« EelmineJätka »
JOSEPH WARTON, D. D., born in 1722, was the Pope." Scarcely any work of the kind has afforded eldest son of the Rev. Thomas Warton, poetry-pro- more entertainment, from the vivacity of its refessor at Oxford, and Vicar of Basingstoke. He marks, the taste displayed in its criticisms, and the received his early education under his father, and at various anecdotes of which it became the vehicle; the age of fourteen was admitted on the foundation though some of the last were of a freer cast than at Winchester school. He was afterwards entered perfectly became his character. This reason, perof Oriel College, Oxford, where he assiduously cul- haps, caused the second volume to be kept back till tivated his literary taste, and composed some pieces twenty-six years after. In 1766 he was advanced of poetry, which were afterwards printed. Having to the post of head-master of Winchester school, on taken the degree of B. D., he became curate to his which occasion he visited Oxford, and took the defather at Basingstoke; and in 1746 removed to a grees of bachelor. and doctor of divinity. similar employment at Chelsea. In 1748 he was The remainder of his life was chiefly occupied by presented by the Duke of Bolton to the rectory schemes of publications, and by new preferments, of Winslade, soon after which he married. He ac- of the last of which he obtained a good share, though companied his patron in 1751 on a tour to the of moderate rank. In 1793 he closed his long lasouth of France; and after his return he completed bors at Winchester by a resignation of the masteran edition of Virgil, in Latin and English; of ship, upon which he retired to his rectory of Wickwhich the Eclogues and Georgics were his own ham. Still fond of literary employment, he accomposition, the Eneid was the version of Pitt. cepted a proposal of the booksellers to superintend Warton also contributed notes on the whole, and an edition of Pope's works, which was completed, added three preliminary essays, on pastoral, didac- in 1797, in nine vols. 8vo. Other engagements still tic, and epic poetry. When the Adventurer was pursued him, till his death, in his 78th year, Febundertaken by Dr. Hawkesworth, Warton, through ruary, 1800. The Wiccamists attested their regard the medium of Dr. Johnson, was invited to become to his memory, by erecting an elegant monument a contributor, and his compliance with this request over his tomb in Winchester cathedral. produced twenty-four papers, of which the greater part were essays on critical topics.
In 1755 he was elected second master of Winchester school, with the accompanying advantage of a boarding-house. In the following year there appeared, but without his name, the first volume, 8vo., of his "Essay on the Writings and Genius of
The poems of Dr. Warton consist of miscellaneous and occasional pieces, displaying a cultivated taste, and an exercised imagination, but without any claim to originality. His "Ode to Fancy," first published in Dodsley's collection, is perhaps that which has been the most admired.
ODE TO FANCY.
O PARENT of each lovely Muse,
Ne'er echoing with the woodman's stroke,
To Gothic churches, vaults, and tombs,
Now let us louder strike the lyre,
And let me think I steal a kiss,
THOMAS WARTON, younger brother of the pre- [lamented the death of George II., in some lines adceding, a distinguished poet, and an historian of dressed to Mr. Pitt, he continued the courtly strain poetry, was born at Basingstoke in 1728. He was in poems on the marriage of George III., and on the educated under his father till 1743, when he was birth of the Prince of Wales, both printed in the admitted a commoner of Trinity College, Oxford. University collection. In 1770 he gave an edition, Here he exercised his poetical talent to so much ad-in two volumes 4to., of the Greek poet Theocritus, vantage, that, on the appearance of Mason's Elegy which gave him celebrity in other countries besides of Isis, which severely reflected on the disloyalty his own. At what time he first employed himself of Oxford at that period, he was encouraged by Dr. with the History of English Poetry, we are not inHuddesford, President of his College, to vindicate formed; but in 1774 he had so far proceeded in the the cause of his University. This task he performed work as to publish the first volume in 4to. He afterwith great applause, by writing, in his twenty-first wards printed a second in 1778, and a third in 1781; year, "The Triumph of Isis," a piece of much but his labor now became tiresome to himself, and spirit and fancy, in which he retaliated upon the the great compass which he had allotted to his plan bard of Cam, by satirizing the courtly venality then was so irksome, that an unfinished fourth volume supposed to distinguish the rival University. His was all that he added to it. Progress of Discontent," published in 1750, exhibited to great advantage his powers in the familiar style, and his talent for humor, with a knowledge of human life, extraordinary at his early age, especially if composed, as it is said, for a college exercise in 1746. In 1750 he took the degree of M. A., and in the following year became a fellow of his College.
His spirited satire, entitled "Newmarket," and pointed against the ruinous passion for the turf; his "Ode for Music;" and his "Verses on the Death of the Prince of Wales," were written about this time; and, in 1753, he was the editor of a small His concluding publication was an edition of the collection of poems, under the title of "The juvenile poems of Milton, of which the first volume Union," which was printed at Edinburgh, and con-made its appearance in 1785, and the second in tained several of his own performances. In 1754 1790, a short time before his death. His constituhe made himself known by Observations on tion now began to give way. In his sixty-second Spenser's Faery Queen, in one volume, afterwards year an attack of the gout shattered his frame, and enlarged to two; a work well received by the pub- was succeeded in May, 1790, by a paralytic seizure, lic, and which made a considerable addition to his which carried him off, at his lodgings in Oxford. literary reputation. So high was his character in His remains were interred, with every academical the University, that in 1757 he was elected to the honor, in the chapel of Trinity College. office of its poetry-professor, which he held for the The pieces of Thomas Warton are very various usual period of ten years, and rendered respectable in subject, and none of them long, whence he must by the erudition and taste displayed in his lectures. only rank among the minor poets; but scarcely one It does not appear necessary in this place to par- of that tribe has noted with finer observation the ticularize all the prose compositions which, whether minute circumstances in rural nature that afford grave or humorous, fell at this time from his pen; pleasure in description, or has derived from the but it may be mentioned that verse continued occa- regions of fiction more animated and picturesque sionally to occupy his thoughts, and that having
The place of Camden professor of history, vacant by the resignation of Sir William Scott, was the close of his professional exertions; but soon after another engagement required his attention. By His Majesty's express desire, the post of poet laureate was offered to him, and accepted, and he determined to use his best endeavors for rendering it respectable. Varying the monotony of anniver. sary court compliment by topics better adapted to poetical description, he improved the style of the laureate odes, though his lyric strains underwent some ridicule on that account.
ODE TO THE FIRST OF APRIL.
WITH dalliance rude young Zephyr wooes
And shrinking at the northern blast,
Scant along the ridgy land
The beans their new-born ranks expand:
The swallow, for a moment seen,
Fraught with a transient, frozen shower, If a cloud should haply lower, Sailing o'er the landscape dark, Mute on a sudden is the lark; But when gleams the Sun again O'er the pearl-besprinkled plain, And from behind his watery veil Looks through the thin descending hail; She mounts, and, lessening to the sight, Salutes the blithe return of light, And high her tuneful track pursues 'Mid the dim rainbow's scatter'd hues.
Where in venerable rows Widely-waving oaks inclose The moat of yonder antique hall, Swarm the rooks with clamorous call; And to the toils of nature true, Wreath their capacious nests anew.
Musing through the lawny park, The lonely poet loves to mark How various greens in faint degrees Tinge the tall groups of various trees; While, careless of the changing year, The pine cerulean, never sere,
*The Glym is a small river in Oxfordshire, flowing through Warton's parish of Kiddington, or Cuddington, and dividing it into upper and lower town. It is described by himself in his account of Cuddington, as a deep but narrow stream, winding through willowed meadows and abounding in trouts, pikes, and wild-fowl. It gives name to the village of Glymton, which adjoins to Kiddington.