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during that period, are considered. The Editor trusts. that the bare mention of it will suffice to obtain for him the kind and degree of co-operation which he requires for the attainment of a common object; and that this Periodical may at length be rendered worthy of the intelligence and respectability of those whose principles it advocates, and become a more powerful agent than it has ever yet been for extending the knowledge and the spirit of the genuine Gospel of Christ.




JANUARY, 1829.


ALTHOUGH We cannot, in our critical conscience, assign Bernard Barton any very distinguished place among the bards of Britain, yet we can say of him, what we should not venture to affirm of many bards, that his productions may be perused with pleasant, congenial, and improved feelings, by the rational and devout Christian, at those seasons which most dispose him to serious reflection. There are times when the good sense, good principle, and good feeling, which we are sure of finding in his verses, make ample amends for their lack of poetry, or rather for the inferiority of the kind of poetry to which they belong. And such a time is New-Year's Eve, when, if we look at all into any book, save one, it should be just such a book as this, whose spirit is in perfect harmony with the sentiments we desire and ought to cherish. He has chosen his subject well; and ministers like a faithful, gentle, and pious friend, at the bedside of the departing year. He breathes on its last moments a Christian benediction; and, turning from the past to futurity, he "engarlands the sepulchre of time" with the wreath of immortality. Next to that task which admits of no companionship; that examination, reflection, and devotion, which every man should engage himself in, during some portion of such days, and which must be done by himself in both senses of the phrase; which must pass in the innermost sanctuary of his soul, its holy of holies; next to this, in the catalogue of becoming occupations at such a time, is the adoption of meditations so appropriate and useful as those of our author. We shall select some of his stanzas as the medium for a seasonable communion of thought with our readers; merely premising that the Poem from which they are taken, and which furnishes a title to the volume, only fills its first 26 pages, the remainder being occupied with a variety of smaller pieces, many of which have appeared before in the Annuals and other periodical publications. They have the usual characteristics of the writer, and will be welcome to all who have derived pleasure from his previous performances.

We have said enough to shew our accordance with the opening stanza: "A New Years's eve! Methinks 'tis good to sit

At such an hour, in silence and alone,

Tracing that record, by the pen unwrit,
Which every human heart has of its own,

Of joys and griefs, of hopes and fears, unknown
To all beside; to let the spirit feel,

In all its force, the deep and solemn tone

Of Time's unflattering, eloquent appeal,

Which Truth to every breast would inwardly reveal."

* A New-Year's Eve, and other Poems. By Bernard Barton. 8vo. pp. 244. 95. VOL. III.


After adverting to the interest which all mankind have in noting these measures of time, he thus apologizes for the serious tone of his thoughts: "Nature herself seems, in her wintry dress,

To own the closing year's solemnity:

Spring's blooming flowers, and summer's leafiness,
And autumn's richer charms, are all thrown by;
I look abroad upon a starless sky!

Even the plaintive breeze sounds like the surge
On Ocean's shore among those pine-trees high;

Or, sweeping o'er that dark wall's ivied verge,
It rings unto my thoughts the old year's mournful dirge.
Bear with me, gentle reader, if my vein
Appear too serious;-sober, but not sad

The thoughts and feelings which inspire my strain;
Could they with mirthful words be fitly clad?

The thoughtless call the melancholy mad,

And deem joy dwells where laughter lights the brow;

But are the gay indeed the truly glad,

Because they seem so? O, be wiser thou!

Winter, which strips the vine, harms not the cypress bough."


Through several pages which follow, there are rebukes, impressive but not stern, solemn yet affectionate, of their indifference who can turn unmoved a yet unopened page" of the strange book of life; allusions to one whose knell was told, on the same day, by "the very bells that now ring out the year;" and an appeal to the teachings of Him who wore grief's dark vesture," when he came to guide mankind through sorrow to glory. He then strikes a livelier note of anticipation:

"No more of sorrow. Think not I would fling

O'er brighter hearts than mine a sadd'ning shade;
Or have them, by the sober truths I sing,

Be causelessly dejected or dismayed.

My task has been to show how heavenly aid

May lighten earthly grief; how flowers may cheer
Even pale Sorrow's seeming thorny braid;

And how, amid December's tempests drear,

Some solemn thoughts are due unto the parting year.

My brighter task remains. "A New-Year's Eve!"
'Tis not an hour to sink in cheerless gloom,
To take of every hope a mournful leave,

As if the earth were but a yawning tomb,
And sighs and tears mortality's sole doom;
The Christian knows "to enjoy is to obey;"

All he most hopes or fears is in the womb
Of vast eternity, and there alway

His thoughts and feelings tend; yet in his transient stay

On this fair earth, he truly can enjoy,
And he alone, its transitory good;

The bliss of worldlings soon or late must cloy,
For sensual is its element and food;

The Christian's is of higher, nobler mood,
It brings no riot, leaves no dark unrest,

Its source is seen, its end is understood,

Its light is that "calm sunshine of the breast,"
Sanctioned by Reason's law, and by Religion blest.


To him the season, though it may recall
Solemn and touching thoughts, has yet a ray
Of brightness o'er it thrown, which sheds on all
His fellow-pilgrims in life's rugged way,
Far more than sunshine; and his heart is gay!
Were all like his, how beautiful were mirth!
Then human feelings might keep holiday

In blameless joy, beside the social hearth,

And honour Heaven's first law by happiness on earth.”

Mr. Barton dwells more like a poet than a Quaker on the antique social rites of the season:

"And these are they who, on this social eve,

Its old observances with joy fulfil;

Their simple hearts the loss of such would grieve,
For childhood's early memory keeps them still,

Like lovely wild-flowers by a crystal rill,

Fresh and unfading; they may be antique,

In towns disused; but rural vale and hill,

And those who live and die there, love to seek

The blameless bliss they yield, for unto them they speak
A language dear as the remembered tone

Of murmuring streamlet in his native land,
Is to the wanderer's ear, who treads alone
O'er India's or Arabia's wastes of sand:
Their memory too is mixed with pleasures plann'd
In the bright happy hours of blooming youth;
When Fancy scattered flowers, with open hand,

Across Hope's path, whose visions passed for sooth,
Yet linger in such hearts their ancient worth and truth.
And therefore do they deck their walls with green;
There shines the holly-bough with berries red;
There too the yule-log's cheerful blaze is seen
Around its genial warmth and light to shed;
Round it are happy faces, smiles that spread
A feeling of enjoyment, calm and pure,
A sense of happiness, home-born, home-bred,
Whose influence shall unchangingly endure,
While home for English hearts has pleasures to allure.

And though the world more worldly may have grown,
And modes and manners to our fathers dear
Be now by most unpractised and unknown,
Not less their spirit we may still revere;
Honoured the smile, and hallowed be the tear,
Given to these reliques of the olden time,
For those there be that prize them; as the ear
May love the ancient poet's simple rhyme,

Or feel the secret charm of minster's distant chime.
Thus it should be! Their memory is entwined
With things long buried in Time's whelming wave;

Objects the heart has ever fondly shrined,

And fain from dull forgetfulness would save ;

The wise, the good, the gentle, and the brave,
Whose names o'er history's page have glory shed;
The patriot's birth-place, and the poet's grave,
Old manners and old customs, long since fled,
Yet to the living dear, linked with the honoured dead!"

At the close, his strain reverts to the solemn thoughts with which it commenced; they are introduced afresh, with greater depth and intensity; and a reference to the sufferings and resurrection of the Saviour introduces his farewell exhortation to the reader :

"Are thy locks white with many long-past years?
One more is dawning which thy last may be.
Art thou in middle age, by worldly fears

And hopes surrounded? Set thy spirit free,
More awful fears, more glorious hopes to see.
Art thou in blooming youth? Thyself engage

To serve and honour Him, who unto thee

Would be a guide and guard through life's first stage,
Wisdom in manhood's strength, and greenness in old age."


THE Controversy on the Catholic question, so far at least as concerns Ireland, has now reached a new and very important stage, in which it seems likely that if the opposing parties were a little cooler, they might find that in many principal points they approximate to a considerable extent. It is now at once avowed by the Emancipists, (as common sense and plain dealing had always required, though policy had kept it in the back ground,) that Emancipation would do very little unless accompanied by much other reform; and the opposite party, being obliged to confess that things cannot rest as they are, are beginning to contend,-not, as they used to do, that change is unnecessary, and that Emancipation should be opposed because it would lead to such change, but that great and important alterations ought and might be effected without conceding the repeal of the proscribing laws. They now concede that two such trifles as bread and justice never were fairly within the people's reach. If both parties are agreed that some attention ought to be paid to the wants of the community in these and similar respects, the question of Emancipation becomes one rather of means than of ends, and the whole subject has a chance of being considered without mystification from either side.

It is surely important that the English should, now that the subject is, it appears, to be fully discussed, begin to look, and insist on looking, at the whole of it; and that, considering the relief from the exclusive laws rather as an emollient preparative, as a means of strengthening the government for good, by putting it for once in the right, they should calmly but resolutely consider the entire grievance, and the remedies which must be concurrent in order to effect a real cure. If any thing is to be done, let all unite in urging that it be done well and thoroughly; and for this purpose it is now more than ever expedient to consider what is wanted, what are the true remedies for the existing evils, and how far each party should abate somewhat of prejudice or prepossession for the sake of consolidating the work.

As far as I can judge of the evils affecting the frame of society in Ireland, and of their probable remedies, I should say, that at least the following measures are of absolute necessity :

1. The first step, no doubt, is the abolition of all religious distinctions in civil affairs, and the most perfect blindness on the part of government to all partialities founded on such grounds.

2. The organization of the immediate executive on principles of the strict

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