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abundant, and his judgment exact, that he may well consider what to reject. For embellishment or elucidation, must be familiar to him much of the watery world, from the cockle to the whale; of the vegetable kingdom, from the violet to the cedar; and of animal existence, from the polypus to man. He must be obeyed when he says to the secrets of human bosoms, open your doors. In determining what shall be his fable, he should be "long choosing, and beginning late." This fixt, he must well study, for interest and effect, how, where and when to commence his relation, and how, where, and when to close it.
shade." From the perusal of this second murder of the son of Peter the Great, we confess we had little expectation of being gratified by the perusal of an epic from the same pen. There are some disadvantages attendant on moving in a high sphere. Mr. Eustaphieve has been many years Russian consul in Boston. Associating with many of the principal families in that town, he has acquired many of that description of friends, all of whom would shrink from the incivility, when questioned, of informing him that his poetical writings were very deficient in poetry; and many of whom would pretend to admire them in his presence. He is a very irritable gentleman; (the strongest proof of his being one of the irritable genus;) and who among his friends would be so unfriendly to his feelings, as to inform him that he had made a gross mistake, when he strangely mistook himself for one of the beloved of the Nine?When it was announced that his tragedy was to be acted, who that had drank of his wine, or of whose wine he had partaken, would neglect purchasing tickets for his family, or refuse to the author the cheap and gratifying expenditure of a compliment on his performance, and a denunciation of the miserable performers on the stage, who almost murdered, for the third time, the unfortunate Alexis.
Such are some of the qualifications indispensible in an epic poet. With these, after years devoted to its execution, a work may perhaps be produced not unworthy the proud premium of immortality! an honour to the poet, to his country, and his age. Yet, well may the stoutest of poetical hearts hesitate, after so many and so vast failures as have been witnessed of late; for, how bitter must it be, after bringing into one epic aggregate all his choicest poetical possessions,-after ardently expecting immediate, extensive and immense applause, after exposing to the literary world his mightiest effort, for the poet to wake from his fond dream, with his bookseller's sorrowful tale, that the critics condemn his work; that the people will not purchase; that the printed edition will never sell, and another edition will never be wanted. Some of sir Richard's epics passed through three editions during his life; and perhaps he died with a belief that posterity would place his bust on the same base with that of Homer. Like the author of that headless and trunkless thing, "The Columbiad," perhaps Blackmore pleased himself with a belief that the envy and malice of wicked wits, or political opponents, would cease at his death; and that his fame would increase as his bones decayed. But can Southey, or Lucien Bonaparte, or Scott, with his hop, skip and jump rhyming epic-lings, still hug the belief that their works, centuries hence, will be found in the libraries of the learned and the great? Can Mr. Eustaphieve so have mistaken the extent and force of his genius, as to deem himself competent to the performance of such an undertaking? We recollect having read, some years since, a tragedy, called "Alexis," written by this gentleman, and acted two or three times in Boston. It was ill planned, and ill executed; and of poetry, it possessed scarcely "the shadow of a
On the subject of the late war, between, France and Russia, and on the resources, and then present state of the Russian empire, Mr. Eustaphieve was the author of several publications, which were not without their effect in establishing his character as a statesman. Had he confined his researches and his literary publications to similar subjects, he would have been saved from that severe and lasting mortification which almost invariably follows ill success in poetry. There is, in particulars, one consideration which we should suppose would have restrained him, at least for the present. The English is not his vernacular language; and a far longer and more extensive acquaintance with our tongue, than he appears to have enjoyed, was absolutely necessary in a work like that before us. This immediately appears on perusal, in numerous instances of bad syntax, in an incorrect knowledge of the meaning or force of certain words, in his evidently very circumscribed intimacy with the most energetic, majestic and appropriate words; and in his vast incapacity in distinguishing between words and phrases, common or mean, and words and phrases of elegance and dignity. His is such a knowledge as we have
of the vulgar or lofty expressions or words in the Latin and Greek tongues. Few of the best scholars are able to discriminate. But the English is a living language. A Russian may have sufficient knowledge of it to be able to read it; but not always to ascertain the difference between words and expressions that are poetical, and such as are prosaic.
ever, is not necessary; for what is given already forms a complete tale, however capable it may be of extension. If another volume, however, should not appear, the world may be deprived of his "critical essay on the epopee." Of the magnitude of such a loss, nevertheless, "the classical and critical reader" can judge, with no great incertitude, after having finished the perusal of what is already given.
Mr. Eustaphieve remarks: "Neither can the part thus presented, be it done so well as to excite interest and sympathy, or so ill as to provoke the opposite feelings, become the means of prejudicing the whole; [prejudicing the reader against the whole;] it being evident, that, in the former case, the general desire to obtain the remainder would [will] rather increase than diminish; and, in the latter the prospect could not be worse, while the benefit of the experiment would still be felt, so far at least as to prevent much useless waste of health and time, and much additional mortification." What is life without health? is a question often asked. "Time," says Dr. Franklin, "is money." Mortification is extremely afflicting. We hope Mr. E. will preserve his health, save time, and escape from all further needless mortification.
In examining this poem we shall begin, as in a Hebrew volume, at the end, where the author places his preface; by him called "Apology." He observes: "The classic reader, and the candid critic, who must be sensible that an epic poem is no ordinary undertaking, will not refuse their patience and indulgence to such casualties as may arise in the course of the work, either to retard its progress or change the intended form and manner of its appearance. They will allow the poet-after he had [has] laid the foundation, imparted sufficient impulse to the subject, invested his heroes with proper characteristics, expressive of their future destiny, and gained a resting point at some memorable epoch of the narrative and action-to pause awhile, to look around him with an eye of anticipation, and to listen, with a prophetic ear, in the anxious hope of discovering, if possible, whether the completion of his intellectual labours is likely to be greeted with the 'spirit-moving sound' of enlightened approbation, or denounced by the chilling voice of apathy and displeasure." The author then proceeds to state that the present volume is all a fiction, excepting
the names of the two principal personages, forming thereby a natural division, or boundary between the province of imagination, and that of history, reserved for the next effort;" and that it "may properly be viewed as a separate part, or as a concluded introduction to the main subject yet to be developed in its full extent and preconceived magnitude." His apology thus concludes: "He, therefore, respectfully takes his leave for the present; adding merely, that a few notes, and a critical essay upon the epopee, particularly on Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered,' are contemplated in connexion with the original design of the poem."
Perhaps it was a prudent determination in Mr. Eustaphieve, to offer the public only a part of his contemplated work; intending, should it not meet general approbation, to save the labour of composing what would hardly be read. Our opinion, however, is, that self love and "advise of friends," will prompt him to finish the poem "in its full extent and preconceived magnitude." This, how
The poem is dedicated, in formal prose, to the empress of all the Russias; and, in the commencement of the poem, to both the autocrat of all the Russias, and his lady. The work thus opens:
"The far famed Prince I sing: the royal youth Endow'd with virtue's noblest gifts, who liv'd To bless his country, and be blest himself; Whose voice, inspir'd, bade prostrate Slavia rise,
And, by the sound of his triumphant steps,
Dr. Johnson, in the first number of his Rambler, wishes there was an established mode for essayists to commence, as in epic poetry. Homer began with mentioning his subject and invoking the muse; and hence most epic writers have followed his "I sing," or "sing muse," example. forms the proem of most of his successors; and his own Odyssey is begun in the same
Avdga mos evveπe, Mousa, x. T. λ. "Arma virumque cano."-Virgil. "Bella Jusque datum sceleri canimus."—Lucan. Emathios plusquam civilia campos, per
*This word, our author informs us, signifies glory in the Russian language: Sclavonian, as applied to Russia, is a corruption.
UCH is the fertility of lord Byron's inuse, that the press is hardly able to keep pace with her prolificacy. There is, indeed, an anachronism in the accouche ment of this poem in this country,-its immediate predecessor in England, not having yet made its appearance here. We allude to the metrical romance of Beppo, an amusing burlesque upon that school of poetry, in which his lordship has taken his degrees, and the pedantry of which, as a graduate, he has a license to ridicule. The specimens of this facetious production, which we have seen in some of the English journals, bear out the estimnation we had formed of his lordship's satirical talent, from his caustic attack upon the Edinburgh Reviewers, and confirm those indications of humour, which have often peeped out, in bitter guise, in his graver compositions. But of Beppo hereafter a work of a very different complexion claims our notice now.
The fourth Canto of Childe Harold is prefaced by a dedication of the whole poem to John Hobhouse, Esq.-who has obligingly furnished the notes that accompany this division of it,—which like many other commentaries, exceed the text in bulk; and who has, moreover, published a separate volume of historical illustrations, which exceeds them both. After a lavish panegyric upon the virtues of his friend, who had been the companion of his frequent, pilgrimages,' his lordship appositely observes, by way of salvo to their mutual modesty it is not for minds like ours to give or receive flattery!"-Of the poem itself his lordship says, "with regard to the conduct of the last canto, there will be found less of the pilgrim than in any of the preceding, and that little slightly, if at all, separated from the author speaking in his own person. The fact is, that I
Servum pecus can be applied to no writers
ART. 8. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Canto the Fourth. By LORD BYRON. 18mo. pp. circa 250. New-York. Kirk & Mercein, and A. T. Goodrich, & Co.
had become weary of drawing a line which every one seemed determined not to perceive: like the Chinese in Goldsmith's
Citizen of the World,' whom no body would believe was a Chinese, it was in vain that I asserted, and imagined, that I had drawn a distinction between the au thor and the pilgrim; and the very anxiety to preserve this difference, and disappointment at finding it unavailing, so far crushed my efforts in the composition, that I determined to abandon it altogether His lordship further and have done so." tells us, what for his sake, we hope is true, though we do not believe it, that "the opinions which have been, or may be, formed on that subject, are now a matter of indifference."
The argument of this canto, it is difficult to draw out,-simply because it is not easy to discover it. We can, however, describe the course of the author's reflections, though we cannot always per ceive the catenation of his thoughts. He finds himself in Venice, on a bridge between the ducal palace and a prison, and he sees, in his "mind's eye," the rise, progress, and decline of the Venetian Republic, and all the events that embellish its history, or give interest to its fate. A variety of metaphysical speculations grow out of this survey of the past and present. All at once he is transported to Rome,-then to the tomb of Petrarch at Arquá. Petrarch brings Tasso to mind, and Tasso takes him to Ferrara. In a moment, he revisits Rome-and quits it, the next moment, for Florence. Incontinently he plunges into the lake of Thrasimene,-then quaffs of the wave of the Clitumnus-then dashes down the cataract of Velino,-then mounts the Appenines,-and straightway finds himself again on the banks of the Tibes. The
shades of all the worthies of Rome pass in review before him,-he traverses the Circus, the Colliseum, the Pantheon, and St. Peter's,-pauses to moralize over the mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, and abandons himself to a dream of love in the grove of Egeria:-He catches the dying knell of the ill-fated princess Charlotte,— murmurs a dirge to her memory,-addresses an invocation to the ocean, and bids farewell to the pilgrim' and the poem.
That scenes of such interest as the vagrant imagination of the noble author has rambled over, in this discursive canto, should have elicited some beautiful sentiments from a mind like his, is not extraordinary,—we only wonder that the religio loci had not filled him with a more powerful inspiration. Those who look for an intenser flame in every scintillation of his lordship's genius, will be disappointed in the concluding canto of Childe Harold. Not only is it more equable, but less vivid than its forerunners;-it contains more faults, and fewer felicitous passages to atone for them. When we shut the volume, we in vain endeavour to recollect those "thoughts that breathe, and words that burn," which illuminate his lordship's earlier productions, and which so indelibly impress themselves on our memories. Yet his lordship terms this the most thoughtful and comprehensive' of his compositions. That he has bestowed unusual labour upon it, is very possible, and it certainly exhibits evidences of profound meditation,-his pains, however, have not polished it, and his speculations have led him to no satisfactory result. But, we will not longer detain our readers from the poem, which though it may fall short of that eminence which the author has heretofore reached, still towers to a height, to which few bards of the present age are daring enough to aspire.
After indulging, in pensive mood, a retrospect of the departed greatness of Venice, the poet thus pursues his melancholy musings
The mourn'd, the loved, the lost too many yet how few!!