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“ Biog.

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Edit. of “ Goldsmith's Poems"; Beeton's

WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE. « Dict. Univ. Biog."; Maunder's Dict.”; Allibone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.”

“ William Julius Mickle was born at Lang. holm, in Dumfriesshire, in 1734. His father, who was a clergyman of the Scottish church, had lived for some time in London, and had preached in the dissenting meeting. house of the celebrated Dr. Watts. Ho re

turned to Scotland, on being presented to TOBIAS SMOLLETT.

the living of Langholm, the duties of which " Tobias Smollett, well known in his time

he fulfilled for many years; and, in consider

ation of his long services, was permitted to for the variety and multiplicity of his pub

retain the stipend after he had removed to lications, was born in 1720, at Dalquhurn, in the county of Dumbarton. He was edu.

Edinburgh, for the better education of his

children. His brother-in-law was a brewer in cated under a surgeon in Glasgow, where he also attended the medical lectures of the

Edinburgh, on whose death the old clergyman

unfortunately embarked his property, in order University; and at this early period he gave

to continue his business, under the name of some specimens of a talent for writing verses.

his eldest son. William, who was a younger As it is on this ground that he has obtained a

son, was taken from the High-School of Edinplace in the present collection, we shall pass

burgh, and placed as a clerk in the concern; over his various characters of surgeon's mate, physician, historiographer, politician, miscel

and, on coming of age, took the whole relaneous writer, and especially novelist, and

sponsibility of it upon himself. When it is consider his claims as a minor poet of no mean

mentioned, that Mickle had, from his boyish rank. He will be found, in this collection, as

years, been an enthusiastic reader of Spenser,

and that, before he was twenty, he had comthe author of “The Tears of Scotland,' the

posed two tragedies and half an epic poem, Ode to Leven-Water,' and some other short pieces, which are polished, tender, and pic

which were in due time consigned to the

flames, it may be easily conceived that his turesque ; and, especially, of an Ode to Independence, which aims at a loftier flight,

habits of mind were not peculiarly fitted for

close and minute attention to a trade which and perhaps has few superiors in the lyric style.

required incessant superintendence. He was, “Smollett married a lady of Jamaica : he

besides, unfortunate, in becoming security for was, unfortunately, of an irritable disposition,

an insolvent acquaintance. In the year 1763 which involved him in frequent quarrels, and

he became a bankrupt; and, being appre

hensive of the severity of one of his creditors, finally shortened his life. He died in the neighbourhood of Leghorn, in October, 1771,

he repaired to London, feeling the misery of

his own circumstances aggravated by those of in the fifty-first year of his age.”—Aikin's

the relations whom he had left behind him. “Select Brit. Poets." See Gilfillan's Edit. of *Smollett's Poems."

“Before leaving Scotland, he had corresponded with Lord Lyttelton, to whom he had submitted some of his poems in MS., and one, entitled · Providence,' which he had printed in 1762. Lord Lyttelton patronized his Muse

rather than his fortune. He undertook (to JOHN ARMSTRONG.

use his lordship's own phrase) to be his

'schoolmaster in poetry ;' but his fastidious "John Armstrong, a Scotch poet and physi- blottings could be of no service to any man cian, who, in 1732, took his degree of M.D. at who had a particle of genius : and the only Edinburgh.

In 1744 he published the · Art personal benefit which he attempted to render of Preserving Health, one of the best him was to write to his brother, the governor didactic poems in our language, and shortly of Jamaica, in Mickle's behalf, when our poet afterwards received the appointment of phy- had thoughts of going out to that island. sician to the military hospital. In 1760 he Mickle, however, always spoke with becoming was appointed physician to the army in Ger- liberality of this connexion. He was pleased many, and the next year wrote a poem called with the suavity of Lord Lyttelton's manners, * Day, an Epistle to John Wilkes, of Ayles. and knew that his means of patronage were

In this letter he threw out a very slender. In the mean time, he lived reflection upon Churchill, which drew on him nearly two years in London, upon remittances the resentment of that satirist. He published from his friends in Scotland, and by writing several other works of a miscellaneous cha for the daily papers. racter.

Born at Castleton, Roxburghshire, “After having fluctuated between several 1709; died at London, 1779."--Beeton's schemes for subsistence, he at length accepted

See Allibone's “Crit. of the situation of corrector to the Clarendon Dict. Eng. Lit.", Gilfillan's Edit. of “ Arm

press, at Oxford. Whilst he retained that strong's Poems.”

office, he published a poem, which he at first

bury, Esq.

"Dict. Univ. Biog.

named The Concubine ;' but on finding that the title alarmed delicate ears, and suggested a false idea of its spirit and contents, he changed it to ‘Syr Martyn.' At Oxford he also engaged in polemical divinity, and published some severe animadversions on Dr. Harwood's recent translation of the New Testament He also showed his fidelity to the cause of religion in a tract, entitled · Voltaire in the Shades; or, Dialogues on the Deistical Controversy.'

.“ His greatest poetical undertaking was the translation of The Lusiad,' which he began in 1770, and finished in five years. For the sake of leisure and retirement, he gave up his situation at the Clarendon press, and resided at the house of a Mr. Tomkins, a farmer, at Forest Hill, near Oxford. The English Lusiad was dedicated, by permission, to the Duke of Buccleuch ; but his Grace returned not the slightest notice or kindness to his ingenious countryman. Whatever might be the duke's reasons, good or bad, for this neglect, he was a man fully capable of acting on his own judgment; and there was no necessity for making any other person responsible for his conduct. But Mickle, or his friends, suspected that Adam Smith and David Hume had maliciously stood between him and the Buccleuch patronage. This was a mere suspicion, which our author and his friends ought either to have proved or suppressed. Mickle was indeed the declared antagonist of Hume; he had written against him, and could not hear his name mentioned with temper : but there is not the slightest evidence that the hatred was mutual. That Adam Smith should have done him a mean injury, no one will believe probable, who is acquainted with the traditional private character of that philosopher. But Mickle was also the antagonist of Smith's doctrines on political economy, as may be seen in his

Dissertation on the Charter of the East India Company. The author of the Wealth of Nations,' forsooth, was jealous of his opinions on monopolies ! Even this paltry supposition is contradicted by dates, for Mickle's tract upon the subject of Monopolies was published several years after the preface to the Lusiad. Upon the whole, the suspicion of his philosophical enemies having poisoned the ear of the Duke of Buccleuch seems to have proceeded from the same irritable vanity which made him threaten to celebrate Garrick as the hero of a second Dunciad when he refused to accept of his tragedy, The Siege of Marseilles.'

Though the Lusiad had a tolerable sale, his circumstances still made his friends solicitous that he should obtain some settled provision. Dr. Lowth offered to provide for him in the Church. He refused the offer with honourable delicacy, lest his former writings in favour of religion should be attributed to the prospect of reward. At length the friendship of his

kinsman, Commodore Johnstone, relieved him from unsettled prospects. Being appointed to the command of a squadron destined for the coast of Portugal, he took out the translator of Camoens as his private secretary. Mickle was received

with distinguished honours at Lisbon. The Duke of Braganza, in admitting him a member of the Royal Academy of Lisbon, presented him with his own picture.

“ He returned to England in 1780, with a considerable acquisition of prize-money, and was appointed an agent for the distribution of the prize profits of the cruise. His fortune now enabled him to discharge the debts of his early and mercantile life. He married the daughter of Mr. Tomkins, with whom he had resided while translating the Lusiad; and, with every prospect of spending the remainder of his life in afluence and tranquillity, purchased a house, and settled at Wheatley, near Oxford. So far his circumstances have almost the agreeable air of a concluding novel ; but the failure of a banker with whom he was connected as prize agent, and a chancery suit in which he was involved, greatly diminished his finances, and disturbed the peace of his latter years. He died at Forest Hill, after a short illness.

“His reputation principally rests upon the translation of the Lusiad, which no Englishman had attempted before him, except Sir Richard Fanshawe. Sir Richard's version is quaint, flat, and harsh ; and he has interwoven many ridiculously conceited expressions which are foreign both to the spirit and style of his original ; but in general it is closer than the modern translation to the literal meaning of Camoens. Altogether, Fanshawe's representation of the Portuguese poem may be compared to the wrong side of the tapestry. Mickle, on the other hand, is free, flowery, and periphrastical; he is incomparably more spirited than Fanshawe ; but still he departs from the majestic simplicity of Camoens' diction as widely as Pope has done from that of Homer. The sonorous and simple language of the Lusitanian epic is like the sound of a trumpet; and Mickle's imitation like the shakes and flourishes of the flute.

“ Although he was not responsible for the faults of the original, he has taken abundance of pains to defend them in his notes and preface. In this he has not been successful. The long lecture on geography and Portuguese history, which Gama delivers to the king of Melinda, is a wearisome interruption to the narrative; and the use of Pagan mythology is a radical and unanswerable defect. Mickle informs us as an apology for the latter circumstance, that all this Pagan machinery was allegorical, and that the gods and goddesses of Homer were allegorical also ; an assertion which would require to be proved, before it can be adınitted. Camoens himself has said something about his concealment of a moral

meaning under his Pagan deities ; but if he Inn Chapel, where he had a very intellectual has any such morality, it is so well hidden audience to address, and bore a somewhat that it is impossible to discover it. The trying ordeal with complete success. He conVenus of the Lusiad, we are told, is Divine tinued for a number of years in London, Love; and how is this Divine Love employed ? maintaining his reputation both as a preacher For no other end than to give the poet an and writer, His most popular works were opportunity of displaying a scene of sensual the 'Letters of Theodosius and Constantia, gratification, an island is purposely raised up and a translation of Plutarch's Lives, which in the ocean ; Venus conducts De Gama and Wrangham afterwards corrected and im. his followers to this blessed spot, where a proved, and which is still standard. He was bevy of the nymphs of Venus are very good- twice married, and survived both his wives. He naturedly prepared to treat them to their obtained the living of Blagden in Somersetfavours; not as a trial, but as a reward for shire, and in addition to it, in 1777, a prebend their virtues! Voltaire was certainly justified

in the Cathedral of Wells. He died in 1779, in pronouncing this episode a piece of gra- aged only forty-four; his death, it is supposed, taitous indecency. In the same allegorical

being accelerated by intemperance, although spirit no doubt, Bacchus, who opposes the

it does not seem to have been of a gross or Portuguese discoverers in the councils of aggravated description. Heaven, disguises himself as Popish priest, ' Langhorne, an amiable man, and highly and celebrates the rites of the Catholic religion. popular as well as warmly beloved in his day, The imagination is somewhat puzzled to dis- survives now in memory chiefly through his cover why Bacchus should be an enemy to Plutarch's Lives, and through a few lines in

his the natives of a country the soil of which is * Country Justice,' which are immorso productive of his beverage; and a friend talised by the well-known story of Scott's to the Mahometans who forbid the use of it:

interview with Burns. Campbell puts in a although there is something amusing in the

plea besides for his Owen of Carron,' but idea of the jolly god officiating as a Romish

the plea, being founded on early reading, is clergyman.

partial, and has not been responded to by the "Mickle's story of Syr Martyn is the most public.” Gilfillan's “Less-Known Brit. pleasing of his original pieces. The object of Poets,” pp. 220, 221. the narrative is to exhibit the degrading effects of concubinage in the history of an amiable man, who is reduced to despondency and sottishness, under the dominion of a beldam and a slattern. The defect of the

SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE. moral is, that the same evils might have happened to Syr Martyn in a state of matri. “Sir William Blackstone, a learned English mony. The simplicity of the tale is also, judge, who, in 1738, was entered at Pembroke unhappily, overlaid by a weight of allegory, College, Oxford, and at the age of twenty comaid of obsolete phraseology, which it has not posed a treatise on the elements of architec. importance to sustain. Such a style applied ture. He also cultivated poetry, and obtained to the history of a man and his housekeeper, Mr. Benson's prize medal for the best verses is like building a diminutive dwelling in all on Milton. These pursuits, however, were the pomp of Gothic architecture.”—Campbell's abandoned for the study of the law, when he Specimens," pp. 609-611.

composed his well-known effusion called “The Lawyer's Farewell to his Muse.' In 1740 he was entered at the Middle Temple, and in 1744 chosen fellow of All Souls College. In 1749 he was appointed recorder of Walling.

ford, in Berkshire, and in the following year JOHN LANGHORNE.

became LL.D., and published an Essay on “This poetical divine was born in 1735, at Collateral Consanguinity,' occasioned by the Kirkby Steren, in Westmoreland. Left father. exclusive claim to fellowships made by the less at four years old, his mother fulfilled founder's kindred at All Souls. In 1758 he her double charge of duty with great ten

printed . Considerations on Copyholders;' derness and assiduity.

He was educated and the same year was appointed Vinerian at Appleby, and subsequently became assistant professor of the common law, his lectures in at the Free-school of Wakefield, took deacon's which capacity gave rise to his celebrated orders, and gave promise, although very

• Commentaries.' In 1759 he published Foung, of becoming a popular preacher. After * Reflections on the Opinions of Messrs. Pratt, various vicissitudes of life and fortune, and Moreton, and Wilbraham,' relating to Lord publishing a number of works in prose and Lichfield's disqualification : his lordship being verse, Langhorne repaired to London, and then candidate for the chancellorship. The obtained, in 1764, the curacy and lectureship same year appeared his edition of “The Great of St. John's, Clerkenwell. He soon after- Charter, and Charter of the Forest.' Of this wards became assistant-preacher in Lincoln's | work it has been said that there is not a

44

sentence in the composition that is not necessary to the whole, and that should not be perused. In 1761 he was made king's counsel, and chosen member of parliament for Hindon, in Wilts. The same year he vacated his fellowship by marriage, and was appointed principal of New-inn Hall. In 1763 he was appointed solicitor-general to the Queen, and bencher of the Middle Temple. In the next year appeared the first volume of his Commentaries,' which was followed by three others. It is upon these that his fame now principally rests; and, although opinion is divided as to the correctness and depth of the matter they contain, the beauty, precision, and elegance of their style have called forth universal admiration. In 1766 he resigned his places at Oxford ; and in 1768 was chosen member for Westbury, in Wiltshire. In 1770 he became one of the judges in the court of King's Bench, whence he removed to the Common Pleas. He now fixed his residence in London, and attended to the duties of his office with great application, until overtaken by death. Born in London, 1723; died 1780. -The fundamental error in the Commentaries' is thus pointed out by Jeremy Bentham. There are two characters,' says he, one or other of which every man who finds anything to say on the subject of law may be said to take upon him,—that of the expositor, and that of the censor. To the province of the expositor it belongs to explain to us what he supposes the law is ; to that of the censor, to observe to us what he thinks it ought to be. Of these two perfectly distinguishable funetions, the former alone is that which it fell necessarily within our author's province to discharge.' Blackstone, however, makes use of both these functions throughout his work, and hence the confusion. His productions have found several translators on the Continent."-Beeton's “ Dict. Univ. Biog." See Maunder's Dict. Biog.”; Allibone's “ Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.”

taste of a true poet. His publication in 176 under the title of .Reliques of Ancient Eng lish Poetry,' of a collection of such ballad many of which had been preserved only i manuscript, while others, having originally been printed in the rudest manner on flying sheets for circulation among the lower oriler: of the people, had owed their preservation only to the care of collectors, must be considered as a critical epoch in the history of our literature. Many authors before him, as, for example, Addison and Sir Philip Sydney, had expressed the admiration which a culti. vated taste must ever feel for the rough but inimitable graces of our old ballad-poets ; but Percy was the first who undertook an examination, at once systematic and popular, of those neglected treasures. His • Essay on the Ancient Minstrels,' prefixed to the pieces he selected, exhibits considerable research, and is written in a pleasing and attractive manner; and the extracts are made with great taste, and with a particular view of exciting the public sympathy in favour of a class of compositions, the merits of which were then new and unfamiliar to the general reader. It is true that he did not always adhere with scrupulous fidelity to the ancient texts, and where the poems were in a fragmentary and imper. fect condition, he did not hesitate, any more than Scott after him in the · Border Minstrelsy,' to fill up the rents of time with matter of his own invention. This, however, at a period when his chief object was to excite among general readers an interest in these fine old monuments of mediæval genius, was no unpardonable offence, and gave him the opportunity of exhibiting his own poetical powers, which were far from contemptible, and his skill in imitating, with more or less success, the language and manner of the ancient Border poets. Percy found, in col. lecting these old compositions, that the majority of those most curious from their antiquity and most interesting from their merit were distinctly traceable, both as regards their subjects and the dialect in which they were written, to the North Countrée; that is, to the frontier region between England and Scotland, which, during the long wars that had raged almost without intermission between the Borderers on both sides of the Debateable Land, had necessarily been the scene of the most frequent and striking incidents of predatory warfare, such as those recorded in the noble ballads of “Chevy Chase,' and the * Battle of Otterburn.' The language in the Northern marches of England, and in the Scottish frontier-region bordering upon them, was one and the same dialect ; something between the Lowland Scotch and the speech of Cumberland or Westmoreland : and it is curious to find the ballad-singer modifying the incidents of his legend so as to suit the prejudices and flatter the national pride of his listeners according as they were inhabitants

BISHOP PERCY.

6. Bishop Percy, born 1728, died 1811. The great revolution in taste, substituting romantic for classical sentiment and subjects, which culminated in the poems and novels of Walter Scott, is traceable to the labours of Bishop Percy. The friend of Johnson, and one of the most accomplished members of that circle in which Johnson was supreme, Percy was strongly impressed with the vast stores of the beautiful, though rude poetry which lay buried in obscure collections of ballads and legendary compositions, and he devoted himself to the task of explaining and popularising the then neglected beauties of these old rhapsodists with the ardour of an antiquary, and with the

of the Northern or Southern district. In

THOMAS CHATTERTON. Farious independent copies or versions of the same legend, we find the victory given to the

“Noname in our literature affords an example one side or to the other, and the English or of earlier precocity or of a sadder career than Scottish hero alternately playing the nobler

that of the ‘marvellous boy who perished in and more romantic part. Besides a very

his pride,' Thomas Chatterton. He was born large number of these purely heroic ballads,

at Bristol in 1752, was son of a sexton and Percy gave specimens of an immense series of parish schoolmaster, and died by suicide before songs and lyrics extending down to a compa

he had completed his eighteenth year. Yet in ratively late period of English history, em

that brief interval he gave proof of power unbracing even the Civil War and the Restora- surpassed in one so young, and executed a tion : but the chief interest of his collection,

number of forgeries almost without parallel and the chief service he rendered to literature

for ingenuity and variety. The writings which by his publication, is concentrated on the

he passed off as originals he professes to have earlier portion. It is impossible to exaggerate

discovered in 'Cannynge's Coffre,' a chest the influence exerted by Percy's 'Reliques ;'

preserved in the muniment-room of the old this book has been devoured with the most church of St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. These intense interest by generation after generation

he produced gradually, generally taking adof English poets, and has undoubtedly con

vantage of some public occurrence likely to tributed to give a first direction to the youth

give them an interest. In October, 1768, a ful genius of many of our most illustrious new bridge across the Avon was opened, and writers. The boyish enthusiasm of Walter

forthwith he sent an account of the ceremonies Scott was stirred, 'as with the sound of a

that took place on the opening of the old trumpet,' by the vivid recitals of the old bridge - processions, tournaments, and reBorder rhapsodists; and but for Percy it is

ligious solemnities. Mr. Burguin, who was possible that we should have had neither the

fond of heraldic honours, he supplies with a 'Lady of the Lake' nor · Waverley.' Nor was

| pedigree reaching back to William the Conit upon the genius of Scott alone that is im. queror.

To another citizen he presents the pressed the stamp of this ballad imitation :

'Romaunt of the Cnyghté,' written by one of Wordsworth, Coleridge, even Tennyson him

his ancestors between four and five hundred self have been deeply modified, in the form

years before. To a religious citizen he gives and colouring of their productions, by the

an ancient fragment of a sermon on the same cause : and perhaps the influence of the Holy Spirit, wroten by Thomas Rowley in Reliques,' whether direct or indirect, near or

the fifteenth century. To another with antiremote, will be perceptible to distant ages in ! quarian tastes he gives an account of the English poetry and fiction.”--Shaw's “ Hist.

churches of the city three hundred years Eng. Lit.," pp. 412—414.

before. And to Horace Walpole, who was busy writing the History of British Painters,' he gives a record of Carvellers and Peyncters who once flourished in Bristol. Besides all

these forgeries he sent to the Town and JAMES MACPHERSON.

Country Magazine’ a number of poems which

occasioned a sharp controversy. Gray and James Macpherson, born 1738, died 1796, Mason at once pronounced them spurious 2 Scotch poet, whose first work, and that imitations, but many maintained their genu. which brought him mostly into notice, was a ineness. Meanwhile, Chatterton had obtained translation of poems attributed by him to a release from the attorney's office where he Ossian. These poems possess great beauty ; had served for the last three years, and had but their authenticity was disputed by Dr. come to London. Here he wrote for maga. Johnson and other writers, and as zealously zines and newspapers, gaining thereby a very maintained by the editor and Dr. Blair; it is precarious subsistence. At last he grew denow, however, generally admitted that Ossian's spondent, took to drinking, which aggravated poems are a forgery. In 1773 Macpherson his constitutional tendencies, and after being published a translation of the Iliad' into reduced to actual want, tore up his papers, heroic prose, a work of little value. He was and destroyed himself by taking arsenic. He also the author of an Introduction to the was interred in the burying-ground of the History of Great Britain and Ireland,' a Shoe Lane Workhouse, and the citizens of History of Great Britain, from 1660 to the Bristol afterwards erected, in their city, a Accession of the House of Hanover,' and of monument to his memory. His poems, pubsome political pamphlets in defence of Lord lished under the name of Rowley, consist of North's administration, for which he ob- the tragedy of 'Ella,' the 'Ode to Ella,' a tained a place and a seat in the House of ballad entitled the ‘Bristow Tragedy, or the Commons." —Beeton's "Dict. Univ. Biog." Death of Sir Charles Bowdin,' some pastoral

poems, and other minor pieces. The Ode to Ella' has all the air of a modern poem, except spelling and phraseology. Most of the others

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