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have been dictated from the couch of debility and sickness.
Feb. 9, 1807.
Literature the only permanent vehicle of Fame,
Feb. 14, 1807. I have often been struck at the extreme indifference and ignorance of men, who appear to be acting a conspicuous part in the world, in every thing except that which concerns their own immediate line of action, Men, of whom better things might have been expected, have been so engrossed with their own peculiar views of private ambition, that they have been found totally uninformed in matters, which it behoyes every liberal mind to be in some degree acquainted with,
The late Mr. Pitt, whose exalted character I contemplate with due reverence, had defects of which his various splendid qualities ought not to obliterate the disapprobation. He seems to have imagined that the temper of the public mind might be, not only best, but exclusively, influenced through the channel of parliamentary oratory. A more narrow, and dangerous mistake has seldom been entertained. With all
proper respect for the powers of oral eloquence, it is impossible to contemplate its deficiencies, compared with written compositions, (more especially as conveyed to the public by means of hired reporters of debates,) without astonishment at the error of such an opinion entertained by a strong understanding ! Alas! his own fame is now suffering through the consequences of this mistake! He did not know the value of literature; and he never drew its masters around him. * His reputation therefore begins to be eclipsed, in the eye of the nation, by that of the great rival, who soon followed him to the grave; and who, having adorned his brilliant talents with this kind of cultivation, now enjoys the effect of it in the adulation paid to his memory.
In truth, in what other way can the credit now given to Mr. Fox, for superiority in certain points, aš a statesman, to which he has no fair pretension, be accounted for? The panegyrists of that illustrious senator seem to take for granted, that because the measures of Mr. Pitt failed to rescue the Continent of Europe from the grasp of France, the opinions and predictions of his opponent have been verified by time, and would have produced both the preservation of the nations which have fallen, and the peace and security and prosperity of Great Britain ! An illegitimate inference, which were the friends of the departed premier as zealous, and as active, in the fair means of regulating the public sentiment, as they ought to be, would have been long ago exposed! I conceive, on the contrary, no mathematical demonstration more certain, than that, whatever may be the event of the present struggle, if we had merely stood upon the defensive, nursed our resources, cultivated our commerce, and hugged the blessings of peace in a delusive safety, till we were attacked, while France was cherishing her strength, her ferocity, and her skill in arms, by the difficulties and
A sensible pamphlet on this subject was published about ten years ago by “A NEAR OBSERVIR."
dangers dangers of warfare, our fate would have been, on the first onset, to have fallen, in all the debility of ease, wealth, and luxury, even without a blow. So much for the wise opinions, which have lately obtained uncontradicted applause for Mr. Fox, who, if he had put the principles, which he promulgated when in opposition, into execution on the attainment of power, (a folly of which I do not for a moment suspect him,) would have brought his country to irreparable ruin !
But such is the predominance, and in many respects the merited predominance, of him, who has courted the favour of the muses!
" Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona,
Nocte, carent quia vate sacro.
Totre tuos patiar labores
That they, who adored the son of Chatham when living, would desert his memory when dead, onght to have been within his contemplation, if he had exercised his sagacity on the characters of those, whom for the most part he suffered to surround him.
“ He rests among the dead!
Hor. Od. 9. Lib. iv,
For For me, who never received favour or notice from him, when alive, and who am precluded from any effectual co-operation in the principles by which he was actuated, from the coldness and strange indifference of those who have assumed the name of his surviving friends, I will not lightly be driven from the office of strewing his grave with flowers !
Yet how ungrateful a task I perform, how little I have been “fed with the fostering dew of praise,” it would seem qucrulous to detail. But I will not be deterred from recording the following two sonnets,
a late occasion drew forth.
Composed at midnight, Feb. 11, 1807.
Amid these sylvan shades I live unknown
To the coarse spirit, who with public brawls
And, vainly claiming to himself alone
Deems him, who, list'ning to the Muse's calls,
A cypher, whom bis rolls of Fame disowo!
When all the frothy torrents of thy tongue
Sink, like thyself, forgotten in the grave,
And future Wisdom shall record his praise;
Written Feb. 12, 1807.
Tho' in my veins the blood of monarchs flow,
Plantagenet and Tudor! * not for these
But rather that my heart's emotions glow
Nor would it my aspiring soul appease,
And none but Folly's stupid flattery know!
Of scorn and insult on my modest fame,
And on descent's pretensions vain would try To build the honours of a nobler name;
With pride defensive swelling, I exclaim, “ Base one, e'en there with me thou dar'st not vie!"
Art. XXV. Literary Epitaphs.
Epitaph by Dr. Free, for himself.
Hic sepultus est
* This is a fact, which may easily be ascertained by obvious authorities, of which it is unnecessary to mention any other than Sandford, or Stebbing.is The sentiments are exactly those, which the author feels, and has ever felt, on the subject of descent, He would never oppose it but to those who assume airs on that pretence,