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the collection, as a whole, gave little indication of “The Minstrel.” The poems, without the translations, were reprinted in 1766, and a copy of verses
on the Death of Churchill were added. The latter are mean and reprehensible in spirit, as Churchill had expiated his early follies by an untimely death. Beattie was a sincere lover of truth and virtue, but his ardour led him at times into intolerance, and he was too fond of courting the notice and approbation of the great. In 1770 the poet appeared as a metaphysician, by his Essay on Truth, in which good principles were advanced, though with an unphilosophical spirit, and in language which suffered greatly from comparison with that of his illustrious opponent, David Hume. Next year Beattie appeared in his true character as a poet. The first part of ‘The Minstrel' was published, and was received with universal approbation. Honours flowed in on the fortunate author. He visited London, and was admitted to all its brilliant and distinguished circles. Goldsmith, Johnson, Garrick, and Reynolds, were numbered among his friends. On a second visit in 1773, he had an interview with the king and queen, which resulted in a pension of £200 per annum. The university of Oxford conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. and Reynolds painted his portrait in an allegorical picture, in which Beattie was seen by the side of an angel pushing down Prejudice, Scepticism, and Folly! Need we wonder that poor Goldsmith was envious of his brother poet? To the honour of Beattie, it must be recorded, that he declined entering the church of England, in which preferment was promised him, and no doubt would have been readily granted. The second part of the | “Minstrel' was published in 1774. Domestic circumstances marred the felicity of Beattie's otherwise happy and prosperous lot. His wife (the daughter of Dr Dun, Aberdeen) became insane, and was obliged to be confined in an asylum. He had two sons, both amiable and accomplished youths. The eldest lived till he was twenty-two, and was associated with his father in the professorship: he died in 1790, and the afflicted parent soothed his grief by writing his life, and publishing some specimens of his composition in prose and verse. The second son died in 1796, aged eighteen; and the only consolation of the now lonely poet was, that he could not have borne to see their ‘elegant minds mangled
fitted to insure happiness or fortitude in adversity. When his second son died, he said he had done with the world. He ceased to correspond with his friends, or to continue his studies. Shattered by a long train of nervous complaints, in April 1799 the poet had a stroke of palsy, and after different returns of the same malady, which excluded him from all society, he died on the 18th of August 1803.
In the early training of his eldest and beloved son, Dr Beattie adopted an expedient of a romantic and interesting description. His object was to give him the first idea of a Supreme Being; and his method, as Dr Porteous, bishop of London, remarked, “had all the imagination of Rousseau, without his folly and extravagance.’
sixth) year, knew the alphabet, and could read a
little; but had received no particular information with respect to the author of his being, because I
thought he could not yet understand such information, and because I had learned, from my own experience, that to be made to repeat words not understood, is extremely detrimental to the faculties of a young mind. In a corner of a little garden, without informing any person of the circumstance, I wrote in the mould, with my finger, the three initial letters of his name, and sowing garden cresses in the furrows, covered up the seed, and smoothed the ground. Ten days after he came running to me, and with astonishment in his countenance, told me that his name was growing in the garden. I smiled at the report, and seemed inclined to dis it; but he insisted on my going to see what had happened. “Yes,” said I carelessly, on coming to the place; “I see it is so; but there is nothing in this worth notice; it is mere chance,” and I went away. He followed me, and taking hold of my coat, said with some earnestness, “It could not be mere chance, for that somebody must have contrived matters so as to produce it.” I pretend not to give his words or my own, for I have forgotten both, but I give the substance of what passed between us in such language as we both understood. “So you think,” I said, “that what appears so regular as the letters of your name cannot be by chance?” “Yes,” said he with firmness, “I think so!” “Look at yourself,” I replied, “and consider your hands and fingers, your legs and feet, and other limbs; are they not regular in their appearance, and useful to you?” He said they were,
“Came youthen hither,” said I, “by chance?” “No,” he answered, “that cannot be ; something must have | made me.” “And who is that something " I asked. He said he did not know. (I took particular notice that he did not say, as Rousseau fancies a child in like circumstances would say, that his parents made him.) I had now gained the point I aimed at; and saw that his reason taught him (though he could not so express it) that what begins to be, must have a cause, and that what is formed with regularity, must have an intelligent cause. I therefore told him the name of the Great Being who made him and all the world, concerning whose adorable nature I gave him such information as I thought he could in some measure comprehend. The lesson affected him deeply, and he never forgot either it or the circumstance that introduced it.' “The Minstrel,' on which Beattie's fame now rests, is a didactic poem, in the Spenserian stanza, designed to “trace the progress of a poetical genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning of fancy and reason till that period at which he may be supposed capable of appearing in the world as a minstrel. The idea was suggested by Percy's preliminary Dissertation to his Reliques—one other benefit which that collection has conferred upon the lovers of poetry. The character of Edwin, the minstrel (in which Beattie embodied his own early feelings and poetical aspirations), is very finely drawn. The romantic seclusion of his youth, and his ardour for knowledge, find a response in all young and generous minds; while the calm philosophy and reflection of the poet, interest the more mature and experienced reader. The poem was left unfinished, and this is scarcely to be regretted. Beattie had not strength of pinion to keep long on the wing in the same lofty region; and Edwin would have contracted some earthly taint in his descent. Gray thought there was too much description in the first part of the ‘Minstrel,' but who would exchange it for the philosophy of the second part? The poet intended to have carried his hero into a life of variety and action, but he certainly would not have succeeded. As it is, when he finds it n to continue Edwin beyond the ‘flowery path' of childhood, and to explore the shades of life, he calls in the aid of a hermit, who schools the young enthusiast on virtue, knowledge, and the dignity of man. The appearance of this sage is happily de
There are, who, deaf to mad Ambition's call,
The rolls of fame I will not now explore;
Though richest hues the peacock's plumes adorn,
Or seek at noon the woodland scene remote,
| Liberal, not lavish, is kind Nature's hand; | Nor was perfection made for man below. Yet all her schemes with nicest art are planned, Good counteracting ill, and gladness wo. With gold and gems if Chilian mountains glow; If bleak and barren Scotia's hills arise; There plague and poison, lust and rapine grow; Here peaceful are the vales, and pure the skies, And freedom fires the soul, and sparkles in the eyes. Then grieve not thou, to whom the indulgent Muse Vouchsafes a portion of celestial fire: Nor blame the partial Fates, if they refuse The imperial banquet and the rich attire. Know thine own worth, and reverence the lyre. Wilt thou debase the heart which God refined 2 No; let thy heaven-taught soul to Heaven aspire, To fancy, freedom, harmony, resigned; Ambition's grovelling crew for ever left behind.
Canst thou forego the pure ethereal soul,
O how canst thou renounce the boundless store
There lived in Gothic days, as legends tell,
| Thus on the chill Lapponian's dreary land, | For many a long month lost in snow profound, | When Sol from Cancer sends the season bland, And in their northern cave the storms are bound; | From silent mountains, straight, with startling sound, Torrents are hurled; green hills emerge; and lo! | The trees with foliage, cliffs with flowers are crowned; | Pure rills through vales of verdure warbling go; And wonder, love, and joy, the peasant's heart o'erflow.
| Even now his eyes with smiles of rapture glow, As on he wanders through the scenes of morn, | Where the fresh flowers in living lustre blow, Where thousand pearls the dewy lawns adorn, | A thousand notes of joy in every breeze are borne.
But who the melodies of morn can tell? | The wild brook babbling down the mountain side; The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell; | The pipe of early shepherd dim descried | In the lone valley; echoing far and wide The clamorous horn along the cliffs above; The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide; The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love, And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.
The cottage-curs at early pilgrim bark;
| Slow tolls the village-clock the drowsy hour;
| Deep mourns the turtle in sequestered bower,
| And shrill lark carols clear from her ačrial tower.
[Life and Immortality.]
|| 0 ye wild groves, 0 where is now your bloom!
Where now the rill, melodious, pure, and cool,
And meads, with life, and mirth, and beauty crowned? | Ah! see, the unsightly slime, and sluggish pool, | Have all the solitary vale embrowned ; fled each fair form, and mute each melting sound, | The raven croaks forlorn on naked spray. | And hark: the river, bursting every mound, | Down the vale thunders, and with wasteful sway Uproots the grove, and rolls the shattered rocks away.
Yet such the destiny of all on earth: So flourishes and fades majestic man. | Fair is the bud his vernal morn brings forth, And fostering gales a while the nursling fan. 0 smile, ye heavens, serene; ye mildews wan, Ye blighting whirlwinds, spare his balmy prime, | Nor lessen of his life the little span. Borne on the swift, though silent wings of Time, | Old age comes on apace to ravage all the clime.
| And be it so. Let those deplore their doom Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn; | But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb, Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn. Shall Spring to these sad scenes no more return ? | Is yonder wave the Sun's eternal bed! Soon shall the orient with new lustre burn, | And Spring shall soon her vital influence shed, Again attune the grove, again adorn the mead.
Let no rude sound invade from far,
But if some pilgrim through the glade
For me, no more the path invites
At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still, | And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove, | When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill, | And nought but the nightingale's song in the grove: ‘Twas thus, by the cave of the mountain afar, While his harp rung symphonious, a hermit began: No more with himself or with nature at war,
He thought as a sage, though he felt as a man.
‘Ah! why, all abandoned to darkness and wo, Why, lone Philomela, that languishing fall ! | For spring shall return, and a lover bestow, And sorrow no longer thy bosom inthral: But, if pity inspire thee, renew the sad lay, Mourn, sweetest complainer, man calls thee to mourn; O soothe him, whose pleasures like thine pass away: Full quickly they pass—but they never return.
Now gliding remote on the verge of the sky,
The moon half extinguished her crescent displays:
But man's faded glory what change shall renew :
'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;
'Twas thus, by the glare of false science betrayed,
And darkness and doubt are now flying away,
l Christophert S.M.Art. o |
CHRISToPHER SMART, an unfortunate and irregular man of genius, was born in 1722 at Shipbourne in Kent. His father was steward to Lord Barnard (afterwards Earl of Darlington), and dying when his son was eleven years of age, the patronage of Lord Barnard was generously continued to his family. Through the influence of this nobleman, Christopher procured from the Duchess of Cleveland an allowance of £40 per annum. He was admitted of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, in 1739, elected a fellow of Pembroke in 1745, and took his degree of M.A. in 1747. At college, Smart was remarkable for folly and extravagance, and his distinguished contemporary Gray prophesied truly that the result of his conduct would be a jail or bedlam. In 1747, he wrote a comedy called a Trip to Cambridge, or The Grateful Fair, which was acted in Pembroke College Hall, the parlour of which was made the green-room. No remains of this play have been found, excepting a few songs and a mockheroic soliloquy, the latter containing the following humorous simile:— t
Thus when a barber and a collier fight,
From the correspondence of Gray, it appears that Smart's income at Cambridge was about £140 per annum, and of this his creditors compelled him to assign over to them £50 a-year till his debts were paid. Notwithstanding his irregularities, Smart cultivated his talents, and was distinguished both for his Latin and English verse. His manners were agreeable, though his misconduct appears to have worn out the indulgence of all his college friends. Having written several pieces for periodicals published by Newberry, Smart became acquainted with the bookseller's family, and married his stepdaughter, Miss Carnan, in the year 1753. He now removed to London, and endeavoured to subsist by his pen. The notorious Sir John Hill—whose wars with the Royal Society, with Fielding, &c., are wellknown, and who closed his life by becoming a quack doctor—having insidiously attacked Smart, the latter replied by a spirited satire entitled The Hilliad. Among his various tasks was a metrical translation of the Fables of Phaedrus. He also translated the psalms and parables into verse, but the version is destitute of talent. He had, however, in his better days, translated with success, and to Pope's satisfaction, the Ode on St Cecilia's Day. In 1756 Smart was one of the conductors of a monthly periodical called The Universal Visiter; and to assist him, Johnson (who sincerely sympathised, as Boswell relates, with Smart's unhappy vacillation of mind) contributed a few essays. In 1763 we find the poor poet confined in a mad-house. ‘He has partly as much exercise,’ said Johnson, “as he used to have, for he digs in the garden. Indeed, before his confinement, he used for exercise to walk to the ale-house ; but he was carried back again. I did not think he ought to be shut up. His infirmities were not noxious to society. He insisted on people praying with him (also falling upon his knees and saying his prayers in the street, or in any other unusual place); and I’d as lief pray with Kit Smart as any one else. Another charge was, that