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lady, for whom he had long eftertained affectionate respect, the dowager lady Spencer—and it was rather remarkable, that, on the very morning she called upon him, he happened to have begun his revisal of the Odyssey, j, he had originally inscribed to her. Such an incident in a happier season would have produced a very enlivening effect on his spirits; but, in his present state, it had not even the power to lead him into any free conversation with his amiable visitor. “The only amusement that he appeared to admit without reluctance, was the reading of Mr. Johnson; who, indefatigable in the supply of such amusement, had exhausted an immense collection of novels, and at this period began reading to the poet his own works. To these he listened also in silence, and heard all his poems recited in order, till the reader arrived at the History of John Gilpin, which he begged not to hear. Mr. Johnson proceeded to his manuscript poems: to these he willingly listened, but made not a single remark on any. In October 1798 the pressure of his melancholy seemed to be mitigated in some little degree, for he exerted himself so far as to write, without solicitation, to lady Hesketh; and I insert passages of this letter, because, gloomy as it is, it describes in a most interesting manner, the sudden attack of his malady, and tends to confirm an opinion that his mental disorder arose from a scorbutic habit, which, when his perspiration was obstructed, occasioned an unsearchable obstruction in the finer parts of his frame. Such a cause would produce, I apprehend, an effect exactly like what my suffering friend describes in this affecting letter.
“‘You describe delightful “scenes; but you describe them to * one who, # he even saw them, “could receive no delight from * them: who has a faint recollec‘tion, and so faint as to be like “an almost forgotten dream, that “once he was susceptible of plea“sure from such causes. The “country that you have had in “prospect has been always famed “for its beauties; but the wretch “who can derive no gratification ‘ from a view of nature, even under * the disadvantage of her most or‘dinary dress, will have no eyes to “admire her in any. “‘ In one day, in one minute I “should rather have said, she be‘ came an universal blank to me; ‘and though from a different “cause, yet with an effect as diffi“cult to remove as blindness itself.” “Mundstcy, October 13, 1798.”
“On his return from Mundsley to 19ereham in an evening, towards the end of October, Cowper, with miss Perowne and Mr. Johnson, was overturned in a post-chaise. He discovered no terror on the occasion, and escaped without injury from the accident. “In December he received a vi. sit from his highly esteemed friend, sir John Throckmorton; but his malady was at that time so oppressive, that it rendered him almost insensible to the kind solicitude of friendship. “. He still continued to exercise the powers of his astonishing mind: upon his finishing the revisal of his #. in March 1799, Mr. Johnson endeavoured in the gentlest manner to lead him into new literary occupation. * -: “For this purpose, on the 11th of March, he laid before him the paper
paper containing the commencement of his poem on The Four Ages. , Cowper altered a few lines; he also added a few, but soon observed to his kind attendant, that it was too great a work for him to attempt in his present situation. “At supper Mr. Johnson suggested to him several literary projects, that he might execute more easily. He replied, that he had just thought of six Latin verses, and if he could compose any thing, it must be in pursuing that composition. “The next morning he wrote the six verses he had mentioned, and added a few more, entitling the poem Montes glaciales. “. It proved a versification of a circumstance recorded in a newsper, which had been read to im a few weeks before, without his appearing to notice it. This poem he translated into English verse, on the nineteenth of March, to oblige miss Perowne. Both the original and the translation shall appear in the Appendix. * On the twentieth of March he wrote the stanzas entitled “The Cast-away;’ founded on an anecdote in Anson's voyage, which his memory suggested to him, although he had not looked into the book for many years. “As this poem is the last original production from the pen of Cowper, I shall introduce it here; persuaded that it will be read with an interest proportioned to the extraordinary pathos of the subject, and the still more extraordinary powers of the poet, whose lyre could sound so forcibly, unsilenced by the gloom of the darkest distemper, that was conducting him, by slow gradations, to the shadow of death. - -- -
* No braver chief could Albion boast
* I therefore purpose not, or dream,
“In August he translated this Fo into Latin verse. In Octor he went with miss Perowne, and Mr. Johnson, to survey a larger house in Dereham, § he preferred to their present residence, and in which the family were settled in the following Décember. “Though his corporeal strength was now evidently declining, the tender persuasion of Mr. #. * him to amuse his min with frequent composition. Between August and or he wrote all the translations from various Latin and Greek epigrams. “In his new residence he amused himself with translating a few fables of Gay into Latin verse. The fable which he used to recite as * child, , . The Hare with many Friends,’ was one of his latest amusements. ' ' ' "“The perfect ease and spirit with which his translations from Gay are written, induce me to print, not only those which he left entire, but even the two verses (for they are excellent) with which he was beginning to translate another, when encreasing maladies obliged him to relinquish for ever this elegant occupation. - “These Latin fables were all written in January, 1890. Towards the end of that month I had re. $o new-model a passage in his Horner, relating to
thirty-first of January I. received from him his improved version of the lines in question, written in a firm and delicate hand. “The sight of such writing from my long-silent friend, inspired me with a lively, but too sanguine hope, that I might see him once more restored. “Alas! at this period a compli cation of new maladies began to threaten his inestimable life; o the neat transcript of his improve verses on the curious monument of ancient sculpture, so gracefull described by Homer, verses o I surveyed as a delightful omen of future letters from a correspondent so inexpressibly dear to me, proved the last effort of his pen. “Ontheveryday that this endearing mark of his kindness reached me, a dropsical appearance in his legs induced Mr. Johnson to have recourse to fresh medical assistance. The beloved invalide was with t difficulty persuaded to take the remedies prescribed, and to try the exercise of a post-chaise, an exercise which he could not bear beyond the 22d of February. “In March, when his decline became more and more striking, he was visited by Mr. Rose. He hardly expressed any pleasure on the arrival of a friend whom he had so long and so tenderly regarded ; yet he showed evident signs of regret on his departure, the sixth of April. “The long calamitousillness, and impending death, of a darling child, precluded me from sharing with Mr. Rose the painful gratification of seeing, oncemore, the manwhose genius and virtues we had once contemplated together with mutual veneration and delight; whose a proaching dissolution we felt, not only as an irreparable loss to ouro selves, selves, but as a national misfortune. On the 19th of April, the close of a life so wonderfully chequered, and so universally interesting, appeared to be very near. “On Sunday the 20th, he seemed a little revived. “On Mohday he appeared dying, but recovered so much as to eat a slight dinner. “ Tuesday and Wednesday he #. apparently weaker every Our. “On Thursday he sat up as usual in the evening. “Friday the 25th, at five in the morning, , a deadly change appeared in his features. “He spoke no more. “ His last words were uttered in the night:—in rejecting a cordial, he said to miss Perowne, who had presented it to him, “What can it signify?” Yet, even at this time, he did not seem impressed with any idea of dying, although he conceived that nothing would contribute to his health. “The deplorable inquietude and darkness of his latter years, were mercifully terminated by a most gentle and tranquil dissolution. He passed through the awful moments of death so mildly, that although five persons were present, and ob.# him, in his chamber, not one of them perceived him to ex
pire: but he had ceased to breathe about five minutes before five in the afternoon.
“On Saturday, the third of May, he was buried in a part of Dereham church, called St. Edmund's chapel, and the funeral was attended by several of his relations.
** He j intestate: his affectionate relation, lady Hesketh, has fulfilled the office of his administra- " trix; and given orders for a monument to his memory, where his ashes repose. In the metropolis, I trust, the public affection for an author so eminently deserving, will enable me to make his manuscripts relating to Milton, which are now before me, the means of erecting a cenotaph in his honour, suitable to the dignity of his poetical character, and to the liberality of the nation, that may be justly proud of expressing a parental sense of his merit.
“I have regarded my own intimacy with him as a blessing to myself; and the remembrance of it is now endeared to me by the hope that it may enable me to delineate the man and the poet, with such fidelity and truth, as may render his remote, and even his future admirers, minutely acquainted with an exemplary being, most worthy to be intimately known, and universally beloved.”
PART1culars of the Earlier Life of Dr. GEDDEs.
[From Mr. Goon's ME Moirs of his Life and Writings.]
at LEXANDER Geddes, who
was born in the year 1737, descended, like most other men of letters, from parents who had no pretensions to worldly opulence
or honours: but, though not rich, they were, in every sense of the word, respectable; and, though not ennobled, they had a spirit sufficiently exalted to devote the it. o
of which they were possessed to the best purposes of human life. His father, named also Alexander, the second of four brothers, derived his livelihood from a small farm situated in Arradowl, in the É. of Ruthven and county of anff in Scotland; in which occupation he endured, in common perhaps, with the greater body of smaller tenants in that part of the united kingdom, many severe oppressions #. a tyrannic landlord. The maiden name of his mother was Janet Mitchel ; she was a 'native of Nether Dalachy, in the parish of Bellay, and was equally exemplary as a wife and a parent. * It is curious to observe from what apparently trifling, incidents we sometimes derive the whole bent of the dispositions and studies of our future lives. In their reli§. profession the parents of Mr. Seddes were Roman-catholics: their library consisted of but a very few volumes; and of these, the oral book was an English ible. Having been taught to read in the humble mansion of a schoolmistress whose name was Sellar, a village matron, whose É. of heart, with a recolction that did honour to his feelo he was accustomed occasiony to make mention of to the latest years of his life; and who, if she were not initiated in all the modern metaphysics of juvenile education, knew at least, according to the testimony of her pupil,
• Right well each temper to descry; To thwart the proud, and the submiss to raise: Some with vile copper prize exalt on high, And some entice with pittance small of praise:"
• General Answer to Queries, Counsels, and Criticisms, &c. p. 8.
—the book thatchiefly struck his attention, in the meagre catalogue to which his infant choice was confined, was this family-Bible ; which, whatever might have been at that time his thirst after knowledge, could not afford him more pleasure to peruse, than it did his
arents that it should be perused o, him. “They taught me,’ says he, “to read it with reverence and attention *.” His taste was thus fixed from his childhood. From the moment he began to read, he became a biblical critic in embryo: it was a passion to which, the more he reflected, the more he surrendered himself; and which, consequently, as may naturally be expected,