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The youth did ride, and soon did meet
Whom in a trice he tried to stop,
But not performing what he meant, And gladly would have done,
The frighted steed he frighted more, And made him faster run.
Away went Gilpin, and away
The postboy's horse right glad to miss
Six gentlemen upon the road,
With postboy scamp'ring in the rear,
“Stop thief!, stop thief! – a highwayman "
And all and each that pass'd that way
And now the turnpike gates again Flew open in short space;
The toll-men thinking as before, That Gilpin rode a race.
And so he did, and won it too,
Nor stopp'd till where he had got up
Now let us sing, Long live the King, And Gilpin long live he ;
And, when he next doth ride abroad, May I be there to see:
to JOSEPH HILL, Esq.
Drak Joseph — five-and-twenty years ago–
Dreading a negative, and overaw'd
Survivor sole, and hardly such, of all,
It seems idolatry with some excuse, When our forefather Druids in their oaks Imagined sanctity. The conscience, yet Unpurified by an authentic act Of amnesty, the meed of blood divine, Lov'd not the light, but, gloomy, into gloom Of thickest shades, like Adam after taste Of fruit proscrib'd, as to a refuge, fled.
Thou wast a bauble once; a cup and ball. Which babes might play with ; and the thievish jay, Seeking her food, with ease might have purloin'd The auburn nut that held thee, swallowing down Thy yet closc-folded latitude of boughs
Delight in agitation, yet sustain
Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still The great and little of thy lot, thy growth From almost nullity into a state Of matchless grandeur, and declension thence, Slow, into such magnificent decay. Time was, when, settling on thy leaf, a fly Could shake thee to the root — and time has been When tempests could not. At thy firmest age Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents, [deck That might have ribb'd the sides and plank'd the Of some flagg'd admiral; and tortuous arms, The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present To the four-quarter'd winds, robust and bold, Warp'd into tough knee-timber", many a load! But the axe spar'd thee. In those thriftier days Oaks fell not, hewn by thousands, to supply The bottomless demands of contest, wag'd For senatorial honours. Thus to Time The task was left to whittle thee away With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibbling edge, Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more, Disjoining from the rest, has, unobserv'd. Achiev'd a labour, which had far and wide, By man perform'd, made all the forest ring.
Embowell'd now, and of thy ancient self Possessing nought, but the scoop'd rind, that seems An huge throat, calling to the clouds for drink, Which it would give in rivulets to thy root, Thou temptest none, but rather much forbidd'st The feller's toil, which thou couldstill requite. Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock, A quarry of stout spurs, and knotted fangs, Which, crook'd into a thousand whimsies, clasp The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect.
So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yet
Thine arms have left thee. Winds have rent
Long since, and rovers of the forest wild [left
On thy distorted root, with hearers none,
One man alone, the father of us all, Drew not his life from woman; never gaz'd, With mute unconsciousness of what he saw, On all around him; learn'd not by degrees, Nor ow'd articulation to his ear; But, moulded by his Maker into man At once, upstood intelligent, survey'd All creatures, with precision understood Their purport, uses, properties, assign'd To each his name significant, and, fill’d With love and wisdom, render'd back to Heaven In praise harmonious the first air he drew. He was excus'd the penalties of dull Minority. No tutor chargd his hand With the thought-tracing quill, or task'd his mind With problems. History, not wanted yet, Lean'd on her elbow, watching Time, whose course, Eventful, should supply her with a theme.
Obscurest night involv'd the sky; Th’ Atlantic billows roar'd, When such a destin'd wretch as I, Wash'd headlong from on board, Of friends, of hope, of all bereft, His floating home for ever left
No braver chief could Albion boast,
Not long beneath the whelming brine,
He shouted; nor his friends had fail'd
But so the furious blast prevail'd,
They left their outcast mate behind, And scudded still before the wind.
Some succour yet they could afford;
Nor, cruel as it seem’d, could he
He long survives, who lives an hour
At length, his transient respite past,
No poet wept him; but the page
I therefore purpose not, or dream,
No voice divine the storm allay'd,
Jaur, BEATTIE, an admired poet and a moralist, was born about 1735, in the county of Kincardine, in Scotland. His father was a small farmer, who, though living in indigence, had imbibed so much of the spirit of his country, that he procured for his son a literary education, first at a parochial school, and then at the college of New Aberdeen, in which he entered as a bursar or exhibitioner. In the intervals of the sessions, James is supposed to have added to his scanty pittance by teaching at a country-school. Returning to Aberdeen, he obtained the situation of assistant to the master of the principal grammar-school, whose daughter he married. From youth he had cultivated a talent for poetry; and in 1760 he ventured to submit the fruit of his studies in this walk to the public, by a volume of “Original Poems and Translations.” They were followed, in 1765, by “The Judgment of Paris;” and these performances, which displayed a familiarity with poetic diction, and harmony of versification, seem to have made him favourably known in his neighbourhood. The interest of the Earl of Errol acquired for him the post of professor of moral philosophy and logic in the Marischal College of Aberdeen; in which capacity he published a work, entitled “An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism,” 1770. Being written in a popular manner, it was much read, and gained the author many admirers, especially among the most distinguished members of the Church of England; and, at the suggestion of Lord Mansfield, he was rewarded with a pension of 200l. from the King's privy purse. In 1771 his fame was largely extended by the first part of his “Minstrel,” a piece the subject of which is the imagined birth and education of a poet. Although the word Minstrel is not with much pro
priety applied to such a person as he represents, and the “Gothic days” in which he is placed are not historically to be recognised, yet there is great beauty, both moral and descriptive, in the delineation, and perhaps no writer has managed the Spenserian stanza with more dexterity and harmony. The second part of this poem, which contains the maturer part of the education of the young bard, did not appear till 1774, and then left the work a fragment. But whatever may be the defects of the Minstrel, it possesses beauties which will secure it a place among the approved productions of the British muse.
Beattie visited London for the first time in 1771, where he was received with much cordiality by the admirers of his writings, who found equal cause to love and esteem the author. Not long afterwards, the degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by his college at Aberdeen. In 1777 a new edition, by subscription, was published of his “Essay on Truth,” to which were added three Essays on subjects of polite literature. In 1783 he published “ Dissertations Moral and Critical,” consisting of detached essays, which had formed part of a course of lectures delivered by the author as professor. His last work was “Evidences of the Christian Religion, briefly and plainly stated,” 2 vols. 1786. His time was now much occupied with the duties of his station, and particularly with the education of his eldest son, a youth of uncommon promise. His death of a decline was a very severe trial of the father's fortitude and resignation; and it was followed some years after by that of his younger son. These afflictions, with other domestic misfortunes, entirely broke his spirits, and brought him to his grave at Aberdeen, in August, 1803, in the 68th year of his age.
THE MINSTREL; or,
THE PROGRESS OF GENIUS.
The design was, to trace the progress of a poetical genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning of fancy and reason, till that period at which he may be supposed capable of appearing in the world as a Minstrel, that is, as an itinerant poet and musician; — a character which, according to the notions of our forefathers, was not only respectable but sacred. have endeavoured to imitate Spenser in the measure of his verse, and in the harmony, simplicity, and variety of his composition. Antique expressions I have avoided; admitting, however, some old words, where they seemed to suit the subject: but I hope none will be found that are now obsolete, or in any degree not intelligible to a reader of English poetry. To those who may be disposed to ask, what could induce me to write in so difficult a measure, I can only answer, that it pleases my ear, and seems, from its Gothic structure and original, to bear some relation to the subject and spirit of the poem. It admits both simplicity and magnificence of sound and of language, beyond any other stanza that I am acquainted with. It allows the sententiousness of the couplet, as well as the more complex modulation of blank verse. What some critics have remarked, of its uniformity growing at last tiresome to the ear, will be found to hold true, only when the poetry is faulty in other respects.
While from his bending shoulder, decent hung His harp, the sole companion of his way,
Which to the whistling wind responsive rung: And ever as he went some merry lay he sung.
Fret not thyself, thou glittering child of pride,
Though richest hues the peacock's plumes adorn,
| Liberal, not lavish, is kind Nature's hand;
Nor was perfection made for man below.
Then grieve not, thou, to whom th’ indulgent Muse
Canst thou forego the pure ethereal soul
O how canst thou renounce the boundless store
These charms shall work thy soul's eternal health,