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of the Northern or Southern district. In
THOMAS CHATTERTON. various independent copies or versions of the same legend, we find the victory given to the "Noname in our literature affords an example one side or to the other, and the English or
of earlier precocity or of a sadder career than Scottish hero alternately playing the nobler
that of the marvellous boy who perished in and more romantic part. Besides a very
his pride,' Thomas Chatterton. He was born large number of these purely heroic ballads,
at Bristol in 1752, was son of a sexton and Percy gave specimens of an immense series of parish schoolmaster, and died by suicide before songs and lyrics extending down to a compa
he had completed his eighteenth year. Yet in ratively late period of English history, em
that brief interval he gave proof of power unbracing even the Civil War and the Restora- surpassed in one so young, and executed a tion : but the chief interest of his collection,
number of forgeries almost without parallel and the chief service he rendered to literature
for ingenuity and variety. The writings which by his publication, is concentrated on the
he passed off as originals he professes to have earlier portion. It is impossible to exaggerate
discovered in Cannynge's Coffre,' a chest the influence exerted by Percy's Reliques;'
preserved in the muniment-room of the old this book has been devoured with the most
church of St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. These intense interest by generation after generation
he produced gradually, generally taking adof English poets, and has undoubtedly con
vantage of some public occurrence likely to tributed to give a first direction to the youth
give them an interest. In October, 1768, a ful genius of many of our most illustrious new bridge across the Avon was opened, and writers. The boyish enthusiasm of Walter
forthwith he sent an account of the ceremonies Scott was stirred, 'as with the sound of a
that took place on the opening of the old trumpet,' by the vivid recitals of the old bridge— processions, tournaments, and reBorder rhapsodists; and but for Percy it is
ligious solemnities. Mr. Burguin, who was possible that we should have had neither the
fond of heraldic honours, he supplies with a * Lady of the Lake' nor'Waverley. Nor was
pedigree reaching back to William the Con. it upon the genius of Scott alone that is im- queror. To another citizen he presents the pressed the stamp of this ballad imitation :
Romaunt of the Cnyghté,' written by one of Wordsworth, Coleridge, even Tennyson him
his ancestors between four and five hundred self have been deeply modified, in the form
years before. To a religious citizen he gives and colouring of their productions, by the
an ancient fragment of a sermon on the same cause : and perhaps the influence of the Holy Spirit, wroten by Thomas Rowley in * Reliques,' whether direct or indirect, near or i the fifteenth century. To another with antiremote, will be perceptible to distant ages in
quarian tastes he gives an account of the English poetry and fiction.”—Shaw's “Hist.
churches of the city three hundred years Eng. Lit.," pp. 412—414.
before. And to Horace Walpole, who was busy writing the History of British Painters,' he gives a record of Carvellers and Peyncters who once flourished in Bristol. Besides all
these forgeries he sent to the Town and JAMES MACPHERSON.
Country Magazine' a number of poems which
occasioned a sharp controversy. Gray and “James Macpherson, born 1738, died 1796, Mason at once pronounced them spurious a Scotch poet, whose first work, and that imitations, but many maintained their genuwhich brought him mostly into notice, was a ineness. Meanwhile, Chatterton had obtained translation of poems attributed by him to a release from the attorney's office where he Ossian. These poems possess great beauty; had served for the last three years, and had but their authenticity was disputed by Dr. come to London. Here he wrote for maga. Johnson and other writers, and as zealously zines and newspapers, gaining thereby a very maintained by the editor and Dr. Blair; it is precarious subsistence. At last he grew denow, however, generally admitted that Ossian's
spondent, took to drinking, which aggravated poems are a forgery. In 1773 Macpherson his constitutional tendencies, and after being published a translation of the “Iliad' into reduced to actual want, tore up his papers, heroic prose, a work of little value. He was and destroyed himself by taking arsenic. He also the author of an Introduction to the
was interred in the burying-ground of the History of Great Britain and Ireland,' a Shoe Lane Workhouse, and the citizens of History of Great Britain, from 1660 to the Bristol afterwards erected, in their city, a Accession of the House of Hanover,' and of monument to his memory. His poems, pubsome political pamphlets in defence of Lord
lished under the name of Rowley, consist of North's administration, for which he ob
the tragedy of 'Ella,' the 'Ode to Ella, a tained a place and a seat in the House of ballad entitled the 'Bristow Tragedy, or the Commons."-Beeton's “Dict. Univ. Biog.” Death of Sir Charles Bowdin,' some pastoral
poems, and other minor pieces. The Ode to Ella' has all the air of a modern poem, except spelling and phraseology. Most of the others have allusions and a style more or less appro
He embarked also in the politics of the day, priate to the time in which they profess to as a poetical antagonist to Churchill, but with have been written ; but they are none of them little advantage to his memory. Before the likely to deceive a competent scholar. Chat- publication of his 'Marine Dictionary,' he had terton displays occasionally great power of left his retreat at Chatham for a less comfort. satire, and generally a luxuriance of fancy and able abode in the metropolis, and appears to richness of invention which, considering his have struggled with considerable difficulties, youth, were not unworthy of Spenser. His in the midst of which he received proposals avowed compositions are very inferior to the from the late Mr. Murray, the bookseller, to forgeries—a fact that Scott explains by sup- join him in the business which he had newly posing that in the forgeries all his powers established. The cause of his refusing this must have been taxed to the utmost to sup- offer was, in all probability, the appointment port the deception.”—Dr. Angus's Hand. which he received to the pursership of the book Eng. Lit." See Allibone's “Crit. Dict. Eng. Aurora,' East. Indiaman. In that ship he Lit.” ; Shaw's "Hist. Eng. Lit.”; Gilfillan's embarked for India, in September, 1769, but ed. " Chatterton's Poems."
the 'Aurora' was never heard of after she passed the Cape, and was thought to have foundered in the Channel of Mozambique; so that the poet of the 'Shipwreck' may be sup
posed to have perished by the same species of WILLIAM FALCONER.
calamity which he had rehearsed.
“ The subject of the Shipwreck,' and the " William Falconer, born 1730, died 1769, fate of its author, bespeak an uncommon par. was the son of a barber in Edinburgh, and tiality in its favour. If we pay respect to the went to sea at an early age in a merchant ingenious scholar who can produce agreeable vessel of Leith. He was afterwards mate of verses amidst the shades of retirement, or the a ship that was wrecked in the Levant, and shelves of his library, how much more interest was one of only three out of her crew that must we take in the ó ship-boy on the high were saved, a catastrophe which formed the and giddy mast,' cherishing refined visions of subject of his future poem. He was for some fancy at the hour which he may casually time in the capacity of a servant to Campbell, snatch from fatigue and danger. Nor did the author of 'Lexiphanes,' when purser of a Falconer neglect the proper acquirements of ship. Campbell is said to have discovered in seamanship in cultivating poetry, but evinced Falconer talents worthy of cultivation, and considerable knowledge of his profession, both when the latter distinguished himself as a in his ‘Marine Dictionary' and in the nautical poet, used to boast that he had been his precepts of the 'Shipwreck. In that poem scholar. What he learned from Campbell it he may be said to have added a congenial is not very easy to ascertain. His education, and peculiarly British subject to the lanas he often assured Governor Hunter, had guage ; at least, we had no previous poem been confined to reading, writing, and a little of any length of which the characters and arithmetic, thongh in the course of his life he catastrophe were purely naval. picked up some acquaintance with the French, “ The scene of the catastrophe (though he Spanish, and Italian languages. In these his followed only the fact of his own history) was countryman was not likely to have much as- poetically laid amidst seas and shores where sisted him ; but he might have lent him books, the mind easily gathers romantic associations, and possibly instructed him in the use of and where it supposes the most picturesque figures. Falconer published his 'Shipwreck' vicissitudes of scenery and climate. The in 1762, and by the favour of the Duke of spectacle of a majestic British ship on the York, to whom it was dedicated, obtained the shores of Greece brings as strong a reminiappointment of a midshipman in the Royal scence to the mind as can well be imagined, of George,' and afterwards that of purser in the the changes which time has wrought in transGlory' frigate. He soon afterwards married planting the empire of 'arts and civilization. a Miss Hicks, an accomplished and beautiful Falconer's characters are few; but the calm, woman, the daughter of the surgeon of Sheer- sagacious commander, and the rough, obstiness-yard. At the peace of 1763 he was on nate Rodmond, are well contrasted. Some the point of being reduced to distressed cir- part of the love-story of Palemon’ is rather cumstances by his ship being laid up in ordi. swainish and protracted, yet the effect of his nary at Chatham, when, by the friendship of being involved in the calamity leaves a deeper Commissioner Hanway, who ordered the cabin sympathy in the mind for the daughter of of the 'Glory' to be fitted up for his resi. Albert, when we conceive her at once deprived dence, he enjoyed for some time a retreat for both of a father and a lover. The incidents study without expense or embarrassment. of the 'Shipwreck,' like those of a well. Here he employed himself in compiling his wrought tragedy, gradually deepen, while they 'Marine Dictionary,' which appeared in 1769, yet leave a suspense of hope and fear to the and has been always highly spoken of by imagination. In the final scene there is somethose who are capable of estimating its merits. thing that deeply touches our compassion in
the news of Churchill's death arrived, Lloyd was seated at dinner ; he became instantly sick, cried out 'Poor Charles ! I shall follow him soon,' and died in a few weeks. Churchill's sister, a woman of excellent abilities, waited on Lloyd during his illness, and died soon after him of a broken heart. This was in 1764.
“Lloyd was a minor Churchill. He had not his brawny force, but he had more than his liveliness of wit, and was a much better-conditioned man, and more temperate in his satire. Cowper knew, loved, and admired, and in some of his verses imitated, Robert Lloyd."-Gilfillan's "Less-known Brit. Poets," 126, 127.
the picture of the unfortunate man who is struck blind by a flash of lightning at the helm. I remember, by the way, to have met with an affecting account of the identical calamity befalling the steersman of a forlorn vessel in a similar moment, given in a prose and veracious history of the loss of a vessel on the coast of America. Falconer skilfully heightens this trait by showing its effect on the commiseration of Rodmond, the roughest of his characters, who guides the victim of misfortune to lay hold of a sail. "A flash, quick glancing on the nerves of
light, Struck the pale helmsman with eternal
night : Rodmond, who heard a piteous groan be
hind, Touch'd with compassion, gazed upon the
blind; And, while around his sad companions
crowd, He guides th' unhappy victim to the
shroud, Hie thee aloft, my gallant friend! he cries ; Thy only succour on the mast relies!'
“The effect of some of his sea phrases is to give a definite and authentic character to his descriptions ; but that of most of them, to a landsman's ear, resembles slang, and produces obscurity. His diction, too, generally abounds with common-place expletives and feeble lines. His scholarship on the shores of Greece is only what we should accept of from a seaman; but his poem has the sensible charm of appearing a transcript of reality, and leaves an impression of truth and nature on the mind.” -Campbell's "Specimens,” 480, 481. See Alli. bone's “ Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.”; Chambers's “Cyc. Eng. Lit.," vol. ii.
CHARLES CHURCHILL. “ Charles Churchill, born 1731, died 1764. He was the son of a respectable clergyman, who way curate and lecturer of St. John's, Westminster. He was educated at Westminster School, and entered Trinity College, Cambridge, but not being disposed O’er crabbed authors life's gay prime to
waste, Or cramp wild genius in the chains of
taste, he left the university abruptly, and coming to London made a clandestine marriage in the Fleet. His father, though much displeased at the proceeding, became reconciled to what could not be remedied, and received the im. prudent couple for about a year under his roof. After this young Churchill went for some time to study theology at Sunderland, in the north of England, and having taken orders, officiated at Cadbury, in Somersetshire, and at Rainham, a living of his father's in Essex, till upon the death of his father he succeeded, in 1758, to the curacy and lecture. ship of St. John's, Westminster. Here he conducted himself for some time with a decorum suitable to his profession, and increased his narrow income by undertaking private tuition. He got into debt, it is true; and Dr. Lloyd, of Westminster, the father of his friend the poet, was obliged to mediate with his creditors for their acceptance of a composition ; but when fortune put it into his power Churchill honourably discharged all his obli. gations. His • Rosciad' appeared at first anonymously, in 1761, and was ascribed to one or other of half the wits in town ; but his acknowledgement of it, and his poetical * Apology,' in which he retaliated upon the critical reviewers of his poem (not fearing to affront even Fielding and Smollett), made him at once famous and formidable. The players, at least, felt him to be so. Garrick himself, who, though extolled in the “Rosciad,' was
ROBERT LLOYD. “Robert Lloyd was born in London in 1733. He was the son of one of the under-masters of Westminster School. He went to Cam. bridge, where he became distinguished for his talents and notorious for his dissipation. He became an usher under his father, but soon tired of the drudgery, and commenced professional author. He published a poem called * The Actor,' which attracted attention, and was the precursor of the Rosciad.'
He wrote for periodicals, produced some theatrical pieces of no great merit, and edited the 'St. James's Magazine.' This failed, and Lloyd, involved in pecuniary distresses, was cast into the Fleet. Here he was deserted by all his boon companions except Churchill, to whose sister he was attached, and who allowed him a guinea a-week and a servant, besides promoting a subscription for his benefit. When
sarcastically alluded to in the • Apology, courted him like a suppliant; and his satire had the effect of driving poor Tom Davies, the biographer of Garrick, though he was a tolerable performer, from the stage. A letter from another actor, of the name of Davis, who seems rather to have dreaded than experienced his severity, is preserved in Nichols's · Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century,' in which the poor comedian deprecates the poet's censure in an expected publication, as likely to deprive him of bread. What was mean in Garrick might have been an object of compassion in this humble man; but Churchill answered him with surly contempt, and holding to the plea of justice, treated his fears with the apparent satisfaction of a hangman. His moral character, in the meantime, did not keep pace with his literary reputation. As he got above neglect he seems to have thought himself above censure. His superior, the Dean of Westminster, having had occasion to rebuke him for some irregularities, he threw aside at once the clerical habit and profession, and arrayed his ungainly form in the splendour of fashion. Amidst the remarks of his enemies, and what he pronounces the still more insulting advice of his prudent friends upon his irregular life, he published his epistle to Lloyd, entitled 'Night,' a sort of manifesto of the impulses, for they could not be called principles, by which he professed his conduct to be influenced. The leading maxims of this epistle are, that prudence and hypocrisy in these times are the same thing! that good hours are but fine words; and that it is better to avow faults than to conceal them. Speaking of his convivial enjoyments, he says“Night's laughing hours unheeded slip
away, Nor one dull thought foretells approach
of day.' In the same description he somewhat awk. wardly introduces • Wine's gay God, with TEMPERANCE by
-Whilst HEALTH attends.'
Accordingly, the most prominent circumstances that we afterwards learn respecting him are, that he separated from his wife, and seduced the daughter of a tradesman in Westminster. At the end of a fortnight, either from his satiety or repentance, he advised this unfortunate woman to return to her friends ; but took her back again upon her finding her home made intolerable by the reproaches of a sister. His reputation for inebriety also received some public acknowledgments. Hogarth gave as much celebrity as he could to his love of porter, by representing him in the act of drinking a mug of that liquor in the shape of a bear; but the painter had no great reason to congratulate himself ultimately on the effects of his caricature. Our poet was included in the general warrant that was issued for apprehending Wilkes. He hid himself, however, and avoided imprisonment. In the autumn of 1764 he paid a visit to Mr. Wilkes at Boulogne, where he caught a military fever, and expired in his thirty-third year.
“Churchill may be ranked as a satirist immediately after Pope and Dryden, with perhaps a greater share of humour than either. He has the bitterness of Pope, with less wit to atone for it; but no mean share of the free manner and energetic plainness of Dryden. After the 'Rosciad' and ' Apology' he began his poem of the “Ghost' (founded on the well-known story of Cock-lane), many parts of which tradition reports him to have composed when scarce recovered from his fits of drunkenness. It is certainly a rambling and scandalous production, with a few such original gleams as might have crossed the brain of genius amidst the bile and lassitude of dis. sipation. The novelty of political warfare seems to have given a new impulse to his powers in the Prophecy of Famine,' a satire on Scotland, which even to Scotchmen must seem to sheath its sting in its laughable extravagance. His poetical ‘Epistle to Hogarth' is remarkable, amidst its savage ferocity, for one of the best panegyrics that was ever bestowed on that painter's works. He scalps indeed even barbarously the infirmities of the man, but, on the whole, spares the laurels of the artist. The following is his description of Hogarth's powers :In walks of humour, in that cast of
style, Which, probing to the quick, yet makes
us smile; In comedy, his nat'ral road to fame, Nor let me call it by a meaner name, Where a beginning, middle, and an end Are aptly join'd; where parts on parts
depend, Each made for each, as bodies for their
soul, So as
to form one true and perfect whole,
How would Churchill have belaboured any fool or hypocrite who had pretended to boast of health and temperance in the midst of orgies that turned night into day !
' By his connection with Wilkes he added political to personal causes of animosity, and did not diminish the number of unfavourable eyes that were turned upon his private character. He had certainly, with all his faults, some strong and good qualities of the heart; but the particular proofs of these were not likely to be sedulously collected as materials of his biography, for he had now placed himself in that light of reputation when a man's likeness is taken by its shadow and darkness.
Where a plain story to the eye is told,
behold, Hogarth unrivall’d stands, and shall
engage Unrivall’d praise to the most distant age.'
“ There are two peculiarly interesting pas. sages in his Conference.' One of them, expressive of remorse for his crime of seduction, has been often quoted. The other is a touching description of a man of independent spirit reduced by despair and poverty to accept of the means of sustaining life on humiliating terms.
• What proof might do, what hunger
might effect, What famish'd nature, looking with
neglect On all she once held dear, what fear, at
strife With fainting virtue for the means of
life, Might make this coward flesh, in love
with breath, Shudd'ring at pain, and shrinking back
from death, In treason to my soul, descend to bear, Trusting to fate, I neither know nor
care. Once,-at this hour whose wounds
afresh I feel, Which nor prosperity nor time can heal,
“We refer our readers to Dr. Mackelvie's well-known and very able 'Life of poor Bruce' for his full story, 'and for the evidence on which his claim to the Cuckoo' is rested. Apart from external evidence, we think that poem more characteristic of Bruce's genius than of Logan's, and have therefore ranked it under Bruce's name.
“Bruce was born on the 27th of March, 1746, at Kinnesswood, parish of Portmoak, county of Kinross. His father was a weaver, and Michael was the fifth of a family of eight children. Poor as his parents were, they were intelligent, religious, and most conscientious in the discharge of their duties to their chil. dren. In the summer months Michael was sent out to herd cattle ; and one loves to imagine the young poet wrapt in his plaid, under a whin-bush, while the storm was blowing, - or gazing at the rainbow from the summit of a fence,- —or admiring at Lochleven and its old ruined castle,- ;-or weaving around the form of some little maiden, herding in a neighbouring field—some ‘Jeanie Morri. son'-one of those webs of romantic early love which are beautiful and evanescent as the gossamer, but how exquisitely relished while they last! Say not, with one of his biographers, that his education was retarded by this employment;' he was receiving in these solitary fields a kind of education which no school and no college could furnish; nay, who knows but, as he saw the cuckoo winging her way from one deep woodland recess to another, or heard her dull, divine monotone coming from the heart of the forest, the germ of that exquisite strain, ‘least in the kingdom' of the heaven of poetry in size, but immortal in its smallness, was sown in his mind? In winter he went to school, and profited there so much, that at fifteen (not a very early period, after all, for a Scotch student begin. ning his curriculum-in our day twelve was not an uncommon age) he was judged fit for going to college. And just in time a windfall came across the path of our poet, the mention of which may make many of our readers smile. This was a legacy which was left his father by a relative, amounting to 200 marks, or £11.2s.6d. With this munificent sum in his pocket, Bruce was sent to study at Edinburgh College. Here he became distinguished by his attainments, and particularly his taste and poetic powers; and here, too, he became acquainted with John Logan, afterwards his biographer. After spending three sessions at college, supported by his parents and other friends, he returned to the country, and taught a school at Gairney Bridge (a place famous for the first meeting of the first presbytery of the Seceders), for £11 of salary. Thence lie removed to Foresthill, near Alloa, where a damp school-room, poverty, and hard labour in teaching, united to injure his health and
Those wounds, which humbled all that
pride of man, Which brings such mighty aid to virtue's
“ But without enumerating similar passages, which may form an exception to the remark, the general tenor of his later works fell beneath his first reputation. His ' Duellist' is positively dull; and his 'Gotham,' the imaginary realm of which he feigns himself the sovereign, is calculated to remind us of the proverbial wisdom of its sages. It was justly complained that he became too much an echo of himself, and that before his short literary career was closed, his originality appeared to be exhausted.”—Campbell's “Specimens," pp. 454-456. See Allibone's “ Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit.” ; Shaw's “ Hist. Eng. Lit." ; Gilfillan's Ed. of “ Churchill's Poems."