hour, and fed the vanity of its author, who would go up to him and, surveying him wished to rank with the wits. How could from head to foot, would tell him that he he help it? At Ralph Allen's fine man- must go back, as " he had forgotten to sion at Prior Park was he not always bring his horse !” meeting the first wits of the day, and could The ladies, as may be supposed, were a man aspire to be less who was on famil. more difficult to manage ; but Nash was iar terms with iny Lord Chesterfield ? equal to the occasion. The white aprons

• There is something almost sublime in were a remnant of a bygone fashion which the conduct of this wily adventurer, whose had been relegated to the kitchen; but character presented such a strange com- there are some so wedded to the garments pound of propriety and profanity, and who they have once adopted that they have for three generations constituted himself been known to remain as standing monua social power, while supporting himself ments of a fashion until the revolutions of secretly on the gains that poured through time have brought it round to them again. the unsavory drainage of the gambling The Duchess of Queensberry was one of hells. He reminds one of a splendid these. Rather than part with her apron sepulchre on which children love to play she refused to pay homage to her sovertheir games and strew their flowers, be- eign at court. Was it likely she was cause it is smarter than the other tombs going to lay it aside at the bidding of the and attracts their love of the seeming master of the ceremonies of a Bath ball? beautiful.

Accordingly she entered the room with His epigram on the “boots” and “white the offending garment. But the autocrat aprons runs thus:

Nash was not to be baffled. Going up to

her with the suave air of a courtier, for he FRONTINALLA'S INVITATION TO THE ASSEM

knew what was due to her rank as a duch

ess, he deplored his inability to make an Come, one and all, to Hoyden Hall, For there's the Assembly this night;

exception in her favor; he reminded her None but prude fools

that only Abigails now wore aprons, and Mind manners and rules,

that he had no alternative to offer her but We Hoydens do decency slight.

to abandon her apron or the ball.

It was a trying moment for both the Come Trollops and Slatterns,

duchess and Nash. But Nash was in bis Cock’t hats and white aprons, This best our modesty suits;

kingdom, this was his court, and any one

seeking admittance must conform to his For why should not we In dress be as free

laws. The duchess hesitated. No doubt As Hogs-Norton 'Squires in boots.

the Beau was insinuating, and by his good

humored determination and tact turned To give point to the satire he got up a the scale in his favor. The duchess Punch and Judy show, in which Punch looked at him and smiled. Should she comes in dressed in character of a Hogs- give in or not? Finally she yielded. It Norton squire – Hogs-Norton, it may be was only Nash! She would humor him. remembered, being the name given to the So she untied her apron and gave it to her grant of land bestowed by Bladud on the attendant, while Nash, triumphant over swine-herd. The drama proceeds to show Prior's “ beautiful Kitty,” scored. the squire in boots and spurs making love The Duchess of Queensberry here to a lady whom he finally marries. To her spoken of was one of the most remarkable disgust he never takes off his boots and ladies of the last century. Witty, beautispurs, even when he goes to sleep, telling ful, and eccentric, she was frequently cel. her he wo’ld just as soon think of parting ebrated in prose and verse by the wits and from his legs as his boots; that he lived poets of the day. Prior, in his poem in them - by day and by night, and under “ The Female Phaeton,” wrote of her:all circumstances — this being the height

Thus Kitty, beautiful and young, of fashion in Bath, “where,” he says,

And wild as a colt untamed. “they always dance in boots, and the ladies often move minuets in riding. Hence the sobriquet of “Prior's beautihoods." He goes on teasing, until Judy, ful Kitty,” by which she was, and is, grown impatient, kicks him off the stage. familiarly distinguished.

He was a brave man who, after this, To have vanquished such a redoubtable ever ventured to present himself before lady surrounded Nash with social glory, Nash at the assemblies booted and but the spell this man cast over people spurred. If, by chance, through ignorance must have been almost magnetic when he or impertinence, any one did so, Nash | held not only duchesses but a royal prio



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cess in subjection. The Princess Amelia, | whom we know well, the most generally daughter of George II., paid frequent viso interesting, for he has the singular advan. its to Bath. She was quite a character; a tage of belonging, in some sort, to both masculine type of woman, fond of her the groups into which our poets naturally horses and of superintending their treat- fall, and possessing attractions which apment in the stables. Fond, too, of riding peal to both parties. We know Johnson and cards, and inordinately given to tak. better, no doubt, and Pope and Cowper as ing snuff. On two or three occasions she well, but Johnson and Pope move strictly pleaded with Nash for "one more dance," within the limits of their century, and

one more game of cards,” after the Cowper was altogether a lesser man than hour of eleven had struck, when Nash had Gray. Gray, too, of course, belongs to ruled that the balls should cease.

his century as every man must, and has “One more dance, Mr. Nash; remem- its characteristic features. No one can ber I am a princess,” she entreated at first read his letters without seeing that the when, as a girl of twenty-five, one would silly sort of gossip in which the men and have supposed her request irresistible to women of his day so specially delighted, a man who professed to be gallant. had its attractions for him. And the spirit But Nash was inexorable.

of the age has everywhere, or almost every“ Yes, madam,” he replied, “but I reign where, left its mark upon his poetry. here, and my laws must be kept."

What can be more completely in that Like the Duchess of Queensberry, the spirit, for instance, that spirit, too, at its princess had the magnanimity to acknowl. very worst, than such a passage as :edge when she was beaten, and Nash was again triumphant.

The star of Brunswick smiles serene,

And gilds the horrors of the deep.
Then we find him thinking Le Sueur al.

most equal to Raphael, a piece of pure From Murray's Magazine. eighteenth-century criticism, and failing GRAY AND HIS LETTERS.

altogether to appreciate Collins. There GRAY has some claim to be considered could be no more striking proof, considerthe most universally interesting of the ing how much he and Collins had in combetter-known figures in our literary his mon with each other, and in contrast with tory. For one thing, though by far the every other poet of the time, of the extent least productive of our greater poets, he to which he shared the prejudices of his is the author of the most popular poem in age. The remarkable thing, however, the the language. But that is not the only thing which gives him his unique interest

, respect in which his position is unique.

is that he was not altogether of his time; Lovers of poetry in this country may be that though living with Mason and Walroughly divided into two camps: those pole, he could step into a spliere never whose favorite study is the great line of entered, or as much as dreamt of, by them imaginative poets which stretches from or the men they most admired. There is Chaucer to Milton, and again from Words- no need to go farther than that very Inworth to the present day, and those whose stallation Ode in which the “star of bent lies rather among the prose poets

Brunswick smiles serene ” and “gilds the from Dryden to Johnson. No one, of horrors of the deep,” to find proof that course, could pretend that Gray arouses Gray had in him something not only better in us anything like the “wonder and as- than bombast of this sort, but belonging tonishment which are the tribute paid to an altogether different, an infinitely always and everywhere, without question purer and truer, order of ideas. or hesitation, to the transcendent powers

Who would believe that of Shakespeare; or the reverent gratitude, Sweet is the breath of vernal shower, not uomingled with some touch of awe, The bees' collected treasures sweet; which we feel in presence of Milton's Sweet music's melting fall, but sweeter yet lofty character, or when listening to the The still small voice of gratitude – solemn and stately march of his great poem. But of Shakespeare himself we was written before even the birth of know little or nothing, and none dare pre. Wordsworth? Or, again, what could more sume to be familiar with Milton. He is completely mark the poet inspired by naa prophet and master to all, and no man's ture, as opposed to the poet whose main. intimate. But, if we put these greater spring is his own cleverness, or the praise men aside, Gray may seem, of all the poets of the town,” than such lines as :



There pipes the woodlark, and the song-thrush " Born in the same year with Milton, Gray there

would have been another man; born in Scatters his loose notes in the waste of air.

the same year with Burns, he would have It is only fair to insist on this side of been another man.”

"On the contrary, Gray's character and poetical position, be says Mr. Tovey, “ he would have been the cause an attempt has been made to deny it same man, but a less finished artist, if he in the most recent book about him. Mr. had been born in 1608. On whatever Tovey, in his little volume called “Gray times he might have fallen, if he had atand his Friends,” has given us, in the first tempted to sing of contemporary kings place, a fairly complete picture of West, and battles, Apollo would have twitched and Gray's friendship for him, made up his ear.” Mr. Tovey, in fact, insists that from their correspondence, and from vari- Gray's sterility was in himself, not in his ous compositions of West's which have surroundings. survived ; secondly, some new letters of Now it is only reasonable to require Gray, none of which, however, are of great considerable evidence before setting aside interest; and lastly, some " Notes on a deliberate judgment of a man like MatTravel," which Mr. Gosse had justly called thew Arnold in such a matter as this. “rather dry and impersonal," and a few Long training, working on a critical faculty miscellaneous fragments in prose and so rich and penetrating as his, give to a verse. No doubt where so little is left of man's judgments almost the inevitablean interesting figure, as in Gray's case, itness and certainty of instinct; and this is very tempting to publish all that we would be especially the case in dealing can get hold of; but the modern rage for with a poet like Gray, with whom Matthew printing and giving to the world with an Arnold had a curious affinity. Then it is air of great importance every trivial scrap fair also to say that it is not a question of of paper that bears the name of a poet, or kings and battles, contemporary or other. of any of his relations or friends, even wise. Gray would have found his subject, though it be nothing but a laundress's bill, if he could have found heart to sing with, or a note of orders to a servant, has not in that chilling atmosphere. It was not a much to recommend it, and I am not sure song, but a voice, that he wanted. “A that there is a great deal of real interest in sort of spiritual east wind was at that time what Mr. Tovey has published. Much blowing ; neither Butler nor Gray could that is curious there is, certainly, and flower. They never spoke out.”. I do not nothing that lovers of Gray can regret; think that any one who reads Gray's but there is, at the same time, nothing poems with anything like care or thought that can claim a permanent place as lit ought to miss the fact that the cast of his

The Gray and West correspond- mind was entirely different from that of the ence is interesting; but Gray's letters men of his day, and that he was conscious were already well known, and West's let- of this himself. But if the poetry is not ters and fragments are only remarkable as conclusive in itself - and it must be conshowing that he was a most amiable and ceded that his poetical language is, in the even charming man, in every respect a main, that of his time — the letters, and worthy friend for Gray. They cannot the picture they give of his life, leave no give him any independent place in literary doubt at all about the matter. history. Nothing is gained by crowding fectly clear that his thoughts and ways the gallery of literature with pretty por- and doings were not as those of other traits of people who, however agreeable eighteenth-century men. He anticipated and amiable have no real place there. the imaginative revival which was to folStill, no doubt there is no harm in publi. low at the end of the century in more cations of this sort, and the book has its points than one. He studied and loved interest, if not for the lover of literature, the old English poetry long before Percy's at least for the lover of Gray. But it is “Reliques" made such studies the fash. to be regretted that Mr. Tovey, in adding ion; he delighted in mountain scenery, to our knowledge of Gray and his circle and went through great discomforts to should have thought it necessary to try to enjoy it, in an age when to all other men undo the effect of the best appreciation the Alps were simply a gloom and a hor. Gray ever received. Every one remem- ror; he was one of the earliest lovers of bers Matthew Arnold's essay on Gray, in Gothic architecture, and, in his most which he took for his text the remark famous work at least, he appeared as a made after Grey's death by his friend poet of nature among the crowd of wits Brown - “He never spoke out.” Gray, and poets of the town. To him the Wye a born poet, fell upon an age of prose.” | is full of “nameless wonders ;


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tain is a “creature of God," and the letters in the language; Gray need not Grande Chartreuse a scene that would fear comparison with any one else. No awe an atheist into belief." The beauti- one can deal with large questions in a ful and perfect Alcaic Ode, “O tu severi larger spirit than he can, when he chooses; religio loci,” which he wrote in the monks' be has, too, a genuine power of descripalbum at the Chartreuse, is well known, tion; he is full of the love of nature, espe. though not so well known as it should be. cially of birds and flowers, which be Rarely, if ever, has so much genuine and studies with the methodical watchfulness deep feeling been expressed in a language of a man of science, as well as with the not the author's own. Can it really be love of a poet; notes on art and literature, supposed that a man of this sort did not often of rare insight and power, are scatlose by being placed in the first half of the tered everywhere in his letters; and then, last century? Is it not as certain as any, if none of all these things interest us, thing can be in the study of human minds, there is the interest of his perpetual picthat Gray would have greatly gained by ture of himself and his friends, and what living under the jospiration of Milton, or they thought and said and did. I cannot in the companionship of Wordsworth and begin better than with one or two of these Coleridge? That single striking phrase, sketches he gives of himself. He is quite "a creature of God," applied as Gray at his best in them, his unbosomings, like applied it, is proof enough, and more than those of many reserved men, if very rare, enough. There is in it the germ of all being also very full and frank. Of course that Wordsworth felt and taught. It is only the most intimate friends were fa. too late now to put the clock back. Mat- vored with them, and probably, even to thew Arnold's brilliant essay let in in a them he would never have made up his moment a flood of light upon Gray, and mind to say half so much as he could, now showed him as he was, silent and alone, and then, put on paper from a safe diswith no friend, it must always be remem- tance. Every shy man has felt the pleas. bered, who was able really to understand ure of writing what he knows he would die him. No protest can be too strong against rather than say. And so I suspect even any attempt to close the shutters again West and Wharton knew him best from and restore the old darkness. The serious his letters, or, at least, so far as he ever attempt to understand the minds and the helped them to the key of his curious exact positions of our poets must always character, it was most likely to be in the be a difficult one; and it is too much to occasional confessions to be found in his ask us to go back upon an onward step letters to them. To them, more than to once taken.

any of his other friends, I think, West is I have said that the letters of Gray plainly the friend he was nearest to in his throw great light on the peculiar position early years; and the letters to Wharton, he held in his time; and so they do. But whom he once addresses as My dear, they have besides a rare interest and dear Wharton, which is a dear more than charm of their own, and it is of that that I give anybody else,” have the most easy I wish to speak more particularly now. and intimate sound of any in later life. Gray's letters are, in fact, among the very Here is a bit of one of the earliest extant best in the language. Lovers of literature letters telling West what he thought of will not, perhaps, find their choice of lan. Cambridge. guage. so delightfully and quite unconsciously perfect as Cowper's; and Gray and, after this term, shall have nothing more

You must know that I do not take degrees, had not Cowper's gift of retaining through of college impertinencies to undergo, which I out life a child's intense pleasure in little trust will be some pleasure to you, as it is a things, which is one of the chief reasons great one to me. I have endured lectures that make the picture given in Cowper's daily and hourly since I came last, supported letters so complete and finished, and the by the hopes of being shortly at full liberty to charm of them at once so simple and so give myself up to my friends and classical lasting. Men who see even so much companions, who, poor souls! though I see of the great world as Gray saw gener. them fallen into great contempt with most ally lose, consciously or unconsciously, people here, yet I cannot help sticking to the beautiful traits which childhood will, I them, and out of a spirit of obstinacy (I think), here and there, under other circumstances, can I do else? Must I plunge into metaphys

love them the better for it; and, indeed, what hand on to mature age. Nor did the ics ? Alas, I cannot see in the dark; nature spring of Gray's humor bubble up, so pure has not furnished me with the optics of a cat. and clear and constant as Cowper's. But Must I pore upon mathematics? Alas! I then Cowper's lighter letters are the best I cannot see in too much light - I am no eagle.


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It is very possible that two and two make charm of the effect produced. And its four, but I would not give four farthings to being sent to Horace Walpole is a proof, demonstrate this ever so clearly; and if these if proof were needed, of the genuineness be the profits of life, give me the amusements of their friendship in those early days be of it.

fore the quarrel. Gray evidently feels We get a fairly good idea of one side of that he is writing to one who will both unGray from this ; but we may add to it a derstand and appreciate his delight in more complete portrait which was sent to what he describes. West from Florence four years later. But if we are to let Gray talk of any.

we must pass 00. As I am recommending myself to your love, thing but himself methinks I ought to send you my picture; you

Every one has read and admired his exmust add, then, to your former idea, two years cellent literary judgments. In speaking of age, a reasonable quantity of dulness, a of Aristotle or Socrates, or again in speak. great deal of silence, and something that ing of Froissart, he was of course exactly rather resembles, than is, thinking; a. con- in his own province; no man ever had a fused notion of many strange and fine things clearer idea of the qualities which do, and that have swum before my eyes for some time, those which do not, entitle a book to claim a want of love for general society, indeed, an

a place as literature. But bis freshness inability to it. On the good side, you inay and directness, and the unconscious deteradd a sensibility for what others feel, and indulgence for their faults and weaknesses, a.love mination to see things as they really are, of truth, and detestation of everything else. which always marks a powerful mind, give Then you are to deduct a little impertinence, a real interest and value to what he says a little laughter, a great deal of pride, and on subjects, not so strictly within his own some spirit. These are all the alterations I province. Take what he says of the arguknow of - you perhaps may find more. ments of materialism. A less carefully analyzed and more po

That we are indeed mechanical and dependetical picture is one he sent to Horace ent beings. I need no other proof than my Walpole, while on one of his earliest vis own feelings; and from the same feelings Í its to the Stoke and Burnham country, learn with equal conviction that we are not which was to become so inseparably asso- merely such, that there is a power within that ciated with his name. He says he has struggles against the force and bias of that arrived safe at his uncle's,

mechanism, commands its motion, and, by

frequent practice, reduces it to that ready who is a great hunter in imagination; hisobedience which we call Habit; and all this dogs take up every chair in the house, so I in conformity to a preconceived opinion to am forced to stand at this present writing; that least natural of all agents, a Thought. and though the gout forbids him galloping after them in the field, yet he continues still to Could we have a better picture, more regale his ears and nose with their comfortable coldly and cruelly direct, of that impene. noise and stink. He holds me mighty cheap, trable rock of common sense against which I perceive, for walking when I should ride, the most persistent, the most apparently and reading when I should hunt. My com- triumphant, determinism beats itself in fort amidst all this is, that I have at the dis

vain. tance of half-a-mile, through a green lane, a forest all my own, at least as good as so, for

The same good sense, which he deals I spy no human thing in it but myself. It is out in judgment on books and philosoa little chaos of mountains and precipices; phies, he can apply to practical matters mountains, it is true, that do not ascend much like the choice of a profession. Here is above the clouds, nor are the declivities quite a bit from a long letter of affectionate adso amazing as Dover cliff; but just such hills vice sent from Florence to West, who did as people who love their necks as well as I do not find the legal atmosphere of the Temmay venture to climb, and crags that give the ple particularly congenial. eye as much pleasure as if they were more dangerous. At the foot of one of these Examples shew one that it is not absolutely squats Me, I, (il penseroso), and there grow necessary to be a blockhead to succeed in this to the trunk for a whole morning. The tim- profession. The labor is long, and the eleorous hare and sportive squirrel gambolments dry and unentertaining; nor was ever around me like Adam in Paradise before

anybody (especially those that afterwards had an Eve; but I think he did not use to made a figure in it) amused or even not disread Virgil, as I commonly do there.

gusted in the beginning; yet upon a further There may be something of art in the acquaintance, there is surely matter for curi

osity and reflection. It is strange if, among drawing of a picture like this; but an art. all that huge mass of words, there be not ist naturally uses all his powers when he somewhat intermixed for thought. Laws have paints himself; and no one can deny the | been the result of long deliberation, and that

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