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placed him at a grammar school in the Scotch me tropolis, and generously volunteered to defray the expenses of his education. Here he remained under the patronage of Dr. Stephenson, until 1745. He then returned to Dumfries, where he resided for some time with his brother-in-law, in whose house he was treated with kindness and affection.

In 1746, he published a small collection of his poems, at Glasgow. Shortly after, he returned to Edinburgh, and entered the University, where he pursued his studies for six years longer. He soon became master of Latin and Greek, and, it is said, could converse quite fluently in the French.

In 1754, he published at Edinburgh a second edition of his poems, greatly improved and enlarged, to which was prefixed an account of his life. This publication attracted the notice of Mr. Spence, Professor of Poetry at Oxford, who was first to call the attention of the public to the true native genius and high intellectual attainments of this blind student, and to his originality, as a poet. Through the influence of the celebrated David Hume, a warm friend and admirer of Blacklock, a third edition of his poems was published in London, in 1756, under the superintendence of Mr. Spence, together with an account of the author's life, and a very elaborate dissertation upon his character and superior merits.

About this time, he published at Edinburgh a pamphlet on Universal Etymology, or the Analysis of a Sentence.

During his course of study at the University, ho acquired a knowledge of the various branches of phi losophy and theology, nor was polite literature neg lected by him. In 1757, he formed the design of establishing a school for the instruction of young men in oratory. But meeting with some discouragement from his friends, he abandoned the project, and commenced a thorough course of theological study, with the intention of going into the church ; and was accordingly licensed, in 1759, by the presbytery of Dumfries, to preach the gospel. In 1760, he published an able sermon, on the Right Improvement of Time. “The sentiments it contains," says Mr. Wilson, " are just and solid, and the advice is calculated to be useful at all times, particularly in the the prospect of national danger or distress.” In 1761, he published a lengthy discourse, on Faith, Hope, and Charity, in 8vo.

In 1762, he married Miss Sarah Johnston, of Dumfries, a lady of highly respectable parentage. Her fine talents and generous nature, (personal charms most attractive to the blind,) combined with a sweetness of temper, and true devotion to the interests of her husband, made her a companion worthy of his love and confidence, and a star in the evening of his life, whose mild face was never hid among clouds of disappointment. Shortly after this event, he was ordained ininister of the church at Kirkcudbright, on the presentation of the Earl of Selkirk. But the people, on account of their prejudices toward one de

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prived of sight, refused to receive him as their spir. itual guide. “Though undoubtedly blind enough

* themselves," says Mr. Bowen, “ they did not like the idea of having a blind clergyman.” After a legal dispute of nearly two years, he was at last induced to compromise the matter, by resigning his situation and receiving a small annuity instead.

A very interesting anecdote is related of him, which shows his mental anxiety at this time, and deserves a place in Dr. Abercrombie's chapter on Somnambulism. It occurred at an inn in Kirkcudbright. “Dr. Blacklock, one day, harassed by the censures of the populace, whereby not only his reputation, but his very existence was endangered, and fatigued with mental exertion, fell asleep after dinner. Some hours after, he was called upon by a friend, answered his salutation, and rose and went with him into the diningroom, where some of his companions were met. He joined with two of them in a concert, singing, as usual, with taste and elegance, without missing a note, or forgetting a word; he then went to sụpper, and drank a glass or two of wine. His friends, however, observed him to be a little absent and inattentive; by and by he began to speak to himself, but in so low and confused a manner as to be unintelligible. At last, being pretty forcibly roused, he awoke with a sudden start, unconscious of all that had happened, as, till then, he had continued fast asleep."

In 1764, he removed to Edinburgh, and opened a boarding-house for young men, whom he proposed to


instruct in philosophy and the languages. Shortig after, the University of Aberdeen conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. In 1767, he published a work entitled Consolation, deduced from Natural and Revealed Religion. In 1773, he published a satirical poem at Edinburgh, in 8vo. He was also the author of a heroic ballad, in four cantos. It may not be generally known that the article “Blind,” in the Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1783, was written by him. He died in 1791, in the seventieth year of his age, and was interred in the burying-ground of Ease Chapel.

“Peace to thy gentle shade, and endless rest!
Bless d in thy genius, in thy love, too, bless'd I”

We cannot place before our readers a richer literary feast, than our poet's beautiful soliloquy, copied from his Edinburgh edition :


Occasioned by the author's escape from falling into a deep well where he must

have been irrecoverably lost, if a favorite lap-dog had not, by the sound of its feet upon the board with which the well was covered, warned him of danger.

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WHERE am I!LO Eternal Power of Heaven !
Relieve me; or, amid the silent gloom,
Can Danger's cry approach no generous ear,
Prompt to redress the unhappy! O my heart!
What shall I do, or whither shall I turn?
Will no kind hand, benevolent as Heaven,
Save me, involv'd in peril and in night!
Erect with horror stands may bristling hair ;

My tongue forgets its motion; strength forsakes
My trembling limbs; my voice, impell’d in vain,
No passage finds; cold, cold as death, my blood,
Keen as the breath of winter, chills each vein.
For on the verge, the awful verge of fate
Scarce fix'd I stand; and one progressive step
Had plunged me down, unfathomably deep
To gulfs impervious to the cheerful sun
And fragrant breeze; to that abhorr'd abode,
Where Silence and Oblivion, sisters drear!
With cruel Death confed'rate empire hold,
In desolation and primeval gloom.

Ha! What unmans me thus ? What, more than horror,
Relaxes every nerve, untunes my frame,
And chills my inmost soul !-Be still, my heart!
Nor fluttering thus in vain attempt to burst
The barrier firm, by which thou art confin'd,
Resume your functions, limbs! restrain those knees
From smiting thus each other. Rouse, my soul!
Assert thy native dignity, and dare
To brave this king of terrors ; to confront
His cloudy brow, and unrelenting frown,
With steady scorn, in conscious triumph bold.
Reason that beam of uncreated day,
That ray of Deity by God's own breath
Infus'd and kindled, reason will dispel
Those fancied terrors: reason will instruct thee,
That death is Heaven's kind interposing hand,
To snatch thee timely from impending woe;
From aggregated misery, whose pangs
Can find no other period but the grave.

For, oh! while others gaze on Nature's face, The verdant vale, the mountains, woods and streams; Or, with delight ineffable, survey The sun, bright image of his parent God; The seasons, in majestic order, round This varied globe revolving; young-eyed Spring, Profuse of life and joy; Summer, adorn'd With keen effulgence, brightening heaven and earth,

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