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With all his guards, and his dominions, he
At Richmond, also, it is said, Charles the Second was educated, and the Pretender nursed, who, by raising the two rebellions in 1715 and in 1745, threatened the extinction of freedom, and the ruin of the country. The town runs up the hill above a mile from East Sheen to the New Park, with gardens sloping all the way down to the Thames. Richmond Green is surrounded by lofty elms; and at one corner is a small Theatre, open during the summer season. Adjoining the Green is a Park, where stands an OBSERVATORY. Of the instruments by which it is enriched, the in'ost worthy of notice were a mural arch, of 140 degrees and eight feet radius-a zenith sector of twelve feet-a transit machine of eight feet-and a ten-feet reflector by Herschel. A moveable dome on the top of the building contains an equatorial instrument. Here is also to be seen, a collection of subjects in natural history, well preserved an apparatus for philosophical experiments-a few medals-and a selection of ores from his Majesty's mines in the forest of Hartz,
in Germany. This Observatory was built by the King, in 1768, who has on all occasions shewn a partiality to the noble science of ASTRONOMY.
The Church is a neat structure, embellished by several monuments. I saw a brass tablet affixed to the wall, with the following inscription :-" In the earth below this tablet are the remains of James Thomson, author of the beautiful poems, entitled The Seasons, The Castle of Indolence, &c., who died at Richmond on the 22nd of August, and was buried there the 29th, 0. S. 1748. The Earl of Buchan, unwilling that so good a man, and sweet a poet, should be without a memorial, has denoted the place of his interment, for the satisfaction of his admirers, in the year of our Lord 1792.
“ Father of light and like! thou good Supreme !
O teach me what is good! Teach me Thyself!
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss !" As one of Thomson's admirers, I here thank this patriotic Nobleman for the erection of this memorial; for “ it is impossible that I should not follow by sense the last remains of one whom I admire, and, finding him no where above the surface of the earth, should not feel an attachment to the spot where his body has been deposited. His heart must be made of impenetrable stuff? who does not attribute a certain sacredness to the grave of one whom he admired or loved,
and feel peculiar emotions stirring in his soul as he approaches it!"*
JAMES THOMSON was the son of a minister of the kirk of Scotland, and was born Sept. 7, 1700, at Ednam, in North Britain. He had an early predilection for poetical compositions; but was so little pleased with his effusions, that every New-year's day he threw them into the fire. He was intended for the ministry; but the Professor of Divinity censuring his very poetical cast of style, he thought proper to give up the pulpit altogether. His friends, and particularly a lady, advised him to repair to the metropolis of the British empire, where merit is almost sure of meeting its reward. Upon his arrival, staring about him like other strangers, he did not sufficiently mind his pockets, which contained recommendatory letters to persons of consequence; so that his “ Magazine of Credentials was stolen from him!” It was said, that his first want was a pair of shoes, and the sale of his Winter was the only means of supplying his necessities. He at last obtained twenty guineas of the gentleman to whom it was dedicated. Thomson was always modest; and, on this oceasion, he acknowledges to a friend, that “the present was larger than his performance deserved; and ascribes it to his patron's generosity,
* See an ingenious Essay on Sepulchres, or a Proposal for erecting some Memorial of the illustrious Dead, in all Ages, on the spot wbere their remains have been intevred. By William Godwin.
THOMSON'S POEM ON HEALTH.
other cause, rather than the merit of the address.”
Summer, Spring and Autumn, were successively published, and well received by persons of every description. He travelled on the continent of Europe; and, on his return, published a poem of some length, called Liberty. He produced, also, a few tragedies; but his Tancred and Sigismunda is the best of his theatrical productions. His Castle of Indolence, written after the manner of Spenser, was the last piece that came from his pen, and which he finished with the greatest accuracy. This poem has some admirable stanzas; the following lines on Health possess equal truth and beauty :-
Ah! what avail the largest gifts of Heaven,
When drooping Health and Spirits go amiss ?
Health is the vital principle of bliss,
And Exercise of Health.-In proof of this,
Soon swallow'd in Disease's sad abyss;
While he whom Toil has braced, or manly play, As light as air each limb, each thought as clear as day!
0! who can speak the vig'rous joys of HEALTH ?
Unclogg'd the Body, unobscur'd the Mind
The temp'rate Ev’ning falls serene and kind
In Health the wiser Brutes true gladness find:--
As May comes on, and wakes the balmy wind;
Rampant with life, their joy all joy exceeds, Yet what but high-strung Health this dancing pleasaunce breeds!
It was a fine compliment paid to Thomson by Lord Lyttelton, when writing to Mrs. Montague concerning Beattie's Minstrel, in a letter, dated March, 1771“ I read the Minstrel last night with as much rapture as poetry in her noblest, sweetest charms ever raised in my soul. It seemed to me that my once most beloved minstrel THOMSON was come down from heaven, refined by the converse of purer spirits than those he lived with here, to let me hear him again describe the beauties of Nature, and the finest feelings of Virtue, not with human, but angelic strains !”
Dr. Johnson's character of the Writings of Thomson is animated and just:-“As a writer, he is entitled to one praise of the highest kind; his mode of thinking, and of expressing his thoughts, is original. His blank verse is no more the blank verse of Milton, or of any other poet, than the rhymes of Prior are the rhymes of Cowley. His numbers, his pauses, his diction, are of his own growth, without transcription, without imitation. He thinks in a peculiar train, and he thinks always as a man of genius; he looks round on Nature and on Life with the eye which Nature bestows only on a Poet-the eye that distinguishes in every thing presented to its view whatever there is on which imagination can delight to be detained, and with a mind that at once comprehends the vast and attends to the minute. The reader of the Seasons wonders that he never saw before what Thomson shews him, and that he never yet has felt what Thomson impresses. His descriptions of extended scenes, and general ef