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deficient. They are often executed from mercenary motives, by meni, "who write to share the fame of the deceased;” by near relatives, from whom an exposure of the faults of their object cannot be expected, and whose pictures are all lucid and brilliant, without those touches of shade wluich afford a proper contrast to a mass of splendour. On the other hand, if the life of a man of eminence be written by a stranger, who is emulous to acquire for his own productions that portion of applause to which all who write aspire, we are led to expect that his biography will be tinctured with a degree of envious asperity:-we have seen, that the immortal Pope could not refrain from envying, and even persecuting, those who aspired to the favour of the Muses*; and we have no reason to assert, notwithstanding our boasted progress in illumination and theophilanthropy, that the present is more liberal than preceding ages. The most material imperfection, however, in ves of deceased characters, composed by persons unconnected with their families, is a want of proper and authentic materials, from which alone an inuperishable wreath should be formed, for the tombs of those whose characters and abilities entitle them to our attentive consideration. Such was the case with respect to Dr. John LANGHORNE; for, though many attempts have been made to write his biography, they have all, in a great degree, failed, by omitting very interesting incidents in his mortal career. Indeed, the naterials of the writers were so scanty and unconnected, that the public have, till very lately, been unacquainted even with his ancestors, his birth, and his education.
But, at length, these deficiencies have been supplied in a brief, though interesting, account, written by his son, the Rev. J. T. LANGHORNE, vicar of Harniondsworth and Drayton, Middlesex ; and we now learn, that our author's father was the Rev. Joseph LANGhorne, who held a living in Lincolnshire, but who died at an early age, leaving a widow and four children, of which the doctor was the youngest.
* Vide a very interesting and uncommonly cheap volume, entitled a "* Diction ary of Celebrated Women, by Matilda Betham," articles THOMAS,
He was born at Kirkby-Stephen, Westinorland, in March, 1735, and was only four years old at the death of his father, when his mother, being in circumstances far froin affluent, gave him the first rudiments of education, which he afterwards completed at Appleby. His progress in classical learning is a striking instance, to the many on record, of what is to be effected by perseverance and a desire for study; he having been able, at the early age of thirteen, to read and construe the Greek Testament.
At the age of eighteen, having acquired a perfect knowledge of ancient literature, and his circumstances being inadequate to his expectations, he engaged himself as a private tutor in a family near Ripon, where he wrote “Studley Park, an Elegy written amongst the Ruins of Pontefract Castle, and an Ode to the River Eden," all of which being considered by their author as nothing more than juvenile efforts, were despised by him, the gh they really possess a considerable portion of merit. Studley Park was written in praise of a beautiful spot, and perhaps with a hope of finding a patron in its possessor, in which, bowever, having failed, he did not retain the poem in his collection; but it is now before the public, and by no means diminishes the reputation he has gained.
He afterwards became an assistant at the free-school in Wakefield, where he soon acquired deacon's orders, and gained much popularity as a preacher. In 1759, he was engaged as a preceptor to the sons of R. Cracroft, Esq. of Hackthorn, Lincolnshire, and here he soon gave a proof of the liberality of his heart, by publishing a volume of poems for the benefit of a reduced gentleman in distress. In the preface to this volume he feelingly observes, “If any one, into whose hands this work shall fall, should be dissatisfied with his purchase, let him remember that it is published for the relief of a gentleman in distress; and that he has not thrown away five shillings in the purchase of a worthless book, but contributed so much to the assistance of indigent merit. I had rather have my readers feel that pleasure which arises from the sense of having done one
virtuous deed, than all they can enjoy from the works of poetry and wit."
Having a desire to take the degree of bachelor of divinity, he entered himself, in 1760, at Clare Hall, where he wrote the poenis on the accession and marriage of his present majesty, which are now published in the tale of “Solyman and Almena."
As, by the statutes of the university of Cambridge, a person may take his degrees without being compelled to become a resident, Mr. Langhorne was enabled to continue in the family of Mr. Cracroft, where, from a congeniality of sentiment, an attachment of the most tender nature originated between him and Miss Ann, the second daughter of that gentleman. This young lady was very accomplished, and, by her love for study, formed a striking contrast to the generality of modern females. She devoted much attention to the cultivation of the elegant arts, and, under the tuition of Mr. Langhorne, she became proficient in the Italian language. It also appears, that she peculiarly excelled in that delightful, that heavenly science, which
- can soften steel and stone,
And this being her favourite study, our readers will readily conceive the impression it must have made on a heart of far less sensibility than that of Mr. Langhorne; for justly has it been observed, that
“ The man who hath no music in his soul,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils."
The situation, however, in wliich this gentleman was placed can only be conceived, to its full extent, by those who have been in a similar predicament. Such can form a just idea of the feelings of our author, who, although possessed of all the facility of eloquence and gentlemanly manners which result from a liberal education and a mind of sensibility, although he found his heart overflowing with the sublimest sensation, yet it was long ere he could acquire sufficient resolution to make a declaration of his passion to her, who was the favourite daughter of his opulent employer. At length, however, he made known his feelings, and the result was a strong, though secret, attachment on the part of his pupil, who, from prudential motives and an apprehension, probably well founded, that the great disproportion of their circumstances would preclude the consent of her family to such a union, at first gave a direct refusal to his solicitations. Mr. Langhorne, however, by addressing to her some odes, elegies, and amatory expostulations, happily kept up the flame which he had elicited, and she remained
“Constant as courage to the brave in battle,
Constant as martyrs burning for their gods."
But the disappointment which he had experienced rendering his situation at Hackthorn insupportable, he, in 1761, removed to Dagenham, in Essex, where he officiated as a curate, and though, like most men of talents and genius, he was obliged to depend on his exertions for support, yet he devoted a considerable portion of time to cultivate the friendship of the Muses, who had already adopted him as their favoured pupil. In 1759, he wrote the “Death of Adonis, a Pastoral Elegy, from Bion*,” which, I think, though I have never observed it particularly noticed in any criticism on his works, is one of the most charming of his poetical compositions. For instance, what can be prettier than the frantic address of Venus to the already dead Adonis.
“ Yet stay, lov'd youth, a moment, cre we part,
It was my intention to contrast some passages of this Elegy with extracts from a very elegant prose translation of Bion, by Edward du Bois, Esq. published 11 1799, but the limits in which this memoir must be confined frustrates my in.
Let those dear lips by mine once more be prest,
The "Tears of Music,” in memory of Handel, he wrote in 1760; the "Hymn to Hope,” in 1761; and the “Viceroy and Visions of Fancy,” in 1762. It appears, that Lord Halifax, the lord lieutenant of Ireland, to whom the “Viceroy” was addressed, did not even thank the author for the compliment.
In the “Visions of Fancy," which is one of his most celebrated pieces, we perceive the state of his mind at that period; a state of love almost subdued by despair, yet relying for relief on hope. These elegies, particularly the first and third, are extremely elegant and harmonious.
In the same year he composed his “ Letters on Religious Retirement, Melancholy, and Enthusiasm ;” and “Solyman and Almena;” and having dedicated the former to Bishop Warburton, he soon gained the attention of that prelate. It was in consequence of the notice he received from him, that he wrote the “Letters supposed to have passed between Theodosius and Constantia," which are highly esteemed for the purity of their style and elegance of their doctrine.
Having, in the year 1764, obtained the appointment of curate and lecturer of St. John's, Clerkenwell, he removed to the metropolis, and shortly afterwards published two volumes of “Sermons," which, however, had enemies as well as admirers. The “ Tracts on Religious Philosophy" are likewise sound, elegant, and useful discourses, which strongly exhibit the pleasures arising from the practice of virtue, exclusive of the interposition of Divine will.
About this period he formed a connection with the proprietor of the Monthly Review, which continued, with little intermission, till his decease"; and those wbu can form an idea of the duties of such an engagement, when they are discharged with independence, will conceive that the doctor must have acquired by it many friends,