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Had been advanc'd to heaven as the fix'd stars
Dor. Is there in heaven no friendly
Bolt left, that will strike this frame into
The centre, and set free a wretch
So overgrown with misery, from life,
That death would be a comfort above health,
Or any worldly blessing. May time blot my name out
Of his book, that such a prodigy
May not affright succession, nor strike,
Chri. Oh, my lord, each grief of which
Preservation of your fame, have needed
Is oft-times love's undoing.
Tri. This is such a cunning labyrinth of Sorrow, that no clew can lead them out of. Dor. It would be
A great affront to misery, should there live
person half so wretched to out-dare
The strength of my affliction. Methinks,
I'm like some aged mountain, that has stood,
In the sea's watery bosom, thousand shocks
Of threat'ning tempests; yet, by the flattering waves,
Human condition always censures things
Harbour'd the least suspicion of your faith,
From dross of other baser metals; and besides
The trial of your constancy, I meant
To sound Vitelli's depth, upon whose love
My sister doted, so that I was loath
To see her cast the treasure of her heart
Your good intents encounter'd bad success ;
With a too quick prevention, has o'erthrown
I relied so much upon his nobleness; I thought
Could not have mov'd his temper; and besides,
We have only to add in conclusion, that the remaining four plays, written by Glapthorne, were never printed; and that he was also the author of a book of
ART. X.-The Hurricane: a Theosophical and Western Eclogue. To which is subjoined, a Solitary Effusion in a Summer's Evening. By William Gilbert.
"Odi profanum vulgus et arceo.
Favete linguis Carmina non prius
Virginibus puerisque canto."
HOR. Lib. iii. Od. i.
This is a little poem, interesting on its own account, as well as from the circumstances under which it was composed. It bears evident marks of having been written under the influence of partial insanity, while, at the same time, it contains passages of a high order of beauty. Of its author, William Gilbert, the little we have collected is chiefly from the information obligingly furnished to us by a distinguished literary character, an early friend of the author's, and by whose occasional notice of the work before us, concurring with a similar testimony from another quarter, our attention was directed to The Hurricane. He was born in the West Indies, and bred to the colonial bar. At some time between 1780 and 1790 he came over to this country, on a case of a court-martial, and, if we mistake not, passed the remainder of his days here; at first, in a state of distress, owing to the detention of some litigated property, which was, however, afterwards adjudged to him. Little is known of his private life, except that he was one of the large class of literary men who partook in the hopes excited by the breaking out of the French Revolution; an event in which he took a peculiar interest, from its imagined correspondence with some mystical notions of his own, relative to providential retribution, and the causes of the rise and fall of nations. He was likewise addicted to astrology. Besides The Hurricane, he published a pamphlet on the legal question abovementioned, and two works, entitled The Law of Fire, and The Standard of God displayed; these latter, from their titles, (which is all we know of them,) were, doubtless, expositions of the author's peculiar theological tenets.* He likewise wrote a poem in praise
* We remember seeing an extract from The Hurricane, in that rarissimum opus, Mr. Coleridge's Watchman, where it appeared previous to publication.
of Mr. Garrick, in which tragedy and comedy were represented as contending for his exclusive possession. The disorder which overclouded his intellect for many years, became, at length, so violent as totally to extinguish it; but his personal character was such as to acquire for him the unmixed respect and compassion of those who knew him. He died about 1804. Such is the slender memorial that remains of one of the high-minded and highly gifted of mankind.
The Hurricane, as to its more immediate scope, is an allegorical poem, founded on the singular hypothesis, that each of the continents of the globe has a mind of its own; a peculiar nature, influencing by emanation the disposition and intellect of its inhabitants. Each particular country, in the same manner, has a distinguishing mind, which constitutes its individuality, and gives a character to the whole of its history; and this he supposes to be what the Jewish prophets meant by the tutelary genii of kingdoms and provinces. To this is added, a belief in the excellence of savage compared with civilized life, and, consequently, in the proper superiority of America to the older parts of the globe, more especially to Europe; together with a faith, founded in the system of judicial compensation, that, as the mind of Europe has forcibly overpowered, and, for a time, annihilated that of America, the American mind will, in its turn, overthrow that of Europe, and remain finally predominant. These are reveries, indeed, but not unallied to philosophical truth, and such as an ordinary mind was incapable of conceiving. Various other notions, equally or more remote from common conception, are promulgated, with considerable energy of thought and language, in the copious notes which accompany the poem; but with these we have no concern, nor would the recital of them afford any gratification, except to those who find a gratification of their curiosity, in tracing the wanderings of a superior mind. We have given the above short explanation, as serving to illustrate some of the passages which we shall hereafter quote with another view. We will, however, extract a passage from the preface, as an instance of the forcible manner in which he propounds his theories.
"Suffice it to say here, that the machinery of my eclogue thus proceeds on this doctrine; namely,
"First. That all countries have a specific mind, or determinable principle. This character may be traced with as much satisfaction in the vegetable as in the animal productions. Thus, strength with its attributes, viz. asperity, &c. is the character or mind of England. Her leading productions are the oak, peppermint, sloes, crabs, and sour cherries. All elegance, all polish, is superinduced; and priinarily from France, of which they are natives.
"Secondly. That a country is subdued, when it's mind or life, it's prince according to Daniel, or it's genius according to the modern Easterns, or its principle according to Europeans, is either supprest, destroyed, or chemically combined with that of a foreign country, in a form that leaves the foreign property predominant; and not till then. And this cannot ensue but upon suicide; upon a previous abandonment, on the part of the nation, of its own principle. For, when the Creator made every thing very good, He also made it tenable, on the one hand; and on the other complete; consequently, without the necessity, without the desire of encroaching; and, also, without the capability, except under the penalty of surrendering, with its own complete roundness, its own tenability. Thus I arrive at a primary law of nature, that every one must fall into the pit that he digs for others; either before or after success, or without success.
"Thirdly. That, in the European subjugation of America, the American mind or life only suffered under a powerful affusion of the European; and, that as the solution procèeds, it acquires a stronger and stronger tincture of the subject, till at length that, which was first subdued, assumes an absolute, inexpugnable predominancy, and a final-inasmuch as the contest is between the two last parts of the world, and there is no prospective umpire to refer to; but it must be decided by the possession of first principles, or the highest mind in the hierarchy of minds; and the European possession of mind having previously arrived at perfection, from her long intercourse with Africa and Asia, and not being able to rescue her from the present grasp and predominancy of American mind, the question is now settled for ever, and Europe yields to the influence, mind, and power of America, linked in essential principle with Africa and Asia, for ever. Europe had full success in her encroachments; she succeeded in throwing America into the pit; and, of course, it must be her own turn to go in now: she depopulated America, and now America must depopulate her:"
But our concern is chiefly with the poetry of The HurriIts character is vivid description, pervaded with moral pathos, and intermixed with passages of pure reflection. Descriptive poetry, which the example of Thomson, almost alone, had maintained in existence during the middle ages of English poetry, was just then reviving under happier auspices. Accordingly there is a fire and a living freshness in his paintings, united, however, with a compactness of manner which his associates wanted. His views of torrid scenery are of a piece with his subject; rich and glowing in all cases, and breathing alternately of the voluptuous calm, and the awful turbulence of the regions he describes. The story of the poem is allegorical; typifying, by the figure of a hurricane in the Island of Antigua, the final conflict which is to terminate in the subversion of Europe by America, and the annihilation of the artificial system of society. The natural or unsophisti