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the morning that he seemed to cough with more difficulty, he answered, that is rather surprising, as I have been practising all night.

But these things are of little consequence. Mr Curran was something much better than a sayer of smart sayings. He was a lover of his country and its fearless, its devoted, and indefatigable servant. To his energy and talents she was perhaps indebted for some mitigation of her sufferings in the days of her extremity--and to these, at all events, the public has been indebted, in a great degree, for the knowledge they now have off her wrongs, and for the feeling which that knowledge has excited, of the necessity of granting them redress. It is in this character that he must have most wished to be remembered, and in which he has most deserved it. As to any flaws or lapses in his private life, we agree, with the excellent author before us, that his death should consign them to oblivion; and that, as his claims to distinction were altogether of a public nature, nothing should be allowed to detract from them that is not of the same description: At the same time, that our readers may know all that we know, and that their uncharitable surmises may not go beyond the truth, we cannot do better than conclude with the following passage from this most exemplary biography, in which, as in all the rest, the author has observed the tenderness which was due to the relationship in which he stood to his subject, without violating, in the least degree, that manly fairness and sincerity, without which he would have been unworthy of public confidence.

• But the question will be asked, has this been a faithful picture ? -Have no shades been designedly omitted ?-Has delicacy or fattery concealed no defects, without which the resemblance cannot be true? To such inquiries it is answered, that the estimable qualities which have formed the preceding description, have not been invented or exaggerated ; and if the person, who has assumed the duty of collecting them, has abstained from a rigorous detail of


infirmities of temper or conduct, it is because a feeling more sacred and more justifiable than delicacy or flattery has taught him, and should teach others, to regard them with tenderness and regret. In thus abstaining from a cruel and unprofitable analysis of failings, to which the most gifted are often the most prone, no deception is intended. It is due to that public to whom Mr Curran's merits have been here submitted as deserving their approbation, to admit with candour, that some particulars have been withheld which they would not have approved : But it is also due to his memory to declare, that in balancing the conflicting elements of his character, what was virtuous and amiable will be found to have largely preponderated. He was not perfect; but his imperfections have a peculiar claim upon our forbear

ance, when we reflect that they sprung from the same source as his genius, and may be considered as almost the inevitable condition upon which that order of genius can be held. Their source was in his imagination. The same ardour and sensibility which rendered him so eloquent an advocate of others, impelled him to take too ime passioned and irritating views of questions that personally related to himself. The mis akes of conduct into which this impetuosity of temperament betrayed him cannot be defended by this or by any other explanation of their origin; yet it is much to be able to say that they were almost exclusively confined to a single relation, and that those who in consequence suffered most, but who, from their inti: mate connexion with him, knew him best, saw so many redeeming qualities in his nature, that they uniformly considered any exclusion from his regard, 'not so much in the light of an injustice, as of a personal misfortune.

• There was a time when such considerations would have failed to appease his numerous accusers, who, under the vulgar pretext of moral indignation, were relentlessly taking vengeance on his public virtues by assiduous and exaggerated statements of private errors, which, had he been one of the enemies of his country, they would have been the first to screen or justify. But it is hoped, that he was not deceiving himself when he anticipated that the term of their hostility would expire as soon as he should be removed beyond its reach. “ The charity of the survivors (to use his own expressions) looks at the failings of the dead through an inverted glass; and slander calls off the pack froni a chase in which, when there can be no pain, there can be no sport ; nor will meniory weigh their merits with a niggard steadiness of hand." But even should this have been a delusive expectation-shouid the grave which now covers him prove an unre. spected barrier against the assaults of political hatred, there will not be wanting many of more generous minds, who loved and admired him, to rally round his memory, from the grateful conviction that his titles to his country's esteem stand in d; fiance of every in perfection of which his most implacable revilers can accuse him. As long as Ireland retains any sensibility to public worih, it will not be forgotten, that (whatever waywardness he may have shown towards some, and those a very few) she had, in every vicissitude, the unpurchased and most unmeasured benefit of his affe ctions and his virtues. This is his claim and his protection that having by his talents raised himself from an humble condition to a station of high trust and innumerable tı niptations, he held himself erect in servile times, and has left an example of Poli'ical Honour, upon which the most scrutinizing malice cannot detect a stain.' II. pp. 475-479.

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Art. II. Anecdotes, Observations, and Characters of Books and

Men, Collected from the Conversation of Mr Pope, and other eminent Persons of his time; By the Rev. Joseph SPENCE. Now first published from the Original Papers, with Notes, and a Life of the Author ; By SAMUEL WELLER SINGER. Carpenter, London. Constable & Co., Edinburgh. 1820. Here is no species of composition, perhaps, so delightful as

that which presents us with personal anecdotes of eminent men: And if its chief charm be in the gratification of our curiosity, it is a curiosity at least that has its origin in enthusiasm. We are anxious to know all that is possible to be learnt of those who have at any rate so honoured a place in our remembrance. It is not, merely, that every circumstance derives value from the person to whom it relates : but an apparently insignificant anecdote often throws an entirely new light on the history of the most admired works, or the most brilliant actions. Intellectual discoveries, or heroic deeds, though they shed a broad and lasting lustre round the memory of those that have achieved them, yet occupy but a small part of the life of any individual : And we are not unwilling to penetrate the dazzling glory, and to see how the remaining intervals are filled up;-to look into the minute details, to detect incidental foibles, and to be satisfied what qualities they have in common with ourselves, as well as distinct from us, entitled to our pity, or raised above our imitation. The heads of great men, in short, are not all that we want to get a sight of: we wish to add the limbs, the drapery, the background. What would we not give to any modern Cornelius who would enable us to catch a glimpse of Pope through a glass door, leaning thoughtful on his hand, while composing the Rape of the Lock, or the Epistle of Eloisa ; or riding by in a chariot with Lord Bolingbroke, or whispering to Petty Blount, or doing the honours of his grotto to Lady Wortley Montague ! How much, then, are we not bound to the writer who gives us a portrait of him, with any thing like tolerable fidelity and exactness, in all these circumstances !- We like to visit the birthplace or the burial-place of famous men, to mark down their birth-day, or the day on which they died. Cicero's villa, the tomb of Virgil, the house in which Shakespeare was brought up, are objects of romantic interest, and of refined curiosity to the lovers of genius; and a poet's lock of hair, a fac-simile of his handwriting, an ink-stand, or a fragment of an old chair belonging to him, are treasured up as relics of literary devogion. These things are thus valued, only because they bring us into a sort of personal contact with such characters; vouch, as it were, for their reality, and convince us that they were living men, as well as mighty minds. Sir Joshua Reynolds relates, that when he was very young, he went to a sale of pictures, and that, shortly after, there was a cry of • Mr Pope, Mr Pope !' in the room; when the company made way for him to pass, every one offering his hand in salutation; and that he himself contrived, from where he stood behind, to touch the skirt of his garment. Who, in reading this account, does not extend his hand in involuntary sympathy, and rejoice at this unequivocal testimony and cheerful tribute of applause to living merit,--at this flattering foretaste which the elegant poet received of immortality? · It has been made an objection to the biography of literary men, that the principal events of their lives are their works; and that there is little else to be known of them, either interesting to others, or perhaps creditable to themselves. We do not feel the full force of this objection. It is the very absence of grave transactions or striking vicissitudes that turns our attention more immediately upon themselves, and leaves us at leisure to explore their domestic habits, and descry their little peculiarities of temper. In the intimacy of retirement, we enjoy with them calm contemplation and poetic ease.' We see the careless smile play upon their expressive features: we hear the dictates of unstudied wisdom, or the sallies of sportive wit, fall without disguise from their lips. We draw down genius from its airbuilt citadel in books and libraries; and make it our play-mate, and our companion. We see how poets and philosophers "live, converse, and behave,' like other men. We reduce theory to practice; we translate words into things, and books into men. It is, in short, the ideal and abstracted existence of authors that renders their personal character and private history a subject of so much interest. The difficulty of forming almost any inference at all from what men write to what they are, constitutes the chief value of the problem which the literary biographer undertakes to solve. In passing from the public to the private life of kings, of statesmen and warriors, we have, for the most part, the same qualities and personal character brought into action, and displayed on a larger or a smaller scale--and can, at all events, make a pretty tolerable guess from one to the other. But we have no means to discover whether the moral Addison was the same scrupulous character in his writings and in his daily habits, but in the anecdotes recorded of him. Sir Isaac Newton's Principia do not imply his verses to his dog Tray: there is nothing to show that the writer of the epistle of Eloise to Abelard was a little, deformed person, or a Papist: nor could we be sure, without the testimony of contemporary writers, that Steele was really the same good-natured easy soul that Isaac Bickerstaff is represented to be. Some of the most popular writers among the ancients, as well as the moderns, (from Plutarch and Montaigne downwards), have accordingly been those who have taken this task of biography occasionally out of the hands of others, and made themselves not the least agreeable part of their subject. It has been observed, that we read the lives of Painters and artists with a peculiar relish. And this seems to be, because the traditions that are left of their ordinary habits and turn of mind present them in an entirely new point of view, We had before studied them only in their pictures, and the silent images of their art: but we now learn, for the first time, what to think of them as individuals. If we wait with some uneasiness. to see how a celebrated Poet or prose writer will acquit himself of a few sentences of common English, it is not surprising if we are still more at a loss what a great painter will have to say for himself, or how he will put his thoughts into words. We attend to him as to some one attempting to speak a foreign language; make allowances for a difference of dialect; or are struck with the unexpected propriety and elegance of tone. It was a long time before people would believe that Sir Joshua Reynolds wrote his own Discourses.

One principal attraction of Boswell's Life of Johnson, is the contrast which, in some respects, it presents to the Doctor's own works. The recollection of the author is a foil to the picture of the man: We are suddenly relieved by the abruptness of his manners and the pithiness of his replies, from the circumlocution and didactic formality of his style. Instead of the pompous commonplaces which he was too much in the habit of piling together, and rounding into periods in his closet,-his behaviour and conversation in company might be described as a continued exercise of spleen, an indulgence of irritable humours, a masterly display of character. He made none but home thrusts, but desperate lounges, but palpable hits. No turgidity; no flaccidness; no bloated flesh-all was muscular strength and agility. He threw aside the incumbrance of pedantry, and drapery of words. He became a thorough prize-fighter, or, what he himself would term, an intellectual gladiator :'threw down no challenge that he was not able and willing to take up; assumed no pretensions that he did not sturdily maintain ; descended from the stilts of his style into the arena of

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