil turpe, nil obfcænum, hil denique præter magnitudinem culpabilis. Dial. de Contemptu Mundi. Illa juvenilem animum ab omni turpitudine revocavit, uncoque retraxit, atque alta compulit spectare. ibid. Amore accer. rimo, fed unico et honefto in adolefcentia, et laboravi diutius laboralem, nifs jam tepefcentem ignem mors acerba sed utilis extinxisset. Epist. ad poft.
4'). In the dialogue above mentioned (de Contemptu Mundi, Dial. III.), where St. Augustine is introduced reasoning with the poet, and endeavouring to convince him of the errors of his past life, and par