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"Such is the summary account of Leo X. by a friend to the house of Medici; but from whose immortal history it is easy to perceive, that in the various transactions in which he was concerned, the morality of a sovereign pontiff was subservient to his pleasures; and to aggrandize his family no resources were untried, and no means unexhausted. Courteous and magnificent to the great sovereigns of Europe, and faithless to those who were unable to oppose his machinations; and with all his claims to popularity and esteem, it would be difficult to find one act of state policy without its preponderance of vice, or one example of virtue without an alloy to vitiate our sense of its importance, in the dispensation of laws, or the government of mankind." P. 78.
What follows to P. 100, respecting the wars against Florence, and the destruction of its republic, may be thought in detail irrelevant, and that it would have been more consistent, in a life of Michel Angelo, to have merely noticed the part he took in these troublous times, with a general reference to them.
Having given the beginning and end of this memoir, with several incidents and specimens of the style in the course of it, we must content ourselves with recommending the remainder to the perusal of all persons who possess taste, or need instruction and amusement. In his prose, Mr. Duppa is clear and unaffect ed, but in the composition of verse, we must do him the justice to say, that he has "poco favorevole la poetica vena."-In the version of "Giunto è giá 'l corso della vita mia," we have the sense of the sonnet, but for the charms of verse, Eheu! Let others judge.
"Well-nigh the yoyage now is overpast,
And my frail bark, through troubled seas and rude,
Of every action, be it evil or good,
Must due account be rendered. Well I know
And now remorseless thoughts the past upbraid,
And fear of twofold death my soul alarms,
That which must come, and that beyond the grave;
Who from the Cross extends his arms to save,”
The 177 pages devoted to the Life, form but half the bulk of this volume. The remaining contents are; a fac-simile of Michel's hand writing, obtained by favour, from William Young Otley, Esq.; forty-six pages are very judiciously employed in an investigation of the arts from their revival by Cimabue and Giotto, who died 1300, and 1336; then follows a collection of letters written by Michel Angelo, and an appendix, containing a list of the outlines, with references. After the twenty-six outlines, we are presented with the Rime di Michel Angelo Buonarroti, which make together 138 pieces of poetry, principally sonnets.
The work, on the whole, though we do not much admire the arrangement, is no mean acquisition to the literary wealth of this country. We hope that Mr. Duppa will not stop here, but continue, with the spirit inspired by success, to persevere in the same line of elegant and useful study.
The Nonpareil; or, Harmless Feast of Wit. Being an Entertainment of Rational Mirth; well seasoned, but entirely divested of every hurtful Ingredient, consequently an agreeable Parlour Companion, and no unworthy Acquisition to the Library. 18mo. pp. 464. 5s. Vernor, Hood, and Co. 1806.
THE design of the present fasciculus facetiarum is laudable It is "to form a collection of the most excellent effusions of ex tempore wit, usually known under the denomination of jests and bon mots, to the complete exclusion of those of an immoral or irreligious tendency." Advert. If, during these gloomy times, a laugh can be obtained in this harmless way, he who excites it. deserves our thanks. The compiler of this little bundle of pleasantries has succeeded; and, not to monopolize the good humour which he has promoted in us, we shall extract several of the articles least known,
"A Courtier, playing at piquet, was much teazed by a looker-on, who was short-sighted, but had a very long nose, of course, put his face very close to his cards, when he made his observations. To get rid of so troublesome a guest, the courtier drew out his handkerchief, and applied it to the nose of his officious neighbour. Ah! Sir,' said
he, I beg your pardon, but I really took it for my own.'"
"A Frenchman, being in company at a tea-drinking party, did not observe that it was customary to put the spoon into the tea-cup when any body had drank enough; and the mistress of the house imagining he was fond of tea, by the omission, sent him cup after cup
till he had drank above a dozen dishes of tea, which he, with the paliteness so peculiar to his countrymen, could not refuse. At length, however, seeing the servant approach with more, he rose, and exclaimed, 'Helas! Madame, j'ai bu quatorze, et je n'en puis plus.'"
"The first step is the only difficulty,' is an old proverb. It was oddly applied by a lady. But hearing a canon in company declare, That Saint Piat, after his head was cut off, walked two entire leagues with it in his hand;' and added, with emphasis, Yes, two entire leagues." "I do not doubt it," she replied: " On such occasions, the first step is the only difficulty."
"A captain, remarkable for his uncommon height, being one day at the rooms at Bath, the late Princess Amelia was struck with his ap pearance; and being told, upon enquiry, his name and family, it was added, he had been originally intended for the church. Rather for the steeple,' replied the royal humourist."
"Dr. Roger Long, the famous astronomer, walking one dark evening with a gentleman in Cambridge, and the latter coming to a short post fixed in the pavement, which, in the earnestness of conversation, he took to be a boy standing in his way, said hastily, Get out of the way, boy.' That boy, Sir,' said the doctor, very calmly, is a POST
boy, who never turns out of his way for any body."
"A facetious canon of Windsor, taking his evening's walk, as usual, into the town, met one of his vicars at the castle gate, returning home rather elevated by a glass too much of his neighbour's port. So, Sir, from whence come you?' said the canon. Why,' said the vicar, I have indeed been SPINNING it out with my friend.' 'Aye,' returned the canon; and now you are REELING it home, I see.'"
"A nobleman, coming down in the summer to his country seat, was talking familiarly with his butler. 'And how have you been,' said he, ‘since we left you?' 'Why, my lord,' replied he, I have been pretty well lately; but, for near two months in the winter, I had a very dreadful ague at your lordship's service.'"
"An Irishman, having bought a sheep's head, had been to a friend for a direction to dress it. As he was returning, repeating the method, and holding his purchase under his arm, a dog snatched it, and ran away. Now, my dear joy,' said the Irishman, what a fool you make of yourself! What use will it be to you? You don't know how it is to be dressed."
It is said that our play writers are deeply read in that veneraF-VOL. I.*
ble author Josephus, alias Joe Miller, but we doubt it much—if they were, it seems to us, that they would be far more entertaining. We recommend the present work to them. If they cannot steal from it delicately, let them do it impudently; any thing's better than flatness! A hint or two for that standing dish, an Irishman, may be found in the following epistle.
"Copy of a Letter, written during the late Rebellion, by Sir * * an Irish Member of Parliament, to his friend in London.
"My Dear Sir,
"Having now a little peace and quietness, I sit down to inform of the dreadful bustle and confusion we are in, from these bloodthirsty rebels, most of whom are, however, thank God, killed and dispersed.
"We are in a pretty mess---can get nothing to eat, nor any wine to drink, except whisky; and when we sit down to dinner, we are obliged to keep both hands armed: whilst I write this letter, I hold a sword in one hand, and a pistol in the other. I concluded from the beginning that this would be the end of it; and I see I was right, for it is not half over yet. At present, there are such goings on, that every thing is at a stand.
"I should have answered your letter a fortnight ago, but I only received it this morning. Indeed, hardly a mail arrives safe, without being robbed. No longer ago than yesterday, the coach, with the mails from Dublin, was robbed near this town; the bags had been judiciously left behind, for fear of accidents, and, by good luck, there was nobody in the coach, but two outside passengers, who had nothing for the thieves to take.
Last Thursday notice was given that a gang of rebels were advancing hither, under the French standard, but they had no colours, nor any drums, except bagpipés. Immediately every man in the place, including women and boys, ran out to meet them. We soon found our force much too little, and they were far too near for us to think of retreating death was in every face; but to it we went, and by the time half our little party was killed, we began to be all alive. Fortunately the rebels had no guns, but pistols, cutlasses, and pikes; and as we had plenty of muskets and ammunition, we put them all to the sword; not a soul of them escaped, except some that were drowned in an adjoining bog; and, in a very short time, nothing was to be heard but silence. Their uniforms were all of different colours, but mostly green. After the action, we went to rummage a sort of camp they had left behind them; all we found was a few pikes without heads, a parcel of empty bottles full of water, and a bundle of blank French commissions, filled up with Fishmen's names.
"Troops are now stationed every where round the country, which exactly squares with my ideas.
"I have only leisure to add, that I am in great haste.'
P. S. "If you do not receive this in course, it must have miscarried; therefore, I beg you will immediately write to let me know."
The editor's research has been great, and his judgment and good sense in the selection, are very creditable to him. This is, perhaps, the only jest book without offence; at which all may laugh, and from which none can receive harm.
A Discourse occasioned by the Death of the Right Honourable C. J. Fox, delivered at the Unitarian Chapel in Essex Street, October 12th, 1806. By T. Belsham. 8vo. pp. 31. Johnson.
THIS is the production of the brother of Mr. Belsham the historian. The occasion of it is stated in the title, and the advertisement informs us that it is printed to gratify the wishes expressed by some who heard it; and to give an opportunity to others, who were necessarily absent at that season of the year, to read what, if circumstance had permitted, they would have wished to hear. The text is taken from the 2nd Samuel, xvi. 23. "And the counsel which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God." To this comparison, as applied to Ahithophel in the sacred writings, we can have no objection, but with all our respect for the vast talents of Mr. Fox, we do think, that to say his counsels were as the oracle of God, is little short of blasphemy. A panegyric on the liberal views and splendid genius of that great statesman then follows. It is perpetually laboured, but frequently just. On any spot not consecrated, we could generally approve of this effusion, but, from the pulpit, we wholly condemn every thing of the sort. There we would hear the praises of God, and not of man-there let the Creator be magnified, and not the creature.
Light Reading at Leisure Hours; or, an Attempt to unite the proper Objects of Gaiety and Taste, in exploring the various Sources of rational Pleasure, the fine Arts, Poetry, Sculpture, Painting, Music, Dancing, &c. 12mo. pp. 464. 6s. Rigdway.
WHAT many writers have evidently considered as light reading, we have often found very heavy writing, and by no means productive of the proposed effect. It has proved a sort of misno