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Moun. Life of my soul ! bright angel !
Millisent. My heart misgives me; I should know that voice.
Moun. Mounchensey, thy true friend.
Millisent. My Raymond ! my dear heart !
Moun. By means of Peter Fabel, my kind tutor,
Millisent. You are all sweet traitors to my poor old father.
Moun. O thou idolatress, that dost this worship
Millisent. Well, visitor, lest that perhaps my mother
Moun. But you do yet repent you of the same?
Millisent. I' faith I cannot.
Moun. Nor will I absolve thee
Millisent. Sweet life, farewell! 'tis done, let that suffice;
What my tongue fails, I send thee by mine eyes. The votaress is carried off by her brother and Jerningham ; but in the darkness of the night they lose their way, and encounter the deerstealers and the keepers. A friendly forester, however, assists them, and they reach Enfield in safety. Not so fortunate are Sir Arthur and Sir Ralph, who are in pursuit of the unwilling nun: they are roughly treated by the keepers, and, after a night of toil, find a resting-place at Waltham. The priest and his companions are terrified by their encounters in the Chase: the lady in white, who has been hiding from them, is taken for a spirit; and the sexton has seen a vision in the church-porch. The morning, however, arrives, and we see “ Sir Arthur Clare and Sir Ralph Jerningham trussing their points, as newly made up." They had made good their retreat, as they fancied, to the inn of mine host of the George, but the Merry Devil of Edmonton had set the host and the smith to change the sign of the house with that of another inn; and at the real George the lovers were being happily married by the venison-stealing priest, in the company of their faithful friends. Sir Arthur and Sir Ralph are of course very angry when the truth is made known; but reconcilement and peace are soon accomplished.
139.—THE POET DESCRIBED.
S. JOHNSON. (WE have already given a brilliant estimate of the character of Dr. Johnson in connection with his times, from the pen of Mr. Macaulay. (Vol. i. p. 368.) It is therefore scarcely necessary for us here to add more than a statement of the dates connected with the life of this eminent man. He was born at Lichfield, on the 18th of September, 1709, in which city his father was a bookseller. He was placed at Pembroke College, Oxford, but the straitened circumstances of his father compelled him to leave the University without taking a degree. He became usher in a school at Market Bosworth, married in 1736, and with a little fortune that his wife brought him, set up a school, which was unsuccessful. In company with his pupil, David Garrick, he came to London. For many years he was a literary drudge for periodical works, ill-paid, neglected by the great, unknown to the small reading public whom he addressed. At length his great talents and acquirements forced their way into notice. He completed his English Dictionary in 1755. His · Rambler' and his · Imitations of Juvenal' had previously given him a high rank amongst the original writers of his day. In 1762 a pension of three hundred a year was bestowed upon him, and from that time to his death in 1784 his life was a happy one as far as worldly circumstances were concerned. The following extract is from his · Rasselas.' It is one of the many examples which his writings present of the occasional largeness of his critical views when applied to the general principles of poetry—a characteristic singularly in contrast with the narrowness with which he regards particular styles and individual authors.]
“Wherever I went, I found that poetry was considered as the highest learning, and regarded with a veneration somewhat approaching to that which man would pay to the angelic nature. And it yet fills me with wonder, that in almost all countries the most ancient poets are considered as the best; whether it be that every other kind of knowledge is an acquisition gradually attained, and poetry is a gift conferred at once; or that the first poetry of every nation surprised them as a novelty, and retained the credit by consent which it received by accident at first; or whether, as the province of poetry is to describe nature and passion, which are always the same, the first writers took possession of the most striking objects for description, and the most probable occurrences for fiction, and left nothing for those that followed them but transcriptions of the same events, and new combinations of the same images. Whatever be the reason, it is commonly observed, that the early writers are in possession of nature, and their followers, of art; that the first excel in strength and invention, and the latter in elegance and refinement.