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Inspires with rage, or all your cares dissolves;
RICHARD GLOVER was born in St. Martin's Lane, Cannon-street, in 1712. His father was a London merchant; and, although his verses procured for him an early
he was prudent enough not to permit the attractions of the Muse to seduce him from the profitable study of the ledger. In 1737, he published" Leonidas," an epic poem in twelve books; it has long ceased to retain its hold on the favour of the public, but in his own day it obtained a very large share of popularity, passed through several editions; and procured his introduction to the society of all the leading wits of the age. As a citizen of London, he held a very prominent place; busied himself incessantly to promote its commercial interests; and became a valuable partizan of the Anti-Court party, then led by Lord Lyttleton, and headed by the Prince of Wales. In 1761, he was elected Member of Parliament for Weymouth; and as a zealous and active representative, was entitled to the gratitude of his country. The concluding years of his life were spent in calm retirement and learned ease; and he died at his house in Albemarle-street, in 1785.
Besides a few “miscellanies," and his tragedies “Boadicea his only poetical productions are “Leonidas " and the “ Athenaid," a sequel to it, printed after his death. It is admitted that much of the success which attended the publication of his poem arose out of the peculiar character of the times. “A zeal, or rather rage for liberty, prevailed in England: a constellation of great men, distinguished by their virtues as well as their talents, had set themselves in opposition to the Court; every composition that bore the sacred name of freedom recommended itself to their protection, and soon obtained possession of the public favour. Hence a poem founded on the noblest principles of liberty, and displaying the most brilliant examples of patriotism, soon found its way into the world." In proportion, however, as the political fever was subdued, th poetry "sunk into a cold forgetfulness with regard to it;" and the writer lived to experience that sterling merit alone can secure a fame which is enduring. Leonidas is as a whole but a dull, heavy, and prosaic performance; although it contains many passages of great beauty and power. Lyttleton, in a laudatory piece of criticism, in which he compared the author to Milton, seems to have divined the cause of its failure :-" there never was an epic poem which had so near a relation to Common Sense."
The story is that of the hero of Thermopylæ ; and the Athenaid is a poetical history of the subsequent wars between the Greeks and Persians; the design and result of which are thus explained by the concluding lines.
"Nigbt drops her shade
Leonidas of Sparta was aveng'd." Although it may be considered a task of no ordinary labour to peruse the twelve books of Leonidas and the thirty books of the Athenaid; and although the reader is perpetually wearied by the long and tame descriptions, lifeless characters, and tedious dialogues with which both the poems abound, he will be continually cheered by some passage of surpassing beauty, and lured on by the deep and exciting interest of a skilfully wrought story. The portrait of the hero is admirably drawn; and its moral grandeur is happily contrasted with that of Xerxes, the proud but mean leader of the millions who crushed the handful of patriots at Thermopylæ. The poet was especially fortunate in his management of the catastrophe; the death of the self-devoted band is never for a moment considered in any other light than that of an entire triumph ; they fall amid heaps of their slaughtered enemies; but their blood has purchased the freedom of their country. Considerations of the glory they achieve and the liberty they win, bear away the reader from thought of what the victory has cost; and the poet has produced that which is produced so rarely, a sensation of delight when they perish, for whom his sympathies have been so long excited.
We have extracted one of the miscellaneous poems of Glover; it is, we think, among the most beautiful and pathetic ballads in the language; the compliment which the unfortunate Ilosicr pays to the successful Vernon has perhaps been
As near Porto-Bello lying
On the gently-swelling flood,
Our triumphant navy rode;
From the Spaniard's late defeat,
Drank success to England's fleet: On a sudden, shrilly sounding,
Hideous yells and shrieks were heard ; Then each heart with fear confounding,