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sulamut.' They do not however continue. very good friends! for we are soon told that
- The stranger's blade sprung forth; and from his soul,
He told Abdullah to his teeth-he lied ! p. 45. Nevertheless, he is allowed to enlist under the banners of the man whom he holds in such scorn, and is afterwards, by one of the inconsistencies perpetually occurring in modern poetry, commissioned to assassinate Sagoona, the heroine of the piece, though he is obliged to be shewn into the cell where she is confined by another creature of Abdullah's, who might, for any cause we can discover, have done the deed himself, without making a third person unnecessarily acquainted with it. 'The lady however proves to be this gentleman's long-lost love : instead therefore of fulfilling his mission, he
· Burst the vile fetter from her hand.' But this, with innumerable other absurdities we shall pass . over, as well as the carelesspess and incorrectness of the rhymes and metre, which it would be folly to dwell upon in a work that seems to set all rule at defiance. The style, alternately familiar and bombastic, is made up of proportionate materials in a mixture of obsolete and new coined words, with occasional additions from the Hindostanee language. The Author talks of querimonious waves and Cimmerian despair, and brings in Spenser and Chatterton for authority on various occasions ; but how he can quote the latter in defence of applying the word ' mees' to the ocean, except that it rhymes to breeze, we cannot imagine. A specimen of the Author's attempt at sublimity, shall close our remarks on the poetical character of his work.
• What thunder-sound hath solemn stillness racked ?
Smiling when fortune sends a fair relief.' With regard to the use of the Hindoo mythology in poetry, we need only remark, that if we are anxious to see our verse no longer clogged with perpetual invocations of Apollo and the Muses, surely we shall not so far affront our old acquaintance, as to look with more complacency on Krishen and the nine Gopia. · If we would rather read a description of sun-rise simply as it affects a lover of nature, without any mention of Phæbus, or any allusions to the rashness of Phaëton in borrowing his fiery steeds, we can do very well without hearing any thing of Carmasachi and his coursers. But Mr. Ambrosse owns that the Hindoo mythology and all its rites and ceremonies have, at times, impressed his imagination so forcibly, that scarce his
• Christian soul denied
. To enter in their holy pride.' He speaks too of having had the honour of presenting a muzzer, or piece of silver, to the living god at Chicore, a piece of complaisance which, we must confess, we do not believe that one from the lowest caste among the people he so much admires, would have practised had he been in his place. That such dereliction of Christian principles should be attended with ignorance and indifference in religious matters in general, cannot be wondered at. He quotes a passage from the Bible; but from the remark he makes upon it, we think he must have opened the sacred volume in that place by chance. He has however liearil of the Fall of Man, for he mentions Eve as a' dear sinner,' and contrives to compliment hier as the mother of the fairer part of the creation, to whom he frequently alludes in terms little according with that respect which is the surest sign of admiration, and particularly when he speaks of " India's sex,” as if that country had a sex peculiar to itself. The following extract will prove that we do not causelessly complain of our Author's scepticism.
'Mid soldier jest they made their rough repast,
Who bends not vainly o'er a future dream.' p. 88. · Doubt of a future state generally leads to making all that can be made of the sensual enjoyments of the present, accordingly we find Mir Hussein,
As brave à he as ever flesh'd a blade,' -uttering sentiments almost as gross in their expression as in their conception, which may be perfectly in character with a recreant Moslem soldier; but, unfortunately, those delivered in the Author's own person, are very little better. He is perpetually eulogizing India, and lamenting his absence from it, though his chief subjects of praise are its luxuries and its indulgences; the chief cause of his regret, that the land he returns to is less licentious and less enervated.
Amid a mass of bad writing we sometimes find a few lines that
hhe recovery anBut no such €10 the spe
excite a bope of a more praise-worthy attempt at a future period. At present, we can only say that from the view this poem bas afforded us of Indian taste and of Indian manners, we feel more than ever anxious that those who go at an early age into that country, should have their minds previously strengthened by religion and enlarged by science. Art. V. Speeches of the Right Honourable John Philpot Curran, Master
of the Rolls in Ireland, on the latè very interesting State Trials, Fourth Edition. 8vo. pp. 486. Price 12s. Longman and Co.
1815. · W HEN we looked into this collection at its first appearance,
we were willing to indulge some degree of hope that it might prove to be the precursor, and perhaps in some way or other the cause of a larger assemblage and exhibition of the effusions of this most brilliant of advocates. We wished it might not be too much even to hope that, like several great orators, ancient and modern, who have been their own editors, he might be induced to lend some assistance himself towards the recovery and permanence of the master-performances of his forensic life. But no such consequence or sequel has gratified the public taste. Even as to the specimens secured in this solitary volume, the Editor has to acknowledge with very just regret that in the first and each succeeding edition they have appeared without the advantage of the slightest intervention of their Author, an advantage which he apprehended there was so much cause to despair of obtaining for them, that he did not venture to solicit. They are given therefore merely on the very unsatisfactory authority of the reporters in the contemporary journals or pamphlets, reporters not, probably, the most dexterous of their profession, and often, when the orator • drove furiously,' left toiling far behind, like Time panting in pursuit of Shakspeare. .
The Editor, having been, it seems, long in the habit of hear ing Mr. Curran's speeches, would be much more sensible of the defects of these reports than the generality of their readers; but he has nevertheless felt himself bound to forbear any attempt at rectifying even what he deemed the most palpable defects, judging that such corrections ought to come solely from Mr. C. himself, and wishing that these faults and imperfections might provoke him to come forward to do justice to the splendid character of bis eloquence by an authenticated publication. We have now but little hope of such a consequence, but earnestly wish it could be obtained. Mr. Curran is one of that small class of persons, whose failing to leave in the literature of their country performances fully illustrative, and perpetually monumental, of their talents, may without af
fectation be adjudged a wrong done to the community. Not to notice that all very remarkable phenomena, as well" in the intellectual as in the physical world, are due to history, it may surely be asserted, that a nation has a just claim to be put in lasting possession of whatever will furnish the most true and vivid representation of a mind which has had a material influence on its fortunes, a mind which has been profusely honoured with its applause, its gratitude, its caresses, and its admiration, a mind which that nation has taken, with a few other powerful minds, as a kind of ground and justification of a high estimate of the mental capabilities of its people. Besides, there are at all times so many influences of mediocrity acting upon a people, from the little mental elevation and capacity of the vast majority of the persons holding, by office or rank, the ascendency over them, that it is very important to perpetuate, in the best possible form, the agency of those stronger spirits that have the most powerfully stimulated the national faculties. May we not add, that in the possible and lamentable case that one of these strong spirits has combined with its more beneficial energy certain moral habits, the example of which inust have been injurious to contemporaries, it is the more desirable to perpetuate the influences by which he will solely or mainly do good ? --It is a grievous thing to be under the necessity of making this kind of allusion, in order to avoid the appearance of being beguiled by noble intellectual powers, most worthily in many respects exerted, into an indifferent estimate of any of the cardinal points of morality. Why should not our unrivalled advocate have been as bright on every side 'as 'on that of his talent and courageous and consistent patriotism ?
On a re-inspection of parts of this small collection, we still more and more regret, that the effusions, we might say the explosions, of such a mind should have been almost all destined to flame and vanish without any one's being near that could reflect them complete in a lasting memorial; that there was no person to perform with adequate skill, the service analogous to that of the painter Fabris, who so admirably delineated Vesuvius while on fire; and that, if we may prolong the figure, the exhibition in the present volume has so considerable a portion of what reminds us of scorise and cinders. The intellectual fire comes out here and there with surprising force and beauty. It is quite enchanting to see what a power of mind can be thrown out in a single sentence. Sometimes there is a train of such sentences, keen in intelligence, glowing with passion, generally indignant passion, and brilliant in fancy. All these qualities meet sometimes in one sentence. And as most commonly, such a sentence was develled at some scoundrel
publicink, possent doubtärollerthit away?
or other, the reader exults to think how it must have smitten on his head. In some parts there is a considerable length of plain but vigorous and acute discussion, in application of law, or appreciation of evidence, the orator being too strong for argument to be often disposed to escape through either the dazzling or the shades of his imagination; while, never
theless, if he had been in peril in the contest, this resouree - was as certainly at hand, and almost as certain to be effectual, as the interposition of the gols in the Iliad to carry off their favourites involved in a cloud. · The readers of the volume will be struck, as Mr. Curran's auditors have always been, with the prodigious versatility of his oratorical talents, a versatility which we should hesitate to attribute in an equal degree to any other of the renowned public speakers : Burke, who had almost all talents, did not, we think, possess a faculty of humour so flexible and comic. It may be very doubtful praise to say, that Curran could descend to absolute drollery and buffoonery, and on that ground as on others, could hit away' his competitors. It is recollected that once in the performance of his official duty in court, he suddenly fell into the character of a drunkard, with the appropriate hiccupings, and staggerings, and broken sentences, all acted in a manner so ludicrously representative of some person whom he wished to expose to contempt, as to gain in aid of his cause all the coarse re-inforcement of the - risible and gamesome feelings of those on whose decision it -depended. But even from such a low revel of his energies bis mind would easily have risen, at the slightest prompting of occasion, within the same hour, into the region of intellectual meteors or stars, would have bounded among splendours and sublimities, and darted away with a track of light to· wards the remotest regions of thought. His whole mental . action has an appearance of facility and spontaneousness of
which even the readers of this volume can form but a very . imperfect idea. If this sometimes betrays him into a freakish wantonness of fancy and humour, it does not prevent, when the interest is important or complicated, a most pertinacious prosecution of the object, with all the sublimity of distinction and closeness of argument. If he seems sometimes in a whirl of fancy to be carried from his subject, he never loses sight of it. It is admirable and delightful to observe that never
winking perspicacity on which no sports of his own mercurial · spirit, no circumstances of interruption, confusion, opposition, , or provocation, no scattered extent and diversity of topics,
can ever pass a delusion. The whole subjeet stands constantly · revealed - in his view, and whatever any part or particle of it . contains that is available for his purpose, he is certain to elicit,