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clesfield and Lord Rivers. The lady openly avowed but stopping at Bristol, was treated with great kindher profligacy, in order to obtain a divorce from her ness by the opulent merchants and other inhabitants, husband, with whom she lived on unhappy terms, whom he afterwards libelled in a sarcastic poem. and the illegitimate child was born after their sepa- In Swansea he resided about a year; but on revisitration. He was placed under the charge of a poor ing Bristol, he was arrested for a small debt, and woman, and brought up as her son. The boy, how-being unable to find bail, was thrown into prison. ever, obtained a superior education through the care His folly, extravagance, and pride, though it was and generosity of his maternal grandmother, Lady pride that licks the dust,' had left him almost withMason, who placed him at a grammar-school in St out a friend. He made no vigorous effort to extriAlbans. Whilst he was there Lord Rivers died, cate or maintain himself. Pope continued his and in his last illness, it is said the countess had the allowance; but being provoked by some part of his inhumanity and falsehood to state that Savage was conduct, he wrote to him, stating that he was dedead, by which he was deprived of a provision in- termined to keep out of his suspicion by not being tended for him by his father. Such unnatural and officious any longer, or obtruding into any of his unprincipled conduct almost exceeds belief. The boy concerns.' Savage felt the force of this rebuke from was now withdrawn from school, and placed appren- the steadiest and most illustrious of his friends. He tice to a shoemaker; but an accident soon revealed was soon afterwards taken ill, and his condition not his birth and the cause of its concealment. enabling him to procure medical assistance, he was nurse and supposed mother died, and among her found dead in his bed on the morning of the 1st of effects Savage found some letters which disclosed August 1743. The keeper of the prison, who had the circumstances of his paternity. The discovery treated him with great kindness, buried the unformust have seemed like the opening of a new world tunate poet at his own expense. to his hopes and ambition. He was already distinguished for quickness and proficiency, and for a sanguine enthusiastic temperament. A bright prospect had dawned on him; he was allied to rank and opulence; and though his birth was accompanied by humiliating circumstances, it was not probable that he felt these deeply, in the immediate view of emancipation from the low station and ignoble employment to which he had been harshly condemned. We know also that Savage was agitated by those tenderer feelings which link the child to the parent, and which must have burst upon him with peculiar force after so unexpected and wonderful a discovery. The mother of the youth, however, was an exception to ordinary humanity-an anomaly in the history of the female heart. She had determined to disown him, and repulsed every effort at acknowledgment and recognition
Savage was the author of two plays, and a volume of miscellaneous poems. Of the latter, the principal piece is The Wanderer, written with greater care than most of his other productions, as it was the offspring of that happy period of his life when he lived with Lord Tyrconnel. Amidst much puerile and tawdry description, The Wanderer' contains some impressive passages. The versification is easy and correct. The Bastard is, however, a superior poem, and bears the impress of true and energetic feeling. One couplet is worthy of Pope. Of the bastard he says,
Alone from strangers every comfort flowed. His remarkable history became known, and friends sprang up to shield the hapless youth from poverty. Unfortunately, the vices and frailties of his own character began soon to be displayed. Savage was not destitute of a love of virtue and principles of piety, but his habits were low and sensual. His temper was irritable and capricious; and whatever money he received, was instantly spent in the obscure haunts of dissipation. In a tavern brawl he had the misfortune to kill a Mr James Sinclair, for which he was tried and condemned to death. His relentless mother, it is said, endeavoured to intercept the royal mercy; but Savage was pardoned by Queen Caroline, and set at liberty. He published various poetical pieces as a means of support; and having addressed a birth-day ode to the queen, calling himself the Volunteer Laureate' (to the annoyance, it is said, of Colley Cibber, the legitimate inheritor of the laurel), her majesty sent him £50, and continued the same sum to him every year. His threats and menaces induced Lord Tyrconnel, a friend of his mother, to take him into his family, where he lived on equal terms, and was allowed a sum of £200 per annum. This, as Johnson remarks, was the 'golden period' of Savage's life. As might have been foreseen, however, the habits of the poet differed very widely from those of the peer; they soon quarrelled, and the former was again set adrift on the world. The death of the queen also stopped his pension; but his friends made up an annuity for him of equal amount, to which Pope generously contributed £20. Savage agreed to withdraw to the country to avoid the temptations of London. He selected Swansea,
He lives to build, not boast a generous race:
The concluding passage, in which he mourns over the fatal act by which he deprived a fellow mortal of life, and over his own distressing condition, possesses a genuine and manly pathos :-
For mischief never meant, must ever smart?
Far be the guilt of homeshed blood from all
O fate of late repentance! always vain:
All I was wretched by to you I owed;
[From The Wanderer.]
Yon mansion, made by beaming tapers gay,
Passions plebeians are, which faction raise;
The miser-spirit eyes the spendthrift heir,
There sits the sapient bard in museful mood,
Mr Southey has incautiously ventured a statement in his 'Life of Cowper,' that Blair's Grave is the only poem he could call to mind which has been composed in imitation of the Night Thoughts.' "The Grave' was written prior to the publication of the Night Thoughts,' and has no other resemblance to the work of Young, than that it is of a serious devout cast, and is in blank verse. The author was an accomplished and exemplary Scottish clergyman, who enjoyed some private fortune, independent of his profession, and was thus enabled to live in a superior style, and cultivate the acquaintance of the neighbouring gentry. As a poet of pleasing and elegant manners, a botanist and florist, as well as a man of scientific and general knowledge, his society was much courted, and he enjoyed the correspondence of Dr Isaac Watts and Dr Doddridge. Blair was born in Edinburgh in 1699, his father being minister of the Old Church there. In 1731 he was appointed to the living of Athelstaneford, a parish in East Lothian. Previous to his ordination, he had
written The Grave,' and submitted the manuscript to Watts and Doddridge. It was published in 1743. Blair died at the age of forty-seven, in February 1746. By his marriage with a daughter of Mr Law, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh (to whose memory he dedicated a poem), he left a numerous family; and his fourth son, a distinguished lawyer, rose to be Lord President of the Court of Session.
Fast lessens, when gay hours return no more;
Folly exhibits thus unmanly sport,
While plotting mischief keeps reserved her court.
Scattering thin rays, just glimmers through the Of being unmolested and alone!
'The Grave' is a complete and powerful poem, of limited design, but masterly execution. The subject precluded much originality of conception, but, at the same time, is recommended by its awful importance and its universal application. The style seems to be formed upon that of the old sacred and puritanical poets, elevated by the author's admiration of Milton and Shakspeare. There is a Scottish presbyterian character about the whole, relieved by occasional flashes and outbreaks of true genius. These coruscations sometimes subside into low and vulgar ideas, as towards the close of the following noble passage:—
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?
From kings of all the then discovered globe ;
And crammed into a space we blush to name!
Arabia's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And only mock whom they were meant to honour!
The death of the strong man is forcibly depicted—
See, how he tugs for life, and lays about him,
With tenderness equal to his strength, Blair laments the loss of death-divided friendships
Invidious Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder
I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved from me
The divisions of churchmen are for ever closed-
What though my winged hours of bliss have been, Like angel visits, few and far between.
The original comparison seems to belong to an obscure religious poet, Norris of Bemerton, who, prior to Blair, wrote a poem, 'The Parting,' which contains the following verse :
How fading are the joys we dote upon;
But those who soonest take their flight,
Like angels' visits short and bright; Mortality's too weak to bear them long. to be inferior to the earlier portions of the poem; The conclusion of 'The Grave' has been pronounced yet the following passage has a dignity, pathos, and devotional rapture, equal to the higher flights of Young:
Thrice welcome, Death! That, after many a painful bleeding step, Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe On the long-wished-for shore. Prodigious change! Our bane turned to a blessing! Death, disarmed, Loses his fellness quite; all thanks to Him Who scourged the venom out. Sure the last end Of the good man is peace! How calm his exit! Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground, Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft. Behold him in the evening tide of life, A life well spent, whose early care it was His riper years should not upbraid his green: By unperceived degrees he wears away; Yet, like the sun, seems larger at his setting! High in his faith and hopes, look how he reaches After the prize in view! and, like a bird That's hampered, struggles hard to get away! Whilst the glad gates of sight are wide expanded To let new glories in, the first fair fruits Of the fast-coming harvest. Then, oh then,
Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears,
Nor shall it hope in vain: the time draws on
Make up the full account; not the least atom Embezzled or mislaid of the whole tale.
Each soul shall have a body ready furnished;
Shall rush, with all the impatience of a man
'Tis but a night, a long and moonless night; We make the grave our bed, and then are gone! Thus, at the shut of even, the weary bird Leaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake Cowers down, and dozes till the dawn of day, Then claps his well-fledged wings, and bears away.
ISAAC WATTS-a name never to be pronounced without reverence by any lover of pure Christianity,
vided for placing him at the university, but he early inclined to the Dissenters, and he was educated at one of their establishments, taught by the Rev. Thomas Rowe. He was afterwards four years in the family of Sir John Hartopp, at Stoke Newington. Here he was chosen (1698) assistant minister by an Independent congregation, of which four years after he succeeded to the full charge; but bad health soon rendered him unfit for the performance of the heavy labours thus imposed upon him, and in his turn he required the assistance of a joint pastor. His health continuing to decline, Watts was received
in 1712 into the house of a benevolent gentleman of his neighbourhood, Sir Thomas Abney of Abney Park, where he spent all the remainder of his life.
There is no circumstance in English literary biography parallel to the residence of this sacred bard in the house of a friend for the long period of thirty
six years. Abney House was a handsome mansion, surrounded by beautiful pleasure-grounds. He had apartments assigned to him, of which he enjoyed the use as freely as if he had been the master of the house. Dr Gibbons says, Here, without any care of his own, he had everything which could contribute to the enjoyment of life, and favour the pursuit of his studies. Here he dwelt in a family which, for piety, order, harmony, and every virtue, was a house of God. Here he had the privilege of a country recess, the fragrant bower, the spreading lawn, the flowery garden, and other advantages to soothe his mind and aid his restoration to health; to yield him, whenever he chose them, most grateful intervals from his laborious studies, and enable him to return to them with redoubled vigour and delight.' The death of Sir Thomas Abney, eight years after he went to reside with him, made no change in these agreeable arrangements, as the same benevolent patronage was extended to him by the widow, who outlived him a year. While in this retirement, he preached occasionally, but gave the most of his time to study, and to the composition of those works which have given him a name in the annals of literature. His treatises on Logic and on the Improvement of the Mind are still highly prized for their cogency of argument and felicity of illustration. Watts also wrote several theological works and volumes of sermons. His poetry consists almost wholly of devotional hymns, which, by their simplicity, their unaffected ardour, and their imagery, powerfully arrest the attention of children, and are never forgotten in mature life. In infancy we learn the hymns of Watts, as part of maternal instruction, and in youth his moral and logical treatises impart the germs of correct reasoning and virtuous selfgovernment. The life of this good and useful man terminated on the 25th of November 1748, having been prolonged to the advanced age of seventy-five.
How fair is the rose! what a beautiful flower,
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
So frail is the youth and the beauty of men,
Though they bloom and look gay like the rose; But all our fond care to preserve them is vain, Time kills them as fast as he goes.
Behold the God! the Almighty King
[A Summer Evening.]
How fine has the day been, how bright was the sun,
Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
When its leaves are all dead, and its fine colours lost, He paints the sky gay as he sinks to his rest,
And foretells a bright rising again.
But who those frowns of wrath can draw,
He spake; the cleaving waters fled,
In heaps the frighted billows stand,
Just such is the Christian; his course he begins,
But when he comes nearer to finish his race,
EDWARD YOUNG, author of the Night Thoughts, was born in 1681 at Upham, in Hampshire, where his father (afterwards dean of Salisbury) was rector. He was educated at Winchester school, and subsequently at All Souls' college, Oxford. In 1712 he commenced public life as a courtier and poet, and he continued both characters till he was past eighty. One of his patrons was the notorious Duke of Wharton, the scorn and wonder of his days,' whom Young accompanied to Ireland in 1717. He was next tutor to Lord Burleigh, and was induced to give up this situation by Wharton, who promised to provide for him in a more suitable and ample