ページの画像
PDF
ePub

ig6 * Eulogy of the late Mr. Shenstone. British

his want of œconomy. He left dolence of his temper, he chose ra

however more than sufficient to pay ther to amuse himself in culling

dl his debts; and by his will appro- flowers at the foot of the mount,

prlated his whole estate for that than to take the trouble of climbing

purpose. the more arduous steps of Parnassus.

It was perhaps from some consi- But whenever he was disposed to

derations on the narrowness of his rife, his steps, though natural, were

fortune, that he forbore to marry; noble, and always well supported,

for he was no enemy to wedlock, In the tenderness of elegiac poetry

had a high opinion of many among he hath not been excelled; in the

the fair sex, was fond of their so- simplicity of pastoral, one may ven

ciety, and no stranger to the ten- tore to say, he had very few equals,

derelt impressions. One, which he Of great sensibility himself, he never

received in his youth, was with dis- failed to engage the hearts of his

ficulty surmounted. The lady was readers; and amidst the nicest at

the subject of that sweet pastoral, in tention to the harmony, of his

four parts, which has been so unj- numbers, he always took care to

versally admired; and which, one express with propriety the senti

would have thought, must have sub- nients of an elegant mind. In all

dued the loftiest heart, and softened bis writings, his greatest difficulty

the most obdurate. was to please himself. I remember

His person, as to height, was a passage in one of his letters, where,

above the middle stature, but large- speaking of his love-songs, he fays -

ly and rather inelegantly formed: "Some were written on occasions a

his face seemed plain till you con- good deal imaginary, others not so j

versed with him, and then it grew and the reason ihete are so many is,

very pleasing. In his dress he was that I wanted to write one good

negligent, even to a fault; though song, and could never please my

when young, at the university, he self' It was this diffidence which

was accounted a beau. He wore occasioned him to throw aside many

his own hair, which was quite grey of his pieces before he had bestowed

very early, in a particular manner; on them his last touches. I have

not from any affectation of singu- suppressed several on this account f

larity, but from a maxim he had laid and if among those which I have

down, that without too lavish a re- selected, there should be discovered

gard to fashion, every one should some little want of his finishing po

dress in a manner most suitable to liso, 1 hope it will be attributed to

his own person and figure. In short, this cause, and of conrfe be excused;

his faults were only little blemishes, yet I flatter myself there will always

thrown in by nature, as it were on appear something well worthy of

purpose to prevent him from rising having been preserved. And tho'

too much above that level of im- I was afraid of inserting what might

perfection allotted to humanity. injure the character of my friend,

His character as a writer will be yet, as the sketches of a great master

distinguished by simplicity with ele- are always valuable, I was unwilling

gance, and genius with correctness, the public should lose any thing

He had a sublimity equal to the material of so accomplished a writer,

highest attempts j yet, from the in- In this dilemma it will easily be concede Tbe Party-coknrtd Shield. A FABLE.

Afog. Tit Partj-colourtd

reived that the task I had to perform would become somewhat difficult. How I have acquitted myself, the public must judge. Nothing, however, except what he had already published, has been admitted without the advice of his molt judicious friends, nothing altered, without their particular concurrence. It is impossible to please every one; but it is hoped that no reader will be so unreasonable, as to imagine that the author wrote solely for his amusement: bis talents were various ; and though it may perhaps be allowed, that his excellence chiefly appeared in subjects of tenderness and simplicity, yet he frequently condescended to trifle with those of humour 3nd drollery: these, indeed, he himself io some measure degraded by the title which he gave them of Ltvitiei: hut had they been entirely rejected, the public would have been deprived of some jeux d'esprits, excellent in their kind, and M. Shenslone's character as a writer would have been hut imperfectly exhibited.

But the talents of Mr. Shenstone •ere not confined merely to poetry; hischaracter, as a man of clear judgment, and deep penetration, will best »ppear from his prose works. It is

Shield. A FoUe.

there we must search for the acuteness of his understanding, and his profound knowledge of the human heart. It is to be lamented indeed, that some things here are unfinished, and can be regarded only as fragments: many are left as single thoughts, but which, like the sparks of diamonds, shew the richness of the mine to which they belong; or like the foot of a Hercules, discover the uncommon strength, and extraordinary dimensions of that hero. I have no apprehensions of incurring blame from any one, for preserving these valuable, remains: they will discover to every reader, the author's sentiments on several important subjects. And there can be very few, to whom they will not impart many thoughts, which they would never perhaps have been able to draw from the source of their own reflections.

But I believe little need be said to recommend the wiitings of this gentleman to public attention. His character is already sufficiently established. And if he be not injured by the inability of his editor, there is no doubt but he will ever maintain an eminent station among the best of our English writers.

R. DoDSLir.

IN the days of knight-errantry and paganism, one of our old •ritifli princes set up a statue to the goddess of victory in a point "here four roads met. In her right nand (he held a spear, and rested her left upon a shield, the outside °f which was of gold, and the inside of silver. On the former was inched in the old British language, "To the goddess ever favourable

and on the other, "For four victories obtained successively over the Picts and other inhabitants of the northern islands."

It happened one day, that two knights completely armed, the one in black armour, and the other in white, arrived from opposite parts of the country at this statue, nearly at the fame time; and as neither of them had seen it before, they stopped

to

[ocr errors][merged small]

to read the Inscription, and observe the excellence of the workmanship. After contemplating it for some time. "This golden shield," said the bhck knight—" If I have any eyes," (interrupted the white knight, who was strictly observing the opposite side) " it is silver." «* I know nothing of your eyes, replied the black knight; but if ever I saw a golden shield in roy life, this is one." "Yes, returned the white knight smiling, it is very probable indeed, that they should expose a shield of gold in so public a place as this; for my part I wonder that even a silver one is not too strong a temptation for the devotion of some persons who pass this way; and it appears, by the date, that this has been here above three years."

The black knight could not bear the sarcastic smile with which the white knight had delivered his observations, and grew so warm in the dispute, that it soon ended in a challenge; they both therefore turned their horses, and rode back far enough to have sufficient space for their career, then fixed their spears in their rests, and flew at each ether with the greatest fury and impetuosity. Their shock was so rude, and the blow on each side so effectual, that they both fell to the ground greatly wounded and bruised, and lay there for some time as in a trance. In this condition they were found by a druid, who happened to

be travelling that way. The druidsi were in those days both the physicians and the priests. He had about him a sovereign balsam, which he had composed himself; for he was very skilful in all the plants that grew either in the fields or forests; he staunched the blood, applied his balsam to their wounds, and brought them, as it were, from the regions of the dead. v As soon as he found them sufficiently recovered, he began to enquire into the occasion of their quarrel. "Why this man, cried the black knight, will have it, that yonder sliield is silver." "And he will have it, replied the white knight, that it is gold ;" and then told him all the particulars of the affair. "Ah! said the druid, with a sigh, you are both of you, my brethren, in the right, and both of you in the wrong; had either of you given himself time to look on the opposite side of the shield, as well as that which first presented itself to his view, all this paflion and hloodshed might have been prevented. There is however a very good lesion to be learned from the evils that have befallen you on this occasion. Permit me therefore to intreat you by all our gods, and by this goddess of victory in particular, f Never to enter into any dispute for the suture till you have fairly considered each side of the question."

[ocr errors]

«/MARIUS ^LUCINDA.

To the Authors ef tht British Magazine. Gentlemen,

DURING the late war between officer, whose true name I sliall conEngland and France, there ceal under that of Marius. Besides served in the British troops a young his commiluon, which was that of

captain. Hisiory es Marius and Lucinda.

Mag.

captaio of foot, he had a small paternal estate, that descended to him from a very ancient and very honourable family. His person was what might be justly filled agreeable, and It is parts and education seemed exactly suited to his birth, and to bis employment. He had joined to that frankness of behaviour which is observable in gentlemen bred in the arrcy, a natural sweetness and affability of temper, which rendered him universally beloved by all that knew him. To a very good voice he had added a competent skill in mufick; and what rarely happens, though he fung very well, yet he did it with little intreaty, and without the least affectation. Thus qualified, it is not to be wondered that Marius kept the best company. Was there a meeting of mirth or good-fellowship amongst the men, Marius was sure to be a guest: was there a ball, or other polite assembly of both sexes, Marius was sure to be invited.

After having spent two or three years entirely in Flanders, he at last, at the close of a campaign, obtained leave to come over for the winter* in order to take care of his private affjirs in England. As soon as he arrived, he set out immediately for that part of the country where his estate lay; where, among the visits which on this occasion he paid the neighbouring gentry, he happened at a distant relation's of his own to fee the fair Lucinda. She was niece to the lady of Marius's relation, who, on her parents dying, and leaving her very young, and with but a very lender fortune, had taken her into 'he house, and kept her ever since. Lucinda was then about 18, exquisitely beautiful, and of a temper far from being disagreeable; her greatest foibie was a love of n:ean com

»90

pany, which was in some measure owing to that austerity with which lhe was treated by her uncle and aunt, which made her industriously shun their company, and keep as much as she could among the servants, where she enjoyed that free., dom of which young people are naturally fond. This however had a very bad effect upon her, and wa* indeed the principal cause of her misfortunes, since thereby site lost by degrees the relisli of genteel conversation, and hindered herself from having any taste of politer pleasures than such as were to be met with amongst them. . ,

Marius was smitten at the first sight of Lucinda, and immediately made his addresses to her: the consent of her relations being easily obtained, in about a fortnight's time he was put in possession of what ha thought he alone wanted to make him the happiest man in the world. Marius behaved himself in a manner very different from most modern: husbands; he grew the fonder of Lucinda for being his wife; and there was not a day passsd in which he did not give her marks of the most tender affection; he bought her cloathst. and every thing else, much superior to those of persons of the fame quality; nay, he even grew near in his own expences that he might be profuse in her's. Lucinda, for her parr, qoyld not but be sensible of the change, to the indulgence of a fend husband from the humours of a peevish aunt; and as (he could not but consider Marius as the sole author of her happiness, she therefore seemed to treat him with the utmost love and esteem. In fine, they regaidcd themselves, and were regarded by every body else, as iht happiest couple in the world.

But 200 History of Mar

But alas! how uncertain is human felicity! how fleeting is sublunary bliss! Scarce had Marius been two months married, ere he received orders to repair to Germany. On this, settling his affairs, so as to make his wife as easy as possible in his absence, after taking a most affectionate leave of Lucinda, he set out for the army; but with that heaviness of foul which words are unable to express, and of which those only can be sensible who have felt the parting pangs of love.

Lucinda appeared at first inconsolable; she (hut herself up in her apartment, saw no company, and behaved herself in such a manner, that one would have thought the loss of Marius would have broke her heart. Time, however, quickly lessened her grief: the violence of her affection was abated in a few days, and by degrees she resumed her natural gaiety and easiness of temper. There lived in the fame town, where Marius left Lucinda, a barber. This fellow, who formerly had lived in London with some young rakes, as a valet dt cbambrt, by as-, fecting their pert insolent way of behaviour, and singing scraps of a few filly amorous songs, which he had learnt in their service, passed in the country for a wit, and a person of fine breeding. This rascal, by some means or other, found a way to converse with Lucinda, who, by having a slender education, and a natural proneness to low company, grew by degrees fond of his nauseous flattery, and frequently admitted his visits. At first, she was very cautious in the carrying on of this scandalous amour; but as a progress in vice m2kes persons of course the less sensible of lhame, so the fellow likewise, proud of his conquestj behaved

5

us and Lucinda. British

himself so, that it at last became a common town-talk; all who heard it pitying Marius and blaming Lucinda.

Time and absence, on the contrary, made no alteration in Marius; he collected, wherever he came, the finest laces, linens, and other female ornaments, as presents for Lucinda, who, on his arrival, received him with all the transports of joy and fondness. But he had not been long returned ere her imprudent conduct in his absence reached his ears. Lore and resentment racked him for a while; but at last his passion for Lucinda prevailed. He reproached ber in the most moving terms with ingratitude, while she, throwing herself at his feet, and embracing his knees, acknowledged she had indeed committed some indiscretions, but positively denied her having gone any farther ; and then, with a thousand solemn protestations, promised never to offend again. In fine, Marius not only forgave her, but seemed to study to shew, by all his actions, that he had entirely blotted it from his memory. They passed in this manner near three months, with much seeming tranquility; when the campaign approaching, Marius, in order to enjoy his Lucinda's company as long as possibly he could, carried her with him to a small village within a few miles of Harwich; where, after taking a passionate farewell, he left her. The vessel, on board of which he embarked, after putting out to sea, received so severe a shock by a tempest, that though they put back to Harwich as soon as possible, yet the captain declared (he was so much damaged, that it would be two days at least before she could sail. On this, Marius, without refreshing

himself

« 前へ次へ »