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All beat by wint'ry wind, or folar ray,
Saves from the ftorm, and cheers the drooping heart.
Having defcribed the bleffings of peace, the poet thus adverts to the great cause of the war.
"Oh! had thofe halcyon days from year to year,
To fiends and furies worfe than Vandal's rage.
And worse than fecond chaos threats the world.”
An animated defcription of the Battle of the First of June is next given; and a note refpecting fome circumstances of it ought to be preferved ag an historical document.
"The merits of this victory will always be appreciated from the obftinate resistance of the enemy. The fleets may be faid to have been equal in force, as near as the number of fhips in each can be reckoned: the French had moft fhips of the line; but the English had more threedeckers. But, on the evening of the 29th of May, three fail, dif abled, left the enemy's fleet; and, by great good luck, they were joined, before the action of the Firft of June, by three others.
"The French fleet was commanded by officers, who, in the language of Jacobinifm, were faid to be of tried tivism; the feamen were a chofen body, and ali enthufiafts in the new order of things. A Commiffioner of the Convention was, moreover, embarked on board the Montague; partly with a view to harangue the feamen, as had been fo fuccefsiully done in the army; and alfo to watch the conduct of the Admiral. The French certainly exceeded their ufual naval bravery; but British valour never appeared greater. In a general action there never was fo much done in fo fhort a fpace; for two Englith and feven French fhips were totally difmafted in four hours. Some of the French fhips are reported to have had furnaces on board for heating fhot; but they were, probably, never lighted. The French Captains, on leaving Breit, are faid to have taken an oath never to ftrike their colours; but their confciences were left pretty eafy on that fcore, for the English thot faved them the trouble.
"The following note is taken from the fecond volume of the au thor's work on the Difeafes of the Fleet. As we may not again have occafion to mention the Victory of the Fir of June, we must beg leave to contradict the statement of fome occurrences on that day, relative to the finking of the Vengeur. It was faid that the Frenchmen who went down in that ship, as long as their heads were above grater, continued to cry aloud Vive la Republique !'-and with this expreflion in their mouths funk to the bottom. Somehow or other this account got into the English papers, and foon reached France. But the whole is a falfehood; and I have it from the authority of the British officers who attended to fave the people, and faw the difmal catastrophe. The fcene prefented a very different fpectacle, all was horror and difmay; and no fuch words were ever uttered. Barrere, in the Convention, made a fine. text of the report, in expatiating on the Naval Victory of his redoubtable friend Jean Bon St. Andre. Votive tablets were immediately decreed to the manes of the fufferers ; and a three-decker ordered to be built, and called Le Vengeur.' [Vide Med. Nautica, v. ii. 19. Longman and Rees."]
NOVELS AND TALES.
Adelaide of Narbonne : With Memoirs of Charlotte de Cordet. 4 vols. 12mo. Lane. London. 1800.
T has long been the practice among novel writers to twine fome fanciful invention with hiftorical facts, and produce from this connection a story of greater interest. The author of this book has availed herself (for we somehow imagine it to be the production of a female) of this cuftom, and with no little ingenuity has worked fiction and fact together, laying her fcene on the tangent line of La Vendée, introducing many well-known characters of the French, making their propenfities and actions fubfervient to her well-told tale. She holds the fcale of politics with fo even an hand, as far as mere opinion reaches, that it were impoffible to learn her own decided fentiments; while fhe execrates the fanguinary horrors of a Revolution and all the miseries of republican France. For in her delineation of Charlotte de Cordet, the defcribes her as a repub lican but a rational one;' and in her character of an Englishman she draws him as a rational royalift." By the way, those who seem to have known that heroine well, do not confider her to have been a republican.
As her scene is in the neighbourhood of La Vendée, the time is that of Marat; many of the numerous anecdotes, related about him and his contemporaries, are interfperfed fo artfully as to become part of her ftory. While her fentiments on the form of government are undiscoverable, thofe of obedience to the laws of strict moralityof pure religion--are every where fuch as do credit to her heart; and her work may be confidered not less inftructive than amusing.
Rofella. 4 vols. 12mo. Lane, London. 1800.
THIS novel upon novels, ridicules, with elegant fatire and delicate irony, the impoffible events, unnatural incidents, and inde corous fituations of contemporary writers. A mother who had herfelf loved and married a-la-mode d'Heroine lofes her husband in early life; but not cured of the circulating-library mania looks forward to fee her daughter "puzzled in the mazes and perplexed with the errors" which had fo agreeably tortured the Hermiones, Jaquilinas, Geraldinas, Philippinas, Gipley Duchesses, and beggar, girls of the day. For this purpofe fhe takes her daughter, an unaffected and unconscious girl, á tour into Wales, that castle-bearing country; expecting in every dingle fome" hair-breadth 'icape," at every inn fome furprifing incident, and in every man some libertine adorer, or profing fwain. The story is fo artfully managed, we feel uncommon intereft for the charming Rofella, and even the mere novel-reading Mifs, who fees nothing" in the bent of the tale" beyond the ftory, will find her heart engaged in it.
The characters are well diversified and nicely drawn ; betraying a mind of observation. The very touches of fatire tickle rather than wound the feelings of thole writers who have deviated beyond nature and propriety.
Conftantia Neville: or, The Weft Indian. A Novel. By Helena Wells, Author of the Stepmother, &c. 3 Vols, 125. Cadell and Davies. London. Crouch. Edinburgh. 1800.
WE moft heartily deprecate the resentment of the fair author of this admirable work, for the neglect we have unintentionally been guilty of towards her. Our best apology will be found in the real truth, namely, that had we perceived in it the fmalleft traits of those opinions, which it is our duty to reprobate, it would much fooner have been held forth to the world in its proper point of view.
A novel, which by its own intrinfic merits hath fo well made its way to public eftimation, ftands not in need of our commendation. We cannot however avoid, for our own fakes, declaring, that as moralifts, we recommend it for the purity and foundness of its principles; and as friends to the religion of our country, for that piety and Chriftian humility, which it fo ftrongly inculcates. We envy not the powers of that understanding, nor the qualities of that heart which are not enlarged and amended by the perufal of this publication.
Life. A Comedy in Five Alls. By Frederick Reynolds, Efq. 25. Longman and Rees. London.
HERE would be a degree of cruelty in trying the efforts of
dramatic productions have been written on the immediate folly of the moment; his characters sketched from the fleeting fashion and adapted to fome peculiar performer. His language though not wit is fomething like it; and his aim has been to raise a temporary laugh."
The prefent drama is, perhaps, the nearest to a regular comedy of any he has written; but it was intended for the stage rather than the closet, where it has had fufficient fuccefs; and may be compared to bottled cyder, very lively, very palatable, very refreshing, and not very ftrong.
The Birth-Day: A Comedy in Three Acts. Altered from the German of Kotzbue, and adapted to the English Stage. By Thomas Dibdin, Author of the Jew and the Doctor, &c. Longman and Rees. London. 1800.
THIS comedy is altered from "Reconciliation," a work of Kotzbue's, and, in our opinion, infinitely furpaffes the original; it is, in fhort, one of the most interesting little pieces we have lately perufed, and fully merits all the fuccels it has received.
Antonio: or, The Soldier's Return.
THIS tragedy, which was anonymously played at Drury-lane, and completely coughed down on its only reprefentation, is now published as the acknowledged production of the well-known Mr. Godwin. He has added a fhort preface to it, ftating it to be his first attempt in the dramatic line, and recommending it to a perufal in the clolet. Nothing but the vanity or the poverty of its author could have induced fuch a publication, after the unequivocal marks of contempt with which an unbiassed audience decided upon its merits.
The plot, if it can be called one, when it wants every requifite, is beneath the rudeft epoch of the ftage. The language wants energy, variety, and metre, except a few new coined words can be called variety. It is totally deftitute of incident, unless we call an unprovoked murder incident; nor is there any thing in the whole compofition to excite a momentary intereft: it is printed as if intended to be metrical; but there is no appearance of meafure, unless he wishes it to be claffed under the indefinite fcanning of imperfect Iambics, while some of the lines are hexameter.
From Mr. Godwin's former productions we looked eagerly for fome new fpecimens of the new philofophy, nothing lefs could have induced us to read the play through; yet we could find none but what he may foften down, if he pleafes, as a fentiment of the character and not his own. When Antonio reproaches his fifter with marrying another, after being betrothed to his friend, before her dying father who placed their hands together, he adds--
"This was a marriage-thou wert Roderigo's wife :
Solemnity in every circumftance,
So venerable fo binding-?
A marriage? content of parents.
We feel fome regret that this gentleman's abilities are not at all calculated for the ftage, becaufe we fancy he would never have applied them that way, if he had not deferted his old wicked ways or they had not deferted him. We could with him to forbear puzzling himself and the public with metaphyfical difquifitions which neither understand; but fear, from this ill fuccefs, that his defultory mind will be again "exerting its energies" in milchief.
- fcribimus indocti doftique