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lites equal to its importance, which is very great with regard to the brightest reign in the English annals; we mean in former times.
II. The Beauties of English Poely. SeleEted by Oliver Goldsmith. 2 vols. 1 2mo.
Pr. 6s. Griffin. (R. Pope was the editor of Parnel's poems, and, like Dr.
G. was persuaded by his bookfeller to midwive into the world the beauties of the Italian poets who wrote in Latin.
He did not, however, perceive that his friend Parnel had įmposed upon the public as an original composition (and it is considered as one of his beft) a pretty close translation of a poem froin Augerelli, one of the Italian poets he himfelf had published. We mention this as an instance how very mechanical the employment of an editor may become, when taken up merely on the credit of a name. Angeriani was another of thofe Italian poets; but we do not find that our bard ever discovered that his friend Atterbury stole his celebrated epigram on a lady's fan from the compositions of that elegant but unfortunate nobleinan.
The author of the selection that lies before us, proceeds by the Tump, which undoubtedly is the most sagacious method of performing the office he has undertaken. Nothing is fo common and yet so absurd as affectation in criticism. The desire (wę speak the words of his preface) of being thought to have a more discerning taste than others, has often led writers to labour after error, and to be foremost in promoting deformity.'
In consequence of this very diffident declaration, our poet ushers in his collection with Mr. Pope's Rape of the Lock, which is (says he) perhaps, the most perfect in our language. It exhibits stronger powers of imagination, more har, mony of numbers, and a greater knowledge of the world, than any other of this poet's works. In the preface to the fecond and third poems of his collection, the Il Penseroso and L’Allegro, he tells us, with the same tone of modest indecision, that the introduction to both hurts an English ear.' We agree with him, that the Elegy written in a Church-yard is overloaded with epithet ; and we hope to see our countrymen fix the standard of poetical merit or demerit according to the scarcity or redundancy of that stilt in composition. Unmeaning epithets are the high heels of poetry, and spoil the graceful vigorous tread which if nature does not give the bard, the disowns him, as a bastard : well chofen epithets, at the same time, are her greatest Ornaments.
In the fame meek fpirit of diffidence and indecision, the editor dillikes the imitation of our old English poets, in general, in order to pay a compliment to mediocrity of genius recommended by good-humour and philanthropy. Cooper's Hill is admitted into this collection as one of the beauties of English poetry. Dr. Goldsmith perhaps would have acted with more confiftency, had he pointed out the beauties of that beauty.We cannot think with him, that the letter of Eloifa to Abelard may be considered as fuperior to any thing in the epistolary way. The very harmony of numbers for which he commends it, we think destroys its merit; or, if the reader will pardon a pan, Abelarás it aš to its epiftolary qualities. This editor might have said, with great justice, that no composition, in any language, can equal its warmth, its paflion, its ecstasy, and wildness.
What countryman was Ambrose Philips, who wrote the Epistle to the earl of Dorset from Copenhagen, the introduction to which this gentleman pronounces to be incomparably fine? Let the reader judge of this paragon from the four following fines.
“ The hoary winter here conceals from sight
The flow'ry plains, and silver-treaming floods.' What profusion of unmeaning epithet! what namby-pamby in this incomparably fine opening!
Our unaffected editor, to advance his reader's taste, though not to impress him with any exalted ideas of his own, finds a driness in the numbers of Addison's Letter to lord Halifax from Italy, which greatly lessens the pleasure excited both by the poet's judgment and imagination. He says, at the same time, that
had the harmony of this been equal to that of Pope's versification, it would be incontestibly the finest poem in our language.'
-We most humbly differ from the doctor as to both his propositions. We think Addison's numbers, in this letter, are as succulent (if not more fo) as any of Mr. Pope's; and with all fubmiffion, we think, that in whatever dress it had been cloathed, it would not have been incontestibly the finest poem in our language.
We adopt this gentleman's sentiments concerning the two odes for St. Cæcilia's day by Dryden and Pope. We know not whether the Shepherd's Week can be admitted as Mr. Gay's principal performance. Captain Macheath fhall judge. We have no exception to his introduction of Mac Flecknoe by Dryden, and the Rhapsody of Swift. He ought to have told us that Mr. Pope's poem on the Use of Riches is a groupe of different
publications printed with pecuniary views. We never knew till this editor informed us, that Garth's Dispensary has been more praised than any other poem ; and we think he ought to have omitted all mention of it, for the reason he himself alledges. We however agree with him in his sentiments of the remaining pieces exhibited in this volume,
The fecond volume of this publication is introduced with fome pieces from Dr. Parnel, though we cannot agree with the extravagant praises bestowed on him by Dr. G. What countryman ‘was Parnel We know not. We are sensible that Thomson, author of the Seasons (whom this writer pronounces to be a verbose and affected poet) was a Scotchman. His episode of Palemon and Lavinia is here introduced rather for being much esteemed by the public than by the editor. Is this practice conformable to the profeflions made in the Doctor's preface? Why did he not, for the same reason, print Pomfret's Choice, which has gone through more editions than perhaps any piece of poetry in the English language. If Savage was (as is moft certain) but an indifferent poet, why did he reprint his Bastard? We have no objection to his character of Mr. Moore; and we think he does no more than justice to Mr. Nugent's epistle.
Prior's Hans Carvel, notwithstanding its merit, ought to have been omitted in a selection of this kind. We are not ablolutely certain whether Mr. Tickell was or was not an Hibernian; but we agree that the two specimens of his writing here produced, have great merit, though not to the extravagant degree this authar supposes. Dr. Smollett we all know is a Scotchman, and must consequently be deficient in taste. Waller's Elegy on the death of Cromwell is next introduced, but a composition fo bom baftic and boisterous ought not to have been introduced to exemplify the strength of thinking. We are sorry to find Dr. G. speak with such coolness of Dr. Young's Night-Thoughts, and, with something worse than coolness, of his Satires. If Mr. Shenstone's ballads are not excellent, why were they admitted to a place in this collection, unless it was to serve as foils to the two'admirable ones by Dr. Byron and Mr. Rowe, which follow ?
Dr. Goldsmith says very justly, that the Efsay on Poetry by the Duke of Buckingham, has been praised more than it deserves; we think a great deal more ; and we are therefore surprised to find it in the volumes before us. Qur author thinks that Swift's Story of Cadenus and Vanessa is but ill conceived in itself; and he does not know what Prior meant by his Alma, or the Progress of the Mind, with which this selection is clofed.
We have used unusual freedom with the observations and collection of this editor, whose name we think deserves a respectable place in literature. We apprehend however, that in this production he did not sufficiently reconnoitre his ground. Its being designed for boys rather than men, ought to have rendered him cautious of being wanton in his criticisms, or unguarded in his publications; and national prepossessions ought to be banished from the republic of letters, which knows no country but the extent of the terraqueous globe.
III. An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Oeconomy : being an Ejay
on the Science of Domestic Policy in Free Nations. By Sir James
to the fourth chapter of the second book, in which the author treats of the difference between the prime cost, and felling prices of commodities. He thinks, that the more exactly every circumstance with regard to the whole analysis of manufactures is examined, the easier it is for a statesinan to correct every vice or abuse which tends to carry prices beyond the proper standard.
The author, we hope, will pardon us in faying, that we can have no idea of any statesman interfering in the commercial concerns of a free country. They are too delicate to be. touched even by an afseinbly of statesmen (for such we shall fuppose the Britisha parliament to be); nor does that august afsembly ever interfere in them, nifi dignus vindice nodus, but upon great and extraordinary occasions. Nothing ought to appear more uncontrouled, or can be more permanent, than the principles of commerce; and nothing ought to be so independent of a statesman, because they are self-evident; and, as they spring from mutual necessities, they never can be mistaken. The state, it is true, has in Great Britain left the standard of the staff of life to be fixed on certain occasions by proper magistrates;
but that regulation considers bread not as a mercantile commodity, but as a neceffary means of subsistence to fociety. In short, we do not know, at present, a board in England that has a power to regulate the price even of a pound of any commodity (except that of bread).
Our author distinguishes between-passive commerce (by which he means drawing strangers to market) and adive foreign trade, or the distribution of native commodities among other nations. He thinks that trade naturally encreases the numbers of man
kind in every country where it is established. He next returns to his statesman, and the principles which he must keep in view, in order to carry trade to perfection, by rendering it a means of promoting ease and affluence at home, as well as power and fuperiority abroad. We have no idea of a statesman having any connection with the affair ; and we believe that the fuperiority which England has at present over all the world, in point of commerce, is owing to her excluding ftatefinen from the executive part of all commercial concerns. A single in. Stance will illustrate what we mean. Lewis XIV. and his ministers took it into their heads to regulate their American provinces; and Charlevoix has given us an account (we believe a yery just one) of the feveral operations, alterations, regulations, and arrangements they underwent !What was the confequence !--The crown, company, and all concerned, year after year, were losers, and the Jesuits were the only gainers, because their traffic was in souls ; a commerce in which no statesman has any concern. It is true, the legislature has a right to make trade contribute to the necesities of the state ; but when we consider the system of British commerce, the whole of it, even in its feverest restrictions, tends to self-preservation, and to prevent those evils which private interest might introduce.
This writer very accurately defines the difference between demand and competition in trade; and his reasoning on that head is full and satisfactory. He next confiders the proportions between demand and supply, and examines how the equal bao lance between both comes at last to be destroyed. He thinks that domestic vices alone are not sufficient to ruin a trading nation ; she must have rivals who are able to profit of them. He divides the degrees of subordination between inan and man into four ;. 1. That of flaves upon their masters. 2. That of children upon their parents. 3. That of labourers upon the proprietors of lands. 4. That of the free hands, employed in trades and manufactures, upon their customers. We are sorry to observe too much of a foreign cast in this autbor's ideas. The dependence of flaves upon masters has no existence in England. Even a negro bought by the master's 'money is no flave, because the laws will oblige that master to maintain him, and will punish him if he misuses him. The dependence of children upon parents has no relation to any species of political economy, because it results from a common principle of nature, The dependence of labourers on the proprietors of lands in England, we think, is a convertible term, because we are not sure, whether the proprietors of lands may not more properly be said to depend upon their labourers. The fame observation extends to the relation between manufacturers and cuf