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CHATTERTON. of this singular man have long ago mingled with their kindred earth, serious ideas rushed across my mind. I recollected the lesson which Dr. Johnson has drawn from his history, and which, by you, my young friend, ought never to be forgotten. It closes the narrative:-“ This relation will not be wholly without its use, if those who languish under part of his sufferings shall be enabled to fortify their patience by reflecting that they feel only those afflictions from which the abilities of Savage did not exempt him; or those, who in confidence of superior capacities or attainments, disregarded the common maxims of life, shall be reminded, that nothing will supply the want of prudence, and that negligence and irregularity, long continued, will make knowledge useless, wit ridiculous, and genius contemptible.”
The other character is the unfortunate Chatterton. He was a native of this city, educated at Colston's school, and here lived with an attorney. He came to London, wrote for the booksellers, and at the end of a few months, being nearly starved, he, in a fit of despair, poisoned himself, at his lodgings in Brook-street, Holborn! The door being burst open, he was found lying on the floor with the fatal phial beside him; his features distorted, and his papers, which had been first torn to pieces, scattered over the room! His talents were unquestionable, and his end to be lamented. He brought forward some beautiful ancient poems, said by him to be the production of one Rowley, a monk of the 15th century;
305 whilst others contended that they were of his own fabrication. The circumstance, soon after his death, occasioned a controversy between the first learned characters of the age. It is extraordinary, that a lad of seventeen years of age, bred at a charityschool, and confined in an attorney's office, should be able to produce such a quantity of various kinds of poetry, accompanied by such an air of antiquity. And yet Messrs. Southey and Cottle, in their late edition of the Pieces published by Chatterton, in three large octavo volumes, do not hesitate to entitle them the Works of Chatterton, so fully convinced are they of his fabrication ; in this opinion, the public seems to have acquiesced.
When last at Bristol, I visited the room over Redcliff church where this extraordinary genius said he found the manuscripts, and saw the now empty coffers where these said manuscripts were supposed to have lain undisturbed for centuries. Indeed it was a visit of mere curiosity, for there is nothing to be found there. I was afterwards shewn by Mr. Joseph Cottle, the poet, a pocket book belonging to this unfortunate young man containing a few memoranulums, put down not many months previous to his dissolution. Davies' Life of Chatterton is amusing, but the best Memoir is by the late Dr. Gregory, who enters most fully into the subject.
Dr. Vicesimus Knox has made the following address to the memory of Chatterton, -- " Unfortunate boy ! poorly wast thou accommodated during thy short sojourning amongst us; rudely wast thou
BATH. treated-sorely did thy feeling soul suffer from the scorn of the unworthy; and there are, at last, those who wish to rob thee of thy only meed, thy posthumous glory. Malice, if there was any, may surely now be at rest; for, cold he lies in the grave below! But where were ye, O ye friends to genius, when stung with disappointment, distressed for food and raiment, with every frightful form of human misery painted on his fine imagination, Chatterton sunk into dispair! Alas! ye knew him not then--and now it is too late
For now he is dead;
So sang the sweet youth, in as tender an elegy as ever flowed from a feeling heart.”
Mrs. Robinson, also the celebrated novelist, was a native of Bristol, but her misfortunes have been laid before the public, therefore no account of her will be here expected.* She lies buried in Old Windsor Church-yard.
From Bristol I directed my course through the pleasant village of Keynsham to Bath, the distance being twelve miles; and stages are to be obtained every hour of the day.
Bath is a delightful city, both on account of its buildings and its waters, which are celebrated throughout the world. It is said to have flourished
* I say nothing of the last singular character which amused the inhabitants of Bristol ; Caraboo or the Java Princess, and Servant Maid; her pranks are well known to the world,
307 even before the Romans visited this island, who afterwards called it the Waters of the Sun. It was rather neglected by the Saxons, by whom it was however denominated the City of Valetudinarians. The present Abbey was built in 1137, and adjoining to it was a large monastery, but no other remains of it are now to be seen, except a gatehouse, which the Chapter used to let out in lodgings. In 1687, when James the Second had abolished the penal laws against popery, he visited the West of England, accompanied by his queen," and they lodged some weeks in the gate-house. It was also during their stay at Bath, the Queen first declared herself pregnant with that child, afterwards called the Pretender. Our present Queen visited Bath for her health in December 1817, and one day made an excursion to Bristol. Her presence occasioned much bustle and animation. The Circus, Crescents, and other buildings in Bath, are to be admired on account their uniformity. The City is, likewise, encircled with hills in the form of an amphitheatre; and the houses reach nearly to the top of some of them.
Blest source of health! seated on rising ground,
The air's balsamic, and the soil is pure ! The number of hot-baths are five:—the King's bath, the Queen's-bath, the Cross-bath, the Hotbath, and the Leper's-bath. There is also one coldbath. The manner in which these waters are said to have been found out is too fabulous for belief, 308
PUMP ROOM. Prince Bladud, son of the eighth king of the Britons, from Brute, had a leprosy, which occasioned his running away from court, and, by way of disguise, engaged himself as a feeder of swine; he gave them also the disorder with which he was afflicted. The swine disappeared, he went in search of them, and after some time found them dabbling in these waters perfectly cured; he instantly stripped, plunged in along with them, and partook of the recovery. Such is the story on * record, and poor Bladud has his bust over one of the baths; where, had he the power of speech, he would, no doubt, expatiate on their efficacy! But whoever first discovered these waters, they have proved beneficial to the human frame in a variety of cases; many a valetudinarian has thrown away his crutch and leaped for joy. · The PUMP Room, where the water is drank, is of some extent, and on the pump are these lines, by Christopher Ansty, Esq. alluding to the subscriptions for the poor :
0! pause awhile, whoe'er thou art,
That drinks this healing stream,
Diffus’d its heavenly beam.
This friendly aid supplies ;
He uuregarded lies !
Relieve his heart-felt woe,
In geuial currents flow,