Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

paradife he had raised around him, the hofpitality with which he lived, his great indulgence to his fervants, his charities to the indigent, and all done with an estate not more than three hundred pounds a year, one should rather be ked to wonder that he left any thing behind him, than to blame his want of economy. He left however more than-fufficient to pay all his debts; and by his will appropriated his whole estate for that purpose.

It was perhaps from some considerations on the narrowness of his fortune, that he forbore to marry; for he was no enemy to wedlock, had a high opinion of many among the fair sex, was fond of their fociety, and no stranger to the tenderest impressions. One, which he received in his youth, was with difficulty furmounted. The lady was the subject of that sweet paftoral, in four parts, which has been so universally admired; and which, one would have thought, must have fubdued the loftieft heart, and softened the most obdurate.

His person, as to height, was above the middle ftature, but largely and rather inelegantly formed: his face feemed plain till you conversed with him, and then it grew very pleasing. In his dress he was negligent, even to a fault, though when young, at the university, he was accounted a BEAU. He wore his own hair, which was quite grey very early, in a particular manner; not from any affection of fingularity, but from a maxim he had laid down, that without too flavifh a regard to fashion, every one should dress in a manner most suitable to his own person and figure. In short, his faults were only little blemishes, thrown in by nature, as it were on purpose to prevent him from rising too much above that level of imperfection allotted to humanity.

His character as a writer will be distin, guished by simplicity with elegance, and genius with correctness. He had a sublimity equal to the highest attempts; yet from the indolence of his temper, he chose rather to amuse himself in culling flowers at the foot of

the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the mount, than to take the trouble of climbing the more arduous steeps of PARNASSUS. But whenever he was disposed to rise, his steps, though natural, were noble, and always well fupported. In the tenderness of elegiac poetry he hath not been excelled; in the fimpli.city of pastoral, one may venture to fay he had very few equals. Of great sensibility himself, he never failed to engage the hearts of his readers : and amidst the nicest attention to the harmony of his numbers, he always took care to express with propriety the sentiments of an elegant mind. In all his writings, his greatest difficulty was to please himself. I remember a passage in one of his letters, where, speaking of his love songs, he says,—“ Some “ were written on occasions a good deal ima

ginary, others not fo; and the reason there

are so many is, that I wanted to write one “good song, and could never please myself.” It was this diffidence which occasioned him to throw aside many of his pieces before he had bestowed upon them his last touches. I have suppressed several on this account; and if among thofe which I have selected, there

should

« ZurückWeiter »