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to be excepted. I once heard it praised by a very learned lady; and though the lines are irregular, and the thoughts diffused with too much verbosity, yet it cannot be denied to contain both philosophical argument and poetical spirit.
Of the rest I cannot think any excellent: the "Skylark" pleases me best, which has however more of the epigram than of the ode.
But the four parts of his " Pastoral Ballad" demand particular notice. I cannot but regret that it is pastoral; an intelligent reader, acquainted with the scenes of real life, sickens at the mention of the crook, the pipe, the sheep, and the kids, Which it is not necessary to bring forward to notice, for the poet's art is selection, and he ought to shew the beauties without the grossness of the country life. His stanza seems to have been chosen in imitation of Rowe's " Despairing Shepherd."
In the first part are two passages, to which if any mind denies its sympathy, it has no acquaintance with love or nature:
I priz'd every hour that went by,
Beyond all that had pleas'd me before;
But now they are past, and I sigh,
And I grieve that I priz'd them no more.
When forc'd the fair nymph to forego,
What anguish I felt in my heart!
'Twas with pain that she saw me depart.
She gaz'd, as I slowly withdrew,
My path I could hardly discern;
1 thought that she bade me return.
In the second this passage has its prettiness, though it be not equal to the former:
I have found out a gift for my fair;
I have found where the wood-pidgeons breed;
She will say 'twas a barbarous deed:
For he ne'er could be true, she averr'd,
And I lov'd her the more when I heard
In the third he mentions the common-places of amorous poetry with some address:
'Tis his with mock passion to glow;
'Tis his in smooth tales to unfold,
And her bosom, be sure, is as cold;
How the nightingale's labour the strain,
How they vary their accents in vain,
In the fourth I find nothing better than this natural strain of Hope:
Alas! from the day that we met,
What hope of an end to my woes,
The glance that undid my repose?
Yet time may diminish the pain:
The flower, and the shrub, and the tree,
Which I rear'd for her pleasure in vain,
In time may have comfort for me. ,
His " Levities" are by their title exempted from the severities of criticism; yet it may be remarked in a few words, that his humour is sometimes gross, and seldom sprightly.
Of the Moral Poems, the first is the " Choice of "Hercules," from Xenophon. The numbers are smooth, the diction elegant, and the thoughts just; but something of vigour is still to be wished, which it might have had by brevity and compression. His "Pate of Delicacy" has an air of gaiety, but not a very pointed and general moral. His blank verses, those that can read them may probably find to be like the blank verses of his neighbours. "Love and honour" is derived from the old ballad, "Did you not hear of a Spanish Lady ?"—I wish it well enough to wish it were in rhyme.
The "School-mistress," of which I know not what claim it has to stand among the Moral Works, is surely the most pleasing of Shenstone's performances. The adoption of a particular style, in light and short compositions, contributes much to the increase of pleasure: we are entertained at once with two imitations, of nature in the sentiments, of the original author in the style, and between them the mind is kept in perpetual employment.
The general recommendation of Shenstone is easiness and simplicity; his general defect is want of comprehension and variety. Had his mind been better stored with knowledge, whether he could have been great, I know not; he could certainly have been agreeable.
The following life, was written, at my request, by a gentleman who had better information than I could easily have obtained; and the public will perhaps wish that I had solicited and obtained more such favours from him.*
"In consequence of our different conversations about authentic materials for the Life of Young, I send you the following detail.
"Of great men, something must always be said to gratify curiosity. Of the illustrious author of the "Night Thoughts," much has been told of which there never could have been proofs; and little care appears to have been taken to tell that, of which proofs, with little trouble, might have been procured."
Edward Young was born at Upham, near Winchester, in June 1681. He was the son of Edward Young, at that time fellow of Winchester College and rector of Upham; who was the son of
* See Gent. Mag. vol. Ixx. p. 225.
Jo. Young, of Woodhay, in Berkshire, styled by Wood, gentleman. In September, 1682, the Poet's father was collated to the prebend of Gillingham Minor, in the church of Sarum, by Bishop Ward. When Ward's faculties were impaired through age, his duties were necessarily performed by others. We learn from Wood, that, at a visitation of Sprat's, July the 12th, 1686, the prebendary preached a Latin sermon, afterwards published, with which the bishop was so pleased, that he told the chapter he was concerned to find the preacher had one of the worst prebends in their church. Some time after this, in consequence of his merit and reputation, or of the interest of Lord Bradford, to whom, in 1702, he dedicated two volumes of sermons, he was appointed chaplain to King William and Queen Mary, and preferred to the deanery of Sarum. Jacob, who wrote in 1720, says, " he was "chaplain and clerk of the closet to the late queen, "who honoured him by standing godmother to the "Poet." His fellowship of Winchester he resigned in favour of a gentleman of the name of Harris, who married his only daughter. The dean died at Sarum, after a short illness, in 1705, in the sixty-third year of his age. On the Sunday after his decease, Bishop Burnet preached at the cathe- * dral, and began his sermon by saying, "Death has "been of late walking round us, and making "breach upon breach upon us, and has now car"ried away the head of this body with a stroke; "so that he, whom you saw a week ago distributing "the holy mysteries, is now laid in the dust. But