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PHILANTHES : A Monody : Inscribed to Miss
A Soliloquy : Occasoned by the Author's Escape from
falling into a deep Well, by the Sound of a fa-
N a former edition of this little narra: tive; I complained of wänt of lights in relation to the person who is the subject
of it; but at present, there is no occasion for my repeating that complaint: I have since been favoured not only with several letters, but with a kind visit from him, of some weeks, when I was in the north of England; which will enable me to give not indeed a much longer account of him (for that is not necessary), but one much less defective than my former.
By the reverend Mr. Spence; late professor of poetry, in the University of Oxford.
Mr. Thomas Blacklock was born in the year 1721, at Annan, in Scotland; but of English parents ; for both his father and mother were natives of the county of * Cumberland. Before he was six months old, lie was totally deprived of his eye-light by the small-pox. His father (who, by all the accounts of him, was a very good man) had intended to breed him up to his own, or some other trade : But as this misfortune rendered him incapable of any, all that this worthy parent could do, was to Thew the utmost care and attention that he was able toward him, in so unfortunate a situation; and this goodness of his has left so strong an impression on the mind of his son, that he speaks of it with the greatest warmth of gratitude and affection. What was wanting to this poor youth from the lofs of his
fight, and the narrownels of his fortune, seems to have been repaid him in the goodness of his heart, and the capacities of his mind. It was very early, that he' Thewed a strong inclination toward poetry, " in particular. -- His father, and a few of his other friends, used sometimes to read, to divert him : : They began with such books as are generally read by children under ten years old, for their diversion; and when he was turned of that age, the works of Allan Ramsay, Prior's Poems, and the Tatlers,
His paternal ancestors have lived in that county from time immemorial. They generally followed agriculture; and were distinguished for a knowledge and humanity above their sphere. His father was an honest and worthy tradesman; had been in good circumstances, but was reduced by a series of misfortunes. His mother was daughter of Mr. Richard Rae, an extensive dealer in cattle, a considerable business in that county; and was equally esteemed as a man of fortune and importance.