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is drifted like chaff and stubble before the mountain breeze. Would that the ploughshare of his Christian rhetoric could pass through the whole territory of this comfortless region, obliterating every trace of those enchanted castles which have neither their foundation in Christ, nor in any ground of human exigence, nor in reason, nor in feeling, nor in experience. To Dr. Chalmers, finally, we owe the discomfiture of that ethical religion which has no thought in captivity to Christ, or in dependence upon the Bible -which, without any regard to that internal holiness, of which Christ is the standard, is satisfied with the didactics of human prudence, and the egotisms of its own convenient morality; right above the rule of Scripture, secure without its aid, and privileged above its injunctions. To all these various religious errors, originating in an utter ignorance of our creed, of our worse than negative state without the gospel, of our alienation, our expulsion, our perdition, from which there is no way of return or escape but one, and that one vouchsafed only upon terms of total dependence upon it, however necessary it be that this dependence should be active and fruitful: to all this self-worship, this God-less divinity, this moral mysticism, Dr. Chalmers has spoken by that "counsel which standeth for ever," and in the language of that faith which "should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God."
With these feelings of gratitude as men, towards this able advocate for the cause of the human soul, we take the mere critic's task with great reluctance. Happily there is little call for the exercise of it. Some few observations, however, we feel ourselves compelled to make. Perhaps, as a general remark, we shall not be far from the truth, if we say that the whole composition is too rhetorical. It is covered over with one crimson flush. A few intermissions of vivacity would have improved, upon the whole, the tone of the colouring; but the mind of the writer, full of sap and living juices, under the glowing influence of the radiant heaven he has described, has kept nothing back, but has burst at once into total efflorescence. We have only the fourth edition on our table, but we are informed that the subsequent editions exhibit no corrections in the style. We will, however, venture to recommend a little of the pruning knife, which we are sure will improve the general vigour of a too luxuriant growth. We could mention certain passages as more especially open to this censure, which, indeed, is scarcely more than moderated praise; but we persuade ourselves, that if Dr. Chalmers should happen to have his eye directed to these pages, he will not let our suggestions be lost, if, by a wise application of them, they can be rendered useful.
To some of his phrases and combinations we have objections,
on the score of grammar and of taste; as, for example, "undone eternity," Pref.: "fractionary rank," p. 46: " To kindle in resentment along with him," p. 57: "Threw a lustre around the radiance," p. 71: "To blink a single question," p. 124: " Ply their prudential expedients," ibid.: "To mince his ambiguous scepticism," ibid.: "All should be above boards," p. 125: "Whether she grapple it with the pride of philosophy," ibid.: "To stand in fronted opposition," ibid.: "surveying glance," p. 127: "How becoming well," p. 128: "To keep him humble of his understanding," p. 129: "Have sent him scarce another message than told," p. 131: " He cannot fetch up himself from," ibid.: Verges the field of," p. 133: "subordinated," p. 137: "The alone theatre," p. 140: "withdrawment," p. 156: alone idol," p. 191: "The attributes of the Divinity stood staked," p. 204: "Panorama of its fleeting pleasures," p. 213: "The drama of this world's history," p. 214: "This severe touchstone would, like the head of Medusa," p. 223: "To frown unmannerly," p. 226: "When he thinks him of the majesty of God," p. 232: "The sublime of Deity," p. 233: "The every" is also a favourite phrase; the exclamations of O and Aye are much too apt to recur; and the word "field," is almost in every page. The anaphora, or the beginning of a long series of sentences with the same words is injudiciously frequent. Nothing is more apt to tire than the too prodigal use of this figure. Among very many instances the reader will find, in pages 79, 85, and 88, those which will soonest convince him of the propriety of this objection. Here and there a passage is refined almost into prettiness and effeminacy; as that wherein the words "delicate test," is applied to the Divine attributes; again, in pages 178 and 182, and we think, too, in some others. The ends of perspicuity would be answered by occasionally breaking the sentences; and here and there to thin a paragraph of its epithets would be to remove an incumbrance, and to improve the harmony of the period.
Having said thus much, we have said nearly all which we think can be thrown into the scale against the eulogy which we have felt to be deserved from us by this amiable and able performance. We will only add, in conclusion, that the discourse in which the character and merits of Sir Isaac Newton is the principal subject, does not seem essentially to forward, or, indeed, to have much connection with the argument, and we cannot help supposing that this part of the present volume was composed before the other sermons were written or thought of. We feel it impossible to dismiss the work we have been thus endeavouring to follow, and to develope to our readers, without declaring that it has the suffrage of our hearts as well as of our understandings; and
when we class it among the finest productions of modern genius, we shall do it but feeble justice, unless, at the same time, we observe that it has an eminent worth and dignity, to which modern genius seldom rises or aspires.
ART. II.—Lalla Rookh: an Oriental Romance. By Thomas
Visions by day, and feasts by night."
Where the very wind is full of wantonness, and the aspen-trees tremble all over with love; where the spirit of fragrance holds his revels among the night-flowers; where the shores answer in
song to the kiss of each wave; and harams, like living parterres, lie basking in blushes and odours.
We have read a good deal, heard a good deal, and seen a good deal of this world, and having withal, as Critics should have, a sober sort of temperament, we cannot help looking with profane scepticism upon this voluptuous detail, and sincerely doubting, whether, as life is constituted, we need not say how right the appointment is, we best consult even the interests of sense and appetite by a total dedication of mind and body to the means of augmenting their gratifications. Mr. Moore, however, appears to think that the art of love is in its infancy, and that many improvements and discoveries remain to be made. Those whose time of life has put them out of the reach of this sort of instruction, may yet live to see his lessons prosper in the rising generation, and the British youth, by constant study in this new Oriental school, acquire as much enervation of mind and fibre as can be maintained with so little direct assistance from the sun. What cannot be effected by direct excitement in a climate so physically unfavourable, may be in some measure supplied by sympathy; and if we can forget the faces and forms of those who migrate hither from various parts of southern Asia, and the impressions made on our minds by the close alliance of dirt and debauchery through all the squalid population of the Mahometan world, we may be made, in a poetical journey with Lord Byron or Mr. Moore, to feel, or to fancy we feel, all that suns and flowers, and singing and sighing, dark eyes with their "holy revealings," and fair forms, with their scanty concealings, are fitted to produce.
We had been taught to expect, by common rumour, an epic poem from the hands of Mr. Moore, and having erroneously imagined he must by this time have been left without any thing more to say about eyes and lips and cheeks, and the sensual apparatus of stimulated desire, the mere dearth of topics on this beaten ground might constrain him to try his pen on some subject of a manly and moral tendency. But it has somehow hap pened that of late years the circumstances of the times have brought us into such familiarity with the Eastern continent, as to generate a sort of travelled taste for its habits and indulgences. From this new commerce of mind passion has received vast accessions of stimulating ideas, and fancy has lent its faith to all the exaggerations of hyperbole in the description of Oriental voluptuousness. The great mistake of which these poets take advantage is this: where so much is made of corporeal delights, and the various gratifications of sense; where we hear of nothing but of groves and baths and fountains, and fruits and flowers, and sexual blandishments, we are too apt to figure to ourselves a
paradise of sweets; whereas the real truth is, that wherever these objects constitute the only or principal bliss or ambition or business of a people, there dirt and every disgusting impurity is sure to prevail, and there man tramples upon man in a series of cruel oppression down to the drooping wretchedness of the squalid populace, who have neither the reason nor rights of men. These miserable Turks and Greeks and Persians and Albanians make a figure only in the sickly pages of our epicurean poets; there is scarcely an individual among them whom an English gentleman of cleanly habits could endure by his side; and yet, because they live in the free indulgence of animal pleasures, devoting life and human faculties to luxuries enjoyed in common with the brutes, it is to these specimens of humanity that of late years the thoughts of our countrymen are turned by our poets of nature, as involving all that is lovely and caressing in woman, and all that is great and deserving in man.
Mr. Moore's excuse may be the following, and if our readers are not satisfied with it, we can only say it is the best we can make for him. The laziness, luxury, lust, and cruelty, which have overspread the Mahometan world have been found so captivating in Lord Byron's poetry; so many ideas transplanted from the harams of the East have of late begun to grow and ripen in the bosoms of our youths and maidens, so luxuriantly have these exotics expanded, and so vivid are their colours even in this northern climate, that the indigenous products of a mere English fancy have in a great measure lost their odour and their flavour. Even Mr. Moore's poetry may have begun to suffer by this comparison; women cannot, as women are characterized in this and other Christian countries, be held forth, even by the licence of poetry, as mere instruments of pleasure; they are pretty generally with us supposed to have souls, which occasions their persons to be treated with some little ceremony. Where the scene, therefore, is laid in England, the full riot of licentious ideas, even in song, would be unsuitable at least, if not insupportable; but let the reader be transported to the haram, the kiosk, or the pavilion of the Sultan, or the Pashaw, and behold him in a situation which disposes him well to receive impressions of another order respecting the destination and dignity of women; behold him under the spell of a transforming fascination which binds him in slavery to the genius of the place; behold him in a frame of mind to listen to and imbibe whatever the poet may sing, or the lying traveller may say, in behalf of a gilded corruption and voluptuous abandonment.
The British Muse, in her migration to the scenes of Oriental luxury, has naturally enough, therefore, carried our poet in her train: proceeding onward with an intensity which appears to be