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inghamshire, Lord Halifax, Lord Lansdowne, and Lord Lyttelton.* It appears that beds of roses, and adventitious distinctions keep our imperfect nature, which requires violent stimulants, in a state of too much languor and indolence.
Of the noble authors whom I have named, there are but three who deserve extraordinary praise. Lord Surrey and Lord Buckhurst will always stand pre-eminent in the annals of English literature for their genius, without reference to their station; and their works have to this day lost little of their attraction in the judgment of any who can feel the force of true poetry. They would form an exception to my position, if we did not recollect the times in which they wrote. Lord Surrey almost from his cradle to his death must have been subject, not merely to all the fatigues and dangers of adventurous Warfare, but to the anxieties and insecurities arising as well from the yet unsubsided effects of bloody civil commotions, and of the animosity of rival parties, as from the caprices of a jealous, despotic, and unrelenting monarch. Perils and “ hair-breadth 'scapes;" the alternations of hope and fear, kept all his faculties in motion; and gave a vivid colouring to his sentiments. He “ dipped his pencil in the living hues of nature," and his tints are not yet faded.
But Lord Buckhurst lived something later. He saw indeed his latter days crowned with peace, and riches, and titles. And then, alas ! the lyre was mute. It was in the blood-thirsty reign of Mary, when the axe was lifted, and the stake blazed through the
* How praise-worthy then are the exertions of a living poet, Lord Byron! 1812.
kingdom, that his agitated powers brought forth the Legend of the Duke of Buckingham ; and its sublime and picturesque Induction.
Lord Lyttelton, whose genius cannot be put in the same class with that of either of these great bards, but who, among the present list, stands next to them in merit, lived in a more calm and luxurious age. But they, who knew him best, have recorded that his life was a life of domestic affliction. His adversity might perhaps be salutary to the vigour of his intellect; and bring forth some of those tender fruits which all good and feeling minds must venerate. Nature had given him talents more elegant than forcible ; more plaintive than sublime. But he, who is incapable of admiring the purity, sweetness, and benevolence of his character, his virtuous affections, and great acquirements, has a head and heart not to be envied. If we cast our eyes attentively through the registers of the English Peerage, we shall find few, whose memories are on the whole entitled to so much love and esteem as hat of George Lord Lyttelton !
We all wish for leisure, and silence, and exemption from biting cares, to enable us to execute those fond schemes, which our hopes flatter us we are capable, under better opportunities, of realizing. Milton in his youth hinted at the future glories he should beam forth, when at his ease, and “not in these noises !” The hour of silence indeed came; the silence of poverty and neglect; but neither carelessness of mind, nor exemption even from dark and almost overwhelming anxieties. Blind, poor, exposed to insult, and threatened with frightful dangers, he seemed to call forth a double portion of strength; he threw off the incumbent weight like a giant, and behold! the Paradise Lost broke out in all its splendour!
The unhappiness of Poets is proverbial, and the malignity of the world is fond of attributing it to their own imprudences. But from what causes do those imprudences arise ? From directing their minds into excursions beyond themselves ; from not confining their attention and talents to lay plots for, and watch over, their own selfish interests ! Perhaps however even this unhappiness,' though it be a sad price to pay for the favours of the Muse, tends, for the reasons I have given, to invigorate their faculties, and give more affecting tones to the effusions of their lyre! Yet let not their persecutors thus satisfy their consciences; in them the crime becomes not only cruel but brutal; and they must only expect to be held up, as they deserve, according to a favourite quotation,
“ Fit garbage for the hell-hound Infamy!" April 11, 1808.
ART. DCCXXXIII. No. XXXIV. A familiar poetical Epistle to a Friend,
expressive of private melancholy. “ He gain'd from Heaven, 'twas all he wish'd, a friend."
BY A CORRESPONDENT.
TO THE RUMINATOR.
May 10, 1808. As you seem inclined to vary your papers by a mixture of poetry with your prose, I solicit admis
gion for the following familiar Epistle, written literally currente calamo, by a very dear friend. As it contains some moral touches, I hope it will not dishonour your ruminations. To secure its insertion, I leave the name of the person, who is responsible for it, with your Printer. L, L. Z.
Familiar Epistle to the Rev.
April 13, 1808,
How oft with rapture do I hear
* This alludes to the learned Mrs. E. Carter.
My spirits low, my body weak,
life in cares be lost?