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of submissiveness. In commenting on a line “He now visited London more frequently of Pope, he hazarded a remark on Hogarth's than before. The circle of his friends, in the propensity to intermix the ludicrous with metropolis, comprehended all the members of attempts at the sublime. Hogarth revenge- Burke's and Johnson's Literary Club. With fully introduced Dr. Warton's works into one Johnson himself he was for a long time on in. of his satirical pieces, and vowed to bear him timate terms; but their friendship suffered a eternal enmity. Their mutual friends, how- breach which was never closed, in consequence ever, interfered, and the artist was pacified. of an argument, which took place between Dr. Warton, in the next edition, altered his them, during an evening spent at the house just animadversion on Hogarth into an ill- of Sir Joshua Reynolds. The concluding merited compliment.
words of their conversation are reported, by “By delaying to re-publish his Essay on one who was present, to have been these, Pope, he ultimately obtained a
Johnson said, 'Sir, I am not accustomed to be passionate hearing from the public for the contradicted.' Warton replied, “Better, .sir, work in its finished state. In the meantime, for yourself and your friends if you were : our he enriched it with additions digested from respect could not be increased, but our love the reading of half a lifetime. The author of might.'
The Pursuits of Literature' has pronounced “ In 1782 he was indebted to his friend, Dr. it a common-place book; and Richardson, the Lowth, Bishop of London, for a prebend of St. novelist, used to call it a literary gossip : but Paul's, and the living of Thorley, in Hertforda testimony in its favour, of more authority shire, whicli, after some arrangements, he than any individual opinion, will be found in exchanged for that of Wickham. His ecclethe popularity with which it continues to be siastical preferments came too late in life to read. It is very entertaining, and abounds place him in that state of leisure and indewith criticism of more research than Addi. pendence which might have enabled him to son's, of more amenity than Hurd's or War- devote his best years to literature, instead of burton's, and of more insinuating tact than the drudgery of a school. One great project, Johnson's. At the same time, while much which he announced, but never fulfilled, ingenuity and many truths are scattered over namely, 'A General History of Learning,' was, the Essay, it is impossible to admire it as an in all probability, prevented by the pressure entire theory, solid and consistent in all its of his daily occupations. In 1788, through parts. It is certainly setting out from un- the interest of Lord Shannon, he obtained a fortunate premises to begin his 'Remarks on prebend of Winchester ; and, through the Pope' with grouping Dryden and Addison in interest of Lord Malmsbury, was appointed to the same class of poets; and to form a scale the rectory of Euston, which he was afterfor estimating poetical genius, which would wards allowed to exchange for that of Upham. set Elijah Fenton in a higher sphere than In 1793 he resigned the fatigues of his masterButler. He places Pope, in the scale of our ship of Winchester; and having received, poets, next to Milton, and above Dryden; yet from the superintendents of the institution, a he applies to him the exact character which vote of well-earned thanks, for his long and Voltaire gives to the heartless Boileau—that meritorious services, he went to live at his of a writer, perhaps, incapable of the sub- rectory of Wickham. lime which elevates, or of the feeling which “During his retirement at that place, he affects the soul.' With all this, he tells us, was induced, by a liberal offer of the book. that our poetry and our language are ever- sellers, to superintend an edition of Pope. lastingly indebted to Pope : he attributes which he published in 1797. It was objected genuine tenderness to the Elegy on an Un- to this edition, that it contained only his fortunate Lady;' a strong degree of passion * Essay on Pope,' cut down into notes; his to the 'Epistle on Eloise ;' invention and biographer, however, repels the objection, by fancy to "The Rape of the Lock;' and a alleging that it contains a considerable portion picturesque conception to some parts of of new matter. In his zeal to present every- Windsor Forest,' which he pronounces thing that could be traced to the pen of Pope, worthy of the pencil of Rubens or Julio he introduced two pieces of indelicate humour, Romano. There is something like April * The Double Mistress,' and the second satire weather in these transitions.
of Horace. For the insertion of those pieces, “In May, 1766, he was advanced to the he received a censure in the Pursuits of head-mastership of Winchester School. In Literature,' which, considering his grey hairs consequence of this promotion, he once more and services in the literary world, was unbevisited Oxford, and proceeded to the degree coming, and which my individual partiality for of bachelor and doctor in divinity. After a Mr. Matthias makes me wish that I had not union of twenty years, he lost his first wife, to record. by whom he had six children ; but his family “As a critic, Dr. Warton is distinguished and his professional situation requiring a do- by his love of the fanciful and romantic. He mestic partner, he had been only a year a examined our poetry at a period when it ap. widower, when he married a Miss Nicholas, of peared to him that versified observations on Winchester.
familiar life and manners had usurped the
The school of the Wartons, considering them as poets, was rather too studiously prone to description. The doctor, like his brother, certainly so far realized his own ideas of inspiration, as to burthen his verse with few observations on life which oppress the mind by their solidity. To his brother he is ob. viously inferior in the graphic and romantic style of composition, at which he aimed; but in which, it must nevertheless be owned, that in some parts of his Ode to Fancy' he has been pleasingly successful. From the sub. joined specimens, the reader will probably be enabled to judge as favourably of his genius, as from the whole of his poems; for most of them are short and occasional, and (if I may venture to differ from the opinion of his amiable editor, Mr. Wooll), are by no means marked with originality. The only poem of any length, entitled : The Enthusiast,' was written at too early a period of his life, to be a fair object of criticism.”—Campbell's “Specimens,” pp. 663-7.
honours which were exclusively due to the bold and inventive powers of imagination. He conceived, also, that the charm of description in poetry was not sufficiently appreciated in his own day: not that the age could be said to be without descriptive writers; but because, as he apprehended, the tyranny of Pope's reputation had placed moral and didactic verse in too pre-eminent a light. He therefore strongly urged the principle, “that the most solid observations on life, expressed with the utmost . brevity and elegance, are morality, and not poetry. Without examining how far this principle applies exactly to the character of Pope, whom he himself owns not to have been without pathos and imagination, I think his proposition is so worded, as to be liable to lead to a most unsound distinction between morality and poetry. If by 'the most solid observations on life' are meant only those which relate to its prudential management and plain concerns, it is certainly true, that these cannot be made poetical, by the utmost brevity or elegance of expression. It is also true, that even the nobler tenets of morality are comparatively less interesting, in an insulated and didactic shape, than when they are blended with strong imitations of life, where passion, character, and situation bring them deeply home to our attention. Fiction is on this account so far the soul of poetry, that, without its aid as a vehicle, poetry can only give us morality in an abstract and (comparatively) uninteresting shape. But why does Fiction please us ? surely not because it is false, but becanse it seems to be true; because it spreads a wider field, and a more brilliant crowd of objects to our moral perceptions, than reality affords. Morality (in a high sense of the term, and not speaking of it as a dry science) is the essence of poetry. We lly from the injustice of this world to the poetical justice of Fiction, where our sense of right and wrong is either satisfied, where our sympathy, at least, reposes with less disappointment and distraction, than on the characters of life itself. Fiction, we may indeed be told, carries us into 'a world of gayer tinct and grace,' the laws of which are not to be judged by solid observations on the real world.
** But this is not the case, for moral truth is still the light of poetry, and fiction is only the refracting atmosphere which diffuses it; and the laws of moral truth are as essential to poetry, as those of physical truth (Anatomy and Optics, for instance), are to painting. Allegory, narration, and the drama make their last appeal to the ethics of the human heart. It is therefore unsafe to draw a marked distinction between morality and poetry; or to speak of 'solid observations on life' as of things in their nature unpoetical ; for we do meet in poetry with observations on life, which, for the charm of their solid truth, we should txchange with reluctance for the most in. genious touches of fancy.
THOMAS BLACKLOCK. “This amiable man deserves praise for his character and for his conduct under very peculiar circumstances, much more than for his poetry. He was born at Annan, where his father was a bricklayer, in 1721. When about six months old, he lost his eyesight by small-pox. His father used to read to him, especially poetry, and through the kindness of friends he acquired some knowledge of the Latin tongue. His father having been accidentally killed when Thomas was nineteen, it might have fared hard with him, but Dr. Stevenson, an eminent medical man in Edinburgh, who had seen some verses com
sed by the blind youth, took him to the capital, sent him to college to study divinity, and encouraged him to write and to publish poetry. His volume, to which was prefixed an account of the author, by Professor Spence of Oxford, attracted much attention. Blacklock was licensed to preach in 1759, and three years afterwards was married to a Miss John. stone of Dumfries, an exemplary but plainlooking lady, whose beauty her husband was wont to praise so warmly that his friends were thankful that his infirmity was never removed, and thought how justly Cupid had been painted blind. He was even, through the influence of the Earl of Selkirk, appointed to the parish of Kirkcudbright, but the parishion. ers opposed his induction on the plea of his want of sight, and, in consideration of a small annuity, he withdrew his claims. He finally settled down in Edinburgh, where he supported himself chiefly by keeping young gentlemen as boarders in his house. His chief amusements were poetry and music. His conduct to (1786) provost of the college, in the year 1781. He was also chaplain to the king, and rector of Farnham Royal, in Buckinghamshire. In 1771 he published, in three parts, ‘A Poetical Essay on the Attributes and Providence of the Deity. Two years afterwards, 'A Poetical Epistle to Christopher Anstey, on the English Poets, chiefly those who had written in blank verse;' and in 1774, his poem of Judah Restored,' a work of no common merit.” —Campbell's “Specimens,"
and correspondence with Burns are too well known to require to be noticed at length here. He published a paper of no small merit in the Encyclopædia Britannica' on Blindness, and is the author of a work entitled “Paraclesis ; or, Consolations of Religion,'—which surely none require more than the blind. He died of a nervous fever on the 7th of July, 1791, so far fortunate that he did not live to see the ruin of his immortal protégé.
“Blacklock was a most amiable, genial, and benevolent being. He was sometimes subject to melancholy-unlike many of the blind, and one especially, whom we name not, but who, still living, bears a striking resemblance to Blacklock in fineness of mind, warmth of heart, and high-toned piety, but who is cheerful as the day. As to his poetry, it is undoubtedly wonderful, considering the circumstances of its production, if not per se. Dr. Johnson says to Boswell, -'As Blacklock had the mis. fortune to be blind, we may be absolutely sure that the passages in his poems descriptive of visible objects are combinations of what he remembered of the works of other writers who could see. That foolish fellow Spence has laboured to explain philosophically how Black. lock may have done, by his own faculties, what it is impossible he should do. The solution, as I have given it, is plain. Suppose I know a man to be so lame that he is absolutely in. capable to move himself, and I find him in a different room from that in which I left him, shall I puzzle myself with idle conjectures that perhaps his nerves have, by some unknown change, all at once become effectivo ? No, sir ; it is clear how he got into a different room -he was CARRIED.'
“Perhaps there is a fallacy in this somewhat dogmatic statement. Perhaps the blind are not so utterly dark but they may have certain dim simulacra of external objects before their eyes and minds. Apart from this, however, Blacklock's poetry endures only from its connection with the author's misfortune, and from the fact that through the gloom he groped greatly to find and give the burning hand of the peasant poet the squeeze of a kindred spirit,-kindred, we mean, in feeling and heart, although very far removed in strength of intellect and genius.”—Gilfillan's “ Less-known British Poets,” vol. iii., pp. 279, 280. See Allibone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.” ; Beeton's "Dict. Univ. Biog."
“ Thomas Penrose, born 1743, died 1779. The history of Penrose displays a dash of warlike adventure, which has seldom enlivened the biography of our poets. He was not led to the profession of arms, like Gascoigne, by his poverty, or like Quarles, Davenant, and Waller, by political circumstances ; but, in a mere fit of juvenile ardour, gave up his studies at Oxford, where he was preparing to become a clergyman, and left the banners of the church for those of the battle. This was in the summer of 1762, when the unfor. tunate expedition against Buenos Ayres sailed under the command of Captain Macnamara. It consisted of three ships : the 'Lord Clive,' of 64 guns ; the Ambuscade,' of 40, on board of which Penrose acted as lieutenant of marines; the “Gloria,' of 38; and some inferior vessels. Preparatory to an attack on Buenos Ayres, it was deemed necessary to begin with the capture of Nova Colonia, and the ships approached closely to the fortress of that settlement. The men were in high spirits; military music sounded on board ; while the
uniforms and polished arms of the marines gave a splendid appearance to the scene. Penrose, the night before, had written and despatched to his mistress in England a poetical address, which evinced at once the affection and serenity of his heart, on the eve of danger. The gay preparative was followed by a heavy fire of ser ral hours, at the end of which, when the Spanish batteries were almost silenced, and our countrymen in immediate expectation of seeing the enemy strike his colours, the Lord Clive was found to be on fire; and the same moment which discovered the flames showed the impossibility of extinguishing them. A dreadful spectacle was then exhibited. Men who had the instant before assured themselves of wealth and conquest, were seen crowding to the sides of the ship, with the dreadful alternative of perishing by fire or water. The enemy's fire was redoubled at the sight of their calamity. Out of Macnamara's crew, of 340 men, only 78 were saved. Penrose escaped with his life on board the • Ambuscade, but received a wound in the action; and the subsequent hardships which
WILLIAM HAYWARD ROBERTS. “William Hayward Roberts, born 1745, died 1791. He was educated at Eton, and from thence was elected to King's College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of master of arts, and of doctor in divinity. From being an under master at Eton he finally rose to be
he underwent, in a prize-sloop, in which he was stationed, ruined the strength of his constitution. He returned to England; resumed his studies at Oxford; and having taken orders, accepted of the curacy of Newbury, in Berkshire, of which his father was the rector. He resided there for nine years, having married the lady already alluded to, whose name was Mary Slocock. A friend at last rescued him from this obscure situation, by presenting him with the rectory of Beckington and Standerwick, in Somersetshire, worth about £500 a year. But he came to his preferment too late to enjoy it. His health having never recovered from the shock of his American service, obliged him, as a last remedy, to try the hot wells at Bristol, at which place he expired, in his thirty-sixth year.”—Campbell's “Specimens,” p. 561.
light, airy, and pleasant, but his royal odes possess many faults. He wrote an · Apology' for his own life, which is very amusing, as it depicts many of his own foibles and peculiarities with considerable candour. — His son Theophilus followed, for a short time, the theatrical profession, and wrote a ballad opera called 'Pattie and Peggy. Born 1703, died on his passage to Ireland, 1758.”-Beeton's “Dict. Univ. Biog." See Allibone's “ Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.”
SIR JOHN HENRY MOORE. " Sir John Moore, Bart., born 1756, died 1780. This interesting and promising young man died of a decline in his twenty-fourth year.” —Campbell's “Specimens.”
RICHARD JAGO. “ Richard Jago, born 1715, died 1781, the author of "Edge-Hill,' a descriptive poem, was vicar of Snitterfield, near Stratford-onAvon. Shenstone, who knew him at Oxford, where Jago was a sizar, used to visit him privately, it being thought beneath the dig. nity of a commoner to be intimate with a student of that rank, and continued his friendship for him through life.” Campbell's “Specimens.”
JAMES BEATTIE. “James Beattie was born in 1735 in the parish of Lawrence Kirk, in Kincardineshire, Scotland. His father, who rented a small farm in Lawrence Kirk, died when the poet was only seven years old; but the loss of a protector was happily supplied to him by his elder brother, who kept him at school till he obtained a bursary at the Marischal College, Aberdeen. At that university he took the degree of master of arts; and, at nineteen, he entered on the study of divinity, supporting himself in the mean time by teaching a school in the neighbouring parish. Whilst he was in this obscure situation, some pieces of verse, which he transmitted to the Scottish Magazine, gained him a little local celebrity. Mr. Garden, an eminent Scottish lawyer, afterwards Lord Gardenstone, ‘and Lord Monboddo, encouraged him as an ingenious young man, and introduced him to the tables of the neighbouring gentry; an honour not usually extended to a parochial schoolmaster. In 1757, he stood candidate for the place of usher in the highschool of Aberdeen. He was foiled by a competitor who surpassed him in the minutiæ of Latin grammar; but his character as a scholar suffered so little by the disappointment, that at the next vacancy he was called to the place without a trial. He had not been long at this school, when, in 1761, he published a volume of Original Poems and Translations which it speaks much for the critical clemency of the times) were favourably received, and highly commended in the English Reviews. So little satisfied was the author himself with those early effusions, that, excepting four, which he admitted to a subsequent edition of his works, he was anxious to have them consigned to oblivion; and he destroyed every copy of the volume which he could procure. About the age of twenty-six, he obtained the chair of Moral Philosophy in the Marischal College of Aberdeen, a promotion which he must have owed to his general reputation in literature ; but it is singular, that the friend who first proposed to solicit the High Constable of Scotland to obtain this appointment, should have grounded the proposal on the merit of Beattie's poetry. In the volume already
COLLEY CIBBER. “Colley Cibber, born in London 1671, died 1757, an English poet and play-writer, the son of Gabriel Cibber, the sculptor, served in the army of the prince of Orange at the Revolution, and afterwards went on the stage ; but not attaining to eminence as an actor, turned his attention to dramatic writing. His first play was 'Love's Last Shift,' which was performed in 1695, and met with great applause ; after which he wrote a number of others. His best work is considered to be the Careless Husband,' performed in 1704 ; but the . Nonjuror' brought him the most fame and profit. George I., to whom it was dedicated, presented him with £200, and appointed him to the office of Poet-laureate. His comedies are
mentioned there can scarcely be said to be a kind of poem, but would have formed an budding promise of genius.
incongruous counterpart to the piece as it now “Upon his appointment to this professor- stands, which, as a picture of still life, and a ship, which he held for forty years, he imme- vehicle of contemplative morality, has a charm diately prepared a course of lectures for the that is inconsistent with the bold evolutions students; and gradually compiled materials of heroic narrative. After having portrayed for those prose works, on which his name his young enthusiast with such advantage in would rest with considerable reputation, if he a state of visionary quiet, it would have been were not known as a poet. It is true, that too violent a transition to have begun in a he is not a first-rate metaphysician ; and the new book to surround him with dates of time Scotch, in undervaluing his powers of abstract and names of places. The interest which we and close reasoning, have been disposed to attach to Edwin's character, would have been give him less credit than he deserves, as an lost in a more ambitions effort to make him elegant and amusing writer. But the English, a greater or more important, or a more locally who must be best able to judge of his style, defined being. It is the solitary growth of admire it for an ease, familiarity, and an his genius, and his isolated and mystic ab. Anglicism that is not to be found even in the straction from mankind, that fix our attention correct and polished diction of Blair,
on the romantic features of that genius. The mode of illustrating abstract questions is fan. simplicity of his fate does not divert us from ciful and interesting.
his mind to his circumstances. A more un“In 1765, he published a poem entitled worldly air is given to his character, that "The Judgment of Paris,' which his bio- instead of being tacked to the fate of kings, grapher, Sir William Forbes, did not think he was one Who envied not, who never fit to rank among his works.
thought of kings;' and that, instead of minobvious reasons Sir William excluded his gling with the troubles which deface the lines, written in the subsequent year, on the creation, he only existed to make his thoughts proposal for erecting a monument to Churchill the mirror of its beauty and magnificence. in Westminster Abbey-lines which have no Another English critic has blamed Edwin's beauty or dignity to redeem their bitter ex- vision of the fairies as too splendid and artipression of hatred. On particular subjects, ficial for a simple youth ; but there is nothing Beattie's virtuous indignation was apt to be in the situation ascribed to Edwin, as he lived hysterical. Dr. Reid and Dr. Campbell hated in minstrel days, that necessarily excluded the principles of David Hume as sincerely as such materials from his fancy. Had he the author of the Essay on Truth ; but they beheld steam-engines or dock-yards in his never betrayed more than philosophical hos- sleep, the vision might have been pronounced tility, while Beattie used to speak of the to be too artificial; but he might have heard propriety of excluding Hume from civil of fairies and their dances, and even of tapers, society.
gold, and gems, from the ballads of his native “His reception of Gray, when that poet country. In the second book of the poem visited Scotland in 1765, shows the enthu- there are some fine stanzas ; but he has taken siasm of his literary character in a finer light. Edwin out of the school of nature, and placed Gray's mind was not in poetry only, but in him in his own, that of moral philosophy; many other respects, peculiarly congenial and hence a degree of languor is experienced with his own; and nothing could exceed the by the reader. cordial and reverential welcome which Beattie “Soon after the publication of the 'Essay gave to his illustrious visitant. In 1770, he on Truth,' and of the first part of the Minpublished his . Essay on Truth,' which had a strel,' he paid his first visit to London. His rapid sale, and extensive popularity; and reception, in the highest literary and polite within a twelvemonth after, the first part of circles, was distinguished and flattering. his 'Minstrel.' The poem appeared at first The university of Oxford conferred on him anonymously; but its beauties were imme- the degree of doctor of laws, and the sovereign diately and justly appreciated. The second himself, besides honouring him with a perpart was not published till 1774. When Gray sonal conference, bestowed on him a pension criticised the Minstrel' he objected to its of £200 a year. author, that, after many stanzas, the de- “ On his return to Scotland, there was a scription went on and the narrative stopped. proposal for transferring him to the university Beattie very justly answered to this criticism, of Edinburgh, which he expressed his wish to that he meant the poem for description, not decline, from a fear of those personal enemies for incident. But he seems to have forgotten whom he had excited by his Essay on Truth. this proper apology, when he mentions in one This motive, if it was his real one, must have of his letters his intention of producing Edwin, been connected with that weakness and irritain some subsequent books, in the character of bility on polemical subjects which have been a warlike bard inspiring his countrymen to already alluded to. His metaphysical fame battle, and contributing to repel their in. perhaps stood higher in Aberdeen than in vaders. This intention, if he ever seriously Edinburgh ; but to have dreaded personal entertained it, might have produced some new , hostility in the capital of a religious country,