Page images
PDF
EPUB

and liberal basis, not only leads to a vast range of collateral science, but is necessarily founded on an intimacy with the language and the literature of Greece and Rome. Hence many of the first physicians in all ages have been distinguished, as well for their love and pursuit of elegant studies, as of those more immediately connected with the practice of the healing art. On the continent, amid a host to which we might point with pride and pleasure, it will suffice to mention the venerated, I might say, indeed, the beloved names of Fracastorius, Haller, and Zimmerman, men alike dear to the student of nature and the disciple of the muses. Nor do we want in our own island many, both in the past and. present times, who have traced, with equal energy and success, this twofold path to fame. But a few years have gone by since we lost, and in the vigour of his days, our lamented Leyden, a physician distinguished among his contemporaries not more for his enthusiastic love of science than for the beauty of his poetry, and the almost unrivalled extent of his philological attainments.

Like Leyden, the friend to whom these few pages are devoted, early acquired a justly earned character for deep and multifarious erudition; but, more

fortunate than Leyden in length of days, he has now added to these acquisitions a great, and I may venture to say, a permanent reputation as a medical writer and philosopher.

* JOHN MASON GOOD, M.D., F.R. S., F. R. S. L., &c. &c., was born at Epping in Essex, on the 25th of May, 1764. He is descended from a family of great respectability and antiquity at Romsey near Southampton, whither his father, a dissenting minister of exemplary character and considerable literary attainments, immediately removed on the death of his elder brother, and whilst the subject of my brief memoir was yet an infant. Here, under the most able parental tuition, his father having married Miss Peyto, the favourite niece of that excellent man, John Mason, A. M., the author of the well known treatise on "Self-Knowledge," he enjoyed a very liberal and comprehensive initiation into the walks of literature and science.

Dr. Good commenced the exercise of his profession, I believe, as a general practitioner, at Sudbury in Suffolk, where he married his present lady, one

* It may be necessary to state that a portion of this paper was communicated anonymously by me to Time's Telescope for 1825.

of the daughters of the late Thomas Fenn, esq., a banker of that place, and a gentleman highly esteemed for his charity, urbanity, and uniform benevolence of heart. It was here that, in the year 1791, I first became acquainted with him; and there were few days during the subsequent twelve months that we did not meet. Sudbury, however, was a field too confined to afford sufficient scope for his talents, and happily he was induced, in the spring of the year 1793, to exchange it for the metropolis, where he has gradually risen into that celebrity, both as a scholar of uncommon powers and as a medical writer of the first class, to which I have just alluded.

It will be a pleasing occupation to myself, and one perhaps not unproductive of interest and information to many, should I attempt in this place to give, in as condensed a form as may be compatible with the wish of awakening curiosity on the subject, a rapid sketch of the principal works which my learned friend has hitherto produced; dwelling in some degree, though necessarily in a brief manner, on those, as best suited to a work like the present, which are more immediately addressed to the business and the bosoms of the general reader.

With a critical knowledge of classical literature, Dr. Good had early in life combined the study of the oriental languages; and, in 1803, he published the first fruits of his philological acquisitions under the title of "SONG OF SONGS, or Sacred Idyls; translated from the original Hebrew, with Notes critical and explanatory," 8vo. This version, which offers a new arrangement, being broken into short pastorals, each pastoral finishing where the subject seems naturally to close, is beautifully executed under the double form of prose and poetry. "Thus divided," observes the translator, " into a multitude of little detached poems, I trust that many of the obscurities which have hitherto overshadowed this unrivalled relique of the eastern pastoral have vanished completely, and that the ancient Hebrews will be found to possess a poet who, independently of the sublimity of any concealed and allegorical meaning, may rival the best productions of Theocritus, Bion, or Virgil, as to the literal beauties with which every verse overflows *.'

Copious notes, exhibiting a large share of taste and erudition, are appended to the text; and of the

Preface, pp. 5, 6.

metrical version, which is in a high degree spirited and elegant, I feel much pleasure in selecting a specimen from the description of Spring, which forms the subject of the third idyl, than which a more lovely picture of the loveliest of all seasons was never presented to our admiration. The royal bride is represented as speaking:

"Twas my beloved's voice.-With rapture new,
Light as a hart, o'er heights and hills he flew.
Lo! nigh my window, nigh its trellis'd frame,
Close to my door, at day's first dawn he caine.
"Arise, my love!" 'twas thus I heard him say,
Arise, my love! my fair one, come away!
Gone is the winter, and the rains are o'er,

And the fresh fields their yearly blossoms pour :
The birds their songs resume; through every grove
The glossy turtle wakes his voice of love;
Her figs the fig-tree sweetens, o'er the vine,
Fragrant and fresh, the lucid clusters shine,-
Woods, hills, and valleys, all their charms display:
Arise, my love! my fair one, come away!”—

66

I am my love's, and my beloved mine:
The sweets of lilies on his lips combine;
Till breathe the morning, and the shadows fly,
Blest in my beating bosom shall he lie.

Return, return! let eve thy love bestow !
o'er Bether's hill, the bounding roe!

Haste as,

The same year which had witnessed this version

« PreviousContinue »