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your whole self, is the ardent wish of dear Madam, your much obliged
Is it possible that the man tbus feelingly and beautifully lamented, and in the purest strain of Christian piety, by the beloved companion of his life, could have merited the appellation of an infidel and a libertine?
The following character of Dr. Hawkesworth is from the pen of the late Mrs. Duncombe, and we have adopted it for various reasons, in preference to any opinions of our own. It is the composition of one who knew him well, and judged him impartially, and whose comprehensive mind was equal to the task of faithfully delineating the mental faculties even of this superior being
“A Character of Dr. Hawkesworth. 6. The world has lost in Dr. Hawkesworth one of its first literary ornaments; who, before his late publication, was ranked in the first line of moral writersı; whose perspicuity, force, and elegance of style, evinced in every page of his Adventurer, has scarce an equal in the English language, which language is much indebted to him for giving it a power not called forth before by any pen except that of Dr. Johnson, whose energy was harmonised by Dr. Hawkesworth’s more easy dialect.
“ His fugitive poetical pieces that have been published, must enroll his name among the best of English
This excellent woman survived her husband many years ; she continued to reside at Bromley, and died there in 1797. The lady from whom our information is derived, was personally acquainted with Mrs. Hawkesworth, and always admired her as a “very sensible and charming woman,"..
poets, and the morality, true taste, wit, and humour of his “ Arachne," with the graver moral of the “Ode on Life," will mark his poetical abilities as long as poetry and sense united can charm the candid reader.
“His translation from Cambray will prove to all who read with pleasure Telemaque, that Fenelon's fine genius was not inimitable, since the spirit of the original is so justly transfused into the translation, that one elegant muse seems to have inspired both writers.
“ All who know the value of a feeling heart, an affectionate friend, and an instructive and agreeable companion, must long lament the loss of Dr. Hawkesworth ; of whose conversation to say it was entertaining is not sufficient, since he had talents peculiarly adapted to inform as well as please; having a ready easy elocution, intelligible on all subjects, with humour and vivacity that never failed to enliven his chosen guests at his ever hospitable board. Yet, though alas ! he is lost too soon to those who knew him intimately, and loved his virtues, he may have lived too long for reputation, since many of his warmest friends lament that the author of the justly esteemed Adventurer, should, when more advanced in life, publish what they apprehend to be questionable sentiments, in his introduction to the South Sea Voyages; which they cannot justify, however partial, on Christian principles, though it is hoped he might have reconciled the seeming difficulty to his own mind.—But further to remark is invidious and a painful task, now the unhappy author can no longer explain or justify his sentiments to man, and is beyond the reach of human scrutiny.- And much it may be feared his dissolution was hastened by the unfeeling attacks so cruelly poured forth in public on
his character; as the sensibility of his mind was ever too keen for the strength of his constitution.”
Dr. Hawkesworth has now been dead nearly half a century, and no literary monument has been raised to his memory; few men of equal eminence during the same period, have to complain of similar neglect. Something of the kind was intended to have been carried into effect by his widow, but on what account the design was dropped we have no means of judging. A letter to her Canterbury friend of the date of 1781, has the following remark:~"My intended publication is still unarranged, and Dr. Johnson, to whom I wish to submit the regulations, has been, and still is, so much employed that he has no time to spare."--Surely a memoir of the life of such a man, and a selection from his unpublished pieces ---many of which doubtless exist,-together with a complete collection of his poems, would form an acceptable present to the literary public.
Dr. Hawkesworth 'was buried at his favourite Bromley, in the church of which town an elegant monument has been erected with the following inscription :
To the memory of
Aged 58 years.
To society in an eminent degree,
Of the present age;
Record and Realize. “ The hour is basting in which whatever praise or censure I have
acquired will be remembered with equalindifference.-Time, “ who is impatient to date my last paper, will shortly moulder “ the band which is now writing in the dust, and still the breast " that now throbs at the reflection. But let not this be read as
something that relates only to another; for a few years only
can divide the eye that is now reading from the hand that " has written.”
[Adventurer, No. 140.]
Dr. Hawkesworth's character as a próse writer is well known, and we shall confine the few remarks we have to make to the examination of his claim to rank among the poets of his country. That he did not acquire eminence as a poet, was the effect not of his incapacity but of his choice; the same application which has elevated him to the highest place among prose writers, would have secured for him a situation not many degrees inferior on the British Parnassus. The character of his mind displays every trait peculiar to the genus irritabile vatum; he possessed strong passions, and exquisite sensibility, -was feelingly alive to every impression of pleasure or of pain ;-was an enthusiastic admirer, and delighted to contemplate, beauty, mental or corporeal;—had looked upon the passing scenes of life with a poet's eye, and had selected for the objects of his peculiar meditation, what may be considered more appropriately the poetic portion of human existence. He delighted in allegory, and the ode on “Life," that on “Solitude," and the poem entitled “The origin of Doubt,” are among the most beautiful and finished productions of their kind in the English langnage. That he had a talent for poetic narrative and possessed no mean share of humour, is also proved by the tale of “ Arachne," before alluded to, His style of verse is like that of his prose, correct, fluent, harmonious, and elegant; that it is deficient in dignity, and does not attain to the character of energy, must be allowed, but cannot be advanced against it as defects. Hawkesworth made no attempts at elaborate compo. sition in verse, and perhaps his genius was not exactly suited to such efforts; in fact the few pieces he left must be considered more as the relaxations of his leisure, than the sustained exertions of his intellectual
powers: as such they should be judged, and with that allowance will safely bear a comparison with any compositions of their kind that can be brought in competition with them,
No more, my Stella, to the sighing shades,
Of blasted hope, and luckless love complain; But join the sports of Dian's careless maids,
And laughing liberty's triumphant train.
With christal bosom open to the sight ;
And fill the vacant heart with calm delight.
Nor prudence slow that ever comes too late,
Nor stern-brow'd duty checks her gen'rous flame, On all her footsteps peace and honour wait,
And slander's ready tongue reveres her name.
Say Stella, what is love, whose tyrant power
Robs virtue of content, and youth of joy? What nymph or goddess, in a fatal hour,
Gave to the world this mischief-making boy.
By lying bards in forms so various shewn,
Deck'd with false charms, and arm'd with terrors vain, Who can his real attributes make known,
Declare his nature, or his birth explain ? Some say of idleness and pleasure bred,
The smiling babe on beds of roses lay, There with sweet honey-dews by fancy fed,
His blooming beauties open'd to the day: