Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

educacion, and sent him a commoner to Pembroke College in Oxford, designing him for the church ; but though he had the most awful notions of the wisdom, power, and goodness, of God, he never could be persuaded to enter into orders. In his private opinions he adhered to no particular sect, and hated all religious disputes. But whatever were his own sentiments, he always shewed great tenderness to those who differed from him. Tenderness, indeed, in every sense of the word, was his peculiar characteristic; his friends, his domestics, his poor neighbours, all daily experienced his benevolent turn of mind. Indeed this virtue in him was often carried to such excess, that it sometimes bordered upon weakness; yet, if he was convinced that any of those ranked amongst the number of his friends had treated him ungenerously, he was not easily reconciled. He used a maxim, however, on such occasions, which is worthy of being observed and imitated; « I never,” said he, “ will be a revengeful enemy; 6 but I cannot, it is not in my nature to be half a år friend.” He was in his temper quite unsuspicious; but if suspicion was once awakened in him, it was not laid asleep again without difficulty.

He was no economist; the generosity of his temper prevented him from paying a proper regard to the use of money: he exceeded, therefore, the bounds of his paternal fòrtune, which before he died was

3

the periz. E TE IZ ZZ DER hospitalizovica iz 19. 2 to his sTTIAL ILLET done w a size mar mare pouris TZ, ten that be ATITEV want o cunos sofficizat is said to ad priatet is x 14

It was paine 13 roweS is not was no sara19 ny amatear

ces strangers ZG** *** receive a ust. 1 i. The Lasva neist 1* ** parts, la 1 which, ET * - * the ke4 HA

[ocr errors][subsumed]

education, and sent him a commoner to Pembroke College in Oxford, designing him for the church ; but though he had the most awful notions of the wisdom, power, and goodness, of God, he never could be persuaded to enter into orders. In his private opinions he adhered to no particular sect, and hated all religious disputes. But whatever were his own sentiments, he always shewed great tenderness to those who differed from him. Tenderness, indeed, in every sense of the word, was his peculiar characteristic; his friends, his domestics, his poor neighbours, all daily experienced his benevolent turn of mind. Indeed this virtue in him was often carried to such excess; that it sometimes bordered upon weakness; yet, if he was convinced that any of those ranked amongst the number of his friends had treated him ungenerously, he was not easily reconciled. He used a maxim, however, on such occasions, which is worthy of being observed and imitated; “ I never,” said he, “ will be a revengeful enemy; “ but I cannot, it is not in my nature to be balf a a friend." He was in his temper quite unsuspicious; but if suspicion was once awakened in him, it was not laid asleep again without difficulty.

He was no economist; the generosity of his temper prevented him from paying a proper regard to the use of money: he exceeded, therefore, the bounds of his paternal fortune, which before he died was

[ocr errors]

considerably incumbered. But when one recollects the perfect paradise he had raised around him, the hospitality with which he lived, his great indulgence to his servants, his charities to the indigent, and all done with an estate not more than three hundred pounds a-year, one should rather be led to wonder that he left any thing behind him, than to blame his want of economy. He left, however, more than sufficient to pay all his debts, and by his will appropriated his whole estate for that purpose.

It was perhaps from some considerations on the nare rowness 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 society, and no stranger to the tenderest impressions. One, which he received in his youth, was with difficulty surmounted. The lady was the subject of that sweet pastoral, in four parts, which has been so universally admired; and which, one would have thought, must have subdued the loftiest heart, and softened the most obdurate.

His person, as to height, was above the middle stature, but largely and rather inelegantly formed : his face seemed plain till you conversed with him, and then it grew very pleasing. In his drese 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 gray very early, in a particular manner; not from any affectation of singularity, but from a maxim he had laid down, that without too slavish 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 distinguished by simplicity with clegance, 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 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 supported. In the tenderness of Elegiac poetry he hath not been excelled; in the simplicity of Pastoral, one may venture to say 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 oc“casions a good deal imaginary, others not so; and “ the reason there are so many is, that I wanted to “ write one good song, and could never please myes self.” It was this diffidence which occasioned him

« ElőzőTovább »