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Castle, with its solemn shadowy woods, and husband. Glover threw up his share of the the Ochils, on the south, -Ochtertyre, one of work, and Mallett engaged to perform the the loveliest spots in Scotland, and the gorge whole, to which, besides, he was stimulated of Glenturrett, on the north,-and the bold by a pension from the second Duke of Marl. dark hills which surround the romantic village borough. He got the money, but when he of Comrie, on the west. Crieff is now a place died it was found that he had not written a of considerable note, and forms a centre of line of the work. In his latter days he held summer attraction to multitudes; but at the the lucrative office of Keeper of the Book of commencement of the eighteenth century it Entries for the port of London. He died on must have been a miserable hamlet. Malloch the 21st of April, 1765. was originally the name of the poet, and the “ Mallett is, on the whole, no credit to name is still common in that part of Perth- Scotland. He was a bad, mean, insincere, and shire. David attended the college of Aberdeen, unprincipled man, whose success was procured and became, afterwards, an unsalaried tutor by despicable and dastardly arts. He had in the family of Mr. Home of Dreghorn, near doubtless some genius, and his “Birks of Edinburgh. We find him next in the Duke of Invermay' and · William and Margaret' shall Montrose's family, with a salary of £30 per preserve his name after his clumsy imitation
In 1723 he accompanied his pupils of Thomson, called “The Excursion,' and his to London, and changed his name to Mallett, long, rambling . Amyntor and Theodora,' have as more euphonious. Next year he produced been forgotten."-See Gilfillan's “ Less-known his pretty ballad of William and Margaret,'. Brit. Poets,” vol. iii., pp. 130.132. and published it in Aaron Hill's Plain Dealer. This served as an introduction to the literary society of the metropolis, including such names as Young and Pope. In 1733 he disgraced himself by a satire on the greatest
MARK AKENSIDE. man then living - the venerable Richard Bentley Mallett was one of those mean “Mark Akenside, born 1721, died 1770, was creatures who always worship a rising, and the son of a butcher, and was born at New. turn their backs on a setting sun. By his castle-on-Tyne. An accident in his early years, very considerable talents, his management, and caused by the fall of his father's cleaver on his address, he soon rose in the world. He his foot, lamed him for life, and perpetuated was appointed under-secretary to the Prince of the memory of his lowly birth. He received Wales, with a salary of £200 a year. In con. his education at the grammar-school of that junction with Thomson, to whom he was really town, where Lord Eldon, Lord Stowell, and kind, he wrote, in 1740, The Masque of Lord Collingwood also received the rudiments Alfred,' in honour of the birthday of the of learning : he afterwards graduated at the Princess Augusta. His first wife, of whom universities of Edinburgh and Leyden. On nothing is recorded, having died, he married his return to England he settled for a shrot the daughter of Lord Carlisle's steward, who time at Northampton, then at Hampstead, and brought him a fortune of £10,000. Both she finally in London. Here he gained ultimately ‘and Mallett gave themselves out as Deists. the highest honours of his profession, and This was partly owing to his intimacy with when he died was physician to the queen. Bolingbroke, to gratify whom he heaped abuse His chief poem, on 'The Pleasures of Imaupon Pope in a preface to ‘The Patriot-King,' gination,' he completed before he left Leyden. and was rewarded by Bolingbroke leaving him On reaching London it was sent to Dodsley, the whole of his works and MSS. These he who, by Pope's advice, purchased and pub. afterwards published, and exposed himself to lished it. The sum he gave was £120, then the vengeful sarcasm of Johnson, who said deemed a large amount for such a work. It that Bolingbroke was a scoundrel and a coward immediately gained a measure of celebrity -a scoundrel, to charge a blunderbuss against which it has scarcely maintained. In later Christianity; and a coward, because he durst life Akenside altered it in parts without imnot fire it himself, but left a shilling to a beg- proving it: he made it, indeed, only more garly Scotsman to draw the trigger after his dry and scholastic, and is said to have redeath. Mallett ranked himself among the modelled some of the passages which in their calumniators and, as it proved, murderers of primitive state are still most admired and Admiral Byng. He wrote a Life of Lord popular. He also published a collection of Bacon, in which, it was said, he forgot that * Odes,' and in 1746 he engaged to write in Bacon was a philosopher, and would, probably, the 'Museum,' a periodical then issued by when he came to write the Life of Marlborough, Dodsley's house. forget that he was a general. This Life of “Akenside's genius was decidedly classical: Bacon is now utterly forgotten. We happened he had extensive learning, lofty conceptions, to read it in our early days, and thought it a and a true love and knowledge of nature. His very contemptible performance. The Duchess Puritan origin and tastes gave an earnestof Marlborough left £1,000 in her will between ness to his moral views which pervades all his Glover and Mallett to write a Life of her writing. His ear, though not equal to Gray's,
was correct, and his blank verse is free and beautifully modulated, deserving to be studied by all who would excel in that truly English metre. His philosophical ideas are taken chiefly from Plato, Shaftesbury, and Hutche
He adopted Addison's threefold division of the sources of the pleasures of imagination, though in his later edition he substituted another. The poem is seldom read continuously, but it contains many passages of great force and beauty ; those, for example, where he speaks of the death of Cæsar, where he compares nature and art, where he describes the final causes of the emotion of taste, and in a fragment of a fourth book, where he sketches the landscape on the banks of his native Tyne, and notes the feelings of his own boyhood. His Hymn to the Naiads' has the true classic ring, and has caught the manner and the feeling of Callimachus. His inscriptions—those, for example, on Chaucer and Shakspere-are reckoned among our best, and have been imitated by both Southey and Wordsworth. His odes are his least successful productions; his * Ode to the Earl of Huntingdon'having received most favour. Yet withal, his popularity was greater in his own day than it is likely to be in ours-popularity attributable to the influence of the writings of Gray, and especially to the revived study of Milton and other classic models through the notes and writings of Warton.
" It may be added that, upon the question sometimes discussed, whether the progress of science is favourable to poetry, Akenside differs from Campbell. The latter speaks of poetic feelings that yield 'to cold material laws :' the former holds that the rainbow's tinctured hues' shine the more brightly when science has investigated and explained them.” -Dr. Angus's "Handbook of Eng. Lit.,” pp. 216, 217. See Allibone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit."
borough of Oakhampton; and being warmed with that patriotic ardour which rarely fails to inspire the bosom of an ingenuous youth, he became a distinguished partisan of opposi. tion politics, whilst his father was a supporter of the ministry, then ranged under the banners of Walpole. When Frederic Prince of Wales, having quarrelled with the court, formed a separate court of his own, in 1737, Lyttelton was appointed secretary to the Prince, with an advanced salary. At this time Pope bestowed his praise upon our patriot in an animated couplet:
Free as young Lyttelton her course pursue, Still true to virtue, and as warm as true.
" In 1741 he married Lucy, the daughter of Hugh Fortescue, Esq., a lady for whom he entertained the purest affection, and with whom he lived in unabated conjugal harmony. Her death in childbed, in 1747, was lamented by him in a “Monody,' which stands prominent among his poetical works, and displays much natural feeling, amidst the more elabo. rate strains of a poet's imagination. So much may suffice respecting his productions of this class, which are distinguished by the correctness of their versification, the elegance of their diction, and the delicacy of their sentiments. His miscellaneous pieces, and his history of Henry II., the last, the work of his age, have each their appropriate merits, but may here be omitted.
“ The death of his father, in 1751, produced his succession to the title and a large estate; and his taste for rural ornament rendered Hagley one of the most delightful residences in the kingdom. At the dissolution of the ministry, of which he composed a part, in 1759, he was rewarded with elevation to the peerage, by the style of Baron Lyttelton, of Frankley, in the county of Worcester. He died of a lingering disorder, which he bore with pious resignation, in August, 1773, in the 64th year of his age."--Aikin's “Select Brit. Poets." See Gilfillan's Ed. of “Brit. Poets."
GEORGE, LORD LYTTELTON. “George, Lord Lyttelton, born at Hagley, in Jan., 1708-9, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Lyttelton, Bart., of the same place. He received his early education at Eton, whence he was sent to Christchurch College, Oxford. In both of those places he was distinguished for classical literature, and some of his poems which we have borrowed were the fruits of his juvenile studies. In his nineteenth year he set out on a tour to the Conti. nent; and some of the letters which he wrote during this absence to his father are pleasing proofs of his sound principles, and his unreserved confidence in a venerated parent. He also wrote a poetical epistle to Dr. Ayscough, his Oxford tutor, which is one of the best of his works. On his return from abroad he was chosen representative in Parliament for the
THOMAS GRAY. Thomas Gray, born 1716, died 1771, a man of vast and varied acquirements, and whose life was devoted to the cultivation of letters. He was the son of a respectable London money-scrivener, but his father was a man of violent and arbitrary character, and the poet was early left to the tender care of an excellent mother, who had been obliged to separate from her tyrannical husband. He received his education at Eton, and afterwards settled in learned retirement at Cambridge, where he passed nearly the whole of his life. He travelled in France and Italy as tutor to Horace Walpole, but quarrelling with his
pupil, he returned home alone. Fixing him. to end. The thoughts indeed are obvious self at Cambridge, he soon acquired a high enough, but the dignity with which they are poetical reputation by his beautiful Ode on a expressed, the immense range of allusion and Distant Prospect of Eton College,' published description with which they are illustrated, in 1747, which was followed, at pretty fre- and the finished grace of the language and quent intervals, by his other imposing and versification in which they are embodied, give highly-finished works, the · Elegy written in to this work something of that inimitable pera Country Churchyard,' the ‘Pindaric Odes,' fection of design and execution which we see and the far from numerous but splendid pro- in an antique statue or a sculptured gem. In ductions which make up his works. His the ‘Bard,' starting from the picturesque idea quiet and studious retirement was only broken of a Welsh poet and patriot contemplating by occasional excursions to the North of Eng- the victorious invasion of his country by land, and other holiday journeys, of which he Edward I., he passes in prophetic review the has given in his letters so vivid and animated whole panorama of English History, and gives a description. His correspondence with his a series of most animated events and per. friends, and particularly with the poet Mason, sonages from the thirteenth to the eighteenth is remarkable for interesting details, descrip- century. It is true that he is occasionally tions, and reflections, and is indeed, like that turgid, but the general march of the poem of Cowley, among the most delightful records has a rush and a glow worthy of Pindar himof a thoughtful and literary life. Gray refused self. The phantoms of the great and the the offer of the Laureateship, which was pro- illustrious fit before us like the shadowy posed to him on the death of Cibber, but kings in the weird procession of Macbeth : accepted the appointment of Professor of and the unity of sentiment is maintained first Modern History in the University, though he by the gratified vengeance with which the never performed the functions of that chair, prophet foresees the crimes and sufferings of his fastidious temper and indolent self- the oppressors of his country and their deindulgence keeping him perpetually engaged scendants, and by the triumphant prediction in forming vast literary projects which he of the glorious reign of the Tudor race in never executed. He appears not to have been Britain. In the odes entitled “The Fatal popular among his colleagues; his haughty, Sisters' and The Descent of Odin,' Gray retiring, and somewhat effeminate character borrowed his materials from the Scandinavian prevented him from sympathizing with the legends. The tone of the Norse poetry is not tastes and studies that prevailed there; and perhaps very faithfully reproduced, but the he was at little pains to conceal his contempt fiery and gigantic imagery of the ancient for academical society. His industry was un. Scalds was for the first time imitated in tiring, and his acquirements undoubtedly im. English ; and though the chants retain some mense ; for he had pushed his researches far echoes of the sentiment and versification of beyond the usual limits of ancient classical more modern and polished literature, these philology, and was not only deeply versed in attempts to revive the rude and archaic the romance literature of the Middle Ages, in grandeur of the mythological traditions of the modern French and Italian, but had studied Eddas deserve no niggardly meed of approthe then almost unknown departments of bation. In general Gray may be said to overScandinavian and Celtic poetry. Constant colour his language, and to indulge occasionally traces may be found in all his works of the in an excess of ornament and personificadegree to which he had assimilated the spirit tion; he will nevertheless be always regarded not only of the Greek lyric poetry, but the as a lyric poet of a very high order, and as finest perfume of the great Italian writers : one who brought an immense store of varied many passages of his works are a kind of and picturesque erudition to feed the fire of a mosaic of thought and imagery borrowed from rich and powerful fancy.”-Shaw's “Hist. Pindar, from the choral portions of the Attic Eng. Lit.," pp. 388, 389; Allibone's “Crit. tragedy, and from the majestic lyrics of the Dict. Eng. Lit.”; Beeton's “Dict. Univer. Italian poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth Biog."; Gilfillan's Ed. of “Gray's Poems." centuries: but though the substance of these mosaics may be borrowed from a multitude of sources, the fragments are, so to say, fused into one solid body by the intense flame of a powerful and fervent imagination. His finest
WILLIAM MASON. lyric compositions are the Odes entitled . The Bard,' that on the ‘Progress of Poetry,' the “William Mason, a poet of some distinction, Installation Ode' on the Duke of Grafton's born in 1725, was the son of a clergyman, who election to the Chancellorship of the Uni- held the living of Hull. He was admitted versity, and the short but truly noble Ode first of St. John's College, and afterwards of to Adversity,' which breathes the severe and Pembroke College, Cambridge, of the latter of lofty spirit of the highest Greek lyric in- which he was elected Fellow in 1747. He spirațion. The “Elegy written in a Country entered into holy orders in 1754, and, by the Churchyard' is a masterpiece from beginning favour of the Earl of Holderness, was pre
been placed to his memory in Poets' Corner, in Westminster Abbey. His character in private life was exemplary for worth and active benevolence, though not without a degree of stateliness and assumed superiority of manner.”—Aikin's “ Select Brit. Poets." See Gilfillan's “Less-known Brit. Poets”; Campbell's “Specimens.”
sented to the valuable rectory of Aston, Yorkshire, and became chaplain to His Majesty. Some poems which he printed gave him reputation, which received a great accession from his dramatic poem of · Elfrida.' By this piece, and his Caractacus,' which followed, it was his aim to attempt the restoration of the ancient Greek chorus in tragedy; but this is so evidently an appendage of the infant and imperfect state of the drama, that a pedantic attachment to the ancients could alone suggest its revival. In 1756 he published a small collection of Odes,' which were generally considered as displaying more of the artificial mechanism of poetry, than of its genuine spirit. This was not the case with his . Elegies,' published in 1763, which, abating some superfluity of ornament, are in general marked with the simplicity of language proper to this species of composition, and breathe noble sentiments of freedom and virtue. A collection of all his poems which he thought worthy of pra. serving, was published in 1764, and afterwards went through several editions. He had married an amiable lady, who died of a consumption in 1767, and was buried in the cathedral of Bristol, under a monument, on which are inscribed some very tender and beautiful lines, by her husband.
“In 1772, the first book of Mason's · En. glish Garden,' a didactic and descriptive poem, in blank verse, made its appearance, of which the fourth and concluding book was printed in 1781. Its purpose was to recommend the modern system of natural or landscape gardening, to which the author adheres with the rigour of exclusive taste. The versification is formed upon the best models, and the description, in many parts, is rich and vivid ; but a general air of stiffness prevented it from attaining any considerable share of popularity. Some of his following poetic pieces express his liberal sentiments on political subjects; and when the late Mr. Pitt came into power, being then the friend of a free constitution, Mason addressed him in an * Ode,' containing many patriotic and manly ideas. But being struck with alarm at the unhappy events of the French Revolution, one of his latest pieces was a 'Palinody to Liberty. He likewise revived, in an improved form, and published, Du Fresnoy's Latin poem on the Art of Painting, enriching it with additions furnished by Sir Joshua Rey. nolds, and with a metrical version. Few have beer better executed than this, which unites to great beauties of language a correct representation of the original. His tribute to the memory of Gray, being an edition of his poems, with some additions, and 'Memoirs of his Life and Writings,' was favourably received by the public.
“Mason died in April, 1797, at the age of soventy-tivo, in consequence of a mortification produced by a hurt in his leg. A tablet has
OLIVER GOLDSMITH. Oliver Goldsmith, born 1728, died 1774. “ The most charming and versatile, and certainly one of the greatest writers of the eighteenth century, whose works, whether in prose or verse, bear - peculiar stamp of gentle grace and elegance. He was born at the village of Pallas, in the county of Longford, Ireland. His father was a poor curate of English extraction, struggling, with the aid of farming and a miserable stipend, to bring up a large family. By the assistance of a benevolent uncle, Mr. Contarine, Oliver was enabled to enter the University of Dublin in the humble quality of sizar. He however neglected the opportunities for study which the place offered him, and became notorious for his irregularities, his disobedience to au. thority, and above all for a degree of improvidence carried to the extreme, though excused by a tenderness and charity almost morbid. The earlier part of his life is an obscure and monotonous narrative of ineffectual struggles to subsist, and of wander. ings which enabled him to traverse almost the whole of Europe. Having been for a short time tutor in a family in Ireland, he determined to study medicine; and after nominally attending lectures in Edinburgh, he began those travels-for the most part on foot, and subsisting by the aid of his flute and the charity given to a poor scholarwhich successively led him to Leyden, through Holland, France, Germany, and Switzerland, and even to Pavia, where he boasted, though the assertion is hardly capable of proof, that he received a medical degree. fessional as well as his general knowledge was of the most superficial and inaccurate character. It was while wandering in the guise of a beggar in Switzerland that he sketched out the plan of his poem of the · Traveller,' which afterwards formed the commencement of his fame. In 1756 he found his way back to his native country; and his career during about eight years was a succession of desultory struggles with famine, sometimes as a chemist's shopman in London; sometimes as an usher in boardingschools, the drudge of his employers and the butt and laughing-stock of the pupils; sometimes as a practitioner of medicine among the poorest and most squalid population, the
beggars in Axe Lane,' as he expressed it him. upon the stage in some measure from its very self; and more generally as a miserable and merits, some of its comic scenes shocking the scantily-paid bookseller's hack. More than perverted taste of an audience which admired once, under the pressure of intolerable dis- the whining, preaching, sentimental pieces tress, he exchanged the bondage of the school that were then in fashion. In 1768 Goldfor the severer slavery of the corrector's table smith composed, as taskwork for the bookin a pri ing-office, and was driven back again sellers—though taskwork for which his now to the bondage of the school. The grace and rapidly rising popularity secured good pay. readiness of his pen would probably have af- ment—the ‘History of Rome,' distinguished forded him a decent subsistence, even from by its extreme superficiality of information the hardly-earned wages of a drudge-writer, and want of research no less than by enbut for his extreme improvidence, his almost chanting grace of style and vivacity of narrachildish generosity, his passion for pleasure tion. In 1770 he published the Deserted and fine clothes, and above all his propensity Village,' the companion poem to the “Trafor gambling. At one time, during this veller,' written in some measure in the same wretched period of his career, he failed to manner, and not less touching and perfect; pass the examination qualifying him for the and in 1773 was acted his comedy She humble medical post of a hospital mate; and, Stoops to Conquer,' one of the gayest, pleaunder the pressure of want and improvidence, santest, and most amusing pieces that the committed the dishonourable action of pawn. English stage can boast. Goldsmith had long ing a suit of clothes lent him by his employer, risen from the obscurity to which he had been Griffiths, for the purpose of appearing with condemned: he was one of the most admired decency before the Board. His literary ap- and popular authors of his time; his society prenticeship was passed in this severe school was courted by the wits, artists, statesmen, -writing to order, and at a moment's notice, and writers who formed a brilliant circle schoolbooks, tales for children, prefaces, in- round Johnson and Reynolds—Burke, Garrick, dexes, and reviews of books; and contributing Beauclerk, Percy, Gibbon, Boswell--and he to the Monthly,' 'Critical,' and 'Lady's became a member of that famous Club which Review,' the British Magazine,' and other is so intimately associated with the inperiodicals. His chief employer in this way tellectual history of that time. Goldsmith appears to have been Griffiths, and he is said was one of those men whom it is impossible to have been at one engaged as a cor- not to love, and equally impossible not to rector of the press in Richardson's service. despise and laugh at; his vanity, his childish In this period of obscure drudgery he com- though not malignant envy, his more than posed some of his most charming works, or Irish aptitude for blunders, his eagerness to at least formed that inimitable style which shine in conversation, for which he was pecumakes him the rival, and perhaps more than liarly unfitted, his weaknesses and genius the rival, of Addison. He produced the combined, made him the pet and the laughing• Chinese Letters,' the plan of which is imi- stock of the company. He was now in the tated from Montesquieu's ' Lettres Persanes,' receipt of an income which for that time and giving a description of English life and man- for the profession of letters might have been ners in the assumed character of a Chinese accounted splendid ; but his improvidence traveller, and containing some of those little kept him plunged in debt, and he was always sketches and humorous characters in which anticipating his receipts, so that he continued he was unequalled ; a ‘Life of Bean Nash;' to be the slave of booksellers, who obliged and a short and gracefully-narrated History him to waste his exquisite talent on works of England,' in the form of Letters from a hastily thrown off, and for which he neither Nobleman to his Son,' the authorship of which possessed the requisite knowledge nor could was ascribed to Lyttelton. It was in 1764 make the necessary researches : thus he that the publication of his beautiful poem of successively put forth taskwork the the “Traveller' caused him to emerge from History of England,' the · History of the slough of obscure literary drudgery in Greece,' and the “History of Animated which he had hitherto been crawling. The Nature,' the two former works being mere universal judgment of the public pronounced compilations of second-hand facts, and the that nothing so harmonious and so original last an epitomized translation of Buffon. In had appeared since the time of Pope; and these books we see how Goldsmith's neverfrom this period Goldsmith's career was one failing charm of style and easy grace of of uninterrupted literary success, though his narration compensates for total ignorance folly and improvidence kept him plunged in and a complete absence of independent knowdebt which even his large earnings could not ledge of the subject. In 1774 this brilliant enable him to avoid, and from which indeed and feverish career was terminated. Goldno amount of fortune would have saved him. smith was suffering from a painful and danIn 1766 appeared the Vicar of Wakefield,' gerous disease, aggravated by disquietude of that masterpiece of gentle humour and deli. mind arising from the disorder in his affairs ; cate tenderness ; in the following year his first and relying upon his knowledge of medicine comedy, the 'Goodnatured Man,' which failed he imprudently persisted in employing 2