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« The peace which thus at Waterloo ye won,
Shall it endure with this exasperate foe?
Will France her ancient enmity forego?
The roots remain untouch'd ; and, as of old,
To his knit sinews, so shall ye behold France, like a giant fresh from sleep, arise, And rush upon her slumbering enemies."
“O) wretched country, better should thy soil
Be laid again beneath th' invading seas,
If thou still must be doom'd to scenes like these
** The winds which have in viewless heav'n their birtho
The waves which in their fury meet the clouds,
And from volcanos burst in fiery foods,
Realms which in story fill so large a part,
Barbarians overthrow the work of art,
That she this general fortune should elude;
The malice which misleads the multitude,
The earthquake underneath it will have way;
Scatters a summer's cloud, be swept away:
Enlarg’d, grew dim, and vanish'd from my view.
The thunders rolld around, the wild winds blew; And as the tempest round the summit beat, The whole frail fabric shook beneath my feet."
We have been so liberal in our extracts from the former parts of this work, that our account of the remainder of it must be concise.
After the disappearance of Wisdom, the poet is summoned by the “ Awful Muse,” to the sacred mountain. Having there expressed to her some circumstances in the present state of things, which he could not reconcile with the idea of the world's being governed by a being supremely wise and good, the Muse, to dispel his doubts, and enlighten bis under standing, conducts him into Paradise, and leads bim to the well of life, and the tree of knowledge. His heavenly conductress desires bim to taste the fruit of the tree.
“In awe I heard, and trembled, and obey’d:
The bitterness was even as of death:
My loosen'd limbs; and loosing sight and breath,
Had I not clasp'd the cross, and been supported there." The pain, bowever, is soon removed by a draught from the well of life; after which the poet is led to the top of the sacred mountain, on which the Muse deigns to let him into some of the mysteries of Providence. This occupies the first part of the last canto, the remainder of which bears a strong resemblance to the vision which Raphael shews to Adam, in the eleventh book of Paradise Lost. The Muse now indulges the poet with an extensive survey of the universe. And this part of the poem comprehends a character of Napoleon, which ought to satisfy his bitterest foes ; as well as a panegyric upon England, that will gratify her warmest admirers. Some passages in the description of Paradise are very beautiful; and would appear to greater advantage, did they not recall to our minds, in a manner so circumstantial, the exquisite description of Eden in Milton.
Of the poem, as a whole, we bave little more to say. It is very unequal; exhibiting many beauties, which Mr. Southey could easily have multiplied; and many defects arising out of that slovenliness wbich the lakers call ease, and that meanness of both thought and expression, which they term nature; for all of which the said Mr. Southey is highly culpable. In the proem, he appears as if he thought that he has been constantly ascending in the scale of poetic excellence,-stanza 21. We do not agree with him; and whoever will take the trouble to compare even the finest parts of this work with some of the passages in Roderick, will assuredly be of our opinion.-In conclusion, we must beg to observe, that the price of the book is greatly above its value.
ART. VII.-The Battle of Waterloo; a Poem. By ROBERT
Gilmour, late Captain of the First West-India Regiment,
pp. 39. Earle, Albermarle Street. 2s. 6d. It has been repeatedly observed, that the glorious and unparalleled conflict on the fields of Waterloo has met with no correspondent celebration from our numerous poetical competitors, and that the manifold effusions wbich have appeared, only tend to prove that, notwithstanding the quaniity of encomium which they exbibit, they are notoriously deficient as to the quality of that encomium. Mr. Scott, it has been asserted, fell on the field of Waterloo; Mr. Southey bas gathered no laurels there; and most of the other bards and bardlings, who have attempted to commemorate the immortal achievements of their countrymen, have foundered, halted, and become spiritless upon even tbat stupendous and exhilarating theme. Where so many attempt, some must naturally fall short; but that so many should be wanting in vigour and animation, is a circumstance which is principally to be attributed to the meanness of the manner in which they write, and their ignorance of the nature and features of such magnificent exhibitions.
The Poem before us cannot be charged with vulgar delineation, or absence of proper force in the developement of the awful picture it represents. Disdaining the grovelling language and the undignified measure of the self-conceited herd of poetical romancers and lakers, it adopts a style which reminds us of Pbilips's Battle of Blenheim, not as bearing apy servile resemblance to the manner of that poem, but simply as relates to the species of verse chosen by our author for bis undertaking. It opens with a description of the surrounding scenery, subsequently to the batile, from the ruined Castle of Hougoumont; and this is, perhaps, one of the prettiest, though least energetic passages of the work.
« Fair is the scene from ruin'd Hougoumont;
That shines in gold on her dismantled spires.
“Close by,, where Soignies spreads his beechen shade
Destruction must deform her stately streets." The repetition of the words marked in italics gives a monotony to the passage, and, in a great measure, serves to destroy the simplicity and gracefulness of the versification.
The commencement of the battle is described, and appropriate compliments are paid to the ardour and achieve ments of the gallant Duke of Brunswick. The following line is rather of the Cruscan species, and might easily be improved.
“ Sleep on, blest chief! thou hast acquir'd a wreath"Better thus :
Chieftain, sleep on! &c.The Duke of Wellington having received positive information of the progress of the enemy, is then alluded to in the following lines, which have an elegance and vigour well suited to the occasion.
" Peace to the shade of Brunswick! It was he
In awful stillness over Europe's fate.”The grand attack is then delineated; and our readers will discover not only that it is the description of a poet who has been an eye-witness of such awful encounters, but that truth of incident is blended with force of imagination.
“ The strife began; thick flash'd the flamy light
Drove on, in globe, or scattering iron hail." After depicting the attacks of the cuirassiers and Polish cavalry, the author alludes to the firmness displayed by the British troops, in receiving the tremendous charges of these hideous antagonists.
“ Tho’ fierce the gun
The rest recoil'd. Loud peal'd the British cheers." This is a well-written energetic passage, and lays before the reader a genuine picture of military conflicts : we see the coming charge, the dreadful closing of horse and foot: we hear the horrid jingling of their deadly weapons, the shouts, the cries, and the whole unseemly chorus of the awful catastrophe. It is thus that the genuine poet is distinguished from the mere versifier.
Napoleon, seeing his attempts upon the British fail in every direction, exhorts his troops to maintain their wonted character, and to
“Charge for Napoleon and for France !"