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go, throw all others completely in the back ground. The following remarks deserve to be recorded.
The most minute attention and painful labour are not equal to give a faithful idea of the fascinating objects of these designs. The scale of colour in which they are painted is that of using pure vermilion, ochres, and indigo; and yet they are not gaudy, owing to the judicious balance of the colours, and the artful management of the blacks. It is quite obvious that they worked on a regular system, which had for its basis, as Mr. West would say, the colours of the rainbow, as there is not an ornament throughout their dresses where the red, yellow, and blue are not alternately intermingled, which produces a harmony that in some of the designs is really delicious.
From the brief statement which we have given it will be seen that Mr. Salt has been indefatigable in his own researches, and spared no expense in encouraging those of others; we rejoice to find that, in return, he has possessed himself of a rich harvest of long buried treasures. Among others he has got down to Cairo the famous French stone with eight sculptured figures; another beautiful head of
granite, not so large as that named the Young Memnon, but with a finer polish, and quite perfect; a sitting figure as large as life, of marble, and of exquisite workmanship; several statues of basalt, besides thirty rolls of papyrus, and an innumerable list of smaller articles.
It is an interesting fact, that, on opening one of the tombs at Thebes, two statues of wood, a little larger than life, were discovered as perfect as if newly carved, the only decayed parts being the sockets to receive the eyes, which had been of metal, probably of copper.
We have a few words to add respecting Belzoni, whose death has been announced, prematurely we hope, in the public prints. Every inquiry which we have been able to make leads us to believe that the report is not correct; it was brought from Constantinople, and most probably meant to refer to the lamented Burckhardt : we trust therefore, that it is not yet time to insert his name in the obituary of those valuable men who have lost their lives in the hazardous career of African enterprize. Our readers may, perhaps, not be displeased to learn a little of the history of this extraordinary man. Belzoni was born, we believe, in the Papal states. Of his youth no particulars have come to our knowledge; but about nine years ago he was in Edinburgh, where he exhibited feats of strength, experiments in hydraulics, musical glasses, and phantasmagoria. He repeated the same course of experiments in Ireland and the Isle of Man; : whence he proceeded to Lisbon. Being then about twentyfive years of age, of the extraordinary height of six feet seven inches, well made and stout in proportion, with an animated and prepos
sessing countenance, he was at once engaged, by the manager of the theatre of San Carlos, to appear in the play of Valentine and Orson, and again, during Lent, in the sacred drama of Sampson; in both of which, by feats of strength and activity, he gained the highest applause. At Madrid he performed before the king and the court. Leaving Spain he proceeded to Malta, where he fell in with Ismael Gibraltar, the agent of the pashaw of Egypt, who persuaded him to visit Cairo. Here the pashaw engaged him to construct a machine for raising water out of the Nile to irrigate his gardens, for which he was to be paid at the rate of 800 piastres per month, besides a considerable reward, provided it should finally be found to answer the purpose. In the course of three months it was put in operation. The pashaw attended; and three Arabs, with an Irish lad whom Belzoni had brought from Edinburgh, as a servant, were put into the large wheel to walk round and keep it in motion: at the second or third turn the Arabs became giddy and jumped out; the wheel, wanting its counterpoise, flew back, and the Irish servant, in attempting to escape, broke his thigh, and must have been killed, had not Bulzoni caught hold of the circumference of the wheel, and, by his extraordinary strength, stopped its motion.
This accident was equivalent to a failure; and Belzoni now determined to try bis fortune in search of antiquities in Upper Egypt; but just as he was preparing to depart, Mr. Salt arrived at Cairo. This gentleman, on the representation of Sheik Ibrahim, who had witnessed his extraordinary powers, conceived bim at once to be the person most proper to employ in the arduous attempt of bringing down the head of the Young Memnon from Thebes. Belzoni, after some consideration, accordingly relinquished the plan of travelling on his own account, and engaged himself to.Mr. Salt and the Sheik, on an enterprize that was by many deemed hopeless, but which, as we formerly stated, he succeeded in accomplishing (after six months of unremitted exertions) by his uncommon dexterity in the management of the Arab peasantry, by whom alone he was assisted. From this time he was regularly employed by Mr. Salt in making discoveries, the result of which we have already communicated.
An instance of his determined perseverance, and of the confidence which he inspires in others, well deserves to be mentioned. In his Nubian journey he was accompanied by Mr. Beechey. The front of the temple of Ipsambul, with its colossal statues just raising their gigantic heads above the mass of sand in which the whole front was nearly buried, was too tempting an object to be left unexplored. He immediately engaged a party of natives to set about uncovering it; they laboured at it a few days, making very little progress, when they stopped, alleging that the feast of Rhamadan had
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commenced, and that it was unlawful to work: the sheik, or aga, who bad permitted him to engage these people, corroborated this statement; and it soon appeared that no argument would prevail on them to continue their labour. Belzoni, therefore, with Mr. Beechey and the Irish servant, determined to set about the laborious operation themselves; but they soon discovered that the aga, to deter them from the further prosecution of the enterprize, had prohibited the supply of provisions of every description, hoping by this measure to induce them to depart, and return the following season to spend more money among his people. Recollecting, however, that they had still remaining in their boat a bag of durrah (millet), the little party determined to persevere in their work, and after twenty-one days of very severe labour, during which they had nothing but durrah and Nile water to live upon, they succeeded in uncovering and penetrating into the interior of the temple of Ipsambul,—which M. Jomard is pleased to say had been previously visited by Mr. Thomas Legh, though Mr. Thomas Legh, when he wrote his book, was as unconscious of its existence, as M. Jomard himself was, until he read the account of it in the letter of Belzoni to M. Visconti.
Art. IX.- Lectures on the English Poets. Delivered at the
Surrey Institution. By William Hazlitt. 8vo. pp. 391. Lon
don. 1818. MR.
R. Hazlitt seems to have bound himself, in imitation of Han
nibal, to wage everlasting war, not, indeed, against Rome, but against accurate reasoning, just observation, and precise or even intelligible language. We have traced him in his two former predatory incursions on taste and common sense.
He has now taken the field a third time, and with a more hostile aspect than ever. Had he written on any other subject, we should scarcely have thought of watching his movements. But though his book is dull, his theme is pleasing, and interests in spite of the author. As we read we forget Mr. Hazlitt, to think of those concerning whom he writes. In fact, few works of poetical criticism are so deplorably bad, as not to be perused with some degree of pleasure. The remarks may be trite, or paradoxical, or unintelligible; they may be expressed in a vague and inanimate style: but the mind is occasionally awakened and relieved by the recurrence of extracts, in which the powers of taste and genius are displayed.
This is the case with Mr. Hazlitt's book. We are not aware that it contains a single just observation, which has not been expressed by other writers more briefly, more perspicuously, and more elegantly. The passages which he has quoted are, with one
er two exceptions, familiar to all who have the slightest acquaintance with English literature. His remarks on particular quotations are often injudicious; his general reasonings, for the most part, unintelligible. Indeed he seems to think that meaning is a superAuous quality in writing, and that the task of composition is merely an exercise in varying the arrangement of words. In the lately invented optical toy we have a few bits of coloured glass, the images of which are made to present themselves in an endless variety of forms. Mr. Hazlitt's mind appears to be furnished in a similar manner, and to act in a similar way; for its most vigorous operations are limited to throwing a number of pretty picturesque phrases into sepseless and fantastic combinations.
Mr. Hazlitt's work may be regarded as consisting of two parts; first, of general reasonings on poetry, under which we include his remarks on the characters of particular poets; secondly, of minute remarks upon the passages which he has quoted. The greater part of the volume belongs to the first of these classes; for though many fine extracts are given, little pains have been employed to bring their latent beauties into view. Looking upon such a task as too humble for his genius, Mr. Hazlitt prefers appearing chiefly in the character of a philosophical reasoner. In this choice he is unfortunate; for his mode of thinking, or rather of using words, is most singularly unphilosophical. Some vague half-formed notion seems to be floating before his mind; instead of seizing the notion itself, he lays hold of a metaphor, or of an idea connected with it by slight associations: this he expresses; but after he has expressed it, he finds that he has not conveyed his meaning ; another metaphor is therefore thrown out, the same course is trodden over and over again, and half a dozen combinations of phrases are used in vague endeavours to express what ought to have been said directly and concisely in one. The mischief, thus originating in indistinctness of conception, is increased by the ambition of the writer. Mr. Hazlitt wishes to dazzle: but with no new matter to communicate, without an imagination capable of lending new force to old observations, and without skill to array them in appropriate language, he can only succeed (as Harlequin does with children) by surprizing us with the rapid succession of antic forms in which the same, or nearly the same thought is exhibited. He is ever hovering on the limits between sense and nonsense, and he trusts to the dimness of the twilight which reigns in that region, for concealing the defects of his arguments and increasing the power of his imagery. There is no subject on which it is of more importance that those terms only should be used whose meaning is well fixed, than in treating of the emotions and operations of the mind; but Mr. Hazlitt indulges himself in a rambling inaccuracy of expression, which would not E E 4
be tolerated even in inquiries, where there was little hazard of error from the vague use of words.
Next to want of precision, the most striking peculiarity of his style is the odd expressions with which it is diversified, from popuJar poets, especially from Shakspeare. If a trifling thing is to be told, he will not mention it in common language: he must give it, if possible, in words which the bard of Avon has somewhere used. Were the beauty of the applications conspicuous, we might forget, or at least forgive, the deformity produced by the constant stitching in of these patches; unfortunately, however, the phrases thus obtruded upon us seem to be selected, not on account of
intrinsic beauty, but merely because they are fantastic and unlike what would naturally occur to an ordinary writer.
The most important of Mr. Hazlitt's general reasonings are contained in the first lecture. As a specimen of the work we shall extract the commencement, which bears evident marks of elaborate composition, and in which the intellect of the writer, fresh and unfatigued, may be expected to put forth its utmost vigour. out with a definition of poetry.
· The best general notion,' he says, ' which I can give of poetry, is that it is the natural impression of any object or circumstance, by its vividness exciting an involuntary movement of imagination and passion, and producing, by sympathy, à certain modulation of the voice, or sounds, expressing it.'
This is not a definition of poetry—it neither is nor can be a definition of any thing, because it is completely unintelligible. The impression, of which Mr. Hazlitt talks, is an impression producing by sympathy a certain modulation of sounds. The ternt sympathy has two significations. In a physiological sense it is used to denote the fact, that the disorder of one organ produces disorder in the functions of certain other parts of the system. Does Mr. Hazlitt mean, that the impression produces the modulation of sound essential to poetry, in a mode analogous to that in which diseases of the brain affect the digestive powers ? Sympathy, again, in its application to the moral part of our constitution, denotes that law of our nature by which we share in the feelings that agitate the bosoms of our fellow creatures. This signification obviously will not suit Mr. Hazlitt's purpose. His meaning therefore must be left to himself to divine. One thing is clear, that the modulation of verse is the result of great labour, consuminate art, and long practice; and that his words, therefore, can admit no interpretation, conformable to truth, till sympathy becomes synonimous with skill and labour.
The passage which immediately follows the definition, and is devoted to the illustration of it, can scarcely be equalled, in the whole compass of English prose, for rapid transitions from idea to