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plete success. He was particularly fond, in his youth, as he tells us himself, of" the smooth elegiac poets, whom, both for the pleasing sound of their numerous writing, which in imitation I found most easy and most agreeable to nature's part in me; and for their matter, which what it is there be few who know not, I was so allured to read, that no recreation came to me better welcome."

But of the elegiac writers, Ovid seems to have been his favourite and his model. We may sometimes discover Tibullus in his pages, but Ovid is diffused over them. He will.not, however, suffer his respect for the Roman models, as Mr. Warton has justly remarked, to oppress his powers, or to deprive him of his own distinct and original character. He wields their language with the most perfect mastery, and, without wishing, like Cowley, to compel it to any unclassical service, employs it as an obedient instru


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Of these poems, which are nearly equal in merit, the fifth, written in the author's twentieth year on the return of spring, and the sixth, addressed in his twenty-first year to his friend Deodati, seem to be entitled to the praise of superior excellence. In these eleApol. for Smect. P. W. v. 1. 223.

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gies there appears to be a more masterly
arrangement, and a greater variety of po-
etic imagery and allusion than in their fel-
lows: though the fourth, written in his
eighteenth year to his former preceptor
Young; and the seventh, in which the poet,
age of nineteen, describes, with ten-
derness and sensibility, the transient effects
of love upon his bosom, must be admitted
to very high and distinguished praise. The
object, as it may be proper to mention, of
the love, which he has thus commemorated,
was a lady, whom he accidentally saw in one
of the publick walks near the metropolis,
and of whom, on her sudden disappearance
among the crowd, he could never obtain any
further intelligence.

A critical eye may sometimes detect in these compositions an expression, which an Augustan writer would not, perhaps, acknowledge as authentic; and a reader of taste may sometimes wish for more compression in the style; and may be sorry that the youthful poet did not occasionally follow some model of more nerve than the diffuse and languid Ovid. On the whole, however, these productions must be regarded as possessing rare and pre-eminent merit. To England, indeed, they are peculiarly interesting, as they were


the first pieces which extended her fame for latin poetry to the continent; and as they evince the various power of her illustrious bard, by showing, that he, who afterwards approved himself to be her Æschylus and her Homer, could once flow in the soft numbers, and breathe the tender sentiments of Ovid and 'Tibullus.

The only prose compositions of this date which we possess of our author's, are some of his college and University exercises, under the title of "Prolusiones oratoriæ," and five of his familiar letters; four of them in latin to his old preceptors, Young and Ġill; and one in English, forming his answer to a friend, who had censured him for wasting his life in literary pursuits, and had urged him to forsake his study for some of the active occupations of the world. This letter, of which Dr. Birch has published the rough and the corrected draught from the author's MSS. in the library of Trinity college, Cambridge, concludes with a very impressive sonnet; and is particularly interesting for the view, which it gives to us of the writer's delicacy of principle, and of the high motives which actuated his bosom. The reader, as I persuade myself, will thank me for communicating it.

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"Besides that in sundry other re

spects I must acknowledge me to profit by you, whenever wee meet, you are often to me, and were yesterday especially, as a good watchman to admonish, that the howres of the night passe on, (for so I call my life as yet obscure and unserviceable to mankind)

and that the day with me is at hand, wherein
Christ commands all to labour, while there is
light. Which because I am persuaded you
doe to no other purpose then out of a true
desire, that God should be honoured in
every one, I therefore thinke myselfe bound,
though unaskt, to give you account, as oft
as occasion is, of this my tardie moving, ac-
cording to the præcept of my conscience,
which, I firmely trust, is not without God.
Yet now I will not streine for any set apolo-
gie, but only referre myself to what
my mind
shall have at any tyme to declare her selfe
at her best ease. But if you thinke, as you
said, that too much love of learning is in
fault, and that I have given up myselfe to
away my yeares in the armes of stu-
dious retirement, like Endymion with the
moone, as the tale of Latmus goes; yet con-
sider, that if it were no more but the meere
love of learning, whether it proceed from a

principle bad, good, or naturall, it could not
have held out thus long against so strong op-
position on the other side of every kind. For
if it be bad, why should not all the fond
hopes, that forward youth and vanitie are
fledge with, together with gaine, pride, and
ambition, call me forward more powerfully,
then a poor regardlesse and unprofitable sin
of curiosity should be able to withhold me,
whereby a man cutts himselfe off from all
action, and becomes the most helpless, pu-
sillanimous, and unweaponed creature in the
world, the most unfit and unable to doe that,
which all mortals most aspire to, either to be
usefull to his friends, or to offend his ene-
mies. Or if it be to be thought a naturall
pronenesse, there is against that a much more
potent inclination inbred, which about this
tyme of a man's life sollicits most, the desire
of house and family of his owne, to which
nothing is esteemed more helpful then the
early entring into credible employment, and
nothing hindering then this affected solitari-
nesse. And though this were anough, yet
there is to this another act, if not of pure,
yet of refined nature, no lesse availeable to
dissuade prolonged obscurity, a desire of ho-
nour and repute and immortall fame seated
in the brest of every true scholar, which all

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