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and as to his enemies, I know of none more formidable than Churchill, Kelly, and Kenrick, two of whom were libellers by profession. Smollet, whose jealousy of the Monthly Review led bim often to disgrace his talents by invidious attacks on the supposed writers belonging to it, bestows almost uniform praise on Larg. horne's various works.
In 1765, his productions were, The second Epistle on the Enlargement of the Mind; an edition of the poems of the elegant and tender Collins, with a criti. cism and some memoirs ; and letters on that difficult subject, The Eloquence of the Pulpit. He had now occasion to exert his own talents before a more enligh. tened auditory than he had ever yet addressed, having been appointed by Dr. Hurd (the venerable bishop of Winchester) to the office of assistant preacher at Lincoln's-Ion Chapel.
In the following year, we do not find that any thing original came from his pen; he prepared for the press, however, an enlarged edition of his Effusions of Friendship and Fancy, and a collection of his poems, in two vols. 12mo. The prio. cipal article of these, not before published, is a dramatic poem, or Tragedy, enti. tled The Fatal Prophecy. This was his only attempt in this species of poetry, and was universally accounted unsuccessful. He had the good sense to acquiesce in the decision, and neither attempted the drama again, nor reprioted this specimen.
During Churchill's career, our author endeavoured to counteract the scurri. lity he had thrown out agaiost Scotland in his Prophecy of Yamine, by an elsgant poem entitled Genius and Valour. This provoked Churchill to introduce his name once or twice with his usual epithets of contempt, which Langhorne disregarded, and disregarded his own interest at the same time, by dedicating this poem to lord Bute, a minister going out of place! It produced him, however, a very flattering letter in the year 1766, from Dr. Robertson, the celebrated historian, and principal of the university of Edinburgh, requesting him to accept a diploma for the degree of doctor in divinity. He was farther consoled by the ap' probation of every wise and loyal man who contemplated the miseries of disunion, and the glaring absurdity of perpetrating national prejudices.
In 1767, after a courtship of five years, Dr. Langhorne obtained the hand of Miss Cracraft, to whom he had ever been tenderly attached, and with whom he had kept up a correspondence ? since his departure from Hackthorn. By what ineans her family were reconciled to the match, we are not told; but some fortune accompanied it, as the living of Blagden in Somersetshire was purchased for him, and there he went immediately to reside. His happiness, however, with this lady was of short duration, as she died in childbirth of a son, May 4, 1768. She was interred in the chancel of Blagden church, with the following lines on her monument, written by her husband:
With Sappho's taste, with Arria's tender heart,
'Tis only strange that such a one should live. 2 This correspondence, his son informs us, he published after her death, under the title of Letters to Eleanora, from a sacred compliance with her request. This publication I have not seen, but the accounts of it in the critical journals are very unfavourable. The Monthly Reviewer says, that the author has preposterously ventured to impress his reader with sensations and emotions which he himself did not feel.” This, perhaps, may strengthen my conjecture on the termination of his com nexion with this Review. C.
He afterwards composed a more elegant and pathetic tribute to her virtues, which may be found among his poems. The allusion to the cause of her death is an original thought introduced with great skill and tenderness.
During Mrs. Langhorne's life, he produced one poem only, entitled Precepts of Conjugal Happiness, addressed to Mrs. Nelthorpe, a sister of his wife. To this lady he committed the care of his infant child, who has lived to acknowledge her friendship, and to discharge the duties of an affectionate son, by the late Memoirs of his father, prefixed to an elegant edition of his poems.- In the Precepts of Con. jugal Happiness, there is more good sense than poetry. It appears to have been a temporary effusion on which he bestowed no extraordinary pains.
Not long after Mrs. Langhorne's death, our author went to reside at Folke. stone in Kent where his brother, the rev. William Langhorne, then officiated as minister, a man of a very amiable character. He was born in the year 1721, and presented by the archbishop of Canterbury to the rectory of flakinge, with the per. petual curacy of Folkestone, in 1754, and on this preferment he passed the remainder of his life. He published Job, a poem ; and a poetical paraphrase on a part of Isaiah ; neither of which raised him to the fame of a poet, although they are not without the merit of correctness and spirit. He died Feb. 17, 1772, and his brother wrote some elegant lines to his memory, which are mscribed on a tablet in the chancel of Folkestone church
Between these brothers the closest affection subsisted; each was to other more the friend than brother of his heart.” During their residence together at Folkestone, they were employed in preparing a new translation of Plutarch's lives: and our poet, who became about this time intimate with Scott, the poet of Amwell (who likewise had just lost a beloved wife from a similar cause), paid him a visit at Amwell, where he wrote the Monody inscribed to Mr. Scott.
Amidst these engagements he found leisure to give to the world tiro produce tions strongly marked by the peculiarities of his style and turn of thinking: the one entitled Frederick and Pharąmond, or the Consolations of Human Life, 8vo.; the other, Letters supposed to have passed between M. de St. Evremond and Waller. In this last, while he was allowed to have preserved their characters tolerably, he was at the same time accused by the critic in the Monthly Review, of taking frequent opportunities to compliment himself on the merit of the letters he had writ. ten for St. Evremond and Waller. This produced a complaint from Langhorne, which was answered by the reviewer, respectfully indeed, but not in the manner that might have bećn expected from an associate. It is from this circumstanco that I have been led to conjecture that his connexion with the Review ceased when he left London in consequence of his obtaining the living of Blagden.-Frederick and Pharamond was begun with a view to alleviate the afflictions of a friend, and pursued perhaps to alleviate his own. It attempts that by argument which is rarely accomplished but by time.
The translation of Plutarch, by the brothers, appeared in 1770, and soon be. came a very popular book. In 1771, Dr. Langhorne gave another proof of the variety on which he exercised his fancy, in a favourite little volume, entitled the
3 Gent, Mag. vol. 74. p. 1001, C.
Fables of Flora. In this, although he claimed too hastily the merit of combining for the first time imagery, description, and sentiment, yet he has certainly enlarged the province of fable, and given proof of a wide range of imagination. It caonat however be denied, that the moral is not always sufficiently pointed, that the style is too much ornamented, and the general cast of sentiment too obscure, for the persons in whose hands fables are usually placed. In answer to the objection made to the language of flowers, bis son very justly remarks, that “imper. sonation may certainly be applied with as much reason to the vegetable as to the animal creation, if the characteristic attributes of each plant or flower are faithfully marked, and the unity of the fable is maintained.”
Towards the latter end of the year 1771, Dr. Langhorne went to reside for a few months at Potton in Bedfordshire, where he wrote his Origin of the Veil, which, however, was not published for some time after. In 1772, he paid a visit to his native country, and married a second wife, the daughter of Thomson, esq. a magistrate near Brough, and soon after took her with him on a tour through part of France and Flanders, the scenery of which afforded new topics for his muse.
Late in the spring he returned to Blagden, where he was put into the commis. sion of the peace; and having considered the usual practice of the duties of that office, he imparted his sentiments on the subject in a species of didactic and sati. rical poem, entitled The Country Justice, in three parts, published in 1774, 1775, and 1777. This humane endeavour to plead the cause of the poor and wretched against oppression and neglect, does great honour to his feelings, which, indeed, in all his works, are on the side of benevolence and virtue. It is said to have been written in consequence of the suggestion, and as to facts, probably with the as. sistance, of Dr. Burn, the well-known author of a Digest of the Laws relating to Justices of the Peace.-In 1773, Dr. Langhorne presented the public with a libe. ral translation of that part of Denina on the Ancient Republics of Italy, which contains the author's reflections on the admission of the Italian states to the frad. chises of Rome.
In 1776, he lost his second wife, who died like the former, in child bed, fire years after her marriage, and left a daughter whom he consigned by his will to the protection of his friend, Mrs. Gillman. What impression this second interruption to domestic happiness produced on his mind, we are not told. In this year, how ever, we find him again employing the press in a Translation of Milton's Italian Sonnets, and on two occasional servious. In 1777, at the request of the Bouterie family (who highly respected Dr. Langhorne), Dr. Moss, bishop of Bath and Wells, presented him with a prebend in the cathedral of Wells.
His last production was the tale of Owen of Carron, which, with some beauties, has less of his usual energy and vigour: it is uncertain whether this was owing to the nature of the poem, in which he conceived it necessary to imitate the ballad simplicity, or to a languer of body and mind. The death of the right hon. Charles Yorke, from whom he had great expectations, is said to have made a
A The autbor's object in this publication is not very obvious. In our days it might be of more importance to discuss the question, by what means the Romans acquired their superiority and were enabled to extend their conquests? C.
Jasting impression on him, but as Mr. Yorke died in 1770, this seems wholly improbable.
His biographer passes over his last days without notice of his situation or em. ployments. We are merely told that he died on April 1, 1779, in the forty-fifth year of his age.
In 1804, his son published an edition of his poems, in two elegant volumes 12mo. with memoirs of the Author. To these I am indebted for the principal part of this sketch.
If we may judge from his writings, Dr. Langhorne was a man of an amiable disposition, a friend to religion and morals, and though a wit, he never descends to grossness or indelicacy. His memory has not been followed by any worse ob. jection than that he was of a social turn, and during the latter part of his life more addicted to convivial indulgences than is consistent with health. This, how. ever, is a serious objection, and not much lessened by the supposition that he was driven to this unhappy species of relief by having twice lost the chief source of domestic happiness.
Incidental notice having been already taken of many of his pieces, it will not be necessary to enlarge on the subject in this place. Easo, elegance, and tenderness, are the most striking features of his poetry: nor is he deficient in invention ; an attentive perusal will discover many original sentiments, and spirited flights, which the critics of his day pointed out with high praise. He is very seldom a co. pyist; his style and his sentiments, whatever their merit, are his own.
His prose works are various enough to convince us that he was either a labo. rious writer, or possessed of great fertility of imagination, and the latter will pro. bably be the safest conjecture. But, although a scholar of high attainments, he has rarely brought learning to his aid. His mind was stored with remarks on men and manners, which he expressed in various and desultory modes, so as to give an air of novelty to every thing he wrote, but we find nothing very profound. He appeared so frequently before the public as to secure a considerable degree of fame; what he announced was expected with eagerness, and what he published was read with pleasure ; but as his abilities were confined to the lighter provinces of literature, there are few of his productions which will be honoured by permanent popularity.