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eminent schoolmaster, and the intimate friend of Dean Swift-whose life he wrote with ability.
The subject of our memoirs was born at Dublin in the year 1751, and in his early years discovered no particular marks either of genius or of activity. After receiving a kind of preparatory education in his own country, he was in 1762 sent to Harrow school, where he at length unfolded himself, and attained distinction. A spirit of emulation now began to pervade his mind, and roused him from the lethargy into which he had fallen. He recollected the golden opportunities which were passing over his head. He was impressed with the absolute necessity of application to ensure any considerable progress in mental improvement. This
circumstance should induce instructors of youth to , be patient with respect to those of their pupils who make not an early disclosure of their powers ; and should guard the young scholar against that spirit of indolence which blasts every opening prospect of fertility, IDLENESS is the Upas tree, beneath whose poisonous foliage every plant stands condemned to inevitable destruction.
From Harrow he went and entered himself at the Middle Temple.but from this period to the time of his marriage with Miss Linley, his life is involved in obscurity. His connection, however, with this lady, was preceded by a duel at Bath with a Mr. Matthews, who had published a paragraph in the papers iujurious to her reputation. The affair, at the time, occasioned much noise but by the bestowment of the fair lady's hand, he thought himself abundantly rewarded.
Soon after his marriage Mr. S. began to employ his talents for the stage. He produced his Rivals, which was exhibited at Covent-Garden, the 17th of January, 1775. A few alterations secured to it a permanent reputation. His St. Patrick's Day, a farce, and his comic opera, the Duenna, were soon afterwards brought forward, and well received. The latter, indeed, was honoured by an uncommon degree of popularity. It had a run of seventy-fros nights during the season.
On Mr. Garrick's retiring from the mana gement of Drury-lane Theatre, the share of the patent was purchased by Mr. $. for a considerable sum, and it now became him to put forth his dramatic ability. 'Agreeable to this expectation, he brought out his very celebrated comedy The School for Scandal. It was performed, for the first time, on the 8th of May, 1777, with unbounded applause. The characters are drawn with exquisite fidelity, Scandal is depicted throughout its numerous ramifications. The meanness of this vice, in all its extensive evolutions, are justly characterised and exposed. Nothing but a profound knowledge of life could have produced so faithful a picture of fashionable manners. The characters are marked by strong traits of frivolity and dissination. The reputation of their several neighbours is torn to pieces with a merciless severity. It is impossible, indeed, to peruse, or to see drawn at length such pointed satire, without hoiding in detestation that odious vice of scandal, which thus consigns to de: struction the happiness of society.
Mr. Garrick, who wrote the prologue to this play, has thus humourously described its nature and tendency. Proud of your smiles, once lavishly bestow'd, Again our young Don Quixote takes the road ; To shew bis gratitude, he draws his pen, And seeks this bydra scandal in his den, From his fell gripe the frighted fair to save, Tho' he should fall, th' attempt must please the brave.
[No. XLVII.) · THE SOFA.
BY WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ.
COWPER. TTAVING, in several of our last Numbers, Il touched upon the lesser pieces of our poet, we now open the YEAR with our entrance into his grand poem the Task, which, from its variety and beauty, will contique to amuse and edify future generations. It is distributed into six books; and takes its name from an injunction given him by a lady to write on the sofa; which he instantly obeyed. In this first book, therefore, he traces its rise from a plain three-legged stool to its present state of perfection. He concludes this introductory part of the subject in the following humorous strains. We cannot read them without a smile : they are of a wholesome and purifying tendency.
Thus first necessity invented stools,
Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk,
The author then congratulates himself on his freedom from the gout, which circumstance renders the sofa less necessary to him and launches forth in praise of exercise, thus giving him an opportunity of describing the most beautiful parts of the creation. Here he meets with crazy Kate, which character he has drawn with exquisite simplicity :
There often wanders one, whom better days
With the same admirable pencil has Mr. C. drawn the Peasant's Nest, the Gipsies, and other scenes, which, had we room, we would have trane scribed.
We shall only add his masterly sketch of LON. DON-it is delineated with his usual fidelity :
London is, by trade and wealth proclaim'd, i
Here the genius of our author shines forth with its accustomed splendour. In every paragraph we discern a glowing originality. In the course of our future Reflectors, we shall have to bring forward passages from the Tasé which will afford the amplest entertainment and instruction.