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creatures that had offended him with eternal hate and torture, instead of merely condemning to their original insensibility those beings, that, by the operation of general laws, had not been formed with qualities suited to a purer state of happiness.
• Life is, generally speaking, a blessing independent of a future state. It is a gift which the vicious would not always be ready to throw away, even if they had no fear of death. The partial pain, therefore, that is inflicted by the Supreme Creator, while he is forming numberless beings to a capacity of the highest enjoyments, is but as the dust of the balance in comparison of the happiness that is communicated; and we have every reason to think, that there is no more evil in the world, than what is absolutely necessary as one of the ingredients in the mighty process.”
With respect to the first of these propositions, it is obvious that it leads to difficulties as great as those which it is adopted to evade ; for is it not as difficult to conceive an Almighty Being bound to a certain process and a certain time in his work of creation or production, as to conceive a just and beneficent Being creating existences embittered by pain and debased by imperfection! - The question between the two opinions seems only to be which attribute shall be sacrificed.
On the theory respecting the punishment of moral evil, we leave the decision to the divines. We are not inclined to think, however, that the general adoption of such an idea would much diminish the quantity of moral evil in the world.
Art. II. Dr. Anderson's Edition of the British Poets.
[ Article concluded from Vol. XXVI. p. 397.] W ITH pleasure we resume the account of this comprehen.
sive, though not complete, collection of British Poetry, and again direct our attention to the consideration of the biography; which shews great diligence and judgment in collecting and are ranging the various materials that many volumes have supplied. In the former parts of the work, which we have already noticed, and in some of the remaining volumes, Dr. inderson has evinced his knowlege and skill as a compiler : but, before we take leave of him, we shall introduce him to the notice of the public in the more arduous and respectable character of an original author,-as the writer of those Lives which had not passed under the previous review of Dr. Johoson.
In the Eighth Volume, are contained the works of Pope, Gay, Tickell, Somerville, Pattison, Hammond, Savage, Hill, Broome, Pitt, and Blair.-In the first four Lives, we observe little occaşion for comment, former accounts having been implicitly fol. lowed; and we by po means feel satisfied that the merits of
· Pattison, Pattison, an unhappy and ill-advised young man, who died at the early age of twenty-one, (in penury almost amounting to absolute want, occasioned by his own indiscretions,) entitled him to a place in this collection. He appears to us to be one of
“ Those twinkling tiny lustres of the land," who « Drop one by one from fame's neglecting hand;
“ Lethaan gulphs receive them as they fall,
“ and dark oblivion soon absorbs them all.” In the Life of Hammond, we find an erroneous statement of that poet's birth, by Dr. Johnson, corrected; he was the second son of Anthony Hammond, Esq. of Somersham-Place in the county of Huntingdon, and Member in Parliament for Shoreham in Sussex, and not the son of “ the silver-tongued Hammond” who was of Wotton in the county of Norfolk, and married to a sister of Sir Robert Walpole. - To his poetical exertions Dr. A. is more kind, if not more candid, than his former biographers. * In the Life of Aaron Hill, we observe nothing of importance which has not been transcribed from the piece of biography inserted in the fifth volume of Cibber's Lives, and furuish. ed, as that book informs us, by an unknown hand. Of this work, Dr. A. following Dr. Johnson's account of it, says in his Life of Thomson that Robert Shiels was the real author of the “ Lives of the Poets,” published under the name of Theophilus Cibber. - For a true statement of this literary circumstance, we refer Dr. Anderson and our readers to our 65th vo. lume, p. 409.
In the account of Pitt, we are presented with the following very happy instance of “ apt alliteration's artful aid."-Speaking of Wolsey, the poet says,
“ Begot by butchers, but by bishops bred,
How high his honour holds his haughty head.” . In the Life of Blair, we were much surprised to find that the character which we had given of Cowper in our 74th vol. p. 416. was copied with very little variation, and applied to the author of "the Grave.” Without inquiring into the própriety of the application, or the similarity subsisting between the powers of the two poets, we cannot but think that Dr. A. has in this, as well as in many other instances, acted a disingenuous part in thus adorning himself with borrowed plumes. With such resources and expedients, it is difficult to trace him 'to his hiding-places.
The Ninth Volume presents us with the poetical productions of Swift, Thomson, Watts, Hamilton, A. Phillips, G. West, Collins, Dyer, Shenstone, Maliet, Akenside, and Harté.
sery'd to shew
Collins, the sublime and unhappy Collins, Dr. A endea, vours, .(and in our opinion with success,) to defend from the harshness and injustice of Dr. Johnson's reprehensions. He gives a minute account of the ode on the popular Superstition of the Highlands of Scotland, on which it is unnecessary for us now to enlarge, as we expatiated on the merits of that exquisite original poem in our 79th yol. pp. 532. 555. and detailed to our readers the manner in which it was rescued from oblivion, A monument has lately been erected in Chichester cathedral to the memory of this unfortunate genius ; the design and worka manship of which are by that eminent sculptor Flaxman, and the inscription comes from the joint pens of Sargent and Hayley. We transcribe it, because we believe that it has not found its way into any periodical publication,
“ Ye who the merits of the dead revere,
Who hold misfortune sacred, genius dear,
And rightly deem'd the book of God the best.” Of Hamilton, of Bangour, in Ayrshire, the account is very short; he was the author, among other poems, of Contemplation, or the Triumph of Love, and of the Braes of rarrow, which Professor Richardson of Glasgow calls “ one of the finest ballads ever written,”. The Professor, also, in a Paper in the Lounger, describes the poems of Hamilton as displaying “ regular design, just sentiments, fanciful invention, pleasing sensibility, elegant diction, and smooth versification. His genius was aided by taste, and his taste was improved by know. ledge. He was not only well acquainted with the most elegant modern writers, but with those of antiquity.”—His works are noticed in our 24th volume, p. 162.
This volume concludes with a Life of Walter Harte, the au, thor of the History of Gustavus Adolphus, and tutor to Mr.
Stanhope, Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield's natural son. He appears to have been an amiable man, but his poetry is of too moderate a cast to justify its being admitted into a collection of classical English poetry.
We find in the Tenth Volume the poetical works of Young, Gray, R. West, Lyttleton, Moore, Boyce, Thomson, Cawthorne, Churchill, Falconer, Lluyd, Cunningham, Green, Cooper, Goldsmith, P. Whitehead, Brown, Grainger, Smollett, and Armstrong.
We transcribe the following anecdote of Dr. Young; which, though not new to us, may be so to many of our readers.
"- Walking in his garden at Welwyn in company with two ladies, (one of whom was Lady Elizabeth Lee, to whom he was afterwards married,) a servant came to tell him a gentleman wished to speak with hiin; “ Tell him," says Young, “ I am too happily en. gaged to change my situation." The ladies insisted upon it that he should go, as his visitor was a man of rank, his patron, and his friend; and, as persuasion had no effect, one took him by the right arm, and the other by the left, and led him to the garden-gate, when, finding resistance was vain, he bowed, laid his hand upon his heart, and in that expressive manner for which he was so remarkable, spoke the following lines : 6 Thus Adam look’d, when from the garden driven,
And thus disputed orders sent from heaven,
His Eve went with him, but mine stays behind.” We deem Dr. A. unfortunate in his criticisms on this truly original writer; more particularly when he says, speaking of the Universal Passion, that its character is debility-it wants point and terseness.' ---Surely no censure was ever more unme. rited than this; it is unnecessary on such a point to refer to the opinions of Dr. Blair and Dr. Johnson, both excellent judges of poetical merit, and who have decided in favour of Young; the general, we believe we may add, the unanimous voice of the public has long ago determined the question.-Dr. A. is not often original in his remarks : but as he has, with very few exceptions, adopted the right opinion, we were the more surprised at this departure “from the common sense of mankind.”
The particulars related of Edward Moore, the author of the Gamester, are interesting and amusing; and the few anecdotes here introduced of Henry Brooke, who contributed considerable assistance to the Fables for the Ladies, gave us much pleasure.
That a man of such distinguished and various genius and talents as Brooke, só conspicuous also for his intimacy with the emi
nent for rank and abilities, should have met with no biographer to relate the transactions of a chequered and calamitous life, is a matter both of surprise and regret.-His productions might with greater propriety have been received into this collection, than many which have found an admission :--but no censure on this account belongs to Dr. Anderson, who advised the measure, but whose opinion was rejected. .
Of Samuel Boyce, a man gifted with high poetical powers, (as he sufficiently proved by his poem on the Deity, which was praised by Pope and Fielding,) but at the same time profligate in his morals, selfish in his character, and extremely indiscreet and irregular in his conduct, the account is acknowleged to be taken from Cibber's Lives. For the remarks on the works of Thomson and Cawthorne introduced into this collection, Dr. Anderson is not a little indebted to articles in our 18th and. 45th volumes ; and we again without hesitation remind him of the obligation wlich neither his gratitude nor his justice has led him to avow. The same observation applies with equal force to the criticism on Falconer's Shipwreck, for a similar account of which poem we may refer to the 27th volume of our work, P. 197. This disingenuous mode of proceeding, on the part of the present editor, brings to our recollection the very different conduct of Dr. Kippis in a similar undertaking. His edition of the Biographia Britannica was, from the very nature of the work, obliged to be, in a great measure, a compilation : but he rarely availed himself of the labours of others, either in his notes or in his text, without referring to the sources from which he drew; satisfied with the praise of diligence, where a claim to originality could not be established.
In the Life of Goldsmith, Dr. A. attributes to that author the History of England, in a series of Letters from a Nobleman te bis Son, which work has been at different times attributed to Lord Chesterfield and to Lord Lyttleton.-- In the same Life, we observe an erroneous statement of the Doctor having published the Life of Bolingbroke, prefixed to a new edition of the Patriot King; it is true that he wrote the life of that nobleman, but he prefixed it to the Dissertation on Parties, which was printed for T. Davies in 1771, and again in the year 1775 with Goldsmith's name affixed to it; it is also inserted in the large edition of Bolingbroke's Works, edited by Manet, which appeared in the year 1777.
The remaining Lives contained in this volume present us with little that is new, or worthy of particular notice; though from this observation we must except the account of Smollett, to which we shall direct our attention when we examine the two editions of his works that have lately appeared, the one with a