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LIFE OF EDWARD LOVIBOND,
BY MR. CHALMERS.
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THE life of Mr. Loyibond appears to have afforded no subject for biography. Those who knew him best have declined the opportunity which the publication of his works afforded them to say something of the author. All they have been pleased to communicate is, that he was a gentleman of fortune, who passed the greater part of his years in the neighbourhood of Hampton in Middlesex, where he lived greatly beloved by those who best knew him. He was an admirable scholar, of very amiable manners, and of universal benevolence, of which all his writings hear strong testimony. The little pieces which compose this volume were chiefly writ. ten on such incidents as occasionally arosc in those societies of intimate acquain. tance which he most frequented. After his death, which happened in 1775, his poems being dispersed in the hands of different friends, to whom they had been given by himself, many people expressed to his only brother, Anthony Lovibond Collins, esq. a wish to have them collected together, and preserved. This gen. tleman, equally zcalous for the reputation of a brother he affectionately loved, hath put into the editor's hands those pieces he hath selected for that purpose.”
Of a man of so many virtues, and so greatly beloved, the public might reason. ably have expected a more detailed account. His father, I am told, was a director of the East India Company, and died in the year 1737, leaving him probably that fortune on which he was er.abled to pass his days in the quiet enjoyment of the pleasures of rural life. He died September 27, 1775, at his house at Hampton, but the register of that parish is silent on his interment. I have been informed, also, that he was married, and not very happily.
When the World was began by Edward Moore, and his many noble and learned contributors, Mr. Lovibond furnished five papers; Nos. 93 and 94 contain some
just remarks on the danger of extremes, and the impediments to conversation. In Nos. 132 and 134 he opposes the common erroneous notions on the subject of Providence with considerable force of argument, and concludes with some iron. ical remarks not ill applied. In No. 82 he first published the Tears of Old May Day, the most favourite of all his poems. The thoughts are peculiarly ingenious and happy, yet it may be questioned whether it is not exceeded by his Mulberry Tree, in which the distinguishing features of Johnsou's and Garrick's characters are admirably hit off, the frivolous enthusiasm of the one, and the solid and steady veneration of the other for our inmortal bard, are depicted with exquisite hu. mour. Julia's printed letter appears to have been a favourite with the author. There are some bursts of genuine passion, and some tenderness displayed occasionally, but it wants simplicity. It was probably suggested by Pope's Eloisa, and must suffer in proportion as it reminds us of that inimitable effort. His lines on Rural Sports, are both poetical and moral, and contain some interesting pictures sweetly persuasive to a humane treatment of the brute creation.
His love verses, some of which are demi-platonic, are tender and sprightly. The Miss K-P- was Miss Kitty Phillips, a relation of a family now ennobled by the title of Milford. .
The tale of the Hitchin Convent, the lines To a young Lady a very good Actress, the Verses to Mr. Wooddeson,and those on converting that gentleman's house into a poor-house, are all distinguished by original turns of thought. His pieces were generally circulated in private, as he had not the common ambition of an author, and was contented to please those whom he intended to please: yet he never at. templed any subject which he did not illustrate by novelty of manner, and upon the whole may be considered as among the most successful of that class who are father amateurs, than professional poets.