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rapid and short: his sentences, when he is animated by the subject on which he is speaking, have all the force and brevity of Spartan oratory—they are words of flame; and in his predictions of calamity and woe—as, in his opinion, a necessary consequence of adhering to the present system of politics—it may be truly said, in his own language, his "gloom is fire. In argument every muscle of his countenance is eloquent; and when his cold blue eye is fired with indignation, it resembles a winter sky flashing with lightning—his dark bushy brows writhing above it like the thunder-cloud torn by the tempest. at once, in his strongly-marked features, how much he has suffered ;-like Dante, he looks as if he had gone through his own hell! His voice, when reading his own verses, (and no one can give them so much effect) is the most melancholy music that was ever heard : and his whole manner, expression, and appearance, irresistibly impress you with the conviction that he has dwelt with disappointment, and too long experienced that sickness of the heart which arises from hope deferred. This is the fact. In his mercantile pursuits he has not always been fortunate; and his literary career, till lately, was unattended with one cheering circumstance. He has endured cold neglect for years, and had to struggle with difficulties of every kind. The firm and proud spirit which he manifested in contending with these, hurling back unmerited censure with scorn, and relying fully on his own powers for final success, is, next to his works, the strongest proof of his possessing intellectual superiority, however much it may indicate a want of the milder graces of the Christian character. His was not the weak spirit that sinks under misfortunes ;—his strong and powerful genius rose above them. He boldly grasped and eventually strangled the serpents that have stung so many others to death. Timid in his youth, as the modest flower that hides its beauty from all the world in some rural retirement, he was no sooner trampled upon than he became bold; and when storms roared around his head, he stood in the midst of them like the 'gnarled oak, battling with tempests, and laughing at their impotent
To whomsoever else adversity has been fatal, to him it was of essential service : it called forth his powers—it roused him to the contest—it strengthened him for victory. Where thousands would have despaired, he held up with undaunted resolution, and he has at length surmounted every obstacle that opposed his rising. His triumph is a glorious proof of what mind can effect, and we hail and exhibit it as a great moral lesson to the world.
After an interval of years, in which he had been gathering stores of knowledge both from men and books, Mr. Elliott published a second poem, called • Night,' in which he attempted
to depict the scenery of night as connected with great and interesting events.' This poem, written in blank verse, derived no adventitious recommendation from rhyme: the author trusted to the native vigour of his thought, to stamp a value upon it that should attract public attention. In this trust he was miserably disappointed. The uninviting title of the poem probably deterred many readers from looking into it, and one of the literary assassins of the day made it the point of attack, from which he opened the battery of unmeasured ridicule and condemnation. If any thing could have crushed young genius bursting from the shell, it was the following criticism in the Monthly Review for 1819;—we preserve it as a curious specimen of the merciless spirit of a modern Aristarchus. • Ibant obscuri, solâ sub nocte, per umbram.'
Æn. Lib. iv, v. 268. So fare travellers through this volume of “ Night;" a volume that is involved in pitchy darkness to our apprehension. He who has not
supped full of horrors,” may here gratify his most murky taste ; and we recommend the present dish of the terrible to be served up in the second course of that " Black Banquet, "* which the scribblers of the sentimental, or the domestic school, so largely furnished for us a few years ago. We can hardly bring ourselves to wish such an author Good Night.”
This sweeping abuse was as unjust as it was heartless. Akin to it was the more definite, but not less severe censure of the Monthly Magazine for the same year. The style, thus the criticism runs, is harsh and affected, and the thoughts in the wildest strain of ultra-German horror and bombast. Of this asserted bombast, the author has given the public a second opportunity of judging in the republished poem of · Wharncliffe,' in the first volume of his collected works. Whatever wildness there is in this poem, who that admires Milton, or Dante, can refuse the just meed of praise to such noble lines as these in the speech of a fallen angel ?
* We need not remind our classical readers of the allusion, in this phrase, to the feralis cæra : the dark feast of the sanguinary buffoon yelept an Emperor of Rome !
Heaver's outcast. Sometimes I revisit, calm,
More bright than suns was he who sings their fall.' It would not suit our present object to make further quotations from Night,' in which, however, were many truly sublime thoughts and highly poetic images, which only intentional dullness or mental blindness could fail to recognise. The verse had certainly not all the ease of Mr. Elliott's subsequent productions, but both verse and sentiment bore strongly impressed upon them the undoubted stamp of original talent of no common order: and they who could speak of it as the sapient critic of the Monthly, must have been blinded to excellence by the bigotry of system, or ready, in utter disregard to the claims of both truth and justice, to sacrifice the reputation of a man of genius to a joke. They had not, however, the laugh wholly on their side. Instead of submissively bearing their castigation, the poet fiercely attacked his unmerciful critics, and returned their lashes with interest in a bitter satire, entitled Peter Faultless to his brother Simon. Of the latter individual (intended to shadow forth the critic of the Monthly Review) he says in the advertisement to this poem, • Simon the Faultless is not an imaginary personage. I address a living pedant, and in the individual exhibit the species.'
This satire, though little known, contains many passages of great excellence, and proves that Mr. Elliott can wield the satiric whip to some purpose. As, however, the spirit in which the poem is conceived, is little in harmony with the objects of the Christian Teacher, we shall limit ourselves to one extract as a specimen.
Still ply thou the finger-counting trade;
Owl-eyed to splendour, eagle-eyed to spy
What wonder, if thy zealous lash assail'd
What wonder, if thou try, so bravely well,
Would soar and spurn thy malice and thy creed?' Mr. Elliott might have taken as his motto the words Outwe υβριζειν τους υβριζοντας χρεων, which his favourite Eschylus makes Prometheus hurl at the serf and messenger of Jupiter, Mercury, when he comes to demand from the injured Titan a clear statement of his dark threats against the Thunderer, for the burning of Mr. Elliott's indignation against the luckless reviewer is not unlike the blast of Prometheus' lips. As a manifestation of mental power, we can look at Mr. Elliott's ire with admiration, but we cannot forget that it is a spirit more in unison with Heathenism than Christianity.
We do not deny that the reviewer merited castigation, and that dullness, malice, or recklessness may be shamed when they cannot be mended; still we think that Mr. Elliott would have consulted his own happiness, his dignity, and his fame more effectually, had he blended mercy with punishment, or rather, had he been content with vindicating himself by cultivating his noble powers in the wide and flowery fields of benevolence and piety. The best answer he could have given was not what every one could have given, though not with the same force—not anger for outrage—which, however adorned by poetic imagery or the splendour of intellect, still looks too much like the outpouring of disappointed ambition—but a work in which the sympathies of the public should be seized on and held firmly by virtue of its appeal to the gentler and finer workings of the heart. And, indeed, it is mainly to passages in his writings executed in the spirit of love, not wrath—to benefit man rather than punish a delinquent—it is to these that Mr. Elliott owes much of the fair fame he now enjoys; it is for these, and such as these, that his name will be honoured when he himself is no more; and on some of these, we shall, in continuation of this article, invite our readers to meditate, in the assurance that they will find in them much that is congenial with that Christianity, of which, whether we treat of literature or religion, we desire to be, directly or indirectly, the Teacher.'
THE CHRISTIAN TEACHER.
The Christian Teacher !_twere a task divine
To strive to teach, as Christ, our Master, taught,
With hope, and gladness, and salvation fraught;
Their light from heaven's unfailing splendour caught;
And, though we cannot speak like him who came
Breathe a like spirit in the race we run.
We deem a good unto our brother done
No more eclips'd by error's darkening cloud,
Wherever man, and man's high hopes are found;
When virtue, truth, and liberty abound-
Mankind have heard it, and their cars are charm’d,
Stands, of her power, her terror, all disarmed;
That e'en the very air we breathe seems warm’d
Their glorious destiny ! and strive to gain,
Truth, goodness, knowledge, which must still remain,
And fall from their foundations, ne'er again
THE SACRED OFFERING, A POETICAL ANNUAL.
London : Ilamilton, Adams, and Co. It is the season when the Annuals come forth like bright and beautiful flowers amidst the snows of winter, to cheer its gloom and adorn its sterility. The one before us has golden leaves with an emerald casingit may be compared to the sun-fower,' which
turns to her God when he sets The same look which she turn'd when he rose.' It breathes the pure incense of devotion, and no holier offering was ever laid on the altar of piety. The muse has bathed the offering with her freshening dews, and, if not dipped in the fountain of Castalia, its bloom has been brightened by the waves of that more sacred brook that flows ' fast by the oracle of God.'