Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]

of cool attention, which doth not always attend the higher gifts of the mind. Yet, difficult as nature herself seems to have rendered the task of regularity to genius, it is the supreme consolation of dulness and of folly, to point with

gothic triumph to those excesses, which are the overflowings of faculties they never enjoyed. Perfectly unconscious that they are indebted to their stupidity for the consistency of their conduct, they plume themselves on an imaginary virtue, which has its origin in what is really their disgrace.--Let such, if such dare approach the shrine of Collins, withdraw to a respectful distance, and, should they behold the ruins of genius, or the weakness of an exalted mind, let them be taught to lament that nature


has left the noblest of her works imperfect.

Of such men of genius as have borne no public character, it seldom happens that any memoirs can be collected, of consequence enough to be recorded by the biographer. If their lives pass in obscurity, they are generally too uniform to engage our attention ; if they cultivate and obtain popularity, envy and malignity will mingle their poison with the draughts of praise; and through the industry of those unwearied ftends, their reputation will be so chequered, and their characters so much disguised, that it shall become difficult for the historian to separate truth from falfehood.

Of our exalted poet, whose life, , though far from being popular, did not altogether pass in privacy, we meet with few other accounts than such as the life of every man will afford, viz. when he was born, where he was educated, and where he died. Yet even these simple memoirs of the man, will not be unacceptable to those who admire the poet : for we never receive pleasure without a desire to be acquainted with the source from whence it springs; a species of curiosity, which, as it seems to be instinctive, was, probably, given us for the : noble end of gratitude ; and, finally, to elevate the enquiries of the mind to that fountain of perfection from which all human excellence is derived.



CHIChester, a city in Suflex, had the honour of giving birth to the author of the following poems, about the year 1721. His father, who was a reputable tradesman in that city, intended him for the service of the church ; and with this view, in the year 1733, he was admitted a scholar of that illustrious feminary of genius and learning, Winchester college, where so many diftinguished men of letters, so many excellent poets have received their classical education. Here he had the good fortune to continue feven


under the care of the very learned Dr. Burton; and at the


of nineteen, in the year 1740, he had merit fufficient to procure a distinguished place in the list of those scholars, who are elected, upon


A 3

the foundation of Winchester, to New College in Oxford. But as there were then no vacancies in that society, he was admitted a commoner of Queen's College in the same university ; where he continued till July 1741, when he was elected a demy of Magdalen College. During his residence at Queen's, he was at once distinguished for genius and indolence; his exercises, when he could be prevailed upon to write, bearing the visible characteristics of both. This remiss and inattentive habit might probably arise, in some measure, from difappointment: he had, no doubt, indulged very high ideas of the academical mode of education, and when he found science within the fetters of logic and of Aristotle, it was no wonder if he


« ПредишнаНапред »