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Memoir of William Gifford, Esq.

107 nacious, and I could multiply and di- master's anger was raised to a terrible vide by it to a great extent.

pitch by my indifference to his con“Hitherto I had not so much as cerns, and still more by the reports that dreamed of poetry: indeed, I scarcely were daily brought to him of my preknew it by name ; and whatever may sumptuous attempts at versification. I be said of the force of nature, I cer- was required to give up my papers, and tainly never "lisp'd in nuinbers. I when I refused, my garret was searchrecollect the occasion of my first at- ed, my lille board of books discovered lempt; it is, like all the rest of my ani removed, and all future repetitions non-adventures, of so unimportant à prohibited in the strictest nianner. nature, that I should blush to call the “This was a very severe stroke, and attention of the idlest reader to it, but I felt it most sensibly; it was followed for the reason alleged in the introdue- by another severer still, - a stroke tory paragraph. A person, whose name which crushed the hopes I had so long escapes me, had undertaken to paint'a and so fondly cherished, and resignerl sign for an ale-house: it was to have me at once to despair. Mr. Hugh been a lion, but the unfortunate art- Smerdon, on whose succession I had ist produced a dog. On this awkward calculated, died, and was succeeded by affair, one of my acquaintance wrote a a person not much older than myself, copy of what we called verse: I liked and certainly not so well qualified for is, but fancied that I could compose the situation. something more to the purpose. I

“ In this hugible and obscure state, inade the experiment, and by ihe una- poor beyond the common lot, yet Halnimous suffrage of my shopinates, was tering any ambition with day-dreams, allowed to have succeeded. Notwith whichi, perhaps would never have been standing this encouragement, I thought realized, I was found, in the twentieth no more of verse till another occur- year of my age, by Mr. Williain rence, as triling as the former, fur- Cookesley-a naine never to be pronished me with a fresh subject; and nounced by me without veneration. thus I went on, till I had got together The lameniable doggerel which I have about a dozen of them. Certainly, already mentioned, and which had nothing on earth was so deplorable; pissed frou mouth tu mouth among such as they were, however, they were people of my own degree, had, by talked of in iny little circle, and I was some accident or other, reached his ear, sometimes invited to repeat thein, even and given bim a curiosity to inquire out of it. I never conimited a line to after the a:thor. paper for two reasons—first, because “ It was my good fortune to interest i had no paper; and secondly-per- his benevolence. My little history was haps I might be excused from going not ominctured with melancholy, and further; but, in truth, I was afraid, as I laid it fairly before him. His first my master had already threatened me, care was to console; his second, which for inadvertently hitching the name of he cherished to the last moment of one of his customers into a rhyme.

his existence, was to relieve and sup“The repetitions of which I speak port me. were always attended with applause, "Mr. Cookesley was not rich; his and sometimes with favours-wore sub- eminence in his profession, which was stantial : Jiule collections were now that of a surgeon, procured him, inand then made, and I have received deed, much employment; but in a sixpence in an evening. To one who country town, men of science are not had long lived in the absolute want of the toosi liberally rewarded: he had, money, such a resource seemed a Pe- besides, a very numerous family, which ruvian mine: I furnished myself by leit hin little for the purposes of gedegrees with paper, &c. and, what was neral benevolence; that little, howof more importance, with books of ever, was cheerfully bestowed, and bis geometry and of the higher branches activity and real were always at hand of algebra, which I cautiously conceal to supply the deficiencies of bis fured. Poetry, even at this time, was no

tune.amusement of nine : it was subser- Through the kindness of Mr. Cookesvient to other purposes; and I only

had ley, a subscription was raised, " for recourse to it, when I wanted money purchasing the remainder of the time for my mathematical pursuits. But of William Gifford; and for enabling the clouds were gathering fist. My him to improve

Ein writing


Menoir of William Gifford, Esq.

(Feb. and English grammar."-Sufficient was the Tenth Satire for a holiday task. thus collected for purchasing the eigh- Mr. Smerdon was much pleased with teen months which remained of his this, (I was not undelighted with it apprenticeship, and for maintaining the myself,) and as I was now become youthful genius for a few months, dur- fond of the author, he easily persuaded ing which he assiduously attended the me to proceed with himn; and I transRev. Thomas Smerdon.

lated in succession the Third, the “ At the expiration of this period, Fourth, the Twelfth, and, I think, the it was found that my progress' (for ' Eighth Satires. As I had no cod in will speak the truth in modesty) had view but that of giving a temporary been inore considerable than my pa- satisfaction to my benefactors, I thought trons expected. I had also writien in little more of these, than of many other the interim several little pieces of poe- things of the same nature, which ! try, less rugged, I suppose, than my wrote from time to time, and of which former ones; and certainly with fewer I never copied a single line. anoinalies of language. My precep; “On my removing to Exeler Col. tor, 100, spoke favourably of me; and lege, however, my friend, ever alienmy benefactor, wlio was now become tive to my concerus, advised me to my father and my friend, had little copy iny translation of the Tenth Sadifficulty in persuading ny patrons to tire, and present it, on my arrival, to renew their donations, and continue the Rev. Dr. Stinton (afterwards Recme at school for another year. Such tor), to whon Mr. Taylor had given liberality was not lost upon me; I grew me an introductory letter. I did so, anxious to make the best return in my and it was kindly received. Thus enpower, and I redoubled any diligence. couraged, I took up the First and SeNow, that I am suuk into indolence, cond Satires, (I mention them in the I look back with some degree of scep- order they were translated,) when my ticisin 10 the exertions of that period. friend, who had sedulously watched

“In two years and two months from my progress, first started the idea of the day of my emancipation, I was going through the whole, and pubpronounced by Mr. Smerdon fit for lishing it by subscription, as a scheme the University; and Mr. Cookesley for increasing my means of subsistlooked round for some one who had To this I readily acceded, and interest enough to procure me soine finished the Thirteenth, Eleventh, and litile office at Oxford. This person, Fifteenth Satires; the remainder were who was soon found, was Thomas a work of a much later period. When Taylor, esq. of Denbury, a gentleman I had got thus far, we thought it a fit to whoin I had already been indebied time to mention our design ; it was for much liberal and friendly support.very generally approved of by my He procured me the place of Bib. friends; and on the first of January, Lect. at Exeter College ; and this, 1781, the subscription was opened by with such occasional assistance from Mr. Cookesley ai Ashburton, and by the country as Mr. Cookesley under myself at Exeter College. look to provide, was thought sufficient “So bold an undertaking so precipito enable me to live, at least till I had tately announced, will give the reader, taken a degree.

I lear, a higher opinion of my conceit During my attendance on Mr. than of niy talents ; neither the one Snierdon I had written, as I observed nor the other, however, had the smallbefore, several tuneful trifles, some as est concern with the business, which exercises, others voluntarily, (for poe- originated solely in ignorance : I wrote try was now become my delight,) and verses with great facility, and was simnot a few at the desire of my friends. ple enough to imagine that little more When I became capable, however, of was necessary for a translator of Juvereading Latin and Greek with some nal! I was not, indeed, unconscious degree of facility, that gentleman em- of niy inaccuracies : I knew that they ployed all my leisure hours in transla- were numerous, and that I had need iions from ihe classics ; and indeed I of some friendly eye to point then out, scarcely know a single school-book of and some judicious hand to rectify or which I did not render some portion remove them: but for these, as well into English verse. Among others, as for every thing else, I looked to Mr. Juvenal engaged my attention, or Cookesley, and that worthy man, with rather my master's, and I translated his usual alacrity of kindness, under


Memoir of William Gifford, Esq.

109 took the laborious task of revising the become more intimately acquainted · whole translation. My friend was no with the classics, and to acquire some great Lalinist, perhaps I was the bet- of the modern languages: by permister of the two; but he had taste and sion too, or rather recominendation, of judgment, which I wanted. What the Rector and Fellows, I also underadvantages might have been ultimately took the care of a few pupils.". derived from them, there was unhap- On returning, after the lapse of pily no opportunity of ascertaining, as many months, to his Juvenal, Mr. it pleased the Almighty to call him to Gifford“ discovered, for the first time, himself by a sudden death, before we that my own experience, and the adhad quite finished the First Satire. He vice of my too, ioo partial friend, had died with a letter of mine, unopened, engaged me in a work for the due exin his hands.

ecution of which my literary attain“ This event, which took place on ments were by no meavs sufficient.” the 10th of January, 1781, aftlicted me Seeing, thercfore, the necessity of a beyond measure. I was not only de- long and painful revision, which would prived of a most faithful and affection- have carried him far beyond the time ate friend, but of a zealous and ever fixed for the appearance of the volume, active protector, on whom I conf- he resolved to renounce the publicadently relied for support: the sums tion for the present. In pursuance of that were still necessary for me, he al- this resolution, much of the subscripways collected; and it was 10 be feared tion-money was returned ; but he still that the assistance which was not so- secretly determined to complete the licited with warınth, would insensibly work, and to illustrate it with notes, cease to be afforded.

which he “ now perceived to be abso“In many instances this was actually lutely necessary.". At this crisis his the case. The desertion, however, views were entirely changed by his acwas not general; and I was encouraged cidental introduction to Lord'Grosveto hope, by the unexpected friendship nor, which he thus describes : of Servington Savery, a gentleman who “ I had contracted an acquaintance voluntarily stood forth as iny patron, with (the Rev. William Peters, R.A.) and watched over my interest with recommended to my particular notice kindness and attention.

by a gentleman of Devonshire, whom “ Some time before Mr. Cookesley's I was proud of an opportunity to oblige. death, we had agreed that it would be This person's residence at Oxford was proper to deliver out, with the terms not long, and when he returned to of 'subscription, a specimen of the town, I maintained a correspondence inanner in which the translation was with him by letters. At his particular executed. To obriate any idea of se- request, these were enclosed in covers, lection, a sheet was accordingly taken and sent to Lord Grosvenor. One day from the beginning of the First Satire. I inadvertently omitted the direction, My friend died while it was in the and his Lordship, necessarily supposing press.

the letter to be meant for himself, After a few melancholy weeks, opened and read it. There was someresumed the translation ; but found thing in it which attracted his notice; myself utterly incapable of proceeding. and when he gave it to iny friend, he I had been so accustomed to connect had the curiosity to inquire about his the name of Mr. Cookesley with every correspondent at Oxford, and, upon the part of it, and I laboured with such answer he received, the kindness to delight in the hope of giving him plea- desire that he might be brought to see sure, that now, wben he appeared to him upon his coming to town. To have left me in the midst of my enter- this circunstance, purely accidental on prize, and I was abandoned to my all sides, and to this alone, I owe my own efforts, I seeined to be engaged in introduction 10 that nobleman. a hopeless struggle, without motive or “On my first visit, he asked me end: and this idea, which was perpe- what friends I had, and what were my tually recurring to me, brought such prospects in life; and I told him that bitter anguish with it, that I shut up I had no friends, and no prospects of the work with feelings bordering on any kind. He said no more: but when distraction!

I called to take leave, previous to re“To relieve my inind, I had recourse turning to college, I found that this to other pursuits. I endeavoured to simple exposure of my circumstances

Memoir of William Gifford, Esq.

[Feb. had sunk deep into his mind. Ait would in themselves have been unparting, heinformed me that he charged worthy the notice of Gifford; but, himself with my present support, and being published in England in the futore establishment; and that till this daily paper called the World, which last could be effected to my wish, I then enjoyed a large circulation, they should come and reside with him. became fashionable and popular, and These were not words of course-they were imitated from one end of the were more than fulfilled in every point. kingdom to the other. The appearance I did go, and reside with him; and I of ihe Baviad effectually routed this experienced a warm and cord:al recep- tribe of poetasters, and laid on the tion, a kind and affectionate esteem, ruins of their popularity the foundathat has knowo neither diminution tion of the more elevated fame of Gifnor interruption from that hour lo ford. thisma period of 20 years ! *

The Mäsiad, which appeared in the 1, " In his Lordship's house, I pro- following year, was more particularly ceeded with Juvenal, till I was called directed to the state of dramatic poetry, upon to accompany his son (one of the and was equally successful in obiaining most amiable and accomplished young for itself the applause of the public, if noblemen that this country, feriile in not in correcting its theatrical taste. such characters, could ever boast,) 10 The Baviad and Maviad bave been the continent. With him, in two suc- frequently republished together, accomucessive tours, I spent many years panied by an Epistle to Peter Pindar. years of which the remembrance will Mr. Gifford's Juvenal, as before always be dear to me, from the recol- mentioned, first appeared in 1802, in lection that a friendship was then con- 410. (and it was theu reviewed in vol. tracted, which time and a more inti- LXXII. ii. p. 882, 992). Of the stricmate knowledge of each other have tures of the Critical Review, Mr. Gifmellowed into a regard that forms at ford, published an “Examination” in once the pride and happiness of my 1803, and a “Supplement” to that life.”

Examination in 1804. A second ediIn this manner concluded Mr. Gif- tion of the Juvenal was published in ford's own autobiographical narrative, 8vo, in 1806. first published with his Juvenal in 1802. As the editor of the Anti-jacobin He had already acquired great cele- newspaper, Mr. Gifford greatly added brity as the author of The Baviad” to his celebrity; and on the first estaand “ The Mæviad,” though he does blishment of ihe Quarterly Review in not himself notice those successful pro- 1809, he was, in a happy hour for its ductions of his muse. The former proprietor and the public, chosen lo satire was published in 179+; and the conduct that publication, of which he object of its attack was what was called continued the Editor till within a year the Della Cruscan school of poetry. of his death. This school had first originated in 1785, In the votes to. bis Juvepal, Mr. when, says Mr. Gifford, “ a few Eng: Gifford had displayed an extensive aclish of boih sexes, whom chance had quaintance with the early English jumbled together at Florence, took a poets; and throughout his life he pro fancy to while away their time in secuted at his leisure hours that intescribbling high panegyrics on them- resting study. In 1808 he published selves, and complimentary canzonettes an edition of the Plays of Massinger in on iwo or three Italians, who uider- 4 vols. 8vo; in 1810 the Works of stood too little of the language to be Ben Jonson, in 9 vols. 8vo; and during disgusted with them." These trifles the sew lauter years of his life, he had

• To this passage Mr. Gifford, in the second edition of his Juvenal, appended the folo lowing note :

“ I have a melancholy satisfaction in recording that this revered fricod and patron lived to witness my grateful acknowledgment of his kindness. He survived the appearance of the translation but a very few days, and I paid the last sad duty to his memory by attending bis remains to the grave. To me, this laborious work has not been happy; the same disastrous event that marked its cominencement has imbittered its conclusion, and frequently forced upon my recollection the calamity of the rebuilder of Jerichom He said the foundation thereof in Abiram, his first 'boru, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son, Segubi'-1606."

Memoir of William Gifford, Esq.

III been preparing the Works of Ford and tone to the Rev. Mr. Cookesley, who Shirley. 'The former is complete in is likewise his residuary legatee. He two voluines, and ready for publica. has left his house in James-street; for tion; of the latter, five volumes, and the remainder of the term, nearly one-half of the sixih, are printed. thirty years, to Mrs Hoppner, widow

Of Jonson in particular, the first of the eminent portrait-painter, and poet of his age in the estimation of his legacies of a few hundreds to her contemporaries, though Shakspeare has children. He has left a sum of money, so much eclipsed him in the opinion the interest of which is to be distri of posteriiy, a standard edition was buted annually amongst the poor of certainly a great desideratum. The Ashburton. He has likewise left to in partial reader inust peruse with de- Exeter College another sum, the founlight and admiration the able and con- dation of two scholarships. Three vincing vindication of the Puet's per- thousand pounds are left to ihe relatives sonal character, which is containeil in of his beloved maid servant, who was the 307 introductory pages. The folly buried in South Audley Chapel, where and the falshood displayed by the the Poet himself intended to repose, “enemies” of Jooson, -by those prin. but for the pressing request of his Excipally who have pandered to flatter ecutor, who was anxious that Gifford's the popular deification of Shakspeare reinains should be mingled with the by sacrificing at his altar every author great and gond, in Poet's Corner. He who could possibly be brought into has left to Mr. Heber his edition of comparison with him,-no writer could Maittaire's Classics, andany other books have so coinpletely and thoroughly ex- Mr. Heber may choose to select. To posed, as the author of the Baviad and Mr. Murray, the bookseller, he has left Mæviad.

100/. as a memorial; likewise five hun. A portrait of Mr. Gifford, from a dred guineas, to enable him to reimpainting by his intimate friend Hoppburse a military gentleman, to whom nier, was prefixed to bis Juvenal, and he appears to have become jointly copied in the Monthly Mirror for Sept. bound for the advance of that suin for 1802. The engraving which is pubs Mr. Cookesley, at a former period. blished in the present Magazine, is He leaves to his executor, Dr. Ireland, from an earlier painting by the same fifty guineas for a ring, and any of his artist, copied by permission from the books the Dean may select. He reoriginal in the possession of the Dean quests his Execuior 1o destroy all conof Westminster

fidential papers, especially those relatThe mortal remains of this distin. ing to the Review, so that the illusguished scholar and critic were depo- trated Quarterly, mentioned in the sited in Westminster Abbey, imme- newspapers, in which the naines of diately below the monuments of Cam- the authors, and the prices paid for den and Garrick, on the 8th of January. each article, are said to have been

The first mourning coach contained inserted, will never see the light. Dr. Ireland, Dean of Westminster, Other legacies to individuals are likeGeneral Grosvenor, Mr. Cookesley, wise left. There are various codicils to sen., and Mr. Cookesley, jun.; the the will. The whole is in the handsecond, Mr. Croker, Mr. Barrow, Mr. writing of Mr. Gifford. Hay, and Mr. Backhouse ; the thiral, “ With what fuelinys," says Mr. Mr. Chantrey (the sculptor), "Ir. Bed- Gifford, in concluding the preface to ford, Mr. Luckhart, and Nir. Sergeant his Jonson, “ do 1 trace ihe words Rough; the fourth, Mr. Palgrave, Mr.

Dean or W'ESTMINSTER! Hoppner, Mr. Jacob, and Mr. Tay- Five and forty springs have now lor" (the late proprietor of the Sun passed over my head, since I first newspaper); the fifth and last, Mr. found Dr. Ireland, some years my Bandinell

, Dr. Thompson, Mr. Parsloe, junior, in our little school, at his spellMr. Cooper, and Mr. Murray. ing-book. During this long period,

The deceased geoileuan's carriage, our friendship has been without a the Dean of Westminster's, Lord Gros- cloud; my delight in youth, my pride venor's, Mr. Parsloe's, Mr. Jacob's, and consolation in old age!"– Mr. Lord Belgrave's, Mr. Back house's, Dr. Gifford had before alluded to this faithThompson's, and Mr.Croker's followed. ful friendship, in the following beau· The probate of Mr. Gifford's will is tiful lives of the “ Baviad :" taken out under 25,0001. personal pro- Sure, if our fates hang on some hidden power,' perty. He has left the bulk of his for- And take their colour from the natal hour,

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