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But soon as, approaching the land,

That goddess-like woman he view'd,
The scourge he let fall from his hand,

With blood of his subjects imbrued.
I saw him both sicken and die,

And, the moment the monster expir'd.
Heard shouts that ascended the sky,

From thousands with rapture inspir'd.

Awaking, how could I but muse

At what such a dream should betide,
But soon my ear caught the glad news,

Which serv'd my weak thought for a guide —
That Britannia, renown'd o'er .the waves,

For the hatred she ever has shown
To the black-sceptred rulers of slaves,

Resolves to have none of her own.



NOTES TO VOLUME THE THIRD.



Page 77.



" I rejoice particularly in my uncle's felicity, who
has three female descendants," &c.

The (laughters of Ashley Cowper, Esq. were Lady
Hesketh, Miss Theodora Jane Cowper, and Lady
Croft, the wife of Sir Archer Croft, Bart.

Page 80.

" The minister who shall reillumine the faded glories
of the Lock."

The Lock chapel was the favourite resort of re-
ligious characters in the time of the Rev. Martin
Madan, not only from the high popularity of his
talents, as a preacher, but from the fidelity and im-
pressive energy with which he proclaimed the great
and fundamental doctrines of the scripture.

Mr. de Coetlogon subsequently became the mi-
nister, and was associated with the Rev. Thomas
Scott ; but in consequence of the former being too



NOTES. 321

exclusively doctrinal, and the latter deeming it right
to give more of a practical character to his preach-
ing, the congregation was unhappily divided into two
parties. For the particulars of this period, see the
excellent " Life of the Rev. Thomas Scott."

Page 86.

ROBERT HERON, ESQ.

Heron was an assumed name, and proved to be
John Pinkerton. His production gained for him
the notice of Horace Walpole, but by no means
added to his estimation with the British public. He
subsequently gave to the world " Ancient Scottish
Poems, from the manuscript collection of Sir Richard
Maitland, Knt., Lord Privy Seal of Scotland, com-
prizing pieces written from about 1420 to 1586."
This work also was discovered to be a forgery.
Such impositions are highly discreditable to their
authors, and injurious to the cause both of literature
and morality. His principal work is a collection
of voyages and travels in nineteen volumes. He
died in Paris, in 1826.

Page 99.

" Pope has given us two pretty Poems, under
Homer's titles. 1 '

The term -pretty Poems was first applied to Pope's
Homer, by Dr. Bentley. According to Dr. J.
Warton, Atterbury, being in company with Bentley
and Pope, insisted upon knowing that celebrated
critic's opinion of Pope's version. Being earnestly

vol in. v



322 NOTES.

pressed to declare his sentiments freely, Bentley
observed, " The verses are good verses, but the
work is not Homer, it is Spondanus." John de
Sponde, or Spondanus, was a French writer, and
author of Commentaries on Homer. Pope never
forgot the affront.

Page 117.

DR. MATY, OF THE MUSEUM.

He was assistant Librarian at the British Mu-
seum, and for a short period Foreign Secretary to
the Uoyal Society. He was a man of literary
pursuits and critical acumen, which he displayed
with much ability in a journal entitled " The New
Review." His labours in that undertaking are said
to have shortened his life, which terminated in the
year 1787.

Page 119.

" The tortoise-shell snuff-box, representing the
peasant's nest, and Cowper's three hares, Tiney,
Puss, and Bess."

This interesting relic, presented to the Poet by
Lady Hesketh, is now in the possession of the family
of the late Rev. Dr. Johnson.

Page 173.

" Whoever the lady is, she has evidently an admir-
able pen, and a cultivated mind."

Mrs. Carter, the person here alluded to, was an



NOTES. 323

eminent instance of the powers of the female mind,
when cultivated by education, and aided by subse-
quent study. Besides being a proficient in the
learned languages, she acquired a knowledge of the
French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese,
Hebrew, and even Arabic. She translated the
critique of Crousaz, on Pope's Essay on Man ; and
also Algarotti's explanation of Newton's Philosophy
for Ladies. The principal work by which she is
kncwn, is her translation of Epictetus. Her supe-
rior talents procured for her the acquaintance of
the literati of her own country, the friendship of
Archbishop Seeker, and the distinguished notice of
the royal family. She died in 1806, at the ad-
vanced age of 89 years.

Page 182.

THE NONSENSE CLUB.

The Club designated by this humorous title,
was composed of Westminster men, and included
among its members, Bonnell Thornton, Colman,
Lloyd, Hill, Bensley, and Cowper. They were
accustomed to meet together for the purpose of
literary relaxation and amusement.

Page 210, 211.

THE GREAT CHURCHILL.

Cowper was an admirer of Churchill, and is
thought to have formed his style on the model of
that writer. But he is now no longer " the great



324 NOTES.

Churchill." The causes of his reputation have
been the occasion of its decline. His productions
are founded on the popular yet evanescent topics of
the time, which have ceased to create interest. He
who wishes to survive in the memory of future
ages must possess, not only the attribute of com-
manding genius, but be careful to employ it on
subjects of abiding importance. His life was cha-
racterised by singular imprudence, and by habits of
gross vice and intemperance. A preacher by pro-
fession, and a rake in practice, he abandoned the
church, or rather was compelled to resign its func-
tions. Gifted with a vigorous fancy, and superior
powers, he prostituted them to the purposes of
political faction, and became the associate and friend
of Wilkes. A bankrupt, at length, both in fortune
and constitution, he was seized with a fever while
paying a visit to Mr. Wilkes, at Boulogne ; and
terminated his brilliant but guilty career at the early
age of thirty-four.

Page 215.
" The divine harmony of Milton's number.-.'

Addison was the first, by his excellent critiques
in the Spectator, to excite public attention to a more
just sense of the immortal poem of the Paradise
Lost. But it was reserved for Johnson* to point
out the beauty of Milton's versification. He showed
that it was formed, as far as our language admits,
upon the best models of Greece and Rome, united

* See Rambler, Nos. 86, 88, 90, 9i.



NOTES. 325

to the softness of the Italian, the most mellifluous
of all modern poetry. To these examples we may
add the name of Spenser, who is distinguished for
a most melodious flow of versification. Johnson
emphatically remarks, that Milton's " skill in har-
mony was not less than his invention, or his learn-
ing." Dr. J. Warton also observes, that his verses
vary, and resound as much, and display as much
majesty and energy, as any that can be found in
Dryden.

We subjoin the following passages as illustrating
the melody of his numbers, the grace and dignity
of his style, the correspondence of sound with the
sentiment, the easy flow of his verses into one ano-
ther, and the beauty of his cadences.

THE DESCENT OF THE ANGEL RAPHAEL INTO PARADISE.

A seraph wing'd: six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine ; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
With regal ornament ; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold,
And odours dipt in Heaven; the third hi
Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail,
Sky tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance fill'd
The circuit wide.

Book v.

How sweetly did they float upon tin' wings
Of silence, through the empty vaulted night ;
At every fall, smoothing the raven down
Of darkness, till it smil'd.



326



THE BIRTH OF DEATH.



I fled, and cried out Death:
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded Death !

EVE EATING THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT.

So saying, her rasli hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck'd, she eat !
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe,
That all tvas lost.

Book ix.

ADAM PARTICIPATING IN THE GREAT TRANSGRESSION.

He scrupled not to eat
Against his better knowledge —
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
In pangs ; and Nature gave a second groan ;
Sky lour'd; and muttering thunder, some sad drops
Wept at completing of the mortal sin —
Original.

Book ix.

Page 254.
Barclay's argenis.

Barclay was the author of two celebrated Latin
romances ; the first entitled Euphormio, a political,
satirical work, chiefly levelled against the Jesuits,
and dedicated to James I.

His Argenis is a political allegory, descriptive
of the state of Europe, and especially of France,
during the League. Sir Walter Scott alludes to the
Euphormio in his notes on Marmion, canto 3rd.



327



Page 258.

Savary's travels in Egypt and the Levant, from
1776 to 1780. — They have acquired sufficient popu-
larity to be translated into most of the European
languages. He died in 1788.

Baron de Tott's memoirs. — The severe reflections in
which this writer indulged against the Turkish go-
vernment, and his imprudent exposure of its political
weakness, subjected him to a series of hardships and
imprisonment, which seem almost to exceed the
bounds of credibility.

Sir John Fenn's, Letters —Written by various
members of the Paston famil}', during the historical
period of the wars between the two houses of York
and Lancaster. He died in 1794.

Henri de Lorraine, Due de Guise. — This cele-
brated character was the great opponent of the
Huguenots, and founder of the League in the time
of Henry III. of France. He was assassinated at
Blois, at the instigation, it is said, of his sovereign,
to whom his influence had become formidable.

Page 272.

MR. M — .

(Henry Mackenzie.) This popular writer first
became known as the author of " The Man
of Feeling," which was published in 1771, and
of other works of a similar character. He after-
wards became a member of a literary society,
established at Edinburgh, in 1778, under the title of
the Mirror Club. Here originated the Mirror and



328 NOTES.

Lounger, periodical essays written after the manner
of the Spectator, of which he was the editor and
principal contributor. He died in 1831.

Page 280.

MR. MERRY.

He belonged to what was formerly known by
the name of the Delia Crusca School, at Flo-
rence, whose writings were characterised by an
affectation of style and sentiment, which obtained
its admirers in this country. The indignant muse
of Gifford, in his well-known Baviad and Maeviad,
at length vindicated the cause of sound taste and
judgment ; and such was the effect of his caustic
satire, that this spurious and corrupt style rapidly
disappeared.



END OF THE THIRD VOLUME.



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Online LibraryWilliam CowperThe life and works of William Cowper (Volume 3) → online text (page 21 of 21)