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THOMAS WARTON, younger brother of the pre- lamented the death of George II., in some lines addressed to Mr. Pitt, he continued the courtly strain in poems on the marriage of George III., and on the birth of the Prince of Wales, both printed in the University collection. In 1770 he gave an edition, in two volumes 4to., of the Greek poet Theocritus, which gave him celebrity in other countries besides his own. At what time he first employed himself with the History of English Poetry, we are not informed; but in 1774 he had so far proceeded in the work as to publish the first volume in 4to. He after wards printed a second in 1778, and a third in 1781; but his labor now became tiresome to himself, and the great compass which he had allotted to his plan was so irksome, that an unfinished fourth volume was all that he added to it.
ceding, a distinguished poet, and an historian of poetry, was born at Basingstoke in 1728. He was educated under his father till 1743, when he was admitted a commoner of Trinity College, Oxford. Here he exercised his poetical talent to so much advantage, that, on the appearance of Mason's Elegy of Isis, which severely reflected on the disloyalty of Oxford at that period, he was encouraged by Dr. Huddesford, President of his College, to vindicate the cause of his University. This task he performed with great applause, by writing, in his twenty-first year, "The Triumph of Isis," a piece of much spirit and fancy, in which he retaliated upon the bard of Cam, by satirizing the courtly venality then supposed to distinguish the rival University. His Progress of Discontent," published in 1750, exhibited to great advantage his powers in the familiar style, and his talent for humor, with a knowledge of human life, extraordinary at his early age, especially if composed, as it is said, for a college exercise in 1746. In 1750 he took the degree of M. A., and in the following year became a fellow of his College.
His concluding publication was an edition of the
His spirited satire, entitled "Newmarket," and pointed against the ruinous passion for the turf; his "Ode for Music;" and his "Verses on the Death of the Prince of Wales," were written about this time; and, in 1753, he was the editor of a small collection of poems, under the title of The juvenile poems of Milton, of which the first volume Union," which was printed at Edinburgh, and con-made its appearance in 1785, and the second in tained several of his own performances. In 1754 1790, a short time before his death. His constituhe made himself known by Observations on tion now began to give way. In his sixty-second Spenser's Faery Queen, in one volume, afterwards year an attack of the gout shattered his frame, and enlarged to two; a work well received by the pub- was succeeded in May, 1790, by a paralytic seizure, lic, and which made a considerable addition to his which carried him off, at his lodgings in Oxford. literary reputation. So high was his character in His remains were interred, with every academical the University, that in 1757 he was elected to the honor, in the chapel of Trinity College. office of its poetry-professor, which he held for the The pieces of Thomas Warton are very various usual period of ten years, and rendered respectable in subject, and none of them long, whence he must by the erudition and taste displayed in his lectures. only rank among the minor poets; but scarcely one It does not appear necessary in this place to par- of that tribe has noted with finer observation the ticularize all the prose compositions which, whether minute circumstances in rural nature that afford grave or humorous, fell at this time from his pen; pleasure in description, or has derived from the but it may be mentioned that verse continued occa- regions of fiction more animated and picturesque sionally to occupy his thoughts and that having scenery.
The place of Camden professor of history, vacant by the resignation of Sir William Scott, was the close of his professional exertions; but soon after another engagement required his attention. By His Majesty's express desire, the post of poetlaureate was offered to him, and accepted, and he determined to use his best endeavors for rendering it respectable. Varying the monotony of anniver sary court compliment by topics better adapted to poetical description, he improved the style of the laureate odes, though his lyric strains underwent some ridicule on that account.
ODE TO THE FIRST OF APRIL.
WITH dalliance rude young Zephyr wooes
Mindful of disaster past,
And shrinking at the northern blast,
Scant along the ridgy land
The beans their new-born ranks expand:
The swallow, for a moment seen,
Fraught with a transient, frozen shower,
Where in venerable rows
Musing through the lawny park,
Towers distinguish'd from the rest, And proudly vaunts her winter vest.
Within some whispering osier isle,
O'er the broad downs, a novel race,
His free-born vigor yet unbroke To lordly man's usurping yoke, The bounding colt forgets to play, Basking beneath the noontide ray, And stretch'd among the daisies pied Of a green dingle's sloping side: While far beneath, where Nature spreads Her boundless length of level meads, In loose luxuriance taught to stray, A thousand tumbling rills inlay With silver veins the vale, or pass Redundant through the sparkling grass. Yet, in these presages rude, 'Midst her pensive solitude, Fancy, with prophetic glance, Sees the teeming months advance; The field, the forest, green and gay, The dappled slope, the tedded hay; Sees the reddening orchard blow, The harvest wave, the vintage flow; Sees June unfold his glossy robe Of thousand hues o'er all the globe; Sees Ceres grasp her crown of corn, And plenty load her ample horn.
The radiant range of shield and lance Down Damascus' hills advance:
From Sion's turrets as afar
Ye ken the march of Europe's war!
Though to the gale thy banners swell,
A vaunting infidel the foe."
Blondel led the tuneful band,
Soon we kiss'd the sacred earth
"Lo, the toilsome voyage past, Heaven's favor'd hills appear at last! Object of our holy vow, We tread the Tyrian valleys now. From Carmel's almond-shaded steep We feel the cheering fragrance creep: O'er Engaddi's shrubs of balm Waves the date-empurpled palm : See Lebanon's aspiring head Wide his immortal umbrage spread! Hail, Calvary, thou mountain hoar, Wet with our Redeemer's gore! Ye trampled tombs, ye fanes forlorn, Ye stones, by tears of pilgrims worn; Your ravish'd honors to restore, Fearless we climb this hostile shore! And thou, the sepulchre of God; By mocking Pagans rudely trod, Bereft of every awful rite,
And quench'd thy lamps that beam'd so bright;
For thee, from Britain's distant coast,
We bid the spectre-shapes avaunt,
Salem, in ancient majesty
Soon on thy battlements divine
Our cross with crimson wove and gold!"
PROGRESS OF DISCONTENT.
WHEN now mature in classic knowledge,
A scholarship would nicely fit him;
When nine full tedious winters past, That utmost wish is crown'd at last : But the rich prize no sooner got, Again he quarrels with his lot: "These fellowships are pretty things, We live indeed like petty kings: But who can bear to waste his whole age Amid the dullness of a college, Debarr'd the common joys of life, And that prime bliss-a loving wife! O! what's a table richly spread, Without a woman at its head?
† Ashtaroth is mentioned by Milton as a general name of the Syrian deities: Par. Lost, i. 422. And Termagaant is the name given in the old romance to the god of the Saracens. See Percy's Relics, vol. i. p. 74.
*Kaliburn is the sword of king Arthur; which, as the monkish historians say, came into the possession of Richard I., and was given by that monarch, in the Crusades, The scholars of Trinity are superannuated, if they to Tancred king of Sicily, as a royal present of inestima- do not succeed to fellowships in nine years after their ble value, about the year 1190. election to scholarships.
Would some snug benefice but fall, Ye feasts, ye dinners! farewell all! To offices I'd bid adieu,
Of dean, vice præs.-of bursar too;
Pray God the cellars may be good!
Metheglin's luscious juice shall stream:
This awkward hut, o'ergrown with ivy, We'll alter to a modern privy:
Up yon green slope, of hazels trim,
An avenue so cool and dim
Shall to an arbor at the end,
In spite of gout, entice a friend.
My predecessor lov'd devotion-
Thus fixt, content he taps his barrel,
And a third butcher's bill, and brewing,
For children fresh expenses yet, And Dicky now for school is fit.
Why did I sell my college life," He cries, "for benefice and wife? Return, ye days, when endless pleasure I found in reading, or in leisure! When calm around the common room I puff'd my daily pipe's perfume! Rode for a stomach, and inspected, At annual bottlings, corks selected : And din'd untax'd, untroubled, under The portrait of our pious founder! When impositions were supplied To light my pipe-or soothe my prideNo cares were then for forward peas, A yearly-longing wife to please; My thoughts no christ'ning dinners crost, No children cried for butter'd toast; And ev'ry night I went to bed, Without a modus in my head!"
Oh! trifling head, and fickle heart! Chagrin'd at whatsoe'er thou art; A dupe to follies yet untried, And sick of pleasures, scarce enjoy'd! Each prize possess'd, thy transport ceases, And in pursuit alone it pleases.
INSCRIPTION IN A HERMITAGE,
AT ANSLEY HALL, IN WARWICKSHIRE.
BENEATH this stony roof reclin'd,
Within my limits lone and still,
At morn I take my custom'd round,
At eve, within yon studious nook,
While such pure joys my bliss create, Who but would smile at guilty state?
Who but would wish his holy lot In calm Oblivion's humble grot? Who but would cast his pomp away, To take my staff, and amice grey;* And to the world's tumultuous stage Prefer the blameless hermitage?
WRITTEN IN WHICHWOOD FOREST.
THE hinds how blest, who ne'er beguil'd To quit their hamlet's hawthorn wild; Nor haunt the crowd, nor tempt the main, For splendid care, and guilty gain!
When morning's twilight-tinctur'd beam Strikes their low thatch with slanting gleam, They rove abroad in ether blue, To dip the scythe in fragrant dew; The sheaf to bind, the beech to fell, That nodding shades a craggy dell.
'Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear, Wild nature's sweetest notes they hear : On green untrodden banks they view The hyacinth's neglected hue:
In their lone haunts, and woodland rounds,
For them the Moon with cloudless ray
Their little sons, who spread the bloom Of health around the clay-built room, Or through the primros'd coppice stray, Or gambol in the new-mown hay; Or quaintly braid the cowslip twine, Or drive afield the tardy kine; Or hasten from the sultry hill
To loiter at the shady rill;
Their humble porch with honied flow'rs The curling wood bine's shade embow'rs: From the small garden's thymy mound Their bees in busy swarms resound: Nor fell Disease, before his time, Hastes to consume life's golden prime: But when their temples long have wore The silver crown of tresses hoar; As studious still calm peace to keep, Beneath a flowery turf they sleep.
* Grey clothing, from the Latin verb amicio, to clothe.
ODE SENT TO A FRIEND,
ON HIS LEAVING A FAVORITE VILLAGE IN
АH mourn, thou lov'd retreat! No more
For lo! the Bard who rapture found
Behold, a dread repose resumes,
On the green summit, ambush'd high,
No pearl-crown'd maids with wily look,