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Præteritis fruitur, lætos aut sumit honores
Quid faciam? Tenebrisne pigram damnare senectam
Of this picture of himself, drawn (according to Murphy) with as much truth and as firm a hand, as can be seen in the portraits of Hogarth or Sir Joshua Reynolds, a translation by that gentleman is here . subjoined.
(After revising and enlarging his English Dictionary.)
• When Scaliger, whole years of labour past,
had cause, great Genius, to repent:
To learn whate'er the Sage with virtue fraught,
Yet warn'd by me, ye pigmy wits, beware,
My task perform'd, and all my labours o'er, For me what lot has Fortune now in store? The listless will succeeds, that worst disease, The rack of indolence, the sluggish ease. Care grows on care, and o'er my aching brain Black Melancholy pours her morbid train. No kind relief, no lenitive at hand, I seek at midnight clubs the social band; But midnight clubs, where wit with noise conspires, Where Comus revels and where wine inspires, Delight no more: I seek my lonely bed, And call on Sleep to sooth my languid head. But Sleep from these sad lids flies far away; I mourn all night, and dread the coming day. Exhausted, tired, I throw my eyes around, To find some vacant spot on classic ground; And soon-vain hope! I form a grand design: Languor succeeds, and all my powers decline.
If Science open not her richest vein,
• Whate'er I plan, I feel my powers confined
• What then remains ? Must I, in slow decline, To mute inglorious ease old age resign; Or, bold ambition kindling in my breast, Attempt some arduous task? Or were it best, Brooding o'er Lexicons to pass the day, And in that labour drudge my life away?'
SIR WILLIAM JONES was the only son of William Jones, Esq. F.R.S., an eminent mathematician, of the isle of Anglesey, who had the pride of numbering among his intimate friends Newton and Halley, and died in 1749, leaving by Mary (the youngest daughter of George Nix, citizen of London) two children ; Mary, subsequently married to Mr. Rainsford, a merchant; and William, the subject of this memoir, born in London September 28, 1746.
As Mr. Jones did not long survive his son's birth, the care of his education devolved upon his mother, a woman of uncommon energy,and extraordinary talents for instruction;t and she did him justice. Rejecting the severity of discipline, and leading his mind insensibly
* AUTHORITY. Lord Teignmouth's Life of Sir W. Jones. + As a proof of her resemblance to her son, both in her capacity of acquiring knowledge and the benevolence with which she applied it to use, it may be recorded, that being intrusted with the care of a nephew designed for the sea, she made herself perfect in trigonometry and the theory of navigation, with a view of instructing him in those branches of his destined profession.
to exertion, she constantly endeavoured to excite his curiosity, and to direct it to useful objects. To his incessant importunities for information on casual topics, which she watchfully stimulated, she always replied, “ Read, and you will know ;” a maxim, to the observance of which he invariably acknowledged himself indebted for his subsequent attainments. Her success was adequate to her efforts. In his fourth year, her pupil was able to read distinctly and rapidly ány English book. She particularly attended to the cultivation of his memory, by making him repeat some of the popular speeches in Shakspeare, and the best of Gay's Fables. An accident, which about this time injured one of his eyes, gave some check to his progress : but his appetite for books increased ; and before he was five years of age, he was so much struck by the sublimity of the description of the Angel in the tenth chapter of the Apocalypse, as ever afterward to remember it with emotions of rapture.
At Michaelmas 1753, he was sent to HarrowSchool, then under the care of Dr. Thackeray, where at first he was remarked for industry rather than for talent. Two years afterward, in consequence of the fracture of his thigh-bone, he was detained at home for twelve months. This period he passed not in indolence, but in familiarising himself with the translations of Pope and Dryden, and in endeavouring to imitate them. Yet it operated to his disadvantage on his return to school, unjustly creating prejudices against his application or his capacity; which emulation, however, speedily excited him to overcome, Such, indeed, was his integrity and his manly courage that, neither disgusted nor depressed by this unjust usage, he quickly rose through his extraordinary exer