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For if, while poring deep, she chance to hear
The well known steady step, approaching near,
At once, alas! each tender thought is hushed,
Down goes the novel, and up flies the dust.
At midnight too, perhaps her thoughts engage
Too deeply in the fascinating page;
Dead to all else, she cannot stop to raise
Her hand, to snuff the candle's flickering blaze;
Nor even heeds the taper tilted down,

That melts, like her, in tears upon her gown.
But let us pause, these wonders to survey;
This mob that crowds our literary way;
And as they pass us, single from the tribe,
A few, with casual pencil to describe.

The novel, like the drama, ought to show,
Man as he is-with real scenes to glow;
Should hold a mirror up, reflecting fair
Events and things before it, as they are;
Thus every passion that can sway the heart,
By turns may be the subject of its art.

And now its page with softest thoughts may glow;
Now swell with rapture, and now sink in woe.
Ambition, hatred, jealousy, inspire,

At times a theme of gloom, at times of fire,
And round the whole, the light of love may shine,

To purify, enlighten, and refine.

But this, the taste of some, would never suit ;
Of love they tell, on all things else are mute;
Forever on their page, we meet a pair
Of lovers, beautiful of course, and fair;
Who seem, so aptly and exact they move,
Drilled to the manual exercise of love.
For through the whole, precise they travel o'er
The same routine that thousands have before.
They fall in love at sight, and then, behold,
The fair so timid, and the man so bold.
'Tis strange to see, what homage he prefers
To every thing which is, or has been, hers:
A glove she dropped by chance, or curl of hair,
Her own perhaps, or made for her to wear,
A withered flower that faded on her breast,
A pin-oh! happy pin! that closed her vest,
The book she read, the pen she used to write,
Are precious things in his adoring sight.
Then, when at last they tell their tender feelings,
Such trances, extasies, and lowly kneelings;

Such falling at her feet, and lying flat,

And kissing of her garment, and all that-
You'd think the object of such mighty fuss,
Could surely never be like one of us.

Thus for a while their path is strown with flowers 5
And hope and rapture wing the rapid hours;
Too soon, alas! events occur amiss,

To stay the flowing current of their bliss.
Friends frown refusal, or detraction rears
Her snaky crest, and scatters doubts and fears,
Whilst mutual hope, and trust, and passion fly,
Before the withering glance of jealousy.
Or even worse, for fortune may disdain
To shed the lustre of her golden reign;
And want of cash as sore an ill is found
On matrimonial, as commercial, ground.
But evils conjured up with ink and pen,
'Tis easy thus to conjure down again.
These novel heroes never fail to find,
Lands, villas, money, just to suit their mind,
All done as simply, as a nation fills
Its empty coffers with exchequer bills.

Next more unnatural, and full as dull,
The thousand pupils of the Radcliffe school;
Sprung from a vigorous root, the puny flock
Bears small resemblance to the parent stock.
They serve up cold the same remembered store
Of ghosts and goblins, we have had before.
Their crazy hero, mad for hairbrained deeds,
The reader through a maze of wonders leads.
Amid some castle's antiquated halls,

Where moans the tempest through its broken walls,
At midnight's silent hour, he creeps alone,
And gropes and tumbles 'mid the falling stone.
Then comes the worn out tale, of creaking doors,
Of sliding pannels, and of mouldering floors,
Of secret cup-boards, that but serve to hide
The bones that whiten where their owners died;
Of figures stalking in the midnight gloom,
Of startling groans that issue from the tomb;
Of fell banditti, who in caverns lurk,
Armed at all points, and whiskered like a Turk;
Confessors grim, and hooded monks who scowl
All evil passions, from beneath the cowl;
And every thing, in short, which serves to fright
Children, and boys, and servant maids, at night,

They bring together with their wondrous art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart.'
All are not such, for e'en on themes like these,
At times the loftiest powers of genius seize.
Those sights of horrour, and those sounds of fear,
That meet the eye, and fill the listening ear;
The voice, that from the monumental stone,
Shrieks to the night breeze, with no human tone;
The wind, that sweeps along the field of death,
And heavy wafts the sepulchre's dank breath;
The wandering forms that, of unearthly mould,
At the dead hour of night their converse hold-
As genius paints them, when it deigns to turn
On these dark themes, its thoughts and words that burn→→
Whose nerves so firm, whose fancy is so still,
That his fears stir not, and his bosom thrill?
Whose heart retains its sure and equal play,
As slowly sinks the midnight taper's ray?
But lo! prolifick Germany displays
Her poems, novels, romances, and plays;
And spreads translated myriads fast and far,
To wage with common sense inveterate war.
To teach the heathen, her apostles rise,
The mysteries of sentiment and sighs.
E'en Britons sometimes condescend to sink,
And dip their English pens in German ink;
And proudly, to the admiring world, disclose
Their volumes rich with Della-Cruscan prose.
Strange, in a soil that bears such generous fruit,
Enough the widest range of taste to suit

One should be found to nurse, with care and toil,
These sickly products of a foreign soil.
Strange, where the glories of an Edgeworth thrive,
That Goethe's wretched things could keep alive!
What, sully sterling sense, and manly thought,
With sighs and tears, from raving Werter caught?
And thus profane that land of purer taste,
By Richardson, Mackenzie, Goldsmith, graced ?
But from the sickening tale, where fiction throws
Unreal colouring o'er unreal woes,

Not taste alone, and feeling's healthful play,
And reason's manly vigour, waste away;
This were enough, if all, but 'tis not so ;
Worse ills from these polluted sources flow.
Their influence falls, to wither and destroy
The opening buds of virtue and of joy.

On weaker minds they act, which shrink and fail,
Before the slightest evils that assail;

And, to their frail and morbid senses, bring

Distaste to life, and every living thing.

The scenes, with which these noxious works are fraught,
So falsely coloured, and so highly wrought,
Prepare thein poorly for the toil and strife,
The real sufferings of real life.

Dreary and blank indeed, the world is found
To those who tread on sentimental ground;
In other spheres their wandering spirits range,
Till all things here are worthless, tame, and strange;
Wrapt up in visions of ideal bliss,

They live in other worlds, exist in this.

There are, who have with even fiction's pen,
Portrayed the darkest side of things and men;
Have taught their converts, more severe than wise,
That vain are all the pleasures that we prize;
That life is but the summer insect's play,
Who breathes, lives, flutters, dies, within a day;
Our happiness. a bubble, and so frail,
It bursts before the Zephyr's slightest gale;
The current's foam, fit emblem of our joys,
That the first ripple scatters and destroys;
That virtue is but seeming-hope and love
Glow dimly here, not kindled from above;
Whilst sin and want and misery alone

In this our sphere, have reared a lasting throne.
All this side death is dark, and on the grave,
Shines not one ray, to solace or to save.
But is it so is this indeed the tale,

That breathes, and speaks, in every passing gale?
In every living part of nature's plan,

From plants, and worms, and reptiles, up to man ?
Oh! no-truth-nature-reason give the lie,
In vivid characters, that never die.

What! can we think that all this goodly show
Was only made for creatures doomed to woe?
This breathing world, and all its sightly frame,
A prison-house of sorrow, guilt, and shame ?
We gaze, and are convinced; the world is rife
With living things, with rapture as with life.
Aspiring virtue here receives her birth,
And love and truth are sojourners on earth.

Whence then, the errour-whence the sad mistake, So false, so fatal, many daily make?

Vol. VI. No. 1.

15

It is that feeble souls, with powers too weak,
Too deeply in the source of things would seek?
Too curious nature's mysteries would scan,
And try the ways of Providence to man?
Yet there are some, whose eagle eye can gaze,
Undazzled, on the noontide's withering blaze;
Can boldly fathom, with unwearied sight,
The depths of heavenly and eternal light;
Soar with unfading hope, untiring wing,
Through nature's works, to nature's living spring.
But meaner spirits, who the adventure dare,
For them, no visions break in glory there
The rays of heaven descend upon their way,
But light, like darkness, leads their feet astray.
They falter from the path, they strove to share,
In blindness, shame, oblivion, and despair.

Alas! that on the page to fancy dear,
Aught can be found that virtue should not hear;
That vice and foul licentiousness should dare,
Profane, to lay their touch unhallowed there;
When to the glowing tale that fiction weaves,
Youth unpolluted listens, and believes.

It is to taint the spring from whence might flow,
Health and abundance to the vales below?
To scatter venom at the fountain head,

And poison thence the streams that widely spread
There have been those who thus have led astray,
The unsteady feet of youth through folly's way.
But better days have better things supplied;
And genius walks with virtue at her side,
Gaining new honours; for on every tongue,
The notes of praise to Edgeworth's name have hung.
The lisping infant, and the lettered sage,
Alike delighted turn her useful page.

We love to follow those who lead a while
Through paths, where truth meets fancy with a smile.
The idle works that just amuse a day,
Live their short moment, and are swept away,
This empty froth that floats on fashion's tide,
The good may censure, and the wise deride.
But heaviest vengeance blast that baser sort,
Which nurtures low desire, and vicious thought;
Or that, which nurses in the sickly breast,
A fatal worm that preys upon its rest;
That teaches man to sorrow and repine,
At human fortune, or the sway divine.

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