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creation : judge what it must have been towards his own species. He is not indeed known, through his whole life, to have given any person one moment's pain, by his writings or otherwise. He took no part in the poetical squabbles which happened in his time; and was respected and left undisturbed by both sides. He would even refuse to take offence when he justly might; by interrupting any personal story that was brought him, with some jest, or some humorous apology for the offender. Nor was he ever seen ruffled or discomposed, but when he read or heard of some flagrant instance of injustice, oppression, or cruelty; then, indeed, the strongest marks of horror and indignation were visible in his countenance.
These amiable virtues, this divine temper of mind, did not fail of their due reward. His friends loved him with enthusi'astic ardour, and lamented his untimely fate in the manner that is still fresh in every one's memory; the best and greatest men of his time hunoured him with their friendship and protection; the applause of the public attended every appearance he made; the actors, of whom the more eminent were his friends and admirers, grudging no pains to do justice to his tragedies. At present, indeed, if we except Tancred, they are seldom called for; the simplicity of his plots, and the models he worked after, not suiting the reigning taste, nor the impatience of an English theatre. They may hereafter come to be in vogue: but we hazard no comment or conjecture upon them, or upon any part of Thomson's works ; neither need they any defence or apology, after the reception they have had at home, and in the foreign languages into which they have been translated. We shall only say, that, to judge from the imitations of his manner, which have been following him close, from the very first publication of Winter, he seems to have fixed no inconsiderable æra of the English poetry.
THE DEATH OF THOMSON,
BY MR. COLLINS.
(the scene of the following stanzas is supposed to lie on the Thaines,
near Richmond.) In yonder grave a Druid lies,
Where slowly winds the stealing wave! The year's best sweets shall duteous rise
To deck its Poet's sylvan grave!
Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore
When Thames in summer wreaths is drest," And oft suspend the dashing oar
To bid his gentle spirit rest!
The harp of Æolus, of which see a description in the Castle of Indolence.
ODE ON THE DEATH OF THOMSON.'
And oft as Ease and Health retire
To breezy lawn, or forest deep,
Ah! what will every dirge avail ?
That mourn beneath the gliding sail !
Yet lives there one, whose heedless eye
Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimm'ring near? With him, sweet bard, may Fancy die,
And Joy desert the blooming year. /
But thou, lorn stream, whose sullen tide
No sedge-crown'd Sisters now attend,
Whose cold turf hides the buried friend!
The genial meads assign'd bless
Thy life, shall mourn thy early doom,
With simple hands, thy rural tomb.
Long, long, thy stone, and pointed clay,
Shall melt the musing Briton's eyes ;
In yonder grave Your Druid lies !
• Richmond Church,
THE PLAN AND CHARACTER )
WHEN a work of art, to masterly execution adds novelty of design, it demands not only a cursory admiration, but such a mature enquiry into the principles upon which it has been formed, as may determine how far it deserves to be received as a model for future attempts in the same walk. Originals are always rare productions. The performances of artists in general, even of those who stand high in their respective classes, are only imitations; which have more or less merit, in proportion to the degree of skill and judgment with which they copy originals more or less excellent. A good original, therefore, forms an æra in the art itself; and the history of every art divides itself into periods comprehending the intervals between the appearance different approved originals. Sometimes, indeed, various models of a very different cast may exercise the talents of imitators during a single period ; and this will more frequently be the case, as arts become more generally known and studied ; difference of taste being always the result of liberal and varied pursuit.
How strongly these periods are marked in the history of Poetry, both ancient and modern, a cursory view will suffice to shew. The scarcity of originals here is universally acknowledged and lamented, and the present race of poets are thought particularly chargeable with this defect. It ought, however, to be allowed in their favour, that if genius has declined, taste has improved ; and that if they imitate more, they choose better models to copy after.
That Thomson's SEASONS is the original whence our modern descriptive poets have derived that more elegant and correct style of painting natural objects which distinguishes them from their immediate predecessors, will, I think, appear evident to one who examines their several casts and manners. That none of them, however, have yet equalled their master; and that his performance is an exquisite piece, replete with beauties of the most engaging and delightful kind, will be sensibly felt by all of congenial taste ;-—and perhaps no poem was ever composed which addressed itself to the feelings of a greater number of readers. It is, therefore, on every account, an object well worthy the attention of criticism; and an enquiry into the peculiar nature of its plan, and the manner of its execution, may be an agreeable introduction to a re-perusal of it in the elegant edition now offered to the public.
The description of such natural objects as by their beauty, grandeur, or novelty, agreeably impress the imagination, has, at all times been a principal and favourite occupation of poetry. Various have been the methods in which such descriptions have been introduced. They have been made subservient to the purposes of ornament and illustration, in the more elevated and abstracted kind of poetry, by being used as objects of similitude. They have constituted a pleasing and