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She turns to the Canadian's loud complaints
-repent and live.
120-127. But are subjects of political economy and great national questions a fit theme for satire or poetical declamation? We think not: they are beyond its grasp and reach. Satire may aim its light shafts at flying follies with success; and sometimes, though rarely, may put to flight, or at least put to shame, some palpable improprieties. If vice can be made ridiculous, something is gained for the cause of virtue. But national sins and legislative delinquencies, the political vices of statesmen, the deep-seated disorders of the heart, ambition, pride, avarice, the sins of the church and the priesthood,- these kinds go not out by means of such exorcism. We question whether Cowper himself, the most virtuous and amiable of satirists, ever effected much by lashing the Church and State of his age. Had he lived in the present day, he would have chosen a far different strain. The present Writer, however, we must do him the justice to say, is not blind to the more pleasing features of the age he sings.
• I envy not the spirit that alone
every energy, and exercise
Or wasted are her powers !-Shall she lead
• Then is it not an Age for hope ?-Hope thou,
Replenish with thy glory and display
To raise again a carnal, sinful Age!' pp. 295–297. The strain of fervent piety which pervades these lines, will shew, that if the mantle of Cowper has not fallen upon our Poet, he has caught a portion of his spirit. As a poetical model, the Task would mislead imitation, and it has probably misled the present Writer. Cowper, in his satires, emulated with success the rough vigour of Churchill, and he improved upon his master. In the Task, he shines as a descriptive poet; and it is to descriptive poetry, that blank-verse is best adapted. Didactic verse requires the curb of rhyme, to prevent its running away with the poet. All young poets are fond of dabbling in blank verse, tempted by its apparent facility ; but it is, in fact, the mode which requires the nicest ear and the most practised band. It is susceptible of the finest modulation on the one hand, and, on the other, is liable to become the most discordant and untunable.
Art. VIII. Memoir of the Rev. Pliny Fisk, A.M., late Missionary
to Palestine from the American Board of Missions. By Alvan Bond, Pastor of the Congregational Church in Sturbridge, Massachusets. 12no. pp. 400. (Portrait.) Price 5s. Edinburgh. 1828.
record that has been given to the public since the Memoirs of Henry Martyn, with whose name that of Pliny Fisk is well worthy of being associated in lasting remembrance. Both laboured and suffered in the same cause, the best of causes; and both, at nearly the same early period of life, were dismissed from their labours to the higher services of the heavenly world. In their characters, they had much in common. * Decision, perseverance, intrepidity, judgement, modesty, patience, and
benevolence, were traits harmoniously combined in the wellproportioned and truly consistent character of the subject of this memoir.
• As was said of Henry Martyn, “ the symmelry of his stature in Christ, was as surprising as its height.”'
This memoir is drawn up on the plan which has become of late so popular, of interweaving the biographical narrative with copious selections from letters, diaries, and other documents; a method which certainly lessens the trouble of the biographer, VOL. II. - N.S.
and affords him the opportunity of making up a volume at the least expense of intellectual labour. It has also the apparent recommendation of giving to a memoir somewhat of the character of auto-biography; while it pays the reader the compliment of allowing him to form his own judgement of the talents and characteristics of the individual who is made to furnish this posthumous disclosure of his feelings. These circumstances may account for its very general adoption. We have, nevertheless, strong doubls whether this is the most instructive and efficient mode of writing biography. We really think that it would be far better, were the life of the individual presented to us in a distinct form, interspersed with only such brief extracts from letters or other documents, as might be necessary to illustrate or substantiate the statements in the narration; and the letters and remains to which it would form an introduction, might be given separately. They could not then, indeed, be made to furnish a text for desultory remarks and long digressions; but they would speak for themselves. The biographer would in that case incur the responsibility, it is true, of making a competent use of his materials; and this would require a careful examination of documents, and an effort at analysis and compression; whereas the present receipt for memoir-writing admits of a volume being made up with facility by any man, woman, or, we were going to say, child. But really, religious biography is too important a task to be carelessly or incompetently performed. The portrait of such a man as Fisk, demanded a vigorous pencil.
The interest of the present volume is not much diminished by the slovenly manner in which it is edited, as it consists almost entirely of a compilation froin Mr. Fisk's papers. The value of these would, however, have been greatly enhanced by a few judicious notes and some retrenchments. For instance, Mr. Fisk, in one of his letters (p. 191), starts some Biblical inquiries, new to himself, but which have received a full discussion in the pages of Biblical scholars. These ought not to have been suffered to appear without the appropriate solutions. At Jerusalem, Mr. Fisk visited the holy sepulchre, and was induced to believe, that the spot desecrated by the Romish jugglery and mummery, is in all probability the place where our Lord lay. A want of information could alone have led him to pay any attention to Chateaubriand's authority on such a subject. There is the clearest evidence, that Calvary could not have been near that spot. Indeed, the topographical notices which occupy much of the journal, are so scanty, and sometimes so incorrect, that they should either have been accompanied with notes by the Editor, or suppressed. Many of the blunders are evidently typographical. The communications of a Christian missionary are al