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And the soft west winds shall come,
A PLEA FOR FEMALE GENIUS.
Vivuntque commissi calores. There are few periodical writers, difference,“ sets aside Sappho and a to whom the public is more indebted, few other female lyric poets." He both for materials of thought and for knows very well that it is lyric helps in the correction of false think- poetry which is chiefly conversant ing, than to the late Opium-eater: with the “ ideal;" with those “high but, in his argument against a dis- abstractions” which he assumes to tinctive superiority of fancy in wo- be unattainable by women; and he men, he puts us off with what the therefore “ sets aside the female lyschools describe as à dicto secundùm ric poets.” « We have not,” forquid ad dictum simpliciter. Thus, sooth,“ sufficient samples of their á because men have written poems poetry." But we have one very superior in imaginative power to stubborn sample, which Longinus those written by women, therefore quotes expressly as embodying the women possess no imagination at TRUE SUBLIME ; and its author is a all.”
woman: and, more than this, Catul. « Men,” he says,
are shy of lus and Horace, though they tried pressing too hard upon women. I hard, could never create any thing, do not think that he can, himself, be which approached at all near it in accused of this shyness; nor do I simplicity, intensity, and spontaneagree with him. So far from a feel- ous power. After this, it requires ing of gallantry restraining men from something like what is called a “moindulging a severity of comment on dest assurance” (Calve, tuâ veniâ) to the productions of female authors, come forward and accost the ladies the absurdity of female literary pre- with the courtly appellation of tension is, with them, a proverbial “good women," and to tell them topic:
that it is “ sufficient honour for I leave you to your daily tea is ready,' them to have produced us.” Snug coterie and literary lady:
As the challenger does not desuch is the slang of male candour and mand a hundred or a score of sammale politeness.
ples in proof of women possessing The author of the paper on “False imagination, but will be content with Distinctions” has chosen his own one,-one, himself being the judge, is ground, and himself fixed the stan- as good as a score or a hundred. If dard by which women shall be tried: we have but one or two remnants of but there is a stumbling-block in his Sappho, we have, at least, the testiway, and he knows it; for, like an mony of ancient opinion to the merit experienced controvertist, well aware of her nine books of odes; and if that of the weak and strong points of his opinion be confessedly just, as reown and his opponent's argument, spects a part, we are bound to adhe, quietly and with a composed in- mit its justness as respects the whole. JULY, 1824.
I am content with the one sample of of false distinctions: I cannot tell ; Longinus. Had only the Il Pense- and what then? roso survived Milton, would poste- I will choose my own ground, and rity have squeamishly boggled in al- contend, that, because women do not lowing Milton's claim to be consider- run in parallels with men, their died as a poet? There is but one crie vergent likeness does not argue an tic, of whom I ever heard, that esti- absolute and hopeless inferiority. mated poetical merit by bulk; and If any mode of writing can be said that was the Dutch gentleman in to “ have exerted a memorable inPeter Pindar ; who recommended his fluence on the mind of man,” it is brother's poem by saying, that it was
that of the novel; the epopæa of “ so big as von cheese."
every-day nature ; and this, in the I will say nothing of the tribute of hands of women, has been equally tradition to Erinna; to Corinna, who, successful in drawing tears and it is said, won a prize from Pindar ; smiles: “ sive risus essent movendi, or to the Roman Sulpicia: I will sive lacrymæ.” Truer portraits of “ talk with him on the theme” of men and women, more affecting pasSappho. I will not consent that she sages of human life, more closely enshall be thrown into a corner. I am twined interest, may be found in asked (and the question is to make novels, and in female novels too, mne start bolt upright in my easy than in all the “ solemnly planned chair), “what work of imagination, poems that ever existed from the owing its birth to a woman, can Í Æneid downwards to the Parish Relay my hand upon, which has exert- gister. ed any memorable influence, such as “ What work of imagination, owhistory would notice, on the mind of ing its birth to a woman, can I lay man? I answer, Sappho's one my hand upon?” The difficulty is Εις εταιραν.
in the choice. Pass we by the ladies of antiquity. Shall I name CORINNE? No-let
I am not going to place the Colom- our own fair country women take prebiade of Marlame du Boccage by the cedence. I lay my hand upon the side of the Paradise Lost, though I “SIMPLE Story.". should think twice before I gave the I may be told of Tom Jones, and Henriade the preference to it; but I Molly Seagrim ; of Roderick Random might inquire why, when we hear and Strap; of Lovelace's lace ruffles, continually of Congreve, Wycherley, and Clarissu's hoop-petticoat ; or I and Farquhar, no mention is ever may be told of Meg Merrilies, and of made of Mrs. Centlivre ; whose co- her hundredth double, the Spae-wife : medies, unrivalled for light bustle
All this of intrigue, keep possession of the Nor moves my gall nor alters my affection : stage, to the shame of male cri- I take a tale, peculiarly a wotics, and the discomfiture of theo- man's; and in this her proper circle, ries ? It appears that living female with all appliances and means about authors are to be “ set aside,” toge- her, I challenge the male superiother with the “ Eolian girl ” of old; rity. I demand, where are the chaor I might also inquire, if the au- racters, of whose breathing indivithoress of De Monfort have not duality we are so assured, as of that “risen to an entire sympathy with of Doriforth and Miss Milner ? what is most excellent in the art of Where are readiness of wit, nativepoetry,” which of her male contem- ness of sentiment, refined and proporaries has ? Is it the author of found passion, the graces, the foibles, Bertram ?
the pride and the weakness of woThe defiance to the women, to man; or the sterner and haughtier produce their female Hudibras, or stuff, of which the mind of man is their female Dunciad, is something composed; the reasoning sensibility, like calling on them to produce their the guarded, economized, self-retirfemale Spring and Langan ; and in ing, self-wounding tenderness, that default of this, to resign all preten- weeps behind the mask of fierce resions to grace and agility.
sentment, and wraps its bleeding “Where is the female Rape of the anguish with the cloak of apathy Lock?” ejaculates, with a gay where are these conceived with such swelling of the cheeks, the detecter intuitive tact, and touched and blended into light and shadow with so Shall I be referred to the amiable free, yet so firm, a pencil ? Where male romance, in which, for the deis there such a grasp of the human cent amusement of the ladies and heart, such a playful or tyrannous gentlemen of England, a lover is made mastery over its finest and strongest to eat his mistress alive? chords?
I love to linger on the garden seat,
Or in some neighbouring spot short walks repeat,
Where longest clings the memory of the day;
The painted record vanishes away,
Yet gloomy Night shall but awhile delay
As lovely as the first. -Oh! it is sweet,
SPECIMENS OF SONNETS
FROM THE MOST EMINENT POETS OF ITALY.
Quanta dolcezza agl' invischiati rami
Quanto soavi ancor le piaghe interne,
Se questa è vita, io mille al cor torrei
Se morte, sacro a morte i giorni miei.
How tempting sweet the limed twigs appear,
Nor less delight the wounds that inward smart,
If this be life-I would expose my heart
O più tosto parei (che mortal cosa
Or la men verde età nulla a te toglie,
Così più vago è il fior poichè le foglie
Via più che nel mattin luce e fiammeggia.
Or like Aurora when the heaven first glows,
No loss from time thy riper age receives,
Thus lovelier is the flower whose full blown leaves
Ma l'aria, e 'l vento, e'l mar fede non ave;
Veggio trofei del mar, rotte le vele,
Pur, se convien che questo Egèo crudele
Trovi la morte, e non fra scogli e Sirti.
But winds and waves and skies alike betray;
I see the trophies which the billows heap,
Still, if for woman's sake this cruel deep
Mentre vo queto alla mia donna bella
Non vo così lontan di notte oscura
Io amo, ed altri a me l'anima fura ;
Tu, che pur ami, alluma il mio viaggio !
Whilst to my mistress fair in stealth I go,
I wander not these gloomy shades among,
My ravish'd heart from cruel spoiler's sway
GODWIN'S HISTORY OF THE COMMONWEALTH.*
This is a work much wanted; to us in the form of Parliamentary though, as far as may be judged from histories, as of May and Spriggethe portion of history condensed in memorials and memoirs, as of Whitthe volume before us, Mr. Godwin lock, Ludlow, and Warwick-and has restricted himself within the li- tracts by all parties, such as were mits of a mere historical compen- collected by the late Baron Maseres, dium. The voluminous collections furnish ample groundwork for an exof state-papers relative to this impor- tended and complete history : we are tant period, the registers of historical therefore somewhat disappointed at affairs, whether military, civil, or re- being presented in the room of it with ligious, which have been preserved a meagre abridgment.t It may be
History of the Commonwealth of England from its Commencement to the Restoration of Charles the Second. By William Godwin. Volume the First, containing the Civil War. Colburn, 1824.
+ This is particularly the case in the military transactions. They might have been given more in detail without too much encroaching on the space prescribed to himself by the author. Thus the memorable surrender of Bristol, in 1645, which led to the revocation of Prince Rupert's commissions by the king, is dryly dismissed in a few words : “here the news reached him of the surrender of Bristol on the 11th of September." Mr. Godwin adds, “ Rupert relied for the vindication of his conduct upon his inadequate means of defence and the improbability of any efforts at relief.” Now Mrs. Macaulay properly states that, “ this was a garrison, by his own particular desire, entrusted to the care of Prince Rupert : a garrison, which he had taken care to recruit with great proportions both of men and money, and of which he had written to the king, that he should be