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With relation, indeed, to the ass, which was the|ditional anticipations of universal man. What original tenant of this sign, he is described by the mythologists as having prevented the violation of Vesta, or the earth, by his bray-another proof of the mystical importance attached to the image of Silenus. The winged ass Zif, which carried Mahomet to heaven, is, beyond a doubt, an oriental version of the fable of Pegasus; and while it shows the inveteracy with which old fables maintain their ground, corroborates still further my induction as to an ass having been the original occupant of the sign Cancer.
When, therefore, the Messiah, before entering Jerusalem, sent his disciples for "an ass, and the foal of an ass," on which he made that entry, he not only fulfilled the prophecy which St. Matthew refers to-" Behold thy king cometh unto thee, meek and sitting on an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass," but he sealed up the oldest of the oracles, and contemplated, in his own person, a most venerable and stupendous tradition, common at once to the pagan and the Jewish world. The miserable and would-be atheist Paine, who wrote against his Saviour and blasphemed his God, to save his throat from the axe of his quondam allies the Jacobins, is very jocose upon this incident, and considers himself extremely strong in urging the objectless and undignified nature of the miracle. This proceeded from his excessive ignorance and presumption; in fact, he knew nothing of the irrefragable fact that the pagan world, as well as the Jewish nation, expected a Messiah, and that Messiah characterised by certain signs. Of all the mass of proof here collected to show it, I firmly believe that he did not know a scintilla. The ignorant and presumptuous knave thought that he was fighting against the predictions of a small and obscure nation, whereas he was warring against the tra
he deems useless and undignified was, under this new feature of the subject, of gigantic import and overwhelming sublimity. The Messiah, in performing that apparently simple action of sending for the ass and the foal, did neither more nor less than this-he claimed the sovereignty of the world as King and Legislator. When he claimed the "ass, and a colt the foal of an ass," of their master, attesting the claim by a miraculous knowledge of their situation, he demanded them like a king requiring his homage fee, as Sovereign of the physical and moral world. By doing so he proclaimed himself to be the expected "Lawgiver," the "Shiloh," into whose hands all earthly sceptres should be transmitted, the "wish of all nations," and the "Shepherd-King," unto whom " the gathering of all people should be." He said to the great hierarchies of Persia, Syria, of India, of Egypt, and Chaldea, "Behold the sign that you require! Neither the lion Horus, nor Mithra with the lion's head, nor the lion of Babylon, nor the se venth Leonine Avatar, but the Lion of Judah,' the Alpha and Omega of the zodiac. Read who I am in the book of the heavens, acknowledge the real Star of your God,' the Star of Jacob,' and the Sceptre of Israel.' And behold all the traditional prophecies which the first inventors of astronomy inscribed among the stars, accomplished in my person
The magnificence of the issue corresponded with the magnitude of the object. The hosannas, the palm-branches, and the garments spread on the ground, constituted the form of triumph, among these nations, (particularly Egypt,) devoted to a victor-king returning to his capital.
Poems. By JOHN MOULTRIE.-Pickering, 1837.
IN a preceding number we intimated an intention of extending our examination of this volume. We now proceed to execute our purpose.
There are, perhaps, few influences more extensively diffused than those which genius exerts on congenial spirits, and at the same time there are no influences less defined or uniform in their operation. After rising from the attentive perusal of an author whose production has deeply interested us, if we ourselves attempt a composition in which it is in any way possible that analogous trains of thought may be excited, we are often unconsciously betrayed into that which others would not unjustly deem a plagiarism.
The recollection which we retain of the ideas and sentiments of our predecessor is, in the points of resemblance, too vague and indistinct to enable us, at first sight, to detect our own appropriation; yet the sand of our intellect has been channelled by the flow.
ing of waters from the neighbouring fountain, and although this channelling be so slight as to be scarcely perceptible to the eye of the observer, it has the power to give a direction to the waves that may follow. In the excitement of the moment we are not aware of our imitation; and if afterwards the unfortunate truth reveals itself, the mere fact of having once considered the borrowed plumage as our own, renders us exceedingly unwilling to relinquish our possession. This derivative of ours bears nearly the same relation to the primitive which originated it, as does the reflection in a rippling stream to the landscape beauties of the banks, while a translation or positive imitation is like the mirrored picture in an unruffled lake. Now, if there be in the course of our stream any nooks or sheltered angles where the waves are slumbering, and where a clear and plain transcript of the features of the shore and the circumambient clouds may be flashed upon the view of the wayfarer, we are at once convinced that the source whence our shadows are derived will necessarily be detected. Fearful of the
inevitable consequences of such a discovery, we make,
We were conscious of a recognition of this kind on our first perusal of "Sir Launfal," and this induced us in our former notice to state our opinion that it was in some part a borrowing from Byron. We then merely mentioned the style as the ground for our notion, we will now transcribe a few examples, which we think will bear us out.
"There is nothing in the world (that is in Trinity)
"The world imagines, (but the world's an ass.")
(I borrow that last line from the excursion,") &c.
Since, however, "we won't philosophise, but will be read," we will not bore our readers with any more of these fragmental extracts, though it would be easy to find many more apparently fitted to sustain our position. We take the first that present themselves, and we think that those who are familiar with the mannerisms of the "misanthropic peer," will detect, even in these, the shadow of his mode of borrowing from others, as well as a great likeness to his method of using parentheses. Were we to hear a speaker adopting the intonation and gesture of another, and moreover giving a similar turn to his sentences, we should consider ourselves justified in calling such an one an imitator, though he might be giving utterance to sentiments and ideas most entirely opposite to those of his model. It is in this manner that we accuse Mr. Moultrie of imitation, and the charge is assuredly not a very grave one, if it be the fact, as Sir Joshua Reynolds asserted, that no man produces more than two essentially original ideas in his life time.
There are many points of close resemblance in the description of the dwelling of the Fairy, and the introduction of Sir Launfal thither, and that of the residence of Gulbeyaz, and the presentation of Don Juan. We know that either poet might take his ideas from the descriptions of oriental travellers, and that
hence they may not be less original in the one than in
beginning "When Bishop Berkely said there was no matter," &c.
We now turn to the more agreeable task of pointing out some of the praiseworthy parts, and these, indeed, are not few, though we must content ourselves with a scanty selection. Our author tells us, in more than one place, that description is not his forte; yet we esteem the following extract as a proof of no mean descriptive power. His hero has been reduced from rank and wealth to poverty, and is now wandering in quest of solace from his care:
"Twas summer-the enchanted forest lay,
Rich with the teeming leafiness of June,
Save when, at times, a low and fitful tune
There were some children, playing in the shade,
Their gambols, and anon their eyes were bent
A handsome knight, upon a steed, sore spent With travel and starvation, took his way;
The knight was young, but pale, the steed-a bay.
His eyes were sunk and dim-his head was bare;
Which told that he had made fast friends with woe;
Softening his haggard eyes-his pace was slow;
The little children looked upon his face
With awe, and turned not to their sports again
Sank on their spirits with such tender pain:
'Twas poor Sir Launfal, who had lately bidden
He stood amidst a region fair and proud,
And sweetest scents and sounds were floating every where."
The introduction of ludicrous and quaint expressions, and sometimes even of vulgarisms, is conventionally tolerated in the style of poetry, of which Sir Launfal is an example; but though they are not to be regarded as incompatible with the general design of such nuga of song, they are evidently blots in poems of a graver character. They belong to the slang of a free-andeasy conversation style, not to serious efforts, and in the latter they are as much misplaced as a figure of Hogarth's comic sketches would be in a classic composition of Titian's. There are several slurs of this kind occuring in the sonnets of the present volume. "Nine years, nine mortal years, have swifty passed," is an expression we do not admire.
"Said I thou wast not beautiful? in sooth
If that I did, shame blister my false tongue," is equally ungraceful; and could, we imagine, scarcely win the thanks of the lady panegyrised. "Love's May-day" is sufficiently laughable. It is really enough to make an imaginative mouth water to hear the reference
"To the first tumultuous' kiss,
but the salivary pores are unhappily constringed by
Thou must work and I must write;
This might do very well for Mrs. M., or for a book
"I must not think to have my name enrolled
Should, when my bones were dust, have warmed the hearts
We are not sure whether Mr. Moultrie has not condemned himself rather too sweepingly; we share in his regret, for he would have been a valuable addition to the list of our sacred poets; judging from the talent displayed in the volume before us, and even now we do not despair of seeing a volume from the same pen that will deserve our warmest congratulations. We do not think "Time is past" with our author; and we therefore again would express a wish that he will not allow his power to slumber. We would remind him that the servant to whom ten talents where intrusted did not bury even one.