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us, that they, and especially Hartley terly unnecessary and useless; and
Of the practical tendency and totally unintelligible, or, where inbenefit of the metaphysical truths telligible, only wrapping commonwhich these writers, and more par- place, or long exploded ideas, ticularly Locke and Hartley, have in the most mystic jargon imaginexplained and defended, there will able. It is a circumstance well semain no doubt, when we reflect worthy of remark and consideration, that by the former the doctrine of that though the national character ionate ideas has been exploded, and of the German and the British, as by the latter, the doctrine of the as- well as their intellectual and literary sociation of ideas has been most tho- character, resemble each other very roughly investigated and enforced. strongly in many respects; yet there In faci, whether we regard Meta- are two or three points in which physics as a science merely fit to they widely differ. In the first sharpen the powers of the mind, place, among the Germans there or as one capable of practical appli- are stronger proofs of imperfect cation, we shall be equally sensible civilization than among the English; of the benefit which Locke and these break out, in a most peculiar Hartley have conferred on it by and striking manner, in their outtheir writings : for, if ideas are rageous display of the strongest innate, inquiries into their nature, feelings and passions of the human origin, and combinations, are ut. breast, to the utter violation of all
good taste, and in a manner shock- free themselves from that darkness. ing and disgusting to all who are Hence Germany, at this time, disdesirous of banishing from their plays the curious, and by no means feelings and passions all extrava- uninstructive spectacle of a people gance, and all morbid and selfish with strong and cultivated intellects, passiveness. The truih of this re- and much just and accurate informark is sufficiently established by mation, so far as some topics are the German plays and novels; and concerned ; while on other topics, though these were popular in Bri- their depraved rather than their untain, yet their popularity was short informed intellects seek for food lived, and was 1:appily and success- which, in most other European fully destroyed by our national good countries, is utterly rejected, and sense and good taste. In the se- was never, at any period, sought for cond place, the imperfect civiliza- and relished, except wbile ignorance tion of the Germans, compared and credulity overshadowed and bewith the British, is further displayed numbed the mind. by the favour, countenance, and be- But to return from this digreslief which are shewn in Germany sion. The next subject which calls to the doctrines of animal magnet- for our notice in this Chapter, is the ism, &c. In Britain, these doc- state and character of the Philosotrines were at one time partially phy of Criticism of the present age. received; but more through a love On this branch of literature, Meof novelty and fashion than from taphysics have been brought to bear real conviction; the reverse seems with considerable effect and success; the case in Germany. Lastly, as and, indeed, whatever difference of we have already remarked, the Me- opinion regarding the practical utitapbysics of Germany are very dif- lity of metaphysical researches in ferent from those of Britain, and other respects may be entertained, equally with the other two points none, we should imagine, will be of difference just noted, prove, in disposed to deny, that when applied our opinion, that not only with to elucidate the origin and nature of respect to civilization, but also with intellectual pleasures, they may be respect to the cultivation and pro- of great utility. In proof of the gress of intellect, the Germans are truth of this remark, we need only much bebind the British. Perhaps notice the doctrine of the association the principal cause of this state and of ideas, which, even by the Scotch character of tbe German intellect writers, has been applied with sucmay be traced in the comparatively cess and considerable ingenuity to Jate period at which the Germans the Philosophy of Criticism. devoted themselves to the cultiva- The most celebrated writers on tion of literature and science: they this topic are Kaimes, Campbell, have not proceeded in a regular, Alison, Knight, and Dugald Stew. cautious, and systematic manner; art. The writings of the first - the consequences are, that, while were formerly very popular, and on some topics they have overleaped regarded as having made great disthe boundary of human knowledge, coveries in this branch of literature; and thus have plunged into intel- but their real merits are now more lectual darkness, -on other topics, fairly and justly appreciated. Inthey have not advanced so far as 10 deed, in Lord Kaimes's Essays there
is a singular intermixture of the to French Authors, where he does
and character of the periodical CriThe writings of Campbell, Ali- ticism of Britain in the present age. son, Knight, and Stewart, as well as Since the publication of the the occasional but valuable glimpses Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, of philosophical criticism which are these have been very striking; beinterspersed in Jolinson's Lives of fore they appeared, there were octhe Poets, and in other works, are casionally in the Monthly Reviews much more valuable and instructive articles which displayed not only than Lord Kaimes's Elements of strong powers of mind, and an intiCriticism ; and, in fact, from them mate acquaintance with the subject may be gleaned a greater number of the work reviewed, but which of the real Elements of Criticism also were written with great comthan are to be found in that work. mand of language : but these were
The treatise of Blair on the rare. The Edinburgh Review first Belles Lettres seems hardly to fall led the way to a new style of Critiwithin the scope of our present cism: on its appearance, it attracted Chapter; for though there are in notice by the elaborate and regular it some good illustrations of the dissertations which it contained, Philosophy of Criticism, yet for the especially on topics of general Pomost part it is occupied with a prac- litics, and Political Economy, into tical and detached application of which former Reviews had scarcethat Philosophy to the differently ever entered ;—by the polish branches of literature, and some of and elegance of its style, and by the most celebrated writers in those the contemptuous, sarcastic, and branches. Besides, Blair in this severe manner, in which it treated work has been too much indebted many authors, who had met with re
spect and adıniration from the other and the manner in which they are Reviews, and through their means, conveyed: its antipathies, however, from the world in general. The are expressed in a much heavier and Edinburgh Review preserved its coarser manner than those of the high and unparalleled popularity Edinburgh Review; and, occasiontill its political predictions were ally, wiih a very indefensible and proved to be false, and till it was unmanly malignity. Yet in tbe opposed and rivalled by the Quar. very same Numbers which are thus terly Review. The plan on which disgraced, there will appear articles the latter is conducted, is exactly rich and warm with the admiration similar to that of the Edinburgh of all that is good and lovely in Review ;- in politics, and with re- nature and in man, and written spect to the merits of many authors, with stronger impressions of the where no political bias can be sup- importance of truih, and more geposed to operate, they differ widely. nuine and ardent aspirations after At first, the Quarterly Review was the happiness and well-being of rather heavily writien ;-at present, man, than any articles which the it approaches very near its rival with Edinburgh Review contains. respect to talent and information,
CHAPTER CHAPTER V.
State and character of the Poetry of the present age- Burns - Cowper
TOWEVER delicate and subtle very distinctly, nearly all that
the essence of Poetry may strength and vividness of colouring be, and however difficult to detect which gives such interest and effect and define it, there are few, we ap- to our elder poets, and to our naprehend, who will be disposed to tional ballads of ihe highest characdeny, that in the writings of those ter, united to much inore warmth authors whose names are placed at of feeling, and overflowing sympathe head of this Chapter, it exists thy for his fellow-creatures, than in a greater or less degree, though they display. Indeed, the peculiar they may differ with respect to that merits of Burns, as a poet, spring degree, as well as with respect to from bis ardent feelings, either of the strength and purity of ihe es- contempt, anger, friendship, or love; sence. We may likewise add, with, and from the sympathy which his oat much fear of contradiction, that inind and heart hold with the joy's some at least of the characteristic and sufferings of those with whom features of British intellect and Bri- he was connected. He was a man tish Poetry may be distinctly traced (if we may use rather a homely exin the works of these authors, and pression), but an expression pregnant that their mental and moral powers, with meaning) full of fiesh and so far as they may be deduced from blood; a man to whon society, and their poetry, are of that description especially the society of his friends, which we have emphatically deno- or of those who were bound to his minated British.
beart by still closer ties, -- was essenIn briefly pointing out what we tially recessary ; who was keenly regard as the most distinguishing, alive to all that was amiable, and all as well as the most discriminating that was contemptible and mean in beauties of these poets, we shall bis fellow-creatures ; and whose not attempt 10 class them : or to powers of thought enabled bim to assign to each the place which he embody all that he saw and felt ought to hold in the scale of poeti- with regard to them. He knew cal merit: that is not our object; the worih of the peasantry of Scotbut rather so to hold them up to land; he knew the sources of their the critical eye, as will most easily domestic comfort and happiness ; and effectually exhibit their preva- their warm, sincere, and at i he same lent and peculiar beauties and ble- time, reflecting and rational sense mishes.
of religion ; their kind but consideWe are disposed to rate the me- rate attachment to one another ; rits of Burns as a poet very high. and their quick and ardent love of In his poetry we think we can trace, their country's glory and honour,