D E S U L T O R I A :









Snake on twig or branch, original published size 4.75cm wide by 3.1cm high.

Many a long year he wander'd far and wide ;
But not unthinking, nor without a guide :
The Muse his star ; his spirit unopprest
Writh'd round the flame that burn'd within his breast.


Printed at the private Press of Lee Priory ;

(image of title page)

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Seal: 'Mil Sigillum SA EG De Bruges', original published size 2.85cm wide by 2.85cm high.




Hunmanby, in Yorkshire ;



Multifarious Literary Accomplishments ;



And his valuable Contributions to




O F  A N  H A R A S S E D  M I N D




S.  E.  B.   

   Lee Priory, Feb. 8, 1816.

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S HALL I incur the imputation of obtrusiveness by again venturing before the public with original composition, so soon after the appearance of the Poem of BERTRAM? Let me then copy the words I had written about four years ago, to be prefixed to a projected work, somewhat like the present !
      " If I should be asked, why with occupations more than I can perform, with cares greater than I can withstand, I yet undertake new tasks ;  I answer, that it is for those very causes I do so. It is to escape from the fatigue of unvarying labours, from the pressure of overwhelming anxieties that I seek refreshment in the delusions of new amusements. If Adversity has subjected me to the arrows of Malice, or the stings of Reproach, I feel the urgency of struggling to overcome them by counterbalancing claims on the good will of the ingenious, the good, and the candid."
Desultory Thoughts and Criticisms are partly formed of such matter, as sprung up in my mind on the spur of the occasion ;  and partly of the scattered fragments of unfinished Essays and Verses, which have been recovered from my Chaos of papers. Of some of these last, particularly the Essay on Family History and Hereditary Character, and the Satire, I cannot remember the date, or the occasion. The fragment of the poem, called The Flight, was written more than twenty years ago. It is not for me to decide, whether the plan which I have adopted, and the matter which I have chosen in this publication, is calculated to amuse, or instruct the reader. If I have pre-
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sumed, in my various literary tasks, to be at one time a compiler, and at another an original writer, I have done that, which, according to a well-expressed passage of the Edinburgh Reviewers, is not common. They say,

      " Among the other divisions of intellectual labour to which the progress of society has given birth, the business of reasoning, and the business of collecting knowledge, have been in a great measure put into separate hands. Our scholars are now little else than pedants, and antiquaries, and grammarians ; who have never exercised any faculty but memory; and our reasoners are for the most part but slenderly provided with learning ; or at any rate make but a slender use of it in reasoning."   Edinburgh Review, Vol. XIII. p. 344.

      There is a little volume, which my printer shewed me, just as the last sheet of the present work was composing, which I regret that I was not previously acquainted with. It is entitled, Aphorisms on Man :  Translated from the original Manuscript of the Rev. John Caspar Lavater, Citizen of Zuric, London, printed for Johnson, 1788, sm. 8vo. pp. 224. It is dedicated to Henry Fuseli, A.M. A few sheets only of a second volume were printed. It is a most interesting and eloquent work, consisting of 643 Aphorisms.
      I wish the short articles of the present sheets had been entitled to this name.

Country house through arch, original published size 4cm wide by 2.5cm high.

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D E S U L T O R I A :







OUTH-BRITON, as well as those of the North, may be permitted occasionally to deliver his Comments on Books and Men.
      It requires judgment as well as knowledge of an extensive nature, to select the furniture of a modern British Library. But how much more to form original and just opinions on its contents? I am willing to contribute the mite of my aid to this important purpose.
      I mean not to interfere with the Bibliomania, either in the way of encouragement or censure. My efforts will be addressed to the general reader, who seeks enlarged information, not particular and technical skill.
      We have lost of late many authors who had been for a long course of years familiar to the public, of whom the last and the most prolific was Richard
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Cumberland. a   He was a man profuse in the fruits of a minor ingenuity; but he wanted strength and flavour: every thing of his was too much characterized by an insipid taste. Yet all of his growth was so easy, and for the most part so innocent and so moral, that if it did not delight us, it was impossible for us to withhold from it our gentle approbation.

    He died May 8, 1811, æt. 80.

      I shall not dwell on him at present, though he was the last of a set who have now been admitted to a kind of classical fame. The stars of Johnson and of Burke are of a brilliance which is never likely to recur!
      We live in an age when there is a liberal taste for the works of our ancestors. Most of our old Chronicles have been reprinted, and the greater part of our old poetry. If any one should say there is more than enough, he is not bound to read more than he likes of this lore; but to make it accessible by the operation of the modern press, is certainly useful and praise-worthy. Collections of Voyages and Travels have undergone a similar revival. And all the works of the early Printers are hunted out with the most unwearied industry.
      For my part, though I feel by fits the curiosity, I have not the patience, of an Antiquary; but love to wander excursively over the whole fields of litera-

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ture; taking wing again for new objects the moment I am satiated or weary. When the humour seizes me, I would investigate deeply; but when I am impetuous or idle, let me have the liberty to touch without fixing on the ground.
      There will be occasions when the remembrance of some literary genius will awaken the heart, or fill the understanding, and call forth either the best eloquence, or the strongest power of discrimination, of the writer. But they are occasions which must come unsought, and be waited for with hope.
      It has been said that there is little pleasure, and little use in literature. But what is man without understanding? and what is the understanding without books? It is true that knowledge may dwell in the mind without wisdom, but surely knowledge must assist wisdom! No one has gained a high and permanent reputation who has not possessed both! Mere memory may succeed in the inferior walks of learning; but never in the higher; much less in those of genius.
      It is a curious speculation to enquire how often, and to what extent the popular applause conferred by cotemporaries is justified and confirmed by the test of Time. I look around my library, and task my recollection whether the standard works which now fill its shelves, obtained for their authors during life, the same credit they now possess. I see
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Erasmus, and Bacon; Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Cowley, Dryden, Pope, and Swift: Clarendon, Burnet, Temple, Bolingbroke, and Middleton! Their own age bowed to their ascendant talents, and posterity have ratified the pre-eminence.
Sept. 8, 1811

Decorative rule

      Great questions have arisen, whether a taste for literature tends to facilitate or impede a man's advancement in the world. It is probable that in the majority of cases, it forms rather an obstacle than a mean of promotion. The delirium of internal pleasure, and the morbid sensibility that it cherishes, are ill adapted to those coarser compliances with the world, which can alone ensure success in it.

Decorative rule

      The noblest abilities will be so far from conferring happiness, without a due regulation of them, that they will rather sharpen the sense of misery.

Decorative rule

      " Is there such a thing as old nobility in England?" The low, who feel interested in degradation,
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say not. But it would be easy to prove that there is, though the number of them is not great.

Decorative rule

      Perhaps there is no country, where wealth changes hands with more rapidity, than in England. This is an evil, which operates as an heavy counterbalance to the benefits of commerce.

Decorative rule

      The empire over the mind of the people is possessed by the press. What a wonderful instrument of power was created by the invention of printing!

Decorative rule

      When Gray the Poet took those Autumnal Tours, which he has so beautifully described, with no companions but his own thoughts, how wide must have been the range of his mind, and how varied and brilliant the combinations of images which he indulged! Society, with its fatiguing ceremonies, its flat conversations, its envious sarcasms, its blighting repulses, its idiotic ridicule, disturbed not his musings, nor broke in upon the magical arrangements of his fancy. He beheld in succession the vivid and
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enchanting features of Nature in every diversity of grandeur and of beauty; and he hung around them all the brilliant array of a mind illuminated by countless imagery, and overflowing with moral pathos!
Aug. 10, 1813.

Decorative rule

      When the pressing necessities of life are considered as operating on so large a portion of mankind, it is impossible to refrain from wonder at the numerous individuals, and even whole classes, who are entirely engrossed by artificial wants and artificial pleasures. But sorrow for fancied evils has probably brought many more to an early grave, than absolute poverty, or mere bodily disease.

Decorative rule

      Genealogy is of little value, unless it disclose matter, which teaches the causes of the decay or prosperity of families, and furnishes a lesson of moral wisdom for the direction of those who succeed. When we reflect how soon the fortunes of an house are ruined, not only by vice, or folly, but by the least deficience in that cold prudence or discretion, with which highly-endowed minds are so seldom gifted, the long continuance of any race of no-
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bility or gentry, seems to take place almost in defiance of probabilities. I have never seen the history of families examined and applied in illustration of these ideas. It would form at least an interesting work. I wish that I had time for it!

Decorative rule

November. 30, 1815.
      Life imperceptably steals away ; even though every day and hour is marked by some new difficulty, or grief. One-and-thirty years have passed, since I wrote a Sonnet on this day in a mingled strain of melancholy and hope. How little did I then anticipate the roughness and dangers of the road I had to treat! My first poetical efforts were then in the press; and appeared three months afterwards; a and from that time, grasping at many things, yet steady to none, my life has passed in hurry, and agitation, and care! If that old age, which is coming fast upon me, be a time of repose, perhaps I may yet have leisure to arrange, and concentrate my thoughts, before I die!

    In March, 1785.

Decorative rule

      Has any English Poet, whose genius was marked
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by tender or vehement sensibility lived to a great age? It would be difficult to point out one of this description, who had much exceeded the age of man. Thomas Sackville, the first Lord Buckhurst, and Earl of Dorset, went a little beyond it: and Cowper and Beattie were on the verge of it. I do not think that either Milton or Dryden come within this class. Perhaps, however, the tragedy of Douglas may entitle John Home to a place in it.

Decorative rule

      He, who supposes that an author's person and manners, and style of conversation, will answer the ideas raised by a perusal of his writings, will be generally disappointed! This at least may be said of a first interview: perhaps the character contemplated, gradually unfolds itself into a resemblance; and often into identity.

Decorative rule

      Of all tiresome companions or writers, a man with a long memory is the worst. A vast store of facts and materials, always shifting and recombining, and branching and bursting into sentiment and reflection, like rich spring-trees into profuse leaf, is the mental wealth, which satisfies by its usefulness,
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and delights by its splendour! Mere Memory is barren; and returns no more than it receives.

Decorative rule

      There are some persons who seem to live in a state of constant excitation of feeling. These, if they have cultivated understandings, and if practice has made the command of language easy to them, seldom fail to be eloquent, as often as they assume the pen.

Decorative rule

      The office of true poetry is but to animate reality by giving a glow to the hues of Nature, and the emotions of the human heart. It is not, as some of bad taste suppose, to deal in the fabrications of a whimsical fancy; and to combine distorted figures, and put them into action amid fictitious manners and unnatural feelings. Such things may have the temporary charm of novelty; a charm, that in its very essence must be evanescent. The best poetry is the emanation of the wisest intellect; and the noblest eloquence of the most refined and enlightened soul. They who think that they can form a better Creation than Providence has formed, are rather to be pitied for their conceit, than admired for the bold-
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ness of their minds. Nature, as she appears to the genuine Poet's eye, and the human heart as it is exhibited to his contemplation, is far above the reach of man's invention ; but the difficulty lies in the ability to delineate that which by its excess of brightness almost dazzles and blinds a mortal sight. Shakespeare had the clearest eye for these visionary and unembodied objects. What others saw, but saw dimly, to him took a distinct shape;

" A local habitation, and a name."

Milton alone had strength to travel safely out of "this visible diurnal sphere," and form a more exalted world of his own.
      When we talk of the Art of Poetry, we degrade that divine gift. Art cannot reach it: but produces a flat and dull substitute, which technical critics may mistake for excellence; but which is doubly disgusting, not only from it vapidness, but from its high pretensions. When the Poet walks into the fields, he is surrounded by immaterial Spirits, who dance upon the grass before him; flit among the boughs of trees; or rise upon the radiated tips of clouds: or some of the affecting incidents of human society present themselves to the mirror in his soul, and fill his bosom with the thrill of the most delightful moral sensations. This internal swell bursts into eloquence and harmonious language; and he
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thus communicates to others the raptures of his own inspired genius.
      It was nobly said by Johnson of Shakespeare, that

" Each scene of many-colour'd life he drew ;
   Exhausted worlds; and then imagin'd new."

      Yet it is not in the new worlds, that he imagined; but in the admirable brilliance and penetration, with which he pourtrayed life as it is, that his main charm lies. Poets must be familiar with all the secrets of the human bosom; must be conversant with all its most touching emotions; must experience the swell of virtue; the melting tenderness of every kindly affection; and the sublime conceptions of every noble passion.
      Thomson's Seasons is a beautiful and magnificent poem; but, perhaps, it deals too much in mere material objects; and has not a sufficient intermixture of what is intellectual. The scenery is given with a glowing, original, and masterly hand; but the sentiments and reflections arising from it are seldom touched; or not touched with that niceness, delicacy, and happy penetration which detects the finest and most flying emotions of the heart. This talent is the first of all the varied charms of Gray ; and most of all in his sublime and unequalled Fragment On Vicissitude, one of the most perfect specimens of uninspired poetry.

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Beneath thy Brow for many a year I lay;
Long was the night, and clouded was the day.
Days, weeks, and months of sorrow pass'd along,
Slow in their pace, and tearful in their song.
O frown not on these retrospective eyes !
Rise, clad in sun-beams, Denton Brow, arise!
How long I struggled with Misfortune's crew,
And clung with unavailing love to you!
    Barbarian fierce, who hat'st the mental light,
-         -         -         -         -         -         -         -
With generous sympathy or glowing thought
Ne'er was thy dull and frozen bosom fraught !
    And thou, O faithless ! whom the ties of blood
Call'd to the fray, when foes around me stood,
Aloof thou hoverd'st, and would'st come not nigh,
To meet the blow, and soothe the bursting sigh !
    Left to myself, while thou, impending Brow,
Closed'st the dreary Evening o'er my woe,
Had me the hand of prosperous Fortune fed,
Glad had my shield o'er suffering worth been spread!
   Beam of the Muse ! how joy'd thy darling foes,
To think thy light would in those tempests close !
Sunk, sunk for ever in the griefs they view'd,
O'er thee with fix'd relentless weight to brood !
-         -         -         -         -         -         -         -
-         -         -         -         -         -         -         -

Decorative rule

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      When we look upon a long pedigree consisting of nothing but a series of mere names and dates, it is perhaps the most dry and dull of all the deductions that can be formed into language. It is so, as far as concerns the literal information which it conveys: but to the mind which brings to it a stock of sentiment and fancy, how different is the result! The grave gives up its still inhabitants, to be again clothed with form, action, and speech. We imagine them in their various occupations, again frequenting the scenes of their existence here, and animating by their presence the mansions and the fields of their abodes. We bring to these records all the hints of character treasured in our memories, and see them directing or controuling the events of their lives. We add the knowledge derived from the developements of Time; and compare their schemes, their hopes, and their fears, with the ratification or the disappointment which the lapse of years has produced. We behold with pity the vain projects of aggrandisement followed by early extinction or decay ; and temporary adversity, though seemingly involved in impenetrable clouds, drawing strength from dangers, and finally breaking forth into permanent effulgence.
      An intelligent Treatise on the Rise and Decay of
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Families would be acceptable to the lovers of moral philosophy. Something of the kind was attempted in the middle of the seventeenth century by Waterhouse; but it was executed without vigour or knowledge of the world; and rendered disgusting by a profusion of pedantic jargon. It seems extraordinary, that if riches and honours be real blessings, they should so often be the result of accident, or even crime, while they are as often denied to an unabating continuance of the most virtuous exertions.
      How frequently are they the effect of political arrangement, when the rewarded individual has had neither claim nor even hope! Yet such accidents, perhaps, give the family for ages an hereditary sway in the legislature; a command of splendid alliances; high places; and flattering distinctions in every department of society.
      But can it be, that advantages so obtained confer superior happiness? Philosophers have taught us that enjoyment here is not dependent on outward circumstances; but on the powers and the purity of the mind. To him, whose intellects are groveling, and whose heart is viscious, titles and wealth are but a splendid misery.
      But if such adventitious benefits can do little for those, whom Nature has thus frowned upon, may they not give fuller play to the powers of those better endowed? In truth, it appears that they may: yet not
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without the greater hazard of yielding to the temptations of idleness and folly.
      How few men born to high rank have produced any great work of literature; or given any great efforts of intellect! Labour must be added to talent; and the necessity of winning distinction, before it can be conferred, must act as a stimulus to industry.
      We have seen many families who have flourished for ages on their own estates in the country, in a kind of even course, away from the hollow allurements of courts, and the wasteful calls of ambition, no sooner expose themselves to the dangerous atmosphere of that new region, than they have put forth a short blaze, and expired. Witness those of Coningsby, Pulteney, Sandys of Ombersley, Archer, and many others. Shall we speculate on the wisdom, or the emptiness of their motives for seeking the elevation they obtained?
      A country Squire may fill the station of his birth both respectably and worthily: but, if he attempts no higher duties, may not his soul be becalmed, and he be little acquainted with the most active and dignified occupations of an intellectual Being? Are we quite sure, therefore, that when we look with complacence and admiration on a pedigree, containing a long series of perhaps twenty generations, living independently in the same mansion, and surrounded by the same acres, and the same hereditary trees,
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our respect is well bestowed; and that qualities so little aspiring as they must have possessed, deserve distinction or applause? What, not one to aspire beyond cold selfish calculations; and boldly resolve either to rise or fall!
      Almost the only poet of this class whom I can name was Somerville; but it is probable that he inherited a very encumbered estate; and was, therefore, brought up in the school of adversity, which taught him to cultivate his mind, and tinged his intellectual stores with sentiment. When I look upon the roll of his ancestors, I imagine to myself the characters of those from whom he immediately drew his birth, and that I see in them the seeds of that fancy which described the pleasures of The Chase with such picturesque animation and enthusiasm. I hear them tiring the same echoes that resounded to the cheerful cries of their accomplished descendant; while their bosoms seem to swell with the same hilarity, and indulge the same moral associations as constitute the charm of his poem.
      Yet how fallacious may be these ideal characters! Perchance the Bard's father was a rude Squire, whose ear was deaf to the tones of the lyre, and whose heart never vibrated in unison with its feelings: a man, whose talk was of oxen, and whose capital was the neighbouring market town. Do we inherit the quality of the mind as well as of the body from our
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ancestors? Or if we do, do not the mingled ingredients of opposite natures frequently tend to give a new colour and character to both? Still we often see the same traits of understanding descend in the same family for many generations. We have beheld in our days the great talents of the Sires descend upon the sons of Chatham, Holland, and Hardwicke: and in former times two Cecils governed the helm of State in succession, with a wisdom which all acknowledged!
      Are these then the mere vapoury phantasms of the brain? Or are they visions, which sound philosophy may contemplate and endeavour to arrest? Is it the idle dream of a heated intellect to muse upon the varied lots of humanity, and their causes, as exhibited in the history of individual families? Is it the mere task of dullness to pore over a succession of names and dates, when they afford scope for so many amusing contemplations on human nature?
     There are, however, two sets of antiquaries, of the most opposite qualities and tastes: the first value the dull things they read for their literal contents; the other value them for the lights which they afford an opportunity to themselves to append to them!

Decorative rule

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      What is the exact state of preparation in the public mind, which is favourable to the prosperous reception of an author's work? Expectation very highly raised will most probably outstrip performance; and languor and disappointment will ensue. On the contrary, the generality of readers have not sufficient reliance on their own opinions to suffer themselves to be pleased in spite of prejudice; and on that of which they have been armed against the merit, they will never confer approbation.

Decorative rule

      Such is the power of the periodical works of Literary Criticism on the public mind, that were The Paradise Lost now first published, they could fix on it the character of want of invention and genius; and even of dullness.

Decorative rule

      The degrees of importance of individuals in human society must not be estimated by the noise they make in the world. How exquisitely is this illustrated by Burke in his inimitable simile of The Grasshopper and the Ox!

Decorative rule

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      The high statesman, who has not adorned and softened the turbulence of his political labours, by some fondness and attainments in literature, may be questioned for the extent of his talents, and the legitimacy of the modes by which he has risen.

Decorative rule

      The great proof of real ability, and long cultivation, in moral and political knowledge, is a mastery in the lights and shades of opinion; in the qualifying and applying general positions; and in the nice balance of the conflicting ingredients of good and evil.
      Broad, coarse, indiscriminate principles, assertions, and arguments, catch the vulgar understanding; and enable hollow and uninformed impudence often to gain the applause of oratory from the vulgar ear.

Decorative rule

      Vanity often makes the wisest men appear foolish; and those of the most brilliant and extensive talents, trifling, vapid, and absurd. It literally for the moment stultifies the soundest understanding.

Decorative rule

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A Soldier's Lines on seeing an interesting Female Figure,
unknown to him, pass down the Parade.
With trembling step along the line
    She pass'd, and seem'd to heave a sigh,
That many a bosom soon should pine
    For those who now in health were high.

That mangled in the grave should sleep
    Full many a corse on distant plains,
Where Love, Affection, could not keep
    Their vigils o'er their poor remains !

I look'd upon her thoughtful mien,
    The tear within her eye I saw ;
A softer face was never seen ;
    I gaz'd with admiration's awe !

O may so exquisite a form
    Bless him who prizes it aright !
O may the rays of genius warm
    The favour'd youth with due delight !

Decorative rule

      With the exception of extreme cases of adversity and misery, it is rather on the skill and experienced judgment with which we estimate the circumstances of our lot, than in the colour of the circumstances themselves, that the smoothness and even the enjoyment of our passage through life depends.

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      I have never been able to believe that any one could acquire the habits and powers of literary genius late in life. It is easy to believe that they may first display them to the public late in life. No instance has come within my experience, of a literary genius, of which strong traits were not apparent to a sagacious observer, even from childhood. It is different with mere science, in which no small attainments are accessible to persevering labour at almost any age.

Decorative rule

      I have often doubted, if old age, although combined with health, be a blessing, from this single consideration; that it is often conferred on those distinguished by no virtues; yes, upon such as have been marked by their immoralities, and even by their crimes.

Decorative rule

      In the last thirty years Society in Great Britain has been nearly turned upside-down: it may be feared that in the next thirty years it will run too much into the contrary extreme.   (1816).

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Fragment of an intended Periodical Paper to be called


Dec. 1. 1811.    
      The reflections, which we suffer to vanish without utterance, leave behind them no satisfactory consciousness to fill up the blank of pleasures or of duties, when we look back on the time that they employed. No one can give a simple and unaffected delineation of his mind, without securing the interest and sympathy of many readers.
      It is this which actuates the holder of an idle and desultory pen to pour out the moral stores of a plaintive mind to those who will listen to his lucubrations. He offers no false lures in his title: he suspects that he shall scarce ever be able to avoid melancholy; because it seems to have unalterably tinctured his intellectual character, both natural and acquired; from his birth as well as from the accidents of his passage through the world. Whoever loves only what is lively and witty, whoever delights to treat life as a jest, will find no entertainment here.
      But in the journey through this vale of tears, how many must there be, whom disappointments have made, even against their will, thoughtful and full of gentle sorrow! Prosperity may harden the heart, and produce a selfish gaiety: but Misfortune is
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abroad in the world, and has its victims in every direction. Rank and wealth are not protected from it; and Poverty and Obscurity feel the lash or the contortions of the oppressor, through every part of civil society.
      He, on whose observation the woes of humanity never force themselves, or who can contemplate them without a tear, is not of an enviable frame. He is not made of those nice materials, that qualify him for the higher pleasures which yet our earthly pilgrimage affords: those charms of nature, which, associated with our moral feelings, are more exquisite even than poet ever painted them.
      See but the woodman returning along the leaf-strown path through the solemn close of a November evening to the blazing hearth of his solitary cottage! How are the heart, and fancy, which are delicately constituted, overpowered by such a picture with sensations and images of the most tender pleasure! In such a sight there is

" A sober certainty of waking bliss,"

which none but a pensive mind can conceive.
      It is only by moral combinations that the highest charm of rural scenery can be produced. Mrs. Charlotte Smith, if the writer mistakes not, used to say, that almost the only balm for her griefs was the open air. It braces the nerves; it refreshes the

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senses with fragrance; it gives a rich depth of colouring to the painful contemplations of the soul.
      Let not, therefore, the flippant and light-hearted condemn these effusions, as if their subjects were inconsistent with pleasure!

Decorative rule

      In the time of James I. and Charles I. there are a few solitary instances of English Commoners elevated to Scotch Peerages. This was the case with Sir Henry Carey, created Viscount Falkland; Sir Walter Aston, the Ambassador to Spain, created Lord Aston; Sir Thomas Fairfax, created Lord Fairfax; . . . . . .  Constable, created Viscount Dunbar, and Cheyney, Viscount Newhaven. In the same period numerous Scotchmen were raised to the English peerage. But Irish nobility seems to have been more easily accessible to those English gentry, who had not interest enough to obtain a seat in the Upper House of the superior Kingdom. This occurred in the instances of Viscount Sefton, Viscount Fitzwilliam, Viscount Wenman, Viscount Kilmorey, Viscount Strangford, Lord Sherard, and many others. It was, perhaps, not quite consistent with good faith to the sister kingdom, to confer this high legislative privilege on aliens, whose property and residence lay in another country. To the individual families
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it was a boon not altogether light; and often became a step to the English peerage.
      The greater part of the present Peerage of Scotland were made after King James ascended the English throne; and I doubt, if altogether, or even for the most part, they were selected from the prime gentry, in birth quality and estate, of their own country. They seem rather, in numerous cases, to have been dependents on the Court, who were either younger brothers, or had raised themselves from obscurity by personal exertions.

Decorative rule

      It seldom happens that an author obtains great command of language without long practice, as well as natural fertility of mind. Ease is the most attractive of all the charms of style. It is the prime grace of Addison; it adds to the incomparable and overwhelming enchantment of Burke. A writer may have rich and beautiful ideas without words; but it is impossible that he should command eloquent, affecting, and proper words without ideas. Fools have accused Burke of gorgeous and empty sound, without sense: if ever there was an author, whose language was informed by soul and substance, it was Burke.

Decorative rule

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Poetical Fragment,


O Muse, whose airy images can charm
Dull Solitude, and cruel Grief disarm,
O let me court thee, while thy favouring smile
Seems willing these sad moments to beguile;
O let me catch and fix those fleeting forms,
Whose glowing beauty all my fancy warms ;
Let me where-e'er thy meteor-beams may glance,
Faithful pursue the quick ideal dance!
Thou hear'st : I mount thy car : and as we go,
The winged coursers leave the earth below;
Proudly we view, as on the clouds we tread,
The glowing landscape wide beneath us spread;
See the deep forest, see the opening lawn
Where, bursting from the green wood, leaps the fawn!
And see where yonder turrets boldly rise
To crown the shade, and glitter to the skies:
There first thy musing fix : thy pencil take ;
And from thy harp's soft strings a prelude wake!
Hark! the loud bell along the close retreats
Strikes the deep call, which Echo still repeats:
To the glad Hall the portals open wide,
And Feast and Hospitality preside ;
There reverend Age, his toil and dangers o'er,
Tells of the trophies, which in youth he bore;
There the young hero, to his Father's fame
Aspiring, feeds Ambition's burning flame;
Young Beauty there, whom yet no Loves inspire,
Nurses the charms that soon will set the world on fire.
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There in the spreading trees, and silent walks,
Sweet Nature to the quiet student talks;
The unfledg'd Poet tries his feeble wings,
And bids his wild harp wake its trembling strings.
But mark on yonder hill the aspiring dome,
Whose garish views o'er half the county roam;
Mark upstart riches arm the deadly stroke,
That all the Dryads of the wood hath woke:
Wide spreads the ruin; smooth the plains appear;
And falls the proud Oak in his thousandth year.
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Decorative rule

      He who is irritable, is always at the mercy of the calm, or the hard. Talents, respectability, virtue, will not protect him: Self-possession will always seem like superiority and victory.

Decorative rule

      The human mind, when it has been long intensely applied to some particular branch of knowledge, although it thus may be made astonishingly acute in that single study, not unfrequently becomes dull, and apparently even impotent, in every other.

Decorative rule

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      Of all the painful passions to which we are subject, if passion it may be called, perhaps Vanity least obtains the gratification which it seeks. All to whom the vain man directs his operations are up in arms against the grant of the food which he asks. Instead of acquiring credit for that which does not belong to him, he is refused, in the attempt, even that which is his right. Human sagacity is never more alive than against these pretensions: it detects them in a moment; and then turns a deaf, or scornful, ear to all that the pretender can offer. There is a family in the English Peerage, which about seventy years ago became peculiarly anxious to magnify the antiquity and lustre of its origin. They had grounds for some portion at least of that, of which they were thus anxious to obtain the credit. But from that time their pretensions in this way have been treated with laughter and jest, as utterly novi homines. Lord Chesterfield made them the subject of his witticisms; and even the candid and benevolent Mrs. Katherine Talbot could not refrain from turning them into ridicule for this intemperate ostentation. Yet these offenders were neither of light qualities, nor light characters. They filled high stations in the state by the force of their abilities; and discharged important business with energy and wisdom.

Decorative rule

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      Dr. Johnson is an instance how the powers of understanding and eloquence may gradually prevail over the public mind. A man of obscure birth, uncouth person; rude, forbidding and pedantic manners; of an unbending and bitter temper; a dependent on the Booksellers, for whom he worked for hire; was at first little calculated to win his way by writings marked with a stern and melancholy morality, and expressed in a style, which, however lofty and impressive, was too abstracted, too remote from common usage, and, if I may say so, too unvernacular to attract the general reader! Polite scholars, too much under the influence of fashion, spoke of him slightly, as one Johnson, a pedagogue, who in spite of his uncourtly pomposities, might be sometimes endured for occasional flashes of strength and originality. This was the mode, if my memory does not fail me, in which Gray alluded to him, in some of his private Letters. Meantime his moral wisdom, his comprehensive and luminous powers of ratiocination, his powerful, though inflated language, and the elevated firmness of his character, were gradually prostrating the public neglect and contempt; and raising in their stead admirers, flatterers, and imitators. The Great themselves began to invite and listen to him; and to boast of having seen and
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heard him: and more than twenty years of his latter days were passed in the sun-shine of society. It was a proud and gratifying course of life; as honourable to the age, as to him who commanded it. He dignified the circles into which he entered; and exalted their vanity and ambition. I wish that he had been more courteous; and had not loved victory so intemperately; and had borne with more ease and kindness " a brother near the throne." I wish that his taste had been more pure, and his imagination more cultivated. I wish that his classical knowledge had been more correct, and that he had cherished a kindlier affection for those excursions of the Muse which are her highest ornaments, and the best proofs of her power. But I cannot refuse to bow at the shrine of his wisdom, his eloquence, and his genius! not, I hope, as a blind idolator; but as a discriminating, sober, and stedfast votary!

Decorative rule

      Perpetual association with men, whose wits necessity, ambition, and experience have sharpened, incredibly improves the outward appearance of intellectual ability. Solitude gives a rust, which obscures the brightest faculties.

Decorative rule

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      Every one, who furnishes a fair picture of his own intellectual operations, contributes materials to the philosophy of the human mind. The manner in which ideas rise, the natural train of thoughts, is always curious and interesting. In some they start up in such rich combinations, and are tinged with so strong a sensibility of the heart, that the relation of them wakes a congenial assemblage in all readers or hearers of congenial taste: while in others they are excited slowly and sparingly, in faint colours, and unaccompanied by any train of attendants, and void of all emotion and sentiment. It is delightful, and at the same time very highly instructive, to study these varieties in the natural and artificial construction of human beings.
      The treasures and amusements of the former are principally within themselves; while those of the latter must be principally sought from without.
      Without this knowledge, who is fitted to judge of the diversified pleasures and wants of mankind? Who can have skill in morals, or find balm for the wounded spirit? It is the vacant mind which most requires company; and can find no occupation but while material objects force themselves upon its senses.

Decorative rule

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      Perhaps a deep knowledge of the world, of the talents and passions of mankind, and of the manner in which they operate on themselves and others; the result to be expected from them; and the degree in which, in their various combinations, they confer happiness or esteem, is that which is most useful, if not most brilliant.
      It cannot be attained without a natural sagacity, aided by continual observation. A mere acquaintance with fashionable circles, in their widest extent, will not effect it, let it be as intimate as it may. Men, by whom the important affairs of society are conducted, must be seen in their workings, and in their hours of emotion. The success of intrigue must ever be distinguished from that which flows from ability. Ability is simple, direct, and frank: Intrigue is dark in thought, though open and smiling in countenance; subtle, flattering, and false.

Decorative rule

      If varied richness of mental stores, and warmth of genius to keep them in perpetual activity, could have constituted human happiness, Burke would have been one of the happiest of men! But a very irritable temper, and the difficulties of private fortune, probably made him far otherwise.

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      Beattie, unlike Burke in the whole structure of his mind, was yet a still greater victim to private sorrows. The history of his last days is so afflicting as to overcome the reader of sensibility with gloom and despondence. The lights of his genius no longer broke through the darkness that surrounded him; and he pined in hopeless solitude, amid phantoms of sorrow and alarm. The visions of The Minstrel had vanished with his earlier days; and he looked back on them with regret and shame, rather than with a generous and glowing pride.

Decorative rule

      If I have formed different opinions of the first qualities and duties of authors from those of the generality of the world, they have yet been formed not without great consideration, and the attention of many years. It is the command of sentiment and expression, which distinguishes a literary genius. Mere details of facts, or the results of particular knowledge, may form useful books; but the hand of the master-workman exhibits much more: it is not so much in the quantity or value, as in the use of his materials that he excels.
      What are the mingled ingredients that are ne-
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cessary to constitute the powers of this highly-endowed Being, it is too fearful a task to attempt to analyze. One thing is certain, that without a tremulous sensibility of the heart the main fountain is wanting. I have observed that all writings, of which the effects and the popularity are permanent and extensive, are distinguished by a large proportion of moral feeling.
      To describe the emotions of the bosom as they intuitively associate themselves with all the scenery of Nature and the occurrences of life; to encourage the amiable and virtuous, and shew the ugliness and the pain of the bad, may seem an easy task; but does any but the pen of Genius venture on it?
      This is the first charm of the first of our poets, Shakespeare; it is the first charm of two of our most popular moderns, Gray and Cowper. It constitutes the magic of Cowley and Addison, and the attraction of Johnson in prose.
      If we look abroad upon the world with this view, how endless are the subjects before us; how interesting and beautiful the pictures! The cottager retiring from the fields to his home at night; his children tripping through the dews at the dawn of day; how touching to imagine and delineate the glow of their hearts!
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-         -         -         -         -         -         -         -

Decorative rule

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Arm'd at all points with nicely-balanc'd lance,
See a new Knight in fearless pace advance ;
Vizor'd awhile he dares the cruel fight,
In search of foolish Pride and envious Spite !
Wide is the world, and wide is Folly's reign ;
The Giant Vices stalk upon the plain :
Around they flock, on every side assail,
And trust that numbers must at length prevail !
But the Knight's sword is of etherial mould,
Truth points his spear, in Virtue's vigour bold :
He pants to lay the treacherous foeman low;
And at thy feet, O Genius, garlands throw.
Brays the loud onset of opposing Might,
And tremble all the Mob in puny fright:
Prone on his face the' unwieldy monster falls ;
Or drives his brainless skull against the walls !
To new adventures onward spurns his steed
The' elastic Knight, o'er hill, and vale, and mead.
What gay encounter wilt thou next explore,
Unaw'd by Dullness in her loudest roar,
Thou ever-daring Spirit, in whose soul
Flames the long-during fire, that spurns controul.
    O ye, who Dryden's mighty Muse inspir'd,
And taught Pope's hands to strike the strings untir'd,
Pour on the generous hero all your smiles ;
And gaily lead him through his ceaseless toils.
Mounted aloft, ye see in every dell
Falsehood her wiles prepare ; and Malice swell !
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With leering eyes she sits, her bloated form
With blood just suck'd from human misery warm !
Hypocrisy ye see, that, while in guise
Of heavenly Charity, at Woe she sighs,
Covers the harden'd heart, that never knows,
Except for wretched self, Emotion's throes :
Him too ye see that imp of Ignorance,
Pride, that looks grave and high, for want of sense :
Stripp'd of their masks, ye see the whole array
Of motley Passions aiming at their prey ;
And well can point the spear, and guide the blows,
That give the Knight in Victory's arms repose.
Ah ! dauntless as he is, the blasts of Hell
On his bright armour cast a blighting spell !
Through murky pests of air full oft he wades,
And pierces gloomy through demoniac shades.
Rain pours; and lightnings flash; and thunders roll ;
And tempests shake the globe from pole to pole.
    The war of elements can ne'er appal
Him, whom the fairy lights of Glory call ;
As the plot thickens, how his swelling breast
Strives that his worth on nobler feats should rest.
    Thou meanest of the vile degenerate worms,
Whom Heaven permits to crawl in human forms,
In whose dull skulking eye no darken'd ray
Of casual goodness opes a glimpse of day :
Where hatred, cowardice, and vengeful ire,
The stench-like cauldron of the bosom fire !
Thou who for five long lustres deep hast nurst
That unforgiveness which thy nature curst :
Thou, who to each nice sense of honour sear'd,
Thy state on others ruin'd names hast rear'd !
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O thou, whose toils no rolling year saw end,
Still at thy work the poison'd dart to send !
Does pomp console thee ? Does the prancing steed
The ravenous vulture of thy bosom feed ?
Does the gay tinsel of the liveried slave
The scorn of those whom thou hast injur'd brave ?
While puff'd with pride, thy pale and sallow cheek
Seems yet some sickly gleam of joy to speak,
As pacing pompous down the crowded street,
Some cringing bowing fool thou happ'st to meet ;
What if some injur'd neighbour blasts thy sight,
Can prosperous fortune calm thy guilty fright ?
With sinking heart, and eyes averted low,
Deep to the kindred dirt thou turn'st thy brow :
Then hurrying by, with every nerve at wreck,
Thou feel'st the whip and scorpion at thy back !
What star malign presided at thy birth ?
How sprung so sad an animal on earth ?
Did never in thy heart, from boyish days,
Nature one passing gleam of goodness raise ?
From boyish days ? Ah, no ! averse to joy,
From infancy thou never wert a boy !
Pedantic, prosing, peevish, fearful, sad,
In Envy's yellow dark-grain'd vesture clad,
On every youthful hope, like blight thou cam'st,
And, still, as then, each rising pleasure tam'st !
    Scorn of the generous, laughter of the gay,
From whom indignant Virtue turns away ;
That gallant Knight, who thus steps forth to-day,
Shall pass from thee to less ignoble prey !
Unworthy of the prowess of his spear,
Go, steep thy faults in Shame's o'erwhelming tear!
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    And thou, O Knight, where-e'er thy fate impels,
At Pleasure's banquets, or in Vice's cells,
Drop not the vigorous arm, and ardent eye,
But hear the sorrowing foe's repentant sigh !
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Decorative rule

      Mere practical men have no conception of any talents, which do not prove themselves by practical prudence. It is the command of the passions, and a close and minute attention, which is requisite to prudent conduct. To see what is right, and to practise it, are widely different. To direct, and to perform, often require opposite qualities, and different tempers. It is not by brilliant bursts of the mind, but by daily plodding, that success in the world is secured. Men of genius seldom grow rich; and the most stupid man has understanding enough to make his fortune.

Decorative rule

      The first days of Spring impart a feeling, as if we were born into a new existence. The gentle light invests every object of Nature with a smile; and first swells, and then melts the heart.
Decorative rule

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Fragment introductory of an intended Periodical Paper,
to be entitled


" Illusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams."        Milton.
" Just as the melancholic eye
   Sees fleets and armies in the sky."        Prior.
      Barren and dreary is the world to him, whose mind is not lighted up by Fancy. To him the varying scenes of Nature, the change of Seasons, the mountain and valley, the emerald meadow and yellow corn-field, are peopled with no pleasures, and touch no strings of the heart. To the man of imagination, living shapes, invisible to common eyes, adhere to all the prospects of the material creation. He, who can paint these best, possesses the purest and most unequivocal powers of Poetry.
      But many of them may also be siezed not unsuccessfully by the pen of the prose-writer. And honourable is the task, which can thus be performed. We do not want merely intellectual instruction, but intellectual amusement also. Whatever refines the understanding, and meliorates the affections, is of more extensive and permanent use than the clearest details of a single science, or the most irrefragible results of a particular knowledge. The great mass of mankind are but little interested in the discoveries
p.40 /
of mathematicians, the deductions of financiers, or the schemes of statesmen. But to exhibit the daily picture of the involuntary operations of the human mind, independent of its narrow and necessary employments; to trace the natural associations of its ideas, and develop the forms, which by intermixing themselves with the numerous objects of our contemplation give them the character of pleasure or pain, is a work as important and delightful, if conquered, as it is perilous to undertake.
      Sydney has said in his Arcadia, that

" Both trees and each thing else be the books to a fancy."

And Shakespeare still more beautifully makes the Duke, in As you like it, say, when in the forest of Arden,

- - - - - "This our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing."

It is to translate and interpret some of the contents of such books that we enter on the airy enterprize, too likely to elude our efforts.
      When we revisit, after long absence, the places of our childhood, how numerous are the images starting up in every part of them, which none but ourselves can see! These phantasms of our former pleasures, how interesting would it be to describe in all their glowing colours! And then to shew them
p.41 /
mellowed by the contrast of the Sorrows which have risen in their rear!
      It is true that there are Phantasms of evil, as well as of good, such as the mottos of this paper allude to: such also, as when

      " Beckoning the wretch to torments new
         Despair for ever in his view
             A spectre pale appears ;
         While, as the shades of Eve" impend,
         " And bring the day's unwelcome" end,
" More horrible and huge her giant shape she rears!"a

    T. Warton's Suicide.

      Thus it is that Superstition beholds the meteors of Autumn,

- - - - - - - - " and into wond'rous shapes
The' appearance throws, - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - while busy frenzy talks
Of blood and battles; cities overturn'd,
And late at night in swallowing earthquake sunk,
Or hideous wrapt in fierce ascending flame," &c.b

    Thomson's Autumn.

But images, frightful in themselves, create a delightful awe, when presented through the medium of verbal description.
      Without contemplating the effect of the combination of intellect with matter, we shall have but a very imperfect idea of the world into which human beings are born. It is the richness of mind which gives to matter all its attraction, and clothes it in

p.42 /
colours of sublimity, beauty, or pain. To strip it of these hues, which a cold and narrow philosophy may call delusive, is to deprive it of all its moral and best properties.
      In Thomson's Seasons, which in subject and manner may as justly claim the praise of originality as any in our language, perhaps this combination is not sufficiently pursued; and the want of it makes them fall short of that highest tone which the Bard is capable of reaching. More nobly does Gray touch all the chords of the feeling and cultivated heart. Look at his Prospect of Eton College! See how every spot is peopled with Phantasms of human beings in every variety of character and passion! Look at his still more beautiful Fragment on Vicissitude, and his pathetic Church-yard, filled with the images of departed villagers in all the picturesque occupations of rural life! Whence derives the Poet his title, but from such creatures?

- - - - - - - - - - - - " to give to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name."

He deals in imagery, and the emotions accompanying it; and nothing else possesses the character of his art! He looks abroad upon Nature in every aspect, and beholds its influence on some being of his fancy, whom he places in every picture which he contemplates. But in all this, he only follows up with the
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colours of his language and the touches of his pen, of which the superior brilliance of his powers gives him the command, the natural visions, that have impressed themselves more dimly on others.
      From his earliest infancy, the sensibility and strength of his perception of outward objects, has filled him with a liveliness of sensation, which never ceases to return with the recollection of those objects. Then, as his stores increase, new-arranging and re-combining with a perpetual activity, he accumulates upon some fond spot the assemblage of his intellectual forms. If he groups after the manner of Nature, if he grasps, only with more success, at the phantoms which flit before the common eye, then will he find a mirror in every bosom, and be hailed with joy and admiration. This is the reason that the wildest of Shakespeare's inventions find a sympathy in every reader: while such artifical [lit.] combinations as are produced in The Rape of the Lock attract the interest only of the cold scholar, and the admirer of the arts of literary composition.
      These are the tests by which we should try real poetical genius. All else will lead away from its essence to its mechanism; from its soul to its outward form.
      A chill, sterile bosom; a calculating, analyzing, sceptical understanding, are utter opposites to the powers of genius. A bard may subject his fancy to
p.44 /
judgement; a man of cold sense can never elevate his judgment into fancy.
      If, instead of the dry and dubious deductions of the understanding, these papers shall endeavour to trace out the unforced course of ideas which the scenery of the world is apt to generate, and thence either amuse the imagination, or enrich the stores of moral reflection, the time and the spirits that are spent in composing them will not be idly thrown away, nor will the effort be inconsistent with the title which has been assumed.

Decorative rule

      Intermixed with my own opinions, it may give variety to preserve some Literary Notices of a very eminent Historian, Antiquary, and Divine of former days; I mean Dr. White Kennett, Bishop of Peterborough, a native of Dover, in Kent; which I extracted some years ago from his original Diary, among the Lansdowne MSS. in the British Museum.

    Lansdowne MSS. 990.

     Cooper, Author of the Dictionary, afterwards Bishop of Winchester, had a lewd wife, who was the

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occasion of Martin Marprelate's entitling one of his pamphlets, More Work for the Cooper.

      None more notable example of untoward boys proving eminent, than that of Dr. Barrow, whose father had so small hopes of him while a school-boy, that he was wont many times in a passion to say, ' that if God took away any of his sons, he wished it might be Isaac.'

      King Charles the First took great delight in lying on his back by the side of Dover Cliffs, and shooting sea-mews flying.

      Delivered the Translation of Moriæ Encomium to Anthony Stephens, for which received a bill of 5l. to be paid within three months. I stand indebted to him for books 3 l. assigned the other 40s. over to my friend Codrington.

      Joh. Kennett Dunelmensis, filius 1 Gul. Kennett de Coxhow, in Comitat. ib. Arm. nat. an. 16. Entry at Queen's College, 1637.

      A letter from Mr. Allans. The Poem of Agathocles wrote by Hog, a Bachelor, Fellow of St. John's, Oxf.   Heynes's Triumphs of Loyalty censured for a very poor and mean piece of poetry. The Protestant Reconciler fathered on Dr. Dan. Wheatley.

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      Blome's Britannia is dedicated to the King: very exact in naming particular market days. His Catalogue of Gentry at the end is very deficient, and supposed to contain such only as gave him money.

     Sept. 6, 1682. The present Lord Chancellor, taxed for his too dilatory proceedings, contrary to the commendable practice of the Lord Egerton, who in the Court despatched business with so great expedition, that coming to the Chancery one morning there was not one suit depending, which was accordingly registered to his eternal honour.

      On the tomb-stone of Mrs. Yorke, in St. James's, Dover, this fancy:

Regnat, ubi jam lex Salica nulla vetat.

      William Noy, Attorney General in the beginning of King Charles the First, the Lawyer of Ship-Money, of an incredible industry in searching the Tower Records. A very pat anagram on his name,
William Noy.
I moyle in law.

      Heard Mr. Dryden's Dedication, of the first part of Plutarch's Lives to the Duke of Ormond, commended for one of the best Essays of eloquent English that ever was writ.

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      Went to Mr. Brome's, and with him to Folkstone. In discourse contracted my judgment of our late poets in this censure: that Jonson and Dryden were Poetæ facti, non nati. Davenant was natus, non factus; the incomparable Cowley was both; and all the rest were neither.

      Mr. Christopher Wase charactered for one of all men best qualified for a Commentator on classic authors; only to be doubted his style would be too obscure. Expelled from his Fellowship of St. John 's, in Cambridge, for writing some pamphlet, and forging another's hand. For some time Latin Secretary to Sir Joseph Williamson.

      Dr. Tillotson and Dr. Spratt supposed the two Divines that recommended to Mr. Lestrange for his licence Mr. Clifford's Treatise of Human Reason.

      That Mr. Davis gave twenty guineas for the copy of Mr. Parsons's Sermon on the Funeral of the Lord Rochester, and printed fourteen thousand of it.

     Tully's Offices could verbatim be recited memoriter by the best Statesman, and most able Divine, that England ever bred, Lord Burleigh and Bishop Saunderson.

      Thomas Lord Coventry, when Chancellor of Eng-

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land, said oft at Dinner, ' I am sure I have done justice to-day ; for I have displeased both parties.'

      At Holmby, when Mr. Marshal was to say Grace for his Majesty, and was a great while forming his lips, the King had said Grace for himself, and had eat a good part of his dinner, before the Chaplain had done a blessing ; and told him he did not intend to let his meat be cold, while he stood whistling for the Spirit.

Decorative rule

      The conversation of men of the world is almost always made up of particulars: the philosopher deals in abstract wisdom, and general positions. To mix these in their due proportions is to acquire a felicity of mental wealth, and mental arrangement, of which the intellectual world has exhibited few examples.

Young deer through trees forming arch, published size 4.6cm wide by 3.75cm high.

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Further pages from the private press of Lee Priory, Kent.