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in painting the rural life of England in true colours. His picture of the gipsies, and his sketches of venal clerks and rapacious overseers, are genuine likenesses. He has not the raciness or the distinctness of Crabbe, but is equally faithful, and as sincerely a friend to humanity. He pleads warmly for the poor vagrant tribe :
Still mark if vice or nature prompts the deed;
Those last of woes his evil days have wrought;
Perhaps on some inhospitable shore
The houseless wretch a widowed parent bore;
This allusion to the dead soldier and his widow on the field of battle was made the subject of a print by Bunbury, under which were engraved the pathetic lines of Langhorne. Sir Walter Scott has mentioned, that the only time he saw Burns, the Scottish poet, this picture was in the room. Burns shed tears over it; and Scott, then a lad of fifteen, was the only person present who could tell him. where the lines were to be found. The passage is beautiful in itself, but this incident will embalm and preserve it for ever.
When the poor hind, with length of years decayed,
That vainly languish for a father's bread?
If in thy courts this caitiff wretch appear,
But, hapless! oft through fear of future wo,
Wouldst thou then raise thy patriot office higher
And first we'll range this mountain's stormy side,
'Tis the shepherd and his wife.
[Appeal to Country Justices in Behalf of the Rural I knew the scene, and brought thee to behold
Let age no longer toil with feeble strife,
Nor leave the head, that time hath whitened, bare
O thou, the poor man's hope, the poor man's friend!
But chief thy notice shall one monster claim;
What speaks more strongly than the story toldThey died through want
'By every power I swear,
If the wretch treads the earth, or breathes the air,
[An Advice to the Married.]
Should erring nature casual faults disclose,
Love, like the flower that courts the sun's kind ray,
Of them, who wrapt in earth are cold, No more the smiling day shall view, Should many a tender tale be told,
For many a tender thought is due.
Why else the o'ergrown paths of time,
Through Death's dim walks to urge his way,
And lead Oblivion into day?
'Tis nature prompts by toil or fear,
Unmoved to range through Death's domain; The tender parent loves to hear
Her children's story told again!
Light of the world, Immortal Mind;
Though thou this transient being gave,
And still this poor contracted span,
Through error's maze, through folly's night,
Affliction flies, and Hope returns;
[A Farewell Hymn to the Valley of Irwan.]
My infant years where Fancy led,
Her wild dreams waving round my head, While the blithe blackbird told his tale. Farewell the fields of Irwan's vale!
The primrose on the valley's side,
The wilding's blossom blushing red;
How oft, within yon vacant shade,
Has evening closed my careless eye! How oft, along those banks I've strayed,
And watched the wave that wandered by;
Yet still, within yon vacant grove,
And watch the wave that winds away;
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE.
Few votaries of the muses have had the resolution to abandon their early worship, or to cast off the Dalilahs of the imagination,' when embarked on more gainful callings. An example of this, however, is afforded by the case of SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (born in London in 1723, died 1780), who, having made choice of the law for his profession, and entered himself a student of the Middle Temple, took formal leave of poetry in a copy of natural and pleasing verses, published in Dodsley's Miscellany. Blackstone rose to rank and fame as a lawyer, wrote a series of masterly commentaries on the laws of England, was knighted, and died a judge in the court of common pleas. From some critical notes on Shakspeare by Sir William, published by Stevens, it would appear that, though he had forsaken his muse, he still (like Charles Lamb, when he had given up the use of the great plant,' tobacco) 'loved to live in the suburbs of her graces.'
The Lawyer's Farewell to his Muse.
Where fervent bees, with humming voice,
How blest my days, my thoughts how free,
These scenes must charm me now no more;
Me wrangling courts, and stubborn law,
In frighted streets their orgies hold;
Pope's heaven-strung lyre, nor Waller's ease,
DR THOMAS PERCY.
DR THOMAS PERCY, afterwards bishop of Dromore, in 1765 published his Reliques of English Poetry, in which several excellent old songs and ballads were revived, and a selection made of the best lyrical pieces scattered through the works of modern authors. The learning and ability with which Percy executed his task, and the sterling value of his materials, recommended his volumes to public favour. They found their way into the hands of poets and poetical readers, and awakened a love of nature, simplicity, and true passion, in contradistinction to that coldly-correct and sentimental style which pervaded part of our literature. The influence of Percy's collection was general and extensive. It is evident in many contemporary authors. It gave the first impulse to the genius of Sir Walter Scott; and it may be seen in the writings of Coleridge and Wordsworth. A fresh fountain of poetry was opened up-a spring of sweet, tender, and heroic thoughts and imaginations, which could never be again turned back into the artificial channels in which the genius of poesy had been too long and too closely confined. Percy was himself a poet. His ballad, O, Nanny, wilt Thou Gang wi' Me,' the Hermit of Warkworth,' and other detached pieces, evince both taste and talent. We subjoin a cento, The Friar of Orders Gray,' which Percy says he compiled from fragments of ancient ballads, to which he added supplemental stanzas to connect them together. The greater part, however, is his own. The life of Dr Percy presents little for remark. He was born at Bridgnorth, Shropshire, in 1728, and, after his education at Oxford, entered the church, in which he was successively chaplain to the king, dean of Carlisle, and bishop of Dromore: the
O, Nanny, wilt Thou Gang wi' Me.
O, Nanny, wilt thou gang wi' me,
Nae langer decked wi' jewels rare,
O, Nanny, when thou'rt far awa,
Wilt thou not cast a look behind? Say, canst thou face the flaky snaw,
Nor shrink before the winter wind? O can that soft and gentle mien
Severest hardships learn to bear, Nor, sad, regret each courtly scene, Where thou wert fairest of the fair?
O Nanny, canst thou love so true,
Through perils keen wi' me to gae? Or, when thy swain mishap shall rue, To share with him the pang of wae? Say, should disease or pain befall,
Wilt thou assume the nurse's care, Nor, wishful, those gay scenes recall, Where thou wert fairest of the fair? And when at last thy love shall die,
Wilt thou receive his parting breath? Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh,
And cheer with smiles the bed of death? And wilt thou o'er his much-loved clay Strew flowers, and drop the tender tear? Nor then regret those scenes so gay,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?
The Friar of Orders Gray.
It was a friar of orders gray
Walked forth to tell his beads, And he met with a lady fair,
Clad in a pilgrim's weeds.
Now Christ thee save, thou reverend friar !
I pray thee tell to me,
If ever at yon holy shrine
My true love thou didst see.'
And how should I know your true love
From many another one?'
But chiefly by his face and mien,
His flaxen locks that sweetly curled,
'O lady, he is dead and gone!
And 'plaining of her pride.
'And art thou dead, thou gentle youth-
'O weep not, lady, weep not so,
Some ghostly comfort seek:
And now, alas! for thy sad loss
I'll evermore weep and sigh; For thee I only wished to live, For thee I wish to die.'
'Weep no more, lady, weep no more; Thy sorrow is in vain:
For violets plucked, the sweetest shower
Our joys as winged dreams do fly;
'O say not so, thou holy friar!
Will he ne'er come again?
Ah, no! he is dead, and laid in his grave,
His cheek was redder than the rose-
But he is dead and laid in his grave,
'Sigh no more, lady, sigh no more,
Hadst thou been fond, he had been false,
For young men ever were fickle found,
'Now say not so, thou holy friar,
I pray thee say not so;
My love he had the truest heart
O he was ever true!
And art thou dead, thou much-loved youth? And didst thou die for me?
Then farewell home; for evermore
A pilgrim I will be.
But first upon my true love's grave
My weary limbs I'll lay,
And thrice I'll kiss the green grass turf
That wraps his breathless clay.'
'Yet stay, fair lady, rest a while Beneath this cloister wall;
The cold wind through the hawthorn blows,
And drizzly rain doth fall.'
'O stay me not, thou holy friar,
O stay me not, I pray;
'Yet stay, fair lady, turn again,
And dry those pearly tears;
Here, forced by grief and hopeless love,
To end my days I thought.
ments of his countrymen to listen to the tales and compositions of their ancient bards, and he described these fragments as full of pathos and poetical imagery. Under the patronage of Mr Home's friends-Blair, Carlyle, and Fergusson-Macpherson published a small volume of sixty pages, entitled Fragments of Ancient Poetry; translated from the Gaelic or Erse Language. The publication attracted universal attention, and a subscription was made to enable Macpherson to make a tour in the Highlands to collect other pieces. His journey proved to be highly successful. In 1762 he presented the world with Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem, in Six Books; and in 1763 Temora, another epic poem, in eight books. The sale of these works was immense. The possibility that, in the third or fourth century, among the wild remote mountains of Scotland, there existed a people exhibiting all the high and chivalrous feelings of refined valour, generosity, magnanimity, and virtue, was eminently calculated to excite astonishment; while the idea of the poems being handed down by tradition through so many centuries among rude, savage, and barbarous tribes, was no less astounding. Many doubted -others disbelieved-but a still greater number 'indulged the pleasing supposition that Fingal fought and Ossian sung.' Macpherson realised £1200, it is said, by these productions. In 1764 the poet accompanied Governor Johnston to Pensacola as his secretary, but quarrelling with his patron, he returned, and fixed his residence in London. He became one of the literary supporters of the administration, published some historical works, and was a copious pamphleteer. In 1773 he published a translation of the Iliad in the same style of poetical prose as Ossian, which was a complete failure, unless as a source of ridicule and personal opprobrium to the translator. was more successful as a politician. A pamphlet of his in defence of the taxation of America, and another on the opposition in parliament in 1779, were much applauded. He attempted (as we have seen from his manuscripts) to combat the Letters of Junius, writing under the signatures of Musæus,' 'Scævola,' &c. He was appointed agent for the Nabob of Arcot, and obtained a seat in parliament as representative for the borough of Camelford. It does not appear, however, that, with all his ambition and political zeal, Macpherson ever attempted to speak in the House of Commons. In 1789 the poet, having realised a handsome fortune, purchased the property of Raitts, in his native parish, and having changed its name to the more euphonious and sounding one of Belleville, he built upon it a splendid residence, designed by the Adelphi Adams, in the style of an Italian villa, in which he hoped to spend an old age of ease and dignity. He died at JAMES MACPHERSON was born at Kingussie, a Belleville on the 17th of February 1796, leaving a village in Inverness-shire, on the road northwards handsome fortune, which is still enjoyed by his fa from Perth, in 1738. He was intended for the mily. His eldest daughter, Miss Macpherson, is at church, and received the necessary education at present (1842) proprietrix of the estate, and another Aberdeen. At the age of twenty, he published a daughter of the poet is the wife of the distinguished heroic poem, in six cantos, entitled The Highlander, natural philosopher, Sir David Brewster. The eagerwhich at once proved his ambition and his incapa- ness of Macpherson for the admiration of his fellowcity. It is a miserable production. For a short creatures was seen by some of the bequests of his time Macpherson taught the school of Ruthven, will. He ordered that his body should be interred near his native place, whence he was glad to remove in Westminster Abbey, and that a sum of £300 as tutor in the family of Mr Graham of Balgowan. should be laid out in erecting a monument to his While attending his pupil (afterwards Lord Lyne- memory in some conspicuous situation at Belleville. doch) at the spa of Moffat, he became acquainted Both injunctions were duly fulfilled: the body was with Mr John Home, the author of Douglas,' to interred in Poets' Corner, and a marble obelisk, conwhom he showed what he represented as the trans-taining a medallion portrait of the poet, may be seen lations of some fragments of ancient Gaelic poetry, gleaming amidst a clump of trees by the road-side which he said were still floating in the Highlands. near Kingussie. He stated that it was one of the favourite amuse
The fierce controversy which raged for some time