Works. A new ed., containing pieces hitherto uncollected, and a life of the author. With notes from various sources by J.W.M. Gibbes
rather proceed to show on what particular passages in his
performance we have founded our hopes of his brighten
ing, one day, into stronger lustre.
Those parts of nature, and that rural simplicity with
which the author was, perhaps, best acquainted, are not
unhappily described ; and hence we are led to conjecture,
that a more universal knowledge of nature will probably
increase his powers of description. The native innocence
of the .shepherd Norval is happily expressed ; it requires
some art to dress the thoughts and phrases of the common
people, without letting them swell into bombast, or sink
into vulgarity : a fault generally charged upon the English
authors, who are remarked by their neighbours of the
continent to write too much above, or too much below,
every subject they undertake to treat upon.
Glenalvon ' s character is strongly marked, and bears a
near resemblance to Shakspear ' s ' Kichard. ' It is thus de
lineated in the first act :
" Anna. Why speaks my lady thus of Randolph ' s heir ?
Lady Randolph. Because he ' s not the heir of Randolph ' s virtues.
Subtle and shrew ' d, he offers to mankind
An artificial image of himself;
And he with ease can vary to the taste
Of different men, its features. Self-denied,
And master of his appetites he seems :
But his fierce nature, like a fox chain ' d up,
Watches to seize unseen the wish ' d-for prey.
Never were vice and virtue pois ' d so ill,
As in Glenalvon ' s unrelenting mind.
Yet is he brave, and politic in war. "
The following passage is an oblique panegyric on the
Union, and contains a pleasing gradation of sentiment.
The lines marked in italics demand particular distinction.
" Lady Randolph. War I detest : but war with foreign foes,
Whose manners, language, and whose looks are strange,
Is not so horrid, nor to me so hateful,
As that which with our neighbours oft we wage.
A river here, and there an ideal line
By fancy drawn, divides the sister kingdoms. .
On each side dwells a people similar,
As twins are to each other,
Both for their valour famous through the world.
Yet will they not unite their kindred arms,