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The moon of the harvest grew bigh and bright,
H. W. L.
The midnight chime had tolled from Marco's towers,
O'er Adria's wave the trembling echo swept; The gondolieri paused upon their oars,
Mutt'ring their prayers as through the night it crept. Far on the wave the knell of time sped on,
Till the sound died upon its tranquil breast; The sea-boy startled as the peal rolled on;
Gazed at his star, and turned himself to rest. The throbbing heart, that late had said farewell,
Still lingering on the wave that bore it home,
'T was moonlight on Venetia's sea,
Smiled in the golden light;
As on that happy night.
While through the marble halls,
Upon the high arched walls.
In accents low began;
Seemed heaven's broad arch to span.
Then faintly ceasing—one by one,
Its wild, heart-soothing lay;
In one bold burst away.
The mazy dance went round;
That clustered on the ground.
Low fervent whisperings fell ;
Where holier beings dwell.
With love's own sparkling eyes;
Fair as their native skies.
With darkness, Silence spread abroad her wing ;
Came o'er the waters in that mighty ring.
Edinburgh Review for January, 1825. It seems to be conceded on all hands that Mr Campbell's last poem will not add to his reputation. But the poem and its author are treated with unusual gentleness and respect in the first article of the Edinburgh Review. The review briefly states the plan of the poet, and quotes the poem as an illustration. It is, on the whole, a very satisfactory apology for Mr Campbell's laziness in writing so little poetry, and that at such long intervals. The reviewers even thank the poet for condescending to write so well, or to write at all; because, forsooth, he is not the Laureate. We entertain a profound respect for Mr Campbell's poetical talents, and are great admirers of his poetry ; but we doubt if he ever published a poem to oblige the public. And if he has, we do
not think that circumstance ought to disarm the critic, and prevent the application of those wholesome rules of criticism, which are applied with such keen relish on other occasions. It is matter of very little consequence to the public, bow a work comes before them-whether the author is retained by the patronage of the crown or the publicwhether the work is paid for before it is written, or afterwards, or not paid for at all. If it is published, it becomes a part of the literature of the language, and as such is public property; and ought to be dealt with justly, but in the usual style of that review, without favour, hope, or fear.
The second article is a sketch of the “Manners and Morals of Absolute Princes," with particular reference, by way of example, to the court of Louis XIV.- the most polished court at the
most polished period of modern times—the Augustan age of France. The reviewers are at home here; for they have an opportunity, which they never fail to improve, to abuse legitimacy and every thing thereunto pertaining. They sketch the corruption and profligacy of the French court above alluded to, as far as it may be sketched, with their usual spirit and power. They then proceed to dr some general conclusions in regard to the manners and morals of the privileged classes of society. We suppose these general conclusions of the reviewers serve the double purpose of checking the profligacy and licentiousness of the higher orders, and of making the lower more contented with being the most refined, the most virtuous, and the most happy part of the community. After copious quotations from the book under review, and accompanying remarks of their own, the reviewers observe
“It is at least abundantly evident, that, in grossness of idea, in coarseness of expression, in a familiarity with thoughts which are impure, and a proneness to make those thoughts the subjects of conversation, in language alike degrading to the speaker and the bearer-the very highest class of all approaches most closely to the lowest of the vulgar.
“That what is properly termed refinement, the utmost delicacy of sentiment and feeling, may exist in very humble life, is a truth which every day's experience will tend more and more to inculcate. In proportion as even the lowest classes of society learn to withdraw their affections from the vulgar enjoyments of the senses and to fix them upon intellectual gratification, their thoughts will be more exalted, and their words and actions become more pure. Whoever has read one of the most delightful pieces of biography that exists, the early life of Marmontel, written by himself, must long ago have come to the important conclusion that a delicacy of mind, and an elegance of taste almost romantic, are perfectly compatible with a state of poverty hardly to be envied by the poorest of our peasantry; and there is not a cottage in the whole kingdom where equal refinement and equal happiness might not be naturalized, by banishing ardent spirits, infusing a taste for books and teaching children from their youth upwards to place half their enjoy ment on the prosperity and the affection of those around then. This is the point at which society may arrive, and to which it is tending-in spite of the interested efforts of its deceivers and oppressors : But we have digressed from our purpose, which was to show how much better the middle classes now are, even in their unimproved state, than the bighest of all, in the very delicacies which these have been wont to claim as peculiarly their own. We are not thoughtless enough, or
prejudiced enough, or ignorant enough, to institute any such comparison with the ranks immediately above them, and below the highest; because in these, until corruption has destroyed it, refinement must always be expected to prevail in its purest state. But these too would swiftly feel the debasing effects of exaltation, if the wholesome checks under which they lived were removed.”
The review of a work entitled “ Plans for the Government and Liberal Instruction of Boys in large numbers, drawn from experience,” was to us interesting. But the chief interest was derived from the extracts from the book ; and as we have the same book, and propose soon to do as the Edinburgh Review has done,-lay it before our readers,—we at present forbear further remarks upon it.
The fourth article details at some length, and remarks with some severity upon the policy pursued by the British government, or rather the agents of the British government, in regard to the different powers of Western Africa.
“ The many small conflicting powers between whom the Gold Coast was formerly divided, have, by recent events, been condensed into two great interests. One is that of the interior kingdom of Ashantee, whose armies, within the last fifteen years, have repeatedly overrun, and reduced to a tributary and dependent state, all the nations of the coast. The opposite interest is that of those nations now rallied under the leading standard of Fantee, and eagerly seeking the opportunity to shake off the yoke. Britain, in plunging into the vortex of African politics, has attached herself to this last confederacy, and is now following its fortunes.”
The reviewers then attempt to show that this policy is a mistaken one; that the Fantees and their native allies are the most barbarous, most cowardly, and least faithful of the tribes of Western Africa; and that the Ashantees are more powerful, more civilized, and offer far greater advantages to British commerce than those tribes to which they have allied their interests.
The State and Prospects of Ireland form the subject of the fifth article. The reviewers inquire into the causes of those violent political and religious contentions, which have so long disgraced and agitated the country; and into those of the extreme poverty and wretchedness of the people. Under the first of these heads they enumerate Catholic Disabililies-Government and Magistracy-anu Church Establishment and Tithes. It is contended, that full and entire emancipation emancipation in law and and in fact-is an essential preliminary measure, before attempting, by other means, to calm the fury and sooth the desperation of their crowded and starving population. It is shown that the magis. tracy, and the administration of the laws, are in a deplorably defective state ; that there are two kinds of justice, one for the rich and another for the poor, both equally ill administered; that the highest class, from the difficulty and danger of discharging the duties of the magistracy faithfully, decline it; and it falls into the hands of those who are poorly educated, and who prostitute it to the worst of purposes. But the church establishment is the greatest source of the discontent and disaf, fection, and of the poverty and misery of Ireland. Of the seven mil. lions of Irish population, six millions are Catholics; and, of the remain
ing million, not more than half are of the established church. Yet, small as this fraction is, the establishment for Ireland costs little less than that for the whole of England. This evil alone, if the spirit of the nation is not broken by long oppression, is sufficient to make them frantic, and prevent their being patted with affectionate condescension and soothed to quietness, till the cause of it is removed. Among the causes of the extreme wretchedness and squalid poverty of the Irisb peasantry, besides those above enumerated, is to be reckoned the great increase of population for the last century, compared with the capital of the country.
“ If the amount of capital be increased without a corresponding increase taking place in the population, a larger share of such capital will necessarily fall to each individual, or, which is the same thing, the rate of wages will be proportionally increased; and if, on the other hand, population is increased faster ihan capital, a less share will be apportioned to each individual, or the rate of wages will be proportionally reduced. The well-being and comfort of the labouring classes are, therefore, especially dependent on the proportion which their increase bears to the increase of the capital that is to support and employ them. If they increase faster than capital, their wages will be progressively reduced; and if they increase slower than capital, they will be progressively augmented. In fact, there are no means whatever by which the command of the labouring class over the necessaries and conveniences of life can be really augmented, other than by accelerating the increase of capital, or by reiarding the increase of population; and every scheme for improving the condition of the poor, not founded on this principle, or which has not for its object to increase the ratio of capital to population, must be wholly and completely ineffectual.
“The principle we have now stated, goes very far indeed to explain the cause of the misery of the Irish peasantry. It is certainly true that there has been a considerable increase in the capital of Ireland during the last hundred years; though no one in the least acquainted with the progress of the different parts of the empire, has ever presumed to say that this increase has been either a third or even a fourth, so great as the increase of capital in England and Scotland during the same period. But the increase of population in Ireland as compared with its increase in Britain, has been widely different from the increase in the capital of the two countries, or in their means of maintaining and supporting population. According to the tables given in the Parliamentary Reports, the population of Britain amounted, in 1720, to 6,955,000, and in 1821, it amounted to 14,391,000, having a little more than doubled in the course of the century. But from the same Reports it appears, that the population of Ireland, whose capital had increased in so very inferior a proportion to that of Britain, amounted to a very little more than two millions in 1731, and to very near seven millions in 1821; having nearly quadrupled in less time than the population of Britain took to double !"
And facts and data are brought forward to show, that Ireland, sunk as she is in beggary and destitution, is the most densely peopled country in the world. The reviewers investigate, at some length, the causes which have occasioned this extraordinary increase of population, compared with capital, and point out the means by which they may be