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It is generally much easier to see a defect than to amend it; nor are reviewers of poetry necessarily expected to be poets themselves. We have already declared, however, that we are not pleased with either of the above versions; and, au. dacious as the attempt is, we will hazard the following:
O knew they but their bliss, most blest were they,
True to their wants, earth freely spreads her store. The address to the Muses, which ensues shortly afterwards, is a most beautiful and animated passage. It is thus rendered by Mr. Sotheby, v. 589.
! Me first, ye Muses! at whose hallow'd fane
And boundless shade and solitude defend!' P. 105. . For a comparison with his predecessors we shall select the version of Dr. Warton, as far superior to that of Dryden, v. 578.
• Teach me, ye Muses, your devoted priest,
Me may the lowly vales and woodlands please,
Or on Taygetus' sacred top I food!
And in the darkest thicket hide from day! Of these rival paffages we have no hesitation in faying that, upon the whole, we prefer the latter : though we do not think the last eight verses of either equal, in any measure, lo the exquifite elegance and spirit of the original, which occurs thus, v. 483.
Sin, bas ne poflim naturæ accedere partes,
Sistat, et ingenti ramorum protegat umbrâ !? P. 104.
But if this heart, too sluggish and too cold,
The episode of Orpheus and Eurydice, at the close of the fourth book, is far too long for extraction, or we would wilLingly insert it. For the most part, it poffeffes much merit; but the conclusion of Eurydice's dying speech, inetfably pathetic and beautiful in the original, is followed with very unequal steps in the version, v.497.
Jamque vale; feror ingenti circumdata nofte,
These unavailing arms, ah! thine no more.' P.223.
Warton, and highly preferable to that of Dryden. In the former it occurs thus : our readers shall determine for themselves.
• Adieu ! no longer must thou bless my fight,
Thy fond embrace; ah! now no longer thine!' There is so much compressed in the Latin coupler, that we believe it to be impossible not to extend the two verses to four in a rhyme metre; yet, with this allowance, much of the excellence of the original is still withheld in both the above versions. May we once more have the hardihood to obtrude an attempt of our own?
And now farewel! the shades of boundless night
These fhadowy arms--ah! never more thy bride. The undefinable merit and exquisite beauty of the Georgics, and the various and elegant versions which have now been exhibited of it in our own language, have induced us to extend the present critique to an unusual length. The value of the translation before us is very considerable: in many parts we think it superior to that of Dr. Warton, in others it manifestly fails Thort. But to be entitled to an equal degree of praise with a man of his justly literary and poetic fame must excite no fosall degree of complacency and self-satisfaction, In the liberal language of the Roman bard himself:
Non nostrum inter vos tantas componere lites;
Remarks on the Theory of Morals : in which is contained an
Examination of the Theoretical Part of Dr. Paley's · Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy.' By Edward Pearfon, B. D. &c. 8vo. 55. Boards. Rivingtons. 1800.
THE author is no mean proficient in the school which boasts the names of Butler, Powel, Balguy, Thomas and William Ludlam, and Hey. The last of these authors, whose manner of thinking and mode of expression he has largely imbibed, was his college-tutor. The work is compoled in opposition to the principles of a popular writer and disciple of another celebrated school, which boasts the names of Law, Jebb, Watson, and Paley; and the moral philosophy of this last philosopher is scrutinised in the manner generally employed by his opponents of this class. Hey and Paley were college-tutors in the university of Cambridge at the same time; both gave lectures in their respective col-:, leges on metaphysics and morality ; both preached frequently before the university; and both were distinguished by a peculiarity of manner as well as originality of thought and expresion. The one was open, cheerful, and perspicuous, endeavouring to familiarise every topic to the lowest capacity; the other was dry, reserved, profound, scrutiniling every thought with metaphysical nicety. The pupils of the one attended the lecture-roon with pleasure, and were sure of acquiring some ideas with which they could instruct and amuse their fellow-students in the university. The pupils of the other could mention only with admiration the fagacious profundity of their tutor, but the nicety of his discriminations evaded their powers of memory, and what was delivered with labour by the teacher, at the end of the hour allotted to this exercise, was in general forgotten by his scholars. The one did every thing with ease, the other was labouring under his task ; the one taught in conversation, the other was always sermonising. Both have published the substance of their leć. tures. Paley's Moral Philosophy is in cvery boarding-school, and contains scarcely a thought that had not been noted down in the lecture-room by one or other of his pupils. Hey's lectures. on the thirty-nine articles are too dry to become popular, but they afford' a sufficient proof of his reading and erudition; and the minuteness of his inquiries, in investigating certain subjects which alarmed, and not without reason, the heads both of the university and church, as much as several favourite maxims of the opposite school.
Moralists are very much divided in their defininitions of virtue, and a new one is naturally to be expected froin every writer on this subject. Those of Thales, Epicurus, Cicero, Potamon, Hobbes, Shaftesbury, Clarke, Wollaston, Brown, Hutcheson, Butler, Hume, Adam Smith, and Paley, are enumerated, in the introduction to this work; but it is against the definition of this last celebrated writer that the artillery of our author is chiefly directed. Paley defines virtue to be • the doing good to mankind in obedience to the will of God, and for the sake of everlasting happiness.' This definition, it is contended, is liable to objection in all its parts, as the subject about which virtue is employed does not properly forin
a part of the definition of virtue,' as the rule, the will of God, is not in its proper place; since • the will of God is the ground and foundation of virtue, and the motive to virtue ought to have no place in the definition. Let us first fee,' the writer properly observes, 'what virtue itself is ;' and, after • oft-refuined confideration,' he has ventured upon the fole lowing definition. "Virtue is voluntary obedience to the will of God.' We are fully aware of the objections that may be logically made to Paley's definition; and as fin. plicity and clearness are to be aimed at in cvery science, we make no scruple in giving the preference to our author in point of precifion. But though this definition be more accu. rate and simple, it by no means follows that the virtue thus defined is the same that has been discussed by all other moralifts. The virtue described by one has often differed speci. fically from that of another; and the view of this subject prefented to us by Locke clears up the difficulties by which it is encumbered, and at the same time reconciles us to the au. thor's definition. Locke has very judiciously classed actions under three heads: as they are referred to the law of God, to the law of the state, and to the law of reputation and honour. Under the third head he has claffed virtuous and vicious actions ; and hence we fee, at once, why virtue has been so very differently described under different systems. It has depended on the changeable opinions of men; and its standard has paturally varied with the degree of cultivation, improvement, and experience, in every society. If all the world were Christians, virtue and duty would coincide, and voluntary obedience to the will of God, as it is the greatest perfection of hunan na. ture, would be held also in the higheit estimation.
It is a great point to define correctly; and, whether the definition before us be allowed or not, as most assuredly it will not be amidit some classes of society ; if the propositions built upon it are well arranged, and lawfully derived, the one from the other, a complete whole may be presented, 01 which the mind will rest with satisfaction. Its excellence is feen on a comparison with other definitions ; in which the author succeeds completely, in our opinion, in showing the reafon of their failure, and justifies, with great acuteness, his own position : Virtue is voluntary obedience to the will of God: in other words, what God commands is right, and right because he commands it; what God forbids is wrong, and wrong because he forbie's it'
Having ascertained what virtue is , we coine next to the rule of virtue. And conformity to the eternal differences of things, or to truth according to Wollaston and Clarke, being justly exploded, the iinperfection of the ancient systeins judiciously