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All I was wretched by to you I owed;
Alone from strangers every comfort flowed!
Lost to the life you gave, your son no more,
And now adopted, who was doomed before,
New born, I may a nobler mother claim,
But dare not whisper her immortal name;
Supremely lovely, and serenely great,
Majestic mother of a kneeling state;
Queen of a people's heart, who ne'er before
Agreed-yet now with one consent adore!
One contest yet remains in this desire,

Who most shall give applause where all admire.

[From The Wanderer.]

Yon mansion, made by beaming tapers gay,
Drowns the dim night, and counterfeits the day;
From lumined windows glancing on the eye,
Around, athwart, the frisking shadows fly.
There midnight riot spreads illusive joys,
And fortune, health, and dearer time destroys.
Soon death's dark agent to luxuriant ease
Shall wake sharp warnings in some fierce disease.
O man! thy fabric 's like a well-formed state;

Thy thoughts, first ranked, were sure designed the


Passions plebeians are, which faction raise;
Wine, like poured oil, excites the raging blaze;
Then giddy anarchy's rude triumphs rise:
Then sovereign Reason from her empire flies:
That ruler once deposed, wisdom and wit,
To noise and folly place and power submit ;
Like a frail bark thy weakened mind is tost,
Unsteered, unbalanced, till its wealth is lost.

The miser-spirit eyes the spendthrift heir,
And mourns, too late, effects of sordid care.
His treasures fly to cloy each fawning slave,
Yet grudge a stone to dignify his grave.
For this, low-thoughted craft his life employed;
For this, though wealthy, he no wealth enjoyed;
For this, he griped the poor, and alms denied,
Unfriended lived, and unlamented died.
Yet smile, grieved shade! when that unprosperous


Fast lessens, when gay hours return no more;
Smile at thy heir, beholding, in his fall,
Men once obliged, like him, ungrateful all!
Then thought-inspiring wo his heart shall mend,
And prove his only wise, unflattering friend.

Folly exhibits thus unmanly sport,

While plotting mischief keeps reserved her court.
Lo! from that mount, in blasting sulphur broke,
Stream flames voluminous, enwrapped with smoke!
In chariot-shape they whirl up yonder tower,
Lean on its brow, and like destruction lower!
From the black depth a fiery legion springs;
Each bold bad spectre claps her sounding wings:
And straight beneath a summoned, traitorous band,
On horror bent, in dark convention stand:
From each fiend's mouth a ruddy vapour flows,
Glides through the roof, and o'er the council glows:
The villains, close beneath the infection pent,
Feel, all possessed, their rising galls ferment;
And burn with faction, hate, and vengeful ire,
For rapine, blood, and devastation dire!
But justice marks their ways: she waves in air
The sword, high-threatening, like a comet's glare.
While here dark villany herself deceives,
There studious honesty our view relieves.
A feeble taper from yon lonesome room,
Scattering thin rays, just glimmers through the

There sits the sapient bard in museful mood,
And glows impassioned for his country's good!
All the bright spirits of the just combined,
Inform, refine, and prompt his towering mind!

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Mr Southey has incautiously ventured a statement in his Life of Cowper,' that Blair's Grave is the only poem he could call to mind which has been composed in imitation of the Night Thoughts.' 'The Grave' was written prior to the publication of the Night Thoughts,' and has no other resemblance to the work of Young, than that it is of a serious devout cast, and is in blank verse. The author was an accomplished and exemplary Scottish clergyman, who enjoyed some private fortune, independent of his profession, and was thus enabled to live in a superior style, and cultivate the acquaintance of the neighbouring gentry. As a poet of pleasing and elegant manners, a botanist and florist, as well as a man of scientific and general knowledge, his society was much courted, and he enjoyed the correspondence of Dr Isaac Watts and Dr Doddridge. Blair was born in Edinburgh in 1699, his father being minister of the Old Church there. In 1731 he was appointed to the living of Athelstaneford, a parish

in East Lothian. Previous to his ordination, he had

written The Grave,' and submitted the manuscript to Watts and Doddridge. It was published in 1743. Blair died at the age of forty-seven, in February 1746. By his marriage with a daughter of Mr Law, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh (to whose memory he dedicated a poem), he left a numerous family; and his fourth son, a distinguished lawyer, rose to be Lord President of the Court of Session.

'The Grave' is a complete and powerful poem, of limited design, but masterly execution. The subject precluded much originality of conception, but, at the same time, is recommended by its awful importance and its universal application. The style seems to be formed upon that of the old sacred and puritanical poets, elevated by the author's admiration of Milton and Shakspeare. There is a Scottish presbyterian character about the whole, relieved by occasional flashes and outbreaks of true genius. These coruscations sometimes subside into low and vulgar ideas, as towards the close of the following noble passage:—

Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?
The Roman Cæsars and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story? Where the hot-brained youth,
Who the tiara at his pleasure tore

From kings of all the then discovered globe;
And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hampered,
And had not room enough to do its work?
Alas, how slim-dishonourably slim !
And crammed into a space we blush to name !
Proud royalty! How altered in thy looks!
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue!
Son of the morning! whither art thou gone?
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar? Pliant and powerless now:
Like new-born infant wound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath his sacrificer's knife;
Mute must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base-born crowd,
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hoped for in the peaceful grave-
Of being unmolested and alone!
Arabia's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And honours by the heralds duly paid
In mode and form, e'en to a very scruple;
(Oh cruel irony!) these come too late,
And only mock whom they were meant to honour!

The death of the strong man is forcibly depicted

Strength, too! thou surly and less gentle boast
Of those that laugh loud at the village ring!
A fit of common sickness pulls thee down
With greater ease than e'er thou didst the stripling
That rashly dared thee to the unequal fight.
What groan was that I heard? Deep groan, indeed,
With anguish heavy laden! let me trace it:
From yonder bed it comes, where the strong man,
By stronger arm belaboured, gasps for breath
Like a hard-hunted beast. How his great heart
Beats thick his roomy chest by far too scant
To give the lungs full play! What now avail
The strong-built sinewy limbs and well-spread

See, how he tugs for life, and lays about him,
Mad with his pain! Eager he catches hold
Of what comes next to hand, and grasps it hard,
Just like a creature drowning. Hideous sight!
Oh how his eyes stand out, and stare full ghastly!
While the distemper's rank and deadly venom
Shoots like a burning arrow 'cross his bowels,
And drinks his marrow up. Heard you that groan?
It was his last. See how the great Goliah,
Just like a child that brawled itself to rest,
Lies still. What mean'st thou then, O mighty boaster,
To vaunt of nerves of thine? What means the bull,
Unconscious of his strength, to play the coward,
And flee before a feeble thing like man;
That, knowing well the slackness of his arm,
Trusts only in the well-invented knife?

In our extracts from Congreve, we have quoted a passage, much admired by Johnson, descriptive of the awe and fear inspired by a cathedral scene at midnight, where all is hushed and still as death.' Blair has ventured on a similar description, and has imparted to it a terrible and gloomy power

See yonder hallowed fane! the pious work
Of names once famed, now dubious or forgot,
And buried midst the wreck of things which were:
There lie interred the more illustrious dead.
The wind is up: hark! how it howls! methinks
Till now I never heard a sound so dreary!
Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul bird,
Rocked in the spire, screams loud: the gloomy aisles,
Black - plastered, and hung round with shreds of

And tattered coats of arms, send back the sound,
Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults,
The mansions of the dead. Roused from their slumbers,
In grim array the grisly spectres rise,
Grin horrible, and, obstinately sullen,
Pass and repass, hushed as the foot of night.
Again the screech-owl shrieks-ungracious sound!
I'll hear no more; it makes one's blood run chill.
With tenderness equal to his strength, Blair la-
ments the loss of death-divided friendships-

Invidious Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder
Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one!
A tie more stubborn far than nature's band.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweetener of life! and solder of society!
I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved from me
Far, far beyond what I can ever pay.
Oft have I proved the labours of thy love,
And the warm efforts of thy gentle heart,
Anxious to please. Oh! when my friend and I
In some thick wood have wandered heedless on,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down
Upon the sloping cowslip-covered bank,
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along
In grateful errors through the underwood,

Sweet murmuring, methought the shrill-tongued


Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird
Mellowed his pipe, and softened every note:
The eglantine smelled sweeter, and the rose
Assumed a dye more deep; whilst every flower
Vied with its fellow-plant in luxury

Of dress! Oh! then the longest summer's day
Seemed too, too much in haste: still, the full heart
Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness
Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed
Not to return, how painful the remembrance!

Some of his images are characterised by a Shakspearian force and picturesque fancy of suicides he says

The common damned shun their society,
And look upon themselves as fiends less foul.
Men see their friends

Drop off like leaves in autumn; yet launch out
Into fantastic schemes, which the long livers
In the world's hale and undegenerate days
Would scarce have leisure for.

The divisions of churchmen are for ever closed-
The lawn-robed prelate and plain presbyter,
Erewhile that stood aloof, as shy to meet,
Familiar mingle here, like sister-streams
That some rude interposing rock has split.
Man, sick of bliss, tried evil; and, as a result-
The good he scorned

Stalked off reluctant, like an ill-used ghost,
Not to return; or, if it did, in visits,

Like those of angels, short and far between. The latter simile has been appropriated by Mr Campbell, in his Pleasures of Hope,' with one slight verbal alteration, which can scarcely be called an improvement

What though my winged hours of bliss have been, Like angel visits, few and far between.

The original comparison seems to belong to an obscure religious poet, Norris of Bemerton, who, prior to Blair, wrote a poem, 'The Parting,' which contains the following verse :

How fading are the joys we dote upon;
Like apparitions seen and gone;

But those who soonest take their flight,
Are the most exquisite and strong,

"Like angels' visits short and bright; Mortality's too weak to bear them long. The conclusion of 'The Grave' has been pronounced to be inferior to the earlier portions of the poem ; yet the following passage has a dignity, pathos, and devotional rapture, equal to the higher flights of Young:

Thrice welcome, Death!

That, after many a painful bleeding step,
Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe
On the long-wished-for shore. Prodigious change!
Our bane turned to a blessing! Death, disarmed,
Loses his fellness quite; all thanks to Him
Who scourged the venom out. Sure the last end
Of the good man is peace! How calm his exit!
Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground,
Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him! in the evening tide of life,
A life well spent, whose early care it was
His riper years should not upbraid his green:
By unperceived degrees he wears away;
Yet, like the sun, seems larger at his setting!
High in his faith and hopes, look how he reaches
After the prize in view! and, like a bird
That's hampered, struggles hard to get away!
Whilst the glad gates of sight are wide expanded
To let new glories in, the first fair fruits
Of the fast-coming harvest. Then, oh then,


Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears,
Shrunk to a thing of nought! Oh, how he longs
To have his passport signed, and be dismissed!
'Tis done and now he's happy! The glad soul
Has not a wish uncrowned. E'en the lag flesh
Rests, too, in hope of meeting once again
Its better half, never to sunder more.
Nor shall it hope in vain: the time draws on
When not a single spot of burial earth,
Whether on land, or in the spacious sea,
But must give back its long-committed
Inviolate; and faithfully shall these
Make up the full account; not the least atom
Embezzled or mislaid of the whole tale.
Each soul shall have a body ready furnished;
And each shall have his own. Hence, ye profane!
Ask not how this can be? Sure the same power
That reared the piece at first, and took it down,
Can re-assemble the loose scattered parts,
And put them as they were. Almighty God
Hath done much more: nor is his arm impaired
Through length of days; and what he can, he will;

His faithfulness stands bound to see it done.

When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumbering dust, Not unattentive to the call, shall wake;

And every joint possess its proper place,

With a new elegance of form, unknown

To its first state. Nor shall the conscious soul
Mistake its partner, but amidst the crowd,
Singling its other half, into its arms

Shall rush, with all the impatience of a man
That's new come home, and, having long been absent,
With haste runs over every different room,
In pain to see the whole. Thrice-happy meeting!
Nor time, nor death, shall ever part them more.
"Tis but a night, a long and moonless night;
We make the grave our bed, and then are gone!
Thus, at the shut of even, the weary bird
Leaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake
Cowers down, and dozes till the dawn of day,
Then claps his well-fledged wings, and bears away.


ISAAC WATTS-a name never to be pronounced without reverence by any lover of pure Christianity,

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vided for placing him at the university, but he early inclined to the Dissenters, and he was educated at one of their establishments, taught by the Rev. Thomas Rowe. He was afterwards four years in the family of Sir John Hartopp, at Stoke Newington. Here he was chosen (1698) assistant minister by an Independent congregation, of which four years after he succeeded to the full charge; but bad health soon rendered him unfit for the performance of the heavy labours thus imposed upon him, and in his turn he required the assistance of a joint pastor. His health continuing to decline, Watts was received


Abney House. in 1712 into the house of a benevolent gentleman of his neighbourhood, Sir Thomas Abney of Abney Park, where he spent all the remainder of his life.

There is no circumstance in English literary biography parallel to the residence of this sacred bard in the house of a friend for the long period of thirty

six years. Abney House was a handsome mansion, surrounded by beautiful pleasure-grounds. He had apartments assigned to him, of which he enjoyed the use as freely as if he had been the master of the house. Dr Gibbons says, Here, without any care of his own, he had everything which could contribute to the enjoyment of life, and favour the pursuit of his studies. Here he dwelt in a family which, for piety, order, harmony, and every virtue, was a house of God. Here he had the privilege of a country recess, the fragrant bower, the spreading lawn, the flowery garden, and other advantages to soothe his mind and aid his restoration to health; to yield him, whenever he chose them, most grateful intervals from his laborious studies, and enable him to return to them with redoubled vigour and delight.' The death of Sir Thomas Abney, eight years after he went to reside with him, made no change in these agreeable arrangements, as the same benevolent patronage was extended to him by the widow, who outlived him a year. While in this retirement, he preached occasionally, but gave the most of his time to study, and to the composition of those works which have given him a name in the annals of literature. His treatises on Logic and on the Improvement of the Mind are still highly prized for their cogency of argument and felicity of illustration. Watts also wrote several theological works and volumes of sermons. His poetry consists almost wholly of devotional hymns, which, by their simplicity, their unaffected ardour, and their imagery, powerfully arrest the attention of children, and are never forgotten in mature life. In infancy we learn the hymns of Watts, as part of maternal instruction, and in youth his moral and logical treatises impart the germs of correct reasoning and virtuous selfgovernment. The life of this good and useful man terminated on the 25th of November 1748, having been prolonged to the advanced age of seventy-five.

[The Rose.]

How fair is the rose! what a beautiful flower, The glory of April and May!

But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour, And they wither and die in a day.

Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast, Above all the flowers of the field;

Behold the God! the Almighty King
Rides on a tempest's glorious wing:
His ensigns lighten round the sky,
And moving legions sound on high.
Ten thousand cherubs wait his course,
Chariots of fire and flaming horse:
Earth trembles; and her mountains flow,
At his approach, like melting snow.
But who those frowns of wrath can draw,
That strike heaven, earth, and hell, with awe?
Red lightning from his eyelids broke;
His voice was thunder, hail, and smoke.
He spake; the cleaving waters fled,
And stars beheld the ocean's bed:
While the great Master strikes his lyre,
You see the frighted floods retire:
In heaps the frighted billows stand,
Waiting the changes of his hand :
He leads his Israel through the sea,
And watery mountains guard their way.
Turning his hand with sovereign sweep,
He drowns all Egypt in the deep:
Then guides the tribes, a glorious band,
Through deserts to the promised land.

Here camps, with wide-embattled force,
Here gates and bulwarks stop their course;
He storms the mounds, the bulwark falls,
The harp lies strewed with ruined walls.
See his broad sword flies o'er the strings,
And mows down nations with their kings:
From every chord his bolts are hurled,
And vengeance smites the rebel world.
Lo! the great poet shifts the scene,
And shows the face of God serene.
Truth, meekness, peace, salvation, ride,
With guards of justice at his side.

[A Summer Evening.]

How fine has the day been, how bright was the sun,
How lovely and joyful the course that he run,
Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun,
And there followed some droppings of rain!
But now the fair traveller's come to the west,

When its leaves are all dead, and its fine colours lost, His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best;

Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!

So frail is the youth and the beauty of men,

Though they bloom and look gay like the rose; But all our fond care to preserve them is vain, Time kills them as fast as he goes.

Then I'll not be proud of my youth nor my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade;

But gain a good name by well-doing my duty;
This will scent like a rose when I'm dead.

[The Hebrew Bard.]

Softly the tuneful shepherd leads
The Hebrew flocks to flowery meads:
He marks their path with notes divine,
While fountains spring with oil and wine.
Rivers of peace attend his song,
And draw their milky train along.
He jars; and, lo! the flints are broke,
But honey issues from the rock.
When, kindling with victorious fire,
He shakes his lance across the lyre,
The lyre resounds unknown alarms,
And sets the Thunderer in arms.

He paints the sky gay as he sinks to his rest,
And foretells a bright rising again.

Just such is the Christian; his course he begins,
Like the sun in a mist, when he mourns for his sins,
And melts into tears; then he breaks out and shines,
And travels his heavenly way:

But when he comes nearer to finish his race,
Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace,
And gives a sure hope at the end of his days,
Of rising in brighter array.


EDWARD YOUNG, author of the Night Thoughts, was born in 1681 at Upham, in Hampshire, where his father (afterwards dean of Salisbury) was rector. He was educated at Winchester school, and subsequently at All Souls' college, Oxford. In 1712 he commenced public life as a courtier and poet, and he continued both characters till he was past eighty. One of his patrons was the notorious Duke of Wharton, the scorn and wonder of his days,' whom Young accompanied to Ireland in 1717. He was next tutor to Lord Burleigh, and was induced to give up this situation by Wharton, who promised to provide for him in a more suitable and ample

manner. The duke also prevailed on Young, as a scribes, must be true; but they did not permanently political supporter, to come forward as a candidate influence his conduct. He was not weaned from the for the representation of the borough of Cirencester world till age had incapacitated him for its purin parliament, and he gave him a bond for £600 to suits; and the epigrammatic point and wit of his defray the expenses. Young was defeated, Whar-Night Thoughts,' with the gloomy views it pre

Edward Young.

sents of life and religion, show the poetical artist fully as much as the humble and penitent Christian. His works are numerous; but the best are the 'Night Thoughts,' the Universal Passion,' and the tragedy of Revenge. The foundation of his great poem was family misfortune, coloured and exaggerated for poetical effect

Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?

Thy shafts flew thrice, and thrice my peace was slain; And thrice, ere thrice yon moon had filled her horn. This rapid succession of bereavements was a poetical license; for in one of the cases there was an interval of four years, and in another of seven months. The profligate character of Lorenzo has been supposed to indicate Young's own son. It seems to us a mere fancy sketch. Like the character of Childe Harold, in the hands of Byron, it afforded the poet scope for dark and powerful painting, and was made the vehicle for bursts of indignant virtue, sorrow, regret, and admonition. This artificial character pervades the whole poem, and is essentially a part of its structure. But it still leaves to our admiration many noble and sublime passages, where the poet speaks as from inspiration-with the voice of one crying in the wilderness-of life, death, and immortality. The truths of religion are enforced with a commanding energy and persuasion. Epigram and repartee are then forgotten by the poet; fancy yields to feeling; and where imagery is


ton died, and the court of chancery decided against the validity of the bond. The poet, being now quali-employed, it is select, nervous, and suitable. In fied by experience, published a satire on the Uni- this sustained and impressive style Young seldom versal Passion-the Love of Fame, which is at once remains long at a time; his desire to say witty and keen and powerful, and the nearest approach we smart things, to load his picture with supernumehave to the polished satire of Pope. When upwards rary horrors, and conduct his personages to their of fifty, Young entered the church, wrote a pane-sulphureous or ambrosial seats,' soon converts the gyric on the king, and was made one of his majesty's chaplains. Swift has said that the poet was compelled to

torture his invention

To flatter knaves, or lose his pension. But it does not appear that there was any other reward than the appointment as chaplain. In 1730, Young obtained from his college the living of Welwyn, in Hertfordshire, where he was destined to close his days. He was eager to obtain further preferment, but having in his poetry professed a strong love of retirement, the ministry seized upon this as a pretext for keeping him out of a bishopric. The poet made a noble alliance with the daughter of the Earl of Lichfield, widow of Colonel Lee, which lasted ten years, and proved a happier union than the titled marriages of Dryden and Addison. The lady had two children by her first marriage, to whom Young was warmly attached. Both died; and when the mother also followed, Young composed his Night Thoughts.' Sixty years had strengthened and enriched his genius, and augmented even the brilliancy of his fancy. In 1761 the poet was made clerk of the closet to the Princess Dowager of Wales, and died four years afterwards, in April 1765, at the advanced age of eighty-four.

A life of so much action and worldly anxiety has rarely been united to so much literary industry and genius. In his youth, Young was gay and dissipated, and all his life he was an indefatigable courtier. In his poetry he is a severe moralist and ascetic divine. That he felt the emotions he de

great poet into the painter and epigrammatist. The ingenuity of his second style is in some respects as wonderful as the first, but it is of a vastly inferior order of poetry. Mr Southey thinks, that when Johnson said (in his 'Life of Milton') that 'the good and evil of eternity were too ponderous for the wings of wit,' he forgot Young. The moral critic could not, however, but have condemned even witty thoughts and sparkling metaphors, which are so incongruous and misplaced. The Night Thoughts,' like Hudibras,' is too pointed, and too full of compressed reflection and illustration, to be read continuously with pleasure. Nothing can atone for the want of simplicity and connection in a long poem. In Young there is no plot or progressive interest. Each of the nine books is independent of the other. The general reader, therefore, seeks out favourite passages for perusal, or contents himself with a single excursion into his wide and variegated field. But the more carefully it is studied, the more extraordinary and magnificent will the entire poem appear. The fertility of his fancy, the pregnancy of his wit and knowledge, the striking and felicitous combinations everywhere presented, are indeed remarkable. Sound sense is united to poetical imagery; maxims of the highest practical value, and passages of great force, tenderness, and everlasting truth, are constantly rising, like sunshine, over the quaint and gloomy recesses of the poet's imagination

The glorious fragments of a fire immortal,
With rubbish mixed, and glittering in the dust.
After all his bustling toils and ambition, how finely

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