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MR. EDITOR, Very good accounts of the late Mr. Samuel Paterson, the celebrated bibliologist, and of his literary labours, having appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine for November last, and in the European Magazine for the following month (that in the Monthly Magazine is merely an abridgment of the former one) it may be thought unne- , cessary to trouble you on the subject ; yet, though I have but little to add, I take the liberty to correct two or three mistakes in those accounts. It is said that Mr. Paterson was aged 18 ; he was only in his 77th year; was born March 15, 1726, and died O&tober 29, 1802. Sir Julius Cæsar's MSS. are said to have “ actually reached the cheesemonger's shop.” This, I believe, is incorrect; to the best of my recollection Mr. P. informed me that ten pounds had been offered for them, as waste paper, by a cheesemonger : and that, on their being shewn to him, he advised the possessor not to send them. In consequence of their being catalogued by Mr. P. and brought to public sale, they are said to have been sold for three hundred and fifty six pounds; I think Mr. P. told me that they produced above six hundred pounds : but of this I am not certain :any person possessing a priced catalogue may ascertain the sum.
“ Bibliotheca Fageliana, a most noble collection of the late M. Fagel, Secretary to the States. General of the United Provinces," should have been, a most noble collection of M. Fagel, late Secretary, &c. M. Fagel being alive: at least he was so at the time of the intended sale at Duke's Street, St. James's, where I saw him.
Mr. Paterson's father was an eminent taylor in James Street, Covent-Garden; in which street I believe Mr. P. was born. What fortune his father left him, I never heard. The name of the executor, through whose failure he lost his fortune, was Walkinshaw. His two sons, now living, are said to be named John and Samuel : it should have been Samuel and John ; Samuel being the elder, to whom Dr. Samuel Johnson, his father's intimate friend, stood godfather. One of Mr. Paterson's daughters, as is said, married Mr. Pearson, the celebrated glass-stainer : she and her husband now reside at Highgate. Another of his daughters, on what account I know not, became a nun at, I believe, Bruges. The whole sister. hood took refuge, during the late troubles, in England, and were settled at Hengrave- Hall, near Bury, in Suffolk: Permission have
ing been granted them to return, they left this country just before the decease of Mr. P. he having, after the accident which proved so fatal to him, gone in a coach several times to the Treasury, for the purpose of soliciting assistance from Government, that they might return comfortably; which he obtained, to the amount of five pounds, or guineas, per head. They were, I think, about forty in number; the lady's name, who presides over them, is More, a descendant of the famous Lord Chancellor More; and of great natural and acquired endowments.
Mr. P. flattering himself that he was nea:ly recovered from his hurt, walked, a few days before his death, from Norton-Street to Slaughter's Coffee-House, St. Martin's Lane, to settle about the conveyance of the sisterhood by sea, &c. which imprudent exertion brought on a fever ; a mortification ensued, and his dissolution followed. But for this untoward circumstance, he would, probably, have lived many years longer ; being of an excellent constitution, troubled with no ailments, and very temperate. . On Saturday, September 4th, Mr. P. had been to the play, at thie Haymarket theatre, which he left before the farce commenced, and was at home early. Having occasion to step out again into the neighbourhood, his servant lighting him down stairs, instead of go. ing before, absurdly followed him : in consequence of which, he stumbled over a small dog-kennel, improperly left at the foot of the stairs, and received the wound which caused his death. He was to have dined with me the next day, and I wondered at his not keeping his appointment, he being always pun&tual even in triAles. On Monday I received the following note from him. .
“My worthy friend,. . "An accident that befel me on Saturday night, after I returned from the play, will probably confine me a few days_a violent contusion and wound in my left leg, in so critical a part, that a litthe more force would, certainly, have occasioned a fracture. This, of course, will deprive me of the pleasure of making one at your social and hospitable board ; to all of whom I beg to be remembered in terms of affection : and remain, with real regard,
. - " Diar Sir,
Your own · Monday, 6 Sept. 1802.
"S. P.” I visited him almost every day during his confinement ; and, in about a m:nth, thought him nearly recovered. On the Saturday preceding his death, I drank tea and chatted with him two or. three hours. He excused himself from dining with me the next day, as had been proposed, finding himself not so well as he had
been, and promised me that pleasure on the Sunday following: When I next saw him, he was on his dying bed. I quitted him as little as possible till his decease, which affected me as much as if he had been my father! He died about half past three in the after. noon, on Friday, October 29, 1802, and was interred the following Thursday, November 4, near his wife's remains, in the familyvault, on the south side of St. Paul's church yard, Covent Garden. His two amiable sons were incapable, through excessive grief, of attending him to the grave. His funeral was handsome, not ostentatious, The service was read in the church, and at the vault. The corpse was conveyed from Norton-Street in a plumed herse, followed by two mourning coaches, in which were his son-in-law Mr. Pear. son, his worthy old friend Mr. Mortimer, Mr. Taylor, the celebrated translator of Plato, &c. Mr. Ireland, the ingenious engraver of Hogarth, three other gentiemen, and myself.
In the Gentleman's Magazine it is truly said, that Mr. Paterson “ was particularly well acquainted with our English Poets.” I never knew any one so well acquainted with them; and his meinory was so retentive, that, whenever occasion offered, he could repeat correctly almost any passage from almost any English poet. Spenser and Shakspeare were his favourites; his MS. annotations on the former are numerous and learned. The folio 1611, containing them, was presented by him to me. But Shakspeare was “the god of his idolatry;" and I think, without offence to any, that he read and understood our great dramatist better than any other person, Mr. Garrick excepted, I ever knew. I do not speak of the settling an and, or an if, or a but, or the more minúte duties of a commentator; I mean, that he entered into the spirit of our bard with intuitive felicity.
In addition to his literary abilities, Mr. Paterson was, notwithstanding his advanced age, à most cheerful companion; a very Yorick; “ a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy:" and, as I pass mournfully by his grave, I sighing say " Where be your gibes now? your gambols ? your songs ? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?”
He was of a kind and benevolent nature ; hospitable almost to a fault; of scrupulous integrity, and unaffected piety. In a word, I never knew a more pleasing companion, or a better man.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
F. G. WALDRON. 13, Duke-Street, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields.
TASSO AND BOILEAU.
« Et le clinguant du Tasse à tout l'or de Virgile."
This harsh sentence upon Tasso produced no little obloquy. Boi. leau was attacked for it in every form of hostility. The minor wits, under the pretext of defending a great poet, sought revenge for their personal sufferings. His friends, many of them, suspected the integrity of the judgment, and some little time before his death were anxious to know whether he had not changed his opinion. “ So far from it,” said he, “ I have lately read his poem again, and only regret that I did not more fully explain myself, in some of my reflexions on Longinus. I would have begun by acknowledging, that Tasso was a genius of the most sublime and extensive order ; born for poetry, and the higher poetry. But then, coming to speak of his use of this talent, I should have shewn that good sense is not always his predominant principle. That in his narratives he loves the agreeable rather than the essential ; that his descriptions are almost always loaded with superfluous ornaments; that, in the expression of the strongest passions, and in the midst of the trouble they excite, he deviates into points of wit, which put a sudden stop to his pathos; that he is too florid in his images, too full of affected turns and frivolous thoughts, which, so far from suiting his Jerusalem, should hardly find place in his Aminta. Now all this opposed to the grave majesty of Virgil, what is it but tinsel opposed to gold ?".
Hist. de l'Academie Francoise, Tom, 2. The above quotation is not made with any view to enter into the merits of the opinion, but to shew that Boileau to the last persisted in it, and also to shew, slightly sketched, indeed, and unexempli. fied, the grounds which led him to maintain it. Dr. Johnson once said, “ Boileau will be seldom found wrong;” and Addison received this sentence implicitly. Probably the too strict demand of male and rigid good sense, in thought and expression, lowered Telemaque into prose, and made the Henriade of Voltaire a history in rhyme. It will admit of doubt, whether the action of the Eneid is always strictly conformable to the great presiding principle of Boileau. It is at the san.e time confessed, that if the structure of Virgil be insecure, the edifice of Tasso is not the less sullied by its superfluity of decosation.
SERIES OF SELECT POEMS BY LADIES.
ANNE DOWRICHE, A NON-DESCRIPT poetess, claims a niche in the vestibule to your temple of Fame, for having produced the following poetic rarity.
“ The French Historic. That is; a lamentable discourse of three of the chiefe and most famous bloodie broiles that have happened in France for the Gospell of Jesus Christ, namely,
1. The outrage called the Winning of S. James his Streete, 1557.
2. The constant Martirdome of Annas Burgæus, one of the K, councell, 1559.
3. The bloodie Marriage of Margaret, sister to Charles the gth, Anno 1572. ; Published by A. D. Imprinted at London, by Tho. Orwin, for Tho. Man, 1589, 4to."
This publication is inscribed “ To the Right Worshipfull her loving Brother, Master Pearse Edgecombe, of Mount Edgecombe, in Devon, Esq. by his loving Sister, Anne Dowriche," who modestly prefaces her work with the following address : . “ To the reader that is friendlie to poetrie.
“ What so thou be that read'st my booke,
Let wit so weigh my will,
The want of learned skill.” The versified history of the French Martyrs mentioned above, extends to 74 pages, and the author thus states her reasons for becoming an historian in verse.
“ First ; for mine own exercise, being a learner in that facultie.
« Secondly; to restore againe some credit unto poetrie, having been defaced of late so many waies by wanton vanities.
« Thirdly; for the more noveltie of the thing, and apt facilitie in disposing the matter framed to the better liking of some men's fan. tasies, because the same storie in effect is alreadie translated into English prose."
The poem is composed in lines of fourteen syllables, but the l'Envoy only is here given, as affixed to a wood-cut of
« VERITIE PURTRAIED.
Descended Truth, devoid of wordly weed,