Images de page

elevation of fermented liquors, and with opiates and other narcotics; but that such comparison is unlikely to lead us to truth, is most obvious, inasmuch as its effects are never attended with consequent debility or depression of nervous energy.

The effect of opium, indeed, when we are in health, is generally to produce sleep, if the mind be vacant, the stomach emp. ty, and external impressions excluded. In this case its effect is to increase the sensibility, to give gayety and liveliness to the imagination, and to diffuse a general glow over the surface and extremities. "The actual heat," says the late celebrated Dr. Currie, of Liverpool, ❝is scarcely, if at all, increased; because the surface and extremities are brought to a general temperature, 97° or 98°, and a general perspiration is diffused over the skin. In this state we sink into those happy slumbers which are ill exchanged for the realities of life,"

"Not to be thought on but with tides of joy!"

Whereas digitalis appears in its action to be just the reverse of the nitrous acid; as, of all the narcotics, it is that which diminishes most powerfully the action of the system, so doing, without occasioning previous excitement. Even in the most moderate dose, it diminishes the force and frequency of the pulse; and in a large dose, reduces it to a great extent, as from 70 to 40, or 35, in a minute; occasioning, at the same time, vertigo, indistinct vision, violent and durable sickness: in a still larger quantity, it induces convulsions, coldness of the body, and insensible symptoms, which have terminated fatally. Besides its narcotic effects, indeed, it acts peculiarly on the absorbent system.

"Est quoddam prodire tenus si non datur ultro.”




THE British lion has felt so long the stings of Caledonia's thistle, that he now begins to rouse himself and boldly assert his native claim to dignity and preeminence. It required no ordinary scourging and laceration to stir the old beast to exertion. Satisfied that when stimulated to activity, age had not impaired the vigour of his faculties, he availed himself of the rights and immunities of age, and slumbered soundly in his den, in despite of all the uproar and rebellion raging without. His majesty was nevertheless given to understand that matters had begun to wear a more formidable aspect; that unless some means were taken to vindicate his pretentions to royalty, all the beasts would renounce their allegiance and revert to a state of democracy. On the first reception of this intelligence, he stretched himself out lustily, for his majesty was always at heart a mortal foe to democrats, and now begins to display the magnitude of his talons and the dimension of his grinders in a most formidable manner. He roars so loudly and makes such awful preparations for battle, that his enemies already begin to cower their tails and manifest a wish to resume their protestations of fealty and allegiance. Like true politicians, men, who see deeply into causes and effects, we will not presume prediction on the issue of the campaign now opening, until the campaign itself is over. After this has been done, we may venture with perfect confidence to prophecy, since nothing is easier, than to predict when the result of our predictions has actually happened. Reserve, therefore, in the present instance becomes us; but let no unfavourable impression remain on the minds of our readers on that account; for the public shall shortly have the most decisive evidence of our sagacity and foresight when the time comes when it will be impossible for us to mistake. To drop all metaphor and trifling at once, and to explain in one sentence what it has cost us so many words, and to so little purpose to illustrate, the sarcasms of the Edinburgh Review have stimulated English genius to exertion. This is certainly a magnani

mous spectacle, and, perhaps, impresses us with noble ideas of what a bold and unconquerable spirit even in the gloomiest hour of adversity, is capable of achieving. At a time, beyond expression more awful than any which history records when the mighty continent of Europe, whose destinies an infernal demon manages, assails her in every vulnerable part, with nerves straining to bear the ponderous pressure of taxation, demanded by the urgency of the times, the heart of England is still whole, and her fortitude remains undismayed. She still casts an eye of favourable regard upon the arts, and her treasures are still open to remunerate the adventurous spirit of her children. We should expect that nothing was now to be heard or seen but preparations for battle, that the clang of arms and the thunder of artillery, would fill that little island with alarm; but, to our astonishment, at every hour, we hear the lyres of the Muses. These sounds at such an hour are doubly delightful and endearing. They prove, if any evidence is wanting, those inexhaustible resources of mind, that no concurrence of adverse fortune can impair. It has been supposed that arms were hostile to the arts, that the Muses could only attune their lyres beneath the shade of the olive, but experience has proved the fallacy of this principle, since they now abide in tents, and their echoes are heard in the camp. It may even be questioned whether such a pressure of adverse incident does not serve in the end to invigorate the masculine genius of England, and not only to tempt the warrior but the poet also to a flight more daring and adventu"Difficulty sharpens our skill and braces our nerves for the combat;" the features of his face, at first harsh and terrific, become familiar by habit, and excite all our energies to action. We become acquainted with powers that had before lain dormant and inactive, enveloped in darkness, and we find then such treasures as the hand of adversity only could bring into light and exercise. We can but indulge the hope and belief, that a nation so constituted, thus disciplined to adversity and environed by danger, thus serene and heroic, is destined by Divine Providence to become a splendid example to future ages of the dignity that attends a conflict with impiety and crime, when every thing but heaven seems to frown upon the struggle. No


[blocks in formation]

opinion has been regarded more orthodoxical than this, that the arts and sciences flourish in the greatest perfection in the land where liberty resides. Whatever is prone to flatter our vanity is always sure of a hospitable reception. Probably it may be a justifiable artifice to deck, what we may venture to call the tutelary goddess of our country, in whatever alluring traits it is in the power not of fact only, but of fancy to bestow. This arrays on the side of liberty the powerful auxiliaries; but we question whether they were ever exclusively enlisted in her service. The arts, like Swiss, are mere mercenaries, and fight wherever they receive pay under whatever masters. Tyrants who wish. to emblazon their memories beyond their crimes-to soften the fierce and sanguinary beams of their ambition, interpose the delicate medium of the arts. The rays are then softened to our liking, and we view the object of our former dread as a mild and cheerful luminary, dispensing a salubrious and invigorating light. Virgil while fed at the table of Augustus, beheld no longer the countenance of the cold blooded and cowardly assassin-the man whose smiles were murder and whose hospitality was death; but the benificent and protecting deity of Rome, Liberty, was bleeding in all her arteries; but the Muse of Virgil denominated the victim Faction, and insulted her dying agonies. Horace while he participated in the smiles of the tyrant, and was allowed to enjoy his Bacchanalian revels, turned a deaf ear to the voice of his country, and could say without a blush on his cheek, "non bene relicta parmula," at the battle of Pharsalia. And yet, if Virgil was not a resolute panegyrist, we might inquire, with what propriety, in his visions of Elysium, Cæsar and Fabius, Augustus and Cincinnatus were joined together, with encomiums on the characters of each? What Scipio, what Fabius, what Cincinnatus, laboured to establish, both Cæsar and Augustus laboured to overthrow, and yet all of them received the homage of Virgil's muse. In truth, the bard found himself in an aukward predicament; he dared not pass over the names of Scipio and Fabius and Cincinnatus without respectful notice, because their characters had been consecrated already, and could receive from his muse no additional lustre. So on the other hand, Cæsar and Augustus must have received the adora

tion of his fancy, because his subsistence depended on the deed. He therefore divided his conscience, and gave one half to servile flattery, and reserved the other half for justice.

Without further preface, we will now proceed to submit to the reader's attention some remarks on a volume entitled Rhymes on Art, or the Remonstrance of a Painter, in two parts, with notes, and a preface, including strictures on the state of the arts, criticism, patronage and public taste, by Martin Archer Shee, Esq.

We have attempted to form some conception of the reader's surprize from the humble and unostentatious nature of the title. Imagining that there was no enjoyment in reserve, he would cast an eye of indolent curiosity over the page until he was lost in a labyrinth of poetic beauty. The author is not only a poet but a painter, and we think we can discover in this artifice, a specimen of his ability in the graphic art. It is certainly the law of contrast. The author, conscious of his own powers, apparently labours to shrink them up into a dimunitive compass, until he suddenly extends them over the whole region of Parnassus. We will not venture to say that he has committed practical plagiarism on Milton's devils; but his artifices reminded us of a similar one, which if the blind bard may be credited, his infernal spirits adopted.

"Behold a wonder! they but now who seem'd

In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons

Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng'd numberless."

This poem is divided into two parts. The first commences with a most beautiful and animated invective on the opinion sometimes entertained, that the soil and climate of England are unpropitious to the growth of literature and the arts. question whether it is in the power of genius to produce any thing superior to this-the author does not say that England has given birth to Milton-to Shakspeare-to Dryden-to Pope-10 Newton and to Locke, and, of course is not averse to the sciences and the arts; but in an exquisitely beautiful apostrophe to those immortal men, he denominates such a declaration an insult. This, while it seems to be merely an explosion of honest and

« PrécédentContinuer »