« PreviousContinue »
soundness of his principles secured him the love and esteem of those, who were first attracted by his talents and his powers of entertainment. Nor was it in the University only that his merits were known. Some persons of high distinction and character in the world had become acquainted with him, and had spoken of him in terms of approbation as decided as his warmest friends could have used. Having taken orders, he was appointed by the University one of the select preachers at St. Mary's and in this capacity, he delivered some discourses upon the duties of young men, which were so excellent and judicious, and were given with so much effect, as to produce a sensible impression upon the students.
It was about the beginning of 1815 that he undertook a work, which, had he lived to accomplish it, would have rendered one of the most signal services to the cause of classical literature in this country. This was a Greek and English Lexicon, the plan of which was well considered and matured, and was sanctioned by the patronage of the University; a patronage that was offered in a style of appropriate liberality, testifying the opinion entertained of his qualifications for so arduous and important a work. It is, I believe, the prevailing opinion of those who have considered the subject, that a knowledge of the Greek language might be acquired more easily, as well as more accurately, if it were learned immediately from the English, without the intervention of Latin. Certainly such a work as that alluded to would have materially facilitated the perusal of those Greek authors, who abound in words upon which the ordinary Lexicons are silent or afford unsatisfactory information, and who at present require a quantity of labour and research which few, except those who make scholarship their profession, choose to undergo. The method adopted by Mr. Blomfield was admirably calculated to satisfy every wish upon this subject; and his printed specimen of the work met with the approbation of all by whom it was seen. He embarked in the undertaking upon a system so well formed and efficient, that notwithstanding the toilsome nature of the task, the most favourable result was confidently anticipated. Not only all the previous Lexicons, but all the best Indexes of the Greek authors were uniformly consulted; and under each
word, the senses which it bore in different ages, and in different authors, were distinctly noticed, with references and quotations wherever they appeared desirable. The sound description of his scholarship, led all persons to regard this undertaking with satisfaction and with confidence.
The progress of the Lexicon shortly experienced an interruption from another undertaking, tending to promote the same objects; a Translation of the Greek and German Grammar of Matthiæ: with this work Mr. Blomfield had become acquainted while in Germany, and being struck with its great superiority to all the Grammars which he had seen, he conceived the idea of introducing it to the knowledge of his countrymen. The obligation which he has hereby conferred upon English scholars, to whom the original work was inaccessible, is generally felt and acknowledged.
This work, which he left unpublished, has since been edited by his brother, with such improvements in point of index and references as were agreeable to the views of the translator. It was destined that this should be the only fruit which the world was to receive from the literary attainments of Mr. Edward Blomfield. He was now in the full bloom of reputation; there was scarcely a young man in the country, the promise of whose talents and character was more highly estimated; and he had the most flattering prospects of rising to worldly eminence; when his career was suddenly arrested by the hand of death. He had been passing the summer of 1816 in Switzerland, in company with an amiable young Nobleman, his pupil: at the end of September, as he was hastening back to Cambridge, where he was nominated Proctor for the ensuing year, he incurred too much fatigue from travelling; and on his landing at Dover, after a long passage, having been the whole night on deck, he felt the attacks of illness, but without any apprehension of its serious nature: becoming now more anxious to reach his friends, he proceeded, though in a state of fever, to Cambridge: here the fatal malady rapidly gained ground upon his constitution, and after a few days illness, he was removed to another state of existence.
The anguish which this event caused to his numerous friends, it would be difficult to describe; those only can
conceive it who know how sincerely he was esteemed and beloved by all who had enjoyed the happiness of his acquaintance. His mortal remains were interred in the chapel of Emmanuel College, where the tears shed over his untimely grave, by a large, assemblage of friends, testified in a remarkable degree how truly he was beloved, and how deeply he was regretted. A marble tablet in the cloister of that college commemorates him by the following inscription:
In vicino Sacello conditus
EDVARDUS VALENTINUS BLOMFIELD, A. M.
Bonarum Artium ac Litterarum Disciplina
Alebant atque ornabant,
Summa autem vitæ innocentia
Equabili morum suavitate conjuncta
Fato sibi non immaturo,
Suis acerbissimo ereptus
Obiit vi1 Id. Octob.
A. D. MDCCCXVI. Etatis XXIX.
The leading features of Mr. Edward Blomfield's character may be described to have been a clear and discriminating judgment, a strict and undeviating attention to principle, and a constant habit of regarding the great objects of human conduct. Although his brilliant endowments were such, as would have enabled him to take the lead in whatever station his lot of life had been cast, and although he possessed from nature a high and manly spirit, yet his demeanour was unpretending and modest; and his opinion of himself was far below that which was universally entertained respecting him. He enjoyed society, in which his conversation was often lively and playful; his
powers of wit and humour were of no ordinary cast, but they were never exerted in a way which gave pain or uneasiness to others. His attachments were both warm and steady; and to this particular it is undoubtedly owing, that his loss was so acutely lamented, and that his memory still continues to be affectionately cherished by his surviving friends.
Such w was the young man whose brief and promising career I have attempted to describe. It will not, I hope, be deemed superfluous to have thus recorded the merits and the virtues of one whose early fate prevented his being more generally known to the world. Had his life been spared, he would, according to all probability, have been considered a great character; but a more amiable or more deserving one, he could not possibly have been. Though an untimely grave has deprived society of his virtues and his excellences, yet to secure them from oblivion is an office due to the memory of a lamented friend, and it is due likewise to those, who may hereby learn that an unsullied and meritorious career, while it aspires to higher and imperishable rewards, will not fail to secure within its own sphere the posthumous meed of fame.
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS. Ricardi Porsoni Note in Aristophanem, quibus Plutum Comadiam partim ex ejusdem recensione partim e manuscriptis emendatam et variis lectionibus instructam, præmisit, et collationum appendicem adjecit Petrus Paulus Dobree, A. M. Collegi SS. Trinitatis Socius. Cantabrigiæ, 1820. We must defer our account of this volume to the next number, as also of Mr. Kidd's learned and enlarged edition of Dawes's Miscellanea Critica, the notes to which, the student will find a great mass of curious philological information.
Mr. Briggs, who is well known to scholars, by the emendations of Theocritus which are subjoined to Mr. Gaisford's edition of that poet, has just published the Greek Bucolic Poets at our University press. We hope to give some account
of this work in our next number.
A Third Edition of Professor Monk's Hippolytus of Euripides appeared at the beginning of the present year.
Dr. Blomfield is about to print a second edition of the Agamemnon, and an Abridgment of Matthiae's Greek Grammar, for the use of the younger students in Greek. The Choephori will be put to press shortly.
Professor Gaisford has published a complete collection of the Scholia on Hesiod and Theocritus, forming the 3d and 4th volumes of his edition of the Poeta Minores Græci. His Stobæus is in the press.
EURIPIDIS BACCHE in usum studiosa juventutis recensuit Petrus Elmsley, A. M. Oxon. 1821. Of this work we had prepared an account for the present number, but have been prevented from inserting it by want of room. It has not diminished any thing of the high reputation of the Editor, although it has not perhaps added greatly to it. We have reason to believe that he is now employed upon Sophocles.
VOL. II. NO. 7.