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before he had finished it, he omitted the lines With the philosophical or religious tenets of which had given occasion to Warburton's ob- the author I have nothing to do; my business is jections.

with his poetry. The subject is well chosen, as He published, soon after his return from Ley- it includes all images that can strike or please, den, (1745,) his first collection of odes : and was and thus comprises every species of poetical deinpelled, by his rage of patriotism, to write a light. The only difficulty is in the choice of exvery acrimonious epistle to Pulteney, whom he amples and illustrations; and it is not easy, in stigmatizes, under the name of Curio, as the be- such exuberance of matier, to find the middle trayer of his country.

point between penury and satiety. The parts Being now to live by his profession, he first seem artificially disposed, with sufficient cohecommenced physician at Northampton, where rence, so as t'at they cannot change their places Dr. Stonehouse then practised, with such repu- without injury to the general design. tation and success, that a stranger was not likely His images are displayed with such luxurito gain ground upon him. Akenside tried the ance of expression, that they are hidden like contest a while; and having deafened the place Butler's moon, by a “veil of light;" they are with clamours for liberty, removed to Hampstead, forms fantastically lost under superfluity of dress. where he resided more than two years, and then Pars minima est ipsa puella sui. The words are fixed himself in London, the proper place for a multiplied till the sense is hardly perceived ; atman of accomplishments like his.

tention descrts the mind, and settles in the ear. At London he was known as a poet, but was The reader wanders through the gay diffusion, still to make his way as a physician; and would sometimes amazed, and sometimes delighted, perhaps have been reduced to great exigences but, after many turnings in the flowery labybut that Mr. Dyson, with an ardour of friendship rinth, comes out as he went in. He remarked that has not many examples, allowed him three little, and laid hold on nothing. hundred pounds a year. Thus supported, he To his versification justice requires that praise advanced gradually in medical reputation, but should not be denied. In the general fabricanever attained any great extent of practice, ortion of his lines he is, perhaps, superior to any eminence of popularity. A physician in a great other writer of blank verse; his flow is smooth, city seems to be the mere plaything of fortune; and his pauses are musical; but the concatenahis degree of reputation is, for the most part, to- tion of his verses is commonly too long contitally casual: they that employ him know not his nued, and the full close does nó trecur with suffiexcellence; they that reject him know not his cient frequency. The sense is carried on through deficience. By any acute observer, who had a long intertexture of complicated clauses, and, looked on the transactions of the medical world as nothing is distinguished, nothing is remem for half a century, a very curious book might be bered. written on the “Fortune of Physicians."

The exemption which blank verse affords Akenside appears not to have been wanting to from the necessity of closing the sense with the his own success : he placed himself in view by couplet betrays luxuriant and active minds into all the common methods; he became a Fellow such self-indulgence, that they pile image upon of the Royal Society; he obtained a degree at image, ornament upon ornament, and are not Cambridge; and was admitted into the College easily persuaded to close the sense at all. of Physicians ; he wrote little poetry, but pub- Blank verse will, therefore, I fear, be too often lished from time to time, medical essays and ob- found in description exuberant, in argument loservations: he became physician to St. Tho-quacious, and in narration tiresome. mas's Hospital; he read the Gulstonian Lec- His diction is certainly poetical as it is not tures in Anatomy; but began to give, for the prosaic, and elegant as it is not vulgar. He is Crounian Lecture, a history of the revival of to be commended as having fewer artifices of learning, from which he soon desisted; and, in disgust than most of his brethren of the blank conversation, he very eagerly forced himself into song. He rarely either recalls old phrases, or notice by an ambitious ostentation of elegance twists his metre into harsh inversions. The and literature.

sense, however, of his words is strained, when His Discourse on the Dysentery (1764) was "he views the Ganges from Alpine heights;" considered as a very conspicuous specimen of that is, from mountains like the Alps. And the Latinity ; which entitled him to the same height pedant surely intrudes (but when was blank of place among the scholars as he possessed be verse without pedantry?) when he tells how fore among the wits; and he might perhaps “Planets absolve the stated round of Time.” have risen to a greater elevation of character, It is generally known to the readers of poetry but that his studies were ended with his life, by that he intended to revise and augment this a putrid fever, June 23, 1770, in the forty-ninth work, but died before he had completed his deyear of his age.

sign. The reformed work as he left it, and the

additions which he had made, are very properly AKENSIDE is to be considered as a didactic retained in the late collection. He seems to and lyric poet

. His great work is “The Plea- have somewhat contracted his diffusion ; but I sures of Imagination;" a performance which, know not whether he has gained in closeness published as it was, at the age of twenty-three, what he has lost in splendour. In the additional raised expectations that were not very amply book, “The Tale of Solon” is too long. satisfied. It has undoubtedly a just claim to One great defect of his poem is very properly very, particular notice, as an example of great censured by Mr. Walker, unless it may be said, felicity of genius, and uncommon amplitude in his defence, that what he has omitted was not of acquisitions, of a young mind stored with properly in his plan. His “picture of man is images, and much exercise in combining and grand and beautiful, but unfinished. The imcomparing them.

inortality of the soul, which is the natural con

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tion was exasperated by ill success, he was em-1 ployed to turn the public vengeance upon Byng, ' and wrote a letter of accusation under the character of a “Plain Man." The paper was with great industry circulated and dispersed; and he, for his seasonable intervention, had a considerable pension bestowed upon him, which he retained to his death.

Towards the end of his life he went with him wife to France; but after a while, finding hi health declining, he returned alone to Englan and died in April, 1765.

He was twice married, and by his first u had several children. One daughter, who y. ried an Italian of rank, named Cilesia, wro tragedy called “Almida,” which was acte Drury-lane. His second wife was the da: of a nobleman's steward, who had a consid fortune, which she took care to retain in hi hands.

His stature was diminutive, but he w

Mark AKENSIDE was born November, 1721, at Newcast. father Mark was a butcher, sect; his mother's name w He received the first part the grammar-school of Ne terwards instructed by Y private academy.

At the age of eighte burgh, that he might fice of a dissenting me assistance from the f ploy in educatings But a wider vie scenes, and proir ed to study phy which, being justly thought

Whether, senting mis know not. sary and thought guses mind plun

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He now lived on at Peterhouse, very little His constitution was weak, and, believing that solicitous what others did or thought, and culti- his health was promoted by exercise and change vated his mind and enlarged his views without of place, he undertook (1765) a journey into any other purpose than of improving and amus- Scotland, of which his account, so far as it exing himself; when Mr. Mason, being elected tends, is very curious and elegant: for, as his fellow of Pembroke Hall, brought him a como comprehension was ample, his curiosity extendpanion who was afterwards to be his editor, and ed to all the works of art, all the appearances of whose fondness and fidelity has kindled in him a nature, and all the monuments of past events. zeal of admiration which cannot be reasonably He naturally contracted a friendship with Dr. expected from the neutrality of a stranger, and Beattic, whom he found a poet, a philosopher, the coldness of a critic.

and a good man. The Mareschal College at In his retirement he wrote (1747) an ode on Aberdeen offered him the degree of doctor of the “Death of Mr. Walpole's Cai;" and the laws, which, having omitted to take it at year afterwards attempted a poem, of more im- Cambridge, he thought it decent to refuse. portance, on “Governinent and Education,” of What he had formerly solicited in vain was at which the fragments which remain have many last given him without solicitation. The proexcellent lines.

fessorship of history became again vacant, and His nest production (1750) was his far-famed he received (1768) an offer of it from the Duke “Elegy in the Churchyard," which, finding its of Grafton. He accepted and retained it to his way into a magazine, first, I believe, made him death; always designing lectures, but never apknown to the public.

pearing reading them; uneasy at his neglect of An invitation from Lady Cobham about this duty, and appeasing his uneasiness with designs time gave occasion to an odd composition called of reformation, and with a resolution which he *A Long Story," which adds little to Gray's believed bimself to have made of resigning the character.

office, if he found himself unable to discharge it. Several of his pieces were published (1753) III 'health made another journey necessary, with designs by Mr. Bentley: and that they and he visited (1769) Westmorelarid and Cummight in some form or other make a book, only berland. He that reads his epistolary narration one side of each leaf was printed. I believe the wishes, that to travel, and to tell his travels, had poemns and the plates recommended each other so been more of his einployment; but it is by study well, that the whole impression was soon bought. ing at home that we must obtain the ability of This year he lost his mother.

travelling with intelligence and improvement. Some time afterwards (1756) some young men

His travels and his studies were now near of the college, whose chambers were near his, their end. The gout, of which he had sustained diverted themselves with disturbing him by fre- many weak attacks, fell upon his stomach, and, quent and troublesome noises, and as is said, yielding to no medicines, produced strong conby pranks yet more offensive and contemptuous. vulsions, which (July 30, 1771) terminated in This insolence, having endured it a while, he re- death. presented to the governors of the society, among His character I am willing to adopt, as Mr. when perhaps he had no friends; and, finding Mason has done, from a letter written to my his complaint little regarded, removed himself to friend, Mr. Boswell

, by the Rev. Mr. Temple, Perabroke Hall

rector of St. Gluvias in Cornwall; and ann as la 1757 he published "The Progress of Poe- willing as his warmest well-wisher to believe it try," and "The Bard,” two compositions at true. which the readers of poetry were at first content “ Perhaps he was the most learned man in

gaze in mute amazement. Some that tried Europe. He was equally acquainted with the thern confessed their inability to understand elegant and profound parts of science, and that them, though Warburton said that they were not superficially, but thoroughly. He knew understood as well as the works of Milton and every branch of history, both natural and civil; Shakspeare, which it is the fashion to admire. had read all the original historians of England, Garrick wrote a few lines in their praise. Some France, and Italy; and was a great antiquarian. hardy champions undertook to rescue them from Criticism, metaphysics, morals, politics, made a aeglect; and in a short time many were content principal part of his study ; voyages and travels to be shown beauties which they could not see. of all sorts were his favourite amusements; and Gray's reputation was now so high, that, after he had a fine taste in painting, prints, architecthe deach of Cibber, he had the honour of re-ture, and gardening. With such a fund of fusing the laurel, which was then bestowed on knowledge, his conversation must have been Mr. Whitehead

equally instructing and entertaining: but he was His curiosity, not long after, drew him away also a good man, a man of virtue and humanity. from Cambridge to a lodging near the Museum, There

is no character without some speck, some where he resided near three years, reading and imperfection; and I think the greatest defect in transcribing; and, so far as can be discovered, his, was an affectation in delicacy, or rather very little affected by two odes on “ Oblivion” effeminacy, and a visible fastidiousness, or conatad " Obscurity,” in which his lyric

perform- tempt and disdain of his inferiors in science. ances were ridiculed with much contempt and, He also had, in some degree, that weakness

which disgusted Voltaire so much in Mr. ConWhen the professor of modern history at greve: though he seemed to value others chiefly Cambridge died, he was, as he says, “cockered according to the progress that they had made in and spirited up,” till he asked it of Lord Bute, knowledge, yet he could not bear to be consi*ho sent him a civil refusal; and the place was dered merely as a man of letters; and, though sten to Mr. Brocket, the tutor of Sir James without birth, or fortune, or station, his desire. Lowther.

was to be looked upon as a private independent

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gentleman, who read for his amusement. Per-'nothing new. There has of late arisen a prac-
haps it may be said, What signifies so much tice of giving to adjectives derived from substan- le esitarem
knowledge, when it produced so little? Is it tives the termination of participles; such as the
worth taking so much pains to leave no memo- cultured plain, the daisied bank ; but I was sorry He wapbur dre
rials but a few poems? But let it be considered to see, in the lines of a scholar like Gray, the
that Mr. Gray was to others at least innocently honiel Spring. The morality is natural, but too
employed; to himself certainly beneficially. His stale; the conclusion is pretty.
time passed agreeably: he was every day mak- The poem “On the Catwas doubtless by
ing some new acquisition in science; his mind its Author considered as a trifle; but it is not a
was enlarged, his heart softened, his virtue happy trifle. In the first stanza, "the azure
strengthened the world and mankind were flowers that blow” show resolutely a rhyme is
shown to him without a mask; and he was sometimes made when it cannot easily be found.
taught to consider every thing as trifling, and Selima, the Cat, is called a nymph, with some
unworthy of the attention of a wise man, except violence both to language and sense; but there
the pursuit of knowledge and practice of virtue, is no good use made of it when it is done; for of
in that state wherein God hath placed us." the two lines,
To this character Mr. Mason has added a

What female heart can gold despise ?
more particular account of Gray's skill in

What cal's averse to fish?
zoology. He has remarked that Gray's effemi-
nacy was affected most "before those whom he the first relates merely to the nymph, and the
did not wish to please ;” and that he is unjustly second only to the cat. The sixth stanza con-
charged with making knowledge his sole reason tains a melancholy truth, that "a favourite has
of preference, as he paid his esteem to none no friend;" but the last ends in a pointed sen-
whom he did not likewise believe to be good. tence of no relation to the purpose; if what glis-

What has occurred to me from the slight tered had been gold, the cat would not have gone
inspection of his Letters in which my under- into the water; and, if she had, would not less
taking has engaged me is, that his mind had a have been druwned.
large grasp; that his curiosity was unlimited, The "Prospect of Eton College" suggests
and his judgment cultivated ; that he was a man nothing to Gray which every beholder does not
likely to love much where he loved at all; but equally think and feel. His supplication to father
that he was fastidious and hard to please. His Thames, to tell him who drives the hoop or tosses
contempt, however, is often employed where I the ball, is useless and puerile. Father Thames
hope it will be approved, upon skepticism and has no better means of knowing than himself.
infidelity. His short account of Shaftesbury I His epithet “buxom health” is not elegant; he
will insert.

seems not to understand the word. Gray thought " You say you cannot conceive how Lord his language more poetical as it was more remote Shaftesbury came to be a philosopher in vogue: from common use; finding in Dryden "honey I will tell you; first, he was a lord; secondly, redolent of Spring,” an expression that reaches he was as vain as any of his readers ; thirdly, the utmost limits of our language, Gray drove it men are very prone to believe what they do not a little more beyond common apprehension, by understand; fourthly, they will believe any thing making “gales” to be “redolent of joy and at all, provided they are under no obligation to youth.” believe it; fifthly, they love to take a new road, of the "Ode on Adversity" the hint was at even when that road leads no where ; sixthly, first taken from “O Diva, gratum quæ regis Anhe was reckoned a fine writer, and seems always tium;" but Gray has excelled his original by to mean more than he said.' Would you have the variety of his sentiments, and by their moral any more reasons? An interval of above forty application. Of this piece, at once poetical and years has pretty well destroyed the charm. Á rational, I will not, by slight objections, violate dead lord ranks with commoners; vanity is no the dignity. longer interested in the matter; for a new road My process has now brought me to the nonhas become an old one."

derful Wonder of Wonders," the two Sister Mr. Mason has added, from his own know- Odes, by which, though either volgar ignorance ledge, that, though Gray was poor, he was not or common sense at first universally rejected eager of money; and that, out of the little that them, many have been since persuaded to think he had, he was very willing to help the necessi- themselves delighted. I am one of those that tous.

are willing to be pleased, and therefore would 11 As a writer he had this peculiarity, that he gladly find the meaning of the first stanza of did not write his pieces first rudely, and then “The Progress of Poetry.” correct them, but laboured every line as it arose in the train of composition ; and he had a no- images of spreading sound and running wa.

Gray seems in his rapture to confound the tion not very peculiar, that he could not write ter. A "stream of music” may be allowed; but at certain times, or at happy moments; a but where does “musie," however "smooth and fantastic føppery, to which my kindness for a strong," after having visited the “ verdant vales, man of learning and virtue wishes him to have roll down the steep amain," so as that "rocks been superior. Gray's poetry is now to be considered; and I this be said of music, it is nonsense; if it be said

and nodding groves rebellow to the roar!" If hope not to be looked on as an enemy to his of water, it is nothing to the purpose. name, if I confess that I contemplate it with less The second stanza, exhibiting Mars' car and pleasure than his life. His ode “On Spring” has something poetical, Criticism disdains to chase a schoolboy to his

Jove's eagle, is unworthy of farther notice. both in the language and the thought; but the common-places. language is too luxuriant, and the thoughts have To the third it may likewise be objected, that

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GRAY. it is drawn from mythology, though such as may measures, and consequently before it can receive be more easily assimilated to real life. Idalia's pleasure from their consonance and recurrence. "velvet green” has something of cant. An epi- of the first stanza the abrupt beginning has thet or metaphor drawn from Nature ennobles been celebrated: but technical beauties can give Art; an epithet or metaphor drawn from Art praise only to the inventor. It is in the power degrades Nature. Gray is too fond of words of any man to rush abruptly upon his subject, arbitrarily compounded. "Many-twinkling" that has read the ballad of * Johnny Armwas formerly censured as not analogical ; we strong." may say "many-spotted,” but scarcely “many- Is there ever a man in all Scotlandspotting.” This stanza, however, has some- The initial resemblances, or alliterations, thing pleasing.

“ruin, ruthless, helm or hauberk,” are below Of the second ternary of stanzas, the first en the grandeur of a poem that endeavours at subdeavours to tell something, and would have tola limity. it, had it not been crossed by Hyperion: the In the second stanza the Bard is well describsecond describes well enough the universal pre-ed; but in the third we have the puerilities of valence of poetry; but I am afraid that the con-obsolete mythology. When we are told that clusion will not arise from the premises. The “Cadwallo hush'd the stormy main," and that caverns of the North and the plains of Chili “Modred made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloudare not the residences of "Glory and generous topp'd head," attention recoils from the repetiShame.” But that Poetry and Virtue go always tion of a tale that, even when it was first heard, together is an opinion so pleasing, that I can was heard with scorn. forgive him who resolves to think it true.

The weaving of the rinding sheet he borrowed, The third stanza sounds big with “Delphi,” as he owns, from the Northern Bards: but their and " Egean," and "Ilissus," and " Meander,” texture, however, was very properly the work and with “hallowed fountains," and "solemn of female powers, as the act of spinning the sound ;” but in all Gray's odes there is a kind thread of life is another mythology. Theft is of cumbrous splendour which we wish away. always dangerous ; Gray has made weavers of His position is at last false : in the time of Dante slaughtered bards by a fiction outrageous and and Petrarch, from whom we derive our first incongruous. They are then called upon to school of Poetry, Italy was overrun by “tyrant “Weave the warp, and weave the woof,” perpower ;" and "coward vice;" nor was our state haps with no great propriety; for it is by crossmuch better when we first borrowed the Italian ing the woof with the warp that men weave the arts.

web or piece; and the first line was dearly bought of the third ternary, the first gives a mytho- by the admission of its wretched correspondent, logical birth of Shakspeare. What is said of «Give ample room and verge enough."* Hé that mighty genius is true ; but it is not said has, however, no other line as bad. happily: the real effects of this poetical power The third stanza of the second ternary is com, are put out of sight by the pomp of machinery. mended, I think, beyond its merit. The perWhere truth is sufficient to fill the mind, fiction sonification is indistinct. Thirst and Hunger is worse than useless; the counterfeit debases are not alike; and their features, to make the the genuine. His account of Milton's blindness, if we sup: We are told, in the same stanza, how." towers

imagery perfect, should have been discriminated. pose it caused by study in the formation of his are fed." But I will no longer look for particupoem, a supposition surely, allowable, is poeti- lar faults; yet let it be observed that the ode cally true, and happily imagined. But the car of might have been concluded with an action of Dryden, with his two coursers, has nothing in it better example; but suicide is always to be had, peculiar; it is a car in which any other rider without expense of thought. may be placed.

These odes are marked by glittering accumu« The Bard” appears, at the first view, to be, lations of ungraceful ornaments; they strike, as Algarotti and others have remarked, an imi- rather than please ; the images are magnified by tation of the prophecy of Nereus. Algarotti affectation; the language is laboured into harshthinks it superior to its original; and, if prefe- ness. The mind of the writer seems to work rence depends only on the imagery and anima- with unnatural violence. “Double, double, toil tion of the two poems, his judgment is right and trouble.” He has a kind of strutting dig. There is in "The Bard” more force, more nity, and is tall by walking on tiptoe. His art thought, and more variety. But to copy is less and his struggle are too visible, and there is too than to invent, and the copy has been unhappily little appearance of ease and nature. produced at a wrong time. The fiction of Ho

To say that he had no beauties, would be unFace was to the Romans credible ; but its revival just; a man like him, of great learning and great disgusts us with apparent and unconquerable industry, could not but produce something valufalsehood. Incredulus odi.

able. When he pleases least, it can only be said To select a singular event, and swell it to a that a good design was ill directed. giant's bulk by fabulous appendages of spectres His translations of Northern and Welsh Poetry and predictions, has little difficulty; for he that deserve praise; the imagery is preserved, perhaps forsakes the probable may always find the mar: often improved; but the language is unlike the vellous. And it has little use; we are affected language of other poets. only as we believe ; we are improved only as we find something to be imitated or declined. I do **I have a soul, that like an ample shield not see that “The Bard” promotes any truth, Can take in all; and verge enough for more." moral or political

Dryden's Sebastian. His stanzas are too long, especially his epodes; anything easily, but things of humour :' and added, tba:

| Lord Orford used to assert, that Gray "never wrote the ode is finished before the ear has learned its I humour was his natural and original turn.-C.

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