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honours which were exclusively due to the “The school of the Wartons, considering bold and inventive powers of imagination. them as poets, was rather too studiously prone He conceived, also, that the charm of descrip to description. The doctor, like his brother, tion in poetry was not sufficiently appreciated certainly so far realized his own ideas of inin his own day: not that the age could be spiration, as to burthen his verse with few said to be without descriptive writers; but observations on life which oppress the mind because, as he apprehended, the tyranny of by their solidity. To his brother he is ob. Pope's reputation had placed moral and di viously inferior in the graphic and romantic dactic verse in too pre-eminent a light. He style of composition, at which he aimed; but therefore strongly urged the principle, that in which, it must nevertheless be owned, that the most solid observations on life, expressed in some parts of his Ode to Fancy' he has with the utmost. brevity and elegance, are been pleasingly successful. From the sub. morality, and not poetry. Without examining joined specimens, the reader will probably be how far this principle applies exactly to the enabled to judge as favourably of his genius, character of Pope, whom he himself owns not as from the whole of his poems; for most of to have been without pathos and imagination, them are short and occasional, and (if I may I think his proposition is so worded, as to be venture to differ from the opinion of his liable to lead to a most unsound distinction amiable editor, Mr. Wooll), are by no means between morality and poetry. If by the marked with originality. The only poem of most solid observations on life' are meant any length, entitled "T) Enthusiast,' was only those which relate to its prudential written at too early a period of his life, to be management and plain concerns, it is certainly a fair object of criticism."-Campbell's “Spetrue, that these cannot be made poetical, by cimens," pp. 663-7. 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,
THOMAS BLACKLOCK. where passion, character, and situation bring them deeply home to our attention. Fiction is “This amiable man deserves praise for his on this account so far the soul of poetry, that, character and for his conduct under very without its aid as a vehicle, poetry can only peculiar circumstances, much more than for give us morality in an abstract and (compara his poetry. He was born at Annan, where tively) uninteresting shape. But why does his father was a bricklayer, in 1721. When Fiction please us ? surely not because it is about six months old, he lost his eyesight by false, but because it seems to be true; because small-pox. His father used to read to him, it spreads a wider field, and a more brilliant especially poetry, and through the kindness crowd of objects to our moral perceptions, of friends he acquired some knowledge of than reality affords. Morality in a high the Latin tongue. His father having been sense of the term, and not speaking of it as accidentally killed when Thomas was ninea dry science) is the essence of poetry. We teen, it might have fared hard with him, but fly from the injustice of this world to the Dr. Stevenson, an eminent medical man in poetical justice of Fiction, where our sense of Edinburgh, who had seen some verses comright and wrong is either satisfied, or where posed by the blind youth, took him to the our sympathy, at least, reposes with less capital, sent him to college to study divinity, disappointment and distraction, than on the and encouraged him to write and to publish characters of life itself. Fiction, we may in poetry. His volume, to which was prefixed deed be told, carries us into a world of gayer an account of the author, by Professor Spence tinct and grace,' the laws of which are not to be of Oxford, attracted much attention. Blackjudged by solid observations on the real world. lock was licensed to preach in 1759, and three
“But this is not the case, for moral truth years afterwards was married to a Miss Johnis still the light of poetry, and fiction is only stone of Dumfries, an exemplary but plainthe refracting atmosphere which diffuses it; looking lady, whose beauty her husband was and the laws of moral truth are as essential wont to praise so warmly that his friends to poetry, as those of physical truth (Anatomy were thankful that his infirmity was never and Optics, for instance), are to painting. removed, and thought how justly Cupid had Allegory, narration, and the drama make their been painted blind. He was even, through the last appeal to the ethics of the human heart. influence of the Earl of Selkirk, appointed to It is therefore unsafe to draw a marked dis the parish of Kirkcudbright, but the parishiontinction between morality and poetry; or to ers opposed his induction on the plea of his speak of solid observations on life as of want of sight, and, in consideration of a small things in their nature unpoetical; for we do annuity, he withdrew his claims. He finally meet in poetry with observations on life, which, settled down in Edinburgh, where he supported for the charm of their solid truth, we should himself chiefly by keeping young gentlemen as exchange with reluctance for the most in boarders in his house. His chief amusements genious touches of fancy.
were poetry and music. His conduct to (1786)
and correspondence with Burns are too well provost of the college, in the year 1781. He known to require to be noticed at length here. was also chaplain to the king, and rector of He published a paper of no small merit in the Farnham Royal, in Buckinghamshire. In * Encyclopædia Britannica' on Blindness, and 1771 he published, in three parts, 'A Poetiis the author of a work entitled “Paraclesis ; cal Essay on the Attributes and Providence or, Consolations of Religion,' --which surely of the Deity. Two years afterwards, 'A none require more than the blind. He died of Poetical Epistle to Christopher Anstey, on a nervous ferver on the 7th of July, 1791, so the English Poets, chiefly those who had far fortunate that he did not live to see the written in blank verse;' and in 1774, his ruin of his immortal protégé.
poem of Judah Restored,' & work of no “Blacklock was a most amiable, genial, and common merit." - Campbell's “Specimens," 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
THOMAS PENROSE. heart, and high-toned piety, but who is cheerful as the day. As to his poetry, it is undoubtedly "Thomas Penrose, born 1743, died 1779. wonderful, considering the circumstances of The history of Penrose displays a dash of its production, if not per se. Dr. Johnson warlike adventure, which has seldom ensays to Boswell, — As Blacklock had the mis livened the biography of our poets. He was fortune to be blind, we may be absolutely sure not led to the profession of arms, like Gasthat the passages in his poems descriptive of coigne, by his poverty, or like Quarles, Davevisible objects are combinations of what he nant, and Waller, by political circumstances ; remembered of the works of other writers who but, in a mere fit of juvenile ardour, gave up could see. That foolish fellow Spence has his studies at Oxford, where he was preparing laboured to explain philosophically how Black to become a clergyman, and left the banners lock may have done, by his own faculties, what of the church for those of the battle. This it is impossible he should do. The solution, was in the summer of 1762, when the unforas I have given it, is plain. Suppose I know tunate expedition against Buenos Ayres sailed a man to be so lame that he is absolutely in under the command of Captain Macnamara. capable to move himself, and I find him in a It consisted of three ships: the Lord Clive,' different room from that in which I left him, of 64 guns ; the 'Ambuscade,' of 40, on board shall I puzzle myself with idle conjectures that of which Penrose acted as lieutenant of maperhaps his nerves have, by some unknown rines; the Gloria,' of 38; and some inferior change, all at once become effective ? No, vessels. Preparatory to an attack on Buenos sir ; it is clear how he got into a different room Ayres, it was deemed necessary to begin with - he was CARRIED.'
the capture of Nova Colonia, and the ships "Perhaps there is a fallacy in this some approached closely to the fortress of that what dogmatic statement. Perhaps the blind settlement. The men were in high spirits; are not so utterly dark but they may have military music sounded on board; while the certain dim simulacra of external objects new uniforms and polished arms of the before their eyes and minds. Apart from this, marines gave a splendid appearance to the however, Blacklock's poetry endures only from scene. Penrose, the night before, had written its connection with the author's misfortune, and despatched to his mistress in England a and from the fact that through the gloom he poetical address, which evinced at once the groped greatly to find and give the burning affection and serenity of his heart, on the eve hand of the peasant poet the squeeze of a of danger. The gay preparative was followed kindred spirit,-kindred, we mean, in feeling by a heavy fire of several hours, at the end of and heart, although very far removed in which, when the Spanish batteries were almost strength of intellect and genius.”—Gilfillan's silenced, and our countrymen in immediate Less-known British Poets," vol. iii., pp. expectation of seeing the enemy strike his 279, 280. See Allibone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. colours, the Lord Clive was found to be on Lit."; Beeton's " Diet. Univ. Biog."
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, WILLIAM HAYWARD ROBERTS.
were seen crowding to the sides of the ship,
with the dreadful alternative of perishing by "William Hayward Roberts, born 1745, died fire or water. The enemy's fire was redoubled * 1791. He was educated at Eton, and from at the sight of their calamity. Out of Macthence was elected to King's College, Cam namura's crew, of 340 men, only 78 were bridge, where he took the degree of master of saved. Penrose escaped with his life on board arts, and of doctor in divinity. From being the · Ambuscade,' but received a wound in the an under master at Eton he finally rose to be action; and the subsequent hardships which
he underwent, in a prize-sloop, in which he light, airy, and pleasant, but his royal odes was stationed, ruined the strength of his con possess many faults. He wrote an Apology' stitution. He returned to England; resumed for his own life, which is very amusing, as it his studies at Oxford; and having taken depicts many of his own foibles and peculiariorders, accepted of the curacy of Newbury, in ties with considerable candour. - His son Berkshire, of which his father was the rector. Theophilus followed, for a short time, the He resided there for nine years, having married theatrical profession, and wrote a ballad opera the lady already alluded to, whose name was called 'Pattie and Peggy. Born 1703, died Mary Slocock. A friend at last rescued him on his passage to Ireland, 1758."--Beeton's from this obscure situation, by presenting him “Dict. Univ. Biog." See Allibone's “ Crit. with the rectory of Beckington and Stander Dict. Eng. Lit.” wick, 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,
JAMES BEATTIE. obliged him, as a last remedy, to try the hot wells at Bristol, at which place he expired, in “ James Beattie was born in 1735 in the his thirty-sixth year."-Campbell's “Spe-| parish of Lawrence Kirk, in Kincardinecimens," p. 561.
shire, 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 SIR JOHN HENRY MOORE.
school till he obtained a bursary at the * Sir John Moore, Bart., born 1756, died
Marischal College, Aberdeen. At that univer1780. This interesting and promising young
sity he took the degree of master of arts ; man died of a decline in his twenty-fourth
and, at nineteen, he entered on the study of year.”—Campbell's “Specimens.”
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 RICHARD JAGO.
eminent Scottish lawyer, afterwards Lord
Gardenstone, and Lord Monboddo, encouraged " Richard Jago, born 1715, died 1781, the
him as an ingenious young man, and introauthor of 'Edge-Hill,' a descriptive poem, duced him to the tables of the neighbouring was vicar of Snitterfield, near Stratford-on
gentry ; an honour not usually extended to a Avon. Shenstone, who knew him at Oxford, parochial schoolmaster. In 1757, he stood where Jago was a sizar, used to visit him candidate for the place of usher in the highprivately, it being thought beneath the dig school of Aberdeen. He was foiled by a comnity of a commoner to be intimate with a
petitor who surpassed him in the minutiæ of student of that rank, and continued his friend
Latin grammar; but his character as a scholar ship for him through life." Campbell's suffered so little by the disappointment, that “Specimens."
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 COLLEY CIBBER.
speaks much for the critical clemency of the
times) were favourably received, and highly “ Colley Cibber, born in London 1671, died commended in the English Reviews. So little 1757, an English poet and play-writer, the son satisfied was the author himself with those of Gabriel Cibber, the sculptor, served in the early effusions, that, excepting four, which he army of the prince of Orange at the Revolu admitted to a subsequent edition of his works, tion, and afterwards went on the stage ; but he was anxious to have them consigned to not attaining to eminence as an actor, turned oblivion; and he destroyed every copy of the his attention to dramatic writing. His first volume which he could procure. About the play was 'Love's Last Shift,' which was per age of twenty-six, he obtained the chair of formed in 1695, and met with great applause ; Moral Philosophy in the Marischal College of 1 after which he wrote a number of others. His Aberdeen, a promotion which he must have best work is considered to be the Careless owed to his general reputation in literature ; Husband,' performed in 1704 ; but the ' Non but it is singular, that the friend who first juror' brought him the most fame and profit. proposed to solicit the High Constable of George I., to whom it was dedicated, pre Scotland to obtain this appointment, should sented him with £200, and appointed him to have grounded the proposal on the merit of the office of Poet-laureate. His comedies are Beattie's poetry. In the volume already
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 ambitious 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. His 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. For more 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,
amidst thousands of individuals as pious as himself, was a weakness unbecoming the professed champion of truth. For reasons of delicacy, more creditable to his memory, he declined a living in the church of England which was offered to him by his friend Dr. Porteus.
“After this, there is not much incident in his life. He published a volume of his Essays in 1776, and another in 1783; and the outline of his academical lectures in 1790. In the same year, he edited, at Edinburgh, Addi. son's papers in 'The Spectator,' and wrote a preface for the edition. He was very unfortunate in his family. The mental disorder of his wife, for a long time before it assumed the shape of a decided derangement, broke out in caprices of temper, which disturbed his domestic peace, and almost precluded him from having visitors in his family. The loss of his son, James Hay Beattie, a young man of highly promising talents, who had been conjoined with him in his professorship, was the greatest though not the last calamity of his life. He made an attempt to revive his spirits after that melancholy event, by another journey to England, and some of his letters from thence bespeak a temporary composure and cheerfulness; but the wound was never healed. Even music, of which he had always been fond, ceased to be agrccable to him, from the lively recollections which it excited of the hours which he had been accustomed to spend in that recreation with his favourite boy. He published the poems of this youth, with a partial eulogy upon his genius, such as might be well excused from a father so situated. At the end of six years more, his other son, Montague Beattie, was also cut off in the flower of his youth. This misfortune crushed his spirits even to temporary alienation of mind. With his wife in a madhouse, his sons dead, and his own health broken, he might be pardoned for saying, as he looked on the corpse of his last child, 'I have done with this world.' Indeed he acted as if he felt so; for though he performed the duties of his professorship till within a short time of his death, he applied to no study, enjoyed no society, and answered but few letters of his friends. Yet, amidst the depth of his melancholy, he would sometimes acquiesce in his childless fate, and exclaim, “How could I have borne to see their elegant minds mangled with madness ?' He was struck with a palsy in 1799, by repeated attacks of which his life terminated in 1803.”—Campbell's “Speci. mens,” pp. 687-9. See Dr. Angus's "Handbook of Eng. Lit.” ; Allibone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit." ; Shaw's "Hist. Eng. Lit.”; Gilfillan's edit. of Beattie's Poeing."
CHRISTOPHER SMART. “We hear of Single-speech Hamilton.' We have now to say something of 'Singlepoem Smart,' the author of one of the grandest bursts of devotional and poetical feeling in the English language--the 'Song to David.' This poor unfortunate was born at Shipbourne, Kent, in 1722. His father was steward to Lord Barnard, who after his death continued his patronage to the son, who was then eleven years of age. The Duchess of Cleveland, through Lord Barnard's influence, bestowed on Christopher an allowance of £40 a-year. With this he went to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, in 1739 ; was in 1745 elected a Fellow of Pembroke, and in 1747 took his degree of M.A. At college, Smart began to display that reckless dissipation which led afterwards to such melancholy consequences. He studied hard, however, at intervals ; wrote poetry both in Latin and English; produced à comedy called a "Trip to Cambridge ; or, The Grateful Fair,' which was acted in the hall of Pembroke College ; and, in spite of his vices and follies, was popular on account of his agreeable manners and amiable dispositions. Having become acquainted with Newberry, the benevolent, red-nosed bookseller commemorated in The Vicar of Wakefield,'—for whom he wrote some trifles,-he married his step-daughter, Miss Carnan, in the year 1753. He now removed to London, and became an author to trade. He wrote a clever satire, entitled “The Hilliad,' against Sir John Hill, who had attacked him in an underhand manner. He translated the fables of Phædrus into verse, -Horace into prose (Smart's Horace' used to be a great favourite, under the rose, with schoolboys); made an indifferent version of the Psalms and Paraphrases, and a good one, at a former period, of Pope's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day,' with which that poet professed himself highly pleased. He was employed on a monthly publication called 'The Universal Visitor.' We find Johnson giving the following account of this matter in Boswell's Life:
-Old Gardner, the bookseller, employed Rolt and Smart to write a monthly miscellany called “The Universal Visitor.' There was a formal written contract. They were bound to write nothing else, -they were to have, I think, a third of the profits of the sixpenny pamphlet, and the contract was for ninety-nine years. I wrote for some months in The Universal Visitor' for poor Smart, while he was mad, not then knowing the terms on which he was engaged to write, and thinking I was doing him good. I hoped his wits would soon return to him. Mine returned to me, and I wrote in The Universal Visitor' no longer.
"Smart at last was called to pay the penalty of his blended labour and dissipation. In 1763 na was shut up in a madhouse. His derangement had exhibited itself in a religious