Imatges de pÓgina

he had planted himself, as upon a they could have got him, they would terrace, on an eminence vastly above have torn the unfortunate author to the audience, and he kept that sub- pieces. Not that the act itself was Jime level to the end. He looked so exorbitant, or of a complexion from his throne of elevated sentiment different from what they themselves upon the under-world of spectators would have applauded upon another with a most sovran and becoming occasion in a Brutus, or an Appius contempt. There was excellent pa- but for want of attending to Antothos delivered out to them: an they nio's words, which palpably led to would receive it, so; an they would the expectation of no less dire an not receive it, so. There was no event, instead of being seduced by offence against decorum in all this; his manner, which seemed to promise nothing to condemn, to damn. Not a sleep of a less alarming nature an irreverent symptom. of a sound than it was his cue to inflict upon was to be heard. The procession of Elvira, they found themselves beverbiage stalked on through four and trayed into an accompliceship of five acts, no one venturing to pre- murder, a perfect misprision of pardict what would come of it, when to- ricide, while they dreamed of nothing wards the winding up of the latter, less. M., I believe, was the only Antonio, with an irrelevancy that person who suffered acutely from the seemed to stagger Elvira herself—for failure; for G. thenceforward, with she had been coolly arguing the point a serenity unattainable but by the of honour with him-suddenly whips true philosophy, abandoning, a preout a poniard, and stabs his sister to carious popularity, retired into his the heart. The effect was, as if a fast hold of speculation,--the drama murder had been committed in cold in which the world was to be his blood. The whole house rose up in tiring room, and remote posterity his clamorous indignation demanding jus- applauding spectators at once, and tice. The feeling rose far above actors.

ELIA. hisses. I believe at that instant, if

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Old Fictions say that Love hath eyes,
Yet.sees, unhappy boy! with none;
Bhind as the night !—but Fiction lies,
For Love doth always see with one.
To one our graces all unveil,
To one our flaws are all exposed ;
But when with tenderness we hail,
He smiles, and keeps the Critic closed.
But when he's scorn'd, abused, estranged,
He opes the eye of evil ken,
And all his angel friends are changed
To demons and are hated then !
Yet once it happ'd that, semi-blind,
He met thee, on a summer day,
And took thee for his mother kind,
And frown'd as he was push'd away.
But still he saw thee shine the same,
Though he had ope'd his evil eye,
And found that nothing but her shame
WVas left to know his mother by !
And ever since that morning sun,
He thinks of thee; and blesses Fate,
That he can look with both, on one
Who hath no ugliness to hate.

Lives of the Poets.

No. VI.

THE LIFE OF JAMES BEATTIE. James Beattie was born on the youthful exercises; but Beattie gain25th of October, 1735, at Laurence- ed the applause of his audience. kirk, in the county of Kincardine, in His academical education being. Scotland. His father, who kept a completed, on the 1st of August, small shop in that place, and rented 1753, he was satisfied with the huma little farm near it, is said to have ble appointment of parish-clerk and been'a man of acquirements superior schoolmaster at the village of Forto his condition. At his death, the doun, about six miles distant from management of his concerns devolved Laurencekirk. Here he attracted on his widow. David, the eldest of the notice of Mr. Garden, at that her six children, was of an age to assist time sheriff of the county, and afterhis mother. James, the youngest, wards one of the Scotch judges, with she placed at the parish school of his the appellation of Lord Gardenstown. native village, which about forty In a romantic glen near his house, years before had been raised to some he chanced to find Beattie with pencelebrity by Ruddiman, the gram- cil and paper in his hand; and, on marian, and was then kept by one questioning him, discovered that he Milne. This man had also a com- was engaged in the composition of a petent skill in grammar. His other poem. Mr. Garden desired to see deficiencies were supplied by the na- some of his other poems; and doubttural quickness of his pupil, and by ing whether they were his own prothe attention of Mr. Thomson, the ductions, requested him to translate minister of Laurencekirk, who, being the invocation to Venus at the opena man of learning, admitted young ing of Lucretius, which Beattie did Beattie to the use of his library, and in such a manner as to remove his probably animated him by his en- incredulity. In this retirement, he couragement. He very early became also became known to Lord Monsensible to the charms of English boddo, whose family seat was in the verse, to which he was first awaken- parish; and a friendly intercourse ed by the perusal of Ogilby's Virgil. ensued, which did not terminate till Before he was ten years old, he was the death of that learned but visionas well acquainted with that writer ary man. In 1958, he was removed and Homer, as the versions of Pope from his employment at Fordoun, to and Dryden could make him. His that of Usher in the Grammar School schoolfellows distinguished him by of Aberdeen, for which he had been the name of the Poet.

an unsuccessful competitor in the preAt the age of fourteen, he was ceding year, but was now nominated sent to Marischal College, Aberdeen, without the form of a trial. where he attended the Greek class, At Aberdeen, his heart seems to taught by Doctor Blackwell, author have taken up its rest; for no tempof the Memoirs of the Court of Au- tations could afterwards seduce him gustus, and was by him singled out for any length of time to quit it. The as the most promising of his scholars. professorship of Natural Philosophy The slender pittance spared him by in the Marischal College, where he his mother would scarcely have suf- had lately been a student, being vaficed for his support, if he had not cant in 1760, Mr. Arbuthnot, one of added to it one of the bursaries or his friends, exerted himself with so pensions that were bestowed on the much zeal in the behalf of Beattie, most deserving candidates. Of a dis- that he obtained that appointment ; course which he was called on to although the promotion was such as deliver at the Divinity Hall, it was his most sanguine wishes did not asobserved, that he spoke poetry in pire to. Soon after he was further prose. Thomson was censured for a gratified, by being permitted to exsimilar impropriety is one of his change it for the professorship of Moral Philosophy and Logic, for ously without study or premeditation. I which he thought himself better passed two very agreeable days with him at fitted. In discharge of the duties Glammis, and found him as easy in his belonging to his new function, he manners, and as communicative and frank, immediately entered on a course of as I could have wished. lectures, which, as appears from his Gray could not have requited him diary in the possession of Sir William with such excess of admiration; but Forbes, he repeated with much dili- continued during the rest of his life gence for more than thirty years. to regard Beattie with affection and

This occupation could not have esteem. been very favourable to his poetical It was not till the spring of this propensity. He had, since his twen- year, when his Judgment of Paris was tieth year, been occasionally a contri- printed, that he again appeared bebutor of verse to the Scots Magazine; fore the public as an author. This and in 1760, he published a collection piece he inserted in the next edition of poems, inscribed to the Earl of of his poems in 1766, but his more Erroll, to whose intervention he had mature judgment afterwards induced been partly indebted for the office he him to reject it. Some satirical verses held in the college. Though the num- on the death of Churchill, at first ber of these pieces was not considera- published without his name, underble, he omitted several of them in sub- went the same fate. The Wolf and sequent editions, and among others a the Shepherds, a Fable, and an Epistranslation of Virgil's Eclogues, some tle to the Rev. Mr. Thomas Blackspecimens of which, adduced in a lock, which appeared in the second letter written by Lord Woodhouselee, edition, he also discarded from those author of the Principles of Transla- subsequently published. He now tion, will stand a comparison with projected and began the Minstrel, the the parallel passages in Dryden and most popular of his poems. Had the Warton.

original plan been adhered to, it In the summer of 1763, his curiosi- would have embraced a much wider ty led him for the first time to Lon- scope. don, where Andrew Millar, the book- In 1767, he married Mary, the seller, was almost his only acquaint- daughter of Dr. Dun, rector of the ance. Of this journey no particular Grammar School at Aberdeen. This is recorded but that he visited Pope's union was not productive of the house at Twickenham.

happiness which a long course of In 1765, having sent a letter of previous intimacy had entitled him compliment to Gray, then on a visit to expect. The object of his choice to the Earl of Strathmore, he was in- inherited from her mother a constivited to Glammis Castle, the residence tutional malady which at first showed of that nobleman, to meet the Eng- itself in capricious waywardness, and lish poet, in whom he found such a at length broke out into insanity. combination of excellence as he had From this misery he sought refuge hitherto been a stranger to. This in the exercise of his mind. His reappears from a letter written to Sir sidence at Aberdeen had brought him William Forbes, his faithful friend into the society of several among his and biographer, with whom his inti- countrymen who were engaged in macy commenced about the same researches well suited to employ his time.

attention to its utmost stretch. Of

these, the names of Reid, author of I am sorry you did not see Mr. Gray on An Inquiry into the Human Mind his return ; you would have been much

on the Principles of Common Sensepleased with him. Setting aside his merit and Campbell, Principal of Marischal as a poet, which, however, in my opinion, College, author of An Essay on Miis greater than any of his contemporaries can racles, are the most distinguished. boast, in this or in any other nation, I found him possessed of the most exact

His own correspondence with his taste, the soundest judgment, and the most friends about this time evinces deep extensive learning. He is happy in a sin concern at the progress of the sceptigular facility of expression. His conver- cal philosophy, diffused by the sation abounds in original observations, de- writings of Hobbes, Hume, MandeJivered with no appearance of sententious ville, and even, in his opinion, of formality, and seeming to arise spontane. Locke and Berkeley. Conceiving the study of metaphysics itself to be spectable for rank and literature, the origin of this mischief, in order Lord Lyttleton declared that it seems that the evil might be intercepted at ed to him his once most beloved its source, he proposed to demon- minstrel, Thomson, was come down strate the futility of that science, from Heaven refined by the converse and to appeal to the common sense of purer spirits than those he lived and unsophisticated feelings of man- with here, to let him hear him sing kind, as the only infallible criterion again the beauties of nature and the on subjects in which it had formerly finest feelings of virtue, not with hu-, been made the standard. That his man, but with angelic strams. He meaning was excellent, no one can added his wishes that it were in his doubt; whether he discovered the power to do Beattie any service. From right remedy for the harm which he Mrs. Montagu he on different occawas desirous of removing, is much sions received more substantial tokens more questionable. To magnify any of regard. branch of human knowledge beyond Except the trifling emolument de its just importance may, indeed, tend rived from his writings, he had hito weaken the force of religious faith; therto been supported merely by the but many acute metaphysicians have small income appended to his probeen good Christians; and before the fessorship. But the Earl of Dartquestion thus agitated can be set at mouth, a nobleman to whom nothing rest, we must suppose a certain pro- that concerned the interests of relificiency in those inquiries which he gion was indifferent, representing would proscribe as dangerous. After him as a fit object of the royal bounall, we can discover no more reason ty, a pension of two hundred pounds why sciolists in metaphysics should a year was now granted him. Prebring that study into discredit, than viously to his obtaining this favour, that religion itself should be dispa- he was first presented to the King, raged through the extravagance of and was then honoured by an infanaticism. To have met the sub- terview with both their Majesties. ject fully, he ought to have shown The particulars of this visit were that not only those opinions 'which minutely recorded in his diary. After he controverts are erroneous, but that much commendation of his Essay, all the systems of former metaphy- the sovereign pleasantly told him sicians were so likewise.

that he had never stolen but one The Essay on Truth, in which he book, and that was his. « I stole it endeavoured to establish his own from the Queen,” said his Majesty, hypothesis, being finished. in 1769, “ to give it to Lord Hertford to he employed Sir William Forbes and read.” In the course of the converMr. Arbuthnot to negotiate its sale sation, many questions were put to with the booksellers. They, how. him concerning the Scotch Universiever, refused to purchase it on any ties, the revenues of the Scotch clergy, terms; and the work would have and their mode of preaching and remained .unpublisherl, if his two praying. When Beattie replied, that friends, making use of a little pious their clergy sometimes prayed a fraud, had not informed him that the quarter or even half an hour without manuscript was sold for fifty gui- interruption, the King observed, that neas, a sum which they at the same this practice must lead into repetitime remitted him, and that they had tions; and that even our own liturgy, stipulated with the booksellers to be excellent as it is, is faulty in this repartakers in the profits. The book spect. While the subject of his penaccordingly appeared in the following sion was under consideration, the year; and having gained many ad- Queen made a tender of some premirers, was quickly followed by a sent to him through Dr. Majendie, second impression, which he revised but he declined to encroach on her and corrected with much pains. Majesty's munificence, unless the ap

In the autumn of 1771, he again plication made to the crown in his visited London, where the reputation behalf should prove unsuccessful. obtained by the Essay and by the A mercenary spirit, indeed, was not first book of the Minstrel, then re- one of his weaknesses. Being on a cently published, opened for him an visit at Bulstrode, his noble hostess, introduction into the circles most re- the Duchess of Portland, would have


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had him take a present of a hundred those many individuals of eminence to pounds to defray the expenses of his whom his talents and virtues had journey into England ; but he ex- recommended him. In the summers cused himself, as well as he was able, he usually indulged himself with for not accepting her Grace's bounty. passing some time at Peterhead, a

With his pension, his wishes ap- town situated on the most easterly pear to have been bounded. Temp- promontory of Scotland, and resorted tation to enter into orders in our to for its medicinal waters, which church was thrice offered him, and as he thought beneficial to his health ; often rejected; once in the shape of for he had early in life been subject a general promise of patronage from to a vertiginous disorder, the recurDr. Drummond, Archbishop of York; rence of which at times incapacinext, of a small living in Dorsetshire, tated him for any serious applicain the gift of Mr. John Pitt; and the tion. third time, of a much more valuable The second book of the Minstrel benefice, which was at the disposal appeared in 1774. In 1776 he was of Dr. Thomas, Bishop of Winches- prevailed on to publish, by subscripter. In answer to Dr. Porteus, tion, in a more splendid form, his through whom the last of these offers essay on Truth, which was now accame, and whose friendship he en- companied by two other essays, on joyed during the remainder of his Poetry and Music, and on Laughter life, he represented, in addition to and Ludicrous Composition; and by other reasons for his refusal, that he Remarks on the Utility of Classical was apprehensive lest his acceptance Learning. This was succeeded in of preferment might render the mo- 1783, by dissertations moral and critives for his writing the Essay on tical, on Memory and Imagination, Truth suspected. He at the same on Dreaming, on the Theory of Lantime avowed, that if “ he were to guage, on Fable and Romance, on have become a clergyman, the church the Attachments of Kindred, and on of England would certainly have Illustrations of Sublimity ; being, as been his choice ; as he thought that he states in the preface, “part of a in regard to church-government and course of prelections read to those church-service, it had many great young gentlemen whom it was his and peculiar advantages.” Unwil- business to initiate in the elements lingness to part from Aberdeen was, of moral science.” In 1786, he pubperhaps, at the bottom of these stout lished a small treatise, entitled Eviresolutions. It was confessedly one dences of the Christian Religion, at of the reasons for which he declined the suggestion of Porteus, who was a proposition made to him in the year now a bishop; and in 1790 and 1793 1773, to remove to the chair of Mo- two volumes of Elements of Moral ral Philosophy in Edinburgh ; though Science, containing an abridgment of he was urged by his friends not to his public lectures on moral philosoneglect this opportunity of extending phy and logic. the sphere of his usefulness, and the His only remaining publication was change would have brought him an edition of the juvenile works of much pecuniary advantage. His re- the elder of his two sons, who was luctance to comply was increased by taken off by a consumption (Novemthe belief that there were certain ber 1790), at the age of twenty-two, persons at Edinburgh to whom his To the education of this boy he had principles had given offence, and in attended with such care and discernwhose neighbourhood he did not ex- ment as the anxiety of a parent only pect to live so quietly as he wished. could dictate, and had watched his In the same year, he was compli- unfolding excellence with fondness mented with the honorary degree of such as none but a parent could feel. Doctor of Laws, by the University At the risque of telling my reader of Oxford, at the installation of Lord what he may, perhaps, well rememNorth in the Chancellorship.

her, I cannot but relate the method He now, therefore, lived on at Aber which he had taken to impress on his deen, making occasionally brief vi- mind, when a child, the sense of his sits to England, where he was always dependance on a Supreme Being; of Welcomed, both at the court and by which Porteus well observed, that

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