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“It is said to have been a rare occurrence when the five shillings of the Rein Deer Repository reached home along with him. It was the most likely, when he was at his utmost need, to stop with some beggar on the road who might seem to him more destitute even than himself. Nor this only. The money gone: often, for the naked shivering wretch, had he slipped off a portion of the scanty clothes he wore, to patch a misery he could not otherwise relieve. To one starving creature with five crying children, he gave at one time the blankets off his bed, and crept himself into the ticking for shelter from the cold.
“It is not meant to insist on these things as examples of conduct. “Sensibility is not Benevolence; nor will this kind of agonized sympathy with distress, even when graced by an active self-denial, supply the solid duties or satisfactions of life. There are distresses, vast and remote, with which it behoves us still more to sympathise than with those, less really terrible, which only more attract us by intruding on our senses; and the conscience is too apt to discharge itself of the greater duty by instant and easy attention to the less. So much it is right to interpose when such anecdotes are told. To Goldsmith, all circumstances considered, they are honorable; and it is well to recollect them when the “neglected opportunities’ of his youth are spoken of Doubtless there were better things to be done, by a man of stronger purpose. But the nature of men is not different from that of other living creatures. It gives the temper and disposition, but not the nurture and the culture. These Goldsmith never rightly had, except in such sort as he could himself provide; and now, assuredly, he had not found them in his college. ‘That strong steady disposition which at once makes men great, he avowed himself deficient in : but were other dispositions not worth the caring for? His imagination was too warm to relish the cold ‘logic of Burgersdicius,” or the dreary subtleties of ‘Smiglesius:” but with nothing less cold or dreary might a warm imagination have been cherished? When, at the house of Burke, he talked these matters over in after years with Edmond Malone, he said that, though he made no figure in mathematics, he could have turned an ode of Horace with any of them. His tutor, Mr. Theaker
“Goldsmith looked into his heart and wrote. From that great city in which his hard-spent life had been diversified with so much care and toil, he travelled back to the memory of lives more simply passed, of more cheerful labor, of less anxious care, of homely affections, and of humble joys, for which the world and all its successes offer nothing in exchange.
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“That hope is idle for him. Sweet Auburn is no more. But though he finds the scene deserted, for us he re-peoples it anew, builds up again its ruined haunts, and revives its pure enjoyments; from the glare of crow led cities, their exciting struggles and palling pleasures, carries us back to the season of natu
ral pastimes and unsophisticate desires; adjures us all to remember, in our several smaller worlds, the vast world of humanity that breathes beyond; shows us that there is nothing too humble for the loftiest and most affecting associations; and that where human joys and interests have been, their memory is sacred for ever! * # * & # # # # *
“With darker shadows from the terrible and stony truths that are written in the streets of cities, the picture is afterwards completed; and here, too, the poet painted from his heart. His own experience, the suffering for which his heart had always bled, the misery his scanty purse was always ready to relieve, are in his contrast of the pleasures of the great, with innocence and health too often murdered to obtain them. Some of his “ distinguished friends’ objected to these views, but he let them stand. They would have “objected” to what was not uncommon with himself, abandoning his rest at night to give relief to the destitute. They would have thought the parish should have done what a yet more distinguished friend, Samuel Johnson, once did, and which will probably be remembered when all he wrote or said shall have passed away: his picking up a wretched ruined girl, who lay exhausted on the pavement; taking her upon his back, carrying her to his house, and placing her in his bed; not harshly upbraiding her; taking care of her, with all tenderness, for a long time; and endeavoring on her restoration to health to put her in a virtuous way of living.”
Mr. Forster is just on the turn of his fortieth year, lives a comfortable bachelor's life in Chambers, 46 Lincoln's Inn; is much in request with his literary friends, and is the chosen associate and adviser of Dickens and Macready. He is a fine critic; and if somewhat too fond of admiring prevailing celebrities, let it be borne in mind that the immortal John Smith, junior, in his famous work, says, “Let us regard with a bland benignity that admiration which, approximating to enthusiasm, somewhat officiously, like the departing light of eve, clings to the wheels of the descending day-god.”
The career of Richard Henry Horne, who was born in London, 1803, partakes more of the adventurous times of Elizabeth than of Victoria; while other modern poets have looked on nature with the “mind's eye,” and considered romantic adventure from an ideal point of view, Mr. Horne has beheld it face to face, and painted what he saw. The poetic spirit threw its inspiring mantle over Burns as he followed the plough and turned up the fresh earth; but the author of “Orion” received his first impulses when roaming over the ocean, or in the burning plains of Mexico. Like the bards of old, he has been a sharer in “sieges and stratagems,” and has fought in battles; we have seldom heard anything more comic than his vivid description of a sea-fight between a Miguelite and Pedroite frigate, and also the storming of St. Juan de Ulloa, in both of which highly ludicrous engagements he was present as a midshipman. We are, however, anticipating the course of his biography. His father dying early, his mother married again, and our young poet was, after some preparatory education, placed at Sandhurst College, to be trained for a military life; when his novitiate was completed he left the college, in the expectation of securing a cadetship in the East India Company's service. Being disappointed in this, he entered as a midshipman on board the Mexican Navy, then engaged in a struggle with Spain. In this service he remained till peace was restored between the belligerent countries, and re
turned to England by the way of America. He is, therefore, one of the few English poets who have visited the United States, and seen the wonders of the new world; his account of his steaming up the Mississippi is one of the most interesting viva voce pieces of adventure we have ever heard; it is to be hoped he will give to the public a sketch of his interesting life. On his return home he found most of his small patrimony wasted by the ill conduct of his guardians, and he was, therefore, compelled to look around for some means of support. We may as well name here that, since then, with the exception of a small annuity from the “Copper Mines Royal,” of which company he is a director, he has lost all that remained of his patrimonial inheritance by lending part to a brother who was engaged in business, and partly by resigning what he had left to a lady with whom, in early youth, he had formed a connexion, and from which the incompatibility of their tempers compelled him to sever: here his generosity to the woman he had once loved completed his financial ruin. It is impossible not to admire Mr. Horne in his private relations, being straightforward, earnest and sincere: and though he too frequently forgets the solid benefits he has received under the smart of some little literary oversight, or supposed want of critical appreciation, he is a strictly honorable man, and a zealous friend. Mr. Horne's productions in poetry are, “The Death of Marlowe,” “Cosmo de Medecis,” “The Death Fetch,” “Gregory VII,” “Orion,” and “Ballad Romances.” In prose his writings are very numerous, the chief being “Exposition of the False Medium;” he also contributed largely to, and edited the new “Spirit of the Age,” a work which has been reprinted on this side the Atlantic; owing to the want of poetical illustrations, the work was generally pronounced heavy, and much good and honest criticism consequently thrown away. He also was a large contributor to the “Church of England Quarterly,” “The New Quarterly” and several magazines. The articles in the former on “Albertus Magnus,” “Poetical Contrasts,” are by him, and in the latter review the papers on “Chinese Characteristics,” “The Dramatic Mind of Europe,” &c. are from his industrious pen. His finest work is undoubtedly his “Death of Marlowe.” It is short and complete; a tragedy in one act is just what Mr. Horne is able to accomplish; here the closeness of his style and the highly wrought nature of his similies tell with admirable effect; but in a piece of five acts these grow wearisome to an extent which destroys all the interest in the progress and denouement; the plot of this one act is taken from the well known death of that great dramatist. The characters are few, but powerfully drawn and well sustained, and the character of Cecelia, the courtezan, is conceived and executed with a grace which shows the fine poet: but the perversity of Mr. Horne has well nigh spoilt the whole effect by making Jaconot a monster beyond the necessity of the case: it is a great mistake in a dramatist when he wastes any thing, and surely making a villain worse than the exigencies of the case requires destroys the repose and truth of the whole as a work of art; which a tragedy ought to be, whether it be in one, three, or five acts. Mr. Horne's study of Shakspere ought to have saved him from falling into this error, for he cannot have overlooked how that great master of the human heart put some redeeming traits even into the composition of his greatest villains. He knew there was the seed of goodness even in the soul of evil. This supererogative of wickedness and brutality in Marlowe's rival, lessens the sympathy we ought to feel for Cecelia, for allowing, fully, even for her unhappy position, we cannot reconcile how she could tolerate the love of so coarse a monster. We ought to mention, in justice to Mr. Horne, that we have of. ten contested this point with him, and that he has rigorously defended the truthfulness of Jaconot's character: maintaining that rough and brutal natures very often succeed in obtaining a singu