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The statue, and the column, and the fane
Of old, above the senate of the moor.'
• Fierce, frequent, sudden, is the Moorland storm;
Night her ancient reign
the wanderer's ear
- The morn of high anticipation, noon
* The evening gun fired in Hamoaze.'
Those harmoniés divine, at morn, noon, eve,
Of sunshine, peace, and liberty again?' We sincerely wish that the notice here taken of a poem which deserves not to be neglected, may be attended with the consequence of adding to the frequency of those opportunities of pure and sublime enjoyment, of which the author knows so well to avail himself.
This respectable man is a poor schoolmaster, with a large family, which he has to support by incessant toil in a painful vocation; and it is no small merit to have done what he has already done under such circumstances. But we hope he will do more,—and better still. He has by no means exhausted his beloved Moor. It will amply reward the task of interweaving with many a superstitious legend, and many an historical record. Let him ascend to the Druidical æra, and people with the creations of his fancy the old metropolis of Grimspound; or, if contented to soar to a less dizzy height, and one beneath the clouds, let him choose the period when the river Exe formed the boundary between the Saxon and British nations, and Dartmoor constituted an impassable frontier for the protection of the latter. Even the wanderings of the abandoned Gaveston, whom tradition relates to have secreted himself for a time among the impenetrable fastnesses of this, his ancient feudal dominion, might furnish a groundwork of romance, which the author of "Marmion' would not have disdained to appropriate. Then, for supernatural machinery--not only has every cavern its troop of indigenous pixies, whose gambols are still occasionally witnessed by the benighted peasant, but the white-breasted bird, the harbinger of death to the family of Oxenham, is a true proprietor of the soil, and worthy to be classed among its guardian divinities.
But we have done, and now leave the poet to follow or not our suggestions as he may best be inclined-only, for gentle pity's sake, no more of forges and hammers, of steam-engines and railways; and leave the corporation of Plymouth to twine the civic wreath,' upon the present occasion, for Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt.
ART. VIII-Collective Works of the late Dr. Sayers; to which
have been prefixed some Biographic Particulars. By William
Taylor, of Norwich. 2 vols. Norwich. 1823. To many of our younger readers, in an age when every season
brings with it its shoal of poets, the name of Sayers may, perhaps, be unknown, as being out of date; but it is known to their elders—it is known on the continent-and will be known by posterity. In the course of Fame, the race is not to the swift, but to the strong.
Few poets have been so fortunate as Dr. Sayers in their biographer; seldom, indeed, if ever, have we seen the life of an author written with such intimate knowledge, such affectionate attachment; and, at the same time, with so much discrimination, and such perfect candour. But it is no advantage to the reviewer when every thing in the narrative which he has to follow is said so well, that he can neither compress it to advantage, nor translate it into his own words without injury. We may, however, in the present instance, allow ourselves a wider range, and by connecting the life of Dr. Sayers with the literature of his time, contribute something towards the history of English poetry.
• Frank, the son of Francis Sayers, and Ann, his wife, was born in London, on the 3d of March, 1763. His father was a native of Great Yarmouth, who had settled in London as an insurance-broker, and superintended shipping concerns for his Yarmouth connexions. His mother's name was Morris; she also was born at Great Yarmouth, but of Welsh extraction; and the son, who had the feelings of an antiquary, as well as of a poet, pleased himself with thinking that his pedigree might be traced to Rhys-ap-Tewdwr Mawr, prince of South Wales, and so up, through the heroes of Welsh history, into the age
of fable and romance. Mr. Sayers was a man of fine person, wit, gaiety, and talent, 'fond of singing a good song, and of prolonging to a late hour the pleasures of the evening table.' His patrimony was slender, and he was supposed to have been a more welcome suitor to Miss Morris than to her parents. He died a few months after the birth of his only child; and the widow, not being left in easy circumstances, returned with her infant to Yarmouth, and there resided with her father, at his house, in Friar's-lane. It was a stately, old-fashioned mansion, surrounding three sides of a gloomy court; the hall was floored with chequered marble; the large parlour was wainscoted with cedar, and a spacious staircase of shallow steps led up to the drawing-room, which was a long narrow gallery, including seven windows. A Flemish folding-screen, covered with gilt leather, inclosed a private nook round the chimney, in which the family
sat when by themselves, and here were given the first lessons in spelling and reading. Dr. Sayers always recollected affectionately the snug niche within this screen; and thirty years afterwards provided a similar apparatus in his Norwich sitting-room.'
His first schoolmaster was a dissenting minister at Yarmouth, by name Whitesides, a man of adequate learning and sense,
but sadly given to hypochondriasis.'*
At the age of ten he was removed to a boardingschool at North Walsham, where Nelson was his school-fellow, but a disparity of five years between them prevented all intimacy. In the ensuing year he was removed to Palgrave, where the Rev. Rochemont Barbauld, having settled as the minister of one of those dissenting congregations which were at that time lapsing into Socinianism, had just opened a boarding-school, in the house previously occupied by the well-known antiquary, Thomas Martin. Sayers and his biographer were among the first eight scholars. The same single-bedded room,' says the latter, was allotted to us both; we were disciplined in the same classes--we stayed together at Palgrave three years; and then began that early and uninterrupted friendship which has thrown into my way so many valuable and delightful moments. And the record of which (see the dedication to the poemst) constitutes the dearest and proudest trophy of my life. Sayers was two years and a half older than myself; this is much at that age: he was my protector, my helper, my model -a feeling of gratitude, of deference, of admiration, accompanied
* He was, indeed, a most unhappy person; and the cause of his unhappiness is indicated in the following verses, which were found in his pocket after he had committed suicide :
"With toilsome steps I pass thro' life's dull road,
In chains of darkness wherefore should I stay,
And mourn in prison while I keep the key? These verses were read by Sayers in his early youth, and we are told that, in his last ill. ness, he remembered them with perturbation.
To William Taylor, Jun., Esq., of Norwich, these Poems, the offspring of an attachment early-formed and uninterrupted, are dedicated, by his friend.'
my attachment from its commencement, and still, I hope, marks the attitude in which I bend over his urn.' Mrs. Barbauld, who was then a bride, and who had already, as Lætitia Aikin, acquired her high reputation, took her 'part in the instruction of the pupils. Sayers used to say, in after-life, that he considered the lessons which he received from her in English composition as the most useful part of the instructions bestowed at Palgrave. Twice a week the boys were called, in classes, to her apartment; she read aloud to them a fable, a short story, or a moral essay of convenient length, then sent them back into the school-room, to write it, each in his own words, on a slate; these exercises she overlooked, pointing out the faults, and giving a distinct reason for every correction, so that the arts of inditing and of criticising were in some degree learnt together. Mr. Taylor remarks upon this, that 'many a lad from the great schools, who excels in Greek and Latin, cannot write properly a vernacular letter, for want of some such discipline.' But it may well be doubted, whether such a habit of early criticism would have the effect of producing a natural and easy style ; whether it would not tend to banish colloquial and idiomatic English from composition; and whether pupils so trained would not, as they grew up, be likely to think less of what they had to say, than of how they should say it. The moral faculties cannot be accustomed to discipline too early, that they may receive their bent in time; but there is a danger of weakening or distorting the intellectual powers, if you interfere too soon with their free growth. To make boys critical, is to make little men of them, which is the surest way to prevent them from ever becoming great ones.
The pupils at Palgrave used to perform a play before the holidays; and Sayers figured in the parts of Prospero, Caled, Henry IV., and Mark Anthony, with great applause : his memory indeed never faultered, and his ' recitation had the charm which a fine flexible voice produces, when it is regulated by a poet's feeling and a poet's ear. Throughout life,' says his biographer, ' Dr. Sayers was one of the finest readers I ever heard ; expression of every kind was at his command; his own emotion was always transitive, yet given with that subdued grace which is the expedient distinction between lecture and declamation. He excelled his schoolfellows (which rarely happens) in athletic sports, as well as in intellectual endowments. This little community was divided into rival factions of Norwichians and Yarmouthians—so natural is combination, and consequently faction; but Sayers, though of the latter party by denizenship, piqued himself on having been born in the metropolis-so much so, that, in his favourite books, he generally wrote his name, ‘F. Sayers, Londinensis.' Formerly this VOL. XXXV. NO. LXIX.