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High dames of honor once, that garnish'd
The Peeress comes. The audience stare
The bard with many an artful fib,
But soon his rhetoric forsook him,
A sudden fit of ague shook him;
Yet something he was heard to mutter,
“He once or twice had pennd a sonnet,
The ghostly prudes with hagged face
« Jesu-Maria ! Madam Bridget,
“Decorum 's turn'd'to mere civility,
Commend me to her affability;
Io 1753, several of his poems were splendidly published, with designs by Mr. Bently; and this year he lost his mother. In 1756, some young men of the college, whose chambers were near his, 'diverted themselves with disturbing him by frequent and troublesome noises. This insolence, having endured it awhile, he - represented to the governors of the college ; but finding his con..
plaint little regarded, he removed to Pembroke-hall. In 1757, he published « The Progress of Poetry,” and “ Thę Bard.” This year he had the offer of being appointed poet-laureat ; but he declined the office.
Two years after, he quitted Cambridge for some time, and took an apartment near the British Museum ; where he resided near three years, reading and transcribing. In 1765, he undertook a journey into Scotland. In 1768, without his own solicitation, or that of his friends, he was appointed regius professor of modern history in the university of Cambridge. He lived there three years after this promotion ; and died on the 31st of July,
The poems of Gray are few in number, but they possess a very high degree of merit. A complete edition of them, with me moirs of his life, including many of his letters, was published by his ingenious friend Mr. W. Mason, in four volymes, 8vo. in 1778.
The following character of Gray, was published soon after his death;
“ Perhaps he was the most learned man in Europe. He was equally acquainted with the elegant and profound parts of science, and that not superficially, but thoroughly. He knew every branch of history, both natural and civil; had read all the original historians of England, France, and Italy, and was a great antiquarian. Criticism, metaphysics, morals, politics, made a principal part of his study ; voyages and 'travels of all sorts were his favorite amusements; and he had a fine taste in painting, prints, architecture, and gardening. With such a fund of knowledge, his conversation must have been equally instructing and entertaining; but he was also a good man, a man of virtue and humanity. There is no character without some speck, some imperfection ; and I think the greatest defect in his, was an affectation in delicacy, or rather effeminancy, and a visible fastidiousness, or contempt and dişdain of his inferiors in science. He also had in some degree, that weakness which disgusted Voltaire so much with Mr. Congreve ; though he seemed to value others chiefly according to the progress they had made in knowledge, yet he could not bear to be consider
ed himself merely as a man of letters; and though without birth or fortune, or station, his desire was to be looked upon as a private, independant gentleman, who read for his amusement. Perhaps it may be said, whát signifies so much knowledge, when it prodcues so little? Is it worth taking so much pains to leave no memorial but a few poems ? But let it be considered, that Mr. Gray was, to others, at least innocently employed; to himself, certainly beneficially. His time passed agreeably; he was every day making some new acquisition in science ; his mind was enlarged, his heart softened, his virtue strengthened; the world and mankind were shewn to him without a mask; and he was taught to consider every thing as trifling, and unworthy of the attention of a wise map, except the pursuit of knowledge, and practice of virtue, in that state wherein God hath placed us.”
Some of the poems of Gray, have been treated with great critical arrogance and injustice by Dr. Johnson ; bnt they have been ably defended by several ingenious writers ; and Dr. Warton has remarked, that Pope himself has produced nothing equal to the bard of Gray. Perhaps one reason that induced Johnson to attack Gray's poems with so much severity was, that he had obtained great reputation, though he was a Cambridge man ; for such prejudices, however absurd, are known to have operated on the mind of Johnson.
Before we conclude, we shall here insert our author's “ Ode to Adversity.”
“ Daughter of Jove, relentless pow's,
“When first thy-sire to send on earth'.
Štern rüggeid nurse! thy rigid lore**, :
Scar'd at the frown terrific, fly
And leave us leisure to be good. ? 1. I O
“Wisdom in sable garb array'd,"
. is With justice to herself severe,..
.Pin And pity, dropping soft the sadly pleasing teat.
“Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head,
“ Thy form benign, oh goddess, wear,
What others are to feel, and know myself a man.” (.. . *** Authorities, Mason's Memoirs of the life and writings of Mr. Gray. Johnson's Lives of the poets te
TIE LITE OY
[A. D. 1711, to 1776.]
David Hume was born at Edinburgh on the 26th of April, 1711. He was descended from a good family, both on the father and mother's side. His father's family was a branch of the earl of Home's, or Hume's, and his ancestors had been proprietors of the estate, which his brother possessed, for several generations. His mother was daughter of sir David Falconer, president of the college of justice. His family however, was not rich ; and as he was a younger brother, his patrimony was very slender. His father, who was considered as a man of parts, died when he was an infant, leaving him, with an elder brother and sister, under the care of his mother, a woman of great merit, who though young and handsome, devoted herself entirely to the rearing and educa. ting of her children. He early discovered a strong passion for literature, and prosecuted his studies very successfully. He says himself, “ My studious disposition, my sobriety, and my industry, gave my family a notion, that the law was a proper profession for me ; but I found an unsurmountable aversion to every thing, but the pursuits of philosophy and general learning ; and while they fancied I was poring upon Voet and Vinnius, Cicero and Virgil were the authors which I was secretly devouring.
“My very slender fortune, however, being unsuitable to this plan of life, and my health being a little broken by my ardent application, I was tempted, or rather forced, to make a very feeble trial for entering into a more active scene of life. In 1734, I went to Bristol, with some recommendations to eminent mer. chants, but in a few months found that scene totally unsuitable to me."
He passed through his academical courses at the University of Edinburgh, and afterwards went over into France, with a view of prosecuting his studies in a country retirement, and he says, “ During my retreat in France, first at Rheims, but chiefly at La Fleche, in Anjou, I composed my « Treatise “ of Human Nature.” After passing three years very agreeably in that country, I came over • VOL. IV.