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table is perpetually spread, like that of the old noble whose fare was so piteously bewailed by his chaplain, with “rabbits roasted and rabbits boiled;" or perhaps more like that of the Barmicede with a seeming variety of dainties, which when closely examined, resolve themselves one and all intonothing. Now we have no quarrel with a single dish so long as it affords clean, wholesome, nutritive, substantial aliment; but when sauce piquante and high seasoning are called in to disguise corruption, and our ragout when stripped of its garnish turns out to be garbage, it is no wonder that our appetite fails.

In the balance of moral turpitude there is little to incline the scale on either side between Giulio Romano and Peter Aretin, for the intention of each was equally criminal. But in depravity of taste (and with Lord Byron perhaps this would be the weightier accusation) we place the ribald sonetteer far beyond the licentious painter. The highest excellence of painting, its conception, is derived from and subject to poetry; and as he who comprehends but a part is manifestly inferior to him who understands the whole, we need not trace the Muses up to Jupiter in order to prove the pre-eminence of their votary. But it is not only because his powers are of a nobler cast that the poet becomes more guilty than the painter if he abuses them. There is, we think, greater elaboration requisite for his wickedness, and he must step farther out of his obvious path in order to commit it. The pencil is more conversant with matters of mere sense than the pen, and as it addresses itself in the first instance through the eye to the intellect, the pleasure which it affords of necessity must in part be organic. But we grow too metaphysical. Lord Byron shall take his choice as to precedence, for it is of little consequence to the main question. We are content to class his Lordship with Áretin, be Aretin's relative guilt what it may.

Of the story of these cantos we cannot be expected to present any detail. It consists of a few scenes closely imitated from Louvet and Laclos (and this does not surprize us, for vice after all is drearily monotonous,) done into rhymes, which may furnish mottos for the snuff-boxes of the Palais Royal. Besides these, there is a profusion of episodical matter, from which we collect that matrimony is still the thorn in his lordship's flesh; that though now approaching to the confines of middle age and (if we are not misinformed) inclining to embonpoint, he is still desirous to be thought a beau garçon, and well with the ladies; and that he is most sensitively jealous of the fame of all contemporary poets,

excepting (neither does this surprize us) Mr. Rogers! ev ἀμούσοις και κόρυδος φθεγγέται.

The ink is scarcely dry with which we expressed our opinion (British Critic, May, 1821,) that Lord Byron, in spite of appearances to the contrary, was at heart a merry wag. We think our readers will agree with us, that none but a very merry wag, indeed, could have penned the two facetious stanzas which we subjoin.

LII.

"Here I must leave him, for I grow pathetic,

Moved by the Chinese nymph of tears, green tea!
Than whom Cassandra was not more prophetic;
For if my pure libations exceed three,

I feel my heart become so sympathetic,

That I must have recourse to black Bohea; 'Tis pity wine should be so deleterious,

For tea and coffee leave us much more serious,

LIII.

"Unless when qualified with thee, Cogniac!
Sweet Naïad of the Phlegethontic rill!
Ah! why the liver wilt thou thus attack,
And make, like other nymphs, thy lovers ill?
I would take refuge in weak punch, but rack
(In each sense of the word), whene'er I fill
My mild and midnight beakers to the brim,

Wakes me next morning with its synonym." P. 97.

The pun and the playfulness of the four last lines are in the happiest manner of gentle waggery. In the reasons, however, which he is pleased to assign for adopting his present style, the noble lord again puts on his crying face; nevertheless we are convinced that even here also a coqueting jocoseness and lurking pleasantry, a

Risus in angulo,

may be detected through the crumpled folds of his conve nient pocket handkerchief.

III.

"As boy, I thought myself a clever fellow,

And wish'd that others held the same opinion;
They took it up when my days grew more mellow,
And other minds acknowledged my dominion:
Now my sere fancy falls into the yellow

Leat,' and imagination droops her pinion,
And the sad truth which hovers o'er my desk
Turns what was once romantic to burlesque.

IV.

"And if I laugh at any mortal thing,

"Tis that I may not weep; and if I weep,
"Tis that our nature cannot always bring
Itself to apathy, which we must steep
First in the icy depths of Lethe's spring
Ere what we least wish to behold will sleep:
Thetis baptized her mortal son in Styx;
A mortal mother would on Lethe fix.

ས.

"Some have accused me of a strange design
Against the creed and morals of the land,
And trace it in this poem every line:

I don't pretend that I quite understand
My own meaning when I would be very fine;
But the fact is that I have nothing plann'd,
Unless it was to be a moment merry,
A novel word in my vocabulary.

VI.

"To the kind reader of our sober clime

This way of writing will appear exotic;
Pulci was sire of the half-serious rhyme,
Who sang when chivalry was more Quixotic,

And revell'd in the fancies of the time,

True knights, chaste dames, huge giants, kings despotic; But all these, save the last, being obsolete,

I chose a modern subject as more meet." P. 72.

Would that such sermo merus was all! for where mischief is the object we will readily compound for insipidity. A single word before we part respecting Pulci. Lord Byron either deceives himself or seeks to mislead others, in claiming this poet as his model. In spite of much that is offensive to good taste and correct feeling, the corruption of others is not the design of the Morgante; and its occasional licentiousness is rather the overflowing of a mind too sportive for controul, than the slowly concocted venom of deliberate wickedness. It is the bordering not the ground-work of the web, and may be thrown off and disregarded as we peruse the poem. Parts of this are most pathetic; for instance, the story of Meridiana and Manfredonio (Canto vii): parts in a style of great elevation; as the stanzas which announce the approach of the day of Roncesvalles (Canto xxiii); from that point, indeed, in its serious portions, all bears the stamp of loftier character. In the Morgante also is to be found à literary moral which Lord Byron has overlooked in reading it. lle may learn from it that the reputation which the

wind of popular caprice has bestowed, is liable also to be
taken away, for that in spite of the mythological belief to
the contrary, the laurel may be shivered by a thunderbolt..
E mentre spaventati eran costoro

Venne una folgor che cadde lor presso
La qual percusse di cima un alloro,

E abbruciollo, e insino in terra è fesso.
O Febo, come hai tu quei bei crin d'oro.
Così lasciato fulminare adesso!
Dunque i suoi privilegi il lauro or perde,

J

1

Che per ogni stagion suol parer verde ?Canto xxv.»l jueda But it was by the presence of the traitor Gano (to kick whom to his heart's content Don Quixote we are told would have given his housekeeper and his niece into the bargain, that this ill augury was occasioned. We know not whether Ben Jonson ever read these lines of Pulci, but in the Staple of News" he has a passage which may be thought strongly allusive to them, and with the recommendation of which to Lord Byron's notice we shall take leave of the noble writer till his next appearance;

do I blast

The ever-living garland, always green,

Of a good poet, when I say HIS wreath
Is piec'd and patch'd of dirty wither'd flowers?"

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ART. IV. Views of Society and Manners in America; in a Series of Letters from that Country to a Friend in England, during the Years 1818, 1819, and 1820. By an Englishwoman. 8vo. 534 pp. 13s. Longman & Co. 1821. ART. V. Remarks made during a Tour through the United States of America, in the Years 1817, 1818, and 1819. By William Tell Harris. In a Series of Letters to Friends in England. 12mo. 200 pp. 4s. Sherwood & Co. 1821. HERE are a lady and a gentleman, each with very little re gard to the expence of double letters and distant postage, amusing themselves and their correspondents with bird's-eye views of North America. Their correspondents in turn have recommended them to extend this benefit to the public at large and beyond doubt all who buy the printed letters will get them on much cheaper terms than if they had received them in MS. instalments. Whether or no they are

worth the trouble attendant upon this literary metempsychosis is a question to the decision of which for themselves we shall endeavour to draw our readers.

And first, as common courtesy requires, for the lady. Her transatlantic prepossessions come early into the field. Her daily conversations with one or other of the crew of the American brig which bore her to New York, invariably ended with the attainment of some useful knowledge, or the exaltation of her ideas regarding the country which she was about to visit and, on landing, these marine anticipations were by no means disappointed, for during her whole residence in America she never conversed with any man who could not inform her of all facts regarding the past history and existing institutions of his nation with readiness and accuracy.

At New York she found the young men very solemn and the young women very silly: the mental condition of the latter we are bound to admit is not summed up with the blunt brevity which we have ventured to use; but such is the substance which we easily collect from five pages of well-bred circumlocution. The bar is the commonest profession in this city, and Mr. Emmett, "whose history is in his name,' is at the bead of it.

"

"In the mild manners, in the urbanity and benevolence of Mr. Emmett's character, one might be at a loss to conceive where oppression found its victim. Is it in his powerful talents and generous sentiments that we must seek the explanation?" P. 39.

We presume that the Dr. M'Neven, mentioned in a closely following paragraph, is the patriotic physician who submitted a plan for the invasion of Ireland to the French Directory, in 1797; and who, in consequence of its unlucky discovery, became equally "a victim of oppression" with Mr. Emmett.

The humanity of the republic of Pennsylvania is somewhat oddly established. "Solitary imprisonment," says the fair authoress, "is proved by experience to be a sentence more dreadful and more dreaded than death;" and it is on account of the substitution of solitary imprisonment for death that the praise of humanity is assigned to the Pennsylvanians. This we are inclined to class with the humanity of a surgeon who lets his patient die of a broken leg in order that he may not give him pain by setting it.

At Philadelphia society improves but little upon that of New York. They are "admirable listeners;" this to be

VOL. XVI. SEPTEMBER, 1821.

S

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