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of that death which is about to overwhelm them both. Meanwhile, one of the elect of God is destined by eternal mercy to re-people another universe. Should we blame the poet for having almost made a rebel of one of the sons of Noah P Did not evil carry with it its seeds into the ark, since the posterity of Adam after the lapse of ages required the sacrifice of divine blood for a second regeneration 2 Japhet, who is deluded by a guilty love for a daughter of Cain, appears himself to appertain to the race of the fratricide, whose pride had already revolted against the Almighty, previous to the destruction of his brother. Japhet is a dissatisfied philosopher, who daringly attempts to fathom the ways of Providence. Had it not pronounced to the billows, when fixing their primordial limits, “thus far shall ye go, and no farther 2" When the ocean is about to engulph its prey, Japhet nearly proceeds to the extent of accusing the Almighty of injustice, contradiction, and cruelty.
The audacious genius of the author of Cain is discoverable throughout this drama, which in form and style recalls to mind the Samson Agonistes of Milton.
To M. P. BLAIN.
IN referring to the English landscape writers, I have not perhaps sufficiently foreseen that the execution of their pictures would be criticised in France as imperfect and even coarse, on account of the negligence of the details, which the English artists dash over with the brush, instead of, like ours, labouring all the parts of the work with an equally minute attention. At fifteen paces distance the landscapes of Constable, Calcott, &c. &c. are admirable; but upon a nearer approach, they sometimes resemble mere rough draughts. I am not perfectly aware at how many paces distance the pictures of Claude, Watteau, &c. are chef d'aouvres. But have not all pictures a certain given distance, beyond which the illusion vanishes 2 I should find it a more difficult task to excuse the same defects of inaccuracy and negligence, of which it is demonstrated that the modern English poets are all guilty to a degree, which removes them more or less to a distance from the severe versification of the reign of Anne. Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott, Southey, Coleridge, &c. &c. frequently, and with impunity, defy measure and even grammar in their verses. All these poems contain sublime pages; but none completely satisfy the claims of prosody and syntax, from beginning to end, like Pope's Rape of the Lock, or Goldsmith's Deserted Village. They sometimes appear to be unfinished sketches, or brilliant improvisations, which the poet would seem to have never re-perused since the stenographist had taken possession of them. Two single poetical exceptions have alone remained faithful to the laws of the elaborate style of the last century; Rogers and Campbell. The first is remarkable for little besides the sustained eloquence of his polished and re-polished verses. Campbell, who has, like him, never passed over a page without obeying the Boileau— “En reprenant vingt fois le rabot et la lime,”
is not contented with the merit of euphony and of correction. That elaborate care which his rivals despise as a mechanical labour, and which often leave an air of constraint or affectation attached to his works, have not however suppressed his enthusiasm, and the audacity of some of his inspirations. He belongs not only to the didactic school of Goldsmith, but he is perhaps the first lyrical poet of our days.
It may be objected that Mr. Rogers appertains as much to the school of Rosa Matilda, as to that of Goldsmith. His little poem of Jacqueline, and especially his lines upon a Tear, at all events betray a factitious and far-fetched sensibility.
Jacqueline is the daughter of a chevalier de St. Louis, in the department of the Bas Alpes. She leaves her father for a lover, who suddenly returns with her, to implore a readily granted paternal benediction. This slight frame-work is fitted up with some tolerably graceful descriptions; but all that might have been dramatic fails of effect, because all is throughout expressed in elegiac circumlocutions. It may be added that Jacqueline is found published in the same volume with the first anonymous edition of Lara, a poem in which Byron has so vigorously sketched one of those exaggerated but real characters, whose soimbre and solitary greatness leaves so deep an impression on the mind. The verses on a Tear merit examination. Mr. Rogers calls the Eye of Chloe a coral cell, a spring of sensibility; the Tear is a little brilliant, &c.;—these denominations may, it is true, be poetical in English. But the following reflection is ridiculously far-fetched. “The same law which models a tear, and causes it to fall from its source, is that which preserves its spherical form to the earth, and guides the planets in their course.” I have sometimes seen, like Mr. Rogers, a tear fall from the eyes of a Chloe ; but I never thought of making it a subject of an illustration of the laws of gravity. This strophe would have done honour to the philosopher, who discovered the system of the world in the fall of an apple; but Newton was not a poet, and died a bachelor at the age of 80. I more especially advert to these verses of Mr. Rogers, in order to remark that in the famous article of the Edinburgh Review, which proclaimed to young Byron, that he would never become a poet, he is reproached with certain verses on a Tear, mediocre, in the first place on their own account, (which is true enough,) but still more mediocre, says the critic, when compared with the exquisite lines of S. Rogers.
“That very law which moulds a tear
Mr. Rogers has been the spoiled child of the reviews; one of his lucky circumstances was the being favourably quoted in the first satire of Byron. Thence resulted a great bond of sympathy between the young eagle of the new school, and the Nestor of the English poets, as Byron calls him ; hence their mutual dedications in the com. plimentary style. Mr. Rogers also enjoys a great popularity in the drawing room; he is a rich banker; an agreeable Amphitryon; he may be said to be exactly adapted for giving dinners to our Parisian academy, and more especially for becoming one of its members. Let me hasten to add, that Mr. Rogers possesses other literary titles than Jacqueline and the Tear. The Pleasures of Memory and Human Life are excellent didactic poems, worthy of Goldsmith : his Italy is a series of pictures and episodes, replete with animation,