« PreviousContinue »
66 Leave me my
243 Singular Wager.-A young Entertaining Miscellany, you will, woman had laid a wager she by inserting them, oblige would descend into a vault, in the
Yours, &c. middle of the night, and bring Holt.
J. W. from thence a skull. . The
SONNET who took the wager had previously
To Miss B-ks on her singing. hid himself in the vault, and as
'Tis said, and I believe the tale, the girl seized a skull, cried, in That music's powers o'er all prevail
That harmony a spell can give, a hollow voice, “ Leave me my To bid each finer feeling live! head !" "There it is,” said the. « Tis said that e'en the darkest soul girl throwing it down, and catch-Will bend beneath its soft controul ing up another.
That it rouse the slumb'ring head !" said the same voice!
breast “Nay, nay,” said the heroic lass, Then charm it into tranquil rest.
And who, that ever lent an ear “ you cannot have had two heads:"
To tones like those thy lips have so brought the skull, and won the
Tho' lost to all that made life dear,
By fate, from friends, and kindred Quin being one day in a coffee- driven house, saw a young beau enter, But would awhile forget his pain, in an elegant negligée dress, In listening to so sweet a strain!
J. W. quite languid with the heat of the day. “ Waiter,” said the cox
A Reflection on the Sea. comb, in an affected faint voice,
See how, beneath the moonlight'u. Waiter, fetch me dish of
smile, coffee, weak as water, and cool
Yon little wave heaves its breast, as a zephyr !” Quin, in a voice Foams and sparkles for awhile, of thunder, immediately vocife- And, murmuring, then retires to rest; rated, “Waiter, bring me a dish of Thus man, the sport of bliss and care,
Rises on life's eventful sea, coffee, as hot as h-11, and strong
And having swell’d a moment there, as d-n.” The ) : start
Thus glides into eternity. ing, exclaimed, “ Pray, waiter, Sherringham, 1824. J. W. what is that gentleman's name?” Quin, in the same tremendous
A Reflection on the Moon. tone, exclaimed, “Waiter, pray
How oft the cloud, with its black veil, what is that lady's name ?”
Darkens yon bashful light,
Which seems so secretly to steal
Along the waste of night!
'Tis to the world's obtrusive wrong, To the Editor of the Oxford Enter- Eclipsed with envy keen, taining Miscellany.
Some fearful heart, which only longe SIR, If you think the in
To live and die unseen. closed worthy of a place in your Sherringham, 1894. J. W.
Yet I neither see, nor smell, taste, nor Thou hast thy beauties! sterner ores,
hear. I own
Both male and female, I am you'll alThan those of thy precursors: yet
And yet I am neither, nor neither ses Belong the charms of solemn majesty know; And naked grandeur. Awful is the Never sad, yet I mourn ; never glad, I tone
rejoice; of thy tempestuous nights, when My lips, tho' they move, yet I still clouds are blown
have no voice; By hurrying winds across the trou. I never was born; no, nor ever shall bled sky;
die; Pensive, when softer breezes faint- Kind gentlefolks, tell if you pleasely sigh
what am I? Through leasless boughs, with ivy over-grown.
In marble walls as white as milk, Thou hast thy decorations, too; al- Lin’d with a skin as soft as silk; though
Within a fountain, chrystal clear, 'Thou art austere; thy studded man- | A golden apple does appear : tle, gay,
No doors there are to this strong hold, With icy brilliants, which as proudly Yet thieves' break in, and steal the glow
gold! As erst Golconda's; and thy
pure årray Of regal ermine, when the drifted snow
To the Editor of the Oxford EnterEnvelope's rature; till her features
-Please to insert the Like pale, but lovely ones, seen following Epitaph in your Miswhen we dream.
cellany, and you will oblige
Yours, &c. J. W. Enigmas.
Stay, basty traveller, who'er you be,
Tell if you can what is become of me; To the Editor of the Oxford Enter- Conscious of guilt, my soul as taining Miscellany.
afaid SIR, -I should be glad to see Fled from that body which now here the following Enigmas in your
is laid. Entertaining Miscellany,
Thoughtful in life-make it your
chiefest careYours, &c. T. G.
What you must be, as well as what I'm something, I'm nothing ! That's strange, you will say;
Death makes the stoutest hearts and And yet I'm every thing—How's that
hands to yield, I pray?
Cease to dispute, and tamely quit the In every thing false, in ev'ry thing true;
And, when approaching, makes all liv. As old as Adam, and yet quite new:
ing fear A nose, eye, and tongue, I can shew, To be they know not what, they know that is clear
Richard Porson, was born DeSelect Biography. cember 25, 1759, at East Ruston,
in the county of Norfolk, a pic“No part of History is more in- turesque hamlet, distant but one structive and delightful than the Lives mile from the borders of the Gerof great and worthy Men.”
His father, Mr. BURNETT. Huggin Porson, was parish-clerk
of this humble village, and from
him Richard was first initiated PROFESSOR PORSON, M.A.
in his letters. Until the age of GREEK PROFESSOR, CAMBRIDGE.
fifteen he was placed at a school The union of a powerful natu- under the care of a Mr. Summers, ral genius, with acquirements where he gave such ci vincing zealously and arduously obtained, proofs of his rising talents, as exproduced the very eminent cha-cited the utmost astonishment. racter whose name stands as the His clearness and extraordinary subject of this memoir. Possessed acuteness in the art of arithmetic of a genius powerful in judgment were most remarkable, and ke and in its operations developing was so skilful in the exercise of an acuteness, clearness, and par- his pen, that no competitors could ticularly in the most difficult trials surpass him in the beauty and of critical skill--a depth of thought elegance of his characters. Aided unequalled and sovereign in its by a powerful and retentive me. majesty of power. “ In Greek," mory, he was equally successful says one of his biographers, “we in mastering the first difficulties have no hesitation in pronouncing attendant upon a research in the him the very first; not merely of lower ranks of classical learning, his own age but of every other.” at this tender age, and enjoyed It suggests a somewhat interest- the proud honours of bearing off ing inquiry when we consider all the Latin, mathematical, and that to birth or fortune Porson Grecian prizes, cum multis aliis. owes nothing. That a mere strip- The period was now arrived ling, without example, without when he must quit his native spot, bias, unaided by the influence of and enter upon a wider and more any literary authority or exertion dangerous field of enterprize. should so early throw himself into Porson's disposition was of a rothe mazes of speculative sophis-mantic and somewhat daring natries and controversies, and give ture; and, unfortunately, in after up his soul to the dry and labori- life, their impressions too freous pursuits of ancient literature, quently betrayed him into loose, seems most incompatible with irregular and voluptuous habits the usual habits of mankind. it was natural, therefore, that a
youth of fifteen, sanguine, hope- had made him an honour to the ful and aspiring, should view the society in which he had entered ; prospect before him with no small and in 1785, he took his degree interest of heart and calculation, of Master of Arts. According to How happily has one of our emi- the statutes of the College, he was nent poets anticipated his frame obliged either to enter into holy of mind at this period in the fol- orders, or to surrender his fellowlowing lines :
ship, but long before the period “As yet he was a stranger to all arrived when these statutes would strife,
operate, he had resolved to resign Save that which nature makes, and his fellowship, from some scruples that to him
respecting subscription to the Was the soul's harmony, the spirit's thirty-nine articles. His fellow
ship accordingly ceased in 1791 ; The prospect of the world was distant -dim,
but, in 1793, he was chosen Greek And yet he deem'd it bright; but Professor, by a unanimous vote of that wild whim,
the seven electors. The distinc, Which in young hearts doth bear the tion of this appointment was gratename of Hope,
ful to him; and it was his first Filled up his cup of error to the design to give an annual course
brim : He panted for the world, --and down
of lectures, but from this he apthe slope
pears to have been diverted by Tow'rds it he fain would bound like various circumstances. the antelopes.”
In the mean time he became a Through the kind liberality and frequent contributer to some liteinterest of Mr. Morris, of Grosve- rary journals, and in all his essays nor-square, Porson was placed at displayed a critical acumen, a Eton ; and there he made so rapid plenitude of knowledge, and a an advancement in the various force of reasoning and wit, which branches of learning as to ensure are rarely found in one him a character, the fame of which Before he had been known 'many reached Cambridge long before years to the public by these occaany steps were taken for his en- sional effusions, Porson was unitrance to one of the Colleges. versally acknowledged to be the
In 1777, he was entered at first Greek scholer of his time. Trinity College, and here his com- He wished to have edited Æschybined talents and vast power of lus, but did not meet with that intellect, his rapid rise and pro- encouragement which he had fangress, astonished the minds of the ticipated : he edited, however, a most competent judges. In 1781, few Greek plays, and assisted in he was elected Fellow of the Col- a London edition of Heyne's Virlege, as his great endowments gil and the Grenville - Horaer,
More he was expected to have honourable and esteemed sense of done, and more he might have done, that appellation. with surpassing talent; but Por
When the London Institution son neglected his great endow- was established, Professor Porson ments, and suffered coarse, un.
was selected to fill the office of amiable, and loathsome habits to principal librarian. He did hocloud the bright meridian of his nour to his office, although he glory. He was careless and in- derived little from it. It was, different of himself, and disregard- however, ample provision for a ed the grand precept
man in whose eyes money had so Principis est virtus maxima nosse suos."
little value. He died of an asth
matic disorder at his rooms in the He wanted regularity of conduct ; Institution, September 25, 1808, what he did was by fits and starts, in the forty-ninth year of his age. on which no dependance could His remains were interred in the be placed. But these are errors, anti-chapel of Trinity College, alas ! too commonly attached to where an elegant monument is great minds. Yet they are stains
erected to his memory. which are soon forgotten and for
Of his relations, the only surgiven. Their characters are de
viver is a sister, a most amiable veloped in their works, and if
and accomplished woman, the there they offend—they offend wife of Siday Hawes, Esq. of beyond restitution; but if the
Colteshall, Norfolk. ascetic influence of their passions involve them in practical impunities, only, then the dart rebounds
AUTOMATON CHESS PLAYER. and wounds but the soul of the
The construction of machines, capaauthor.
ble of imitating even the mechanical Porson's manuscript notes on actions of the human body, shews exvarious classical authors, now quisite skill; but what shall we say in the library of Trinity College) of one, capable not only of imitating of which a volume has been pub-actions of this kind, but of acting as lished, are the most valuable of external circumstances require, as
though it was endowed with life and his works, and are sufficient to
reason! This, nevertheless, has been raise the highest esteem for his done. M. de Kempelen, a gentleman talents, and regret that he profited of Presburg, in Hungary, has conso little by them; for Porson's structed an Androidos, capable of acuteness, his solidity of judg- playing at chess! Every one, who is
in the least acquainted with this game, ment, his intense application, and
must know, that it is so far from being stupendous memory, made him, mechanically performed, as to require what the world seldom sees, a
a greater exertion of the judgment complete critic, in the most and rational faculties than is sufficient