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measures, and consequently before it can receive pleasure from their consonance and recurrence.
it is drawn from mythology, though such as may be more easily assimilated to real life. Idalia's "velvet green" has something of cant. An epi- Of the first stanza the abrupt beginning has thet or metaphor drawn from Nature ennobles been celebrated: but technical beauties can give Art; an epithet or metaphor drawn from Art praise only to the inventor. It is in the power degrades Nature. Gray is too fond of words of any man to rush abruptly upon his subject, arbitrarily compounded. Many-twinkling" "that has read the ballad of "Johnny Armwas formerly censured as not analogical; we may say "many-spotted," but scarcely "manyspotting." This stanza, however, has something pleasing.
In the second stanza the Bard is well describ
Of the second ternary of stanzas, the first endeavours to tell something, and would have told it, had it not been crossed by Hyperion: the second describes well enough the universal pre-ed; but in the third we have the puerilities of valence of poetry; but I am afraid that the con- obsolete mythology. When we are told that clusion will not arise from the premises. The "Cadwallo hush'd the stormy main," and that caverns of the North and the plains of Chili "Modred made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloudare not the residences of "Glory and generous topp'd head," attention recoils from the repetiShame." But that Poetry and Virtue go always tion of a tale that, even when it was first heard, together is an opinion so pleasing, that I can forgive him who resolves to think it true.
The third stanza sounds big with "Delphi," and "Egean," and "Ilissus," and "Meander," and with "hallowed fountains," and "solemn sound;" but in all Gray's odes there is a kind of cumbrous splendour which we wish away. His position is at last false: in the time of Dante and Petrarch, from whom we derive our first school of Poetry, Italy was overrun by "tyrant power;" and "coward vice;" nor was our state much better when we first borrowed the Italian
Is there ever a man in all Scotland
The initial resemblances, or alliterations, "ruin, ruthless, helm or hauberk," are below the grandeur of a poem that endeavours at sublimity.
was heard with scorn.
The weaving of the winding sheet he borrowed, as he owns, from the Northern Bards: but their texture, however, was very properly the work of female powers, as the act of spinning the thread of life is another mythology. Theft is always dangerous; Gray has made weavers of slaughtered bards by a fiction outrageous and incongruous. They are then called upon to "Weave the warp, and weave the woof," perhaps with no great propriety; for it is by crossing the woof with the warp that men weave the web or piece; and the first line was dearly bought by the admission of its wretched correspondent, "Give ample room and verge enough." He has, however, no other line as bad.
His account of Milton's blindness, if we suppose it caused by study in the formation of his poem, a supposition surely allowable, is poetically true, and happily imagined. But the car of Dryden, with his two coursers, has nothing in it peculiar; it is a car in which any other rider may be placed.
The third stanza of the second ternary is commended, I think, beyond its merit. The personification is indistinct. Thirst and Hunger are not alike; and their features, to make the We are told, in the same stanza, how "towers imagery perfect, should have been discriminated. are fed." But I will no longer look for particular faults; yet let it be observed that the ode might have been concluded with an action of better example; but suicide is always to be had, without expense of thought.
These odes are marked by glittering accumulations of ungraceful ornaments; they strike, rather than please; the images are magnified by affectation; the language is laboured into harsh
The Bard" appears, at the first view, to be, as Algarotti and others have remarked, an imitation of the prophecy of Nereus. Algarotti thinks it superior to its original; and, if prefe-ness. The mind of the writer seems to work rence depends only on the imagery and anima- with unnatural violence. "Double, double, toil tion of the two poems, his judgment is right.- and trouble." He has a kind of strutting digThere is in "The Bard" more force, morenity, and is tall by walking on tiptoe. His art thought, and more variety. But to copy is less and his struggle are too visible, and there is too than to invent, and the copy has been unhappily little appearance of ease and nature.† produced at a wrong time. The fiction of Horace was to the Romans credible; but its revival disgusts us with apparent and unconquerable falsehood. Incredulus odi.
To select a singular event, and swell it to a giant's bulk by fabulous appendages of spectres and predictions, has little difficulty; for he that forsakes the probable may always find the marvellous. And it has little use; we are affected only as we believe; we are improved only as we find something to be imitated or declined. I do not see that "The Bard" promotes any truth, moral or political.
His stanzas are too long, especially his epodes; the ode is finished before the ear has learned its
Of the third ternary, the first gives a mythological birth of Shakspeare. What is said of that mighty genius is true; but it is not said happily: the real effects of this poetical power are put out of sight by the pomp of machinery. Where truth is sufficient to fill the mind, fiction is worse than useless; the counterfeit debases the genuine.
To say that he had no beauties, would be unjust; a man like him, of great learning and great industry, could not but produce something valuthat a good design was ill directed. When he pleases least, it can only be said
His translations of Northern and Welsh Poetry deserve praise; the imagery is preserved, perhaps often improved; but the language is unlike the language of other poets.
"I have a soul. that like an ample shield Can take in all; and verge enough for more." Dryden's Sebastian. + Lord Orford used to assert, that Gray "never wrote
any thing easily, but things of humour:" and added, that humour was his natural and original turn.-C.
In the character of his Elegy I rejoice to con- I ments to which every bosom returns an echo.→→→ cur with the common reader; for by the com- The four stanzas, beginning "Yet even these mon sense of readers, uncorrupted with literary bones," are to me original: I have never seen prejudices, after all the refinements of subtlety the notions in any other place; yet he that reads and the dogmatism of learning, must be finally them here persuades himself that he has always decided all claim to poetical honours. The felt them. Had Gray written often thus, it had "Churchyard" abounds with images which been vain to blame, and useless to praise him. find a mirror in every mind, and with senti
GEORGE LYTTELTON, the son of Sir Thomas | poem, called "The Trial of Selim;" for which Lyttelton, of Hagley, in Worcestershire, was he was paid with kind words, which, as is comborn in 1709. He was educated at Eton, where mon, raised great hopes, that were at last dishe was so much distinguished, that his exercises appointed. were recommended as models to his schoolfellows.
Lyttelton now stood in the first rank of opposition; and Pope, who was incited, it is not easy to say how, to increase the clamour against the ministry, commended him among the other patriots. This drew upon him the reproaches of Fox, who, in the house, imputed to him as a crime his intimacy with mpooner so unjust and licentious. Lyttelton supported his friend; and replied, that he thought it an honour to he received into the familiarity of so great a poet.
While he was thus conspicuous, he married (1741) Miss Lucy Fortescue of Devonshire, by whom he had a son, the late Lord Lyttelton, and two daughters, and with whom he appears to have lived in the highest degree of connubial felicity: but human pleasures are short: she died in childbed about five years afterwards. and he solaced himself by writing a long poem to her memory.
He stayed not long in Oxford; for in 1728 he began his travels, and saw France and Italy.When he returned, he obtained a seat in parliament, and soon distinguished himself among the most eager opponents of Sir Robert Walpole, though his father, who was commissioner of the admiralty, always voted with the court.
He did not, however, condemn himself to perpetual solitude and sorrow; for, after a while, he was content to seek happiness again by a second marriage with the daughter of Sir Robert Rich; but the experiment was unsuccessful.
At length, after a long struggle, Walpole gave way, and honour and profit were distributed among his conquerors. Lyttelton was made (1744) one of the Lords of the Treasury; and from that time was engaged in supporting the
For many years the name of George Lyttelton was seen in every account of every debate in the House of Commons. He opposed the standing army; he opposed the excise; he supported the motion for petitioning the King to remove Walpole. His zeal was considered by the cour-schemes of the ministry. tiers not only as violent, but as acrimonious and Politics did not, however, so much engage malignant; and when Walpole was at last him as to withhold his thoughts from things of hunted from his places, every effort was made more importance. He had in the pride of juveby his friends, and many friends he had, to ex-nile confidence, with the help of corrupt conclude Lyttelton from the secret committee. versation, entertained doubts of the truth of Christianity; but he thought the time now come when it was no longer fit to doubt or believe by chance, and applied himself seriously to the great question. His studies being honest, ended in conviction. He found that religion was true; and what he had learned he endeavoured to teach (1747) by "Observations on the Conversion of St. Paul;" a treatise to which infidelity
The Prince of Wales, being (1737) driven from St. James's, kept a separate court, and opened his arms to the opponents of the ministry. Mr. Lyttelton became his secretary, and was supposed to have great influence the direction of his conduct. He persuaded his master, whose business it was now to be popular, that he would advance his character by patronage. Mallet was made under-secretary with has never been able to fabricate a specious antwo hundred pounds; and Thomson had a pen-swer. This book his father had the happiness sion of one hundred pounds a year. For Thom- of seeing, and expressed his pleasure in a letter son, Lyttelton always retained his kindness, and which deserves to be inserted. was able at last to place him at ease. Moore courted his favour by an apologetical
From Eton he went to Christchurch, where he retained the same reputation of superiority, and displayed his abilities to the public in a poem on "Blenheim."
He was a very early writer, both in verse and prose. His "Progress of Love," and his "Persian Letters," were both written when he was very young; and indeed the character of a young man is very visible in both. The Verses cant of shepherds and flocks, and crooks dressed with flowers; and the Letters have something of that indistinct and headstrong ardour for liberty which a man of genius always catches when he enters the world, and always suffers to cool as he passes forward.
"I have read your religious treatise with infinite pleasure and satisfaction. The style is
fine and clear, the arguments close, cogent, and
A few years afterwards, (1751,) by the death of his father, he inherited a baronet's title with a large estate, which, though perhaps he did not augment, he was careful to adorn, by a house of great elegance and expense, and by much attention to the decoration of his park.
As he continued his activity in parliament, he was gradually advancing his claim to profit and preferment; and accordingly was made in time (1754) cofferer and privy counsellor: this place he exchanged next year for the great office of chancellor of the Exchequer; an office, however, that required some qualifications which he soon perceived himself to want.
The year after, his curiosity led him into Wales; of which he has given an account, perhaps rather with too much affectation of delight, to Archibald Bower, a man of whom he had conceived an opinion more favourable than he seems to have deserved, and whom, having once espoused his interest and fame, he was never persuaded to disown. Bower, whatever was his moral character, did not want abilities; attacked as he was by a universal outcry, and that outcry, as it seems, the echo of truth, he kept his ground; at last, when his defences began to fail him, he sallied out upon his adversaries, and his adversaries retreated.
About this time Lyttelton published his "Dialogues of the Dead," which were very eagerly read, though the production rather, as it seems, of leisure than of study: rather effusions than compositions. The names of his persons too often enable the reader to anticipate their conversation; and when they have met, they too often part without any conclusion. He has copied Fenelon more than Fontenelle.
When they were first published, they were kindly commended by the "Critical Reviewers:" and poor Lyttelton, with humble gratitude, returned in a note which I have read, acknowledgments which can never be proper, since they must be paid either for flattery or for justice.
When, in the latter part of the last reign, the inauspicious commencement of the war made the dissolution of the ministry unavoidable, Sir George Lyttelton, losing with the rest his employment, was recompensed with a peerage; and rested from political turbulence in the House
His last literary production was his "History of Henry the Second," elaborated by the searches and deliberations of twenty years, and published with such anxiety as vanity can dictate.
The story of this publication is remarkable. The whole work was printed twice over, a great part of it three times, and many sheets four or five times. The booksellers paid for the first
impression; but the charges and repeated operations of the press were at the expense of the author, whose ambitious accuracy is known to have cost him at least a thousand pounds. He began to print in 1755. Three volumes appeared in 1764, a second edition of them in 1767, a third edition in 1768, and the conclusion in 1771.
Andrew Reid, a man not without considerable abilities, and not unacquainted with letters or with life, undertook to persuade Lyttelton, as he had persuaded himself, that he was master of the secret of punctuation; and, as fear begets credulity, he was employed, I know not at what price, to point the pages of "Henry the Second." The book was at last pointed and printed, and sent into the world. Lyttelton took money for his copy, of which, when he had paid the printer, he probably gave the rest away; for he was very liberal to the indigent.
When time brought the History to a third edition, Reid was either dead or discarded; and the superintendence of typography and punc tuation was committed to a man originally a comb-maker, but then known by the style of Doctor. Something uncommon was probably expected, and something uncommon was at last done; for to the Doctor's edition is appended, what the world had hardly seen before, a list of errors in nineteen pages.
But to politics and literature there must be an end. Lord Lyttelton had never the appearance of a strong or of a healthy man; he had a slender uncompacted frame, and a meagre face; he lasted however sixty years, and was then seized with his last illness. Of his death a very affecting and instructive account has been given by his physician, which will spare me the task of his moral character.
"On Sunday evening the symptoms of his Lordship's disorder, which for a week past had alarmed us, put on a fatal appearance, and his Lordship believed himself to be a dying man. From this time he suffered by restlessness rather than pain; though his nerves were apparently much fluttered, his mental faculties never seemed stronger, when he was thoroughly awake.
"His Lordship's bilious and hepatic complaints seemed alone not equal to the expected mournful event; his long want of sleep, whether the consequence of the irritation in the bowels, or, which is more probable, of causes of a different kind, accounts for his loss of strength, and for his death, very sufficiently.
"Though his Lordship wished his approaching dissolution not to be lingering, he waited for it with resignation. He said, 'It is a folly, a keeping me in misery, now to attempt to prolong life;' yet he was easily persuaded, for the satisfaction of others, to do or take any thing thought proper for him. On Saturday he had been remarkably better, and we were not without some hopes of his recovery.
"On Sunday about eleven in the forenoon, his Lordship sent for me, and said he felt a great flurry, and wished to have a little conversation with me in order to divert it. He then proceeded to open the fountain of that heart, from whence goodness had so long flowed, as from a copious spring. 'Doctor,' said he, 'you shall be my confessor: when I first set out
in the world, I had friends who endeavoured to shake my belief in the Christian religion. I saw difficulties which staggered me; but I kept my mind open to conviction. The evidences and doctrines of Christianity, studied with attention, made me a most firm and persuaded believer of the Christian religion. I have made it the rule of my life, and it is the ground of my future hopes. I have erred and sinned; but have repented, and never indulged any vicious habit. In politics, and public life, I have made public good the rule of my conduct. I never gave counsels which I did not at the time think best. I have seen that I was sometimes in the wrong, but I did not err designedly. I have endeavour ed, in private life, to do all the good in my power, and never for a moment could indulge malicious or unjust designs upon any person whatsoever.' "At another time he said, 'I must leave my soul in the same state it was in before this illness; I find this a very inconvenient time for solicitude about any thing.'
"On the evening, when the symptoms of death came on, he said, 'I shall die; but it will not be your fault.' When Lord and Lady Valentia came to see his Lordship, he gave them his solemn benediction, and said, 'Be good, be virtuous, my Lord; you must come to this.' Thus he continued giving his dying benediction to all around him. On Monday morning a lucid interval gave some small hopes, but these vanished in the evening; and he continued
Lord Lyttelton's Poems are the works of a man of literature and judgment, devoting part of his time to versification. They have nothing to be despised, and little to be admired. Of his "Progress of Love," it is sufficient blame to say that it is pastoral. His blank verse in "Blenheim" has neither much force nor much elegance. His little performances, whether songs or epigrams, are sometimes sprightly, and sometimes insipid. His epistolary pieces have a smooth equability, which cannot much tire, because they are short, but which seldom elevates or surprises. But from this censure ought to be excepted his "Advice to Belinda," which, though for the most part written when he was very young, contains much truth and much prudence, very elegantly and vigorously expressed, and shows a mind attentive to life, and a power of poetry which cultivation might have raised to excellence.
LIVES OF EMINENT PERSONS.
FATHER PAUL SARPI.
FATHER PAUL, whose name, before he entered | parts of natural philosophy, and chemistry itself; into the monastic life, was Peter Sarpi, was born for his application was unintermitted, his head at Venice, August 14, 1552. His father followed clear, his apprehension quick, and his memory merchandise, but with so little success, that, at retentive. his death, he left his family very ill provided for, but under the care of a mother, whose piety was likely to bring the blessing of Providence upon them, and whose wise conduct supplied the want of fortune by advantages of greater value.
Happily for young Sarpi, she had a brother master of a celebrated school, under whose direction he was placed by her. Here he lost no time, but cultivated his abilities, naturally of the first rate, with unwearied application. He was born for study, having a natural aversion to pleasure and gayety, and a memory so tenacious, that he could repeat thirty verses upon once hearing them. Proportionable to his capacity was his progress in literature at thirteen, having made himself master of school-learning, he turned his studies to philosophy and the mathematics, and entered upon logic under Capella of Cremona, who, though a celebrated master of that science, confessed himself in a very little time unable to give his pupil farther instructions.
As Capella was of the order of the Servites, his scholar was induced, by his acquaintance with him, to engage in the same profession, though his uncle and his mother represented to him the hardships and austerities of that kind of life, and advised him with great zeal against it. But he was steady in his resolutions, and in 1566 took the habit of the order, being then only in his 14th year, a time of life in most persons very improper for such engagements, but in him attended with such maturity of thought, and such a settled temper, that he never seemed to regret the choice he then made, and which he confirmed by a solemn public profession in 1572.
At a general chapter of the Servites, held at Mantua, Paul, (for so we shall now call him,) being then only twenty years old, distinguished himself so much in a public disputation by his genius and learning, that William Duke of Mantua, a great patron of letters, solicited the consent of his superiors to retain him at his court, and not only made him public professor of divinity in the cathedral, but honoured him with many proofs of his esteem.
But Father Paul, finding a court life not agree able to his temper, quitted it two years afterwards, and retired to his beloved privacies, being then not only acquainted with the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldee languages, but with philosophy, the mathematics, canon and civil law, all
Being made a priest at twenty-two, he was distinguished by the illustrious Cardinal Borromeo with his confidence, and employed by him on many occasions, not without the envy of persons of less merit, who were so far exasperated as to lay a charge against him, before the Inquisition, for denying that the Trinity could be proved from the first chapter of Genesis: but the accusation was too ridiculous to be taken notice of.
After this he passed successively through the dignities of his order, and in the intervals of his employment applied himself to the studies with so extensive a capacity, as left no branch of knowledge untouched. By him Aquapendente, the great anatomist, confesses that he was informed how vision is performed; and there are proofs that he was not a stranger to the circulation of the blood. He frequently conversed upon astronomy with mathematicians, upon anatomy with surgeons, upon medicine with physicians, and with chemists upon the analysis of metals, not as a superficial inquirer, but as a complete master.
But the hours of repose, that he employed so well, were interrupted by a new information in the Inquisition, where a former acquaintance produced a letter written by him in ciphers, in which he said, "that he detested the court of Rome, and that no preferment was obtained there but by dishonest means." This accusation, however dangerous, was passed over on account of his great reputation, but made such impression on that court, that he was afterwards denied a bishopric by Clement VIII. After these difficulties were sur mounted, Father Paul again retired to his solitude, where he appears, by some writings drawn up by him at that time, to have turned his attention more to improvements in piety than learning. Such was the care with which he read the scriptures, that, it being his custom to draw a line under any passage which he intended more nicely to consider, there was not a single word in his New Testament but was underlined; the same marks of attention appeared in his Old Testament, Psalter, and Breviary.
But the most active scene of his life began about the year 1605, when Pope Paul V. exasperated by some decrees of the senate of Venice that interfered with the pretended rights of the church, laid the whole state under an interdict.
The senate, filled with indignation at this treatment, forbade the bishops to receive or publish