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his life in literary occupations, and especially in the study of Nature. This he followed with patient assiduity, and a mind ever open to the lessons of piety and benevolence, which such a study is so well calculated to afford. Though several occasions offered of settling upon a college living, he could never persuade himself to quit the beloved spot, which was indeed a peculiarly happy situation for an observer. Thus his days passed tranquil and serene, with scarcely any other vicissitudes than those of the seasons, till they closed at a mature age, on June 26, 1793.

The above short sketch was prefixed to the edition of Mr White's work published after his death, by his friend Dr Aiken of Warrington. It is abundantly meagre, but except the many pleasing allusions to himself throughout his letters, it contains all that the public have ever known of our author's personal history. An enthusiastic admirer of his, who lately visited the village of Selborne, thus sums up his account:- “ Of Gilbert White himself, I could collect few personal reminiscences ; and all that an old dame, who had nursed several of the family, could tell me of the philosophical old bachelor was, that he was a still, quiet body,' and that there wasn't a bit of harm in him, I'll assure ye, sir: there was'nt indeed.'”

Mr White is principally known to the world by his Natural History of Selborne, which, although purporting to be but the description of the natural objects of a single parish, is, nevertheless, a book of general interest, embracing, in its details, varied and extensive inquiries into the phenomena of Nature. It originated in a series of letters, written to Thomas Pennant, Esq. and the Honourable Daines Barrington,-gentlemen of high literary and scientific acquirements in their day, the former, the well-known author of the British Zoology, History of Quadrupeds, Tour in Scotland, and many other esteemed works.

The Natural History of Selborne was first published in quarto, in 1789, along with what Mr White considered as essential in parochial history, namely, its Antiquities. This last, however, although of sufficient local interest, can offer few attractions to the general reader.

The originality and instructive details of his chief work soon commanded general attention, and attracted even continental notice; and, we believe, it was translated into more than one foreign language. We know that a translation of it was printed in Germany, so early as 1792, and published at Berlin in that year.

This work is written in an unconnected form, without any attempt at scientific arrangement, with which, however, Mr White shews himself well acquainted ; and the minute exactness of his facts — the good taste displayed

in their selection—and the elegance and liveliness with which they are described, -render this one of the most amusing books of the kind ever published, and it has gained for the author a high and just reputation.

Mr White's long series of observations were skilfully and attentively repeated, and have tended greatly to enlarge and correct our knowledge of those departments of natural history of which he has treated. He may be esteemed a worthy successor to Ray and Derham; while his remarks, being almost exclusively original, are, in some measure, even better entitled to our attention than the writings of these celebrated naturalists.

It has been thought proper to insert in the present edition the author's Poems, partly on account of their intrinsic merit, which is not inconsiderable, but principally because they are upon local subjects, and therefore naturally connected with the present work. They are also valuable and appropriate, as illustrating the author's strong attachment to the study of Nature.

EDINBURGH, January 25, 1833.


SEE, Selborne spreads her boldest beauties round
The varied valley, and the mountain ground,
Wildly majestic! What is all the pride
Of flats, with loads of ornament supplied ?-
Unpleasing, tastleless, impotent expense,
Compared with Nature's rude magnificence.

Arise, my stranger, to these wild scenes haste;
The unfinish'd farm awaits your forming taste:
Plan the pavilion, airy, light, and true;
Through the high arch call in the length’ning view;
Expand the forest sloping up the hill;
Swell to a lake the scant, penurious rill;
Extend the vista ; raise the castle mound
In antique taste, with turrets ivy-crown'd;
O’er the gay lawn the flow'ry shrub dispread,
Or with the blending garden mix the mead;
Bid China's pale, fantastic fence delight;
Or with the mimic statue trap the sight.

Oft on some evening, sunny, soft, and still, The Muse shall lead thee to the beech-grown hill, To spend in tea the cool, refreshing hour, Where nods in air the pensile, nest-like bower : * Or where the hermit hangs the straw-clad cell,+ Emerging gently from the leafy dell, By Fancy plann'd; as once th' inventive maid Met the hoar sage amid the secret shade :

* A kind of arbour on the side of a hill.

+ A grotesque building, contrived by a young gentleman, who used on occasion to appear in the character of a hermit.

Romantic spot! from whence in prospect lies
Whate'er of landscape charms our feasting eyes,
The pointed spire, the hall, the pasture plain,
The russet fallow, or the golden grain,
The breezy lake that sheds a gleaming light,
Till all the fading picture fail the sight.

Each to his task; all different ways retire :
Cull the dry stick ; call forth the seeds of fire ;
Deep fix the kettle's props, a forky row,
Or give with fanning hat the breeze to blow.

Whence is this taste, the furnish'd hall forgot,
To feast in gardens, or th' unhandy grot?
Or novelty with some new charms surprises,
Or from our very shifts some joy arises.
Hark, while below the village bells ring round,
Echo, sweet nymph, returns the soften'd sound;
But if gusts rise, the rushing forests roar,
Like the tide tumbling on the pebbly shore.

Adown the vale, in lone, sequesterd nook,
Where skirting woods imbrown the dimpling brook,
The ruin'd convent lies : here wont to dwell
The lazy canon midst his cloister'd cell, *
While Papal darkness brooded o'er the land,
Ere Reformation made her glorious stand :
Still oft at eve belated shepherd swains
See the cowl'd spectre skim the folded plains.

To the high Templet would my stranger go
The mountain-brow commands the woods below:
In Jewry first this order found a name,
When madding Croisades set the world in flame ;
When western climes, urged on by pope and priest,
Pour'd forth their millions o'er the deluged East :
Luxurious knights, ill-suited to defy
To mortal fight Turcestan chivalry.

Nor be the parsonage by the Muse forgot -
The partial bard admires his native spot;
Smit with its beauties, loved, as yet a child,
Unconscious why, its capes, grotesque and wild.

* The ruins of a Priory, founded by Peter de Rupibus, Bishop of Winchester.

+ The remains of a Preceptory of the Knights Templars ; at least it was a farm dependent upon some preceptory of that order. I find it was a preceptory, called the Preceptory of Suddington ; now called Southington.

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