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either in winter or summer. He modestly informs us, that he has published them more as an intimation of his poetical existence, than as any attempt to prove himself entitled to the highest honours of the Muse.' Thus Fui would be the height of his ambition, we thought, until we pounced upon the next sentence,– If he live, he will put his capabilities, as a poet, to a more ambitious and arduous test.' He consequently relies more upou what he will do, than upon what he has done; and as perchance he may do nothing, we are not alarmed at his menace, and in the mean time shall deal with his present poetical existence. We are sorry that we cannot find it in our heart to admire his tale of mystery, beginning,
I had an uncle once-a man
Of three score years and three,' Nor yet his Alexandrine lines on Mary, Queen of Scots. The verses addressed to · One I love' express, we suppose, a real passion, and some of the illustrations and figures are not void of merit. The language, however, is an odd mixture of vulgarity and tinsel. A poet writing of the death-watch, and earnest in his desire to be pathetic, would hardly, we suspect, describe a coffin as 'a black box.' When next he writes a story of chivalry, we should advise him not to say of his hero, after slaying his enemy, that
• He stretched him with one desperate blow all stiff across his path;' or teach his heroine such language as this :
• “ Now, by St. Louis ! braggart base !” fair Isabel replied,
“ I tell thee in thy craven teeth that loudly thou hast lied !" Our young ladies will be frightened, if he make such fish. women of his demoiselles. It is, perhaps, no new idea to represent the billows as 'the squires' of an old ship; the strange shapes of the deep' as her children; and the dolphin, the whale, and the shark, as her particular acquaintances; but to say that she loved them all, the shark and whale included, and that she even loved the storm which made her gallant sides creak, is a notion peculiar, we believe, to Henry Glassford Bell. In a poem entitled “Nature,' the author represents a discontented person complaining of bis wayward fate, and obtaining no other answer to his murmurs than the music of the woods and streams. The composition would have been readable if it had not given utterance to the cry of the wretch in such ludicrous lines as these :
* I do impeach thee, Nature ! that thou hast,
In causeless malice, made me wo-begone !" This author has also his burlesque in the Beppo style,-as for instance
• I would write you a dozen letters, coz,
A dozen letters a-day;
That I don't know a thing to say.'
· I am sure you remember the big kite, coz,
That was higher, a foot, than me,
And it flew away over the sea.'
• I am sure you remember the pony, too,
That we used so to kiss and hug ;
Till it turn'd out a black-nosed pug.' After describing these and other tender reminiscences of childhood, the poet becomes satirical upon the follies of the day, and then surns up, in one verse, his ideas of real happiness.
• Good lud! is this society, coz?
Are these the delights of life?
Or married to some old wife,
With a garden, a cow, and a pig,
With a Bible and Sunday wig.'
“Good Lord! is this your poetry, Bell ?” We must answer, however, that it is not always such. In fairness, we must say that there are several compositions in this volume of an infinitely better description; of which the following Address to a Primrose may be taken as an average sample.
Flower! thon art not the same to me
That thou wert long ago;
Or from thy heart the glow,-
When all the world was new,
Its sweet, fresh fragrance threw;
To find thee on the bank,
The golden sunlight drank,
That clustering grew together,
Save summer's brightest weather,
• I know not what it was that made
My heart to love thee so;
Were dear long, long ago,
No wild-flower on the lea,
I loved so much as thee;
yet I look upon thee now
My heart is calm and still ;
Has faded from my sight,
Brought unto me a blight,
Since Leila perish'd like a dream !'-pp. 114-116. Mr. Bell deserves encouragement; he wants neither the boldness nor originality which may enable him to attempt a loftier Alight. Let him keep his verses by him some eight or ten years before he publishes them, and if he spend but half that time in giving them a polish, they may live a while.
We remember to have read, some years ago, a poem called Abassah,' though of its merits we have at this moment not a very distinct perception. We thought it one of the imitations of the Byron school which then abounded, and we believe that it was very little known then or since. Such as it was, its reception has now induced the author again to enter the lists of fame, and to present us with another oriental tale, in which it is his principal object, however, rather to pourtray character than to relate a connected story. His personages are chosen from anong those fanatical mystics who, about the year 1090, established themselves in the ranges of the Caucasus, under the name of Assassins. This name they derived from the word haschisch, signifying wild hemp, by a preparation of which these strange sectarians were thrown into a stupor; out of which, upon their initiation into the mysteries of the faith, it was arranged they should 'awaken in a garden, which was laid out, according to the Mosleman ideas of Paradise, with fragrant and flowering shrubs and fruit trees from every climate; and pavilions of marble ornamented with gold, and adorned with paintings and silken furniture; streams of crystal watered the soil; fountains of milk and wine-or more probably coloured water-played in recesses; beautiful women, obtained indifferently by purchase or violence, and trained in every elegant and seductive allurement, personated the Houri brides reserved for the
faithful, and amidst the warbling of birds and the sounds of stringed instruments filled the air with songs of love and languishment.' Robbery and murder formed a part of their creed; they held that the command of their superior justified every deed whatsoever.
The verses in which the author has painted the beings of this Paradise, are occasionally melodious and poetical in a very high degree; but, as a whole, the composition wants energy and interest. Haleb, its chief hero, after passing through the career of crime common to his associates, becomes in the end disposed to penitence. His wayward moods, his passion in enjoyment, his disgust in despair, afford the author the subjects of some excellent lines. The opening scene is beautiful.
• How fair the placid hour of evening shines
· Yet was there one for whom that sacred hour
· Long stay'd that sullen mood; till on the breeze
And wild in hurrying dance the wanton Almas sung.'-pp. 9–12. The author of the “Siege of Constantinople” indirectly informs us that his style has been formed upon that of Mr. Campbell, to whom he has dedicated this his first publication. Like Mr. Bell, he declares that, even if he should be foiled at this onset, he will "reset his lance, and venture another encounter.” He has divided his poem into three cantos : in the two first, the leading warriors are marshalled; in the third, the siege and fall of Byzantium, before the Turkish arms, are described. But the interest of the piece merges in the loves of Arnold, an illegitimate son of Constantine, and Irene, a Greek lady of matchless beauty. The poet supposes the former to have rebelled against his father—to have been banished—to have gone over to the infidels, and assumed the turban, and to be one of their most distinguished chieftains at the siege. In this situation he obtains a secret interview with his mistress, who had in his absence become a nun. The lovers are discovered by Irene's father, who slays his daughter, sooner than allow her to become the victim of a person who, wearing the dress of a Moslem, appeared to him to be one. There is nothing very new or striking in this catastrophe, nor in the general conduct of the poem. The taste of the writer appears, however, to have been well formed; his diction is chaste, and his verses possess energy, as well as propriety of phrase and rhythm. The opening of the third canto is perhaps rather too Byronian; it will serve, however, to show how Mr. Mitchell writes.