Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

where his death took place in 1691. With the exception of his essays, the only compositions bearing a resemblance to English, which appeared in Scotland during the seventeenth century, were controversial pamphlets in politics and divinity, now generally forgotten.

From the following specimens, the reader will perceive that Sir George Mackenzie was less successful in verse than in prose; and that even in the latter, his sentences are sometimes incorrectly and loosely constructed. The fourth extract is curious as a strong expression of his opinion of the more violent and enthusiastic religionists of his time.

[Praise of a Country Life.]

O happy country life! pure like its air;
Free from the rage of pride, the pangs of care.
Here happy souls lie bathed in soft content,
And are at once secure and innocent.
No passion here but love: here is no wound
But that by which lovers their names confound
On barks of trees, whilst with a smiling face
They see those letters as themselves embrace.
Here the kind myrtles pleasant branches spread;
And sure no laurel casts so sweet a shade.
Yet all these country pleasures, without love,
Would but a dull and tedious prison prove.
But oh what woods [and] parks [and] meadows lie
In the blest circle of a mistress' eye!
What courts, what camps, what triumphs may one
find

Display'd in Calia, when she will be kind!
What a dull thing this lower world had been,
If heavenly beauties were not sometimes seen!
For when fair Cælia leaves this charming place,
Her absence all its glories does deface.

[Against Envy.]

We may cure envy in ourselves, either by considering how useless or how ill these things were, for which we envy our neighbours; or else how we possess as much or as good things. If I envy his greatness, I consider that he wants my quiet as also I consider that he possibly envies me as much as I do him; and that when I begun to examine exactly his perfections, and to balance them with my own, I found myself as happy as he was. And though many envy others, yet very few would change their condition even with those whom they envy, all being considered. And I have oft admired why we have suffered ourselves to be so cheated by contradictory vices, as to contemn this day him whom we envied the last; or why we envy so many, since there are so few whom we think to deserve as much as we do. Another great help against envy is, that we ought to consider how much the thing envied costs him whom we envy, and if we would take it at the price. Thus, when I envy a man for being learned, I consider how much of his health and time that learning consumes: if for being great, how he must flatter and serve for it; and if I would not pay his price, no reason I ought to have what he has got. Sometimes, also, I consider that there is no reason for my envy: he whom I envy deserves more than he has, and I less than I possess. And by thinking much of these, I repress their envy, which grows still from the contempt of our neighbour and the overrating ourselves. As also I consider that the perfections envied by me may be advantageous to me; and thus I check myself for envying a great pleader, but am rather glad that there is such a man, who may defend my innocence: or to envy a great soldier, because his valour may defend my estate or country. And when any of my countrymen begin to raise envy in me, I alter the scene, and begin to be glad that

Scotland can boast of so fine a man ; and I remember, that though now I am angry at him when I compare him with myself, yet if I were discoursing of my nation abroad, I would be glad of that merit in him which now displeases me. Nothing is envied but what appears beautiful and charming; and it is strange that I should be troubled at the sight of what is pleasant. I endeavour also to make such my friends as deserve my envy; and no man is so base as to envy his friend. Thus, whilst others look on the angry side of merit, and thereby trouble themselves, I am pleased in admiring the beauties and charms which burn them as a fire, whilst they warm me as the sun.

[Fame.]

I smile to see underling pretenders, and who live in a country scarce designed in the exactest maps, sweat and toil for so unmassy a reputation, that, when it is hammered out to the most stretching dimensions, will not yet reach the nearest towns of a neighbouring country: whereas, examine such as have but lately returned from travelling in most flourishing kingdoms, and though curiosity was their greatest errand, yet ye will find that they scarce know who is chancellor or president in these places; and in the exactest histories, we hear but few news of the famousest pleaders, divines, or physicians; and by soldiers these are undervalued as pedants, and these by them as madcaps, and both by philosophers as fools.

[blocks in formation]

The first pernicious effect of bigotry is, that it obtrudes on us things of no moment as matters of the greatest importance. Now, as it would be a great defect in a man's sense to take a star for the sun, or in an orator to insist tenaciously on a point which deserved no consideration, so it must be a much greater error in a Christian to prefer, or even to equal, a mere circumstance to the solid points of religion.

But these mistakes become more dangerous, by inducing their votaries to believe that, because they are orthodox in these matters, they are the only people of God, and all who join not are aliens to the commonwealth of Israel. And from this springs, first, that they, as friends of God, may be familiar with Him, and, as friends do one to another, may speak to Him without distance or premeditation. * * Bigotry having thus corrupted our reasoning in matters of religion, it easily depraves it in the whole course of our morals and politics.

The bigots, in the second place, proceed to fancy that they who differ from them are enemies to God, because they differ from God's people; and then the Old Testament is consulted for expressions denouncing vengeance against them: all murders become sacrifices, by the example of Phineas and Ehud; all rapines are hallowed by the Israelites borrowing the earrings of the Egyptians; and rebellions have a hundred forced texts of Scripture brought to patronise them. But I oftentimes wonder where they find precedents in the Old Testament for murdering and robbing men's reputation, or for lying so impudently for what they think the good old cause, which God foreseeing, has commanded us not to lie, even for his sake.

The third link of this chain is-That they, fancying themselves to be the only Israel, conclude that God sees no sin in them, all is allowable to them; and (as one of themselves said) 'they will be as good to God another way.'

The fourth is-That such as differ from them are bastards, and not the true sons of God, and therefore they ought to have no share of this earth or its government: hence flow these holy and useful maxims Dominion is founded in grace, and the saints have the only right to govern the earth: which being once upon an occasion earnestly pressed in Cromwell's little parliament, it was answered by the president of his council-That the saints deserved all things, but that public employment was such a drudgery, that it would be unjust to condemn the saints to it; and that the securest way to make the commonwealth happy, was to leave them in a pious retirement, interceding for the nation at the throne of grace.

The fifth error in their reasoning is-That seeing their opinions flow immediately from heaven, no earthly government can condemn anything they do in prosecution of these their opinions; thence it is that they raise seditions and rebellions without any scruple of conscience: and, believing themselves the darlings and friends of God, they think themselves above kings, who are only their servants and executioners.

to soften the appearing rigours of philosophy, is a design which, if I thought it not worthy of a sweeter pen, should be assisted by mine; and for which I have, in my current experience, gathered together some loose reflections and observations, of whose cogency I have this assurance, that they have often moderated the wildest of my own straying inclinations, and so might pretend to a more prevailing ascendant over such whose reason and temperament make them much more reclaimable. But at present my answer is, that philosophy enjoins not the crossing of our own inclinations, but in order to their accomplishment; and it proposes pleasure as its end, as well as vice, though, for its more fixed establishment, it sometimes commands what seems rude to such as are strangers to its intentions in them. Thus temperance resolves to heighten the pleasures of enjoyment, by defending us against all the insults of excess and oppressive loathing; and when it lessens our pleasures, it intends not to abridge them, but to make them fit and convenient for us; even as soldiers, who, though they propose not wounds and starvings, yet, It may seem strange that such principles as bigotry if without these they cannot reach those laurels to suggests should be able to produce so strange effects; which they climb, they will not so far disparage their and many fanciful persons pretend it to be from God, own hopes, as to think they should fix them upon because it prevails so. But this wonder will be much anything whose purchase deserves not the suffering lessened if we consider, first, that the greatest part of of these. Physic cannot be called a cruel employmankind are weak or dishonest, and both these sup-ment, because, to preserve what is sound, it will cut port bigotry with all their might. Many virtuous off what is tainted; and these vicious persons, whose men also promote its interest from a mistaken good laziness forms this doubt, do answer it, when they nature, and vain men from a design of gaining popu- endure the sickness of drunkenness, the toiling of larity. Those who are disobliged by the government, avarice, the attendance of rising vanity, and the join their forces with it to make to themselves a watchings of anxiety; and all this to satisfy inclinaparty; and those who are naturally unquiet or fac- tions, whose shortness allows little pleasures, and tious, find in it a pleasant divertisement; whereas, whose prospect excludes all future hopes. Such as on the other side, few are so concerned for moderation disquiet themselves by anxiety (which is a frequently and truth, as the bigots are for their beloved conceits. repeated self-murder), are more tortured than they There is also a tinsel devotioni it, which dazzles could be by the want of what they pant after; that the eyes of unthinking people; anu this arises either longed-for possession of a neighbour's estate, or of a from the new zeal, that, like youth, is still vigorous, public employment, makes deeper impressions of grief and has not as yet spent itself so as that it needs to by their absence, than their enjoyment can repair. languish; or else from the bigot's being conscious And a philosopher will sooner convince himself of that his opinions need to be disguised under this hypo- their not being the necessary integrants of our happicritical mask. ness, than the miser will, by all his assiduousness, gain them.

Severity also increases the number and zeal of bigots. Human nature inclines us wisely to that pity which we may one day need; and few pardon the severity of a magistrate, because they know not where it may stop. I have known also some very serious men, who have concluded, that since magistrates have not oftentimes in other things a great concern for devotion, their forwardness against these errors must arise either from the cruelty of their temper, or from some hid design of carrying on a particular interest, very different from, and ofttimes inconsistent with, the religious zeal they pretend. And generally, the vulgar believe that all superiors are inclined to triumph over those who are subjected to them; many have also a secret persuasion that the magistrates are still in league with the national church and its hierarchy, which they suspect to be supported by them because it maintains their interest, and they are apt to consider churchmen but as pensioners, and so as partisans, to the civil magistrate.

[Virtue more Pleasant than Vice.]

The first objection, whose difficulty deserves an answer, is, that virtue obliges us to oppose pleasures, and to accustom ourselves with such rigours, seriousness, and patience, as cannot but render its practice uneasy. And if the reader's own ingenuity supply not what may be rejoined to this, it will require a discourse that shall have no other design besides its satisfaction. And really to show by what means every man may make himself easily happy, and how

[Avarice.]

The best plea that avarice can make, is, that it provides against those necessities which otherwise would have made us miserable; but the love of money deserves not the name of avarice, whilst it proceeds no farther. And it is then only to be abhorred, when it cheats and abuses us, by making us believe that our necessities are greater than they are, in which it treats us as fools, and makes us slaves. But it is indeed most ridiculous in this, that ofttimes, after it has persuaded men that a great estate is necessary, it does not allow them to make use of any suitable proportion of what they have gained; and since nothing can be called necessary but what we need to use, all that is laid up cannot be said to be laid up for necessity. And so this argument may have some weight when it is pressed by luxury, but it is ridiculous when it is alleged by avarice.

I have, therefore, ofttimes admired how a person that thought it luxury to spend two hundred pounds, toiled as a slave to get four hundred a-year for his heir. Either he thought an honest and virtuous man should not exceed two hundred pounds in his expense, or not; if he thought he should not, why did he bribe his heir to be luxurious, by leaving him more? If he thought his heir could not live upon so little, why should he who gained it defraud himself of the true

use?

I know some who preserve themselves against ava

rice, by arguing often with their own heart that they have twice as much as they expected, and more than others who they think live very contentedly, and who did bound their designs in the beginning with moderate hopes, and refuse obstinately to enlarge, lest they should thus launch out into an ocean that has no shore.

To meditate much upon the folly of others who are remarkable for this vice, will help somewhat to limit it; and to rally him who is ridiculous for it, may influence him and others to contemn it. I must here

beg rich and avaricious men's leave, to laugh as much at their folly as I could do at a shepherd who would weep and grieve because his master would give him no more beasts to herd, or at a steward, because his lord gave him no more servants to feed. Nor can I think a man, who, having gained a great estate, is afraid to live comfortably upon it, less ridiculous than I would do him, who, having built a convenient, or it may be a stately house, should choose to walk in the rain, or expose himself to storms, lest he should defile and profane the floor of his almost idolised rooms. They who think that they are obliged to live as well as others of the same rank, do not consider that every man is only obliged to live according to his present estate. And, therefore, this necessity will also grow with our estates; and this temptation rather makes our necessities endless, than provides against them. And he who, having a paternal estate of a hundred pounds a-year, will not be satisfied to live according to it, will meet with the same difficulty when he comes to an estate of ten thousand pounds; and, like the wounded deer, he flies not from the dart, but carries it along with him. We are but stewards, and the steward should not be angry that he has not more to manage; but should be careful to bestow what he has; and if he do so, neither his master nor the world can blame him.

[The True Path to Esteem.]

I have remarked in my own time, that some, by taking too much care to be esteemed and admired, have by that course missed their aim; whilst others of them who shunned it, did meet with it, as if it had fallen on them whilst it was flying from the others; which proceeded from the unfit means these able and reasonable men took to establish their reputation. It is very strange to hear men value themselves upon their honour, and their being men of their word in trifles, when yet that same honour cannot tie them to pay the debts they have contracted upon solemn promise of secure and speedy repayment; starving poor widows and orphans to feed their lusts; and adding thus robbery and oppression to the dishonourable breach of trust. And how can we think them men of honour, who, when a potent and foreign monarch is oppressing his weaker neighbours, hazard their very lives to assist him, though they would rail at any of their acquaintance, that, meeting a strong man fighting with a weaker, should assist the stronger in his oppression?

The surest and most pleasant path to universal esteem and true popularity, is to be just; for all men esteem him most who secures most their private interest, and protects best their innocence. And all who have any notion of a Deity, believe that justice is one of his chief attributes; and that, therefore, whoever is just, is next in nature to Him, and the best picture of Him, and to be reverenced and loved. But yet how few trace this path! most men choosing rather to toil and vex themselves, in seeking popular applause, by living high, and in profuse prodigalities, which are entertained by injustice and oppression; as if rational men would pardon robbers because they feasted them upon a part of their own spoils; or did

let them see fine and glorious shows, made for the honour of the giver upon the expense of the robbed spectators. But when a virtuous person appears great by his merit, and obeyed only by the charming force of his reason, all men think him descended from that heaven which he serves, and to him they gladly pay the noble tribute of deserved praises.

NEWSPAPERS IN ENGLAND.

In a former section, we gave an account of the origin of newspapers, and mentioned the political use to which they were turned in England during the civil war. After the Restoration, their contentions were lessened, but the diversity of their contents increased. The Kingdom's Intelligencer, which was begun in London in 1662, contained a greater variety of useful information than any of its predecessors; it had a sort of obituary, notices of proceedings in parliament and in the law-courts, &c. Some curious advertisements also appear in its columns, such as-The Faculties' Office for granting licenses (by act of parliament) to eat flesh in any part of England, is still kept at St Paul's Chain, near St Paul's churchyard.' The following warning is given to the public against a literary piracy: There is stolen abroad a most false and imperfect copy of a poem, called Hudibras, without lame and spurious an impression. The true and name either of printer or bookseller, as fitting so perfect edition, printed by the author's original, is sold by Richard Marriot, under St Dunstan's church in Fleet Street; that other nameless impression is a cheat, and will but abuse the buyer as well as the author, whose poem deserves to have fallen into better hands.'

It would appear that efforts had been made, even at this early period, to report parliamentary speeches; for we find, by Lord Mountmorres's History of the Irish Parliament, that a warm debate occurred in that body during the year 1662, relative to the propriety of allowing the publication of its debates in the English diurnals; and the Speaker, in consequence, wrote to Sir Edward Nicholls, secretary of state, to enjoin a prohibition. In 1663, another paper called The Intelligencer, published for the satisfaction and information of the people,' was started by Roger L'Estrange. This venal author espoused with great warmth the cause of the crown on all occasions; and Mr Nicholls tells us that he infused into his newspapers more information, more entertainment, and more advertisements, than were contained in any succeeding paper whatever, previous to the reign of Queen Anne. L'Estrange continued his journal for two years, but dropped it upon the appearance of the London Gazette (first called the Oxford Gazette, owing to the earlier numbers being issued at Oxford, where the court was then holding, and the parliament sitting, in consequence of the plague raging in London): the first number was published on the 4th of February 1665. So rife did these little books of news, as they were called, become at this time, that between the years 1661 and 1668, no less than seventy of them were published under various titles; some of them of the most fantastic, and others of a very sarcastic description. For example, we have the Mercurius Fumigosus, or the Smoking Nocturnal; Mercurius Meretria; Mercurius Radamanthus; Public Occurrences, truly stated, with allowance! News from the Land of Chivalry, being the pleasant and delectable History and Wonderful and Strange Adventures of Don Rugero de Strangmento, Knight of the Squeaking Fiddlestick, &c. Then, when we get about the time of the famed Popish Plot, we have the Weekly Visions of the Popish Plot; Discovery of the Mystery of Iniquity, &c. On

the 12th May 1680, L'Estrange, who had then started a second paper, called the Observator, first exercised his authority as licenser of the press, by procuring to be issued a 'proclamation for suppressing the printing and publishing unlicensed newsbooks and pamphlets of news, because it has become a common practice for evil-disposed persons to vend to his majesty's people all the idle and malicious reports that they could collect or invent, contrary to law; the continuance whereof would in a short time endanger the peace of the kingdom: the same manifestly tending thereto, as has been declared by all his majesty's subjects unanimously.' The charge for inserting advertisements (then untaxed) we learn from the Jockey's Intelligencer, 1683, to be a shilling for a horse or coach, for notification, and sixpence for renewing;' also in the Observator Reformed, it is announced that advertisements of eight lines are inserted for one shilling; and Morphew's County Gentleman's Courant, two years afterwards, says, that seeing promotion of trade is a matter that ought to be encouraged, the price of advertisements is advanced to 2d. per line!' The

[ocr errors]

publishers at this time, however, seem to have been sometimes sorely puzzled for news to fill their sheets, small as they were; but a few of them got over the difficulty in a sufficiently ingenious manner. Thus, the Flying Post, in 1695, announces, that if any gentleman has a mind to oblige his country friend or correspondent with this account of public affairs, he may have it for 2d., of J. Salisbury, at the Rising Sun in Cornhill, on a sheet of fine paper; half of which being blank, he may thereon write his own private business, or the material news of the day.' And again, Dawker's News Letter-This letter will be done up on good writing-paper, and blank space left, that any gentleman may write his own private business. It will be useful to improve the younger sort in writing a curious hand!' Another publisher, with less wit or more honesty than these, had recourse to a curious enough expedient for filling his sheet: whenever there was a dearth of news, he filled up the blank part with a portion of the Bible; and in this way is said to have actually gone through the whole of the New Testament and the greater part of the Psalms of David.

Fifth Period.

REIGNS OF WILLIAM III., ANNE, AND GEORGE I. [1689 TO 1727.]

POETS.

HE thirty-eight years embraced by these reigns produced a class of writers in prose and poetry, who, during the whole of the eighteenth century, were deemed the best, or nearly the best, that the country had ever known. The central period of twelve years, which compose the reign of Anne (1702-14), was, indeed, usually styled the Augustan Era of English Literature, on account of its supposed resemblance in intellectual opulence to the reign of the Emperor Augustus. This opinion has not been followed or confirmed in the present age. The praise due to good sense, and a correct and polished style, is allowed to the prose writers, and that due to a felicity in painting artificial life, is awarded to the poets; but modern critics seem to have agreed to pass over these qualities as of secondary moment, and to hold in greater estimation the writings of the times preceding the Restoration, and of our own day, as being more boldly original, both in style and in thought, more imaginative, and more sentimental.

[ocr errors]

The Edinburgh Review appears to state the prevailing sentiment in the following sentences:-'Speaking generally of that generation of authors, it may be said that, as poets, they had no force or greatness of fancy, no pathos and no enthusiasm, and, as philosophers, no comprehensiveness, depth, or originality They are sagacious, no doubt, neat, clear, and reasonable; but for the most part, cold, timid, and superficial.' The same critic represents it as their chief praise that they corrected the indecency, and polished the pleasantry and sarcasm, of the vicious school introduced at the Restoration. Writing,' he continues, with infinite good sense, and great grace and vivacity, and, above all, writing for the first time in a tone that was peculiar to the upper ranks of society, and upon subjects that were almost exclusively interesting to them, they naturally figured as the most accomplished, fashionable, and perfect writers which the world had ever seen, and made the wild, luxuriant, and humble sweetness of our earlier authors appear rude and untutored in the comparison.' While there is general truth in these remarks, it must at the same time be observed, that the age produced several writers, who, each in his own line, may be called extraordinary. Satire, expressed in forcible and copious language, was certainly carried to its utmost pitch cf excellence by Swift. The poetry of elegant and artificial life was exhibited, in a perfection never since attained, by Rope. The art of describing the manners, and discussing the morals of the passing age, was practised for the first time, with unrivalled felicity, by Addison. And with all the licentiousness of Congreve and Farquhar, it may be fairly said that English comedy was in their hands what it had never been before and has scarcely in any instance been since.

[graphic]

MATTHEW PRIOR.

Matthew was brought up by his uncle, a vintner at
Charing Cross, who sent him to Westminster school.
He was afterwards taken home to assist in the busi-

It was in some respects a disadvantage to the poets of this period that most of them enjoyed a consider-ness of the inn; and whilst there, was one day seen able degree of worldly prosperity and importance, such as has too rarely blessed the community of authors. Some filled high diplomatic and official situations, and others were engaged in schemes of politics and ambition, where offices of state and the ascendency of rival parties, not poetical or literary laurels, were the prizes contended for. Familiar and constant in

[ocr errors]

by the Earl of Dorset reading Horace. The earl generously undertook the care of his education; and in his eighteenth year. Prior was entered of St John's college, Cambridge. He distinguished himself during his academical career, and amongst other copies of verses, produced, in conjunction with the Honourable Charles Montagu, the City Mouse and Country Mouse, in ridicule of Dryden's Hind and Panther.' The Earl of Dorset did not forget the poet he had snatched from obscurity. He invited him to London, and obtained for him an appointment as secretary to the Earl of Berkeley, ambassador to the Hague. In this capacity Prior obtained the approbation of King William, who made him one of the gentlemen of his bedchamber. In 1697 he was appointed secretary to the embassy on the treaty of Ryswick, at the conclusion of which he was presented with a considerable sum of money by the lords justices. Next year he was ambassador at the court of Versailles; and after some other temporary honours and appointments, was made a commissioner of trade. In 1701, he entered the House of Commons as representative for the borough of East-Grimstead, and abandoning his former friends, the Whigs, joined the Tories in impeaching Lord Somers. This came with a peculiarly bad grace from Prior, for the charge against Somers was, that he had advised the partition treaty, in which treaty the poet himself had acted as agent. He evinced his patriotism, however, by afterwards celebrating in verse the battles of Blenheim and Ramilies. When the Whig government was at length overturned, Prior became attached to Harley's administration, and went with Bolingbroke to France in 1711, to negotiate a treaty of peace. He lived in splendour in Paris, was a favourite of the French monarch, and enjoyed all the honours of ambassador. He returned to London in 1715; and the Whigs being again in office, he was committed to custody on a charge of high-treason. The accusation against Prior was, that he had held clandestine conferences with the French plenipotentiary, though, as he justly replied, no treaty was ever made without private interviews and preliminaries. The Whigs were indignant at the disgraceful treaty of Utrecht; but Prior only shared in the culpability of the government. The able but profligate Bolingbroke was the masterspirit that prompted the humiliating concession to France. After two years' confinement, the poet was released without a trial. He had in the interval written his poem of Alma; and being now left without any other support than his fellowship of St John's college, he continued his studies, and produced his Solomon, the most elaborate of his works. He had also recourse to the publication of a collected edition of his poems, which was sold to subscribers for five guineas, and realised the sum of £4000. An equal sum was presented to Prior by the Earl of Oxford, and thus he had laid up a provision for old age. He was ambitious only of comfort and private enjoyment. These, however, he did not long possess; for he died on the 18th of September 1721, at Lord Oxford's seat at Wimpole, being at the time in the fifty-seventh year of his age.

tercourse with the great on the part of authors, has a tendency to fix the mind on the artificial distinctions and pursuits of society, and to induce a tone of thought and study adapted to such associates. Now, it is certain that high thoughts and imaginations can only be nursed in solitude; and though poets may gain in taste and correctness by mixing in courtly circles, the native vigour and originality of genius, and the steady worship of truth and nature, must be impaired by such a course of refinement. It is evident that most of the poetry of this period, exquisite as it is in gaiety, polish, and sprightliness of fancy, possesses none of the lyrical grandeur and enthusiasm which redeem so many errors in the elder poets. The French taste is visible in most of its strains; and where excellence is attained, it is not in the delineation of strong passions, or in bold fertility of invention. Pope was at the head of this school, and was master even of higher powers. He had access to the haunted ground of imagination, but it was not his favourite or ordinary walk. Others were content with humbler worship, with propitiating a minister The works of Prior range over a variety of style or a mistress, reviving the conceits of classic mytho- and subject-odes, songs, epistles, epigrams, and logy, or satirising, without seeking to reform, the tales. His longest poem, 'Solomon,' is of a serious fashionable follies of the day. One of the most agree-character, and was considered by its author to be his able and accomplished of the number was MATTHEW PRIOR, born in 1664. Some accounts give the honour of his birth to Wimborne, in Dorsetshire, and others to the city of London. His father died early, and

best production, in which opinion he is supported by Cowper. It is the most moral, and perhaps the most correctly written; but the tales and lighter pieces of Prior are undoubtedly his happiest efforts. In these

« ForrigeFortsæt »