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Having studied awhile under his master, he to require an elaborate criticism. “Grongar became, as he tells his friend, an itinerant Hill" is the happiest of his productions: it is painter, and wandered about South Wales, and not indeed very accurately written; but the the parts adjacent; but he mingled poetry with scenes which it displays are so pleasing, the painting, and, about 1727, printed' “Grongar images which they raise are so welcome to the Hill” in Lewis's Miscellany.
mind, and the reflections of the writer so consoBeing, probably, unsatisfied with his own pro- nant to the general sense or experience of manficiency, he, like other painters, travelled to Italy; kind, that when it is once read, it will be read and coming back in 1740, published “The Ruins again. of Rome."
The idea of " The Ruins of Rome" strikes If his poem was written soon after his return, more, but pleases less, and the title raises greater he did not make much use of his acquisitions in expectation than the performance gratifies. Some painting, whatever they might be: for decline passages however, are conceived with the mind of health and love of study determined him to of a poet; as when, in the neighbourhood of the church. He therefore entered into orders; dilapidating edifices, he says, and, it seems, married about the same time, a
--The pilgrim oft
At dead of night, 'mid his orizons, hears
Rattling around, loud thundering to the moon. ters living.
Of “The Fleece,” which never became po His ecclesiastical provision was for a long pular, and is now universally neglected, I can time but slender. His first patron, Mr. Harper, say little that is likely to recall it to attention, gave him, in 1741, Calthorp, in Leicestershire, The woolcomber and the poet appear to me of eighty pounds a year, on which he lived ten such discordant natures, that an attempt to years, and then exchanged it for Belchford, in bring them together is to couple the serpent with Lincolnshire, of seventy-five. His condition the fowl. When Dyer, whose mind was not now began to mend. In 1751, Sir John Heath, unpoetical, has done his utmost, by interesting cote gave him Coningsby, of one hundred and his reader in our native commodity, by interforty pounds a year; and in 1755, the Chancel spersing rural imagery and incidental digreslor added Kirkby, of one hundred and ten. He sions, by clothing small images in great words, complains that the repair of the house at Co- and by all the writer's arts of delusion, the ningsby, and other expenses, took away the profit. meanness naturally adhering, and the irreveIn 1757, he published “ The Fleece,” his great-rence habitually annexed to trade and manufacest poctical work, of which I will not suppress ature, sink him under insuperable oppression ;. ludicrous story. Dodsley, the bookseller, was and the disgust which blank verse, encumbering one day mentioning it to a critical visiter, with and encumbered, superadds to an unpleasing more expectation of success than the other could subject, soon repels the reader, however willing easily admit. In the conversation the Author's to be pleased. age was asked, and being represented as ad- Let me however honestly report whatever vanced in life, “ He will,” said the critic, “be may counterbalance this weight of censure. I buried in woollen."
have been told that Akenside, who, upon He did not indeed long survive that publica- poetical question, has a right to be heard, said, tion, nor long enjoy the increase of his prefer- " That he would regulate his opinion of the ments; for in 1758 * he died.
reigning taste by the fate of Dyer's 'Fleece;' Dyer is not a poet of bulk or dignity sufficient for, if that were ill-received, he should not
think it any longer reasonable to expect fame July 24th.-C.
WILLIAM SHEnstone, the son of Thomas | poem of “ The School-Mistress” has delivered Shenstone and Anne Pen, was born in Novem- to posterity; and soon received such delight ber, 1714, at the Leasowes in Hales-Owen, one from books, that he was always calling for fresh of those insulated districts which, in the division entertainment, and expected that, when any of of the kingdom, was appended, for some reason the family went to market, a new book should not now discoverable, to a distant county; and be brought him, which, when it came, was in which, though surrounded by Warwicksbire and fondness carried to bed and laid by him. It is Worcestershire, belongs to Shropshire, though said, that when his request had been neglected, perhaps thirty miles distant froin any other part his mother wrapt up a piece of wood of the same of it.
form, and pacified him for the night. He learned to read of an old dam- whom his As he grew older he went for a while to the Grammar School, in Hales-Owen, and was like all other modes of felicity, it was not enplaced afterwards with Mr. Crumpton, an emi- joyed without its abatements. Lyttelton was nent schoolmaster, at Solihul, where he dis- his neighbour and his rival, whose empire, spatinguished himself by the quickness of his pro- cious and opulent, looked with disdain on the gress.
petty state that appeared behind it. For a while When he was young (June, 1724) he was de- the inhabitants of Hagley affected to tell their prived of his father, and soon after (August, acquaintance of the little fellow that was trying 1726) of his grandfather, and was, with his to make himself admired; but when by degrees brother, who died afterwards unmarried, left to the Leasowes forced themselves into notice, they the care of his grandmother, who managed the took care to defeat the curiosity which they could estate.
not suppress, by conducting their visitants perFrom school he was sent in 1732 to Pembroke versely to inconvenient points of view, and introCollege, in Oxford, a society which for half a ducing them at the wrong end of a walk to century has been eminent for English Poetry detect a deception; injuries of which Shenstone and elegant literature. Here it appears that he would heavily complain. Where there is emufound delight and advantage; for he continued lation there will be vanity; and where there is his name in the book ten years, though he took vanity there will be folly.* no degree. After the first four years, he put on The pleasure of Shenstone was all in his eye; the civilian's gown, but without showing any he valued what he valued merely for its looks: intention to engage in the profession.
nothing raised his indignation more than to ask About the time when he went to Oxford, the if there were any fishes in his water. death of his grandmother devolved his affairs to His house was mean, and he did not improve the care of the Reverend Mr. Dolman, of Brome, it; his care was of his grounds. When he in Staffordshire, whose attention he always men- came home from his walks he might find his tioned with gratitude.
floors flooded by a shower through the broken At Oxford he employed himself upon English roof; but could spare no money for its repapoetry; and in 1737 published a small miscel ration. lany without his name.
In time his expenses brought clamours about He then for a time wandered about, to ac- him, that overpowered the lamb's bleat and the quaint himself with life, and was sometimes at linnet's song; and his groves were haunted by London, sometimes at Bath, or any other place beings very different from fawns and fairies.t of public resort ; but he did not forget his poetry. He spent his estate in adorning it, and his He published in 1741 his “Judgment of Her- death was probably hastened by his anxieties. cules," addressed to Mr. Lyttelton, whose in- He was a lamp that spent its oil in blazing. It terest he supported with great warmth at an is said, that, if he had lived a little longer, he election : this was next year followed by “The would have been assisted by a pension : such School-Mistress."
bounty could not have been ever more properly Mr. Dolinan, to whose care he was indebted bestowed; but that it was ever asked is not for his ease and leisure, died in 1745, and the certain ; it is too certain that it never was encare of his own fortune now fell upon him. He joyed. tried to escape it a while, and lived at his house He died at the Leasowes, of a putrid ferer, with his tenants who were distantly related : about five on Friday morning, February 11, 1763 but finding that imperfect possession inconve- and was buried by the side of his brother in the nient he took the whole estate into his own churchyard of Hales-Owen. hands, more to the improvement of its beauty, He was never married, though he might hare than the increase of its produce.
obtained the lady, whoever she was, to whom his Now was excited his delight in rural plea- “Pastoral Ballad” was addressed. He is represures and his ambition of rural elegance : he sented by his friend Dodsley as a man of great began from this time to point his prospects, to tenderness and generosity, kind to all that were diversify his surface, to entangle his walks, and to wind his waters; which he did with such * This charge against the Lyttelton family has beca judgment and such fancy, as made his little do- denied with some degree of warmth by Mr. Potter, and main the envy of the great, and the admiration the case, I believe, was, that the Lyttelton family went of the skilful; a place to be visited by travellers, so frequently with their family to the Leas wes, that they and copied by designers. Whether to plant a were unwilling to break in ujion Mr. Shensione'a retirewalk in undulating curves, and to place a benchment on every occasion, and therefore often rent to the
principal points of view without waiting for any one to at every turn where there is an object to catch conduct them regularly through the whole walks. the view; to make water run where it will be this Mr. Shenstone would sometimes peevishly com. heard, and to stagnate where it will be seen; to plain; though, I ain persuaded, he never really suspected leave intervals where the eye will be pleased, anillo natured intention in his worthy and mueb-salued and to thicken the plantation where there is | Mr. Graves, howerer, expresses his belief tl at this something to be hidden; demand any great is a groundless surmise. Mr. Shenstone,” he alban powers of mind, I will not inquire : perhaps a
"was too much respected in the neighbourhood to 16
treated with rudeness; and though his works, (fruzaily surly and sullen spectator may think such per- as they were managed,) added to his manner of living formances rather the sport than the business of must necessarily have made him exceed his ine me, and human reason. But it must be at least confessed, of course, he might sometimes be distressed for money, that to embellish the form of Nature is an innoyet he had too much epirit to expose himself to ir su cent amusement; and some praise must be tress, by anticipating a few hundreds: which his estate
from trilling sums, and guarded against any great dis. allowed, by the most supercilious observer, to could very well bear, as appeared by what remained to him who does best what such multitudes are his executors after the payment of his debes, as d lis
legacies to his friends, and annuities of thirty pounds a contending to do well.
six pounds to another : for his This praise was the praise of Shepstone; but, I will was dictateıl with equal justice and generosity." -
year to one servant,
within his influenco; but if once offended, not. But the four parts of his “Pastoral Ballad ” easily appeased: inattentive to economy, and demand particular notice. I cannot but regret careless of his expenses. In his person he was that it is pastoral; an intelligent reader, acquaintlarger than the middle size, with something clum-ed with the scenes of real life, sickens at the sy in his form; very negligent of his clothes, and mention of the crook, the pipe, the sheep, and the remarkable for wearing his gray hair in a particu- kids, which it is not necessary to bring forward to lar manner; for he held that the fashion was no notice, for the poet's art is selection, and he ought rule of dress, and that every man was to suit his to show the beauties without the grossness of the appearance to his natural form. *
country life. His stanza seems to have been His mind was not very comprehensive, nor his chosen in imitation of Rowe's “Despairing Shepo curiosity active; he had no value for those parts herd.” of knowledge which he had not himself culti- In the first part are two passages, to which if vated.
any mind deníes its sympathy, it has no acquaintHis life was unstained by any crime; the Ele- ance with love or nature. sy on Jesse, which has been supposed to relate an I priz'd every hour that went by, unfortunate and criminal amour of his own, was Beyond all that had plea3'd me before ; known by his friends to have been suggested by
But now they are past, and I sigh,
And I grieve that I priz'd them no more. the story of Miss Godfrey, in Richardson's “Pamela."
When forc'd the fair nymph to forego,
What anguish I felt in my heart? What Gray thought of his character, from the Yet I thought (but it might not be so) perusal of his letters, was this :
'Twas with pain that she saw me depart. “I have read too an octavo volume of Shen- She gaz'd, as I slowly withdrew, stone's Letters. Poor man! he was always
My path I could hardly discern ;
So sweetly she bade me adieu, wishing for money, for fame, and other distinc
I thought that she bade me return. tions; and his whole philosophy consisted in living against his will in retirement, and in a place though it be not equal to the former:
In the second this passage has its prettiness, which his taste had adorned, but which he only enjoyed when people of note came to see and
I have found out a gift for my fair ;
I have found where the wood-pigeons breed; commend it; his correspondence is about nothing But let me that plunder forbear, else but this place and his own writings, with two She will say 'twas a barbarous deed : or three neighbouring clergymen, who wrote For he ne'er could be true, she averr'd, verses too."
Who could rob a poor bird of its young; His poems consist of elegies, odes, and ballads,
And I lov'd her the more when I heard
Such tenderness fall from her tongue. humorous sallies, and moral pieces. His conception of an elegy he has in his pre- amorous poetry with some address:
In the third he mentions the common-places of face very judiciously and discriminately explained. It is, according to his account, the effusion
'Tis his with mock-passions to glow!
"Tig his in smooth tales to unfold, of a contemplative mind, sometimes plaintive, How her face is as bright as the snow, and always serious, and therefore superior to the And her bosom, be sure, is as cold; glitter of slight ornaments. His compositions How the nightingales labour the strain, suit not ill to this description. His topics of praise With the notes of this charmer to vie are the domestic virtues, and his thoughts are
How they vary their accents in vain, pure and simple; but, wanting combination, they
Repine at her triumphs, and die. want variety. The peace of solitude, the inno
In the fourth I find nothing better than this nacence of inactivity, and the unenvied security of tural strain of Hope :an humble station, can fill but a few pages.
Alas! from the day that we met, That of which the essence is uniformity will be
What hope of an end to my woes,
When I cannot endure to forget soon described. His elegies have therefore too
The glance that undid my repose ? much resemblance of each other.
Yet Time may diminish the pain : The lines are sometimes such as elegy requires, The flow'r, and the shrub, and the tree, sinovih and easy; but to this praise his claim is Which I rear'd for her pleasure in vain, not constant; his diction is often harsh, improper,
In time may have comfort for me. and affected; his words ill-coined, or ill-chosen; His Levities are by their title exempted from and his phrase unskilfully inverted.
the severities of criticism; yet it may be remarkThe lyric poems are almost all of the light and ed in a few words, that his humour is sometimes airy kind, such as trip lightly and nimbly along, gross, and seldom sprightly. without the load of any weighty meaning. From of the moral poems, the first is “ The Choice these, however, Rural Elegance has some right to of Hercules," from Xenophon. The numbers be excepted. I once heard it praised by a very are smooth, the diction elegant, and the thoughts learned lady; and though the lines are irregular, just ; but something of vigour is still to be wishand the thoughts diffused with too much verbosi-ed, which it might have had by brevity and comly, yet it cannot be denied to contain both philo- pression. His “Fate of Delicacy” has an air sophical argument and poetical spirit.
of gayety, but not a very pointed and general of the rest I cannot think any excellent: “The moral. His blank verses, those that can read Sisyiark” plcases me best, which has, however, them may probably find to be like the blank more of the epigram than of the ode.
verses of his neighbours. “Love and Honour"
is derived from the old ballad, “Did you not hear “These,” says Mr. Graves, “ were not precisely of a Spanish Lady ?”—I wish it well enough to his sentiments, though he thought right enough, that wish it were in rhyme. every one should, in some degree, consult his particular
“The School-Mistress," of which I know not shape and complexion in adjusting his dress and that what claim it has to stand among the moral no fashion onglil to sancufy what was ungraceful, ab. our, or mally deformed."
works, is surely the most pleasant of Shenstone's performances. The adoption of a particular The general recommendation of Shenstone is style, in light and short compositions, contributes easiness and simplicity; his general defect is much to the increase of pleasure ; we are enter- want of comprehension and variety. Had his tained at once with two imitations, of nature in mind been better stored with knowiedge, whethe sentiments, of the original author in the style; ther he could have been great, I know not; he and between them the mind is kept in perpetual I could certainly have been agreeable. employment
The following life was written, at my request, / upon breach upon us, and has now carried away by a gentleman who had better information than the head of this body with a stroke; so that he, I could easily have obtained ; and the public whom you saw a week ago distributing the boly will perhaps wish that I had solicited and ob- mysteries, is now laid in the dust. But he still tained more such favours from him.*
lives in the many excellent directions he has left
us, both how to live and how to die." “Dear Sir,
The Dean placed his son upon the foundation “In consequence of our different conversations at Winchester College, where he had himself about authentic materials for the life of Young, been educated. At this school Edward Young I send you the following detail.
remained till the election after his eighteenth “Of great men, something must always be birthday, the period at which those upon the said to gratify curiosity. Of the illustrious Au- foundation are superannuated. Whether he did thor of ihe “Night Thoughts” much has been not betray his abilities early in life, or bis mas. told of which there never could have been proofs; ters had not skill enough to discover in their and little care appears to have been taken to tell pupil any marks of genius for which he merited that, of which proofs, with little trouble, might reward, or no vacancy at Oxford offered them have been procured.”
an opportunity to bestow upon him the reward
provided for merit by William of Wykehain; EDWARD Young was born at Upham, near certain it is, that to an Oxford fellowship our Winchester, in June, 1681. He was the son of Poet did not succeed. By chance, or by choice, Edward Young, at that time fellow of Winches- New College cannot claim the honour of numter College and rector of Upham; who was the bering among its fellows him who wrote the son of Jo. Young, of Woodhay, in Berkshire, “Night Thoughts.” styled by Wood, gentleman. In September, On the 13th of October, 1703, he was entered 1632, the Poet's father was collated to the pre- an independent member of New College, that bend of Gillingham Minor, in the church of Sa- he might live at little expense in the warden's rum, by Bishop Ward. When Ward's faculties lodgings, who was a particular friend of his were impaired through age, his duties were father's, till he should be qualified to stand for a necessarily performed by others. We learn from fellowship at All Souls. In a few months the Wood, that at a visitation of Sprat's, July the warden of New College died. He then removed 12th, 1636, the prebendary preached a Latin to Corpus College. The president of this society, sermon, afterwards published, with which the from regard also for his father, invited him thibishop was so pleased, that he told the chapter ther, in order to lessen his academical expenses. he was concerned to find the preacher had one in 1709, he was nominated to a law-fellowship of the worst prebends in their church. Some at All Souls by Archbishop Tenison, into whose time after this, in consequence of his merit and hands it came by devolution. Such repeated reputation, or of the interest of Lord Bradford, patronage, while it justifies Burnet's praise of to whom, in 1702, he dedicated two volumes of the father, reflects credit on the conduct of the sermons, he was appointed chaplain to King son: the manner in which it was exerted seeins William and Queen Mary, and preferred to the to prove that the father did not leave behind deanery of Sarum. Jacob, who wrote in 1720, much wealth. says, "he was chaplain and clerk of the closet to On the 23d of April, 1714, Young took his the late queen, who honoured him by standing degree of bachelor of civil laws, and his doctor's godmother to the Poet.” His fellowship of degree on the 10th of June, 1719. Winchester he resigned in favour of a gentle- Soon after he went to Oxford, he discovered, man of the name of Harris, who married his it is said, an inclination for pupils. Whether he only daughter. The Dean died at Sarum, after ever commenced tutor is not known. None has a short illness, in 1705, in the sixty-third year hitherto boasted to have received his aradeof his age.
On the Sunday after his deceasemical instruction from the author of the " Night Bishop Burnet preached at the cathedral, and Thoughts.". began his sermon with saying, "Death has been It is probable that his College was proud : of late walking round us, and making breach him no less as a scholar than as a poet ; for, in
1716, when the foundation of the Codrington * See Gent. Mag. vol. Ixx. p. 27.--N. Library was laid, two years after he had takea YOUNG. mis bachelor's degree, Young was appointed to We shall soon see that one of his earliest prospeak the Latin oration. This is at least parti- ductions was more serious than what comes cular for being dedicated in English “To the from the gencrality of unfledged poets. Ladies of the Codrington Family.”. To these Young perhaps ascribed the good fortune o! ladies he says, that "he was unavoidably flung Addison to the “Poem to his Majesty,” preinto a singularity, by being obliged to write an sented, with a copy of verses, to Somers; and epistle dedicatory void of common-place, and hoped that he also might soar to wealth and such a one was never published before by any honour on wings of the same kind. His first author whatever ; that this practice absolved poetical flight was when Queen Anne called up them from any obligation of reading what was to the House of Lords the sons of the Earls of presented to them; and that the bookseller ap- Northampton and Aylesbury, and added, in one proved of it, because it would make people stare, day, ten others to the number of peers. In order was absurd enough, and perfectly right.” to reconcile the people to one, at least, of the
Of this oration there is no appearance in his new lords, he published, in 1712, "An Epistle own edition of his works; and prefixed to an to the Right Honourable George Lord Lansedition by Curll and Tonson, 1741, is a letter downe.” In this composition the Poet pours from Young to Curll, if we may credit Curll, out his panegyric with the extravagance of a dated December the 9th, 1739, wherein he says, young man, who thinks his present stock of that he has not leisure to review what he for- wealth will never be exhausted. merly wrote, and adds, "I have not the 'Epistle The poem seems intended also to reconcile the to Lord Lansdowne. If you will take my advice, public to the late peace. This is endeavoured to I would have you omit that, and the Oration on be done by showing that men are slain in war, Codrington. I think the collection will sell bet- and that in peace“ harvests wave, and Comter without them."
merce swells her sail.” If this be humanity, There are who relate, that, when first Young for which he meant it, is it politics ? Another found himself independent, and his own master purpose of this Epistle appears to have been, to at All Souls, he was not the ornament to reli- prepare the public for the reception of some tra gion and morality which he afterwards became. gedy he might have in hand. His Lordship's
The authority of his father, indeed, had ceased, patronage, he says, will not let him “ repent his some time before, by his death; and Young was passion for the stage;" and the particular praise certainly not ashamed to be patronised by the bestowed on “Othello” and “Oroonoko" looks infamous Wharton. But Wharton befriended as if some such character as Zanga was even in Young, perhaps, the poet, and particularly then in contemplation. The affectionate menthe tragedian. If virtuous authors must be pa- tion of the death of his friend Harrison, of New tronised only by virtuous peers, who shall point College, at the close of this poem, is an instance them out ?
of Young's art, which displayed itself so wonYet Pope is said by Ruffhead to have told derfully some time afterwards in the “Night Warburton, that “Young had much of a sub- Thoughts,” of making the public a party in his lime genius, though without common sense; so private sorrow. that his genius, having no guide, was perpetually Should justice call upon you to censure this liable to degenerate into bombast. This made poem, it ought at least to be remembered that him pass a foolish youth, the sport of peers and he did not insert it in his works; and that in poets; but his having a very good heart enabled the letter to Curll, as we have seen, he advises him to support the clerical character, when he its omission. The booksellers, in the late body assumed it, first with decency, and afterwards of English Poetry, should have distinguished with honour."
what was deliberately rejected by the respective They who think ill of Young's morality in authors. This I shall be careful to do with the early part of his life, may perhaps be wrong; regard to Young. “I think,” says he, "the but Tindal could not err in his opinion of following pieces in four volumes to be the most
Young's warmth and ability in the cause of re-excusable of all that I have written ; and I wish
against literary sinners?
ment; but “The Englishman” of October 29,
1713, which was probably written by Addison, biography, it should be told that, every time I called upon Day," was published soon after the peace. The
As my great friend is now become the subject of speaks handsomely of this poem. "The Last materials for this life and putting it together, he never vice-chancellor's imprimatur, for it was printed suffered me to depart without some such farewell as this : “Don't forget that rascal Tindal, sir. Be sure to hang mp the Atheist."
Alluding to this anecdote, which John. Dr. Johnson, in many cases, thought and directed son had mentioned to me.
differendy, particularis in Young's Works.-J. N. 35