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To give to poetry a sacred charm
On ev'n a muse like mine, that seeks to dress
The pious character of Cowper has led the writer to a representation of the beauty and excellence of religion: but towards the conclusion of his tribute, he has made too free with quotations from the Scriptures, the language of which easily falls into the rhythm of blank A poem thus eked out loses its true character, and savours more of the pulpit than of Parnassus.
Art. 14. The Statue of the Dying Gladiator, a Poem; being the Prize-subject at Oxford, but not written for the Prize. By a Non-Academic. 8vo. IS. Cadell and Davies.
Notwithstanding the formal protest entered in the preface, against the idea of competition with the successful candidate's prize poem, it is impossible that this Non-Academic could send his effusion to press without knowing that a comparison would be instituted. He will also be charged with some portion of vanity, though he will not allow himself to have a grain, since the circumstance under which this poem is announced is an indication of that feeling but the merit of the young writer is some excuse for him. No line in it is equal to Mr. Chinnery's
"And rally all life's energies to die;"
yet the proposed theme is well managed, and the statue of the Dying Gladiator is well described:
So rich the glow thy magic chisel gives,
His form how strongly mark'd! each swelling vein
The raging blood-while there, congeal'd and cold,
Though in the grasp of death, he strives to please;
Poems, by Mary Russell Mitford. Crown 8vo. 79.
These poems are presented to the public without the affectation of xordium or apology; they are inscribed to the Honourable William
* The Gladiator is described as being particularly anxious, after having been mortally wounded, ut procumbat honestè.
It is plainly seen that, in his expiring moments, he exhibits a solicitude to maintain that firmness of aspect which the Gladiators esteemed so honourable in a dying state,'
REV. SEPT. 1810.
Herbert, in some lines of great simplicity and sweetness; and we think that he cannot refuse his cheering smiles' to the modest petitioner. Miss Mitford's subjects are generally natural, and her verse is very harmonious: but she is too fond of mingling politics with ber poetry; and we cannot encourage her in some of the inversions which she adopts, though they may have lately been sanctioned by writers of genius. For instance, in the following verse,
High o'er the flood the castle steep
we had some difficulty in understanding her precise meaning with regard to the castle steep: but in the last two lines we could only discover by guess that the broad banner' waved on the Keep, and that the arched gate frown'd darkly.' This young lady seems to possess a fluency of expression, which makes such "twistings of words and meanings" the less excusable.
Art. 16. The Times. A Poem. Svo. pp. 70. 2s. 6d. Ryan'
Independent in situation, and dauntless in spirit, this writer attempts to sketch the political situation and complexion of the times, in lines which, though written in haste, are not destitute of force. Rapidly as this poem has flowed from the pen, we are not to look in it for the beauties of minute execution. Its character is not elegance but boldness. It aims at alarming us by a prospect of our danger: at inflaming our indignation against the common foe; at awakening a generous sentiment in behalf of Ireland; and at producing that 'moral reformation in which wisdom and religion place the safety of states. Gloomy is the picture which the poet first presents:
The world is up in arms, the deep'ning roar
Yet, though awake to the perils which threaten us from the ambi tion and enormous power of our enemies, this patriotic writer defies their arm, while he expresses an ardent wish not to outlive the liberty and independence of his country :
I love my country for her sake to live,
My mind and arm, my purse and blood to give
"Twould be my hope to die
Yet not sink tamely; die, arous'd and arm'd,
We find him, however, more alarmed at the state of morale (oz rather of immorality) among us, than by the enemy's preparation to
annoy our shores; and therefore he calls on the people to work a reformation of manners. Placing national strength in national virtue, he preaches religion rather than politics:
• If virtue makes us strong, the Gallic slaves
Shall find in Britain nothing but their graves.'
Having a just estimate of the importance of moral remedies in healing national evils, this poet gives a good lesson for the improvement of the Irish. Make them, (says he in a note,) capable of a British constitution, and let it want no privilege that Britain Gan give;' and in the poem he expresses himself with more energy:
Away with taunting thankless boons: unbind
By one great act the bondage of the mind.'
In conclusion, the consequences of national depravity are retraced, for the purpose of leaving a proper impression on the reader's mind:
Can we be sav'd! Of human hope bereft.
Smite the sad earth, and with unsparing hand,
Some of the lines are tame, and some of the rhimes are imperfect & but the writer's general view of the times is calculated to make thinking persons look grave, for of a moral reformation little hope can be entertained, when luxury flows in a full torrent, when vice is become a fashionable boast, and when the slang of a mail-coach driver has more attractions than the noblest charms of virtue or of verse.
The opening of this poem seems to be an imitation of a passage in Marmion.
Art. 17. The New School; being an Attempt to illustrate its Prin ciples, Detail, and Advantages. By Sir Thomas Bernard, Bart. The third Edition. 8vo. pp. 111. 28. 6d. Hatchard. The new system of education, here detailed and recommended, is that which was invented by Dr. Bell; and the endeavour of Sir T. Bernard to extend the knowlege and adoption of it corresponds H 2
with those generous and patriotic exertions, for which he has been so long and so honourably distinguished. To render its advantages more striking, the defects of the old mode are first specified; which defects are that it employs many instructors and great expense, to produce small and inconsiderable effects: and that it teaches every thing, but does not allow the pupil to acquire any thing of himself; confining him in the perpetual go-cart of tuition and precluding him from the habit of using and exercising his own faculties. With this is contrasted Dr. Bell's method; the grand principle of which is the division of labour applied to intellectual purposes, and the objects of which are "to continue atten tion without weariness; to quit nothing, until it is distinctly and per manently fixed in the mind; and to make the pupils, the instruments of their own instruction." It is the division of labour in his schools, that leaves the master the easy task of directing the movements of the whole machine, instead of toiling ineffectually at a single part. The principle in manufactories, and in schools, is the same.' Tuition by the pupils themselves is the point on which the whole turns; and this paniphlet gives a full and accurate view of the manner in which it is conducted. On this plan, learning is no longer a toil but an amusement, and the school-room is converted into a kind of literary play-ground. The principles of the New System, the formation of the school, the mode of execution, and the helps and practices, are fully explained; including the tuition of the pupils, the division of the tasks, classification, ushers, teachers, assistants, register of proficiency, rewards and punishments, trial by jury, learning, saying, and relearning the lesson, writing in sand, syllabic and reiterated spelling, syllabic reading, points and stops, writing on slate, arithmetical tables,, &c. On the important topic of moral and religious instruction, we entirely accord with Sir Thomas; who, in opposition to some over-zealous Christians, recommends selections from the plainest parts of scripture to be made for children, in preference to plunging them at once into the abstruse parts of the Bible.
In an appendix, after some illustrative matter, notice is taken of the improvements on Dr. Bell's System, and particularly of those of Mr. Lancaster; of whose personal worth and pretensions the Baronet speaks in terms of commendation: but on comparing the merits of the two systems, he inclines to give the preference to that of the D. D. • A war of words,' it is observed, has been waged by their adherents, like most other wars, without cause on either side: while the only question between Mr. Lancaster and Dr. Bell seems to be, who has done the other the most service: Dr. Bell, by giving to Mr. Lancaster the model on which he has worked; or Mr. Lancaster, by attracting the public attention to the subject, and thereby drawing Dr. Bell from his retirement at Swanage.'
'Some of my readers may prefer one, and some the other of the two schools. I shall be most happy if half of the ignorant poor of this kingdom should have the benefit of one mode, and the other half, of the other. The knowledge which I have of them I have derived from personal attendance. I speak with more confidence of Dr. Bell's, as I have found it easy to understand it but as to Mr. Lancaster's, I am more diffident, having seen the effects, without being able to trace the principle. I shall, however, venture to