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fertation on the Passages in St. Peter and St. Jude concerning the Angel that linned * "

Of Milton's lefser pieces, those which have most de. servedly attracted attention, are the Mafque of Comus, and the Aliegro and Penserosy. The first of these is cere tainly deficient as a drama; but it abounds in beautiful sentiment, in luxuriant description, and the true fpirit of poetry. The two latter are unquestionably the most perfect specimens of lyric poetry in the English language.

Whatever commendation is due to Waller, is the very opposite to that of Milton. He is neither entitled to the praise of sublime invention, nor of exuberant fancy; but he is to be admired for the purity of his taste, and the harmony of his verlification. His subjects are generally trifling; but he has the happy art of rendering even trifles interesting. His poetry was popular, because his thoughts are familiar, and seldom beyond the range of common life. It is a kind of colloquial poetry, in which that in, genuity which is most pleasing in conversation is predo, minant.

It is related by Dr, Johnson, that Cowley's passion for poetry was originally excited by Spencer's Fairy Queen, which lay in the window of his mother's apartments, “Such are the accidents,” adds our biographer, “ which, sometimes remembered, sometimes forgotten, produce that particular designation of mind, and propensity to fome certain science or employment, which is commonly called genius.” The proposition, however, is extremely ill supported by the instance; for certainly no man ever was more mistaken in the natural bent of his genius than Cowley. He was a man of science and a man of letters; he was even a man of wit, but he was not a poet. There is no sublimity in his conception, nor beauty in his expression ; the glow of fancy, the expanse of thought, the fervour of enthusiasm, are poorly compen, * Printed, we believe, for Johnson, in St. Paul's Church-yard.

sated

fated for by antithesis and conceit; and his verses are is destitute of harmony as of spirit. His Pindarics are with out elevation, and his amatory poems without passion. From this general censure we may except a few imitations of Anacreon, which are executed with spirit; but to translate is not to invent; and in this kind of composition there is more exercise for wit than for imagination ; and pointed exprellion only is wanted, and not sublimity.

Sir John Denham was nightly noticed in our last volume; he was a poet during the life of his royal master Charles I. whom he faithfully served, and with whose family, at the expence of his fortune, he went into exile. " At the 'restoration, he obtained,” says Dr. Johnson, “ what many inified, the reward of his loyalty." Yet it is probable that he was more indebted for his promotion to his companionable qualities, and his agreeable manners, than for his attachment to monarchy. Denham is characterised by the great- critic, whom we have just quoted, as “the author of a new species of composition, which may be termed local poetry;" and it must be confessed, that Cooper's Hill, though the first attempt of the kind, still maintains its rank among many excellent pieces of the same description ; and the best proof of our author's taste is, that he may be considered as one of the first who refined and improved the poetry of Great Britain. His language is not obsolete, nor his versification unharmonious even to modern ears.

To this lift of poets we might add the incomparable Butler, the glory and disgrace of his time, –a man whose genius is not less astonishing than the neglect which he experienced from a felfish tyrant and a profligate court. As his great work did not, however, appear till a fucceeding period, we Thall not at present enter into any further consideration of his genius and character *.

* Macaulay's History of England, - Hume's History, - Biographia Britannica, – Anthony Wood, — Biographical Dictionary - Johnton's Lives of the Poets, Clarendon,- Burnet, -- Milton, &c.

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BRITISH AND FOREIGN

H I S T o R

RY

For the Year 1796.

CHAPTER I.

Great Britain. Short Retrospell of political Tranfaétions

from the commencement of the War. Humiliating Proposals of the French Republic to appease the Refentment of the British Cabinet. Offer on the Part of the Republic to Telinquish her Colonies to Great Britain, as the Price of Neutrality. State of Affairs at the Conclufion of 1795: Meetings of the Corresponding Society. Outrages offered to the King in his Way to and from the Honfe of Lords. Examination of Wirnesses at the Bar of the House. Proclamation for apprehending the Offenders. Proclamation again,t Seditious Meetings. Lord Grenville's Motion in the Lords for a Bill for the Preservation of his Majesiy's Person and Government. Debate on that Motion. .' Bill read a Second Time. Mr. Pitt's Motion in the House of Commons for a Bill to prevent Seditious Meetings and Ademblies. Warm Debate on that Bill. Mr. Fox's Motion for a Call of the House. Mr. Dundas's Declaration that the two Bills had been in Contemplation before the Outrage against the King. Debates in the Lords on the Commitment of Lord Grenville's Bill. Amendments proposed by the Duke of Leeds and Earl of Lauderdale. Lord Grenville's Bill palled in the House of Lords. Public Meetings in Opposition to the two Bills. Lori Grenville's Bill read a firf Time in the House of Commons. Mr. Sheridan's Motion for an Inquiry concerning Seditious Meetings. Further Debates in the Commons on Lord Grenville's Bill. Debates on Mr. Pitt's Bill-in the Houfe of Commons in the House of Lords, Reteftions on these Bills. Never yet acted upon by Ministry.

maintain an even temper a duty which the passions and infir

and an unperverted mind a- mities of our nature render difficult midst the agitations of faction; to of accomplishment; a duty against mark with keenness, and record which prejudice too commonly with precision, the errors of all revolts, and which interest someparties, without imbibing the spi. times will even prompt men to be. rit or violence of any; luch is the tray.. The difficulties which the duty, and ought to be the character, annalist of his own times has to enof those who undertake to digest a counter, do not all, however, orinarrative of recent events. But it is ginate with himself, nor are they

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