Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

parts, that no additions could be made without Ramsay in his Tea-Table Miscellany,' and, marring its simplicity or its pathos. Lady according to information obtained by Burns, Anne was daughter of James Lindsay, fifth was drowned in coming from France in the Earl of Balcarres ; she was born 8th December, year 1733. Crawford had genuine poetical 1750, married in 1793 to Sir Andrew Barnard, fancy and expression. The true muse of librarian to George III., and died, without native pastoral,' says Allan Cunningham, issue, on the 8th of May, 1825."-Chambers' * seeks not to adorn herself with unnatural “ Cyc. Eng. Lit.,” vol. ii. p. 127. See Alli ornaments; her spirit is in homely love and bone's “ Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.”

fireside joy; tender and simple, like the religion of the land, she utters nothing out of keeping with the character of her people, and the

aspect of the soil; and of this spirit and of MRS. COCKBURN AND MISS JANE

this feeling, Crawford is a large partaker.'”ELLIOT.

Chambers' “ Cyc. Eng. Lit.” vol. ii. p. 128. " Here we find two ladies amicably united

See Allibone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit." ir the composition of one of Scotland's finest songs, the Flowers of the Forest. Miss Jane Elliot of Minto, sister of Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, wrote the first and the finest of

SIR GILBERT ELLIOT. the two versions. Mrs. Cockburn, the author

"Sir Gilbert Elliot, author of what Sir of the second, was a remarkable person. Her

Walter Scott calls the beautiful pastoral maiden name was Alicia Rutherford, and she was the daughter of Mr. Rutherford of Fer.

song,' beginning nilee, in Selkirkshire. She married Mr.

• My sheep I neglected, I broke my sheep-hook,' Patrick Cockburn, a younger son of Adam was father of the first Earl of Minto, and was Cockburn of Ormiston, Lord Justice-Clerk of distinguished as a speaker in parliament. He Scotland. She became prominent in the

was, in 1763, treasurer of the navy, and afterliterary circles of Edinburgh, and an intimate

wards keeper of the signet in Scotland. He friend of David Hume, with whom she carried died in 1777. Mr. Tytler, of Woodhouselee, on a long and serious correspondence on

says, that Sir Gilbert Elliot, who had been religious subjects, in which it is understood

taught the German flute in France, was the the philosopher opened up his whole heart,

first who introduced that instrument into but which is unfortunately lost. Mrs. Cock

Scotland, about the year 1725.”—Chambers' burn, who was born in 1714, lived to 1794,

“ Cyc. Eng. Lit.," vol. ii. p. 129. See Alli. and saw and proclaimed the wonderful promise

bone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.” of Walter Scott. She wrote a great deal, but the Flowers of the Forest' is the only one of her effusions that has been published. A ludicrous story is told of her son, who was a dissipated youth, returning one night drunk,

ROBERT FERGUSSON. while a large party of savants was assembled “ This unfortunate Scottish bard was born in the house; and locking himself up in the

in Edinburgh on the 17th (some say the 5th) room in which their coats and hats were de.

of October, 1751. His father, who had been posited, nothing would rouse him; and the

an accountant to the British Linen Company's company had to depart in the best substitutes

Bank, died early, leaving a widow and four they could find for their ordinary habiliments,

children. Robert spent six years at the -Hume (characteristically) in a dreadnought, Monboddo in an old shabby hat, &c.—the

grammar schools of Edinburgh and Dundee,

went for a short period to Edinburgh College, echoes of the midnight Potterrow resounding

and then, having obtained a bursary, to St. to the laughter at their own odd figures. It

Andrews, where he continued till his seven. is believed that Mrs. Cockburn's song was teenth year. He was at first designed for the really occasioned by the bankruptcy of a

ministry of the Scottish Church. He distinnumber of gentlemen in Selkirkshire, although

guished himself at college for his mathemashe chose to throw the new matter of lamen

tical knowledge, and became a favourite of tation into the old mould of song.”—Gilfillan's

Dr. Wilkie, Professor of Natural Philosophy, “Less-known Brit. Poets,” vol. iii. See Alli

on whose death he wrote an elegy. He early bone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit."

discovered a passion for poetry, and collected materials for a tragedy on the subject of Sir William Wallace, which he never finished.

He once thought of studying medicine, but ROBERT CRAWFORD.

had neither patience nor funds for the needful “Robert Crawford, author of "The Bush preliminary studies. He went away to reside aboon Traquair, and the still finer lyric of | with a rich uncle, named John Forbes, in the * Tweedside,' was the brother of Colonel Craw. | north, near Aberdeen. This person, however, ford of Achinames. He assisted Allan and poor Fergusson unfortunately quarelled ;

tainly a youth of remarkable powers, although

pairts' rather than high genius seems to express his calibre. He can hardly be said to sing, and he never soars. His best poems, such as · The Farmer's Ingle,' are just lively daguerreotypes of the life he saw around him —there is nothing ideal or lofty in any of them. His Ingle-bleeze' burns low compared to that which in The Cottar's Saturday Night' springs up aloft to heaven, like the tongue of an altar-fire. He stuffs his poems, too, with Scotch to a degree which renders them too rich for even a Scotchman's taste, and as repulsive as a haggis to that of an Englishman. On the whole, Fergusson's best claim to fame arises from the influence he exerted on the far higher genius of Burns, who seems, strangely enough, to have preferred him to Allan Ramsay.”—Gilfillan's “Less-known Brit. Poets," vol. iii. pp. 206-8. See Allibone's “ Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.”

and after residing some months in his house, he left it in disgust, and with a few shillings in his pocket proceeded southwards. He travelled on foot, and such was the effect of his vexation and fatigue, that when he reached his mother's house he fell into a severe fit of illness.

“He became, on his recovery, a copying clerk in a solicitor's, and afterwards in a sheriff-clerk's office, and began to contribute to • Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine.' We re. member in boyhood reading some odd volumes of this production, the general matter in which was inconceivably poor, relieved only by Fergusson's racy little Scottish poems. His evenings were spent chiefly in the tavern, amidst the gay and dissipated youth of the metropolis, to whom he was the 'wit, songster, and mimic. That his convivial powers were extraordinary, is proved by the fact of one of his contemporaries, who survived to be a correspondent of Burns, doubting if even he equalled the fascination of Fergusson's converse. Dissipation gradually stole in upon him, in spite of resolutions dictated by remorse. In 1773, he collected his poems into a volume, which was warmly received, but brought him, it is believed, little pecuniary benefit. At last, under the pressure of poverty, toil, and intemperance, his reason gave way, and he was by a stratagem removed to an asylum. Here, when he found himself and became aware of his situation, he uttered a dismal shriek, and cast & wild and startled look around his cell. The history of his confinement was very similar to that of Nat Lee and Christopher Smart. For instance, a story is told of him which is an exact du. plicate of one recorded of Lee. He was writing by the light of the moon, when a thin cloud crossed its disc. “Jupiter, snuff the moon!' roared the impatient poet. The cloud thickened, and entirely darkened the light. “Thou stupid god!' he exclaimed, 'thou hast snuffed it out. By and by he became calmer, and had some affecting interviews with his mother and sister. A removal to his mother's house was even contemplated, but his constitution was exhausted, and on the 16th of October, 1774, poor Fergusson breathed his last. It is interesting to know that the New Testament was his favourite com. panion in his cell. A little after his death arrived a letter from an old friend, a Mr. Burnet, who had made a fortune in the East Indies, wishing him to come out to India, and enclosing a remittance of £100 to defray the expenses of the journey.

“Thus, in his twenty-fourth year, perished Robert Fergusson. He was buried in the Canongate churchyard, where Burns afterwards erected a monument to his memory, with an inscription which is familiar to most of our readers.

" Burns in one of his poems attributes to Fergusson 'glorious pairts. He was cer

EDWARD THOMPSON. “Edward Thompson, born 1738, died 1786, was a native of Hull, and went to sea so early in life as to be precluded from the advantages of a liberal education. At the age of nineteen, he acted as lieutenant on board the Jason, in the engagement off Ushant, between Hawke and Conflans. Coming to London, after the peace, he resided, for some time, in Kew-lane, where he wrote some light pieces for the stage, and some licentious poems, the titles of which need not be revived. At the breaking out of the American war, Garrick's interest obtained promotion for him in his own profession; and he was appointed to the command of the Hyæna frigate, and made his fortune by the single capture of a French East Indiaman. He was afterwards in Rodney's action off Cape St. Vincent, and brought home the tidings of the victory. His death was occasioned by a fever, which he caught on board the Grampus, while he commanded that vessel, off the coast of Africa. Though a dissolute man, he had the character of an able and humane commander. A few of his sea songs are entitled to remembrance."Campbell's “Specimens."

HENRY HEADLEY. “Henry Headley, born 1766, died 1788, whose uncommon talents were lost to the world at the age of twenty-two, was born a', Irstead, in Norfolk. He received his education at the grammar school of Norwich, under Dr. Parr; and at the age of sixteen was admitted a member of Trinity College, Oxford. There the example of Thomas Warton, the senior of his college, led him to explore the beauties of our elder poets. About the age of

twenty he published some pieces of verse, 1751, Lord Lyttelton, in concert with Dodsley, which exhibit no very remarkable promise ; projected the paper of the World, of which but his "Select Beauties of the Ancient it was agreed that Moore should enjoy the English Poets, which appeared in the follow. profits, whether the numbers were written by ing year, were accompanied with critical himself or by volunteer contributors. Lyttel. observations, that showed an unparalleled ton's interest soon enlisted many accomplished ripeness of mind for his years. On leaving coadjutors, such as Cambridge, Jenyns, Lord the university, after a residence of four years, Chesterfield, and H. Walpole. Moore himself he married, and retired to Matlock, in Derby. 1 wrote sixty-one of the papers. In the last shire. His matrimonial choice is said to number of the World'the conclusion is made have been hastily formed, amidst the anguish to depend on a fictitious incident which had of disappointment in a previous attachment. occasioned the death of the author. When the But short as his life was, he survived the lady papers were collected into volumes, Moore, who whom he married.

superintended the publication, realized this “ The symptoms of consumption having jocular fiction by his own death, whilst the last appeared in his constitution, he was advised number was in the press.” — Campbell's to try the benefit of a warmer climate ; and “ Specimens.” he took the resolution of repairing to Lisbon, unattended by a single friend. On landing at Lisbon, far from feeling any relief from the

THOMAS RUSSELL. climate, he found himself oppressed by its sultriness; and in this forlorn state, was on

“ Thomas Russell, born 1762, died 1788, the point of expiring, when Mr. De Vismes, to was the son of an attorney at Bridport, and whom he had received a letter of introduction

one of Joseph Warton's wonderful boys at from the late Mr. Windham conveyed him to

Winchester School. He became fellow of his healthful villa, near Cintra, allotted spa New College, Oxford, and died of consumption cious apartments for his use, procured for him

at Bristol Hot-Wells in his twenty-sixth the ablest medical assistance, and treated | year. him with every kindness and amusement that

“His poems were posthumous. The sonnet could console his sickly existence. But his on Philoctetes is very fine ; and of our young malady proved incurable; and, returning to writers, mature rather in genius than in England at the end of a few months, he years, Russell holds no humble place. Mr. expired at Norwich.”—Campbell's “Speci. Southey has numbered five, and Russell is mens.” See Allibone's “ Crit. Dict. Eng.

among them-Chatterton, Bruce, Russell, Bampfylde, and Kirke White."--Campbell's “ Specimens.”

Lit."

EDWARD MOORE.

EARL NUGENT. “Edward Moore, born 1712, died 1757, was the son of a dissenting clergyman at Abingdon, “Robert Craggs, afterwards created Lord in Berkshire, and was bred to the business of Nugent, was an Irishman, a younger son of a linendraper, which he pursued, however, Michael Nugent, by the daughter of Robert, both in London and Ireland, with so little Lord Trimlestown, and born in 1709. He success, that he embraced the literary life was, in 1741, elected M.P. for St. Mawes, in (according to his own account) more from Cornwall, and became, in 1747, comptroller to necessity than inclination. His ‘Fables' (in the Prince of Wales' household. He after. 1744) first brought him into notice. The wards made peace with the Court, and reRight Honourable Mr. Pelham was one of his ceived various promotions and marks of favour earliest friends; and his "Trial of Selim' besides the peerage. In 1739, he published gained him the friendship of Lord Lyttelton. anonymously & volume of poems possessing Of three works which he produced for the considerable merit. He was converted from stage, his two comedies, the Foundling' and | Popery, and wrote some vigorous verses on • Gil Blas,' were unsuccessful; but he was the occasion. Unfortunately, however, he fully indemnified by the profits and reputation relapsed, and again celebrated the event in a of the Gamester. Moore himself acknow very weak poem, entitled “Faith.' He died ledges that he owed to Garrick many popular in 1788. Although a man of decided talent, passages of his drama; and Davies, the as his ' Ode to Mankind' proves, Nugent does biographer of Garrick, ascribes to the great not stand very high either in the catalogue of actor the whole scene between Lewson and Irish patriots or of royal and noble authors.”Stukely, in the fourth act; but Davies's -Gilfillan's “Less-known Brit. Poets,” vol. authority is not oracular. About the year iü. p. 261. See Campbeli's “ Specimens.”

SIXTH PERIOD.

From 1727 to 1780.

All I was wretched by to you I owed ;
Alone from strangers every comfort flowed !

Lost to the life you gave, your son no more,
And now adopted, who was doomed before,
New born, I may a nobler mother claim,
But dare not whisper her immortal name;
Supremely lovely, and serenely great,
Majestic mother of a kneeling state ;
| Queen of people's heart, who ne'er before
Agreed-yet now with one consent adore !
One contest yet remains in this desire,
Who most shall give applause where all

admire. Richard Savage.Born 1698, Died. 1743.

840.-REMORSE. Is chance a guilt, that my disastrous

heart, For mischief never meant, must ever smart? Can self-defence be sin ? Ah, plead no more! What though no purposed malice stained thee

o'er? Had heaven befriended thy unhappy side, Thou hadst not been provoked-or thou hadst

died. Far be the guilt of homeshed blood from

all On whom, unsought, embroiling dangers fall! Still the pale dead revives, and lives to me, To me! through Pity's eye condemned to see. Remembrance veils his rage, but swells his

fate; Grieved I forgive, and am grown cool too

late. Young and unthoughtful then ; who knows,

one day, What ripening virtues might have made their

way! He might have lived till folly died in shame, Till kindling wisdom felt a thirst for fame. He might perhaps his country's friend have

proved; Both happy, generous, candid, and beloved ; He might have saved some worth, now doomed

to fall, And I, perchance, in him, have murdered all.

O fate of late repentance! always vain : Thy remedies but lull undying pain. Where shall my hope find rest? No mother's

care Shielded my infant innocence with prayer : No father's guardian hand my youth main.

tained, Called forth my virtues, or from vice re

strained; Is it not thine to snatch some powerful arm, First to advance, then screen from future

harm? Am I returned from death to live in pain ? Or would imperial pity save in vain ? Distrust it not. What blame can mercy find, Which gives at once a life, and rears a mind?

Mother, miscalled, farewell—of sonl severe, This sad reflexion yet may force one teor :

841.—THE WANDERER. Yon mansion, made by beaming tapers gay, Drowns the dim night, and counterfeits the

day; From lamined windows glancing on the eye, Around, athwart, the frisking shadows fly. There midnight riot spreads illusive joys, And fortune, health, and dearer time destroys. Soon death's dark agent to luxuriant ease Shall wake sharp warnings in some fierce

disease. o man! thy fabric 's like a well-formed

state; Thy thoughts, first ranked, were sure designed

the great ; Passions plebeians are, which faction raise ; Wine, like poured oil, excites the raging

blaze;

Then giddy anarchy's rude triumphs rise :
Then sovereign Reason from her empire flies :
That ruler once deposed, wisdom and wit,
To noise and folly place and power submit;
Like a frail bark thy weakened mind is tost,
Unsteered, unbalanced, till its wealth is lost.

The miser-spirit eyes the spendthrift heir,
And mourns, too late, effects of sordid care.
His treasures fly to cloy each fawning slave,
Yet grudge a stone to dignify his grave.
For this, low-thoughted craft his life em.

ployed ; For this, though wealthy, he no wealth

enjoyed;

These travellers meet.---Thy succours I

implore, Eternal king! whose potent arm sustains The keys of hell and death.---The Grave

dread thing! Men shiver when thou’rt named: Nature,

appall'd, Shakes off her wonted firmness:--Ah! how

dark

For this, he griped the poor, and alms

denied, Unfriended lived, and unlamented died. Yet smile, grieved shade! when that unpro

sperous store Fast lessens, when gay hours return no

more; Smile at thy heir, beholding, in his fall, Men once obliged, like him, ungrateful all: Then thought-inspiring woe his heart shall

mend, And prove his only wise, unflattering friend.

Folly exhibits thus unmanly sport, While plotting mischief keeps reserved her

court. Lo! from that mount, in blasting sulphur

broke, Stream flames voluminous, enwrapped with

smoke! In chariot-shape they whirl up yonder tower, Lean on its brow, and like destruction lower ! From the black depth a fiery legion springs ; Each bold bad spectre claps her sounding

wings: Aud straight beneath a summoned, traitorous

band, On horror bent, in dark convention stand : From each fiend's mouth a ' ruddy vapour

flows, Glides through the roof, and o'er the council

glows: The villains, close beneath the infection pent, Feel, all possessed, their rising galls ferment; And burn with faction, hate, and vengeful

ire, For rapine, blood, and devastation dire ! But justice marks their ways : she waves in

air The sword, high-threatening, like a comet's

glare. While here dark villany herself deceives, There studious honesty our view relieves. A feeble taper from yon lonesome room, Scattering thin rays, just glimmers through

the gloom. There sits the sapient bard in museful mood, And glows impassioned for his country's

good! All the bright spirits of the just combined, Inform, refine, and prompt his towering

mind!
Richard Savage.-Born 1698, Died 1743.

Thy long-extended realms, and rueful wastes ! Where nought but silence reigns, and night,

dark night, Dark as was chaos, ere the infant sun Was roll’d together, or had tried his beams Athwart the gloom profound.——The sickly

taper, By glimm'ring through thy low-brow'd misty

vaults (Furr'd round with mouldy damps, and ropy

slime), Lets fall a supernumerary horror, And only serves to make thy night more

irksome. Well do I know thee by thy trusty yew, Cheerless, unsocial plant! that loves to dwell 'Midst skulls and coffins, epitaphs and

worms: Where light-heel'd ghosts, and visionary

shades, Beneath the wan cold moon (as fame reports) Embodied, thick, perform their mystic rounds. No other merriment, dull tree, is thine.

See yonder hallow'd fane ;--the pious work Of names once famed, now dubious or forgot, And buried ”midst the wreck of things which

were ; There lie interr'd the more illustrious dead. The wind is up: hark! how it howls ! Me

thinks Till now I never heard a sound so dreary : Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's

foul bird, Rook'd in the spire, screams loud : the gloomy

aisles Black plaster'd, and hung round with shreds

of 'scutcheons And tatter'd coats of arms, send back the

sound Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults, The mansions of the dead.- Roused from

their slumbers, In grim array the grisly spectres rise, Grin horrible, and, obstinately sullen, Pass and repass, hush'd as the foot of Night. Again the screech-owl shrieks : ungracious

sound ! I'll hear no more; it makes one's blood run

chill. Quite round the pile, a row of reverend

elms (Coeval near with that) all ragged show, Long lash'd by the rude winds. Some rift

half down Their branchless trunks; others so thin a-top, That scarce two crows could lodge in the

same tree.

842.- THE GRAVE. Whilst some affect the sun, and some the

shade, Some flee the city, some the hermitage ; Their aims as various, as the roads they take In journeying through life ;—the task be

mine To paint the gloomy horrors of the tomb; Th' appointed place of rendezvous, whera all

« AnteriorContinuar »