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.1927.)
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 little hoard of books discovered tempt; it is, like all the rest of my and removed, and all future repetitions non-adventures, of so unimportant a prohibited in the strictest manner. nalure, that I should blush to call the “This was a very severe stroke, and attention of the idlest reader to it, but I fell it most sensibly; it was followed for the reason alleged in the introduc- 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 resigneri .sign for an ale-house: it was to have me at once 10 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 myseli, 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 humble and obscure state, inade the experiinent, and by ihe una- poor beyond the common lot, yet Halnimous suffrage of my shopinates, was tering my ambition with day-dreams, allowed to have succeeded. Not willi- whici, 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 iny age, by

Mr. Williain rence, as irifing as the former, tur- Cookesley—name 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 lamentable doggerel which I have about a dozen of them. Certainly, already mentioned, and which had nothing on earth was so deplorable; passed' frou mouth to mouth among such as they were, however, they were people of my own degree, ha 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 afier 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 mighi be excused from going not untinctured 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 be cherished to the last moment of one of his customers into a rhyme. bis 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 deeil, 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 loost 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 liule, howof more importance, with books of ever, was cheerfully bestowed, and bis geometry and of the higher branches activity and zeal were always at hand of algebra, which I cautiously conceal- to supply the deficiencies of his fured. Poetry, even at this time, was no amuserucni of mine : it was subser- Through the kindness of Mr. Cookes. vient to other purposes; and I only had ley, a subscription was raised, " for recourse to it, when I wanted inoney purchasing the remainder of the time for my mathematical pursuits. But of William Gifford ; and lur enabling the clouds were gathering fist. My him to iipprove himself in writing

tune

106
Memoir of William Gifford, Esq.

(Feb. boat alarmed the man on deck, who negotiating with his cousin, a shoe. came to the ship's side just in time to maker of some respectability, who had see me sink. He immediately threw liberally agreed to take me without a out several ropes, one of which provi- fee, as an apprentice. I was so shocked dentially (for I was unconscious of it,) at this intelligence, that I did not remonintangled itself about me, and I was strate; but went in sullenness and sis drawn up to the surface, till a boat lence to my new master, to whom i could be got round. The usual me- was soon after bound, till I should als thods were taken to recover me, and I tain the age of twenty-one. awoke in bed the next moming, re- “As I hated my new profession membering nothing but the horror I wiih a perfect haired, I made no fell, when I first found in yself unable to progress in it; and was consequently cry out for assistance. This was not my liule regarded in the family, of which only escape, but I forbear to speak of I sunk by degrees into the common them. An escape of another kind was drudge: inis did not much disquiet preparing for me.”

me, for my spirits were now humbled. This was an alteration in ihe con- I did not, however, quite resign the duct of his godfather, wlio, 10 allay a hope of one day succeeding to Mr. murmuring which had arisen amongst Hugh Smerdon, and therefore secretly the townspeople, had now determined prosecuted my favourite study, at every to recal hin from his degraded situa- interval of leisure. These intervals tion, and restore him to school. This, were not very frequent; and when the as he wanted some months of fourteen, use I made of them was found oui, and was not yet bound apprentice, was they were renilered still less so. 1 easily affected; and " my heart," lie could not guess the motives for this at continues, "which liad been cruelly first; but at length I discovered that shut up, now opened to kinder semi

my

Master destined his youngest son ments, and raiier vieirs."

for the situation 10 which I aspired. After the holidays I returued to “I possessed at this time but one my darling pursuil, aritbmetic: my book in the world: it was a creatise progress was now so rapid, that in a on Algebra, given to me by a young few mouths I was at the head of the woman, who had found it in a lodgschool, and qualified to assist my mas- ing-honse. I considered it as a treater, Mr. E. Foulong, on any extraor- sure; but it was a treasure locked up; dinary emergency. As he usually gave for it supposed the reader to be well me a irifle on those occasions, it raised acquainted with simple equation, and a thought in me, thai, by engaging I knew nothing of the matter. My with him as a regular assistant, and master's son had purchased Fenning's undertaking the instruction of a few Introduction : this was precisely what evening scholars, I might, with a lie. I wanted; but he carefully concealed tle additional aid, be enabled to sup- it from me, and I was indebied to por myself. God knows, phıy ideas of chance alone for stumbling upon his suppori at this time were of no very hiding-place. I sat up for the greatest extravagant nalule. I had, besides, part of several nights successively, and another object in view. Mr. Hugh before he suspected that his treatise Smendon, my first Alaster, was now was discovered, had completely mas' grown old and infirm; it seemed 110- tered it. I could now enter tpon my likely that he should bold out above own; and that carried me pretty far three or four years; and I fonully fat into the science. This was not done tered myself that, notwithstanding my without dilliculıy. I had not a faryouth, I miglie possibly be appointed thing on earth, nor a friend 10 give io succeed him. I was in any filicenth nic one ; pen, ink, and paper, thereyear, when I built these castles. A fore, (in despite of the flippant remark storm, however, was collecting, which of Lord Orford,) were, for the most unexpectedly burst upon me, and part, as completely out of my reach as swept them all away.

a crown and sceptre. There was, iu"On mentioning my liule plan to deed, a resource; but the utmost cauCarlisle, he created it with the urnost tion and secrecy were necessary in apcontempt; and told me, that, as I had plying to it. I beat out pieces of lealearned enough at school, he must be iher as smooth as possible, and wrought considered as having fairly discharged my problems on ihein with a blunted his duty; he added, that he had been awl; for the rest, my meinory was le

1927.)
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 sumpluous 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 numbers. I when I refused, my garret was search. recollect the occasion of my first at- ed, my little hoard of books discovered tempt; it is, like all the rest of my and removed, and all future repetitions non-adventures, of so unimportant a 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 fell it most sensibly; it was followed for the reason alleged in the introduc- 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 resigneri sign for an ale-house: it was to have me at once lo 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 myseli, copy of what we called verse: I liked and certainly not so well qualified for it, but fancied that I could compose the situation. something more to the purpose.

I

“In this humble and obscure state, inade the experiment, and by ihe una- poor beyond the common lot, yet Halnimous suffrage of my shopinates, was tering my ambition with day-dreams, allowed to have succeeded. Notwith- which, 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 iriling as the former, fur- Cookesley-a naine never to be pronished ine with a fresh subject; and nounced by me without veneration. thus I went on, till I had got logether. The lamentable doggerel which I have about a dozen of them. Certainly, already mentioned, and which had nothing on earth was so deplorable; pissed frou inouth w mouth among such as they were, however, they were people of any own degree, had, by talked of in ny little circle, and I was some accident or other, reached his ear, sonietimes invited to repeat thein, even and given him a curiosity w inquire out of it. I never conimitted a line to afier the author. paper for two reasons—first, because “ It was my good fortune to interest I had no paper; and secondly-per- his benevolence. My little bistory was haps I mighi be excused from going not untinctured 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 lo console; his second, which for inadvertently hitching the name of he cherished to the last moinent 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 : little 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 loost liberally rewarded : he had, money, such a resource seemed a Pe- besides, a very numerous family, which ruvian mine: I furnished myself by leit hiun 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 his geometry and of the higher branches activity and real were always at hand of algebra, which I cautiously conceal- to supply the deficiencies of his fured. Poetry, even at this time, was no tune. amusement of wine : it was subser- Through the kindness of Mr. Cookes. rient to other purposes; and I only had ley, a subscription was raised, " for recourse to it, when I wanted inobey purchasing the remainder of the time for my mathematical pursuits. But of William Gifford : and for enabling ihe clouds were gathering fust. My bim to impro

in writing

103
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 beconre youthful zenius for a few months, dur- fond of the author, he easily persuaded ing which he assiduously attended the me to proceed with him; 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 í 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 liule 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 Exeter Cole tor, 100, spoke favourably of me; and lege, however, my friend, ever allenmy benefactor, who was now become tive to my concerns, advised me to my father and my friend, had little copy iny translation of the Tenth Sadifficulty in persuading my 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), 10 whom Mr. Taylor had giren 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 iny diligence. couraged, I took up the First and SeNow, that I am sunk into indolence, cond Satires, (I mention them in the I look back with some degree of scep- order they were translated,) when my ticisin to 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 incans 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 little 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 Exeler 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. took 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 fear, a higher opinion of my conceit “During my attendance on Mr. than of my talents ; neither the one Snierdon I had wriuen, as I observed nor the other, however, had the small. before, 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, was necessary for a translator of Juve. reading 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 Lions 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 Euglish verse. Among others, as for every thing else, I looked to Mr. Juvenal engaged my atteution, or Cookesley, and that worthy man, with rather my master's, and I translated his usual alacrity of kindness, under

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1827.]
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 iwo); but he had taste and sion too, or rather recommendation, of judgment, which I wanted. What the Rector and Fellows, I also underadvantages inight 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 ihe 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, 100 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 attainThis event, which took place on ments were by no means sufficient.” the 10th of January, 1781, afflicted me Seeing, therefore, 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 confi- 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 to be feared tion-money was returned ; but he still thal 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 my 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 lerms not long, and when he relurned 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, Jection, a sheet was accordingly taken and sent to Lord Grosvenor. One day from the beginning of the First Sarise. 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 himsell, “ 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 frieud, 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 circuinstance, purely accidental on prize, and I was abandoned 10 my all sides, and to this alone, I owe my own efforts, I seeined to be engaged in introduction 10 that noblenian. 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 stich 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 reTo relieve my inind, I had recourse turning to college, I found that this to other pursuits. I endeavoured to simple exposure of my circumstances

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