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: he attained his third year, he was deprived of the fostering hard of his father, by death ; in consequence of which, his education devolved entirely on his remaining parent, who, without any reference to the eulogies on her personal or mental accomplishments, paid her by her son, was certainly well calculated for the arduous duty. Of his attachment to his mother, and grateful ac
knowledgment of her care to him in an illness which threatened · to cut the tender thread of life asunder, we have some beautiful Terses as proofs.
His constitution was soon again exposed to danger; for, at King ston school, which he frequented at an early period, he became : affected with a fever which had nearly proved fatal to his exist
ence; but once more was the Muse's favourite son preserved for future fame. He was now intrusted to a domestic tutor, who superintended his education, previous to his resorting to Eton College. After the customary stay at that school, he was inscribed at Trinity Hall, in Cambridge. Before, however, he took up his residence there, he paid his first poetical tribute at the altar, in a poem, on the birth-day of the present Prince of Wales, which first
appeared in public in the Cambridge Collection. . His academical course having terminated, he went to Scotland,
where he spent several months with different acquaintances. No particular occurrence seems to have taken place with him, until the year 1769, when he entered into the matrimonial state with Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Ball, dean of Chiches. ter, who died but a few years since. After remaining a consider. able time in London, he returned to his native county, in 1774, and fixed upon Eartham for his residence, where he still continues.
Of his writings, we observe, that these are not only poetical, but also biographical; he may likewise be viewed as a critic, in his observations on literary characters. With respect to him, as to men and manners, he is not less distinguished for his modesty of character and sportive imagination, than he is for his heart, ani. mated by the mildest affections.
In the year 1778 he published his Epistles to Mr. Romney; Epistles to Gibbon in 1780; the Triumphs of Temper in 1781; Essays on Epic Poetry in 1782. These publications were followed, in the year 1784, by a collection of plays, consisting of three
comedies and two tragedies; in which he proved the singular happiness of bis genius, in composing the dialogue in rhyme equally natural' and Auent as in prose itself. To point out one of these pieces, as entitled to an eminent degree of merit, would
be an act of injustice to the remainder, each having an equally · just claim to applause. In his Memoirs of Cowper, he assures us that he is not a bard:
Primum me ego illorum dederim quibus esse poetas,
Excerpam numero....... - Here he bears a faint resemblance to the coquette, who denies that she is handsome, while she is perfectly aware, that her countenance will affirm the fact. Mr. Hayley has struck himself out of the list of the poets, and, in a late publication, sworn in the , Horatian form; but, when he asserts, that the death of Cowper
inspired the friend of genius and virtue with universal concern, and, that some authentic and copious memorial was required to be produced, to alleviate the regret of the nation, it may truly be said, that this is the report of a poet, artfully exalting his own profession. Though it may be hinted, that Mr. Hayley, as a biographer, in attempting to do justice to departed genius and worth, baş sonetimes exceeded the bounds of moderation, and employed the highest poétical colouring, in delineating the character and genius of this gifted poet; yet, we must feel exceedingly obliged to him, for collecting every record of this amiable man and genuine poet; and presenting us with a series of let
ters, in which his benevolent heart and sublime mind are so am· ply displayed. He has transmitted himself to posterity as a
friend of this ingenious and amiable man; such an attachinent is a proof both of virtue and talent. Were we not apprehensive of offending his modesty, we would indeed assert, that he is endowed with all the qualities of a poet. .
There is a natural curiosity, which always seeks to penetrate into the privacy of celebrated men. But, in the instance of Cowper, it had been frustrated, till the appearance of Mr. Hayley's publication. Though his writings had long been popular, the author was scarcely known to the public; and, having lived in a state of entire seclusion from the world, there were no auec
dotes of his conversation, his habits, or opinions, in circulation among his admirers.
Mr. Hayley's publication has supplied this deficiency, and his > Memoirs give us an interestiug picture of the femine delicacy
and purity of Cowper's mind. He received, at Eartham, a visit from that friend, to whom he was so endeared by the similarity of their taste and pursuits. - His biography is well written, attentively compiled, and calculated to excite the best feelings of the human heart: it has every poetical grace, excepting measure and fiction.
Among his other publications, wbich also reflect honour on bis genius and activity, and which he accomplished, notwithstanding
the repeated attacks of disease, are an Elegy on Sir William · Jones, and the biography of the immortal bard, Milton; in which · he has repelled the shafts of maliguity, presented by another biogia: - pber. On the whole, if we consider who the men were who be
came the subjects of his attention, his writings acquire an addi. tional merit in the eyes of men of learning. “ With respect to some other performances, wbich have been attributed to Mr. Hayley, though by him they never were avowed, we notice the novel of the Young Widows--the Essay on Old · Maids--and the Elegy on the Greek Model.
• We understand that there are many interesting particulars relative to this gentleman contained in Hay's History of Chiches ter; but we have been assured, that, from an unconquerable, and we think injudicious, modesty, he has always refused to communicate, for publication, any circumstances relative to himself; or even to permit his most intimate friends to do him, in that way, the justice to which he is entitled. The deficiency of the present memoir must, therefore, be attributed to the want of sufficient materials.
Mrs. PARSONS was the only daughter of Mr. Phelp, a wine merchant, in Plymouth, Devonshire. At an early age she married Mr. Parsons, a turpentine merchant, at Stonehouse, near Plymouth, by whom she had a numerous family, and, until the breaking out of the American war, lived in happiness and affluence. Mr. Parsons at that time had contracts with go. jeroment for naval stores, and had ships in America to be Joaded when the disturbances broke out; two were detained in the country, two sent home in ballast; and this great loss and disappointment was the first blow to their prosperity; being compelled to resort to the London markets to fulfil the contracts, at considerable loss and disadvantage. In conse. quence of these unpleasant circumstances, Mr. Parsons thought it most advisable to remove his family from Stonehouse to the neighbourhood of London, near Bow Bridge, to the house formerly known as the Bow China House. At this place he built warehouses, small dwellings for workmen, erected stills, and other expensive works, nearly to the amount of his remaining fortune; and, for three years, had every prospect of success. About the expiration of that time, in the year 1782, a dreadful fire broke out in the still-house, then filled with spirits of turpentine, tar, and pitch, which soon destroyed all the buildings and their contents; and unfortunately communicated to a large quantity of stores, rolled out from distant warehouses, for the purpose of being shipped the next tide, and entirely consumed them; and, in all probability, the town of Bow was saved from the conflagration, by the orders Mrs. Parsons gave to pull down the workmen's houses, and stifle the fire. Mr. Parsons happened to be in town, and returned only to witness his entire ruin-for, unhappily, the still-houses and annexed build. ings, and the stores drawn round them for convenience of being shipped in a few hours, had no claims on the insurers, only the warehouses and goods in them being insured. This dread. ful blow, and a combination of unpleasant events attached to it, compelled Mr. Parsons to relinquish business; and having, a few months previous to this accident, had the misfortune to lose their eldest son in Jamaica, who had been just made a captain of marines, a most amiable young man, eighteen years of age, domestic sorrows, added to the loss of his remaining property, had an effect upon the spirits of Mr. Parsons, which he never recovered. He obtained a place at St. James's, in the Lord Chamberlain's department, and soon after, through the favour of the Mar. chioness of Salisbury, Mrs. Parsons had also a small place in the same department. But the health of Mr. Parsons visibly declined; the total loss of a handsome fortune, his anxiety for the provision of eight children, born to happier prospects, and
a consciousness of his broken constitution, and inability to · leave any thing for his family, altogether occasioned a depres
sion of spirits, which brought on a paralytic affection, under which he languished nearly three years, when a second stroke terminated his existence; by which Mrs. Parsons was left with her young family, wholly unprovided for, and dependent on her exertions alone for their future subsistence.' In circumstan. ces like these, involved in pecuniary difficulties, she had no resources but to become a candidate for public favour as an author. It was imperious necessity, not inclination, or vanity, that led Mrs. Parsons to take up the pen; and the liberal indulgence she met with from her friends and the public en. couraged her to proceed in her employment, while struggling with many sorrows and heavy afflictions. In the beginning of this war she lost.a very promising youth by the yellow fever, off St. Domingo ; two years since, a most amiable daughter, wife of an eminent surgeon; and last year, her only surviving son, a brave and deserving young officer, just appointed to the command of his Majesty's gun vessel, the Hecate, who unhappily perished in a gale of wind, off Whitstable Bay, greatly and deservedly lamented by all who knew him. Mrs. Parsons has, at present four daughters, all married, one to a Norwegian merchant, another to a merchant in London, a third to an officer in the garrison at Gibraltar, and a fourth recently married to a gentleman of rank and fortune in Copenhagen.