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Gay is thy morning, flattering hope Thy sprightly step attends;
But soon the tempest howls behind, And the dark night descends.
Before its splendid hour the cloud
A pilgrim in a weary land,
Behold ! sad emblem of thy state,
Or trees that crown the mountain's brow,
When chill the blast of Winter blows, Away the Summer flies,
The flowers resign their sunny robes, And all their beauty dies.
Nipt by the year the forest fades;
The leaves toss to and fro, and streak
The Winter past, reviving flowers
The woods shall hear the voice of Spring,
But man departs this earthly scene, Ah! never to return
No second Spring shall e'er revive The ashes of the urn.
The inexorable doors of death
Who from the cerements of the tomb
The mighty flood that rolls along
The waters lost can ne'er recall
The days, the years, the ages, dark
Can never, never be redeemed
So man departs the living scene,
The voice of morning ne'er shall break
Where are our fathers' Whither gone The mighty men of old?
“The patriarchs, prophets, princes, kings, In sacred books enrolled !
Gone to the resting-place of man, The everlasting home,
Where ages past have gone before, Where future ages come.’
Thus nature poured the wail of wo,
Her voice, in agony extreme,
The Almighty heard: then from his throne In majesty he rose;
And from the Heaven, that opened wide, His voice in mercy flows.
“When mortal man resigns his breath,
The soul immortal wings its flight
Prepared of old for wicked men The bed of torment lies;
The just shall enter into bliss Immortal in the skies.”
The above hymn has been claimed for Michael Bruce by Mr Mackelvie, his biographer, on the faith of ‘internal evidence,’ because two of the stanzas resemble a fragment in the handwriting of Bruce. We subjoin the stanzas and the fragment:—
When chill the blast of winter blows, Away the summer flies,
The flowers resign their sunny robes, And all their beauty dies.
Nipt by the year the forest fades,
The leaves toss to and fro, and streak
“The hoar-frost glitters on the ground, the frequent leaf falls from the wood, and tosses to and fro down on the wind. The summer is gone with all his flowers; summer, the season of the muses; yet not the more cease I to wander where the muses haunt near spring or shadowy grove, or sunny hill. It was on a calm morning, while yet the darkness strove with the doubtful twilight, I rose and walked
out under the opening eyelids of the morn.'
Yet not the more
Par. Lost, Book iii.
Together both, ere the high lawns appeared
The Wartons, like the Beaumonts, were a poetical race. Thomas, the historian of English poetry, was the second son of Dr Warton of Magdalen college, Oxford, who was twice chosen Professor of Poetry by his university, and who wrote some pleasing verses, half scholastic and half sentimental. A sonnet by the elder Warton is worthy being transcribed, for its strong family likeness:–
[Written after seeing Windsor Castle.]
From beauteous Windsor's high and storied halls,
The poetry-professor died in 1745. His tastes, his love of poetry, and of the university, were continued by his son Thomas, born in 1728. At sixteen, Thomas Warton was entered of Trinity college. He began early to write verses, and his Pleasures of Melancholy, published when he was nineteen, gave a
The reader will easily recollect the fol
obtained a fellowship, and in 1757 was appointed Professor of Poetry. He was also curate of Woodstock, and rector of Kiddington, a small living near Oxford. The even tenor of his life was only varied by his occasional publications, one of which was an elaborate Essay on Spenser's Faery Queen. He also edited the minor poems of Milton, an edition which Leigh Hunt says is a wilderness of sweets, and is the only one in which a true lover of the original can pardon an exuberance of annotation. Some of the notes are highly poetical, while others display Warton's taste for antiquities, for architecture, superstition, and his intimate acquaintance with the old Elizabethan writers. A still more important work, the History of English Poetry, forms the basis of his reputation. In this history Warton poured out in profusion the treasures of a full mind. His antiquarian lore, his love of antique manners, and his chivalrous feelings, found appropriate exercise in tracing the stream of our poetry from its first fountainsprings, down to the luxuriant reign of Elizabeth, which he justly styled ‘the most poetical age of our annals.” Pope and Gray had planned schemes of a history of English poetry, in which the authors were to be arranged according to their style and merits. Warton adopted the chronological arrangement, as giving freer exertion for research, and as enabling him to exhibit, without transposition, the gradual improvements of our poetry, and the progression of our language. The untiring industry and learning of the poet-historian accumulated a mass of materials equally valuable and curious. His work is a vast store-house of facts connected with our early literature; and if he sometimes wanders from his subject, or overlays it with extraneous details, it should be remembered, as his latest editor, Mr Price, remarks, that new matter was constantly arising, and that Warton “was the first adventurer in the extensive region through which he journied, and into which the usual pioneers of literature had scarcely penetrated.' It is to be regretted that Warton's plan excluded the drama, which forms so rich a source of our early imaginative literature; but this defect has been partly supplied by Mr Collier's Annals of the Stage. On the death of Whitehead in 1785, Warton was appointed poet-laureate. His learning gave dignity to an office usually held in small esteem, and which in our day has been wisely converted into a sinecure. The same year he was made Camden Professor of History. While pursuing his antiquarian and literary researches, Warton was attacked with gout, and his enfeebled health yielded to a stroke of paralysis in 1790. Notwithstanding the classic stiffness of his poetry, and his full-blown academical honours, Warton appears to have been an easy companionable man, who delighted to unbend in common society, and especially with boys. “During his visits to his brother, Dr J. Warton (master of Winchester school), the reverend professor became an associate and confidant in all the sports of the schoolboys. When engaged with them in some culinary occupation, and when | alarmed by the sudden approach of the master, he has been known to hide himself in a dark corner of the kitchen; and has been dragged from thence by the doctor, who had taken him for some great boy. He also used to help the boys in their exercises, generally putting in as many faults as would disguise the assistance.” If there was little dignity in this, there was something better—a kindliness of dis| position and freshness of feeling which all would wish to retain. The poetry of Warton is deficient in natural ex
* Wide Campbell's Specimens, second edition, p. 620.
pression and general interest, but some of his longer pieces, by their martial spirit and Gothic fancy, are calculated to awaken a stirring and romantic enthusiasm. Hazlitt considered some of his sonnets the finest in the language, and they seem to have caught the fancy of Coleridge and Bowles. The following are picturesque and graceful:—
Written in a Blank Leaf of Dugdale's Monasticon.
Deem not devoid of elegance the sage,
On Revisiting the River Loddon.
Ah! what a weary race my feet have run
On Sir Joshua Reynolds's Painted Window at Oxford.
Ye brawny Prophets, that in robes so rich,
| Not of its pomp to strip this ancient shrine, | But bid that pomp with purer radiance shine:
| worth. In 1766 he was appointed head master of
With arts unknown before, to reconcile The willing Graces to the Gothic pile.
The Hamlet.-An Ode.
The hinds how blest, who, ne'er beguiled
Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear,
For them the moon with cloudless ray
The elder brother of Thomas Warton closely resembled him in character and attainments. He was born in 1722, and was the schoolfellow of Collins at Winchester. He was afterwards a commoner of Oriel college, Oxford, and ordained on his father's curacy at Basingstoke. He was also rector of Tam
Winchester school, to which were subsequently added a prebend of St Paul's and of Winchester. He survived his brother ten years, dying in 1800. Dr Joseph Warton early appeared as a poet, but is
in the graphic and romantic style of composition at which he aimed. His Ode to Fancy seems, however, to be equal to all but a few pieces of Thomas Warton's. He was also editor of an edition of Pope's works, which was favourably reviewed by Johnson. Warton was long intimate with Johnson, and a member of his literary club.
O parent of each lovely muse!
Where shells and moss o'erlay the floor,
considered by Mr Campbell as inferior to his brother
To charnels and the house of wo,
To Gothic churches, vaults, and tombs,
A blind descriptive poet seems such an anomaly in nature, that the case of Dr Blacklock has engaged the attention of the o and curious in no ordinary degree. We read concerning him with strong interest, ercept his poetry, for this is generally tame, languid, and commonplace. He was an amiable and excellent man, of warm and generous sensibilities, eager for knowledge, and proud to communicate it. Thomas BLAck Lock was the son of a Cumberland bricklayer, who had settled in the town of Annan, Dumfriesshire. When about six months old, the child was totally deprived of sight by the small-pox; but his worthy father, assisted by his neighbours, amused his solitary boyhood by reading to him; and before he had reached the age of twenty, he was familiar with Spenser, Milton, Pope, and Addison. He was enthusiastically fond of poetry, particularly of the works of Thomson and Allan Ramsay. From these he must, in a great degree, have derived his images and impressions of nature and natural objects; but in after-life the classic poets were added to his store of intellectual enjoyment. His father was accidentally killed when the poet was about the age of nineteen; but some of his attempts at verse having been seen by Dr Stevenson,
Edinburgh, this benevolent gentleman took their blind author to the Scottish metropolis, where he was enrolled as a student of divinity. In 1746 he published a volume of his poems, which was reprinted with additions in 1754 and 1756. He was licensed a preacher of the gospel in 1759, and three years afterwards, married the daughter of Mr Johnston, a surgeon in Dumfries. At the same time, through the patronage of the Earl of Selkirk, Blacklock was appointed minister of Kirkcudbright. The parishioners, however, were opposed both to church patronage in the abstract, and to this exercise of it in favour of a blind man, and the poet relinquished the appointment on receiving in lieu of it a moderate annuity. He now resided in Edinburgh, and took boarders into his house. His family was a scene of peace and happiness. To his literary pur
suits Blacklock added a taste for music, and played
on the flute and flageolet. Latterly, he suffered from depression of spirits, and supposed that his imaginative powers were failing him; yet the generous ardour he evinced in 1786, in the case of Burns, shows no diminution of sensibility or taste in the appreciation of genius. the blind bard thus pathetically alludes to the supposed decay of his faculties:– Excursive on the gentle gales of spring, He roved, whilst favour imped his timid wing. Exhausted genius now no more inspires, But mourns abortive hopes and faded fires; The short-lived wreath, which once his temples graced, Fades at the sickly breath of squeamish taste; Whilst darker days his fainting flames immure In cheerless gloom and winter premature.
He died on the 7th of July 1791, at the age of seventy. Besides his poems, Blacklock wrote some sermons and theological treatises, an article on Blindness for the Encyclopaedia Britannica (which is ingenious and elegant), and two dissertations entitled Paraclesis; or Consolations Deduced from Natural and Revealed Religion, one of them original, and the other translated from a work ascribed to Cicero.
Apart from the circumstances under which they were produced, the poems of Blacklock offer little room or temptation to criticism. He has no new imagery, no commanding power of sentiment, reflection, or imagination. Still he was a fluent and correct versifier, and his familiarity with the visible objects of nature—with trees, streams, the rocks, and sky, and even with different orders of flowers and plants—is a wonderful phenomenon in one blind from infancy. He could distinguish colours by touch; but this could only apply to objects at hand, not to the features of a landscape, or to the appearances of storm or sunshine, sunrise or sunset, or the variation in the seasons, all of which he has described. Images of this kind he had at will. Thus, he exclaims—
Ye vales, which to the raptured eye Disclosed the flowery pride of May; Ye circling hills, whose summits high Blushed with the morning's earliest ray. Or he paints flowers with artist-like precision— Let long-lived pansies here their scents bestow, The violet languish, and the roses glow ; In yellow glory let the crocus shine, Narcissus here his love-sick head recline: Here hyacinths in purple sweetness rise, And tulips tinged with beauty's fairest dyes.
In a man to whom all external phenomena were, and
had ever been, one “universal blank,’ this union of
taste and memory was certainly remarkable. Poeti102
In one of his later poems, For him the fields no joys contain;
cal feeling he must have inherited from nature, which led him to take pleasure even from his infancy in descriptive poetry; and the language, expressions, and pictures thus imprinted on his mind by habitual acquaintance with the best authors, and in literary conversation, seem to have risen spontaneously in the moment of composition.
Terrors of a Guilty Conscience.
Cursed with unnumbered groundless fears, How pale yon ..". appears For him the daylight shines in vain,
Nature's whole charms to him are lost,
- In busy crowds and open day.
If night his lonely walks surprise,
The midnight murderer's lone retreat
Felt heaven's avengeful bolt of late;
And now the spot he seems to tread,
He feels fixed earth beneath him bend,
Ode to Aurora on Melissa's Birthday.
["A compliment and tribute of affection to the tender assiduity of an excellent wife, which I have not anywhere seen
| more happily conceived or more elegantly expressed."—Henry Mackenzie.]
Of time and nature eldest born, Emerge, thou rosy-fingered morn; | Emerge, in purest dress arrayed, And chase from heaven night's envious shade, | That I once more may pleased survey, And hail Melissa's natal day.
Of time and nature eldest born, | Emerge, thou rosy-fingered morn; In order at the eastern gate | The hours to draw thy chariot wait; Whilst Zephyr on his balmy wings, Mild nature's fragrant tribute brings, With odours sweet to strew thy way, And grace the bland revolving day.
But, as thou lead'st the radiant sphere, That gilds its birth and marks the year, | And as his stronger glories rise, Diffused around the expanded skies, Till clothed with beams serenely bright, All heaven's vast concave flames with light;
So when through life's protracted day,
Straight is my person, but of little size;
JAMES beat TIE.
JAMES BEATTIE was the son of a small farmer and shopkeeper at Laurencekirk, county of Kincardine, where he was born October 25, 1735. His father died while he was a child, but an elder brother, seeing signs of talent in the boy, assisted him in procuring a good education; and in his fourteenth year he obtained a bursary or exhibition (always indicating some proficiency in Latin) in Marischal college, Aberdeen. His habits and views were scholastic, and four years afterwards, Beattie was appointed schoolmaster of the parish of Fordoun. He was now situated amidst interesting and romantic scenery, which increased his passion for nature and poetry. The scenes which he afterwards delineated in his Minstrel were (as Mr Southey has justly remarked) those in which he had grown up, and the feelings and aspirations therein expressed, were those of his own boyhood and youth. He became a poet at Fordoun , and, strange to say, his poetry, poor as it was, procured his appointment as usher of Aberdeen grammar school, and subsequently that of professor of natural philosophy in Marischal college. This distinction he obtained in his twenty-fifth year. At the same time, he published in London a collection of his poems, with some translations. One piece, IRetirement, displays poetical feeling and taste; but