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Art. VII.

Poems by Robert Southey. First
American Edition. pp.
125. 12mo.
Boston. Printed for
Joseph Nan-
crede. 1799. Price 62 cents.

THE lovers of poetry, in Ame-
rica, still look for the grati-
fication of their taste to the pro-
ductions of the British bards.



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Those who have a relish for
the lighter effusions of the muse,
will feel themselves indebted to the
publisher of this American edition
of the Poems of Southey. They are
exhibited in a neat and becoming
dress.

Those who have perused ‘Joan
of Arc,’ must have remarked the
vigorous conception, the daring
though irregular flights, the animat-
ed expression, the glowing tints,
which characterise true genius, and
which certainly is possessed by the
author of these poems. Passages,
feeble, obscure, and unequal, which
betray carelessness and haste, indeed,
frequently occur in the writings of
Mr. S. and though we feel alternate
delight and disgust, rapture and in-
difference, animation and lassitude,
in their perusal, we cannot withhold
the tribute of applause due to him
as a poet.

The present volume contains the
smaller pieces and youthful effu-
sions of Mr. S. Their subjects and
merits are diversified.

The basis of the first poem, “The
Triumph of Woman,” is to be
found in the first book of Esdras.

The subject is suited to display
richer and more animated strains of
poetry than have flowed from the
pen of this author.

There is, however, much ele-
gance and beauty in the diction and
sentiment.

The “Sonnets on the Slave Trade,
breathe a spirit of ardent and ge-
nerous enthusiasm. We sympa-
thize in the feelings of Mr. S. and
deeply regret, that there should be
so much cause for virtuous indig-
nation.

A number of pieces are classed
by Mr. S. under the head of “Ly-
ric Poems,” and were written, it is
said, in early youth. These first
attempts are not happy, or promise
much success in Lyric Poetry. We
do not coincide in opinion with
Mr. S. “that the Ode is the most

worthless species of Poetry,” though
it may be the “most difficult.”

The strings of the lyre should be,
indeed, touched by the hand of a
master. Susceptible of great va-
riety in its numbers, it may be
made to reach to a sublimity and
daring enthusiasm, rarely to be at-
tained in any other form of poetic
composition.

The “Botany Bay Eclogues” are
attractive from their novelty. They
cannot be read without that melan-
choly pleasure, which the pen of
Mr. S. seems peculiarly adapted to
inspire. The first and fourth exhi-
bit, with exquisite touches of pa-
thos and sublimity, the misery of
two wretched out-casts from society.
The second and third have some
portion of humours dialogue, and
contain just sketches of character
and manners. Mr. S. appears to
regard war, as the fruitful parent of
corruption and crime, adding daily
to the number of those victims who
expiate their guilt in distant and
hopeless exile.

The “Inscriptions,” possess beau-
ty of sentiment, vivid description,
and pure morality. They are in the
manner of Akenside, but have less
elegance and classic purity of orna-
ment and expression.

The lines on the “Miniature
Picture
” of the author, “at two
years of age,” show his early and
strong propensity “to stray in the
“pleasant paths of Poesy.” It
breathes an air of pensive and pleas-
ing recollection.

The lovers of Ballad, and the ad-
mirers of “Alonzo and Imogen,”
will be gratified by Mary, “The
maid of the Inn.
” They who relish
the more simple and popular metre
of the ancient ballad, will be pleased
with “Rudiger.”

The “Hymn to the Penates,” re-
minds us of Akenside's “Hymn
to the Naiads.
” The latter is supe-
rior in imagery and numbers. The
former, by its allusions to incidents

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in the life of the author, and by its
pictures of domestic life, possesses
a strong influence on the feelings of
the reader.

W.