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person in the village, at least one blest || depend on my own discretion. Good boy! with the most flattering prospects of being dear boy! sobbed the two parents in a so hereafter. The next year, as usual, old | breath, as each caught a hand and tenderly Cumberland was expected, but no old Cum- || drew him towards the sofa: Charles raised berland came. Mr. Bellengen repeated his his eyes, filled with tears, to heaven. Giver letters of anxious invitation, till at length of light! said he, solemnly, so thou desert they were returned to him unopened. Then, us not, we are content to bear thy chas. indeed, the whole force of his own impro- || tisement; confiding in thy bounty, we can priety occurred, accusingly, to poor Mr. never lack sufficient; with these words Bellengen's mind, and he condemned him- || he sunk alternately on the neck of his self as the perverter of a felicitous destiny, || father and the bosom of his mother; and almost as the annihilator of his son's future | the Bellengens felt, that the evening on happiness: in the midst of this distress ar- which they lost all hopes of old Cumberrived a scrawl from old Cumberland, ac- land's legacy, was not the most unhappy knowledging the receipt of his usual invita
one they had endured. tion to Bellengen Lodge, which he begged Shortly after this event, Mr. Bellengen to decline, as the air on his last visit had | sold off his estate, and having discharged nearly proved too keen for him; and he his debts, found but a bare sufficiency rewas now residing with some relations of | maining for the support of himself and his late wife, to whom he was become || wife, and that little a continued state of already much attached, as they were wor- ill health prevented him from increasing thy people, and very sparing.
by any bodily exertion ; Charles, however, Cold drops of perspiration chased each was too proud as well as too wise to remain other down Mr. Bellengen's brow, as he || long inactive, and consequently accepted a trembling perused this epistle. With a situation in a mercantile office of respectadegree of vehement despair portrayed on bility in town, from which he derived such the quivering paleness of his lip, and the an emolument as enabled him to add ma. flashing phrensy of his eye, he dashed the terially to the comforts of his declining papaper to the earth, and sunk almost imme-rents. Two years passed away in this mandiately upon the sofa. My God! exclaim- | ner, when an advantageous match for his ed Charles, as Mrs. Bellengen with a son was proposed to Mr. Bellengen. The scream of terror, rushed towards her hus- || happy father, exhilarated by the prospect, band, what is the meaning of all this? what flew eagerly to Charles, and at once comis there in that paper so terrible, to change municated the discovery which a friend had you my father from life to seeming death? made; but what was his chagrin when the and hastily obeying the silent injunction of youth declared, that if ever he married, it his parent, he cooly read the letter, aloud, should be to no other than Emily Singleton, from beginning to end. Mrs. Bellengen the curate's daughter of Arrandale; for, burst into tears and wrung her hands, said he, I am sworn by the most ardent while her husband, in a state of torpor, affection, never to become the husband of gazed vacantly upon her.
any woman but herself, and while she is For my part, said Charles, after a mo- content to remain single for my sake, till ment's hesitation, I see nothing here that more prosperous times shall make us hapmight not have been expected, from a man py, I cannot, will not, desert her. of Mr. Cumberland's eccentricity; we now But my son, this match-0 sir, name it know the worst : every thing now depends not; I feel there is but one being on earth upon ourselves, and the misfortune is, with whom I would unite myself,-one that conviction comes so late ; but yet not only whom I could virtuously, truly love, too late, added he, cheerfully raising his and your son will not become the villain to voice, and from this moment, shall I feel impose on another for the sake of a little myself of ten times more importance, gain, a form without a heart, a hand not since my future means are so likely to mine to barter. A few years of persevering industry will realize for me that degree of || suffered himself to murmur a complaint, independence at which•l aim, and till that and she looked upon it as the dreadful period arrive, I will not become the hus- || forerunner of the wreck of all her earthly band even of Emily Singleton. My first happiness. At length his weakness inthought has been for my parents, it is 30 creased so rapidly, that the physician still: I shall establish by economy your deemed nothing would stay its progress income in its present state, and then you but change of air, and reluctantly yielding must not refuse to let me seek happiness in to Emily's intreaties, he set off for Arranmy own way.
dale Parsonage, almost blighted in hope Mr. Bellengen, though disappointed, had and heart. Native air served, in a great no reproach to offer, no remonstrance to measure, to re-establish Bellengen's health, make : he admired his son for his virtue, and again the glow of youth presented itand ouly regretted that old Cumberland's self upon his features, and they were about money was not in better hands.
to return to the metropolis, when Emily, Just as Chai had actually, by indefa- who had proved an indefatigable nurse, was tigable zeal, attained the little purpose at herself suddenly seized with the same mawhich he had been aiming, and purchased lady, which threatened to terminate in the an annuity for the joint lives of his father most appalling manner. and mother, and had written a letter full of A summons from his employer had aljoy to the parsonage, Mr. Bellengen's in- ready reached Bellengen, but how could disposition began to assume a more serious | he return without Emily? how leave her aspect; and, perhaps, the victim of disap- | under such circumstances ? Her unceasing pointment, he died suddenly. His last attention to himself had been evidently the words related to old Cumberland's money; cause of her own indisposition, and in the and his last prayer was, that the old man recovery of his wife he now centered all might repent of his unnatural conduct to- hope. Day and night he watched by her wards poor Charles.
couch ; with his own hand administered At the termination of another year, restoratives to her parching lips; with his Emily Singleton, content to share humble own hand smoothed the pillow on which life with the man who adored her, con- she reclined, and fondly imagined that no sented to become the wife of Charles, and one could perform these offices of attention old Mrs. Bellengen, whose infirmities now 30 effectually as himself: Emily thought so came fast upon her, was to pass the remain- too, for what is sweeter than the watchful. der of her life with the young couple: she ness of affection ? and as Bellengen supdid so, for it was short; and she had the ported her languid head on his shoulder, happiness to leave behind her, to the enjoy- | she felt, that if not restored by his anxious ment of each other, two of the most affec- || assiduity, his tenderness soothed and as. tionate hearts that ever heaven united. suaged her sufferings.
Old Cumberland had reached the age of One afternoon, while the old curate was ninety-three, when his marriage to a wi- || reading a chapter from the Bible, to which dow lady, whose estate lay contiguous to Emily, as she lay on the sofa, hearkened his own, was announced in the papers. with profound attention, and Bellengen Charles read the account unmoved, secret- || silently gazing upon her altered looks, in ly applauding himself for the resolution the bitterness of love ardently pressed her he had long since taken. But, alas ! fate shrunk hand in his, the window being had not done with Charles, for he was thrown open in order to admit the refreshdoomed to taste the bitterness of its bit- || ing breeze, which found its way through terest dregs. Indisposition, arising from evertwining branches of white jessamine, too intense an application to his profession, a country fellow stood abruptly before them soon began to show itself in the hectic and presented two letters addressed to flush of his cheek. Emily perceived the Charles: the direction of one of thein was fatal symptom long before her husband in the hand-writing of his London employer; he hastily opened it, and the that Emily's voice called upon him from words “it was impossible for us to wait the grave. Suddenly he arose from his longer; necessity compelled us to accept seat in order to pursue the ideal object of another in your stead,” infused a sickness his distempered intellect, when finding into his heart, which, in spite of his forti- himself overpowered by a variety of contude, overpowered him, and he sunk pale tending emotions, he leaned against the and agitated on his chair, while the cause mantle-piece for support; a bunch of wi. of his distress fell from his hand at Emily's thered roses, which Einily's hand had feet. A loud shriek escaped the lips of the placed there in their beauty, fell as he unfortunate wife as she witnessed the emo- touched them, to the ground, and the letter tion of her husband : the full force of their which came with the unfortunate one froin misfortunes rushed instantly into her mind; London, but had been entirely forgotten, it was too much for her weak state, and suddenly presented itself, having been completely overpowered it. The sight of placed behind the flowers by the servant, Emily apparently in the agonies of death, who found it on the carpet the morning suddenly aroused Bellengen from his tor-after Emily's decease. por: he flew to the couch on which she lay For a moment Charles looked at the diextended, and calling franticly on her rection, which he could distinctly perceive name, besought her in the tenderest ac- by the moonlight : his truant thoughts recents to speak to him, as the venerable oldturned : and you, said he, perhaps, were curate, his eyes filling themselves with intended to awake new sorrows and to intears, sunk upon his knees and piteously fict new sufferings, for what but calamity invoked the God of Mercies to spare his could ever extend itself to me? but your children.
influence has lost its point: the miserable Alas! the parental appeal was too late, Charles Bellengen is beyond the reach of for the spirit of Emily had winged itself to future misery. With these words he meeternity ere it could ascend the footstool of chanically opened the paper to which they Omnipotence. The scene that followed were addressed, and an hysteric laugh beggars all description, imagination only passed across his features as he glanced over can portray it ; every feeling of the heart, the contents of the epistle. every throb which can convulse the breast “ Dear sir,-By thedeath of C. Cumberwas excited by woe and subdued by deso- land, Esq. I am authorised to inform you lation : the smiling cherub of joy which that you are entitled to all his estates ; had never courted the presence of Charles and further to £70,000 funded property; Bellengen, seemed now for ever to have you will therefore please, relinquished him to despair.
Charles could read no further : he felt Ahout a fortnight after the funeral of deeply that it was never too late to endure Emily, poor Charles was sitting in brood-keener misery : a cold dew trickled from ing melancholy on the same sofa, in the his brow : his knees smote each other: he same room in which she had expired: he perceived that he was dying, and exclaimed, was alone; the branches of a cypress tree Emily, how happy would this have made near the window, received the silvery ra- us, which it was the mistake of my parents diance of the full moon, which imparted to anticipate, and which, like a sword of to them the most fantastic forms; the punishment, comes even at last, to pierce breeze too as it played among them, seem- the heart of their sole existing offspring. ed like the moaning of some departed spirit, The curate, who had been absent only a that calls reproachfully on its former love. quarter of an hour, on his return found The nervous debility under which Charles Charles with the letter still in his hand, laboured, aided not a little to affect his sitting on Emily's chair, senseless-colddistempered fancy, and he almost imagined dead.
ON TIIE IMPORTANCE AND MANAGEMENT OF AN EPIC POEM.
It has hitherto been customary for all The epic poem on which I shall ground periodical writers to take some opportu- my present critique, has for its chief chanity, in the course of their labours, to racteristic, brevity and simplicity. The display their critical abilities, either by author,—whose name I lament that I am, making observations on some popular au- in some degree, prevented from consecratthor and work of known character, or by ing to immortal fame, by not knowing bringing forth the performances of hidden what it is,—the author has not branched merit, and throwing light on genius in his poem into excrescences of episode, or obscurity. To the critiques of Addison in prolixities of digression; it is neither vathe Spectator, Shakspeare, and more riegated with diversity of unmeaning simiparticularly Milton, are indebted for no litudes, nor glaring with the varnish of inconsiderable share of the reputation unnatural metaphor. The whole is plain which they now so universally enjoy; and and uniform ; so unadorned, indeed, that by his means were the ruder graces, and I should hardly be surprised if some momore simple beauties of the ballad of rose readers were to conjecture, that the Chevy Chace held up to public view, and poet had been thus simple rather from recommended to general admiration. necessity than choice; that he had been
I should probably be accused of swery- restrained, not so much by chastity of ing from the imitation of so great an ex- judgment, as sterility of imagination. ample, were not I to take occasion to shew Nay, some there may be, perhaps, who that I too am not entirely destitute of will dispute his claim to the title of an abilities of this kind; but that, by posses- Epic Poet; and will endeavour to degrade sing a decent share of critical discernment, him to the rank of a ballad-monger. But and critical jargon, I am capable of becom- | I, as his commentator, will contend for the ing a very tolerable commentator. For dignity of my author; and will plainly the truth of which, I shall rather prefer demonstrate his poem to be an epic poem, calling the attention of my readers to an agreeable to the examples of all poets, and object as yet untreated of by any of my the general consent of all critics. immediate predecessors, than venture to First, it is universally agreed that an epic make my observations
on any work
poem should have three component parts; which has passed the ordeal of frequent a beginning, a middle, and an eud ; secondexamination. And this I shall do for two ly, it is allowed, that it should have one reasons; partly, because where I do choose grand action, or main design, to the fora field, how fertile soever, of which many warding of which, all the parts of it should others had before me been reaping the directly or indirectly tend ; and that this fruits, mine would be at best but the design should be in some measure consogleanings of criticism; and, partly, from nant with, and conducive to, the purpose a more interested view, from a selfish de- of morality; and thirdly, it is indisputably sire of accumulated praise ; since, by settled, that it should have a hero. I trust making a work as yet almost wholly un- that in none of these points the poem be. known, the subject of my consideration, I fore us will be found deficient. There are shall acquire the reputation of taste, as other inferior properties, which I shall conwell as judgment,—of judiciousness in se- sider in due order. lection, as well as justness in observation ; Not to keep my readers longer in sus-of propriety in choosing the object, as pense, the subject of this poem is “ The well as skill in using the language of com- Reformation of the Knave of Hearts.” It mentary,
is not improbable, that some may object to
me that a "knave" is an unworthy hero ,, the former would certainly have equalled, for an epic poem ; that a hero ought to be the latter infinitely outshone the merits of all that is great and good. The objection || his countrymen. Our author was is frivolous. The greatest work of this doubtedly possessed of that power which kind that the world has ever produced, has they wanted ; and was cautious not to Satax himself, for its hero; and support- | indulge too far the sallies of a lively ima. ed as my author is by so great a precedent, || gination. Omitting, therefore, any mene I contend, that his hero is a very decent tion of sultry Sirius, sylvan shade, sequeshero ; and especially, as he has the advan- | tered glade, verdant hills, purling rills, tage of Milton's by a timely reformation, mossy mountains, gurgling fountains, &c. is evidently entitled to a competent share | hesimply tells us that it was “ All on a sumof celebrity.
mer's day.” This I look upon as a stroke I shall now proceed to the more imme- | of excellent management in the poet. diate examination of the poem in its dif- || Here every reader is at liberty to gratify ferent parts. The beginning, say the cri- his own taste; to design for himself just tics, ought to be plain and simple; neither what sort of “summer's day” he likes best; embellished with the flowers of poetry, nor
to choose his own scenery; dispose his turgid with pomposity of diction. In this | lights and shades as he pleases; to solace how exactly does our author conform to himself with a rivulet or a horse-pond,-a the established opinion! he begins thus :- shower, or a sun-beam,—a grove, or a kit
chen-garden, according to his fancy. How The Queen of Hearts She made some tarts
much more considerate this, than if the
poet had, from an affected accuracy of deCan any thing be more clear! more na- || scription, thrown us into an unmannerly tural ! more agreeable to the true spirit of perspiration by the heat of the atmosphere; simplicity! here are no tropes—no figura- | forced us into a landscape of his own plan tive expressions,-not even so much as an
ning, with perhaps a paltry zephyr or two, invocation to the muse. He does not de- || and a limited quantity of wood and water. tain his readers by any needless circumlo- | -All which Ovid would undoubtedly have cution ; by unnecessarily informing them done. But our poet, above such considerawhat he is going to sing; or still more un- || tions, leaves every reader to choose his own necessarily enumerating what he is not ingredients, and sweeten them to his own going to sing : but he at once introduces liking ; wisely foreseeing, no doubt, that us, and sets us on the most easy and fami- || the more palatable each had rendered liar footing imaginable, with her majesty | them to his own taste, the more he would of Hearts, and interests us deeply in her be affected at their approaching loss. domestic concerns. As thus :
All on a summer's day.
And thus closes the first part or begin-
ning, which is simple and unembellished; All on a summer's day.
opens the subject in a natural and easy Here, indeed, the prospect brightens, | manner; excites, but does not too far and we are led to expect some liveliness | gratify our curiosity: for a reader of acof imagery, some warmth of poetical co- curate observation may easily discover, louring ; but here is no such thing. There that the hero of the poem has not, as yet, is no task more difficult to a poet, than || made his appearance. that of rejection. Ovid among the ancients, Having thus gone through the first part, and Dryden among the moderns, were, or beginning of the poem, we may natuperhaps, the most remarkable for the want rally enough, proceed to the consideration of it. Ovid had more genius, but less of the second. judgment than Virgil ; Dryden more ima- The second part, or middle, is the progination, but less correctness than Pope: per place for bustle and business, for inci. had they not been deficient in these points, | dent and adventure :No. 154.-Vol. XXIV.