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every part of his works, plainly indicate, that no man in Europe was better prepared to republish and illustrate that philosopher than Mr. Gray. Another work, on which he bestowed uncommon labour, was the “ Anthologia.” Amongst the books, which his friendship bequeathed to me, is Henry Stephens's edition of that collection of Greek Epigrams, interleaved ; in which he has transcribed several additional ones that he selected in his extensive reading, has inserted a great number of critical notes and emendations, and subjoined a copious Index, in which every Epigram is arranged under the name of its respective author. * This manuscript, though written in that exact manner, as if intended for the
press, I do not know that it was ever Mr. Gray's design to make public. The only work, which he meditated upon with this direct view from the beginning, was a history of English poetry. He has mentioned this himself in an advertisement prefixed to those three fine imitations of Norse and Welch poetry, which he gave the world in the last edition of his Poems. But the slight manner, in which he there speaks of that design, may admit here of some additional explanation. Several years ago I was indebted to the friendship of the present learned Bishop of Gloucester forf a curious manuscript paper of Mr. Pope, which contains the first sketch of a plan for a work of this kind, and which I have still in my pos
* It should seem that Mr. Gray's pains were, on this occasion, very ill employed; for the late Lord Chesterfield, writing to his son, says, “I hope you are got out of the worst company in the world, the Greek Epigrams. Martial bas wit, and is worth looking into sometimes ; but I recommend the Greek Epigrams to your supreme contempt."-See Lord Chesterfield's Letters, Lett. LXXIII. How. ever, if what Mr. Gray says be true, p. 214, supru, that " a dead lord ranks but with commoners,” there may come a time when Lord Chesterfield's dictum, in matters of taste, may not be held more infallible than that of his own and other dead lords, in points of religion and morality: nay, when his own plan of gentlemanly education may be thought less capable of furnishing his country with useful members of society, than the plain old-fashioned one which he wrote to explode.
this day does not quickly come, one may, without pretend phecy, pronounce that England will neither be, nor deserve to be, any thing better than a province of France.
+ A transcript of this paper is to be found printed in the Life of Mr. Pope, written by Mr. Ruff head.
gift of pro
session. Mr. Gray was greatly struck with the method which Mr. Pope had traced out in this little sketch; and on my proposal of engaging with him in compiling such a history, he examined the plan more accurately, enlarged it considerably, and formed an idea for an introduction to it. In this was to be ascertained the origin of rhyme; and specimens not only of the Provençal poetry (to which alone Mr. Pope seemed to have adverted), but of the Scaldic, British, and Saxon, were to have been given; as, from all these different sources united, English poetry had its original : though it could hardly be called by that name till the time of Chaucer, with whose school (i. e. the poets who wrote in this manner) the history itself was intended to commence. The materials which I collected for this purpose are too inconsiderable to be mentioned; but Mr. Gray, besides versifying those odes that he published, made many elaborate disquisitions into the origin of rhyme, and that variety of metre, to be "found in the writings of our ancient poets. He also transcribed many parts of the voluminous Lidgate, from manuscripts which he found in the University Library and those of private colleges; remarking, as he went along, the several beauties and defects of this immediate scholar of Chaucer. He however soon found, that a work of this kind, pursued on so very extensive a plan, would become almost endless : and hearing at the same time that Mr. Thomas Warton, fellow of Trinity-college, Oxford (of whose abilities, from his observations on Spenser, we had each of us conceived the highest opinion), was engaged in a work of the same kind, we by mutual consent relinquished our undertaking; and, soon after, on that gentleman's desiring a sight of the plan, Mr. Gray readily sent him a copy of it.*
* This gentleman has just now politely acknowledged the favour in his preface to his first volume on this subject. A work which, as he proceeds in it through more enlightened periods, will undoubtedly give the world as high an idea of his critical taste, as the present specimen does of his indefatigable researches into antiquity.
At a time when I am enumerating the more considerable of Mr. Gray's antiquarian pursuits, I must not omit to mention his great knowledge of Gothic architecture. He had seen, and accurately studied, in his youth, while abroad, the Roman proportions on the spot, both in ancient ruins and in the works of Palladio. In his later years he applied himself to consider those stupendous structures of more modern date, that adorn our own country; which, if they have not the same grace, have undoubtedly equal dignity. He endeavoured to trace this mode of building, from the time it commenced, through its various changes, till it arrived at its perfection, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, and ended in that of Elizabeth. For this purpose he did not so much depend upon written accounts, as that internal evidence which the buildings themselves give of their respective antiquity; since they constantly furnish to the wellinformed eye, arms, ornaments, and other undubitable marks, by which their several ages may be ascertained. On this account he applied himself to the study of heraldry as a preparatory science, and has left behind him a number of genealogical papers, more than sufficient to prove him a complete master of it. By these means he arrived at so very extraordinary a pitch of sagacity, as to be enabled to pronounce, at first sight, on the precise time when every particular part of any of our cathedrals was erected. He invented also several terms of art, the better to explain his meaning on this subject. I frequently pressed him to digest these in a regular order; and offered, under his direction, to adapt a set of drawings to them, which might describe every ornament peculiarly in use in every different æra. But though he did not disapprove this hint, he neglected it; and has left no papers that would lead to its prosecution. I therefore mention it in this place, only to induce certain of his friends, to whom I know he communicated
more of his thoughts upon this subject than to me, to pursue the design, if they think it would be attended with utility to the public.
There is an Eloge on M. l'Abbé Le Beuf, published in the “ Histoire de l'Acad. des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Vol. XXIXth,” by which it
gentleman had precisely the same idea with Mr. Gray on this subject; and, by pursuing it, had arrived at the same degree of skill. “ Les Voyages et les Lectures de M. l'Abbé Le Beuf l'avoient tellement familiarisé avec les monumens, qu'il apercevoit les differences les plus delicates de l'ancienne architecture; il demêloit du premier coup-d'ail, les caractères de chaque siècle; à l'inspection d'un bâtiment il pouvoit dire, quelquefois à vingt années près, dans quel temps il avoit été construit : les ceintres, les chapiteaux, les moulures portoient à ses yeux la date de leur bâtisse ; beaucoup de grands edifices ont été l'ouvrage de plusieurs siècles ; plus encore ont été reparés en des siècles differens ; il décomposoit un même bâtiment avec une facilité singulière, il fixoit l'age des diverses parties, et ses decisions étoient toujours fondées sur des preuves indubitables; on en trouve une foule d'exemples dans son Histoire du Diocèse de Paris.” His panegyrist also informs us, that he was solicited by his friend, M. Joly de Fleury, to reduce into a body of science the discoveries which he had made, that his ill health prevented him; but that the work is now in the hands of a person very capable of perfecting his idea. Yet I question whether a work of this kind, from a French writer, will be of any great importance, since I am informed by a very competent judge, that the resemblance between Gothic architecture in England and in France is surprisingly slight, except in the cathedral at Amiens, and a few other churches, supposed to be built by the English while in possession of French provinces. The public
has much more to hope from Mr. T. Warton's late pro'mise to it, as he, of all other living writers, is best qualified to give complete satisfaction to the curious on this subject; in the meanwhile, it may not be amiss to inform the reader, that Mr. Bentham’s Remarks on Saxon Churches, which make a part of an elaborate Introduction to his History of Ely Cathedral, lately published, will convey to him many sentiments of Mr. Gray; as, amongst other antiquaries, he contributed his assistance to that gentleman ; who, in his preface, has accordingly mentioned the obligation.
But the favourite study of Mr. Gray, for the last ten years of his life, was natural history, which he then rather resumed than began ; as, by the instructions of his uncle Antrobus, he was a considerable botanist at fifteen. He followed it closely, and often said that he thought it a singular felicity to have engaged in it; as, besides the constant amusement it gave him in his chamber, it led him more frequently out into the fields ; and, by making his life less sedentary, improved the general course of his health and spirits.
Habituated, as he had long been, to apply only to first-rate authors, as to the fountain-head of that knowledge, which he was at the time solicitous to acquire, it is obvious that, when he resolved to make himself master of natural history, he would immediately become the disciple of the great Linnæus. His first business was to understand accurately his “ termini artis,” which called justly the learning a new original language. He then went regularly through the vegetable, animal, and fossile kingdoms. The marginal notes which he has left, not only on Linnæus, but the many other authors which he read on these subjects, are very numerous : but the most considerable are on Hudson's Flora Anglica, and the tenth edition of the Systema Naturæ ; which latter he interleaved, and filled almost