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Balmakewan, Aug. IS, 1815
As to the captive that, for many a day
And night, no change has ever known, the view
Of Nature lovely in the verdant hue
And the wide landscape beaming. The wild sway
As when in times long past I bent my way Through these lone wood-walks. On the grass again
I see the light fall chequered through the trees;
I listen to the murmurs of the breeze,
R. P. G.
Perhaps there is nothing more necessary to keep the mind in vigour, than a change of the images, which are presented to it. Even the most beautiful or sublime scenes lose their effect by an incessant familiarity with them. When we return to them after long absence, they seem re-invested with new splendour; while all the intellectual associations, which originally adhered to them, revive with an interest, and mellowness, increased and improved by time. But if scenes of former enjoyment are thus gratifying, when revisited, how agonizing are those of former sorrow or disgust! The wounds of the heart are opened afresh; and bleed with new violence. < SONNET II.
Balmakewan, Aug. 15, 1815. The sun is now abroad; the butterflies
Are floating o'er the green from flower to flower;
“Good things of day" assume their pride and power; The mead unfolds her beauty to the skies, And in the mind each thought of sadness dies.
I sit as wont within the Muses' bower,
And Fancy, as of old, begins to tower;
The gifts, the inspirations from on high,
Be told in sounding verse harmoniously,
R. P. G.
Many Moralists and Philosophers argue that the pleasures of imagination, if so short-lived, or combined with effects so morbid, are but deceitful illusions, not to be desired; and ill exchanged for a cold,
reasoning, and prudential apathy. Yet in this state 5 of existence, in which good and evil are every where
intermixed, we must not condemn or despise high gifts, because they are subject even to great and grievous alloys. Were not the lots of mankind thus nearly equalized, Providence would seem unjust in its dispensations. But thus it is, that the high and the low; the rich and the poor; the brilliant and the dull, are capable, on the balance, of nearly equal happiness.
Private Letters of Eminent Men Interesting, and Instructive.
Greatness not exempt from the Evils of Life.
Aug. 29, 1815. Sometimes when the evils of life press upon us almost beyond the power of endurance, we derive a consolation from learning, that many others, even those who seemed prosperous in their day, have been afflicted as well as ourselves: not an ill-natured consolation, that others have suffered; but that, if they have endured, we may be able to endure also.
On this account the private letters of eminent men, which often discover circumstances so very different from those under which their lives appeared to the public eye to have been passed, are often full both of interest and instruction. They display to us the secret movements of the human heart; and shew us that pomp and state are no protection from the common evils and afflictions of human existence.
Bishop White KENNETT was born at Dover, in 1660; was appointed Bishop of Peterborough, in $ 1718; and died Dec. 19, 1728, æt. 69. He was an excellent Antiquary, Historian, and Divine, and of almost unexampled literary industry.
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His younger brother, Dr. Basil Kennett, was bora iu 1664, at Postling, in Kent; was Chaplain to the Factory at Leghorn, in 1707; and died President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1714, set. 40. He was an eminent scholar; and author of "The Lives and Characters of the Greek Poets," 1697, 8vo. %c.
I met with the following extracts in a MS. volume of the Bishop's original Letters, in the British Museum.
B1SHOP KENNETT, TO THE REV. S. BLACKWEIX.
Jan. 27, 1704-5.
"If Providence afflict us, let us rather complain to one another; for if we wisely conceal our misfortunes from a friend, they do but make a deeper impression upon our own minds."
I suspect, that to receive ease from the communication of our sorrows, is very generally incident to human nature. It is thus that, above all others, the Poet often soothes his griefs, or passions, by expressing them in verse. There is a beautiful passage to this effect in one of Burns's Letters.
June i, 1711.
"As to dissatisfying managements, modestly so called, they are every where a little: happy the place, where least of all. We shall be accountable to God for no management, but that of our own time, and our own talents.
"My poor Brother, who manages away all his income, in charity and books, is detained a state captive at Leghorn, because we do not care to send another Protestant chaplain."
Here is the opinion of a man of great talent, and sound judgment, upon a very interesting subject. The
want of management, meaning pecuniary management, is a very general defect in persons addicted to the higher pursuits of the mind. Tender consciences will always be unhappy at the results of their carelessness in these concerns; and yet, perhaps, they will find themselves daily erring, though daily afflicted for it. This trait in the character of Dr. Basil Kennett, a man of admirable acquirements and vitues, has not, I believe, been hitherto recorded.
June 36, 1713.
"You make the best and wisest excuses for my Brother's long stay in France: yet 1 believe native air would better answer that design. Since he left Leghorn, he has drawn bills upon me for full 3001, and I expect more daily. There is something unaccountable in it: at the least a neglect and contempt of the world, as if he was not to live in it. My other brother, Godfrey, for whom I got a tolerable good place in the Custom House, had been three times, since the enjoyment of his place, released out of prison by me: and since my coming down, the first news that followed me was, that he was again laid up upon two several actions, for about 40/.; and unless I discharge him, he will be turned out of his office, and must lay and starve. 1 only mention these little troubles, as a remembrance that they are our portion in this life; and have the best effect, when they make us look upward with content and resignation to God."
Such are the pressing anxieties, with which life is too generally embittered. Could the Bishop find a consolation for these gnawing cares, in the mitre and the lawn sleeves? His books, those companions which can soothe without the irritation of superiority, or the trouble of intrusion, were a much more solid and unmingled source of comfort! From the numerous