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The wall on which we tried our graving skill,
When the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Counsel of her country's gods,
Sage beneath the spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief;
Full of rage, and full of grief.
Weep upon thy matchlesz wrongs, "Tis because resentment ties
All the terrour's of our tongues.
“ Rome shall perish-write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
" Rome, for empire far renown'd,
Tramples on a thousand states;
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates!
“ Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name;
Harinony the path to fame.
" Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our laud,
(1735–1803.) JAMES Beattie, from the humble origin of son of a small farmer in the parish of Laurencekirk in Forfarshire, wrought himself, more by the native sterling Christian qualities of his character, than by any attributes of the highest genius, to a most estimable position in the literary ranks of his country.“ About the age of twenty-six he obtained the professorship of moral philosophy in Marischal College, Aberdeen." His early poetry did not give promise of very great eminence in the art, and he himself subsequently burned every copy of the edition on which he could lay his hands. His “ Minstrel,” exhibiting the development of the poetical faculty in the mind of a youthful genius, is a poem of great gracefulness and elegance, and is read with delight from the scholar-like beauty and correctness of its construction, though it does not reach the higher circle of the poetical ilea. The poet and philosopher, after a life of exemplary Christian usefulness, died broken-hearted under the severe pressure of domestic afflictions, in the loss of his favourite children, and the incurable insanity of his wife.
'Twas thus, by the cave of the mountain afar,
"Ah! why, thus abandon'd to darkness and woe,
“Now gliding remote, on the verge of the sky,
“'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more ;
“ 'Twas thus, by the glare of false science betray'd, That leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind : My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to shade, Destruction before me and sorrow behind. • O pity, great Father of light,' then I cried, · Thy creature, who fain would not wander from thee; Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride : From doubt and from darkness thou only can'st free.'
“And darkness and doubt are now flying away ;
(1752-1770.) In the latter half of the eighteenth century, there were practised, on the English public, two singular literary forgeries, the one in Macpherson's “ Ossian,” the other in Chatterton's alleged poems of the fifteenth century, which, though the productions of a boy between fifteen and seventeen, employed in lengthened debate the most eminent learning in England. Of all instances of precocity of mind, that of Chatterton is one of the most wonderful. Born in humble life in Bristol, receiving only a few years' education at a charity school, and apprenticed to an attorney
enth year, the wealth of his genius found in itself resources, and his indomitable perseverance and energy found time, to rear an amount of intellectual fruit that might furnish forth the labour of many a literary life time. At eleven years of age he wrote poetry superior in vigour and animation to that of Cowley and Pope a year or two older. His mind had received a bias to the study of the old literature, and to English antiquities, which he prosecuted under the most disadvantageous circumstances, till he so wreathed his genius into the spirit of a past age, with all its circumstance of rists vellum and antique orthography, that the poems of his fictitious monk - Rowley," found, as he alleged, in an old chest in the church of St Mary Redcliffe, in Bristol, startled the antiquarian skill of an enlightened empire. Without referring to his other impositions beyond the sphere of poetry, we may remark that the pieces he produced display the finest genius, and a remarkable adaptation in external dress to their alleged age; and it was only the excess of their talent above that of their assigned century, a somewhat over-carefulness in disguise, a too liberal occurrence of coincidences with succeeding poets, and the utter silence of all history respecting the name of “ Rowley," that demonstrated their fabrication by Chatterton's own brain and industry. It was a singular homage to his genius, that one argument for their genuine antiquity was the impossibility that Chatterton's age and opportunities should elaborate an amount of literature so exquisite and so vraisemblant. In his eighteenth year Chatterton came to London, with proud expectations of wealth and distinction, which were not fulfilled. His acquaintance with Wilkes and Beckford-(for he had adopted the obnoxious side of the existing politics ; or rather he seems to have had political dishonesty enough to be willing to support any pa that could be useful to him)-failed to advance his interest. Infidelity, into which his arrogant judgment had seduced him, disappointment, and intemperance, urged him into suicide by arsenic, ere he had completed his eighteenth year. Chatterton adds another to the victims whom history mourns as perishing in the folly or in the pride of genius. That noblest gift of heaven is often conferred, coupled with qualities and tendencies of mind that risk the most tremendous responsibilities ; and most blessed and fortunate are they who, baptized, with Milton, into its holiest sanctities, exercise it as “ ever in their great Taskmaster's eye."
The antique poems of Chatterton refer chiefly to early English history ; those in modern verse, partly from the nature of the subjects, seldom do justice to his powers.
(We subjoin the following stanza from the Eclogue, “Elinour and Luga," as a specimen of Chatterton's antique language.]
Systers in sorrowe, on thys daise-eyed banke,
Be wette wythe mornynge dewe and evene danke ;
Whose gastlie mitches3 holde the train of fryghte, Where lethale ravens bark, and owlets wake the nyghte.
O God, whose thunder shakes the sky,
The mystic mazes of thy will,
O teach me in the trying hour,
If in this bosom aught but thee,
Then why, my soul, dost thou complain ?
But, ah! my breast is human still ;
But yet, with fortitude resign'd,
The gloomy mantle of the night,
Levined, i. e. lightning-scathed.