Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

subjects, which he professed to explain, with a perspicuity which delights and instructs, and in a style which never ceases to please, where his arguments may not always convince. In these disquisitions he has more particularly displayed his profound oriental learning in illustrating topics of great importance in the history of mankind; and it is much to be lamented that he did not live to revise and improve them in England, with the advantages of accumulated knowledge and undisturbed leisure."

“There were few sciences, in which he had not acquired considerable proficiency; in most his knowledge was profound.”" His last and favourite pursuit was the study of botany."

“ It cannot be deemed useless or superfluous to inquire by what arts or method he was enabled to ata tain this extraordinary degree of knowledge. The faculties of his mind, by nature vigorous, were improved by constant exercise: and bis memory, by habitual practice, had acquired a capacity of retaining whatever had once been impressed upon it. in his early years, he seems to have entered upon his career of study with this maxim strongly impressed upon his mind, that whatever had been attained, was attainable by him; and it has been remarked, that ie never neglected, nor overlooked, any opportunity of improving his intel. lectual faculties, or of acquiring esice med accomplishments.

“ To an unextinguished ardour for universal knowledge he joined a persei erance in the pursuit of it, which subdued all obstacles. His studies in India began with the dawn, and during the interinissions of professional duties, were continued throughout the day: reflection and meditation strengthened and confirmed ; what industry and investigation had accumulated. It was also a fixed principle with him, from which he. never voluntarily deviated, not to be deterred by any difficulties that were surmountable, from prosecuting to a successful termination, what he had once deliberately undertaken"

reflection

Sir William entertained a strange opinion, (which was certainly a proof of his humility) that all men are : born with eqnal mental capacities. Having supported this opinion in a conversation with Thomas Law, Esq. that gentleman sent him the following lines :

“Sir William, you attempt in vain,
By depth of reason to maintain,
That all men's talents are the same,
And they, not Nature, are to blame.
Whate'er you say, whate'er

you write,
Proves your opponents in the right.
Lest genius should be ill defin'd,
I term it your superior mind.
Hence to your friends 'tis plainly shewn,
You're ignorant of yourself alone."

To ulich Sir William Jones wrote the following answer:

“Ah! but too well, dear friend, I know
My fancy weak, my reason slow,
My memory by art improv'd,
My mind by baseless trifles mov'd.
Give me (thus high my pride I raise)
The ploughman's, or the gardener's praise,
With patient and unceasing toil,
To meliorato a stubborn soil;

And

And say (no higher meed I ask)
With zeal hast thou perform'd thy task.
Praise, of which virtuous minds may boast,
They best confer, who merit most."

It has been observed, that this eminent man rather employed his mind in acquiring and arranging his materials, than in building structures of his own witha them. I doubt whether his faculties, wonderful as they were, were not best adapteủ to that purpose. But be that as it may, we ought not to regret the mode in which he applied those astonishing intellectual powers; he now stands the first of his order, and that a very high order, and on this account deserves one of the most conspicuous places in the Temple of Fame.

As a poet, he is rather to be considered for his translations, than for original composition; but the tasks he undertook, he executed with uncommon spirit and splendour; and they were such as would have confounded one of less brilliant endowments by their “ excess of light.”

Į will give a short song, as a specimen of his manner,

SONG.

Wake, ye rightingales, oh, wake!

Can ye idlers sleep so long?
Quickly this doll silence break;

Burst enraptur d into song:
Shake your plumes, your eyes unclose,
No pretext for more repose,
Tell me not that winter drear

Still delays your promised tale,
That no blossoms yet appear,

Save the snow-drop in the dale;

Tell

Tell me not the woods are bare,
Vain excuse! prepare! prepare!

View the hillocks, view the meads;

All are verdant, all are gay;
Julia comes, and with her leads

Health, and youth, arid blooming May.
When she smiles, fresh roses blow,
Where she treads fresh lilies grow.

Hail! ye groves of Bagley, hail !

Fear no more the chilling air:
Can your beauties ever fail?

Julia has pronounc'd you fair.
She could cheer a cavern's gloom,
She could make a desert bloom."

I shall close this account with some lines on his death by the Duchess of Devonshire, of whose talents I am glad to have opportunity of giving a specimen:

On the death of Sir William Jones,
“Unbounded learning, thoughts by genius framd,

To guide the bounteous labours of his pen,
Distinguish'd him, whom kindred sages nam'd,

•The most enlightened of the sons of men,'*

[ocr errors]

Upright through life, as in his death resignd,

His actions spoke a pure and ardent breast;
Faithful to God, and friendly to mankind,

His friends revered him, and his country blest.

• Dr. Johnsan.

Admired

Admired and valued in a distant land,

His gentle manners all affection won ;
The prostrate Hindu own'd his fostering hand,

And Science mark'd him for her fav'rite soos

Regret and praise the general voice bestows,

And public sorrows with domestic blend;
But deeper yet must be the grief of those,

Who while the sage they honoar'd, lov'd the friend."

Art
ART. XVII. JOHN BAMPFYLDE,

Of this very ingenious, but unfortunate, man, who, as I now learn from Mr. Southey's “Specimens," died as long ago as 1796, very little is known to the public. I have always understood he was younger brother to the present Sir Charles Bampfylde, Bart. If so, he was born 27 Aug. 1754. He was educated at Cambridge, where I became acquainted with his Sonnets, two years after their publication. They appeared with the following title: “ Sixteen Sonnets, London: Printed by J. Millidge;

and sold by D. Prince, of Oxford; Messrs. Merrill and Co. Cambridge; and D. Browne, at Garrick's Head, in Catherine Street, in the Strand. 1778.

Sm. 4to.

The following is the dedication:

“To Miss Palmer, * these Sonnets, which have been honoured with her approbation, are dedicated by her very sincere and devoted humble servant, John Bampfylde.” • Niece to Sir Josbua Reyoolds, now Marchioness of Thomond.

Soon

« ZurückWeiter »