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their descendants; for there is rarely any rising, but by a commixture of good and evil arts: but it is reason the memory of their virtues remain to their posterity, and their faults die with themselves. Nobility of birth commonly abateth industry; and he that is not industrious envieth him that is. Besides, noble persons cannot go much higher; and be that standeth at a stay, where others rise, can hardly avoid motions of envy. On the other side, nobility extinguisheth the passive envy from others towards them, because they are in possession of honour. Certainly kings that have able men of their nobility, shall find ease in employing them; and a better slide into their business; for people naturally bend to them, as born in some sort to command.” *
Jan. 18, 1809.
On the Impolicy of Complaint.
Johnson, in his Life of Cowley, says, that after the Restoration that poet having missed the Mastership of the Savoy,“ published his pretensions and his discontent, in an Ode called The COMPLAINT; in which he styles himself the melancholy Cowley. This met with the usual fortune of complaints, and seems to have excited more contempt than pity.”
I am afraid that the remark, if applied to the generality of mankind, is too true; but it ought not to have been spoken so irreverently of such a man as Cowley; nor without a strong reprobation of its illiberality and injustice. There is on the contrary a sarcastic tone in the critic's expressions, as if he thought the world on such occasions were in the right.
* Bacon's Essays-No. XV. on Nobility.
We are, no doubt, too disgracefully inclined to estimate people according to their prosperity. Success is deemed the sure test of ability or virtue. He therefore, who would stand well in the opinion of the coarse, which is the major part of society, should never complain. He should, on the other hand, pass unnoticed every affront, conceal every miscarriage, boast of his friends, and exult in his good luck. Sighs and melancholy will only be deemed the proofs of ill fortune ; and ill fortune will be the signal for new attempts at injury and defeat. The world is like a herd of deer, that always set themselves upon the wounded stag.
It is among the most prominent frailties of " base mankind” to give a helping hand to those who do not want it, and withhold it from those who do. One success leads to another; and one injustice to another. “ Woes cluster;" and he, who has received a wrong from one neighbour or alliance, is much more exposed to a second from some quarter, which was before wellintentioned towards him, than if the first had never happened. Nothing but sad and repeated experience will induce the honourable and pure-hearted to believe this frightful truth. One would have thoughtthatinjuries heaped on an undeserving head would operate as motives for the counterbalancing kindness of benefits even before unthought of. Alas! No! The example is more effective than the warning. The bad passions of our nature are drawn into play. What one has done with
out meeting the opprobrium of the world, another may safely indulge in.
I should have extended this paper ; but alas! the melancholy events announced from Spain stop my pen; and the press admits of no delay till I can compose my agitated spirits.
All I can say now is, that the terms of contempt in which Johnson concurs, regarding Cowley's Complaint, * disgrace himself. It is one of the finest of his Poems; beautiful and affecting in its sentiments, and admirably happy, for the most part, in its vigorous and eloquent language.
language. And as to the disclosure of ill usage, which reflects real shame only on its propagators, if it draw forth the scorn of the vulgarhearted on the innocent sufferer, such frank and ingenuous pictures of the feelings of a pathetic or indignant bosom will always secure the sympathy, the love, the esteem, and gratitude of the wise and the good, Jan. 25, 1809.
Lines by Bloomfield on his Mother's Spindle. Every one is acquainted with the pastoral poetry of Bloomfield. It is not so generally known, with what wonderful power and pathos he can write in blauk verse.
* « The plan of this poem,” says Dr. Hurd, " is highly poetical : and though the numbers be not the most pleasing," (a position in which I cannot agree with him) “the expression is almost every where matural and beautiful. But its principal charm is that air of melancholy, thrown over the whole, so expressive of the poet's character. The address of the writer is seen in conveying his just reproaches on the court, under a pretended vind.cation of it against the Muse.” Hurd's Cowley.
“ Robert Bloomfield to his Mother's Spindle.
TO A SPINDLE.
Relic of affection, come;
Debility press'd hard around
• “ The portrait of my mother,” says Bloomfield, “ was taken on her last visit to London, in the summer of 1804. During the period of evident decline in her strength and faculties, she conceived, in place of that patient resignation, which she had before felt, an ungovernable dread of ultimate want, and observed to a relative with peculiar emphasis, that to meet WINTER, OLD AGE, and POVERTY, was like meeting three great giants.' To the last hour of her life she was an excellent spinner; and latterly, the peculiar kind of wool which she spun was bought exclusively for her, as being the only one in the village, who exercised their industry on so fine a sort. During the tearful paroxysms of her last depression she spun with the utmost violence, and with vehemence exclaimed • I must spin,' A para. lytic affection struck her whole side while at work, and ob.iged her to quit her spindle when only half filled, and she died within a fortnight after wards ! I have that spindle now. She was buried on the last day of the year 1804. She returned from her visit to London on Friday the 29th of June, just to a day twenty-three years after she brought me to London, which was also op a Friday, in the year 1981." Bloomfield,
Three mighty ones she fear'd to meet; they came
Then feeling, as I do, resistlessly,
Like Heav'n's pure blessings, fall upon her grave."* There is no reader of English poetry, who does not recollect Cowper's exquisite lines on his Mother's Picture. This fragment of Bloomfield forms a noble companion to them. It strikes me to be written in a loftier tone, and still more excellent manner than any of his other productions. Let him give new delight
* The whole of this is taken from the interesting memoir by BRAYLEY, which accompanies Storer and Greig's Illustrations of Bloomfield, 1806. 4to.