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Life by Dr. Moore, and the other by Dr. Anderson; the same, we understand, with that which is inserted in this collection. : - The Eleventh Volume contains the poetical works of Wilkie, Dodsley, Smart, Langhorne, Bruce, Chatterton, Græme, Glover, Shaw, Lovibond, Penrose, Mickle, Jago, Scott, Johnson, W. Whitehead, Jenyns, Logan, Warton, Cotton, and Blacklock. -Of Wilkie, whom some enthusiastic admirers have distinguished by the high appellation of the “ Scottish Homer," the account is full of interest and amusement. Dr. A. endeavours (but we think that his efforts will prove ineffectual) to draw back the public attention to the merits of the Epigoniad, on which he enlarges in terms of exaggerated praise. This poem has had its trial, and has been found guilty of dulness and want of interest; we see nothing in this verdict that savours of injustice; and the event of a second trial, we apprehend, would be the same.--In page 22 of the Life, we observe a paragraph which our readers may find verbatim in our seventeenth volume, p. 228. * From the Life of Robert Dodsley, which gives a fair and impartial view of the merits of that ingenious author and very amiable man, we shall make an extract :
· His character was very amiable and respectable. As a tradesman, he preserved the greatest integrity ; as a writer, the most becoming humility. Mindful of the early encouragement which his own talents met with, he was ever ready to give the same opportunity of advancement to those of others; and on many occasions he was not only the publisher, but the patron of genius. There was no circum. stance by which he was more distinguished, than by the grateful re membrance which he retained, and always expressed towards the mes mory of those to whom he owed the obligation of being first taken notice of in life. Modest, sensible, and humane ; he retained the virtnes which 'irst brought him into notice, after he had obtained wealth sufficient to satisfy every wish which could arise from the possession of it. He was a generous friend, an encourager of men of genius, and acquired the esteem and respect of all who were acquainted with him. It was his happiness to pass the greatest part of his life in intimacy with men of the brightest abilities, whose names will be revered by posterity ; by most of whom he was loved as much for the virtues of his heait, as he was admired on account of his writings.
As an author, lie is entitled to considerable praise. His works are recommended by an ease and elegance, which are sometimes more plcasing than a more laboured and ornaniented manner of writing. His prose is familiar, and yet chaşte. His Essay on Fable will be a durable monument of his ingenuity. In his dramas he has always kept in view the one great principle, delectando puritérque monendo, some general moral is constantly conveyed in each of his plans, and particular instructions are displayed in the particular strokes of satire. The dialogue, at the same time, is easy; the plots simple ; and the
catastrophe interesting and pathetic.' In verse, his compositions sufficiently show what genius alone, unassisted by learning, is capable of executing. His subjects are well chosen and entertaining; the diction is chaste and elegant; the sentiments, if not sublime, are manly and pleasing ; and the numbers, if not exquisitely polished, are easy and flowing.
i of his poetical productions, his Agriculture, a Georgic in thrée cantos, is the most considerable. The subject is such as must be grateful and entertaining to every Briton; and though, in the execution, there are imperfections impossible to be overlooked by a critical eye, yet there are a number of beauties in it deserving of applause ; and those who may have reason to condemn the poet, will find ample cause to commend the patriot. Indeed, to write a truly excellent Georgic, is one of the greatest efforts of the human mind.' Perfectly to succeed in this species of poetry, requires a Virgil's genius, judge ment, exquisiteness of taste, and power of harmony. The genera] economy of this Georgic is judicious : it contains several exalted sen. timents, and the descriptions are often delicate and well expressed. But, at the same time, the diction is frequently too prosaic, many of the epithets are inadequate, and in some places, sufficient attention is not paid to the powers of the versification.
In the first canto, after having generally proposed his intention, addressed it to the Prince of Wales, and invoked the Genius of Bria tain, he proceeds to consider husbandry as the source of wealth and plenty; and therefore recommends it to landlords not to oppress the farmer, and to the farmer that he should be frugal, temperate, and industrious. After giving an account of the instruments of husbandry. he describes a country statute, and introduces the episode of Patio, the fair milk-maid. The next objects offered to view are the farmers poultry, kine, hogs, &c. with their enemies, the kite, the fox, the badger, and such other animals as prey upon the produce of the farm, or impede the industrious labours of the husbandman; and we are shown how the cultivation of the former, and the destruction of the latter contribute alternately to provide him with business or amusement; whence we are led to contemplate the happiness of a rural life; to which succeeds an address to the great to engage them in the study of agriculture. An allegorical explanation of nature's operations on the vegetable world, with a philosophical system, built on the experimental foundation laid by Dr. Hales, concludes the canto. The ad. dress to the Genius of Britain is pleasing, and the description of the Fair Milk-maid is:exquisitely beautiful.
The second canto begins with instructions for meliorating soils. according to their diversity, whether they consist of sand, loam, or clay. Mr. Tull's principles and practice are particularly. taken notice of, and those of the Middlesex gardeners. Directions are also given for various manures, and other methods are pointed out for the im. provement and enclosure of lands; the respective uses of the several : forest trecs are distinguished; the advantages arising from plantations pointed out; and rules are presented for their successful cultivation. To there succeed some observations on gardening, wherein the taste for strait lines, regular platforms, and clipi trees, imported from Holland
at the Revolution, is exploded. These are succeeded by a few com: pliments to some modern gardens, Chiswick, Richmond, Oatlands, Esher, Woburn, and Hagley ; a description of those of Epicurus, and a celebration of his morals. The apostrophe to the Genius of Gardens is happily introduced ; and the description of the Gardens of Epicurus is rich and luxuriant.
• In the third canto are described hay-making, harvest, and the har. vest-home; a method is prescribed for preventing the hay from being mow-burnt, or taking fire. Other vegetable, fossil, and mineral productions peculiar to England are praised. From the culture and produce of the earth, we have a transition to the breeding and management of sheep, cows, and horses; of the latter there are descrip. tions according to their respective uses; whether for draught, the road, the field, the race, or for war. The portraits of the two last, which are eminently beautiful, conclude the poem.
. Of his other poems, his Melpomene may be considered as the greatest effort of his poetical genius. In cannot indeed vie in sub. limity and enthusiasm with the lyric compositions of Dryden, Akenside, Collins, Gray, and Mason. It has a more moderate degree of elevation, and poetic fire. It is animated without being rhapsodical, and joins ardent sentiment and picturesque description, to correctness, harmony, and happy expression. His picture of Despair, in the Reo gion of Terror, is finely drawn, and only inferior to that of Spenser. The portrait of Rage is equally happy in the designing, and the expression. In the Region of Pity, the image of a beautiful maid ex. piring on the corse of a brave lover, who has been killed in vindicat. ing her honour, is affectingly picturesque. That of a too credulous and injured beauty, is equally striking and beautiful, and pregnant with a necessary moral caution.
. Of his Art of Preaching, in imitation of Horace's “ Art of Poetry,” the rules are well adapted, and exemplified, and the versification is smooth and elegant. His Songs, in point of tenderness, delicacy, and simplicity, are not inferior to any composition of that kind in the English language.'
. The following epigram on Burnet,- the gossiping, credulous, and not over-candid Burnet, written on account of his con. temptuous mention of Prior, whom he denominated in the second volume of his history “s one Prior," was just, and fully merited by the Bishop :
« One Prior! and is this, this all the fame
The poet from th' historian can claim !
When 'tis forgot one Burnet ever wrote." The whole account of Michael Bruce, who died at the early age of twenty-one, in a consumption, is in an eminent degree interesting and pathetic. This young man, who has received a very elegant tribute to his merits from the pen of Lord Craig*,
* Vide Mirror, Number 36.
appeats to have possessed amiable dispositions, classical acquirements, and fine genius. He had to contend not only with a distemper that proved fatal to him, but with the res angusta domi. Yet, amid such unfavourable and disheartening circumstances, he found opportunity and inclination for cultivating a taste for poetry; and he has left several productions which manifest tender sensibility and rich imagination. We recommend this piece of biography to the attention of our readers, as furnishing them with a favourable specimen of Dr. Anderson's powers as an author.
We were much pleased with the life of Chatterton, which contains a fair and satisfactory account of that curious and interesting controversy.
The life of James Græme is introduced by the following paragraphs, which place the feelings of Dr. Anderson in an amiable light :
The poet, whose life the present writer is about to delineate, has a double claim to a place among the poets of our nation, to whose story the public attention has been called by the collection of their works, from genius and from friendship. He was brought up with him from his infancy, and thinks it a duty incumbent on his friends ship for him, to be the faithful executor of his fame, and to collect among others, the incidents of his life, in order that his merit may be known, and his example may be followed. But in making this attempt to state his pretensions, and to estimate his worth, he feels and avows so much afiection for the man, that he distrusts his judgment of the poet.
• His short life, past in obscurity, and in the silent acquisition of knowledge, has scarce [scarccly]any objects for description to embellish, or events, to which narrative could give importance. If the detail of trivial particulars appear to be litele deserving of transmission to posterity, it will be allowed as an excuse for the culpable minuteness of the writer, that the subject of his narrative was the friend of his youth, and the companion of his studies; and, if his opinion, in any instance, appear to be less the result of just judgment than of partial friendship, his feelings may claim some indulgence, though his sentie ments do not correspond with those of the reader, who with less friendship for the poet, than he avows, may possess, in a juster pro. portion, that peculiar combination of sensibility and judgment, upon which the delicacy of critical discernment depends:'
•In 1763, when Graeme was fourteen years old, he was sent to the grammar: school of the neighbouring town of Lanark, then taught by Air. Robert Thomson, brother-in-law to the " poet of the Seasons,” a man whose eminent worth, uncommon knowlege in classical learning, indefatigable diligence, and strictness of discipline, without severity, placed him in the first rank among the instructors of youth in North Britain.' · Rev. Sept. 1798.
We knew this worthy and respectable man, who died in the year 1789, and we are sensible that the praise here bestowed was merited. Our extracts from this work shall be terminated by the character given of him:-a decline carried him off at the age of twenty-two:
• His character may easily be collected from this account of his life. A few of his peculiarities remain to be mentioned. His person was manly and prepossessing. His eye was lively and penetrating. His features were pleasing and expressive, his gestures animated, and all his movements and expressions were marked by exEraordinary energy and vivacity. In the fortune of his life and the fate of his writings, he resembles Bruce; and, like him, he was equally amiable and ingenious. His mind was capacious, his cu. riosity excursive, and his industry indefatigable. He united acute: ness of intellect with good sense, and sensibility of heart with correct. ness of taste and critical sagacity. Though ftudious and learned, he was neither auftere nor formal. In him the strictest piety and mo. desty were united with the utmost cheerfulness, and even playfulness of disposition. He had, what perhaps all people of observation have, a slight tendency to satire ; but it was of the gentlest kind. He had too much candour and good-nature to be either a general satirist or a severe one. Of persons notoriously profligate, or rendered impudent by immorality, breach of public trust, or ignorance, he was at no pains to conceal what he thought. The slightest appearance of immorality, vanity, pedantry, coarse manners, or blames able levity, disgusted him. Like other votaries of the muses, he was passionately fond of rural scenery, and delighted in walking alone in the fields. By the villagers, to whom he was little known, his love of solitude was mistaken for an unsocial disposition. The reverse was his character. He was social, cheerful, and affectionate, and by those friends who thoroughly know him, beloved even to enthusiasm. He practised every manly exercise with dexterity, par. ticipated in the amusements. becoming his age, and particularly excelled in the games of chess and backgammon; but to games of chance he had rather a disinclination. In every thing he pursuedt he was indefatigable in aiming at perfection. The lowliness of his. lot conspired with the simplicity of his heart, to possess him witla. an early veneration for the virtues and the writings of the primitive ages ; and the nature of his studies afforded him the best oppors tunities to heighten and confirm that veneration, by enabling him to converse familiarly with the most celebrated writers of Greece and Rome. He read their remains with ardour, and imbibed their sentiments with enthusiasm ; on them he formed his taste and im.. proved his heart. In his admiration of Grecian and Roman liberty,. he founded his ardent love of political freedom, and his peculiar ata tachment to the popular part of our constitution.' He found the principles of good writing in Homer, Xenophon, Herodotus, Cæsar, and others who are distinguished by a severe and majestic simplicity of style. . But he was charmed above all others with the humane writers of the elegiac class. The wit of Ovid and the learning of