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his disorder assumed was not of long out with his wife for Italy; and after continuance. A letter written to him staying a short time at Leghorn, setby David Hume, on the 18th of July tled himself at Monte Nero, near following, shows that either the state that port. In a letter to Caleb of his health, or the narrowness of Whitefoord, dated the 18th of May, his means, or perhaps both these he describes himself rusticated on the causes together, made him desirous side of a mountain that overlooks of obtaining the consulship of Nice or the sea, a most romantic and saluLeghorn. But neither the solicita- tary situation. One other flash broke tions of Hume, nor those of the Duch- from him in this retirement. His ess of Hamilton, could prevail on the novel, called the Expedition of HumMinister, Lord Shelburne, to confer phry Clinker, which he sent to Engon him either of these appointments. Sand to be printed in 1770, though In the next year, September 21, 1768, abounding in portraitures of exquithe following paragraph in a letter site drollery, and in situations highly from Hume convinced him that he comical, has not the full zest and had nothing to expect from any con- flavour of his earlier works. The sideration for his necessities in that story does not move on with the quarter. “What is this you tell me of same impetuosity. The characters your perpetual exile and of your have more the appearance of being never returning to this country? I broad caricatures from real life, than hope that, as this idea arose from the the creatures
of a rich and teeming bad state of your health, it will va- invention. They seem rather the nish on your recovery, which, from representation of individuals groyour past experience, you may ex- tesquely designed and extravagantly pect from those happier climates, to coloured, than of classes of men. which you are retiring; after which, His hodily strength now giving the desire of revisiting your native way by degrees, while that of his country will probably return upon mind remained unimpaired, he exyou, unless the superior cheapness of pired at his residence near Leghorn foreign countries prove an obstacle, on the 21st of October, 1771, in the and detain you there. I could wish 51st year of his age. that means had been fallen on to re- His mother died a little before move this objection, and that at least him. His widow lived twelve years it might be equal to you to live any- longer, which she passed at Leghorn where, except when the consideration in a state of unhappy dependence on of your health gave the preference to the bounty of the merchants at that one climate above another. But the place, and of a few friends in Engindifference of ministers towards lite- jand. Out of her slender means she rature, which has been long, and in- contrived to erect a monument to her deed almost always is the case in deceased husband, on which the folEngland, gives little prospect of any lowing inscription from the pen of his alteration in this particular."
friend Armstrong was inscribed: If ministers would in no other way
Hic ossa conduntur conduce to his support, he was de
TOBIÆ SMOLLETT, Scoti;
Qui prosapia generoså et antiqua natas, termined to levy on them at least an Priscæ virtutis exemplar emicuit; involuntary contribution, and accord
Corpore valido, ingly (in 1769,) he published the
Pectore aniinoso, Adventures of an Atom, in which he
Indole apprime benigna,
Et fere supra facultates munifica laid about him to right and left, and
Insignis. with a random humour, somewhat
Ingenio feraci, faceto, versatili,
Omnigenze fere doctrinæ mire capaci, resembling that of Rabelais and
Varia fabularum dulcedine Swift, made those whom he had de
Vitam moresque hominum,
Ubertate summa Indens depinxit. fended and those whom he had at
Adverso, interim, nefas ! tali tantoque alumno, tacked alike the subject of very gross
Nisi quo satyræ opipare supplebat, merriment.
Seculo impio, ignavo, fatuo, But his sport and his suffering
Fovebantur. were now coming to a close. The increased debility under which he
Optimi et amabilis omnino viri,
Permultis amicis desiderati, felt himself sinking induced him
Hocce marmor, again to try the influence of a more Dilectissima simul et amantissima conjuax genial sky. Early in 1770, he set
Quo Music vix nisi nothæ
A column with a Latin inscription - Excepting Congreve, I do not rewas also placed to commemorate member that any of the poets, whose him on the banks of his favourite lives have been written by Johnson, Leven, near the house in which he is said to have produced any thing in was born, by his kinsman Mr. Smol- the shape of a novel. Of the Incoglett of Bonhill.
nita of Congreve, that biographer The person of Smollett is described observes, not
very satisfactorily, that by his friend Dr. Moore as stout and he would rather praise it than read well-proportioned, his countenance it. In the present series, Goldsmith, engaging, and his manner reserved, Smollett, and Johnson himself, if his with a certain air of dignity that Rasselas entitle him to rank in the seemed to indicate a consciousness of number, are among the most distinhis own powers.
guished in this species of writing, In his disposition, he appears to of whom modern Europe can boast. have been careless, improvident, and To these, if there be added the names sanguine ; easily swayed both in his of De Foe, Richardson, Fielding, and commendation and censures of others Sterne, not to mention living authors, by the reigning humour of the mo- we may produce such a phalans as ment, yet warm, and (when not in- scarcely any other nation can equal. fluenced by the baneful spirit of fac- Indeed no other could afford a writer tion) steady in his attachments. On so wide a field for the exercise of this his independence he particularly talent as ours, where the fullest prided himself. But that this was scope and encouragement are given sometimesin danger from slight causes to the human mind to expand itself is apparent, from an anecdote related in every direction, and assume every by Dr. Wooll, in his Life of Joseph shape and hue, by the freedom of the Warton. When Huggins* had finish- government, and by the complexity of ed his translation of Ariosto, he sent civil and commercial interests. No one a fat buck to Smollett, who at that has portrayed the whimsical varietime managed the Critical Re- ties of character, particularly in lower view; consequently the work was life, with a happier vein of burlesque highly applauded; but the history of than Smollett. He delights, indeed, the venison becoming public, Smol- chiefly by his strong delineation of lett was much abused, and in a fu- ludicrous incidents and grotesque ture number of the Review retracted manners derived from this source. his applause. Perpetual employ. He does not hold our curiosity enment of his pen left him little time tangled by the involution of his story, for reflection or study. Hence, nor suspend it by any artful protracthough he acquired a greater readi- tion of the main event. He turns vess in the use of words, his judg- aside for no digression that may serve ment was not proportionably impro- to display his own ingenuity or learn.. ved; nor did his manhood bear fruits ing. From the beginning to the end, that fully answered to the vigorous one adventure commonly rises up and promise of his youth. Yet it may be follows upon another, like so many questioned whether any other writer waves of the sea, which cease only of English prose had before his time because they have reached the shore. produced so great a number of works The billows float in order to the shore, of invention. When, in addition to The wave behind rolls on the wave before. his novels, we consider his various productions, his histories, his tra-Admirable as the art of the novelist vels, his two dramatic pieces, his is, we ought not to confound it with poems, his translations, his critical that of the poet; nor to conclude, labours, and other occasional pub- because the characters of Parson lications, we are surprised that so Adams, Colonel Bath, and Squire much should have been done in a life Western, in Fielding; and of Strap, of no longer continuance.
Morgan, and Pipes, in Smollett, im
* From a letter of Granger's (the author of the Biographical History of England,) to Dr. Ducarel (see Nichols's Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century, vol. iii. p. 601,) it appears that Huggins made also à translation of Dante, which was never printed. He was son of that cruel keeper of the Fleet prison who was punished for the ill treatment of his prisoners.-(Ibid.)
press themselves as strongly on the veloping his story; nor in Smollett, memory, and seem to be as really in- with all that vivacity and heartiness dividuals whom we have seen and of purpose with which he carries on conversed with, as many of those his narrative. which are the most decidedly marked Of Smollett's poems much does not in Shakspeare himself; that there- remain to be said. The Regicide is fore the powers requisite for produ- such a tragedy as might be expected cing such descriptions are as rare and from a clever youth of eighteen. The extraordinary in one instance as in language is declamatory, the thoughts the other. For the poet has this pe- inflated, and the limits of nature and culiar to himself; that he communi- verisimilitude transgressed in descricates something from his own mind, bing the characters and passions. Yet which, at the same time that it does there are passages not wanting in not prevent his personages from be- poetical vigour. ing kept equally distinct from one His two satires have so much of another, raises them all above the the rough flavour of Juvenal, as to level of our common nature. Shak- retain some relish, now that the ocspeare, whom we appear not only to casion which produced them has know, personally, but to admire and passed away. love as one supe to the cast of The Ode to Independence, which his kind,
was not published till after his deSweetest Shakspeare, fancy's child, cease, amid much of common place, has left some trick of his own linea. has some very nervous lines. The
personification itself is but an awk. ments and features discoverable in
ward one. The term is scarcely absthe whole brood.
tract and general enough to be inIgneus est ollis vigor et cælestis origo vested with the attributes of an ideal Seminibus.
being It is this which makes us willing In the Tears of Scotland, patriotto have our remembrance of his cha- ism has made him eloquent and paracters refreshed by constant repeti- thetic; and the Ode to Leven Water tion, which gives us such a pleasure in is sweet and natural. None of the summoning them before us, as age other pieces, except the Ode to Mirth, cannot wither, nor custom stale." which has some sprightliness of fanThis is a quality which we do not find cy, deserve to be particularly noin Fielding, with all that consum- ticed. mate skill which he employs in de
MORNING awakes sublime, glad earth and sky
Smile in the splendour of the day begun;
Shade of its Maker's majesty, the Sun
Streaks of all colours beautifully run,
To view the glory that this scene is giving-
When in immortal worlds the soul is living
To taste the unknowns of eternity?
ON THE POETRY OF NONNUS.
Poetry, and indeed literature in always nature for its basis; and if they general, runs the same course as havegreat faults, (the greater because painting and music; the fresh and these very faults are fondled like masculine vigour of the first models spoiled children) they have usually is gradually improved upon; the some striking qualities: sweetness, graces of variety, the brilliancy of and brilliancy of touch, as well as heightened effect, the surprise of con- subtlety
of invention, seem to mark trast, are attained, and great results the decline of classical taste. are effected by a complication of A very extraordinary instance of means and resources unknown to the unchastised judgment and vivacious early professors; but there is a dimi- imagination is afforded by Nonnus, nution of that grandeur without effort of Panopolis, an Egyptian poet of the and that truth of feeling which ad- 5th century; who, it seems, went here to the noble simplicity of nature. among the Saracens on some emAt length this refinement degene- bassy, and whose Greek (for in that rates into its extreme, affected exag, language he chose to write) is cer. geration; and we have the tragedies tainly less Attic than Saracenic; I of Dryden and the pictures of Fuseli. mean such as we might imagine SaYet it is a mistake to reject, with a racenic Greek would be. The Dionyperemptory and unqualified sentence siacs were first printed in 1569, from of reprobation, those who pamper the a MS. in the library of John Samcraving of satiety by thus contribue buch, at Antwerp; but he wrote ting to flatter and titillate a fastidious also a poetic paraphrase of the gospel and capricious taste: it is not always, of John, first printed at Venice, by perhaps not often, by blockheads that Aldus, in 1501. Some writers, who these innovations are made. These fall foul on the mythological poem fantastical pranks in literature and for the excellent reason that it has art are played by men of genius ; by not the Homeric purity, are wondermen who perhaps know better, or fully complaisant to the evangelical who at least ought to know better. paraphrase ; the one, they say, is the The painter who dislocates the hu- “ most irregular poem extant with man joints, and moulds his counte- regard to style, sentiments, method, nances into a gorgon-stricken ex- and constitution;" the style of the pression of marble, may yet throw other they find out to be “ perspiout shadowy intimations of a daring cuous, neat, elegant, and proper for though eccentric fancy; the musician the subject.” Now the most indulwho astounds the regularly trained gent conclusion which can be drawn ear by interspersed discords, that from the decision of these critics, is, seem to violate the known analogies that they are wholly unacquainted of science, may “ snatch a grace be both with the one poem and the yond the reach of art,” while con- other; a conclusion which derives founding rules by the mastery of un- some confirmation from the piece of controllable genius. Kehama burst intelligence that one of these poems through the twelve opposite gates of is written in heroic verse; the plain Padalon, in twelve chariots and in case being that the measure of the his own person, at the same indivi- two poems is the same, and is nodual point of time: the small critics thing more nor less than the Homerubbed their hands and cast their rical hexameter. The style of each gibes on the poet, who yet passed on bears exactly that affinity to the his way, with serene disdain, in the other which might be expected in consciousness of power. The inno- two works of one and the same auvators on the severity of ancient mo- thor: all the faults of redundancy, dels are neither without their use tawdriness, and refinement, which nor without their merits ; they serve they exclaim against in the Dionyas beacons against the wanton de- siacs, exist, without the slightest disparture from true taste which has parity, in the Evangelion. In a heap
of mythological love-tales and adven- pure and sublime simplicity, I leave tures of giants and monsters, such a them to determine. style may not be so very unpardon- As the book is uncommonly scarce, able, even though it give occasion to I shall give the reader an opportunity the discerning objection, that the of judging how far, according to the sentiments are “irregular;" but how statement of the critics, this piece is far conceited refinements may be as much above, as that is beneath
proper for the subject,” which the censure. Evangelist has treated with such
JOHN IV, 25.
The woman said ; and Christ with witness word
JOHN XI. 40.
They drew aside the stone: the King, with face
faith to hear that thou
He said, and sounded with a piercing voice ;
Vainly the flitting corpse on Lethe's wharf. Now as nothing can well be worse to ransack from the Epics of Blackthan this; as it would be difficult to more, and as this is affirmed to be select from the whole range of poetry the better poem of the two, what a more glaring instance of fulsome must be the other? The critics, howand impertinent amplification; as ever, have stultified their own critithe writer has furnished us with bet- cism; for they assure us, that the ter examples of the burlesque sub- style of the paraphrase of John is lime, than Pope and Swift were able “ neat and elegant, and proper for