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Thou stream of Time! bear in thy course, along, The early lustre of Italian song!
not have sought them. Old men love only what is useful; young men run after appearances, without regarding their end! This crown rendered me neither more wise nor more eloquent; it only served to raise envy, and to deprive me of the repose I enjoyed. From that time tongues and pens were sharpened against me; my friends became my enemies, and I suffered the just effects of my confidence and presumption.”---Such is the unsatisfying nature of all human honours, and all human enjoyments! Seven years after this coronation, Laura died of the plague, which ravaged all Italy. Petrarch has celebrated her virtues and accomplishments, in an exquisite elegy, which bears her name, and which has been admirably translated by Sir William Jones. From the account of biographers she was one of the most beautiful, accomplished, and virtuous ladies of the age in which she lived. On a blank leaf of a mannscript copy of Petrarch's Virgil, the following lines were written by his own hand : “ Laura, illustrious by her own virtues, and long celebrated in my verses, appeared to my eyes, for the first time, the sixth of April, 1327, at Avignon, in the church of St. Claire, at the first hour of the day: I was then in my youth. In the same city, on the same day, and at the same hour, in the year 1348, this luminary disappeared from our world! I was then at Verona, ignorant of iny wretched situation. That chaste and beautiful body was buried the same day, after vespers, in the church of Cordeliers: her soul returned to its native mansion in heaven! To retrace the melancholy remembrance of this great
To lone Vaucluse let all the loves repair!
loss, I have written it, with a pleasure mixed with bitterness, in a book to which I often refer. Since the strongest.cord of my life is now broken, with the grace of God I shall easily renounce a world where my cares have been deceitful, and my hopes vain and perishing.”
Petrarch died in the year 1374, at Arqua, and his body was interred in the chapel of the Virgin, which he, not long before his death, had built.
* In what manner shall I speak of this accomplished author? Or how shall I describe the delight which he has given me? To call him the greatest poet of his day, will not express his merits.--to place him at the head of all lyric and elegiac poets, would be no more than his due! He has indeed written but little ; but that little is in a superlative manner. He reverenced the world too much to give it the basty production of a day. He wrote for immortality, and immortality will be his reward. He was a poet who consulted his feelings when he wrote. The silence of seclu
When tolls the curfew the departing day,
Hear Cowper* raise his bold and moral song,
sion, and the gloom of melancholy, dictated his Elegy in a Country Church-Yard. He has himself acknowledged, in a letter to his friend, that an aged Welchman, playing on his harp, excited him to complete his ode, entitled, “ The Bard."
* England has lately lost this excellent man and poet--to whom she is indebted for his elegant instructions conveyed in the Task. Cowper was a writer, original in his thoughts, and undaunted in his delivery of truth. His representations are commonly striking : I need only instance his picture of Omai---the Woodman and his Dog--Crazy Kate--and Mysagathus.---His principal faults are his want of connection throughout his poem, and his not attending sufficiently to the harmony of his numbers. He discovers, in numerous passages, that he was capable of the utmost harmony. Cowper's satires, particularly his Table Talk, and Progress of Error, are among the most chaste and dig. nified compositions of that class, in the English language.
Truth, while he sings, lets fall her honest tears!
When Fiction lifts her mirror to the eye,
See copious Richardson's * consummate art,
* Richardson was an author of uncommon merit; his knowledge of nature was extensive; his characters are drawn with a masterly hand; his delineations of the passions are accurate ; his moral sentiments judicious. He wrote with a good intention, for he was a man of virtue and of piety.
See Fielding * travel thro' each scene of life; Nor pass the landlord or his scolding wife! . Present Sophia to our ardent view, As fair a picture as the pencil drew! See, mid his group, the country 'squire arise! And Square and Thwackum lift their knowing eyes! But chiefly mark, amid the motley throng, 170 Poor parson Adams bend his course along!
*“ Comic romance has been brought to perfection in England by Henry Fielding: who seems to have possessed more wit and humour, and more knowledge of mankind than any other person of modern times, Shakespeare excepted; and whose great natural abilities were refined by a classical taste, which he had acquired by studying the best authors of antiquity. The great lord Lyttleton, after mentioning several particulars of Pope, Swift, and other wits of that time, when I asked some questions relating to the author of Tom Jones, began his answer with these words, * Henry Fielding, I assure you, had more wit, and more humour, than all the persons we have been speaking of put together.'”
BEATTIE'S DISSERTATION. With these remarks of Dr. Beattie I agree. In many of the qualifications of a novelist Fielding is unrivalled. In speaking of the genius displayed in fictions, I could not pass over him; but the truth must not be withheld---that his works contain many scenes of indecency! his works, therefore, I would by no means recommend. There are few novels that I would recommend unconditionally; and I would advise, that all of them should be read sparingly.