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he commonly chofe for fuch ftudies; fo that he would often be heard walking in his library till near morning, humming over, in his way, what he was to correct and write out next day.
The amusements of his leifure hours were civil and natural history, voyages, and the relations of travellers, the most authentic he could procure: and, had his situation favoured it, he would certainly have excelled in gardening, agriculture, and every rural improvement and exercise. Although he performed on no inftrument, he was paffionately fond of mufic, and would fometimes liften a full hour at his window to the nightingales in Richmond gardens. While abroad, he had been greatly delighted with the regular Italian drama, fuch as Metaftafio writes; as it is there heightened by the charms of the best voices and inftruments; and looked upon our theatrical entertainments as, in one refpect, naked and imperfect, when compared with the ancient, or with those of Italy; wishing sometimes that a chorus, at least, and a better recitative, could be introduced
Nor was his tafte lefs exquifite in the arts of paint ing, Sculpture, and architecture. In his travels, he had seen all the most celebrated monuments of antiquity, and the best productions of modern art and Itudied them fo minutely, and with fo true a judgment, that in fome of his defcriptions, in the poem of Liberty, we have the master-pieces there mentioned placed in a ftronger light perhaps than if we faw them with our eyes; at least, more justly delineated than in any other account extant: fo fuperior is a natural taste of the grand and beautiful, to the traditional leffons of a common virtuofo. His collection of prints, and fome B 3 drawings
drawings from the antique, are now in the poffeffion
As for his more diftinguishing qualities of mind and heart, they are better reprefented in his writings, than they can be by the pen of any biographer. There,. his love of mankind, of his country and friends; his devotion to the Supreme Being, founded on the most elevated and just conceptions of his operations and.. providence, shine out in every page. So unbounded was his tenderness of heart, that it took in even the brute creation: judge what it must have been towards his own fpecies. He is not indeed known, through his whole life, to have given any perfon one moment's pain, by his writings or otherwife. He took no part in the poetical fquabbles which happened in his time; and was refpected and left undisturbed by both fides. He would even refuse to take offence when he juftly might; by interrupting any personal story that was brought him, with some jest, or some humorous apology for the offender. Nor was he ever seen ruffled or difcompofed, but when he read or heard of fome flagrant inftance of injuftice, oppreffion or cruelty: then, indeed, the strongest marks of horror and indignation were visible in his countenance.
These amiable virtues, this divine temper of mind,. did not fail of their due reward. His friends loved him with an enthusiastic ardor, and lamented his untimely fate in the manner that is still fresh in every one's memory: the best and greatest men of his time honoured him with their friendship and protection; the applause of the public attended every appearance he made; the actors, of whom the more eminent were his friends and admirers, grudging no pains to do justice to his tragedies. At prefent, indeed, if we ex
cept Tancred, they are feldom called for; the fimplicity of his plots, and the models he worked after, not fuiting the reigning taste, nor the impatience of an English theatre. They may hereafter come to be in vogue; but we hazard no comment or conjecture upon them, or upon any part of Mr Thomson's works; neither need they any defence or apology, after the reception they have had at home, and in foreign lan guages into which they have been tranflated. We fhall only fay, that, to judge from the imitations of his manner, which have been following him clofe, from the very first publication of Winter, he feems to have fixed no inconfiderable aera of the English poetry.
The scene of the following ftanzas is supposed to ly on the Thames near Richmond.
yonder grave a Druid lyes,
The year's beft fweets fhall duteous rife
In yon deep bed of whisp'ring reeds
Then maids and youths fhall linger here,
To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.
The harp of Aeolus, of which fee a defcription in the Caftle of Indolence.
Remembrance oft fhall haunt the shore
And oft as Ease and Health retire
To breezy lawn, or forest deep,
The friend shall view yon whitening * spire,
But thou, who own'ft that earthy bed,
Whofe cold turf hides the buried friend !
And fee, the fairy valleys fade,
Dun Night has veil'd the folemn view!