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sweetness, we should otherwise have deemed rather too copious. But, reflecting on the occasion, we pass on,' convinc'd that sorrow is a sacred thing.'
There are some improbabilities, inseparable perhaps from this plan of blending many such short compositions for music with the narrative. In the first place, the characters introduced must be a set of improvisatori, all able to compose, to set their compositions to music, and to sing them, at a moment's warning. But, the scene being fixed in Italy, we easily consent to this innocent delusion, and the remark is perhaps hypercritical.
There remains, however, a greater inconvenience still. It is a common proverb, that fight sorrows are talkative, and heavy ones silent.' Now on the present plan, the heaviest griefs must not only speak, but speak in verse; and not only speak in verse, but play and sing. We deny not the powers of musical expression to give utterance to emotions of grief as well as of joy: but that the wretch who writhes under mental agony, or exults with rapturous joy, should instantly address himself to pour forth his woes of his delights on the harp or the organ, is to us unnatural. At the same time, this method of diversifying the narrative with odes, &c. is by no means to be condemned and rejected altogether. Only, let it be indulged no further than it can be rendered easy, consistent, and probable,
In many instances we think the poet is not happy in his choice of metre. When Lucilio receives from Venusia the relation of her aunt's vision which gave a supernatural sanction to their loves; and again, when she promises to meet him at a fixed hour in the evening; (both, we own, occasions of joy,but joy, surely, of a delicate, tender, sentimental kind;) Lucilio breaks forth into four stanzas of what are called anapastic
Art thou my Venusia? yes, thou art the maid,' &c.
Now, whether it be from any secret analogy which this gal loping sort of movement bears to levity and boisterous joy, or whether we are possessed with a foolish prejudice arising from having usually seen songs written in this metre ushered in with To the tune of Down, derry down,' we cannot determine. But so it is, that to our ears this light measure seems ill adapted to that species of joy which the fond half-despairing lover feels on receiving the first encouragement of his addresses. At any rate, surely it is not that which a tasty and skilful composer would make choice of to grace with melte ing notes that penetrate the soul.' (See pages 23, 25, 27, 67, 27x07 125.) But, while we are free in marking what we think defects,
ustice forbids us to deny that there are many of these short occasional poems replete with pathetic tenderness and breathing. the purest spirit of simple devotion. The following sonnet of Manfredi's deserves to be cited, were it only for the beautiful and original allusion at its close.
Acknowledg'd Son of Heaven's approving sire!
⚫ Gentlest of guides! whose form, in nature's vest,
Whose word, an antidote to every pest!
To talk unsinking on affliction's wave!' P. 98.
As another favourable specimen of the shorter pieces, we offer the following song by Venusia, sung to comfort the drooping Lucilio before their loves are arrived at maturity.
By a tomb, that held his treasure,
Thus a father mourn'd his child:
When in death my darling smil'd.
Ere his plaint of woe was ended,
Gracious Pity cheer'd his sight:
Bliss more tender
In eternal scenes of light.' P. 9.
Upon the whole, he that takes up the Triumph of Music' with an expectation of finding there brilliant imagery, highly impassioned sentiments, the embroidery of metaphor, splendour of versification, or the nicer felicities of language, will certainly be entirely disappointed. Yet it is an elegant and
pleasing production, and (we doubt not) will meet with many readers and many admirers. It will amuse the idle; it may awaken the thoughtless; and it cannot fail to soothe the afflicted, by pointing out to that which can alone minister to a mind diseased, the balm of religious confidence.
ART. IX.-The Principles of Moral Science. By Robert Forsyth, Esq. Advocate. Vol. I. 8vo. 10s. 6d. Longman. 1805.
NUMEROUS are the writers on moral science, and various the foundations on which they attempt to erect the struc ture of morality. Differing in their principles, they who reason justly cannot but diverge very far from each other in their conclusions. In this work one end of our being is laid down ; and that end must be pursued, whatever may be the consequences, or we must lose that being, as unqualified for the purposes for which we were created.
The subject is discussed very diffusely, with great candour, and evidently much profound meditation. They who differ from the writer, will be pleased with his style; and if they cannot embrace the whole, will approve many parts of the system. A concise view of it is given in the form of an Eastern apologue; whence we discover the train of thinking in the author's mind, and perceive the tendency and merit of his work.Hystaspes, à Persian in the age of Cyrus, was meditating on the vanity of human life, and perplexed in his endeavours to ac count for man's existence, when he was carried in a vision into mid-air, and there by an angel enabled to view the progress of departed spirits. On the death of men and beasts, their spirits left their bodies, and were seen advancing into the world of spirits: all in motion for a time, at the end of which some sunk again to rest, and were lost in the general vapour; whilst others rushed forward with increasing activity, joined company with the immortals, and in due time acquired similar immortality. The vision was thus explained by the angel : The spirit of a beast, on quitting his body, is actuated by no motive to prolong his existence in the new world to which it has arrived. In its former state, it was agitated to procure food for its body; but here, having neither hunger nor thirst to gratify, nor means, if it had been possessed with these desires, to gratify them,-it is soon tired of its existence, and sinks down to its everlasting rest. The spirits of the feeblest men possess more energy than the most active of the brute creation, and make somewhat longer efforts to prolong their existence. They who in their former state had lived in a manner nearest to the brutes, and
were chiefly occupied in the gratification of their sensual appetites, finding here no pleasures of the table, nor wine to drink, nor any object of desire, and having not learned to love wisdom and instruction, soon follow the beasts, and, ceasing to strive or think, fall (like them) asleep. The spirits of the avaricious take a rather more extensive range: but as here is no silver or gold, on which to fix their affections, their minds soon languish, and they also fall asleep. Ambitious, vain, and malicious spirits, possessing more activity, expatiate more widely; but, as here is no superiority but that of goodness and wisdom, no vanity to be gratified, and no malignity to be spread abroad, at length they pine away, and, gradually ceasing to think at all, fall into a state of repose and inactivity.
The more active spirits, who ranged unconfined till they joined the immortals, were of a very different nature in their former state: for they then had learned to love the two sources of immortal life, goodness and wisdom; and in changing their state they do not alter their employment. Here is continual food for their exertions; and they are actuated by that unceasing energy of mind which is life everlasting. The immortals take a pleasure in improving these exertions; and the meanest rational being who persists in the right way, shall hereafter be as enlightened and as good as is now the highest created spirit; for the highest created spirit was as ignorant and as low, as is now the meanest of mortal spirits.'-The an gel proceeds to explain the reasons why labour and trouble were given in the present world: since that is the price of eter nal life; and they are to be accounted happy, who by much suffering attain to the great reward. The ignorance of men occasions in the present age the loss of many spirits; but the time will come, when mankind will be more enlightened, and fewer perish for ever.
If then we believe the angel, there is only one pursuit wor thy of a rational being, and by this must every action of his life be judged. To the author, it appears
That the great object which the human race ought to pursue, and the attainment of which they ought to regard as the business of their lives, is not to produce happiness, pleasure, or felicity, in themselves or others; but that, on the contrary, the end for which they were formed, and which alone they can pursue with success, is the improvement of their whole intellectual faculties, whether speculative or active. In one word, it is the business of man in this world to endeavour to become an excellent being, possessing high powers of energy and intelligence. This is his chief good; and ought to be the great and ultimate object of his pursuit, to which every other consideration ought to be sacrificed.
If this principle, that intellectual excellence, or the perfection of
the mind and of its rational powers, is the most important and valuable object of human pursuit, can be clearly established, it will follow, that those actions are good, and right, and best, which produce, not happiness or pleasure, but the greatest portion of knowledge, ability, and intellectual perfection in the world; and that those actions are the worst, which produce, or have a tendency to produce, not suffering, but the greatest degree of ignorance, of stu pidity, and of intellectual weakness and degradation. It will even follow, that the rulers of nations (though they are seldom so well employed do actually misapply their labour, and mistake their duty, when they imagine that their proper business consists in conferring felicity upon their fellow-creatures.
I shall here endeavour to prove, that the great task, to the performance of which the existence of every man ought to be devotel, consists of two branches: first, to produce the intellectual improvement of his own individual mind and character; and, secondly, to produce the improvement of the minds of other rational beings.'p.9.
The philosophers and the poets have made happiness ‘our being's end and aim:' but this opinion is shown to be erroneous by the universal history of mankind, which proves that all who have pursued this fleeting object have failed in their attempts; and by an attentive observation of the world, which shows that its contriver and author never intended that we should enjoy happiness in it. The latter position is proved by a variety of questions on the cold of the polar regions; the heat of the torrid zone; the immense deserts, rugged mountains, stormy oceans, which occupy so large a portion of the earth; and the poisonous plants, the savage beasts, the wars, the massacres, and the endless variety of diseases, which bring so much calamity upon human life. We may here observe, that the author seems particularly anxious not to derive any support from holy writ; though in this assertion of his he is merely developing one of the first lessons that we receive from the Bible. tell us, that man was formed to subdue and people this earth; and that, failing in his duty to his maker, he became subject to labour, misery, pain, and death. We are the heirs of our first parent, subject to his destiny, passing through a world in which happiness cannot be found, and looking for it only in that state which receives us at the end of our labours. The ultimate object of man's pursuit is also described in scripture, but with greater emphasis than by our author, to be the improvement of our own character as individuals, and the endeavour to produce the same excellence in others. The wisdom of the serpent and the innocence of the dove, are qualities peculiarly marked out for true christian ambition.
As the improvement of our intellectual nature is made the great object of pursuit, it is necessary to establish in what it